Socialist ViewPoint and analysis for working people

September/October 2005 • Vol 5, No. 7 •

Inheriting an Imperial Nightmare

By Mumia Abu Jamal

It’s amazing when you think about it, but in less than two slim terms, the Bush administration and its neocon minions, have pushed the nation into a New Era, one which will bedevil the U.S. for generations. By pushing the nation into a bogus war, by essentially taking over a nation based on lies and pretexts, the country will have to wrestle with the nettling problem of Iraq for years to come. It doesn’t matter who becomes president in 2008. It doesn’t matter which political party controls the Congress. (As if it really matters now, huh?).

The American Empire, unimpeded by any imperial rival, tells the rest of the world to go to hell, and now, by the millions, people of the world are itching to return the sentiment. One writer, Tony Judt, in an article in The New York Review of Books (July 14, 2005), quotes a comment he heard from a senior “and rather conservative” Spanish diplomat, saying:

“We grew up under Franco with a dream of America. That dream encouraged us to imagine and later to build a different, better Spain. All dreams must fade—but not all dreams must become nightmares. We Spanish know a little about political nightmares. What is happening to America? How do you explain Guantanamo?”

In this apparent era of imperial fever, Judt has criticism for historians, the press, and politicians:

“Historians and pundits who leap aboard the bandwagon of American Empire have forgotten a little too quickly that for an empire to be born, a republic has first to die. In the longer run no country can expect to behave imperially—brutally, contemptuously, illegally—abroad while preserving republican values at home. For it is a mistake to suppose that institutions alone will save a republic from the abuses that make or break republics, it is men. And in the United States today, the men (and women) of the country’s political class have failed. Congress appears helpless to impede the concentration of power in the executive branch; indeed, with few exceptions it has contributed actively and even enthusiastically to the process.”

Like drunken monkeys, Americans have lurched, from hope to hope, from ledge to ledge; from timetable to timetable; from installed toadies, to quasi-elected ones; from illusion to illusion; to try to reconstruct one of the oldest societies on earth. Every step forward, has been a tumble backwards two feet.

And the best that the “loyal opposition” can muster is a misdirected call for more troops!

The War in Iraq, like all wars, eventually comes home, to wreak its havoc, and render its casualties, among those who blithely and blindly sent such violence forth. It is already having an impact on the poorest among us, who find less and less resources available for the hardscrabble existence of living in urban, or rural America. The struggle to raise, to educate, and to gainfully employ young people today is a struggle that millions of parents are finding well-nigh impossible.

Politicians offer childish diversions, like hearings into computer games, or bills shielding young people from sex on the Internet; or the latest biggie—congressional hearings into steroid use by athletes.

Meanwhile, “New Rome” is burning. Capitalism buys the Congress and rents their names to pass bills which further weaken workers, while empowering the business class (as in the recent Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) bill. Remember NAFTA? Remember its promises? Remember its realities? One wonders, what ever happened to a Global Free Labor Agreement—where the interests of labor, worldwide, are protected?

Speaking of “crimes of Empire,” I urge all of those reading this to read the book, America’s Disappeared: Detainees, Secret Imprisonment, and the War on Terror. edited by Rachel Meeropol (New York: Open Media/Seven Stories Press, 2005). Despite its timely subject, its been largely ignored by a media pressing for its place at the imperial table. If you want to know what Guantanamo is really about, check it out.

Decades ago, George Bush I threatened to bring forth a “New World Order.” Bush II made it real. This is the foreboding picture of that world.

—Copyright Mumia Abu-Jamal, July 31, 2005

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