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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/29/22

The sooner U.S. imperialism gets totally defeated, the less harm it can do in its decline

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U.S. imperialism, faced with a decline that's accelerating with Russia's growing victories over the Ukrainian NATO puppet regime, is approaching a cornered position. The continued existence of the United States is tied in with the ongoing exploitation of the Global South, which is tied in with Washington's geopolitical leverage. With this last year's three great failures for U.S. imperialism in Eurasiathe loss of Afghanistan, the defeat of the CIA coup attempt in Kazakhstan, and Russia's increasingly likely triumph in UkraineU.S. power is being forced to contract. U.S. capital will have to contract along with it, battered by the coming wave of revolutions throughout the exploited world and the rise of China's Belt and Road Initiative.

Many decades ago, U.S. imperialism was able to exist without the U.S. being a global imperialist power. Prior to when Washington began grabbing up additional colonies around the turn of the century, the U.S. was an empire, one that built up its capital through imperialist occupation of indigenous lands and the enslavement of Africans. But as the U.S. empire comes more to resemble this old state of isolated, internal imperialism, where Washington lacks imperial control outside its settler-colonial borders, it becomes apparent that the empire won't be able to remain stable if it fully returns to this smaller state. U.S. capital has become too big for its own good, and the rate of profits has declined too much. Unlike in the 19th century, the empire is dependent on being global.

So when it loses too much of its global reachwhich will likely occur when it's almost entirely kicked out of Asiait will go into a crisis mode. The kind of crisis mode that will cause it to revert to the instability which produced the Civil War. When a state is enslaving or otherwise intensely subjugating a vast portion of its own people, it inevitably encounters armed resistance, which correlates with the kind of destructive factionalism that emerged between the North and the South. This is exactly what the U.S. settler state is bringing itself to as it reacts to its global decline by turning imperialism against its own people. For the last half-century, the U.S. has implemented especially cruel neoliberal austerity policiesmore extreme than in any other imperialist countryand has built a mass incarceration system so that the prison-industrial complex can profit from it. And it's the consequences of these policiesintensified poverty and subjugation that disproportionately impacts the colonized nationsthat's driving the country closer to a new civil war.

If a domestic revolutionary insurgency emerges in the U.S. during the next few decades, its social base will come from the black and continentally indigenous communities which have been ravaged by these dual atrocities of neoliberal poverty and police state violence. These communities' material deprivation intertwines with the pushing of millions of people into second-class felon status, and with the increase of police brutality amid the last two decades of law enforcement militarization. The fact that this militarization is a symptom of the transferring of excess arms equipment from Washington's recent wars shows how closely all of this relates to imperial decline. These wars have been another part of imperialism's reaction to its own collapse, like how neoliberalism has been a reaction to the contraction of capital following Washington's defeat in Vietnam.

These factors have converged to produce a massive part of the population that would be willing to take part in an internal revolt against the empire, unified by the desperate conditions that the empire has imposed upon them. To survive its decline, the empire has had to push millions upon millions into severe impoverishment and impose an ever-deadlier police state upon them. Which has created a social pressure that can only cease intensifying when the masses see their demands met: an end to the police violence, an end to poverty, and the building of a genuine democracy. Ever more are realizing that reformism can't deliver these demands. So the masses are being brought closer towards an anti-colonial communist movement, one that abolishes the "United States" and constructs workers democracy on a land where the colonized nations can determine their own destinies.

The peoples of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic, despite having lived under siege from imperialism's fascist Ukrainian proxies throughout the last eight years, have recently come much closer to achieving the equivalent of this. Putin has granted them independence, creating the appropriate conditions for a referendum to join Russiaand to automatically become part of a reestablished Soviet Union should that goal be realized. As the movements for national self-determination and socialism gather strength around the world, from the victorious Donbass peoples to the Bolivians who are building up their living standards following their 2020 break from neo-colonialism, these ideas for liberation are spilling into the empire's core. The communist parties within the U.S. are incrementally gaining mass backing for their cause, expanding and training their cadres, and building solidarity with international anti-imperialists.

If communists in the imperial center stay on this course, creating connections with our communities, educating the masses, and cultivating internationalism, we'll be better equipped to take on the colossal task we'll be faced with during this next generation. That being harm reduction amid the colossal destruction that imperialism threatens to unleash as its decline continues, and as it lashes out even more. When the conditions for civil war get met, and the empire finds itself threatened from within, it will wage war against the colonized nations foremost, as well as attempt a broader purge of radicals. It will do what its fascist Ukraine regime has done: outlaw communist organizing and speech challenging the anti-communist propaganda, use fascist militias to hunt down communists and other disfavored groups, and use the killing of civilians as a strategy in their reactionary war. The latter tactics, where fascist Ukraine has used bombings, the National Guard, and paramilitaries to commit atrocities against ethnic Russians in Donbass, could be replicated in the U.S. through bombings of nonwhite neighborhoods and massacres of non-combatants.

If the U.S. empire won't survive, it will try to take millions of lives with it. It's our job as communists to save as many of these lives as we can, and to navigate our conditions so that what follows the United States is a post-colonial workers democracy.

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Rainer Shea is writing articles that counter the propaganda of the capitalist/imperialist power establishment, and that help move us towards a socialist revolution. Donate to me on Patreon here:

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