Thursday, October 24, 2019

A Massive Revolt Against Capitalism And Colonialism Has Begun


Indigenous people are who we must look to for guidance on how to free the world from capitalism and imperialism. They’re who have been victimized by capitalist plunder to the most grievous extent, and they’re naturally the group that’s now leading country after country towards overthrowing the colonialist bourgeoisie.


In the last year, the neo-colonialist regimes that the Western empire created have been weakening amid an enormous wave of worker-peasant revolts. This string of protests started in Sudan, where people began demonstrating in December against the country’s U.S.-backed dictatorship. In incredibly fast succession, the people of Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Ecuador, Lebanon, and Chile have done the same to their neoliberal governments.

The revolt of the Third World has spread so quickly because in both the core imperialist nations and the exploited countries, the foundational rot of global capitalism has reached point where the entire structure is in the process of collapsing. In the last half century, the capitalist world has experienced so much privatization of services, exporting of corporate jobs to low-wage countries, erosion of worker’s rights, and economically destructive banking deregulation that global inequality is now at truly dystopian levels; the world’s few dozen richest people hold more combined wealth than the poorest half of humanity does. It was only a matter of time before large sections of the Third World proletariat would join in on protest movements against capitalism and colonialism.

To get a sense for how much the Third World proletariat in particular has suffered under the boot of the Western corporatocracy, we can look to this passage from John Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hitman:

I spend time in Central America. I speak Spanish. I used to be an economic hit man (EHM) whose job was to corrupt government officials so our corporations could exploit natural and human resources. I see that what has happened in Central America during my lifetime is a microcosm for much of the world. Predatory capitalism, global corporations, and US government agencies have used the stick and carrot–– EHM methods–– to coerce governments to promote economic systems that enrich the wealthy and drive the Poor and what used to be the Middle Class deeper and deeper into poverty. The Titans of industrial agriculture and infrastructure projects, and the retailers of sporting goods, clothing, and other sweatshop-oriented industries have ravaged and chemicalized lands that once supported thousands of small farmers. At the same time, they’ve created working conditions akin to slavery.

This is a slave rebellion. The victims of capitalism are fighting for freedom so hard that even when Chile’s billionaire oligarch president Sebastián Piñera has brought back the tactics of the Pinochet era by sending in the military to declare war against protesters, the protests in Chile haven’t stopped. Now that the boiling point of global proletarian suffering and anger has been reached, our job is to direct this revolt’s unstoppable energy towards a worldwide proletarian revolution.

For those in places where protests haven’t yet broken out, the best thing to do is to put in intensive work towards getting your fellow exploited people organized. We must build organizations and advance ideas which reflect the principles of Marxism-Leninism, the ideology that calls for the establishment of communism through overthrowing and replacing the capitalist state. We Americans must also work with the goal of decolonizing the North American continent, which is under the illegitimate occupation of indigenous land.

But as we go about this, we can’t act like our situation or experience is identical to that of those in the Third World. To find out why Americans haven’t stormed the streets like so many in Latin America have, one must acknowledge how much relatively worse the material conditions of the latter group are. Unlike most Americans, the protesters in places like Ecuador and Chile typically have nothing to eat and make a few dollars a day. The average American is rich compared to them, and the homeless Americans whose privation matches that of the Third Worlders certainly aren’t organized for revolution.

The relative comfort of Americans makes them unwilling to pursue political change outside of voting, or outside of participating in protests that are sanctioned by the corporatocracy. So many still want to see nonviolent reform as the solution, rather than take part in the physical power struggles and civil disobedience which is required to bring down capitalism and colonialism. By and large, the current American left is supporting “socialist” Democrats like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who merely offer to expand social programs while not challenging the narratives and machinations of global capitalism and empire. These two politicians alone have declined to challenge this year’s coup attempt in Venezuela, and neither they nor any of their fellow FDR Democrats intend to replace capitalism.

For anyone who does support these politicians, consider that I used to support them as well before my circumstances forced me to re-evaluate what I believe and who I stand with. The reality is that we’re heading for a series of economic, political, and environmental crises which can’t be fixed by working within the capitalist framework. Voting for candidates who want to implement partial changes to the system won’t stop the imminent global recession, or the progression of fascistic politics, or the collapse of the climate. In the U.S., things are already much too far gone for capitalism to be repaired, as if capitalism ever worked for poor and exploited people in the first place.

Once you view our situation from the perspective of the Third World and colonized people who have been struggling against capitalism and imperialism for centuries, you see that the true class struggle isn’t taking place within bourgeois elections. It’s taking place in the jungles where Maoist guerrillas are fighting to win territory from India’s corporate fascist government. It’s taking place in Bolivia’s anti-imperialist military school, which is training Bolivians to defend their country’s socialist, indigenous-led government from an escalating American regime change attempt. When true class struggle happens in America, it takes the form of road blockades and the kinds of protests that happened three years ago at Standing Rock. In circumstances of intense systemic oppression, like during the racism and poverty that the Natives at Wounded Knee experienced before they took up arms to occupy their town in 1973, American class struggle truly comes to resemble what’s happening throughout the Third World.

As we First Worlders look to the Third World rebellions for revolutionary inspiration, we need to honestly examine the material conditions which have brought about these developments. Marxism-Leninism is all about scientifically applying the realities of a given region or nation in order to bring about class liberation, and we must recognize the constraints that America’s current material conditions put upon our ability to mobilize the masses. It’s no wonder why most Americans aren’t coordinating an armed anti-government uprising like the people at Wounded Knee did; while things are bad for Americans, most aren’t in quite such a desperate situation, and most haven’t been properly educated about colonialist oppression and class exploitation.

While we American Marxist-Leninists wait for conditions to reach a point that gives rise to what’s happening in the Third World, we can strengthen the liberation movement by working to give people this education. There are already people in this country who are organizing in the radical vein of the Third World revolutionaries; the armed black groups who are patrolling communities represent a modern version of the Black Panthers, who got American black people armed and organized with the goal of communist revolution. If we get more people to embrace the Panthers’ worldview of militant anti-capitalism and anti-colonialism, the country’s proletariat will be ready to fight for our freedom.

And when we’re ready, we’ll become what those in the Third World are becoming: a people who will never again be subject to the grip of capitalism and imperial control. As columnist Sean Orr has written about what they’ve so far accomplished:

The dream that motivates millions to risk their lives in Ecuador and Chile today is the reality unfolding right now in Bolivia. It is the reality being built in Venezuela and Cuba, places where the masses have or are taking political power, in organic unity with revolutionary parties, and where imperialism will never again exercise control. The day is coming when reaction will crumble and revolution will be on the agenda across the continent - maybe quicker than many imagine, if the protesters in Ecuador and Chile have anything to say about it.

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2 comments:

  1. I agree with the diagnosis (capitalism is awful, etc.), but I have doubts about the prescribed remedy.

    Rainer suggests we should follow the example of Standing Rock. I'm not sure how much the protest at Standing Rock accomplished. Yes, it exposed the awful brutality of capitalism -- to those who were paying attention. Not nearly enough people. And that protest may have persuaded many onlookers that there is no hope.

    Rainer suggests that we accomplish nothing useful by supporting social democrats like Bernie Sanders. I disagree. I think that what we need to do most of all, here in the USA, is to raise consciousness, and that has been done more by Occupy (2011-2012) and by the Bernie Sanders campaign (2015-present) than by any other tactic. Yes, it's true that Sanders is not a socialist (or at least, he is not yet espousing all the ideas of socialism), but he is moving in that direction, and others are following. Sanders may not intend to end capitalism, but he is moving us toward a place where ending capitalism is more plausible to more people.

    The USA has a cult of personality. Our movements are led by charismatic individual people, not by ideas. I think that's unfortunate, and I hope someday we can change that. But for now, that's what we have to work with. I'd prefer someone with ideas that are farther to the left, like Richard Wolff or Lee Camp or Mimi Soltysik. But right now, Bernie Sanders is the farthest left person who is capable of raising a movement.

    (And Sanders is not completely devoid of socialist ideas. Among his recent proposals are to nationalize the fossil fuel companies and to put workers on the board of directors of corporations.)

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  2. You can't just sit back and read theory,and post stuff online until the inevitable collapse of capitalism and imperialism comes,you have to be prepared when the revolutionary moment arrives.This means putting down your books,phones,and computers,and getting out there in the real world,and building real revolutionary organizations and tactics.I see the La Riva/Peltier poster in your YouTube videos.Are you in the PSL?If you are,then you are aware that the PSL is building solidarity networks with communist parties all over the world.This is something we will definitely need when the collapse finally happens.

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