Why is Russia’s Operation Z succeeding? Why has Russia taken 25% of Ukraine, with Ukraine being virtually only able to try to take back localities it’s already lost? Because Operation Z is based in the same military theory that Russia used to defeat fascism in World War II, the last time it faced a genocidal U.S.-enabled Nazi state on its doorstep. This is the theory that’s been passed down especially by Russia’s communists, who were one of the first factions to start urging Putin to take strong action against the Kiev U.S. puppet regime following the coup in 2014. Now that their hopes for a committed effort to subdue Ukraine have been fulfilled, with it being only a matter of time before Kiev must give up its charade of having potential for a comeback, the power dynamic has shifted. Not just within the region, but throughout the world, on every front of the conflict between national oppression and the national liberation struggles. That includes within the United States itself.
As it becomes more apparent that Ukraine can’t win at this point militarily, the imperialists are trying to bargain, claiming that Russia will still ultimately lose because of the costs their proxy war has brought upon the country. But after the initial shock from the sanctions, Russia’s ruble has risen to become the world’s strongest currency this year, causing the imperialist media to respond with more bargaining in the form of “the ruble’s strength is only artificial” headlines. Despite their affirmations that this proxy war is indeed driving Russia into collapse, and that Washington will get payoff for its risky move on the geopolitical chessboard, the fact remains that Russia’s economy still hasn’t tanked. This is because as these pundits begrudgingly admit, Putin has been preparing for a situation like this for years. Imperialism’s provocations have caused him to see that Russia would need to fortify itself against such destabilization attempts. The scenario of a dismantled and U.S.-colonized Russia, wherein the CIA has carried out a Yugoslavia-style breakup that takes out China’s most important strategic ally, won’t materialize. The deceptive call from the neocons to “decolonize” Russia is pure fantasy, unable to reverse the trend towards multipolarity or deal actual damage towards the Russian Federation.
By provoking this conflict, the U.S. empire has unintentionally ended up accelerating this transition away from Pax Americana. In their hubris, the imperialists have failed to anticipate that their drastic maneuver in Ukraine wouldn’t pay off. And that all they’ll be left with are the negative consequences the Ukraine war is bringing upon them: an economically imploding Europe, a solidification of the formerly colonized world’s allegiance towards the Russo-Chinese bloc, a decline in U.S. living standards due to sanctions-created scarcity and opportunistic corporate price gouging. The contradictions of capitalism within the core imperialist countries are being exacerbated. The global anti-imperialist movement is being invigorated by the outpouring of solidarity for the Donbass republics, which Kiev has attempted to ethnically cleanse. Washington’s aim was to break up Russia and destabilize broader Eurasia, but it’s ended up bringing itself closer to such a fate.
This is because as the U.S. empire demonizes Russia for supposedly being a prison of nations, the U.S. itself couldn’t be a better example of such a prison. U.S. settler colonialism is one of history’s most vile tyrannies, formed through the systematic murder of around 90% of the continent’s Natives. Whatever argument can be made for Russia’s imperial history mandating an allocation of sovereignty—and the Soviets already addressed this argument—the fact is that Russia’s version of settler colonialism wasn’t nearly as violent as the colonization of the American continent has been and continues to be. There’s a reason why modern Russia doesn’t have a direct equivalent to the Indigenous land rights struggles that the modern U.S. sees, where Native communities have to fight for necessities like drinkable water and a brutal settler state responds with extreme police violence. If Russia were doing to its historic regional communities what the U.S. does to its own, we would have heard all about it by now. But we haven’t, because the neocons lack a real case for their Russian “decolonization” proposal.
The U.S. is throwing stones while living in a glass house, and that will have consequences for it. The defeat of the racial supremacist ideology which drives the Kiev regime, in which the Russian speakers Ukraine has tried to deprive of their independence have freed themselves from oppression, will at some point repeat itself through anti-colonial struggles within U.S. borders. Like the Donbass Russians, America’s African, Indigenous, and Brown nations are targeted by an oppressor country, one which seeks to push them aside for the sake of a territorial grab by the favored racial group. When the coup happened eight years ago, and the Donbass people found themselves under threat, they fought an armed struggle for their liberation. When the contradictions within the U.S. settler-colonial structure reach a breaking point, the U.S. empire’s internal colonies will take the equivalent actions to save themselves from the fate the empire will try to subject them to in the coming decades.
This is a fate where these communities are forced into a situation parallel to the one that Palestinians have been forced into by the Israeli occupation, which has naturally prompted Palestinians to take up arms against the settler state. Where the impoverished nonwhite communities have suffered the worst from the vast upward wealth transfer which global warming is estimated to bring about, and which has already been underway throughout the neoliberal era. Where the settler state sends in police that are even more militarized and impune than they are now, along with fascist paramilitary forces, to exact violence against these groups in even greater amounts than is currently the case. In reaction to the decline of U.S. hegemony, the contraction of capital, and capitalist crises like Covid-19 and global warming, the fascists are intensifying colonial oppression. They’re scapegoating the groups which threaten the colonial order, and waging an ever deadlier war against these groups.
Violence against colonized peoples isn’t unprecedented or non-recent in U.S. history. Colonial genocide has always characterized the United States, and the formation of the U.S. empire was carried out through this genocide’s biggest waves. But with the capitalist settler project reaching an unprecedented stage of crisis, and with the power structure reacting by increasing the existing violence, the subjugated nations have a potential to successfully fight for their liberation in the coming decades. The conditions are growing ripe for a mass proletarian revolutionary effort among nonwhite and white people alike, and the colonized nations are getting pushed to a point where they may soon get provoked into militant revolt.
The emergence and victory of a war for national self-determination within the Donbass is a warning sign for every colonial regime on the planet. It’s shown that at some point, the oppressor countries will be met with a level of resistance that they can’t suppress. It’s up to us to study the lessons that Russia’s communists have learned from fighting fascism, and apply these lessons to when we’ll be trying to fight off the reactionaries ourselves.
For now, the point at which such an anti-colonial confrontation appears within U.S. borders draws closer. The economic fallout from the Ukraine conflict is especially impacting nonwhite communities. These communities are further losing faith in the state they live under, increasingly recognizing both parties as oppressive instruments which will never address their material needs. When this unraveling of social stability reached its logical conclusion, and the U.S. experiences a new Wounded Knee revolt, an anti-police insurgency, or something similar, the settler state will meet its karma.
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