Global Independent Analytics
Danny Haiphong
Danny Haiphong

Location: USA

Specialization: War, Racism, Capitalist exploitation, Civil rights

On Racism and Empire: The Skeleton of US Capitalism and the Basis of United Resistance

Brief History on the Connection Between Racism and US Empire

The US is an Empire of global capital and for global capital. Its reign of terror has divided the globe into two camps. In the imperial camp, numerous states around the world serve as willful partners of US Empire or hold positions as subjugated neo-colonies. In the resistance camp, non-aligned nations such as Russia and China have maintained relative independence from the US Empire despite varying modes of development and differing interests within the resistance. Racism has been a central component to US Empire's endless warfare on the resistance camp. It has been the primary means from which the Empire has sought to achieve its objectives. A broad understanding of the global nature of racism gives resistance forces the opportunity to forge ties of solidarity across the world in a common struggle for independent political and economic development.

Brief History on the Connection Between Racism and US Empire

This author examined the roots of racism in the US as an outgrowth of US capitalism's dependence on the enslavement of Africans in North America. As soon as US capitalism grew into a global force, so did racism. During the so-called Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and Spanish-American War (1898), the US military depicted indigenous peoples of the colonized nations of Mexico, Cuba, and the Philippines as lazy and uncivilized to justify their invasion. Manifest Destiny guided the globalization of racism on the basis that the US was chosen by God to rule over inferior peoples that lay outside its borders. The ideology of Manifest Destiny ultimately clouded the profit-seeking interests of the Empire’s capitalist brokers.

Manifest Destiny's ideological basis, racism, continued into the 20th Century. During much of the 20th century, US Empire depicted itself as a growing "democracy" whose presence around the world brought the fruits of "civilized order." After the Empire wrought imperial destruction in much of Central and South America, the next objective was to contain and overthrow the Soviet Union. From 1918-1922, the US deployed Naval troops to overthrow the Bolshevik revolution. Soviet socialism was seen as a threat to the Empire’s ability to expand its economic influence across the globe.

US Empire spent much of the 20th century in a "Cold War" against the Soviet Union. The "Cold War" was plenty hot with murder and brutality. In nations such as Korea, Vietnam, and Iran, the US spearheaded bloody coups and invasions that led to the deaths of millions of people. US Empire defended these interventions as a necessary counter measure to Soviet influence. The "Cold War" ideology of socialist containment was inherently racist. It presupposed that peoples and nations outside the orbit of US Empire were incapable of making sound decisions about development and governance. The US military establishment fueled intervention through the racist characterization of the subjects of war. For example, Vietnamese peoples were labeled "dinks" and "gooks" to justify the invasion of their homeland that so defined the US anti-war movement in the 1960’s and 70’s.

In 1991, the Soviet Union's demise strengthened US Empire’s position all over the world. The War on Terror was formulated a decade later as the catalyst from which US Empire sought full spectrum dominance. The “War on Terror” positioned the US as the police force of the world and the global authority on how to defeat "global terrorism." The Empire’s concern over terrorism was merely a smokescreen. Through NATO, the Empire organized and trained Islamic extremism in Afghanistan in 1979. What the Empire really hoped to achieve in the War on Terror was a resurgence of US dominance in the richest regions of the Middle East and North Africa.

So the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. The US military establishment quickly manufactured a language of racism to dehumanize the millions of civilians that were to be murdered in the process. Muslims and Arabs across the world were labeled "towel heads" and "sand niggers." The word "terrorist" was also utilized to criminalize the world's Muslim and Arab population. This allowed the US to both heighten its domestic program of surveillance and repression as well as pursue the overthrow seven nations in five years. It was from these conditions that the resistance camp emerged to fill the political vacuum opened by the fall of the Soviet Bloc and the resurgence of US capitalist Empire.

Why Racism and Empire Matter

The "Black Lives Matter" movement in the US has largely focused on murder of Black people by US law enforcement. The movement has opened the door to a more sophisticated conversation about the relationship between racism and Empire. Some groups within the young movement have voiced solidarity with Palestine against the racist oppression of the Israeli state. However, the link that unites racist police brutality in the US to the global manifestations of racism around the world is US capitalist Empire. Racism must be understood within this context if the movement against police brutality hopes to build lasting bonds of solidarity with the resistance camp all over the world.

The murder, pillage, and destruction that spearheaded the expansion of US capitalist empire was a product of the system’s inherent drive to wrestle control over new market around the world. Today, the interlocked motives of racism and Empire have entered a state of crisis. The system inflicts the same carnage on the peoples of the world than in the past and possesses the same interests. Bur rather than expand into new markets, US capitalist Empire liquidates them. In a desperate effort to maintain global dominance, the rulers of the Empire have utilized racism to unleash chaos around the world.

The resistance camp led by Russia and China has been primary target of globalized racism and chaos. In 2011, US Empire declared that the state of Libya was ruled by a brutal, uncivilized dictatorship. This narrative justified the proxy war and NATO invasion that killed tens of thousands of Libyans and threw the North African nation into chaos. The same has happened to Syria, with government forces holding onto power and independence with help from Russia. In 2014, the state of Ukraine was overthrown by a fascist coup. Fascist paramilitary groups and political parties have ruled the country ever since, some with open allegiances to the German Nazi regime. Syria, Libya, and the Ukraine were once prosperous nations. The destabilization of this section of the resistance camp has eradicated stability and replaced it with racist terror.



Racist state repression in the US serves a similar purpose to global warfare. The crisis of US capitalist empire has forced 80 percent of Americans into poverty or "near" poverty. For Black Americans, this number is surely higher. State repression, especially in the form of police murder, is a brutal attempt on the part of the capitalist establishment to maintain control over the swelling number of poor and desperate people. The enslavement of Africans built the infrastructure of US capitalist Empire. Now that it is crumbling, the heirs of the slave owning class have warehoused the formerly enslaved inside of the prison system in world record numbers.

Tamir Rice is one of over 1,000 Black casualties of the 21st century slavocracy in 2015 alone. Rice was merely a child. However, US Empire places zero stake in the humanity of oppressed people beyond what profit it can take from them. Millions of children across the Middle East and Africa have been murdered by the same Empire and labeled “collateral damage.” But neither Rice nor any of the Empire’s murder victims should be seen as “collateral damage.” This implies that somehow their lives were taken unintentionally when in fact it is the opposite.

The murder of masses of children and youth sends a clear message. The message is that oppressed people must fear the rule of US capitalist Empire. Because the system is steeped in racism, these murders are justified as a necessary precondition to the upkeep of the US and Western way of life. The mass unemployment and poverty experienced by Black Americans and peoples all over the world alike is supported daily by the racist terror of the state. The state, whether it is in the form of NATO or the local police of US cities, has but one objective. That objective is to protect the (stolen) property and power of the ruling class by any means necessary, mainly though the racist dehumanization of the looted and plundered.

Conclusion

The relationship between racism and Empire is a historical and political development of US capitalist expansion. Racism helped amass huge profits first from enslaved Africans and second from the wealth of lands beyond its original colonial borders. The ideology of White supremacy and superiority was utilized to dehumanize the victims of US expansion. Dehumanization helped draw popular support for global warfare and promoted the US as a savior in some instances and a burgeoning, superior society in others.

Today, the US capitalist Empire is not in a period of expansion or growth. Crisis is the order of the day. Capitalist exploitation has left most of the world a poor and miserable war zone. China, Russia, and its non-aligned allies are in an active search of alternatives to a world system dominated by US Empire. In this regard, the movement against police brutality can find numerous allies to unite with in the New Year.

After political prisoner and Black revolutionary George Jackson was assassinated in August of 1971, his mother, Georgia Jackson, was caught on record stating “I have sons all over the world, wherever people are fighting for freedom.”  Yet Georgia Jackson’s internationalism is not a staple of the current movement against police brutality in the US. The resistance camp, especially the war torn state of Syria, has largely been left out of the narrative of the US movement against racism. This must change. The relationship between racism and Empire must be confronted or it is every struggle for a more just world that stands to lose. 

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