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U.S. uses Yugoslavia war model for its domestic counterrevolution

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You kill a revolution the same way you kill a nation: by breaking the people's belief in it, by convincing them that continuing to fight for their liberation isn't worthwhile. In Yugoslavia, both the nation and the revolution were murdered simultaneously. And the imperialists destroyed the will of the people not just through terror, but through the manufacturing of divisions, through convincing many within the nation that the revolutionaries were tyrannical war criminals. This was the embodiment of social engineering's darkest definition: to persuade people to act against their own interests.

As class struggle intensifies in the core imperialist countries, the ruling class seeks to carry out preemptive counterrevolution through the same combination of social sabotage. They're trying to not just terrorize us into submission with a militarized police state, but trick the masses into thinking the communists represent dictatorship and genocide.

What we're dealing with is an internally directed counterinsurgency, one that centers cognitive warfare as its means for disempowering the forces of proletarian revolution. This internal war is a reflection of the enormous extent to which the U.S. empire has continued its global belligerence since the Cold War ended, and a peaceful new era had supposedly begun. In his book Killing Hope, William Blum observed this doubling down on the war machine:

What do we have here? The American people had been taught for nearly half a century that the Cold War, including the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the huge military budgets, all the US invasions and overthrows of governments--the ones they knew about--they were taught that this was all to fight the same menace: The International Communist Conspiracy, headquarters in Moscow. But then the Soviet Union was dissolved. The Warsaw Pact was dissolved as well. The East European satellites became independent. The former communists even became capitalists. And nothing changed in American foreign policy. Even NATO remained, NATO which had been created--so we were told--to protect Western Europe against a Soviet invasion, even NATO remained, ever increasing in size and military power, a treaty on wheels which could be rolled in any direction to suit Washington's current policy acting as a US surrogate ruling over the Balkans as a protectorate, invoking its charter to justify its members joining the US in the Afghanistan invasion.

It's not just that U.S. imperialism refused to dismantle any of its global militaristic apparatus following the end of the Cold War. It's that it continued every facet of its internal counterrevolutionary war, then expanded on this front. This war on communism the empire has waged during the last generation has taken on a more subtle and insidious form than was the case for McCarthyism. In this phase of anti-communism, the initial attacks don't come in the form of political persecution, but in the form of emotionally charged narrative management. Through imported CIA disinformation tactics, Americans are convinced that the existing Marxist-Leninist states have committed indefensible atrocities.

The "Tiananmen Square Massacre" hoax was the first example of this redoubled CIA propaganda war against communism following the Soviet Union's demise. In 1989, when U.S. meddling produced violent counterrevolutionary "pro-democracy" protesters who brutally murdered PLA troops, Washington's propagandists turned the situation on its head. They fabricated contradictory and logistically implausible death numbers for the Tiananmen Square protesters, who were themselves the instigators of the carnage. They cemented these falsified reports into the Western psyche as one of the 20th century's greatest atrocities, using the image of a man standing in front of a tank as the central iconic symbol in this narrative about people resisting China's "dictatorship." This image was seemingly only used for its drama, given that it didn't even show the tank drivers trying to shoot the man or run him over.

In the coming years, Yugoslavian socialism was given the same treatment of fabricated human rights-abuse allegations, with this disinformation being successful in destroying its target. After attributing war crimes to Serbia's socialist leader Milosevic that he's since been exonerated on, NATO bombed civilians and civilian infrastructure throughout the region, claiming this was all justified by the deeds of the Serbs. But as one former CIA agent who operated in Yugoslavia has since admitted, the Serbs were Washington's scapegoats. The ethnic tensions that the CIA inflamed throughout the region with its racial-atrocity propaganda, and the conflict that ensued, were the work of the imperialists.

Now that Washington had destroyed Europe's last bastion of socialism, China and north Korea were the main socialist countries to draw the empire's ire. By the mid-2000s, China had proven itself to be capable of building a new multi-polar order, and the DPRK had set itself on an ultimately successful route towards outmaneuvering Washington on attaining nuclear weapons. So both countries became targets for more "human rights" propaganda than they had ever been prior. With this propaganda came a narratively based neo-McCarthyite campaign within the U.S., one where communism would be aggressively associated with "dictatorship," "genocide," and eventually a global pandemic.

In foreign policy terms, this propaganda's purpose was to destroy the remaining socialist states the same ways the imperialists had destroyed Yugoslavia and the Soviet bloc: counterrevolutionary agitation and Balkanization. This became apparent in Washington's decades-long backing of the "independence" movements for Xinjiang, Tibet, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, which have managed to produce many terrorist attacks within these provinces. Through the false atrocity accusations promoted by Uyghur "human rights" demagogue Rebiya Kadeer, deadly ethnic riots broke out in 2009. This was followed by a continuation of the country's Uyghur separatist terrorist attacks, which would go on until China's deradicalization centers halted the violence in the late 2010s.

Now Washington's terrorism-incitement pipeline within northwestern China has been rendered defective, and China has successfully put a stop to the parallel terrorist attacks that the CIA-backed Hong Kong agitators created two years ago. Washington's destabilization attempts in the DPRK and Cuba continue to fail as well. Beset by geopolitical losses, the empire sees retaining control over its remaining neo-colonies and its core countries as more vital than ever. So it's using its propaganda against these countries as a weapon for preemptively destroying revolution in the core.

In this way, the modern anti-communism is another example of the "imperial boomerang," where the violent tactics that empires employ abroad get turned against their internal populations. (Something that especially happens during an empire's decline.) Today's anti-communist narratives about Uyghur "concentration camps," the "China virus," and existing socialism's other supposed evils serve to blunt class consciousness in the imperial center, turning people away from revolutionary organizing by associating communism with a manufactured enemy. The disinformation within this campaign is in no way accidental as far as the U.S. government is concerned. This year's resurgence of the racist "Wuhan lab leak" lie has come from predictably unnamed U.S. intelligence sources. And the U.S. government's "pro-democracy" funding has been documented to go to Falun Gong--the cult that's been spreading xenophobic far-right narratives on China through its paper the Epoch Times.

For someone who's been gripped by the fabricated horror stories from highly paid north Korean defectors, or the ominous headlines about Uyghur culture being "erased" by the separatist deradicalization program, Marxism-Leninism is seen as an unambiguous evil. An evil that must be crushed by any means necessary. It's no wonder why anti-Asian hate crimes have exploded during the last two years; beyond the lies about China being to blame for the virus, there's a concerted campaign to associate Chinese people and their Korean neighbors with "human rights abuses." The pandemic has made decades of manufactured anti-communist hatred boil over, manifesting in violence against ethnic groups that are merely deemed to be associated with the communist bogeyman.

The parallels with the Serbophobia of the 1990s are obvious. Like how imperialist propaganda outlets could get away with putting out headlines calling for bombing "the Serbs" as a collective, today's reactionary demagogues can get away with comparably inflammatory statements, like "China ruined everything." Justifying racist violence is the goal of both narratives.

In addition to making the targeted ethnic groups live in fear, the effect is to create a wall of ignorance and paranoia separating us from the knowledge that can free us from our neoliberal hell. The revolutionary organizations and theory we need to overthrow the capitalist state, and to replace it with workers' democracy, are perpetually demonized as instruments of "authoritarianism," "totalitarianism," and every other scare term the propagandists can come up with. This allows the ruling class to keep lowering wages, cutting benefits for the poor, privatizing and deregulating the public sphere, destroying stolen indigenous lands, imprisoning dissidents, and terrorizing marginalized communities with impunity. As long as the masses are too demobilized and divided to organize behind proletarian revolution, the bourgeoisie will have the upper hand.

What's most diabolical about this domestic-counterinsurgency strategy is that it isn't relying on bombs or troops, at least not so far. Its main assets are the everyday people who've been swayed towards its xenophobic, anti-intellectual agenda. "Cognitive warfare's objective is to make everyone a weapon," declares a NATO-sponsored report from last year. "The brain will be the battlefield of the 21st century... Humans are the contested domain... future conflicts will likely occur amongst the people digitally first and physically thereafter in proximity to hubs of political and economic power."

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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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