When Bhagat Singh and his colleague gave the slogan of ‘ Death to Imperialism’ , they were of course more immediately concerned with British rule in India, but in addition, of course, they were very aware of the need for wider and even longer duration struggle against imperialism.
In fact soon after the rapidly growing freedom struggles of several countries as well as the changing balance of power in the world following the second world war led to the end of direct colonial rule in more and more countries, many-sided preparations started to continue the hold of imperialism in less overt but no less sinister forms.
The result over 75 years later is that extreme international inequalities in terms of wealth and income continue while policies relating to farming, food, trade, investment, credit, debt, technology, patents, taxation, health, education, training, information, media, arms and weapons etc. are used in a hundred different ways to impose injustice and disadvantages on the global south.
Increasingly various international organizations are used for the pursuit of these objectives. Tax havens are maintained to facilitate the inflow of billions of dollars regularly in illegal ways to the North, in addition to the huge tax evasions by multinational companies under the garb of dubious legality.
Trade and even environment treaties are sought to be rigged and contrived in such ways as to impose disadvantages on the south, or denying these countries the advantages due to them for historical reasons. The very thought that those imperialist interests who ruined other countries have to bear some sort of historical responsibility is sought to be banished, even while imperialists unleash new waves of destruction.
The self-reliant growth of countries of the global south, keeping in view the best interests of their people, has been disturbed in a hundred different ways, sometimes even involving the toppling of democratically elected government and genuinely popular leaders, at other times disrupting the path of self-reliance and real progress in such ways that this may be replaced by a path of exploitative dependence on the North.
The very definition of development is sought to be changed to exclude paths of self-reliance best suited to particular regions and countries, making best use of local resources, skills and wisdom, while linguistic deception finds entirely new meaning for words like reforms and liberalism so that exploitation and profiteering by big corporate interests can flourish in new garbs.
A country may be on the verge of steady, broad-based progress in farming based on indigenous seeds and local village resources and knowledge, but imperialist interference can displace this preparation and hard work of several years and the associated traditional wisdom of many generations to impose an entirely different strategy that serves its interests.
There have been very cruel interventions for plundering the wealth of south, or for maintaining in place authoritarian local regimes who will serve such imperialist interests equally well. To ensure this civil wars and invasions may be initiated, as seen from Congo to Iraq time and again. Much blood may flow just to satiate the greed for valuable treasures ranging from diamonds to oil and gas.
In many more cases imperialism does not have to use violence and wars, its interests are more easily and conveniently served, at lesser expense, by merely assimilating local elites as collaborators and allies in a hundred different ways.
Imperialism increasingly becomes more and more dangerous with the development of more destructive warfare, which may include space weapons of some form, amounting to increasing use of space for dominating earth. Domination is increasingly the key word, domination of health, domination of food and farming, domination of seeds, domination of anything that is critical to human life. New and terrible ways are being found to ensure this domination, involving ideas and technologies which are frightening.
As wealth has increasingly accumulated in the hands of a few billionaires, we find some of these billionaires becoming leading agents of securing such domination, seemingly working in their private capacity but increasingly having the collusion of the most powerful governments and international institutions.
Any efforts to oppose such powerful forces of domination appear to be too weak, no matter how honest and truthful. When they persist, they may be victimized by isolation or defamation or suppression.
Hence there is increasing need for all forces of justice and equality, peace and environment protection to unite for wider and continuing peaceful resistance to the forces of imperialism, and this in turn needs a wider and better understanding of the forces of imperialism , and how these function with local allies and collaborators.
What forms will imperialism take as the world increasingly moves towards a serious survival crisis? If such selfishness is likely to result in efforts to create enclaves of plenty and safety for a few as the rest of the world heads towards greater perils, then any such thinking will prove to be too narrow and not succeed in serving the interests of even the richest sections.
The common interests of humanity and all forms of life demand that imperialism with its thousands of destructions and cruelties should end its terrible reign so that the path is clearer for the people of our endangered world to join hands together for saving the life- nurturing conditions of our planet.
Bharat Dogra is a journalist and author. His recent books include Planet in Peril and Protecting Earth For Children.