APL: Afghanistan and the Task of Working Class Activists in the United States

“Communist” Forces Take Sides Against the Working Class While Imperialists Continue Their Work

The radical liberalism of the Western “Left” which has dominated the organizational drive of radical politics over the past 60 years continues to show it’s disgusting, selfish, and utterly liberal persona in the face of the tragedy of the return of theological rule in Afghanistan. The radical liberals see the simple removal of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan as a victory against U.S. imperialism in Afghanistan and that the Taliban, who have resumed power in the country, are heroic anti-imperialist fighters and should be upheld. Some have even gone so far as to insult the Vietcong by comparing the theological brutes of the Taliban to the national liberators of Vietnam. The logic behind this position is liberal, relativist, and thoroughly rooted in detachment from the suffering of the people the Western “Left” claim to have bleeding hearts for. These so-called leftists are now celebrating that people of Afghanistan have come out of U.S. military oppressions only to be back in the hands of brutal theological rule.

First, let us understand that U.S. imperialism has not left Afghanistan. Radical liberals often like to call themselves anti-imperialists, and more often than not, claim to uphold the Leninist theory of imperialism. The problem, as plainly seen by the statements of revisionist “marxists” in support of China’s growing social imperialism, is to see imperialism as military action and only military action. The use of economic, social, diplomatic, etc., means of aggression and control are often ignored completely as having anything to do with imperialism. Dependency of food and infrastructure is now often referred to as aid, assistance, and solidarity so long as it comes from anywhere but U.S. Imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, etc., are matters of cultural relativism and do not have a material basis outside of cultural consideration.

“Human knowledge is not (or does not follow) a straight line, but a curve, which endlessly approximates a series of circles, a spiral. Any fragment, segment, section of this curve can be transformed (transformed one-sidedly) into an independent, complete, straight line, which then (if one does not see the wood for the trees) leads into the quagmire, into clerical obscurantism (where it is anchored by the class interests of the ruling classes). Rectilinearity and one-sidedness, woodenness and petrification, subjectivism and subjective blindness—voilà the epistemological roots of idealism. And clerical obscrutantism (= philosophical idealism), of course, has epistemological roots, it is not groundless; it is a sterile flower undoubtedly, but a sterile flower that grows on the living tree of living, fertile, genuine, powerful, omnipotent, objective, absolute human knowledge.”

V.I. Lenin; On The Question of Dialectics(1915)

A Deal Long in the Making

The removal of U.S. combat forces from Afghanistan, is of course, a positive development. The U.S. military must be removed from all occupied lands, including its own. But to consider the removal of combat forces a removal of U.S. imperialism is to ignore imperialism itself. The decision to leave Afghanistan was not some spur of the moment decision made by a peace loving, anti-war Joe Biden. This pull out has been put into plan for at least a decade already. In 2011 the Obama administration began a $6 billion dollar plan to build an Afghan army and police force capable of holding its own so that the U.S. could pull out in 2014. While the administration fell years short of its goal, the Biden administration has finished the job by pulling out U.S. combat troops and blaming the incompetence of the U.S. puppet government and military of Afghanistan for the emergence of the Taliban rule.

During the U.S. military occupation of Afghanistan, the U.S. and the Taliban, whom the Western “Left” are calling anti-imperialists and cheering for, have made a great many agreements with the U.S. over the past decade. This should come as no surprise as the Taliban were originally formed and allied with the U.S. in the 80’s against the then social-imperialist Soviet Union who thought it would bring socialism to Afghanistan through invasion. During these years, the U.S. and Taliban worked together towards the death of thousands of innocent people.

Since the 2011 push under Obama, U.S. and Afghan puppet officials have met and made a number of deals with the Taliban over the past decade. Most notably was the “U.S.-Taliban Peace Deal” that former President Donald Trump signed with the Taliban. The U.S. and Taliban have been working together for quite some time, and the removal of U.S. combat forces was a joint agreement between the the U.S., Taliban, and provisional Afghanistan government.

Resources continued to flow into Afghanistan until the very last day. The IMF released a $6 billion dollar loan to the country in June of this year knowing the military pull out was going to happen, and the State department has been arming the country non-stop since the 2011 push knowing the pull out was going to happen.

There was no victory of anyone over U.S. military forces, there was an agreement between the imperialists, their puppets, and the Taliban. In spite of increasing violence and other infractions of the deal on the part of the Taliban, the U.S. has pulled out. In spite of the number of deals, killings, and bribes that have taken place between the Taliban and Afghan officials, the U.S. has pulled out. Clearly, this pull out was premeditated, planned, and done with reason to benefit the imperialists.

One may ask how this may benefit the imperialists, and while time will only tell there are early signs already—the main being regional security. A decrease of military in Afghanistan specifically may very well mean an increase of military in the region generally to “protect allies and assets” of the U.S., Pakistan has already been commented on significantly as a place of particular interest. China has also expressed interest in backing and investing into Afghanistan under Taliban rule as the Taliban have gained control of a number of Afghanistan’s natural mining resources. And while the Taliban have said they “have no interest in foreign investment”, this seems dubious in an economy that is 80% foreign aid. The likelihood of Afghanistan falling once again under the hegemony of competing imperialist powers is high—challenging the claims that the Taliban is a force for “national liberation.”

The imperialists have not lost any money in Afghanistan. One must always remember that wars are paid with tax money, most of which is collected from working and oppressed people. The imperialists sit back and profit from war production and conquest. The private contractors once had a force of over 8,000 people on the ground. While the state military has left there are still over 1,300 private security contractors operating in Afghanistan with over 400 fully armed with military equipment. These private companies have even less oversight and transparency than the U.S. military has operated with and have been known to be involved in everything from opium trafficking, human trafficking, and the use of practical slave labor in construction projects.

Radical Liberalism and Bastardized Anti-Imperialism

The imperialists long term plans may be obscured at the moment, but one thing is not: the Western “Lefts” radical liberal fetishization of the now in power Taliban.

Which brings us to a very important question: How could anyone who claims to be even the smallest amount in line with linage of Marx, Lenin, Socialism, Communism, dare to support a theological regime of any kind. The point of Marxism, of revolution, of building of socialism and communism is to improve the material and spiritual life of human kind, not to excuse oppression which uses culturally acceptable symbols. How can theological rule of any kind not be oppressive? How can theological rule create anything but a reactionary regime?

 The Taliban in particular have a long history of violent, dogmatic, and brutal rule. It is not the western imperialists who suffer from this, who continue to sip their scotch in country clubs without worry, it is the people of Afghanistan who will suffer. This cultural relativism that glorifies anti-american brutality simply because it is anti-american is firmly liberal and used by a plethora of “leftists”. These so-called leftists use the same cultural relativism, the same logic as the liberals they purport to oppose.

While many radical liberals often denounce liberalism and consider themselves anarchists, communists, and all kinds of ideological categories, the liberal logic remains firm. Positions do not exist on their own, standing against the U.S. only to support brutality by another is not socialist, is not Marxist, is not Leninist, nor anti-imperialist. Liberalism is a subjective logic. In a technical sense, one may refer to it as subjective idealism in the era of bourgeois society. Due to the subjective nature of the logic, a plurality of positions may be formed from it. In fact, liberalism outwardly celebrates its pluralism of positions. Liberalism is not a synonym for the “United States and Europe”, it is a logic, an ideology, a framework of perceiving the world through subjectivity and relativism. There is no contradiction in using liberal logic to condemn the United States or any country, person, etc, or uphold for that matter.

Yet, it is these radical liberals who continually claim to cry the loudest, hardest, most sincerely, for the people of the third world, for oppressed people at home and around the globe. But it is a twisted support. These radical liberals uphold the suffering of third world peoples as their symbol of righteousness. Out of this righteousness comes the condemnation of populations of peoples all over the globe to oppressive, imperialist regimes because they don’t play nice with the United States. The radical liberals uncritically support and cheer, as if watching the World Cup, any personality or government which is not inside the U.S.’s direct sphere of influence.

This support is often done with ignorance to the plight of the people. During the course of the Syrian Civil War, these forces who pose as leftist uncritically supported Bashir-Al Assad to the point of ignoring the people. Looking back, the people of Syria are rarely mentioned outside of their support of Assad. The radical liberals play the same game of personality and semantics that the mundane liberal does. Anti-imperialism, world politics as a whole, is treated like a football game and now the radical liberals who parade as leftists are cheering for the team of theologically brutality over the team of U.S. imperialism. With such friends, who needs enemies? The old opportunist line of supporting the “benevolent capitalist”, the “responsible government”, or “lesser of two evils” reappears in new form.

Building an Authentic, Internationalist Working Class Movement in the US

But why is this important? After all, the U.S. State is not currently changing its policies due to its left, radical liberal or otherwise. The Taliban certainly don’t care what the U.S. left  thinks about them.

It is important because it is our duty to challenge U.S. imperialism here at home, and in doing so, build a socialist state. Our positions on the events of the world impact the nature of this potential state and the movement that will build it. The reasoning used for these positions is the same reasoning being applied to practical work and the movement built from it. It is for this reason the western has been stuck in spite of its continuous populist work. When looked at through the lens of radical liberalism, these actions do not lead to a movement, but fill in the cracks for the imperialist system and prolong the poverty and oppression they seek to oppose.

And yet, these same people think they are going to build an anti-imperialist movement by siding with brutal theological regimes while decrying the role Christian fundamentalism plays in the U.S., defend the use of child labor in sweat shops, defend the use of child labor in Africa, and then claim to stand up for workers in the U.S.. But all of these crimes are justifiable by the radical liberals out of no other consideration than cultural relativism. To stand against theological rule, to stand against millions of people working 12 hour days from the time they’re nine years old to the time they die is to be labeled a chauvinist. Any notion of scientific understanding, let alone scientific socialism is thrown out the window.

Is nothing more western chauvinistic than saying such reactionary regimes and disgusting crimes are the results of such great and historic cultures? Is nothing more western chauvinist than saying child labor, African slave labor, submission to national majorities, and to uncritically support any current reactionary regimes are necessary for growth and defense? These positions only increase the fallout from these actions around the globe and feed into social chauvinisms like Sinophobia and anti-Islam xenophobia.

No, it is not out of cultural sensitivity, acceptance, or understanding that the radical liberals uphold such crimes and brutality against people of the world, but out of their own egoist detachment. It is why their populist actions, their “praxis”, leads to little. The picture can be taken. One can say, “hey I did a thing!”, a short-term goal can be met quickly. The same goes into uncritically “supporting” X or Y government or personality outside the U.S. sphere, immediate satisfaction through empty lip service.

Turning these actions into a movement, and all of the other types of practical action that is needed, is a long term goal, there is not always, and rarely, immediate satisfaction and victory.

Until this radical liberalism can be shrugged off the U.S. working class movement will be left in the world of symbol and dichotomy. Acts of service and charity will never evolve into dual power. Internationalism cannot be built by upholding social imperialism and theological oppression. To do so is to act in the name of those in power, not into those who are powerless.

Categories: American Party of Labor, Statements

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