When I grew up, the consensus and pride that existed amongst my Ethiopian family members were that Ethiopia was never colonized. We needed to be proud of our fighting off against the colonialism of the Italians, and we later teamed up with the British to defeat Mussolini and the fascists. I had grown up to feel immense pride about the history of the Battle of Adwa and the presumed independence that we had. I really believed that we were truly and completely sovereign.
As it were, my development and understanding of how Africa under neocolonial occupation and development by the West and also China (albeit with China for far less exploitative, but still unequal trade relationships). I didn’t understand how the formation of the state of Ethiopia itself was a European-aided and European-driven project. I failed to recognize the pervasive, extractive relationship whereby AFRICOM and other western forces invade and inhabit our land. It was in my upbringing that I never was able to grasp how the US exerted its control over not just the countries where my family is from (Ethiopia and Eritrea), but also within the manner that I failed to understand our influence across the globe.
In just over one month of the newest administration, there has been no substantive effort to get the kids out of cages, no stimulus checks, no emergency universal health care plan, and now, airstrikes into a foreign country. This past week, the US bombed Syria. I would offer folks to seek to learn about the intentions themselves from other anti-imperialist journalists that break down why none of this made sense. But the one thing I want to note and the one thing that remains clear after these events are this: the only thing that both parties agree on is imperialism. Imperialism is a bi-partisan project. The settler-colonial empire of the United States and its desires to preserve its hegemony is bipartisan.
A friend of mine put it best when he left some comments about the news this week here:
For being a population that is drowning in propaganda, it is intentionally harder to grasp the scope for which the state is fundamentally focused on oppressing marginalized folks. It took me so much reflection and understanding of the parasitic nature of the state to realize that it wasn’t about any one individual or any one person inhabiting an office that could ever change things. It’s integral to the functioning of how this project operates. It’s all of this understanding that just makes it too painfully obvious. I cannot help but see the ways that racial capitalism indoctrinates us and renders me to a status weighed on my “productivity.” It’s so much easier for all of us to just individualize these circumstances we face. We attempt to ascribe one person or one small faction as if they could ever encompass the scope and scale of an empire. It takes far more energy and reckoning to have to challenge our whole existence and foundation as a state.
Recently, Jalil Muntaqim mentioned on a recent episode of Hella Black Pod how he and other BPP, BLA members described themselves: prisoners of war. For Black revolutionaries, the state has always been at war with Black people, whether more overtly in the 70s or through heavy policing measures like we have today. It was imperative to be clear about the urgent and very real conditions of war that Black people faced. Nearly 50 years after the height of the Black Power Movement, western neocolonialism and developments of counterintelligence programs only have intensified. And as the US has expanded its sphere of influence, the imperialist efforts have only expanded.
Besides the fact I fundamentally disagree with the US shooting missiles anywhere, I just feel frustrated knowing that these missile strikes were never expected. I fear and am worried about whether or not we will all come to the collective consciousness to recognize how indiscriminately our state chooses to exert its military supremacy on peoples across the world. How can we get to the point where there is a clear anti-imperialist movement across the country where we demand an end to wars that should have never begun? What can we do to amass an awareness of all the hidden wars across the globe our state wages to undermine the sovereignties of peoples in the global south?
All of these ideas/thoughts/reflections are always going through my head, especially given the events of this past week. I don’t know how or what to do except just learn as much as I can and attempt to organize with peoples who are anti-imperialists. All I know now is what the US wishes to accomplish in its expansion of hegemony necessitates the deaths of peoples abroad. What I wish for there to be is just any hope for true self-determination for all peoples everywhere. And I don’t think I’ll ever be able to not see any action this empire takes as anything less than that focus of retaining its power.
The airstrikes this past week are only the beginning of the efforts that will be made in the next 4 years that will result in the deaths of people abroad to preserve this US project. And I ultimately wonder whether we will all realize that we will always do this, again and again, until we all decide we organize against it. That’s all I know.
Being Noah Tesfaye #172: Imperialism is Bi-Partisan
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