Proverb: a short pithy saying in general use, stating a general truth or piece of advice.
There are a couple of simple proverbs that have borne the wisdom of their meaning through the ages. Although limited, these two fit current developments in Ukraine.
- Divide and conquer
- Whose interest does it serve?
Everyone who has experienced the evil machinations of a boss who destroys unity between workers understands that the boss needs to “divide and conquer” in order to maintain dominance. Think of the sabotage of last year’s union drive of Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama.
Consider the history of the United States. Who benefited from the social construct of racism and why does it continue to play out in a myriad of lethal oppressions?
The militarization of the U.S. took root well before the U.S. Constitution was written. It began when settlers usurped the land of the original people. These settlers are still honored for stealing the homes of the Indigenous peoples.
The old colonial empires spanning the globe maintained their rule by creating divisions. Think of the history of Ireland.
In India, the seeds of the division between Hindus and Muslims were cemented by British colonialism. When the British were finally driven out, they left their former colony partitioned, with tens of millions displaced and more than a million killed.
Currently the power of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party rests on its campaign against Muslims.
In modern times, an endless list of U.S. imperialist wars have ravaged the world.
Beginning in 1980, the CIA-run contra war was designed to crush the liberation struggle in Central America. It was funded by traffic in guns and drugs. Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North – a member of Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council – was found to be one of those orchestrating this.
Those drugs flooded the streets of U.S. cities in an attempt to stifle the progressive movements fighting for jobs, housing, medical care and education.
Think of how the U.S. media portrays each new U.S. intervention as a “just fight” in wars where the social structures of the targeted countries are totally devastated. Then look at the deteriorating conditions within the U.S. itself.
There was a time when U.S. military expansion benefited the U.S. economy. Those who gained small privileges as a result were encouraged to support, or merely ignore, U.S. imperialist wars. Now very few enjoy the spoils, but the greed of the 1% is insatiable.
Much is gained by understanding the dynamics of the class struggle. Nothing is changed without a conscious struggle to change it.
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