The coming of multipolarity has created unprecedented potential for revolution in Peru & elsewhere

Last year’s coup in Peru represented the point in the global class struggle where the U.S. empire, even though it’s been made weaker than ever, shows itself still for the moment capable of carrying out counterrevolutions. At least within the neo-colonies where the anti-imperialist movement is relatively weak. In Peru, this situation is changing, as the coup has mobilized the people towards attempting a revolution against the neo-colonial regime. But for this resistance effort to succeed, it will have to develop into a form that’s distinct from Latin America’s more reformist type of anti-imperialist politics from the last several decades. It will have to be an anti-imperialism that’s up to date with the present conditions, which are not like the ones from when Hugo Chavez revitalized leftism in the region during the early War on Terror era.

As a consequence of the crimes the U.S. empire committed during that time, Washington started on a process of rapid imperial decline that’s mirrored those of past empires. In his analysis of the failure of Washington’s geopolitical gamble in Ukraine (which was intended to reverse this process), Chris Hedges illustrates just how fast these global power structures have unraveled when a powerful actor has made a reckless decision at the wrong moment:

Historians refer to the quixotic attempt by empires in decline to regain a lost hegemony through military adventurism as “micro-militarism.” During the Peloponnesian War (431–404 B.C.) the Athenians invaded Sicily, losing 200 ships and thousands of soldiers. The defeat ignited a series of successful revolts throughout the Athenian empire. The Roman Empire, which at its height lasted for two centuries, became captive to its own army that, similar to the U.S. war industry, was a state within a state. Rome’s once mighty legions in the late stage of empire suffered defeat after defeat while extracting ever more resources from a crumbling and impoverished state. In the end, the elite Praetorian Guard auctioned off the emperorship to the highest bidder. The British Empire, already decimated by the suicidal military folly of World War I, breathed its last gasp in 1956 when it attacked Egypt in a dispute over the nationalization of the Suez Canal. Britain withdrew in humiliation and became an appendage of the United States. A decade-long war in Afghanistan sealed the fate of a decrepit Soviet Union.

The USA made an equivalent mistake when it invaded Afghanistan and Iraq in an attempt to reverse the losses in control it had experienced within southwestern Asia during the last generation. These maneuvers, continued with Washington’s engineering of the war in Syria, were ultimately about maintaining trade dominance over Eurasia, which was threatened by the prospect of a rising China. Because the Afghanistan war failed to prevent China from expanding its trade network across Eurasia; because the Iraqi counterinsurgency was too strong for Washington to carry out its planned invasions of several other countries; because Iraq was ultimately brought closer into Iran’s sphere of influence; because both wars destroyed Washington’s perceived credibility and ability to sway most of the globe; China was able to successfully challenge U.S. hegemony, and gain Russia as a partner in defying Washington.

This new multipolar reality doesn’t yet mean the empire can no longer carry out any coups. In the most vulnerable places, like Peru under the relatively moderate leftist Castillo, Washington continues to be capable of reversing revolutionary progress. But this is only where it’s possible to use the State Department as the tool for regime change, because the Cold War model of CIA-facilitated violent reactionary takeovers is no longer viable. The failure of the 2002 Venezuela coup showed that Washington needed to pivot towards the color revolution model, where the State Department and its front “human rights” organizations agitate for demonstrations that make pro-imperialist coups appear “democratic” and unconnected to Washington. The 2019 Bolivia coup, which also failed within a year of its inception, was the final example of the CIA-style coup. Obama and Biden have normalized the State Department-style coup, exemplified by the 2016 “anti-corruption” campaign that ousted Lula. It’s now been repeated with the ouster of Castillo for supposedly having violated the constitution.

The imperialists maintain an equivalent type of strength when it comes to preventing revolutions through military force, such as when it recently sent in troops to protect Haiti’s neo-colonial regime from the country’s rising workers movement. Most of the peripheral countries remain not yet equipped enough, whether economically, militarily, or politically, to fight off Washington. What the war in Ukraine has done is accelerate the transition towards a scenario where this global power balance shifts.

Russia’s anti-fascist war represents one of this century’s first multipolar conflicts. It’s set the precedent for a country to act in defiance of the empire, to the extent that it can assert its interests without ultimately being crushed by the backlash from Washington. The only way to reverse this transition to multipolarity, and make countries again have reason to live in universal fear of the USA, would be if the sanctions succeeded at destabilizing Russia. This isn’t happening, Russia’s economy is likely to shrink less than that of the UK during the war despite Russia not even benefiting from imperial extraction. Because Russia won’t be defeated, China won’t be either. It will continue to construct a Eurasian alliance that lets it complete its project to develop the peripheral countries, undoing the global inequality that neo-colonialism depends on. 

When the countries the imperialists call “bad actors” can commit their supposed sins with impunity, and challenge Washington without having to worry about being destroyed, this enables anti-imperialist movements even in the poorest countries to build power in ways not previously possible.

The coming of the multipolar order has meant that insurgent Latin American anti-imperialism is no longer exclusively in the form of Chavismo’s “Socialism for the 21st Century,” with its many limitations. That model of struggle was fitting for the transitionary period between Pax Americana and multipolarity, when a more reformist strategy was able to bring socialists to power. The imperialists have shown themselves able to oust socialists who haven’t built up a mass militia to defend their gains, like Maduro did; as well as to pressure relatively moderate governments like Maduro’s into making concessions. In Venezuela, the ones with the will to make the revolution complete, and build a coalition for fully driving out imperialist influence, are the communists. 

In places like Peru, the communists—at least the non-reformist ones—also represent such a necessary force for bringing the people to victory. Not because communists will definitely soon come to power in these countries, but because their ideas are essential for reaching the defeat of neo-colonialism. This was shown in Bolivia, where Morales saw a people’s militia as unnecessary prior to the coup, then embraced this communism-adjacent idea when it was proven indispensable for combating the reactionaries. It’s now being incrementally shown in places like Chile and Brazil, where “leftist” governments have come to power that are truly centrist in nature but where growing communist movements threaten to disrupt the bourgeois order.

We’re now at a point where the State Department, with its manufactured reactionary insurrection tactics, is imperialism’s only hope for reversing global revolutionary gains; where countries can now assert their own interests without fear of fatal repercussions; and where given these factors that work in favor of anti-imperialist projects, anti-imperialist struggles have an unprecedented amount of chances at success. So long as these struggles involve committed efforts, where the people get rallied to fight imperialism with arms if necessary, a new wave of revolutions is soon to occur. Then those in the core will become better able to defeat our own ruling class, and bring about the step that must follow multipolarity: the end of the U.S. empire in its entirety.


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