After facilitating the atrocities of the Pinochet dictatorship and helping introduce neoliberal policies around the world, Milton Friedman wrote in an essay from 1982 that “Only a crisis–actual or perceived–produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.”
The U.S. empire’s global influence projects, especially the ones in Iran and Hong Kong, have a different nature from the ones that were carried out when American power was still in a stable state. There’s now an aspect of desperation to what America is doing abroad, an unacknowledged but ever-present reality that the purveyors of Western imperialism are fighting a losing battle against the inevitable process of imperial collapse.
I’m very grateful for the fact that my ideological development as a socialist has lead me towards the principled anti-imperialist worldview which informs my opposition to the project for colonialist insurrection in Hong Kong. I could easily have gone in the opposite direction; for a while, I routinely sought out the authority of the World Socialist Website, the Trotskyist publication that’s given very sympathetic coverage to the anti-Beijing protesters. But my views on Hong Kong have developed the opposite way that the U.S. empire and its narrative enforcers in outlets like the WSWS have tried to steer me towards.
Demonstrations in Hong Kong, China, raising demands on the procedures to be followed in city elections in 2017, have become an international issue and a source of political confusion.
The protests, called Occupy Central, have received enormous and very favorable U.S. media coverage. Every news report describes with great enthusiasm the occupation of central business parts of Hong Kong as “pro-democracy” protests. The demonstrations, which began on Sept. 22, gained momentum after Hong Kong police used tear gas to open roads and government buildings. Continue reading