What would it mean to finally dismantle US imperialism?

What Would It Mean to Finally Dismantle US Imperialism?

Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, Syria, and beyond: the devastation visited on the world by US imperialism runs deep. Wielding force both directly and indirectly, through economic and political coercion and military occupation, US imperialism is the single greatest counterrevolutionary force on Earth.

What would it mean then, concretely, to actually dismantle it? What resources would this free up? What would it mean to live in a world without the “unipolar” domination and repressive apparatus of the US state?

Imperialism is not an aberration, but a stage of capitalist development in which we’ve been living for more than a century, quite literally shaping the world as we know it through bloodshed, exploitation, and repression. Imperialism today is fundamental to capitalism; and militarism is fundamental to imperialism. As Lenin put it, imperialism is but “the colonial policy of finance capital,” requiring overwhelming force to project and sustain its economic domination.

The US armed forces ended 2023 with a combined 750 bases in 80 countries.
The US armed forces ended 2023 with a combined 750 bases in 80 countries—three times more than all other countries combined. / Image: US Navy, Picryl

To support its unrelenting exploitation of foreign markets, resources, and labor supply, the US has built up a state and military apparatus unequaled in human history. The US armed forces ended 2023 with a combined 750 bases in 80 countries—three times more than all other countries combined. These bases constitute the logistical backbone of the US as a military superpower, with strategic concentrations in central Europe and Asia which in theory allow it to strike anywhere, at any time. This global reach contributes to the US military’s status as the greatest polluter of any institution in the world.

The US spends more on its military than the next ten countries combined. While the official federal military budget comes in around $877 billion, the state allocates a total of around $1.6 trillion for use by the Department of Defense. These “budgetary resources” effectively function as a slush fund, with much of it going into “R&D” for new technologies that find their way into the private sector, with billions more going into a market-driven DoD “Working Capital Fund.” Hundreds of billions are further being squandered as a constant expenditure to fuel, transport, outfit, repair, and replace the mind-boggling components of this socially useless behemoth, with defense contractors reaping fat profits.

But military power is just part of imperialism’s arsenal. The Washington-based World Bank and the IMF dictate austerity through the “conditionality” of their loans, indebting the weakest countries to the strongest. By immiserating the workers of these countries, they are more exploitable, further lowering the global “floor” of the cost of labor.

The same essential interests apply to the repression of workers at home. The Biden administration proudly announced the deployment of 23,000 border patrol agents late last year, bringing the total number of internal/border immigration enforcers to 50,000. $25 billion in new spending will pile on top of the $333 billion spent since 2003 on immigration enforcement.

With around 140 immigration detention facilities in the US, border militarization is one of the clearest examples communists can give of how arbitrary and cruel the enforced boundaries of the nation-state are under capitalism.

Only the Working Class Can Uproot Imperialism
Communists in the belly of the beast are fighting to overthrow the most reactionary, anti-worker power on the planet. / Image: Revolutionary Communists of America

By fighting for the establishment of a workers’ government and the implementation of a revolutionary program in the US, communists in the belly of the beast are fighting to overthrow the most reactionary, anti-worker power on the planet.

Communists in power would abolish all “agreements” made between the capitalist powers which chain millions to austerity. In their place, we would advance socialist internationalism—voluntary collaboration between the workers’ states of all the world’s regions for the mutual benefit of the global population. The world division of labor would not be abolished, but transformed into an efficient chain of production in the interests of all workers, with optimal working conditions from beginning to end.

We will strip away the repressive apparatus of border control all along the 6,000 miles of patrolled border around Mexico and Canada and 2,000 miles of coastline. We would take funding out of the hands of war profiteers and kick career warmongers permanently to the curb, whole reorganizing the military along democratic lines, to defend the workers’ state and spread the world revolution.

Rational planning of the economy—starting with the expropriation of the Fortune 500—would allow efficiencies beyond the capability of the profit-driven market. Other dramatic changes would flow from the revolutionary reallocation of resources.

  • Instead of spending billions to patrol the border, we could end homelessness or hire hundreds of thousands of teachers and nurses.
  • Hunger could be eradicated with just 27% of the official US military budget.
  • Every single person in the US could access a college education for $58 billion—less than the yearly budget of the Department of Homeland security.
  • For less than US government profits from arms sales and military hardware trades, everyone in the country could be lifted above the poverty line.

This is just a tiny glimpse of what would be possible in a world without imperialism. A fraternal appeal to the world’s workers by a newly established workers’ government in the US would be met with rapturous joy and signal an end to centuries of imperialist brutality. The responsibility for making this a reality is on our shoulders.

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