The anti-imperialism movement has always been a very noble effort and at the same time it is an effort that is essential at a very basic level in present day conditions. Its nobility is linked to its capacity for advancing justice and equality, in the process saving many human lives. In addition the opposition to imperialism is also an essential part of the wider efforts to check the survival crisis created by several serious environmental problems led by climate change as well as weapons of mass destruction. Imperialism has an important role in creating and accentuating the survival crisis. Those efforts which are most likely to succeed in checking the survival crisis need to have an important component of opposing imperialism.
However while the centrality and significance of the role of opposing imperialism is well-established, in keeping with the needs and conditions of our times the movement of opposing imperialism must observe some important cautions.
Firstly, it should be made very clear all along that the movement is always directed only against the imperialist forces of any country behaving in imperialist ways, and never against the people of any country. At present the biggest center of imperialism and the most important and powerful imperialist country is the USA. However most of the people of the USA are also suffering from increasing difficulties which are caused essentially by the same imperialist forces becoming aggressive and unjust internally too. The assassinations of President John Kennedy and of President Allende, or of Martin Luther King and of Patrice Lumumba are related as essentially the same forces of aggression and injustice are responsible for all of these big tragedies, sometimes turning on their firepower outside the country and sometimes inside the country. What is more, the guns pointing outwards turn inwards when someone inside tries to check them from firing outside. As a result, the forces of injustice inside the biggest imperialist power too are strengthened. Hence while the forces of imperialism in the USA are unleashing great destruction on other countries, these are also unleashing destruction on their own people by increasing injustice, inequality, denial of basic needs, homelessness, racism, alienation, depression, self-harm, violence, arms proliferation, crime and incarceration. In this sense, a large number of people within the USA are also the victims of the forces of imperialism.
Such an understanding prepares the anti-imperialism movement for more specifically targeting the forces of imperialism and never the people of any country or nationality or color or creed. The anti-imperialism movement is essentially a movement for creating justice, equality and peace among all people of world, regardless of nationality, color or creed.
Secondly, particularly in the conditions of the present day world, the anti-imperialism movement must aim for solving all problems in peaceful ways and for peaceful solutions to emerge. The weapons of destruction available to the forces of imperialism are so dangerous that the path of peace is the best path for the anti-imperialism movement and the effort should always be to resolve issues in such a way that solutions based on durable peace can emerge.
Thirdly, while there is no doubt that the the most powerful and aggressive imperialist forces today are concentrated in the USA and its close allies, this does not exclude the possibility of very aggressive forces of imperialism at a future date being concentrated in some other countries, particularly China. One should be conscious of this all the time, so that there can be a constant strengthening of people against not just the imperialist forces in the USA and its major allies but against imperialist forces in any country from a future perspective as well.
There has been a lot of discussion of US preparations of a war against China in the near future before it becomes even stronger in economic, technological and military terms. Clearly in such a situation the anti-imperialism movement must be protective towards China and try it best to prevent US aggression. However this does not prevent the movement from ignoring the imperialist streak exhibited by China from time to time, and its strong territorial ambitions with the associated aggression.
In fact with the possibility always open that any big breakthrough in weapons of mass destruction technology can give a country a decisive edge at least for some years, the possibilities of either alternative centers of imperialism emerging or the USA further strengthening its imperialist grip cannot be ruled out and the anti-imperialism movement must be willing to target whatever is the most aggressive imperialist force on a priority basis.
Creating a strong anti-imperialism peaceful movement within the big centers of imperialism is a very important challenge ahead. This movement should be active on a continuing basis. Many more people here can come forward on a platform of peace rather than a platform of anti-imperialism. So the peace movement can be the bigger mass movement but the peace movement without a perspective of anti-imperialism cannot go very far. Hence the continuing presence of anti-imperialism movement is very important even for the peace movement to realize its proper potential.
Briefly, the anti-imperialism movement should try to create a wide space on the basis of three very obvious facts or truths. Firstly, the most important task today is to save the life-nurturing conditions of our planet which are threatened by very serious environmental problems led by climate change and by weapons of mass destruction. Secondly, this task cannot be accomplished without resisting and defeating the forces of imperialism because in their quest for dominance these forces of imperialism search relentlessly for more and more destructive weapons as well as for those ‘get-ahead-at-all-costs’ patterns of economic growth which generally involve more hazards and pollution. Thirdly, opposition to imperialism is a must for increasing justice and equality at world level which in turn is necessary for meeting the basic needs and for the dignity of all people. Based on this understanding, the anti-imperialism movement can attract more and more people and also create very creative linkages with several other social movements of high relevance.
Bharat Dogra is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Planet in Peril, Protecting Earth for Children and A Day in 2071.