Revolution and American Empire

Posted: May 30, 2015 in Culture

rc_solitaryAmerica. The American individualist conception of freedom finds both the largest number of incarcerated persons and the largest percentage of the population incarcerated in the world. Here a teenager is shackled as he is held in solitary confinement for an indeterminate period of time in an adult prison.

From the time of the American Revolution to today, with a brief compromise between 1948 and about 1973, the U.S. has been run by and for a self-serving plutocracy. Slavery and genocide weren’t ‘accidents’ nor were they the product of primitive thinking. U.S. wars in Central America, Southeast Asia and Iraq were / are as primitive, in the sense of being for-profit and brutal, as any in human history. And it is hardly an accident that elite impunity and immunity from prosecution for crimes, including War Crimes, is matched by brutal repression of the economic underclasses. Banks and corporations are the social forms of economic imperialism, necessary to the imperial project that places the rest of us as imperial subjects. Back to the start: the American Revolution was fought for the freedom to repress while the revolutions of liberation it has opposed were / are by-and-large fought against it.

Western history ties politics, the freedom to dominate other people, to economics through the reasons for domination. Slavery was / is the politics of economic extraction— it is ‘personal’ imperialism, the taking of personal economic production through its social realization in socially engineered circumstance. Genocide against indigenous populations applied the European concept of property as it developed through the ‘political’ European enclosure movement to ‘American’ lands. ‘Ownership’ was / is an imperial claim, a ‘right.’ As with other rights, it only has meaning through the capacity to enforce it. Slaves were political ‘persons’ whose existence conveyed a right of political representation to slaveholders, not to themselves. As with the lands (link above) upon which indigenous peoples depended for their existence, the claim of ownership applied to it was imperial taking.

Globalization is put forward in the present as an economic process, as the progress of economic freedom through increasingly liberal ‘free-trade’ agreements. A question not often asked is why multi-national corporations— economic entities that exist beyond national boundaries; are the intended beneficiaries of ‘national’ negotiations. Why would U.S. politicians care about the intellectual property ‘rights’ of Apple Computer that (avoids) pays taxes in Ireland? Why can BP (or whatever its name is this week), a nominally British corporation, destroy the Gulf of Mexico, and with it the livelihoods of tens of thousands of U.S. citizens, and have the destruction covered up by U.S. politicians? And more pointedly, what possible effect could ‘political’ elections have on the political actions of these multinational corporations whose interests are served by the U.S. political establishment?

Full Story @ [Counter Punch]


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