Tuesday, October 21, 2008

U.S. Empire Complex Revisited

By Hiram José Irizarry Osorio, Research Associate at the Kirwan Institute

“Since modern globalization and capitalism are inseparable, the globalization that one regards as ‘desirable’ (unipolar, hierarchically multipolar, non-hierarchical multipolar) will depend on whether one’s preferred model of society is liberal capitalism, a more ‘social’ form of capitalism, or one or another form of socialism…I would place a radically anti-imperialistic approach that recognizes the need to correct the huge North-South inequality in the conditions of production created by five centuries of capitalist expansion. Such a correction evidently implies a socialist perspective (one that goes beyond the basic logic of capital accumulation), but it also requires a conception of global socialism not necessarily shared either by earlier historical socialisms (communist and social-democratic) or by all the currents of new social, and even socialist, thinking.” (Samir Amin’s Beyond US Hegemony?: Assessing the Prospects for a Multipolar World, 5)

We are immersed in the U.S. Presidential campaign mode. Quite a bit of discussion (or at least mention) of a plethora of topics has taken place, from the mortgage-housing crisis to race…war. All of these topics and issues affect the livelihood of every U.S. citizen and beyond. This last statement is what I want to briefly delve into, the beyond aspect. In other words, it is necessary to take a look at the world beyond the manufactured confines of the U.S. as a nation-state. This is not done to undermine U.S. domestic issues, but to connect them with “the other” (the racializing aspect of the modern nation-state building).

I write this to be critical of the myopic view and coverage of the current U.S. Presidential election, bringing to the fore perspectives coming from that international “other”. Nonetheless, I am also critical of the “othering” process that tends to take place when the subaltern responds. I do not underscore both “limitations” to promote stasis, advocate for perfection, or truncate conversation. My intention is to promote lively contestation that might get us closer to a more porous, flexible, situated and transparent dual “us vs. them” (or better “us/them”).

This is why I started with a quote from Samir Amin, which I think pushes the envelope of the current Presidential Election coverage and discussion. Again, not making it irrelevant, but underscoring its incompleteness. Having stated this, the challenge remains on what’s to be done. How do U.S. domestic concerns best connect to the outside? How are the processes of marginalization best addressed from within the U.S. Empire and beyond? How do we (as Amin challenges us to do) better coalesce those fragmented marginalized realities, without losing their particularities?

In other words, how do we move along a humane, progressive politics that might take us to a different and better world? Whatever the answers to these and other relevant questions that concern our organizing of our societies, I underscore that they should not emerge from a small fraction of the world’s population. Let the contestation continue, with the hope of it translating into tangible positive changes for common folk.

What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. it starts with conviction, patience, sincerity, and hard work. In order to fix these injustices there is plenty of work that needs to be done. The racial disparities in the economy an education sectors in this country need to be reversed. Abroad, more attention needs to be given toward helping developing nations and towards safeguarding human rights. The time for talking is over, while we talk more lives are falling by the wayside. Start by sending peacekeepers to Darfur and Gaza, funnel some of the economic bailout into inner city schools and services, fix the unfair penalties for illegal drug usage and then commit to reversing other injustices as they come to light.