by Prof. James Petras
One of the most striking world historic advances of western
the U.S. and
the European Union) is the demise,
disappearance and dissolution of large scale long-term
One of the major reasons for the debacle is the unwillingness or
incapacity of AIM to confront electoral imperial elites engaged in
regional wars against nationalist dictatorial or authoritarian
In this paper,
We will proceed
by outlining the dimensions of the problem.
Secondly, we will
discuss the political economic consequences of the fateful
policies taken by AIM.
We will conclude
by considering alternatives to the current impasse.
Dimensions of the
Problem - Imperialism and the Conquest of Independent Dictatorial
Over the past three decades electoral imperial regimes led by the
U.S. have intervened, invaded and conquered several independent
dictatorial or authoritarian regimes.
Except for the initial
invasion of Iraq, there was virtually no mass AIM opposition.
During and after the imperial conquests, the AIM ignored the
millions who were killed, uprooted and deracinated and the
destruction of the socio-economic fabric of their societies.
The AIM did not respond
to the western imposition of colonial collaborators appointed to run
the vassal regimes.
In the present time, western imperialism is engaged in a political
and economic war to overthrow and/or dominate several authoritarian
or crises wracked countries, including,
There is no, or little,
opposition from western AIM.
On the contrary many
western intellectuals support imperial backed power grabs in the
name of democracy. Western imperialism is expanding its reach,
deepening its intervention and heightening the human and material
cost of the target people.
There is a deafening
silence, total absence (if not complicity) from what purport to be
anti-imperialist movements and intellectuals.
What are the
reasons for the AIM refusal to recognize and pursue
democratic values? Why the absence of national solidarity
and opposition to the depredations of the western powers?
Why have some AIM
leaders (and followers) embraced imperialist conquests as
Why have some
ethnic minorities of independent states even collaborated
with the imperial powers, as in the case of the Kurds in
Iraq, who speak of 'democratic colonialism'?
Dictatorship and the Demise of the AIM
Leaders of AIM have made false equivalence, equally opposing
imperialist conquerors and authoritarian independent states.
Having made no distinction or worse, amalgamating the two, the AIM
refuse to mobilize, organize, educate their political supporters.
They do not express any solidarity with the conquered people nor
defend their society and livelihood and resources.
AIM leaders fail to understand that imperial wars and conquests
impose death sentences many times more severe and enduring then
exploitation and destruction of the conquered people far
surpasses the existing dictatorships.
There is no question that
the imperialists destroyed the advanced living standards and
cultural - scientific life in Iraq, Libya and Syria.
The Taliban did not rule
via the drug economy or destroy villages and dominate everyday life
as has occurred after the U.S. invasion and conquest.
Even if the
AIM did not act to prevent the imperial intervention and invasions
they did even less to respond after the facts of conquest.
Because of the false
equivalence - the people and their resistance did not act according
to the protocols of the AIM leaders:
the executers and the
victims were equally responsible!
Some sectors of Western
left and progressive intellectuals went even further, at least
during the initial imperial invasions - they supported what they
fantasized about 'democratic control' resulting from the imperial
intervention (which they dubbed an 'uprising')!
imperialists knew better - co-opting and discarding their
accomplices on their way to conquest and destruction.
AIM leaders washed their
hands of both 'imperialists' and 'dictatorships' and abandoned those
collaborators who provided a veneer of 'democratic values' to the
ongoing imperial occupation…
The reasons for AIM to mobilize and challenge imperialism are many
and profound and they go beyond solidarity with oppressed peoples.
For example, U.S. imperialism is on a rampage, undermining or
striving to overthrow elected governments in,
Washington has already
promoted a client regime in Brazil and seeks to rig the forthcoming
elections by arresting and disqualifying the leading candidate, the
center-left leader Lula Da Silva.
President Trump has decreed economic sanctions against Turkey in
order to deepen the economic crises and force Ankara to surrender
its independent policy toward Iran and Russia.
Turkish anti-imperialist movements support the Erdogan regime
against the U.S., even as they retain their independence to oppose
his authoritarian policies.
Nothing of the sort
exists among the western AIM.
Similar imperial policies
are pursued in Nicaragua. In contrast to Turkey the liberal left
(and millionaire ex-Sandinistas) support molotov cocktail throwing
street fighters who are backed by the business elite and the
If elected president Daniel Ortega is overthrown,
the elite will replace the current
independent foreign policy with a typical banana republic version of
Imperial success in overthrowing national dictatorships has a domino
effect - not a 'democratic wave' as liberals promise. Instead it
serves to set in motion a series of new semi-colonies as is evident
in the Middle East today.
Moreover, the lack of action by AIM leaders has led to their
political demise and the rise of the ultra-right.
AIM leaders backed a self-style 'progressive', President Obama and
refused to mobilize against the seven imperial wars he
launched—killing millions and driving more in exile.
The demise of the progressives and the capitulation to Obama gave
rise to the Trump pluto-populists.
Imperialist wars abroad strengthened the anti-working-class struggle
at home. Profits skyrocketed, wages stagnated. Democrats and
liberals embraced the CIA and FBI police state apparatus.
In the past, AIM denounced extractive capitalism and the plunder of
overseas and domestic natural resources. Today only sporadic
activity resists fracking and gas pipes.
Latin America's indigenous communities resist U.S., Japanese and
Canadian mining and oil companies polluting their air, water and
farmland without U.S. AIM solidarity.
In other words, the absence of AIM in solidarity struggles fragments
any notion of international solidarity and the possibility of a
united front between working people and anti-imperialists.
The remnants of the AIM remain on the sidelines, engaging in
symbolic protests of little consequence.
The rise and decline of western anti-imperialism is, in part, a
result of the failure of its leaders to oppose imperialist invasions
against independent nations ruled by authoritarian regimes.
Behind their democratic
rhetoric AIM leaders partake of the ugly reality of imperial
chauvinism. They prefer not to dirty their hands in a conflict
between imperialist electoral regimes and anti-imperialist
Coup in Venezuela
(Source: Land Destroyer Report)
Today the vast majority of the population of Iraq, Syria and Libya
know that they lived far better under previous authoritarian rulers
promoting a modernizing, national state then the current conditions
under the destructive and savage occupation of western imperialism.
Western leftists who backed the imperial invasion as 'democratic
openings' are silent and indifferent, as if the millions of deaths
and massive immigration is not their responsibility.
The liberal humanitarians who supported the imperialist wars on the
grounds of saving oppressed people from torture and toxic chemicals
offer charity and humiliating rejection at the borders of the West.
There is very little
rethinking or reflection on how imperial wars are much worse than
AIM leaders fail to
realize that only the oppressed people can free themselves and not
imperial armies, CIA coups and economic sanctions.
Whatever popular misgivings with their government, the vast majority
of Turkish, Iranian, Venezuelan and Syrian people clearly stand
opposed to the intervention of western imperialism and all of its
claptrap about 'democratic values'.
They have witnessed two decades of western destruction and savagery
- and they know life is far better living and struggles against
their local dictatorships.
They ignore the western
claim that they are the 'only moral people' and reject the
progressive belief in equivalence between death and survival...