By Rainer Shea – Oct 10, 2023
The post-Ukraine phase in the struggle of the USA’s anti-imperialist movement centers around preventing the empire from prevailing in the battles it still has a chance of winning. The empire has lost its proxy war with Russia, and therefore it can’t subdue China either. But for now, it could still succeed at enabling Israel to crush the latest Palestinian resistance effort; at using the Uhuru indictments to create a precedent for massive repression by the national security state; and at mobilizing towards the next big war, which will likely be with Mexico. It could also succeed at implementing the next stages of the austerity agenda in the empire’s core—which will increasingly be sold as “degrowth” measures for saving the planet—while preventing a successful resistance towards these anti-worker policies.
Our enemy is in a reactive place, where it’s on the decline and needing to try to save itself from extinction; that’s good, but the enemy can still do great damage. And how well we navigate this next phase is going to define the future of the North American continent. It could also decide the future of the rest of the globe, since the empire could bring us to a third world war.
A problem we’re encountering in this project to crush the empire is that when Israel’s existence has become at risk, many of the same right-leaning Americans who’ve opposed aid to Ukraine have shown support for aiding Israel. Which affirms Stalin’s sentiment that when it comes to the question of whether the left deviationists or the right deviationists are worse, “they are both worse.” For these conservatives to turn around when it comes to being antiwar; and to do so because of a desire to uphold the supremacy of the “West” over an Arab world which the “West” views as barbaric; represents a revelatory moment in our class conflict. At every stage of escalation in this conflict, there appear new tests of the integrity of each individual; and at every stage, some abandon the struggle’s principles, while others make the correct choice and show themselves able to help carry forth historical progress.
With this escalation in the conflict between Zionism and the national liberation movement, there are plenty of conservatives who’ve embraced the wrong side of history, even though shortly prior they were doing something progressive by opposing aid to Ukraine. Yet there are also plenty of conservatives, or former conservatives, whose opposition towards the war against Russia has helped bring them towards communism; or at least towards an orientation that shares communism’s consistent opposition to imperialist wars.
It’s necessary to recognize this partial success at bringing right-leaning individuals towards principled anti-imperialism because when you believe that revolutionary potential only exists on the left, you make yourself unable to bring in both the conservatives who are revolution-compatible; and the larger element of unaffiliated people, who are alienated from all bourgeois politics. The correct attitude to have is not “you can find hypocrisy among many Americans, therefore the only thing you can rely on is the left;” the “left,” as we know it today, is itself overwhelmingly hypocritical when it comes to anti-imperialism.
Every leftist says they’re against imperialism; yet almost everyone within today’s default “leftist” circles either directly supports the policies of the new cold war, or aggressively opposes Russia’s justified act of defiance against the imperial hegemon. The left’s failure to resist the Ukraine proxy war, and all the other imperialist projects likely since Vietnam, has shown the reliable people we need for our next tasks can’t be found by exclusively looking in leftist spaces; they can be found by looking wherever such reliable people exist. Which is in many more places than the insular types of Marxists believe to be the case.
The vanguard, the group of dependable people who lead the people to victory, doesn’t have to be formed by drawing from whatever elements that are most to the “left.” And when we have a left like the present one, which has been thoroughly captured by the new cold war agenda, if you meet someone who calls themselves a “leftist” there’s a good chance they share key stances of the neocons. Under our conditions where the authentic communist movement needs to rebuild itself after decades of suppression; and there’s emerged a superficial version of “communism” which exists to tail the “left”; the people qualified to become vanguard members have to be looked for in a wider range of ideological spaces than simply the left. They have to be people that aren’t already invested in the opportunist projects which dominate the modern left; that are willing to build coalitions with the types of antiwar people who operate outside of “left” spaces.
And even if someone doesn’t want to be part of the vanguard itself, with its particular end goal of building a workers state, they can still be compatible with such a broader coalition; one that’s focused on advancing the most immediately important tasks within the class struggle. For the last couple of years, the most important task has been to resist the Ukraine proxy war; as the domestic class war can’t be won till we’ve sufficiently combated U.S. hegemony, and Ukraine has lately been the hegemon’s primary tool for trying to maintain this hegemony. As Ukraine loses its ability to fulfill that role, and the empire is forced to retreat, our government is shifting towards new warfare fronts.
These fronts include not just Palestine, Mexico, and the war against the American people; but also the regions that provide the empire with its biggest sources of neo-colonial extraction. Africa has been breaking away from imperial control at an accelerating pace, making it into a prime location for the empire’s next regime change psyops. All the countries that have been embracing the BRI and BRICS are increasingly seen as threats too; though the hegemon needs to choose its next targets carefully, or else its warfare will backfire.
Given the overwhelming number of enemies that a declining empire has, it needs to concentrate its narrative focus on only one or a few at a time. Which is a vulnerability in our enemy: it needs to keep dominance over the story in relation to certain warfare fronts, or else its present schemes become untenable and it has to scramble for new action plans. The action plan of using Ukraine as a weapon for destabilizing Eurasia has become unworkable, so our ruling class is looking for another strategy.
Because the empire can only continue to decline, this strategy is inevitably going to become centered around suppressing domestic resistance; which is going to require a narrative that justifies unconstitutional attacks against everyone who challenges liberalism. Upon seeing how the empire’s narrative managers have been portraying pro-Russian communists and antiwar libertarians as white supremacists, I’ve concluded that the coming repressive campaign will be sold under a “progressive” guise. I still believe this to be true, but over the last couple months, two developments have occurred which make it apparent that the next major wars will have to be sold to the right: the calls by the 2024 Republican presidential candidates to invade Mexico, and the latest Palestinian resistance effort.
Our ruling class has found that to keep its war machine going, it needs to incite ultra-nationalist hatred towards China, Mexico, the Arab world, and Persians (since Iran is assisting the Palestinians). And it’s succeeding at doing so, because we live in a society with profound contradictions where many are susceptible to racist and xenophobic lies. This hate campaign is going to advance the internal repression effort, which includes attempts at silencing pro-Palestinian voices. A great amount of Americans are capable of rejecting these lies, though; and this includes many of the more libertarian-leaning conservatives, as well as the libertarians who don’t even necessarily identify with conservatism. Today’s conventional leftist mentality is that we need to blankedly reject all political people who aren’t leftists, but this ironically undermines efforts at fighting the pro-war, nationally chauvinistic ideas which leftists (theoretically) want to combat.
To fight the next war campaigns, we need to go lower and deeper to find the real masses; which means we need to avoid letting the highly backward views of a vocal minority convince us that large sections of the people need to be discarded. The types of Americans who are most likely to hold an obstinately pro-Zionist, ultra-nationalist stance are the ones who tend to post on social media the most. And social media isn’t a proportional representation of what a society’s people are like; especially since the neocons and the Zionists artificially inflate perceived support for their ideas using online troll and bot farms. We can win these next battles against the empire, if we hold faith in the people’s ability to bring us towards victory.