Above: an image from a Roger Waters tour
The heinous actions of the imperialists, carried out in reaction to the accelerating decline of U.S. supremacy, have created an unprecedented opportunity to strike at international capital’s centers of power. The need for us to act against our ruling institutions is urgent, and how well we combat their operations at this moment will define how the revolutionary struggle goes over the rest of the century.
By sending cluster munitions to Ukraine, Biden has provoked global shaming, and made the vile nature of Washington’s foreign policy fully exposed. This decision will make Ukraine’s future equivalent to those of the southeast Asian countries following the USA’s wars within that region, where decades after the fighting has ended, people are still in danger of being blown apart by the weapons Washington left behind. This comes after the United Kingdom has decided to escalate the conflict by sending depleted uranium, creating a different kind of long-term pain for the region’s people by irreversibly poisoning their environment. The U.S. and British governments have shown themselves so determined to make the situation more inflamed and dire because after Russia’s strategic strengths were made undeniable—as demonstrated by the failure of Ukraine’s recent counteroffensive—the western drivers of the conflict have come to desperation.
By provoking Russia, and then starting on an effort to prolong the conflict that came from this, they invested in a project that they knew would be greatly costly for them, but hoped would bring reversal of the transition to multipolarity. Should the sanctions have been successful, and had Russia been destabilized rather than seen its economy continue to grow, Ukraine’s military defeat wouldn’t have meant as much. Ukraine was always seen as expendable by the imperial powers, the important thing was that its sacrifice (and the sacrifice of the economies within the NATO countries) would change the balance of global power in Washington’s favor. The proxy war has done the opposite.
It’s weakened the economic and social order of the imperialist countries, putting Russia in a comparatively more stable standing due to its economic resilience and the broader economic rise of the BRICS countries; it’s let the Belt and Road Initiative, and the other Eurasian projects to build an economy outside Washington’s control, attain more opportunities to expand; it’s accelerated the collapse of capitalism within the imperialist countries, creating the conditions for greater revolutionary consciousness among their working classes.
For these reasons, the “strengthening” of NATO that the conflict brought has done nothing more than let the countries participating in the war against Russia further damage themselves through militarism and war-exacerbated austerity. Such are the factors that the Baltic part of the World Anti-Imperialist Platform, in its statement about the ideological struggle it’s waging, talks about in reference to the present conditions of the Baltic countries:
The ruling circles in our countries play an active role as trusted agents of American imperialism in ensuring its dominance in the region and the world. In doing so, they implement the ideas and tasks formulated by one of the prominent architects of American hegemony in the past century, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who once said: “How the United States manages the major geopolitical figures on the Eurasian chessboard, orchestrating their positions, as well as how they exercise control over key geopolitical centers in Eurasia, is of vital importance for America’s long-term and stable leadership role in the world.”…within our society, an understanding of the obvious fact is gradually maturing: without eliminating such a subordinate, effectively colonial position, it is practically impossible to halt the further degradation of our countries. Personnel changes within the power structures through elections do not bring the expected results. Pre-election promises abound, but they remain unfulfilled, and this has become the norm. Without liberation from imperialist dictates and control by international capital, led by the United States, our countries will not have the conditions necessary for the working people to successfully engage in political struggle against the local bourgeoisie. Therefore, the anti-imperialist direction remains relevant to the interests of the working people of the Baltics.
This effort to maintain the routine of bourgeois electoralism in the Baltics shows the contradictory, self-undermining nature of this war that the hegemon is waging against both its geopolitical challengers, and the workers under its control; at the same time that the ruling elites driving international capital want the liberal “democracies” to remain stable, and not at risk of upheaval, they want to bring ever more global chaos so that the powers opposing U.S. hegemony can be weakened. Which inevitably creates spillover into the countries that are supposed to be free from chaos, as we’re seeing in France where the war has cultivated the conditions for extreme social unrest.
In different parts of the same big peninsula which is inner Europe, the hegemon is advancing these two goals; in the Baltics, on the peninsula’s northern side, international capital is trying to maintain the benign conditions that allow for economic plunder. On the southern side in the Balkans, NATO is cultivating the circumstances for conflict. And it’s doing so the same way it created the Ukraine war: install a fascist regime that commits ethnic cleansing against people from the same cultural identity as the country NATO wants to target; provoke the targeted country into intervening to stop the atrocities; then call that country an “aggressor” which needs to be countered through endless weapons shipments.
As Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vucic has said about the situation NATO has created by installing and arming the Albanian fascist regime in Kosovo: “Things are out of control. Serbian people have been cornered. We have no right to allow further pogrom, persecution or ethnic cleansing of our people…[it is] what I would call silent ethnic cleansing, where Serbs have no rights to live unless they are loyal to the regime of Kurti. Serbia has done all it was asked to do, but there is no de-escalation because [Kosovo’s government] does not want it. Serbia is not preparing for war but it is ready to protect the lives of our people.”
As Putin clarified last month, Russia has similarly operated with intentions lacking in desire to start war; it began its project to demilitarize Ukraine so that it could end the preexisting conflict, which was between the Russian-speaking separatists and the fascist Kiev regime that menaced them. Should the imperial powers continue to escalate the situation though, he said, the outcome will be the spreading of this war to the rest of Europe. No part of the hemisphere, or of the globe, is truly safe as long as the hegemon is allowed to keep perpetrating the threat of atomic war. The same all-encompassing danger comes from the hegemon’s furthering of the climate crisis for corporate exploitation and pollution-heavy military operations; and from its willingness to mismanage (or weaponize) deadly viruses.
International capital, and the oligarchs that depend on its continued robustness, seeks to survive by defying the historical processes that threaten it. And to try to undo history is an absurd goal, a goal that brings economic, environmental, social, and physical destruction.
The victory of the working class movement in vassal states like the Baltics, and even moreso in the core of imperialism, is inderdependent with victory for the Global South and BRICS. The military machine that menaces the globe won’t be ended until we within the countries that facilitate this war-making win against our governments, and establish workers democracy; until then, we need to at the least disrupt the narratives behind these war operations, because that’s the fastest way to render these operations untenable. Fighting the information war is the most impactful thing we can do at this stage.
This is why I’ve put my sectarianism aside to act as a principled supporter of the Center for Political Innovation, which is a U.S. org that’s part of the World Anti-Imperialist Platform; we need to build the alliances, global and domestic, that can threaten the hegemon’s military machine. WAP and CPI are only one part of these collaborations that have been forming in response to the Ukraine proxy war; there’s also the Rage Against the War Machine organizing coalition, with its successful project to unite pro-Russian communist orgs like PCUSA and American Student Union with non-left groups that are anti-NATO in principle.
By building these alliances, the types of Marxists who are serious about fighting U.S. hegemony are creating a connection between the international forces that have been weakening the empire, and the forces of working class power within the imperialist countries. This is how we can import the recent victories of the global anti-hegemonic forces; whereas revolutionary progress is doing increasingly well internationally, domestically the situation is bleak for those of us in the places where capital remains strong. That international aspect of the struggle is presently transitioning to a point beyond when Ukraine is the central issue, where Washington has been forced to admit defeat and resorts to even more desperate tactics; as the U.S. quietly tries to negotiate with Russia, the neocon think tanks are broadcasting plans to start directing hybrid warfare towards BRICS and other countries; an expanded list of targets which will include every empire-disloyal player from Serbia to Brazil to Indonesia.
With Egypt’s recently applying to join BRICS, and BRICS creating a new currency which could seriously threaten the dollar, Washington views this global campaign of chaos as an ever more urgent priority. The responsibility of those of us in the core is to narratively sabotage our government’s destructive schemes as much as we can, reducing the world’s suffering and making victory over our own capitalist dictatorship possible.
By Rainer Shea