As we continue to battle the police and those who depend on their “protection” in the U.S., including the major businesses who donate to anti-racist initiatives all the while continuing to reap gargantuan profits off our labor and limited consumer choices, there are thousands of Bolivians also standing up against a far-right wing government and its acolytes. In the last few weeks alone, there have been countless protests across Bolivia, led by indigenous Bolivians, demanding new elections take place and that the right wing abdicate their power in the government.
The right-wing have been in power in Bolivia since late last year, when a pro-U.S. movement, like a demonic force having been summoned, violently overthrew the democratically elected administration and the country’s first and only indigenous president, Evo Morales. Since the coup, the right-wing regime has continued to be complicit in major human rights violations, including the repression of Left-wing supporters of Morales and of his political party, MAS.
Since being sworn in, the fiercely anti-socialist Áñez has presided over the detention of hundreds of opponents, the muzzling of journalists and a “national pacification” campaign that has left at least 31 people dead, according to the national ombudsman and human rights groups. Washington has yet to comment.
Similar to what has been occurring within the U.S., the right wing in Bolivia have sustained their rule by stitching together a coalition across segments of its middle classes, its business class, and among right-wing activists, bent on subjugating Bolivians, especially indigenous Bolivians, for the sake of Christendom. Similar to its counterparts within the U.S., this coalition shares an intense disgust of poor and working-class people and desire a social order in which a handful of economic elites and their loyal allies dominate over others for the sake of preserving such things as property rights and the right for businesses to “thrive”.
None of this is coincidental. The reason why we’re facing similar enemies in the U.S. as in Bolivia and in countries across the world, like Brazil, the Philippines, India and Pakistan and in Israel, has a lot to do with the fact that all of these countries, and more, have been shaped by U.S. imperialists. Because of the influence of U.S. imperialism, at “home” and abroad, similar enemies have emerged globally. Hence, the struggle for liberation is global.
Since its inception as a “nation”, the U.S. has been an imperial project through its stealing of land from peoples marked as “savage”. The thirst for land and resources, however, didn’t stop at what we now perceive to be its formal borders. Instead, those at the helm of empire, especially its major business and bankers, viewed the rest of the world as the next “frontier” for them to “tame”. Over time, the U.S. has produced a nexus of repression and right-wing authoritarianism across the world.
Historian and American Studies scholar, Nick Estes, expressed:
The imperial project wasn’t confined to what became the continental United States. It soon turned outward, as the settler state exported the horrors it had committed against the Indigenous to the rest of the planet.
Overall, due to the needs and interests of U.S. imperialism, our fates in the U.S. fighting for socialism and fighting for a society in which “non white” peoples can thrive has been directly intertwined with the fate of workers and indigenous peoples in Bolivia and across the globe. Our fates in the U.S. as a people trying to survive neoliberal plunder and trauma are intertwined with the plight and survival of workers across India, across Pakistan, across Brazil, across Mexico, across South Africa, across Nigeria, Kenya, across the suburbs of France, across the tenements of England. Our fight, therefore, must be international and must see to it the end of the U.S. empire and the monstrosities it breeds.
Walter Rodney, the astute historian and visionary, recognized colonialism and imperialism as two interlinked phenomena.
According to Rodney, colonialism is when a country has direct control over another, like the English had over its territories across Asia and Africa. In what is now known as Kenya, Nigeria and the Indian subcontinent among other places across the world, the English had installed and managed a local bureaucracy within each territory, at the height of colonization, that decided the internal economic and political affairs of Kenyans, Nigerians, Indians, and so on.
Imperialism, on the other hand, doesn’t require that a country has direct rule over territories in places beyond their formal borders. Imperialism has more to do with how particular countries dominate and control the global economic and political order that other nations have little choice but to find ways to accommodate.
The U.S. has been both a colonial and imperial force, one that’s relied on various forms of control and domination over land and labor.
When the U.S. was first “founded” by its coalition of Euro-American slaveholders and landowners, it was more of a colonial project, with its nascent economic and political elite having to navigate a world economic system dominated and shaped by the British Empire among empires in Europe. At the same time, its original thirteen colonies literally owed their existence to desiring direct control and management of land stolen from the continent’s original inhabitants. European Americans, those responsible for the taking away of such land from indigenous nations who been living on the continents for thousands of years, believed it was their right and “duty” to take “ownership” of the land. It was their right and responsibility as “settlers”, to own the land and “tame” it.
Historian Greg Grandin explains:
The founders cited natural law—the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”—to justify American sovereignty. Yet the exercise of that sovereignty entailed the domination of nature. Settlers “pursued nature to her hiding places”, and as they did, they created a new set of commandments. Establish “power over this world, everywhere naturally a wilderness.” “Subdue nature.” “Go forth.” “Conquer a wilderness.” “Take possession of the continent.” “Overspread.” “Increase.” “Multiply”. “Scour.” “Clear.”
According to legal scholar and author of The Two Faces of American Freedom, Aziz Rana, the desire to dominate the land, to make “use” of the land through exploiting it for profit, produced a political framework in which groups of people were either elevated into the position of “settler” or condemned to be a “subject”.
The “settler” was the European who believed in a social order shaped by the tenets and mores of capitalism. The “settler” believed that to be “civilized” was to “own” land and to reap profit from it. The “settler”, therefore, had the right to dominate the land and to subordinate others to their “civilizing” interests.
The “subject”, on the other hand, was the non-European, the “savage”, those whose land and resources were coveted by the Europeans. The “subject” was the “Indian”, the African, all those “undeserving” of sovereignty given their relationship to land was more communal, thus contradicting the “civilized” relationship one must have to land and labor under capitalism. Thus, the “subject”/the “Indian” had to be “disciplined” or at the very least, must not stand in the way of “progress”.
This logic endured as Euro-Americans headed westward. As land was conquered in wars waged against indigenous tribes and nations, as well as with Mexico, the U.S. government and the private companies they developed their imperial policies with, encouraged further immigration from parts of Western and Northern Europe. Scandinavian immigrants were allotted chunks of land that had been snatched from various indigenous nations across the Midwest, regardless of their citizenship status.
Aziz Rana states:
As the nineteenth century unfolded, a European “alien” could often live as a free citizen in the United States even before naturalization, while subject groups such as nonslave blacks may have been formally defined as citizens but were legally denied the basic conditions for self-rule. In essence, free citizenship was extended on the basis of ethnicity to co-participants in a settler project of expansion, while colonized groups—regardless of their legal status as “citizens” —were organized through long-standing modes of imperial subjectship.
After the Civil War and after the end of Reconstruction, the heart of U.S. colonial policy, survived and was buttressed by federal and state government policies. Ex-Confederate troops were welcomed back into the military fold in order to quell resistance from indigenous nations in the way of Manifest Destiny. Until the late 1800s, indigenous resistance against the U.S. had been successful in holding off U.S. military forces. Yet, with the U.S. colonial regime, now able to completely focus on the “unrest” in the western territories, its military ranks swelling with disaffected former Confederates and Euro-Americans fleeing from the industrial swamps of cities in the Northeast for their own cherished plots of land, chasing after their own piece of the American Dream, the indigenous nations were now facing extermination. The U.S. was also more willing to spread disease, like Smallpox, and to engage in the burning down of crop fields and the killing of entire herds of buffalo, the two major sources of food for various indigenous nations and tribes.
By the early 1900s, the majority of the land that once belonged to various indigenous nations was under the firm grip of various U.S. states, interim local governments, and the U.S. federal government. Some land/reservations were set aside for different nations and tribes who would continue to be treated as “subjects”.
David Treuer, author of The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America From 1890 to the Present, stated:
In its place (as provided by the act), the government would administer Indians not as foreign nations (as they had been) or as citizens (which, by and large, they had yet to become) but as wards of the state, for whom the government assumed the roles of guardian, banker, and protector.
The “Indian” still was treated as having no justified claim to the land and its resources. The European “settler” continued to be the steward of “civilization”, the one who was destined to extend their domination over the globe.
THE U.S. GLOBAL ORDER
As the U.S. solidified its domination and control from the East coast to the West, business elites and segments of the Euro-American working class and its emerging middle classes pined for more. By the late 1800s, the “frontier” now included territories overseas, across Latin America and Asia. The “Indian” were now the Filipinos, Puerto Ricans, the Cubans, the Hondurans, and the Bolivians.
Nikhil Pal Singh writes:
Metaphors of “Indian country” routinely emerge of U.S. militarism overseas, from the Philippines at the start of the twentieth century to the Pacific battlefields of WWII to Vietnam in the cold war and Afghanistan and Iraq today.
Much like what took place on the continent and similar to what Europeans had “achieved” across the world, the U.S. did aim for direct control over particular territories overseas (at times, temporarily), such as in the Philippines and Puerto Rico (which remains a U.S. colony). Hundreds of U.S. military bases are now across the globe, mirroring the U.S. strategy of creating trading posts in “Indian country” as a means of increasing influence and control.
However, much of U.S. imperialism has been multinational corporations, with financial and military support from the U.S. government, going abroad, to Bolivia and Chile and Honduras and subsequently, gobbling up land and labor along the way. Relying on the actions of corporations is how Europeans have conducted imperialism across the globe, as Walter Rodney pointed out in his historical analysis of European exploitation of Africa. European states would financially and militarily support European-based corporations, like the British East India company, to lead the way in the domination of land and labor across Asia and Africa.
Historian Sven Beckert states:
Instead, private capitalists, often organized in chartered companies (such as the British East India Company) asserted sovereignty over land and people, and structured connections to local rulers. Heavily armed privateering capitalists became the symbol of this new world of European domination, as their cannon-filled boats and their soldier-traders, armed private militias, and settlers captured land and labor and blew competitors, quite literally, out of the water.
It was the multinational companies that shaped Asia and Africa to fit the needs of their financial backers, including manufacturing and banking interests in Europe. It was companies like the British East India Company that would ingratiate themselves with short-sighted local rulers and use divide and conquer tactics to accrue influence. It was companies like the British East India Company that would apply pressure on the local peasantry to abandon whatever land they had and transform them into wage-laborers, forced to extract raw material like cotton for manufacturers in England.
Taking lessons from their rivals in Europe, Euro-Americans at the helm of empire-building viewed Latin America and parts of Asia as their own spheres of imperial influence. By the late 1800s, alliances were being forged between U.S. companies and local right-wing forces across Latin America who were willing to sell out sovereignty in exchange for the backing they needed to stay in power. Right wing factions as well as liberals across Latin America shared the worldview with the U.S.-backed companies that the majority of Latin Americans, especially those who were racialized as indigenous like in Bolivia, were undeserving of the land and resources they were living on. The “undeserving” were compared to Black and indigenous peoples living inside the U.S. as people who were equally “uncivilized”.
The overseas frontier—wars and military occupations in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Nicaragua, and Haiti—acted as a prism, blurring together the color line that existed at home and abroad.
The alliances between local oligarchies and U.S. corporations were sustained and strengthened over the decades, especially after WWII, as the U.S. emerged as the singular global hegemon. Such alliances produced right wing coups, right wing paramilitaries, and a right-wing constituency willing to fight against even the most moderate of social democratic causes, as evidenced in the coups that took place in Guatemala and Brazil by the 1950s and 1960s.
With the advent of the “Cold War”, those benefiting from the growing U.S. empire perceived the global order as the right for the U.S. to control and shape. Conversely, the U.S. saw itself as having proven itself as having the exclusive right to guide others and to police others, no matter where they were on the map.
The forces driving the U.S. empire forward during the “Cold War” understood their “national interests”, such as accruing wealth and sustaining right-wing constituencies that were pro-status quo within the formal boundaries of the country, also required more imperial plunder. Imperialism, as noted by Rodney, has also been instrumental to maintaining a “truce” between segments of the working and middle classes in Europe and in the U.S, particularly Europeans and European Americans, and the business class. The AFL-CIO supported efforts by the U.S. to form right-leaning labor unions across Latin America that wouldn’t stand in the way of U.S. extraction of raw materials, so long as that raw material would lead to the creation of more manufacturing jobs.
Communists across Latin America, Asia and Africa recognized this global order as unjust and untenable. Communists and anti-capitalists across Asia, Africa and Latin America knew that to achieve liberation meant taking away power from the U.S. imperial order and developing a worldwide economic and political system that addressed the legacies of imperialism. Across Asia, Africa and Latin America, Communist resistance against U.S. plunder grew. In countries like Indonesia, communists were successful in organizing mass support among the peasantry. Across Latin America, there were efforts from the bottom-up to remove the various oligarchies. Of course, in Vietnam, in Malaysia, across parts of Pakistan and India, there were liberation movements not merely interested in political independence but in accruing the power necessary to improve the working and living conditions among many.
Therefore, U.S. policymakers continued propping up as many pro-U.S. governments as possible. In the “Cold War”, the U.S. accomplished this through funding of various pro-U.S. forces and regimes. This included the sharing of military equipment and the training of police and military forces in major international hot spots like in South Vietnam or Indonesia.
Stuart Schrader, author of Badges Over Borders, explains:
The Kennedy administration lodged its new police assistance program in the Agency for International Development, calling it the Office of Public Safety. The program, which was overseen directly by high-ranking National Security Council officials, consolidated and funded what had been a sprawling, poorly resourced, and inefficient set of operations to train, equip, and advise police in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The goal was to make police in dozens of countries the preeminent tool in the fight against communist subversion. The Office of Public Safety’s advisors were experienced law enforcement experts, many of whom spent the immediate aftermath of World War II in the occupations in Germany, Italy, Korea, and Japan.
In Indonesia, U.S. training of the local police and the military strengthened a right-wing constituency. Eventually, a right-wing coup would overthrow the social democratic Sukarno regime, replacing it with right-wing Islamist rule that would last for decades. The coup would also lead to massive bloodletting, with right-wing groups massacring communist organizers and the peasantry in the name of “civilization”.
In Bolivia, there were some extra steps involved in the downfall of socialism and democracy. At the time of the Kennedy administration, Bolivia’s main socialist party was running the country’s main economic and political institutions. Hence, the Kennedy administration took its time in meeting with the country’s main leaders and in trusting them with military equipment and training. However, the socialists proved to be vociferously anti-Communist and so, the Kennedy administration extended U.S. training of Bolivia’s military. Gradually, this training strengthened the position of the military within the country, and emboldened them, until finally, the military led a successful coup against the socialist regime.
As rivals to the U.S. were crushed, repressed, or replaced, or like the U.S.S.R. crumbling under the weight of some of their own internal contradictions while being surrounded by counterrevolutionary forces, the U.S. state, an expression of U.S. multinational companies, dominated the process of rule-making for the global economic order.
As Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch write:
The American state’s capacity to assume such a central role in the making of global capitalism was closely related to, and augmented by, the growing international predominance of American corporations. This was itself associated with the shift over the course of the second half of the twentieth century in capitalism’s international fulcrum from trade linkages across national spaces of accumulation to the development of transnational productive spaces characterized by the crisscrossing and straddling of borders via networks of productions internal to, or closely linked to, multinational corporations.
Global institutions, like the IMF, serve as vessels for U.S. multinational corporations by forcing countries across Latin America, Asia and Africa to shape their local economies to the tenets of the “free market” in order to receive “investment” from European and U.S.-based businesses. This includes the gutting of rights for workers and the privatization of public goods, like healthcare and education.
Yet, even as the U.S. empire accrued its power, there has always been resistance against it. At times, this resistance against the global social order has led to some successes, such as the Pink Tide, which was a wave of Left-wing political coalitions winning power across Latin America. The Morales government was part of this wave and during its time in power, dramatically improved the living and working conditions of indigenous Bolivians.
THE FIFTH COLUMN
As the U.S. stretched its fangs across the world, Black, indigenous and other “non white” peoples living within the country’s formal borders were treated and seen, by those benefiting from U.S. bloodthirst, in similar ways as their counterparts in Africa, Asia and parts of Latin America. All were viewed by major businesses, imperial policymakers and segments of the middle class as “threats” that had to be controlled or at the very least, coerced into giving up their more radical (and necessary) economic and political demands.
Nearing the middle of the 20th century, as the U.S. took its place as the world’s major superpower, African Americans or “nonwhite” Americans seeking economic and racial liberation were depicted as having been brainwashed pawns of foreign enemies, like the U.S.S.R. They were portrayed as seeking to bring about anarchy and the so-called end of “Western civilization”.
From the 1940s through the 1960s, figures in the black freedom struggle—from W. E. B. Du Bois to Jack O’Dell—had been highlighting how the national security state’s coercions threatened not just individual freedoms but collective ones. As the United States increasingly accused its own citizens of being subversives, assuming them to be guided by a foreign power, the widely shared images of repression in Soviet society—prisons, exile, staged trials, and the “police apparatus”— became the preeminent security tools to protect the United States against Soviet expansionism. The United States imprisoned communists and black radicals such as Benjamin J. Davis after a series of highly publicized trials. Others, such as Claudia Jones, faced incarceration and then deportation.
Those in charge of maintaining U.S. power globally and who were trained in counterinsurgency viewed “unrest” within the U.S. and the spread of Communism overseas as one of the same. Overall, techniques were devised by policymakers to strangulate freedom movements “at home”, which echoed the techniques and strategies wielded to fight “radicals” abroad. A nexus of repression was developed, among law enforcement internationally, and corporations.
This was extremely apparent in the U.S. war in South Vietnam, where tools of surveillance and control against the Vietminh were replicated in the U.S. “domestic war” against African Americans and non-white peoples fighting for their survival.
Vietnam was a laboratory for counterinsurgency techniques and equipment,” as the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Maxwell Taylor, put it at the start of the war. This idea needs to be taken seriously, with respect not only to the future of overseas U.S. military action but to the future of domestic governance as well. Its harshest manifestations, including the routine use of police dogs and military-grade weaponry, riot control techniques, police intelligence, police intelligence gathering, violent interrogation methods, detention, torture, and assassination were disseminated domestically by the late 1960s in police responses to urban riots and rebellions.
This nexus of repression has allowed for U.S. police chiefs to train fellow police officers across the world and to learn from them as well. This nexus of repression has meant U.S. police officers, such as Richard Zuley, utilizing similar methods of torture on people, whether it’s African American men in Chicago or detainees in Guantanamo
In recent uprisings, like in Ferguson, the police there have been adopting/adapting strategies and methods of repression from their counterparts in Israel.
Angela Davis, the preeminent scholar on policing and mass incarceration, states:
Why do I say that Ferguson reminds us of the importance of a global context? What we saw in the police reaction to the resistance that spontaneously erupted in the aftermath of the killing of Michael Brown was an armed response that revealed the extent to which local police departments have been equipped with military arms, military technology, military training. The militarization of the police leads us to think about Israel and the militarization of the police there—if only the images of the police and not of the demonstrators had been shown, one might have assumed that Ferguson was Gaza. I think that it is important to recognize the extent to which, in the aftermath of the advent of the war on terror, police departments all over the US have been equipped with the means to allegedly “fight terror”.
Issues like policing and prisons are global issues, due to the nexus of repression led by corporate interests that do not care about borders when it comes to making money.
G4S is the third-largest private corporation in the world, third only to Wal-Mart and Foxconn. It’s a private security corporation. It engages in the ownership and operation of private prisons, private policing and many other activities related to policing and surveillance and imprisonment. It is, interestingly, the corporation that hires more people on the continent of Africa than any other corporation in the world. So, actually, looking at the work that this corporation does gives us a sense of the extent to which security, security as propounded by those who believe that security can only be achieved by violence, whether structural violence or actual violence, is—that is the position represented by this corporation. And, of course, it has played a major role in upholding the occupation in Palestine. And so, we can say, from Palestine to private prisons all over the world to deportation—this company also provides transportation for the deportation of Mexican immigrants. So, if one looks at that corporation, I think that all of the issues that we are addressing can be seen. In a sense, the private corporations recognize the intersectionality of issues and struggles, and we have to do that, as well.
As U.S. imperialists have remade the world in its image, a nexus of repression has been developed that sees no distinction between national and international threats to the global capitalist social order. Instead, similar tools of oppression are wielded against populations whose liberation would bring about the end of the existing social order, whether it’s African Americans fighting for their liberation in the U.S. or Palestinians fighting for sovereignty, whether it’s indigenous Bolivians battling for the soul of their democracy or BLM leading protests against police brutality. We are all viewed by those at the helm of U.S. empire as being part of the same set of “threats” that must either be controlled or exterminated.
SOCIALISM OR BARBARISM
Throughout his time on the public stage, Malcolm X provided a consistently astute and sharp analysis of U.S. politics, from his observations of how race/racism operated in the U.S. beyond the Jim Crow South to his insights of how limited the so-called two-party political system was, offering little for the vast majority of oppressed peoples, especially African Americans. One of Malcolm X’s most prescient and provocative (and correct) points he also would consistently share with those willing to listen was how the liberation of African Americans was linked with global politics.
In his now iconic speech, the “Ballot or the Bullet”, he stated:
Uncle Sam’s hands are dripping with blood, dripping with the blood of the black man in this country. He’s the earth’s number-one hypocrite. He has the audacity — yes, he has — imagine him posing as the leader of the free world. The free world! And you over here singing “We Shall Overcome.” Expand the civil-rights struggle to the level of human rights. Take it into the United Nations, where our African brothers can throw their weight on our side, where our Asian brothers can throw their weight on our side, where our Latin-American brothers can throw their weight on our side, and where 800 million Chinamen are sitting there waiting to throw their weight on our side.
In another speech, this time in front of African dignitaries, Malcolm X explained, “Your problems will never be fully solved until and unless ours are solved”. He added:
You will never be fully respected until and unless we are also respected. You will never be recognized as free human beings until and unless we are also recognized and treated as human beings. Our problem is your problem. It is not a [Black] problem, nor an American problem … this is a world problem, a problem for humanity. It is not a problem of civil rights; it is a problem of human rights!
Malcolm X echoed what African American socialists and communists, such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Claudia Jones, had concluded, that the struggle for liberation is fundamentally an international one. The U.S. is the vanguard of global capitalism and right-wing domination. Capitalists across the globe rely on the U.S. for their survival. In turn, capitalists in the U.S. rely on the forging of markets abroad to sell their goods and to extract raw materials from to sustain themselves.
The U.S. empire must fall in order for African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and Africans to live free and to be free.
Driven by this analysis, Du Bois, regardless of where in his political evolution he was at the time, fervently believed in organizing relationships across borders between colonized peoples. He would consistently strive to connect African American socialists and communists with representatives of liberation movements in countries like India and Ghana.
Keisha N. Blain writes:
For Du Bois, the growth of global racism and colonial expansion reinforced an international racial hierarchy that placed people of color at the bottom and whites on the top. These forces, Du Bois argued, formed a crucial part of the international capitalist order — an order that could only be dismantled if the oppressed, particularly people of color, united to challenge it. If colonialism was the core driver of global conflict, ending it would pave the way for peace and social progress.
By the end of WWII, relationships between liberation movements across Asia and Africa blossomed as well. It was clear to many pro-independence leaders of various emerging nations that none of them could win what they desired, which was economic liberation, without drawing on support from others.
After all, the U.S. was already a hulking behemoth and no single country would have the necessary resources to struggle and win against its imperial intentions. Hence, liberation leaders organized conferences and meetings to discuss strategies for freedom and how to support one another. At a bare minimum, they each drew inspiration from each other.
Frantz Fanon, the iconic postcolonial thinker and writer, expressed in his famous essay on armed struggle and solidarity:
Colonized peoples are not alone. Despite the efforts of colonialism, their frontiers remain permeable to news and rumors. They discover that violence is atmospheric, it breaks out sporadically, and here and there sweeps away the colonial regime. The success of this violence plays not only an informative role but also an operative one. The great victory of the Vietnamese people at Dien Bien Phu is no longer strictly speaking a Vietnamese victory. From July 1954 onward the colonial peoples have been asking themselves: “What must we do to achieve a Dien Bien Phu? How should we go about it?” A Dien Bien Phu was now within reach of every colonized subject.
During the peak of anti-colonial struggle, many in the U.S. also strengthened their ties to those fighting U.S. imperialism abroad. In fact, groups like the Black Panther Party among others did receive aid from revolutionary governments across Africa and Asia, such as Algeria and Vietnam, who would also provide safe haven for BPP members when FBI and CIA repression had become nearly unbearable.
The American Indian Movement of the late 1960s and 1970s managed to survive longer than some predicted due to solidarity from its allies overseas.
More importantly, where Indigenous peoples found a hostile audience in North America, they found a welcoming one abroad, especially among Socialist nations and other colonized peoples. The “red nations” of Europe and Asia now provided a platform of support for the Red nations of North America.
With the support they received from the people of Vietnam and Palestine among others, the American Indian movement succeeded in raising their concerns as indigenous peoples to the United Nations, which is an achievement, considering the brutal onslaught they endured at the hands of the U.S. security state.
To this day, such relationships have continued to help oppressed peoples survive and sometimes flourish. This is demonstrated by Palestinians providing moral and technical support for those fighting police brutality in places like Ferguson, or as witnessed in the more recent actions of socialist countries like Cuba who have sent doctors across the world.
During the Pink Tide, the various Left-wing governments across South America would provide one another with moral and tactical support against U.S. imperial agents. Essentially, they looked out for one another as each country produced policies that helped the majority of their people. They each produced policies that helped those within their formal borders but also, served to challenge the global order produced by U.S. imperialist interests, such as nationalizing industry rather than allow for U.S. companies to dominate local economies.
In a speech to the UN, Morales identified his struggle as an international one, stating:
Transnational companies control food, water, non-renewable resources, weapons, technology and our personal data. They intend to commercialize everything, to accumulate more capital. The world is being controlled by a global oligarchy, only a handful of billionaires define the political and economic destiny of humanity. 26 people have the same wealth as 3.8 billion people. That is unfair, that is immoral, that is inadmissible. The underlying problem lies in the model of production and consumerism, in the ownership of natural resources and in the unequal distribution of wealth. Let’s say it very clearly: the root of the problem is in the capitalist system.
Countries like Cuba, Vietnam, Venezuela, and Bolivia under Morales threatened the U.S. global order through their actions and their examples.
The indigenous-socialist project accomplished what neoliberalism has repeatedly failed to do: redistribute wealth to society’s poorest sectors and uplift those most marginalized. Under Evo and MAS leadership, Bolivia liberated itself as a resource colony. Before the coup, Evo attempted to nationalize its large lithium reserves, an element necessary for electric cars. Since the coup, Tesla’s stocks have skyrocketed. Bolivia rebuked imperialist states like the United States and Canada by taking the path of resource nationalism to redistribute profits across society.
As the global order is once more facing a global economic crisis, neoliberal and right-wing forces are closing ranks. In the past few years alone, right-wing and neoliberal authoritarian regimes in Hungary, India, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Brazil, the Philippines have been emboldened by the U.S. in arresting, detaining, torturing, and repressing Leftist opposition.
Today, the U.S. still provides similar kinds of security aid all around the world to those it provided through the Office of Public Safety five decades ago. In fact, the Border Patrol Tactical Unit that’s been operating with such impunity in Portland would normally be involved in the training of border agents in other countries. But these histories press on the present because, under Trump, U.S. foreign policy has been shorn of any pretense of a commitment to liberal democracy. Now these reinvigorated ideologies are at work on the streets of the U.S.—even as protesters in the streets evidence some of our greatest popular democratic possibilities yet.
There is no inside/outside war. There is no internal/external war. There is only one war and that is between imperialists and the colonized, between those siding with economic exploitation and oppression and those of us ready to build new ways of living and being and believing. And this effort in replacing imperialism, a.k.a. global capitalism, with the humane and just and scientific, replacing the blood and trauma with socialism, can only be achieved through international solidarity. It can only be won by joining socialists and communists in other countries who are up against agents of U.S. domination, whether in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Colombia, and in Bolivia. We must grow our movements with workers across the word while challenging U.S. hegemony, whether it’s expressed through its usual face, that is the multinational company, or through local reactionary elements siding with U.S. extractive policies.
“The people are very angry and very committed,” said Lander Marca, a protestor in Bolivia, among the many rising up.
We must remain angry and committed to our comrades internationally. Parochialism will only sever us from a winning international strategy and continue to play into the hands of our class enemies who sustain themselves through global connections of their own.