The Two Sides of the Same Coin: Global Capitalism and U.S. Militarism
by Benjamin Woods
The Washington Post published a provocative article on June 4th 2010 entitled "U.S. 'secret war’ expands globally as Special Operations forces take larger role." The article shows that the Obama administration has continued the militaristic policies of the Bush administration by swelling the number of special operations troops in 75 countries compared to 60 at the beginning of last year. This illustrates that Black faces in high places (neocolonialism) doesn’t necessarily mean a change in policy. Therefore, its important to remember that the primary problem is not US militarism but imperialism and capitalism.
As the global economic situation worsens and the US is bogged down in wars, breaks in the system will occur which allow social movements to arise. To counter this trend, the United States, the military arm of transnational capital, will display more military aggression. Of course, the president is simply continuing the expansionary and imperialistic policies of the white settler regime in North America that started with the theft of First Nation (Native American) lands and enslavement of African people.
In 2008, the US navy reactivated the Fourth fleet. The Fourth fleet was established during World War II to combat the German Navy in Latin American waters. Following the end of the war, the fleet was deactivated. Although the US military contends the Fourth fleet’s reactivation is not a fundamental change in policy, governments in the region assert its purpose is to stop the rise of social movements in Latin America.
These fears are a product of the US Monroe doctrine beginning in the 1820s that stated the entire Western Hemisphere is the United States 'sphere of influence.’ In keeping with the Monroe Doctrine, the US has overthrown virtually every government in Latin America from Guatemala (1954) to Chile (1973). The more recent coup attempts were in Venezuela (2002) and Bolivia (2008). Also, the leadership of the recent coup in Honduras (2010) was trained at the infamous 'School of the Americas ’ in Fort Benning, Georgia.
Furthermore in 2008, the United States established the Africa Command (AFRICOM). While the US military declares that AFRICOM is only a restructuring of their command system due to Africa's 'renewed importance’, African governments argue AFRICOMs creation is dependent upon the fact that the US will soon receive 25% of its oil from the African continent. These fears are not unfounded. The beginning of US diplomatic relations with the African continent were the European slave trade. Later, during the Cold War, the CIA supported several assassinations and coups such as in the Democratic Republic of Congo (1960) and Ghana (1966).
Moreover, in May 2008 the US conducted a war games exercise at the US Army War College in Carlisle, PA called "Unified Quest 2008." The war games included a US response to continued "piracy" and insurgency in Somalia set in 2025 and the collapse of the Nigerian government in 2013. Although the details of the Somalia response were not disclosed, the response to the Nigerian scenario included the deployment of thousands of US troops to West Africa.
As a political commentator stated "you can’t have empire abroad and democracy at home." Increased US militarism does not bode well for domestically colonized nations in the United States such as Chicanos and Africans. For example, the state of Arizona passed SB 1070 which de facto legalizes racial profiling and forces immigrants to provide documentation on request or risk being detained.
It must remembered, that Arizona was stolen from Mexico during the Mexican-American War. A case in point, in his newspaper the North Star Fredrick Douglass stated the US government "succeeded in robbing Mexico of her territory, and are rejoicing over their success under the hypocritical pretense of a regard for peace." Similarly, in NYC residents are subjected to stop and frisk policies where upon 'reasonable suspicion’ NYPD can search any individual for concealed weapons. The American Civil Liberties Union states over 80% those stopped were African or Latino. In addition, similar to checkpoints in Palestine or Afghanistan, in 2008, the DCPD set up checkpoints in the majority African neighborhood of Trinidad in Washington DC.
The African Freedom Movement in the United States has a long history of self-defense against state repression. Two notable works and organizations that should be studied by committed African activists, intellectuals, and street organizations (gangs) are the African Blood Brotherhood (ABB) and Kwame Nkrumah’s The Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare. Founded in 1919, the ABB was a revolutionary Black Nationalist organization that operated on a clandestine basis. They were crucial in the defense of Africans during white attacks on Black communities in the Red Summer of 1919. The Handbook describes how to conduct rural guerilla warfare on the African continent. The coming period of reaction will test our movement for national liberation and self determination.