Ilhan Omar and the Anti-Imperialist Movement

Nicholas Ayala

BY NICHOLAS AYALA

Across the Global North, there has been a rise of progressive, anti-establishment candidates who position themselves as anti-imperialists. These candidates win support from the anti-war camp in the imperialist countries through their rhetoric. They say they are non-interventionist and against sanctions. In the imperialist empire, taking an anti-war and anti-imperialist stance is of utmost importance for socialists. As Mao Tse-tung detailed, the primary contradiction in the struggle for a socialist world is the defeat of imperialism.

The anti-imperialist rhetoric of these democratic socialists seemingly points toward a growing anti-war movement in the Global North, challenging the imperialist ventures of the U.S. and its lackeys. Even for those without socialist praxis, who simply seek a peaceful world, the idea that these new politicians will bring peace through their critiques of their nation’s foreign policy has taken hold and won over many.

Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (L), Rashida Tlaib (C) and Ilhan Omar (R). | Source: Human Events

However, this anti-imperialist and anti-war rhetoric winning over scores of leftists, liberals and “socialists” in the North is a blatant lie. Their flowery rhetoric is just enough to capture the hearts and minds of the anti-war base in the Global North while their actions in the bourgeois political institutions displays a firm commitment to imperialism.

To get a better idea of how these “progressives” are hypocritical opportunists, let’s take the example of U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Omar is a controversial figure within the Democratic Party because of her critiques of U.S. foreign policy, Israel and her push for domestic social reforms. Her “anti-war” stance has won her widespread praise from the anti-war base in the U.S. and activists across the world. TeleSUR even recently published an article praising Omar for challenging the U.S. political elite and establishment. In it, they praise her for speaking out against U.S. intervention in Venezuela and for her critiques of Israel. However, it doesn’t go much further than that. Omar simply critiques, speaks out and shakes a finger at the global hegemon. Omar’s rhetoric is no doubt progressive, but when the spotlight fades, her actions fall in line with the most far-right U.S. politicians.

First, there is the case of her pushing for sanctions against China and supporting Islamist terrorists in Syria. In China, Omar co-sponsored HR 649, known as the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019. This bill seeks to sanction China and work with international bodies to defend the supposed violation of human rights of Uyghur Muslims. With unsubstantiated evidence, the West claims the Uyghurs are being placed in internment camps and that their rights are being violated. These claims are substantiated by a member of the U.N. High Commission of Human Rights, a duplicitous organization to begin with, which obtained its information from an anti-China group funded and backed by the West.

Ethnic Uyghur members of the Communist Party of China carry a flag as they take part in an organized tour on June 30, 2017 in the old town of Kashgar, in the far western Xinjiang province, China. | Source: Kevin Frayer, Getty Images

On Syria, Omar tweeted about how the Syrian people revolted against a “repressive dictator,” President Bashar Al-Assad. She seemed to have forgotten the election where Syrians overwhelmingly voted for Assad and that these so-called “rebels” are Islamic terrorists eager to behead, enslave, murder, kidnap and torture the Syrian people. While Omar often identifies as a refugee, she has no qualms about supporting the very people who created one of the worst refugee crises the world has ever seen. Further, her criticisms of Israel fall flat with respect to Syria. She has publicly sided with bombings and missile launchings by the Israeli regime against the Syrian government, directly aiding terrorists.

On Venezuela, Omar has received praise when she denounced sanctions as a form of economic warfare. She is even quoted as saying U.S. “humanitarian aid” is a guise for invasion. When it comes to the imperialist attacks on Venezuela, it would seem Omar takes a very radical stance. This, until you take a look at her voting record. Three recent bills expose the deception in Omar’s “anti-imperialist” position on Venezuela.

First is the Humanitarian Assistance to the Venezuelan People Act of 2019 (HR 854). The bill was passed by the House of Representatives, where Omar serves as a Congresswoman on a “motion to suspend the rules.” The bill was passed unanimously. No elected official objected to this bill, including Omar. What does it do? HR 854 sets aside $150 million to provide “humanitarian assistance” to Venezuelan opposition figures, including those in NGOs and in neighboring countries. Although Omar publicly decries U.S. humanitarian aid as a guise for invasion, she supports a nefarious bill that will directly funnel millions of dollars to a violent, racist, right-wing opposition. So much for that “anti-imperialism.”

The second bill is the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 (HR 648), which we discussed a few months ago. This bill was supported by many “progressive” candidates in the Democratic Party and sets aside an additional $17.5 million to “promote democracy in Venezuela.” Promoting “democracy,” in the already-democratic Venezuelan state, is code for U.S. aid to terrorist opposition forces. How did Omar vote? She voted in favor of the bill.

Finally, the third bill which contradicts her overall foreign policy position is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, Support Act (HR 676). This bill “reiterates congressional support for NATO,” preventing U.S. President Donald Trump from removing the U.S. from the organization. It states that NATO has been “a pillar of international peace and stability.” Oh, you mean the same NATO that helped bomb Yugoslavia? The one that invaded Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia? Oh, yes. That NATO. The one that also bombed Libya into oblivion, aided Islamist “rebels” and turned the country into its current slave state. Yes, you guessed it — she also voted in favor of this bill.

A view of Tripoli Street in Misrata, Libya after the 2011 NATO invasion (L) and in 2007, five years before the invasion (R). | Source: Rense

Omar is a prime example of the growing trend of opportunism in the Global North. She, along with other progressives and “social justice” Democrats, should be heavily criticized for her support of the same imperialist policies she claims to be fighting. What makes Omar particularly dangerous is that rather than receiving criticism for her imperialist actions, she receives praise, despite the fact that she is completely full of shit. In the age of First World social chauvinism and identity politics, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get leftists — even the most radical — to see through Omar’s two-faced positions. As I write this, I’m reminded of the Hillary Clinton e-mails exposed by Wikileaks. In these e-mails, Clinton speaks of the importance of politicians having a “public” and “private” position on issues. In the imperialist core, social democrats have taken this to heart, especially with foreign policy.

We must not fall under the sway of these bourgeois opportunist politicians and take every opportunity to expose their deceitfulness.

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