The U.S. isn’t a nation of immigrants, so the U.S. must be abolished for socialism to come
This is part of a series on settlerism. See Part One for an examination of how settlerism impacts activist spaces.
The idea that socialism on this continent would need to be centered around patriotism for Amerikkka, and be represented by modified versions of Amerikkka's associated symbols, is based around the myth that the United States is a “nation of immigrants.” When one dissects this myth, it becomes clear why the “patriotic socialism” argument as it’s applied to Amerikkka is incurably reactionary. And why it’s appropriate to spell the country’s last name with those three Ks.
Why is the U.S. not a nation of immigrants? Because there’s a difference between immigrants and settlers, with the country’s settler-colonial nature making it unable to even claim to be a nation. Whereas immigrants come to function within the nations that they travel to, settlers actively replace those nations with new identities. This phenomenon is not the same as when foreigners don’t assimilate, which reactionaries falsely portray as an act of cultural erasure. It means when foreigners forcibly replace the indigenous cultures and systems they’ve come into contact with, and materially benefit from this erasure. This is what Americanism is about. As is the case for Zionism, the Australian anti-Aboriginal genocide, the Moroccan settler project in Western Sahara, and every other manifestation of settler-colonialism around the globe.
No matter how many times Amerikkkans say they’ve built a nation out of this process, it won’t be true, because nations require a shared history and a driving interest among the population. And the settlers are fundamentally different from the colonized in these areas. Whites here haven’t experienced chattel slavery, ethnic cleansing, the theft of their ancestal homelands, and the other types of violence which U.S. imperialism reserves particularly for the colonized. And the whites here whose ancestors were oppressed, like the Irish and the Italians, have long been allowed to fully assimilate and become white. The African, Chicano, and Native nations were never given this luxury, and they never will be. For as long as the United States exists, they’ll remain oppressed nations.
This goes for the idealistic fantasy scenario of the country being redeemed, where the United States gets reformed into something the Amerikkkan “socialist patriots” imagine to be communist. Until jurisdiction over the stolen territories is fully returned to the tribes, allowing these tribes to sort out the land management aspect of socialist development, whatever “socialism” that exists here will take on a revisionist form. It would be revisionist because it would go against the approach towards self-determination that Lenin assessed was instrumental to the success of Marx and Engels’ theory:
In the Irish question, too, Marx and Engels pursued a consistently proletarian policy, which really educated the masses in a spirit of democracy and socialism. Only such a policy could have saved both Ireland and England half a century of delay in introducing the necessary reforms, and prevented these reforms from being mutilated by the Liberals to please the reactionaries. The policy of Marx and Engels on the Irish question serves as a splendid example of the attitude the proletariat of the oppressor nations should adopt towards national movements, an example which has lost none of its immense practical importance. It serves as a warning against that "servile haste" with which the philistines of all countries, colours and languages hurry to label as "utopian" the idea of altering the frontiers of states that were established by the violence and privileges of the landlords and bourgeoisie of one nation. If the Irish and English proletariat had not accepted Marx's policy and had not made the secession of Ireland their slogan, this would have been the worst sort of opportunism, a neglect of their duties as democrats and socialists, and a concession to English reaction and the English bourgeoisie.
The same argument is now being made by those claiming socialism is compatible with U.S. patriotism. They say the idea of abolishing colonial borders and returning all land to the jurisdiction of the tribes is utopian. Yet they ignore not only this historical example of Marxists supporting the secession of a colonized nation, but the currently working example of such a measure on this continent. Since 2020, half of the settler state of “Oklahoma” has been effectively nonexistent, with the tribes there now holding full control over their original territories within the state’s perimeter. This hasn’t produced a collapse of governance within the area, as the colonial chauvinists claim would happen under full decolonization. The Natives have been able to effectively manage it, even though whites remain the majority demographic throughout the lands the Natives now control.
This shows that the fact that Natives are a small minority of the population on this continent—which the chauvinists consistently bring up to argue for colonialism’s continuation—is irrelevant as to whether the tribes would again be able to govern all of their lands. This obsession with numbers and demographics is misleadingly arbitrary, as are all the other arguments the chauvinists use against full decolonization—from their fearmongering about the Natives becoming the new oppressive occupiers, to their historically inaccurate narrative that the tribes already stole the land from each other, to their odd strawman about “where all the whites would go.” No one has been removed from the eastern half of “Oklahoma” based on their race since the area was decolonized. And if any deportations happen here after anti-colonial revolution, they’ll be done to settlers who’ve committed counterrevolutionary terrorism, not be based around blood quantums.
The effort to “save America,” whether it takes the form of white nationalist propaganda or “patriotic socialist” rhetoric, is incompatible with this scenario where white supremacy can be purged from our society. Even the most tame version of “America” would leave room for settlerism, and all of its forms of violence, to continue. It’s akin to trying to create a socialist Israel, rather than joining with the Palestinian resistance’s goal to end the occupation, abolish the settler state, and create a socialist Palestine from the river to the sea. The Israeli left, which parallels the U.S. left in its defanged nature, essentially takes this wildly contradictory position. The position that the colonial occupation would be acceptable if only it provided “socialism” for the settlers. Such an idea immediately brings “National Socialism” to mind.
Anti-Zionist Tikva Honig-Parnass has described the Israeli left as such:
What I would like to emphasize here, because it has implications for the present, is the role that left Zionist intellectuals, academics, and publicists had—and still have today—in articulating the main narrative of Zionism and legitimizing the Zionist colonial project. Claiming to possess the “scientific“ or the moral authority, they have justified the most terrible violations of human rights committed by all Israeli governments—left and right alike. The pre-state Zionist Labor movement created the false theory of “constructive socialism,” which was a local version of nationalist socialism. It called for the collaboration of labor and bourgeoisie—the “productive forces of society”—which contribute to the “collective” interests of state and society.
Reading this as someone in Amerikkka is like looking into a mirror. The U.S. “patriotic socialists” even use the same appeals towards “unity” among the proletariat to argue for why colonial chauvinism should be nurtured by communists, rather than repudiated. According to their revisionist view of Marxism, abolishing colonialism—an instrumental part of capitalism—would simply be too divisive.
The very opportunism that Lenin was relieved didn’t prevail within the socialist movement’s handling of the Irish question is now manifesting, except in regards to the colonial question on this continent. Amerikkka’s modern equivalents of the English reaction—the U.S. fiscal-military state, the carceral system, the racist police, the corporations that ruin indigenous land—are the benefactors of the U.S. socialist movement’s susceptibility to reactionary thinking. The movement is being divided between those who seek to build a post-colonial society, and those seeking to preserve settlerism. Which lets the wheels of reaction continue unchallenged.
Ending the myth that the U.S. is a “nation of immigrants” is instrumental towards rooting out these reactionary ideas, as the colonial chauvinist position takes root in the obfuscation of what settlerism is. It portrays settlers as synonymous with immigrants, ignoring the socioeconomic role that the term “settler” entails. Immigrants can become settlers, as has happened to the whites on this continent by default due to their role within our white supremacist society. This dynamic of parasitism and subjugation can only end with the abolition of the settler state.
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