Can A Liberated Palestine Coexist with US Imperialism? | English | Jisr Collective | 2022-3-3
- Why Anti-Imperialism is Crucial to Realizing Palestinian Liberation
- Understanding Imperialism Beyond Military Invasions
- Primary Methods the US Implements to Maintain Imperialism
- Full Spectrum Military Dominance
- How US Imperialism Impacts the Region as a Whole
- Can A Liberated Palestine Exist Under American Imperialism?
Why Anti-Imperialism is Crucial to Realizing Palestinian Liberation
American propaganda will have people believe that the US is number one in all things with the exception of destabilizing the rest of the world. Almost all American news outlets are owned by 6 companies. The Corporate media mass produces content painting Russia, China, Iran and even Venezuela as threats to world “peace,” while omitting the immense economic, institutional, and military efforts that the US leads in pursuit of global economic and political domination at all costs. This is not to say that other governments around the world do not engage in the oppression and exploitation of their own peoples.
However, the sheer amount of resources that the American government and its ruling class have looted from working people and the land and in turn, re-invested into war, destruction and instability in the name of corporate profit is unmatched in our current world order. As such, the US government and its ruling class should be understood as the primary source of imperialism and purveyor of violence on working and oppressed people of the world today, including in Palestine.
Understanding Imperialism Beyond Military Invasions
“Imperialism is an octopus which colonizes and exploits, spreading itself over the world through western monopolistic enterprises.”
In a tribute to Ghassan Kanafani’s body of work as an anti-imperialist, revolutionary, Palestinian author, S.Marwan defined imperialism as, “an octopus which colonizes and exploits, spreading itself over the world through western monopolistic enterprises.”
Mainstream narratives of imperialism are often limited to war and militarism. While these are aspects of how imperialism is maintained, imperialism itself refers to the highest stage of capitalist economic development.
Within the context of the U.S., Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same imperialist coin. All elected “representatives” from every U.S. President to liberal darlings like AOC and the rest of the squad, work to serve and expand the interests of U.S. imperialism.
Imperialism is a multi-faceted topic, however, there are a number of attributes that distinguish it from previous stages of capitalism:
- The domination of every major industry by a handful of privately owned monopolies. For example, three US corporations control 80% of mobile telecoms. Three have 95% of credit cards. Four have 70% of airline flights within the US. Google alone handles 60% of search, etc.
- The merging of banking and industrial capital which allows for the creation of new financial instruments like “Finance Capital.” This often goes hand in hand with the full privatization of the banking sector, public utilities, and natural resources. In the United States, this is represented by entities like Wall Street.
- There are few “profitable” investment opportunities remaining in the imperialist country forcing the capitalist class to look for opportunities of exploitation in the nations of the global south that are still struggling with the legacy of colonialism.
- The export of “capital” as opposed to the export of goods. Imperialist nations don’t need to trade actual goods to obtain valuable natural resources like oil or gas from subordinate nations. They can simply print money, export it as capital, and expect to receive tangible resources.
The US is the leading imperialist force in the world today. As will be shown, the US expends considerable amounts of capital and violence in order to maintain this position.
Primary Methods the US Implements to Maintain Imperialism
“Western tentacles are at play in every Arab country.”
In practice, finance capital is what allows the ruling class of the US to “offer” predatory and exploitative loans to countries that they have already looted through colonialism.
These loans sometimes promise to build and enhance infrastructure and generate stability in a country’s economy. In reality any infrastructure built is used to integrate these countries into the global capitalist market that only benefits western monopolistic enterprises and the comprador bourgeoisie of said countries.
Without fail, embedded into these loans are conditions that promote austerity policies, political repression, and further privatization of national resources.
Finance capital serves to drive the working and agricultural classes into further poverty while lining the pockets of the ruling class. With over 22 countries in the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region, the ability to integrate respective economies for local trade and resource sharing has been strategically rooted out by the US and fellow imperialist allies, who have worked ruthlessly to squash economic and political self-determination in the region for decades.
As Joseph Massad puts it, “Western tentacles are at play in every Arab country.”
Then there is US dollar hegemony. Nearly all major commodities are bought and traded with the US dollar. When other countries trade amongst themselves, they do the majority of their trade in US dollars due to dollar hegemony.
Oil and gas which are the lifeblood of any national economy are exclusively traded in US currency.
Dollar hegemony is what allows the US to successfully impose crushing economic sanctions on over 20 different countries around the world.
The “soft” arm of US imperialism includes American propaganda by way of Hollywood, corporate media, academia, education, NGOs, cultural exchange programs, Big tech, and diplomacy. These measures act to normalize/reinforce American liberal values (e.g. individualism, private property) that form the ideological foundation of capitalist exploitation.
US propaganda is so effective, that it has convinced many Americans that countries resisting US imperialism are somehow a greater threat to the world than the US itself.
This isn’t by accident either, the CIA maintains offices in major Hollywood studios, in order to “encourage” film makers to portray the US military and even the CIA itself in a favorable light. At the same time, US intelligence agencies actively recruit academics, influence and create NGOs, and even play a huge role in seemingly apolitical realms like art and music.
A pervasive strategy in the transition from traditional cable and satellite media outlets is the active and ongoing destruction of civil society groups on the ground in the region. These actual grassroots organizations are then replaced with well-funded US and European based NGOs.
Large social media accounts with hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of followers are often linked to these NGO efforts.
These social media accounts which are fronts for imperialist propaganda first misrepresent themselves as grassroots activists, present misinformation, and/or raise current events in a vacuum that is devoid of context. More often than not, they fail to mention or highlight that the US has created the infrastructure of chaos and corruption that they claim to be fighting against.
One notorious example of this strategy is the Lebanese social media outlet Megaphone which claims to be an independent online media platform but is entirely funded with grants from foundations and programmes outside Lebanon.
Many of its major funders include the European Endowment for Democracy, Canal France International, and Denmark-based International Media Support, all of which are NGOs that work hand in hand to promote U.S. imperialist policies.
Full Spectrum Military Dominance
The US military’s strategic role is to enforce economic domination when other governments do not go along willingly with US interests. When the offer of “loans” and “diplomacy” do not peak the interest of colonized states, in comes the brute force and intimidation of the US military.
According to the US Department of Defense base structure report in 2015, “the United States operates a global network of military installations and is by far the largest operator of military bases abroad, with locations in dozens of countries on every continent.”
Although the report lists over 800 bases, it also states that due to security concerns, a comprehensive list is not available to the public and that some bases operate namelessly and/or with the support of “allies.”
In addition to having hundreds more military bases than all other countries in the world combined, the US also outspends the top 10 military spenders by over half a trillion US dollars annually.
Even more telling, if the US police budget was taken into account, it would be the third largest military in the world and be nearly half the military budget of China, a country of over 1.3 billion people.
It is clear to see from the statistics above that the US is currently unrivaled in resources financially, socially, politically and economically to wage imperialist destruction around the world – both on people and the environment.
How US Imperialism Impacts the Region as a Whole
Israeli Normalization via Finance Capital
The occupation of Palestinian land does not happen in isolation. US imperialism directly undermines liberation and self-determination for the entire region. U.S imperialism also creates incentives for other MENA countries to betray the Palestinian liberation struggle through normalization with the illegal Zionist Entity.
US imperialism also creates incentives in the region for neighboring countries to betray the Palestinian liberation struggle through normalization with the illegal Zionist Entity.
US imperialism has ravaged the region for decades. Prior to US domination in the region, European colonial powers set in motion the carving up of the region while inserting artificial borders for the benefit of imperialist wealth.
Below are just a few, recent examples of US manipulations in the region through finance capital to undermine Palestinian liberation across the region, while continuing to make infrastructure development dependent on the US and it’s institutions (IMF, World Bank, etc).
Egypt 🇪🇬 – has long been incentivized to normalize economic relationships with the Zionist Entity. One example is the Qualifying Industrial Zone agreement, under which the United States waives duties on imports from Egypt “if the value includes 10.5% Israeli content; this program promotes stronger ties between the region’s peace partners” (US Dept of State).
Iraq 🇮🇶 – Post the illegal US invasion of Iraq nearly all utilities (water, healthcare, education, transportation, telecommunications, etc) once public assets have all been privatized by American and European corporations and then sold back to the Iraqi people at astronomical prices. Much of this was done through the US imposed “transitional government” – the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA).
In true imperialist fashion, the CPA vested itself with executive, legislative, and judicial authority from 2003 – 2004. In only one year, the CPA opened up the country to private foreign banking, privatized public resources/infrastructure and created new laws to promote a “free market economy.” These are only a few measures of finance capital that essentially swindled Iraqi wealth from their own country.
In addition to these atrocities, the US has spent the last decade funding the development of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq as a pro-western imperialist stronghold in the region. The current Prime Minister of the KRG, Masrour Barzani has stated on several occasions support for and a desire for the KRG to establish diplomatic ties with the Zionist Entity. In September of 2021, a Zionist, New York based nonprofit called Center for Peace Communications held an illegal normalization conference in Arbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Jordan 🇯🇴 – “The United States is Jordan’s single largest provider of bilateral assistance, providing more than $1.5 billion in 2020…” (US Dept of State). At the end of 2021, Jordan also signed onto a Water-for-Energy Deal with Israel facilitated by the UAE and a climate envoy represented by John Kerry. Thousands came out into the streets of Amman to decry this normalization agreement.
Morocco 🇲🇦 – In exchange for participating in normalization with the Zionist Entity in 2020, the Trump regime offered land expansion to the Moroccan government in the form of recognizing the Moroccan government’s “sovereignty” over the Western Sahara. The Biden regime supports this stance and has proposed $1 billion in arms to continue to violently repress the Sahrawi liberation struggle as well as $3 billion in private sector investment in Morocco in exchange for continued normalization with the Zionist Entity.
Oman 🇴🇲 – In 2009, Oman signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US. Oman facilitates 30% of the world’s oil shipments and shares a borders with Yemen which is under life crushing US sanctions and continued US, Saudi and UAE led bombings. Part of the Yemeni people’s struggle includes armed resistance to the Zionist Entity and US imperialism. Oman has made public statements in word and action that it stands with the Saudi-led coalition.
Sudan 🇸🇩 – In 2021 the US Treasury under the Biden regime pardoned $1.2 billion in World Bank debt while also providing a $1.15 billion infrastructure loan to Sudan. This was done shortly after the Sudanese government made a US brokered “peace deal” with Israel under the Trump regime.
Militarism in the Region
US wars in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq have cost nearly $8 trillion dollars, which is nearly half the total GDP of the United States in 2021.
One can safely assume that minimally there are over 70 internationally recognized US military bases across the region. How many foreign military bases are allowed on US soil?
While 70 are documented, there are likely more, due to the prevalence of concealed bases that the Pentagon refers to as “lily pads.”
It should also be kept in mind that many of these bases, for example in Iraq and Syria, were established through illegal military invasions as opposed to collaboration with US imperialism, as seen in Gulf Arab countries. Gulf countries also happen to host some of the largest US military bases in the world.
US bases littering the region means that US military personnel and their arsenals are ready to mobilize at any moment to squash resistance in the region and did so directly in Bahrain in 2011. In addition to mobilization, these bases serve as training grounds for governments that collaborate with US imperialism.
The CIA has reported that operations in Syria (from 2011-Present) are some of the agency’s most costly “operations” in history, accounting for 1 in 15 dollars spent by the agency.
Again, the occupation of Palestinian land does not happen in isolation. US financial and military expenditure in the region has been tremendous since 2001 alone. In fact the CIA has reported that operations in Syria (from 2011-Present) are some of the agency’s most costly “operations” in history, accounting for 1 in 15 dollars spent by the agency.
The US invasion of Iraq is estimated to have cost over $2 trillion dollars, which is approximately 10% of total US GDP in 2021.
US wars in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq have cost nearly $8 trillion dollars, which is nearly half the total GDP of the United States in 2021. The 2011 military invasion of Libya cost US taxpayers $2 billion a day – all while American politicians consistently hold the line that canceling student debt and providing healthcare to Americans simply can’t be afforded.
The Zionist Entity
“Israel is the largest American aircraft carrier in the world that cannot be sunk.”
– Former US Secretary of State Alexander Haig
None of these figures even take into account direct US funding for the Zionist Entity. Although the US only has one official military base in Israel, it is easily argued that with $3.8 billion a year in military “aid” (not including government contracts and tax write offs – yes you can get a tax break for contributing to an illegal settlement), The Zionist Entity itself is one giant American military base.
The Zionist Entity not only serves as a base for US force projection in the region but also as a massive signals intelligence and cyber security hub. In fact, former Secretary of State Alexander Haig even went so far as to describe the Zionist Entity as the “largest American aircraft carrier in the world that cannot be sunk.”
Sanctions and Trade
In addition to bases, invasions, coups, assassinations, sanctions and trade and labor “agreements”, the US has effectively inserted itself in the region to the point that the US government and ruling class arbitrate every relationship between each state (and stateless nations of people) in the region.
For example, the US threatens sanctions on any Arab country that attempts to reinstate Syria into the Arab League, and recently began offering “permission slips” to allow neighboring countries to conduct simple trade with one another.
If a country doesn’t even have the autonomy to choose whom to trade or not trade with, how can they practice any meaningful self-determination? Entire displaced Palestinian populations and people in solidarity with Palestine in the region cannot even support the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) due to their governments falling in line with US imperialism. The US government and ruling class shamelessly manipulate the levers of imperialism for the benefit of the ruling class of the US, while ordinary people pay with their lives.
US imperialism is so deeply entrenched that it incapacitates not just Palestinian resistance but any level of resistance that confronts US interests and control in the region. As such, the entire region must be liberated from US imperialism to create the conditions for Palestinian liberation.
Can A Liberated Palestine Exist Under US Imperialism?
With the understanding that US imperialism creates the most material barriers to Palestinian liberation, one may ask, what would a “free” Palestine look like under this current world order? Can Palestinian liberation and U.S. imperialism co-exist?
If Palestine were “free” tomorrow, it would be on the terms of the US ruling class. Under US-stamped “freedom” there will certainly be no right of return for Palestinian refugees.
In all conversations of Palestinian nationhood brokered by the US, there is never a mention of Palestinians having sovereignty over their own economic system much less their own currency.
Even something as foundational as the right to border sovereignty would not be guaranteed under US imperialism due to settlement partitioning of Palestinian land and the creation of a network of non-contiguous “territories.”
Under the current Palestinian Authority misleadership, which is recognized and upheld by the US as the legitimate government of the Palestinian people, Palestinian workers are refused their wages, Palestinian organizers are murdered, women organizers are blackmailed and children of Palestinian freedom fighters are imprisoned.
It has recently been exposed that the Palestinian Authority collaborates with the Zionist Entity in surveilling and torturing Palestinian university students. The Palestinian Authority has no semblence of democracy and of course continues to benefit from class division via hoarding of wealth and economic exploitation, while the average Palestinan workers and farmers go without.
Recent history has shown that national independence under the snare of US imperialism has only offered a facade of liberation for other countries. “Liberation” under US imperialism always leads to the enriching of a small elite while deepening poverty and oppression for the working and agricultural classes. To dismiss this reality, is to betray the struggle for Palestinian national liberation.
Palestinian revolutionary, anti-imperialist forces have consistenly held the line that for Palestine to truly be liberated, US imperialism must be defeated.