Here is the my followup reply to Max Shields from Dissident Voice, per here. Max Shields’s words are in italics:
“Here’s where I think you move the argument too far. Yes, there is a complicity across the board with exceptions (from people of all color), but it does us no good to simply say that the machine that imposes empire is rooted in the colonies of America. New Orleans is such a colony, one of many. I cannot in all good conscience say that New Orleaners are the recipients of empire, anymore than the 700 miliary based colonies throughout the world that receive US remittances are in fact part of the oppressive machine. There is an important difference”
If there were no serfs there would be no king. We live in a neofeudal age, the age of corporatism. If there is no slave there is no master, because the slave acts as enabler for the master. The internal colonies of America are given special treatment due to actual democratic advances within a nation-state system. But with the rise of a single superpower, that superpower determined that it no longer needed to act democratically in order to woo international opinion it’s way. So the weak democratic elements that led to favoring internal American colonies over external colonies began to erode.
It’s the serfs as well as the king who keep the system going. If the serfs decide that the king will no longer receive the serfs’ bounty, he won’t. Many serfs will die of course in the aftermath of such a choice, but the king will also die and sooner than all the serfs will, since the emergence of a new king with more moderate policies will then occur in order to spare the lives of the remaining serfs (in order for the land as a whole to have more power than if the killing of serfs continue).
It’s completely true that black slaves played a large role in building the United States of America. But hardly anyone acknowledges the actual implications of that – which is that black slaves played a large role in building an empire of tyranny, terror, and mass murder. And now they want to reap the gains of such a criminal construct, instead of meting out justice.
As serfs they certainly didn’t choose for their masters to be imperialists, but they sure did keep giving the imperialist master bounties, didn’t they? And their “leaders” kept up the mantra of integration, of the desire to work their way up the criminal ladder, of the desire for wealth and to stand side-by-side with the mass murdering king himself. That’s what “equality” means within the American monster. The equal right to extort, coerce, and dominate the rest of the world.
It takes a brave serf to defy a king, and the history of black slaves in America is not a history of bravery (by and large). If it was the world would be a very different place today. Blacks mourn the death of Martin Luther King not so much because of his great leadership but because of the utter dearth of black leadership today. The serfs have lost their spine.
Serfs define kings, and black slaves (through chattel, wage, and neofeudal) have shared in the defining of the American monster.
“I do not think that New Orleaners perpetuate empire. As an American colony they are kept in receipt of remittances that reach but a few and are siphoned off by corporate elites. It is simply not fair to call a colonists racist or part of the heart of empire. They are peripherial at best.”
That’s like saying workers are “peripheral at best” within capitalist systems. It’s nonsense. Serfs are the heart and soul of every kingdom, and American serfs are no different. Even for those black Americans who have problems gaining a place as a wage slave, they serve a crucial role insofar as they hold a lower rung on the social ladder, and show those on a higher rung the suffering that waits for them if they get out of line. American progressives think they are sophisticated when they talk about poverty, never knowing or caring that it’s the different shades of poverty, “minor” differences in the social structure, that make all the difference. “Divide and conquer” is, sadly, understood far better by the masters than by those who claim to be helping the serfs.
What do you think the “American Dream” is, this thing that so many serfs care about and who are lamenting the death of? It’s about the gaining of wealth, of milk and honey. America is the “Land of Opportunity” – that is to say the opportunity for wealth. So it’s not surprising that those at or near the bottom of the American ladder would put their energies into climbing up that ladder instead of dismantling the system itself. In order to climb up a ladder there not only needs to be a ladder (the “American Dream” of upward mobility) but there also needs to be someplace to climb to, so that after all that climbing the person isn’t stranded at the destination. That “someplace to climb to” is filled with blood money extracted from American colonies.
“My point is that racism is essential to imperial empirism and it is true whether that colony resides within our outside the major empire – USA.”
No, it’s not true. Do you think the serfs of Europe were a difference race from the king? Do you really think if there was only one race on the planet there would be no imperialism? Imperialism and empire is about greed, about desire for power, not about racism. Racism is just a convenience, an easy way for divide and conquer to be maintained. End racism and all that happens is that American blacks move up that ladder.
Emotions are outcomes of social relationships, not causes of them. That is to say, if one plans to steal from and subjugate a bunch of people, it’s convenient for those people to be able to be identified by race. It’s extremely convenient – it’s a kind of skin-based uniform, so that soldiers immediately know who to shoot, for example. So that people know who to hate just by looking at them.
“All that said, racism in terms of the sanctity of life and the quality of life is what is very worrisome. When Americans, regardless of color, cannot empathize with the pain of Iraqi families who are suffering do to empire we have to acknowledge the universiality of this wretched condition.”
If the Iraqis were white there would be no increase in compassion among American whites. When a school bully extorts money he only cares about race if race plays a larger role in the school society – he really just wants the money and he seeks to get it in the easiest and cheapest way possible.
It may sound trite to say that the global division of race is based on convenience, but it’s true. White imperialists aren’t the way they are because they hate non-whites, they hate non-whites because they want a perpetual stream of wealth from them, and if this convenience wasn’t available they would extort even more from members of their own race.
Look at this another way – do you really think a capitalist machine stops and starts based on the race of the victim that sits on the assembly line in front of it? The machine just wants victims, and convenient victims makes for more efficient extraction, that’s all.
“To your issue of where change comes from, Brian, local change is the only meaningful change. It roots the change on a human scale that absolutely cannot be achieved from the top down (globally or nationally). To see such change across the globe or even just within the US landscape is a major challenge, but I think that the notion that we can have some kind of national or global transformationis nearly outside the realm of the possible. I can imagine a cataclysmic situation where human species is subverted across the planet. Within that context all bets are off.”
I don’t think we disagree here. The global democratic movement will link together many local movements. It will have to link them together otherwise it will fail. In order for people to support each other across the globe they have to be in communication, regardless of whether that communication is mediated or otherwise controlled in a “top down” or “bottom up” fashion.