Imperialism’s Junior Partners

Published on The Bullet, Socialist Project’s E-Bulletin No. 1262, by Patrick Bond, May 31, 2016.

On May 12, Brazil’s democratic government, led by the Workers’ Party (PT), was the victim of a coup. What will the other BRICS countries (Russia, India, China, and South Africa) do? Will they stand by as the reactionaries who took power in Brasilia pivot closer to Western powers, glad to warm Dilma Rousseff’s seat at the BRICS summit in Goa, India in five months’ time? Or take a stronger line, following the lead of Latin American progressive countries (Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and El Salvador)? … //

… BRICS and Empire:

South Africa’s chief foreign policy spokesperson Clayson Monyela responded to Kodwa’s accusation with assurances that South Africa’s relations with the United States “are strong, they’re warm, and cordial.” But Kodwa’s cry of imperialism, in light of the Brazilian coup, has struck a nerve. Indeed, the argument that Rousseff’s ouster demonstrates that the purportedly anti-imperialist BRICS are under sustained attack by U.S. empire is being repeated in a number of corners. Commentators like Eric Draitser, Pepe Escobar, Paul Craig Roberts and Hugo Turner, along with officials from Venezuela and Cuba, all make this claim.

A founder of Brazil’s heroic Movement of Landless Workers (MST), João Pedro Stedile, was asked by Il Manifesto about why “a group of deputies from right-wing organizations went to Washington before the last elections.” He replied, “Temer will arrange his government in order to allow the U.S. to control our economy through their companies… Brazil is part of the BRICS, and another goal is that it can reject the South-South alliance.”

Another version of this anti-imperialist framing was heard at the South African Black Consciousness movement’s Black First Land First launch conference on May 13:

“Brazil and South Africa are seen by the Western imperialist forces as the weak link in the BRICS chain. The strategy of imperialism is to get rid of presidents who support the BRICS process. Imperialism works with internal opposition parties to effect regime change.”

The eloquent South African commentator Siphamandla Zondi, who directs the Institute for Global Dialogue (one of South Africa’s main foreign policy institutes), also shares this view. Zondi defends the BRICS project and disputes the argument put forth by myself and others that the BRICS actually serve a “sub-imperialist” role in the global economy – that they are fully complicit in reproducing inequality both within their own countries and between others in the Global South. In a challenge posted on Facebook he called for observers to recognize that “imperialism has, in the modern age, taken on racism, crude capitalism and patriarchy as its forms.”

No to the Coup, No to Imperialism: … //

… Neoliberal Multilateralism: … //
… Sub-Imperialism: … //

… (full text, hyper-links, related reading, comments).


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