The destruction of human beings and nature that U.S. imperialism brings is in itself enough of a reason to do whatever is necessary for combating it. Beyond this, the task of fighting the imperial hegemon is a prerequisite for the defeat of the state in the imperial center. A prerequisite that can’t be skipped, can’t be substituted for anything else. The imperialism-compatible leftists (and the others invested in maintaining U.S. hegemony) can’t be persuaded to carry forth this task, whether we use a moralist or strategic argument for doing so. This is because they’re concerned neither about the harm that comes from acting complicit in the imperial system, nor about gaining victory for the working class. So to help ensure that victory, we can clarify to those who do care about the revolutionary struggle why anti-imperialism is at this stage our most meaningful task.
By our most meaningful task, I mean the task that does the most to damage the power structure at the present moment. All facets of our struggle, from ending the wars to maximally expanding tribal jurisdiction, are indispensable to our success. The special significance the anti-imperialist cause has at the present moment is that until it’s sufficiently advanced, until we’ve weakened the empire enough, we won’t be able to win on any of our movement’s domestic struggles. This is because our capitalist state, being the global hub for capital due to its status as the core of imperialism, is especially fortified against revolution as compared to other capitalist states.
This particular strength that imperialism gives the core imperialist state is no longer as substantial as it was during the mid-20th century. Back then, the hegemon was at its peak, and could afford to bribe a much larger proportion of its citizens than it can today. The neo-colonial super-profits have been declining, as well as the robustness of the capitalist machine more broadly, and neoliberalism with its poverty expansion is the policy the ruling class has implemented in response to that decline. With a diminished labor aristocracy, there’s now a larger and still growing ratio of people in the core who have a primary material interest in revolution. Yet even as this vast amount of individuals with revolutionary potential continues to expand, a process accelerated by the Ukraine war’s worsening inflation, the country’s nature as the hegemon continues to hold back its internal class struggle.
This is because though the country’s people have been becoming increasingly revolution-compatible in their class character, the organizing spaces and political systems that are supposed to provide activism avenues for the disenfranchised remain captured by the elites. By the forces that seek to perpetuate the imperial order. This is why the biggest “communist” organizations, like CPUSA and PSL, have denounced Russia’s decision to counter U.S. hegemony. This is why it’s normal in leftist spaces to accept the State Department’s atrocity narratives on China, the DPRK, and Syria, as well as to try to discredit anyone who opposes these narratives. This is ultimately why the Democratic Party exists: for there to be a bourgeois institution that diverts liberation struggles towards reformism, or towards projects that can’t go anywhere meaningful due to their not sufficiently prioritizing anti-imperialism.
The latter types of projects are represented not just by the orgs which reinforce imperialism’s narratives, but by the ones which isolate themselves from most parts of the anti-NATO movement because these parts aren’t ideologically pure enough. As Lenin warned, those who engage in this kind of willful handicapping of their own coalition-building power can’t win the people, only a niche. And getting a niche on our side isn’t enough to destroy the Democratic Party’s monopoly over organizing and discourse spaces. We need to be able to reach that vast segment of the population which is revolution-compatible. Which requires us to attain a platform powerful enough, by virtue of its multi-tendency character, to be able to bring the anti-imperialist perspective to the majority of the people.
That should be our priority: winning the loyalty of the people, not winning the loyalty of political actors who don’t represent the people and will sell out the people at every opportunity. Whether or not somebody represents themselves as a radical, or claims allegiance to a social justice cause, if they devalue the importance of anti-imperialism then their advice is not worth taking. The “left” spaces in the imperial center, and the arguments they put forth that are designed to divide the anti-NATO struggle, are not where we should look to for direction on how to make our revolutionary struggle succeed.
To find that direction, look to which types of dissent our bourgeois dictatorship is showing itself to be most afraid of. It’s not even showing itself to be a little bit afraid of high-status “Marxist” academics like Gerald Horne and Angela Davis, imperialism’s media and educational institutions platform them. It’s showing itself to be most afraid of the Marxists whose practice is foremost about the anti-imperialist struggle. And whose thinking is based not in the distortions of Marxist theory these academics promote, but in a commitment to taking that theory seriously.
Because the U.S. has never had a workers revolution, and therefore this theory can’t answer every question about how to have a revolution within our conditions, these Marxists often haven’t yet focused on such U.S.-specific questions (like the one about how to liberate the internal colonies). Yet that these Marxists have made anti-imperialism their foremost priority has made them into the primary targets of the state, both in terms of the state’s discourse manipulation and in terms of the state’s repression. That the state is heavily censoring antiwar voices, deploying a domestic version of NAFO, and intensifying its repression through the RESTRICT act and the Uhuru indictments shows we’re doing something right.
What does it say that the communists who’ve been the most vocal about fighting the Ukraine psyop are the ones that have been getting indicted, or getting their websites hacked by COINTELPRO disinformation agents? What does it say that “Marxists” like Horne and Davis get platformed by imperialism’s propaganda outlets, while the orgs and individuals within the Rage Against the War Machine coalition are engaged in a battle of ideas with these outlets?
It says that to follow the advice of the imperialism-compatible left is to doom ourselves. There’s a reason why this element portrays the promotion of anti-imperialist ideas as something which hinders social justice struggles: it doesn’t recognize the importance of the information war against U.S. hegemony. It doesn’t recognize the importance of this practice because this practice entails taking away the status which these opportunistic actors hold within our organizing and discourse spaces. We won’t be able to influence the discourse enough for imperialism’s operations to be frustrated, or enough for the Democrats to be stripped of their grip over activism, until these gatekeepers are made unable to effectively do their job. That job being to sow disunity within the anti-imperialist movement, discourage anti-imperialist practice, and reinforce belief in imperialism’s psyops.
With the effects that the Ukraine proxy war has had on living standards in this country, we have an unprecedented opportunity to make communism mainstream again, and to escalate the class struggle. We can’t listen to those who have an interest in preventing this outcome.