After a process of decline in U.S. power which got accelerated by the War on Terror, and decades of neoliberal attacks upon the workers, our class conflict has reached a point where it’s experiencing ever-more-frequent escalations. As strikes keep disrupting capital, and helping more of the people become radicalized, our elites are seeking to maintain the fundamental structures which guard against proletarian victory. These structures are global monopoly capital, which needs constant imperialist warfare to survive; and the liberal cultural hegemony, which needs narrative control to survive.
Ukraine represented a vast escalation in this power struggle between the people and the elites. The war forced every political actor to take sides; and this revealed most of the U.S. left to be unprincipled on anti-imperialism, due to its refusal to back Russia’s special military operation. Now that we’ve seen who is and isn’t committed to defeating the state; and now that the failure of Biden’s proxy war has prompted a new transition within our political history; we’re entering an even more intense stage of the struggle. The stage where the empire, forced to retreat, is shifting towards defending its remaining neo-colonies, and towards crushing opposition within the core.
Imperialism’s intensive recent looting of these neo-colonies, exemplified in America and Europe’s extracting natural resources from Africa, has been an essential part of monopoly capital’s survival amid these crises it’s experiencing. With this last month’s revolt by several African countries, made possible by the counter-hegemonic actions of players like Russia and China, this project to sacrifice the Global South’s future so profits can be kept up has been jeopardized. The formerly colonized world can’t survive if the imperialists are able to keep it subjugated; the globe is seeing an exponentially worsening climate crisis, and the poorest countries are having their means for self-preservation stolen with increasing speed. Of course a growing number of them are acting against the imperialists; this is only the start of a larger global revolutionary trend that was inevitable.
Because the imperialists can’t have their power structure survive without the exploitation, they’re using their fascist terrorist forces from Ukraine to try to undo Africa’s revolutions. As reported by Sputnik:
Earlier this week, a military-diplomatic source revealed to the media that the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6, had cobbled together a sabotage unit of 100 fighters, consisting of members of Ukrainian nationalist and neo-Nazi formations, to be sent to Africa on missions against Russia-friendly states. Africa could once again suffer the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine with the arrival of Western-trained Ukrainian mercenaries on the continent, Souleyman Amazat, a Beninese consultant on security and terrorism issues, revealed in an interview with Sputnik. According to the expert, African countries risk new destabilization attempts by Ukrainian mercenaries trained in the West. This information is already “known to various intelligence services in Mali, Guinea and Burkina,” he noted, adding that these Ukrainian nationalists will specifically target prominent figures of the Pan-African movement.
To do this, Washington and London need to hide the vile realities of these activities from their people. Which requires suppressing the anti-imperialist voices who could spread awareness of the assassination efforts, trainings of color revolution militia forces, psychological operations, or industrial sabotage that the Ukrainian operatives may carry out across Africa in the coming months and years. Bringing about this destruction within Africa and beyond is the only realistic way for the empire to regain its lost neo-colonies on the continent; as well as to subdue BRICS, which is continuing to rise despite the demoralizing recent propaganda about it. And this destabilization operation is going to require a series of psyops—ones directed at the discourses in both the U.S. and the U.K.—designed to create perceived justification for persecuting anti-imperialists far more than they already are.
The next step of the war against dissent within the imperialist countries isn’t to carry out a quiet intelligence takeover of the media, or to implement severe online censorship measures. The elites have already done both of these things so far during the new cold war. The next step is to effectively get rid of the existing laws against political persecution, applying the same fraudulent legal standard from the Uhuru indictments to every other group or person who challenges imperialism’s psyops. This could mean passing the RESTRICT act, a bill that would let the DOJ direct the same charge against Uhuru (that Uhuru had conspired with a foreign government) towards anyone involved in international anti-imperialist solidarity work. That’s why RESTRICT says anyone who uses technologies from U.S. enemy states is to be defined as a criminal.
What will be the justification they use for passing RESTRICT, or for implementing a potential alternative repressive measure should RESTRICT not be a viable option? There are indications the justification will be a false flag; a false flag that makes it look like the major anti-imperialist orgs and activists are participating in foreign interference within the 2024 election. In March of last year, prior to when Washington implemented the sanctions over Ukraine, the neocon think tank the Atlantic Council established the beginnings of such a narrative:
Recent history clearly highlights the Ukraine theme in Russian election influence efforts, where (shaping) US policy toward Ukraine was of great interest to the Kremlin. Further, that Moscow apparently did not interfere in 2020 on the scale it did in 2016 does not necessitate a lack of activity in 2024. And Russia’s possible further aggression in Ukraine underscores that nation’s center-stage position in Putin’s foreign policy outlook. Particularly if Russia escalates the situation and a prolonged kinetic conflict unfolds, the Russian government’s tactics may become more aggressive. If the United States levies sanctions against Russia because of its actions in Ukraine, that could likewise become a central theme of Russian election interference—even if not rhetorically targeting the sanctions, working to stoke divisions or advance ideas or political careers that would reverse or weaken them. The same goes for a scenario in which the United States works with allies in Europe to impose a wider array of sanctions against the Putin regime.
The Democratic Party’s narrative managers are already working to portray Cornel West as somebody with this kind of Russian-facilitated political career. And if he gains enough support, the threat he poses towards Biden’s victory could be used to say Russia is using the Democratic Party’s challengers from the left to “destroy the country” or something to that effect. Essential to the success of such a psyop would be two things: 1) selling the argument that any threat towards the Democrats represents something objectively alarming, and 2) portraying Russia, China, or Iran as the sources of the supposed alarm. They did this in 2016 by claiming the differences between the two candidates were substantial enough to make Democratic victory an unquestionable moral imperative, and by fraudulently claiming the DNC leak had been made possible by Russian hacking.
For 2024, the Democrats have the first part of this argument in the idea that voting for them is essential towards protecting trans people; as if it’s an unambiguous fact that trans people should comply with being blackmailed into supporting a party which reinforces the system behind their unjust conditions. If the censors manage to sufficiently force out the voices that challenge this “vote blue or you’re a bigotry enabler” mentality, the empire’s war operations will be able to continue without becoming too narratively frustrated. To do this, though, the state will also need to successfully discredit the journalistic work which exposes the evils of these war operations. If we in the anti-imperialist movement do our jobs, we’ll take every possible opportunity to inform the public about the atrocities our government is committing in Africa and elsewhere. And that has the potential to make these activities untenable, unless our government can do enough to stop our reporting from being seen and heard.
The false flag used to justify further persecuting and censoring our movement could be a repeat of the “Russia hacked the DNC” psyop, where intelligence officials respond to a scandalous story by saying it’s a foreign conspiracy. This isn’t guaranteed, though, because that would be dependent on the empire first experiencing an instance of narrative damage. The elites don’t want to carry out this false flag from a reactive position, where they’re trying to recover from a crisis they didn’t plan for; they want to be able to conduct this false flag from a place of full control, where they’re the ones that brought about the inciting incident. Unless our movement manages to break an explosive story prior to next year’s election, like WikiLeaks did in 2016, the false flag will take the form of a “threat to our democratic institutions” that the propagandists have conjured from out of nowhere. Something like the fabricated interference story about Uhuru, or the hoax accusations against PCUSA that the feds have invented.
Any day could be the time when this next great attack against the anti-imperialist cause gets launched. How effectively we can fight back against it depends on how influential we’ll have made the antiwar movement; which is why the present stage, in which we’re building a multi-tendency antiwar organizing coalition, is so important. We who consistently oppose the empire need to stay together, and this is something that even many Marxists who support Russia haven’t quite grasped; if we want our cause to survive the state’s fury, we’ll need to operate with the mentality that unity among antiwar people is paramount.
There are plenty of these sectarian-minded Marxists who will remain sectarian, due to their being invested in opportunistic loyalties. There are many others, though, who are simply still learning, and can be brought towards the optimal position for anti-imperialists to take. If you feel you haven’t yet figured out the best way to operate as a radical, internalize this lesson: those who are fighting this fight with a lot of friends to back them are the ones with a chance of overcoming the obstacles the state creates for them.
By Rainer Shea
If you appreciate my work, I hope you become a one-time or regular donor to my Patreon account. Like most of us, I’m feeling the economic pressures amid late-stage capitalism, and I need money to keep fighting for a new system that works for all of us. Go to my Patreon here.
To keep this platform effective amid the censorship against dissenting voices, join my Telegram channel.
To my Substack subscribers: if you want to use Substack’s pledge feature to give me a donation, instead send your donation to my PayPal link. Substack uses the payment service Stripe, which requires users to provide sensitive info that’s not safe for me to give the company.