But, in general, the protective system of our day is conservative, while the free trade system is destructive. It breaks up old nationalities and pushes the antagonism of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to the extreme point. In a word, the free trade system hastens the social revolution. It is in this revolutionary sense alone, gentlemen, that I vote in favor of free trade.
– Karl Marx
First, we congratulate the American people on their choice of president. That is, under the circumstances, the will of the “people” and true face of political consciousness of the American average. From this it clearly follows that we do not see the American people as victims of the establishment, but an active accomplice of US policies that shape the contemporary world history of continuous genocide against the peoples of the Third World, whether by wars or consequences of economic exploitation.
We went through a variety of analyses on the left related to Trump’s election and, as expected, we notice the class interpretation in the explanation of the recent events. The First world liberal left mainly deals with the question of “who is to blame” for such an outcome, allowing the people amnesty and blaming the Liberal government for “betraying” the people with their … um, (liberal) politics. That’s about as far as they’re able to dig, adding to it a latent criticism of the establishment for not favoring Sanders in this year’s electoral circus, who, apparently, had a better chance of defeating Trump than Clinton did, and thus ensuring a relatively peaceful development of American political life through institutions, without risk of extreme forms of antagonism on home soil and possible radical response by the “masses”.
The Second world liberal left adopted a different position, in accordance with, of course, their own interests. Although members of these organizations initially enthusiastically cheered for social-imperialism, once Sanders was defeated, they cheered for Trump, whose pre-election promises announced easing strained relations with semi-periphery powers which, exposed to imperialist pressure, had long been undergoing economic stagnation and expressing increased aggression in geopolitical conflicts with the West.
As the ultimate goal of these organizations isn’t a revolutionary coming to power, their role and tactics are not in question, as in times of crisis or war, they’ll always “ally with their governments and their bourgeoisie,” which in the case of the first is always reactionary, whereas in the case of the other, it depends on the relation of a given national bourgeoisie to imperialism.
Revolutionary organizations of both worlds expressed mainly variations on theme. In addition to those who perpetually call for a boycott of bourgeois politics, which allegedly stays intact no matter who comes to power, there have been calls to support Clinton, for the purpose of electing a “lesser evil,” even by some who see Trump as partially anti-imperialist. Analyses by the revolutionary organizations in the world periphery, such as CPI(M) or DHKP-C, aren’t available yet, and it’ll be interesting seeing what the objective revolutionary forces consider as beneficial or aggravating to its activities under the announced policies of the new US administration.
What we can offer as a contribution to a clearer understanding of the situation, is the analysis from the perspective of the proletariat of the oppressed, neocolonial, Third World countries, in order to act efficiently under the new circumstances.
We are aware that the US is a settler colony created through dispossession and genocide, built on slavery and secured by wars, and “time does not make it the property of a thief,” hence we won’t treat it differently.
We’re also aware that the role of the President of this country is narrowly limited to implementing the interests of its funders – different sectors of big business, which is why we have disparity between pre-election promises and post-election deeds–if the announced populist measures clash with the continuous inflow of profits to the oligarchy. Recent examples, such as the pre-election promises of George W. Bush, who condemned “Bill Clinton’s intervention” in Somalia and promised the abolition of “secret evidence” against American Muslims, and anti-war rhetoric brought to light by Barack Obama, who, after taking over, ended in running eight wars, says enough about it.
However, semi-autonomy in decision-making is not absolutely denied to the White House newcomers, concerning issues with no significant impact on the fundamentals of capitalism-imperialism, so we can expect a partial fulfillment of the electoral promises related to immigration, arms control, women and gender rights, climate change, health and tax policy.
Those are exactly the key points that decided the outcome of the race, which confirms there’s no question of any sort of “punishment” of the previous administration, or, God forbid, the upper classes, as the liberal left claims, but of a simple leaning towards a policy that most of the American voters perceive as a class interest. Otherwise, by voting for limiting immigration, more tax cuts for the rich, the elimination of health insurance for an additional nine million people and continued interventions across the globe, the Americans have shown a funny way of “punishing,” as claimed by Jeremy Corbin, “the system that favors the elite.”
Thus, the American public were presented three serious presidential candidates from high class to cover the three most common bourgeois political options: liberalism, nationalism and social democracy. One thing all three options achieve consensus on, is certainly imperialism – a policy indisputable for any of the candidates. As we know, imperialism is what maintains American (and Western European) society in its present form, so any anti-imperialist candidate wouldn’t only be undermining their own class, but their own country as well, or the broader part of the society whose economic life is subsidized by the super profits achieved by the exploitation of the world’s periphery.
Without imperialism, damage to export and markets of the US corporations, including banks, the oil industry, the pharmaceutical industry, health/insurance corporations, the defense industry, agro corporations, technology companies, etc., would be beyond repair. Whether, like Sanders, you plan to spend a larger portion of the spoils on health insurance and free higher education at home, or, like Clinton, on bank bailouts, without this cream, the internal logic of capitalism is incapable of resolving the contradictions it generates.
Therefore, from the perspective of Palestinians, Libyans and Somalis, does it really make no difference which of the candidates would send drones in their campaigns to eliminate security threats to imperialism, plan military action, occupation–or in luckier circumstances–conduct the economic subjugation of their countries? Well, not completely.
These three imperialist currents carry different visions towards further strategy and tactics of imperialism. In this sense, we can characterize Clinton as a successor to Obama’s policy of principled imperialism, in order to preserve American hegemony and domination on all geopolitical fronts, without any will or plans for a deeper cooperation or compromise with the interests of other powers. This policy decreasingly reflects the real situation and balance of power on the pitch, and inevitably leads to conflict with the emerging powers, especially Russia and, to some extent, China.
The US and Russia, under the Obama administration, achieved the first concrete co-operation in the history of modern politics, but this co-operation in Syria is more the result of a necessity than a genuine geo-strategic partnership between the two forces, although the United States, as for now, draws greater benefits from it. Russia is embroiled in, what becomes a more and more expensive undertaking of prolonged military intervention, without the possibility of cashing on it quickly, simultaneously struggling with the enormous financial damage caused by the western sanctions. But that does not necessarily mean defeat, and its increasingly active role on other fronts, such as BRICS, and stronger bilateral relations with a growing number of US opponents, and some allies (Egypt, S. Arabia, Turkey…) suggests it might be able to maintain its economic stability–despite pressure by Western imperialism–and restore the bloc policy in world diplomacy.
We shouldn’t neglect China in this regard, either, though for the last 30 years, China’s foreign policy shows no desire for confronting Western imperialism outside the Far East region. Its tacit support for Western military interventions and non-use of its veto option in the UN Security Council, rewards it with business contracts and solid economic ties to newly established regimes, as well as a growing trade with the US. The economic interdependence between the two countries is reflected in figures: the direct Chinese investment in US companies now totals $ 50 billion, and is predicted to reach $ 200 billion by the end of this decade, while the US, just during the previous year, invested $ 74.56 billion in the Chinese economy. However, the decision by the IMF to include the Chinese yuan in a tightly closed club of international currency reserves, reveals the consequences of its economic growth on the international economy which, as a rule, is followed by a strong political influence.
Unlike Clinton’s current, the one led by Trump shows better understanding of the real situation and the necessity of cooperating with the emerging powers outside NATO, while it can be said that Sanders holds the position between those two. All this, of course, we conclude on the basis of a very vague and incoherent campaign rhetoric, which, unfortunately, is a reflection of a lack of transparency about concrete political plans during the pre-election debates, and a lack of interest of the American voters on US foreign policy.
How does it affect us?
If Trump’s administration really does make the step to soften the antagonism between the First and Second world powers, the consequences for the Third World shall be nothing but negative. As it can be seen already, Trump’s victory boosts demand for defense stocks. Fresh imperialist aggressions are soon to follow, and what we need least of all are geostrategic alliances between the First and Second world powers—and their partnership in crime and robbery.
States of the semi-periphery always strive to become imperialist, the possibility of which is denied by the constant pressure of the imperialist states. In such circumstances, they tend to play a very progressive role, the examples of which include Russian involvement in Ukraine and Syria, Iran’s involvement in Yemen and Chinese diplomatic caretaking of North Korea (although that circumstance is weakening). And it’s not just military support we’re referring to, as the Second world powers under pressure by western imperialism are forced upon “fair” trade and cooperative bilateral relations with dependent countries, in order to open new markets and successfully challenge imperialist competition, hence creating an economic alternative to anti-imperialist movements and governments of the Third world.
This can best be explained through the social image within the frame of the national context, where the petty bourgeoisie might play both a progressive and reactionary role, depending on the material circumstances. In times of economic prosperity, it allies with the big bourgeoisie, while in times of crisis and loss of privileges, it becomes an ally of the proletariat. If on a global scale today, the Third World represents the world proletariat, and the First world represents world bourgeoisie, then the role of the Second world is obvious. The pressure of Western imperialism on Russia and China means a world to us. It is what we see as a necessity, and tense relations, even conflicts, we see as a precondition for space for maneuver.
So it’s most clear that the continuation of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, which Clinton intended to adopt, in this sense, suits anti-imperialist movements and governments of the periphery best, not only because it pushes the antagonism of two Worlds to the extreme point and opens the possibility of “many Vietnams,” but because it overestimates its own ability to maintain a long-term diplomatic conflict with the forces of the semi-periphery on the rise.
However, the situation changes when it comes to domestic politics. If Clinton’s policies represent the “status quo”, Sanders and Trump have certainly offered more interesting options. Sanders’ idea of a welfare state, financed by super-profits, hasn’t acquired a sufficient number of supporters within the US electorate, which the liberal left again finds difficult to explain in accordance with the parrot-like repetitions about heavy exploitation of the Western proletariat and a society where supposedly half of the people live in “inhuman” conditions. The “heavily exploited”, in the most rude-like fashion, chose to ignore analysis from the Left, and follow what they perceive as a class interest, in accordance with the statistical data which shows that the American worker earns per hour as much as Serbian workers earn per day and Nepalese per week, that the US spends 62.75 billion on pets, throws away about 50% of all the food products worth 160 billion a year and over 60% (160 million people) of the country’s population suffer from obesity.
Trump, on the other hand, ignored the class card and played the race card. This outside or above the class unity of white America, enabled by the fruits of imperialism, was addressed through series of pre-election promises, which, beyond the conditions of the imperialist center, would be in apparent contradiction. Unemployed whites were promised jobs, by subtracting them from immigrants. The white working class was promised a halt of further de-industrialization and more jobs through import customs and renegotiations and modifications of the thus-far-signed trade agreements, along with deportations of immigrants, which would reduce competition. However, equally circumspect of the fact that the working and middle class enjoy privileges of cheap imported consumer goods, with far higher salaries than manufacturers in the Far East–Trump won’t advocate the abolition of free trade, and therefore proposes an active retraining of workers, as well as boosting the manufacturing sector. The middle class have been promised deregulations and tax relief, which would supposedly lead to rapid economic growth, and then there’s the promise of further tax cuts to corporations and the richest individuals (including Trump himself), which would increase the income of the richest 1% of households between 10.2% and 16% after tax.
Trump has not addressed the problems of black and Latino workers, who earn less on all levels than their white counterparts, but, judging by the racist rhetoric during his election campaign, as well as the experience of racial oppression in “great” America, these groups are rightly frightened. Racial oppression in the United States, social or economic, isn’t a novelty introduced by this new President, but it’s certainly the first time in modern history, that it openly makes a political platform of one of the presidential candidates. Beside the promise of deporting 11 million immigrants, we’ve all heard the one about building a wall on the Mexican border, the cost of which would apparently be borne by the Government of Mexico, or else the US would supposedly subtract money from immigrants before deportation, withdraw foreign aid and stop issuing visas to Mexican diplomats and merchants. Then, there’s the promise to get rid of Obamacare and replace it with something “great” and “much better, much better, much better.” After winning the elections, we finally learned what it is that’s so “much better”, and it turns out to be a “minor” modification of Obamacare, where 9 out of the 25 million insured would lose that right. Since it applies to the lowest strata of society, it’s easy to assume it’ll mostly affect racial minorities, primarily African Americans and Latinos. Then, there’s the promise of introducing the database of Syrian refugees and intensive monitoring of all the mosques in the country. There’s talk of raising wages for the police force and implementing a death penalty for those who murder any members of law, which is a clear response to the consequences of this year’s race riots. Add to it his earlier pejorative statements about African Americans, and the fact that he refused to denounce the support he received from the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), it is clear what kind of atmosphere prevails within all of the camps of color.
According to all brought out here, the domestic policies of the new administration play into our hands, reinforcing the old antagonisms and pushing them to the extreme point. In our previous analysis, we’ve already marked racial minorities and immigrants as the only revolutionary subject in the imperialist center, noting the impossibility of their mobilization by the liberal left for the purpose of reformism. We’ve also recognized that Western proletariat has no class interest in abolishing the system of capitalism-imperialism and suggested linking these groups to the revolutionary and anti-imperialist organizations of the periphery, which is certainly facilitated by the already existing cultural and ethnic ties.
However, apart from a small number of revolutionary organizations that we might call the “objective forces”, anti-imperialist resistance in the periphery, although more and more widespread, has not reached the point of centralization and transnational coordination, which, in this global conflict, is of the utmost importance. Equally so, what we call “operating behind enemy lines”, is still in the phase of chaotic spontaneity, but the chances are that, with the help of the newly elected US administration’s policies, it may gradually assume a higher form of organization and sustainability. As Marcus Garvey said: “If nothing manages to organize the people, the conditions shall organize them.”
Accordingly, we must strive to lead this global conflict, united through the Anti-imperialist front, which is still in its making, opening up and coordinating “many Vietnams” in the periphery, whilst not neglecting the operation behind the enemy lines in the center, which, as we have shown, could be facilitated by the new US policies at home. Similarly, the anti-imperialist movements and governments in the periphery should count on more and more certain strategic partnerships between the First and Second world powers, and determine their course of action in accordance with the new circumstances.
What is certain is that the liberal Left is leaving the world stage once and for all. The Third World parted ways with it a long time ago, and both Second and First have during this decade. The conditions of the oppressed masses in the world’s periphery, as well as of those in the center who are failing to gnaw the imperialist bone, require a revolutionary organizing and a direct confrontation with the aim of absolute destruction of the system of capitalism-imperialism, and the circumstances are ripe for it. Speaking of social chauvinism, shown by the opportunists and part of the anarchists before the First World War, Lenin said: “One of the useful results of this war will be, no doubt, that it will kill opportunism and anarchism.” This dialectic is restored to life by this year’s elections in the US. From the political choice of this so-called “revolutionary” proletariat of the West, over the “principal” anti-imperialism of the Second world superpowers, to the “ability” of the liberal left to bring radical changes–this is the time of fallen masks.
We’re watching who allies with us, and who with the racist and genocidal policy of imperialism.
And America? America hasn’t been great since 1492. Let’s make it great again!
This post is also available in sr_RS.
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