An woman in South Africa victimized by an abuser

Understanding Imperialism by Understanding Abuse

I want you to imagine a situation, where a coworker or family member clocks in at the beginning of the day, or arrives at a function. They appear tired yet jovial. As you ask them how they are you reach out to touch them, they recoil in pain. You then notice up close, bruises and lacerations. You ask if they are okay and they are resistant to answer.

Imagine that this person has been further victimized by others when asking for help, as they claim the abuser could not do such a thing, because ‘they just seem so nice… so attractive. After all, they are helping you financially.’ The abuser has integrated themselves into a particular environment and generated a particular benevolent character. Imagine that this abuser has withheld everything financially in order to assert control over the relationship. Imagine that the one being abused has children, and has little to no recourse, but to stay with the abuser. The alternate choice is houselessness. Imagine that they made moves to assert independence, and their plans were thwarted once discovered, and every time were beaten to the point of being hospitalized. Imagine this person filing a restraining order against the abuser, and having it consistently violated.

Now imagine this abused individual to be a country. Imagine the abuser to be another country. Now take your imagination and recognize this is reality.

We shall start with Cuba.

Imagine… No, don’t imagine- recognize. Recognize that in 1959, the masses of Cuba organized themselves against Fulgencio Batista, the U.S.-backed dictator. As a result, in 1960 the U.S. facilitated moves to establish a long-standing blockade, in existence to this day.

Control of access to food, medical supplies and other resources to a people experiencing starvation and sickness is a direct means to control a people. The countries (and allies) who enact sanctions occasionally end up providing ‘aid’ to said people. In addition to waging mass disinformation campaigns on a global scale, those who enacted the sanctions will end up looking like heroes and humanitarians, despite stepping in for the sole purpose of overthrowing a government.

Understanding this, now recognize that any country in resistance to relinquishing despite the stranglehold of a blockade is going to face even further retaliation.

It is easy to sympathize or empathize with someone experiencing the withholding of money, food, access to outside contact and other qualifications of abuse within individual interpersonal relationships. The person being abused is encouraged to seek escape. When it comes to geopolitics, those who experience these same things at the hands of the imperialist abuser are further victimized, and we are constantly told that the people (or the government) did this to themselves. Those who seek asylum are turned away.

If you have, at any point in time said this about anywhere in the world that has a history of resistance to imperialist forces, both past and present- especially Cuba, go back and read the memo above. This was established by (the once ‘Supreme Commander’ of NATO) Eisenhower and his administration, and propped up by every proceeding administration.

Then go back and study how there is no distinct difference between democrats and republicans.

One cannot forget that Eisenhower had a few practice runs prior to the plans for the overthrow of the Cuban revolution, what with the CIA-backed coups in Iran (in 1953) and Guatemala (1954). What did Mohammed Mosaddeq of Iran do? Nationalize the oil. What did Jacobo Árbenz of Guatemala do? Gave support to the peasant class, through land reforms. As a result of the overthrows, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (aka the shah) and Carlos Castillo Armas were installed, leading authoritarian/dictatorial governments, a direct counter to the formerly democratically elected ones.

In light of all the news and conversation in regards to Ukraine, it’s important to note that again, there’s no distinction between republicans and democrats. Both parties work hard to usurp control from democratically elected governments. One need not look too far back to the year 2014, to see one of the major roots of why Ukraine is is in the position it’s currently in. A conversation between U.S. assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland and U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt has them strategizing how to oust democratically elected president Viktor Yanukovych, and listing their desired choices as a replacement. With the help of NATO, the U.S. got it’s wish to destabilize a nation.

i’m sure at this point you can figure out what happened as a result of the ousting of Yanukovych- and my guess is that, if you’ve been paying attention you guessed correctly. Reactionary factions were able to thrive amidst instability, and it maintains to this day. What did capitalist publications like the New York Times call them? Heroes. People wave Ukranian banners and flags without the understanding that many at the forefront of this movement are outright neo-nazis, and praise the name of Stepan Bandera. And of course, just like with all of the colonizers and enslavers in the U.S., Bandera has a street/boulevard named in honor of him in Kiev.

If you think the U.S. had no awareness of this, you would be incorrect. Both the U.S. and Israel contributed to funding, training and supplying weapons to the neo-nazi Azov Battalion.

In line with this, the reportage of current events lends much more sympathy to those in Ukraine (since they are deemed ‘European’), than those facing conditions of war in Yemen, Somalia, Palestine… or even the African and Indian populations in Ukraine. To add another level to this situation, Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian youth who was arrested in 2017 for battling an Israeli soldier in occupied West Bank, was demonized by many at the time. Photos of her have resurfaced, and she has been mislabeled as a Ukranian child. She obviously doesn’t look like a ‘traditional Palestinian’ in the eyes of those who currently humanize and praise her as a ‘brave’.

When you see capitalist governments and media sources waging propaganda campaigns against any anti-imperialist areas, calling any democratically elected officials ‘dictators’ and calling actual dictatorships ‘resistance movements’; think of the above document and the audio, and think about which regimes were supported by the imperialist west. The role of enacting sanctions is to create conditions so bad that the people of the country experiencing said sanctions will be dependent on you.

When the U.S. aims for Russia’s isolation, they decided to finally acknowledge Nicolas Maduro- a president considered to be a ‘dictator’ in their eyes, to the point where they have publicly stated that Juan Guaido (someone not elected by the majority of people in Venezuela) was the rightful president. Similar to what occurs with any enemies of western imperialism, claims of oil hoarding and purposeful food shortages at the expense of the people were concocted, as any propaganda listed neglects to address the effects of any sanctions imposed on Venezuela.

Juan González (Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs) states very matter-of-factly to the anti-people’s class ‘Voice Of America (VOA)’ network the Biden administration’s role in supporting sanctions for Russia.

In translation: “What has to be taken into account here is that the sanctions on Russia are so robust that they will have an impact on those governments that have economic affiliation with Russia, and that’s by design. So Venezuela is going to start to feel that pressure. Nicaragua is going to feel that pressure, as is Cuba. But ultimately what we want negotiated solutions to the crisis in Venezuela. We want the restoration of diplomatic order in Nicaragua. And we want the Cubans to be the ones to determine their future and not to be in a dictatorship, which is what we have been in for more than sixty years… (I)f you look at the sanctions on 13 financial institutions among the largest in Russia, that will have an impact on any government or business that has trade with these institutions, but also a lot of this money laundering and governments that operate outside of the international financial system will feel the squeeze based on these sanctions.”

So how does an imperialist country see negotiation? By applying force to get what it wants. ‘You don’t wanna deal with the U.S. dollar or the IMF? Well, we will deal with you.’

And if you don’t believe me, return to the first document, and listen to or read again what González is saying. Cubans DID determine their future in 1959, and continue to determine their future. However, it’s difficult to reach a full potential in determining that future with the boot of imperialism on your neck.

In case you need further proof of how the U.S. and its acronymed agencies continue to work in favor of overthrowing democratically elected governments, here’s a document discussing the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s involvement in Nicaragua.

In addition to what González stated, in line with capitalism’s role in expanding exploitation in order to achieve profits in short order; Chris Hedges notes, “General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon hit their 52 week highs. Because, of course, fueling a conflict in Ukraine, expanding NATO, this is good for business.”

Not only that, but it would also be beneficial to the interest of U.S. imperialism to increase military presence and NATO expansion all across Europe, as well as further the neocolonialist project across Africa.

Don’t believe me? Well… do you believe the words of Joe Biden in 1987?

‘Democracy’ under capitalism is always conditional and transactional. There’s this idea that the U.S. is working to ‘protect democracy’ around the world. But at what point do the masses around the world get to have an actual process and system of democracy, when NATO and the imperialist west are consistently dictating what political and economic systems should exist?

How does one who loves to emphasize ‘U.S.-based democracy’ explain the Reagan administration signing into law an approved $100 million in aid (plus weapons and training) for the Contras in Nicaragua, in order to overthrow the Sandinista government? If democracy is to be celebrated, why would Reagan wage a full on disinformation campaign about the Sandinista government being an extension of the USSR? The disinformation campaign continues to this day. How does one account for the National Security Decision Directive 17 (NSDD-17), where $19 million was allocated towards the CIA’s training of the Contras?

How does one defend the other September 11th… back in 1973? You know, the CIA-led assassination of (once again) democratically elected Socialist president Salvador Allende, thus prompting the dictatorship of (U.S. backed) Augusto Pinochet?

You saw the same patterns: CIA-backed reactionary/terrorist groups destroyed the infrastructure, in order to destabilize the economy and life of the Chilean masses. The command from Richard Nixon was to “make the economy scream.”

Here’s the ultimate question- one of the most basic of questions: even if you, after reading this still somehow, for some reason, think of socialism and communism as being the ultimate in evil; how would you defend in any way, one country stepping in and dictating how another country should be run? If you claim to support democracy, wouldn’t that also mean you support a country’s decision to determine its own destiny?

Would you advocate for others stepping in and determining the destiny of a person who is escaping an abusive relationship, without the abused person’s input?

So imagine… and then recognize that the abused partner is experiencing the same things as the masses of those experiencing the effects of imperialism and (neo)colonialism. And they have fought, and continue to organize and fight for self determination.