Like any economic system, imperialism needs an ideology to justify its rule. For this purpose, capitalism employed liberalism, which in principle places the freedom of the individual above that of the community. The basis of the capital economy is the free contracting partner, who is bound only to his own self-interest. According to this view, the economic process is perfectly arranged by a mystical “invisible hand” – everything is regulated by the laws of the market alone. This market is the god of capitalism. Everything is obeyed, everything is sacrificed to it.
Of course, no society can be kept alive with the premises of the market radicals, which is why there are various manifestations of liberalism.
Today we encounter liberalism in the form of so-called neoliberalism, and this too in manifold facets. Whether left-liberal, free-democratic, liberal-conservative, market-liberal, value-conservative or national-reactionary – in essence, all bourgeois forces today are only varieties of neoliberalism. This applies to the traditional bourgeois parties anyway. The FDP (Free Democratic Party) is already programmatically committed to liberalism, and the CDU/CSU (Christian Democratic/ Christian Social Union) are de facto. Funnily enough, it was the SPD (Social Democratic Party), of all parties, that triggered the decisive liberalization push in Germany with its Agenda 2010 and the Hartz IV laws. Even forces posing as “oppositional” such as the AfD (Alternative for Germany) and the Greens are merely different interpretations of neoliberalism. Although the AfD positions itself verbally against “elites” and the “mainstream,” it started out as a neo-liberal party through and through, and anyone who takes a look at the party program quickly realizes that it is anything but the “advocate of the little people”: curtailing workers’ rights, social benefits and trade unions, privatization. Even its nationalism is just locational competition in favor of capital. In this way, the AfD channels the “angry citizens” and directs their discontent into channels that conform to the system.
The term “fascists” or “Nazis” is often used, not least for the AfD. This is not only factually wrong, because fascism and national socialism are concrete political movements that are connected with a certain political program. The inflationary use of these terms for everything that is “bad as hell” or doesn’t suit one’s taste devalues the terms and relativizes them in a fatal way. It also makes it easy for those under attack to disagree. There are indeed Nazis in the AfD, but most party members, and voters, are by no means supporters of National Socialism. They are, however, neo-liberals, which doesn’t make things any better. So it is enough to attack them from this side, and that is more accurate than operating with the “Nazi mace,” as everyone is doing by now, including AfDers, Corona deniers and the like.
The Greens already had in their baggage the petty-bourgeois liberalism that ostensibly advocates freedom of the press, women’s rights and human rights, but whose core is precisely that individualizing concept of freedom that so excellently coincides with market logic. In the meantime, the neo-liberal transatlanticists have completely taken over the helm there, and their “feminist foreign policy” is nothing more than the cultural imperialism of past German regimes in an intensified form. “By the German essence shall the world be healed.” Like all converts, the former “Pacifist Party” participates in the war even more fanatically than anyone else – under transatlantic guidelines, of course. Of course, one must not think that guys like Baerbock (Foreign Minister) and Habeck (Economic Minister) still have anything to do with the Greens of the founding years. In the end, they only represent their clientele – the propertied petty bourgeoisie. A green-coated FDP, that’s what it is.
The SPD, with its Chancellor at the helm, is stumbling along behind. The latter even accuses Russia of “imperialism” and thus only proves that he has no idea of the matter. The party “Die Linke” (The Left) has missed its chance to be an opposition against the war and thus becomes meaningless.
Creating a quiet hinterland
Imperialism is about installing its system of exploitation and oppression even in the last corner of the world. Of course, this is not applauded everywhere. Even large sections of the populations in the western states suffer from this system of exploitation and therefore have anything but a positive attitude towards it. Bringing them into line and creating a quiet hinterland for themselves is the propaganda mission of the ruling class and its accomplices. For this purpose, they make use of the above-mentioned authorised bourgeois parties of all hues as well as the capitalist media corporations and public media institutions, which permanently pump system-maintaining propaganda into the heads of their citizens. There is no need to assume a conspiracy of secretive elites. The system itself produces this state of affairs due to its inner logic. A capitalist media corporation produces capitalist propaganda. Anything else would be strange. It achieves its efficiency through market power. Market power through the capitalist tendency to concentrate capital (monopoly formation). Most of the media are in the hands of large corporations. So it is not at all necessary to curtail the freedom of the press. Opposition voices become irrelevant simply because they are not widely read. There is no need to dictate to the hired hacks of the big media corporations what opinion they have to propagate. “Whose bread I eat, whose song I sing”. As far as war is concerned, no one in unison asks “if” or “why” any more, but only “why not faster!”, “why not more!” (see the “satire programmes” of state clowns like Welke (Oliver Welke, host of the German Daily Show copy) and consorts).
Those who seek other solutions, who only quietly consider peace negotiations… are mercilessly shouted down or even dismissed as conspiracy theorists. Yet it is precisely the state media that today suspects a Putin conspiracy behind everything.
Better to “destroy”, “annihilate”, “bring to its knees” Russia allegedly in the name of human rights and the LGBITQ* community. This is feminist foreign policy a la Baerbock, von der Leyen, Strack-Zimmermann, …
And there they are in full agreement, our left-wing liberals, those parts of the educated middle class that until now have pretended to be “critical of the system”. Well, they are so grateful that they are finally allowed to howl with the wolves after the Zeitenwende (an euphemism for the historical turning point in Germany’s foreign policy) has been proclaimed and they are finally allowed to put their naive pacifism to rest. Finally they can be the “value conservatives” they have been for a long time and smile mildly at their youthful sins. These people are truly the most disgusting thing opportunism has produced in a long time.
And just as capitalism in its most advanced form as imperialism seeks to subject the whole world to its market laws, it spreads the ideology that suits it. In doing so, it repeatedly invokes the “defence of Western values” without describing them in more detail than a few platitudes. For all to see, he always applies double standards. He does not even begin to respect the human rights he demands of others. He wages wars that violate international law, maintains torture prisons worldwide, suppresses freedom of the press and whistleblowers and his police forces are racist to the core.
But just as the conquistadors brought Christianity with them when they conquered the Americas, the West always carries its ideology, Western liberalism, with it in its expansion and spreads it by force if necessary.
Not everyone is as open to “Western values” as would be necessary for a complete ideological takeover by imperialism. For various historical, religious and political reasons, a good part of humanity is unwilling to adopt the Western “freedom and democracy” system, including economic subjugation.
If necessary, they will be promptly designated as rogue states and, if economic pressure does not bear fruit, they will be brought to heel militarily. That’s what the US army and its NATO allies are for. War as a continuation of political-economic means is always an option and is also used without restraint.
After the Soviet Union ceased to be a regulator in the 1990s and the USA remained as the sole hegemon, new “opponents” have arisen for the imperialists, so that the spectre of a “multipolar” world is now doing the rounds.
Russia remains a significant military power, but China in particular threatens to surpass the West as a whole economically, technically and thus also geopolitically. In addition, India, South Africa and, on the Latin American continent, Brazil and Argentina are becoming increasingly important. This is also expressed in various international alliances such as the BRICS states, which are increasingly becoming an alternative to a world dominated by US imperialism.
Obviously, the imperialists see their hegemony so threatened that they feel compelled to pull the ripcord. They are openly counting on military confrontation against Russia and China. Thus, the war over Ukraine can only be seen as a prelude to new distribution struggles. After the defeat in Afghanistan and the threat of falling behind China economically, imperialism is more dangerous than ever, like a wounded predator. The danger of a third world war increases with every provocative action.
Waging class struggle in the heart of the beast
When Karl Liebknecht issued the slogan “The main enemy is in our own country” at the beginning of World War I, he clearly identified the main contradiction: that between the ruling class, which produces the war, and the lower classes, which have to suffer from its consequences.
Today, in a globalised world that is currently foreseeably dividing into different spheres of influence, the slogan must be understood more internationally, because it is NATO, a multinational alliance of imperialist states, that threatens the rest of the world. That is the transformation that today’s left has to make.
To hold this up to the warmongers and alleged defenders of “Western values”, while stressing that we inhabit the same part of the world but are strictly divided by class, must be mentioned in the next breath. The fact that we live in the “heart of the beast” does not make us common with it. On the contrary, the lower classes are just as subject to the process of oppression and exploitation as people worldwide. Even if it takes a different practical form.
Because the war waged by the ruling class is being paid by us, the working people, who are the only source of the surplus value that is being squandered. And we also suffer the consequences caused by their economic wars as well as their military actions. The fact that their actions are also completely idiotic, that they harm us with their sanctions at least as much as the enemy, if not much more, does not make things any better. Large parts of humanity are suffering from this struggle to maintain dominance over the world.
So there can be no collaboration on “solutions” to “improve” the system, only bitter opposition to all the ruling class’ plans.
All solutions to the important issues facing humanity, be it environmental issues, averting climate catastrophe, defeating hunger and underdevelopment, peace, modest prosperity for all and the like, must and can only be fought for against the ruling class.
That is the simple truth.
The text was written by a member of the group Prolos from Nuremberg.