Every January 1st, a significant number of the population in the US formulates resolutions for the New Year. Some promise to exercise more, eat healthier, or save more money. Imperialism, the system that rules a large portion of the planet, has only one resolution. That resolution is to spread carnage and terror on oppressed people all over the world. Achievement of the resolution is measured by how rich in profits the ruling class becomes at the expense of the oppressed masses. The imperialist system transitions into the New Year in a state of crisis. This crisis must be understood if the forces of progress around the world hope to unite toward the goal of social transformation and revolution.
Imperialism enters 2016 in a general crisis that began in the 1970’s and exploded in 2008. This crisis is characterized by a gradual decline in the rate of profit. The rate of profit has declined in concert with the expansion of global capital and technology. Technological advances have permanently replaced a large sector of the working class and made the system expensive to maintain. Imperialism’s economic infrastructure, capitalism, has developed the technological basis for both higher productivity and labor efficiency. Cycles of overproduction inherent in the capitalist order are no longer resolved by the rehiring of labor to bolster profits.
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One could say the imperialist system is trapped in its own contradictions. On the one hand, imperialism needs labor to accumulate profits. On the other, the introduction of technology has permanently replaced jobs and reduced capitalism’s only source of profit: labor. Fewer workers are producing more and working longer hours, yet all workers have seen their conditions fall immensely over the last forty years precisely because imperialist entrepreneurs must extract profit from a shrinking workforce. As the system has grown more costly to maintain, the exploitation and repression of workers and oppressed peoples has intensified with no end in sight.
The Carnage and Terror
The intensification of exploitation has come in many forms, all of which stem from the root and branch of the imperialist system. Since the economic crisis of 2008, the imperialists have waged wars of destabilization abroad to fend off the rise of Russia and China. Internally, a massive campaign of repression and surveillance has been instituted to dampen the rebellion of the workers in the imperialist countries. This campaign of repression has largely affected the historic victims of white supremacy. The Mass Black Incarceration state, which ensures that one of every eight prisoners in the world is a Black American, provides the quintessential example of the terror imperialism brings to those whose labor is no longer necessary for production.
On the economic front, the robbery of wages and wealth at the hands of the rich has been supplemented by the usurpation of the public sector. Education, water, and healthcare programs have been under constant attack, especially in the Obama era. Obama’s Race to the Top Program and Affordable Care Act both work to place healthcare and public education firmly into the grip of hedge fund and monopoly capitalists. In the last few years alone, hundreds of schools have closed in mostly Black cities across the country. Healthcare costs continue to soar, proving there is no relief under the rule of imperialism’s intractable crisis.
2016 Off to Predictable Start
The crisis of imperialism helps explain why the days leading into 2016 started the New Year off down a predictable path. A phony “independence” process in Libya led by the US is underway and has received much backlash from ordinary Libyans after imperialism destroyed the sovereign state in 2011. The US has also made a preliminary agreement in December with Russia to curb the proxy war in Syria. However, the US and its Gulf, Israeli, and Turkish allies shoulder the blame for the conflict. The carnage and terror that these wars have caused in the region will continue until the imperialist alliance is neutralized by a counterforce of peace and justice.
Carnage and terror has reigned inside the US as well. The water in Flint was poisoned by the same Governor responsible for privatizing the entire city government of Detroit. In California, a methane gas leak has forced thousands to flee the dangerous toxins of SoCalCo and its parent corporation, Sempra. And just weeks before the New Year, Democratic Party presidential favorite Hilary Clinton announced her plans to close 50,000 public schools if elected into the oval office. These developments show that if imperialism isn’t suffocating humanity with its polluted development, it will certainly suffocate the masses with its policy of robbery in 2016 and beyond.
The only gift that US imperialism can bring to the vast majority of people on the planet is terror, carnage, and endless oppression. President Obama’s announcement that his administration would pursue the deportation of possibly 100,000 Central American families in the New Year is a case in point. The capitalist class has escalated and intensified its war on labor, especially those who have been the victims of the dual poison of white supremacy and capitalism for centuries. This war has been brought on by the intractable, persistent, and permanent crisis of the economic and political fabric of imperialism. The ruling class’s resolution for the New Year is to increase the misery of the people and enrich itself, even as the system moves more and more toward collapse every day.
The New Year is seen by many as another opportunity to seize the time. However, this isn’t the same “seizing” as Bobby Seale wrote about during his time in the Black Panther Party. Resolutions are usually confined to personal goals. Imperialism only has one goal, and that is to incur the maximum amount of exploitation and oppression on as much of the world as possible. The system’s current crisis guarantees that the oppression of the exploited will surely deepen. The time is now to seize the time with resolutions that involve collective participation in the overthrow of US imperialism.