Sunday, August 30, 2020

Economic And Social Collapse Continue As The U.S. Drifts Ever Closer To A Class War

It was inevitable that things would get to this point. The decision by the U.S. ruling class to make inequality’s growth unlimited through neoliberal policies, the rise and decline of the American imperialist project, and the climatic and ecological crisis have all been leading to the predictable outcome we’re now experiencing. This is an outcome where the imperial core descends into rapid economic dysfunction, violence, and eventually the breakdown of the state.

The initial results from this unraveling are beneficial to reactionaries like Kyle Rittenghouse, the high school kid who shot two protesters this last week during a night of unrest in Kenosha. As Ukraine’s descent into economic and social collapse since the 2014 U.S. coup has shown, fascists love a failed state. It lets far-right militias act with more impunity, as has been shown while both Ukraine’s U.S.-backed fascistsand America’s armed “patriot” groups have exploited the recent chaos in their respective countries. But the descent into social collapse in the U.S. and much of the rest of the world is one that’s come from the collapse of global capitalism, as was foretold by the predictions from Marx about how capitalism will eventually consume itself. And this opens up the potential for the chaos to lead to the triumph of proletarian revolution, rather than of reactionary barbarism.

Whether or not this will happen depends on how well the people on the side of proletarian revolution mobilize. It will also depend on what kind of political line that the people leading the charge represent. Before taking the steps of becoming organized and equipped for a class-based civil war, it would be wise for you to read Lenin’s The State and Revolution, Mao’s Combat Liberalism, and other works that can help you avoid falling into liberal, idealistic, or adventurist thinking.

Because without the right line and political education, we’ll be blindly rushing into this extremely important task. We’ll be at risk of committing ourselves to counterproductive ideologies like anarchism, or of becoming aligned with the Democratic Party, or of otherwise drifting away from the Marxist-Leninist goal of overthrowing the capitalist state and replacing it with a proletarian-run state. Our responsibilities are to seek out the education that can help us avoid these ideological pitfalls, and then equip ourselves for confrontation with the forces of capitalist reaction.

Three months ago, the communist YouTuber and leader Hakim assessed what we’ll need to do before we can carry out this confrontation: “State repression will only get worse. The people not only should, but need, to fight back. Do not let fascism take hold, the U.S. is only a step away. 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.”

Our revolutionary crisis has since moved closer to the point where these tactics will be doable on a widespread scale. Millions of this year’s newly jobless people have had their unemployment benefits cut. Unemployment is still dropping, with mid-August unemployment claims having topped one million. In this year’s second quarter, U.S. GDP dropped by 32.9%. The austerity policies that the government is responding to the downturn with are sure to lead to a multiplier effect, where spending cuts bring about falling incomes which lead to further spending cuts. And so the process of capitalist contraction will continue in the coming months and years, with ever more people finding themselves left behind and willing to join a revolutionary movement.

If it sounds like wishful thinking that more people will join these kinds of militant revolutionary strains, consider that the U.S. military has openly expressed fears that the poverty and unemployment of the 2020s will lead to them having to deal with a class war. A 2016 U.S. Army War College document about the future of warfare warned that deteriorating living conditions for the lower classes will create:

A surplus of unemployed males with little to do but join gangs or engage in crime as a source of income. Joining extremist or terrorist organizations might also appear attractive as a way out. At the very least, in the event of some kind of conflict, these young men would provide a pool of potential recruits for those opposing the United States.”

This fearful anticipation was paralleled by a 2018 Pentagon war game that included a scenario where the military and intelligence agencies would have to counter a rebellion by the youngest generation of adults, who launch an attempt at revolution in 2025 for these reasons that the war game describes:

Many found themselves stuck with excessive college debt when they discovered employment options did not meet their expectations. Gen Z are often described as seeking independence and opportunity but are also among the least likely to believe there is such a thing as the “American Dream,” and that the “system is rigged” against them.

As the country’s transition into a failed state accelerates, so does the chance for a proletarian and anti-colonial revolution, where the disaffected lower classes unite to resolve the contradictions of the capitalist and settler-colonial system which has produced all of this misery. The George Floyd protests are an early part of this backlash from the country’s exploited and oppressed peoples. But before they lead to a movement that can overthrow the system, and that can replace it with a decolonized continent where society is developing towards socialism, their participants and supporters will need to get behind such a revolutionary program. Through this process of uniting the masses behind a revolutionary line, we Marxists will be able to build a fighting force which challenges the existence of the capitalist and settler-colonial state.

It’s this prospect, one where poor and colonized peoples work together to militantly carry out the Marxist-Leninist goals which have liberated countries like Cuba and China, that scares the ruling class. The police enabled Rittenhouse to commit his crimes because just like is the case in post-coup Bolivia, the capitalist state is in a united front with those who are willing to carry out fascist vigilante violence. They’ll try to use fascist paramilitaries, the military, and their militarized police to crush an attempt at revolution. We’ll need to be prepared for when they come after us.

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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, August 28, 2020

Unless You’re Working To Create A Dictatorship Of The Proletariat, You Won’t Defeat Capitalism

Earlier this month, the people of Bolivia made major progress towards reversing the imperialist coup which ousted their democratically elected socialist president Evo Morales last November. After months of armed struggles and protest blockades, they’ve forced the coup regime to hold a new election on October 18th. Despite the regime’s best efforts to make itself into a bourgeois dictatorship through perpetually delaying elections and unleashing death squads, the indigenous and proletarian resistance movement has subdued it in this way. But because Bolivia is still a bourgeois state, we still can’t be sure whether this will result in the regime’s demise and the restoration of a socialist government.

Who knows what the fascists in the Bolivian government and their U.S. imperialist backers will do to try to hold on to power? Rig the election? Stir up more racist violence that intimidates their opponents into surrender? These things are almost unbearable to contemplate after all of the hardships that Bolivia’s poor and indigenous people have endured in this last year, but the strength of the imperialist beast makes them necessary to prepare for. Already, violent pro-regime groups are attacking Bolivia’s Human Rights Ombudsman while the regime’s police look on. Much more bloodshed will stand in the way of Bolivia finally becoming free from imperial control.

This reality, along with the fact that so much blood has already had to be shed in the resistance against the coup, should teach us a lesson about how to defeat capitalism and imperialism. It should teach us that when proletarian revolutionaries don’t overthrow the existing, capitalist-run state and replace it with a dictatorship of the proletariat (also called a proletarian democracy), the capitalists will retain the upper hand even after the socialists have won a country’s highest office. Which will make counter-revolutionary events like Bolivia’s coup all the more possible.

Morales wasn’t to blame for the fact that in 2005, when he came into office, material conditions necessitated Bolivia’s socialist party to take power through elections rather than through overthrowing the state. The latter option evidently wasn’t as feasible at the time, and by taking the electoral approach, Morales was able to lift his people’s living standards far faster than if he were to have rejected power before an overthrow could take place. His only fault was in assuming that he would merely have to create an anti-imperialist military school, rather than build a revolutionary militia like the Chavista government has done in Venezuela.

But because of the self-reinforcing nature of the bourgeois state, this understandable miscalculation on his part helped lead to the military turning against him in the wake of last year’s wave of right-wing terrorism. Apparently teaching the military personnel to oppose imperialism wasn’t sufficient when the empire could so easily set its thugs upon the country. The factors shifted in favor of the reaction, because the reaction wasn’t held back by the constraints that a dictatorship of the proletariat would have provided.

In the five existing communist countries of China, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, and the DPRK, the dictatorship of the proletariat safeguards against counter-revolutionary forces in ways even more effective than what the Chavistas have been able to do. When the proletariat is fundamentally in control of the state apparatus, the state can prioritize the defense of the country’s borders from reactionary propaganda, terrorism, and other kinds of imperialist subversion.

China’s “great firewall” is about stopping people from being bombarded with the anti-Chinese lies and bigotry that the U.S. empire constantly dumps into the internet. The DPRK’s policy of creating a largely separate internet for itself is motivated by the same desire to shield its culture from the poisonous deceptions of the imperialists. Cuba’s online censorship is also motivated not by some kind of top-down tyranny, but by a democratically decided choice to shield people from the empire’s psychological warfare. If Vietnam and Laos were undergoing similar mounts of imperialist attacks, they would put in place the same kinds of information and military defenses that these three other Marxist-Leninist states have.

Such extensive protection measures aren’t possible in Venezuela, where much of the media is still controlled by the capitalist class and their allies in Washington. Venezuela’s capitalist class has also managed to blunt the governmental power of the Chavistas by keeping in place a counter-revolutionary bureaucracy-one that helped enable the staged attempt last year to install the imperialist puppet Juan Guaido in place of the democratically elected president Maduro. Chavez himself lamented the counter-revolutionary nature of the state structure that his movement is trying to overcome.

In this situation, one where an anti-imperialist government is trying to build socialism despite existing in a bourgeois state structure, Chavez and Maduro’s ability to keep the military on their side is what’s been crucial in saving them from all of the U.S. coups attempts in Venezuela. In Bolivia, where last year the imperialists could both cause a post-election wave of racist violence and turn the military against the targeted leader, counter-revolution became unstoppable.

Our task as proletarian revolutionaries is to work towards Marxist-Leninist revolutions in our respective countries, while learning from the missteps that have caused counter-revolution to triumph in the countries that used to be Marxist-Leninist. The Soviet Union and its most dependent partnered socialist states didn’t fall because the USSR was Marxist-Leninist. It fell because the USSR’s post-Stalin leadership abandoned the dictatorship of the proletariat. Khrushchev, in his opportunistic campaign to further the bourgeois vilification of Stalin, dismantled the country’s proletarian-run democracy and opened the state up to political leverage from the capitalist class. The end result of this revisionism was the traitor Gorbachev, who dismantled the Soviet Union itself.

Kim Jong Il concluded that socialism collapsed in the USSR and the GDR because “they neglected class education and abandoned the class struggle. After assuming state power, Khrushchev weakened the function of the dictatorship of the state as a weapon of the class struggle. As a result, socialism could not be defended in the Soviet Union.” This summarizes the essence of the line that we must embrace if we want to make any socialist project succeed in the era of imperialism and capitalist reaction. This is a line that consists of overthrowing the capitalist state, and then building a new state that will commit to depriving the bourgeoisie of power over government.

Even if the socialists unseat the fascists in Bolivia this year, the country’s road to becoming a Marxist-Leninist state of the same vein as Cuba or China will be filled with complications and obstacles. So is the case in every other country that’s currently run by a bourgeois state. If you live in one of these countries and are serious about wanting to build socialism, all you can do is try to better educate yourself and others about revolutionary theory, build the communist organizations that can become the revolutionary vanguard, and equip yourself for potentially violent confrontation with the forces of counter-revolution.

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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, August 26, 2020

The U.S. Imperialists Continue To Conceal Their Destruction & Robbery Of Syria

According to what we’ve been hearing from the Western media for these last nine years since the Syrian war started, the U.S. hasn’t had any detrimental role to play-and imperialism couldn’t possibly be any kind of relevant factor. But there’s a reason why non-imperialist Syria reporters like Vanessa Beeley have been thoroughly attacked, and why so many people (including me) have been censored for speaking the truth about what the Washington imperialists have done. The Syria narrative managers are so anxious to crush opposing voices because if those voices get recognition, a vast series of U.S. crimes will be exposed.

Since the U.S. took advantage of Syrian unrest in 2011 to ignite a regime change war waged by NATO-backed terrorist groups and Turkey, the war propaganda machine’s objective has been to keep the public totally in the dark about the U.S. role behind Syria’s crisis. They don’t want their war on Syria to be remembered like their wars on Vietnam and Iraq are remembered, with the U.S. being mostly recognized as a villain that’s responsible for tremendous atrocities. So in addition to the censorship and smearing of journalists who’ve told the truth, the narrative managers have constructed an alternate reality around Syria that the public is told to believe as the truth.

In this alternate reality, the terrorists are “moderate rebels” who are worthy of praise. The White Helmets, despite their proven ties to the terrorist groups and their dishonest tactics which serve imperialist narratives, are paragons of humanitarianism. The YPG, despite their collaboration with the imperialists, are “libertarian socialists” who’ve supposedly been building a just society in opposition to the designated villain Assad. And the U.S. itself hasn’t been the string-puller behind the violent efforts to overthrow Assad, but rather a benevolent helper of the “moderate rebels,” who represent the will of the Syrian people despite most Syrians supporting their current government.

This mythology about the anti-Assad militants being part of a cause that’s independent and just, along with the Russia-baiting tactic of demonizing all of Putin’s interventions in Syria, has kept the Western public focused on the empire’s targets rather than on the war crimes the empire has been committing against the Syrian people. The 5.6 million Syrian refugees, and the several hundred thousand deaths from the war, have all been blamed on Assad for defending his country amid a conflict that the U.S. created and perpetuates.

“The construction of the narrative in which street demonstrations against the Assad government would go from supposedly non-violent demonstrations to a ‘justifiable’ call for armed struggle in a matter of weeks and gain support from Western radicals was an amazing feat,” anti-war commentator Ajamu Baraka observed last year. “When some of us warned Western radicals that they were being manipulated, that the so-called revolution in Syria had become fraudulent because it lacked an organic, independent social base, and was being driven by imperialist forces who cared little about democratic reforms, the working class or Syria as an independent sovereign state, we were condemned as ‘Assadists’ and ‘Putin puppets.’”

Amid Assad’s movement towards military victory in the last several years, the strategy of warfare against Syria has changed, and with it the approaches to hiding Washington’s atrocities. The U.S. has shifted towards a long-term campaign of economic strangulation, where it works to cripple Syria’s economy under the guise of trying to hold Assad accountable for his supposed misdeeds. Amid this year’s pandemic and global depression, Syria’s economic crisis is now spiraling as a result of this, making it harder for the country to rebuild itself in the aftermath of the worst of the war. Washington has made it so that food in Syria is now more than twice as expensive as it was last year.

As this criminal deprivation of the Syrian people’s resources continues, the U.S. is partnering with the YPG to steal Syria’s oil. Last month, Secretary Pompeo confirmed that the State Department had awarded the U.S. company Delta Crescent Energy with a contract to start extracting oil in northeastern Syria. Despite this extraction of the resources of a sovereign country being illegal under international law, the Kurdish forces are providing the military support to stop the Syrian government from preventing Washington’s theft.

Yet the Western leftists who’ve glorified the YPG and other facets of the Syrian imperialist proxy forces still aren’t denouncing these forces-who would expect them to? On certain issues, there’s an ideological alignment between the U.S. State Department and the anti-communist, chauvinistic factions of the U.S. left. This alignment becomes apparent during imperialist operations like the 1999 Yugoslavia bombing campaign, which prompted Michael Parenti observe that “a gaggle of those anarchists and Trotskists…convinced themselves that the destruction of Yugoslavian social democracy was a blow against Stalinist communism.” It becomes apparent during attempted U.S. color revolutions like the recent CIA-backed Hong Kong protests, which were supported by the anarchist and left-communist factions which view the Communist Party of China as their enemy. And the imperialist war on Syria has made it clearer than ever.

This leftist complicity in Washington’s Syria operations is more than a lucky development for the imperialists. Like every other part of the Syria narrative, it’s been engineered. The demonization of Assad and the omission of Washington’s crimes has come from numerous left-oriented figures, from popular journalists like Amy Goodman to political artists like Molly Crabapple to public intellectuals like Noam Chomsky (who outright supports U.S. military involvement in Syria based on his desire to advance the establishment of a Kurdish ethnostate). Ironically, the man who wrote a book about how the U.S. manufactures consent has been helping with the consent manufacturing effort when it comes to Syria.

The ideological consensus behind this war has been ingrained into this country’s left from every available angle of manipulation. From the start, the imperialists have worked to make their version of the events in Syria so ubiquitously repeated that it becomes unquestionable, even to the political groups that consider themselves to be opposed to imperialism.

There’s the horror of the war propaganda paradigm that we in the imperial core are now trapped within. When even the supposed anti-imperialists don’t see an imperialist operation happening, the destruction and theft that our government is wreaking in Syria and other places become utterly benign. The horrors abroad, along with the injustices at home, fade into banality as late-stage capitalism descends into barbarism.

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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:

Monday, August 24, 2020

The Plan For Maintaning The Liberal Order: Acclimate The Masses To Endless War & Austerity

The purveyors of capital and empire have reached an impasse with the forces of history. The imperialist plans for regime change in Syria and Iran have failed. All the attempts to overthrow socialist Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela have failed, and the U.S. coup in Bolivia is on its way to being undone. The rise of Russia and China is making Washington lose its economic and geopolitical hegemony. Destabilizing factors like the pandemic, the climate collapse, and the new global depression are weakening global capitalism, with U.S. capitalism taking some of the biggest damage.

How can the engineers of the liberal order respond to these crises? How can their model of neoliberal corporatism survive when its foundations are coming undone, and when geopolitical tensions are making it more and more isolated from two of the biggest rising economic powers? The actions that the leaders of this crumbling empire have taken during the pandemic have made their solution clear: concentrate their economic machine into an intensified campaign of warfare and military buildup, while cutting benefits to the poor so that the rich can continue to increase their profits.

In this situation where the U.S. can’t realistically subdue or overthrow its biggest rival powers, a relatively compromised approach towards advancing these goals is looking attractive to much of the pro-imperialist intelligentsia. By “compromised approach,” I mean an effort to cooperate with all the other countries in the imperial core. Trump, with his “America First” policy of protectionism and isolationism, doesn’t maneuver in the pragmatic way that’s favored by the wing of the ruling class which supports this reserved geopolitical approach. His occasional willingness to compromise with Russia (which much of the U.S. political class sees as unacceptable) also makes him seen as an unreliable arbiter of empire.

Which is why this more pragmatic wing of the ruling class-represented by the Democratic Party and by neoconservative Republicans who oppose Trump-has been fomenting rumors of Trump being a Russian asset in order to pressure him into being tougher on Russia. This practice of Russia-baiting, which was recently revived through unsubstantiated media claims that Russia is paying Taliban members to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, serves the additional purpose of manufacturing the public’s consent for the new cold war.

As we’re seeing during the campaign to elect Biden, these efforts at getting Americans to oppose Trump for jingoistic reasons are preparations for making the foreign policy moves of a Biden presidency run smoother. This is an extension of the war propaganda campaign that was 

described two years ago by the Black Agenda Report’s Glen Ford, who titled his article about the subject The Real Goal of “Russiagate” is to Prepare for Endless Austerity and War. He wrote:

The ruling circles of the imperial superpower set out to destabilize and call into disrepute the sitting government of the home country. They have inflicted great trauma and anxiety among the public in the process, but thanks to the corporate media component of the cabal, most of the blame has accrued to the targets of the campaign: Trump, “the Russians” and those defamed as “dupes” and “co-conspirators” with the fictitious Putin-Trump axis. It is quite evident that this campaign of self-inflicted chaos is a project of the global corporate class, manifesting elsewhere in the “West” in remarkably similar fashion, but with local characteristics.

If Biden wins, this faction of the ruling class hopes, U.S. imperial decline will begin to be reversed due to a return to Washington’s Obama-era emphasis on maintaining ties with allies. Leopoldo Martínez, a Democratic National Committee member and the founder of the Center for Democracy and Development in the Americas, recently explained why he and others believe that removing Trump would make Washington better connected internationally, and therefore better able to overthrow disobedient governments:

As [Miami Herald editor] Andrés Oppenheimer has well said, Trump weakens the international coalition essential for a positive outcome in Venezuela with his rhetoric, unilateralism, and lack of commitment to the great global democratic causes. Here is a differentiating point between Biden and Trump, which adds to our conviction that Biden would be the best option to achieve change in Venezuela. Biden has the necessary credibility in Europe and Latin America to spin effectively in solving the problem. On the other hand, he has no personal debts with Vladimir Putin, who speaks into Trump’s ear (as Bolton, his former National Security adviser denounced), even to sow distrust of the leadership of Juan Guaidó and the Venezuelan opposition. This is a central point. In addition to maintaining bad relations with Europe and Latin America, Trump has weakened the coalition by not focusing on multilateral pressure and incentives.

In other words, Trump’s ultra-nationalism and lack of diplomatic finesse are counterproductive to the quest to expand neoliberal hegemony to countries like Venezuela. With Biden, who would likely reinstate the Iran nuclear deal, put the abandoned Trans-Pacific Partnership back on the table, and not continue Trump’s protectionist tactics that alienate U.S. allies, the empire will be able to run more smoothly. No wonder neocons like Bolton are glad to provide statements which confirm liberal suspicions about Trump being a foreign asset.

For these reasons, anti-Maduro pundits have recently been expressinghope that a Biden victory would be the beginning of the end for the Chavista government. This fantasy that these ruling class factions have been entertaining among themselves, where Latin America’s biggest thorn on the side of the empire is finally removed, would correlate with the other parts of neoliberal realpolitik.

In the 2020s, this realpolitik will entail a great amount of internal austerity and repression for the imperial core, as well as an expansion of cold war operations against Russia and China. The policies of the core imperialist countries since the start of the pandemic has made this abundantly clear; the EU countries recently passed a bailout which imposes austerity across Europe, surveillance and censorship have been increasing within the NATO countries, and the U.S. has been expanding its anti-Russian war games while partnering with Australia to build up NATO’s anti-Chinese military presence in the Indo-Pacific.

It’s not hard to see why these neoliberal and imperialist machinations, even if they involve a return to the Obama doctrine and the successful overthrow of the Chavistas, will inevitably continue to make the empire less stable. The neoliberal world’s perpetually deteriorating living conditions will encourage further civil unrest. The endlessly expanding military budget will contribute to this internal economic destruction, however much the imperialists try to get people to support the military buildup by demonizing Russia and China. Capitalism’s crises-whether economic, social, or environment-will keep getting worse. And if Venezuela undergoes a neoliberal coup that forces it to share in this capitalist collapse, its armed proletarian masses will mobilize towards revolution, just like the masses of Bolivia have done after the U.S. overthrew their democratically elected president.

Faced with these incurable contradictions of capitalism and imperialism, the heads of the liberal order can only turn to fascism. Biden’s suggestion earlier this year that U.S. police officers should shoot people in the legs, his call to prosecute protesters based on their political ideology, and his decision to pick a running mate who’s fought to keep nonviolent prisoners locked up are symptoms of a sinister bipartisan trend. This is the trend of disregarding liberties in order to enforce “law and order,” which the ruling class sees as increasingly vital amid growing class conflict. Their hope is that if anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist sentiments are successfully suppressed, they’ll have no trouble with pursuing the militarism and austerity of the coming years.

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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:

Sunday, August 23, 2020

You Can’t Be Anti-Imperialist While Repeating Lies About Anti-Imperialist Countries

The Washington imperialists don’t manufacture consent for their belligerent actions around the world by trying to get people to like the ideas of waging economic warfare against civilians, or keeping entire populations under the perpetual threat of nuclear annihilation, or carrying out military intimidation tactics that violate international law. They keep the people of the imperial core complacent with these policies by relentlessly demonizing the targeted nations.

If the public is led to believe that a target country is imprisoning millions of ethnic and religious minorities, or that the country’s leader is a “dictator,” or that freedom of speech is nonexistent under the country’s “totalitarian” government, the conversation won’t be about why the U.S. is aggressing against the country. The dialogue can only focus on vilifying the disfavored regime, not on criticizing the actions of the U.S. And certainly not on examining the geopolitical and socioeconomic motivations behind why the American capitalist class desires to subdue these particular countries.

No, everyone’s attention must be directed towards the enemy of the day. The propaganda machine behind imperialist machinations depends on the masses viewing world events through a myopic view of geopolitics, where their government and media tell them negative things about certain countries purely out of desire to advance “democracy” and “human rights.”

Under this paradigm of war propaganda, it’s no wonder why geopolitics themselves usually aren’t even acknowledged, even by many of the strains of the left that consider themselves anti-imperialist. From this cultural impulse-the one that encourages people in the imperial core to look at world events from their own ideological lenses while ignoring complex factors like geopolitics-stems the common leftist behavior of opposing imperialism in the abstract while promoting imperialist propaganda in practice.

If your priority is anti-imperialism, the correct approach is to judge the nature of anti-imperialist countries according to their objective conditions, not to decide what these conditions are like based on one’s ideological biases. For instance, if you examine information about the DPRK from this analytical, non-judgmental position, you’ll come to the conclusion about it which has been articulated by Party for Socialism and Liberation presidential candidate Gloria La Riva: that the DPRK is a socialist nation which global socialists and anti-imperialists need to support.

La Riva’s party makes its analyses based on the Marxist-Leninist philosophy of dialectical materialism, which requires one to examine the objective conditions of a place before deciding how to treat them. Given this aspect of Marxism-Leninism, it’s no wonder why Marxist-Leninists tend to be the ones who most often defend China and other demonized anti-imperialist countries. Their anti-imperialism is practiced according to the principles of objective truth that their political line is centered around.

It’s when political strains have different priorities than dialectics that they trend towards shifting around the truth about anti-imperialist countries to fit their own ideological agendas. Libertarians will defend Russia from baseless accusations of election meddling, while characterizing socialist China or Korea as “totalitarian.” Progressives will defend Iran from warmongering claims, while vilifying Venezuela’s democratically elected Chavista government as a “dictatorship.”

Anarchists will see the Venezuelan opposition for the right-wing imperialist tool that it is, then they’ll turn around and glorify Syria’s YPG as “libertarian socialist” revolutionaries-even though the YPG’s leaders are working with the occupying U.S. forces to illegally exploit Syria’s oil. There’s also a chance that they’ll participate in the manufactured hysteria around China’s supposed Uyghur “genocide,” all to advance their ideological narrative that “authoritarian” socialism is wrong.

All of these strains posture at certain times as anti-imperialist (or merely as “anti-war” if they want to avoid mentioning the crucial word), yet their ideological biases inevitably conflict with their stated goals. A consequential example of this kind of hypocrisy is Bernie Sanders, who’s tried to put forth the impression that he’s anti-war despite having been complicit in the 1999 Yugoslavia bombing campaign and in numerous other imperialist actions.

The contradictory nature of his “anti-war” career was epitomized when he voted against the Iraq War, despite having facilitated the sanctions on Iraq that had killed hundreds of thousands of people. Apparently slowly starving people to death for the advancement of a geopolitical agenda is fine with him, but killing them with bombs for the same reason goes just a little bit too far. That is, unless they’re Yugoslavians.

These types of conflicting behaviors from the non-Marxist strains of “anti-imperialism” are driven both by ideological biases, and by what perhaps motivated Sanders’ contradictory Iraq policies: optics. Supporting invasions is easy to be seen as wrong, but few will think to confront you for supporting sanctions. Denouncing Trump’s illegal military aggressions against Iran will be widely seen as admirable, but denouncing the covert U.S. regime change war in Syria will get you very mixed reactions; only those who’ve sufficiently done their research about Syria, and know that Syria’s “moderate rebels” are U.S.-backed terrorist groups, will admire you for speaking out against it. The others will be swayed by propaganda that portrays the rebel forces as “freedom fighters,” and that tries to inspire sympathy for the YPG.

This is why most U.S. imperialist operations are conducted in ways that make them easy to disguise. The CIA-funded “pro-democracy” protests in Hong Kong, the U.S.-backed protests in Thailand, the U.S.-backed effort to unseat Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the fascistic U.S.-backed opposition in Belarus represent recent examples of these hidden imperialist regime change campaigns. Of course, it’s only after the imperialist “revolutions” come to power-like happened last year in Bolivia-that the supporters of a given color revolution will stop trying to associate themselves with the regime change effort. The liberals who were calling for “nuance” last November when Bolivia’s democratically elected president got ousted by a fascist coup aren’t so eager to speak out now that the coup regime is persecuting and massacring indigenous people.

To be effective, the anti-imperialist movement must be steered towards Marxism-Leninism, or at least towards Marxism-Leninism’s dialectical approach to finding the truth. Otherwise, the movement will continue to be largely defined by opportunism rather than by principled opposition to imperialist machinations. Without a commitment to countering all of the lies the U.S. empire tells about the world, people will be able to pick and choose which lies to talk about according to whatever they feel like the truth should be.

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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, August 21, 2020

Israeli Apartheid Foreshadows What Global Climate Apartheid Will Be Like

In June of last year, the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights predicted that by 2030, more than 120 million people will be pushed into poverty due to the impacts of global warming. Since then, the capitalist ruling class has already driven a very large chunk of this number of people into far worse living conditions. Neoliberal austerity policies in Brazil, Ecuador, and post-coup Bolivia have left millions without access to essential resources during the pandemic. Over forty million people have lost their jobs in the U.S., and Trump has reduced weekly unemployment benefits by $300. Austerity measures have been passed throughout Europe. India, Australia, and much of the rest of the capitalist world have thoroughly descended into an economic depression where the poor suffer most under the neoliberal paradigm.

Most of these developments don’t stem from the climate crisis, at least not directly. But they vindicate the UN researcher Philip Alston’s claim that mass impoverishment will result from the climate catastrophes of this next decade and beyond. If the bourgeoisie have institutionally forced these many tens of millions of people into poverty as a result of the crises the world has experienced in this last year, think of how many will become destitute as the climate feedback loop continues.

The stratified nature of who gets crisis support under capitalism has made the UN report’s vision of a coming “climate apartheid” inevitable. The billionaires can retreat to luxurious fortified hideouts. The generally wealthy can afford special fire protections for their homes, or at the very least the means to retreat from a disaster in comfort. The middle class, if there is one in the neoliberal world anymore, can at most afford to haphazardly flee in their vehicles. The very poor, and the homeless most of all, typically have to stay put. We’ve seen the results of this hierarchy of survival preparedness during Hurricane Katrina, where the poor were hiding out on their roofs while the rich were safe.

Even when the severity of a climate-related catastrophe isn’t as drastic as a storm or a fire, class disparity is becoming an immediately relevant factor in who can get access to what. The drought conditions in India and Iraq, whose economic systems have both been thoroughly ravaged by neoliberalism and neo-colonialism, are leading to the poorest being at risk of losing access to water while the wealthy remain untouched by the crises.

The dark fate that Iraq has slipped into is particularly foreboding to what most of the rest of the world will become like. After being destabilized by an imperialist invasion, and after having its economy turned into a tool for U.S. corporations to make profits off of, Iraq is experiencing what it’s like when a society that’s been deeply partitioned between the classes undergoes a climate meltdown.

Because of the neoliberal order that Washington imposed on Iraq after the invasion, Baghdad is divided between a “green zone” for the elites and a “red zone” for the poor. As severe heat waves become more common there, and the gap between those who can and can’t afford air conditioning becomes more important, Baghdad is becoming a hint of what things will be like in the other parts of the capitalist world where heat threatens the lives of the underclass.

“Baghdad hit 125.2 degrees on July 28, blowing past the previous record of 123.8 degrees — which was set here five years ago — and topping 120 degrees for four days in a row,” reads a recent Washington Post article. “Sitting in one of the fastest warming parts of the globe, the city offers a troubling snapshot of the future that climate change might one day bring other parts of the world….Indeed, one recent study found that by the year 2050, the climate of Phoenix could closely resemble that of Baghdad.” The class disparities in who can access crucial resources when faced with these kinds of climate catastrophes are a passive example of how the climate apartheid is forming. The more aggressive symptoms of living under capitalism during the climate crisis will come out as the stability of the social order comes into question, and as the capitalist state feels the need to clamp down on the lower classes.

The government-enforced deprivation of Palestinian resources by the Israeli settler-colonial state is one example of how climate change is already prompting capitalism to turn towards fascism and genocide. The food, water, shelter, and electricity shortages that Israel’s occupation has caused for the Palestinian population is making Palestinians more compelled to resist their oppressors, which has no doubt contributed to Israel’s recent anti-Palestinian massacres and to the perpetual tightenings of the apartheid enforcement apparatus.

In all the other parts of the capitalist world where the impacts of the climate crisis are most destructive, there are efforts to make the class hierarchy more closely resemble the horrors of Israeli apartheid. The inhumane camps for climate refugees, the deportations that end with dozens of migrants being killed, the border militarization, the intensive digital border surveillance, the mass surveillance related to disasters and environmental groups, the building of walls and hostile architecture to keep the poor out of wealthy areas, the creation of a highly militarized police state, the U.S. army’s plans for waging warfare when climate change produces social unrest-it’s all part of the state authoritarianism that this crisis will continue to make more intense.

In my home state of California, the emerging climate apartheid is still subtle, even as fires are now forcing over 60,000 to leave their homes and as heat waves cause tens of thousands to experience power outages. But as the escalating fires, heat, and droughts become accompanied by raised water levels, the fundamental reality-which is that the rich will be fine while the poor won’t-will lead to heightening class tensions. These tensions will result in the ruling class cracking down in drastic ways. Even in places like California, which is part of a core imperialist country and is one of the wealthiest areas in the world, the extreme human rights abuses and obscene living condition disparities that afflict occupied Palestine will increasingly be mirrored.

Alston warned that “the enjoyment of all human rights by vast numbers of people is gravely threatened” by what’s set to happen to the climate. The reason why is as simple as the nature of how those in power respond to threats to the social order: by waging war against the parts of the population most likely to foment revolution. In this atmosphere of heightening class warfare, everyone who’s been pushed into poverty by the climate crisis is seen as a prime target.

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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: