Erik Prince and the Ruling Class’s Imperialist Dreams

Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater USA (now Constellis). Image source: Jeenah Moon / Reuters.

Erik Prince is a true member of the capitalist ruling class. He and his sister – former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos – were born into and connected by marriage to the fortunes of the Prince parts and machine manufacturing business and the Amway direct sales business. They are among a handful of the wealthiest families in the state of Michigan, where both companies got their start. Prince, despite being a wealthy capitalist to begin with, formed Blackwater USA (now renamed Constellis) in 1996 to profit from the demand by the U.S. military for outside contractors (that is, mercenaries). He previously attended Hillsdale College, a right-wing Christian college, and was a Navy SEAL, where it seems he reinforced a love of aggression and violence in the name of advancing U.S. imperialism.

So, although his bluntness is a bit out of the ordinary, it should surprise no one that he recently supported U.S. imperialist aggression in an openly racist fashion typical of colonizers and imperialists of the past.

In talking broadly about Africa, Asia, and Latin America, all regions populated primarily by people of color, he said that the U.S. should “put the imperialist hat back on, to say, we’re going to govern those countries.”  He also said that many countries, particularly in Africa, are “incapable of governing themselves.” Pontificating on so-called enemies at home, he also went on to say that, “you get the BLM [Black Lives Matter] and the Hamas militias of the Democrat Party, very active in the United States this summer…When that BLM or Hamas militia shows up to start wrecking things, you show them what law and order looks like, immediately.”

While Prince’s views are in many ways delusions shared and spread by right-wing media and social media circles, he is in a position of power and influence, helping to spread these conspiracies further and to stoke fear among his followers. And he also shares the same arrogant outlook that led European and U.S. imperialists of the 19th and early 20th centuries to believe they could dominate and oppress, yet at the same time uplift and civilize the so-called “lesser peoples” of the world. He’s already participated in one colonial project, the U.S. occupation of Iraq. He seems ready to participate in and help lead another, or maybe even a few. Not to mention using military force on working-class people in the U.S. While he may not get his wish immediately, his words show that the ideas are still on the table.

Capitalists need their militaries to intervene, destroy, kill and dominate in order to achieve their goals. They do actually, if only occasionally in recent times, need brute force to subdue the working class at home. Both political parties in the U.S. know this, and both use the U.S. military, police, and national guard to do all of those things. Eric Prince and the reactionary right wing simply best exemplify the racist arrogance of this capitalist ruling class, and say the ugly things out loud.