The anti-imperialism movement is a very important movement with a very noble role—that of protecting the majority of the world’s people as well as its environment from the highly aggressive and inherently destructive tendencies of those powerful forces that are willing to endanger and sacrifice all else (safety and welfare of common people, protection of environment) in their overwhelming quest for dominance and very narrowly perceived self-interests.
At present these powerful forces are most heavily concentrated in the USA and its close allies. This is clear for all those who care to see the reality. Hence as of today imperialism as represented by the USA and its close allies remains the most obvious and recognized face of imperialism against whom the forces of anti-imperialism must be mobilized the most in peaceful ways. Keeping in view the inherent destructiveness of wars with all their destructive weaponry, the anti-imperialism struggle in the present phase of history must be a peaceful, continuing, transparent, honest, determined, courageous struggle, as against the secret and violent struggles that were often advocated in the past. The anti-imperialism struggles today must be closely allied with the wider movements and campaigns for justice, peace and environment protection. In fact the anti-imperialism movement is itself a leading movement for justice-based peace and for protecting the life-nurturing conditions of earth.
While the USA and its allies are without doubt the most important base of imperialism at present, this need not be the case in future. In fact no less harmful than the exploitation by imperialism is the absorption of its ideas and basic thinking by others, particularly those countries which in recent times have ‘developed’ the most by becoming a leading partner in the global march of capitalism. In their aggression towards several neighboring countries as well as regional minorities within the country on the one hand and close collaboration with several highly unjust and authoritarian regimes (also with an eye on their resources), some other leading countries too exhibit a streak of imperialism which may have become more obvious and arrogant by now but for some constraints. All this of course can be most clearly seen in the context of China, which also happens to be the most important emerging rival of the USA.
This aspect of China being the number one rival of the USA has created some confusion among those who oppose imperialism, when they try to follow the simplistic formula of the main rival of the USA necessarily being a force of anti-imperialism. Misguided in this way, a section of those who stand for opposing imperialism have been promoting Chinese propaganda seeing virtues even in their imperialist streaks, and turning away their eyes when the reality is too stark to ignore.
This tendency is harming the anti-imperialism movement at a very important stage of history when it needs to become a much bigger force capable of impacting important world events in a much bigger way. This tendency will affect the basic honesty and sincerity of the movement which needs to be its biggest strength. The anti-imperialism movement should never be confused with inter-power rivalries, and it should never degenerate into being a part of inter-power rivalries.
A narrowly perceived anti-imperialism effort, which serves the propagandist purposes of a major rival instead of following an independent course, will be harmful for the movement. This will be particularly harmful for the anti-imperialism movement in the USA and western countries although this is precisely where a very strong anti-imperialism movement, linked to wider forces of peace with justice, is needed the most at present and in the near future. In order to be able to mobilize people in very large numbers, overcoming differences on other issues, the anti-imperialism movement should not take sides and should be based on better exposition of important facts, as truth is very much on its side. However if anti-imperialism degenerates into propaganda for rival centers of power, then it will lose its most important asset—truth.
In fact the anti-imperialism movement is not so much a movement against any particular country for all times as a movement which is always against the basic idea of imperialism—the idea of subjugating other people and being ready to destroy them and ruin environment for the the highly selfish ( and ultimately self-destructive too) pursuit of their very narrow interests.
Bharat Dogra is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Planet in Peril, A Day in 2071, Protecting Earth for Children and Earth without Borders.