The Ukraine proxy war has failed. This means a vast acceleration of America’s internal class struggle.

Why do I say the U.S. empire’s Ukraine proxy war has failed? Because by the unspoken admission of the empire’s own narrative managers, Ukraine is no longer a narrative asset. It’s now a narrative liability. The propagandists have admitted this by pivoting away from Ukraine as their rhetorical focus during recent months, now moreso seeking to co-opt the liberation struggles which have grown amid the latest law enforcement atrocities. This new goal of theirs is dependent on the Ukraine debate, with its new perils for the imperialists, never again becoming prominent in our discourse. They want us to forget about it.

The imperialists always knew Ukraine would never be able to militarily win this war, and in the last half-year this has been shown by Russia’s managing to carry out vast new mobilizations at the same time Ukraine has had to struggle to hold on to key strategic locations. Washington never expected Kiev would achieve its strategic objectives, because that was never the point. The foremost motive behind Washington’s provoking Russia into taking action was to weaken Russia so much in the following conflict that the country gets destabilized and balkanized, leaving China vulnerable in the new great-power competition. Without the fulfillment of this objective, the arms profits and NATO expansions the war has brought will be surpassed by the drawbacks the conflict is having for the empire. Those drawbacks being the decline in American and European living standards caused by the sanctions, and the acceleration of the transition to a multipolar world.

Because the peripheral countries have rejected Washington’s calls for participating in the Russia sanctions, the costs of trying to economically crush Russia have had to be foisted onto Europe, and onto the American working class people who’ve been strained by the inflation. Because America and Europe are no longer as economically powerful as they used to be, increasingly rivaled by China and its growing global developmental project, they’ve proven unable to sufficiently weaken Russia. The consequence is that a year after the war began, it’s clear our ruling class will never see the reversal in the geopolitical power balance which would make the war’s sacrifices worthwhile for them. They’ll never see a divided and recolonized Russia, or a subdued PRC. All they’ll see is a population that continues to economically suffer, and that will more and more desire to take away the ill-gotten wealth of the elites. The last year’s gains for multipolarity won’t be reversed, this is the new international normal.

The point was always coming when Russia would gain too many victories for the media’s illusion of imminent Ukrainian victory (which it was still promoting just last fall) to still be worth using as a propaganda tool. What the warmongers didn’t anticipate was that when this happened, the empire would be starting to face the consequences of a failed geopolitical gamble. A gamble so big and so reckless that it could prove fatal for the rule of the American bourgeoisie.

At this stage, Ukraine is a radioactive topic for the empire. The different lies that made up the Ukraine psyop are being categorically debunked through new revelations, like the ones exposed by Seymour Hersh’s recent investigation into how the U.S. orchestrated the Nord Stream explosion. And the psyop machine is ultimately defenseless against these journalistic efforts, because Ukraine has expired as an effective narrative weapon. Like Vietnam, Iraq, and so many of the empire’s other wars from its last half-century of incremental decline, it hasn’t brought the new neo-colonial benefits it was supposed to produce. 

America is no longer in the phase of rising imperial power, where each war means an expansion of its capital strength and greater capacity to create a bribed labor aristocracy. The labor aristocracy has been shrinking since the implementation of neoliberalism, leaving a hollowed out country where most people are effectively living in poverty. Ukraine was the foreign policy failure that facilitated the entry into an unprecedented stage of American crisis. A stage that parallels the one of the Russian empire during World War I, which was followed by a workers revolution. That’s what’s different about the obsolescence of the Ukraine psyop, compared to the obsolescence of the Vietnam or Iraq psyops: Washington’s foreign policy defeat by Russia has catalyzed the coming of the most dire era the empire has ever been in. An accelerated retreat of imperial power is now guaranteed, along with an acceleration of America’s internal social crises.

What remains to be determined is whether the workers will win in America following its imperial collapse. Victory for the workers is never guaranteed, it always depends on how well the revolutionaries navigate their conditions. In our case, liberation depends on whether we can overcome the multiple layers of counterinsurgency that the imperial state has created to try to stop us in the midst of social breakdown. The system is capable of surviving this crisis in a diminished form. Corporations profit off of catastrophes like the climate’s destabilization, and neoliberalism has provided a model for letting capital survive its contraction. The deterioration of the people’s livelihoods can only lead to revolution if we build the mass mobilization networks and cadres to be able to defeat the state.

The counterinsurgency’s initial layer is narrative control, which keeps the people from mobilizing in a truly threatening way. This is where imperialism’s psyops still hold power. Washington’s narrative on Ukraine has so far overall failed to compel the people across the peripheral countries, but has (for now) mostly convinced the people in the core countries, because the core countries aren’t yet as far along in their process of capitalist collapse. Their bourgeois systems still have the relative strengths afforded by being benefactors of neo-colonial extraction. Their people, even after half a century of neoliberal living standards decline, haven’t yet become materially detached enough from imperialist interests to view the empire with the same intuitively hostile mentality which most of the globe does. But this situation is fluid, increasingly fluid. These “benefits” that Americans see from imperialism are at this point marginal. They exist in the context of severe exploitation of the country’s working class, to the extent that almost two-thirds of Americans now live paycheck to paycheck.

There are still plenty of individuals in the core who cling to pro-imperialist ideology out of a corrupt desire to continue benefiting from imperialism. There will always be individuals like this for as long as imperialism remains in existence. The unprecedented thing about our situation is that these decidedly imperialist-invested actors have become marginalized by the intensifying breakdown of the empire. The majority of society has become proletarianized by the austerity policies of the last two generations, and this has made them compatible with anti-imperialist ideas. The only missing factor is the proliferation of these ideas to the people on a sufficiently large scale.

Most Americans only believe the Ukraine psyop at present because it’s the only story they’ve so far been exposed to. When they’re exposed to the anti-imperialist account of the events within and surrounding Ukraine, many of them will be receptive to it. Thereby, many of them will be receptive to the additional revolutionary ideas which are tied to the anti-imperialist account of Ukraine, from Marxist-Leninist theory to the information debunking imperialism’s other psyops. 

Rage Against the War Machine is bringing the counterarguments to the Ukraine psyop to a mainstream audience. For this strategic reason, communists must support it. It’s breaking the narrative grip the Democratic Party holds over our liberation movements, creating the possibility for revolutionary politics to replace reformist politics as the vehicle through which these movements are represented. When this defeat of the Democrats is complete, the class struggle will escalate, and we’ll be prompted to work to overcome the counterinsurgency’s other layers.


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