“We are countries whose economies have been distorted by imperialism, which has abnormally developed those branches of industry or agriculture needed to complement its complex economy. ‘Underdevelopment,’ or distorted development, brings a dangerous specialization in raw materials, inherent in which is the threat of hunger for all our peoples. We, the ‘underdeveloped,’ are also those with the single crop, the single product, the single market. A single product whose uncertain sale depends on a single market imposing and fixing conditions. That is the great formula for imperialist economic domination.” – Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara
To sustain itself, capitalism must indefinitely expand. This means the financial conquering of markets throughout the globe. In reality, this theory means the manipulation of economies with bullets.
To achieve maximum control, the developed capitalist countries have either initiated Empire building (like the United States) or have clung to the Empires of yesteryear (like Great Britain, France, Belgium, etc.). During the late 19th century and early 20th century, the great industrialized powers of the globe scrambled for territory and resources. The expansion of borders was seen as the best way to promote the interest of capital for the banks in the home country. This led to bloodbath after bloodbath. The bourgeoisie threw multiple consecutive generations of working class people onto far off battlefields under the guise of ‘God and Country’ while the real motivation was ‘Expansion and Profit.’
After the World Wars, the stronger capitalist nations decided to stop competing with one another and concentrate on controlling the territories and economies of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. To the chagrin of the bourgeoisie, the colonized people of the world have always fought back. Indigenous resistance to imperialism has boiled over into various struggles and victories in the past 100 years. From the very beginning of this anti-colonial resistance, oppressed peoples were aware that it wasn’t enough just to rid themselves of foreign occupiers, but they also had to abolish capitalism in order to be absolutely free from imperialism. James Connolly, a leading Irish Marxist executed by the English after the Easter Rising of 1916, said: “If you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain. England would still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs.” In spite of the powers that be, many colonized people have liberated themselves. The Cubans defeated the US-puppet dictator, Batista, and repelled a CIA backed invasion after their victory. The people of Vietnam waged a prolonged struggle, first against France and then the US, and won their independence against both powers. The Nicaraguans defeated the US-backed Contras (fascists). The Zapatistas of Chiapas, Mexico have held territory in the mostly indigenous populated region for almost two decades. For all the victories against imperialism, there have been defeats: in Chile, the democratically elected socialist Salvador Allende was assassinated during a coup d’etat funded by the US. Hundreds of elected officials, union leaders, leftists, and other anti-imperialists have been exterminated for the capitalist goal of expansion.
It has become the duty of the revolutionary left to stand against imperialism and capitalism as a united front. The workers of the world must look beyond the interests of the financiers and generals that hold citizenship in their homeland. A steel-worker in Pennsylvania has more in common with a factory worker in Brazil than he does with the owner of the plant where he works. A victory for the working class in Palestine is a victory for the working class in Japan. The enemy is the same for all oppressed peoples. The workers of the countries that engage in Empire building have a duty to their comrades in occupied nations to fight the war machine at home in any way possible.
Appalachia is very much similar to all other colonized territories. We are exploited exclusively for our raw materials. The profit generated by our industries are kept in banks and markets in far off places. Corporations buy out and prop up all of our elected officials. Thus the international struggle against imperialism is the struggle for a free and democratic Appalachia. Working folks of all countries, unite!