The power structure that now dominates the globe is a logical extension of the project for colonizing Africa, Oceania, and the Americas that the European imperialist powers began over five centuries ago. From the start of this project, it’s been a constant rule for those in the colonizing powers that one’s society is at war with a weaker enemy. The indigenous people, who have been portrayed as not capable of running things, have had to be brought under the colonial boot according to the ideology of imperial conquest. And in accordance with the global rise of capitalism that colonialism precipitated, the same dynamic of subjugation has existed between the poor and the rich.
The United States, like the other parts of the world that have been ravaged by rampant economic inequality and corporate despotism, is headed for a social breakdown. This gets more apparent every time wealth disparity is shown to be at a decades-high level, every time the military budget is expanded billions of dollars to fight endless wars, every time the country’s militarized police shoots an innocent person. Ten or twenty years from now, our society’s current form will have taken on an extreme version of itself: no real freedoms, basically no semblance of democracy, and conditions for the majority of people that are in or approaching squalor.
When it comes to Mexico, one can at this point easily spot the signs of a brewing U.S. regime change operation. Since Mexico’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador was elected last year, he’s been thoroughly vilified by the U.S. media. After Brazil’s fascist president Jair Bolsonaro was elected, the Financial Times’ John Paul Rathbone even argued that Obrador is a greater threat to liberal democracy than Bolsonaro. Such views of Obrador have come from claims that he’s an authoritarian, or “too strong” as the Washington Post recently put it.
The capitalist class doesn’t hate communism out of concern for mass murder. The accounts of the mass deaths that communism has supposedly caused are exaggerated or fabricated, and capitalist governments have caused hundreds of times more deaths than can be attributed to communist ones. Anti-communism isn’t about human rights, at least not human rights as a socialist would define them. Capitalists and imperialists vilify countries like China because they don’t like that these countries have challenged the “rights” to exploit and oppress.
The forces of fascism are trying to convince us of a deadly lie: that it’s desirable, natural, or inevitable for great amounts of poor and nonwhite people to die off because of climate change. This lie enters the discourse in many forms, both obvious and not. But every time it appears, it has to be countered with the declaration that we must not write off any lives as disposable or doomed; we must work to save as many people as possible throughout the coming catastrophe.
The power shutoffs and unprecedented fires that California has experienced in the last month are going to develop into something more deeply damaging than you might think. This is just the beginning of a long process that will force Californians-and all others in the capitalist world-to confront the unsustainability of how they’ve been living.
As I’ve watched young people around the world take part in the climate actions of the last few weeks, I’ve gotten the sense that I’m watching a spectacle which has been orchestrated to create the illusion that we’re still in an earlier, more stable time for the planet’s climate. Legitimate as the passion and commitment of this generation of teen climate activists is, their efforts are being packaged by the political and media establishment in a way that encourages denial about our situation. These ruling institutions neither want us to recognize the real solutions to the crisis, nor to see the irrecoverable and massive damage that’s already been done to the climate.
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.
It’s no wonder why Bernie Sanders’ supporters are so loyal to him in spite of his pro-imperialist tendencies. He’s offering them universal healthcare and adequate social benefits at a time when neoliberalism has made half of the country effectively poor. Many Americans have gravitated towards Sanders simply out of the desire to attain adequate living standards, which his policies would indeed create for them. What anti-imperialists must do is shatter the illusion that Sanders’ agenda of bettering life for Americans equates to an agenda of bettering life for the world’s colonized people, which Sanders has shown he doesn’t want to do.
The story of how America became an empire is one where a group of ambitious and egotistical men rationalized implementing a governing model which would lead to massive death and suffering. Its main forerunner was Theodore Roosevelt, a narcissistic politician from an upper-class household who was determined to turn his childhood obsession with war into a foreign policy model which would make the United States into a conquering nation. He and the other political elites who supported the Spanish-American War and the subsequent rush to empire received support from William Randolph Hearst, the businessman who used his vast newspaper network to manufacture public opinion for war because war stories would help him sell papers better than the lurid gossip that he otherwise used to gain the public’s attention.
With this month’s burning of the Amazon as a result of the actions of the fascist Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, the first world has gotten a glimpse of the horrors that the world’s poor and indigenous people have long been experiencing at the hands of capitalism and colonialism. Because the Amazon’s existence is crucial for preventing climate apocalypse, the world outside of the region’s indigenous community now feels threatened by the consequences of profit-motivated white supremacy.
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.
The American ruling class decided that it would be necessary to start a 21st century cold war with Russia and China when it became apparent that U.S. global hegemony was being replaced by a multipolar world. And even before this new level of warfare became the priority, it was apparent that a long-term era of tensions between great powers would require much greater government control over information than was previously the case.
In a fascist shift, the state always forms a paramilitary group so that political violence can be carried out without the government being held accountable. It’s predictable that when this process started to happen in America, our version of Hitler’s Brownshirts and Mussolini’s Blackshirts would originate from America’s instruments of imperialism.
In addition to all of the propaganda pieces that anti-communists use to legitimize their position, they often utilize a more general rhetorical tool, which is the denunciations of communism that have come from two of the last century’s most prominent intellectuals: George Orwell and Christopher Hitchens. These figures maintain large cult followings and are widely seen as moral authorities for their crusades against civilization’s evil and hypocritical aspects, which for Orwell was a crusade against totalitarianism and for Hitchens was a crusade against organized religion. Yet the cultural and ideological makeup of both of these men caused them to infuse their works with the anti-communist agenda, and to give this agenda’s followers the sense that they’re righteous upholders of honesty and virtue.