Western utilization and manipulation of primitivist, conservative, and reactionary social forces in order to stop economic development is a long standing tradition and is thriving today.
Wall Street, London, and the Bretton Woods institutions like the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund claim to support development and the eradication of poverty around the world. They also claim to support scientific progress and raising the global standard of living. However, often they seem to make friends and allies with very different goals.
As Nicaragua proceeds with a huge construction project that has dynamic global implications, one can see a certain international pattern repeating itself, with quite dangerous implications.
“Native Activists” Fighting To Preserve US Maritime Dominance
Control of the Panama Canal by the United States has been vital in asserting control over the world economy. The US has intervened militarily in Panama on many occasions to secure its control of this vital global shipping and transportation hub.
While the USA currently allows vessels to pass through, this could easily change in the case of a military confrontation. With so much of the world’s industrial shipping passing through this vital point, control of the canal gives the USA a level of unchecked power in the global economy. At any point, they could “veto” a country’s economy by stopping ships.
However, a construction project currently in the works in Nicaragua could change that. The Chinese government and corporations based in China are cooperating with the socialist government of Nicaragua to construct a new canal, parallel to the Panama Canal. This canal will not be under US dominion but under the dominion of the Sandinista government and the People’s Republic of China.
The announcement of the project was followed by all kinds of reports in western media claiming it would be an ecological disaster and contribute to global warming. Now, as the project proceeds, voices of the establishment are crying crocodile tears for the indigenous people who will be forced to move by the project. The Guardian has run stories bemoaning their plight. Amnesty International is warning Nicaragua not to interfere with their protests.
The USA is in the process of putting sanctions on Nicaragua, for their support of Venezuela. A bill currently in the US Congress called the NICA Act aims to cripple the socialist government.
While it is ignored in US press reports, the Sandinista government has done a great deal to improve the lives of its population, a large percentage of which is indigenous. Poverty in Nicaragua has been reduced by 30%. The United Nations World Happiness Index reports the great increase of happiness in any country in 2016, as having taken place in Nicaragua.
The socialist government is asserting public control over major industries, guaranteeing jobs, housing, and education to the population, and moving toward a centrally planned economy. The Sandinistas are cultivating a layer of patriotic small business owners, who cooperate with the state to develop the economy with foreign investment. Their methods are similar to those employed by Deng Xiaoping when opening up China during the 1980s.
Though the Sandinistas are widely popular, the forces who oppose the canal project have found a number of indigenous leaders to align with. 76% of people in Nicaragua have some indigenous ancestry. The overwhelming majority of the country is ethnically “mestizo” meaning it has a mixture of European and native ancestry.
However, the forces being rallied to oppose the project are not from the overwhelming majority of the population which has indigenous ancestry, but rather from a specific group of just over 4% of the population, which is described as “unmixed indigenous inhabitants.” These are individuals who have cut themselves off from Nicaraguan society at large, and much like the Amish or Mennonites in the USA, maintain a lifestyle without technology, immersed in religious tradition. While the majority of Nicaraguans are Christians, these forces are Shamanists and practitioners of polytheistic faiths. They reject all “European” concepts and lump Marxism, dialectical materialism, and Christianity into the same basket.
The relationship between this isolated minority in Nicaragua and the US Central Intelligence Agency is not a new development. During the 1980s contra war, the CIA supplied weapons and military training to the indigenous Mosquito peoples to fight the Sandinistas. In addition to the weapons and funding they received from the USA, a number of Anti-Communist US Native American activists such as Russell Means joined with them. Many of these indigenous, anti-technology, and anti-science fanatics stood against what they called the “Racist European Marxism” of the Sandinista government, which was made up largely of dark skinned people with indigenous blood. While they claimed to oppose both “capitalism and communism” as European concepts, they quietly and sometimes not-so-quietly, worked with the Pentagon and the CIA.
Just as they took up guns in the 1980s in alliance with Washington, they now get promoted by pro-US Non-Governmental Organizations and Non-Profits, who conveniently see maintaining US maritime dominance as the latest, trendy, ecological, liberal cause, done to rescue some “mystical people” with “beautiful ancient traditions” being crushed by “racist” “dogmatic” Marxists.
“Traditionalist” CIA-Allies in China
Western utilization and manipulation of primitivist, conservative, and reactionary social forces in order to stop economic development is not restricted to Latin America. The political allies of the United States on the Chinese mainland, who work against the People’s Republic, often while spouting rhetoric about “human rights” are a rather interesting bunch.
The Chinese government has just cracked down on an extremist cult known as “Eastern Lightning.” The group is also known as the “Church of the Almighty God” and worships a woman who they claim is the second coming of Jesus Christ. They are reported to torture, mutilate, and even execute members who attempt to leave. Members of the group famously murdered a man in a Mcdonalds restaurant for refusing to allow his daughter to give her phone number to them.
While some would dismiss this simply as an obscure religious cult, it is important to note that the lead minister of the Church, along with the woman who claims to be Jesus Christ, both currently live in the USA. In 2001, they sought “political exile” in the United States, and while millions of people die attempting to cross the US border, the US government happily grants visas to anti-China activists, in order to help them escape “persecution” from the US government.
Another friend of the USA in China is the Falun Gong, a strange Buddhist sect. The group calls for the public execution of homosexuals and opposes inter-racial marriage. Li Hongzi, the group’s founder, lives in Queens, New York. His organization has been presented with awards by the Heritage Foundation.
Much like Eastern Lightning, the Falun Gong preaches that the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership, in particular its policies advancing the position of women, are harmful to society. The Falun Gong argues that the Chinese Communist Party’s rule represents a “Dharma Ending Period” and that its efforts to include women in government positions is one of its most grievous crimes. The group is also known for separating young people from their families, and threatening ex-members.
Following this pattern, the USA has worked endlessly to promote the deposed feudal theocratic monarchy of Tibet. The Dalia Lama, who ruled Tibet with an iron fist and executed and tortured all who questioned him, is presented as a harmless self-help, spiritual guru in US media.
While he is presented as a man of peace, it is widely known that his brother was given military training in Colorado, and air dropped into the Tibet Autonomous Region in the 1950s. With guns and weapons from the USA, the Tibetan separatists waged a violent proxy war in the mountains for years. This is all boasted about in the right-wing, anti-China book “The CIA’s Secret War in Tibet.”
All these bizarre religious groups aligned with the USA in China seem to glorify feudal, pre-Communist China. They all oppose the Chinese Communist Party for its modernization. While they speak different languages, and glorify different traditions, they probably would agree a lot with the Nicaraguan, US-backed “indigenous activists” who oppose the socialism of the Sandinistas. Meanwhile, it is a similar crowd of western liberals who admire them, and would accuse any who criticized them of “racism” and “white-splaining.”
Not only does Washington have a history of aligning with primitivist and feudalist forces, so do European fascists. Julius Evola, the Italian far-right ideologue who spoke of a “revolt against the modern world” had a particular admiration for feudalism and primitive societies around the world. In his book “Man Among Ruins” he speaks of “the demonic nature of the economy” in western countries, which people are always trying to advance, create, and become more prosperous. He admires pre-capitalist civilization for its poverty and “stability” amid starvation.
As members of the European far-right, the Nazis also admired primitivism and poverty. Heinrich Harrier, the author of the beloved “Seven Years in Tibet,” practically a holy book for advocates of Tibetan seperatism, was actually an SS officer. The Nazis believed Germans to be descended from Tibetans, and sent scientists to measure ancient skulls in order to somehow prove this. The Nazis had similar admiration for the caste system in ancient India, and adopted the swastika as their symbol for that reason.
CIA Loves Islamic Extremists
It was the British empire that first discovered the political value of Wahabbism. The Saudi monarchy owes its origins to a cleric named Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab. His interpretation of Islam in 1700s enabled the Saudi royal family to establish its brutal, repressive theocratic monarchy. The British cooperated with the Saudi royal family, which conveniently allowed them access to oil in exchange for propping up the barbaric regime. In 1945, the USA joined with the British is coddling the Saudi autocracy.
Today, Saudi Arabia is one of the only countries in the world where housing in bedouin tents, not modern buildings is widespread. The lack of infrastructural development accompanies a government that outlaws women from driving cars, conducts public floggings and beheadings, and punishes crimes with mutilation. Every person and everything in Saudi Arabia is the property of the King. Citizens are routinely executed for “insulting the King” or “sorcery” among other crimes. Sometimes bodies are crucified and left on public display after execution.
A large percentage of the Saudi population are guest workers who live as slaves with no human rights. Even among the Saudi born population, the Shia oil workers face brutal discrimination and exploitation on the job, with their religious freedom often denied.
While the western economic institutions and governments all claim to support “poverty alleviation” and “development” in the third world, they embrace the Saudi Monarchy in all its horror and backwardness. Meanwhile, the targets of the USA and NATO in the Middle East, are not the primitive oil autocracies, but rather, regimes that work toward modernization.
The Iranian revolution of 1979 deposed western capitalism, and established a government under the slogan of “not capitalism, but Islam.” After the revolution, even in the context of a massive war with Iraq, Imam Khomeni launched a “construction Jihad.” In this effort inspired by Stalin’s Five Year Plans and the rapid industrialization of socialist countries, Iranians were mobilized to build highways, schools, hospitals, power plants, and so much else in order to bring the country out of poverty. Despite sanctions and attacks from the west, Iran has utilized oil revenue and central planning to construct a highly modern country, with a comparatively prosperous population. The Islamic Republic of Iran that emerged from the 1979 revolution, and has made huge strides toward modernization, is now the target of western leaders.
The Syrian Arab Republic, born in the Baath Socialist revolution, is also targeted by the west. This is a government that has multiple parties in office, and has worked with Russia and China to construct huge power plants and highways. Syrian industrial workers are organized into labor unions, and have legal protections on the job. The Communist Party and the Communist Party (Baghdash) are permitted to participate in the government. Religious freedom is guaranteed with Sunnis, Shia, Alawi, Christians, Druze, and other religious groups all freely practicing their faith. The achievements of Syria’s state controlled healthcare system are widely praised by international bodies, with many doctors and medical professionals trained the state run Universities.
Fitting with this pattern, western leaders are now arming and training Wahabbis, a force representing primitivism and barbarism of the Saudi variety, in the hopes of toppling the Syrian government. It is worth noting that prior to 2011, when the USA began working to foment civil war in the context of the Arab Spring, Syria had begun constructing an oil pipeline, connecting Iran to Mediterranean.
Prior to its destruction by NATO bombs in 2011, Libya was the most prosperous country on the African continent. It had the highest life expectancy, and had constructed a huge irrigation system in order to spread water across this dry, desert country. The forces backed by the United States to topple the Islamic Socialist government in Libya were Wahabbis. Now ISIS and Al-Queda have set up shop in the country, and citizens are fleeing on rafts trying to reach Europe.
Different Definitions of Imperialism
In his 1917 book “Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism,” Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin argued that capitalism had entered a globalist phase. He talked about the rise of “monopoly capitalists” in Britain, France, Germany, and the United States. He spoke of how bankers had triumphed over industrial capitalists, and described how wealthy financial elites in the west teamed up with governments to battle against each other, carving out “spheres of influence” in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and elsewhere. He described how third world countries were utilized as “captive markets” in which western countries could sell commodities without competition.
Imperialism, as Lenin understood it, was about keeping the world poor, so that western bankers could stay rich. Furthermore, imperialism meant dividing the working class within the western countries. A “labor aristocracy” of well paid workers was created. These were working class people who could be cultivated to identify with the western capitalists against the colonized people. With their rising standard of living, they would see their interests as identical to the interests of the monopolists that controlled their governments.
This understanding of imperialism was developed by Lenin, and adopted by figures like Mao Zedong, Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh, Huey Newton. Even non-Marxists like Michel Aflaq, Juan Peron, and Moammar Gaddafi studied and came to understand imperialism this way. For various anti-imperialist figures of the 20th century, third world revolutions against imperialism were about raising their countries up from poverty, modernizing, and developing.
However, a large section of the modern political left has abandoned this understanding. The understanding of “imperialism” taught in Universities across the USA and western Europe is quite different.
Starting in the 1950s, the New Left, specifically beloved “cultural critics” in the Frankfurt School and elsewhere, began speaking about “cultural imperialism.” Suddenly, among western academics and leftist activists, imperialism wasn’t about holding back development and keeping people poor. Rather, it was about eroding “beautiful” “traditions” and “ways of life” and “imposing” supposedly “western” values.
So-called “Mcworld” & Wahabbi Extremists Work Together
When describing the supposed leftist critique of imperialism in his book “On Paradise Drive” New York Times Columnist David Brooks said that “anti-American” and anti-imperialist forces oppose “McDonald’s, Barnes and Noble, and boob jobs.” Those who object to Wall Street running the world are depicted as Native American mystics, Islamic fanatics, or others who object to the industrialization, commercialization, and sexual freedom of western life.
This misrepresentation is widespread. The false dichotomy is often stated as “Mcworld vs. Jihad,” and was widely promoted in the USA, prior to, but especially after 9/11. In this “Clash of Civilizations” narrative, the forces said to represent “Jihad” were the Saudi Monarchy and Osama Bin Laden, while the forces said to represent “Mcworld” were the IMF, the World Bank, and Wall Street.
In reality, Mcworld globalizationists and the forces represented as “Jihad” are on the same team. They have never been enemies. Washington has been on friendly terms with Saudi Arabia since 1945. The CIA worked with Wahabbi extremists in Afghanistan to topple an independent, modernizing government called the People’s Democratic Party. The USA and Saudi Arabia worked with Wahabbis in Chechnya to fight against the Soviet Union and afterwards the Russian Federation. The USA currently funds and arms Wahhabis in Syria, and cooperated with these forces in Libya to topple the Islamic Socialist government.
The conservative forces in the Middle East that oppose modernization and development, and embrace the Wahabbi ideology of the 1700s are not enemies of Wall Street or the London Stock Exchange. Unlike the Shia revolutionaries, or the Baath Socialists, which represent legitimate resistance, the Wahabbi forces do not wish to modernize or industrialize the region. They want to keep it a mess of impoverished oil plantations ruled over by autocratic vassals. Wall Street has no objection to this setup, and it can largely be traced back to the Sykes-Pickot agreement, crafted by western colonizers.
However, in the west, especially in circles considered to be “progressive” there is a strange mystical and cosmopolitan admiration for the forces of primitivism. For example, those who defend the Syrian government, and point out the terrorist nature of the anti-government forces are labelled “Islamophobic.” Liberal crowds in the United States swoon over the pro-Saudi demagogue named Linda Sarsour as she wears a headscarf, uses exotic sounding Arabic words, accuses those who oppose her of racism, and holds rallies calling for the USA to topple the Syrian government.
This degeneration of leftist politics has been a long time in the making. In the 1960s, the Hare Krishna movement, an extremely right-wing Hindu sect in India, suddenly became a beloved staple of Peace Marches. Gurus from India, figures who promoted drug use for “spiritual” purposes, all suddenly became the fixture of the left. Previously these kinds of bohemian elements had been embraced by the far-right and fascists.
In the 1950s, it was Republicans and the “China Lobby” that rallied support for the Dalia Lama and his insurgency in the Tibet Autonomous Region. Republicans accused the democrats of “losing China.” However, in the present context it is liberals who sport “Free Tibet” bumper stickers, while the right-wing is less interested in foreign meddling and applauds to the words “America First.” No matter what region is being discussed, in the present context, it is the liberals, not the conservatives, whose hearts bleed the loudest for US proxy fighters around the world.
While in the 1980s, it was conservatives like Ronald Reagan and Oliver North who championed the fight against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, it is now liberals who moan for the “indigenous cultures” that are supposedly being “oppressed” by the Marxist government, which dares challenge the hegemony of the Panama Canal.
The US Central Intelligence Agency is probably the most involved with supporting forces of primitivism around the world, as they work to battle independent modernizing governments that threaten the monopoly of western capitalism. It should be no surprise, that since the 1950s, the CIA has also been heavily involved in supporting the anti-communist political left, which seems now fully dedicated to their latest crusades.
The CIA began its infamous “Congress for Cultural Freedom” in the 1950s, hoping to direct anti-capitalist activists and artists away from the pro-Soviet Communist Parties in the USA and Europe. The CIA funded the art of Jackson Pollack, experimental music, and all kinds of cultural strata intended to clash with Marxist-Leninist dialectical materialism and socialist realism. The CIA also launched a program called “MK-Ultra” which involved distributing drugs on college campuses.
The Monument Fights in the USA
The media in western countries, as it champions various primitivist forces, has essentially embraced Julius Evola’s critique of the “demonic nature of the economy.” Like Mother Teresa who infamously said “There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion. The world gains much from their suffering,” the non-Marxist, “liberal” element now sees social, economic, and technological progress as its enemy, and looks on poverty, ignorance, and primitivism in a condescending admiration.
While once it was the right-wing that pushed malthusian ideas about “overpopulation” it is now billionaire liberals like Bill Gates that work to decrease the global population. Often in the name of ecology, liberals will boast about how they refrain from shopping, and live frugal lives.
Now in the USA, a political clash that is very dangerous is unfolding. The fight involves monuments to various historical figures who did reprehensible things, such as owning slaves or fighting for the Confederacy in the hopes of preserving the slave system.
While it easy for anyone who hates racism and the racist mythology of films like “Gone With The Wind” and “The Birth of a Nation” to celebrate the destruction of Confederate Monuments, and they are absolutely right to do so, the context of their destruction, and who is destroying them, presents a new danger.
The forces that seek to defend the Confederate monuments are white supremacists, Ku Klux Klansmen, admirers of Hitler, traditionalists, and others. These are forces that want the USA to return to segregation, racial division, and other things overcome through decades of struggle. These forces are known to use violence, and they are widely hated and unpopular, though their prestige is slowly growing due to the absurd political context.
The problem is not that reactionary symbols are being destroyed. This is a positive thing. The problem is rather that the forces who line up against them do not seek to replace their hateful ideology with something new. In Charlottesville and elsewhere, the battle is taking place in which bigots who think Robert E. Lee was a hero are facing and off and violently clashing with those who believe society should have no heroes at all.
Racism Battles Post-Modernism
While the racist, hateful messaging and views of White Nationalists fill the airwaves, and become the subject of debate, what does Anti-Fa believe in? The media refers to crowds opposing the “Alt Right” as “anti-racist activists.” The White Nationalists are quick to call them “Communists.” But what ideas does “The Resistance” believe in? What alternative vision do they hold up to combat the right-wing?
The crowds of post-modern, non-ideological leftists largely do not seek to replace statues they destroy with statues of progressive figures like Frederick Douglas, Huey Newton, or William Z. Foster. Rather, they rally around the concept that “no one should be worshipped” and “there is no truth.” Images of Abraham Lincoln, the man who defeated Robert E. Lee and led the fight against slavery are now being destroyed, alongside the Confederates.
While “Anarchists” and liberals who destroy monuments are quick to point out and emphasize these leaders real crimes, the slogan they rally in opposition with is “No Gods and No Masters.” They fall back on concepts like “think for yourself” “question everything” and more subtly: “don’t believe in anything” “there is no truth.”
As media eulogized Heather Heyer, who was murdered by a white nationalist in Charlottesville, very few reports mentioned that she was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World. The IWW, an anarcho-syndicalist labor union formed in 1905, also known as “the Wobblies,” indeed has an ideology and belief system of its own. The IWW believes in creating a society in which the major industries and workplaces are controlled by those who work in them. Throughout its history, it was known for working in favor something, it syndicalist vision, not simply for the destruction the old. Not surprisingly, US media, which largely cheers for the opposition to the Alt-Right, obscures this important aspect of the woman who recently died opposing them.
As the media champions the fight against the Alt-Right, they work to obscure any solid ideology that would oppose them. The primary voices opposing the Alt-Right are post-modernists from middle-class backgrounds, trained at elite Universities. They tear down the statues of Confederate monuments as they cheer for the “Syrian revolution” that reduces Syria to chaos, or the various “oppressed” primitivist groups that fight against China or the government of Nicaragua.
Bill Maher, a left-wing TV commentator interviewed Leah Remini about her painful history in the Church of Scientology. In the interview, Maher outrageously compared Scientology to Communism. The outrageous comparison was in reference to the low income of Scientology practitioners.
As the polarization continues, the dangerous reality is that this is not the 1930s. The people fighting the fascists are not armed with Marxism-Leninism and guided by the Soviet Union, fighting for the ideal of Communism. Unlike the anti-fascist of the 1930s, anti-fa and the liberals who support them are not fighting to impose their own ideology onto society. Rather, they are fighting in the hopes of destroying ideology itself.
This is a hopeless mission. Every society since the dawn of agriculture has involved ideas, religions, and some concept morality, however, incorrect or distorted they may have been. These things are the foundation of human civilization. Even pre-historic tribes of hunter gathers had some rules or beliefs to guide their actions. Post-modernism and relativism cannot lay the foundations of a healthy society.
Western capitalism now rallies around the belief that “there is no truth.” At home it promotes free market capitalism and austerity, an economic model in which selfishness rules, and many people are left in poverty and misery. Meanwhile, it emphasizes a social liberalism based on hedonism and shallow values. Internationally, the west aligns itself with forces that seek to stop economic and technological progress, and freeze their societies in poverty and ignorance, so that Wall Street can maintain its monopoly.
As Americans, like all human beings, long for something to believe in, and long for their lives to improve, not get worse, they are likely to rally around forces who offer them such things. If no alternative is presented, only the now marginal far right-wing will be available to offer such things.
While its easy to call Trump a fascist, something far more deadly, and far closer the reactionary regimes of Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy could gain support. A population told to chose between either anarchy, chaos, and nihilism, or the hateful “truths” of reaction, could be pushed into a very dangerous trajectory.
Top photo: An opponent to Nicaragua’s transoceanic canal project walks past a defaced a mural depicting national hero Augusto C. Sandino, in Juigalpa, Nicaragua, June 13, 2015, during a march against the construction of the canal. (AP/Esteban Felix)
This work by New Eastern Outlook licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 International License.