The following is an edited version of a talk given by PSL member Satya Vatti at an August 25th Liberation Forum in Albuquerque, N.M.
The significance of the events in Charlottesville is that it brought to light the emergence of an ideological fascist movement, which is armed and confident, and no longer in hiding. However, it is important to be clear that Trump is not the cause, but rather he is a horrible symptom of the system we live under. White supremacy didn’t begin with Trump, nor did it not exist under the first Black president of the United States.
We must place the growth of the “alt-right,” neo-Nazi white supremacist movement and its organized terror in the context of the international situation. There is a connection between what is happening here at home and the situation abroad.
Since at least the economic crisis in 2008, also known as the housing market crash, U.S. imperialism has been in protracted decline. While the economies of the most powerful capitalist countries have stagnated, the insatiable thirst of the ruling class for more profits remains. Progressive and anti-imperialist governments – in fact any government that does not fully submit to the dictates of Washington – across the world pose a threat to the aims of the U.S. capitalist class because they will not allow imperialists to unconditionally extract or loot raw materials, dominate their markets, and exploit their people for cheap labor.
So how will the U.S. capitalist class acquire higher profits? In a desperate effort to preserve its status as an imperialist hegemon, the United States is allying with right-wing governments and supporting far-right fascist forces in many parts of the world. It establishes these working relationships using its intelligence, military and international institutions, such as the CIA, Pentagon and NATO.
Due to the reckless and unpredictable nature of far-right forces, the United States tends to prefer more moderate bourgeois elements to lead the charge. However, whenever desperate or when the opportunity is too good to pass up, the United States will shamelessly rely on far-right, fascist forces. Right-wing governments work hand in hand with U.S. imperialism to super-exploit the workers of their nations by driving down wages, destroying workplace protections, rolling back civil rights, slashing public spending for social welfare programs, etc.
It is for this reason that Libya, which had the highest Human Development Index in all of Africa at the time, was invaded and destroyed by a multistate NATO coalition in 2011. An African nation was bombed to shreds by the Obama administration, with Hillary Clinton at the head of the campaign, all under the guise of “humanitarian intervention”. What was once a flourishing country with free higher education, free healthcare and free housing has turned into a base area for extremist right-wing religious forces that ideologically align with a ultra-sectarian branch of Islam called Wahhabism.
Today, African migrants are being openly sold in what are termed “Libyan slave markets” for as little as $200. The real agenda of the imperialist NATO coalition was one of regime-change, by any means necessary, regardless of the consequences of their actions, to replace the anti-imperialist Gaddafi government with a puppet government that would dance to the tunes of the U.S ruling class.
In 2014, again under Obama, the U.S. helped Ukraine’s neo-Nazi elements carry out a coup, and installed a coalition government in power. Today, in Ukraine, Svaboda and Right Sector, the two main fascist parties, have significant power within the armed forces, the police, and the justice system.
The goal of the United States was to bring to power a right-wing government that would sell out to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and incorporate Ukraine into a pro-European Union and pro-U.S. alliance, and ultimately isolate Russia from Ukraine.
Then there is Syria, where the United States, along with its allies in the Middle East, directly and indirectly armed reactionary armed groups to destabilize the country and overthrow the democratically elected government. The corporate media, in the service of the imperialist state, conveniently labeled these terrorists as “moderate rebels,” and falsely portrayed them as progressive forces.
The war on Syria is built on lies. This is not a war for democracy. You cannot bomb a people into democracy. This is not a “humanitarian intervention,” there is no such thing as a humanitarian war. One only has to look to the fact that Syria has massive oil reserves, no IMF debt and an independent foreign policy orientation to understand why it is of such interest to the imperialists!
Moreover, if anyone needs a dose of democracy in the Middle East, it would be the United States’ closest ally and friend in the region, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is an absolute, theocratic monarchy, where no real elections are held at all!
Since the year 2000, the U.S. government has sent over $100 million of taxpayer money to Venezuela to fund the right-wing elites who are hell-bent on overthrowing the Bolivarian Revolution. Over the past few months, the violent, racist, fascistic Venezuelan opposition (which our media falsely paints as pro-democracy forces) has set 19 Black and Indigenous Venezuelans on fire for being Chavistas and supporting the Bolivarian Revolution that was initiated by Hugo Chavez.
The right-wing opposition Venezuelan opposition is white supremacist in character, but has the support of the U.S government and the international corporate media. Perhaps, U.S. interest in Venezuela might have something (or everything) to do with Venezuela being home to the world’s largest oil reserves which are managed by the PDVSA national oil company and its revenue used for public spending and social projects. The overthrow of the Bolivarian government would mean the privatization of the oil industry and racists coming back into power, which is precisely what the U.S. government wants!
The United States was instrumental in backing the right-wing coup in Brazil to undemocratically bring the Temer government into power, and is also allied with the far right-wing Modi government of India.
So from Libya to Ukraine to Syria to Venezuela to Charlottesville: The capitalist U.S. government upholds fascists, white-supremacists, sectarians, Nazis and other right-wing forces for so long as they serve the interests of U.S. imperialism at the expense of the working class both here at home and abroad. This is the connection between domestic terrorism and international terrorism.
The hypocritical actions and lies of the imperialist ruling-classes endanger the lives of working-class people within imperialist countries. For example, the same terrorist groups that the imperialist governments indirectly fund and uphold as progressive forces in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq, carried out the terror attacks in Europe in the past year.
To fight white supremacy, we must fight U.S. imperialism
The point I want to drive home is that white supremacy isn’t only the overt display of Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan marching the streets with impunity and protection from the police. It is also the United States dropping 26,000 bombs on seven third-world countries last year. It is the international corporate-media launching mass campaigns in the service of imperialism to demonize leaders of the targeted nations, and infantilize the populations of these nations oppressed by U.S. imperialism.
To fight at the roots of white supremacy, we don’t have a choice but to fight U.S. imperialism and its endless wars. We have no choice but to fight colonialism and national oppression. We must stand in solidarity with those fighting U.S. imperialism and fascism outside our borders just as we would at home.
We can strike a blow to white supremacy by fighting for the self-determination and sovereignty of the nations being oppressed by U.S. imperialism. To win the battle against white supremacy, we must uphold the right of oppressed nations to economic and political independence, and to develop and trade as they choose. The biggest blow to white supremacy would be oppressed people controlling their own destinies. To defeat white supremacy, we must fight for a socialist world.