The crisis of the imperialist imperative

Image: Muaaz


Reflections on the Palestinian Holocaust

We published it on the website approximately a year and a half ago. The Earth is Round the homonymous article titled “The crisis of the imperative of imperialism”. In the previous article we dealt with the crisis established by the war between Russia and Ukraine.

We are now facing the greatest humanitarian crisis since the Jewish Holocaust in the 1940s, a contradiction inherent to the “human condition”, to use the terms of a liberal Jewish author Hannah Arendt who stated something so precise in relation to the most recent crime committed against the Palestinian people. According to the author, “history knows many periods of dark times, in which the public sphere became darkened and the world became so dubious that people stopped asking politics for anything other than showing due consideration for their vital interests and personal freedom. ”.[I]

The current crisis established in Gaza constitutes one of these dark moments in human history, and the population there besieged in a concentration camp, in fact, only makes one request to the rest of humanity, or the political link in Arendt's perspective: we want the guarantee of living !

The plot of the conditions leading to the Palestinian genocide is quite well known, or so it would seem, but it is not what the Brazilian media system and, I am amazed, even segments of the Brazilian left demonstrate.

Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, contradictions between the meaning of Palestinian resistance and Zionist territorial advance have arisen, as Cláudio Katz (2007) observed,[ii] referring to one of the several previous episodes of the Israeli colonial occupation: “Israel attacked in 1956 and 1967 and received the first blow in 1948 and 1973. When it takes the lead, its supporters celebrate the cunning of a preventive coup and when it is delayed raise a cry of indignation.”

The episodes are diverse, it is worth remembering that specifically the one discussed by the Argentine author is the self-defense offensive carried out by Hezbollah in 2006. We are facing a new episode of self-defense, now organized by another Palestinian organization, Hamas.

The logic underway in Palestine constitutes, on the one hand, the advancement of the process of accumulation through dispossession, taking lands and properties from the Palestinian people and converting the small properties of those people into lands integrated with capitalist and imperialist expansion in that region, deepening colonialism; on the other, the Zionist ideological factor works, like fascism, imposing violence and expropriation compulsion from a eugenicist perspective, based on the Zionist logic of a chosen people.[iii]

The treatment of this double interaction seems to escape the understanding of most analysts, so there is no way to separate the imperialist capitalist interests of progressive accumulation with racist Zionist terms, they are two roots, but the logic of maintaining the imperialist imperative has a common core.

Imperialism is based on six historical impositions that are imperative and that coordinate the interests of capitalism globally: (i) guarantee coordinated territorial spaces for the exploitation of labor and natural resources; (ii) expanding circuits of accumulation in new spaces, including expelling or eliminating original populations that are not culturally assimilable, the formation of relative overpopulation, which seems to be what is happening in Gaza; (iii) formation of “sub-imperialist states”, links to maintain global control, mainly in central regions for the transfer of income produced. Israel is the best example of a sub-imperialist state that, according to Marini (2017)[iv] it is conditioned by the margins of action given by imperialism, establishing control over spaces, populations and technologies in certain regions of the planet;

(iv) guarantee ideological and cultural hegemony, which makes the Brazilian press so aligned with US and Israeli interests, including penetrating sectors of the Brazilian left, for example, in the current attack on the Hamas group; (v) align military power around a central axis, in modern times the American power of NATO; (vi) control financial flows and their systemic normativity.

The double face of capitalism is imperialism and dependence. Colonialism is a radicalized degree of dependence, and in extreme situations capital uses colonial forms as a means of maintaining relations of economic power based on the transfer of value and super-exploitation of the workforce. Thus, what we have in Palestine, especially in Gaza, is a colonialist form radicalized by an ideological construction that is Zionism. What ultimately produces Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people is the maintenance of the colonialist-Zionist yoke, something whose rupture would mean a new and significant defeat of the imperialist imperative.

The current economic cycle of “empire of capital”, to use Ellen M. Wood’s terms.[v] is in deep crisis. It is worth remembering that the State of Israel emerged in the wake of a set of agreements signed after the Second World War, those that would guarantee a considerable part of the logic of the “American peace”, including “Bretton Woods”. As Eric Hobsbawm reminds us, the collapse of “Bretton Woods” in 1971 indicated the end of the “Golden Age” of capitalism.[vi]

What the deepening of Israeli Zionist colonialism and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza poses to us is the deepening of the end of the order established in the post-War era. It seems to us that the “swan song” of US imperial power relations is deepening, and the trail that accompanies it will be more wars and genocides.

*Jose Raimundo Trinidad He is a professor at the Institute of Applied Social Sciences at UFPA. Author, among other books, of Critique of the political economy of public debt and the capitalist credit system: a Marxist approach (CVR). []


[I] Hannah Arendt. men in dark times. São Paulo: Companhia de Bolso, 2008.

[ii] Claudio Katz. Arguments for Palestine. October Magazine, n. 15, 2007.

[iii] It is worth remembering, using Hobsbawm (2012), that the agreements that “remapped” the Middle East were the result of the “Treaty of Versailles” with the end of the First World War, with the original territory of Palestine being allocated by the British Empire for an agreement with Jewish Zionists.

[iv] Ruy Mauro Marini. Underdevelopment and Revolution. Florianópolis: Insular, 2017.

[v] Ellen Meiksins Wood. The empire of capital. Sao Paulo: Boitempo, 2014.

[vi] Eric Hobsbawm. age of extremes🇧🇷 São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2012.

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