Cracks in the Empire

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
by Mumia Abu-Jamal
Despite what talking heads in corporate media proclaim, there hasn’t been a revolution in the North African countries of Tunisia or Egypt, or the Persian Gulf’s Bahrain. These have been rebellions. For revolutions transform whole societies—they just don’t remove a few leaders.
That’s why much of U.S. reporting is so misleading. They want to call it a revolution, applaud it, and freeze it, while their handpicked leaders or purchased armies seize the reins of power.
That said, isn’t it curious that most of the countries where rebellions are most widespread are headed by presidents or princes who are U.S. allies? And these allies have used their armies and police to suppress their people, who oppose deeply unpopular policies of their rulers?
These rebellions pose serious challenges to the U.S. empire, for they threaten to dismantle the repressive regimes that undergird U.S. Middle East policy. They are still building, still emerging, across the entire region, and espousing a democracy that the U.S. neither wants nor truly supports.
Remember the indecision with which it initially faced Egyptian unrest? “Nonviolence on both sides?” When one side has tanks, guns, helicopter gun ships, and fighter jets, and the other side has—well, sticks—what can that mean? The U.S. wants quiet. Period.
For, if the choice is between democracy and stability, it’ll opt for stability every time, for globalization requires stability, and globalization is the instrument of empire. Indeed, it is but another word for colonialism—the control of other states by a central, imperial state.
But this empire is also a debtor nation, which manufactures little, and has to beg abroad to pay its vast armies, and support its global apparatus. As colonies peel away, or are taken back by their people, the empire decays, first by inches, then by feet, and soon—by miles.
We may be witnessing the end of something huge.
— © MAJ 2011

> This article was originally published in the March 2011 print edition of Socialist Action newspaper.

Related Articles

My Friend Michael Ratner

[The following is the July 27, 2021 presentation by Michael Steven Smith at a book party in New York City’s Lower East Side sponsored by