Backlash to Rage Against the War Machine is about trying to sabotage an effective anti-imperialist movement

By deciding to provoke Russia into intervening in Ukraine, the U.S. empire took a geopolitical gamble. A gamble that it lost. It’s been left with accelerated social crises in the core countries from the sanctions blowback, at the same time that these sanctions have failed to destabilize Eurasia. The war profits and NATO unification that the conflict brought have not precipitated an actual expansion of imperial power, but a hastening of the transition into multipolarity. The proxy war’s “benefits” for the empire are hollow, having come in the context of a decline for U.S. hegemony which this war made more severe. The proxy war guaranteed the coming of multipolarity by proving that even when the imperial powers sacrifice their own people’s living standards to try to crush the Chinese bloc, their efforts to reverse history’s progression are futile.

The outcome that isn’t yet guaranteed is the coming of a phase of historical development which, should the forces of class struggle prevail, will follow multipolarity. That phase is the end to the USA as an international player, due to the imperial center experiencing a proletarian revolution in which America’s workers end neo-colonial extraction. That’s how serious communists view multipolarity: not as an end goal, but as a necessary chapter within the story of how the U.S. empire vanishes altogether. U.S. imperialism won’t truly end until the United States, with its dependence on exploiting stolen indigenous territories and subjugated Latin American neo-colonies, itself gets abolished. That’s what will allow the hemisphere’s working class to unify in building a new world, and that will render whatever remaining imperial powers too weak to carry out counterrevolution.

To bring this full victory over the imperialists, we must infuse the class struggle in this country with the principles of anti-imperialism. As long as our liberation movements are too significantly influenced by the ideological poison of the pro-imperialist “left,” they’ll continue to be co-opted to the extent that they can’t pose a serious threat towards the state. The inherent benefit which this week’s Rage Against the War Machine rally in Washington DC brought towards the class struggle, even though many of its participants weren’t Marxists or leftists, is that it took away a large amount of this pro-imperialist narrative control over American radical politics. It introduced the broad masses of the people, beyond the online and organizing niches which the left is concentrated within, to anti-imperialist ideas. 

That’s made it uncertain whether the state’s counterinsurgency against revolutionary politics is going to succeed, and therefore more likely that the empire will be totally defeated. Because when anti-imperialism is made into something on the mind of the average worker, there’s an opening for the anti-imperialist radical organizations to build power, and the pro-imperialist radical liberals have lost their monopoly over our social movements. The rally didn’t fully bring us towards this, but it brought us closer.

The role which communists must assume within this new cultural landscape from after the rally is one where we lead the construction of an anti-imperialist coalition. A coalition that like the rally is open towards Libertarians, non-Marxist progressives, and others who wouldn’t be compatible within a Bolshevik party, but who are essential to work with in the way that the reactionary trade unions had to be worked with during Lenin’s time. Like Lenin, our job is not to shun the non-socialist elements to the point where we sabotage our own power, but to ally with these elements where needed for advancing the class struggle. With our end goal being to establish a new order where the social systems these elements depend on no longer exist, parallel to our broader goal of replacing multipolarity with a post-American world. It’s all part of the same process of acting strategically so that we can disrupt the power balance, and ultimately render all enemies of revolution powerless.

I say that working with these other elements in the antiwar coalition is essential, insofar as we can use their platforms to proliferate anti-imperialist ideas. The ideas which our movement needs to become popularized in order for us to succeed. The Libertarian Party has proven itself capable of wielding a platform of culturally impactful proportions when it comes to anti-imperialism, therefore when it uses that platform, we should promote its antiwar actions simply for the sake of proliferating those ideas. Our collaboration can stop there, as anything further than a strategic alliance would entail changing our own stances to appease Libertarianism’s reactionary aspects. We simply need to have the empire’s psyops discredited in the eyes of a greater amount of the people, then we’ll be better able to build the anti-imperialist coalition’s Marxist flank, educate the people on the other revolutionary ideas, and defeat the state.

This is what Rage Against the War Machine’s attackers, at least the ones who aren’t part of the pro-imperialist NAFO trolling group but rather the activist “left,” don’t want to see. They’ve made the false calculus that building a multi-tendency anti-imperialist coalition will help the right opportunists. The truth is that if we Marxists put in the work to advance anti-imperialist practice, if we help debunk the pro-war psyops, organize anti-NATO events, and incorporate geopolitics into our analysis of today’s conditions, we’ll make it so that the right opportunists are ultimately irrelevant to this story. They won’t matter if we manage to destroy the social system that makes their bourgeois politics, culture war demagoguery, and promotions of the anti-China psyops possible. If enabling the rightists is what one hopes to avoid as a Marxist, that shouldn’t make you so scared that you willingly cripple your own potential for attaining victory. You’re a Marxist, you have your principles, you see a path towards achieving power, if you stay consistent with these traits then you won’t have to worry about helping Marxism’s enemies. All you have to do is build the anti-imperialist coalition, combat imperialism’s narratives by any means necessary, and continue with your work to build the workers movement.

A Marxist who knows what they’re doing is too confident to be paralyzed by the complexity of their conditions, or so willing to second-guess a decision that they neglect clear opportunities for their bringing victory closer. They do what they need to do, and aren’t affected by whatever the radical liberals have to say about what they’re doing. The radical liberals aren’t on our side, so their input isn’t relevant to us. Not anymore than the pro-capitalist arguments from Libertarians are relevant to us. We have a goal, this being the liberation of the global working class, and we’ll achieve that goal with no apologies towards those who don’t like it.

This is what we’ll need to remember as the state’s radlib wreckers try to undermine our anti-imperialist practice in reaction to Rage Against the War Machine’s success. We must speak the truth about imperialism’s psyops and crimes without wavering, without being convinced that we’ve “done it the wrong way” or “haven’t been nuanced enough” by those whose goal is absolutely not to help the anti-imperialist movement. Any criticisms we accept must come from those in our internal spaces, and we therefore have to investigate whether somebody criticizing us is genuinely an anti-imperialist or LARPING as one. It’s easy to put a hammer and sickle in one’s profile picture, but harder to stand with a consistent anti-imperialist agenda. That’s why one can find so many who claim to be “Marxists,” but who both-sides Russia’s anti-fascist war or uncritically defend NATO’s atrocity propaganda against targets like Serbia. Don’t be intimidated into compromising your anti-imperialism. Act with a center that can’t be shaken. Only then can you win this struggle.


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