U.S. ramps up militarism amid Obama re-election, people’s war and united front will prevail
Amid re-election victory, Barack Obama is leading the U.S. “forward” to increase aggression against the world’s people. More a sign of weakness than strength, U.S. militarism can be defeated by people’s wars and a united front against imperialism. A struggle must be waged in the ideological realm as well. First Worldism, social-chauvinism, and opportunism must be combated.
U.S. imperialism marches world-wide
Obama informed Congress in mid-September of plans to send combat-ready troops to Libya and Yemen “to protect U.S. lives and property.” The move is not unprecedented. In 1801 Thomas Jefferson used similar pretenses to launch the U.S.’s first foreign intervention, carried out against the ‘Barbary’ state centered in Tripoli. In the wake of the 2011 overthrow of Qaddafi, the U.S. recently promised eight million dollars in “counter-terrorism” aid to Libya. Yet, because Jihadists formed a crucial part of the U.S. backed coalition to overthrow the Libyan state and have since secured for themselves prominent positions of authority, U.S. officials are not sure who to give the cash to. Meanwhile, on the Arabian Peninsula, an ensuing U.S. military presence in Yemen is part of a larger strategy which includes drone warfare. (1) (2)
Rebuking statements made throughout 2012 up to the election, the Obama administration announced plans for a sustained troop presence in Afghanistan. An “enduring” U.S. military force of around 10,000 troops will remain in the country ostensibly to combat approximately 100 suspected Al Qaeda members. (3)
Obama has been silent over the Ugandan and Rwandan-sponsored conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The approximately 3,000-5,500 fighters of the M23 militia have been organized together since April of 2012 and by November captured strategic portions in the eastern region of the central African country.
Shamus Cooke, in an article reposted at Libya360, summarized an important factor in the situation:
“The Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to 80 percent of the world’s cobalt, an extremely precious mineral needed to construct many modern technologies, including weaponry, cell phones, and computers. The DRC is possibly the most mineral/resource rich country in the world — overflowing with everything from diamonds to oil — though its people are among the world’s poorest, due to generations of corporate plunder of its wealth.” (4)
M23 fighters are backed by US-supported governments in neighboring states, and the conflict has the markings of a U.S. covert operation aimed at looting the Congo’s remaining resources.
The DRC is not the only place the U.S. is running covert operations. Obama recently publicly warned Syrian President Assad against using chemical weapons against Western-backed rebel forces. Obama’s warning is part of an emerging narrative, one which may be used as a pretext for direct foreign intervention, in which the Syrian government is plotting imminent attacks with supposed stockpiles of chemical weapons. Meanwhile in Turkey, NATO is deploying missiles near the Syrian border in preparation for a future conflict. (5)
Behind the scenes, the U.S. is launching a new spy service. The Defense Intelligence Agency, the military’s version of the CIA, is being overhauled and rebranded as the Defense Clandestine Service. The revamped agency will be under the nominal direction of the Department of Defense and involved in assessing “emerging threats.” (6)
The CIA is also in the news again. Former UK diplomat Craig Murray and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa recently alleged that CIA drug money is being used in efforts to topple the social-democratic Ecuadorian government. The allegations coincide with reports from 2007 of a CIA airplane loaded with four tons of cocaine crashing in the Yucatan. (7) (8)
World-wide resistance needed
Despite these and other acts of imperialist militarism, the United States is far from invincible. Its increasing reliance on armed blackmail is a sign of long-term weakness, not strength. Thrown into financial crisis by the mechanisms of its parasitic economy, the U.S. is seeking a resolution by imposing even harsher neo-colonial conditions onto Third World peoples and ratcheting up inter-imperialist rivalry against Russian and Chinese capital.
Commenting on the struggle of the Chinese masses against Japan’s 1937 invasion and occupation, Mao Zedong noted how the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing forces were not absolute values. Instead they were subject to change over the course of class struggle. Japanese imperialism, which appeared strong during its invasion and occupation of China, was defeated by a Communist-led united front. (9)
Though U.S. imperialism appears strong today, it too is surmountable. Lin Biao, a field marshal in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and prominent Maoist during the Cultural Revolution, noted that U.S.-led imperialism has set itself against the people of the world, specifically those in the Third World. This has made it possible to construct a broad, global, proletarian-led united front against imperialism. (10)
Imperialism has other weaknesses as well. By maintaining national oppression within its own borders, U.S. imperialism has created inside itself potential allies of Third World-centered proletarian revolution. Likewise, imperialism, especially late imperialism like that of the U.S., is capitalism in its most decadent phase. It is characterized by increasing irrationality, militarism, and reaction. Under these conditions, proletarian revolution becomes not simply possible but necessary for the liberation of humanity at large.
Imperialism is also marked by the increasingly parasitic relationship of First World economies to Third World ones. Imperialism has created within the First World a class of property-less petty-bourgeoisie. This class has both an ideological function and an economic one. On one hand, imperialism compensates ‘its’ workers above the value of their labor to create a mass base of support, and to sow social-chauvinism, opportunism, and confusion in proletarian movements. On the other hand, by paying ‘its’ workers in part with surplus, the imperialist bourgeoisie ‘invests’ value into its workers that can later be realized elsewhere in the First World. Economically speaking, the property-less petty-bourgeoisie is a functional expression of the concentration and accumulation of capital in the First World at the expense of the Third World. (11)
This is why Lin’s summary of contemporary class struggle is significant. The proletarian-led united front against imperialism is strategically designed to change the balance of power in global class relations.
First Worldism and opportunism against revolution
Along with the need to build, consolidate and extent the united front against imperialism, First Worldism and opportunism must be combated within proletarian movements as well.
First Worldism is the ‘left-wing’ ideological expression of the First World property-less petty-bourgeoisie. It expresses politics through the eyes of the First World property-less petty-bourgeoisie while simultaneous denying the existence of this class. By universalizing the property-less petty-bourgeoisie as a central progressive agent, First Worldism thereby misconstrues the notions of the proletariat, class struggle, and socialism. It is one of the most damaging and prevalent forms of social-chauvinism today. (12)
Opportunism pursues short-term, narrow goals at the expense of the broader revolutionary interests of the proletariat as a whole.. Opportunism poses in ‘left-wing’ garb while supporting the basic aspects of imperialism. Not surprising, First Worldism and opportunism often go hand and hand.
One must look no further than the ‘Communist’ Party-USA to see a clear example of First Worldism and opportunism coming together to support imperialism. In both 2008 and 2012, the ‘C’PUSA campaigned for Obama and other “progressive” Democrats. Their rationale is simple: Republican politicians represent a “far-right onslaught” against the interests of working people in the U.S. Regardless of whether this sentiment has any basis in truth, it demonstrates how First Worldist opportunism serve imperialism, in this case providing ‘Communist’ cover and support for the imperialist militarism carried out by Democrats. The ‘C’PUSA is merely one example of First Worldist opportunism. (13)
Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!, made a salient point when she credited Obama’s re-election to “social movements.” Ostensibly referring to Occupy Wall Sreet and other First Worldist reform movements, Goodman noted how they joined together and secured Obama’s victory over Republican contender Mitt Romney. (14)
This raises an important point about the First World property-less petty-bourgeoisie. While Goodman makes the short-sighted assessment that Obama’s electoral victory was carried through by the support of “grassroots activists,” it is more significant to note that imperialist militarism derives much-needed legitimacy and support from the willingness of the ‘left-wing’ in the U.S. to trade any semblance of internationalism for minor social and economic reforms for their own further benefit. Without the direct endorsements and implicit ideological support U.S. imperialism receives from ‘its’ ‘left-wing’ (which is bought and paid for through super-wages supplied via the exploitation of the Third World), it would not be at such ease to carry out global aggression under the banner of ‘democracy,’ ‘progress,’ and ‘human rights.’
First Worldism promotes opportunism and sets back proletarian revolution in other ways. If, as assumed by First Worldists, the First World property-less-petty bourgeoisie is the model of the modern proletariat, and if Amerikan workers receive high wages because of high productivity and historic class struggle (and not due to its historic unity with ‘their’ imperialists and corresponding relationship within developing class structures), then the logical route of class struggle around the world is for similar reforms. If First Worldists are correct and First World workers are an exploited proletariat, Third World people would be wisely advised to struggle for reforms to their own countries so that they may be exploited under terms similar to First World workers. For this reason, spreading First Worldist confusion regarding modern global class dynamics is tantamount to promoting opportunism and reformism. Groups waging people’s war who uphold First Worldism shoot themselves in the foot by doing so.
There is still work to be done in the First World. Third Worldists in the First World should organize and agitate around challenging oppression and advancing higher interests than immediate class ones. Moreover, Third Worldists must spread awareness and support for people’s war and a united front against imperialism and prepare for later struggles ‘in the belly of the beast.’
U.S.-led imperialism is hardly invincible. Instead, it is weaker than ever. People’s wars and a broad united front against imperialism can alter the terrain of class struggle, thus bringing to the fore the struggle for socialism and communism. First Worldism and opportunism must not be treated lightly as part of this struggle. Whereas imperialism and reaction presents itself openly, First Worldism and opportunism operates within and around proletarian movements for similar ends.
Obama, with the support and cover of the Amerikan and First World property-less petty-bourgeoisie, is leading a renewed imperialist offensive against the people of the Third World. People around the world must resist. People’s wars and revolutions against neo-colonial regimes must be initiated and carried out, and imperialism must be singled out and destroyed by a united front of exploited Third World peoples and their allies. Struggles must be waged in the ideological and practical sphere against First Worldism and opportunism. Allies must be built even in the First World, and unity must be achieved around revolutionary anti-imperialism.
(1) Bruce, Mary. “Obama notifies congress of troops deployed to Libya and Yemen.” ABC News. September 14, 2012. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/09/obama-notifies-congress-of-troops-deployed-to-libya-and-yemen/
(2) Hauslohner, Abigail. “US-backed force in Libya faces challenges.” Washington Post. November 10, 2012. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/us-backed-force-in-libya-faces-challenges/2012/11/09/4175e8d8-28ee-11e2-bab2-eda299503684_story.html
(3) Burns, Robert. “Panetta: Post-2014 Afghan effort to be substantial.” Associated Press. November 29, 2012. http://news.yahoo.com/panetta-post-2014-afghan-effort-substantial-215303950.html
(4) Cooke, Shamus. “Why is Obama silent over the new Congo war?” Libya360, repost. November 28, 2012. http://libya360.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/why-is-obama-silent-over-the-new-congo-war/
(5) “Syria crisis: NATO ‘to approve Turkey missiles request.’” BBC News. December 4, 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20590129
(6) Miller, Greg. “DIA to send hundreds more spies overseas.” Washington Post. December 1, 2012. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/dia-to-send-hundreds-more-spies-overseas/2012/12/01/97463e4e-399b-11e2-b01f-5f55b193f58f_story.html
(7) “Report: CIA uses drug money to topple Ecuador’s president.” PressTV. November 9, 2012. http://www.presstv.ir/usdetail/271201.html
(8) “CIA Torture jet wrecks with 4 tons of cocaine.” Daily Kos. December 12, 2007. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/12/12/420107/-CIA-Torture-Jet-wrecks-with-4-Tons-of-COCAINE
(9) Mao Zedong. “On protracted war.” May 1938. http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-2/mswv2_09.htm
(10) Lin Biao. “Long live the victory of people’s war!” September 1965. http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/lin-biao/1965/09/peoples_war/index.htm
(11) Brown, Nikolai. “What is net-exploitation.” Anti-Imperialism.com. October 5, 2012. http://anti-imperialism.com/2012/10/05/what-is-net-exploitation/
-. “Commodification and democratization of bourgeois privilege vis-a-vis the expansion of personal services under imperialism.” Anti-Imperialism.com. December 7, 2012. http://anti-imperialism.com/2012/12/07/commodification-and-democratization-of-bourgeois-privilege-vis-a-vis-the-expansion-of-personal-services-under-imperialism/
(12) -. “Problems with First Worldism.” Anti-Imperialism.com. September 25, 2012. http://anti-imperialism.com/2012/09/25/problems-with-first-worldism/
(13) Case, John. “The danger of a Romney presidency.” People’s World. June 8, 2012. http://peoplesworld.org/the-danger-of-a-romney-election/
The ‘C’PUSA went so far in 2012 as to produce and print literature campaigning for Obama which omitted the word ‘Communist.’ Rick Nagin’s ‘Democracy at the crossroads: class warfare and the 2012 elections.” People’s World Publications. 2012.
(14) Goodman, Amy. “Now the work of the movement begins.” Truthdig. November 7, 2012. http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/now_the_work_of_movements_begins_20121107/