It’s not the Russians. Nor the Chinese. Not the Venezuelans. Not Syrians, not Iraqis, not Cubans. None of the variously shifting and steadily growing lists of names where “our interests” are supposedly threatened tell us the true source of our difficulties. The United States is not threatened with invasion, attack, subversion, or denial of human necessities of life–in fact, it inflicts all the foregoing on a wide array of countries across the world. That fact, that realization, leads us to the true source of our real problems, which is right here at home. What corporate media falsely portrays as threats and dangers from abroad are, with extremely rare exceptions, chimeras meant to turn our focus away from the plundering of our lives, our hopes, and any future for generations to come.
The media do not tell us why it is that the medical system in Venezuela is breaking down; supposedly it is due to “socialism” or perhaps corruption; we are told, in a passing way never providing details, that the US inflicts an economic blockade and sanctions on Venezuela…but never is this stated as the cause of the misery spreading across that nation. What is their crime? When did they attack us? What possible excuse can there be for the bellicose threats and militaristic posturing of US government towards a nation that has done nothing to hurt us? The answer is the same as applies in a score of other locales across the globe: they have done nothing. Nothing at all.
Unhappily, Americans have, since the ending of the draft, been largely passive in the face of United States aggression. Partly this is due to nonstop soft-pedaling and coded language employed by corporate broadcast of the government/military agenda, partly to feelings of helpless resignation in face of what seems unstoppable wrongdoing emanating from DC, and partly a still-extant residue of belief that, after all, the US of A wouldn’t really do terrible things, now would it? There were substantial demonstrations on the eve of the US invasion of Iraq, but this antiwar activity vanished when a Democrat was elected to occupy the White House, thus showing it was essentially a partisan lever aimed at then-President Bush, rather than accurately identifying American imperialism as the ongoing problem.
In this time of false flags, ginned-up crises, and fake news, it is difficult to persuade people of the obvious. It is in fact the most obvious that is most difficult to believe, because the enormity of destructive consequences is hard both to fathom and to emotionally endure. Part of the reason people flee to simplistic nationalism or automatic acceptance of what Big Brother says via the networks, is that it is emotionally palatable. It’s much more agreeable to believe that our drones are “taking out” Bad Guys, with civilians being just numbers, than to have it pressed into our awareness that the US deliberately targets common people to create an atmosphere of terror and subservience. This is why the famous videos released by whistleblower Chelsea Manning have not created a sea change in American attitudes; even the sneering targeting of a Reuters reporter, and shooting of children, and no military significance whatsoever in the corpses produced by their helicopter assault, only moved the consciences of that portion of the populace already disposed to doubt official narratives and corporate media lies.
It is too much to expect our population to live with our eyes and our hopes pinned to changes that would solely benefit others abroad; what is surprising–and very disturbing–is that the consequence and cost to us here, does not produce widespread activist response. The reasons for this are partially accountable as the same elucidated above, when considering our response to events abroad and US foreign policy–but only in part. Everyone recognizes that conducting war–which is what the United States is constantly waging, though as a “war on terror” distinct from that on a foreign state–costs money; some citizens know the Pentagon is our leading welfare chiseler, that its “budget” is a fig leaf concealing a bottomless pit, with trillions of dollars unaccounted for…but many people seem not to connect this recognition with their own lives, when hearing politicians and government declare via media, that there “isn’t enough money” for things like schools, infrastructure, medical care, and so forth. This disconnect is a crucial problem, at least as significant as it would be if water or electrical power were to be disconnected from residences. Endless war conducted to make the world safe for corporate profit and control, is one side of the imperialist coin–the other being shortages and routine deprivation in our nation.
Perhaps you’ve heard what I think of as an old saw: war is when the government tells us who our enemies are; revolution is when we figure out for ourselves who our enemies are. The essential insight in this formulation is the same one that led Gene Debs to say that he was opposed to all war save one: the class war, which he was for body and soul. The conflict that is forced upon us is systemic and is threatening to destroy the possibility of life on our planet. For that most basic reason, we must not avoid recognizing that class rule–capitalism in all its forms–must be replaced, and sooner rather than later. The life of our planet depends on it.