Colonialism, capitalism, and imperialism create their own crises, especially when it comes to military conflict. They deprive vast swaths of the global population of food, water, shelter, healthcare, clean air, and freedom of movement while consequently imposing military occupations upon these populations out of fear that they’ll become unruly. This provokes these people to wage rebellions, which cause the forces of capital and empire to reactively enact massive violence and inquisitions against dissent. What this reaction from the centers of power leads to is so often the outcome that they fear most: victory for the victims of exploitation and subjugation.
A capitalist state — especially a settler capitalist state like Israel — is inherently vulnerable
Lenin predicted that even the most extreme campaigns of counterrevolutionary repression are done with the caveat of being perpetrated by a doomed class. The bourgeoisie, he wrore, can’t negate the rise of class consciousness among the masses, because the abhorrent conditions that the current system has put the masses in will keep creating discontent among them no matter what:
The bourgeoisie sees practically only one aspect of Bolshevism — insurrection, violence, and terror; it therefore strives to prepare itself for resistance and opposition primarily in this field. It is possible that, in certain instances, in certain countries, and for certain brief periods, it will succeed in this….The “contagion” (to use the favourite metaphor of the bourgeoisie and the bourgeois police, the one mostly to their liking) has very thoroughly penetrated the organism and has completely permeated it. If special efforts are made to block one of the channels, the “contagion” will find another one, sometimes very unexpectedly. Life will assert itself. Let the bourgeoisie rave, work itself into a frenzy, go to extremes, commit follies, take vengeance on the Bolsheviks in advance, and endeavour to kill off (as in India, Hungary, Germany, etc.) more hundreds, thousands, and hundreds of thousands of yesterday’s and tomorrow’s Bolsheviks. In acting thus, the bourgeoisie is acting as all historically doomed classes have done.
Applying this to the Palestinian fight for freedom from Israeli occupation, we see the same dynamic that Lenin anticipated, except in this case the primary contradiction which the subjugated class seeks to overcome is settler-colonialism rather than merely bourgeois rule. The “contagion” is the Palestinian spirit of resistance.
The Israeli occupation is the most extreme manifestation of oppression that the age of imperialism has produced; to keep the Zionist state in existence, the Israelis have turned occupied Palestine into a laboratory in necro-politics, where the occupiers have innovated means of movement control, mass surveillance, military technologies, propaganda, and policing techniques that numerous other repressive governments — especially the U.S. — have adopted for their own colonial and class wars. Israel and its partner in genocide Egypt have also utilized Washington’s economic warfare tactics by imposing a blockade on Gaza, which is ruining the ability of the city to rebuild following Israel’s recent bombardments against Palestinian buildings.
Yet even these tools aren’t enough to break the solidarity of the Palestinians, and therefore the capacity of the resistance movement to keep wearing down Israel’s supporting structures. The reason Israel has been bombing Gazan buildings with such unprecedented ferocity, and has been specifically targeting institutions like businesses throughout this, is because Israel is anxious to discourage Palestinians from supporting armed resistance.
Israel’s hope has been that the Palestinian masses will believe its propaganda about these buildings containing Hamas military assets, and that this belief will make the people within these communities want Hamas to stop defying Israel’s colonial expansionism out of a sense that the cost of resistance is too big. Absurdly, Israel’s promotion of this narrative has come with the assumption that the Palestinians will view the Zionist state as having their interests at heart, and as merely being forced to destroy these companies and living spaces.
It’s no surprise that Yahya al-Sarraj, the mayor of Gaza City’s municipality, has reported that “from walking around and meeting with many people — especially those who lost their homes or members of their families — what stood out for me was their determination and resolve. They know this offensive is not just a war on Gaza, but an extension of Israeli occupation policies in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.” He also described Israel’s bombing campaign against prominent Palestinian buildings as “desperate” in its hope for swaying the population against Hamas, which given this fact is evidently apt.
Why is Israel acting so desperate? Because its security strategists know that if the Zionist state doesn’t speedily accomplish the equivalent of the continent-wide colonization project which the United States carried out — and which has made the U.S. remain strong for so long despite being built on stolen land — the Zionist state will soon be in peril. Yuval Diskin, the former head of Israel’s ShinBet, said this year that Israel won’t survive into the next generation, a demise which according to him will occur “for internal reasons and influences.” He also lamented that “most of the economic and military burden in Israel will soon be borne by only 30% of the Israelis, and in this way, the Israeli society will not be spared from the problems that await it.”
This statement speaks to the fact that the Palestinian resistance movement, fortified both by armed struggle and by Boycott Divestment Sanctions, is likely soon going to put enough pressure on the Zionist state for the government to have no choice but to finally hold one-person-one-vote elections. From this true democracy will come the end of apartheid and the de-Zionification of Palestine, after which the liberated Palestinian nation will be able to start building socialism. The contradictions within the setter state that Diskin talks about will make this revolution all the easier.
The hubris of the U.S. will be its downfall
This existential crisis that Zionism has created for itself is going to be replicated for U.S. settler-colonialism, and due to similar reasons in terms of the settler state’s military disadvantages. When the victims of America’s own military occupation within the country’s heavily policed nonwhite communities inevitably start taking up arms in retaliation for intensifying state violence, the U.S. occupiers are going to be faced with Israel’s impossible task of trying to pacify a population which can’t be pacified because of its conditions.
Against these rebellious communities, they’re going to utilize the same tactics of invasion, military occupation, information control, economic blockade, and terrorism that Israel uses. We know this because the U.S. military is already making plans for just such domestic warfare operations, and is taking explicit example from Israeli counterinsurgency history to formulate these plans. But all of this brutality won’t stop the rebellion. Ultimately, it will fortify it.
When the crises of the colonized peoples within the U.S. — and the country’s poor more broadly — escalate to a direness which resembles that of the Palestinians, with the military occupying major cities like Los Angeles and potentially even bombing entire city blocks as the Philadelphia police did in 1985, support for the anti-colonial proletarian revolutionary effort will be galvanized. And given the ways that global warming, dollar collapse, and growing armed forces factionalism are going to weaken the U.S. military in the coming decades, the revolutionaries could gain the upper hand like how the Palestinians eventually will.
These two most evil of the world’s governments will fall because their military strategies both suffer from a pronounced version of the weaknesses in the bourgeois power structure which Lenin described. They meet resistance with a reactive approach, one which always tends towards blind escalation rather than true military pragmatism. As Che Guevara described, this inevitably produces a dynamic where the capitalist state is “obliged to appear without disguise, that is to say, in its true aspect as a violent dictatorship of the reactionary classes.” This escalation, he says, will “contribute to its unmasking, and this will deepen the struggle to such an extent that it will not be able to turn back.”
When the U.S. military inevitably brings home the warfare tactics its proxy state Israel utilizes, it will set off a domestic insurgency from the African, Native, brown, and otherwise marginalized communities. Sociologist Temitope Oriola even recently predicted something to this effect happening within our generation, citing rising racial inequities that will drive the most marginalized people to use force as a means for survival.
When this war for liberation starts, the U.S. will unleash all of the warfare techniques that it’s learned not just from its colonial laboratory in Palestine, but from its occupations and aerial assault campaigns within the “War on Terror.” This will entail drone strikes, as the U.S. uses against numerous countries. This will entail unaccountable private mercenary death squads, which are currently being proliferated in Afghanistan. But these extreme acts of violence from the state will ensure that the masses use force to carry out their desire for revolution. As Guevara also assessed:
Sooner or later, in each historic epoch, as objective conditions ripen, consciousness is acquired, organization is achieved, leadership arises, and revolution is produced Whether this takes place peacefully or comes to the world after painful labour, does not depend on the revolutionaries; it depends on the reactionary forces of the old society; it depends on their resistance against allowing the new society to be born, a society produced by the contradictions of the old society.
In the case of the struggle to defeat the U.S. occupier state, the contradictions are going to become so dire that they produce the most extreme blowback possible for the state. And the state’s War on Terror tactics are going to be able to bring about a lot of bloodshed, but they’ll also bring the same disadvantages for the U.S. military that have so infamously appeared within the Afghanistan war. As Michael Scheuer wrote in his 2004 book Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror, Washington was — and still is — unable to defeat the Islamist insurgencies because it’s blind to the fact that U.S. imperialist atrocities are what’s motivating the terrorists to wage war. Scheuer pointed out that:
In the context of the ideas bin Laden shares with his brethren, the military actions of al Qaeda and its allies are acts of war, not terrorism; they are part of a defensive jihad…These attacks are meant to advance bin Laden’s clear, focused, limited, and widely popular foreign policy goals; the end of U.S. aid to Israel and the ultimate elimination of that state; the removal of U.S. and Western forces from the Arabian Peninsula; the removal of U.S. and Western military forces from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other Muslim lands
If the Taliban can leverage these imperialist provocations to garner support from the local communities within Afghanistan, to the effect that the U.S. still can’t fully conquer the country, the U.S. government’s equivalent domestic provocations of increasingly militarized police and enforced poverty will incentivize the marginalized U.S. communities Oriola references to support their own anti-imperialist movement. This movement will be informed not by religious doctrine, but by the theory of successful revolutionaries like Lenin and Guevera.
And the misjudgements that the government will no doubt make when it comes to the motives of these hypothetical near-future rebels will work to the advantage of the rebels. Like how the military has been unable to see that the jihadists are motivated by a desire to end U.S. imperialism, and has consequently been unwilling to end the perpetual wars which keep the cycle of terrorism going, the military will fail to see that the rebels it domestically encounters will be motivated by intensifying economic and police subjugation. The U.S. counterinsurgency leaders won’t try to address the plight of these communities, they’ll see counterrevolutionary terror as the only solution. And this will further galvanize the population’s desire to see the colonial occupation end.
As these leaders commit these blunders, they’ll be advised by the same Israeli military experts who are currently walking the Zionist state towards its own demise. These experts don’t recognize that the Palestinians are fighting for the sake of ending blockades, discrimination, and brutal military occupations. They can only think to label every facet of Palestinian society as “The Hamas,” and to view Hamas not as the pragmatic actor it is but as an irrational terrorist organization. In other words, to replicate the errors in thinking that have caused the U.S. to continuously lose its war against terrorism for the last two decades. We’ll see how well this strategy works when it’s brought into U.S. borders.