post 14: Ukraine War, divided left: “social patriotism” and the “anti-imperialism of idiots”!

Ukraine War, divided left: “social patriotism” and the “anti-imperialism of idiots”!

Since Russia’s military operation commenced on February 24, the socialist left has been divided in its response to the armed conflict in Ukraine.  On one side are those who align with the US, NATO, and the Ukrainian state in denouncing Russia as the principal villain.  In opposition are those who view: the conflict as the outcome of the West’s new cold war against Russia, and the post-coup regime in Ukraine as a willing pawn of the West (US and its geopolitical allies) in that new cold war.  There are also some groups who condemn both: Russia for its February 24 military action, and the US and NATO for their provocations against Russia’s national security concerns.  Many of the left’s published commentaries: repeat invalid assumptions, evade crucial issues, and/or misrepresent the realities of the conflict. 

Divided left.  There being differing political perspectives on the left is nothing new.  For example, during the Vietnam War some avowed socialists (actually liberals) initially supported the US policy in Vietnam from a number of rationales.  Those rationales included: acceptance of the pretense that US foreign policy was about defending the “free world” for the sake of “democracy”, unswerving opposition to Communism as an existential enemy of liberal freedoms, being blind or indifferent to the racist realities of Western imperialism.  As the War dragged on with no end in sight and as a large popular antiwar movement emerged, those prowar “socialists” either switched over to the antiwar side or became discredited.  Finally, realists in the foreign policy establishment and national politics, realizing that the War was undermining US influence around the world, switched over to the antiwar side (thereby dividing the ruling class).  At that point, the antiwar forces were strong enough to force an end to US continuation in that War.  Defeat in Vietnam was a setback for US imperialism, but only a temporary and limited one.  It did not end US imperial interventionism or divisions within the “socialist” left.

In speaking about the current Ukraine War, every group branding itself as “socialist” claims to be “anti-imperialist”.  However, they differ as to which imperialism to oppose in the current conflict: Russia, the US and NATO, or both.  With the conflict portrayed (by the bipartisan political establishment and the liberal mainstream news media) as having begun with an “imperial” Russia threatening and then invading an “independent” “democratic” Ukraine, and with images of Ukrainian suffering and heroic resistance in one-sided daily news broadcasts; it is all too easy to endorse the establishment narrative.  Meanwhile, any socialist who disputes that narrative must expect to be dismissed and/or denounced by those “anti-imperialists” who put all blame upon Russia.  In fact, many leftist online publications have been publishing such dismissive, condescending, and/or denunciatory commentaries by Russia-blaming “socialists”.  A few of the more erudite examples:

  • Fletcher, Bill Jr, Bill Gallegos, & Jamala Rogers [F&G&R].  “When Should We Stop Excusing the Russian Invasion?”.  New Politics, May 11, 2022.  (Republished by Portside and by LeftLinks – CCDS.)
  • Bilous, Taras [TB].  “Self-Determination and the War in Ukraine”.   Dissent, May 09, 2022.  (Republished by Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal.)
  • Gosse, Van & Bill Fletcher Jr [G&F].  “Whose Side Are We On? The War in Ukraine and the Crisis of the Left”.   Portside, April 19, 2022.

This critique [with relevant references to the foregoing commentaries] neither approves nor condemns Russia’s action.  Its essential purpose is to refute the misinformation and misconceptions which have proliferated (especially those from the anti-Russia pro-Kyiv left) in US leftist commentaries.  Consequently, it takes issue with arguments propagated by those leftists who have evaded, or failed to ascertain, the relevant facts and context of the event.  In fact, the anti-Russia left (like the mainstream liberal news media) has joined the US and its NATO allies in purveying falsehoods which portray the Kyiv regime as an innocent victim of “unjustified” or even “unprovoked” Russian aggression [F&G&R, G&F].  Such war propaganda for the US-NATO-Kyiv narrative severely undermines the fight against imperialism.  [Relevant sources may be accessed by clicking on hyperlinks.]

Unprovoked?  Some of the evaded facts. 


  • The US and NATO violated their promise that NATO would not expand into central and eastern Europe, promise given in 1990 in order to obtain needed Soviet consent for the reunification of Germany.
  • The US placed nuclear-capable missiles (capable of quickly striking Moscow and other Russian targets) in Poland and Romania (planned from 2008, installed in 2018).  Not a provocation?  Do we remember how the US pushed the world to the brink of nuclear apocalypse when the USSR placed such missiles in Cuba after the US had placed similar missiles in Turkey?
  • NATO has repeatedly conducted war games, practicing for war against Russia, in the Baltic states on Russia’s border.
  • The US and NATO consistently responded to the past 25 years of Russian protests (against the foregoing NATO threats to Russian national security) with an arrogant intransigence.  Continued diplomacy was clearly not a viable means for obtaining redress.
  • The US, especially thru its National Endowment for Democracy [NED], has been funding and training anti-Russia pro-West political organizations in Ukraine (also in Belarus and other former Soviet states) since the collapse of the USSR.  It funds and trains pro-Western media and civil society organizations in scores of countries (which have also included Russia).  NED was created by Congress in 1983 to replace the CIA as the principal US agency for surreptitiously promoting regime-change in countries (including liberal democracies) which refuse to comply with US dictates.
  • The US incited and abetted the 2014 coup which, spearheaded by violent neo-Nazi militias, ousted the democratically-elected government of Ukraine.  Why?  Because said government had chosen to keep Ukraine neutral between Russia and the West.  Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the US choice to lead Ukraine, then became Prime Minister.

The post-coup regime (far from innocent) has consistently pursued anti-Russia policies:

The US had been arming and training Ukrainian military forces, including the neo-Nazi Azov regiment, for military operations against the Donbas rebels.

There clearly was a lot of provocation: by the US, by NATO, and by the post-coup regime in Ukraine.  Moreover, but for those provocations, this war would not have occurred.

The belligerents and their objectives.  To reduce this war to a case of evil Putin-Russia preying upon innocent Ukraine is simplistic delusion.  The current conflict (certainly since the 2014 coup) was never simply between Russia and Ukraine.  And now, the US and NATO, with their economic siege (draconian sanctions) against Russia and their supplying of huge amounts of advanced weaponry to the Kyiv state, are very much belligerents even though not putting their own soldiers into the fight.  The belligerents’ objectives.

  • The US-NATO objective (since before the 2014 coup) has been: to turn Ukraine into a client state of the West, to weaken Russia, to strip it of its limited sphere of influence, and to effectuate a regime change to replace Putin with someone who will be submissive to Western imperial dictates. 
  • The post-coup Kyiv regime, prompted by the US and dominated by chauvinistic Ukrainian nationalists (including neo-Nazis), has consistently pursued anti-Russian policies and sought: to make Ukrainian language and national identity dominant throughout the country, to marginalize or Ukrainianize ethnic minorities, to eliminate Russian influence, to impose its absolute rule over predominantly-minority regions seeking autonomy or independence, and to integrate Ukraine into the West both economically and militarily. 
  • to uphold the decision of the people of Crimea to reunite with Russia (along with ensuring Russia’s continued control of its Crimean naval base), and to protect the rights of the predominantly ethnic Russian population in Donbas (which as part of Ukraine would also serve as an obstacle to Ukraine’s joining any anti-Russia alliance).

International law?  The US-NATO-Kyiv aligned part of the “socialist” left attributes this War to Russia committing “violations of international law” and “of the UN Charter” by “invading a sovereign nation” [F&G&R].  This oversimplifies and worse. 

Firstly, it evades the fact that the Kyiv regime, with US encouragement and deliveries of ever more-lethal arms, remained intransigent in response to appeals by Russia and the breakaway Donbas Republics to resolve the Donbas conflict peacefully.  Kyiv was refusing to even talk to the leaders of said Republics and was evidently intent upon crushing them thru brute military force.  Moreover, it was the coup regime in Kyiv which first resorted to violence when (in 2014) it sent newly-formed armed forces, including neo-Nazi militias, to crush Donbas resistance to said coup (the regular army then lacking sufficient motivation for doing so).  Russia insists that its military action against Ukraine is, at least in part, a response to Kyiv’s aggression in Donbas; and, in fact, it was the Kyiv regime which first resorted to armed force.  Thusly, Russia makes its case that its military action in Donbas was a justified response to Kyiv’s continued military aggression against the breakaway Donbas Republics, and therefore allowed under the UN Charter.  As for Russia’s invasion of the rest of Ukraine, Putin regards Kyiv’s collaboration with NATO’s increasing moves to threaten Russian national security as providing his justification.  Although one may question the validity of one or both of those Putin rationales, it is not a clearcut case of Kyiv-NATO all right versus Russia all wrong. 

Secondly, in their legalistic diatribes against Russia, the US-NATO-aligned leftists [F&G&R, G&F] either: (1) make unfair comparisons (such as to the US-British 2003 invasion of Iraq which was, in fact, purely an imperial regime-change war “justified” by nothing other than an absolute lie); or (2) altogether evade the history of repeated and massive violations of the UN Charter and of international law whenever said law has stood in the way of the unjust aggressions by their own imperialist states.  Those aggressions include:

  • arming violent reactionary insurgencies (such as the Mujahidin in Afghanistan and the Contras in Nicaragua) in resistant countries;
  • murderous economic sieges (Cuba, Iraq, Venezuela, Iran, …);
  • threatening war games (Baltic states, south Korea);
  • inciting and abetting coups, even against democratically-elected governments (Syria in 1949, Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, and dozens more);
  • assassinations and attempts (Lumumba, Castro, Qasim, Allende, Gaddafi, …);
  • interference in many other countries’ elections (beginning with Italy in 1948);
  • devastating murderous military interventions on the side of repressive reactionary regimes in other countries’ civil wars (Greece, China, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Colombia, …);
  • arming and shielding states which perpetrate massive crimes against human rights (the Zionist state, Saudi Arabia, …);
  • regime-change military invasions (Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Libya, …).

Those racist imperial interventions (scores of them since 1945) have left many tens of millions impoverished, terrorized, displaced, injured, or dead. 

Finally, none of those victims of Western imperial violations of international law were able to have it enforced against their oppressors.  In fact, the US and its major allies routinely violate the Charter and international law; and, given the lack of any authority with the power to enforce said law against them, they (its major violators) are never held accountable.  Nevertheless, our anti-Russia “socialists” are now repeating verbatim the US-NATO one-sided application and misapplication of international law [F&G&R] in order to justify their backing for the West’s intervention against Russia.  They may argue that US crimes are a separate case and therefore irrelevant.  The fallacy in that argument is that the US and NATO have been anti-Russia participants in this armed conflict ever since the 2014 coup.  Consequently, our US-NATO apologists are, in effect, calling for the worst outlaw in a lawless world to enforce the law against a lesser alleged offender notwithstanding that said enforcer is itself a perpetrator acting in furtherance of its own criminal objectives.  This is not support for law enforcement; it is giving de facto assistance to the worst criminal gang in the world.

“Imperial Russia”?  Our anti-Russia leftists make much of Putin’s Russia as an “autocratic”, “anti-democratic” “imperialist” state [TB, F&G&R].  Certainly, much of Putin’s ideology is reactionary; and there is much to fault in Russia’s domestic policies.  There may even be valid criticisms for some aspects of Russia’s actions in Donbas and/or Crimea and/or elsewhere.  Nevertheless, Russian imperialism, in striving to preserve its limited sphere of influence, is essentially defensive.  Moreover, Russia (with military spending less than 1/17 that of NATO member countries collectively and with one military base outside of former Soviet countries) pales to insignificance in comparison with Western imperialism which: maintains hundreds of military bases all around the world, attempts to impose its will upon nearly every other country, exploits and oppresses all around the world, and is led and dominated by the world’s only current superpower.  Finally, Russia’s grievances against US-NATO imperialism and against the post-coup regime in Ukraine are real and valid.  Making an issue of Russia’s deficiencies, while evading that reality, is simply a convenient pretext embraced by those in need of an excuse for aligning with Biden, Stoltenberg, and the Kyiv regime against Putin’s Russia.

“Democratic” Ukraine?  Apologists for the Kyiv regime propose that Ukraine deserves support against “autocratic” Russia because it is (they assert) a “democracy”.  They [including G&F, TB, F&G&R] omit and evade numerous contrary facts: that the current regime was established thru the US-backed 2014 coup against an actually popularly-elected government; that Zelensky’s initial popularity rested largely upon his promise (broken soon after he took office) to make peace with the breakaway Donbas Republics; that (in 2021) the leading opposition party (which was then beginning to outpoll Zelensky’s party) was suspended and its leader (Viktor Medvedchuk) placed under house arrest and subsequently charged with treason; that voices of opposition to Kyiv’s anti-Russia policies have been routinely repressed by the post-coup regime.  While human rights abuses (some of them probably fabricated) alleged against Russian soldiers are expansively reported by Western states and their supportive mainstream news media; the Kyiv state’s reign of terror, with torture and murder of dissenting Ukrainians and of captive Russian soldiers go entirely unreported in said news media.  In fact, the Kyiv state is at least as far from being a liberal democracy as is Putin’s Russia.

The national question?  Some Russia-blaming “Marxists” make an issue of Russia allegedly violating the Leninist principle that nations (specifically including Ukraine) have the right to self-determination and separate existence as an independent nation-state [G&F, TB, F&G&R].  Certainly, Putin’s statement regarding the history of the creation of present-day Ukraine as a separate East Slavic nation is problematic from a Leninist viewpoint.  However, the assumption and assertion that Putin has denied Ukraine’s present-day national legitimacy, or sought to eliminate its existence as a separate and independent country, is an absolute falsehood.  What he actually said was that Russia and Ukraine, like Germany and Austria, have common ancestral and cultural roots and ought to have friendly relations.  He definitively acknowledged: that “historical circumstances” had resulted in Ukraine being “a separate nation”; and that as to “How should we treat that? There is only one answer: with respect!”  Substituting imagined extensions of Putin’s sentimentalities for his actual deeds and evident intentions, in order to justify siding with Western imperialism, is simply deceitful.  The relevant facts. 

Firstly, Putin has clearly acknowledged the impossibility of resurrecting the Soviet Union.  He has evidenced no intent to deprive Ukraine of its existence as a separate independent country, but only to prevent it from becoming a threat to Russian national security.  He persisted for nearly eight years in seeking Ukraine’s implementation of autonomy within Ukraine for the Donbas regions (as Kyiv had agreed to do in the 2014 and 2015 Minsk agreements) even though much popular sentiment in said regions was for unification with Russia.  Nothing, that Russia did, prevented Kyiv from implementing the promised autonomy.  Those are crucial facts which the anti-Russia “socialist” commentators generally omit and always evade. 

Secondly, these “Leninists” echo the US and NATO by branding Russia’s “annexation” of Crimea and its assistance to the breakaway Donbas regions as “violations of Ukrainian national sovereignty” [TB, F&G&R].  So doing necessitates a gross oversimplification and misapplication of the national question as applied here.  These “Leninists” join the US and NATO in insisting upon the “right” of ethnic Ukrainians to exercise absolute sovereignty over the entire ethnically diverse territory of an independent country separate from Russia; but (contrary to Lenin) they deny the self-determination rights of smaller ethnic populations to even have autonomy within regions wherein they predominate. 

Moreover, some of these “Leninists” try to justify their one-sided application of national rights by questioning [F&G&R] whether the peoples of Crimea and Donbas ever actually chose independence from, or autonomy within, Ukraine.  They have evidently rushed to judgment without bothering to ascertain the relevant factual evidence

  • 1954.  Khrushchev orchestrated the decision (of dubious legality) to transfer Crimea from the Russian Soviet Republic to the Ukrainian SSR without the consent or approval of the people of Crimea. 
  • 1991.  At the breakup of the USSR, Crimea’s elected leaders attempted to obtain recognition of Crimea as an independent Republic separate from Ukraine.
  • 1992.  After disputes between Kyiv and Crimea over the scope of Crimea’s autonomy, Kyiv agreed to a compromise recognition of Crimea as an Autonomist Republic within Ukraine. 
  • 1995.  Kyiv abolished the Constitution of Crimea, abolished its office of President, made the elected Crimean parliament’s choice of its Prime Minister subject to veto by Kyiv, and imposed other severe limits upon its authority (largely negating its autonomy). 
  • 2008.  Polling by the Ukrainian Center for Economic and Political Studies (not an agent of Moscow) found that 64% of Crimeans would like Crimea to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.
  • 2009—11.  The United Nations Development Programme (not an agent of Moscow) conducted periodic opinion polls in Crimea.  Each time, at least 65% of Crimeans favored Crimea leaving Ukraine and reuniting with Russia. 
  • Crimea’s break with Ukraine was a direct popular response to the US-backed 2014 coup in Kyiv (Crimea having voted overwhelmingly for the ousted government).  Assertions, that Crimea’s reunion with Russia was effectuated by a Russian “invasion”, is another falsehood.  Although Russia’s authorized military forces already based in Crimea assisted local forces in effectuating the independence referendum and the subsequent secession and reunion with Russia, those actions were welcomed by a huge majority of Crimeans, they being already so inclined.  Moreover, given the history of past denials of their self-determination rights by both Moscow (1954) and Kyiv (after breakup of the USSR); the people of Crimea had more than ample justification for seceding and reuniting with Russia.  Lenin, insisting that socialists are “the most consistent enemies of oppression”, would have agreed. 

Our anti-Russia “Leninists” have joined the US, NATO, and Kyiv in insisting upon national rights for Ukrainian nationalists but denying such rights for the peoples of Crimea and Donbas.  They sanctify “territorial integrity” and “sovereignty”; but, contrary to Lenin, they negate the fight against oppression and injustice.

Trap?  Some anti-imperialist analysts believe that the US, with its intransigence regarding Russian security concerns, deliberately set a trap for Russia; and there is precedent for that proposition.  Jimmy Carter (beginning in 1979) armed the reactionary Mujahidin insurgency against the Soviet-allied revolutionary government in Afghanistan: in order to provoke Soviet military intervention in defense of that government, and (as his national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski has stated) draw the USSR into a Vietnam-like quagmire.  A 2019 report titled “Overextending and Unbalancing Russia” by the US-military-funded think tank, Rand Corporation, proposed that the US goal should be “to undermine Russia just as it did the Soviet Union in the cold war”.  Until there is access to the internal communications of Biden’s national security team, we cannot say with certainty that they intended to trap Russia into a self-destructive war in Ukraine.  However, there was apparent advocacy for that policy within the US foreign-policy establishment; and, with the US encouraging Kyiv intransigence in peace talks, that clearly is the current US policy objective.  As for our anti-Russia “socialists”, they refuse to even acknowledge the clear fact that the US and NATO were acting to isolate and weaken Russia.  Why?  Because, with their distaste for Putin’s Russia, these “socialists” evidently share that objective.  Thusly, they have all-too-willingly fallen into the trap of misdirected “anti-imperialism” (denouncing an “imperialist” Russia acting in defense of its national security while whitewashing the machinations of US-NATO imperialism).  So, when should Western anti-imperialists direct their fire primarily against Russia?  How about when, and if, Russia makes truly unprovoked attacks upon an independent country which is not allied with, and a pawn of, a hostile scheming Western imperialism!

Should US foreign military action never be supported?  There are dogmatic leftist sects which, evading analysis of relevant social justice considerations, reflexively oppose every Western foreign military operation, deeming such opposition to be an anti-imperialist obligation.  To insist upon opposing every such military intervention, regardless of context, is problematic both pragmatically and in principle.  In exceptionally rare events, socialists have appropriately supported such interventions.  Example: US and British empires against Nazi Germany (1941—45).  A recent case, where it may be argued that such support was justified, is US military assistance to the Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] in their fight against the Islamic State [IS] Caliphate which was subjecting people in Syria and Iraq to horrendous persecutions (killing and enslaving masses of innocent people) pursuant to its intolerant medievalist perversion of Islam.  Much of the US left was silent with respect to US action in that event.  Had socialists expressed conditional support for that US military intervention (as I believe they should have), they would have been obligated at the same time to explain: (1) that the US was acting for its own imperial interest (already fighting IS in defense of its nearly-collapsed client state in Iraq) and would otherwise not have cared about the victims of IS oppression, (2) that the US and its allies had been backing Al-Qaeda-linked regime-change Islamist insurgency against the Syrian state (targeted for its resistance to Western imperial dictates), and (3) that the US would likely become a treacherous ally (as indeed it did in 2019 when it abandoned the SDF to attack by NATO ally Turkey).  In keeping silent, socialists not only failed to take a stand in support of the SDF fight against IS oppression; they also missed the opportunity to educate their listeners to the facts of US imperialism’s real motivations and treacherous nature, even when incidentally acting on the side of justice.  The SDF is a popular revolutionary organization fighting for social justice.  The Kyiv regime is a repressive chauvinistic state and a willing pawn of US-NATO imperialism in the latter’s new cold war against Russia.  Huge difference! 

Even if support for US-NATO intervention in Ukraine could be justified, anti-imperialists would be obligated to educate their listeners to the self-serving motives (investments, trade deals, arms sales, displacement of Russian by US fossil-fuel sales in Europe, and especially geo-strategic goals) in said intervention.  Have our US-NATO-Kyiv aligned “anti-imperialists” done so?  They have not; not one word.  Their commentaries simply imply that the US and NATO are acting, however hypocritically, as benevolent friends aiding Ukraine in its time of distress.  Two of the above-named commentaries [G&F, F&G&R], after giving lip-service disapproval of NATO expansion, then contradict themselves by asserting that it was a benefit for former East-bloc states (evading the reactionary natures of their post-Soviet ruling regimes).  While the bipartisan foreign policy establishment falsely portrays this current US-NATO intervention as being for the sake of liberty, human rights, justice, and democracy; these “anti-imperialists” say nothing to contradict them.

Domestic politics.  Socialists, whatever their views of the war in Ukraine, are rightly concerned about the rise of bigoted reactionary political factions in the US and many other countries.  Liberal “socialists” (certainly in the US) respond by portraying the capital-serving centrist-dominated supposedly “center-left” political parties as champions of progress and “democracy”; and that is especially problematic with respect to foreign policy.  In fact, the center-left parties are thoroughgoing supporters of the imperialist military alliances and policies to which their governments are committed.  Moreover, centrist politicians have no progressive principles which they will not jettison whenever it becomes politically expedient to do so.  Actually, the increased influence of bigoted reaction and the electoral weakness of the center-left parties is a result of the latter’s subservience to capital and of their consequent failure, for the past four decades, to use their capacity, when in power, to make reforms which actually would improve conditions for most of their base working-class constituencies.  With growing homelessness, increasing inequality, declining labor unions, decreased job security, burgeoning debt burdens, and ever more disruptions of lives by capitalist-fueled climate disasters; conditions have actually worsened for much of that constituency.  Consequently, there is an increased tendency for many potential supporters to stay home on election day (or be seduced by reactionary bigoted scapegoating). 

In the US, many liberal-reformist “socialists” habitually respond to Republican reaction by giving their allegiance to the Democrats despite the latter’s longstanding betrayal of their working-class electoral base.  Sadly, while such “socialists” acknowledge centrist Democrat resistance to parts of the progressive domestic agenda; they largely give them a pass in order to direct their fire against Trump Republicans and “renegade” Democrats (Manchin, Sinema, et cetera).  Moreover, with their preoccupation with domestic politics, liberal “socialists” routinely neglect to seriously challenge the Democrats’ commitment to US imperialist hegemony over the world and the consequent imperial crimes in US foreign policies (especially when perpetrated under Democrat Presidents).  Biden promised to end Trump’s new sanctions against Cuba; but, aside from a few belated minor changes, he has not done so.  He promised to return to the Iran nuclear agreement; he has not.  Biden has also continued the economic sieges against Venezuela and other countries resisting US dictates.  He promised a non-racist and more humane policy on migrants; but he then summarily deported some 20,000 Haitians to hellish conditions in Haiti, and he now welcomes white European refugees from Ukraine.  Such perfidy is nothing new for centrist Democrats like Biden.  Consider his past reversals on school bussing and tough-on-crime legislation as he chose to pander to racial prejudices among his white voters.  For more on Democrat betrayals of social justice, see here

One problem with “socialists” giving their allegiance to the Democratic Party is that they then can only give lip-service to anti-imperialism.  So, when Democrats are in control, such “socialists” generally do nothing to organize popular opposition to US imperial crimes against peoples in foreign lands.  In fact, they even become willfully blind to some of said crimes as they join the US foreign policy establishment in one-sided out-of-context vilifications of the targeted country as an offender against democratic dissent or human rights, thereby excusing US funding and training of opposition groups within said targeted countries.  And, of course, they always ask people to vote for said Democrats (nearly all of whom subscribe to US interventionism based upon the notion of the US being the world’s “indispensable nation” and champion of “freedom” and “democracy”).  The correct policy for socialists is to tactically ally with centrist Democrat politicians when they actually fight for social justice and to support their election at the federal level in 2022 as a tactical measure in our fight against Trump-Republican attacks on our voting and other democratic rights (rights which we utilize in our fight against social injustices, for people power, and for constraints upon the power of capital).  However, it is necessary at the same time to educate the people as to the perfidy and betrayals of social justice by said Democrats.  Failure to so educate is: to tail after the agents of capital, and to perpetuate existing ignorance and prejudices within the populace.  We need to build a social-justice solidarity movement, not a constituency committed to the Democratic Party.  Hence: temporary limited tactical alliances, yes; allegiance, no. 

Outcomes.  While the US and NATO send ever increased and ever more lethal weapons which serve to prolong the horrors of this war, it is Ukrainian and Russian (not NATO-country) fighters and civilians who suffer and die.  Anti-Russia “socialists” [G&F, TB, F&G&R] are actually backing this US-NATO arms-to-Ukraine policy despite the reality that Russia’s peace terms (neutrality and no hostile military bases in Ukraine plus respect for the self-determination rights of Donbas and Crimea) are an entirely reasonable basis for a peace agreement.  Regardless of who prevails, both Russia and Ukraine will have paid a huge price.  Meanwhile, transnational capital, especially in the arms industry and fossil fuel companies, will reap increased profits. If Russia obtains its objectives, that will weaken Western imperialism.  If Russia is ultimately compelled to give up in defeat and humiliation: the US hold over Europe will be solidified, Western imperialism will be greatly emboldened to intensify its new cold against China, and it will have a freer hand as it perpetrates its crimes against other resistant countries.  Yet, our anti-Russia “socialists” give their support to the West’s new cold war in Europe and refuse to oppose more arms to Ukraine.

Principal contradiction.  Portside (an avowedly “leftist” online publication) published a solidly anti-imperialist analysis of the Ukraine war by the US Peace Council [USPC], subsequently indicating that it did so in order to present an alternative viewpoint with which Portside did not agree.  Shortly thereafter, Portside published 11 comments in response to the USPC statement, all but one opposing the USPC analysis, several in very denunciatory words.  Two of those joined a number of other anti-Russia leftist commentators in denouncing the anti-imperialist analysis as the “anti-imperialism of fools” or “idiots”.  A third, prominent avowed US “Marxist” Carl Davidson, commented that the “principal contradiction” in this conflict is “the Russian invasion of a sovereign nation and Ukraine’s defense of their sovereignty”.  Evidently, anti-Russia “socialists”, that one among others, have decided that the contradiction, between Western imperialism and its worldwide numerous targets (Russia, China, Iran, Syria, DPRK, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, …) for containment, subjugation, and/or regime-change, is no longer paramount for anti-imperialists.  And what of the contradiction in US machinations against democratically-elected leftist governments in multiple other countries (most recently in El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, …)?  Being in sync with the US and NATO in this Ukraine conflict, they have devolved into social patriots.  A social patriot is any avowed socialist who supports and whitewashes the predatory imperial intrigues and aggressions of his/her own imperialist state against another state and justifies so doing by falsely branding the opposing state as the sole villain.  The term, social patriot, originates with the leaders of the socialist parties in the major belligerents who (in 1914) concocted pretexts to justify backing their respective imperial governments on both sides in the Great War (after having neglected for years to educate their members with respect to imperialism).  Our present-day social patriots, obsessing over the need to prevent election victories by Trump bigots, apparently go along, consciously or unconsciously, with the imperialist liberals for the sake of political respectability and popular influence at the expense of principle.  Given their past contributions in fights for social justice, we can only hope that they, unlike their 1914 predecessors, will recognize and correct their error.

Our current task.  We may consider Russia’s military response in Ukraine to be an inappropriate excess or imprudent or both, and we may fault Russian methods in its military operations; but, while we may state our disapproving opinions, we have no capacity to influence Russia’s decisions.  Our job, as anti-imperialist social-justice activists in the West, is to condemn and vigorously oppose US-NATO imperialism (including arms to Ukraine and sanctions against Russia) as well as the mainstream media’s grossly one-sided and essentially deceptive portrayals.  It is not to tail after the misinformed public and the Democrat politicians (who are all too eager to support: the bipartisan imperialistic foreign policy consensus, the massive military spending, and the cold wars and regime-change sieges against the peoples of countries which resist US dictates).  We should recognize that said Democrats, with very few exceptions, readily jettison their anti-racist and other progressive pretensions whenever it becomes politically expedient to do so.  “Anti-imperialists”, who evade the reality of the Ukraine War being the result of Western imperial machinations and provocations so as to simplistically blame it solely upon Putin’s Russia (while exonerating the US, NATO, and the Kyiv regime), become social patriots serving the real imperialist enemy of peoples throughout the world.  We must avoid obsessing over the faults, real and imagined, of Russia; we must expose the falsehoods in the Russophobe war propaganda; and we must persist in supporting the fight against that real enemy.  That is our obligation even though we will be defamed by some avowed “socialists” as “Putin apologists”, “fools”, and “idiots”.

Author: Charles Pierce       Date: 2022 June 18


Note. An online magazine has published a revised version of this commentary (with some improvements (notably direct quotes), some significant deletions, and lots of relevant pictures. It can be accessed as follows. Ukraine War, Divided Left: “Social Patriots” and the “Anti-Imperialism of Fools”! (Covert Action Magazine, 2022 Sep 17) @ .


Charles Pierce is: a social-justice activist (anti-racist and anti-imperialist since his youth in the early 1960s), a former labor activist (union steward & local officer), and currently a researcher and writer on history and politics.  He can be contacted at .


post 13: New cold war conflict over Ukraine

New cold war conflict over Ukraine.

There is an adage that the first casualty in a war is the truth.  The US and NATO allege that Putin’s Russia is a malevolent aggressor against neighboring Ukraine.  They assert that the US and NATO are simply defending the rights of an oppressed nation.  Meanwhile, what the sycophantic mainstream news media convey to the public is a gross distortion of the reality in this current Ukraine crisis.  Some relevant facts which Western government spokespersons and the media almost invariably falsify or omit altogether. 

1.  NATO.  In exchange for needed Soviet consent to the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990, the US and NATO promised that NATO would not expand into former Warsaw Pact countries in central Europe.  Said promise proved worthless as every US President, beginning with Bill Clinton in 1999, has violated that commitment even to the point that NATO now includes three former Soviet Republics and has plans to bring in two more (Ukraine and Georgia).  Background.

  • NATO was formed (in 1949) at the behest of the US and Britain as an anti-Soviet military alliance to fight Communism in postwar Europe, both: to prevent its spread to capitalist countries where Communist Parties were winning some elections, and (it was hoped) to undermine and rollback Communism in countries where Communist Parties held state power.  Assertions that NATO was a defensive alliance against the threat of a Soviet invasion of western Europe is pure fantasy; the USSR had been devastated by the War and very much wanted peaceful coexistence with the capitalist West.  In fact, Stalin and his successors always prioritized Soviet security over the spread of Communism.  With the disintegration of the USSR (in 1991) and the embrace of capitalism by Russia and all other former Warsaw-Pact member countries, NATO’s principal raison d’être ceased. 
  • With crony-capitalist President Boris Yeltsin in control of the dysfunctional corruption-ridden Russian state following the collapse of the USSR, both Yeltsin and the US wanted to align Russia with the capitalist West.  However, the US could not resist the temptation to expand the military component of its Western Empire so as to increase US hegemony over Europe as well as create new profit opportunities for US and west European transnational capital (including military contractors).  In so doing, the West disrespected and alienated Russia
  • As an increasingly antagonized Russia refused to comply with US and NATO dictates, the US placed intermediate-range missile batteries (planned from 2008, deployed in 2018) in new-NATO-member countries (Poland and Romania).  Thusly, the US increased the threat to Russian national security, apparently hoping to intimidate a weakened Russia into being more submissive.  Said deployment also violated the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces [INF] Treaty. 
  • More recently, the US and NATO have conducted offensive military exercises in new-NATO-member states along Russia’s border, simulating preparations for an attack on Russia.  Russian military exercises and deployments, as well as its diplomatic demands, are very much in response to threatening NATO actions.

The US, NATO, and the mainstream news media portray NATO as an instrument for maintaining peace and democracy in Europe.  However, while NATO seeks to expand to the very borders of Russia, Russia is explicitly excluded from admission to membership.  In fact, NATO is (as always) a key military force for Western imperialism; and that now includes actions to confine Russia so as to prevent it from having influence anywhere beyond its own borders.

2.  New NATO members.  Most countries in central and eastern Europe have historically been antagonistic toward Russia.  During much of the interwar period; Poland, Romania, and the Baltic states were ruled by usually-autocratic rightwing regimes which permitted their territories to serve as bases for infiltration (by France, Britain, and other anti-Soviet states) of assassins, saboteurs, spies, and other covert wrecking operatives into the Soviet Union.  Moreover, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Baltic-state regimes joined Nazi Germany in the War against the USSR.  Further, former Warsaw-Pact countries are poor by comparison with western Europe.  By joining the EU and NATO while claiming a need for protection against a purported Russian threat, they have been able to obtain considerable economic aid and benefits.  As for the alleged Russian threat, it should be noted that the USSR consistently respected the postwar independence and territorial integrity of bordering capitalist Finland (which remained neutral in the Cold War).  Moreover, despite the post-Soviet Baltic states often mistreating their ethnic Russian minorities, Russia has consistently respected their independence and territorial integrity.

3.  Russia.  Most US and NATO-ally political leaders (including nearly every member of Congress from both parties) “justify” their hostility toward Putin’s Russia by claiming that it is an autocratic regime seeking to recreate the Russian Empire.  In fact, the Russian government, like its US and other NATO counterparts, is a multi-party electoral regime.  Is there repression?  There is; but there are repression and political prisoners in the US (Leonard Peltier, Ricardo Palmera, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Edward Poindexter, Veronza Bowers, and several others).  Is there some election rigging?  There is; but that is true also of the US (electoral college, partisan gerrymanders, felon disfranchisement and other voter suppression practices directed especially at racial minority voters).  Is the Putin regime semi-autocratic?  It is; but so are NATO allies Poland and Hungary, while NATO ally Turkey is much worse.  Moreover, however deficient Russia is as a liberal democracy, Ukraine is far worse.  Further, the US has no hesitation in supporting absolutely autocratic regimes such as Saudi Arabia.  Do capitalist oligarchs exploit workers and national resources in Russia?  They do, but that is so also in the US and its NATO allies.  Self-righteous US and NATO disparagement of Russia as an “anti-democratic” outlier is the height of hypocrisy.  Does Russia seek to maintain a sphere of influence (in Belarus, Kazakhstan, and a few other allies)?  It does; but Russia’s foreign policy is primarily defensive, and its imperialism pales to insignificance in comparison with that of the US-led West.  We do not have to approve of the Putin regime in Russia; but those who brand Russia as the aggressor, based upon nothing more than its commonplace deficiencies as a liberal “democracy”, are making a pretext to “justify” their stance as apologists for Western imperialism.

4.  Ukraine’s government.  The US (thru NED and CIA) has funded (since the 1990s) pro-Western anti-Russian groups in Ukraine (and also in Belarus) in hopes of bringing it into the EU and NATO.  This has emboldened chauvinistic ethnic-Ukrainian nationalists and fueled intense ethnic and partisan conflict within the ethnically diverse Ukrainian populace.  Further, the US incited and supported the illegal 2014 overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically-elected President Viktor Yanukovych (in response to his decision to reject an EU economic proposal which would have aligned Ukraine with the West rather than maintain a more beneficial neutrality between Russia and the West).  In fact, US State Department Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland and other US government leaders (including Senator John McCain) attended anti-Yanukovych rallies in Kyiv and urged them to overthrow their elected government.  Ukrainian factions which spearheaded the violence in this coup d’etat consisted of anti-Russia neo-Nazi factions including the Right Sector paramilitary organization and the Svoboda Party .  Moreover, while the current regime outlaws the Communist Party and even criminalizes the use of Communist symbols, it embraces and erects monuments to wartime Nazi collaborators including Stepan Bandera whose OUN [Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists] participated in the mass murder of Ukrainian Jews.  The coup regime subsequently incorporated neo-Nazi paramilitaries into its national armed forces (Azov Battalion) for use against rebel forces in the Donbas.  The US and NATO now have a repressive racist client regime in Kyiv which is a pawn in their new cold war against Russia. 

Note regarding the National Endowment for Democracy [NED].  NED was created by Congress in 1983 and receives virtually all of its funding from the US government.  While NED’s purported mission is the promotion of “democracy”, this is construed to mean: (1) support for opposition groups (media and civil society organizations) in countries with governments (including popularly elected governments) which oppose US foreign policy and the abuses perpetrated by transnational capital, and (2) provision of its funding and other assistance only to organizations which are pro-Western and supportive of private-enterprise capitalism.  NED, which like the CIA operates throughout the world, has funded partisan media and “civil society” organizations in scores of countries (Ukraine, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Syria among them).  It does not engage in democratic advocacy in autocratic US allies (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar).  Meanwhile, the US government offers no more than lip-service concern for the victims of repression by Western-backed client regimes.  

5.  New cold war.  With the need for a unified international response to: impending climate catastrophe, the Covid-19 pandemic, the new nuclear arms race, and other existential issues; one would hope that the US would work cooperatively with other countries (including: Russia, China, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, DPRK, and so forth) to deal effectively with these threats.  Why then this US determination to treat these other countries as enemies rather than as partners?  Said new cold war (along with another against China) provides “justification” for hugely excessive US military expenditures (providing huge profits to capitalist military contractors as well as to fossil fuel companies which provide huge amounts of product for US military operations).  Moreover, any country which refuses to comply with Western imperial dictates sets an unpalatable example which undermines US world-domination and the neoliberal world order (which enables transnational capital to reap most of its profits).  New cold wars (and false-pretense regime-change wars against vulnerable countries [e.g. Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011] which refuse to submit to Western imperial dictates) also provide opportunities for careerist foreign policy officials (in the State and Defense Departments, CIA, NSA, et cetera) and for major-party politicians (funded by capitalist interest groups) to bolster their credentials as hawkish champions of purported US “national security interests” (which are defined to include preserving the US position as the dominant superpower). 

6.  Strife within Ukraine.  Upon seizing state power, the US-backed coup regime in Ukraine acted to suppress language rights for the 29% of the population for whom Russian was their native language.  The ousted President Yanukovych had been a proponent of making Russian the second state language of Ukraine (as it had been prior to the breakup of the USSR).  Immediately after the coup, the new regime acted to repeal a 2012 Yanukovych-era law which gave language rights to all locally-sizable minorities (not only Russian-speakers) in regions with such minority populations.  That repeal action provoked popular protests in southern and eastern Ukraine.  The US-backed regime has subsequently enacted new legislation: substantially reducing the language rights of minorities, and also suppressing the use of Russian in education and the media.  In 2016, the regime even imposed restrictions on the importation of Russian-language books (which, until then, had constituted 60% of such imports).  Consequences of the anti-Russian and anti-minority policies: the 2014 secession of the (officially autonomist) Crimea region which soon after sought and obtained reintegration into Russia, and the current Ukrainian civil war between the central government and the breakaway Donbas regions.  The US fuels this civil conflict: by denouncing Russia and the Donbas rebels, and by arming the central government as it seeks to crush said Donbas rebellion thru brute force.  The US portrays the Donbas rebels as separatist pawns of Russia; but, in fact, although the hostility of the anti-Russian regime in Kyiv has undoubtedly produced much separatist sentiment in the Donbas breakaway regions; their longstanding demand, consistently endorsed by Russia (until losing patience in 2022), was for autonomy within a unified Ukraine.  Moreover, the Kyiv regime agreed to such autonomy in the 2014 and 2015 Minsk accords (which the US supported in a unanimous UN Security Council vote in 2015); but, yielding to pressure from anti-Russian chauvinists, Kyiv (with US acquiescence) has persistently refused to implement it.

7.  Crimea.  The US and NATO use a double standard to justify their hostility toward Russia by branding the secession of Crimea from Ukraine and its subsequent re-unification with Russia, in defiance of the will of the US-supported client-regime, as a Russian aggression in violation of international law.  However, the US exhibited a complete disregard for such purported international law when it intervened (1999) in Serbia with armed force to separate Kosovo (with the approval of its ethnic Albanian majority) from Serbia in defiance of the will of the Serbian government.  Hence, a hypocritical double standard.  The West also evades the relevant fact that Crimea had a long history as part of Russia.  In fact, sovereignty over Crimea had been transferred from Russia to Ukraine in 1954 by a decision (of disputed legality) by Soviet leader Khrushchev without the consent, and contrary to the wishes, of Crimea’s predominantly ethnic Russian population; and most of the Crimean population welcomed their 2014 reunification with Russia.

Ω.  Conclusion.  If the US and NATO had really cared about what was best for the people of Ukraine, they would have urged its government to make peace with Russia, Crimea, and the Donbas rebels: by accepting the secessionist will of the Crimeans, by implementing the promised autonomy for the breakaway Donbas regions, by committing to respect the language and other human rights of its minorities, by suppressing its neo-Nazi and allied hate groups, and by rejecting NATO membership and other anti-Russian policies.  In fact, the Western powers have cynically used Ukraine as a pawn in their new cold war against Russia.  In their arrogance they have pushed nuclear-armed Russia to the point that it has concluded that it must respond with military force.  The West’s new cold wars may be a boon for powerful sectors of transnational capital (especially military contractors and fossil fuel producers); but it is detrimental for the peoples of Ukraine, Russia, and much of the EU.

Author: Charles Pierce       Date: 2022 Feb 24

{ Published by Dissident Voice on 2022 Feb 25 @ }

The Trump-impeachment spectacle.

The Trump-impeachment spectacle.



In the rancorous and contested impeachment of President Donald Trump, leaders in both parties are exhibiting the unprincipled career-politician cowardice and evasions of inconvenient facts which are standard operating procedure in Congress and the Oval Office.  Moreover, the Democrats predictably are wasting their fire on dubious and smaller offenses as they give no thought to prosecuting Trump for his actual and most egregious crimes.  Further, they are actively promoting the imperialistic new cold war against Russia in order to justify this impeachment spectacle.

Certainly, there is an abundance of good reasons for progressives to detest Trump, but it does not follow that every Trump opponent is their savior or that every attack on him is both fair and consistent with social justice.


First article.

Content.  The Democrats’ first article of impeachment alleges a corrupt abuse of office, specifically: (1) that Trump attempted to coerce Ukrainian President Zelensky to announce two investigations by Ukraine, (2) that his sole purpose was to use said announcement to help his 2020 reelection; and (3) that Trump’s means, namely withholding of Congressionally-appropriated military aid, harmed US national security.  One of the two investigations was to be into Joe Biden and his son Hunter in reference to possible corruption probes into a Ukrainian gas-production company, Burisma, which had recruited Hunter Biden to serve on its Board.  The other was into the allegation that Ukrainian government officials interfered in the 2016 US Presidential election to hurt Trump’s chances of winning.

The relevant facts.

(1) Contrary to frequent Republican denials, Trump did attempt to coerce Zelensky to make the demanded announcement, by temporarily withholding Congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine.

(2) Hunter Biden had accepted the highly-paid position on the Burisma Board of Directors, knowing that he had no qualifications for it.  Notwithstanding Democrat evasions, he also knew (or should have): that his recruitment was solely because he was the son of the then-VP Joe Biden, and that his selection was intended to shield a notorious bribe-giving company in a country with an extremely corrupted government.

(3) Joe Biden, who should have recognized the conflict of interest and corrupt purpose, evidently made no effort to prevent or discourage his son from serving on said company’s Board.

(4) Although Ukrainian government intervention in the 2016 US Presidential election is a falsehood; Trump, in his paranoia, apparently chose to believe it to be fact.


(1) Did he do it?  While Democrats attempt to make their case by marshalling actual facts; Trump’s Congressional Republican loyalists, taking their cue from the President, evade and misrepresent the facts in an attempt to exonerate Trump with false assertions that he did not do what he clearly did.

(2) Did he act with criminal intent?  The Democrats, with their obsession to find justification for impeachment, have certainly chosen to interpret Trump’s intent as criminally corrupt; but they are willfully blind to alternative and potentially innocent interpretations as to his intent.  In fact, there is nothing in the record to indicate that Trump condoned or abetted any Ukrainian crimes; and the fact that Trump mentioned only the two examples of alleged impropriety which were salient in his mind does prove that he cared nothing about other issues involving corruption in the government of Ukraine.  The Democrats’ contention, that Trump’s demand of Zelensky was solely for partisan gain, remains an unproven assumption based upon what they choose to believe, but cannot prove, was in Trump’s mind.  Thus, his pressure tactic cannot be conclusively determined to constitute a purely corrupt and self-serving criminal act.

(3) Was scrutiny of the Bidens’ behaviors warranted?  Although no evidence has thus far been brought to light that either Biden committed an overt criminal act; Joe Biden, in condoning his son’s employment by the Ukrainian gas company, acquiesced to a corrupt relationship.  Their Burisma actions and inactions were certainly a legitimate target for investigation.  The very announcement thereof would virtually guarantee some very appropriate scrutiny of the matter.  Who, but blindly partisan Democrats would object to such scrutiny?  Nevertheless, the Democrats persist in evading the inconvenient fact of the impropriety of what the Bidens did.

(4) Does partisan benefit make investigation illicit?  Although the requested Ukrainian announcement would bring public attention to Biden’s negligent inaction on his son’s involvement with Burisma and may possibly have been of some partisan benefit to Trump; it can be argued that any such personal benefit was coincidental to Trump’s legitimate effort to expose and combat corruption and malfeasance in the government of a recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars in US foreign aid.  Moreover, even if Trump were motivated solely by self-serving partisan concerns; that would not render this, or any other investigation of suspected corruption, illicit.

(5) Was it a crime?  Notwithstanding the dubious and conflicting assertions by Trump loyalists, Trump’s temporary withholding of the military aid in order to obtain Ukrainian action, with respect to events which Trump believed involved corruption in Ukrainian politics or election meddling against the US, does not clearly qualify as a crime.  If Trump’s suspension of military assistance was technically a violation of the Impoundment Control Act (of which Trump was likely ignorant), that would hardly constitute a “high crime” justifying impeachment.  Joe Biden, as VP, had similarly withheld appropriated aid in order to coerce Ukraine to fire the corrupt Ukrainian then-Prosecutor-General; and no Democrat calls that a crime.

(6) Judgment?  Given Trump’s atrocious record, it is clearly difficult for either Democrats or progressives to be dispassionate in judging his actions.  Nevertheless, with a dispassionate evaluation of the factual evidence in this case, one must conclude: that the Democrats have, at best, a very weak case; and that their evidence does not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump is guilty of this specific alleged abuse of power.


Second article.

The second article of impeachment alleges obstruction of Congress with respect to its investigation of Trump’s actions vis-à-vis the appropriated military aid to Ukraine.

The relevant facts.

(1) Trump ordered potential witnesses to defy Congressional subpoenas for eye-witness testimony and ordered blanket refusals to provide subpoenaed documents.

(2) Republicans argue: that legitimate objections such as executive privilege and attorney-client privilege justify the President’s actions, and that the Democrats’ remedy was to contest the matter in the courts.

Analysis.  The Republicans’ defense is untenable, because Trump’s obstruction was to everything requested by the Congress, while Trump’s principal response was to denounce the impeachment investigation as an illegitimate witch-hunt.  Trump’s defiance is clearly an obstruction of Congress in the exercise of its oversight responsibility.  The evidence proves beyond any reasonable doubt that Trump is guilty on this article.


Betrayal of US national security?

The Democrats build their case against Trump based upon claims that his withholding of military assistance to Ukraine was a betrayal of US national security.

Relevant facts.

(1) The US government under Obama, with bipartisan support, incited and abetted the 2014 coup which ousted the democratically-elected President of Ukraine, not because of his corruption, but because of his refusal to abandon neutrality and align Ukraine with the EU and NATO.

(2) Rightwing (including outright fascist) Ukrainian chauvinists, having seized control in Kyiv, abrogated a law providing for language rights for Russian and other minorities.  These and other policies of the Ukrainian coup regime provoked the majority ethnic-Russian populace in Crimea to rebel and seek reunification with Russia of which Crimea had been part until Khrushchev transferred it to Ukraine in 1954 without the consent of its populace.  Russia responded to Crimea’s 2014 request by re-incorporating it into Russia.  The chauvinistic anti-Russian stance of the coup regime also provoked the revolt of the mostly ethnic Russian populace in the Donbass region thereby beginning the current civil war.

(3) The US and NATO hypocritically argue that separation of Crimea from Ukraine without the latter’s consent is a violation of international law.  They evade the fact that the US and its allies bombed Serbia in 1999 to compel its acquiescence to the separation, against Serbia’s will, of its predominantly ethnic-Albanian Kosovo province.

(4) The West responded to Crimea’s self-determination by commencing a new cold war against Russia with sanctions and military exercises in former Soviet republics on the borders of Russia.  These hostile Western actions, as well as the expansion (from 1999) of NATO into former Warsaw Pact countries (including former Soviet republics), were in violation of promises made by the US and NATO in order to obtain the needed Russian agreement to the reunification of Germany.

(5) Russia apparently provides sufficient material assistance to the Donbass rebels in order to have the leverage to incentivize Ukraine to make a reasonable peace settlement which will respect Russia’s national security interest as well as respect the human rights of the ethnic Russian minority in Ukraine.


(1) Forcing Crimea to return under control of Ukraine (as the US and NATO and their client government in Kyiv demand) would be a violation of its people’s right of self-determination and thereby constitute an injustice.

(2) While the Putin regime in Russia certainly has grievous faults (especially in its domestic policies), the Democrats’ allegation of Trump’s betrayal of US national security rests wholly upon the false assumptions: 1st, that Russian actions vis-à-vis Ukraine are a threat to the West rather than a defense of its own national security; and 2nd, that Trump’s withholding of military assistance to Ukraine facilitated Russian aggression (while it is the US and NATO which are the actual aggressors).

(3) It is against the interest of the people of Ukraine, of Russia, of the US, and of western Europe to continue this new cold war (which was commenced by the Western alliance under Obama).

(4) Those who benefit from this new cold war are only: the war profiteers, the pandering and jingoist politicians, and the foreign-policy experts and operatives (in DoD, DoS, NSC, and the intelligence agencies) whose careers rest upon perpetuating the notion of foreign threats (most of them spurious) to the national security of the US and its allies.  In fact, it is the Democrats who, in this instance, are betraying the real US national interest (which is for peaceful international relations) as well as basic social justice principles.


Election meddling.

Congressional Democrats never miss any opportunity to vilify Russia for allegedly attacking “our democracy” by assisting the Trump campaign in the 2016 US Presidential election.  Completely absent from the discourse is any acknowledgement of the long history (beginning with the 1948 Italian election) of US interventions in the national elections of numerous foreign countries (including the stealing of the 1996 Russian election for US favorite Boris Yeltsin).  Russian intervention in the 2016 US election pales in comparison with many of the US interferences in other countries’ elections.  Moreover, the Russian effort to sway the 2016 US Presidential election outcome was the least significant factor in the outcome, far eclipsed by: the flawed Democrat candidate and her mismanaged election campaign, abstentions on account of Democrat failure to deliver for their base constituencies, and the electoral college system as well as other anti-democratic features of US elections.  In fact, US elections are rife with anti-democratic features: political discourse dominated by capitalist funding, gerrymanders, voter suppression, party leaders rigging the nomination process to favor the establishment candidate, convention superdelegates, etc.  Moreover, the system is rigged in most states to maintain the 2-party duopoly which excludes and/or marginalizes all other parties.  In actual effect, voters usually choose between candidates who are selected, not by the people, but by big-money interest groups and allied establishment political insiders.


Trump’s real crimes. 

The real reasons that Trump should be prosecuted and removed include: (1) his murderous economic sieges which oppress millions and kill many thousands in Iran, Venezuela, and other countries targeted by Western imperialism; (2) his abetting mass murder in Yemen; (3) his violations of international human rights conventions, including the rights of asylum seekers; (4) his child cruelty crimes (family separations and other abuses perpetrated against immigrant children); (5) his incitements of white supremacist racial hatred resulting in murderous acts of domestic terrorism; (6) his bigoted attacks (via executive orders as well as his judicial and executive branch appointments) on the rights of women and of racial and religious minorities; and (7) his abetting the perpetrators of future climate catastrophe.

Relevant facts.

(1) These crimes are not unique to Trump.  Many of the same and/or related crimes were perpetrated under previous Presidents (including Democrats Obama, Clinton, Carter, Johnson, and Kennedy) going back to Harry Truman.  A few illustrative examples, far from a complete list.  It was “deporter-in-chief” Obama: who first imposed sanctions on Venezuela, who backed extremely destructive rebellions against anti-imperialist governments in Libya and Syria causing massive suffering to the peoples of those countries, who first abetted the Saudi war on the people of Yemen, and who backed actual and attempted coups against popularly-elected governments in Honduras and Ecuador.  “New Democrat” Clinton imposed a murderous sanctions regime on Iraq which caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands, mostly children.  It was Carter who initiated the US-sponsored reigns of death and destruction in Nicaragua and Afghanistan by beginning the US arming and funding of the Nicaraguan Contras, and of the Islamist Mujahidin in Afghanistan.  Kennedy and Johnson: incited and/or abetted numerous coups mostly against popularly-elected social-reformist governments, violated chemical weapons and other human rights conventions as they waged war against the people of Vietnam, and sponsored rightwing Cuban-exile gangs committing murder and sabotage in Cuba and elsewhere.  Many more such crimes of the US government could be cited.

(2) Both Parties in Congress embrace (on the pretense of national security or of support for “democracy” and “human rights”) the bipartisan notion that the US should arrogate to itself the privilege of trying to decide for every vulnerable country throughout the world which political actors are to govern its people.

(3) Nearly every politician in Congress, regardless of Party, votes: for new cold war resolutions; for abetting the gross human rights violations and ethnic cleaning crimes of the Zionist state; for economic sieges which violate international human rights conventions; for grossly excessive military budgets; and so forth.

Analysis.  Career-politician Congressional Democrats will generally not even broach the real crimes of Trump (as listed above).  Why not?  Because, they, along with previous Presidents of both Parties, have been deeply complicit in such crimes.



Neither Party in Congress is making its decision based upon a fair evaluation of the evidence.  The Democrats, under pressure from much of their base, are voting to impeach and remove on relatively trivial issues and based upon a prejudged interpretation of ambiguous factual evidence.  Meanwhile, the Republicans, under pressure from their pro-Trump base, are voting against, regardless of the evidence.

Progressives must break with the Congressional Democrats and actively oppose the continuation of the unjustified new cold wars (against Russia and China), lest the existential threat of climate catastrophe be joined by the existential threat of nuclear Armageddon.  Moreover, as activists for social justice, progressives must oppose the rampant bipartisan militarism and imperial interventionism which is at the root of US foreign policy.  Trump’s impeachment and trial has been achieved thru new-cold-war Russia-bashing and embrace of US imperial interventionism; and, insofar as that is the means to bash Trump, it is absolutely obstructive to the pursuit of progress and social justice.


Author: Charles Pierce      Date: 2019 Dec 18, updated 2020 Jan 27.


Charles Pierce is: a working-class retiree, a past union steward and local union officer, and currently a researcher and writer on history and politics.  Other articles by Charles Pierce can be accessed by google search at

Proposals for the 2020 US elections.

Policy proposals for the 2020 US elections.


Social-justice movement organizations must formulate a policy for the 2020 elections.



The broad left has been uniting behind the Democratic Party for the past four decades without having achieved much real progress for its base constituencies.  In fact, there has been considerable regress: increased inequality of wealth and income, diminished collective bargaining, increased homeless numbers, rising student debt burdens, reduced abortion access, increasingly unaffordable costs of healthcare, mass incarceration, new cold wars, new arms race, and so forth.  Longstanding abuses against the vulnerable remain, including: impunity for police violence; and abuses in the criminal justice system targeted against the poor and racial minorities, often under elected Democrats (prosecutors, mayors, legislators, and other officials).  Yet, many prominent “leftists” (including avowed “socialists”) are demanding unity behind the Democratic Party and whomever will be its Presidential standard-bearer.  Consequently, it is appropriate and past time to subject that practice to careful examination.

With respect to the 2020 elections, many prominent would-be strategists for the socialist left have been, in effect, saying:

  • that Trump, with his pandering to racism and other bigotries, is dangerously and uniquely different from previous Republican Presidents and nominees;
  • that Trump, with his reactionary populist demagoguery and authoritarian aspirations, is an authoritarian “fascist” threat to “our democracy”;
  • that Trump, with his climate denialism and his other antisocial policies, will be the fundamental cause of climate catastrophe and other horrors; and
  • that consequently, another four years of Trump would be such a “catastrophe” that, with respect to the 2020 elections, nothing is more important than ensuring that the Democrats prevail.

Proponents of the foregoing strategic viewpoint are many.  Recent advocates include:

  • a group of prominent leftist author-intellectuals with “An Open Letter to the Green Party About 2020 Election Strategy” castigating the Green Party for “helping the Republicans win the Presidency” in 2000 and 2016 thru not abandoning its Presidential campaigns in contested states [1]; and
  • Max Elbaum for Organization Upgrade with “Beating Trump: Absolutely Essential, Also Not Enough” asserting that “A second Trump term means racist authoritarianism”, “a drastic narrowing of the democratic space progressives and the left have utilized to resist”, “heightened danger of climate change-driven catastrophe”, “the erosion of democracy”, and accelerated “level of repression”. He goes on “a defeat of Trump by even the most moderate of Democrats … translates … into preservation of democratic space and … the possibility of the new American majority” [2].

It may be appropriate to ask whether they have elevated Trump far above his actual significance and mistaken the centrist Democrats for agents of progress and democracy.

What follows is simply an attempt to apply a rational fact-based strategic analysis, consistent with social-justice principles, to the current situation.

To begin, what are the relevant facts?


1st.  Regarding Trump differences from previous GOP Presidents. 

The unite-behind-the-Democrats strategists, in their portraying of Trump as radically different from his GOP predecessors, evade the decades of Republican pandering to bigotry.  In fact, his bigoted pandering and his embrace of antisocial policies is no departure from decades of past Republican Presidential candidates; remember: Goldwater’s embrace of “states’ rights” as he campaigned on his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Nixon’s “southern strategy”, Reagan’s campaigning against “welfare queens”, G H W Bush’s racist fearmongering “Willie Horton” campaign ads, Republican attacks on women’s reproductive rights, their pandering to the religious right, their attacks on welfare programs which notably benefit the poor and minorities, etc.

Trump had posed as a populist; but he has, of course, embraced the longstanding antisocial policies of the Republican Party.  He has basically reneged on his promises to serve the working class; while he has, like most other Republicans, faithfully served the fossil-fuel, armaments, and other highly predatory industries.  Trump, has differed somewhat by campaigning as an isolationist who would end US military interventions in foreign lands; but he has (sometimes against his will) largely surrendered foreign policy to the bipartisan imperial foreign policy establishment.  Moreover, bully that he is, he has found that attacking vulnerable peripheral countries (Syria, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba) bolsters his image as a tough commander-in-chief, a practice utilized by past Presidents of both Parties.

Nevertheless, from a revolutionary anti-capitalist and pro-social-justice perspective, there are some real, although unintended, positives in Trump’s Presidency.  These include: his undermining of the unity of the US-led imperial Western alliance; and his attacks on the intelligence agencies whereby he demoralizes their operatives and somewhat undermines their operations.  Moreover, the blatancy and transparent viciousness in his bigoted and antisocial actions has incited a growing popular movement in opposition to his odious policies, policies which, in some measure, he inherited from his predecessor.  But for Trump, this movement would not have risen to its current size and potency.


2nd.  Regarding domestic racism and other bigotries.

Trump differs from his Republican predecessors in that his pandering to bigotry lacks their sneaky subtlety and ambiguity; in fact, it is blatant, obsessive, absolutely transparent, and undeniable.  This transparency makes it much easier to organize against it; and that is a good thing.  Meanwhile, the unite-behind-the-Democrats strategists evade centrist Democrat pandering to racism and other bigotries whenever they found it to be politically expedient.  Examples.

In the 1970s, when under pressure from racist white constituents opposed to school desegregation, Senator Joe Biden switched his position from support to opposition on court-ordered busing to end school segregation.  Then, after having been a critic (in 1981) of Reagan’s push for tougher prison sentences, Biden discovered that being “tough on crime” was popular with much of the white electorate and spent a lot of effort from 1984 to 1994 pushing Congress, over opposition from the NAACP and the ACLU, to enact (with support from most Senate Democrats) a series of “tough on crime” bills.  Those enactments then contributed hugely to the disproportionately racial-minority mass incarceration (including: mandatory minimum sentences, the 100 times harsher penalty for crack as for powder cocaine, stripping inmates of appeal rights, and a big increase in the number of crimes subject to the death penalty).  [3]

Bill Clinton’s 1994 Crime Bill was a major contributor to the aforementioned mass incarceration of racial minorities.  Clinton pandered to bigotry again with his draconian so-called welfare reform which compels the most disadvantaged people (especially single-parent families) to work for poverty wages which leave them without the wherewithal to access basic needs (decent housing, affordable healthcare, quality education for their children, and other vital needs).  [4]

While Obama responded to pressure from his base constituents with his DACA order and proposed immigration reform, he also pandered to reactionary Republican xenophobia by deporting more undocumented immigrants in his first five years than G W Bush deported in eight, thereby earning the moniker “deporter-in-chief”.  Moreover, while Obama separated children from their immigrant parents (a total of 152,000 in 2012 alone), most Democrat politicians and the mainstream news media took little interest.  It is only now under Trump that such abuses (now, as then, somewhat limited by court order) have become a cause célèbre[5]


3rd.  Regarding climate catastrophe.  

Democrat actions to protect against climate catastrophe consist of: lip service (speeches); unenforceable aspirational goals (the Paris Agreement); regulatory enhancements (fuel efficiency “standards”, the “clean power plan”); market incentives (carbon tax, “cap and trade” schemes, subsidies for renewables); and fantasies (“clean coal”).

Those actions may appear to constitute progress toward cutting climate-destroying carbon pollution, but the meager 4.5% reduction in US CO2 emissions during Obama’s 8-year presidency actually depended largely upon independent market factors (especially cleaner alternative energy sources become cheaper than coal).   Meanwhile, Obama counteracted the effects of his grossly inadequate climate action program by actively promoting: huge increases in production of fossil fuels (with increased drilling permits, expanded offshore drilling, huge increase in fracking and production of natural gas, and a 13% increase in fossil-fuel pipelines from 2011 to 2015).  He also issued large new leases to coal producers.  Under Obama, US exports of coal, oil, and natural gas increased massively (1,000% in the case of oil); and Obama-approved Export-Import Bank loans and guarantees for fossil-fuel projects abroad nearly tripled from the level under G W Bush.  By 2017 (the year Obama left office) the US, with 15.3% of world oil production, had become the world’s top producer, well ahead of number-two Saudi Arabia’s 12.7%.  [6]

Meanwhile, California’s “climate champion” Governor Jerry Brown increased offshore drilling in state waters, eased restrictions on drilling and fracking, and fired regulators who stood firm against unsafe drilling practices.  [6]

Centrist Democrats are all for saving the climate, but only as long as so doing doesn’t include what is actually necessary, namely shutting down the profitable poisoning operations of the politically-powerful fossil-fuel companies.  Their grossly inadequate feel-good climate policies will no more save the planet from climate catastrophe than Trump’s denialism.


4th.  Regarding other antisocial policies in service to capital. 

Until the scheme was derailed by the Lewinski scandal, Bill Clinton plotted with Newt Gingrich on a nearly successful bipartisan plan to cut social security benefits and turn management of its trust fund over to Wall Street [7].  Clinton also backed the overwhelmingly bipartisan 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall banking reforms, repeal which unleashed the speculative and exploitative mortgage-lending practices which produced the great recession of 2008.

Obama posed as a progressive in the 2008 Presidential primaries.  Then as President his choices (in 2009) for Treasury Secretary and chief economic advisor were neoliberals US Treasury bureaucrat Timothy Geithner and World Bank vice-president Larry Summers.  The then-ruling Democrats’ response to the 2008 economic crisis was: to bail out, rather than nationalize, the big banks which had created the conditions which were its principal cause; and to provide minimal relief measures which nevertheless permitted some 5.3 million homeowners to lose their homes to the banks in Obama’s first six years, with many forced into bankruptcy while official unemployment doubled to 10%.  Under Obama, no bank CEOs were jailed for their mortgage lending frauds.  This was in contrast to the policy under President G H W Bush which sent many of the Savings & Loan CEOs to prison for bank frauds committed during the S&L Crisis.   [8]

Obama also supported the increasing privatization in K-to-12 schools (which robs already under-resourced public schools and students of desperately needed resources).  [9]

Although the Democrats routinely pose as allies of organized labor, on those occasions (1959..71, 1975..79, & 2009..11) when Democrats controlled both the Oval Office and the Congress with a filibuster-proof 60-vote super-majority in the Senate, they nevertheless did nothing to rescind the anti-union provisions of the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act.

With respect to healthcare, Obama and the Congressional Democrat leadership refused to permit consideration of the single-payer option and limited their healthcare “reform” (as centrist Democrats continue to do) so as to ensure the survival and continued profiteering of affected capitalist interest groups (in the health insurance, pharmaceutical, and service-provider industries), while still leaving tens of millions un- or under-insured and often without the means to access many of their often-vital healthcare needs.


5th.  Regarding Trump “fascism”. 

Is he about to achieve despotic power?  It is true that House Democrats, for lack of support in the Senate and/or in their own caucus, have been unable, in their occasional feeble attempts, to prevent some of Trump’s excessive assertions of Executive power.  However, Trump has been able to do thusly primarily because the Congress had ceded many of its Constitutional prerogatives to the Executive branch decades before Trump’s Presidency.  Nevertheless, Trump has been repeatedly stymied on particular issues: by the foreign-policy establishment; by Congress; by the courts; by obstruction within his own administration; by his own narcissism and incompetence; and sometimes even by overwhelming public disgust at some of his most abhorrent pronouncements.

Trump failed in his attempt to coerce the Congress into funding his anti-immigrant border wall, and he only obtained said funding subsequently when Congressional Democrats caved in return for modest funding for a few of their priorities.  He has been utterly unable to muzzle his critics: in the mainstream news media, in the Democratic Party, and on the left.  Despite his obsession to put an end to the Mueller investigation of his Presidential campaign, Trump was unable (or too fearful) to do so.  Finally, he failed to prevent House Democrats from impeaching him.

Certainly, if Trump were really a threat to the rights and capacities of his many critics to agitate and organize against the social evils of capitalism and the oppressive policies of the US government; then it would make sense for the socialist left to unite with the centrist liberals to protect those rights.  But there is currently no such real danger.  In fact, Trump, despite what he wants to believe, does not possess anywhere near the absolutist power of a fascist despot.  Moreover, with the persistence of broad and intense popular opposition to Trump, he is very unlikely to achieve such power.  The Trump Presidency, despite his abhorrent policies and authoritarian aspirations, is not an authoritarian state, nor will he make it into one.  Factually deficient assertions of portending “fascist authoritarianism” under Trump only serve to provide excuse for attempts to keep the broad left ensnared in its counterproductive allegiance to the centrist-dominated capital-serving Democratic Party.


6th.  Regarding American “democracy”.

What democracy?

Congressional Democrats and their apologists never miss any opportunity to vilify Russia for allegedly attacking “our democracy” by assisting the Trump campaign in the 2016 US Presidential election.  Completely absent from the discourse is any acknowledgement of the long bipartisan history (beginning with the 1948 Italian election) of US interventions in the national elections of numerous foreign countries (including the stealing of the 1996 Russian election for US favorite Boris Yeltsin).  Russian intervention in the 2016 US election pales in comparison with many of the US interferences in other countries’ elections.  Moreover, the Russian effort to sway the 2016 US Presidential election was the least significant factor in the outcome, far eclipsed by: the flawed Democrat candidate and her mismanaged election campaign, abstentions by many poor and working-class citizens on account of decades of Democrat failure to deliver for their base constituencies, and the electoral college system as well as other anti-democratic features of US elections.

In fact, US elections are rife with anti-democratic features in most of which both duopoly parties are complicit: political discourse dominated by capitalist funding, gerrymanders, voter suppression, party leaders rigging the nomination process to favor the establishment candidate, convention superdelegates, etc.  Moreover, the system is rigged in most states to maintain the 2-party duopoly which excludes and/or marginalizes all other parties (by giving the duopoly parties virtually automatic ballot access while imposing often insurmountable obstacles to such access for third parties); and the Democrats are complicit as they routinely act to block access for the Green Party.  In actual effect, voters usually choose between candidates of the duopoly parties who are selected, not by the people, but by big-money interest groups and allied establishment political insiders.

The US is no real democracy, it is a heavily corrupted plutocracy.  It will become a real democracy: only when there is popular participation and oversight over elected representatives, and only after a revolutionary movement for social justice has taken state power from the capital-subservient politicians of both duopoly parties.  The need is, not to ameliorate popular discontent by putting a Democrat in the White House, but to build the revolutionary movement with a social justice program which will be clearly distinct from the actual antisocial and anti-democratic policies of nearly all career politicians in the Democratic Party.


7th.  Regarding imperialism, human rights, and consistent anti-racism. 

The ”socialist” proponents of center-left alliance with the Democrats give lip-service opposition to imperialism and militarism; but then they abandon said opposition as they demand that all progressives back the candidacies of the worst perpetrators of imperial crimes against humanity.  Skipping over the crimes of Democrat Presidents Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson, which caused the deaths of millions and immense suffering to millions more, let us consider the millions of victims of US imperialism under the more recent Democrat Presidents and members of Congress.

Jimmy Carter: initiated the US funding and arming of the reactionary antisocial Islamist insurgency against the progressive modernist Soviet-aligned government in Afghanistan, joined apartheid South Africa in backing a (failed) coup plot (1979) against the anti-imperialist President of Seychelles, imposed sanctions (1979) on Grenada in an attempt to cripple its economy and thereby oust its progressive revolutionary government, and initiated (1980) the US backing for the Contra War (which Reagan later expanded) against the anti-imperialist government in Nicaragua.  [10]

Bill Clinton, knowing (and/or not caring) that the pretense that Iraq still had WMD [weapons of mass destruction] was false, imposed a murderous economic siege [sanctions] which impoverished the people and killed half a million Iraqis (mostly children), hoping thereby to provoke a coup to topple its President.  Clinton also joined Congress in enacting the 1996 Helms-Burton Act which punished Cuba for defending itself against invasions of its airspace by a rightwing exile gang with a history of terrorist attacks against targets in Cuba and elsewhere.  Further, Clinton laid the foundation for the current new cold war against Russia by beginning the provocative eastward expansion of NATO into former Warsaw Pact countries in violation of the US commitment given to Russia in return for the needed Soviet consent to the 1990 reunification of Germany.  [11]

“New Democrat” Presidential candidate Al Gore (in 2000) pandered to rightwing Cuban exiles by backing their attempt to prevent motherless 6-year-old Elián González from being reunited with his Cuban Communist father in Cuba.  [12]

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton [HRC] was an outspoken advocate for the Bush-Cheney “preemptive war” against Iraq, which killed another some 700,000 Iraqis.  [13]

In 2008 Democrat Presidential candidate Barack Obama: matched rival McCain in hawkishness on foreign policy as illustrated in the following quotes from Obama’s 2008 campaign web site.  “We must rebalance our capabilities to ensure that our forces have the agility and lethality to succeed in both conventional wars and in stabilization and counter-insurgency operations.”  “increase the size of the Army by 65,000 soldiers and the Marines by 27,000 troops.”  “Preserve global reach in the air: We must preserve our unparalleled airpower capabilities to deter and defeat any conventional competitors, swiftly respond to crises across the globe, and support our ground forces.  We need greater investment in advanced [weapons] technology …”.  “Maintain power projection at sea: We must recapitalize our naval forces”.  In the Presidential campaign debates, Obama mimicked McCain in denouncing popularly-elected Venezuelan President Chavez as a “tyrant”.  Further, he boasted (on his web site) of his Senate record: of “insisting that Israel not be pressured into a ceasefire” during its 2006 invasion of Lebanon; and of “cosponsoring a Senate resolution against Iran and Syria.”

John Kerry and HRC (the respective Democrat Presidential candidates in 2004 and 2016), as Secretaries of State under Obama, were proponents of his new cold war against Russia and backed his policy of support for the destructive Islamist-dominated insurgency in Syria.  HRC also advocated for the US-led military invasion which resulted in humanitarian catastrophe for the people of Libya.  Kerry, who had also backed the military intervention in Libya, was a proponent of Obama’s policy of encouraging and assisting the Saudi and UAE war of mass murder (from starvation and disease as well as aerial bombing) against the people of Yemen.  [14]

Obama: joined several allies in the invasion and destruction of Libya, abetted coups and coup attempts against popularly elected progressive and anti-imperialist governments in Honduras (2009) and Ecuador (2010), as well as against the duly elected neutralist government of Ukraine (2014).  Obama also armed and abetted the US-client regime in Colombia which gave rightwing death squads free rein to murder (as reported by Human Rights Watch) over 120 labor organizers and other nonviolent progressive social activists in 2011..15 alone (and more thereafter).  Meanwhile, he imposed the first of the crippling economic sanctions and persisted in other interventions to undermine the popularly elected leftist government in Venezuela.  [15]

Only 49 of 193 House Democrats voted against the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act [HR 5515] which greatly increased already massive military spending.  In the Senate it passed 87 to 10 with a mere 8 of 49 Democrat caucus members voting against.  [16]

The 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act [HR 3364], which seeks to intensify Obama’s new cold war against Russia as well as to impose greater hardships on the peoples of Iran and North Korea, was adopted 419 to 3 in the House (each of the 3 no votes being from Republicans) and 98 to 2 in the Senate (the 2 being Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul).  [17]

Most high-level Democrat politicians are subservient to capital and firmly ensconced in the bipartisan imperialist foreign policy consensus.  In fact, Democrats have become staunch defenders: of the intelligence agencies, of Obama’s new cold wars, and of US aspirations for continued imperial world-domination.  They have impeached Trump, not for his many actual crimes against humanity, but on bogus assertions that his temporary suspension of military aid to the client state in Ukraine (which was installed by a US-backed coup and is a US pawn in its unjustified new cold war against Russia) was a betrayal of US national security.  None of the Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has clearly repudiated the falsehoods which are propounded and used to justify hostile US action against alleged “adversary” countries (Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua).  (Note.  Although some of these countries maintain reactionary and/or oppressive domestic policies, not the reason for US hostility; all of them maintain foreign policies which are primarily defensive and in some measure anti-imperialist.  Russia and China are resisting Western imperial policies of hostile new-cold-war encirclement with US bases and military exercises in neighboring countries and/or adjacent seas.)

The “socialist” proponents of alignment with the Democratic Party have objectively embraced an objectively racist left version of America first.  They care that Democrats are marginally less antisocial on domestic issues (generally because they need the votes of women, minorities, and other affected constituencies); but, like said Democrats (even most of those in the Congressional Progressive Caucus), they acquiesce to the murderous oppressions of the millions of victims of US-led Western imperialism in other countries.


Ω.  Effects.

In effect, the avowedly leftist and “socialist” unite-behind-the-Democrats “electoral strategists” have jettisoned their anti-imperialism and limited their anti-racism to victims in the US, and then primarily to victims of governing Republicans.  They purport that the Democrats, even those like Joe Biden, will be saviors in the face: of Trump-incited racist abuses of immigrants and asylum-seekers (practices which actually pre-date the Trump Presidency), of Trump-abetted climate catastrophe, and of a Trump-led displacement of “our democracy” by an authoritarian “fascism”.  While it is true that government policies under Trump, as under previous Republican Presidents, are somewhat more antisocial than under Democrats; nevertheless, their portrayals of Trump, as a dire threat to progressive and socialist activism, and of the Democrats as the savior for progress, decency, and “democracy”, are essentially contra-factual.  They elevate Trump far above his actual significance by ignoring the many other factors (including the Democrats’ routine perfidy and subservience to capital) which are responsible for the capitalist and governmental abuses in the US.  Their position is rooted in their addiction to the failed policy of giving allegiance to the centrist-dominated Democratic Party which has been seducing and betraying the progressive movements for decades.  Finally, it is a betrayal of internationalist social-justice solidarity principles.




A socialist electoral policy needs to take shape based on: (1) evaluations of the key players (Trump, the Republicans, the centrist Democrats, and the progressive Democrats); (2) social justice principles; and (3) appropriate strategy and tactics.


1st.  Regarding the Republicans.

Almost all Republican politicians, some happily and others reluctantly, are overwhelmingly backing Trump as he persists in his bigoted rightwing populist demagoguery and his racist, xenophobic, misogynist, and other antisocial policies.


2nd.  Regarding the Democrats.

Responding to widespread popular discontent, the few social-liberal reformer politicians in the Democratic Party have rejected neoliberal economic policy and are advocating widely-popular new-deal type reforms (healthcare as a human right, Green New Deal, restoration of collective bargaining rights, and other social-justice reforms) which would increase people power and put much-needed constraints on capital.  Their contenders for the Presidency (Sanders, Warren, and Gabbard) have also expressed some opposition to overt military interventions to achieve regime change, but their records on imperialism and militarism are decidedly mixed.

Bernie Sanders has the best record of seeking cuts in military spending, but he backs the $1.5 trillion Lockheed-Martin F-35 stealth fighter plane.  He branded Libya’s Gaddafi as a “thug and murderer” shortly before US-backed thugs proceeded to oust and murder the Libyan ruler and plunge their country into chaos; and, while disapproving Trump’s economic siege and threatened military intervention, he has sided rhetorically with the US-imperialist-backed rightwing coup-seeking opposition to the Bolivarian government of Venezuela by misrepresenting that said government is “undemocratic”.  [18]

Tulsi Gabbard is the one explicit opponent of regime-change interventions, but she voted for the majority of military spending bills and against repeal of the intervention-promoting 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which effectively authorizes such regime-change operations.  [18]

Elizabeth Warren advocates cutting the “bloated defense budget”, but she voted for 2/3 of the military spending bills since she has been in the Senate.  She expresses a preference for more emphasis on diplomacy in foreign affairs, but she vocally backed Israel’s 2014 so-called “war” (actually mass murder) against Gaza.  While her rhetoric has subsequently moved away from the aggressive stance of her centrist Democrat rivals, she has not clearly repudiated the imperial bipartisan foreign policy consensus.  [18]

The centrists, including the Presidential contender (Biden) and ex-contenders (Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Harris, Booker, Castro, O’Rourke, Steyer, Bloomberg, etc.) have acquiesced to much of the neoliberal policy thru their subservience to capital and are mostly in opposition to more than marginal reforms.  These centrists also: join the bipartisan new-cold-war anti-Russia and anti-China consensus; condemn Trump for undermining the imperialistic alliances; are firmly committed to the bipartisan imperial foreign policy agenda; and mostly insist upon essentially blank-check backing for the Zionist state as it continues to perpetrate its crimes against the Palestinian, Syrian, and Lebanese Arabs.  [18]


3rd.  Relevant distinctions among Democrats.

The parties and candidates.  Obviously, the left must oppose Trump and the Republicans, but that does not necessarily mean supporting the Democrats.  Given the unwillingness of any of the Democrat candidates (and ex-candidates) for President to make a complete break from the deep-rooted bipartisan imperial foreign-policy consensus, and given their unwillingness, with the exception of the social liberal reformers, to make much of a break from neoliberal economic policy, there will undoubtedly be negatives in whichever contender the Democrats choose to run for President.  Nevertheless, the Democrats fall into two categories.

  • Any of the centrist candidates (now reduced to Biden) for commander-in-chief would be less blatantly odious than Trump; but, given their records and despite their promises, they could not be relied upon to be more than marginally better substantively, on social-justice reforms especially with respect to the many issues (environmental policy, healthcare as a right, collective bargaining, regulation of capitalist enterprise, social programs, etc.) where the need conflicts with capitalist domination and profiteering.  They would be less bad than Trump on some aspects of foreign policy, but worse on some others.   Most importantly, they would induce most of the popular anti-Trump movement to continue giving its allegiance to the centrist-dominated Democratic Party, which remains overwhelmingly subservient to capital and firmly committed to the militarist and imperialist foreign policy consensus.  Finally, beholden as they are to their capitalist campaign-funders, they would obstruct, as much as possible, efforts to empower the people or to constrain capital or to deal effectively with global warming.
  • The relative progressives (now reduced to one, namely Sanders) do not oppose private-enterprise capitalism; but they appear to genuinely want: a more dovish and less interventionist foreign policy; and real people-power and capital-constraining reforms, as well as stronger defense of human rights.


4th.  Strategic objectives. 

The primary objective for revolutionaries is not ameliorative reforms, but the building of the revolutionary movement.  The objective of that movement as stated by Marx and Engels [in the Manifesto (1848)] must be to “raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to win the battle of democracy.”  It is only after the progressive working class with its allies has conquered the state power, that it can then: effectuate the socialist reconstruction of the civil society; and thereby replace the predatory capitalist social imperative (the selfish pursuits of private profit and private accumulation of wealth) with the socialist imperative (the satisfaction of human and social needs).

In order to build that revolutionary movement, revolutionaries must engage with the people in their struggles for reforms, but revolutionaries must not permit the reform agenda to be confined to palliatives bestowed upon passive beneficiaries by paternalistic agents of the reformist faction of the ruling capitalist class in order to temporarily ameliorate immediate popular discontents.  Rather, insofar as possible, activists must: demand reforms which empower the people.  People empowerment includes: collective bargaining, litigation rights, citizen initiatives, public participation and oversight, FOIA access, voting rights, civil liberties, human rights enforcement, etc.  Revolutionaries must also demand measures which reduce and constrain the powers of the ruling capitalist class: effective public-interest regulation of for-profit businesses, ending and reversing privatizations, expanded public services and social welfare programs, bans on corporate money in election campaigns, restraints upon the powers and reach of the repressive state apparatus, etc.

An assessment, that progressive candidates, if elected, may be unable to deliver on their progressive reforms, should not be taken as excuse to oppose or abstain from advocating for their election.  Elections, like all reform struggles, are a venue in which revolutionaries seek to influence the populace and recruit activists to the revolutionary movement.  Revolutionaries must educate and organize, which they can do only if they connect with people thru engagement in struggles for social justice (which include election campaigns for advocates of transformative progressive change, as advocated by Sanders, but opposed by Biden).  Such education must include: the need for solidarity with all victims of social injustice including foreign victims of US imperialism; and also the need for reforms which increase people power and/or reduce the powers of capital.  In pursuit of these objectives, revolutionaries should organize a Social Justice Solidarity Voters [SJSV] bloc with a comprehensive program of social justice demands (with respect to issues of: economic justice, environmental justice, racist and sexist and all other violations of human rights, civil liberties, militarism and imperialism) and proceed as described (in 5th) below.

(For a fuller explanation of revolutionary strategy, see referenced article [19]!)


5th.  Electoral tactics.

♦ In the Democratic caucuses and primaries.  Call upon participants: to demand support for the comprehensive social justice program (as noted in 4th above and including concrete opposition to militarism, imperialism, and neoliberalism); and to reject candidates whose policies will alienate those true progressives who are genuinely committed to that program.  The rationales being: principle (social justice); and pragmatic (the need to bring over leftist voters who justifiably will refuse to vote for another duplicitous imperial and capital-serving Democrat, as well as struggling workers who will not be motivated to vote without reason to believe that the outcome can positively affect the situations of people like themselves).

♦ In the general election for President.  If the Democrats were to select a social liberal (e.g. Sanders) for commander-in-chief; and if that candidate could credibly be expected to seriously push for people-power and capital-constraining reforms, and also for significant curtailment of the current militarism and imperial interventionism [⁑]; it would be appropriate to back said candidate provided that this were done tactically, independently, and with appropriate criticisms.  (For example, an apt slogan would be “Sanders – not perfect, but clearly progressive”.)

So, what if the Democrats nominate an imperial corporate Democrat (Joe Biden)?  From the standpoint of ameliorative reformism, the primary objective will, as always, be to defeat the Republicans and put the center-left (actually centrist-dominated) Democrats in control of the federal government.  Contrarywise, from the standpoint of genuine social revolutionaries, the primary objective remains to build the revolutionary movement.  Thus, a policy seeking to defeat Trump at all costs (even including abandonment of social-justice principles and of solidarity with the multitudes of victims of US imperialism) cannot be justified, although this will undoubtedly be disputed by those who mistake the Democratic Party as a savior of “democracy” and social progress.  (If the “socialist” proponents of supporting Biden were to campaign with an honest slogan, it would have to be something like “Biden – duplicitous flip-flopper, staunch imperialist, candidate for big business, but not as blatant as Trump”.)

Can backing a neoliberal imperialist Democrat for commander-in-chief be formulated in a way which is consistent with the revolutionary socialist objective and not perpetuate the failed policy of reliance upon lesser-evil Democrats?  Given how blatantly vicious Trump is, revolutionary socialists may prove unable to achieve consensus on this question.  However, his viciousness should not be the deciding factor.  If revolutionaries are to back a neoliberal imperial Democrat (such as Biden) for commander-in-chief, they need to be able to make the case that so doing will facilitate building the revolutionary movement and not perpetuate reactive lesser-evil-ism (along with the extreme viciousness in the reality of militarism and imperialism).

Can they validly make that case?  Their assertion, that the Trump Presidency portends the coming of an “authoritarian fascist” state or the suppression of left activism, is clearly contrary to fact.  All that remains of their argument is the fact that centrist Democrats (with their grossly inadequate reforms) are, in the short-term, somewhat less bad for most people in the US than the Republicans.  They evade the facts: that Democrat policies (under Carter, Clinton, and Obama) have done little or nothing to improve the lives of women, minorities, and workers (with the exception of some in the educated middle class [20]); and that some of their policies have made things worse for millions of the most disadvantaged Americans.  Moreover, Democrats have been equally (with Republicans) committed to the militarism and imperial interventionism which: has subjected many millions of people in other countries to extreme privation and often murderous violence, and has produced the new cold wars which threaten nuclear Armageddon.  Finally, backing Biden or any other centrist is de facto support for the centrist program (which is militarist, imperialist, anti-people-power, subservient to capital, and opposed to the progressive reforms sought by Sanders and other social liberals).  In fact, the proponents of backing a centrist Democrat against Trump, as a “socialist” policy or one which saves “democratic space” for progressive activists, have no case.

Because the case for backing a centrist Democrat for President cannot be validly made, revolutionaries should organize a voter boycott of any such Presidential nominee, educate all who will listen as to the justification for so doing, and use the situation to continue building the organized revolutionary movement.  If it comes to this, it will obviously require patiently and respectfully swimming against a heavy adverse tide in the broad left which is deeply addicted to its long allegiance to the Democratic Party (either as savior or as lesser-evil).  Nevertheless, the appropriate policy often requires such.  The alternative, i.e. tailing after the masses when they are misled by agents of capital (i.e. centrist Democrat politicians and the mainstream media), is easy but counterproductive.  In any event this decision should be based on soundly reasoned fact-based analysis rather than emotion.  (Realistically, it will take time, likely years, to build the revolutionary movement to such strength that it can be much of a force in national elections; but putting off this essential task with whatever excuses means never achieving it.)

[⁑ Note.  A completely progressive foreign-policy program (which no current Democrat Presidential candidate can credibly be expected to embrace more than partially) would include the following.

  • Arms control. Return to the arms control treaties which the US quit (under Bush-Cheney and Trump), no development of new nuclear bombs; no militarization of space; restoration of the prohibition on use of land mines; massive cuts to military spending (especially of warships, expensive warplanes, etc.).
  • No new cold war. End containment policies (military alliances, war games, etc.) near the borders of Russia and China; end Western intervention in the civil war in Ukraine; accept the will of the Crimean populace for reunification with Russia; comply with the 1990 US-NATO commitment that NATO would not expand into any former Warsaw Pact countries nor engage in military operations on their territories; dissolve NATO and other imperial military alliances.
  • End economic sieges and regime-change operations against countries targeted because of their refusal to comply with Western imperial dictates. Return to the Iran nuclear agreement; negotiate a peace treaty with North Korea; close the Guantanamo base and prison and return the occupied territory to Cuba; stop the US-abetted Saudi and UAE war in Yemen.
  • Offer constructive assistance to help countries peacefully achieve just resolutions of their civil and international conflicts.
  • End the bogus “terrorist”-designation of anti-imperialist resistance organizations (including Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad).
  • End all support (diplomatic, economic, and military) for the Zionist state; and demand that it: end its occupation of Syrian and Lebanese territory, end its military aggressions against its neighbors, end all of its violations of UN resolutions and international human rights conventions, transition to a democratic all-Palestine state which will fully respect the human rights (including fair compensation and right of return) of the Palestinian Arabs including those dispossessed by the nakba.]

♦ In the 2020 general election for Congress.  Tactically support Democrats (including the neoliberal imperialist types) to the extent necessary to obtain Democrat control of Congress, the rationale being as follows.  Although this will not end Congressional support for the imperial foreign policy consensus, it will NOT place commander-in-chief powers in their hands, and it will impose some needed constraints on Trump should he be reelected.  If the Democrats win the Presidency with a progressive (such as Sanders), a Democrat Congress will improve chances for some limited portion of the SJSV demands and people-empowering and capital-constraining reforms to be obtained.  Such backing will need to be accompanied by explanation as to the tactical rationale as well as all appropriate criticism of the endorsed candidates.  Provided that it is presented as tactical, this policy would serve the movement-building objectives stated above.

♦ State elections.  In states where governors and legislators control redistricting, and control of the process is in question; the SJSV bloc should tactically back the Democrat candidates for the offices which will make the redistricting decisions.  This is to prevent Democrats from being shut out of power by GOP gerrymandering; and that is desirable because Democrats are more dependent upon support from progressive voters and thusly more easily pressured by the left.  In other state and local races, the bloc should bring pressure to bear by generally withholding support from those Democrats who refuse to comply with reasonable demands for their adherence to the SJSV program.

♦ If the Democrats take the Presidency and Congress but refuse to make meaningful departures from the current foreign policy agenda and/or from neoliberal economic policy; then vigorously oppose those obstructers who face reelection come 2022.

Ω The objectives of the foregoing tactical policy are: that, in electoral activity, socialists must act independently of both capital-serving political parties; and that they should use the Democrat politicians and not allow the progressive left to be used by said Democrats.


Ω.  Principles.

Socialists must be pragmatic and must make appropriate compromises, but never sacrifice social justice principles.  Rank-and-file Democrats, who are uneducated as to the multifarious ways in which most Democrat politicians betray the progressive principles which they avow, can be forgiven for giving allegiance to such Democrats.  However, avowed socialists and progressive activists, who know or should know the facts but nevertheless give allegiance to such antisocial Democrat politicians, betray their avowed anti-racist, anti-imperialist, and progressive pretentions.  The obligation of socialists is to educate the rank-and-file progressives and separate them from their duplicitous politicians.


Noted sources.

[1] Noam Chomsky & 8 others: An Open Letter to the Green Party About 2020 Election Strategy” (2020 Jan 24) @

[2] Max Elbaum: Beating Trump: Absolutely Essential, Also Not Enough” (2020 Jan 25) @

[3] P R Lockhart: Joe Biden’s record on school desegregation busing, explained (2019 Jun 28) @  Branko Marcetic: Joe Biden, Mass Incarceration Zealot (2018 Aug 09) @

[4] Wikipedia: Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (2020 Feb 14) ~ § 4 Consequences, § 5 Criticism.

[5] Carol Dansereau: Whose Moral Stain? Hold Democrats Accountable on Immigration Too (2018 Oct 02) @  Miles Culpepper: Why Democrats Keep Caving on Immigration (2019 Jul 07) @

[6] Carol Dansereau: Climate and the Infernal Blue Wave: Straight Talk About Saving Humanity (2018 Nov 13) @  Statista: Carbon dioxide emissions from energy consumption in the U.S. from 1975 and 2017 (in million metric tons of carbon dioxide) (© 2018) @  Investopedia:  The World’s Top Oil Producers of 2017 (2018 Feb 18) @

[7] Alan Nasser: The Coming Plague of Poverty Among the Elderly: Clinton’s Plan for Gutting Social Security (2016 Nov 04) @

[8] CoreLogic: United States Residential Foreclosure Crisis: Ten Years Later (2017 Mar) ~ pp 4..5 @  Bureau of Labor Statistics: Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey (accessed 2019 May) @

[9] Diane Ravitch: Flunking Arne Duncan (2012 Mar 07) @

[10] Stephen Kinzer: Overthrow (© 2006) ~ chapter 12 They Will Have Flies Walking Across Their Eyeballs.   William Blum: Killing Hope (© 2004) ~ Chapter 53 Afghanistan 1979-1992 America’s jihad; Chapter 44 Seychelles 1979-1984 – Yet another area of great strategic importance; Chapter 49 Nicaraguan 1978-1990: Destabilization in slow motion; Chapter 45 Grenada 1979-1984: Lying – one of the few growth industries in Washington.  Stephen Kinzer, Overthrow, chapter 10 Our Days of Weakness Are Over.  Stephen Zunes: The US Invasion of Grenada – Foreign Policy in Focus (2003 Oct) @

[11] Wikipedia: Sanctions against Iraq (2015 Nov 14); Lead-up to the Iraq War (2015 Nov 11); Helms-Burton Act (2020 Jan 12); José Basulto (2019 Nov 18).

[12] PBS: a chronology of the Elian Gonzalez saga (accessed 2020 Feb) @

[13] On the Issues: Hillary Clinton on War & Peace (2018 Sep 08) @

[14] Wikipedia: Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War (2019 May 03) ~ § 2.1 Support for the Syrian opposition # United States; US domestic reactions to the 2011 military intervention in Libya (2018 Oct 11).  Nika Knight: Saudi-led Bombing Kills 11 Civilians in Yemen, While Kerry Ignores US ‘Complicity’ (2016 Aug 26) @

[15] Wikipedia: 2009 Honduran coup d’état (2018 Oct 07); 2010 Ecuador crisis (2018 Oct 01).  Robert Parry: Cheering a “Democratic” Coup in Ukraine (2014 Feb 26) @  Renee Parsons: Chronology of the Ukrainian Coup (2014 Mar 05) @  Medium: US Staged a Coup in Ukraine – Brief History and Facts (2017 Dec 18) @  Dan Kovalik: Death Squads Continue to Reign in Colombia (2014 May 24) @  Telesur: Tracking US Intervention in Venezuela Since 2002 (2015 Nov 18) @

[16] govtrack: H.R. 5515: John S McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 ~ House vote (2018 Jul 26) @ & Senate vote (2018 Aug 01) @

[17] govtrack: H.R. 3364: Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act ~ House vote (2017 Jul 25) @ & Senate vote (2017 Jul 27) @

[18] Medea Benjamin & Nicolas J S Davies: War and Peace and the 2020 Presidential Candidates (2019 Mar 27) @  Bernie Sanders: Sanders Statement on Venezuela (2019 Jan 24) @  Doug Enaa Greene: Not on our side: On Bernie Sanders and imperialism (2019 Jun 27) @  Norman Solomon: Joe Biden: Puffery vs. Reality (2019 Apr 25) @  Norman Solomon: Corporate Team of Rivals: Biden and Harris (2019 Jul 10) @

[19] Charles Pierce: Why ameliorative reformism and lesser-evil-ism is failed strategy and what is the winning alternative! (2020 Feb 16) @ ~ post 7.

[20] Indigo Olivier: A Feminism for the Working Class (2020 Mar 05) @  Sara Rimer & Karen W Arenson: Top Colleges Take More Blacks, but Which Ones? (2004 Jun 24) @


Author: Charles Pierce.               Date: 2020 Feb 24, updated 2020 Mar 18.


Charles Pierce is: a working-class retiree, a past union steward and local union officer, and currently a researcher and writer on history and politics.  Other articles by Charles Pierce can be accessed by google search at  Reader comments are welcome.

The essential facts concerning Zionism and Palestine.

The essential facts concerning Zionism and Palestine.

1. Doctrine. Zionism was devised by some middle-class Jewish Europeans (most prominently Lev Pinsker and Theodore Herzl) as one response to horrendous late 19th century anti-Jewish persecutions in Europe.  Like many of their contemporaries among nationalistic privileged-class European intellectuals and like the Nazis who came later, the Zionists conceived of the world’s Jews as a race.  Moreover, they viewed the Jews as: (in their own words) a “parasitic” and “alien” presence within the gentile countries; and therefore a “Jewish problem”, which could only be resolved by removing all or most Jews from the gentile countries to a country of their own, which they decided would need to be in Palestine.  Consequently, the Zionists opposed assimilation and disparaged those Jews who assimilated.  [1]

 2. Colonialism. The Zionists, like other European colonialists, approved of the subjugation of non-white peoples and justified it with the then-commonplace racist rationale that God, or Destiny, had chosen the “superior” Europeans to bring “civilization” to the territories populated by the “primitive” peoples of Africa and Asia.  Therefore, no meaningful consideration was given to the rights of the indigenous Palestinian Arabs.  [2]

3. Imperialism. The Zionists coalesced in 1897 with the formation of the Zionist Organization [ZO].  Its leaders then began appealing to various European colonialist powers for sponsorship of their proposal to create a so-called Jewish homeland in Palestine.  Ultimately, it was Britain which became the imperial sponsor by issuing the Balfour Declaration (1917) calling for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”.  The British motivations were twofold.  [3]

♦ Firstly, Britain envisioned the creation of a British-allied outpost of European civilization in oil-rich southwest Asia as an instrument for projecting British imperial and commercial power over a part of the world in which British capital and empire were already heavily invested (notably in the Anglo-Persian Oil Company [now BP Inc.], Shell Oil, and the Suez Canal).

♦ Secondly, there was the anti-Jewish prejudice of some leading Cabinet members, including former Prime Minister Balfour, who hoped to reduce the Jewish presence in European government, commerce, and the professions.

4. Anti-Arab racism. Jews (4% of the population) and their Muslim and Christian neighbors (85% and 11% respectively) had coexisted amicably in Palestine for many generations prior to the arrival of the Zionists.  Zionist doctrine and practice destroyed this relationship.

♦ During the period of British rule over Palestine (1917—48), sympathetic Jewish capitalists in Europe and the United States provided money for Zionist land acquisitions in Palestine.  The Zionists then evicted the Arab tenant farmers thereby violating the traditional rights of the latter.  Moreover, the Zionist governing body required that Jewish employers hire only Jews and prohibited the sale of any Jewish-owned land to Arabs.  Such racial discrimination was standard practice within the Zionist settlements; and it quite predictably provoked Arab resentment against the Zionist settlers.  [4]

♦ Meanwhile, there were recurring suggestions (in private) by top Zionist leaders (Herzl, Weizmann, Ben-Gurion, and others) that the “Arab problem” could be resolved through “population transfer” to other Arab countries.  In fact, from the very beginning, the Zionist leadership intended to eventually expel the indigenous Arab population from Palestine.  [5]

5. Collusion with anti-Jewish persecutors. For several decades, the Zionist organizations refused to fight for equal rights for Jews.  In fact, they acted in concert with the persecutors.

♦ Whereas many Jews joined other anti-racists (including Communists) in the fight against the chauvinist, xenophobic, and anti-Jewish nationalisms and related persecutions which arose in Europe in the years between the two world wars of the 20th century; the Zionists, largely because of Communist opposition to the racialism at the heart of Zionist ideology, joined the fascists and allied bigots in denouncing the Communists.  Meanwhile, the Zionist organizations, claiming to represent the interests of the world’s Jews, refused to fight anti-Jewish bigotry and persecutions.  Why?  Because they wanted persecuted Jews, not to fight for equal rights within their native countries, but to emigrate to Palestine.  To that end, the Zionist organizations routinely colluded with anti-Jewish states in sponsoring migration, legal and illegal, of European Jews to Palestine.  [6]

♦ In the 1930’s, the New Zionist Organization [NZO] (representing the minority “revisionist” faction) allied itself with fascist Italy until Mussolini broke off the alliance in order to enter the Axis Pact with Hitler.  [7]

♦ Meanwhile, the German affiliate of the ZO (majority faction) refused to support resistance to Nazi anti-Jewish racial policies in order to maintain cooperation with the Nazi state in promoting and facilitating German Jewish emigration to Palestine.  Moreover, the NZO-affiliated German State Zionist Organization (while receiving special favor from the Nazi regime which imposed its leader, Georg Kareski, as director of the Jewish Culture Leagues): praised Nazi policies, opposed the anti-Nazi boycott, and colluded with the Gestapo.  [6]

♦ After the War largely cut off routes for Jewish emigration, Nazi Germany (in 1941) began its extermination project.  In 1944, the ZO’s operative (Rezso Kasztner) in Hungary made a bargain with Adolph Eichmann, the Nazi official in charge of exterminating Europe’s Jews.  If Kasztner would reassure the Hungarian Jews that they were to be resettled, not killed; then Eichmann would permit the ZO to take a number of select Jews to safety and Palestine.  Kasztner provided the false assurance thereby enabling the Nazi SS to avoid significant resistance as it rounded up 450,000 Jewish Hungarians for deportation to the extermination camps.  In return, the Nazi SS permitted the ZO to save 1,700 select Jews.  Those, who had assimilated, or were non-Zionist, or were insufficiently young and vigorous were excluded and thereby left to be exterminated by the Nazis.  [8]

♦! For Zionists, the persecution of Jews within their native countries (especially prior to the Nazi’s “final solution”) was not something to fight, but a pretext for creating the so-called Jewish State in Palestine.  Meanwhile, they dismissed any concern for the human rights of its indigenous population.

6. Obstruction of Jewish emigration. During the 1930s, Zionist obstruction of efforts, as at the 1938 Evian conference, to find safe havens for persecuted Jews outside of Palestine, impeded and limited Jewish emigration from Europe.  Consequently, a huge number of Jews, who would otherwise have gotten out, were left trapped in Nazi-ruled Europe when the Axis War closed off (to nearly all Jews) avenues for further emigration [9].  Many of these Jews then become victims of the Nazi “final solution”.  Moreover, after the War the Zionists opposed any consideration, during the 1946 inquiries of the Anglo-American Committee, to find countries willing to give refuge to the displaced Jews of Europe in Australia, the Americas, et cetera.  They wanted these desperate people to have only one option, namely to go, legally or illegally, to Palestine [10].

7. Exploitation of the genocide. Ever since the Axis War, the Zionists and their supporters have manipulated popular sympathy for the Jewish victims of the genocide in order to obtain support for Zionism.  They and their supporters insist that the world must atone for the genocide of the six million Jews by granting them Palestine for a “Jewish state”; but they evade the fact that justice would require atonement and compensation for that genocide to be borne by Christian Europe, which perpetrated and/or permitted the genocide, not by the Palestinian Arabs, who had no part in it.  [11]

8. Censorship of critics. Zionists and their supporters routinely attempt to silence opponents of Zionism and critics of Israeli crimes against humanity by smearing said critics as purveyors of “antisemitism”, the word which Zionists and their allies use to mean Judeophobia (hatred of Jews), even though the Arab victims of Zionism are also Semitic in language and ancestral origin.  When their critics are Jewish, as many are; Zionists have often disparaged and dismissed them as “self-hating Jews”.  As Zionists obsessively smear their anti-racist critics, they generally give much less attention to actual Judeophobes.

9. Majority rule denied. Throughout most of its (1917—48) rule over Palestine, Britain, in violation of its Article 22 obligations under its League of Nations Mandate, deferred to the Zionists: by turning a deaf ear to repeated Palestinian Arab appeals for redress of grievances, and by refusing to establish any democratically-elected representative governing body.  Why?  Because such body would undoubtedly have rendered stillborn the scheme to transform Palestine into a Zionist nation-state by acting to stop: further Zionist immigration, land acquisitions, evictions of Arab tenant farmers, and discriminatory employment practices.  [12]

10. Rebellions. Ultimately, the Arabs lost patience and resorted (in 1936) to armed rebellion.  The British then used armed Zionist paramilitaries as “police” to assist in suppressing the Arab revolt.  However, the persistence and cost of the Arab revolt finally convinced Britain of the folly of continuing to disregard the rights of the Arab majority in Palestine.  Consequently, Britain (in 1939) abandoned its totally one-sided support for Zionist goals, and adopted a quasi-neutral policy, which both: offended the Arabs by continuing the refusal of majority rule, and angered the Zionists by restricting Zionist immigration and land acquisitions.  The Zionists then revolted.  When Britain declared war against Nazi Germany, two of the three Zionist paramilitaries (Haganah and Irgun) suspended the rebellion, while the third (Lehi a.k.a. Stern Gang) attempted (in 1940 and again in 1941) to ally itself to Nazi Germany but was rebuffed.  In 1944, Irgun resumed the revolt; and in 1945 the three Zionist paramilitaries jointly resumed their rebellion with sabotage and murders including terrorist bombings.  Their violent acts included: IED (improvised explosive device) attacks upon passing trains and motor vehicles; letter bombs; time bombs in hotels and other venues with civilian victims; and so forth; as well as attacks upon police and military targets.  They also illegally trafficking large numbers of unauthorized Jewish immigrants into the country.  [13]

11. Partition. In 1947, Britain concluded: that the objectives of the Zionists and of the Palestinian Arabs were irreconcilable, and that it could not maintain peace and order in Palestine with the resources which it was willing to commit.  Britain then turned the Palestine problem over to the United Nations.  The UN, then consisting of 56 mostly white-ruled (European and western-hemisphere) states, adopted a partition plan (General Assembly Resolution 181) which was grossly discriminatory against the Arabs.  Of the 15 Asian and African member states (excluding white-ruled South Africa), only two, having been bribed or coerced, voted for it.  [14]

♦ Distribution of territory.  Although Jews were only 32% of the population, this UN plan allocated 55% of the territory to the “Jewish” state, 42% to the Arab state, and 3% to a UN administered zone in and around Jerusalem.

♦ Distribution of population.  In the Zionist state, which was to have a population of 995,000, a bare majority of Jews was to rule over 497,000 mostly Arab and Bedouin others.  The majority Arab state was to have a population of 735,000, of which a mere 10,000 (1.4%) was to consist of Jews.  As had been the policy throughout the Mandate, majority-rule was deemed unacceptable when Jews were a minority but acceptable when and where they were in the majority.

♦ Responses.  The ZO, intent upon obtaining international acceptance for the proposed Jewish state, professed acceptance of the partition plan.  The Palestinian Arabs and neighboring Arab states denounced the plan as a racist and colonialist injustice and refused to be bound by it.

12. Conquest and ethnic cleansing. Armed conflict began between the Zionists and the Arabs even before Britain withdrew its forces in 1948 May 15.  Although the Arabs had greater numbers, they were at a tremendous disadvantage with far fewer men trained for military service.  Moreover, the intervening military contingents from Arab states were mostly: small in numbers, ill-trained, poorly equipped, and lacking in combat experience.  In contrast, the Zionists: had long given priority to immigration by men capable of bearing arms; had tens of thousands of war veterans and other well-trained soldiers; were far better armed; and possessed a much more cohesive civil society with functioning governmental and military organizations.  The Zionists proceeded: to conquer as much as possible of the territory allocated for the Arab state, and to expel most of the Arab population from Zionist-held territory.  [15]

13. Nakba. The outcome of the war was a nakba (catastrophe) for the Palestinian Arabs.

♦ Territory.  By war’s end in 1949, the so-called “Jewish state” had conquered 77% of the territory (including half of the territory allocated by the UN for the Palestinian Arab state); and the remaining 23% was occupied and/or annexed by Jordan and Egypt.  [16]

♦ Ethnic cleansing.  Zionist armed forces had used massacres, death threats broadcast by radio and mobile loudspeakers, and expulsions at gunpoint to dispossess nearly 60% of the indigenous Arab population thereby making refugees of at least 711,000 Palestinian Arabs.  [17]

♦ Land.  Immediately before the war, Jews owned 6.2% of the land in Palestine [15].  During and after the war, the Zionists confiscated the land and homes of the Arabs, who had fled or been expelled [18, 19].  They also confiscated nearly 40% of the landholdings of Arabs, who remained resident within Israeli-held territory [18].  The Zionist state then leased the confiscated land to Zionist Jewish settlers [18, 19].  By 1950, Zionists were in possession of 94% of the land within Israeli-ruled territory (that is 73% of the land within the whole of Palestine) [19].

♦ Redress.  In 1948 Dec 11, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 194 calling for: (1) a demilitarized permanent international zone for Jerusalem, and (2) respect for the right of return for all refugees willing to live in peace with their neighbors.  In 1949 May 11 the UN General Assembly admitted Israel to UN membership based upon its promised acceptance of the UN Charter and General Assembly Resolutions 181 and 194.  Compliance with the Charter and with the two Resolutions would have required Israel: (1) to withdraw from occupied territory in the parts of Palestine allocated by the UN for the Palestinian Arab state and for the international zone, (2) to permit repatriation of the Palestinian Arab refugees to their homes in all Israeli-controlled territory, and (3) to accord equal citizenship rights to its Arab minority.  Israel refused to comply with its obligations regarding: refugee repatriation, Jerusalem, and occupied Arab territory.  Israel dealt with those Arabs remaining within its territory by expelling some and by eventually conferring an inferior class of citizenship upon the remainder.  [20]

♦ Cover-up.  Attempting to conceal evidence of its crimes against humanity, the Zionist state conducts a policy of sequestering, and denying access to, documents consisting of contemporary reports of the massacres, expulsions, and other ethnic cleansing operations which its forces perpetrated during the nakba and subsequently.  [21]

14. Later conquests. The Zionist appetite for Arab territory was not satisfied by their conquests in 1948.

♦ Pursuant to a secret duplicitous conspiracy with France and Britain, Israel, in 1956 October, invaded Egypt.  France and Britain, hoping to regain possession of the Suez Canal, then also invaded Egypt upon the pretense of intervening in order to safeguard commerce thru the Canal.  During the meeting in which the conspiracy was hatched, Israeli leader David Ben Gurion proposed his “grand design”: that Israel should annex the remainder of Palestine plus southern Lebanon plus much of the Sinai.  Because a ceasefire was imposed before Israeli forces could re-deploy for their planned invasion of Lebanon and the Jordanian-ruled West Bank, actual Israeli conquests were limited to Gaza and Sinai.  Strong pressure by the US (which had not been consulted) ultimately compelled the aggressors to give back the conquered territory.  [22]

♦ In 1967, the Zionist state launched a blitzkrieg sneak attack upon Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.  Therewith, it conquered the remaining 23% of Palestine plus the Egyptian Sinai and the Syrian Golan.  Its difficulties during a subsequent war (1973), and the costs of defending its conquests, eventually induced the Zionist state to return the Sinai to Egypt (by 1982); but it has refused to give up any of its remaining 1967 conquests.  [23]

♦ Israel has repeatedly invaded neighboring Lebanon.  It occupied much of Lebanon’s territory for two decades (1982—2000), and finally withdrew only in response to strong armed resistance by the Hezbollah militia.  Israel continues to occupy the Sheba’a Farms district of Lebanon.  Since 2000, Israeli armed forces have repeatedly (almost daily since 2006) breached Lebanese airspace, territorial waters, and/or land borders.  It has also repeatedly bombed targets in the country.  Massive Israeli airstrikes in 2006 killed some 1,100 people (mostly Lebanese civilians) and displaced another million.  These Israeli actions provoke retaliatory action by the Hezbollah militia and by the Lebanese Army thereby perpetuating tensions and violent conflict.  [24]

♦ Territories taken from the indigenous Arabs and currently occupied and ruled by the Zionist state consist of seven territories, the last five of which were conquered in the 1967 war.  These include all of Palestine consisting of: (1) the partition territory, the 55% of Palestine allocated to the Zionist state by the UN in 1947; (2) the Nakba annexation, the additional 22% conquered by the Zionists in 1948—49; (3) East Jerusalem, 2%; (4) the West Bank, 19½%; and (5) Gaza, 1.4%.  The other two, which were taken from neighboring Arab countries, are: (6) Golan, taken from Syria; and (7) Sheba’a Farms, a small piece of Lebanon.  [23]

15. Occupation. The Zionist state has persistently committed human rights violations in defiance of both international human rights conventions and UN resolutions.

♦ Land grabs.  Despite pretending to want peace with the Syrians and Palestinians, the Zionist state has illegally (officially or de facto) annexed their conquered territories.  Within all of its occupied territories, it persists: in seizing land from the Arab inhabitants; expelling the Arabs; and settling Jews on those lands (all in violation of the 4th Geneva Convention which pertains, among other matters, to the treatment of the native populations within foreign territories under military occupation).  [23, 25]

♦ Citizenship and residency rights.  The Israeli state encourages Jews with no personal ties to Palestine to take up residence in the country and become citizens, but it denies the right of return to the Palestinian Arabs who fled the war or were forcibly expelled in 1948.  [26]

♦ Ethnic discrimination.  Israel subjects Arabs, including those to whom it has conceded a third-class citizenship, to both overt and institutionalized discrimination.  Infrastructure, services, and subsidies, which are routinely provided to Zionist communities, are denied to their Arab neighbors.  Required building permits are almost never provided to Arabs, and the state routinely demolishes Arab homes and additions when constructed without such permits.  Water resources are confiscated from Arab communities and given to their Zionist neighbors.  Within the territories occupied since 1967, Zionist settlers are subject to civil law with liberal civil rights whereas Arabs are subject to arbitrary military law (with no such rights) and rigged judicial proceedings (with due process denied and near-certain conviction predetermined).  [25]

♦ Repression.  The Zionist state subjects the Arab population within occupied territories to murderous repression and collective punishments (in violation of the 4th Geneva Convention and other international human rights laws).  Specifics have included: unlawful targeted killings of resistance leaders; detentions and deportations of Palestinian Arab leaders; denial of travel rights to Arab critics of Zionist occupation practices; a profusion of arbitrary detentions and long imprisonments without charge; routine torture of prisoners; home demolitions where a single family member is suspected of an act of violent resistance; use of excessive force in quelling protests; mass bombings of civilian populations (as in Gaza, 2014 and 2021); a blockade depriving the 2 million Gazans of life-sustaining essentials (export income and vital imports including food, medical supplies, fuel, and sorely needed building materials); checkpoints and road blockages applicable only to Arabs; obstructions of access to education and employment; and so forth.  Israel’s systematic and pervasive abuses create such extreme despair that it provokes violent resistance, both collective and individual, against the Israelis; and the Zionist state then uses every incident of violent resistance as a “security” pretext for continuing its injustices against the Palestinian Arabs.  [25, 27]

16. Peace negotiations. The Zionist state, devoted to a racist ideology and existing upon the spoils of its robbery and oppression of the Arabs, has never sought a just peace.

♦ Until 1993, Israel refused to negotiate with the Palestinian interlocutors who actually could speak for the Palestinian Arabs.  It has also often refused, upon one or another pretext, to even negotiate key issues which have included: the rights of the dispossessed Arabs to return to their native land, Palestinian statehood, the status of Jerusalem, the settlements in the West Bank, and the oppressive policies of the occupation regime.  Then, whenever any of these issues have been discussed, Israel has insisted that any concessions on its part be conditional upon their interlocutors bargaining away the fundamental rights of the indigenous Palestinians, rights provided under international law.  [28, 29]

♦ Israel has unilaterally and persistently created “facts on the ground” and bludgeoned the Palestinians so that their leaders have been compelled to negotiate from a position of such desperation that they are essentially captives negotiating with the Zionist gun to their heads.  [30]

♦ Finally, the Zionist state, having given a lip-service acceptance of the so-called 2-state solution, pretends to be agreeable in principle to Palestinian statehood so that it can then “justify” continuing to exclude most Palestinian Arabs from citizenship and equal civil rights.  Meanwhile, it has planted so many settlements as to make a viable Palestinian state impossible even in the West Bank.  Any such “state” would be a collection of disconnected and subjugated cantons similar to the Bantustans of Apartheid South Africa.  [31, 29]

Noted sources:

[1] Howard M Sachar (Zionist American historian): A History of Israel (Knopf, © 1979) ~ pp 10..17, 36..47 ♦ ISBN 0-394-73679-6.  Lenni Brenner (American social justice writer/activist): Zionism in the Age of the Dictators (Lawrence Hill Books, © 1983) ~ pp 1, 4, 15, 18..25, 29..32, 50..51 ♦ ISBN 0-7099-0628-5.

[2] Benny Morris (Zionist Israeli historian): 1948 – A History of the First Arab-Israeli War (Yale University Press, © 2008) ~ p 4 ♦ ISBN 978-0-300-12696-9.

[3] Morris ~ p 5.  Sachar ~ pp 47..54, 96..110.  Brenner ~ p 9.

[4] Sachar ~ pp 77..78, 142..143, 163..167, 175..176.

[5] Morris ~ pp 2..3, 18..19.

[6] Brenner ~.chapters 3, 5, 6, 7, 12.

[7] Brenner ~ chapters 4, 10, 14.

[8] Brenner ~ chapter 25.

[9] Robert Silverberg (American writer): If I Forget Thee O Jerusalem (Pyramid Communication, Inc., © 1970) ~ pp 174..175 ♦ ISBN 0-515-02765-0.

[10] Morris ~ p 23, 26, 65.

[11] Morris ~ p 33.

[12] United Nations Information System for Palestine [UNISPAL]: The Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem 1917-1988 (1990) ~ Part I (§ III) @

[13] Morris ~ pp 14..20, 29..31, 35..36.  Wikipedia: 1936-1939 Arab Revolt in Palestine (2018 May 29); Jewish insurgency in Mandatory Palestine (2018 May 26) ~ § 1 Origins, § 2 Timeline; Semiramis Hotel bombing (2018 May 05).

[14] Morris ~ pp 37..38, 55, 61, 63..65.  Wikipedia: United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine (2018 May 14).  UNISPAL ~ Part II (§§ III, IV).

[15] Morris ~ pp 77..93.  UNISPAL ~ Part II (§ V).

[16] UNISPAL ~ Part II (§ IX).

[17] Wikipedia: 1948 Palestinian exodus (2018 Jun 01).

[18] Sachar ~ pp 386..89.

[19] Stephen Lendman: Israel’s Discriminatory Land Policies (2009 Jul 31) @  Wikipedia: Israeli land and property laws (2018 May 23) ~ § 2 Overview.

[20] UNISPAL ~ Part II (§ VI).  Sachar ~ pp 382..86.

[21] Hagar Shezaf: Burying the Nakba (Haaretz, 2019 Jul 05) @

[22] Wikipedia: Protocol of Sèvres (2018 Apr 02); United Nations Emergency Force (2018 May 27).  Sachar ~ pp 506.

[23] Wikipedia: Israeli-occupied territories (2018 May 23).

[24] Wikipedia: South Lebanon conflict (1985-2000) (2018 May 30); Israeli-Lebanese conflict (2018 May 23) ~ § 6 Border clashes, assassinations …, § 7 2006 Lebanon War, § 8 Post-2006 war activity, § 9 Israeli incursions into Lebanon.

[25] Amnesty International: Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories 2016/2017 (accessed 2017 Oct) @  Human Rights Watch: Israel – 50 years of occupation abuses (2017 Jun 04) @

[26] UNRWA: Palestine refugees (accessed 2017 Oct 01) @  Wikipedia: Israeli nationality law (2018 May 27); Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (2018 Mar 05).

[27] Ilan Pappe (anti-Zionist Israeli historian): Ten Myths About Israel (Verso, © 2017) ~ chapter 9 ♦ ISBN 978-1-78663-019-3.

[28] BBC News: History of Mid-East Peace Talks (2013 Jul 29) @

[29] Jakob Reimann: Israel Is an Apartheid State (Even if the UN Report Has Been Withdrawn) (2017 Mar 31) @

[30] Wikipedia: Facts on the ground (2018 May 18).

[31] Pappe ~ chapter 10.  Seraj Assi: Is Israel an Apartheid State? (2017 Apr 07) @

Author: Charles Pierce          Date: 2018 Jun, slightly revised 2021 May 21.

Charles Pierce is: a working-class retiree, a past union steward and local union officer, and currently a researcher and writer on history and politics.  Other articles by Charles Pierce can be accessed at