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writing for godot

It's Time for the Left to Work for All the World's Peoples

Written by Judy Pasqualge   
Friday, 04 December 2020 03:19

It is urgent that a Left coalition in the US prioritise education on the connections between domestic and foreign policy, especially as regards the dominant economic model and its imposition at home and abroad.

Imperialism, as seen in western colonialism and the current monopoly stage of capitalism, has a twofold aim: to control a country's model of development; and to extract more wealth (money and other resources) than is put in.

Definitions of several stages of capitalism are useful:

‒ monopoly capitalism: within a production sector, several firms have enough power to control the prices of goods (a position reached by US firms especially after the Second World War, in Europe and Japan, and now applied globally); such firms agree on expanding the total market, while competition concerns increasing market share via advertising.

‒ financialisation: from the 1980s, the stage that sees bank, insurance and real estate sectors take the dominant position over firms that actually manufacture goods.

‒ generalised monopoly capitalism: the current period of financialisation that sees all smaller companies, globally, as subcontractors only, and incorporated into global supply chains.

In using these definitions, it is clear that people in the US themselves are the objects of an outside-determined (domestic top-down) development model, AND of the extraction of wealth from the lower classes to the top.

This is seen in the identical agendas 'for' people in the US ‒ low priority of and cuts in social services, and privatisation ‒ AND 'for' people in other countries (implementation of the US model, privatisation of state assets, including healthcare and education).

So, too, this is an agenda agreed on by the Republican and Democratic parties ‒ now clearly seen in the Biden/Harris team of economic and foreign policy advisors.

Thus, the Left must get out of the very limited portrayal of foreign policy change as constituting only a stop to 'never-ending wars.' The strategy of the US, Europe, Japan and allies is permanent and total war, where each person must choose to be for or against. A current example is the application of military tactics by US police departments and against any opposition, particularly against poorer people and/or minorities.

We have seen what happens to countries that refuse to cooperate and be absorbed into this global model, and insist on their own sovereign development (and not necessarily democratic). Thus, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq and Libya saw governments overthrown and the country fragmented to prevent any other control. Thus, we see the coordinated efforts against Cuba, Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, Bolivia and Syria. If necessary, support is given to right-wing and/or terrorist individuals and groups (for example, to political Islamist groups in Syria, and Juan Guidó in Venezuela). The groups that will not be supported are movements for people's participation in setting agendas, sovereignty and real democracy (beyond mere elections).

Say what you want about the 70 million people who voted for President Trump, but a large number do see the falsity in the promises made by Democratic and Republic parties (of the Clintons, Bushes and Obama) ‒ not only in light of increased poverty, unemployment and the like, but in the brutal effects of such lies as 'war over weapons of mass destruction.' It is up to the Left to turn such sentiment away from a look to some 'better past' ‒ a form of depoliticisation* ‒ and to the future. It is likely that more voters than imagined actually cast a vote against the false liberal/progressive stance of the Democratic Party.

In common with many of the above Trump supporters, many who oppose Trump extol a pseudo-individualism that is a mask for a second form of depoliticisation: via extreme consumerism, which is based on the production of goods in places where wages are lowest (labour arbitrage).

So, too, they would agree on the above foreign policy. This is quite clear to people around the world, who correctly see little difference between the Bush-Clinton-Obama aims of an undemocratic control of the world's economy (thus distribution of the surplus), backed by military force. This is despite the huge number of deaths and injuries among US and Iraqi people, for example. It is also seen in the almost total silence as regards the effects on peoples of economic austerity measures, of government overthrow, and of 'targetted' assassination that condones so many civilian deaths. Clearly, there is agreement (or at least complicity) to policy without conviction ‒ except to claim a right to power, including outright theft and execution.

A difference between some in the RP and DP can be seen regarding the management of the effects of this development model on people in the US, i.e., on how to implement the same austerity measures required of other countries (via the World Bank, IMF and WTO): defunding or privatising public health, education and other services; allowing in foreign funds/services/companies; maximum repatriation of profits; destruction of systems of small farms in favour of factory farming; and participation in free trade agreements that mostly benefit powerful countries and domestic elites.

It is no secret that the Biden/Harris team contains elements for a 'balanced budget' (cuts in Social Security, other social expenditures, but not in defense). It is likely that the months ahead will see a consolidation of powerful elements from the old RP within the Biden/Harris DP.

The result will be increased alienation of the system's losers (the nonwealthy), including of people who look to the past (and perhaps especially to their old privileged positions).

At the real base of the DP are many people who can agree on social and some economic aims, but also support the consumption model that rests fully on the repression of people's right to determination in other countries.

It is time that the Left refined its argument, requiring an international focus and alliances as one priority; and educates on the common experiences of the poor, minorities, unemployed and lower classes.

A priority is to expose the myth that global poverty and inequality are decreasing; and the myth that the US intervenes out of humanitarian concerns.

As it is, the mainstream DP and its media outlets, such as CNN and MSNBC (with lots of popular participation) are stoking indignation, a snobbish superiority, even hatred ‒ and now regarding 70 million voters! What was seen in the attitude of and name calling by Hillary Clinton in 2016 (which contributed to her election loss) is turning into an epidemic.

The real target is us! We are the 'deplorables,' the 'stupid' people, who are supposed to leave foreign policy to the supremely wealthy (in the US, Europe, Japan and in any subordinate country), and who, by the way, are incapable of acting in concert in the case of emergencies (including economic, pandemic and social ones).

A focus on domestic and foreign policy similarities can serve to unite peoples around a common agenda, and one that allows differences also.

Otherwise, the DP will soon stand as discredited as the RP was in 2008 and 2020.

As a starter: immediate demands can focus on a repudiation of the America First foreign policy, which only makes the world safe for ruling classes (of whatever gender, ethnicity, minority, religion):

‒ end economic sanctions that target goods/services to people (with the aim of increasing anti-government sentiment);

‒ stop targetted assassination (including the drone killings institutionalised by Obama), within a broader agenda for the upholding of international law, including an end to support for torture;

‒ stop attempts to overthrow governments and fragment countries ‒ including covert support for militias and complicit NGOs ‒ with a special focus on Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Syria, Russia, China and Iran.

‒ stop the imposition of economic austerity, by the US, its allies, the World Bank, IMF and WTO.

If things continue as they are now, in the decades ahead, and sooner rather than later, the people in the US will face greater austerity measures ‒ agreed on by both the RP and DP. Indeed, the only thing working against this now is the continued use of the dollar as the international currency, AND the associated foreign finance of US budget deficits via foreign purchase of Treasury bonds ‒ AND organised opposition in the US.

In the wings, is a rising Right, a global movement that believes in fascism ‒ one that ruling classes will support in the end if necessary, whether of the Biden/Harris or Trump/Pence factions: the prime target of both is the Left.

* Comments on depoliticisation are from: Samir Amin, The Reawakening of the Arab World, New York: Monthly Review Press, 2016, 13-14. your social media marketing partner
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