The imperialists use disinformation as a weapon. Proletariat dictatorship is how to disarm them.
The difference between Marxists and liberals is that whereas Marxists strive for what’s best for the proletarian revolution, liberals seek to maintain their own self-perception of moral superiority. As Mao wrote, “liberalism rejects ideological struggle and stands for unprincipled peace.” Which means liberals, and Marxists who give in to liberal ideas, aren’t ideologically equipped to fight for the revolution.
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Promoting imperialist narratives under the guise of opposing “authoritarianism”
Liberalism rationalizes letting actions and ideas which harm the interests of the people slide, for the sake of maintaining this hypocritical concept of peace. And it rejects things like there being a role for violence within liberation struggles, despite liberalism’s neglect for ideological struggle frequently leading liberals to embrace imperialism’s pro-war narratives. There’s fundamentally a lack of principles within liberalism, because its priority is not in fighting the class war, but in upholding a subjective sense of virtue. One whose notions of what’s right and wrong are defined by what bourgeois ideology and imperialist propaganda say.
One way liberalism cultivates this lack of willingness to engage in class struggle is by blanketly vilifying authority as a means for carrying out the revolution’s goals. The “libertarian socialists” whose positions are informed by this mentality claim to dislike Marxist-Leninist states because these states are “authoritarian.” but these states only get this label because imperialism’s propaganda has worked to associate them with it. The criteria for what makes them “authoritarian” is arbitrary, tied not into their actual rates of repression but into who that repression gets directed towards. China’s incarceration rate compared to its population is tiny compared to that of the United States, but China is called “authoritarian” in contrast to the “democratic” U.S. This is because China locks up agents of U.S. imperialist subversion, whereas the U.S. locks up victims of the poverty it cultivates. It’s the U.S. that’s facilitated the imprisonment and torture of Julian Assange for his journalism exposing U.S. war crimes, but China’s speech suppression is seen as more sinister because it’s directed at Washington’s disinformation.
What China, north Korea, Cuba, Laos, Vietnam, and socialist-governed countries like Venezuela and Nicaragua are doing is what Engels said a revolution must do when he ridiculed the left’s “anti-authoritarians”:
Why do the anti-authoritarians not confine themselves to crying out against political authority, the state? All Socialists are agreed that the political state, and with it political authority, will disappear as a result of the coming social revolution, that is, that public functions will lose their political character and will be transformed into the simple administrative functions of watching over the true interests of society. But the anti-authoritarians demand that the political state be abolished at one stroke, even before the social conditions that gave birth to it have been destroyed. They demand that the first act of the social revolution shall be the abolition of authority. Have these gentlemen ever seen a revolution? A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionists. Would the Paris Commune have lasted a single day if it had not made use of this authority of the armed people against the bourgeois? Should we not, on the contrary, reproach it for not having used it freely enough?
It’s for this reason, the one of a revolution needing to defend itself, that China and the DPRK especially have enacted systems for filtering out imperialist disinformation. As much as liberalism’s argument for free speech absolutism causes liberals to decry these censorship measures, China and the DPRK are under no obligation to allow U.S. imperialism’s propaganda into their borders unchecked.
This isn’t because the governments of these countries don’t tolerate any dissent. They in fact do, to far greater extents than the media leads us to believe. It’s because imperialist propaganda is utterly malicious in its intent, and necessarily false. It exists only to advance imperialism’s goal of destabilizing these countries, and dismantling their socialist projects so that foreign capital can set up neo-colonial regimes within them.
The censorship policies of these countries come not from corrupt elite groups that seek to crush dissent, as liberalism’s mindset might lead one to believe, but from the democratic wills of their own people. This is because elitism is utterly incompatible with communism. When a communist party’s leadership acts out of step with the people it rules over, the people respond by taking away its ability to act as a vanguard, and its power ends. This is what happened to the Soviet Union’s ruling party, which abandoned the state as an instrument for class struggle, forsook Stalin and Lenin’s theory calling for the bourgeoisie to be made politically powerless, and therefore made it impossible for socialism to be defended in the eastern bloc. Socialist Yugoslavia’s leaders enabled imperialist sabotage through their own failures too, as I’ll explain later in this article. China’s ruling party hasn’t repeated these mistakes, in fact Xi Jinping has directly diagnosed them. As has Kim Jong Il, whose ideas still define the DPRK’s ruling Workers Party despite him being dead.
Because these parties act according to the interests of their people, they’re able to censor imperialist disinformation without letting this veer into suppressing factually based criticisms of government officials. China has experienced great deals of protests over the years for its widespread corruption, corruption which Xi Jinping has been campaigning to eliminate in response to these demands from the masses. China isn’t censoring these complaints, it’s censoring the endless flood of imperialist media articles which repeat the lies about a “Uyghur genocide.” Among the many other lies designed to sow unrest within the country.
Parallel evidence justifying the DPRK’s censorship policies is that these policies have come not from above, but from below. The country’s electoral system, one of the world’s most transparent and free, has enabled communities to decide to limit their exposure towards the imperialist-controlled internet, and maintain an internet particular to the DPRK.
It’s not Kim Jong Un who’s made these decisions. It’s the people, who have the education on anti-imperialist struggle to recognize when it’s necessary to filter out imperialism’s propaganda sources. With Washington using its south Korean puppet regime to perpetually manufacture fictitious accounts of DPRK human rights abuses, paying defectors exorbitant amounts of money to repeat such hoaxes for the imperialist media, the DPRK’s people are wise to not want to expose their younger or less educated people to these poisonous lies. They don’t want to undergo the process that Yugoslavians were subjected to.
Using disinformation to kill a nation & dismantle its socialist project
I say imperialism’s propaganda is necessarily false because even when it’s drawing upon actual events, or upon factually based critiques of the governments it targets, its bias causes it to infuse these facts with lies. To exploit a grain of truth, and use it to promote wildly dangerous disinformation. For example, when it comes to the former Yugoslavia, there are factually based critiques to be made of the government, including ones that can be made from socialist perspectives. I’ve seen Yugoslavian communists say they believe Milosevic’s government had betrayed the values the country was founded on. According to them, human rights abuses occurred through the police, Milosevic carried out free market reforms without any clear plan for building the productive forces off of this, and he was a corrupt actor who stole state funds and violently sabotaged his political rivals. But these same Yugoslavians have agreed with my conclusion that the atrocities Milosevic supposedly orchestrated in the war were pinned on him by the imperialists to carry out a neoliberal expansion into Yugoslavia. Though they’re able to recognize this nuance within the story, many of their fellow Yugoslavians weren’t, and wholly embraced the narratives the CIA propagated.
The imperialists didn’t destroy socialist Yugoslavia by bombing it from the start, they first had to use strategic disinformation to create a social base within the country which supported their planned military actions. The CIA fabricated atrocity stories, as well as carried out actual attacks against civilians, then blamed them all on the Serbs. It was a series of false flag operations to scapegoat Serbia, in the vein of imperialism’s propaganda war against Assad. And it worked to the extent that the imperialists needed it to work, getting some Serbians to paint murals thanking NATO for supposedly having saved them. The CIA reignited old ethnic tensions, and flooded the country with so much disinformation that the different communities within it now have completely different perceptions of the conflict’s history.
The imperialists then turned the Serbian officials they had captured into monsters in the eyes of the public, in the style of how George Bush called Saddad Hussein worse than Hitler. They convicted Milosevic of war crimes, assassinated him while incarcerated, then blamed his death on himself. When he was cleared on his war crimes charges a decade later, Radio Free Europe and the other parties guilty of promoting the disinformation claimed his exoneration meant nothing. But what are we supposed to think when the story of Yugoslavia’s breakup has every red flag for being facilitated, at every step of the way, by one of imperialism’s atrocity propaganda campaigns?
One of these warning signs for a vast hoax is the role that malign actors within NATO’s cognitive warfare network have had behind shaping perceptions around Serbia’s role in the conflict. As the publication Telegraf has observed about the shady activities surrounding the formulation of these narratives, how these activities extended to Milosevic’s trial, and their sinister motivations:
The genocide in Srebrenica is a lie that justifies the ethnic cleansing of the Serbs…."Operation Storm" in Croatia, was part of the Dayton [military action] preparation. America had earlier wanted to support Croatia in the action, but could not manage to provide the circumstances, environment and something as an excuse….When former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic mentioned the so-called "French connection" at his trial at the Hague Tribunal in May 2003, which according to him was the culprit of the massacre at Branjevo, Judge Richard May did not allow further discussion on the matter and immediately silenced him….To cover up the whole case, the Tribunal had to have his own man, and so, as revealed by WikiLeaks, for France it was very important that Serge Brammertz succeeded Carla del Ponte as chief prosecutor, because the prosecutor in the court decides who will be charged and who will not. However, the spirit of the "French Connection" remains to be floating in the tribunal until today. The trial of General Radislav Krstic, with defense expert General Radovan Radinovic, pointing to an association of members of the Tenth Reconnaissance Squad with the French.
If it sounds hyperbolic for Telegraf to accuse the U.S. of having carried out this false flag so that it could ethnically cleanse the Serbs, recall the kind of vile rhetoric which the imperialists cultivated around Serbs and Serbia while using these kinds of Serbian “atrocities” as justification. One New York Times headline read “Bomb the Serbs. Now.” Imagine if this headline were directed at “the Jews” or “the Blacks.” It was naked racism rationalized by CIA lies, in the vein of the racism that Americans today direct towards Korean or Chinese people while using modern CIA atrocity stories as an excuse.
Whether the lies are about Serbians or Asians, the bigoted mentality behind the lies is the same. And if Korea or China were to be successfully destabilized like Yugoslavia was, the officials from these countries would get fraudulently convicted by U.S.-controlled courts as war criminals, like Milosevic and other Serbian leaders were. Another example of this is kind of NATO show trial pertains to general Mladic, who as international criminal lawyer Christopher Black has observed was subjected to a complete joke of a prosecution:
“All that is a lie. This is a NATO-style trial.” The defiant words of General Mladic to the judges of the NATO controlled ad hoc war crimes tribunal for Yugoslavia rang out loud and clear the day they pretended to convict him….The document called a “judgement” proves it for it reads like a propaganda tract instead of a court judgement. In just over 2500 pages the trio of “judges” recite the prosecution version of events nonstop, from the first paragraph to the last. The defence is mentioned only in passing. The ICTY rejects claims that it is a biased court, a NATO court but they proved it with the very first witnesses they called to set the stage for what was to follow. A man named Richard Butler was called to testify on general military matters and the political structure in Bosnia and the Republic Srpska. He was introduced as a “military analyst” which he is, but not an independent one. No, at the time of his testimony he was a member of the United States National Security Agency, seconded to the ICTY as a staffer.
The central figures behind the case against Mladic were U.S. military intelligence agents, ones who had led the operations against Serbia. Their lies were embraced without question, under the thinnest veil of serious legal proceedings. As Black concludes, “this conviction helps NATO to consolidate its hold on the Balkans by keeping the Serbs down and out. General Mladic is a scapegoat for the war crimes of the NATO alliance committed in Yugoslavia, which the ICTY covers up and so assists NATO in committing more war crimes, as we have seen since.” Did Serbian forces commit atrocities? I’m not negating the reality that they did. Lack of control over their own military personnel was another failure of the Yugoslavian government, and some of them likely went rogue. But the amount of atrocities on their part was no doubt exaggerated, and this absurd “trial” destroyed the ability to actually hold them accountable in an accurate sense.
The fact that I’ve decided to devote so many words to debunking the propaganda against Serbia in itself shows how profound imperialism’s deceptions surrounding Yugoslavia have been. Whenever I challenge the U.S. narrative on Yugoslavia, I receive outraged pushback insisting the U.S. accounts of the events are real, including from some self-identified communists who claim to have special insight as people who were close to the story. But all that matters are the facts. And the facts show that Yugoslavia is a victim of imperialism’s cognitive warfare. The CIA irrevocably changed how many among a generation of Yugoslavians view their country’s recent history, and rendered socialism unable to be defended from imperialism’s schemes for state breakup, austerity, privatization, and wage cuts.
If socialist Yugoslavia had had the same mechanisms for informational self-defense which China and the DPRK have, and if it had combated corruption as well as they do, it may still be socialist. The same might even apply to the USSR, whose ruling party neglected the task of filtering out imperialist disinformation at crucial points during its path towards counterrevolution. Those who help build future socialist projects should learn from the cautionary lessons of the USSR and Yugoslavia, and take example from the victory stories of China and the DPRK. We can’t let the reactionaries run free in their efforts to spread lies and division. We need to stamp out the reactionaries through any means necessary, and be vigilant of actors within our parties who show themselves to be liabilities. The alternative is for the reactionaries to stamp us out.
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