Combating Modern Imperialism
The Role of Sanctions In The Class Struggle
What Are Sanctions?
While the earlier stages of imperialism were trademarked by direct military conflict, colonialism, and the literal expansion of empire, imperialism today has taken a much more covert form: that of international sanctions.
The purpose of sanctions is to wage covert war against the citizens of a nation until either they or the nation’s leadership crack. It’s forced regime change at the expense of countless innocent lives. It’s genocide.
To say that a nation is a failure because they’ve been suffering these onslaughts for decades is ridiculous. Nations such as Cuba, the DPRK, Iran, Venezuela, Syria, &c. should be praised for staying alive and strong in spite of the war that the west is waging against them. Millions of innocent citizens die at the hands of western powers who cut off supplies of food, medicine, technology, etc. to the populations of these nations.
The food and healthcare crises you hear used as evidence of the inefficiency of these nations’ governmental systems are actually near 100% tied to the sanctions and embargoes forced on them by western powers.
The US, if faced with the same restrictions it helps to place on others, would collapse near immediately. That these nations still stand is a testament to their success in the face of insurmountable odds.
Imperialism In Action: The DPRK
For an example of this in action, one must only look to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
There has not been a single day of the DPRK’s existence during which they haven’t been under attack from western society through either direct military occupation and bombing or covert war via sanctions.
The entire nation was carpet bombed less than 75 years ago by the U.S.A. Well over half a million tons of bombs were dropped, napalm and chemical weapons were deployed, and nearly every city was leveled. To quote the aggressors themselves:
“We went over there and fought the war and eventually burned down every town in North Korea.”
— General Curtis LeMay, Strategic Air Warfare: An Interview with Generals (1988)
This was then followed by a never-ending onslaught of sanctions from entities including the European Union, the United Nations Security Council, and the countries of Australia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States among others. These sanctions, many under the guise of combatting their nuclear program, included bans on the import or export of minerals, precious metals, ‘luxury goods,’ fuel, & cultural knowledge.
In addition to the previously discussed restrictions, many of these countries have banned the export of food, machinery, and electrical equipment by the DPRK while demanding all citizens working abroad move back to the country. Many nations have also banned travel to and from the DPRK and put in place laws to seize any vessels going to or from the nation, crippling both the import of food and necessary health supplies.
Many people, even those who claim to be anti-imperialists or part of the socialist left, continue to push the U.S. State Department’s narrative of the DPRK. They cling to the tales of a hermit nation, isolated by choice and willfully starving its own people. Of a militaristic dictatorship. This account is simply an objective falsehood. The reality of the DPRK is that of a nation forced to start anew at its very beginning. Of a liberated people’s republic thrown into battle against the forces of imperialism from its very conception. Of a people who picked up arms not by choice, but of necessity.
The Obligation of Socialists in the Imperial Core
Those who claim to be part of the left should be impressed by the unprecedented speed at which they’ve been able to rebuild. By the major achievements they’ve made and the never-before-witnessed capacity at which they’ve been able to increase their standard of living over the past 75 years in the face of debilitating sanctions.
As socialists in the belly of the beast, it is our duty to combat the growing threat of imperialism. We must stand behind the victims of this genocidal system and offer our critical, but unwavering, support in the face of western imperialism abroad.