Wednesday, July 31, 2019

How American Popular Culture Distorts People’s Views Of North Korea

From the game Homefront: The Revolution

After imperialist propaganda is disseminated in its initial form of misinformation that comes out in news headlines, it’s further drilled into people’s minds through the subtler propaganda medium of popular culture. A classic example of this is the Cold War film Red Dawn, which suggested to Americans that if communism wasn’t defeated, they would one day have to fight off a ruthlessly aggressive invasion by Russian forces.

Given the fact that the CIA and the Pentagon have been working to influence the contents of Hollywood movies and popular video games for decades, this reinforcement of anti-communist and pro-American propaganda in our country’s entertainment is to be expected. The dangerous thing about this field of mass persuasion is how it defines people’s worldviews without having to make them acutely aware that they’re absorbing a political message. Since the entertainment we consume is meant to be a commentary on reality, people are exposed to propagandistic movies, shows and video games with the assumption that it’s an apt reflection of the way the real world is.

The most severely maligned current target of this ploy is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Representative of how American popular culture portrays the DPRK is the game Homefront: The Revolution, whose backstory behind its dystopian 2029 setting goes as follows:

As the dollar tanked, our debt to north Korea spiraled…the failing government defaulted on the debt, and the north Koreans made their decision. Every piece of technology they’d sold us had a backdoor. They turned off our military with a single button. The first KPA troops on U.S. soil were said to be to rebuild. But after the early aid packages, it was only brutality. They stole our liberty and our freedom. America is under the control of the KPA.

The fact that part of the game’s story has prescience-the part which predicts that the American empire will decline over the next decade amid continuing wars in the Middle East-makes it easier for its intro sequence to successfully fearmonger about the supposed threat from north Korea. It would have been much more realistic, as well as more politically astute, to portray a near future where America is taken towards tyranny by its own government rather than by a foreign government. But that would negate the message that this game and many other facets of popular entertainment want to convey, which is that the north Koreans are to be feared and distrusted.

This and the additional anti-DPRK propaganda that the game features (such as graffiti that says “fuck KPA!” and menacing screens featuring north Korean propaganda) have parallels in multiple American films from this decade. For instance, the 2013 film Olympus Has Fallen has the theme of resilient American patriotism in the face of foreign aggression that’s also central to Red Dawn and Homefront

In the film, the White House is overrun by a north Korean terrorist group. The group then proceeds to kidnap the president and execute several government officials, including the south Korean prime minister, before being defeated in a patriotic victory for the American security forces. The political undertones of the film are revealed in the fact that the goal of the terrorist group’s psychopathic leader is to unify both Koreas, an achievement that would put an end to the ongoing Korean War and subsequently dismantle the American empire’s political and military leverage within south Korea.

The emotionally manipulative and overtly racist nature of Olympus Has Fallen reflects the purpose of Hollywood propaganda in its vein. A more blatant example of anti-DPRK messaging in popular culture is 2014’s comedy The Interview, which portrays a scenario where two reporters are given an assignment by the CIA to assassinate north Korea’s “dictator” Kim Jong Un. The details behind the production of The Interview confirm that the intentions behind this story’s creation were very much political, and they give us further reason to suspect similar intentions are behind content like Homefront and Olympus Has Fallen. As AlterNet’s Tim Shorrock has written about the film:

The film was produced by Japan’s Sony Pictures, but finalized only after receiving critical advice and assistance from the Obama State Department, the Rand Corporation, and according to a 2014 interview Rogen gave to the New York Times, the CIA. (“We made relationships with certain people who work in the government as consultants, who I’m convinced are in the CIA.”) But it was all under the tutelage of Bruce Bennett, who was brought into the project by Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton, a prominent member of Rand’s board of directors and a close confidante of President Obama.

These activities are part of the U.S.’ vast operation to carry out regime change in the DPRK, which involves all of the disinformation, economic sabotage, and military warfare tools that it’s using to try to destroy countries like Iran and Venezuela. While the capitalist media has falsely painted the DPRK as a dictatorship, the U.S. government and its politically loyal NGOs have worked to propagate fabricated stories of outrageous north Korean human rights abuses. This Orwellian campaign to invert the truth has been the basis upon which the U.S. has justified its deadly sanctions against the North, as well as its two-generations-long effort to threaten north Korea with nuclear attack and station troops near the country.

Bruce Bennett used this Washington dynamic of anti-DPRK conspiracies to gain his advisory role in the production of The Interview. Consequently, the film’s plot of a CIA project to politically destabilize north Korea by turning north Korean elites against Kim Jong Un closely follows Bennet’s plan for enacting regime change in the country. And the goal of Bennet and others to prime the American people for such a coup has been furthered by additional propaganda. In recent years, Bennet has been appearing in media outlets like Fox News, CNN, and Teen Vogue to sell his plan to “liberate” the north Korean people by destabilizing the country through targeted propaganda campaigns within the DPRK.

Yet at this point it seems that the DPRK, which has been constructed through the nationally unifying ideology of Juche Marxism and fortified through a military culture that’s been necessitated by the imperialist siege against it, is indestructible. It has nuclear weapons, its government’s commitment to expanding the country’s social programs has saved it from risk of destabilizing famines, and its people are largely ready to lay down their lives in the event of another American invasion of it. 

Until the globally reviled American empire comes to an end and the U.S. can undergo a socialist revolution, our capitalist government will continue to tarnish the DPRK’s reputation and try to make its people suffer. But it’s very likely that the DPRK will survive these attacks from the dying American beast, and that its ideals of anti-colonialism and anti-capitalism will continue to shape the world throughout the 21st century.

— — — — — — — — — — — - — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
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, July 27, 2019

How The U.S. Redoubled Its Propaganda Power, Overthrew Ukraine’s Government, & Restarted The Cold War

The American ruling class decided that it would be necessary to start a 21st century cold war with Russia and China when it became apparent that U.S. global hegemony was being replaced by a multipolar world. And even before this new level of warfare became the priority, it was apparent that a long-term era of tensions between great powers would require much greater government control over information than was previously the case.

This was the reasoning that the U.S. used when it carried out the early-to-mid 2010s policies which have since led to a new cold war. The story of how the current cold war started follows in the same pattern from the runup to the last one during the 1940s: the emergence of a threat to U.S. hegemony, a campaign to demonize Russia and its allies, and a period of escalating tensions that correlates with the creation of a new propaganda apparatus by the U.S. government.

Expanding the state’s propaganda power to get ready for upcoming geopolitical maneuvers

To assemble the propaganda arsenal that it would need throughout the first cold war, the U.S. created the CIA, an unaccountable institution that began covertly influencing world politics since its founding in 1947. In 1948 the CIA created a covert action wing, called the Office of Policy Coordination, which was led by Wall Street lawyer Frank Wisner. The office’s secret charter described its purposes as “propaganda, economic warfare, preventive direct action, including sabotage, antisabotage, demolition and evacuation procedures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free world." Through these tools, CIA has since been spreading psyops within American foreign propaganda outlets like Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Asia, as well as assimilating much of the American press through projects like Operation Mockingbird.

With 2013’s amendment of key parts of the Smith-Mundt Act, the government freed this propaganda network to covertly broadcast messages to the American people with official legal impunity. Prior to then, the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 had banned the domestic dissemination of U.S. government-produced propaganda. But when representatives Mac Thornberry and Adam Smith passed the “The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012” by putting it into the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, that restriction was lifted, and on July 2nd of 2013 the government finally began spreading its messages under the new rules.

The change was immediately visible. In July of 2013, John Hudson of Foreign Policy reported that the U.S. had begun the “unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption.” Since then, the repeal of the propaganda ban has created many strange and troubling trends for the American media, such as the emergence of a revolving door between intelligence officials and cable news stations, the government assimilation of formerly independent outlets like Vice News, and the enablement of Silicon Valley oligarchs like Jeff Bezos to partner with the military/intelligence complex while exerting control over the media outlets they own.

“Since 2013, newsrooms across the country, of both the mainstream and ‘alternative’ variety, have been notably skewed towards the official government narrative, with few outside a handful of independently-funded media outlets bothering to question those narratives’ veracity” Whitney Webb Of MintPress News wrote last year about the propaganda ban repeal. “While this has long been a reality for the Western media (see John Pilger’s 2011 documentary ‘The War You Don’t See’), the use of government-approved narratives and sources from government-funded groups have become much more overt than in years past.”

It’s clear that the motivation behind the repeal of the ban was at least partly to get the U.S. government ready to manage a society which would soon be in an escalating state of great power conflict. In his initial press release on the bill, Thornberry said: “We continue to face a multitude of threats and we need to be able to counter them in a multitude of ways. Communication is among the most important. This outdated law ties the hands of America’s diplomatic officials, military, and others by inhibiting our ability to effectively communicate in a credible and transparent way. Congress has a responsibility to fix the situation.” 

At a moment when the U.S. empire was already in a state of rapid decline, and when Russia and China were subsequently turning into perceived adversaries, this statement from a House neocon must have reflected a larger plan among the ruling class to create a propaganda apparatus for the coming new era of warfare.

Indeed, in the last six years it’s been very much necessary for the U.S. empire to expand its efforts to control the sentiments of its own citizens. This recent escalation of government-engineered mass persuasion has involved not just propaganda, but censorship as well. And its emergence six years ago correlated with the U.S.-created proxy wars that started the new cold war.

The ramifications of Washington’s coup in Ukraine and regime change war in Syria

The fact that another cold war between the U.S. and Russia was imminent became clear when Washington began its latest attempt at regime change in Syria. In 2011, the terrorist groups that the U.S. had been arming and training started an ongoing campaign to destabilize Syria, having provoked armed conflict with the Syrian government in an unnecessary attempt at violent revolt. Washington’s war on Syria was motivated both by a desire to advance Israel’s interests, and by its larger-scale need to maintain control over Eurasia amid China’s rise. So naturally Russia’s interests in Syria clashed with those of the U.S, and naturally this wouldn’t be the end of Washington’s provocations.

2013’s propaganda ban repeal, which served the U.S. well in its efforts that year to manufacture popular belief in a supposed chemical attack from Assad, then provided Washington with great help with its February 2014 coup in Ukraine. As Strategic Culture’s Eric Zuesse has written about coup’s origins: 

The network behind this coup had actually started planning for the coup back in 2011. That’s when Eric Schmidt of Google, and Jared Cohen, also now of Google but still continuing though unofficially as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chief person tasked to plan ‘popular movements’ to overthrow both Yanukovych in Ukraine, and Assad in Syria.

These and the other pieces of evidence that Ukraine’s regime change was U.S.-engineered were hidden from Western media consumers, who only heard about a Ukrainian “democratic revolution” that prompted a heinous act of aggression in Ukraine by Vladimir Putin.

In reality, it was the U.S. that had caused the crisis in Ukraine, and it’s the U.S. that had consequently initiated a new cold war. After the Ukraine coup, Russia had reason to fear NATO nuclear missiles not just near, but on, Russia’s border. And Victoria Nuland, Barack Obama’s central agent behind the coup, had made sure that the new person to head Ukraine’s government would be the far-right and rabidly anti-Russian Arseniy Yatsenyuk. As a result, Ukraine’s government has since been a fascistic and agressive antagonist towards Russia, with the Nazi-tied regime carrying out anti-Russian war provocations, inflaming armed conflict with pro-Russian separatists at the behest of the Trump administration, and engaging in ethnic cleansing against Ukraine’s Russian-speaking communities.

The return of the cold war tensions is not Russia’s fault. Putin’s 2008 intervention in Georgia and 2014 intervention in Ukraine were done in response to NATO’s aggressive expansionism, and Russia’s efforts to militarily protect Syria and Venezuela are of course also the result of the U.S. empire’s belligerence. The new cold war is the result of America’s operations to strong-arm China and its allies Russia, SyriaVenezuelaIranCuba, and north Korea into submission. And the catalyst for this potential runup to nuclear annihilation was the 2014 regime change project in Ukraine, whose surrounding atmosphere of intensive state-manufactured propaganda has reflected the nature of the years since then.

An empire of illusion

Talking from my experiences as an American, the onset of the cold war has produced a dystopian new era, one where reality is constantly being twisted by powerful actors who seek to perpetuate a war that has no end in sight. This is a more extreme version of the War on Terror, whose dozen years of existence prior to the start of the new cold war had already primed the American people for a scenario where they would be told to fear not just terrorists, but also the world’s other major superpowers.

The messaging campaigns used to manufacture consent for all of these war campaigns have been carried out both through the dissemination of state propaganda itself, and through the suppression of information that contradicts this propaganda. The onslaught of online censorship throughout the last several years was begun with a statement from the U.S. government whose purpose was to declare war on voices which challenge the official narratives; in January 2017, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence published a report on Russia that devoted seven of its 25 pages to RT America, the television hub for America’s antiwar and socialist commentators. The report said that:

RT’s reports often characterize the United States as a ‘surveillance state’ and allege widespread infringements of civil liberties, police brutality, and drone use.
RT has also focused on criticism of the US economic system, US currency policy, alleged Wall Street greed, and the US national debt. Some of RT’s hosts have compared the United States to Imperial Rome and have predicted that government corruption and “corporate greed” will lead to US financial collapse.

This McCarthyist view of the critics of capitalism and imperialism is one that U.S. intelligence agencies, as well as the online companies that they hold influence over, have been applying to how they treat journalists who object to the war effort. Since the media sensation around supposed Russian interference began in 2016, the world has experienced the biggest wave of Internet censorship in history. The algorithm manipulations and content purges from the online companies have accompanied ambitious new projects from the U.S.and E.U. to police the Internet, which threaten to constrain Internet freedom all around the globe.

After Facebook’s big purge of alternative media accounts last October, a top neocon insider promised that the shutdown of the open Internet will go much further. Jamie Fly, director of the Asia program at the influential U.S. and NATO-funded think tank the German Marshall Fund, stated that “Russia, China, and other foreign states take advantage of our open political system. They can invent stories that get repeated and spread through different sites. So we are just starting to push back. Just this last week Facebook began starting to take down sites. So this is just the beginning.”

Fly and the other power players within the empire are playing the game of influencing world events by controlling the flow of information. It’s crucial to them that the Western public views the current geopolitical developments through the America-centric, pro-imperialist lens that the government presents everything within. Having fully expanded their propaganda operations, they’re now in the process of deplatforming the opposition press, which is their only obstacle to total control over the narrative.

The empire may try to insulate those within its sphere of control from reality, but reality will still catch up with it. The CIA’s propaganda, sophisticated as it is, can’t reverse the trend of imperial collapse that the United States has been set upon. No matter how much the think tanks, intelligence agencies, and corporations work to shut down dissenting voices, climate change and other threats to the system will continue to progress. The coming years and decades will be a period of great instability, where the collapse of global capitalism and the accelerating ecological crisis upends civilization as we know it.

We can’t let society’s collective mind during this upheaval be controlled by a circle of oligarchs who intend to deceive us into remaining docile in the face of an emerging dystopia. We must seize control of the narrative and take society in a different direction.

— — — — — — — — — — — - — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
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, July 24, 2019

The American Empire’s Dystopian Epilogue

The American experience throughout the country’s existence as an empire has been one of learning to look the other way, of ignoring the evils that our government is perpetrating at home and abroad while going along with America’s vapidly patriotic traditions and beliefs. In the 20th and early 21st centuries, as our country’s aggressive wars caused tens of millions of deaths over the course of a few generations, Americans didn’t question capitalism and imperialism. The people who went along with the system never expected that there would be blowback from it, or at least that the blowback would be as dire as it’s now showing itself to be.

In its last years of global hegemony, the United States is a funhouse mirror image of its former self. As the empire reacts to its declining influence by simultaneously carrying out war campaigns against China, Russia, and many of their allies, and as the Trump administration creates tensions with many American allies through trade wars and the sabotage of international agreements, America’s characteristic jingoism and paranoia are now being taken to their extremes. 

Trump has started a potential new 4th of July tradition of rolling tanks through Washington DC. The country has made so many enemies that Americans are constantly exposed to propaganda which whips them into frenzies of hate, whether the villain is Maduro, Assad, the Iranians, the Russians, or the Chinese. National Security Advisor John Bolton declares war on international law by making speeches which claim that a sinister global network of foes is conspiring to undermine America’s constitution and hurt its international reputation.
In a situation like this, it’s natural that the country has also been progressing through the steps towards dictatorship and genocide. The War on Terror has been the catalyst not just for the erosion of civil liberties like privacy and due process, but for a culture of Islamophobia and xenophobia that’s now enabling worse and worse atrocities.

Trump’s almost total ban on immigration from Muslim-majority countries has been preventing numerous families in the Middle East from being able to seek refuge from persecution and war in their home countries. Over the past year or so, seven children have died in U.S. immigration custody or shortly after being released, whereas no children had died from the treatment of U.S. detention camps in the ten years prior to these deaths. The children in these camps are reportedly being deprived of clean clothes or bathing equipment, forced to endure extreme cold temperatures and 24-hour lights, and commonly given punishments like having their beds taken away. These are the conditions that migrant kids are put into after they’re unnecessarily separated from their parents at the border.

The fact that these horrors are taking place in a 21st century “free” society through the use of modern technologies gives them the same historically uncanny nature that’s present in Israel’s genocide of the Palestinians. Amid its destructive process of racism and escalating state violence, Israel is a modern society that’s regressed into the practices that we associate with societies which are in the distant past, or which don’t claim to be inclusive democracies like Israel does. 

The torture of prisoners, the relocation of ethnic groups, laws that persecute people based on race or religion, and the other barbaric practices that Israel engages in are facilitated by the country’s high-tech surveillance state and advanced weapons. The starkly modern horror which is Israel shows that the darkest chapters of human history can fuse with our own civilization. Now during its period of imperial collapse, America is demonstrating the same fact.

Beneath the efforts from Trump to showcase America’s might through military parades, vast increases of the Pentagon budget, and projects like Space Force, the country is effectively a failed state. Forty years of neoliberal austerity policies have made the U.S. government unable to keep around half of its own population out of poverty. The country’s infrastructure has declined to ranking behind much of the developed world. Corporate money in politics, widespread gerrymandering, regular collusion between presidential administrations and the big banks, and systemically enabled electoral fraud and voter suppression have destroyed America’s constitutional republic and turned it into an oligarchy.

As these unsustainable conditions cause the country to head towards unrest, and as the country’s influence abroad vanishes, the response from the capitalist class is to turn towards fascism. To varying degrees, fascism is historically what the bourgeois embrace when their power is threatened. And the current fascist shift throughout the capitalist world is in response to a proportionally massive blow to bourgeois power, which is the loss of the ability of the bourgeois to carry out imperialism.

When the U.S. empire comes to an end during the next decade, it won’t be replaced by a new hegemonic empire like the British empire was. The role of the dominant world power will be turned over to China, whose foreign policy model doesn’t resemble imperialism but rather a restrained and peaceful project by a socialist state to further its interests. China’s ally Russia isn’t imperialist either, nor is its other most powerful ally Iran. In a world where the imperialist instruments of the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the other members of the NATO power establishment are fractured and weakened, these newly hegemonic powers will be able to protect themselves and their allies from whatever future attempts at aggression that come from the remains of the old U.S. empire. Add in the factor of the new wave of worker’s revolutions that’s likely to sweep the world in the 2030s, and imperialism itself appears to be set to become a thing of the past.

With the end of imperialism will come the crippling of the leverage of the capitalist class. As Michael Parenti has written about the necessity that imperialism has for capitalism to function in its current form:

Imperialism may not be a necessary condition for investor survival but it seems to be an inherent tendency and a natural outgrowth of advanced capitalism. Imperial relations may not be the only way to pursue profits, but they are the most lucrative way. Whether imperialism is necessary for capitalism is really not the question. Many things that are not absolutely necessary are still highly desirable, therefore strongly preferred and vigorously pursued. Overseas investors find the Third World’s cheap labor, vital natural resources, and various other highly profitable conditions to be compellingly attractive. Superprofits may not be necessary for capitalism’s survival but survival is not all that capitalists are interested in. Superprofits are strongly preferred to more modest earnings. That there may be no necessity between capitalism and imperialism does not mean there is no compelling linkage.

Capitalism will hold on in the coming decades, but only when it takes the form of fascism. Capitalist societies won’t be able to maintain their formerly normal mode of liberal democracy, and we’re seeing this as fascism rises throughout most of the capitalist democracies around the globe. All the erosions of liberty that we’ve seen throughout these countries in recent years, from the persecution of Julian Assange to the rise of internet censorship to the global expansion of government surveillance, are part of the shift towards a post-imperialist totalitarian dystopia.

This will be a dystopia where even as America and global capitalism have entered into a greatly diminished state, we’ll be told that these facets of civilization are as strong as ever. Trump is claiming that he’s brought back “American greatness” by “rebuilding our military,” getting “tough on immigration,” and “bringing back jobs.“ Such grandiose distortions of reality will become the norm among politicians and the media as the U.S. continues to decline. As will the claims that America is being undermined by China, Russia, immigrants, and other scapegoats.

And the deeper our society sinks into this madness, the more the political and media establishment will try to convince Americans that they shouldn’t abandon the glorified old vision of what their country is. There will still be people who wave the flag, support the military, and love their favored capitalist politicians only because this is what they’ve been conditioned to do. Ironically, the United States is coming to resemble the cartoonishly totalitarian caricature that American propaganda has made north Korea out to be. The American people are being persuaded to fear the imaginary tyranny and aggression from demonized foreign leaders like Kim Jong Un, while ignoring the fact that their own country is just as paranoid, violently repressive, and aggressively militaristic as America makes north Korea out to be.

But through efforts to combat imperialist propaganda and to build the socialist movement, Americans will be able to take their society in a healthy direction. The people of the DPRK have done this with the socialist revolution in their country, and we can do the same here. We just have to defeat all of the lies that the capitalist class uses to keep us from pursuing these changes. As the hip hop artist Marcel Cartier said in his 2014 song about the DPRK titled “Bomb Threat”:

I'm turning on the news and I'm seeing all this bullshit
Conservatives and liberals are yappin' all that useless
even most you leftists are spewing your excuses
talkin' all that noise, "North Korea acting ruthless"
Imagining scenarios, "oh, they gonna nuke us!"

The truth is, you got no context to your rumors
backward positioning of who is the aggressor
who is on whose border with an arsenal of weapons
who controls the military of the country next to it
who is self-defending, who is acting negligent

They like to paint the north as a kingdom, prison camp
that is quite ironic when the number one prison land
is really my own country, the U.S. imprisons more
than any other country in world history before
and that you can't deny, but still I'm sure you'll try it

Reality is simple, Washington is the real tyrant
— — — — — — — — — — — - — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
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:

Monday, July 22, 2019

The Ruling Class Will Soon Have To Reckon With An Unprecedented Anti-Capitalist Uprising

Lately I've been writing many articles which warn about the violent crackdown that the ruling class is preparing to carry out. These articles are meant to instill a sense of dread in their readers, and it’s right for me to put out such dire messages; police militarization, growing fascist militias, and preparations for a domestic military invasion should all be discussed by those in the anti-capitalist movement, and in fact I advocate for all the members of this movement to become armed and trained to defend from potential violence against them.

But we should also recognize that the ruling class has created this military vanguard because it feels very threatened by the socialist revolutionary movements that have the potential to upend the world throughout the next decade or so.

Amid the worst American economic inequality in a century and a level of global inequality not seen in 200 years, the industrial world is at its greatest potential for social unrest since the 1920s and 30s. During that time, as runaway inequality and a subsequent global depression made living standards suffer, the labor movements rode to prominence on a wave of discontent. By 1931, when high levels of unemployment and limited benefits started causing large amounts of poor families to lose their homes, the victims responded by protesting throughout many suburbs. From the U.S. to Scandinavia to Central Europe, this raw anger at the ruling class resulted in growth for pro-labor and communist organizations.

The response from the capitalists was either to support fascist movements of the Hitler/Mussolini strain, or to preserve the capitalist and imperialist power structure by implementing social democracy. The latter thankfully turned out to be the dominant political paradigm of the 20th century, but in the case of both fascism and social democracy, the systems of imperialist violence and capitalist exploitation were preserved while the socialist movements were crushed. This inevitably gave rise to neoliberalism in all of the capitalist welfare states, and then to the fascist paradigm that’s now emerging out of
neoliberalism’s rotting shell.

We can’t let the ruling class again bargain its way into a reformed version of capitalism, both because of these long-term structural flaws in social democracy and because social democracy’s embrace of capitalism makes it unable to confront the climate crisis. By the time this period of social unrest is over, capitalism will need to be defeated in all the places where it held on throughout the last wave of pro-worker movements.

This requires building socialist movements that don’t become co-opted by the insidious forces of capitalist influence. Socialists must not disavow existing socialist states like China, Cuba, Nicaragua, and the DPRK because of the deceptions about these countries that they’ve heard from imperialist propagandists. They shouldn’t try to reform capitalist institutions like the Democratic Party. They should work to direct the growing lower class discontent towards increased involvement in genuine socialist parties like the PSL and the PCUSA, and towards mass civil disobedience actions like street blockades and general strikes.

If we build up this momentum-which could receive a boost next year with the 2020 May Day general strike-people will know where to turn when they reach their breaking point with capitalism. And make no mistake, a lot of people in America especially are soon going to come to this breaking point. With the gargantuan economic downturn that’s expected to happen in the next year or so, so many will lose their jobs, homes and funds for daily necessities that countries like the U.S. will enter into the same kind of unrest that France has recently experienced.

When this unrest comes, the actions from the ruling class will be brutal. After seeing how the French police killed and injured Yellow Vest protesters this year, we know the authorities in America and other countries will carry out violence that’s as bad as or worse than this. “We’re already seeing the censorship, wholesale surveillance, militarized police, explosion of our mass incarceration system,” said Chris Hedges in a 2017 segment of his show On Contact which focused on the state’s response to the coming uprising. “How do you think they’re going to react?” Hedges asked the socialist David North.

“I think they’re going to react violently,” answered North. “And I think they’re going to react with repression. “I think they’re going to try to target-I think one should take very seriously that if you find in The New York Times statements such as ‘socialists should be killed,’ that’s to be taken seriously. There has been this repeated statement that socialism is a threat, is a threat, therefore that’s a danger. But I think on the other side, I think history also shows us that the growth of a mass movement can overcome those dangers. I think workers can draw their conclusions.”

History has shown that our way to overcome those dangers runs through building up socialist organizations, commitment to solidarity with the existing socialist states, and tactical intelligence in when it’s necessary to use violence as a method for resistance (i.e only when violence is needed for self-defence). The political scientist Erica Chenoweth has written that these have been the factors which have brought movements to victory amid violent repression. Writes Molly Wallace of Waging Nonviolence about Chenoweth’s analysis:

Chenoweth also discusses how activists (and their allies) can improve the ability of nonviolence to respond to and persist amid violence. One important way they can do this, according to Brian Martin whom she cites, is to be strategic in the way they represent and publicize the actions of the movement in contrast to the actions of the regime to highlight the regime’s repressive methods. Second, she suggests that communities and movements build their organizational capacity — and strengthen civil society institutions more broadly — as those that have greater capacity are more likely to be resilient. Finally, because security force compliance is so instrumental to a regime’s ability to carry out violent repression, including mass killings, she urges foreign governments to help facilitate security force defections by making escape from the country less risky for those wishing to defect.

As capitalism continues to collapse, we’ll need to make it easy for people to understand that they need to apply these activism principles in relation to the socialist movement. The aspect about making alliances with sympathetic foreign governments especially shows the importance of Marxist-Leninism in the fight against capitalism, because it’s the Marxist-Leninists and not the Trotskyites who embrace the world’s existing socialist states.

The fact that these states largely make up the countries which are being targeted by U.S./NATO imperialism further shows why it’s crucial for global socialists to stand with Venezuela’s Chavistas, China’s Xi Jinping Thought followers, the DPRK’s Juche socialists, and the others who are defending their nations from capitalist aggression. If World War III breaks out in the next decade, it will effectively be a war between capitalism and communism, since the capitalist world’s provocations towards world war are motivated by the desire to destroy China’s geopolitical standing.

Therefore, the current struggle against imperialism is in every way related to the struggle against capitalism. To win, global socialists will need to work to counter the war propaganda campaigns against the socialist countries while building up the movements that seek to defeat capitalism in additional nations. 

Through international unity and the proper strategic actions in the face of repression, the next wave of worker’s revolutions will emerge victorious even after all the obstacles that lie in front of it. The forces of capitalist reaction are not the storm. We are the storm.
— — — — — — — — — — — - — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

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: