Belfast Marxist argues that the epoch of imperialism still constitutes the world we live in.
Imperialism is a policy of extending a country’s power and influence through colonization, use of military force, or other means. The primary purpose of which is economic control in one way or another. It is a feature of a developed capitalist state as it advances toward monopoly capitalism.
Decades ago, colonialism was the means by which the ‘great powers’ exerted their control – full scale occupation of a country and the imposition of a rule of law and an economic system, suited to the occupier. The sun, it was said, never set on the British Empire, as its imperialist ambitions stretched into every corner of the globe. Ireland knows only too well the suffering and pain as a result of ‘Empire’, for it saw the effects of cultural imperialism as well as economic.
Where have the empires gone?
Throughout the 1900’s native populations gradually rose up against the imposed order. Revolution could be found wherever there was empire. Native people’s sought to replace the previous system with one of their own – and this presented empire, not only with its demise, but with even greater opportunities. Geographic empire was replaced by economic empire. Thus was the advent of Neo-Colonialism – a new colonial model, where nation states were subjugated through their own economic system. No longer were huge armies required to shoot down the natives. Huge navies could be scaled down to the bare bones, maintaining enough for defensive purposes only. The locals would now impoverish themselves via an economy whose keys were held by Britain, the U.S and others, as colonialism advanced toward industrial, finance and banking capital.
This new form of Imperialism could be defined, or identified, through the extraction of capital from one country or an economic system to another.
Take modern day Greece or Ireland as a clear example, where the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Union (EU) have ‘invested’ billions into a ‘failing’ (in the capitalist “we’re not making money” sense) economy, with the intention of extracting far more than they invested. This allows the parasites through the IMF (a private company owned by a few individuals) to dictate to nation states like Greece, desired changes in economic policy, which would favour the business interests of those in charge of capital – i.e. pensions in Greece and the Water Tax in the ‘Republic’ of Ireland. A world economy, with local economic systems and governments acting as a middle management for capital control, imposing the diktats of capitalist enterprise on the populations of the world.
Setting global economics aside and looking at the smaller economic systems of any one state, the internal mechanisms begin to display similar characteristics – the upper business and capitalist classes rule the roost, with most of the management of the system devolved to the middle classes, imposing the rules of the system upon the rest of society with the primary aim of capital extraction from the lower and working classes.
It is high time we realised that the extreme majority of wealth creation, commodities and so forth, are made by us, the normal working people of the world. – And if we want liberation, all we have to do is change the management system.
No amount of shifting borders or replacing governments will change anything. Usurping one oppressive government for your own will maintain its oppressive character if it maintains the same economic principles.
True freedom can only be found when we replace the economic system with one that favours that of the majority – one that sends capital, not upward to a tiny enriched minority, but directly into the pockets of the masses. An economic system that’s democratic in nature and liberating in structure – Socialism.