Imperialism has entered a new phase of its expansion to everyday lives of people and the planet. In this new phase of its growth, the grandiose of imperialism permeates everyday lives of individuals living in far off places, including their livelihoods, economic relations, cultural interactions, and social dynamics. The imperial war and conflict in Ukraine are a classic example of everyday imperialism. It has not limited within the territory of Ukraine. Instead, it is affecting everyone in the world. The everyday lives are influenced directly and indirectly by the imperialist expansionist policies pursued by erstwhile western European colonial powers led by USA.
Everyday imperialism is manifests itself in more subtle mechanisms that transcend national territories. The war in Ukraine has not only shaped everyday lives in Europe but also negatively affecting everyday lives of working people in Asia, Africa, Americas, and Oceania. It is weakening the working people by plundering their daily income. The imperialist conflicts and its expansionist wars are not only exploiting resources but also weakening the power of labour. It poisons the working class consciousness in the name of nationalism and territorial integrity. Such an inherent imperialist framework enables multinational imperialist corporations to expand profits at the cost of people and people.
The capitalist digital platforms help in shaping digital cultures, values, and productions, which are concomitant with the requirements of cultural imperialism via homogenisation, atomisation, and commodification of individuals, their ‘needs and desires’. It helps in the dismantling of collective consciousness to reinforce power imbalances, as the dominant cultures exert influence over the less powerful ones, shaping perceptions and norms to normalise and naturalise everyday imperialism. Such a project and processes of centralisation of cultural production of dominant values and ideas helps the monopoly capitalism to thrive. In this new phase of imperialism, everyday imperialism colonises consciousness and makes it compliant with the requirements of capitalism and its crony corporations.
This everyday imperialism is different but continues to carry the feature of other three different phases of imperialism since its origin in history. The first phase of imperialism did not end with the Second World War. It recycled itself as a neoliberal economic project with the help of globalisation but continue to use its traditional methods of wars and conflicts. It destroyed peace, stability, secular and constitutional and electoral democracies in Latin America, Middle East, and different parts of Asia by forming alliance with authoritarian political leadership. It often formed partnership with terrorist organisations and dictatorships to destroy democracy and capture regional resources in the peripheries. The second phase of imperialism is marked by inter imperialist rivalry. However, the inter imperialist rivalry ended with imperialist collaborations with the establishment of organisations like European Unions, which ended to the second phase of imperialism. The imperialist partnership between Western Europe, ex-Soviet States and other puppet regimes led by USA has launched the third phase of imperialism where finance capital dominates the world.
Moreover, the everyday capitalism carries all features of the three different phases of imperialism to normalise capitalism as the only alternative. The third phase of imperialism has failed to deliver the desired goals of capitalism with the help of globalisation. As globalisation has failed after plundering natural and human resources across the globe. Therefore, imperialist wars, conflicts and cultural imperialisms are well established weapons to destroy every available alternative to Westphalian twins i.e., imperialism and capitalism.
The roads to peace, prosperity, democracy, freedom, and human rights are incompatible with cultural, political, and economic values of every capitalism and imperialism. Therefore, working people across the globe bears brunt of everyday imperialism and its fraudulent narratives that shapes mass consciousness. The structurally exploitative systems and processes of everyday imperialism exacerbates inequality while seeking profit over peace and people. In pursuit of profit and dominance, everyday imperialism produces precarity by reinforcing imperialist wars and conflicts on people on everyday basis. Such perpetual cycle of everyday imperialism destroys all historic achievements of working people and their struggles.
Everyday imperialism in all its manifestations has profound implications for the working class. Globalization and cultural dominance by capitalist countries and their corporations perpetuate inequalities and exploit workers worldwide. However, working class politics provide a means to challenge and resist imperialism. Through collective action, solidarity, and grassroots organising, the working class can confront the systemic forces that perpetuate economic and cultural imperialism. By asserting their rights and cultivating community resilience, the working class can strive towards a more equitable and inclusive world, free from the shackles of everyday imperialism.
The working class consciousness, politics, organisation, and struggles based on working class ideology and agenda of peace, solidarity, democracy, and socialism can only end these perpetual cycles of wars and conflicts of everyday imperialism. The collective consciousness and actions are central to challenge and dismantle everyday imperialist practices. The working people have the power to establish permanent peace and prosperity with the help of their collective spirit and consciousness. All forms of resistance to everyday imperialism and its capitalist values are the starting point towards a resilient and sustainable future. The time is pregnant with many alternatives to defeat everyday imperialism and capitalism to establish world peace. It is the historic responsibility of working people to achieve it with their political, social, cultural, and economic struggles.
Bhabani Shankar Nayak, University of Glasgow, UK