The war-makers are mobilizing to bring their campaign of destruction and suffering, which has already traumatized an entire generation in Europe with the Ukraine conflict, to the North American continent. They’re aiming to invade Mexico, as is evident in how such a war effort has even stronger bipartisan support than the Ukraine proxy war does; the same Republican politicians who’ve been articulating skepticism of aid to Ukraine are glad to demonize and antagonize Mexico. War is the logical conclusion of their rhetoric about how we need to “focus on protecting our border.” And this rhetoric is being put forth with the same kinds of omissions of crucial context that have been used to justify sending weapons to Ukraine.
That context being the USA’s own covert role, through its intelligence agencies and police departments, in providing narcotics for the same Mexican drug cartels that these politicians claim to want to defeat. The anti-Mexico psyop is one big false flag; a crisis the empire has manufactured to create a pretext for violating its neighbor’s sovereignty, in the same way the empire claims Russia has violated Ukraine’s sovereignty.
As grave as this threat of a nearby new war is, the threat only exists because the imperial hegemon has come to be in desperate enough of a situation for invading Mexico to now be seen as a rational idea. The wars wouldn’t be coming so close to the empire’s core if the empire weren’t being forced to retreat; if its attempt to use Ukraine as a weapon for destabilizing Russia and China hadn’t failed, then ironically brought about an acceleration of decline in U.S. influence. If Washington hadn’t both economically and militarily lost in Ukraine, Taiwan would now be the place it’s maneuvering to bring conflict to, not Mexico. The empire also wouldn’t be starting on a hybrid warfare campaign against BRICS; and it wouldn’t be seeking to attack Africa, or to suppress the USA’s domestic anti-imperialist movement, with so much ferocity.
Given that the anti-Mexico psyop is an indication of our enemy’s growing weakness, we who seek an end to U.S. hegemony have reason to believe our resistance towards this psyop can be successful. If our effort doesn’t succeed at stopping the invasion itself, then it can succeed at making the war bring about the empire’s demise, like how the Russian tsarist state’s war effort in World War I led to its defeat by the revolutionaries.
Aside from that longer term hope for ending the war state itself, our rhetoric and our organizing efforts should absolutely be focused either on pressuring the government not to carry out the invasion; or on ending the war should the U.S. still invade Mexico. The U.S. working class, being the majority of the people in the imperial center, is the social base the empire depends on to continue its war operations. If we educate and mobilize a majority of the workers to vocally oppose war on Mexico, the war effort will be made untenable. And we can do this not by trying to convince liberals (who represent a minority of the population that’s mainly within the imperialist-invested labor aristocracy), but rather by nurturing anti-imperialist impulses among the workers. Impulses that, as the Ukraine war has shown, already exist among these workers, and lately have been growing more pronounced.
It’s in this task of rallying the popular majority against imperialism where it becomes essential to give up the insular practice of conventional U.S. “left” spaces. According to the thinking that prevails within these spaces, even though a slight majority of Americans have recently been found to oppose further aid to Ukraine, we shouldn’t try to build a relationship with those among them who aren’t on the left. Given the last decade’s rise in pro-war sentiment among liberals, and rise in anti-war sentiment among conservatives, this means discarding a vast amount of the individuals who are against the proxy war.
Flippantly dismissing any number of those in this demographic is foolish. They encompass not just the most conscious element of the workers, but the majority of the people within our conditions. They’re who we absolutely need to build a relationship with in order to win. We can’t expect to prevent further imperialist violence, or to defeat the state, by exclusively appealing to the liberals and lib-“lefts” within the niche activist spaces. To effectively combat the upcoming pro-war psyops, we must build an anti-imperialist coalition with the majority who’ve already come to be able to resist the Ukraine psyop.
Such a consciousness shift against an imperialist psyop is capable of frustrating the empire’s plans; this is being shown by how the recent rise in public opposition to Ukraine aid has been causing Biden to encounter obstacles to his latest aid package. The proxy war is getting increasingly difficult to maintain, and the empire’s strategists want to pivot to new warfare fronts. We need to do all we can to block this pivot, and make the wars end as soon as possible.
Forcing the wars to halt—whether through public pressure on the state, or through our ultimate goal of overthrowing the state—is going to require further constructing the multi-tendency anti-imperialist coalition that the Ukraine war has produced. This coalition is not confined to the “left,” and the communists who’ve joined it are okay with this; that’s because they understand they don’t need the support of the “left” to win the class war. They simply need the support of a majority of the people. And if large parts of that majority include people who aren’t on the left, that’s a practical reality we need to recognize.
The insular types of leftists would argue that there’s no hope for turning the MAGA base against the anti-Mexico psyop, claiming the only reason those in this element oppose the Ukraine war is because a Democrat is leading it. Is this true, though, when the anti-interventionist shift among the country’s conservatives was happening while Trump was still president? Trump’s own base had been shown to oppose the same wars which Trump himself was continuing, and that represented the prelude to their present opposition towards the Ukraine proxy war. If we can spread awareness of the U.S. government’s efforts to assist the Mexican drug trade, we can turn the MAGA base against the anti-Mexico psyop. Which would be pivotal to our cause’s success, as the MAGA base is the element the empire depends on to gain majority public support for invading Mexico.
What Marxists need to understand is that the individuals who’ve been voting Republican are not synonymous with the Republican politicians; plenty of these voters don’t share the material interests of the politicians they’ve gravitated towards, meaning many of them can be brought towards anti-imperialism and communism. The liberals and “red libs” claim all of these voters are nothing more than fascists, but that’s undialectical. In 2016, the activist Kirk Noden clarified that the working class parts of the right have come to where they are due to how much the pro-corporate liberals have alienated them from the left, or from what’s conventionally presented as the “left”:
Why do white working-class people vote against their interests? They don’t. Corporate Democrats have never advanced their interests—and at least Republicans offer a basic, if misleading, story about why they are getting screwed. When I first started organizing in Youngstown, Ohio, many people told me I must read Sean Safford’s Why the Garden Club Couldn’t Save Youngstown, which argues that Youngstown collapsed as a result of a lack of social networks. It is an absurd explanation for what happened to the city—but embraced by many thoughtful progressive leaders there. In fact, Youngstown has been left hobbled because progressives failed to secure economic power. The first step was the collapse of the industrial heartland. This hit white working-class people incredibly hard—and it remains a phenomenon that is not understood on the East and West Coasts. It is painted as a natural evolution of our economy and as if the onus is on people to adapt to it. This fails to capture how many families and communities were dependent on the industrial economy. Many Ohioans are now staring at a future where they themselves and their kids have less opportunity than their parents.
What happens when these workers are exposed to the perspectives of authentic Marxists, ones who seek not to tail liberals but to connect with the people? What I’ve seen with the former Trump supporters who’ve become Marxists is that plenty of them are receptive to Marxism; they’ve stopped obsessing over the culture war, if they ever did in the first place, and united with the same Black activists who they may have become hostile towards at an earlier point in their development. This is what we’ve witnessed with the partnership between Caleb Maupin’s Center for Political Innovation—which has many conservative-leaning people who’ve come to adopt Marxist ideas—and the African People’s Socialist Party. APSP doesn’t share CPI’s patriotic socialist stance, yet it’s united with it on an anti-imperialist basis.
As the propaganda drive for war against Mexico intensifies, the insular left orgs will of course denounce the calls for war. But they’ll refuse to unite with the broad anti-imperialist coalition that’s actually capable of rallying a majority against the invasion. It’s this coalition which has the strategy that can get everyone who’s compatible with the anti-imperialist cause to participate in that cause. There’s a growing popular mandate for ending the war state; not just because most Americans want to end the Ukraine proxy war, but because even more Americans want to end the horrific drug crisis which the war state is causing within U.S. borders. It’s our job to mobilize those who share these sentiments towards resisting the war machine, and the capitalist oligarchy that runs it.
The empire’s effort to nurture the Mexican drug trade relates to the efforts by our government, and by the pharmaceutical companies which control it, to proliferate drugs like fentanyl throughout the USA’s own population. And the fentanyl crisis is the next stage in the war that our government has been waging against the working class; a traumatic phenomenon of mass suffering that’s being felt by people of all colors and partisan affiliations. If we spread awareness that this crisis has to do with a scheme to fuel the continental drug trade; a scheme whose end goal is to bring about war; then we’ll be able to incite mass outrage against the war state.
By Rainer Shea
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