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Modern Imperialism Essay

1815 words - 8 pages

The U.S. control of Central America has meant the exclusion from these markets of Japanese goods. As well as supplying cheap labour to the U.S. bosses the Central American countries rely on the U.S. for almost all of their exports and imports. In the U.S. itself the Japanese are allowed access to no more than 33% of the car market.

A consensus has been created throughout U.S. society which identifies the Japanese as the cause behind the U.S. recession. This has included some of America's unions and liberal Democrats like Jessie Jackson. One consequence has been a rising number of physical attacks on Asians in general.

The economic war between the U.S. and Japan has already warmed up. ...view middle of the document...

It commonly means famine and death as proxy wars are fought between imperialist powers there.


Imperialism's casualties in the last decade have included 100,000 Iraqi's, more as a show of force then anything else, 3 million Ethiopians in a country which exported food throughout the famine, 50,000 Nicaraguans in an effort to topple a government less disposed to American interests. Were it not for the death and destruction it would be funny that the West poses as part of the solution. The imperialist powers are not part of the solution, they are the problem.

The sheer level of destruction guarantees some resistance to imperialism wherever it is found. Commonly this takes place through the mechanism of National Liberation Movements like the Provos or Sandanistas. Such movements attempt to unite sections of the bosses with the workers in order to throw out imperialism and restructure the economy. This is in the interests of the native ruling class rather then of the imperialist ruling class.

Sometimes such movements take up socialist sounding ideas in order to gain support from the workers. Sometimes as in Cuba or Vietnam this occurred because they allied themselves with a different imperialist power (U.S.S.R) against the imperialist power that they were fighting (U.S.). The interests of the workers are not central to such movements, whether or not the workers gain is incidental. In practice gains are commonly made by workers in terms of education and health care as the new system attempts to build and maintain an industrial base. This also helps to create loyalty to the new regime.

Apart from providing markets and sources of cheap raw materials, imperialism has another plus for the bosses. It is used in the imperialist countries to get workers to side with their bosses against the people of other countries. Workers identify with the soldiers of 'their' imperialist armies who share their language and traditions rather then with the workers of the oppressed nation. Anarchists in these countries have to be able to break this cross-class unity in order to challenge the bosses.


The nature of the national liberation movements has led some anarchists in the past to make the mistake of arguing that such struggles are not relevant. This is commonly based around the slogan No War but the Class War. During the Gulf War, for instance, British groups like the Class War Federation argued that the outcome of the war was irrelevant and that it was wrong to call for an Iraqi victory as - among other reasons - this meant British soldiers would die.

The logic of seeing the problems in those terms would be to support an imperialist victory once the war was in progress. Those groups who worried about the number of British Squaddies who would die had their wish fulfilled, only a very few were killed. In Iraq this meant enormous casualties due to indiscriminate bombings and the deliberate...

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