Left and Right

The Life of James Burnham: From Trotskyism to Italian Fascism to the Father of Neo-Conservatism

[The following is from my newly published book “The Empire on Which the Black Sun Never Set: The Birth of International Fascism and Anglo-American Foreign Policy.]

It is understandably the source of some confusion as to how a former high-level Trotskyist became the founder of the neo-conservative movement; with the Trotskyists calling him a traitor to his kind, and the neo-conservatives describing it as an almost road to Damascus conversion in ideology. However, the truth of the matter is that it is neither.

That is, James Burnham never changed his beliefs and convictions at any point during his journey through Trotskyism, OSS/CIA intelligence to neo-conservatism, although he may have backstabbed many along the way. He was also a key member of the Office for Policy Coordination (OPC) Psychological Warfare branch and participated in Operation Gladio through this function, including his work with the CIA’s Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF). This chapter will discuss the relevance of these anomalies and how all these seemingly contradictory brandings were in fact consistent with the particular assignment Burnham had devoted his life to.

A detailed study of James Burnham’s ideology and career are of importance due to what they so transparently reflect as a conscious policy that came from the corridors of British and American intelligence, which is essential to understanding the times we find ourselves presently living in.


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