From anti-war to anti-imperialism

Published on Pambazuka News, by Ajamu Baraka, April 19, 2012.

An excerpt from a presentation at the United National Anti-War Coalition national conference, 24 March 2012 … //

… Situated within the context of globalised European capitalist/imperialist hegemony, real world balance-of-forces considerations must always influence, if not guide, our political and even moral assessments and practical responses to conflicts and questions of war and peace. From this perspective, which is clearly a political perspective, questions of solidarity and political support must be guided by an assessment of how support either strengthens or weakens the geo-political hegemony of Western imperialism. 

For many this may appear to be a crude formulation that is morally suspect, especially in light of the liberal interventionist calls for humanitarian intervention, the ‘right to protect’, and even the activity of the International Criminal Court. But an explicit anti-imperialist position has value not only in relation to extra-territorial questions involving the US, but also for the progressive movement to develop political positions that can take advantage of the current crisis of governance that the white, minority, ruling class is experiencing.

The militarism of neo-liberalism has created irreconcilable ideological contradictions for the Western, white, male, capitalist, minority ruling class. In order to maintain the hegemony of the global 1%, new policies, alliances and transnational structures have been developed to advance and justify imperialism’s right to carry out acts of military aggression and full-blown wars against other countries, oppressed peoples and social movements, while at the same time pretending to support democracy and development in the global South and internally. One example is the US government’s professed concern for activists in Syria, while completely ignoring the plight of activists in Bahrain, and actually supporting the brutal repression by Saudi forces of peaceful protests there. While we are on the topic of Saudi Arabia, how does a government that partially justified the invasion of Afghanistan by saying they were going to liberate women from the burqa, justify having one of its biggest friends (and, coincidentally, biggest customers) be a government that denies women the right to vote or drive?

Capitalist globalisation has exposed the backward and vulgar nature of capitalism and engendered popular resistance world-wide, from the streets of Athens to New York. The so-called ‘Arab spring’ was a reaction not only to the rapacious, comprador ruling classes propped up and maintained by Western imperialism, but also a reaction to imposed neo-liberal economic policies that devastated national economies and pushed millions into poverty. In the US, reactions to economic and social contradictions have resulted in an expansion of the State’s repressive apparatus. Under the guise of the ‘war on drugs’ and then national security, local police forces have been militarised and unleashed on African-American, Latino, Arab and, even still today, indigenous people. Migrant workers are imprisoned in an ever-increasing system of privatised prisons and now over two million black and brown bodies are commodified as generators of profits and a source of jobs in a system of barbaric gulags where 25,000 of those prisoners are held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day … (full text).

Ahmed Ben Bella: I spent 24-and-half years in prison;

Ahmed Ben Bella;

Ahmed Ben Bella: … the former President of Algeria, who has died aged 93 …

Panel of the Wise: …  is a consultative body of the African Union, composed of five appointed members who each serve three year terms …

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