Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Dollar Crash Of 2021: The Next Step In The Collapse Of U.S. Capitalism

As this year’s economic crisis has developed, the U.S.-centered corporatocracy has desperately been trying to maintain the illusion of growth, or at the least the illusion that the current contraction is sure to end and things will return to normal. But as unemployment claims in the U.S. have continued to rise, and factors like the cold war with China have thrown the NATO countries into further economic chaos, it’s become clear that the stock market has been overly optimistic about a coming recovery. Market Watch wrote last month that “The rebound will be much more gradual than the V-shaped pattern investors are betting on.”

But true to the “it’s always worse than you think” pattern within the collapse of capitalism, this assessment in itself was overly optimistic. An economic recovery for the capitalist world isn’t going to be a gradual process from here on out, because far bigger economic shockwaves are just around the corner. Whatever semblances of revitalization the economy experiences in the coming months, they’ll be more than negated by the dollar crash of 2021.

Economist Stephen Roach said last week that evidence supports the formerly crazy idea that a dollar crash is coming, and that he sees this crash happening by the end of next year. To see the evidence, he said, you only need to look at the vast economic contractions that have occurred this year as at the very least 11% of the population has become unemployed. He pointed out that “The current account deficit in the United States, which is the broadest measure of our international imbalance with the rest of the world, suffered a record deterioration in the second quarter. The so-called net-national savings rate, which is the sum of savings of individuals, businesses and the government sector, also recorded a record decline in the second quarter going back into negative territory for the first time since the global financial crisis.”

It’s because of this internal weakening for U.S. imperialism that the rest of the world will soon decide to forsake Washington’s currency, and that a dollar crash will soon happen. If U.S. capitalism gets hollowed out enough, Washington’s perceived legitimacy as a reliable financial ally will be lost, resulting in a crash that will make the U.S. economy all the more weak. “Lacking in saving and wanting to grow, we run these current account deficits to borrow surplus saving, and that always pushes the currencies lower,” Roach said. “The dollar is not immune to that time honored adjustment.”

Part of the catalyst for this crash will be the fact that under the dysfunctional paradigm of neoliberalism, Covid-19 still isn’t on its way to winding down within the country. “As we head into flu season with the new infection rates moving back up again with mortality unacceptably high, the risk of an aftershock is not something you can dismiss,” Roach said. In accordance with the phenomenon he’s assessed of the U.S. sabotaging the stability of its own currency through neoliberal deterioration and isolationism, he also concluded that “America has abdicated its global leadership role.”

When the dollar crash comes, it will create a U.S. economic shrinkage similar to the one-third GDP decline that occurred in the second quarter of this year. Which will expose the profound market instability that was explained last month by the economist Yanis Varoufakis: “Capitalism is no longer what it used to be…What is fascinating at the moment is that you have the highest level of share prices and lowest level of dividends. Have you noticed that? So profitability is negative, profits are on the floor and share prices are on the ceiling…I don’t think that reducing taxes or announcing that you are going to an austerity mode is going to do anything to turn this liquidity bubble into an investment drive.”

With this further asset loss for the bourgeoisie will come more moves by the biggest corporations to consolidate capital. U.S. billionaires, who’ve collectively gained $845 billion during the pandemic so far, will gain hundreds of billions more while tens of millions more people slip into poverty. Hunger, which has tripled in the U.S. in the last year, will expand as inflation is exacerbated, and as the government compensates for a ballooning trade deficit by taxing beleaguered American consumers more. In this near future, one where the U.S. financial decoupling from China has greatly advanced, no powerful outside presence will be able to fund the saving deficit of a country that’s lost its exorbitant privilege.

With no magical solutions to turn to, and being unwilling to abandon neoliberalism, the capitalist ruling class will turn to austerity. Ever more social services will be stripped away, wages will further be lowered, and corporations like Amazon and eBay will profiteer from the desperate masses like they’ve been profiteering from Covid-19. The growing poverty and social dysfunction will make it even harder for the U.S. to reduce Covid-19 cases, further normalizing the virus as one of the mundane parts of contemporary American capitalism-like homelessness or hunger or lack of access to healthcare.

The foundations of our socioeconomic system will be in ruins, with everyone below the bourgeoisie or the labor aristocracy having to work for poverty wages, try to live off of welfare, or turn to crime. It will be a refutation of the American consumer lifestyle, one that exposes the unacknowledged reality about how wealth is created: consumption isn’t the cause of economic growth, it’s the result of growth. Without growth being present to sustain people’s former flow of spending money, the system will further devolve into price gouging, debt peonage, and dependence on labor that comes from slave-level wages.

It will be the third wave of depression that’s hit the country in the last thirteen years, a wave that even more thoroughly discredits capitalism in the minds of the masses. By studying revolutionary theory and organizing within the parties that can serve as the revolutionary vanguard, we’ll be able to build a proletarian movement in place of the neoliberal cultural hegemony that’s been shattered. In these final months before the dollar crash hits, stay focused on these activities. The chaos that you’ll experience amid the crisis is a symptom of the intensification of capitalist contradictions within the imperial core, and the move towards an outcome where proletarian revolution becomes mostly viewed as a practical necessity.

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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, September 28, 2020

Gaza Portends To What The Ruling Class Will Do To Prevent The Poor From Rising Up

Walter Benjamin wrote that “Behind every fascism there is a failed revolution.” What about when the failure of the revolution and the subsequent establishment of fascism precludes an extreme deterioration of living standards for the vast majority of the population? What about when the type of fascism that becomes established involves not just the destruction of freedoms, but a warlike effort to stop a vast and deeply impoverished underclass from rising up?

This type of fascism is different from the fascism of Mussolini’s Italy or Pinochet’s Chile, which were able to keep most of their citizens above the poverty line. In Gaza, nearly 60% of the people are in poverty, just 10% of Gazans have access to safe drinking water, and 1.3 million out of Gaza’s two million residents are food insecure. This makes the fascist regime of Israel treat the captives of its open-air concentration camp both as prisoners, and as a collective group of enemy combatants. Israel’s fascism goes so much further than Mussolini’s gutting of the trade unions with the goal of better exploiting workers; under Israel’s model of tyranny, people are treated as totally expendable prisoners who get largely deprived both of employment and of nourishment. When 45% of Gazans are unemployed, a stable working class barely even exists within the area.

War is the reality that Israel’s victims, both in Gaza and in the other occupied territories, perpetually face. For twelve years under Pinochet, everyone was forced to stay in their homes each night for risk of being arrested without right of appeal or shot, and those who politically stepped out of line were tortured or killed. The Palestinian victims of the Israeli occupation are shot or bombed at random, and the system of state control that they live under is even more thorough than what the past victims of fascism have experienced.

This system has more dimensions than Israel’s frequent imprisonment, torture, and harassment of Palestinian acivists, or Israel’s discriminatory laws that deprive Palestinians of the right to vote. Israel’s goal is not just to silence the Palestinians who speak out, but to terrorize the Palestinian masses into staying compliant. As Professor Mark Levine has concluded, this practice involves a network of intense and ubiquitous tools for psychological control within the occupied territories:

Moving through the space of Israel/Palestine involves negotiating a host of forces that the average Palestinian has about as much control over as the average electron or proton does of the nuclear and quantum forces determining its path. It’s through this near total control of the space that Israel is able, in George Orwell’s description of totalitarianism, to “control the past as well as the future”…[there are] numerous overlapping layers of control, including the physical infrastructure of settlements and their security corridors and zones, bypass roads, closed military areas and even “nature reserves”. The matrix also includes the bureaucratic and legal/planning levels, and the use of large-scale violence and imprisonment to control people’s behaviour and movement.

With its matrix of control, Israel has achieved an unparalleled and uniquely successful synergy of “bio” and “necro”-politics, controlling life and death at most every scale of Palestinian existence. The matrix is continuously adjusted with as much care as Israel has adjusted the caloric intake of Gazans during its periodic intensifications of the Gazan siege.

This matrix of control is the self-preservation tool of a Zionist settler-colonial system that’s driven millions of Palestinians into poverty, and that seeks to prevent these people from rising up against Israel by imposing the most thorough social control systems imaginable.

While looking at the explosion of unemployment that’s hitting the U.S. and other neoliberal countries, and while looking at the projection that global warming will drive over 100 million people into poverty by 2030, it occurs to me that the system Israel has imposed onto Palestinians will resemble the system the rich will impose onto the poor in the coming years.

As the capitalist world becomes ever more unequal, and as crises like Covid-19 and climate destabilization create more refugees and impoverished people, the capitalist ruling class will have to resort to drastic measures to maintain their own position. To be poor in the 2020s is to be trapped in a system that’s gradually becoming more like the repressive tyranny which Palestinians live under.

For the victims of America’s own colonization project, life under the U.S. and other settler states has never been too far removed from Gaza. Throughout the last decade alone, indigenous people in the U.S. have been killed by police at a higher rate than any other ethnic group, with black people being a close second. 1 in 3 Natives are living in poverty by the conservative definition, with black and brown people making up the second and third poorest ethnic groups. In the communities where these impoverished colonized peoples live, Covid-19 has been able to run rampant at rates far higher than is the case for white communities. And an increasingly militarized police state enforces a deadly reign of terror, using excess army equipment which includes armored personnel carriers, tanks with 360-degree rotating machine gun turrets, grenade launchers, drones, and assault weapons.

This reign of terror may not currently involve bombs, but the U.S. government has bombed its own people at times throughout the past; in 1985, Philadelphia police bombed a city street, killing eleven people including five children. The goal of the airstrike, which ended up burning down an entire neighborhood, was to counter a black liberation group. Will the government do this again? Will events like it become normal in the near future? The accelerating collapse of global capitalism makes these outcomes more likely every day.

The conditions of the lower classes are rapidly deteriorating; the amount of hunger in the U.S. has tripled between 2019 and August of this year, and the number of U.S. children who sometimes don’t have enough to eat has become 14 times larger throughout these last ten months. Already, at least half of the U.S. population is effectively in poverty, and a Columbia University study has predicted a “coming poverty epoch, rather than an episode.” In the U.S., as well as in increasingly unstable Washington neo-colonies like Colombia, unrest is going to keep increasing in the coming years. And the states which govern these countries will react not just with extreme violence, but with the normalization of Gaza-level coercive measures.

Already, aspects of the Pinochet regime are becoming widespread. Minneapolis police have fired paint rounds at people simply for staying out on their porches, police have been using curfews as a weapon against protesters, and Trump’s DHS has been sending unmarked federal agents to arrest people at random. What’s next, as explained by a 2016 U.S. Army War College document on preparing for urban warfare, is to “bulldoze the slums” while targeting poor and working class districts with military intervention; to strategically enact censorship so as to control the information that comes out of domestic war zones; and to carry out mass surveillance against besieged cities by using drones, mobile devices, and spies that act as “sensors” to monitor entire populations.

It’s no surprise that the authors of the document praise an Israeli Defense Force commander who wrote that during its 2002 attack on a Palestinian uprising in the West Bank, the IDF used a “strategy of ‘walking through walls’ [that] involves a conception of the city as not just the site but also the very medium of warfare — a flexible, almost liquid medium that is forever contingent and in flux.” Tactics like this one, which was carried out by having IDF troops move “horizontally through walls and vertically through holes blasted in ceilings and floors,” will be emulated by the U.S. military.

This will come along with the trend of building various walls, from Gaza-style barbed wire fences to hostile architecture, in order to partition the lower classes from the privileged enclaves of the wealthy. Under this occupation, the areas the upper class inhabit will be the equivalent of the affluent sections of the Israeli settler-colonial sphere, with the rich and their petty-bourgeois armed forces claiming to represent a noble model of governance. At the same time, the poor will be relegated to a world that increasingly resembles Gaza and the other occupied Palestinian territories: highly militarized, tight restrictions on freedom of movement, plagued by unemployment and resource scarcity, and thoroughly monitored by a techno-authoritarian state.

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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, September 27, 2020

Accept That Capitalism Can’t Save Us From The Climate Crisis, And Work To Tear Down The System

The idea that capitalist industrial civilization can continue on its path of growth has rested on the belief that no matter the environmental costs of capitalism, the system will be able to adapt and continue on its current trajectory. This is what the climate change denial movement has been about. This is what “green” capitalism and its promises of fixing the planet through tweaking the system has been about. No matter how much evidence appears that the planet is being killed because of how our society runs, the defenders of capitalism in all their varying ideological camps have kept claiming that a class revolt isn’t needed for addressing the problem.

It’s not hard to see why these peddlers of the “climate justice can happen under capitalism” line are operating under dishonest reasoning. 100 companies are responsible for around two-thirds of the overall carbon emissions, the top richest 1% are responsible for more than twice as much carbon emissions as the bottom 50% of the global population, and the U.S. military functions as the world’s biggest polluter due to its role in advancing the imperialist goals of the U.S. capitalist class. These things can’t be corrected under a system that runs according to the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, rather than the dictatorship of the proletariat. Why do you think socialist China is thoroughly implementing a green new deal, while the U.S. doesn’t even have the political will to implement the corporatist green new deal that the Democrats have proposed?

As the U.S. experiences fire and hurricane seasons that continue to surpass the direness of all past ones, and as these and other climate-related catastrophes happen on top of a pandemic and a depression, the system keeps encouraging us to think that things will basically be fine under a continuation of capitalism. Since neoliberal imperialist hegemony is the norm for us, the idea of taking drastic steps to break out of the existing social order doesn’t occur to the average spectator within this catastrophe. The impulse is to carry on with our lives and remain just that: spectators.

But when you listen to the voice of suspicion in the back of your head, the voice that takes all the glaring contradictions of the system as things that need to be addressed, you get the sense that you have a responsibility to break the habits of compliance. Look at the cabal of reactionary millionaires and billionaires that have a stranglehold over our governmental system. Look at the series of endless wars that they’re determined to perpetuate, and that will continue to drive the planet into ruin for as long as they’re in power. Look at the neoliberal consensus among both major parties, and how ineffectual this renders the promised solution of voting. Tearing the system down is our only choice.

To carry out this task, we’ll need to avoid adventurism. Committing acts of vandalism or violence that aren’t part of a concrete strategy for taking power will only backfire against the anti-capitalist movement. What also doesn’t work is trying to take and hold territory, and then leaving the governance of this territory up to people who will let it be retaken by the capitalist state. This was the problem with this June’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, whose leadership ended up conceding to U.S. law enforcement and letting the project be dismantled. Seized territory will need to be led by a communist party that adheres to a revolutionary line, a line that involves permanently taking land from the control of the capitalist state.

When this territory is seized (which will only be feasible after the leading communist parties have sufficiently won over the local populations to their cause, and after these parties have sufficiently armed themselves to defend against the state), it will need to be governed through a project to build systems of dual power. This will mean preparing to carry out the essential functions of the state within the zones that the revolutionaries come to occupy. Communists need to study how to grow large amounts of food, and how to store large amounts of food and water. We also need to prepare to get hold of the power plants in our areas so that the wrong factions don’t seize these facilities, and then decide to deprive parts of the population of electricity.

These are the kinds of tactical moves we need to be planning out if we’re going to successfully seize control from the state. They can only be attempted after the movement has built up a large enough network of dual power systems beforehand. The United Panther Movement describes these dual power networks as involving “independent community organizations and coalitions, people’s service programs and alternative institutions, and these provide a basis for building and sustaining a vanguard party and movement of the people rooted in the oppressed communities.” These all serve the purpose of weakening the state in the ways that the Movement anticipates:

On our own, the urban poor and marginalized workers cannot overthrow capitalist-imperialism, but we can act as a catalyst upon the whole proletariat and masses of people — here and internationally — to inspire them to rise up and pull down the whole rotten system. This includes winning over a significant portion of the oppressor’s armed forces — here and in their deployments internationally — to side with the people. As an important segment of these forces are drawn from our oppressed communities, it is imperative that red political power be built in the oppressed communities to win the allegiance of these sisters and brothers.

When the communist movement is strengthened to this extent, we’ll have the potential not just to win large chunks of territory from the capitalist state, but to drive out the remaining forces of reaction from all the lands that the state used to control. This is the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary strategy as it can be applied to the U.S. and many other capitalist countries. The question is: are you willing to commit to doing your part for the strategy’s fulfillment?

To find this out, to see if you’re ready to diligently read revolutionary theory and do the organizing work and potentially put your body on the line to protect against reactionary violence, ask yourself if you think continuing to live within the confines of the system is worth it. Is avoiding the sacrifices of revolutionary struggle worthwhile if it means that you’ll keep functioning as nothing but a spectator in the destruction of your world? How many fires, how many floods, how many living standard reductions, how many acts of genocidal violence before it becomes worthwhile to be a contributor to the class war?

All that separates you from breaking out of the conformity that late-stage capitalism has imposed upon you is the fantasy, implanted through propaganda, that the descent into an environmentally ravaged hellscape can be avoided through the “solutions” the system provides. When this fantasy is overcome, it becomes clear what needs to be done.

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

Friday, September 25, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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