Thursday, 03 December 2020

Humanitarian Intervention as an Imperialist Political Act

  • Category: Texts
  • Published: Saturday, 17 March 2018 18:03

“Humanitarian” intervention by the great powers in the many war zones of the Middle East and Africa, in the bordering areas where masses of migrants flee from one country to the next and where famine wipes out entire populations and environmental and social deterioration are growing, with sickness decimating children and the elderly, is the most shameless of lies ever to have been spread through the media.

“Humanitarian” intervention has brought military penetration into these regions – so they say – to “protect” human lives from poverty, health crises, environmental disaster, religious contrasts, mass exodus by migrants, to “remediate” the constant violation of “democratic rights” by terrorism and corrupt classes and, lastly, to “defend” local power’s various legitimate interests.


It is not too hard to understand that intervention by the so-called “liberation forces” – whether Syrian, Russian, Iraqi, Iranian, American, Saudi Arabian, Turkish or Kurdish, ISIS fighters, Italian, French, English, Libyan, is not there just to do away with the real reasons for poverty and social misery, the worsening health conditions or environmental destruction; it is not there to provide a radical solution to the real crux of religious and social clashes; it is not there to do away with war and improve the living and working conditions of those who lack resources and are sinking into a bottomless mire. “Our boys” have not arrived in that part of the world! In every sector of every source of the war all that exists are brutal and miserable bands of soldiers, in the pay of great, medium-sized and small powers. The national flags covering the coffins of mercenaries and contractors, displayed to the public for triumphant national acclaim, do not belong to us. Amongst the friendly/hostile warlords transits an enormous flow of billions for military spending on armaments and goods (millions of barrels of oil a day), whose balance sheets are one long list of economic contracts to be stipulated.

In the war-torn Middle East sinking in oil and desert sands on the banks of two rivers, a wide network extends of professional killers, mercenary brigades armed by all States and provided for by the great financial structures, governmental and non-governmental organizations, religious and lay set-ups, associations of extortionists and ferrymen of human flesh.

The pitiful background of the misery, pain and death of proletarian populations does not cry out for charity from the Quran or from Catholicism, but the one form of help that only a class without reserves can offer them to escape the massacre. All this suffering should suggest a necessary, defeatist, angry and violent class response by the young proletarian masses against this network that brings only death and desolation. Aren’t the half a million civilian deaths from bombing in Syria, with half the population fleeing, the million deaths in the Iranian-Iraqi war, the slaughter caused by the American attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan and the devastation in Libya enough? Hasn’t the eternal military struggle between Israel and the Arab States, true or fake, sufficed, accompanying as it has the entire history of the Middle East?

The new generation of proletarians must be helped to understand that their enemies are the States – both the imperialist ones they were born into, and the “foreign” ones. They must be shown that all the States in the Middle East are imperialist, that the game of slaughter, which is played out over the bodies of their mothers, brothers and sisters, is vehicled by “religious and democratic convictions”, that all bourgeois States must be fought, both Middle-Eastern and western – the former being merely auxiliary branches of the latter.

Having exhausted all elements of progress in national claims that have been past their prime for half a century now, with the disbanding of anti-colonial and “anti-imperialist” struggles, with the vacuum left by the ideologies, illusions and democratic-bourgeois lies of the Nineteen-Hundreds, entire areas of the Middle East have been reduced to graveyards. Today history encounters a horrid monster, still under the banner of the “magnificent and progressive outcomes” of capitalism – a monster that demands, as payment for its “humanitarian” intervention the control and militarization of social life in all corners of the globe, salaried and servile slavery, oppression of women and religious uglification. This militarization is the reward for the younger generations of proletarians in the west and in the Middle East, lost in fanatic terrorism and reformist and democratic illusions.

“We are not afraid!” cry those who suffered the attacks in Barcelona, Paris, London and Brussels etc., unaware of what is going on and, despite everything, merely brushed by the wings of death. “We are afraid!” cry the Middle-Eastern women, old people and children in tears in the crossfire of the “humanitarian aiders”, whilst a new young generation of proletarians is buried in the ruins of their houses or fights in a war that is not its own, on the side of the many western or Middle-Eastern state Monsters or the new Monster attempting to arise from death – the Caliphate.

The international bourgeoisie, as it continues to spread death and destruction in all countries, generating endless wars and filling and emptying its arsenals, sees its legitimate justification in ideological drugs, whose objectives are the very real appropriation of profit, income and financial interests. The world system will once again start brandishing a unifying ideological value to spark off the next world slaughter. Seventy-five million deaths including soldiers and civilians in the second world war: this was the tribute paid for choosing between democracy and dictatorship, interchangeable forms of the same imperial dominion.

Worldwide imperialism represents the exploitation of the proletarian masses, general impoverishment, destruction by warfare, terrible divisions at the heart of the proletariat, a graveyard peace and then, once again, the presentation to the world of its global strategy (obviously humanitarian!) for reaching the point of no return: the final massacre.

“Humanitarian” intervention dates back to the beginnings of the planet’s colonization and, in order to mystify the imperialist nature of the present age, the horrendous sort consisting in warfare has proclaimed to the world the highest of ideological motives, religious credo, enlightenment and the age of reason, the mission of civilization, the beneficial science of the nineteenth-century past and above all the eminently modern virus of the “democratic principle”.

“Humanitarian” interventionism has imposed itself in the Middle East and in Africa as the best strategy for reaching the highest degree of political and economic dictatorship, raising imperialism to its peak and lifting it to the utmost of bourgeois civilization. Today, the exploitation of resources and financialization are still the hub around which imperialist dynamics rotate, as in the past. They will be joined by the interventionism of the bourgeois States that “are not fully civilized” but armed to their back teeth, so that they can appear in their perfected form, fully democratic, finally capable of nationalist affirmation, pervaded by the liberal universalism promoted by the cosmopolitan nature of humanitarian support.

The powers that emerged victorious from the second world war and the other States who took part in the choir, sanctified humanitarian aid under the umbrella of the UNO (“too bad for the losers”!); the deadly state powers replaced their old rhetoric, grounded on cultural and racial superiority, with superiority grounded on arms. Do Korea, Somalia, Ruanda, Congo, Bosnia, Kosovo, Syria, Iraq, Libya etc. bring anything to mind? Whilst proudly flaunted state “sovereignty” was in a stranglehold, “humanitarian” interventions underwent enormous escalation. “Moral convictions” have become the necessary setting for military intervention! And military missions have become the task of the protective world State, whose principle is an expression of the most sinister cynicism: “the human nature we share generates shared moral duties” 1. But, “Since there no longer exists,” so they say, “an international legal mechanism, by making use of the bumf of bourgeois legal documents and under the protective cloak of the UNO, the ruling state powers have continued to act in accordance with their own political and economic ends” 2. What more illusions do they wish to sell us? In reality, issues like poverty, health crises, environmental deterioration and civil war have become “international threats” that require the intervention of armed violence so that they do not destabilize “our” (???) society. It is written in the supreme Law of conservation of the bourgeois system that ways of life that do not conform to liberal standards are a threat to the whole of society and to humanity!! What’s new? Nothing. Liberal interventionism, in the name of humankind and of citizens, is and has always been the means for imposing the law of imperialism3.


1 Peter Djolic, “Gli interventi umanitari: la dottrina dell’imperialismo”,

2 J.L. Holzgrefe, R.O. Keohane, Humanitarium Intervention: Ethical, Legal and Political Dilemmas, Cambridge University Press 2003.

3 M. Barnett, “Humanitarianism Transformed”, Perspectives on Politics, 2005, pp. 723-740.


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