The belly of the beast

MAGA thinks in terms of the United States as an anti-autocratic, anti-imperial bastion of democracy, equality, liberty, freedom.

The truth is that the U.S. is the most dominant imperial force in history.

It’s an imperial force of a new, more effective kind.

We call it “the belly of the beast.” In order to de-fang capitalism and deconstruct oligarchy, the U.S. would be the most important state/society to transform, but also, probably, the hardest to transform.

As they trace the history of global capitalism, Gindin and Panitch write that in the years after World War II, the U.S. succeeded in building an “informal empire” integrating other capitalist states into a coordinated, global capitalist system:

The U.S. informal empire constituted a distinctly new form of political rule. Instead of aiming for territorial expansion along the lines of the old empires, U.S. military interventions were primarily aimed at preventing the closure of particular places or whole regions of the globe to capital accumulation. This was part of a larger remit of creating openings for or removing barriers to capital in general, not just U.S. capital. The maintenance and indeed steady growth of U.S. military installations around the globe after World War II, mostly on the territory of independent states, needs to be seen in this light rather than in terms of securing territorial space for the exclusive U.S. use of natural resources and accumulation by its corporations.

Although the U.S. dominates in this informal, imperial system, Gindin and Panitch argue that other advanced capitalist states maintain their sovereignty, but must defer to American wishes when it comes to military interventions abroad. “The American state arrogated to itself the sole right to intervene against other sovereign states (which it repeatedly did around the world), and largely reserved to its own discretion the interpretation of international rules and norms.”

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Steven Welzer

The editor of Green Horizon Magazine, Steve has been a movement activist for many years (he was an original co-editor of DSA’s “Ecosocialist Review”).