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.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

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:

No comments:

Post a Comment