Imperialism

In this talk from Revolution Festival 2019, Hamid Alizadeh – editor of In Defence of Marxism – discusses the fight against imperialism and colonialism. The post-war period saw a wave of revolutions in the colonial world, bringing down many imperialist regimes. Liberals would have us believe that ended ‘imperialism’ and the oppression of the so-called ‘Third World’. But the legacy of colonialism lives on today, with just as great a chasm between a handful of powerful capitalist states, and the impoverished ex-colonial countries.

Six years of war in Yemen have brought the country to the brink of an absolute humanitarian disaster. The Saudi-led alliance, backed by the UK and the US, has imposed tremendous suffering on the Yemeni people. With 16 million suffering hunger and 400,000 children at risk of death from starvation, the situation is getting worse by the day. And the imperialists are unwilling to assist the victims. 

Just before Christmas, outgoing US Attorney General Bill Barr announced additional charges relating to the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988. This announcement is clearly politically motivated, and is symbolic of how the entire investigation has been focused on imperialist interests, rather than a genuine desire to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The Dutch King has apologised for violence committed by the Netherlands during Indonesia’s independence struggle. The crocodile tears of hypocritical elites do not make up for 300 years of brutal subjugation. The only real justice and road forward can come from the expropriation of Dutch capital: the common enemy of the Dutch and Indonesian workers.

Today is the 45th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon. Prior to this denouement, from 30-31 January 1968, 70,000 North Vietnamese soldiers, together with guerrilla fighters of the NLF, launched one of the most daring military campaigns in history. The Tet Offensive was the real turning point in the Vietnam War. In 2008, on its 40th anniversary, Alan Woods analysed the events that led to the Vietnam War and the significance of the Tet Offensive in bringing about the defeat of US imperialism, and drew some parallels with Iraq.

This article was produced in Spanish some weeks before the coronavirus pandemic, which has obviously affected the situation in Haiti. There are around 70 confirmed cases in the country, and its fragile healthcare system means the virus could have a catastrophic impact if it takes hold. The hated president Jovenel Möise declared a state of emergency and lockdown in March. Protests continued all the way up to the lockdown, and violent clashes between the army and police over pay disrupted carnival in February, showing splits in the repressive state apparatus. Clearly, none of the fundamental issues have changed since this piece was written.

The coronavirus pandemic is a turning point in history. The world economy is receiving one savage blow after another. Healthcare systems are totally overwhelmed in the advanced capitalist countries as a result of decades of attacks on living standards. The inefficient and ghastly nature of capitalism is in full display in the west, where people until recently enjoyed at least a semi-civilised existence. In Africa, Asia and Latin America the consequences of a full-scale outbreak will be catastrophic.

Millions of ordinary people in Indian-occupied Kashmir are facing an unprecedented situation amidst the coronavirus lockdown imposed on the whole of India for 21 days. Kashmir was already under a strict curfew and has faced brutal repression since 5 August 2019, when a draconian law was passed by the Modi government changing the status of Jammu and Kashmir as a separate state, dissolving its state assembly by presidential order and relegating it to a union territory directly controlled by the central government.

Amidst the global turmoil unleashed by the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. has decided to ramp up its imperialist aggression and interference in the Venezuelan government. On Friday, 27 March, the U.S. Department of Justice filed charges of drug trafficking, corruption and the promotion of terrorism against Nicolás Maduro, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and 13 high-ranking state officials, all in an attempt to legitimise any future acts of intervention and insurgency in Venezuela. On 25 March, Jorge Rodriguez, Minister of Communication, also presented the country with evidence of a new conspiracy, organised in Colombia, to traffic arms into Venezuela,

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On 10 December, Aung San Suu Kyi, also known by some western commentators as ‘South East Asia’s Nelson Mandela’ appeared in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN’s highest court, which is famous for trying war criminals and genocidal leaders. However, the saintly Aung San Suu Kyi was not, as you might expect, here to condemn Myanmar’s military junta, which for so many years oppressed her, but to defend it against accusations of the genocide of the Rohingya people. On 23 January 2020, the court reached a unanimous decision that Myanmar does have a case to answer, rejecting Aung San Suu Kyi’s arguments, and concluding that the 600,000 or so Rohingyas that remain in Myanmar are

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Early Friday morning (3 Jan 2020), in an act of supreme arrogance the Trump administration carried out the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, as well as top Iraqi paramilitary leader Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes in Baghdad airport. Yet again, US imperialism is adding to the instability in the Middle East.

Note: this dramatic development means we have postponed Alan Woods’ new year article, which will be published tomorrow.

A series of attacks on Saudi oil installations have set sparks flying once again in the Middle East. Only months after a last-minute cancellation of a US strike on Iran – and weeks after reaching out for talks without any preconditions – US President Donald Trump is yet again filling the twittersphere with threats and intimidation. Meanwhile, oil prices shot up by 20 percent and the ripple effects are already working their way through the sensitive oil and currency markets.