On the Empire’s new clothes

– Rizal Roja

It is easy to recognize your enemy when he has a different skin colour, and when he is beating you, raping you, burning down your villages. It is harder to recognise your enemy when he looks like you, when he is attractive when he is singing popular music and wearing cool clothes, and selling you a lifestyle. Less and less does cultural hegemony take the form of traditional white chauvinism, traditional male chauvinism, etc. More and more western culture is being weaponized, and exported with black & brown faces, as hip-hop, pop music, superhero movies, Japanese anime, video games, meme culture, etc.The face is Imperialism today is not White Empire, but Rainbow Empire – and this Rainbow Empire is corrupting the young intellectuals of Africa, Asia and Latin America with western culture, with individualism, with liberalism. Throughout the global south, young people are listening to western music, watching western music, posting on western websites, etc.. Young intellectuals are identifying more with the culture, and people of the Imperialist countries which are robbing their homeland, than the people of their homeland. They dream not of liberating their people, but of moving to the core territories of the Atlantic/Rainbow Empire; to America, to Europe, to Australia, Japan or South Korea, and of sharing in the bounty of Imperialism & Neo-Colonialism.

This new form of Imperialism is particularly dangerous because it is presented with smiling, familiar faces – Black faces, Asian faces, Latino faces. Empire is hip. It’s cool. It’s black, and brown, and Asian, and disabled, and Muslim, and Buddhist, and Atheist. It’s a woman, it’s gender queer, it’s gay, it’s transsexual and vegan and not ashamed of its sexuality. It feigns intellectual superiority, and makes promises of “freedom” and “liberty”, and rather than calling you an inferior race, it tells you that you too can enjoy the consumerist plunder promised by the new, sexy, cool Empire. Imperial culture, sold with coloured faces, cool lyrics and flashy animation, has enamoured the youth of the global south and transformed them into the mental slaves of Rainbow Empire. The Plantation Masters of old would be envious of how effective the propaganda of Atlantic/Rainbow Empire has been in its lobotomization of class consciousness.

The solution to Capitalism-Imperialism is not “black capitalism” or “brown capitalism”, “feminist capitalism” or “queer capitalism”. Real revolutionaries stand for the liberation of the entirety of society, and not simply the few. Real revolutionaries aim to radically transform human society, from the root level to the top, not simply replace one ruling class with another. Simply replacing the ruling class with a more diverse ruling class makes no difference for the majority of humanity. One needs to look only at occupied Azania (“South Africa”) to see what happens when the ruling elite are simply made more diverse. Today in occupied Azania, the majority of top-level politicians are Black or Coloured. The bourgeoisie, while still predominantly white, is made up of black and brown and Asian faces too. And while the black ANC government gives token speeches about economic nationalism and African nationalism, they bow their heads solemnly to their Neo-Colonial slave masters in Europe, North America, and Asia. The revolution of the occupied Azanian people failed to go all the way, and as a result, nothing has really changed for the African majority in occupied Azania, except that they now have the “privilege” of once every few years, being able to leave their decrepit shacks to vote in their choice of corrupt, comprador political leaders. Our goal must not be self-enrichment or the enrichment of the few, but the emancipation of the entirety of Humanity from this monstrous and barbaric system of Capitalism-Imperialism. To make those who are last first, and those who are first last.

A principal task of revolutionaries in the global south is both to find a way to either fight against – or work around this corruption of the young intellectual class. To fight against liberalism, imperialism, westernization, to provide to the youth of their homelands something better – stronger, cooler, more intelligent and more liberating than the tall promises and cultural exports of the First World Imperialists – and also, to present a viable, healthy and fun socialist lifestyle to these youth. A socialism of song and dance, a socialism of poetry and philosophy, a socialism of athletics, of games, of festivals and celebrations. In the meantime, communists, particularly in the west, need to part with our 19th/20th-century dinosaur understanding of Imperialism. The world has changed. Imperialism has changed. Capitalism has changed and is changing day by day. Forms of analysis and ideas which are not scientifically useful to us today must be thrown in the trash.


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