On the Authoritarian Turn of Global Capital and its Contradictions in the USA
There’s a tendency within certain factions of the US left to regard the case of former US president Donald Trump as an ‘anomaly’. In dealing with other personifications of capital, the contradictions of Marx’s critique of political economy seem to apply just fine, but when it comes to Trump and Trumpism the metaphysics of randomness satisfies almost all strategic assessments. Perhaps this has something to do, as Karl Korsch (1886-1961) remarked in 1940, with the absence of a thorough conception of “counterrevolution” in Marx, since “from the viewpoint of his historical experience” he could not “conceive of counterrevolution as a normal phase of social development. Like the bourgeois liberals he thought of the counterrevolution as an ‘abnormal’ temporary disturbance of a normally progressive development.” A theoretical deficit that has trickled down to every facet of leftist revolutionary and state theory, in the US and elsewhere.
But here I have a different proposition regarding the perverse characterizations of Trump, for I find them to be more in line with Perry Anderson’s assessment of the “provincialism” of the US political scene, “with [its] minimal knowledge of the outside world and a political system that has increasingly given virtually untrammeled power to the executive in the conduct of foreign affairs.” Indeed, the bulk of all existing analysis on Trump is foreign policy tone-deaf: they miss the larger picture of a historical contradiction in the camps of American and global capital, wherein Trump personifies the interests of a breakaway faction and where the warring factions are positioning themselves for or against the Chinese model and vision of capital. In fact, Trump is on the ‘pro-China’ side of the conflict for the reasons that follow, and if his actions appear as out of character with respect to the established neoliberal norm, the reasons are to be sought in the realm of foreign policy and not in his eccentric persona.
Isolationism vs Interventionism
To demonstrate this, I ‘follow the money’ that backed Trump in his venture of reshaping the dialectics of US foreign policy and its domestic counterparts. I pursue what was at stake for the breakaway faction of US capital, in backing a strongman that Henry Kissinger likens to “one of those figures in history who appears from time to time to mark the end of an era and to force it to give up its old pretences.” It becomes apparent that Trump’s proponents and opponents are the modern heirs to the same old conflict between the strongholds of isolationist nationalism in the Mid-West and the bastions of a more interventionist nationalism on the East Coast. This is a conflict that once structured the contradictions of the Marshall Plan and its grand strategic aim of ‘containing’ the Soviets, and now concerns the American stance toward China and a neoliberal world order that it is changing in response to the Chinese model of capitalist development. It becomes evident that there is nothing ‘anomalous’ about Trump and that Trumpism is here to stay, since the movements of history favor the Trumpist faction, and China might win even this round of the cold war – if the neoliberal establishment does not get its act together.
Accordingly, I pay close attention to a host of recent reports from US think-tanks that advise current US president Joe Biden on adapting parts of Trump’s strategic platform to the neoliberal agenda. They advise him on re-establishing the hegemony of American Manifest Destiny in and outside the country, against the Chinese vision of capital and its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI); and they trust that Biden might win the breakaway factions over in this spirit, and perhaps even refunction the recent waves of social dissent in the country as the moral high ground for reinventing the liberalism of American imperialism. This is why the ‘blue-collar Biden’ of late is retooling the US economy’s defence infrastructure and reimagining its global supply chains, and this is why ‘America is back’, as they say. That he might triumph in this venture, however, depends on his ability to enlist the energies of the newly reborn American workerist, abolitionist, and environmentalist movements in the cause of the coming cold war. As Mario Tronti warned us in the 1960s, capital is quite adept at deploying “the workers’ antagonistic will-to-struggle as a motor of its own development.”
The Current Conjuncture of TINA
To begin with, let us quickly situate our historical moment in the wider dynamics of what I have previously identified as a mutating neoliberalism. For as I write, American capital, like the Dutch or British capital before it, is contending with being dethroned as the sovereign of a century-old empire and adjusting to becoming a major player in a forthcoming bipolar world order, alongside China. It is a shift that has fractured the American capitalist camp into the pro-establishment faction of the likes of Biden and Clinton, and a new faction personified by Trump that aims to transition global capitalism toward authoritarian administrations of national capital. This would emerge as a certain ‘civilizational capitalism’ that dispenses with Western liberalism’s imperialism and favors any administration from any ideological background, insofar as it is friendly to the interests of capital anywhere and everywhere. For what is ‘new’ here is not that US and global capital get to welcome ‘illiberal’ or ‘mercantilist’ capitals at last – that has long been the system wide norm – but rather the feudal character and reorganization of capitalism on a national and world scale in what amounts to a strategic and economic necessity in a world torn by two sovereigns, for reasons that follow.
Of course, observers have construed such tensions as signs of a structural crisis in the neoliberal order. But this observation holds true only to the extent that we restrict our unit of analysis to Western capital and misconstrue the new coordinates that the Chinese model of capitalist development has introduced into the global dynamics of capital. After all, the neoliberal logic is not in crisis everywhere outside the West, but rather, is thriving and spreading in some places so quickly that it is forcing the neoliberal project to change on a global scale. Here, the ‘efficient’ rise of Chinese state capitalism, and the expansionist ambitions that go with it and sustain it, are serving as an alternative model of capitalist development and building national hegemony. For this is a model that provides safe passage to the global markets for novice local capital (i.e., the likes of Iran), and grants space to the more established players to adjust their politics and economy to the mandates of a bipolar world market (i.e., the likes of Turkey), without having to live and die by the ‘rules-based’ dictates of Washington. Hence, the authoritarian character of this model becomes the state form necessary to overseeing a breakaway transition, with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as the archetype and China as geopolitical guarantor.
We must also note that here capital’s contemporary battle lines are drawn as much against domestic labour movements as they are between two contending visions of ‘there is no alternative’ (TINA) to capital: Chinese and American; Trumpist and Clintonite. Since neoliberalism is here to stay on a global scale, at least for now, the fight is over which vision of capital gets to domesticate the national bastions in the future, as it cannot be denied that there is social discontent with a global character at home. In fact, American working and middle-classes have been weathering the tides of China’s economic rise for some time, with some 67% of all Americans viewing China as a threat to the American economy. And according to growing consensus among the planners in Washington, average Americans are quite weary of the prospects of the United States as an empire, of its liberal vision of the world markets, and of the dangers of a great power competition with China. It could even be said that they are wising up to the fact that the empire does not provide as before because it cannot anymore.
They are correct, of course, since the asymmetric accumulations of industrial and commercial power that once founded and funded the superiority of US capital at the peripheries’ expense are no longer as lopsided and decisive as before. Without this superiority, a multitude of peripheral states and multinational corporations chip away at US capital’s monopolies. Critically, as the establishment planners in Washington warn Biden, the peripheries’ encroachment exposes US capital to strategic vulnerabilities that could undermine its ambitions for the next century.
The reports defer to the Trump administration’s assessment of how neoliberal policies have “heightened the logistical complexity of international trade, made the United States more vulnerable to global supply shocks, and heightened the economic leverage of foreign suppliers such as China.” In the meantime, asymmetric accumulations of power in the West had come at the cost of making a mockery of its ‘values’ in the peripheries, in the name of which Western colonialism and expansionism were spread. And now, not only liberal capitalism’s claims to cultural supremacy have fewer proponents abroad, but peripheral capitalist states are harnessing the local disillusion with their Western values to justify the rule of chauvinist neoliberal imagination in its stead: from Narendra Modi’s ‘Hindutva’ vision of India to Vladimir Putin’s ‘Eurasianism’ and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ‘neo-Ottomanism’ in Turkey. Here, too, China’s ‘non-interventionist’ vision of the foreign policy future is primed for taking the ideological harness of destiny away from the Americans.
In this complex conjuncture, US capital, no longer capable of bankrolling its middle and working-classes’ social welfare at the peripheries’ expense, and having long dismantled its own social safety nets through austerity measures, risks losing state control to the alternative visions of Donald Trump and US senator Bernie Sanders. Here the threat to the neoliberal establishment is not as much that the likes of Trump and Sanders might harvest the weariness to take power, but that they take it to reshape American power now that neoliberalism is mutating, capitalism is shifting to a bipolar order, and the rest of the field are adjusting their transitional plans to the emerging realities. This cannot be tolerated, of course, for what is ultimately at stake is the prospect of losing the bigger picture – and America’s hegemony along with it – to the CCP’s vision of a new world order. Hereafter, ‘neoliberalism’ is not simply a state-driven project geared to market deregulation and accumulation by dispossession, or a right-wing political project to ensure that history terminates in empire and capital, but a global battle over how history is to end. It is a battle between liberal globalist capitalism and capital with many native faces.
All of Trump’s Men
US capital had two ways out of their own mess. The first (now defunct project) was Obama and Clinton’s vision of forming new economic blocs, the likes of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which was a strategy of pulling the resources of Western and peripheral economies together to create larger markets, supply chains, and labour pools forming market blocs capable of competing in terms of size and diversity with the Chinese market and its BRI mega-project (to which I return shortly). Raising the minimum wage, providing ‘Obamacare’, etc., would serve to ‘ease’ the havoc that the new markets would wreak on the lives of the new blocs’ working-classes. As for the foreign policy of this market strategy, the United States would continue to guarantee the military security of such blocs, as it once did for the post-WWII blocs of capital in Europe and the Pacific. In this spirit, Obama’s foreign policy’s historic ‘pivot to Asia’ followed in due course, requiring new deputies such as Iran along the way – much to the Israelis and Saudis’ chagrin – in geopolitical jugulars such as the Middle East, as well as securing the new alliances through the likes of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement with IRI. In fact, all of this was already laid down in Clinton’s vision of “America’s Pacific Century.”
Then there was Trump (and Brexit’s) bolder and tamer vision: accept America (and England’s) diminished role and place in the emerging new order, but with a safe and ‘graceful’ transition for US (and English) capital. As for the working-classes, make American (and British) labour ‘more competitive’ by gutting their welfare and social protections even further, so as to lower their cost to transnational capital and reverse the flow of outsourced jobs over the long-term. Then restrict access to the domestic labour markets for the foreign worker, with a dash of fascism added to make it all organic and hegemonic. A strongman like Trump was going to require such a base, after all, if he was going to wage war against the neoliberal establishment, China, and the working class at the same time.
On the foreign policy front, no longer needing to secure the markets and sovereignties of other nation-states (as conceived in bloc formations such as TPP), the task was to reimagine NATO and resurrect old allies such as the Saudis and Turkey who shared in the new vision, but also to deemphasize the Middle East to focus on China but without deemphasizing the focus on geopolitical cornerstones to China’s BRI project, such as Iran. As for the economy, scrap the TPP and TTIP and make ‘bilateral’ trade agreements the name of the trade game because, China aside, the United States has no one to fear in asymmetric two or three-way trade agreements. In this vein, renegotiating NAFTA to favour America’s infrastructural industries followed in short order. As for China, with the need to restrain its imperial ambitions being unavoidable one way or another, start a trade war and transform Obama’s ‘Pivot to Asia’ into the ‘Indo-Pacific Sphere’: a logistical sphere of regional states fearful of China’s rise, from India to Australia, to constrict China’s naval trade routes. Again, all of this could be found in Trump advisors Colby and Mitchell’s strategic blueprint for ‘The Age of Great Power Competition.’
We must note that while it may appear that Trump was only following in Clinton’s footsteps when it comes to China, we see that is not the case once we view the many components of his vision as a grand strategic whole. For on the economic front, we must account for why Trump scrapped the anti-China, pro-global capital TPP. On the foreign policy front, we must account for his attacks on NATO while outselling his predecessors on arms agreements the world over. On the domestic front, we must account for his cathexis on renewing America’s infrastructural and industrial power, from coal to liquid gas and steel, tactics that marked a definitive departure from the Clintonite establishment’s vision of America. Indeed, it becomes apparent that Trump’s grand strategy was in its basics similar to the CCP grand strategy for China: a self-reliant and regionally dominant US in a north America protected economically through the new NAFTA, and safeguarded logistically against China through the Indo-Pacific partnership. Hence the establishment’s outrage at Trump’s strategic antics both in and outside America. For as effective as fascism and protectionism might have proved to bolstering domestic hegemony amid the latest crisis of US capital, they were also too nativist a mantra for the self-declared ‘leader of the free world’. They are German ideology, in the final analysis, not Manifest Destiny.
Neither was Trump alone or anomalous in his convictions. In fact, once we follow the trail of donations, lobbies, and super PACs for Trump and his allies in the Senate and the Congress, we realize that a host of key US corporations and industries in food and agriculture, steel and aluminium, real estate and construction, energy and mining, entertainment, manufacturing, finance and insurance – even particular factions in telecom, defence, and big data – put their political weight and capital behind Trump. It was a Trumpist nexus of state and capital across what we can pursue on three intersecting directions: policy, planning, and legislation.
On the policy front let us focus on the case of Robert Lighthizer, the United States Trade Representative under Trump and the former Deputy US Trade Representative for President Ronald Reagan. Lighthizer, who supports tariff measures and bilateral trade, and maintains a pro-manufacturing and anti-China stance, renegotiated NAFTA for Trump. It suffices to mention that the new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) is designed to benefit certain industrial sectors of the US economy such as manufacturing, metals, and agriculture, which constitute the backbone of a robust war economy and the bulk of the money and industry in the American Midwest (Trump’s electoral bastions). These are the same industries whose share of the US and global markets was increasingly dwarfed by China’s state-backed metals, manufacturing, and agricultural corps. In fact, in the case of automotive manufacturing alone, the new “rules of origin require higher levels of North American content in order to incentivize production and sourcing in North America,” up from “62.5% to 75%,” while guaranteeing duty-free access for up to “99.99%” of exports from suppliers of such productive content within North America. This was a large enough win for this sector to explain its financial backing of the Trumpist cause, its support for Trump’s anti-Clean Air Act, etc. As for steel and aluminum, so lopsided was its support for Trump and the new bounties in CUSMA that even a Canadian steelmaker could not resist a $1.75-million campaign donation, sparking much Canuck controversy.
On the planning front we can focus on the case of Peter Navarro, who served in the Trump administration as the Assistant to the President, Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, and the national Defense Production Act policy coordinator. His famous report to the president, which set the very strategic framework for the likes of Lighthizer, called for decoupling the US and Chinses economies on the local and global scales as means to enhancing the “resiliency of our manufacturing and defense industrial base and supply chains.” He also represented ‘The Partnership for Open & Fair Skies’ lobby in contentious talks with Qatari and Emirati airways over giving American air travel giants privileged access to global airways. The controversial talks appear to be no more than the usual capitalist haggling until we note that one of its main beneficiaries was Boeing, which is one of the biggest sponsors of GOP candidates in the recent US elections. It is the same company whose former executive Patrick Shanahan was the acting Secretary of Defense under Trump, and the same company awarded handsomely by the Trump administration to build a fleet of F-15EXs that the US Air Force did not even need. As for the relations between Trump and that other US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, the company is rumored to have been awarded one of the richest defence contracts in history by the Trump administration, a contract for designing 6th generation fighter jets for the US Air Force, with the aim of neutralizing the purported superiority of 5th generation Chinese and Russian variants over their American counterparts.
The business between Navarro and Boeing helps us focus on Mitch McConnell’s voting record on the legislative front. After all, McConnell’s spouse, Elaine Chao, also Trump’s Secretary of Transportation, oversaw Federal Aviation Administration’s dealings with Boeing while Boeing bankrolled McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund PAC. As for the other super PACs affiliated with McConnell, such as American Crossroads with sponsors in the likes of Chief Oil & Gas and Dixie Rice Agricultural Corporation, they have had equally good reason to sponsor Trumpism. Of note is McConnell’s vote for the ‘Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015-2016’, which, in addition to repealing previous environmental protections and subjecting the US energy industry to a new slew of ‘national security’ regulations concerning trade balance and energy grid cybersecurity, also contained a number of highly contested clauses on the liquified natural gas (LNG) market, a sector that boomed between 2016-2020, after Trump removed a number of bans on fracking and pipelines, and which helped the EU remove the Russian Gazprom’s chokehold on its energy security – while Trump tariffs ensured that less and less of this strategic resource found its way to LNG’s biggest global importer, China.
And this is not to mention McConnell’s vote for the ‘Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018’, which deregulated the farmhand, farm land, and pesticide markets internally, while reregulating them for protectionist measures. Or the self-explanatory vote for ‘Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019,’ which in addition to its anti-BDS provisions also imposed sanctions on the Syrian regime’s dealings with the Chinese, Russian, and Iranian companies involved in rebuilding Syria. It is important to note that the bill was introduced shortly after China revealed its own bid to reconstruct Syria as a BRI hub.
Although there is much to be said about Xi Jinping’s imperialist vision for ‘The Governance of China,’ it is more useful to see how US thinktanks and institutions are reacting to Xi’s expansionist blueprint for this vision, i.e., the Belt and Road Initiative. For while the CCP refers to it as “a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future,” in practice BRI is a reimagination of the Chinese economy’s global trade routes and supply chains in ways that circumvent the various roadblocks the Americans have set up along the way, such as the many US military bases in and around the South China Sea. In terms of its scale, BRI is massive not only because it connects China via four separate commercial highways (through Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, and Russia) and three naval routes (the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea) to markets in South Asia, East Africa, and the EU. Or because CPP is reported to have invested more than half a trillion dollars in it in finance capital alone, so far. BRI is massive also because it is perpetually evolving and expanding, with the recent addition of the Digital Silk Road causing the most alarm in the West, as it could help China “lock other states into Chinese technological ecosystems incompatible with products made by non-Chinese firms.” In fact, in view of this threat, the Americans have been blocking Chinese telecom giant Huawei’s bid for developing the EU’s lucrative and strategic 5G market, making a mockery of their own free market rhetoric and European sovereignty in the process.
Indeed, according to a report written for the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, “Big Data” is “the most significant strategic national resource in the future” and “the object of a geo-economic and geo-political fight to secure global economic and technological leadership. The Digital Silk Road is slated to play a role in this struggle and, in this way as well, constitutes a strategic challenge for the West both in security and in commercial terms.” This contest is all the more decisive since its future technological backbone in artificial intelligence “could cause twice as much workforce displacement in the services sector between 2020 and 2040 as the industrial revolution caused for agricultural workers between 1900 and 1940,” according to a special report to the Biden administration. Michael Armacost, former Acting United States Secretary of State under George H. W. Bush, also warns the establishment in this regard: “If China succeeds… Future generations of American workers risk becoming idle… [while] China will dominate the industries of the future.” It is important to note that in both its Clintonite and Trumpist versions, the pivot to (and against) China does not spell the end to economic relations with China – far from it – or the beginnings of an overtly hostile military gesture, but rather, a restructuring and refunctioning of US economy in key infrastructural and logistical sectors, so as to prepare the US economy and imperialism for a potential cold war.
But before getting to the specifics of how the Biden administration plans to incorporate such a stance into the establishment agenda, we must note that such a shift in strategy also amounts to a foreign policy necessity from the perspective of local capitals. For the Chinese model of capitalist development has also oriented national actors away from securing their primary interests through globalism and toward securing them through regional expansionism, a reorientation that has put immediate inter-state dealings back on top of national agendas. Take Erdoğan’s Turkey for an example: having shunned its long desire to join the EU market, and now in defiance of NATO’s globalist mandates through its growing friendship with China and Russia, Turkey’s turn to authoritarianism has been carried out in conjunction with securing the country’s industrial and commercial necessities in the MENA region.
Indeed, as I write, it is contending with the Greeks for offshore oil and gas drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean; it is flying mercenaries from the war in Syria to the war in Libya in order to secure BRI naval routes from Turkey to north Africa; and it is already in Syria to prevent the country’s regime from setting up its central heartlands as an alternative BRI route to the Turkish hub. In fact, an entire array of seemingly contradictory behaviours from the Turkish regime find their focus through reorienting their strategic character around the necessities of BRI. Among them are Turkey’s purchase of a Russian missile defence system to protect its Chinese operated ports against NATO’s 5th generation fighter jets. Turkey has had comradely dealings with regional competitor IRI to help it circumvent US sanctions and connect BRI through Iran to Turkey. As well, Turkey’s assault on the Kurds in Rojava ensures that they hold on to the same stretch of land in central Syria that could connect the BRI through Iran and northern Iraq to Al-Assad territories near the Mediterranean. After all, as long as BRI has no other recourse but to pass through a NATO ally’s turf, the Americans could shut it down, if push ever comes to shove. Turkey will have its cake and eat it too, in the meantime, by playing the Russians, Chinese, and Americans against each other.
Meanwhile, in view of this ongoing turn to a regionalist foreign policy, and with the ‘the Soviet threat’ long extinguished, NATO is no longer as integral to the US national security structure as it was after WWII. Hence the savvy of Trump’s vision of restructuring NATO, as well as the uptick in global arms sales to those states who will to have to guarantee their own regional and global interests, if NATO and America did not do it for them. Crucially, the European Union, equally aware of the Chinese threat but also unwilling to toe the US line all the way through another cold war, has been working to keep its new Chinese partners as happy as its old American clientele. Here, NATO’s original ‘transatlantic’ mandate is in even more peril, and hence the rumors of a contradiction within the Pentagon itself, with its European Command siding with Trump to preserve its regional mandate and its Central Command siding with the establishment mandate of preserving NATO’s globalist origins. It is here, amid such serious contradictions and divisions over capitalist foreign policy’s future, that the blue-collar Biden enters the picture to save the liberal globalist plot.
To this end, I focus on a set of recommendations put forward to Biden for ‘saving’ working Americans. For example, a recent article in the Foreign Affairs by Trubowitz and former Obama advisor Charles Kupchan calls on Biden to cater to “working-class voters” if he “hopes to build a new internationalism.” Meanwhile, a special report on ‘Making US Foreign Policy Work Better For the Middle Class’ outright blames “rapid trade liberalization with China in the 2000s” for contributing “to the drop in manufacturing payrolls from 17.2 million in October 2000… to 11.6 million jobs just one decade later.” Recommendations are accordingly made to “appreciate the distributional impacts of an increasingly interconnected global economy,” since “both the security-minded and economic-focused wings of government trailed behind a changing world, and they continued to operate in silos.” These recommendations add up (in their strategic gist) to rebuilding and expanding the US middle class as an ideological and popular bulwark against both China and the American working-class. Critically, the report goes on to detail the results of a set of thorough empirical studies in the rural regions of Colorado, Nebraska, and Ohio, which voted heavily for Trump. It recommends that Trump’s protectionist rehabilitation of manufacturing and agricultural economies in these areas be adopted by the establishment because neither environmental nor labour protections are conducive to securing the economic interests of this conservative bastion. Especial recommendations are also made for further pampering of defence workers and contractors, as they “account for 10 percent or more of the workforce in areas commonly considered to be economically dependent on defense spending.” Indeed, the overall strategic arch of all recommendations to Biden mirrors this militaristic mindset and sentiment: build the American war economy back up, but once again for inter-imperialist rivalry and once more with popular, bipartisan mandate.
The above investigation and analysis was carried out according to the strategic logic of my other writings on revolution and counterrevolution: the contemporary left anywhere should neither discount the strategic aspirations of capitalist planners, nor reduce them to the iron laws of capital, let alone to ‘anomalies’ and the like. Capitalists are above all savvy political strategists, a force to be reckoned with on their own strategic terms. After all, it is only through a methodological approach that notes the strategic differences between the likes of Biden and Trump despite their similarities, that we might expose the specific possibilities of disorganizing Biden’s plan for revitalizing US imperialism.
In this spirit I offer a couple of negative and positive schematic prescriptions, the first of which is to ignore all ‘tankie’ sentiments for the CCP. As a matter of fact, China’s BRI is just another imperialist scheme. It suffices to say that the CCP finances building BRI infrastructure in the partnering countries at gruesome rates (e.g., China holds part of Malaysia’s sovereign fund as collateral), hires strictly Chinese contractors and labour to carry out the construction (e.g., which led to nation-wide protests in Kyrgyzstan), and all at exorbitant prices (e.g., selling fire extinguishers to local buyers at $1600 apiece). Not to mention that China assigns its BRI contracts to the local military industrial complexes of the said countries, which almost always translates to enforcing authoritarian rule in such countries (e.g., Myanmar, Pakistan, Iran). The CCP is no friend of the left.
This brings me to a positive prescription: the necessity of disorganizing Biden’s imperialist integration of the American masses’ demands around labour, race, and climate justice. ‘Necessary’ because the rest of the world – its workers, women, and refugees – are fed up with footing the imperialist bill for Western welfare; they might even lend their support to local authoritarians that oppose the US and celebrate China if all that North American trade-unionism comes up with is another bargaining strategy of inflating the workers’ wages in Detroit through making another fleet of Hummers for the US Army’s Middle Eastern exploits. Decolonizing American factories and the Silicon Valley is vital to ensuring that neither the Chinese model of capital, nor the establishment norm of liberal capitalism, continue to dominate, necessitate, and so enforce each other. Internationalism is the only leftist way to struggle, and the road to democratic socialism in the United States will be paved only in a permanent revolution in solidarity with others. After all, no democratic socialism can lay claim to transitioning from capitalism in a locale – not in all honesty – when the locale’s economic foundations are spread globally. •