by Glen Ford, published on Black Agenda Report, January 9, 2020
The Republicans and Democrats are united under the American imperial banner, and only differ on details of strategy to maintain Washington’s global domination.
“None can be free of the scourge of war – the ultimate crime against humanity, from which all others flow – while the warmakers are in power in the Citadel of Capital.”
The grievously wronged Iranians have apparently fired a purposely harmless salvo of missiles into several U.S.-occupied bases in Iraq to avenge last Friday ’s U.S. drone assassination of Revolutionary Guards commander Qassi Suleimani. Although the Fars news agency claimed, for Iranian popular consumption, that “at least 80 US armed personnel have been killed and around 200 others wounded,” American and other NATO forces in Iraq report no casualties, giving Trump an opportunity to claim victory and back off from further aggressions. Trump followed the Iranian lead, holding a press conference to dance away from continued armed hostilities, on Wednesday.
Since there is no “peace party” with any influence on governance in the United States, a U.S. retreat from Armageddon is the most that the world can hope for, in the near term. Trump’s mafia-style hit on the revered Iranian general – yet another Nuremburg-level U.S. crime against peace and humanity, for which death by hanging is the historical punishment – seemed designed to set the stage for a reprise of George Bush’s 2003 “Shock and Awe” demonstration of U.S. imperial firepower, this time with an orange tinge.
“A U.S. retreat from Armageddon is the most that the world can hope for, in the near term.”
Iranian national pride required a pantomimed military response, but the U.S. has provoked a far worse punishment by the Iraqis, on whose territory Suleimani was ambushed. The Iraqi parliament swiftly voted 170-0 to kick the 5,000 US troops out of their country, an exodus that would render Washington’s foothold in neighboring Syria untenable, thus sealing the fate of the remaining U.S.-backed al-Qaida “rebels” holed up in Idlib province and hastening the demise of ISIS forces currently shielded from Russian air attack by U.S. firepower. Donald Trump, who (correctly, but incoherently) charged Barack Obama with “founding ” ISIS, may well have fast-forwarded the definitive end of the U.S.-Islamic jihadist presence in Syria and Iraq.
Not that this was Trump’s intention. The Republicans and Democrats are united under the American imperial banner, and only differ on details of strategy to maintain Washington’s global domination. As BAR contributing editor Danny Haiphong writes,
“There may be two political parties in the United States, but there is only one ruling class agenda.”
“Trump may well have fast-forwarded the definitive end of the U.S.-Islamic jihadist presence in Syria and Iraq.”
Yet there is a profound split in the U.S. ruling class – not about the necessity to preserve the empire, on which there is no debate among the rulers, but over how Washington should manage relations with its junior imperial partners in Europe and elsewhere, and over the modalities of One Percent governance within the United States. On foreign policy, the Democrats have since 2016 positioned themselves as the more aggressive War Party, constantly goading Trump to attack Russia and its Syrian ally and to “stand up” to North Korea, to prove he is not a “dupe” of Vladimir Putin. As the party of Barack Obama, the previous Super-Sanctioner of rebellious nations, the Democrats are vicious in maligning Venezuela. And as the party of Hillary Clinton (“We came, We saw, He died – Ha Ha Ha.”), the Democrats have killed hundreds of thousands in U.S.-directed and financed jihadist wars in Libya and Syria. They are the puppeteers and paymasters of terror on a scale that Donald Trump has yet to match, an orgy of sectarian beheadings, torture, rape and mass murder that Trump’s assassination of General Suleimani may inadvertently bring to a close, with U.S. ouster from the region.
“The Democrats have killed hundreds of thousands in U.S.-directed and financed jihadist wars in Libya and Syria.”
At home, the Democrats have spent the last three years constructing a New Cold War censorship of the Left, starting with Black Agenda Report and other radical web sites targeted only weeks after the 2016 election. As Black Alliance for Peace national organizer (and BAR editor) Ajamu Baraka writes, the Democratic “opposition,” including the Democrat-leaning corporate media, is not anti-war – it’s anti-Trump. The Democrats, like their corporate and banking masters, are determined to preserve the neoliberal economic order – the global Race to the Bottom in which U.S. workers compete with super-exploited workers in the developing world. The only difference is that the Democrats would “integrate” the management of this dwindling wage economy through a policy of racial and ethnic “diversity.” Same downward destination, but with multi-colored overseers. Same police occupation of Black communities, and same racialized gaps in earnings and wealth for the masses of Blacks and browns – but rewards aplenty for the misleadership classes of the oppressed, whose job is to keep the social peace while oligarchs swallow society whole, as senior columnist Margaret Kimberley explains in this issue of BAR. Most of the Congressional Black Caucus joined other Democrats in awarding Trump yet another record-breaking military budget. Seventy-five percent of the Black Caucus voted to make police a protected class and assault on cops a federal crime, in 2018. Eighty-percent of the Black Caucus voted to keep the Pentagon’s 1033 program funneling military weapons and gear to local police departments, five years ago – and the Caucus has become even more reactionary and treacherous, since then.
“The Democrats would ‘integrate’ the management of this dwindling wage economy through a policy of racial and ethnic ‘diversity.’”
Although many of the issues have changed since Malcolm X’s day, Blacks remain locked into much the same power relationships as half a century ago. Malcolm’s “foxes” and “wolves” are still on the prowl:
“The white liberals are more dangerous than the conservatives; they lure the Negro, and as the Negro runs from the growling wolf, he flees into the open jaws of the ‘smiling’ fox. One is a wolf, the other is a fox. No matter what, they’ll both eat you.” — Malcolm X, 1963
There is one big difference in the political landscape, 57 years after Malcolm spoke those words. The “Black Misleadership Class” – a term coined at BAR and its predecessor, The Black Commentator – now plays a pivotal role in the electoral workings of the Democratic half of the corporate duopoly system of governance. As I explained, two years ago, the Black misleaders are:
“…those Black political forces that emerged at the end of the Sixties, eager to join the corporate and duopoly political (mostly Democrat) ranks, and to sell out the interests of the overwhelmingly working class Black masses in the process. It is both an actual and aspirational class, which ultimately sees its interests as tied to those of U.S. imperialism and its ruling circles. It seeks representation in the halls of corporate power, and dreads social transformation, which would upset the class’s carefully cultivated relationships with Power.”
“Malcolm’s ‘foxes’ and ‘wolves’ are still on the prowl.”
Blacks are still at the bottom, and racing deeper into the abyss. But an opportunistic sliver of the Black population has aligned with banksters and oligarchs in Democratic boardrooms. They join with corporate Democrats in screaming that Trump is the existential threat – not U.S. imperial wars, in which most Democrats are complicit; not the Race to the Bottom, which is as much a Democrat as Republican project; not the Mass Black Incarceration State, which is mainly enforced by urban Democratic regimes of all colors; and not capitalism, a system that was born, like the white settler United States, itself, in Native genocide and Black chattel slavery.
The Black Misleadership Class has no solidarity with anyone. They are hustlers, who have hijacked the aspirations of a proud, brave and independent-minded people – a people that have historically sought social justice and peace for not only themselves, but all mankind. That people needs a new party, with themselves in the leadership, a party that will Fight the Power. There is a world of allies out there, sharing the same aspirations. But none can be free of the scourge of war – the ultimate crime against humanity, from which all others flow – while the warmakers are in power in the Citadel of Capital.
The key to unlock all of our chains is right here, in the belly of the beast.
Power to the People!
In 1977 Glen Ford co-launched, produced and hosted “America’s Black Forum” (ABF), the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television. Ford co-founded BlackCommentator.com (BC) in 2002. The weekly journal quickly became the most influential Black political site on the Net. In October, 2006, Ford and the entire writing team left BC to launch BlackAgendaReport.com (BAR). BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford(at)BlackAgendaReport.com