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The Longest War, the Most Humiliating Retreat

Lunes, 30 Agosto 2021 17:55
Internacionales | Afghanistan | US troops | Antiimperialist struggle
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"The Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely", Joe Biden declared solemnly on July 8th, 2021 in the East Room of the White House. Barely a month and a few days later, the Taliban entered the Afghan capital Kabul, after the withdrawal of the bulk of the imperialist troops and the fleeing of the puppet president, Ashraf Ghani. Biden bet that the 300,000-strong Afghan army supplied by imperialism would control the situation, but it collapsed within weeks; leaving his government exposed to a never-before-seen evacuation operation, "the largest airlift in history" according to Biden himself, which has become the most humiliating withdrawal ever seen. A new delusional statement by the US president, who said that the US had gone to Afghanistan not to build a democratic nation (nation Building) but to defuse the terrorist threat, was answered by a branch of ISIS with an attack at Kabul airport itself with the toll of more than 170 dead, including 13 US troops. The attack on Thursday 26th August pushed the NATO allies with troops on the ground to end the evacuation operations, leaving only the nation "leader of the free world" that had managed to organize a coalition of 42 countries around the occupation. The Yankees have until August 31th to finish the evacuation, a period in which they can only expect new attacks and desperate images of refugees trying to flee from the chaos left behind after 20 years of military occupation.


Imperialism and its shadow

The withdrawal from Afghanistan is an example of the complicated situation in which US imperialism finds itself in the historical deepening of its decomposition and in the ever-greater difficulties it has in trying to resolve world’s capitalist crisis. It’s part of the difficulties to give an idea of a way out of the pandemic, with the discussion of the post-pandemic and a supposed and longed-for boom of the world economy, that clashes with a perspective of small rebounds and new falls that configure rather a tendency towards depression and the worsening of the imbalances at all levels. Imperialists even reach such delirious discussions as that "thanks" to the Delta variant, inflationary tendencies are being contained (!!!). Biden’s administration and his coalition government, which appeared as a replacement in the face of the failure of the change of imperialist orientation that the Trump’s administration meant, in a very short time has collided with all the contradictions that undermine the US world hegemony. And it is forced to make decisions at the level of the least costly withdrawal, for a supposed reordering of forces that nobody believes. Especially the strategic rivals like China and Russia, who are taking a stand. The agreements between China and the Taliban to consolidate the territorial domain of both states and at the same time to integrate the new Afghan "government" into the framework of the Chinese belt and road initiative (BRI) is an example. The US being forced to negotiate with Russia for an anti-terrorist network in the country is another. But the main weakness of US imperialism is not the challenge of rivals but the structural decomposition, the economic and social destruction, that its own actions sow at every step. It is fighting against its shadow, and it is losing. The problem is that this advance of decomposition destroys the living conditions of our class and of the oppressed peoples of the world.


"Nation building”, detonation of nations

Perhaps Biden's statement that the real objective of the US in Afghanistan and, let us add, in Iraq, was not "to build a nation" or, rather, to build from the outside a semi-colonial, modern and democratic bourgeois state in its own image and likeness, is true. Perhaps that was just an excuse, and they have rather followed the military doctrine elaborated after the US victory in the Cold War of "Shock and Awe" that the military commanders of Bush Jr. boasted about when those invasions were carried out in 2001 and 2003, with the dreadful Donald Rumsfeld in the lead. Basically, it was a tactic of imperialist terrorism, which crumbled in the face of the resistance of armed groups and of the Iraqi and Afghan masses soon after the US arrival, marking the defeat of the invasions very early on, although the troops remained in what they called a "quagmire". The thesis of the Empire exercising state terrorism on a global scale, just like its “progressive” counterpart, the Empire vs. the multitude of autonomists like Negri and Holloway, collapsed with the national resistance of the oppressed peoples, which developed in the Middle East and beyond, and continues to develop to this day. Could it be this fallacy that Biden wants to sell us again?

The contradiction between the state form of bourgeois domination and the internationalization of the productive forces, between the socialization of production and the private accumulation of capital, cannot be resolved in a bourgeois supra-state. This is becoming clearer with the decline of US hegemony. But the idea of the creation of new modern bourgeois states in the epoch of crises, wars and revolutions is no less utopian. And the attempts to carry it forward have clashed time and again with the contradictions of the material bases engendered (decomposed) by capitalism. This discussion not only explains the imperialist utopias, but brings us into the debate within the proletarian forces themselves. The defeat of imperialism in Afghanistan tastes like death, because the Taliban takes power. This can only be explained by the crisis of revolutionary leadership of our class.


The IV International

Thus, we see how many currents of centrist Trotskyism start the classic game of finding the lesser evil, some celebrating the seizure of Kabul by the Taliban, others campaigning for democracy in Afghanistan against the persecution of women. We must be clear: this moment of defeat of imperialism cannot be capitalized without the determined intervention of the world proletariat on the side of the oppressed peoples of the Middle East. We must deploy a campaign in the trade unions for the withdrawal of all imperialist bases from the Middle East and from all oppressed countries. It’s also necessary that in the imperialist countries the trade unions fight for the unrestricted entry of refugees, for equal labor rights and for their integration into the ranks of our trade unions according to industries. Trade unions in all countries must resort to all necessary means to help strengthen and eventually rebuild the workers' organizations in Afghanistan, sending funds, supplies and defending them from the attacks of the Taliban and the warlords. It’s in this struggle, where the best and most determined anti-imperialist fighters of our class will be able to act together and discuss the program to confront the imperialist states and their lieutenants in our ranks, the trade union bureaucracy, to lay the basis for the reconstruction of the revolutionary leadership of the working class, the Fourth International and its national sections. In this way, we will be able to collaborate in strengthening the workers' vanguard in Afghanistan and the Middle East, to fight for a Federation of Socialist Republics in the region over the destruction of Israel, as a political form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. There can be no other way out for Afghanistan, because any idea of a national democratic state (the statist utopia always pursued by centrism) lacks material basis due to the very dynamics of the decomposition of capitalism.

The catastrophe of the withdrawal from Kabul is a warning also for the revolutionary ranks: never has the achievement of a progressive slogan such as the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan been so far from advancing the positions of the world proletariat. We must act seriously, quickly and decisively. Class struggle has no mercy for the indecisive and the confused. We propose to the Trotskyist currents that defend the program of the dictatorship of the proletariat to hold an International Conference to prepare the prerequisites for the reconstruction of the Fourth International.

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