Happy Hour at the Anti-Imperialist Bar and Grill

With the defeat of working class revolutions after World War 1, and the slaughter of the class in WW 2; with the spinning off of 2,3, many satellite capitalisms by the disintegration of the European empires; and with the isolated establishment of 2, 3 or fewer state “socialisms,” anti-imperialism and “national liberation” were established as the “new course” of Marxism.

The “new course” codified the nation as the replacement for class, on both sides of equations of accumulation. Oppressor nations were made up of oppressor classes, a sort of corporate, if not fascist, utopia where bourgeoisie and worker shared a common interest in the subjugation of oppressed nations.

Oppressed nations were made up uniformly of oppressed classes, sharing that same corporate utopia where bourgeoisie and worker shared a common interest in the struggle against foreign domination.

At the fulcrum point for both ends of this imperialist/nationalist teeter-totter, was…”economic development,” that is to say development as the thing in itself; “growth” abstracted from the conditions for, and emancipation of, labor.

The nation, obsolete, archaic, an integument to the emancipation of labor, and but a husk to social development was revivified. The “nation” was the once and future notion of social freedom.

Where the bourgeoisie had established itself as the rightful ruling class, the ideology of a national unity, of class collaboration, was deployed in the attempt to curb the more aggressive, war-mongering, traits of this class of ambulatory psychotics.

Where the bourgeoisie had not established itself as the rightful ruling class, where it subsisted on a diet of limited industry, military repression, archaic relations of landed labor, the ideology of national unity, of national liberation, was advertised as the best prospect for “development” without threatening that bourgeoisie that was already on half-rations.

The “nation” replaced class; “growth” was a sacrifice required of the proletariat– giving up its own claim to not the throne, but toppling the throne of capital. Growth, development, progress was the mantra.

In almost every social struggle, in countries that were located on this or that end of the imperialist/nationalist see-saw, tactics, strategy, and program were organized around appealing to a good bourgeoisie, an enlightened bourgeoise. In Chile, Allende searched for a good, patriotic, loyal, constitutional bourgeoisie. He got Pinochet. In Greece, Tsipras searched for it in the EU. He got Schäuble.

Not close, but as close as the bourgeoisie, anywhere, everywhere, as a class gets.

Close doesn’t count.

Still, to this day, in this conflict in Ukraine, it is the appeal to the nation, the reconnoitering for a “good” bourgeoisie that informs almost all discussion and action.

There are those supporting Putin, and the Russian ruling class, because those have determined that the US-NATO-EU-Ukraine axis is the “aggressor” that has baited and goaded the Russian ruling class into this conflict.

Yeah, sure thing, that’s what substitutes for class program these days, searching for the less aggressive bourgeoisie at any particular moment.

There are editors of Monthly Review giving speeches, writing articles, explaining the history of the intricate geo-politics of the US attempt to dominate Eurasia and threaten Russia, complete with references to Wolfowitz, Brzezinski, et al, as if that proves that Russia is something other than what it is– part of the network of capitalist accumulation, a hostile brother, a homeland for private property.

There are those support the US-NATO-EU-Ukraine, decrying Russia’s war against the sovereignty of the Ukrainian people; against their self-determination, as if self-determination has ever been anything but a bourgeois category, a convenience to be violated when that convenience disappeared.

There are Trotskyists out there claiming that Ukraine is engaged in a struggle for “national liberation,” like Angola was; and that consequently the Ukrainian government, a government of by and for the bourgeoisie not only can, but should avail itself of the weapons supplied by NATO. And why not then avail themselves of NATO’s troops?

There are some applauding the US led embargo and seizure of assets belonging to Russian oligarchs, and providing tips and pointers to the US bourgeoisie like: “Sell those assets and use the money to provide the Ukrainian government, that government of by and for the bourgeoisie, more weapons.”

Everybody’s looking for their good bourgeoisie, their sugar daddies, Santa Clauses with sacks full of Javelin anti-tank missiles, being pulled across the sky by reindeer drones with infra-red scanning noses.

We know there ain’t no Santy Claus. And there ain’t any sanity clause either in these frantic attempts to prop up “nations.”

How about this? How about: Workers in Russia seize the assets of capitalists, foreign and domestic, and place them at the disposal of the emancipation of labor?

How about this? How about: Workers in Ukraine seize the assets of capitalists, foreign and domestic, and place them at the disposal of the emancipation of labor, and reject all weapons provided by the “good bourgeoisie” of the US and EU?

How about this? How about: Workers in the US and the EU, destroy all weapons systems used to perpetuate the “sovereignty” of nations?

How about this? While you were out, or in, World War 3 started because that’s what capital demands; that’s why nations exist.

S. Artesian

May 14, 2022

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