Friday, September 25, 2020

As U.S. Society Unravels, The Ruling Class Turns To Propaganda & Censorship

The social contract that supports the existence of the United States, and the role of the United States as a global imperialist power, was built on the promise that Americans would always benefit from empire. As the continent was being colonized, the settler masses were won over to the side of capitalist reaction through economic incentives, with the U.S. capitalist class making these settlers part of a relatively comfortable labor aristocracy in exchange for their complicity in the genocide of the colonized peoples. Throughout the era of global U.S. imperialism, this has been extended to an arrangement where out of desire to materially benefit from the spoils of empire, the people of the imperial core support their government’s violent subjugation of foreign nations.


In order for this worldview among the masses of the imperial core to reflect material reality, though, the masses have had to continue to make up a labor aristocracy. And in the era of neoliberalism, especially the neoliberalism of the post-2008 era, the bubble of economic privilege has shrunk. After decades of disappearing social services, privatization, falling wages, deteriorating workers rights, and the shifting of the tax burden onto the poor, the people of the U.S. have acquired a record amount of credit card debt that’s effectively driven half of them into the poverty level. This year’s loss of tens of millions of jobs, which is being exacerbated by a continued rising of U.S. unemployment, has financially broken many of the people who were already suffering prior to this year.


The foundations of U.S. capitalism are falling out. And it’s threatening the social contract that the empire has depended on. Just look at the social unrest that’s still reverberating throughout the U.S. after four months. Just look at the millions of people who’ve come to like the idea of socialism when faced with the neoliberal economic deprivation of the Covid-19 era. The country’s ruling class needs to find a way to restore the normal balance, or at least the amount of balance that’s considered normal under an economic system which feeds off of crises. They need to keep the American populace from developing a revolutionary consciousness that could lead to the overthrow of the empire.


How can they maintain popular consent for empire when the contradictions of capitalism and imperialism are threatening to radicalize millions of more people in the U.S. towards becoming Marxists? By substituting actual material prosperity in the U.S. for the illusion of prosperity. By using censorship and propaganda to prevent the people of the imperial core from finding out how people in socialist countries like China live, and to convince America that the deteriorating society they live in is a shining example of economic superiority.


Trump’s base is being acclimated to this narrative most of all. The president’s line on the economy is that it’s doing “amazingly well,” and he and his administration are trying to spin narratives about spectacular job recoveries. Lately, Republican senators have been going on Fox News and making statements like: “President Trump created the strongest economy in our history…We’re going to rebuild that economy through President Trump’s America First Agenda.” Bourgeois politicians and pundits from both partisan camps will continue to propagate variations of the belief that U.S. capitalism is proving to be resilient, that we’re not actually experiencing the worst depression in a century.


The official unemployment numbers that portray the jobless rate as around 3% smaller than it actually is help reinforce this illusion of relative prosperity. “Relative” is the key word. What’s crucial for convincing Americans that they’re in a society with acceptable living conditions is to make them think that the alternative economic systems to neoliberalism are unquestionably worse.


It’s why we’re being bombarded with media claims that China is an autocratic dictatorship whose people have no freedoms, and whose government is committing increasingly outlandish atrocities in Xinjiang. It’s why the right-wing think tank the Heritage Foundation recently also described the other five Marxist-Leninist countries the DPRK, Cuba, Vietnam, and Laos as “Marxist dictatorships.” It’s why Venezuela’s economic crisis is consistently blamed on socialism, while the catastrophic impacts of U.S. economic warfare against the country aren’t mentioned. The consensus needs to be maintained that socialism always leads to massive suffering and injustice, and that capitalism is therefore the only logical system to have.


In his essay about the necro-capitalist system that the U.S. has, Gerry Canavan writes that consensus for the necessity of our neoliberal dystopia is “reinforced on the level of ideology by a wonderful and terrible double-bind of perpetual threat: things must be this necrocapitalist because, if they were not, our society would be even more necropolitical and wretched than it is now. That is: necrocapitalism’s own horrors are perpetually taken as proof of necrocapitalism’s necessity, even its own self-prophylactic. We ingest the poison to keep ourselves from becoming even sicker.”


This is the argument that 2020s political radicals will be met with by ruling class propagandists: no matter how bad your life gets, overthrowing the system and replacing it with a proletarian democracy will lead to something far worse. These kinds of warnings will come with neo-McCarthyist rhetoric, such as accusations of people being agents of foreign powers and calls to hunt down radicals for treason. According to the ideology of the Cold War 2.0, any action or speech that goes against the U.S. State Department and the corporate ideology must be countered with swift fury.


This is the atmosphere in which the rising censorship against anti-imperialist media is taking place. The censorship campaign, which consists of social media purgings of accounts that express disfavored messages, bannings of accounts with any supposed ties to U.S. adversaries, and suppression of search result access to sites that discuss anti-imperialism or class struggle, serves to shut more people in the imperial core off from information that conflicts with the ruling class ideology. Along with the propaganda, this suppression effort will only get worse in the coming years.


The U.S., along with loyal Washington allies like Britain and Australia, are becoming isolated paranoid states that allow less and less freedoms. This disappearance of liberties and cutting off from the rest of the world are how the ruling class aims to retain control over the empire’s internal population at a time when U.S./NATO hegemony is waning, and when the neoliberal world is falling into economic disrepair partly as a result of the imperial decline. Isolation, concealment, and indoctrination are what the imperialists have to rely on when the population is benefiting less and less from empire.

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If you appreciate my work, I hope you become a one-time or regular donor to my Patreon account. Like most of us, I’m feeling the economic pinch during late-stage capitalism, and I need money to keep fighting for a new system that works for all of us. Go to my Patreon here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Anti-Chinese Propaganda, American Cultural Psychosis, And The Runup To World War Three

 

The above image was found from comrade Hakim’s video “America Never Stood For Freedom.”


The Iraq invasion was a prelude to our current war runup, the war runup that the United States would experience when its global imperial hegemony came under threat during the 2020s. Like was the case in 2003, the empire’s propaganda machine has inculcated its narratives into the minds of a solid majority of the public. Like was the case in 2003, the main target of the empire’s violent rage is merely a scapegoat for the crises that the U.S. has been experiencing. The difference is that in 2020, America’s cultural psychosis is being directed towards preparing for a war far larger than the Iraq War, a war so destructive and costly that it could end up breaking U.S. hegemony for good.


In every other way, the nature of America’s imperial reaction and self-destructive spiral has grown larger in these last seventeen years. Amid 9/11, the country was experiencing a crisis of violence terrorist blowback as a consequence of Washington’s imperialist provocations. In the 2020s, the country is experiencing a health crisis that’s so far killed over 200,000 Americans, along with the largest economic crash in a century. In 2003, the empire’s campaign to blame Saddam Hussein for 9/11 led to a war that’s since resulted in a decline for Washington’s global legitimacy and a fading of American hegemony. In 2020, the empire’s campaign to blame China for Covid-19 is creating geopolitical escalations that are making the U.S. far more isolated, and that will result in true imperial devastation if they end up leading to an actual U.S.-Chinese military confrontation.


The sense of delusion among the U.S. populace has also been heightened, morphing into bizarre and alarming forms as the contradictions of imperialism bear down upon American society. The “China virus” slogan propagated by the president and by reactionary media has no basis in a fair or objective analysis; China’s Covid-19 response has proven to be among the best in the world, and Trump’s negligence has been to blame for the unparalleled pandemic deaths the U.S. has experienced. But imperial hubris has compelled most of the country to feed into the anti-Chinese hysteria, while consequently propping up the neoliberal paradigm that’s bringing so much death and destruction to the U.S. population.


Most of the country is participating in this reactive delusion because virtually every U.S. political faction, apart from principled communists, has an ideological interest in slandering China. Even many of the leftists who don’t believe China is to blame for the virus are reinforcing the other lies that the anti-Chinese cold war depends on.


The lies about how China is detaining and persecuting “millions” of Uyghurs have served as the main narrative which unites the empire’s masses in hating China and its socialist government. After being repeated by virtually every popular facet of English-speaking media, from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver to the Joe Rogan Experienceto Honest Trailers, the “China is committing genocide” line has come to serve as the way that all imperial chauvinists can engage in projection over the actual genocidal crimes that their own country has committed. Among these imperial chauvinists are many anarchists, “democratic socialists,” and other types of anti-Marxist leftists who seek to vilify China in order to discredit Marxism-Leninism.


Which shows the magnitude of the ideological roadblocks that this imperialist cultural reaction has created for the rise of a socialist movement in this country. If even many of the people in the U.S. who describe themselves as socialists vilify socialist countries like China, and are willing to promote the U.S. State Department lies that further Washington’s interests, what does this show about the prospects for building a movement within the U.S. that can address the continent’s imperialist and colonialist contradictions?


I believe it shows that before the empire can be defeated, its contradictions will have to be exposed in far more severe ways. This country and its economic system are built upon the genocide of colonized peoples, the exploitation of populations abroad, and (especially since 9/11) the perpetuation of endless wars. The American psyche, particularly the psyche of the settler masses, is historically intertwined with an order where the relative comforts enjoyed by those within the empire come at the cost of millions routinely getting killed off or forced to work in miserable conditions. The desire to benefit from empire is so strong that it’s kept many of the American people on the side of the capitalist reaction, even amid mounting capitalist contradictions within the country.


And as is explained in J. Sakai’s brilliant Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat, even self-identified socialists in the U.S. have historically been complicit in the crimes of colonialism; it’s been in their interests as members of the labor aristocracy to forsake true proletarian consciousness and remain tethered to petty-bourgeois reformism.


Under neoliberalism, those who can legitimately consider themselves part of a labor aristocracy has greatly shrunk, and this year’s depression has driven even more people out of a bubble of economic privilege. But as is reflected by U.S. culture’s overwhelming acceptance of imperialist lies like the Uyghur claims, a coordination towards serious anti-imperialist resistance has yet to emerge within the country, at least on a scale that immediately threatens the power structure. The protests of the last four months, while fueled by rising anger at colonial state violence and neoliberal capitalist injustice, aren’t united around a cohesive revolutionary line that involves overthrowing the capitalist state. So the forces of reaction, with their lies about countries like China and their stoking of racism and xenophobia, are still able to dominate the societal narrative.


Yes, the foundations of the U.S. capitalist machine may be falling out, but the American desire to violently dominate and subjugate remains. The reactionary segments of society are concluding that the solution to their growing economic deprivation is not to establish socialism, but to expand imperial control and annex territory from U.S. rivals. This is why Trump’s base would be delighted if he were to invade Venezuela, and then replace Maduro with a neoliberal U.S. puppet regime which serves American capitalist interests. Reflecting the old white aristocratic desires for imperial annexationism, they see the wars for imperial hegemony as tied in with their own material wellbeing.


Thus the accompaniments of this year’s increasing U.S. sanctionsdronings, and bombings with runups towards war with all of Washington’s largest challengers. Continued anti-Russian war games, military encroachments towards China, militarization of Latin America’s right-wing regimes in preparation for war with Venezuela, and recently Iraq War-style propaganda about Iran have all been part of the imperialist reaction.


Whether or not the U.S. actually decides to start a war with one of these countries-which wouldn’t be surprising given the irrational measures that dying empires often resort to-these war campaigns will continue to further America’s internal crises. Self-destructive economic isolationism from China, growing austerity in order to further expand the military budget, and stunted class consciousness among the masses as a result of constant war propaganda are all working to drive U.S. living conditions ever downward.


Our only hope is to harness the country’s spiraling capitalist and imperialist contradictions towards building a movement that can take down the empire, a movement that applies the findings of Marxism to our conditions. We need to agitate among the people, showing them why capitalism and imperialism are behind these crises and persuading them to join organizations that can work as facets of the revolutionary vanguard. Those who’ve already chosen to help feed into the American imperial reaction likely won’t join us. But if we don’t take charge, the empire’s psychosis will continue to be able to wreak destruction unchecked.

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If you appreciate my work, I hope you become a one-time or regular donor to my Patreon account. Like most of us, I’m feeling the economic pinch during late-stage capitalism, and I need money to keep fighting for a new system that works for all of us. Go to my Patreon here.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

NATO 2030: A Desperate Plan To Try To Preserve U.S. Imperialist Hegemony

In these last four years since Donald Trump was elected, throwing the core country of the NATO empire into increased uncertainty and volatility, the ruling class within this empire has responded by trying to regain the geopolitical balance of the Obama era. Through his sabotage of international treaties, his bellicose rhetoric, and his creation of trade wars even with U.S. allies, Trump has accelerated the unraveling of the American global order while undermining Washington’s relationship with Europe. This has prompted the purveyors of the liberal order to try to repair these increasingly fragile ties within the imperialist bloc, while moving to consolidate power within the countries that the U.S. empire still firmly controls amid its decline.

The manufactured anti-Russian hysteria that’s gripped the core imperialist countries in recent years has served to rally the forces of imperial chauvinism around an agenda for renewed cold war, which is central to NATO’s goal of regaining Eurasia from the growing power of the Russia/China alliance. Military buildup against Russia and China has continued, while xenophobic paranoia about Washington’s rivals has justified ever-tightening online censorship against anti-imperialist voices. And the “Russiagate” scandal, which was recently revived through baseless media claims that Russia is paying bounties to the Taliban, has been used to pressure Trump towards going along with all of the parts of the new cold war.


But to further secure their interests going into the unstable geopolitical period of the 2020s, the imperialists need to ensure that they’ll hold thorough control over the countries within perhaps the most geopolitically important region of the current era: the Indo-Pacific. This is where NATO 2030 comes in.


In an event from this June that was sponsored by the neoconservative think tank the Atlantic Council, NATO’s General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg announced a reform project called NATO 2030. It’s a plan to absorb Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and south Korea into NATO, as well as to expand NATO’s influence beyond a mere military role and also make it a tool for influencing the wider political spheres of the countries under its jurisdiction. Stoltenberg’s explanation for this project’s existence was perfectly reflective of the recent liberal push against Trumpian nationalist isolationism: “we must resist the temptation of national solutions and we must live up to our values: freedom, democracy and the rule of law. To do this, we must stay strong militarily, be more united politically and take a broader approach globally.”


This plan isn’t just about securing imperial cooperation within the region where the U.S. is expanding its military buildup against China. It’s about trying to bypass one of the great contradictions of imperialism, which is the tendency of the imperialist powers to fight among themselves amid their quests for domination. In The Foundations of Leninism, Stalin described this dynamic as:


The contradiction among the various financial groups and imperialist Powers in their struggle for sources of raw materials, for foreign territory. Imperialism is the export of capital to the sources of raw materials, the frenzied struggle for monopolist possession of these sources, the struggle for a re-division of the already divided world, a struggle waged with particular fury by new financial groups and Powers seeking a “place in the sun” against the old groups and Powers, which cling tenaciously to what they have seized. This frenzied struggle among the various groups of capitalists is notable in that it includes as an inevitable element imperialist wars, wars for the annexation of foreign territory. This circumstance, in its turn, is notable in that it leads to the mutual weakening of the imperialists, to the weakening of the position of capitalism in general, to the acceleration of the advent of the proletarian revolution and to the practical necessity of this revolution.


The deterioration of relations that’s happened between the U.S. and Europe during the Trump era obviously isn’t an inter-imperialist war, but it does represent a modern example of this contradiction. To advance his own political interests and to help the isolationist section of the U.S. ruling class, Trump has pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate deal, opted out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and started a trade fight with Europe. These recent inter-imperialist disputes over the spoils of empire have had the exact consequences that Stalin described: a mutual weakening of the American and European imperialist powers, with NATO becoming less functional and Washington’s hegemony being diminished.


The same contradiction has been at work in the case of Brexit, the campaign from the reactionary faction of Britain’s ruling class to break away from what they feel is the disempowering influence of the European Union. Like how Trump’s tariffs have damaged the U.S. economy, Brexit has damaged the U.K. economy, furthering the contractions of capitalism within the borders of these imperialist powers which have decided to go rogue. The whole cycle is a mess of capitalist contradictions getting stacked on top of each other, with the contradictions that have caused certain developments in turn leading to additional crises; the success of the Brexit vote and the election of Trump were themselves part of the societal reaction to neoliberal economic decline under late-stage capitalism.


The technocrats of the NATO empire have frantically been trying to reverse the damage, to patch up the strained imperial alliances and restore the paradigm of 20th century liberal hegemony. When Henry Kissinger talks about how important it is to “safeguard the principles of the liberal world order,” he’s talking about stopping the imperialist contradiction which Stalin described from incurably destabilizing the U.S.-centered corporatocracy.


And NATO encapsulates this desire for retaining imperial unity and control. Strategic thinkers within the global imperialist elite believe that the imperialist powers will need to cooperate in order to have a better chance of subduing the rising anti-imperialist powers. It’s why Andrés Oppenheimer, the editor of the empire-loving Miami Herald, agrees with Stoltenberg in that Trump’s ultra-nationalist strategy harms U.S. foreign policy goals. Oppenheimer and the rest of the anti-Trump neoconservative intelligentsia have thus been hoping for a Biden victory, believing Biden’s approach of international cooperation would make Washington better able to achieve regime change in Venezuela and to counter the rise of Russia and China.


But the power of Republican voter suppression, as well as the largely reactionary nature of the U.S. voting population, make me highly doubtful that they’ll succeed in ousting Trump. The capitalist contradictions of the U.S. will continue to translate into an increasingly fractured world order. The reactionary nationalism of countries like Britain will continue to result in deteriorating proletarian conditions throughout the neoliberal world, especially within the core imperialist countries. Expanding NATO to the U.S. loyalist states within the Pacific hemisphere isn’t going to undo these processes within the collapse of global capitalism, any more than it’s going to stop the trend towards a multi-polar world where China is the strongest power.


This is why the NATO technocrats aim to continue intensifying anti-Chinese and anti-Russian propaganda, tightening censorship, and making the countries they control more militarized; the heightening of the capitalist and imperialist contradictions result in a greater potential for proletarian uprising.


The imperialist reaction to the rise of the multi-polar world is bringing heavier investment in the military, and more economic isolation from Washington’s rivals. This is bringing more austerity, lowered wages, and rising prices of goods. We’re already seeing this trend become greatly pronounced in Australia, where the cold war with China is harming the industries which depend so heavily on their Chinese ties. Australia may soon become part of NATO, but this won’t stop proletarian revolution from becoming a practical necessity, both in Australia and throughout the rest of the neoliberal world.

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If you appreciate my work, I hope you become a one-time or regular donor to my Patreon account. Like most of us, I’m feeling the economic pinch during late-stage capitalism, and I need money to keep fighting for a new system that works for all of us. Go to my Patreon here.

Friday, September 18, 2020

The U.S. Military Would Not Be Invincible Against A Domestic Revolt

Among those who discuss the prospects of overthrowing the United States government, there’s a common belief that it would be impossible for domestic rebels to militarily defeat the U.S. armed forces. This inevitably leads to speculations about alternative ways for the rebels to prevail. Maybe we could win most of the U.S. military personnel over to the side of the revolutionaries, or maybe we could get a powerful U.S. rival like China to come to the aid of the rebel forces.


But upon thoroughly examining the situation, these hopes look ever more wishful. China’s goal is not to help foment revolutions abroad. And given that a civil war in the U.S. would no doubt prompt many U.S. allies to get their own militaries involved, Russia, China, and other superpowers would be especially hesitant to intervene given how much risk this would create of world war. Maybe Cuba or the DPRK would come to our aid, but we can’t bank on any foreign army to turn the direction of the class war in our favor.


Propagating Marxist-Leninist theory among U.S. troops is a worthwhile goal. But for every armed forces defector towards the socialist movement that appears in the coming chaotic years of U.S. imperial collapse, there will be plenty of other military members who remain loyal to the forces of fascism and capitalist reaction. Thus comes the recently articulated conclusion from communist YouTuber Hakim that:


The U.S. military and police will never, and I mean will never, join a potential revolution in the U.S. They are a barrier to a revolution. These are the agents of capital sent worldwide to rob, steal, and murder, all for the wealth and power of the bourgeoisie. Reactionary attitudes and counter-revolutionary mindsets are manufactured within the American military and police. For every soldier or policeman that lays down his weapons or, even better, joins the revolution, there will be a hundred, if not a thousand, cracking black skulls and shooting children. I saw it in Iraq. It isn’t far-fetched for it to be the norm in the U.S.


As you look at these facts, you slowly come to realize the stark reality of your situation as someone who’s committed themselves to liberating the world from U.S. capitalism, imperialism, and colonialism. This reality is that you can only rely on the revolutionary organizations within the U.S. to help bring you to victory against the forces of bourgeois reaction. In all likelihood, an army from across the ocean isn’t coming to save you. The throngs of heavily indoctrinated fascists in the U.S. military aren’t going to overwhelmingly join your side. Victory is only going to come from how good you are at sticking with the revolutionary tasks that the material conditions will demand from you.


These tasks are apparent from looking at how the Taliban, despite lacking tanks or warplanes and despite having always been outnumbered and technologically outmatched by the U.S., has managed to prevent the U.S. from defeating it after nineteen years of war. The Taliban has done this by winning the loyalty of much of the local populations in the parts of Afghanistan that they control, using the massive violence and corruption that U.S. imperialism has brought to the country to get many people to see aligning with their organization as the best option.


The Taliban has had advantages that rebel forces in the U.S. won’t necessarily have the equivalent of, like highly mountainous terrain and support from Pakistan. But even if we don’t manage to get military support from Cuba or the DPRK, and even if the U.S. surveillance apparatus forces us to operate with great secrecy, we’ll be able to gain a comparable advantage if we do the work to build popular support for a revolutionary guerrilla effort. 


This step is where agitation and organizing come in. If we spend the coming years using the country’s crises to get many more people to join communist parties, and if we do this while educating the masses about the capitalist and imperialist contradictions behind the crises they’re experiencing, we’ll gain a large base of support. Not one that includes the enormous population of reactionaries in the U.S., but one that’s capable of providing a guerrilla struggle with popular backing. With this vision in mind, Hakim has articulated the actions which must accompany these efforts: 


Arm yourselves. Establish armed wings of revolutionary organizations. Start coordinating armed actions across the country with as many organizations as you can. Remember, never terrorist activity-only military and state targets. Establish Red bases around the country, and begin building dual power. People’s war is the solution. If you truly want radical change, and if you really want to turn the U.S. from an overwhelming agent of bad in the world into an agent of good, you will need to turn upheaval-with sufficient development-into a civil war.


When this war starts, we’ll need to apply the guerrilla tactics that can make us win. These are the tactics that focus around attrition, the action of gradually weakening the forces of the enemy. Attacking military and state targets, as Hakim said, is how we can accomplish this. If we sustain these attacks, the forces of the U.S. will over time be forced to retreat. 


And despite what the “a rebellion can never defeat the U.S. military” perception seems to imply about how such a conflict would play out, the U.S. won’t initially use its heaviest military tools for attacking the rebels. The U.S. will start to cripple itself if it begins bombing cities and infrastructure, and the more military resources it has to sacrifice at home, the less ability it will have to project power abroad. This certainly won’t be good for them in a future scenario where the current resource, climatic, economic, and social crises have all been massively exacerbated, and where U.S. imperial decline will have gone on for much longer than it has so far. Our enemies may have the might of empire on their side, but we’ll have the advantage of fighting against a power structure that’s destabilizing itself amid the collapse of global capitalism. 


The foundations of capitalism are falling out. Through guerrilla warfare, we can tear the whole structure down. What this will require from you is the psychological commitment needed to carry forth this operation.


The guerrilla warrior has to endure great bodily sacrifices. In addition to the risks of being killed or injured in battle, the life of a guerrilla can consist of severe hunger, thirst, lack of domestic sanitation, demands for great physical exertion, and the other costs of hiding and traveling outdoors. The accounts of the great guerrilla Che Guevara make these costs apparent. But when you realize the value of revolutionary sacrifice, these things will no longer deter you. The alternative to joining the struggle is to remain complacent, to keep standing by while the U.S. empire collapses into fascism and while your material conditions keep deteriorating. Without making the necessary sacrifices, we won’t be able to defeat the ruling class.


Capitalism and U.S. imperialism may be collapsing, but revolution won’t come of its own accord. It won’t happen after a grand foreign invasion, or after thousands of armed fascists suddenly have a change of heart. It will happen after we realize that the U.S. military is not invincible, and that we have the capacity to win the class war ourselves.

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If you appreciate my work, I hope you become a one-time or regular donor to my Patreon account. Like most of us, I’m feeling the economic pinch during late-stage capitalism, and I need money to keep fighting for a new system that works for all of us. Go to my Patreon here:

Thursday, September 17, 2020

In Bolivia, Washington Has Replicated The Horrors From Other U.S.-Backed Fascist Regimes

The campaigns from imperialist propaganda operatives to brand Bolivia’s coup regime as some sort of example of progressive governance, or as in any way superior to the Morales government on human rights, have been pure smoke and mirrors. Installed after a weeks-long campaign of racist violence, the regime of the Christian fundamentalist Jeanine Áñez has from the start advanced Croatian-style ethnic cleansing, carrying out anti-indigenous massacres through death squads.


This has since evolved into something resembling Pinochet-style repression, with the regime torturing journalists and assassinating dissidents. The upcoming election in October is only possible because Bolivia’s indigenous resistance movement has been protesting amid months of further state violence. We’ll have to see how easy it will be for Bolivia’s people to vote out Áñez, given that the U.S. has continued to arm Bolivian paramilitary groups that try to crush pro-democracy protests and intimidate the opposition.


All of this dissonance between the flimsy propaganda narrative about the regime being an upholder of democracy, and the horrific reality of what’s been going on in the country since Morales was ousted, is a surprise to no one who’s familiar with Washington’s long history of putting fascists into power. The fascist nature of the menace that Bolivia faces is as clear as the Nazi salutes made by the members of the Santa Cruz Youth Union, the paramilitary organization which groomed the coup leader Luis Fernando Camacho. And it’s not the newest, or the most deadly, fascist cabal that the U.S. has backed.


Camacho’s group has modern parallels in the Ukrainian neo-Nazi factions, which the U.S. has supported in order to make Ukraine into an imperialist military buffer against Russia. In 2014, the U.S. backed a neo-Nazi coup called EuroMaiden in order to overthrow the country’s democratically elected government. Since then, the fascistic accelerationism that right-wing extremist groups dream of has been coming true amid a social collapse for Ukraine.


As part of their fanatical anti-Russian campaign, the country’s ruling ethno-nationalist clique has been ethnically cleansing the people of Ukraine’s eastern regions, which are a stronghold of Russian language and culture. As journalist Andrew Korybko wrote during the preparation stages for this genocide:


The Ukrainian Defense Minister has publicly voiced his plan to corral the citizens of Donbass into special “filtration” camps prior to forcibly resettling them in different parts of Ukraine. A few days later, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk declared the pro-federalists in the East to be “subhuman.” This choice of words not only wasn’t condemned by Kiev’s American patrons, but was actually defended by State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, who strangely said that Yatsenyuk “has consistently been in support of a peaceful resolution” [1]. Raising concerns even higher that a full-fledged cleansing is being planned, Ukraine’s land agency said that it will be giving “free land” from the east to the military, Interior Ministry, and Special Services troops battling the federalists.


Even the NATO propaganda tool Human Rights Watch hasn’t been able to ignore the atrocities that have been committed by the coup regime in Ukraine, which Washington has continued to aid. In 2018, a damning HRW report exposed abuses by the Ukrainian Security Forces, including “further steps to restrict freedom of expression and association,” “violence by radical groups promoting hatred [that] put ethnic minorities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender” people at risk, and “discriminatory policies [prohibiting] pensioners from…spending more than 60 consecutive days in armed group-controlled regions, or risk suspension of their pensions.” The regime also “continued to deny the secret and prolonged detention of 18 civilians in its Kharkiv secret detention facility from 2014 to 2016.”


As corruption has made Ukraine descend into economic ruin, the regime has taken advantage of the crisis. The neo-Nazi militias, supported by U.S. funding and weapons and enabled by shrugging law enforcement, have been acting with impunity while providing combat training for U.S. white supremacists. Thanks to Washington, Ukraine has become a worldwide haven for fascist paramilitary groups, exporting racist violence back to the U.S.


For the other people who’ve lived under fascist regimes that the U.S. has installed, all of this is the same old story. NATO has never not been an organization that arms and transports Nazis. Ben Norton recently observed that “with Portugal’s fascist regime as a founding member, through Operation Gladio to Yugoslavia and Libya, NATO has always supported fascist mass murderers.”


NATO’s inseparable entanglement with Nazi terrorism has been apparent when ex-Wehrmacht/ex-US Army mercenary Siegfried Müller bragged on camera about slaughtering countless people in the Congo on behalf of NATO and “Western values.” He did this while wearing the same cross that the members of the Santa Cruz Youth Union wear today while their regime slaughters indigenous Bolivians.


It’s been apparent when Nazis trained and supported the Pinochet regime’s activities in Operation Condor, the U.S.-backed project to torture and kill tens of thousands of political dissidents throughout Latin America. While Chile’s government disappeared between 3000 and 10000 people, it kept close contact with the Nazi colony La Dignidad in Southern Chile, and even kept a torture center close to the Nazi base. Ex-Gestapo and ex-SS officers were able to give Chilean officials instructions on torture techniques, and they even took part in the torture.


At the same time that these things were happening, similar types of torture were also going on in Bolivia, where the right-wing dictator Hugo Banzer Suárez was engaging in his own role in Operation Condor. Journalist Robert Baird reports on the torture techniques used by this regime:


The ELN was a revolution-minded organization founded by Che Guevara that held pride of place atop Banzer’s enemies list. On learning of Marcos’s involvement with the ELN, three bloodthirsty paramilitaries from Santa Cruz took Marcos back to the ministry’s basement. There he gasped to see his mother tied to a chair. The paramilitaries, known to everyone as the Eastern Trio, bound Marcos in an adjoining cell, out of sight but not out of earshot of his mother. The beatings commenced, with the Trio taking care to alternate so that each of their victims could hear the other scream.


After 1982, Bolivia’s military regime was ousted, and the democratic conditions allowed for a socialist to be elected in 2005. But the nature of bourgeois democracy made the country vulnerable to a new U.S.-facilitated coup in 2019. And the Áñez regime has tried to make this mean that the return of dictatorship in Bolivia is inevitable.


But this new Bolivian fascist regime has proven to be too weak to defy the popular demands for a new election, and from what we know so far, it’s also too weak to rig the voting process. Polls show that the socialist candidate will in all likelihood win. After this victory for Morales’ party, the fascists will flee Bolivia, their only hope being for Washington to carry out an invasion that wouldn’t be practical for the thin-stretched U.S. empire.

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