Monday, November 30, 2020

An Internal War: The Vision The U.S. Military Has For America’s Near Future

If your goal is to help liberate this continent from capitalism, imperialism, and colonialism, you have to accept that you’ll at some point need to defend yourself against the full fury of the United States military, along with the country’s heavily armed police state and right-wing paramilitary forces. All successful proletarian revolutions in history, from the one in Russia to the one in China to the one in Cuba to the one in Vietnam, have had to overcome the equivalent of this obstacle. So what we face is nothing special.

This reality of violence being inevitable amid class conflict is so obvious that as the U.S. sinks deeper into neoliberal mass impoverishment, and therefore gains more and more potential for a class revolt, the country’s national security state is preparing to fight a near future internal war. The rise of this mindset among U.S. intelligence and military analysts has become especially prevalent in the last decade, when a population that’s been hit by the irrecoverable 2008 economic crisis has increasingly turned against capitalism.

In 2016, it was revealed via the Freedom of Information Act that the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations University had been using a training video that warned of an “inevitable” dystopian future where poverty, unemployment, and deteriorating infrastructure spawn complex new urban threats which the U.S. army will need to address. The video, titled Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity, says that the urban areas of the coming decades will be characterized by vast “subterranean labyrinths” governed by their “own social code and rule of law.” The video anticipates that the insurgents who emerge from this environment will use tactics like hacking to do damage to digital domains, which it says will “add to the complexities of human targeting as a proportionally smaller number of adversaries intermingle with the larger and increasing number of citizens.”

A U.S. Army War College report from that same year, titled Military Contingencies In Megacities and Sub-Megacitiesexpands upon which kinds of groups the military expects these adversaries to consist of. It warns that the growing poverty of the coming years will produce “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. In short, slums would be an inordinately difficult battlefield.”

There’s a clear theme where U.S. military experts worry about the urban environments of these areas posing an unprecedented challenge for U.S. counterinsurgency operations. Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums, has said about the urban warfare strategy presented by the Pentagon training video that “This is a fantasy, the idea that there is a special military science of megacities. It’s simply not the case. … They seem to envision large cities with slum peripheries governed by antagonistic gangs, militias, or guerrilla movements that you can somehow fight using special ops methods. In truth, that’s pretty far-fetched…You only have to watch ‘Black Hawk Down’ and scale that up to the kind of problems you would have if you were in Karachi, for example. You can do special ops on a small-scale basis, but it’s absurd to imagine it being effective as any kind of strategy for control of a megacity.”

This irreconcilable contradiction between the confident language the Pentagon shows to its future counterinsurgency fighters, and the objective reality that you can’t use special operations forces to defeat a guerrilla movement that’s attacking from within a large urban area, is the chip in the U.S. repressive state’s armor. Such problems will be doubly daunting when these urban guerrilla movements are targeting urban areas within the U.S. itself, since carpet bombing an American city or otherwise indiscriminately destroying its infrastructure (like the U.S. can do to cities abroad) will decimate the productive capacity of U.S. capitalism.

This self-destructive potential in applying the kinds of heavy-handed warfare tactics the U.S. uses abroad to the coming class war at home is potentially why the Pentagon is so insistent on sticking to smaller scale warfare operations. They’re scared to go too far.

In short, if guerrilla fighting gets going within the U.S., things will get out of hand very quickly for the U.S. empire. The training video comes close to acknowledging this dilemma, stating that “Even our counterinsurgency doctrine, honed in the cities of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, is inadequate to address the sheer scale of population in the future urban reality. We are facing environments that the masters of war never foresaw. We are facing a threat that requires us to redefine doctrine and the force in radically new and different ways.” Given the limited potential that the video’s supposed solution of special operations will have to address the threat, they’ll no doubt resort to a counterinsurgency approach that isn’t radically new in the slightest: terrorizing the entire population from which the rebel forces are emerging.

The U.S. empire has used this strategy to win its wars against the Natives. The diseased blankets, massacres of indigenous people who aren’t involved in any battles, forced relocations onto reservations, and systemic impoverishment of Native communities have all served to shrink the potential for anti-colonial revolt by weakening Native morale, social cohesion, and access to helpful resources like weapons and education. The same has gone for the efforts to suppress revolts from the colonized African community, which has experienced discriminatory laws, enforced poverty, police violence, and (especially in the last half-century) mass incarceration in order to keep the potential black rebels in line.

The militarization of U.S. police forces in the last decade or so has been part of the preparation for carrying out such an all-encompassing crackdown against the unruly underclass, with the Native and black communities naturally already being the most impacted by the resulting increases of police violence. The state’s response to this year’s Black Lives Matter demonstrations have shown an early version of this deliberately overkill crackdown, with the police firing paint rounds at people simply for sitting on their front porches and the DHS using Gestapo-style mass arrest tactics at protests.

The 2016 U.S. Army War College report as much as admits that when the state gets desperate enough to put down a guerrilla insurgency, it will take these kinds of terroristic measures to the extreme. It assesses that “Megacities and dense urban areas also contain numerous slums or ‘sheet metal forests,’ which are very different from ‘concrete canyons’ [i.e., commercial centers]…These areas can provide significant concealment to the adversaries and even become strong operational bases. Apart from moving the population out and bulldozing the slum, there is very little that can be done.” Their solution to the dilemma of special forces being insufficient for suppressing future urban guerrilla cells is to put the entire impoverished urban population under military occupation, and to engage in the kinds of forced relocations and home demolitions that Israel uses to suppress the Palestinian population.

Yet this will only intensify the issue that will have led to a class war in the first place: the poor feeling like they have no other option than to try to overthrow the government. What kinds of actions would you be willing to take if you, as a mid-21st century American, have experienced declining living standards all your life and then had the government expel you from your neighborhood before bulldozing it?

There already are plenty of people who feel backed into a corner in a similar way-it’s the middle of a depression, and hunger in the U.S. has tripled during the last year alone. Our job as Marxists is to bring these people (who will grow exponentially more numerous in the coming years) into a movement that can overthrow the state and improve their living conditions. We need to educate the masses about the need for proletarian revolution, and build up cadres of people who are equipped with the knowledge and the tools to survive the internal war that the state has planned.

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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.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

The U.S. Ruling Class Will Use A New McCarthyism To Manufacture Consent For Endless War

When capitalism and empire are threatened, the partisans of the established order always respond by doubling down. This goes for those among these partisans who are supposedly progressive, making for the saying “you scratch a liberal and a fascist bleeds.” This is a piece of common sense among Marxists. But it’s not any less shocking when you experience one of these reactions firsthand, when you’re confronted with the pathologies that come to the forefront amid a moment of class confrontation.

These politically motivated pathologies can be summed up as paranoia, herd mentality, and hostility towards the unknown. All emotions that are inevitable in the human experience, but that are now getting deliberately exploited by the system and turned towards the erosion of free thought. Confronted with the destabilizing aspects of late-stage capitalism, the powers that be are playing on people’s deepest fears to build up an ideological defense mechanism against potential revolution. We’re witnessing a social engineering project whose purpose is to bring about the 2020s version of McCarthyism.

This is what the demonizations of China and other rival superpowers are about. This is what the absurd right-wing efforts to paint the Democratic Party as communist are about. This is what the suppression of political speech under the guide of fighting “foreign disinformation” and “fake news” is about. In the face of the decline of U.S. hegemony, the collapse of the economy, a pandemic that’s killed a quarter of a million Americans, the slow but accelerating march towards climate catastrophe, and the prospect that a class uprising could emerge from these crises, it makes sense for the powers that be to encourage paranoia among the populace.

Because this sense of paranoia, despite its energy-wasting effects, serves the purpose of stamping out any person or thought which poses even the remotest possibility of threatening the status quo. Thus the endless suggestions from Republican hacks that Democratic politicians are secretly radical socialists who aim to bring down America, or that these politicians somehow empower the forces of radicalism. Neither are true of course, but the assertion has functionality. It creates an ideological buffer between the loyal Americans and the dangerous extremists by making the anti-communist rhetoric completely overkill.

It also serves to reduce the likelihood of class consciousness spreading by completely twisting what language related to class and imperialism means. If Biden is painted as a Chinese puppet even though he’s packing his cabinet with anti-China hawks, Biden’s imperialism is ignored. All that’s talked about is a manufactured piece of partisan outrage that stands in the way of serious discussions about the workings of empire, geopolitics, and the new cold war. This tactic of obfuscating any objective assessments of geopolitical issues is used interchangeably by the two ruling class parties, with the Democratic side now seeking to exploit it towards an unprecedented suppression of critical thought when it comes to such matters.

The Biden administration will accompany its cold war escalations with an internal propaganda war and a campaign towards censorship. Biden’s team understands even better than Trump’s team does that controlling the flow of information is crucial to controlling geopolitics; it’s the Democrats and their aligned anti-Trump Republican neocons who’ve been using the bogus “Russiagate” scandal to enact censorship throughout these last four years, and they’ll expand upon this clampdown as the Biden administration seeks to restore Washington’s damaged global influence.

They’ll utilize the Countering the Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act, a law that Obama passed at the end of his term which allowed the government to directly counter messages deemed to help America’s adversaries. As Lambert Strether observed four years ago, the law left a loophole for the Global Engagement Center (which was created as part of the law) to target information sources that can’t just be found abroad:

Because the drafters meant “foreign countries and foreign non-state actors,” they did not write “foreign countries and non-state actors,” as did the drafters of the Act…If “non-state propaganda” can be produced by domestic entities, then clearly the Act does not apply only in “other countries,” as Senator Murphy would have it, and, contra Snopes, could very well apply to “American independent or alternative media.” The second ambiguity is the source of the propaganda which, after all, has to come from somewhere. The origin of state propaganda is clear: The state. But what is the origin of non-state propaganda?

This deliberate ambiguity as to who’s supposed to be targeted, who’s a malicious source of “disinformation,” who’s a “bad actor,” has been a common way for the U.S. National Security State to expand its reach throughout the War on Terror. The Patriot Act, with its enabling of the government to carry out incredibly broad acts of surveillance all under the vague guise of “fighting terrorism,” is one example. And since this era of perpetual war expanded into a great power conflict during the early 2010s, these kinds of loopholes for repression have become especially oriented around the control of information. The repealing of a domestic propaganda ban in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which has since allowed for the government to covertly flood U.S. media with war propaganda like never before, represented a prelude to the even more far-reaching information policing law that Obama passed.

Whereas the Trump administration lacked the money and full political will to utilize the Global Engagement Center, Biden’s team, with their self-appointed mandate to restore U.S. imperial hegemony, will exploit it to its full potential. This will mean taking advantage of the loophole that allows them to go after internal anti-imperialist outlets and journalists, a project that will go along with efforts by the administration to make Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube expand their censorship against these “illegitimate” information sources. Richard Stengel, the head of Biden’s U.S. Agency for Global Media, has outright advocated for the government to use propaganda against its “own population” and has said the country should start “rethinking” the First Amendment. So we can expect the incoming administration to focus on narrative management in a more competent way than the current one has.

In the short term, these suppressions of dissenting journalism and portrayals of disfavored speech as “foreign” or “extremist” propaganda will serve to manufacture consent for the Biden administration’s foreign policy projects. Biden’s secretary of state Tony Blinken plans to create the illusion of an end to America’s forever wars by largely switching U.S. warfare over to proxy conflicts, and towards “discreet” operations that are carried out by “special forces.” This will require the anti-imperialist media outlets to be heavily censored so that they don’t expose the Biden administration’s hidden atrocities. Biden and his team also plan to forsake diplomacy with north Korea in favor of tighter sanctions, entailing further U.S. efforts to militarily build up against the DPRK and other countries which are disobedient to the empire. This will require an intensification of the propaganda Americans are fed about the DPRK being a tyrannical dictatorship, China “detaining a million Uyghurs,” and so on.

In the long term, all of these measures will be used to fight an escalating class war within the core of the empire. All the tactics the empire uses against its enemies abroad-bombings, drone strikes, economic strangulation, massacres of thousands of innocent people-will eventually be used against the poor within the U.S. should our class conflict become extreme enough. So it’s no surprise that already, tools like covert state propaganda, heavy-handed censorship, and the Global Engagement Center are being increasingly used against us. Will the masses be able to break out of the prison of hate and lies that’s being built around them?

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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.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Social Democrats Are Fooling Themselves: We Can’t Vote Our Way Out Of Neoliberalism

I’m making the argument of this essay not from a right-wing position, but from an objective Marxist analysis of what the conditions of 21st century American capitalism will allow to happen. Despite the ongoing assertions from social democrats that we can bring about a “New New Deal,” these conditions simply won’t allow for a repeat of the FDR reforms to happen.

These conditions won’t let it happen because since the start of the crisis that global capitalism entered into during the late 20th century-a crisis that can never be reversed-the capitalist ruling class has become unable to afford social democracy. Social democracy, with its expansive welfare states, high taxes on the rich, and heavy checks on corporations, isn’t compatible with the central capitalist goal of making profits rise. If social democracy were to return to the U.S. and the other core imperialist countries that have embraced neoliberalism in the last half-century, the capitalist class would lose the tools for remaining the dominant class.

In the unprecedentedly unstable era that capitalism has entered into, positive profits can only be sustained through pushing the costs of civilization’s crises onto the poor and middle classes. In accordance with Marx’ theory about how the rate of profit has a tendency to fall, since the 1970s U.S. corporations have overall experienced a dramatic reduction in the amount of profits that they gain. This ever-worsening deficiency has sustained the great capitalist crisis that began when the 1970s economic crash happened, and when the imperialist countries began implementing and exporting neoliberalism in response.

Neoliberalism was, and still is, the only practical way for capitalists to keep their operations running. Margaret Thatcher’s statement that “there is no alternative” to neoliberalism applies just as much today, if not more than ever; in the last year alone, the U.S. GDP has shrunk by one-third in the second quarter, and the U.S. economy is still slowing down despite the initial bounce-back for corporate profits. This deep hole that capitalism finds itself in is also present, or even worse, in the other core imperialist countries, with the Eurozone GDP still shrinking. Thus the IMF’s recent moves to exploit Covid-19 to impose further austerity, privatization, and wage cuts onto 81 countries. The ruling class is doubling down on neoliberalism amid this crisis, not moving away from it.

But the social democrats will argue that their system can still yet be implemented if the lower classes work to get their interests represented. I’m sure it’s clear to figures like Kyle Kulinski, the social democrat commentator who’s been advocating for a “New New Deal,” that the rich won’t give up their power without a fight. What they don’t see is that neoliberalism isn’t just something that’s unshakably supported by the millionaires and billionaires, but by the broader institutional structure of imperialism. Because of this fundamental investment within the system for maintaining neoliberalism, the factions that want social democracy won’t be able to win out.

As the heightening contradictions of capitalism have led to popularity for social democrat politicians like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, it’s so far been shown over and over again that the conditions of 21st century capitalism won’t let their welfare state agenda be implemented. Whether through oligarchic political manipulations that prevent these politicians from coming to power, or corporate co-optation efforts that render the agendas of these politicians toothless, the capitalist class is managing to stop them from seriously threatening neoliberal hegemony.

Two presidential elections in a row, Bernie Sanders has been forced out of the race through dirty electoral tricks and corrupt backroom deals; in 2016 his campaign was sabotaged by massive voter suppression and electoral fraud, and in 2020 his campaign was stopped short after many of the same tactics were applied. The effectiveness of these electoral manipulations has shown that a progressive will never be able to take the White House, not in 2024, 2028, or anytime later. If Sanders had the extraordinary working class momentum behind him that he could acquire in 2016, and was still forced out, none of his ideological successors can realistically become president.

Jeremy Corbyn has been pushed out of his party through a vast campaign within Britain’s political and media establishment to disingenuously malign him as an anti-Semite, and through efforts to fix the country’s elections in ways that have made the neoliberals win against him. As Morning Star Online observed about last year’s shady election that saw the defeat of Corbyn:

The truth is that we are not living in a democracy as the term is commonly understood…The reality is that the British electoral process weighs votes unequally. Some peoples votes are worth more than other peoples votes…the vote of a person living in Hove carries the same political power as the votes of nearly 1½ people living in the Isle of Wight. But that is only one aspect of the democratic fraud. In the last four weeks of the election campaign the Conservative Party received £3.2 million in donations from 29 people and eight companies…However condescending we are about the money floating around the US system, the truth is that the UK system is just as flawed…But simply having sacks filled with money isn’t enough. From the very first week of a socialist being elected leader of the Labour Party four years earlier, the mainstream media began the project to influence the electorate.

All of these tricks-the moves to make certain votes count more than others, the ubiquitous influence of corporate campaign money, the media propaganda that’s designed to police elections-applies to the U.S., and to the rest of the core imperialist countries by extension. And when a supposedly social democratic leader is allowed to come to power within one of these countries, the nature of the system ensures that the neoliberal paradigm is continued. As one socialist columnist has written about New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern, who’s been hailed as a paragon of progressive governance by the international media:

This international praise is aimed at fostering illusions that, with leaders like Ardern in charge, capitalism can be saved and its evils curbed. The ruling classes are watching with fear as millions of workers and young people internationally join mass strikes and protests against record levels of social inequality, environmental destruction and attacks on democratic rights. Governments are seeking to combat rising support for socialism, particularly among young people…The Ardern government has overseen increased poverty, housing insecurity and starved public services of funding and resources. It has attacked democratic rights, strengthened the police; demonised immigrants; and intensified preparations for war.

The equivalent of all of these things will also happen should a “progressive” come to power in any other core imperialist country. The social democrats might say that I’m unfairly judging a hypothetical future Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Nina Turner presidency based on the actions of a different leader, but what I say comes from an honest analysis of what capitalism is and just how few systemic changes it allows for. Especially in an imperialist country, where the bourgeoisie have stored most of their wealth and where the functionings of colonial war and conquest stem from, the ruling class will set up the system to not allow the people’s interests to be represented. The co-optation part of this agenda has already become apparent in Ocasio-Cortez, who’s conceded to the imperialists by declining to oppose Venezuelan regime change and covertly meeting with Bolivian coup organizers.

The social democrats may argue that the people’s interests have been represented under capitalism in the past through the New Deal, but this argument is based in multiple layers of deception. Firstly, the interests of the proletariat and the poor will never truly be represented under a capitalist state; the New Deal (which didn’t even advance the wellbeing of those outside of the favored white settler population) was easily undone the moment the capitalist class decided that neoliberalism was necessary. Scandinavia’s descent into neoliberal austerity in recent decades is another example of how under capitalism the capitalists, not the people, have the final say. Secondly, social democracy within an imperialist country still means a perpetuation of imperialist violence and exploitation against colonialism’s victims; even the Scandanavia model, which is idealized by social democrats, has been built upon the profiting off of Western imperialism. And thirdly, capitalism’s crises have made it so that it’s no longer viable to establish social democracy.

The only way to improve global human rights, defeat capitalist inequality in both the core imperialist countries and the exploited countries, and save the environment is a movement towards revolutionary socialism. This means an effort to overthrow the capitalist state and replace it with a proletarian-run democracy, not a futile series of attempts to vote our way out of neoliberalism.

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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.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Anti-Chinese Propaganda Keeps The Empire’s Citizens Unaware That Socialism Is Working

The endless waves of demonizing propaganda that we’ve been subjected to about China in recent years-as well as about China’s fellow socialist nations the DPRK and Cuba-serve to cut those within the range of imperial control off from the knowledge that their lives can realistically be different. The U.S./NATO empire’s capitalist ruling class, which seeks to intensify austerity to keep up profits amid imperial decline and economic collapse, can’t have the masses they rule over finding out that socialism is succeeding in the world right now.

The bloc of countries that remains very much geopolitically loyal to the United States amid the shift towards a multi-polar world consists of Canada, the U.K., Australia, India, Japan, and south Korea. These are all the countries that are either actively participating in Washington’s cold war against China, or that can likely be brought into the fold through imperial unification projects like NATO 2030 (which aims to expand NATO into Washington’s Asia-Pacific allies). Otherwise, Washington finds itself increasingly isolated in its efforts to subdue China, simply because China’s rise is making it a practical necessity for more and more countries to economically partner with Beijing. Countries like Australia, which is for the most part taking Washington’s side in waging asymmetrical warfare against China, are experiencing harmful economic isolation as a consequence.

Even if Biden tries to patch up the harm that Trump’s uncompromising bellicosity on China and Russia has created for Washington’s relationships with many of its less loyal allies, this cold war will persist due to the empire’s insatiable desire to retain global hegemony. This will continue to exacerbate the internal economic stresses and diplomatic frayings that the U.S./NATO empire has lately been experiencing. And these crises, as Justin Trudeau recently assessed, are putting the capitalist ruling class everywhere into an increasingly unstable position: “The world is in crisis. Instead of crossing our fingers and hoping that the big powers will figure this out, let’s look at what we can do to make a difference together…Let’s not wait for someone else to act, let’s do it ourselves.”

For the imperialists, this cheery call to action will entail more military buildup, the reduction of wages and social benefits for the global working class, and the tightening of the powers of the police state. The latter development was recently shown in the U.K. government’s moves towards passing a spycops law that would allow state-sanctioned murder and rape, and in France’s pursuit of a new law that would forceMuslim children to get identification numbers. More fascistic policies like these will continue to appear in the coming years, even in liberal “democracies” like Biden’s America.

How can the imperialists stop these ever more atrocious realities of life in the pro-Washington bloc from resulting in a rise in class consciousness? How can the spectre of Marx and Lenin be suppressed, with the anger of the masses being diverted towards liberal political camps that don’t seriously threaten the system? Through an intense campaign to convince the masses that the ideas of Marx and Lenin aren’t worth pursuing, because the current working examples of them are far worse than anything which exists under capitalism.

This is the purpose of the headlines that claim China is committing genocide against the Uyghurs, that portray China as a threat to the freedom of Hong Kong and Taiwan, that demonize China’s political system as an oppressive oligarchy that’s advancing global imperialist ambitions. This year, a propaganda piece from the Think Tank Development Initiative for Ukraine used such talking points in its attempt to turn Ukrainian public sentiment against China:

The Communist Party of China is nobody’s friend, nor true partner; it wants to dominate the world and undermine liberal democracy. It uses investment in strategic infrastructure, elite capture (cultivating powerful individuals), political blackmail, cyberattacks and disinformation, as we have seen in recent years, and especially in the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chinese Dream is turning into a Chinese Nightmare. Deepening relations with China, except if done from a robust position of strength, will certainly jeopardise relations with the US — a country in which opposition to China’s new imperialism is the last big topic which unites the Republican and Democratic parties.

These are the deceptions that the imperialists use to portray their increasingly hellish system as the only political order that’s worth supporting. They want to invert the reality of what’s going on inside China and the other existing socialist countries so that the masses don’t make the ideological leap towards supporting Marxism-Leninism. Even though China is virtually the only country whose living standards have been rising this year amid a depression for the capitalist world, the DPRK has experienced virtually no damage from Covid-19, Laos and Vietnam have tackled Covid-19 in similarly effective ways, and Cuba is on the brink of a Covid-19 vaccine despite U.S. sanctions slowing down the progress towards this, these five communist countries are to varying degrees viewed as tyrannies in the anti-communist imagination. This year, the neoliberal Heritage Foundation made sure that everyone who looks up to it as an authority gets this message about these five countries hammered into their heads:

After 60 years of the “Revolucion,” the Cuban people are still waiting for the democratic election that Fidel Castro promised them. Socialist leaders promised to bring down dictators only to replace them with their own Marxist dictatorships in places like China, North Korea, Vietnam and Laos.

Within the religion of anti-communism, all thoughts about class must start and end with this. No matter how necro-political capitalism becomes (and if you think capitalism is bad now, in the coming decades it will produce horrors that we’d like not to imagine), the alternative is without question worse.

An inverted portrayal of the conditions of modern China is central to this. Even though the Communist Party of China just announced that it’s eliminated poverty in the remaining few counties where poverty had persisted prior to this year, the Western media seeks to make the American public believe the opposite. These propagandists are doing this by spreading stories (taken straight from NATO, the U.S. government, and the arms industry) that claim there’s massive state-sanctioned forced labor within China. They’re doing this by portraying the Uyghurs as intensely oppressed, exploited, and detained by a number of at least a million (this figure comes from similarly unreliable studies done by far-right Christian fundamentalists). They’re doing this by claiming that China is imprisoning “genuine Marxists,” even though these Marxists are actually labor infiltrators from imperialist front organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy (the group that’s also been behind the effort to portray Hong Kong’s population as oppressed by the CPC).

They’re painting the PRC as exactly what the countries in the pro-U.S. empire bloc are: blatantly genocidal towards disfavored groups, ruled by an unaccountable group of oligarchs, and increasingly lacking in human rights for the general population. They’re doing this because they don’t want us to look beyond the wall of imperialist censorship, narrative manipulations, and culturally ingrained bigotry to see that socialism is working for hundreds of millions around the world.

They want us to remain loyal to the forces of capitalism and imperialism, staying in our respective liberal or reactionary camps. And if we become anti-capitalists, they want us to hold onto our indoctrination about the evil nature of socialist states so that we won’t embrace a coherent revolutionary line. Why do you think the imperialists portray China as wanting to “undermine” liberal society, even though China doesn’t try to meddle in the affairs of other countries much less foment revolutions? Because the very presence of China’s guiding Marxist-Leninist ideology is a threat to the empire. And if they can get everyone to viscerally hate China, they can get everyone to turn away from such a revolutionary consciousness.

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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.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

The Climate Crisis Will Bring Austerity, Militarization, & New Syria-Style Conflicts

As the destabilization of the climate produces more and more natural disasters, and as this leads to resource shortages, civil unrest, and violence, we need to be conscious that the imperialists are working to turn these events to their advantage. The global class struggle is in some way present within every aspect of the climate crisis, with the U.S. and other imperialist powers seeking to use military interventions, proxy warfare, and opportunistic corporate exploitation to turn the tide in favor of the capitalist class.

The Syria regime change war: a prototype for imperialist machinations in the era of climate collapse

The war in Syria is a prototype for how the imperialists plan to exploit the instability that the climate’s meltdown will create. In 2011, Washington used the terrorist forces in the region it had long been funding, arming, and training to take advantage of the major drought that was happening at that time. These imperialist-backed terrorists ignited a conflict that’s since been used by the imperialists to get the Kurds to help them illegally extract Syria’s oil, and to economically cripple the country through sanctions that are interfering with the Assad government’s war reconstruction efforts. While Assad won some time ago, Washington will keep using its economic warfare tactics and proxy jihadist forces to try to weaken the Syrian state, and to squeeze out whatever further Syrian resources become available to the U.S.

The Pentagon has been formulating ways to replicate the Syria model within the numerous other countries that will experience instability as a result of global warming in the coming years. Last year, in a reporttitled Implications of Climate Change for the U.S. Army, the U.S. Army War College wrote that:

The Syrian population has declined by about ten percent since the start of the war, with millions of refugees fleeing the nation, increasing instability in Europe, and stoking violent extremism. By comparison, Bangladesh has eight times Syria’s population, and a conflicted history as a former part of Pakistan. Bangladesh is a predominantly Muslim nation locked between India and Burma. The latter is already under international scrutiny for its poor treatment of the Rohingya minority, the largest percentage of which have fled to Bangladesh. India is a nuclear-armed state per- petually on the verge of conflict with its nuclear-armed western neighbor, Pakistan. Indeed, Bangladesh’s existence is the result of a war between those two nations. The permanent displacement of a large portion of the population of Bangladesh would be a regional catastrophe with the potential to increase global instability. This is a potential result of climate change complications in just one country.

The government of Bangladesh is not currently one of Washington’s targets for regime change, since it’s part of the series of countries that have done everything they can to deregulate the markets and make way for Western investment throughout the last decade. (Bangladesh, Honduras, Guatemala, Indonesia, Brazil, and the Philippines are others that have most recently participated in this neo-colonial trend.) But if the U.S. carries out a military intervention within Bangladesh in response to the vast refugee crises the country will soon experience, it will do so with the goal of getting even more corporate profits out of the country.

Such is the nature of the Syria model for imperialist warfare: the U.S. and NATO use legitimate humanitarian disasters to create a public relations cover for exploiting and militarily occupying the local population. We’re seeing this right now in the CIA’s deal with the Kurdish forces to steal Syria’s oil, and we’ll see it in the future as U.S. corporations draw profits from getting involved in destabilized zones. We may also see campaigns from Washington and the IMF to get countries like Bangladesh to further implement neoliberal policies; the IMF has already been using Covid-19 to impose austerity and privatization onto 81 countries, so the coming global climate catastrophes will no doubt be used for similar means.

Operation Pacific Eagle: a potential route towards exploiting the climate crisis to recolonize the Philippines

And this is just in the countries that can firmly be considered U.S. neo-colonies. In countries like the Philippines, which has become militarily tied in with China and has therefore become a target for U.S. imperialist subversion, the coming catastrophes could be exploited to bring about war, the manufacturing of further destabilization, and expansions of U.S. global military occupations. Throughout the last three years, Washington has already switched towards a new strategy of colonial war against the Philippines; in Operation Pacific Eagle, the U.S. has been trying to establish itself as a permanent military fixture in the Philippines under the guise of “countering radicalization and violent extremism.”

By this, Washington means not just to counter ISIS forces within the Philippines (which is obvious, since Washington has been covertly aiding ISIS anyway). In fact, ISIS in the Philippines is more imagined than real; the aim of the imperialists in the Philippines is not to fight religious extremism but to fight a class war. Washington has been trying to position itself as President Duterte’s ally in fighting off the country’s communist guerrilla insurgency-something that China has been unwilling to do despite its rift with the Communist Party of the Philippines. As spokesman for the New People’s Army Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos told MintPress News in 2018 about Washington’s propaganda strategy for this war:

By using the general catchphrase ‘radicalization and violent extremism,’ the U.S. is encompassing all armed groups resistant to its puppet state’s rule, both existing and those bound to emerge due to its interference. In Mindanao, this includes legitimate Moro groups/clans fighting for their ancestral lands and right to self-determination.

For now, the U.S. efforts to use the world’s crises to assimilate the Philippines mainly relate to diplomatic maneuvers surrounding the pandemic; the incoming Biden administration will likely promise significant Covid-19 aid in exchange for Duterte allowing U.S. troop presence in the Philippines to continue. But as global warming, Covid-19, and the destructive impacts of neoliberalism raise the potential for proletarian revolution in the Philippines, Operation Pacific Eagle will be used as a way to gain favor from the country’s ruling class. Washington’s one advantage over China in their battle for geopolitical allyship within the Philippines is that unlike China, Washington has absolutely no hesitation in assisting with the massacre of Filipinos who are fighting for their liberation.

Replicating both of these models to retain control of neo-colonies & attempt regime change around the globe

The U.S. is driving towards regime change in Thailand, whose government has lost favor from Washington because of its involvement in China’s Belt and Road Initiative. So far this project has only extended to a campaign by the National Endowment for Democracy to fund opposition groups within Thailand, and therefore co-opt the legitimate anti-monarchy protests. But as the climate crisis throws the stability of all states into question, the imperialists will gain more opportunities to pursue power grabs through violent means.

In his 2018 paper Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy, Professor Jem Bendell concluded that societies all around the globe are at risk of having their basic modern functionings break down in the coming decades:

When I say starvation, destruction, migration, disease and war, I mean in your own life. With the power down, soon you wouldn’t have water coming out of your tap. You will depend on your neighbours for food and some warmth. You will become malnourished. You won’t know whether to stay or go. You will fear being violently killed before starving to death.

For the hundreds of millions of people in the capitalist world who are living on the edge of poverty now, this will become the reality. If it’s estimated by the UN that 120 million people will slide into extreme poverty by 2030 due to the climate crisis (likely a big underestimation), by 2040 or 2050 most people even in the “First World” countries will find themselves in impoverished or deadly conditions. With the greater risk of disease outbreaks that global warming is creating, these conditions will include near future pandemics that could be worse than Covid-19, and that will be even harder to contain due to the continued deterioration of living standards.

For the imperialists, this will mean opportunities to wage wars for geopolitical power and a necessity to suppress global class revolts. As the climate crisis further impacts Latin America, the U.S. could try to ignite Syria-style proxy conflicts in Mexico, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia, which are four countries in the region that the U.S. seeks to achieve regime change within (and that may be more strategically vulnerable than the island nation of Cuba). Washington could also employ the manipulation tactics of Operation Pacific Eagle to try to retain the loyalty of U.S. neo-colonies in Latin America and elsewhere; while more and more of Washington’s allies in South America, Africa, and Asia are economically joining up with China, Washington could try to buy their allegiance through providing them with arms to fight off the class uprisings they’ll experience as the world becomes less stable.

The objective of these and other climate change preparedness steps the U.S. military is taking is to ensure that the collapse of modern living standards for the majority of the population won’t come with the collapse of imperial power. The Pentagon’s report expresses worry about the enormous threats that climate disasters pose to U.S. military infrastructure, which it says should be addressed in the following ways:

An inter-agency approach, coupled with collaboration of the commercial sector, should catalogue the liabilities across the electrical grid and prioritize budget requests for infrastructure improvements…The DoD should pursue options to reverse infrastructure degra- dation around military installations, including funding internal power generation such as solar/ battery farms and small-nuclear reactors…The U.S. Department of Defense, in combination with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) should develop a long term 15 to 20 year tritium production plan that accounts for advances in nuclear technology and the possibility of rising climate induced water levels as well as increases to the overall average water temperature used to cool nuclear reactors.

These plans for fortifying the military in the face of climate destabilization come with the implication that capitalism and imperialism will also have to adapt to our reality of runaway global warming. The way these systems will adapt involves the further cutting of social safety net protections both for poor people within the imperial core and within the neo-colonies, and the further pursuit of militarization with the goal of fighting off rebellions. As this process of natural disasters, austerity, and militarism continues, expect the empire to use propaganda and censorship to try to get you on board with new versions of the Syria regime change war.

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