sexta-feira, 12 de julho de 2013

"South and Central America live in functioning democracies and we in the U.S. don’t"

You Are the Enemy!

Democracy and Empire

If NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden can find his way to political asylum in Venezuela, as current rumor has it, the local issue of an American democratic activist (Snowden) finding refuge in a democratic country is solved. But the larger problem of the citizens of the U.S. passively accepting the increasingly oppressive terms of empire remains. To the extent the peoples of South and Central America live in functioning democracies and we in the U.S. don’t, this has come at the cost of a century or more of blood, expropriation and humiliation at the hands of American empire. While Mr. Snowden’s refuge in Venezuela would serve as a potent symbol of the Venezuelan people’s victory against the oil mafia (CIA) and America’s political domination of South and Central America, at what point must Americans assume responsibility for our roles in the deprivations of empire?
For any who don’t yet understand our (American) circumstance, part of the value of Mr. Snowden’s disclosures is that the guardians of American empire increasingly see us, the American people, as ‘others’ from whom the social-historical construct ‘America’ must be protected. This has always been true in the social taxonomy by degree: indigenous peoples, kidnapped blacks forced into slavery, citizens of Japanese descent in WWII, and as reified history in current social relations. Self-defined ‘true’ Americans were those on the ‘giving’ end of empire. Marxists and nineteenth century populists even had clarity around the predator-prey relations of unfettered capitalism before the collective amnesia of recent decades set in. And the marketers of empire, well fed on psychological techniques of coercion and control, have convinced many– perhaps a majority, corporate state strategies of domination and control are the best ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ will ever offer.
But that raises the question—democracy and freedom for whom? When we are asked what we think—which policies we favor, the answers are rarely aligned with official policies. Within the convenient (for whom?) boundary of nation, this serves the storyline of ‘out of touch’ government corrupted by ‘money in politics.’ But imagine away ‘nation’ and a different alignment appears—Venezuela is a functioning democracy because, to the extent possible, the same empire that now burdens us was cast off. When Glenn Greenwald reports the citizens of Brazil, and South America more broadly, are being spied on by and for American empire, how is it not also clear that we—Americans, are being spied on by and for empire? How is it not also clear, as the brave people of Venezuela concluded, this empire does not act in our interests? And not only does it not act in our interests, through lies, coercion, exploitative political-economic relations, and now through the technologies of surveillance, it is absolutely antagonistic to our...

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