The counterinsurgency model the U.S. government uses is one that’s based in a dual (or rather contradictory) strategy. This is a strategy of crude brutality, along with efforts to win over the hearts and minds of the people who are being violently occupied. It’s an absurd way of waging war, one that murders millions of a given country’s people while simultaneously depending on the establishment of a good relationship with those lucky enough to survive the genocide. It’s the logical conclusion of neo-colonialism, which demands that the imperialists dominate the peripheral countries through perpetual warfare while acting like these neo-colonies are “independent.” And the most ridiculous part is that at this stage in U.S. imperialism’s decline, it doesn’t even have any viable alternatives to this self-defeating warfare model. Washington continues to use it because it’s at least a strategy, not because it’s a strategy that works.
As shown by imperialism’s pivot towards hybrid wars since the catastrophes of the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions, Washington seeks to avoid implementing that counterinsurgency strategy whenever it can. It now tries to avoid the blowback from ground invasions, with their inevitable provocations of guerrilla uprisings, by instead utilizing asymmetrical warfare whenever possible. Washington’s use of such covert, indirect warfare in places like Syria, Ethiopia, and Myanmar is able to keep its global machinations going, without it having to resort to reckless actions in most cases. But the day is coming when Washington will have no choice but to apply its infamously awful counterinsurgency method in the worst possible location: the USA itself.
Evidence has appeared throughout the last decade indicating that if our government assesses there’s an existential threat towards capitalism from an internal uprising, it will occupy U.S. cities the way it occupied Baghdad during the Iraqi revolt. Many times, I’ve cited the military analyses showing this sentiment’s presence among the ranks of the national security state. So I need not again repeat the many outrageous statements included in these documents. But I’ve recently realized the explanation for why the wild scenario of internal siege that they describe still hasn’t materialized, and it’s not a comforting explanation.
What I’ve found is that the only reason why our government hasn’t so far taken the most extreme measures in fighting off internal revolt is that it’s still able to sufficiently co-opt and demobilize the liberation movements. The 2020 Black Lives Matter uprising, which came right after the country had reached a social collapse tipping point with the pandemic, showed that the country is closer to decolonial socialist revolution than it’s ever been. The people are getting radicalized by their conditions at an unprecedented rate, losing faith in their ruling institutions due to the appalling reality of their surroundings. All that’s missing for revolution is the construction of an organizational means for mobilizing the people towards revolution. When that task gets fulfilled, the capitalist state will be seriously threatened, and the state will react with a level of internalized violence that it’s never shown before.
When the uprising happened, Trump wanted to carry forth the plans to exact that kind of violence. He declared that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” and he sought to deploy 10,000 troops in Washington DC alone to suppress the demonstrations. But because the Democratic Party could manage to co-opt the struggle, and because the forces of reactionary intrigue sufficiently frustrated the revolutionary organizers, Trump’s mentality didn’t win out for the time being. The country got only a taste of the worst-case scenario when Trump deployed federal agents to black-bag random protesters, and detain them in unmarked vehicles. State terror came, as well as paramilitary terror, but it was the palest shadow of what would eventually come. Of what our ruling class will do when it can no longer break up and divert the forces of discontent.
The propaganda tools the ruling class used to dissipate the uprising were utterly dull and uncreative, only able to succeed because no visible alternative to their pitch existed. As Martin Schoots-McAlpine wrote about the 2020 counterinsurgency against BLM, the COINTELPRO infiltration, pro-police psyops, state violence, and agent provocateur chicanery were followed by a bland drive to vote for Biden in November:
Despite the lack of success of the official Democrat cooptation attempt of the George Floyd Uprising, I want to point out one of the more insidious ways that the Democrats are attempting to coopt outrage against police murders through social movements themselves. It is worth first pointing out that Alicia Garza, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, is a supporter of the centrist-wing of the Democrats, specifically Elizabeth Warren….neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are even pretending to deliver on promises like this. Biden does not support medicare for all, and was an architect of the current racist criminal justice system. The #WhatMatters2020 campaign is a cynical sheepdog campaign, bringing black people angry at the current injustices of American white-supremacist capitalism back into the Democrats.
This is the alternative to revolutionary politics that our ruling class is presenting: a decrepit and discredited neoliberal husk of a party, unable to inspire the people in any way. The people are disillusioned with this cycle of false promises from a so-called “left” that keeps telling them to vote for their class enemies, and ripe for embracing the solution that Marxism provides them. All Marxists need to do is carry out the work towards organizing them, and towards raising them up to the level of an ideologically trained cadre member. Then revolutionary politics will grow strong. Which we are capable of doing, so long as we get the education on revolutionary intelligence needed to protect our cadres from COINTELPRO agents and other types of wreckers. We can outsmart the state’s sabotage tactics, and build a movement that makes the state no longer so comfortable.
Throughout this mass work, we must continuously engage in the physical development of our cadres. Because as soon as our mass work becomes effective enough, the state’s calculus will change. It will no longer view the liberation movements as manageable through co-optation efforts. It will treat them as literal insurgencies, to be crushed with actual military force. Not merely National Guard interventions or attacks by militarized police, as happened in 2020, but military operations on the level of what the U.S. has carried out in places like Iraq. The government may bomb entire neighborhood blocks, as it’s done in recent history via law enforcement. It may use drones to attack “terrorists,” mostly harming civilians as is the case for Washington’s “surgical strikes” abroad. It may start outright massacring crowds of protesters, which it wouldn’t even need troops to do since our police have been effectively turned into domestic armies.
There’s no telling how far our ruling class will take it. What we can be certain of is that such a stage of counterrevolutionary violence will initially center around paramilitarism, because the last thing the government wants to do is alienate its own people by directly waging war against U.S. citizens. The country’s fascists will be deputized to hunt down all who are judged to be a threat to capital, a process that the government could assist in by doxxing the targets. This is something Washington’s puppet fascist regime in Ukraine has done to hundreds of individuals, who it’s put on a list of supposed Russian assets. We should see this, along with the Kiev regime’s fomenting of Nazi terror, as experiments on a testing ground for the USA’s own fascist crackdown.
The closer we get to that breaking point within the U.S. empire’s internal social stability, the more vigilant we must be. Stay on the lookout for fascist activities in your area. Stay on the lookout for infiltrators within the liberation struggle. Pay attention to the historic warning signs for a looming counterrevolutionary purge. Read Che’s accounts of how revolutionaries have in the past evaded capture by bourgeois dictatorships, and about how they’ve managed to use the bourgeois state’s reactive brutality against it. There is a route towards this land’s liberation, however strong the state’s weapons are. The key requirements are the support of the people for throwing off the bourgeois state, and the sufficient tactical and ideological training of our cadres. When these criteria are met, the state will maneuver towards crushing the struggle. But if we respond properly, that maneuver will backfire on it.
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