The social system in which we live is one big machine of parasitism. Its purpose is to perpetuate profits, whether that entails allowing a pandemic to take millions of lives, destroying entire countries, or sacrificing the biosphere. The danger this system creates for itself is that because it places profit above all else, it cultivates the circumstances for its own demise. A system that can’t stop consuming, exploiting, and accumulating is one that can’t sustain a sufficient social base.
This is what we’re seeing with the rise of the resistance to the Ukraine proxy war, a revolt which has been emerging within the USA’s own borders. It’s a revolutionary development, because it represents the coming of the stage in the class struggle where the imperial structure has deteriorated too much to be able to bribe most of the people into compliance. Previous uprisings, like the Seattle anti-WTO revolt or Occupy Wall Street, represented only less advanced manifestations of this. Revolts where smaller and less ideologically developed parts of the population did what they could to rebel amid the constraints of their circumstances. With the combination of crises the working class is now experiencing, where their government has started a war which furthers the damage from five decades of progressively declining living standards, today’s mass movement has the potential to set off an uprising which the ruling class can’t neutralize.
This is not only because of the unprecedented degree (within our lifetime) to which the U.S. working class is being harmed by capitalism, but because the cause the workers are now rallying around has an inescapably revolutionary character. It was possible for the Democratic Party to co-opt the anti-police movement, but not a movement to end the party’s own foreign policies. The Democrats have been trying to apply their counterinsurgency model from the 2020 protests to this year’s anti-NATO movement, but the most they’ve been able to do is convince a limited number of antiwar people to engage in cancellation activities against the movement’s most radical orgs and individuals. (Those orgs and individuals include Rage Against the War Machine, the PCUSA, and Scott Ritter.) And these types who support the anti-NATO movement in theory, while obsessively working to wreck the movement in practice, represent a minor online element when you look at the larger story. The in-person organizational actors which have had the biggest presence, the most media attention, and the most success at bringing in those not already involved are the ones from RAWM. Whose coalition is based around the most radical platform that’s been put forth throughout this struggle.
These actors are becoming the leaders of this movement because they seek not to use the antiwar cause as another tool for boosting the insular, exclusionary projects which dominate the modern American left, but as a way to expand the struggle beyond the left. They’re doing this because they see a truth which the radlibs refuse to recognize: that most of the U.S. population has a primary material interest not in maintaining the system, but in replacing it with workers democracy. Both the communists and the libertarians in the antiwar movement essentially know this, with the libertarians only having a different idea of what the solution to the workers’ living standards crisis should be. Opposition towards the war is a gateway for these kinds of conservatives to recognize the reality of our conditions, which no longer resemble the 1950s where a labor aristocracy was dominant. Today, the poverty which the black and indigenous communities have always been especially subjected to under the USA has both become more severe, and been expanded to at least a plurality of the white population. As the empire has declined, it’s had to shove ever greater parts of the core’s people out of the privileged socioeconomic circle. The outcome is that almost two-thirds of Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck.
There’s a reason why I say that even if someone claims to be anti-imperialist, this claim of theirs is meaningless when they still act like the conditions of the USA’s people are like they were seventy years ago: because when you refuse to see that the majority in the core are at this stage compatible with revolution, you won’t be effective at resisting the empire. The radlib tendency I’m talking about is so determined to stick with this outdated analysis that decades ago, their guiding theoretician J. Sakai preemptively came up with a rationale for them to refuse to see that the majority in the core now have revolutionary potential. In his 1983 polemic Settlers, Sakai claimed that the white population won’t develop revolutionary consciousness no matter how much their conditions deteriorate, because they had supposedly betrayed the revolutionary cause during capitalism’s last great period of crisis in the 1930s. This was a lie, told by a wrecker.
Not only did working class people of all colors engage in far more solidarity than Sakai’s limited historical account makes it appear, but the crisis the working class now faces has an important difference between the one from a century ago: this time, there won’t and can’t be a New Deal. Profits have declined too much for the bourgeoisie to be able to afford to bring back social democracy. A class compromise of that scale is never happening again, and the conditions of the workers can therefore only continue to deteriorate. History’s trajectory can only keep making larger the proportion of society that’s compatible with revolutionary politics, which is already a majority. Of course the anti-revolutionary viewpoint of the radlibs is now becoming in danger of losing its dominance over our organizing spaces. They’re promoting an idea that’s increasingly detached from reality, and that acts purely to keep their own status within the niche left circles. This idea doesn’t help connect these radlibs with the people, who won’t listen to somebody that has nothing to say to them besides “you’re forever our enemies.”
This is a problem that’s been holding back revolutionary progress ever since McCarthyism took communism out of the mainstream, and the three-letter agencies filled the vacuum with a “New Left” that’s compatible with imperialism. Even though history has proven revolution couldn’t come to be core until U.S. hegemony became sufficiently weakened, even during the empire’s peak the New Left was wrong to view the people as fundamentally reactionary. It was never wise to essentialize Americans as adversaries to the proletarian cause, because the conditions have always been fluid and people change with their conditions. The Panthers were organizing towards the state’s overthrow within the most revolutionary elements of society before neoliberalism was ever implemented. Each successive crime against the working class that neoliberalism has brought, from NAFTA to financial deregulation to the pandemic’s wage cuts, has been an opportunity for the left to renew the project of the Panthers. And the left has scorned these opportunities in favor of selling out to imperialism, which became apparent when Russiagate solidly reoriented the left towards the neocon stance.
The traditional representatives of our liberation movements are disinterested in bringing the working class to victory. And they’re showing this again by reacting to the anti-NATO movement with defenses of the notion that Russia was unprovoked, and with bad-faith attacks against those who are most effective at fighting the war machine.
Their next tool for trying to discredit the anti-imperialist cause is “anti-colonialism,” of the liberal kind that the bourgeoisie formulated during the early 20th century to break up the first anti-imperialist countries. They’re calling to “decolonize” Russia through balkanization, as well as Taiwan through pro-U.S. separatism. This foreign policy narrative tactic is being applied to the empire’s core as well, in the form of a campaign to smear Marxist-Leninists from a “decolonial” angle. I’ve long said anti-colonialism as applied to the American continent is compatible with socialism, but these actors don’t believe this. They seek to manufacture a contradiction between those two causes, where anybody who’s serious about building a proletarian movement gets denounced as “pro-colonial.” Their recent rhetorical tactic is to apply the label of “patsoc” to people who mostly aren’t actual patsocs, but simply hold the stances that are necessary for being an effective revolutionary. One of those stances being that the majority of the U.S. population has revolutionary potential.
That’s the difference between a settler-colonial state like Israel or Canada, and one like the United States: whereas Israel and Canada have relatively small populations, ones whose settlers can overwhelmingly avoid the fallout from capitalism’s crises by exploiting indigenous resources, the USA is too complex and populated for the equivalent to be true for it. Its indigenous people have been reduced to a tiny minority, but it has a large black population, a growing brown population that will soon outnumber the whites, and a white population that includes huge and growing communities with appalling poverty levels. I don’t believe Israel or Canada will undergo revolution from the inside, but the USA is absolutely capable of that. When this happens, it will be the duty of the revolutionaries to invade Canada to liberate the country’s brutally subjugated Natives, and the relatively few white Canadians who primarily are harmed by capitalism.
By that point, U.S. hegemony will be long defeated, and the primary priority will be solving the contradictions on this continent. At the stage we’re presently in, the main priority is defeating U.S. hegemony. We can’t get to that ultimate goal without foremost focusing on the most important task of today. Which we can’t do by analyzing our conditions through a lens of moralism, rather than of dialectics. That our ancestors had a primary material stake in maintaining neo-colonial extraction does not mean we also do. The nature of our social reality has changed, so much that even many of the voters from the party of Bush are now compatible with the anti-imperialist movement. Those still fighting to maintain imperialism are the neocons, the liberals who’ve aligned with the neocons, and the sectarian leftists who don’t care that their way of operating helps the former two groups. Most Americans only believe imperialism’s psyops for the time being because the pro-imperialist accounts of events is all they’ve so far been exposed to, and they’re too busy surviving under capitalism to readily seek out alternative viewpoints.
The more of these proletarians we introduce to anti-imperialist ideas, the stronger our movement will get, and the harder it will be for the wreckers to impede our goals. That’s why the state is close to passing the RESTRICT act, whose goal is to criminalize all efforts at building relationships with anti-imperialist countries. The class conflict is close to escalating to its next stage, closer than one would assume if they haven’t been following all of these developments. We must not yield to the attempts to intimidate us into compromising our anti-imperialist principles. The intensification of the campaign against us shows how much of a threat we’re becoming.
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