Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Obama’s Legacy: Permanent War and Liberal/Radical Accommodation?

This is a few months old, but it is an absolute must read for those who have not previously seen this article. In the past, I have widely criticized many in the anarchist milieu for privileging their particular identity politics, favorite social issues, or preferred economic system over the wider struggle against the forces of State, Capital, and Empire. Likewise, many also privilege “anti-authoritarianism” over anti-imperialism as this article points out. Such a stance may have made sense when the principal opponents of Anglo-American-Zionist imperialism were totalitarian Marxist-Leninist regimes or hardline Islamic theocracies. But such a stance makes no sense when Russia, China, Cuba, Iran, and other anti-Western regimes have long since undergone a process of liberalization, and have reverted to the status of normal societies. At the present juncture, it is entirely reasonable to assume a stance that is pro-BRICS, pro-Resistance Block, and supportive of resistance nations in Latin America within the realm of international geopolitics.

My prediction is that virtually the entire spectrum of the present day conventional Left will eventually adopt a pro-American imperialist perspective (to the degree that they have not already done so) in the name of feminism, gay rights, secularism,”democracy,” “human rights” and anti-ant-Semitism. In a few decades, “conservatives” in the U.S. will look like today’s Obama-Clinton Democrats and “liberals” will resemble the “social justice warrior” academic leftist types. Meanwhile, what we are doing here at ATS is a prototype for a future radical left that moves beyond liberal moralizing and cultural politics.

By Ajamu Baraka

The announcement by the Obama administration that it will seek congressional authorization to expand the war on ISIS in Syria and possibly send more heavy weapons to its client government in Ukraine did not generate the kind of muscular opposition and sense of urgency that one would expect from the anti-interventionist liberals and significant sectors of what use to be the anti-imperialist and anti-war left.

Outside of a few articles written by some of us confined to the marginalized and shrinking left, the reports that the administration was considering both of these courses of action were met with passing indifference. It is as if the capitalist oligarchy’s strategy of permanent war has been accepted as a fait-accompi by the general public and even significant numbers of the left.

The fact that the U.S. President could launch military attacks in Syria, supposedly a sovereign state and member of the United Nations, for six months without any legal justification and not face fierce criticism in the U.S. and internationally demonstrates the embrace of lawlessness that characterizes the current epoch of Western imperialist domination.

And the acquiescence of much of the left in the U.S. and Europe on the issue of Syria and the U.S. supported coup in Ukraine reveals the moderating and accommodating forces within the faux left that attempts to bully and intimidate anti-imperialist critics.

To oppose the dismemberment of Syria or criticize the dangerous collaboration between the U.S. and racist neo-Nazi elements in Ukraine was reduced to the silly and intellectually lazy arguments that one was “pro-Assad” or a dupe for Putin!

However, the current ideological environment did not evolve by accident or by the particular confluence of historical events. The disappearance of anti-imperialism among the cosmopolitan left in the U.S. and Western Europe is reflective of a monumental ideological accomplishment by the propagandists of empire. The professional propagandists of empire and Western dominance were able to adroitly “introject” into the center of the radical world-view and consciousness a liberal ideological framework that privileged “anti-authoritarianism over anti-imperialism.


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