Elon Musk's purchase of the Twitter platform was a hotly debated topic. But neither Musk nor any other individual is the root of the world's problems. Liberalism which pretends to oppose capitalism and US state hegemony but which is in fact an ally, is the problem.
Elon Musk successfully won his bid to purchase Twitter on April 25th just days after a rally in New York City chanted “Azov” to express support for Ukraine. While these events appear unrelated on the surface, they represent key examples of the road to hell paved by U.S. imperialism’s dominant ideology: liberalism.
Liberalism is often viewed as the most progressive political ideology of the prevailing social order in the West. In actuality, liberalism is the driving ideological force of capitalist and imperialist expansionism. Liberal ideology is characterized by the fetishization of racism, individualism, and the political preconditions necessary for the expansion of capitalism. Once a kick-starter for the explosive growth of capital, liberalism has devolved into an ideology that defends the rule of the rich at any and all cost.
Hell, of course, has religious connotations and is employed here as a metaphor for the conditions that the planet finds itself in. Musk buying Twitter is but another step toward the complete monopolization of the media, a process that has already characterized the development of social media platforms. Twitter’s top shareholders include financial titans such as the Vanguard Group, Morgan Stanley, and BlackRock. Musk himself held a nine percent stake in Twitter prior to the full purchase, which will be bankrolled in large part by Morgan Stanley and other Wall Street banks. Vladimir Lenin himself could not have produced a better example of imperialism in the modern era.
Liberals in the corporate media have voiced opposition to Twitter’s takeover. While unlikely, many in the liberal corporate media hope that Musk’s move to buy Twitter will be struck down by regulators in Biden’s Department of Justice. Fears about the fate of free speech have arisen despite the role that liberals and especially the Democratic Party have played in facilitating media monopolization. In 1996, the Clinton administration signed off on the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which eliminated nearly all restrictions to media mergers in the United States. Two decades later, Democrats led the charge in empowering big tech Silicon Valley corporations in their campaign of censorship under the guise of a conspiracy theory aptly termed Russiagate.
Russiagate prompted big tech monopolies such as Google to reconstruct their algorithms so to suppress dissenting voices. A countless number of accounts have been suspended and purged from social media platforms for voicing anti-war and anti-imperialist views. Media affiliated with Russia, Iran, China, and progressive countries in Latin America were forced to register as agents of foreign governments beginning in 2017 and repressed all the same. The censorship has only worsened during Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. Outlets such as RT America have been completely removed from YouTube, as have podcasts from prominent voices on the anti-war Left such as Lee Camp.
Liberals have cheered on this kind of censorship all along the way without taking a single breath. Now that Elon Musk has taken over Twitter, these same liberals have warned users that the platform will become a “scary place.” The New York Times flooded its opinion pages with concerns that the further monopolization of Twitter under Musk will exacerbate already existing problems with billionaire rule over social media platforms. Of course, the New York Times has shown no concern over the suppression of left-wing activists and journalists on social media platforms and has even resorted to smearing them publicly. The Daily Beast went a step further by going directly to these platforms and advocating for the removal of this author and a handful of other anti-war journalists.
The road to hell paved by liberalism is rife with hypocrisy. Under Donald Trump, liberals expressed panic over the rise of fascism. They cheered on Antifa for punching rightwing personality Richard Spencer and secured more funding for federal law enforcement following the January 6th riot at the United States Capitol building. Yet liberals have taken center stage in siding with Ukraine’s military in its conflict with Russia to the point of apologizing for the Nazi organization, the Azov Regiment. Western corporate media has whitewashed the Azov Regiment as a small, passionate group of nationalists that decoupled its “political” roots from its current military operations once it was absorbed into Ukraine’s National Guard after the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine in 2014.
Such mental gymnastics have been exposed as farce, not least because Azov has an extensive record of war crimes. Furthermore, the Western corporate media cannot help but promote Azov in its Ukraine coverage. This contradicts the notion that Azov is a small, ineffectual organization. So too does a rally in a major U.S. metropolis emphatically chanting “Azov.” But pointing this out has its consequences. The ruling class has emphatically defended what it believes is the “good” kind of Nazis by suppressing voices that raise concern about the role that the Azov Regiment has played in the current conflict.
Liberal collaboration with censorship and fascist repression is nothing new. Operation Paperclip, a covert intelligence operation that absorbed Nazis into the ranks of American scientific institutions in a bid to gain an “advantage” over the Soviet Union, was launched during the “liberal” Harry Truman administration. So-called “liberal” U.S. President Lyndon Johnson was close with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and fully supported COINTELPRO, a massive campaign of repression that terrorized left-wing political organizations and their leaders. COINTELPRO laid the basis for the War on Terror’s surveillance regime. The assassination, imprisonment, and surveillance of left-wing political leaders set a precedent for the state-sponsored repression of dissenting voices on issues such as war and peace.
Liberalism is no antidote to fascism. In fact, liberalism has time and again paved the road to an even steeper descent to the far right. Whether it was Obama’s two-term administration expanding Bush-era policies and opening the door for Donald Trump or the Democrats wielding social media as a weapon of repression and thereby giving Elon Musk ample leverage to buy Twitter, liberalism has a proven record of covering up the crimes of capitalism under a veneer of progress. That the glorification of fascist organizations such as “Azov” and the further monopolization of the media is happening under Joe Biden’s watch should thus come as no surprise. Liberalism and its political expression in the U.S., the Democratic Party, are moribund engines of U.S. imperialism.
These engines have outlived their usefulness. Humanity has two choices: socialism or barbarism. The former choice can only be made once the perils of liberalism are confronted by the masses in their just resistance to the oppressive conditions of imperialism.
Danny Haiphong’s work can be followed on Twitter @SpiritofHo and on YouTube as co-host with Margaret Kimberley of Black Agenda Report Present's: The Left Lens. You can support Danny on Patreon by clicking this link. He is co-author of the book “American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People's History of Fake News- From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror.” You can contact him at [email protected].