Tim Kirby, ideological director at the Center, and Joaquin Flores, director at the Center, debate what the ins and outs of ‘Progressive Imperialism’. Kirby poses the question to Flores “How are progressives being used for imperialism?”
Flores tries to deconstruct the phenomenon, beginning by talking about how the Atlantic Council has ‘deployed’ a series of progressive journalists recently to write hit pieces on the Center. Flores and Kirby move towards deconstruction the psychological, sociological, and geopolitical factors behind this phenomenon. What emerges is quite interesting: Progressive institutions which have arisen in more recent decades, have re-written history.
While ‘progressive’ reforms in the US were sometimes supported by progressives, in reality they were fought for by much more militant and grass-roots people and movements, who had broader visions and who were hardly in-league with US imperialism. Far from it, they were its most ardent opponents.
The US has successfully transformed its narrative into one which co-opts the struggle against the US ruling class itself, and weaponized into a tool – a legitimating ideology – which lures in and convinces progressives from other countries, primarily peripheral to Europe and in the post-communist world.
This is where Human Rights Imperialism recruits its most ardent foot soldiers from – those who do not really understand the America story from a really American working-class or grass-roots perspective, and are only really exposed to the narrative of its progressive institutions.
he most confusing aspect of the Syrian conflict has been the response from most of the Western Left and anti-imperialist organisations. Whereas most post-colonial states and their respective Leftist Parties, as well as former Soviet states, have supported the Syrian government from the onset of the war, the majority of Western Leftist groups, with the exception of a small number of non-Trotskyite communist organisations, have supported reactionary militant groups in Syria.
The Western Left look at the war in Syria as an internal revolution by progressive forces to overthrow a brutal dictatorship, while the majority of the Left in post-Colonial states recognise the external factors and imperial ambitions occurring in Syria. Whereas the Western Left masquerades as anti-imperialist, they refuse to acknowledge imperialistic designs on Syria from the United States, Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. For this reason, it is only ample that they are referred to as the “Imperial Left”.
As most of the Imperial Left in the West do not have historical memories of being colonised by imperial powers, they generally view the world through the paradigm of only a class struggle between Capitalists and Workers. Therefore, with the eruption of the Syrian War, they failed to acknowledge the external factors at play and believed it to be a Workers’ struggle against a dictatorship that tolerated a bourgeois class. This simplistic view of not acknowledging external factors also meant the Imperial Left’s support for the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi. It is through this simplistic mechanism that the Imperial Left apply their White Saviour Complex and view the post-colonial world as consisting of two types of people – dictators and victims. Continue reading →
By: Andrés Barrera González, – PhD in Political Science and Sociology, Profesor Titular at the University Complutense of Madrid.
Edited by: Joaquin Flores
The Rise and Transformation of American Militarism and Imperialism after World War Two
Part I: Europe After World War Two
hroughout the 19th century world affairs were dominated by Europe’s great colonial and imperial powers: Britain, France, Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia, and the Ottomans on the south-eastern fringes of the continent. Rivalry and competition for the world’s resources between the European ‘great powers’ and colonial metropolises reached a peak at the end of the century. And this was the background setting that brought Europe to war and catastrophe during 1914-18. It was the first act in the dramatic demise of Europe’s world hegemony. The second and final act of the fall of Europe as the axis of global power took place during the 1939-45 war, which again had the continent as its main theatre of operations. World War Two caused unprecedented material destruction, and it took an appalling toll in human life. It also led to the first nuclear holocaust, triggered by the arbitrary decision of the government of the United States to test-drop recently built atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 [i].
As a consequence of the war, most of Europe (including the Soviet Union) was left thoroughly devastated and worn out; which set the ground for the uncontested hegemony of the United States, given that its territory and economy remained untouched by the disasters of the war. Thus Western Europe became fully dependent, and increasingly subordinated to the United States in all fundamental dimensions: economic, political, and military. A turn of events that was reinforced with the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949; namely to counter the perceived-stated threat coming from a former war ally, the Soviet Union, unwilling to yield to the emerging world power configuration headed by the United States. The USA, its Western European ‘allies’ stalking along, thus raised the stakes in its confrontation with the Soviet Union, declaring the inauguration of the Cold War.
Electric Yerevan & Lessons on the Color-Spring Tactic
he Electric Yerevan protest provides us with an excellent opportunity to review some of the basic underlying mechanics and psychology of the Color-Spring tactic. It is important to share these publicly, for it is indeed probable that the Color-Spring tactic will be increasingly applied in the world as a “hybrid soft-power/hard-power tactic”.
A moral principle held by Gene Sharp, who was one of the tactic’s main developers, was that violence is not necessary for revolution. What is strange, contradictory, even dishonest here is that violence is reduced taxonomically to the physical violence of the state’s gendarmes against the civilians. But we know that violence comes in many forms.
We live in a time of great violence; physical, psychological, legal, economic, spiritual violence. Not only has the Color Revolution tactic engendered the latter four, but its mutation into the Arab Spring tactic also employs heinous physical violence. We can see today, tens of thousands dead in Libya, hundreds of thousands in Syria, and a mounting figure in Ukraine which threatens to surpass the precedents.
By: Paul Alexander Haegeman, for the Center for Syncretic Studies – edited by Joaquin Flores
Humanitarian Intervention and The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) as an Instrument, Extension and Continuation of Neo-Colonialism and Post-Modern Imperialism:
The Libyan Case (2011). Considerations: The Kaleidoscope of International Legal Strategies and the Enabling of Wars of Aggression.
“Until the Day of Judgment, the Augustinian teaching on the two kingdoms will have to face the twofold open question: Quis judicabit? Quis interpretabitur? [‘Who will decide? Who will interpret?] Who answers in concreto, on behalf of the concrete, autonomously acting human being, the question of what is spiritual, what is worldly and what is the case with the res mixtae.”
– Carl Schmitt, Political Theology II: The Myth of the Closure of Any Political Theology, Michael Hoelzl and Graham Ward trans. (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2008) (first published 1970)
“Quod non fecerunt barbari, fecerunct barbarini”
(The peace of the police is not the calm of the temple but the silence of the tomb)