The left has not become marginalized because of exhaustion or infighting. Its decline was caused by the US government’s more than century long police state operations, purging the left from its historic home in the working class movement, so that it now has only tenuous connection with the organized working class. The national security state – the actual US government – has constantly worked to neutralize anti-imperialist and class conscious working class voices, and instead promoted a “compatible left” in their long-term strategy to divide and control the left. The working class, particularly the sector in industrial production, had significance for the left not because workers are progressive in their thinking, but because they possess the power no other social forces have: they can vanquish the rule of capital by halting production, shutting off the capitalists’ ability to generate surplus value, life blood of their system.
It is an exhilarating time for the “leftists” of the Americas. This past week, at the 77th meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, leader after Latin American leader made grand statements against U.S. and Western imperialism, the hypocrisy of U.S. foreign policy, the violations of human rights, and the West’s assault on the sovereignty of smaller nations. Colombia’s brand-new president, Gustavo Petro, made an impassioned plea against the genocidal “War on Drugs.” Cuba’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bruno Eduardo Rodríguez Parrilla, rejected the attacks on the sovereignty of China and Russia. Venezuela’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Faría railed against the Western sanctions against Nicaragua, Cuba, Iran, and Russia.
Iran is an anti-imperialist state and the recipient of long-term, deep-seated hostility from Washington and its allies. Iran has good relations with China, Cuba, Venezuela, Algeria, and Russia. The Islamic Republic is also known for its unremitting solidarity with the people of Palestine. Domestically, too, the country has seen great progress since its 1979 revolution, with considerable achievements in poverty reduction and welfare provision and improvements in health and education. Iran has a mixed economy with a large state sector. These achievements have been maintained despite constant imperialist destabilisation attempts, including sanctions, and its own growing internal dissenters drawn almost exclusively from the urban Bourgeoisie. It is our duty to defend Iran against imperialist attempts to launch a rightwing counterrevolution which would no doubt see the selling of its economic assets to Western businesses.
The U.S. has entered a dark period. Economic crisis wracks its capitalist system. Military instability and chaos reign supreme over its imperialist ventures. Political illegitimacy worsens by the year, at times by the month. These conditions sound favorable to the growth of revolutionary possibilities within the citadel of imperialism. But such is not the case at the moment. Discipline and organization are at perhaps their weakest point in generations. Young people are moving toward socialist politics. However, a similar number of people have embraced the politics of a U.S.-led New Cold War against Russia and China which seek to destroy any alternative to imperialism. Little clarity has been developed on the question of what socialism would look like in the United States, an obvious indication that a century of Red Scare politics has made a decisive impact on the political direction of the so-called Left.
Let’s think about the left’s place in the current events, and hope to shed light on what being ‘on the left’ actually means today, and why it is relevant to peace. I’ll start with the trillion-dollar question: if NATO won, if the DPR and LPR forces surrendered, and if the Russian Army was driven back to the border, would the world be a better or a worse place? This is a practical question. It can’t be resolved with abstract ideals or theories such as whether Ukraine has a sacred right to rule over the Russian speakers of the Donbass, or whether Russia is imperialist, any more than Palestinian rights can be settled by referring to the historical origins of the People of the Book. The lives of millions, perhaps billions, are at stake. If the Russian army leaves Ukraine, they will all suffer and many will die.