In December 2019, one of the most prominent organizations popularizing anti-imperialist politics in the First World, the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement (RAIM), disbanded. While our ideas on politics and practice were different in various ways, similarities in our analyses of contemporary imperialism led LOOP and RAIM to work together on a few projects and broadly support each other’s work.
A complete collection of RAIM’s published works would likely run into the thousands of pages. This little pamphlet is not intended to express the breadth of RAIM’s political line, nor is it intended to trace the development of that line. This pamphlet is also not a “best of” RAIM. There is much worth reading by RAIM that we do not include here. Instead, our goal in putting these essays together is to put in one place a handful of essays that LOOP believes have significant and ongoing usefulness in our educational and organizing work.
“What is the Proletariat?” returns to Marx in order to offer a succinct explanation of who the gravediggers of capitalism really are in the current epoch of imperialism – the super-exploited working class of the Global South. Both this essay and “Problems with First Worldism” criticize how most who (falsely) call themselves Marxist in the First World abandon political economy and replace the proletariat with the labor aristocracy, misidentifying and misrepresenting exploiters as the exploited.
“Pretending to be Reactionary” deals with a common problem: We find many people who call themselves socialists who think making reactionary comments or sharing reactionary memes is “funny” – but these expressions should also be read as declarations of a class stand. How we act in the world matters and is an expression of our politics. We have met many men, for example, who make these kinds of jokes while claiming to be feminists, but who act in patriarchal and/or transphobic ways in their personal lives and within political organizations. Some even attempt to use organizing spaces as a dating or sex scene. Whether or not such persons claim unity with our support for feminism, they are not in unity with our line.
The final three essays are the most targeted. While plenty of so-called “socialists” in the United States will talk about hating the pigs employed by their local city governments, they tail after and support the pigs employed by their federal government. “Legionnaires” takes aim at this tendency. “Socialism in One Settler Colony” and “The Verizon Strike” describe how “left unity” and support for First World “labor” are based on the exploitation of oppressed nations within and without imperialist borders. Moreover, these essays point toward the true nature of the “socialism” that First Worldists and their settler colonial unions want – an apartheid parasitism, a national socialism based on the dispossession and plunder of Native nations alongside the working class and peasantry in the Third World.