The Global South vs. the West


Thomas Friedman wrote a column in the New York Times this week entitled “A Titanic Geopolitical Struggle is Underway.” The column clarifies the neoliberal imperialist view of Israel’s Gaza genocide, as well as the Ukraine war. Before reading it, my conclusion was that it Bibi must have pictures of US politicians on Epstein’s island for Biden and his Democratic colleagues to pursue a policy of supporting genocide that will almost certainly cost them the election in November. 

But Friedman puts the genocide in context. The “titanic” struggle (will it sink too?) he describes is between what he calls the Resistance Network and the Inclusion Network of countries. The Resistance Network, led by Iran and Russia, is “dedicated to preserving the closed, autocratic systems where the past buries the future,” (whatever that means). The Inclusion Network, led by the US, is “trying to forge more open, connected, pluralizing systems where the future buries the past.” (“China…straddles the two networks, along with much…of the global south.)

A corollary of this outlook is that Hamas attacked Israel at Iran’s behest because Israel was normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia without the latter making any demands concerning the Palestinians. 

While there may be some truth to this notion as concerns the timing of the Hamas attack, it ignores the deadly settler-colonial occupation of Palestinian Territory that has been on-going since 1967, if not 1948.

To call it a clash of networks, one essentially democratic, and one authoritarian, is of course a total whitewash. While some of the European Union states are fairly democratic, they’re still hard on immigrants. The US is allied with scores of authoritarian states from Saudi Arabia to half the countries of Latin America and Africa, and its domestic democracy is fraught at best.  It’s really a clash of empires, one led by the US and the other led by Russia, a continuation of the cold war that so enriched the coffers of the military industrial complex and, by extension, the capitalist system itself. With China still straddling the two empires with ambitions of its own. 

From a dialectical perspective, the principal contradiction in the world at this time is not between these competing capitalist empires but between the people of the Global South against US imperialism and its allies (“the West). This is the beauty of the pro-Palestinian marches: the international working class uniting to defend its most oppressed section. In my opinion, this is the way the class war is emerging. The capitalists have largely kept the class struggle in one country at a time. Much of the working class of the US and Europe are more allied with their national bourgeoisies than with their international siblings. 

It remains to be seen if the current uprising of international working class power can be sustained. Other than South Africa, we’ve yet to see effective international leadership evolve. But I’m willing to bet that it will. 

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