GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – Imperialism, the highest form of capitalism

Imperialist competition, imperialist rivalry and imperialist aggression and war, is capitalist competition writ large on the world stage.
Imperialism has been called the highest form of capitalism. Every country that has a capitalist economy, aspires to be an imperialist power. If a capitalist country can’t achieve imperialism on their own because they are too small, ie countries like New Zealand and Australia, or because they are defeated imperialists, like Japan, then they can align themselves to bigger more successful imperialist powers as junior partners to that imperialism. (and gain the benefits of imperialism that way).
First – there are countries that are imperialist powers in their own right, like America, and Russia, and China,
Second – there are junior partners to imperialism, like New Zealand and Australia and Japan..
Third – there are colony and neo-colonial countries, these are the countries that the big imperialist countries will invade and even fight each other, to bring into their sphere of influence. Ukraine fits into that third category. As do many of the smaller countries in Asia and Africa, Latin America and the Pacific.

Imperialism is endemic to capitalism

Every capitalist country with a growth economy, would like to be an imperialist power in their own right. Even us, here in little ol’ New Zealand once aspired to be an imperialist power in our own right.
The history of imperialist conquest and division of this part of the world is as ugly and violent as anywhere.

New Zealand’s part in the imperialist division of the South Pacific

New Zealand was once known as the “Prussia Of The South Seas”.   New Zealand’s past violent and oppressive colonialist and imperialist rule of our smaller Pacific Island neighbours is well documented.

When soft power fails war becomes inevitable

To gain advantage for themselves there are various methods in which the world powers compete and project themselves on the world stage, – trade – culture – diplomacy – war.  Most of these forms of imperialist competition are known as “Soft Power“.

When soft power fails, the imperialist capitalist powers, driven by their existential need for growth and expansion, almost always turn to Hard Power and military force. The only other option to capitalist expansion and growth, is contraction and economic collapse. (Very few imperialist powers and their junior allies choose this last option willingly, and so war becomes inevitable.

There are two forms of imperialist war

The first form of imperialist wars (and the oldest) are the various wars fought by the imperialist countries to invade and conquer and loot smaller and weaker countries, and the popular peoples’ wars of resistance to keep their independence, often against insuperable odds.

The second form of imperialist war, is the war fought the between the various rival capitalist powers themselves, for the division and redivision of the world.

This second form of imperialist war also has two forms, – open global conflict between the opposing imperialist blocs, – indirect proxy conflicts fought in third countries.

Some wars are a mixture of both. The war in Ukraine has been called a proxy war. The Vietnam war was also called a proxy war. But primarily the Vietnam war was a popular people’s war fought for independence from French, Japanese and American imperialist invaders.

The war in Ukraine is also primarily first and foremost a popular people’s war against an imperialist invader.

Support the people of Ukraine – join the anti-war protest march in Auckland called for this Sunday.

Anti-War March To Commemorate Victims Of War In Ukraine

Press Release: Ukrainian Association

Sunday, 5 June 2022, 12:00pm (please gather from 11:30am)
Marching from Aotea Square to the Auckland War Memorial, Auckland Domain

The march will honour all those innocent victims who have lost their lives, relatives, and homes in Ukraine, Chairman of the Ukrainian Association of New Zealand, Yuriy Gladun says.
“We stand in solidarity with Ukrainians. This vicious and brutal assault by Russia on the Ukrainian people continues every day. We urge New Zealanders to send a clear message to our Government that we need to do more.
“Ukraine is fighting the force of a power-hungry dictator who wants to rule the world. We must not waiver in our unending support for the people of Ukraine.”  

Pat O’Dea is a unionist and human rights activist.

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