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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 09:32 PM
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Arundahti Roy: Address to the World Social Forum
From The Nation
Posted online Thursday January 22
Article based on address to the World Social Forum
delivered Friday January 16

The New American Century
By Arundahti Roy

n January 2003 thousands of us from across the world gathered in Porto Alegre in Brazil and declared--reiterated--that "Another World Is Possible." A few thousand miles north, in Washington, George W. Bush and his aides were thinking the same thing.
Our project was the World Social Forum. Theirs--to further what many call the Project for the New American Century.
In the great cities of Europe and America, where a few years ago these things would only have been whispered, now people are openly talking about the good side of imperialism and the need for a strong empire to police an unruly world. The new missionaries want order at the cost of justice. Discipline at the cost of dignity. And ascendancy at any price. Occasionally some of us are invited to "debate" the issue on "neutral" platforms provided by the corporate media. Debating imperialism is a bit like debating the pros and cons of rape. What can we say? That we really miss it?
In any case, New Imperialism is already upon us. It's a remodeled, streamlined version of what we once knew. For the first time in history, a single empire with an arsenal of weapons that could obliterate the world in an afternoon has complete, unipolar, economic and military hegemony. It uses different weapons to break open different markets. There isn't a country on God's earth that is not caught in the cross-hairs of the American cruise missile and the IMF checkbook. Argentina's the model if you want to be the poster boy of neoliberal capitalism, Iraq if you're the black sheep. Poor countries that are geopolitically of strategic value to Empire, or have a "market" of any size, or infrastructure that can be privatized, or, God forbid, natural resources of value--oil, gold, diamonds, cobalt, coal--must do as they're told or become military targets. Those with the greatest reserves of natural wealth are most at risk. Unless they surrender their resources willingly to the corporate machine, civil unrest will be fomented or war will be waged.
In this new age of empire, when nothing is as it appears to be, executives of concerned companies are allowed to influence foreign policy decisions. The Center for Public Integrity in Washington found that at least nine out of the thirty members of the Bush Administration's Defense Policy Board were connected to companies that were awarded military contracts for $76 billion between 2001 and 2002. George Shultz, former Secretary of State, was chairman of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. He is also on the board of directors of the Bechtel Group. When asked about a conflict of interest in the case of war in Iraq he said, "I don't know that Bechtel would particularly benefit from it. But if there's work to be done, Bechtel is the type of company that could do it. But nobody looks at it as something you benefit from." In April 2003, Bechtel signed a $680 million contract for reconstruction.

Read more.
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DuctapeFatwa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 09:39 PM
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1. "Debating imperialism is a bit like debating the pros and cons of rape"

Thanks for posting this. Let's keep it kicked.
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DuctapeFatwa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 11:58 PM
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2. Kick because a little perspective is good for you
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KG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 12:22 AM
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3. roy is a great voice for the victims of globalization.
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fabius Donating Member (759 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 01:27 AM
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4. My favorite part is this...

quote

Let's look this thing in the eye once and for all. To applaud the US Army's capture of Saddam Hussein, and therefore in retrospect justify its invasion and occupation of Iraq, is like deifying Jack the Ripper for disemboweling the Boston Strangler. And that after a quarter-century partnership in which the Ripping and Strangling was a joint enterprise. It's an in-house quarrel. They're business partners who fell out over a dirty deal. Jack's the CEO.

She's really got a way with words.

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DuctapeFatwa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 01:37 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. She does some very fine word writin'. And tells the truth with it

which is in the current climate, more than remarkable.
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lyonn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. Saw her on C-Span
And I was totally impressed. I got terribly patriotic in the process and thought that she stated so many of my views that I was unable to convey to others who thought Bush was doing a good job. It involves more than whether we should attach Iraq. It has to do with our position in the world. We once felt good about what we stood for, not so now. She is good. Well, I've got to mention the press, they are lazy and uncaring.
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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 09:33 AM
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6. A little more

A government's victims are not only those it kills and imprisons. Those who are displaced and dispossessed and sentenced to a lifetime of starvation and deprivation must count among them too. Millions of people have been dispossessed by "development" projects. In the past fifty-five years, big dams alone have displaced between 33 million and 55 million in India. They have no recourse to justice. In the past two years there have been a series of incidents in which police have opened fire on peaceful protesters, most of them Adivasi and Dalit. When it comes to the poor, and in particular Dalit and Adivasi communities, they get killed for encroaching on forest land, and killed when they're trying to protect forest land from encroachments--by dams, mines, steel plants and other "development" projects. In almost every instance in which the police opened fire, the government's strategy has been to say the firing was provoked by an act of violence. Those who have been fired upon are immediately called militants.

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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 09:57 AM
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7. And a cross refernece
Edited on Fri Jan-23-04 09:58 AM by Jack Rabbit

Like Old Imperialism, New Imperialism relies for its success on a network of agents--corrupt local elites who service Empire. We all know the sordid story of Enron in India. The then-Maharashtra government signed a power purchase agreement that gave Enron profits that amounted to 60 percent of India's entire rural development budget. A single American company was guaranteed a profit equivalent to funds for infrastructural development for about 500 million people!

From the archives of Democratic Underground:
Enron Does India by Jack Rabbit
Part One: The Contract for the Dabhol Power Project, January 25, 2002
Part Two: The Popular Uprising against the Dabhol Power Plant, January 26, 2002
Part Three: The Operation of the Dabhol Power Plant, January 28, 2002

It is striking how much the Dabhol caper resembles the California energy crisis last year. There are three basic differences. First of all, in Maharashtra there was a genuine need for somebody to develop new infrastucture in a developing nation while California already had an existing and functioning infrastructure that was at worst in need of some expansion and upgrading to meet the demands of a growing population. Second, in California, Enron was one of several co-conspirators whereas in Maharashtra Enron was the principal private corporation involved. Third, nobody's head got cracked in California, while two of the world's leading human rights organizations have documented police state tactics in Maharashtra surrounding the construction of the Dabhol power plant. Otherwise, Enron burst on the scene and manipulated a system that allowed it to charge outrageous rates for power. In Maharashtra, Enron succeeded in bankrupting the state electricity board, from whom consumers directly buy power, and in California, at least one major public utility has filed bankruptcy and another may yet be forced to file, while the state government's budget surplus vanished in a frenzy of power buying by the state to meet the needs of consumers and avoid crippling power blackouts. A good piece of the former California budget surplus is perhaps now lining the pockets of Enron's corporate fathers after their profit taking on the stock market in light of Enron's coming demise. Perhaps this says much of Enron's modus operandi.
. . . Enron believes that the common man was put on earth to either consume its products at whatever outrageous price Enron can get away with charging or to work for Enron and in the end get nothing in return. In many ways, this is like too many other multinational corporations that export manufacturing jobs overseas where workers can be found to work for less-than-subsistence wages. Enron was this, only more so. In the end, Enron also tried to take too much for those who buy their product and ended up killing the golden goose. Let the story of Enron be a morality tale that warns the wealthy against greed and arrogance.
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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 09:52 PM
Response to Original message
9. Bump
:bounce:
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Emillereid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-04 02:37 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. Kickin'
Incredible piece -- thanks for posting.
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