ENERGY wAR

exterminism for the 21st century

- stan goff -

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Copyright 2006 by Stan Goff

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People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster. -James Baldwin

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction__________________________________5 The Energy Crisis is Here_______________________10 The Global Battlefield__________________________44 The Night of the Generals_______________________62 The War for Saudi Arabia_______________________65 Persian Peril__________________________________81 Energy & “Homeland Security”__________________113 Exterminism and the World in the Wake of Katrina__124 India Takes the Stage__________________________160 Training the White Nation______________________213

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and a certain kind of culture. Ideology conceals the socially determined aspects of phenomena like energy production and consumption. And I use the term perjoratively. Politically determined patterns of energy production and consumption are bringing the increasingly destabilized trends of international political economy into collision with the inherent limitations of the planet’s energy substrates in extremely significant yet unpredictable and dangerous ways. but also many forms culturally and ideologically. The Energy War – which I argue has already started – will take many forms. and there is no more effective blinder to mobilization and efficacy of struggle than orthodoxy of any stripe. Those who have seen some of my theses – perhaps in earlier publications of the essays in this book – are already familiar with my particular preoccupations on this topic. Ideology also conceals the actual relations of power – class power. society. Winston Churchill.Introduction Energy War is a compilation. we will have to stop the engine and the people who are protecting and operating it. who said that “In war every truth has to have an escort of lies. and renders them “natural. and that holds especially true for someone like me – purportedly an “expert” of sorts on a few limited topics related to 5 . as part of offering a fragment of an interpretation. It would be worrisome. strategically. I think. Ideology is the problem facing the masses of humanity if they are to be mobilized as political actors themselves. These misapprehensions contribute to the Energy War’s general opacity. The escalating disunion between the demands of world capitalist accumulation and the material availability of industrial energy is a recursive relation. of a number of essays I have written over the past four years about the relationship between nature. Where that train might be headed is one of the speculations of this book. Special emphasis is placed on energy production and political conflict. Ideology simultaneously conceals and reproduces existing power relations. and national power – that play a determinative role in both energy production and use. with a very little post-publication commentary. It was the patron saint of of dying British imperial rule. That relation between social power and the biosphere is not a one-way determination. Diminishing availability is factored directly and consciously into the decision-making processes of the world’s most influential political actors. if anyone’s thinking failed to evolve over time on any subject. We cannot fight what we cannot see. That is why. So there is a powerful dialectical dynamic at work between social power and the material environment. and that to stop the train. and war at the beginning of the 21st Century. that together constitute an ideology.” That escort appears as the production of knowledge and culture -certain kind of knowledge. That dynamic can metaphorically be described as a runaway train. this book also attempts to identify and deconstruct some of the prevailing ideologies – from the biological determinism of the Malthusians to the stubborn developmental fantasies of many on the left who have yet to grasp that physics is a zero-sum game. gendered power. The other contention of this book is that this train has an engine.” ergo. beyond intentional intervention. and corresponding political conflict – including war. One will find that those theses are under revision here.

And these are not. This book will attempt to go a step deeper than militarism and identify from where this militarism emerges.” are selfdeluding at best and manipulative at worst. and political economy. Movements are directed in opposition to not simply to power. to anti-imperialism. but certainly a lay autodidact in the fields of energy physics. national liberation (I include US “civil rights” movements within this category). A moment’s reflection will tell us that military organization and practice does not simply force its way onto center stage in a given society like a conscious actor. to the aversion to machismo and aggression. as some might imagine. to anti-capitalism. This is the way social struggles develop. but to the perceptions of power. given the urgency of our task today. My agenda with this book is twofold. The merger of these four great social movements is not only desirable from a strategic point of view. and environmental resistance movements. but – in my humble opinion – a reflection of the necessary merger of the deep insights of these historical trends. ecology. to the sense of betrayal of the libertarian impulse. Writers. has been centralized by the so-called neo-cons in both foreign and domestic policy. Even the Clausewitz’s generalization.war. gender. that war is “politics by other means. to “objectivity. journalists. and scientists always have agendas. Consequently. I want to contribute to overcoming the historical differences between class. My preoccupations are not merely with the subject matter. Claims to the contrary. but qualitatively different perceptions with deep implications for the direction that social resistance takes. gendered power.” while accurate as far as it goes. to revulsion at hypocrisy. Metaphorical thinking like this can give rise to abstractions and false apprehensions of social reality. My own activism over the last five years has been largely against something we call militarism. On the other hand. I want to make a contribution to strengthening the social movements engaged in a politics of resistance. Resistance asserting itself in mass organizations is developed around some point of unity based on perceptions and analyses of what “the problem” is at the base of our grievance. I want to debunk fallacies about energy… and the Energy War. On the one hand. I was 6 . there is a national and international struggle developing against militarism – however defined. to fringe-element anti-Semitism directed at members of the administration. is still too general and superficial to explain today’s actual wars. to loathing of cronyism and corruption. “objectivity” is itself an ideological construct. The claim of objectivity is in every case – consciously or not – a simultaneous concealment and reproduction of both male and class power. In short. with its real people. 2006) attempted to trace the historical evolution of masculinity constructed as aggression and the periodic appearance in history of military masculinities as hegemonic sexualities. Motives for opposition to the Bush administration ranges from plain partisan self-interest among Democratic Party operatives. Specifically. There is general agreement among large numbers of people in the United States and the rest of the world that military methods and organizations are dangerous and that military solutions are increasingly favored by someone in power – however one defines them – and that the military itself. and that the military-industrial complex has insinuated itself into virtually every aspect of our social lives. to principled or religious pacifism. along some linear continuum. My own theses about gender and militarism in Sex & War (Lulu Press.

and nothing like that is on the horizon in the United States. but it needs to be a socialism of a new kind. Indeed.explicit that “militarism” is a kind of cognitive place-marker for the all the various connections in history between warfare and culture. Many of the anti-capitalist formations in today’s global metropoles of North America. as hobbling wherever possible the ability of their own government to interfere with phenomena like the colossal continental drift occurring in Latin America today. however. we are still waiting for proof that full capitalist development is a possibility in the South… as it remains a persuasive argument that only socialism can develop the South at all. The reality is that the actual rank-and-file members of a society have an immediate. Western Europe. Social movements and the critical-intellectual developments that go with them have influence on the direction and success of these individual struggles. and waging struggles at home that are reflections of imperialism abroad (environmental racism. resurgent male violence against women. and that with the collapse of the system. or when a system collapses under the weight of its own contradictions. the incompleteness of capitalism could be an advantage because it means there are still functioning grassroots structures in the South which could form the basis of an alternative social system. gentrification. afoot in places like Latin America. bankruptcy erasures of pension funds. and sabotage. These are only effective tactics in the hands of struggles that have evolved into mass-supported rebellion.) – will need to apprehend their own roles. or when a new class grows dominant within the belly of the old. the same masses will flock to the banner of (whichever) self-appointed vanguard (or. conversely among anarchists. This is a very important point. but as capitalism itself was never fully established in the first place. Australia. This makes revolution more likely. writing in The New Imperialism – Crisis and Contradictions in North/South Relations (Zed Books. and Japan. personal. But I did not go into any detail about the social developments and trends that give rise to the current Energy War. in part at least. There is much. Moral persuasion will not wean the United States off of its immense energy consumption. notes that “[t]he periphery [or global ‘South’] is characterized by the incompleteness of its capitalism. Neither will acts of individual adventurism like assassination. Robert Biel. 2000). socialism itself had to be rethought. In a sense. Socialism was supposed to be development from capitalism.” (p. This book will attempt to draw a few conclusions about those trends that point to the deeper systemic bases of today’s militarism which will at some point have to serve as a wider basis of unity than simply a struggle against militarism.111) Essential to understanding the geography of this “grassroots” Biel describes is an appreciation of how energy consumption patterns have contributed to physical structures 7 . insurgency. etc. but they do not have the capacity to destabilize those systems. that society will settle into some utopian stateless epoch). especially those with significant numbers of comparatively privileged youth. Australia. It is only when the combination of misery and repression becomes great enough. or Japan. that deep social revolutions take place. Western Europe. and affective stake in stability – no matter how imperfect that stability is. that the masses will then rally to their logic. suffer from a kind of philosophical idealism that suggests one can simply persuade “the masses” of the truth about capitalism. So alliances of resistance inside the US – while fighting internally against the depredations of neoliberalism that are now spilling within our own borders like toxic floodwaters into the 9th Ward of New Orleans.

The market model of exchange assumes a wider context of prices.e. kinship and communal systems. One from the US need only remember. and typical of ‘market calculation’. and based on impersonal exchanges between buyer and seller. and can involve different elements depending on the social norms. in many cases. but often acquired through kinship. As market exchange becomes central to modern forms of economic organisation. Local merchants and service providers were known. competition and market culture. On the one hand.in the overdeveloped capitalist metropoles – patterns that materially and spatially undermine social solidarities. but which only in certain historical and institutional settings (a system of private property. This is an aspect of embeddedness that is being materially and spatially eroded by the requirement to chase employment over long distances. money. Economic behaviour is isolated as a discrete type of social action. governed by the formal rationality of the market. Balihar Sanghera writes about Karl Polanyi’s theses of embeddedness (from “Market Society: Social structures and embeddedness”): Karl Polanyi challenged the economistic fallacy of liberal economic thinking that market relations and behaviour are universal models of human conduct. I believe. routines and institutions. on a personal basis. rather than one form of substantive provisioning among others. norms and institutions. Dr. by urban sprawl. which are themselves socially constructed. In the modern contexts. the differences in social life two to three decades ago and now. and all the other atomizing processes of late consumer capitalism. ‘market culture’) takes on the formal character of a supply-demand-price market. the market comes to represent ‘the economic institution’. the market society is characterised by the ‘disembedding’ of market behaviour from a wider context of social relations. and atomize society. amplify alienation. One’s first job. In this way. And the material substratum of these changes is what we inexactly call energy consumption. was not applied for through some formalized and aseptic process. market rationality dominates modern ways of thinking about economic action and motivation. formal economics is based on the model of means-end rationality implied by ‘economising’ behaviour in conditions of scarcity. Polanyi sees exchange as a diverse system of interaction that may involve market elements.e... Specific market transactions take on market qualities only within the already institutionalised setting of the market. substantive economics concerns the provisioning of human needs through three different means of allocation – reciprocity. On the other hand. Polanyi argues that there are two versions of the ‘economic’. provided one is old enough. because it is the interpersonal and cultural basis for durable social 8 . by corporate monoculture. price and particular norms and knowledges (i. collective consumption as well as private market relations). familial or spatial. redistribution and market exchange (i. gift exchange. Embeddedness is a concept that we urgently need to understand and popularize in our struggles.

literally. In fact. a function of the moral reprehensibility of one administration or of its incompetence. Without a conscious effort to build embeddedness into our political strategies. zoom in and out on the manifold dimensions of this world war over energy. while not originally conceived as parts of a book. and therein lies much of the reason for the immense success of popular struggles in places like Venezuela and Bolivia. The strength of underdevelopment. as many believe. The choice of the current political establishment to militarize both foreign and domestic policy is not. is that the atomizing tendencies of capitalism have not taken hold. We have been at war over fossil energy for some time. feminist. and given the fundamental imperative of capitalism to “grow. as Biel points out. The central role of physical energy in this dramatic period cannot be ignored. power. 9 .” a world war over energy each day increasingly takes on an aspect of inevitability. we will not build strong social movements that can seriously contest for political power. even though they are both reprehensible and incompetent. I offer them here as one small contribution to a much larger discussion. and intensely cognizant of the biosphere of which we are all a part. Energy is. anti-racist. The very embeddedness of underdeveloped societies that creates the basis of continued capital accumulation in a period of deep crisis (which I will describe in more detail further along in the book) also serves to reproduce social solidarities that are potential platforms of resistance and even open rebellion. That we have inadequately theorized it does not make this insignificant.solidarities. The essays in this book. one of the contradictions that transnational capital faces in this epoch is that the exploitative core-periphery relation is based fundamentally on the ability to super-exploit the periphery because of its extremely low cost of social reproduction – a cost directly lowered by the dependence for survival on household economies (managed mostly by women) and non-capitalist kinship bonds. and in the hope that it can contribute as well to the development of stronger alliances between social movements that are anticapitalist.

Tainter The failure to grasp the full significance of energy is based largely on our understanding of it as a seemingly endless commodity. Economic. with much violence. One oftendiscussed path is cultural and economic simplicity and lower energy costs. as suggested above. so universal. or how our consumption of it is irrevocably changing the entire biosphere. and oil and gas being ‘expensive’ is the complete opposite of reality. and the car starts. and less overall consumption. a founding member of the International Association of Energy Economists … …and which are due either solely or mainly to our urban industrial civilization and fossil energy habit…Attack of New York's Twin Towers can best be thought of as a warning shot. prolonged hardship in industrial nations makes it attractive.The Energy Crisis is Here (Originally published in Counterpunch in August 2004) The Warning Shot “Energy. and the lights ignite. The past clarifies potential paths to the future. I flip the switch. and if economic growth and consumerism can be removed from the realm of ideology. but that the question of energy itself is so basic. energy-conserving technologies. even lied about by such UN agencies as the World Health Organization until 2002 nearly 16 years after the event. will come about only if severe. absurdly.a voluntary change to solar energy and green fuels.. military adventure or environmental catastrophe that we are forced to witness almost any day. -Joseph A. so widely misunderstood. As with so many of the myths of the neoliberal age. and loss of population. and Political Issue Energy has always been the basis of cultural complexity and it always will be. and so profound in its implications if we are to be at all serious about it.. crisis. because nuclear power. is certainly linked to. This could come about through the "crash" that many fear -. without 10 . The alternative is the "soft landing" that many people hope for . war. I turn the ignition key. But we cannot understand the significance of energy. that we have to rely on independent macro-analysis of energy to put the issue in some kind of context. This is a utopian alternative that. McKillop puts his finger on the fact not only that nuclear is expensive and dangerous. so all pervasive. is still ‘believed in’ as a solution to expensive oil and gas. the myth of nuclear energy being ‘cheap’.” points out Andrew McKillop. starvation.a genuine collapse over a period of one or two generations. Three airplanes crashed into three nuclear power plants will produce three Chernobyl catastrophes – this true catastrophe being deliberately downplayed. so misrepresented by special interests. Social. or behind almost any international event. The Centrality of Energy as a Geophysical.

The net energy available for “use” within the biosphere was increased over billions of years through super-fecundity. or outside-the-body. whereupon it was chemically bound up and concentrated by organic matter. first through the use of fire. systematic. Punctuated equilibrium: a theory of evolution holding that evolutionary change in the fossil record came in fits and starts rather than in a steady process of slow change. and finally through the burning of organic material that was hundreds of millions of years in the making – fossil fuels. eggs). that is. For this. and the number of dependencies and other linkages between species increases. all life forms in the biosphere “used” energy internally. Energy captured slowly by photosynthesis is stored up. Autotrophs take it from solar radiation and heterotrophs take it from autotrophs. Energy is bound with matter and keeps it in motion.g. Life on Earth is driven by energy. vast amounts of energy that accumulated long before the species appeared. then as autotrophs that converted sunlight into metabolic fuel. indeed. a few definitions are helpful. 11 . then through the domestication of animals. Energy is the force that drives all change. first as simple life forms that gained energy directly from the sun. The biosphere evolved as an ever more complex architecture of consolidated energy.understanding energy in a more basic and essential way. seed set or asexual propagules. The control of fire and the exploitation of fossil fuels have made it possible for Homo sapiens to release. and niche maximization. exploitation of biomass-concentrated energy. Only with the appearance of Homo sapiens (perhaps Cro Magnon) was the biosphere introduced to intentional. heterotrophs that could use more energy evolved to exploit them. Fecundity: The potential reproductive capacity of an organism or population. measured by the number of gametes (e. evolutionary complexity. punctuated equilibrium. Niche maximization: the tendency of any species to expand its population to the maximum extent possible within the physical limits inherent in the organism and its environment. Evolutionary complexity: ecosystems tend to become more complex – the number of different species increases. within each life form’s own body – endo-somatically. in a short time. the ability to use energy extrasomatically (outside the body) enables human beings to use far more energy than any other heterotroph that has ever evolved. Homo sapiens is such a heterotroph. and as denser reservoirs of energy have come into being over the course of Earth's history. extra-somatic. Until the appearance of human beings. Superfecundity: Superabundant fecundity or multiplication of the species. however. and later as heterotrophs that consume autotrophs for the energy concentrated within them. The energy used by life on earth originated almost entirely from the sun.

industrial. And it has plunged the human species into cycles of increasing economic polarization and war. If this claim is valid.-David Price The specific social forms – most recently global. where the whole society has been physically and socially designed around the private automobile.” Conservation will be. Implicit in that is political will.” says Martin Hoffert. It will not. It is empirically provable that we cannot sustain our current energy use or the social organization that shapes that energy use. This is not a moral valuation. This runaway train aimed at a thermodynamic cliff that is less than 30 years away. Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist. Centralizing the issue of energy for alliance and coalition building has tremendous potential for harnessing a broad and diverse array of forces to affect that political shift. and implicit in political will is a profound shift in political power. but how. It is a simple syllogism. The capitalist accumulation process is central to the problem. in society. pursued with the urgency of the Manhattan Project or the Apollo space program. perhaps international. (2) Technology cannot and will not be the centerpiece of any energy “emergency landing. and expansionary (profit/growth-based) – of this extrasomatic energy exploitation has set in motion an increasingly grave situation that is multidimensional and self-accelerating. There is no getting around this. Any real account of our situation in the cosmos. “Developing and commercializing carbon-free power technologies by the mid-21st century could require efforts. It has transformed the face of the planet. energy impacts on the totality of social relations. and how society is organized to use that energy. and the choice before society is not whether it will end. Any account that ignores this contributes to the delusion that “progress” will continue in the present economic. expanded the human population and decanted it mostly into cities that are becoming seas of desperate misery. a physicist at New York University. As McKillop pointed out. (1) It cannot be done through commercialization. But 12 . any useful course of action must be established directly on the assumptions that (1) there is an existing energy crisis and (2) this crisis can only be addressed within the context of systemic social change that pays direct attention to energy use and development. -Kenneth Boulding Energy is a material basis of all development. but a scientific one. how it is changed into useful forms. without exception. We must use less energy. There is less and less energy available for use. Energy is not created. It has created the most dramatic species extinction in the earth’s history and begun the rapid carbonization of the earth’s atmosphere. We cannot leap over these preconditions. and political paradigm. and is intrinsically incapable of producing solutions. during a forum on global warming. The current system will end. The evolution of this social form – industrial capitalism – has also put the developed nations on a runaway train – most particularly the United States. I will add two more. as a mathematical certainty. and as individuals must be based significantly on an account of where energy is originated. social.

which had been under intensive pressure as competitive uses for timber proliferated. or was this solution no solution at all since it has done no more than bring about a huge new increase of population on a still more unsustainable basis? The population of Europe doubled from 100 million in 1650 to 200 million by 1800. London's population grew from 575.these forces. and sanitation. It must be a movement that fully recognizes the inextricability of energy use and social relations. Enclosing of commons destroyed the last great British forests. 'including a mass of the bustling street-hawkers. urchins. It must be an insurgent movement that jealously guards its independence from and maintains a fundamentally adversarial relationship to the current dominant interests and institutions of that very system. We cannot understand why global society is what it is now. especially in France. heat. especially in years when poor harvests drove up the price of bread. because its inexorable goal is the transformation of the entire paradigm. The most dangerous bottleneck faced by the British economy was the complete collapse of the iron industry as supplies of wood for charcoal 13 . in the new manufacturing towns hordes of children lacked adequate health care. and hunger was common. if they are to have any effect beyond merely adding new layers of commentary. nutrition and education. cannot include the vested interests that currently thrive completely within the context of the existing profit/growth regime. By 1789 Paris had more than 600. and felons so well captured in contemporary prints. social protest was common.000 were vagrants: the foot soldiers of the French Revolution. without understanding its evolution.000 in 1750 to almost a million by 1801. The late British historian Mark Jones describes the advent of human hydrocarbon dependency and the population explosion that accompanied it. of whom at least 100.. and therefore it must consist of people who are committed to fundamental social transformation. gangs of unemployed agrarian workers attacked the new farming machines that had thrown them out of work. The agrarian revolution impacted the environment in destructive ways. lacking water.' [Paul Kennedy] The burgeoning population huddled into the cities from the countryside and inhabited 'sprawling slums of jerry-built houses. But did industrial capitalism achieve a new (growth based) equilibrium. light. The Political Economy of Energy The beginning of the fossil fuel age was not simply a technological shift.000 inhabitants. By 1750 European economies were increasingly gridlocked.. pickpockets. It was a specific outcome of a specific set of historical circumstances. Bureaucratic and for-profit organizations are driven by the imperatives that define them – self-perpetuation and expansion of monetary value. as follows: Industrial capitalism was surely a response to a crisis of relative overpopulation which emerged in Europe and elsewhere by the end of the 17th century. And the rate of increase constantly accelerated.

The shortage emerged at the end of an extremely rapid cycle of proto-industrial development during the 17th and 18th centuries. Jones elaborates in a separate essay: The Industrial Revolution began in England when a set of technologies fortuitously converged to overcome a shortage of energy and raw materials (principally iron and steel). agriculture and arms manufacture The era of fossil fuel-based industry was launched and led to very rapid population increases. These attempts did not succeed in solving the iron shortage until almost the end of the 18th century. The iron famine affected the entire English economy and imperiled its defence. However the gigantic growth in social productivity. first to the iron and steel industries. Consider the implications. But there surely can no longer be any doubt that take-off happened largely because of fortuitous accident (available coal. but in waterlogged deep mines requiring the development of pumps and then steam engines). machine building. The first railways and steam engines were developed in coal-mining districts to answer specific problems of deep shaft working. On the contrary. This was the background to British activity in India and the Far East. When the solutions came they synergistically combined to provide the platform for industrial take-off. The technologies of steam power and of iron-manufacture utilising coal instead of wood-charcoal had interdependent origins. which emerged in this fortuitous way at the beginning of the 19th century. capitalism today is more critically dependent on fossil fuels and the use of non-renewable resources than at any time in the past.dried up. World capitalism has enjoyed two centuries of sustained development since 1800. There were many attempts to solve the problem of smelting iron with substitutes. Spain and even the Urals. then to textiles. transport. where coal had to be transported considerable distances and flooded mines had to be pumped dry Once the technologies emerged they swiftly became generalised. (end quote) Even as those finite resources are depleted. has never enabled capitalism to shake free of its initial pathdependence. the most obvious being coke made from coal. and the absolute level of resource-extraction and energy use continues to grow. By 1700 Britain was importing iron wrought and pig-iron from Sweden. That this trade was profitable evidences the desperate straits the English iron industry was in. 14 . which consolidated the new system's dependence on its material and energy basis. the creation of a vast new built environment and the subordination of natural processes and resourcesystems. resource-use and population.

dynamic. and as if environmental problems in the South were the result of ignorance rather than impoverishment. super-lighted energy sinks that are strip malls and supermarkets. but under the imperatives of a competitive system that is fundamentally based on expansion. which they are not. The “social” camp has made the error of denying the physical reality of carrying capacity. there is a debate going on between one camp that says we are expanding beyond the earth’s carrying capacity and another that says the problem is not biological but social. and exactly how those habitats are built is largely determined by the interfusion of geography. because most Haitians do not have automobiles. we actually build new niches. Moreover. for example. (Remarkably. and unitary. technology. many people in the industrialized [global] North continue to believe that it is their mission to educate people in the [global] South on how to live and produce sustainably.With human beings. In reality. The “carrying capacity” camp has made the error of accepting genetic predestination as the cause of this population expansion.1 tons in India. This obviously also has an environmental dimension. however. and therefore the tendency to pose them against each other as opposites. cannot be replaced by strip malls.) -Alf Hornborg We don’t simply maximize our niche as other species do. 80% of the iron. The human niche has been over-maximized based directly on energy use. and socio-economic-political organization. even that statement tends to describe dual phenomena. most people would be incapable of obtaining food (grown a thousands miles away) or a job to get the money to buy it without an automobile to get to the vast. and 76% of the lumber. On the subject of energy. as if the North was setting a good example. Roadside stands in Haiti. on the other hand. while 20% of the world’s people do not have access to enough energy to successfully maintain their own body metabolism. In fact. centralheat-and-air. but they are correct that human economic activity is not solely genetically. while the lived reality is more complex. But this camp is right that the earth has a carrying capacity. and failed to grasp the socialhistorical character of all human relations – which has been determinative of population expansion. 15 . The richest 20% of the world’s population consume 86% of the aluminum. but overwhelmingly socially. human biological and social phenomena are in constant and inseparable interaction with one another. nor do they have the money to buy expensive consumer goods. the sociopolitically-constructed habitats themselves then restructure human social relations and human consciousness. It must be of relevance… that the United States’ share of world energy consumption is 25%. refrigerated. Per capita carbon dioxide emissions in 1990 were around five tons in the United States but only 0. the biological and social cannot be separated except as analytical categories. determined. The later is not inevitable. Each camp has occupied one pole in the same false dichotomy. 81% of the paper. In the US. based on the substitution of analytical categories for material complexity.

a very important starting point. whether that involves the air conditioning required in Riyadh or the heating required in Toronto. Duncan observes that – with world oil production peaking approximately right now (2002-2010) – world per capita consumption has been in decline since around 1980. we must remember. This sends the graph line shooting steeply up from the end of the 19th Century. because the spike from under 1 billion to over 6 billion happens in so short a time. this whole process up until 1850 looks like a gently rising. then straight into the air like a Titan missile. more profound. the earth’s human population was roughly 50 million. the predominant form of that fossil energy. Plotted on a graph. or indirect as in socialist projects that were driven by geopolitical and military competition (paradoxically forcing socialist systems to compete within a capitalist world system). is a good marker to see into our energy future. but one that is qualitative – characterized importantly by mechanized agriculture that has pushed populations off the land and progressively urbanized larger and larger fractions of the world’s gross population. explains Duncan. “the endless rise and fall of civilizations. The Olduvai Theory: Sliding Towards a Post-Industrial Stone Age. Population growth stabilized for the next 1500 years. oil. But it isn’t the whole story. Richard Duncan in his 1996 paper. (italics his) It is a ‘one shot affair. Population expansion within growth economics has not merely been an arithmetical phenomenon. more pervasive. took hundreds of millions of years to form as biomass (like the green algae that is currently presumed to have turned into oil). Measuring “civilization” by per capita energy consumption chronologically. slightly bumpy slope. Metallurgy and agricultural innovation set off a population breakout around then. darker. colder times still. From 1850. and will continue to decline into perpetuity. as in the capitalist imperative to expand or be consumed by competitors. the whole system has been based on something called “growth.” This is. 16 . Global industrial civilization has no cycles at all.” With this economic expansion comes population expansion. It starkly tells us what will happen if we continue on the same course – that by 2030 or thereabouts we are likely to have returned to the per capita energy consumption of 1930. That’s it. The fossil fuel that powers this growth. By 3000 BC. just over 100 years. exponential decline. one cannot extend the same graph on any standard sheet of paper. and the population jumped almost to 300 million by 1 AD. however.” wherein a rapidly growing population increasingly dependent on higher and higher inputs of fossil fuel sets a trendline of higher demand even as the actual fuel goes into permanent decline. Exploitation of biomass and animal power contributed to doubling that population by 1000 BC. until the present. In fact. of course. Fossil fuel has permitted us to build huge cities in climates that bordered on hostile to human habitation. This is a situation described empirically by Dr. with the introduction of widespread use of fossil fuel.Whether that imperative was direct. This is more than some historical cycle. where proto-industrialization and crop rotation created an uptick from 1500 until around 1850 that brought the world within reach of the 1 billion mark. [This is] about something quite different. as the “transient-pulse theory of Industrial Civilization. We have used approximately half of all the extractible oil in the earth. en route to harder.’ Exponential growth.

failing to account for not merely data. but that war is rapidly becoming a military and political quagmire. geographically and socially diverse place.” This dredges up some long standing controversies. One is a belief in some fundamental cleavage between truths which are analytic. nature dealt us a bad hand – we’re sexually prolific. that is. and it is unalterable. But failure to account for reality beyond that which is empirically observable. but it is absolutely necessary to engage that controversy here and take sides. is an error sometimes referred to as empiricism. The ability to change outcomes is not the same as the ability to control outcomes. Modern empiricism has been conditioned in large part by two dogmas. politics here meaning struggles for power. but the relationships and interactions of people and the environment in the real world. and not infrequently the unintended consequences of ill-informed decisions. a couple of great debates come to mind. -Willard Van Orman Quine Mark Jones’ recounting of the dawn of hydrocarbon capitalism reminds us that the world is a complex. national.Beyond Empiricism: Energy and Social Systems Empiricism: the philosophical theory that attributes the origin of all our knowledge to experience. That is why it is important to see not only the empirical analysis of energy. Richard Duncan. conflict (especially gender. it’s in the genes.” Beneath the argument that population is the central problem is the notion. that. “Long ago. The other dogma is reductionism: the belief that each meaningful statement is equivalent to some logical construct upon terms which refer to immediate experience. short-term and self-centered. but by a combination of dynamic historical forces that include necessity. quoted above and cited on his “Olduvai Theory”. In our case. and that human “development” is driven not by some genetic program. Neo-malthusian reliance on broad numerical averages supports a case that this impending disconnection between energy availability and population is a “population problem. 17 . and class conflict). And after thousands of years of trying. or grounded in meanings independently of matters of fact and truths which are synthetic.” In other words. or grounded in fact. that between Thomas Malthus and Karl Marx and that between fellow Darwinists Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould. “Human nature” is responsible. The United States is now involved in war. intended to extend its control over the most oil-rich region in the world. as Duncan says. tribal. especially the reduction of social complexity in the world system to singular numerical indices like “world per capita consumption. might be called a neo-malthusian. Culture hasn’t changed that. but to understand the social and political relations of energy. conscious decision-making. The energy crisis is manifesting itself socially and politically. Only the most stubbornly self-delusional elements in society still believe that oil had nothing to do with the US decision to invade Iraq. Empirical information arrived at through a process of direct observation and quantification is essential to the whole scientific method.

b) positive checks which increase mortality or the probability of dying (i..e.. poverty . and. unchecked population increases in a geometrical ration while subsistence increases in an arithmetical ratio. and vice).. 1933:14). ".” those who today subscribe to the same “natural-law” premises as Malthus. plague and famine:) (Malthus... etc.... a very considerable portion of that vice and misery.. Malthus bases his principle of population on a natural law. moral restraint or marriage postponement. unemployment. the tendency of all animated life to increase beyond the means available for its subsistence.. widespread poverty. and expands that explanation to encompass all “natural resources.. hunger. 1933:5).e. one of the causes that have hitherto impeded the progress of mankind towards happiness" (Malthus. according to Malthus. 1933:5). generally implying that human culture and society are an outgrowth of linear genetics and fecundity. This cause is "intimately united with the very nature of man . is ". "unwholesome occupations. American per capita consumption has steadily increased. the whole train of common diseases and epidemics. the law of necessity which restrains that growth within certain boundaries and keeps it down to the level of the means of subsistence. war. (it) is the constant tendency in all animated life to increase beyond the nourishment prepared for it" (Malthus. Gimenez points out that “neo-Malthusians.great towns and excesses of all kinds.. . and of that unequal distribution of the bounties of nature which it has been the unceasing object of the enlightened philanthropists in all ages to correct" (Malthus.its natural and necessary effects (are) .. The natural law of population growth is checked by another natural law. disregarding the concrete social relations of exploitation and competition which had produced that hungry and unemployed population.But while worldwide per capita production of oil peaked decades ago.. of politics. The Population Issue: Marx vs. Malthus begins with the results of the process of capitalist development before him. There is an issue of power. 1933:5). The two propositions together constitute the famous principle of population which.” Gimenez then describes Marx’s rebuttal of Malthus: At the most general theoretical level Marx and Engels see in Malthus’ principle of population another instance of the way… economists reify social relations… to reify means to change concrete historical social relations and processes into universal categories or eternal natural laws. 18 . Malthus: Malthus' argument rests upon two propositions. interests and intent. How does Duncan’s biological determinism explain this? There is quite obviously something more than a genetic predisposition at work here. Within the human species the natural law of necessity operates through various checks which fall under two main categories: a) preventive checks which control fertility (i.e. Professor Martha Gimenez of the University of Colorado describes Malthus’ biological determinist view in her 1973 paper..” like marriage and vice. i. Note that social norms and culture are subsumed under “natural law.

we can discern a clear trend. and only later a political one. hunger. Second is that you can ask this largely without knowing or caring what the genetic and physiological mechanisms involved are. 19 . with empiricist Dawkins cited by defenders of The Bell Curve (Free Press. permanent character. the mechanisms do it somehow. its continuous development or evolution. It has long been the tendency of those at the top of any social hierarchy to prefer narratives that make that social order either divinely ordained or a product of natural law. unwholesome working conditions. and its active interference with the world and its subjects and objects. passive view of knowledge towards a more and more adaptive and active one. When we look at the history of epistemology. are depicted as the product of the natural law of necessity which in that way checks the functioning of another natural law. Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that studies knowledge. or whether that “nature” is influenced by society and its relations. now heavily quoted by opponents of high-stakes standardized testing. a double loss). as an attempt to develop computer programs that mimic a human's capacity to use knowledge in an intelligent way. This is an epistemological controversy first. 1996). the tendency of all animated life to reproduce itself beyond the means of subsistence. the pre-eminent biologist who died in 2003 (as did Mark Jones. -Principia Cybernetica Stephen Jay Gould. his use of the male-normative “Man” notwithstanding. is whether “human nature” is genetically determined. The crux of this great controversy. for any behaviour or function. a why question in terms of adaptive function. unemployment. and Gould’s rebuttal in his own re-released book. and from artificial intelligence. Norton & Company. This controversy spilled over into social debates. The first theories of knowledge stressed its absolute. disease. The Mismeasure of Man (W. of course. who identified something called the “selfish gene” as the singular motive force in evolution. etc. whereas the later theories put the emphasis on its relativity or situationdependence. actually expanded the point of view of dynamic “environmental” influence into the study of evolution. this question translates into issues of scientific methodology: how can one develop theories or models that are better than competing theories? It also forms one of the pillars of the new sciences of cognition. The whole trend moves from a static. W. It attempts to answer the basic question: what distinguishes true (adequate) knowledge from false (inadequate) knowledge? Practically. a book that claimed to demonstrate racial superiority. and engaged a decades-long debate with biologist Richard Dawkins. in spite of the confusion of many seemingly contradictory positions.he views it as the outcome of the operation of inexorable natural laws… Poverty. Dawkins. a student of animal behaviour under Niko Tinbergen. which developed from the information processing approach to psychology. First is that you can ask. works with a number of tacit axioms. 1994).

supported non-determinist mental plasticity with the identification of mirror neurons and their functional receptivity to social conditioning. and adaptationism a universal acid for dissolving away scientific problems. and social realities do not act in a laboratory setting but in a dynamic and non-linear relation to one another. atomized data. • The earth’s climate is being transformed and the biosphere is being dangerously decomplexified by fossil fuel combustion. is a systemscomplexity person. The third is that. • • -Kim Sterelny Gould does not discount the value of reductive science that operationalizes questions to be answered by the experimental (empirical) method. Research into the structure of the brain by psychobiologists and anthropologists have. Gould by contrast is a paleontologist. by contrast. Marx. even when this conditioning does not provide any identifiable evolutionary advantage in the Darwinist sense. biological. As far as adaptive explanation goes. It is thus no surprise that Gould’s view of evolution is one of many-leveled patterns and contingencies. It is a social-system problem. as some so-called environmentalists have already done. geological. Cognitive neuroscience is showing us that we are biologically determined to be not biologically determined. It is of course a short step from these premises to the view that adaptation is a universal moulder of forms and behaviour. Here is an outline of our social-system problem. It is also supporting the thesis that social systems thereby reproduce themselves in the human psyche with tremendous power.and selection acts on their output. In particular. paleontology has been concerned with multi-leveled patterns of organisation in the fossil record. the adaptive one is the linchpin. of all the various types of explanation in biology. stasis and change. Systems cannot be accurately theorized solely based on empirical. I am with Jones. but it is not a population problem. This is because it is this alone which really tells us why. species and radiations. the master key. and evolving relations cannot be reduced to mathematically-expressed observations. They are by definition relational. not reducible to any master force like gene-level selection. There is a population aspect to our problem. all other accounts merely tell us how. and as such long schooled in the difficult reconstruction of the details of the past. And the neoMalthusians are on a very dangerous ideological slope where they can easily slip into racism and xenophobia. But Dawkins reduces the question of evolution to a single determinant. The empiricists have identified a very serious consequence if we continue on the same path. What counts as explanation is in many respects a description of pattern. then we might as well party on until the lights go out. guilds and kingdoms. 20 . But if we accept their premise that it is genetically predetermined. they are a black box. one that captures all the relevant complexity. in fact. because physical. Gimenez. and the energy crisis is quite real (We will show further on just how real in many ways). because there’s nothing we can do about it.” Gould. the “selfish gene. and Gould on the energy question.

• The “health” of the global economy is now measured by the indices that measure profit – the self-expansion of monetary values – that depends on expansion or “growth. Science does not conclude. Australia. The current energy regime depends overwhelmingly on fossil hydrocarbons. Most of the world’s remaining easily extractable oil is in one region that is being destabilized by this competition – which has now become an energy war. This propaganda is aimed at people with limited or no scientific acumen. there is not enough petroleum. and most is not peer-reviewed to test its validity. The “uncertainties” argument made by industry-and-ideology groups is a logical fallacy called a “red herring. • • • • • • Growth and Sustainability Sustainable growth is an oxymoron. Capitalist industrialized agriculture now depends on current or increasing levels of fossil fuel. who largely accept that human activity – in particular. There is not enough iron. The scientific method does not answer all questions. It is physically impossible to “develop” the whole world in a manner similar to Europe and America. India. to the exclusion of other questions. Most of this polemical nonsense is done by “scientists” who are un-respected in their fields. those “advanced” societies are not sustainable in their present form for more than two decades.” which depends on ever-higher inputs of fossil fuel. even as the US. the use of fossil fuel – has caused an unprecedented atmospheric shift in the last century and a half. This so-called critique is aimed not at scientists. Moreover. In fact.” designed to cast enough doubt on the alarm being raised about global warming to reinforce the public’s fear-induced denial. It either reinforces or weakens existing interpretations. 21 . and emphasizes the unanswered “uncertainties” in the body of scientific research on climate change. on the continued and expanded use of fossil energy. It seeks to answer a question at a time. etc. uncertainty is exactly what science seeks by determining the limits of certainty. and China are all projecting massive increases in oil consumption – which objectively makes them competitive antagonists. in a variety of ways. World oil production is peaked. Japan. Europe. The entire society is structured for hydrocarbons so extensively that it is physically impossible to replace current consumption within existing sectors at existing levels. -Albert Bartlett There is a growing body of pseudo-scientific rebuttal of global-warming proliferating with the support of vast profit-driven enterprises that depend.

3.C. exacerbated drought. This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because merely changing the topic of discussion hardly counts as an argument against a claim. This is also categorically untrue. and sea level rise. from experts in the field. D.Red Herring: a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue.000 years. Another claim was that computer models of climate change have predicted far more warming than satellite records actually show. The basic idea is to "win" an argument by leading attention away from the argument and to another topic. Temperature increases in most areas of the United States are expected to be considerably higher than these global means because of our nation's northerly location and large average distance from the oceans. This sort of "reasoning" has the following form: 1.. driven by emissions of greenhouse gases. the Earth is expected to warm an additional 2. To make this point clear to policy makers in Washington. with astonishing gall. Topic A is under discussion. The Union of Concerned Scientists state: The scientific consensus around climate change is robust. Over the course of this century.5 °F.5 to 10. Even under mid-range emissions assumptions.S.000 years. Topic B is introduced under the guise of being relevant to topic A (when topic B is actually not relevant to topic A). more than 1. is already under way and likely responsible for most of the observed warming over the last 50 years—warming that has produced the highest temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere during at least the past 1.. In doing so. Science for the last decade has conclusively debunked this assertion. depending on future emissions levels and on the climate sensitivity—a sustained global rate of change exceeding any in the last 10. which is driven in part by emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide. • • • 22 . 2. including an increased likelihood of heavy and extreme precipitation events. the letter reconfirms reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Research Council that the consequences of climate change.” In some cases. these reports emanating from the plethora of front organizations posing as public interest groups actually claim that there is no real evidence that global temperatures have risen as a result of human causes. Industry-supported junk-science goes a step beyond logical by publishing patently false claims and. referring to the conclusions of the majority of reputable scientists as “junk science. the projected warming could cause substantial impacts in different regions of the U.000 scientists from across the nation have signed the State of Climate Science letter. will be both disruptive and costly to the United States… • Anthropogenic climate change. Topic A is abandoned. This letter. outlines the consensus on the anthropogenic component to climate change.

But 23 . Barring a dramatic change of course socially. and. we can be assured that these changes will be immensely destructive of human health and social stability. Global warming is real. The rise of a few inches in sea levels would effectively inundate hundreds of millions of people around the world. the accelerated sea level rise during that century relative to the last few thousand years. The additional capacity added to that general tendency by fossil fuel is difficult to overestimate. and lake sediments for years prior to 1860. and create unstable weather patterns that generate more catastrophic weather events in heavily populated areas. being necessary for individual human metabolism. reduction in snow cover extent. Evidence that climate change is already under way includes the instrumental record. for example. corals. The Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii has collected ice cores that demonstrate a 30% increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide since 1860. global retreat of mountain glaciers. Combined with growth-economics. but because the global climate is such a highly complex system. the increase in upper air water vapor over most regions in the past several decades. and its impact tends to increase geometrically. fossil energy exploitation has given human societies the capacity to transform the material environment for economic purposes in unprecedented ways. as have fossil fuel bi-products. Using plain input/output models for food production by 1994. on its face. Food. The very idea that a quantum chemical shift of this magnitude in the atmosphere would not create profound changes in the climate is. however. which shows a surface temperature rise of approximately 1°F over the 20th century. the longer emissions increase. [Hurricane Katrina. salinize estuaries and destroy soil fertility. is a special concern. worthy of ridicule. earlier thawing of lake and river ice. which used indicators such as tree rings. where climate change and malignant social neglect came together with a terrible force.09°F warming of the world's deep oceans since the 1950s. Due to the long lifetimes of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. particularly in agriculture. the sequence. ice cores. and the 0. shift tropical disease vectors and pathogens further into temperate zones.] But fossil energy exploitation has more consequences than the unintended ones. Evidence that the warmth of the Northern Hemisphere during the second half of the last century was unprecedented in the last 1.• • Almost all plausible emissions scenarios result in projected temperatures that continue to increase well beyond the end of this century. The transformation of all of nature – now even including its scenic vistas – into marketable commodities is the dominant determinative force in growth-economies. and forms of its consequences cannot be known. intensity. Mario Giampietro and David Pimentel showed that one calorie of food requires approximately 10 calories of extrasomatic energy to produce.000 years comes from three major reconstructions of past surface temperatures. and has a special place in global social patterns of energy use. the faster they will ultimately have to be decreased in order to avoid dangerous interference with the climate system. and instrumental records for the interval between 1865 and the present.

Prigogine's concept of "dissipative structures" (Prigogine & Stenger 1984. however. 1988). To get those dollars. and the rest of the world makes things to get dollars. the United States and Canada. the use of fossil-fueled mechanization to harvest. also Adams 1982. process. Dissipative structures are systems which 24 . cf. and transport the products. which allows the US to print money to cover its enlarging debt to other nations (which. Monoculture crop production requires more than fossil fuel and petrochemical inputs. “the US makes dollars. K. It requires a social impetus. or social disorder materially related to thermodynamic entropy as energy use (I will digress here only briefly into Ilya Prigogine’s thesis on dissipative structures). as Wall Street investment broker Henry C. US consumers on average are consuming five times the global average at below market value because of an external hidden subsidy provided by those throughout the world who are consuming less energy to eat. Australia. in effect. compelled by market imperatives to produce food on a monocultural. Again. it creates a situation where underdeveloped nations need have large supplies of US dollars to pay their external debts – mostly to the United States controlled International Monetary Fund. We are not all consuming the same kind of food. and if we factor in variables like sun-energy and disparate gross production figures. the US percentage of disposable income spent on food is remarkably low -. So if we set aside the monetary cost of food and focus solely on the energetic costs. and the reasons are structured not by human DNA.that is a global average. Liu describes it. it is around 90/1. it has added a much larger aggregate unemployed population to the world. now unemployed in the waged sector without access to subsistence agriculture to guarantee basic survival. That model is characterized by five major structural changes: the use of large tracts of land instead of small plots. the applications of immense amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. it never intends to pay back). the need for massive and wasteful irrigation efforts. Not only does this increase the ecological and energy “footprint” of those newly urbanized populations – because urban living is more energy intensive than rural life – in a global economy that has suffered a net contraction beginning in the 70s. they need to export to the United States. In the United States. but by political economy. another shift from the former system where they worked for a “share” of the product). for reasons we won’t go into until later. we are immediately confronted with the inadequacy of an empirical model to make sense of the situation we are facing. Yet because of the global system of US dollar seignorage.around 15%. effectively a subsidy to the whole United States from the rest of the world. The same profligate energy waste that underwrites agriculture for the well-to-do nations underwrites the associated and equally destructive satellite activities to industrial. The same system of dollar hegemony described above not only forces foreign central banks to provide free loans to the US government. So here is another example of a hidden connection between energy and social disorder – what I will refer to as social entropy. industrial model. and the deracination of most rural people and their transfer to cities (the few who remain behind to labor for industrialized agriculture work for wages. So. growth-based food production.” This imperative to export has transformed even the most underdeveloped nations into net food exporters. the average is 40/1. and Japan. In the industrialized metropoles of Europe.

" This interpretation can be extended from biological to social systems (cf. that Adams (1982) has "not fully realized the sociological implications of his essentially physical formulation. as well as salinized and abandoned when the have been rendered sterile. The need for more land has led to increasing deforestation. As fossil fuel production begins its permanent decline – with oil beginning almost immediately – there will be a crisis in food production that will hit the newly urbanized unemployed peripheries with a terrible impact. however. which under growth-industrialism becomes more inherently energy-intensive. and they do not exploit land that is inherently not suitable for high-yield agriculture. but with agriculture the increase and consequences have been phenomenal. the requirements for large quantities of energy have increased. and herbicides. peripheral social sectors more directly involved in the extraction of exergy from nature. Bunker (1985:33) observes. or disorder. ecological context. the maintenance of structure relies on exchange with other. (It is a fact that organic and permaculture models of agriculture are far more productive per square meter than industrial agriculture. This is what the environmental justice movement is about. And it has been this specific form of “disordering” economic expansion that has led to massive and crisis-wracked population increase.stay far from thermodynamic equilibrium by continually drawing in exergy (negative entropy) from the outside and exporting the entropy. most significantly land and water. Adams 1982. 25 . 1988). and the “dissipated” waste and disorder are exported onto those with the least political power in social-geographical peripheries. Societies also maintain their internal structure by drawing order from their environments. This is the exponential. they do not support high-volume. Most of the world’s fresh water aquifers are being depleted far faster than they can recharge (with energy-intensive technologies facilitating the actual withdrawal of the water). concentrating the toxins in remaining aquifer and ground water supplies. of modern high-energy agriculture that is at the very center of the current world system. not population growth that has led to social disorder. it also requires other material inputs to keep up with expanded production. Erwin Schrödinger (1967:79) suggested that "the device by which an organism maintains itself stationary at a fairly high level of orderliness (= fairly low level of entropy) really consists in continually sucking orderliness from its environment. Returning to agriculture itself.) With the expansion of all energy-intensive industry. they produce in the process. Soils are being toxified by fertilizers. This social dimension of exergy appropriation has proven very difficult to conceptualize in terms which can be integrated with the perspectives of thermodynamics." -Alf Hornborg In other words. and the reaction will be an equally terrible social fury. Aquifers are not alone. For cities or world system centres. for instance. pesticides. Los Angeles now uses so much of the Colorado River that it often doesn’t trickle to the sea. runaway train effect. but these methods do not contribute to the bottom line of multinational corporations. long distance exports. energy and order are drawn toward wealth and urban concentrations. For hunter-gatherers this is generally a matter of exploiting other species in a fairly local.

actually increased the severity and cost of flooding on the Columbia. and Texas) will likely become non-productive within the next 40 years. and industry. transportation networks. Currently the 400 gallons of oil equivalents expended to feed each American amount to about 17% of all energy used in this country each year. Istituto di Nazionale della Nutrizione. Some 20% of 9. poverty. with the toll much higher where human impact is heavy. Pollution and diversion have driven freshwater fisheries into collapse worldwide. Water: The groundwater that provides 31% of the water used in agriculture is being depleted up to 160% faster than its recharge rate. and groundwater renewal have been converted to less beneficial uses.Worldwatch describes how “giant dams. and suffering. The vast U. salinization. massive irrigation systems.S. -David Pimentel. Wetlands worth billions of dollars to the public for fisheries. The giant factory trawlers that prowl the oceanic fisheries 26 .000 known freshwater fish species worldwide are already extinct or imperiled. Ogallala aquifer (under Nebraska. Annually.S. Oklahoma. As a result of arable land shortages.S. Cornell University. as well as irreplaceable loss of biodiversity. Rome Ocean fisheries are now imperiled by the same drive for profit. * Land: On-going soil erosion and expanding urbanization contribute to the continuous loss of cropland in the U.S. In addition. agriculture.S. Yet given current use levels. Energy: The availability of non-renewable fossil energy explains in part the historically high productivity of U. more than two million acres of prime cropland are lost to erosion. Billions of dollars spent for flood control. and the extinction of freshwater species far outpaces the extinction of mammals and birds. and waterlogging. considered the minimum for all human needs. Freshwater ecosystems are both disproportionately rich and disproportionately imperiled. and widespread logging… …often bring few economic benefits. and Mario Giampietro. and Mississippi rivers. these international reserves are expected to be exhausted within the next 30 to 50 years. including agriculture. fuelled by diminishing fossil resources..S. and instead cause environmental degradation. Although imports now account for 58% of oil used in the U. more than one million acres are removed from cultivation as America's limited arable land is Overwhelmed by the demands of urbanization. meat consumption may be reduced. Rhine. plus the effects of land degradation. Even if water management is substantially improved. water purification. U. only 15 to 20 years of oil resources remain in the U. the projected 520 million Americans in 2050 would have about 700 gallons/day/capita.

It is a chimera.” but a wrecked and grotesquely toxified and simplified biosphere. Non-commercial species are killed and discarded. there is actually a better chance of protecting the environment. We are currently undergoing the most dramatic period of extinctions since the dinosaurs. this colloquium is framed by a view that if the current global extinction event is of the magnitude that seems to be well indicated by the data at hand. Indeed. -Michael J. to believe that the motives at the heart of this system can lead us out of its dilemmas. etc. they point out that richer economies demonstrate a tendency to become more and more based on provision of services. Theft of Life of Future Generations Hornborg describes the antithetical outlooks of growth-ecology (or greencapitalism) proponents and anti-growth advocates as “cornucopian” and “zero-sum” respectively. There is consensus in the scientific community that the current massive degradation of habitat and extinction of many of the Earth's biota is unprecedented and is taking place on a catastrophically short timescale. They show the very strong correlation between rich countries and the comparatively positive numbers on preservation of forests. figures approaching 30% extermination of all species by the mid 21st century are not unrealistic an event comparable to some of the catastrophic mass extinction events of the past. Interdependent species collapse alongside the fisheries with this meta-slash-andburn technique. Novacek and Elsa E. the degradation of the marine ecosystems is directly evident through the denudation of species that were once dominant and integral to such ecosystems. including juvenile organisms and wreck the reefs that often define the habitat. The cornucopians argue that with intelligently designed development (growth). and that with greater wealth. So the eventual and inevitable decline of the fossil energy economy will not leave behind the potentiality for a return to a more sustainable existence. To explain what is clearly a negative correlation between these numbers. “closer to nature. The cornucopians insist that the world can “grow” its way into a sustainable future by adopting the proper forms of technology. They have even come up with a formula comparing GNP with loss of natural resources. Based on extinction rates estimated to be thousands of times the background rate. The zero-summers insist that economic “growth” in one place is coming at a direct cost to the quality of life somewhere else. then its effects will fundamentally reset the future evolution of the planet's biota. populations become interested in conservation. male is herein the default for human) is somehow destined to subdue Nature. Likewise. The current rate of rainforest destruction poses a profound threat to species diversity. and a dangerous one at that.now drop giant bottom-scoops that pull in every species. 27 . Cleland This is the end result of a global economy that is driven by so-called “growth” and by the Cartesian fallacy that Man (notably.

If the cornucopian model is followed and development becomes uniform around the earth at the levels of the industrial metropoles. Brown goes on to decry rising birth rates in the “under-developed” world. It assumes “that an economic activity and its environmental consequences coincide geographically. In recent years. this fails to take into account issues like carbon emissions.” Enron.” (Hornborg) They do not. and Japan. we shall need three more earths. it is simply moved out of sight and out of reach of First World conservationists. Moreover. instead of yielding the economies of scale associated with intensification in the industrial core… The luminous agglomerations of industrial infrastructure in the satellite photos are the result of uneven flows of energy and matter. Published in 2001. “Enron. Here is an example of Boulding’s caustic comment about economists. does not cause ecological damage to dissolve. An example of the conceptual consequences of cornucopian myopia can be found in Lester Brown’s Eco-Economy. is also keenly aware of the part it can play in the transition to the new energy economy. which gives it the capacity to exploit the vast wind resources of Texas.But correlation is not causation. says Mathis Wackernagle. it won’t. he fails to correlate the per-capita energy/materiel consumption ratios between these nations to show the connection of net outflow of material from these countries that is transformed into higher levels of social complexity in the Northern core states. a bible for green-capitalists. and intensification of extraction will tend also to increase costs [and energy inputs] per unit of extracted resources. the United States. In fact. and this is a perfect example of it. Of course. and these processes of concentration are self-reinforcing because the increasing advantageous economies of scale in the center progressively improve its terms of trade and thus its capacity to appropriate the resources of the hinterland. he cites the cutting edge company working on this transition from gas to wind to hydrogen: Enron. it has purchased two wind companies. Growth. however. Moreover. In outlining this scheme. development can’t take that trajectory. He does not. because [fossil fueled] economic activities in the former are dispersed and shifting according to the location of the extracted materials. The flows of energy and material from the former [global South] to the latter [northern core states] tend to reduce complexity and power in the hinterland while augmenting complexity and power in the core. Extractive 28 . because this one won’t support that level of atmospheric carbon. Brown suggests that natural gas can be the step-one “transition fuel” to move toward the solarhydrogen economy. connect these voids in education and social services to the immense external debts that are extorted from these nations by Europe. Extractive economies generally cannot count as a cumulative development of infrastructure as can the productive economies in the core. a Texas-based natural gas company. As the stocks of natural resources become increasingly difficult to extract as they are depleted. contrary to the magical implication of the cornucopians. because resources would run out in short order if it were even hypothetically attempted – which under existing geopolitical circumstances. and even connects fertility rates to women’s education and access to family planning services.

can overcome the problem of planetary warming. coal." -John Trumpbour It is physically impossible to “develop” the whole world in a manner similar to Europe and America. -Alf Hornborg In a very real sense. He asked: "Just between you and me. and natural gas run out in fairly short order. shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [less developed countries]?" Pointing to the cheaper economic valuation of human life. and to export their entropy (thermodynamic and social) back to those countries. In late 1991. etc. if implemented on a wide enough scale to provide 9 billion humans with today's US per capita energy consumption. And those in power know it. hydrogen or any other. Lawrence Summers. No substitute technologies such as nuclear. calculated by the lower wages of third-world workers. Right now. production is around 29 billion barrels. the current global growth economy is one where nations that have the economic and military power are able to pull “order” into themselves using the resources of weaker countries. It would result in such significant ambient warming and the release of water vapour (a powerful greenhouse gas by itself) as to produce 29 . I have already shown how hypothetically bringing the whole world to the same level of consumption of food – at its energetic value. The laws of thermodynamics provide an immutable framework to all life on closed planetary systems such as ours. delivered a confidential memo to a World Bank colleague. even supposedly nongreenhouse technologies like nuclear power. while those parts of the landscape in industrial nations that have not been urbanized can instead be liberated from the imperative to yield a profit and rather become the object of conservation programs. If 6 billion people used petroleum at the Euro-American-Australina-Japanese per capita rate. No advances in the science of energetics and no improvements in capital efficiency or in the productivity of labour. the chief economist for the World Bank. under any social system whatever. can prevent anthropogenic climate change as a result of human-made greenhouse gas emission. those “advanced” societies are not sustainable in their present form for more than two decades. And a simple extrapolation of US greenhouse gas emissions tells a terrifying story.economies are thus pressed to overexploit nature. he boldly proposed. Moreover. with the US alone creating 25% of world emissions by only 5% of the population. "I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest-wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that. Not only would the oil. iron. so would copper. and the zero-sum school is right. not monetary – would require an increase of energy inputs eight times the current global average. it would require production of 120 billion barrels a year. The world is finite.

wave). Before reviewing so-called alternatives. the one pound weight. The Party’s Over Many proponents of alternative energy center their discourse on achieving “sustainability. stability. The force that holds a spring closed is a force. not work. that is. progress etc.” To be sustainable. In this case. Some Energy Fundamentals). that is work. Proponents often present empirical data – how many kilocalories a day of solar energy hit the earth. Jones’ point that these sources of energy cannot be replaced on a calorie-by-calorie basis with alternative energy sources is absolutely correct. Not even close. but I will show later that these are modern-day alchemy). we refer to the quantity of that force as one foot-pound. It can be latent (available. can overcome the iron limitations imposed on us by unalterable constraints determined by the limited size of the planet and the laws of thermodynamics. In physics. in the physics sense. if something is moved. and by the theft of life-opportunities from billions of fellow-humans living today in the Global South--and also by the theft of life and opportunity from all future generations. on the other hand is a reference to something that is affected. Work has to move something. that energy is latent. Any responsible scientist is bound to concede that no amount of technical improvement. When I am thinking and not typing. Therefore it is clear that current US living standards are achieved at the peril of the ecosphere and of all life on earth. force is something that pushes against resistance. Work. Energy. on the other hand. ecosphere-destroying warming. is measured by an arbitrary but consistent standard. the energy is actual. solar. If resistance is overcome to any degree. if a force can lift a one-pound weight one foot straight up (directly away from the center of the earth actually). For example. is the capacity to do work. or rely on some nearly inexhaustible resource (theoretically hydrogen or fusion. etc. replaceable through re-concentration (biomass). portability. etc. Physical work. safety.the same risks of rising oceans. but not currently moving anything) or actual (moving something now). ease of extraction. with no reference to ultimate capacity. My fingers can access the energy to strike these keys. – or simply present alternatives that can transform energy into useful energy. The work is performed on the weight. 30 . including America's. climatic change and even runaway. -Mark Jones The current energy regime depends overwhelmingly on fossil hydrocarbons. When I type. density. it is important to review some energy basics (Thanks to Don Lancaster’s excellent on-line publication. an energy source would have to be virtually perpetual (wind.

It is not away on vacation.000 watt-hours per liter. we can now look at energy reality. The heat generated and lost to the environment by that resistance is one Watt. Power is measured in different ways. contains 405 watthours per liter. 31 . The simple fact is that the world system as it is now constituted. heat from wood. Those forms come packaged in different sources: heat (the thermal form) from sunlight (a source). We cannot “make” energy. electrical. A battery is an energy carrier. A 15-gallon gas tank would have to be replaced by a 334-gallon gas tank to carry around the same energy. on the other hand. One volt of electricity successfully overcoming one Ohm of resistance is a current of one Ampere. The availability or use of a Watt over one hour is one Watt-hour. Fortunately. All energy carriers. An energy sink is any process that uses up more “past” energy than it returns as “present and future” energy. but they are not cheap when you look at the power delivered. Natural gas is far more difficult. Hydrogen is an energy carrier. heat from coal. Energy density refers to how much energy is stored in how much volume or weight. One BTU equals the heat energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Batteries are convenient for certain uses. Taking all these factors into account. etc. they require very little power. These are not the same. and they are important. People with photovolactic-powered calculators are paying around $500 a kilowatt-hour for the power in them. The reason this physical law – related to energy – is so important is that it is a law that cannot be broken. Any analysis that fails to confront this fact squarely is neglecting physics. and when we dissipate it in work. Power is the quantity of energy delivered for work over a specific time. specifically the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The intensity of one Watt for one second is called a joule. with no exceptions in the physical universe. in every facet. Gasoline has a volumetric value of 9. exclusively and irreplaceably in many sectors by oil. 150 Bar gaseous hydrogen. Portability is another issue related to energy. chemical. for example. has been fueled predominantly by fossil hydrocarbons. Gravimetric energy density is how many watt-hours per kilogram. British Thermal Units (BTU) measure heat. Power is a combination of intensity and time. Volumetric energy density is how many watt-hours per liter. This has a great deal to do with why we are at war over oil. including technological development and population. Gasoline is relatively simple to contain and transport. An energy source contains energy.Energy comes in forms: thermal. Gone. it is gone for all practical purposes. are energy sinks. heat from animal metabolism. An energy carrier only moves it.

we will never use coal. gravimetric. This points us to the question of interchangeability. tides. and portability considerations remain paramount for specific energy applications. Also. storage batteries become almost useless in very cold weather. As a result of this fact. and all natural processes are irreversible. 1998) explains: How to use electricity to efficiently replace oil (gasoline. they cannot compete with gasoline or diesel fuel in energy density. the considerable additional weight to any vehicle using batteries is a severe handicap in itself. Not now. natural processes that involve energy transfer must have one direction. and no electric battery system seems even remotely able to propel a Boeing 747 14 hours nonstop at 600 miles an hour from New York to Cape Town (now the longest scheduled plane flight). Fifteen gallons of gasoline in a car's tank are the energy equal of 15 tons of storage batteries. though some batteries are less inefficient than others… but then far more expensive. Volumetric. a gallon of gasoline weighing about 8 pounds has the same energy as one ton of conventional lead-acid storage batteries. Not ever. For example. December. fission. it is technological religion – the belief that somewhere. geothermal. nor gas hydrates are interchangeable with oil. To think otherwise is not merely technological optimism. storage capacity is limited. All BTUs are not equal. technology can solve any problem. in Alternative Energy Sources – Myths and Realities (Electronic Green Journal. Walter Youngquist. We not only will never use batteries to fly airplanes or run eighteen wheelers. wind. This is a limitation in the use of alternative sources have where electricity is the end product.Second Law of Thermodynamics . Batteries are also energy carriers. solar. batteries. There is no battery pack which can effectively move heavy farm machinery over miles of farm fields. The central question regarding “alternative” energy is whether and how it can replace fossil fuel – and I will concentrate here on two sectors. and therefore energy sinks. 32 . hydroelectric. diesel. wind. electricity is not a good replacement for oil. In transport machines.This law states that heat can never pass spontaneously from a colder to a hotter body. Even if much improved storage batteries were devised. The first premise we have to face is that neither wood. There are severe limitations of the storage batteries involved. solar. somehow. because of form. Batteries cannot replace gasoline for vehicles. Also. hydropower. transportation and electricity. More energy is put into their production than what is retrieved for work in their use. This is quite simply not true. This is a reality inscribed by physical law. or wave power to run these vehicles. These can produce electricity. This law also predicts that the entropy of an isolated system always increases with time. and batteries need to be replaced after a few years use at large cost. beginning with oil. kerosene) in the more than 700 million vehicles worldwide has not yet been satisfactorily solved. geothermal. which cannot be overcome through technology. There are a handful of highly-expensive. wave. but electric batteries that store it cannot replace oil. This is not a technological deficiency.

each step requiring fossil energy inputs. Ethanol requires more energy inputs than what we get back from it. and they could concentrate on the development of pharmaceuticals. It is. H. If. petroleum geologists working for Petroconsultants in Geneva. etc. Even more importantly. massive soil salinization and depletion. Youngquist and Duncan of the Petroleum Engineering Program at UCLA predicted 2006. it is not greenhouse gas free. plastics. Puthoff of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Austin. synthetic fibers. the alternatives most often considered are nuclear.. it] would be welcomed for the simple reason that if the burden of major energy use were to be removed from the oil industry. They continue to be produced along with replacement parts. a votebuying scheme that subsidizes agri-business for growing corn that neither the environment nor the economy needs. According to Pimentel. Campbell and Jean H. wrote in 1999 that world oil production would peak in approximately 2004 then go into permanent decline. wind. it fails to account for the ecological downsides of monocrop industrial agriculture on the scale necessary to replace oil. Studies conducted in Europe showed that nuclear electricity has a greenhouse “footprint” similar 33 . milled. That number is rising precipitously (30% in ten years if trendlines hold). then their rapidly dwindling resource could be conserved for a longer period of time. perhaps. there is no alternative to diminishing oil. again. and it is severely destructive of soil and water. points out Dr. in fact. as advertised. the more energy intensive the extraction process becomes along with it. For producing electricity. Ethanol is touted by some who fail to understand two things. and additional strain on depleting aquifers. E. peaked in 1978. Laherrere. and the rarer any extracted material becomes. C. Nuclear fuel is made with uranium. This is disputed by alternative energy buffs who claim that sugar beets can yield an energy positive in the production of alcohol. (Oil will never “run out. That was net oil. Nuclear not only creates extremely dangerous material that will remain dangerous longer than any civilization yet recorded. and hydrogen. World per capita production. more important if we are looking at human needs. which would be. and shipped. solar. but in the world there are almost 700 million automobiles (75% of them are private cars).” For 700 million automobiles aimed at becoming 800 million automobiles. ethanol is an energy sink. refined. but even though this may be theoretically true. It’s all connected. an ore that has to be mined.science-project electrical cars. geothermal. “it appeared that the development of alternative energy [were economically feasible. They consume approximately half of the world’s gasoline. There are no alternatives. waves. J. Industrially grown corn is its basis in the US (some countries are now using sugarcane). That is precisely why energy companies have not invested in the research and development of these alternatives. ethanol takes 71% more calories to make than it produces.” (italics mine) Puthoff goes on to explain that “what remains to be proven [with regard to alternative energy sources] is whether the fundamental processes involved can be brought from proof-of-principle to engineering maturity so as to constitute market-viable energy resources.”) The petroleum is in fact about to go into an irreversible decline in production. for which the profit margins are significantly greater. hydroelectric. and will continue to be produced – barring some massive social cataclysm or transformation – until the petroleum is no longer economically available.

” explains Elizabeth Stuckle. as Gordon Thompson has called them – as the Energy War makes the metaphorical global battlefield of the Bush administration a reality. the company in charge of altering the uranium for the reactors. To power the whole world with nuclear electricity would require more than 500 reactors that would age and deteriorate in ultimately unpredictable social. it is not clean. The uranium enrichment process in particular. To get that electricity. For the time being. Similar problems are obviously associated with wind. and political circumstances. in which the radioactive material is made more radioactive. Hydrogen can make a great student paper or a nice research topic. sent to reactors and split to produce the heat and steam that generate electricity. there is more energy expended in aggregate production of the panels than those panels ever produce. They are all geographically fixed and cannot produce more than a small fraction of the energy currently in use and inextricably bound up with the economic viability of the existing socio-political system. “It is reasonable to expect that hydrogen is probably going to play a big role in future transportation and energy developments. and it is not cheap. their power delivery is extremely limited and they cannot complete with conventional electricity. That brings us to hydrogen. Finally. that footprint will become bigger. and geothermal. except to the subsidized corporations who sell it. geography and climate constrain the universality of a solar solution. Not the least of these concerns is that nuclear reactors may become asymmetric military targets – predeployed radiological weapons waiting for activation by an enemy. and that is the increasing scarcity of silicon. but this will require many more years and billions of dollars in research and development to begin gaining energy from photovoltaics. Right now. waves. worldwide – have not produced a single watt-hour of electricity. over time. Uranium. The caustic Don Lancaster says. “we are having to rely on fossil fuels. economic. And eventually might 34 . and as uranium become rarer. converted. must be mined. they still have one other material constraint. Sixty square miles of solid solar cells would theoretically be required to power Oregon. waterfalls. If it rains. photovoltaics are a net energy sink. At this juncture. she says. And while photovoltaics may be made more efficient over time.to combined-fuel generators. Nuking the Atmosphere Even the fiscally conservative Cato Institute notes that nuclear energy is also heavily subsidized and could not survive in a free market. enriched. Quite the contrary. Photovoltaics can be improved. And a spent fuel fire or a reactor meltdown could have unbelievably catastrophic consequences. the fuel base of nuclear power. milled. and theoretically they can be developed and used in a manner that gains energy. “It requires a tremendous amount of electricity. Moreover. partly for thermodynamic reasons and partly for economic ones. generates greenhouse gases galore. solar (photovoltaic) panels – on aggregate. packaged.” -Mark Francis Cohen. (I am not promoting a free market. everyone suddenly has cold showers and their food rots. It is the most expensive energy on the grid. a spokeswoman at the US Enrichment Corporation.) Nuclear is not safe.

but an energy carrier and therefore an energy sink. “That leg is gangrenous. actually produces nitrogen oxides. could not replace more than 30% of fossil fuels. it doesn’t make for a great grant proposal. not through electrolysis. Lancaster compares it to trading a US dollar for one Mexican peso. It’s domestic oil production peaked in the mid-1990s and is now in permanent decline. China is developing its industrial base. Especially on the web. The Bush administration is pushing this right now. even as energy needs increase with its phenomenal growth. No one wants to hear that the party is almost over. China’s energy 35 . you will die. we have to pay particular attention to the most populous nation on the planet. That is actually about right… until the dollar tanks. which contribute to asthma attacks. compared to gasoline’s 13. ozone alerts. This is about as pleasant to say and hear as. and that is a net figure that does not take into account diversity of use. Hydrogen cannot be produced by any means on earth that “does not consume more energy than it delivers. with the hidden agenda of producing it.” Hydrogen is not really a fuel.” It is also just as true and important. a rather backhanded way to push their agenda on behalf of their nuclear utility clients. and acid rain. Even so-called alternatives would require substantial fossil fuel inputs – not to mention a political will not yet on the horizon – to develop. As this is written. is that (1) there is no alternative to fossil fuel. which must be faced squarely if we are to be the least bit serious about energy. geographic constraints.5 watts per hour per liter. This is not solely a function of population. The fact of the matter is.” It is the modern equivalent of alchemy. and if we don’t cut it off. the more you know about real hydrogen resources. the more intelligently you can dismiss all the rest of them. and it doesn’t sell anyone’s political newsletters. pre-existing energy is required… more energy than can then be produced by the combustion of the hydrogen. China has been for several years now the fastest growing economy in the world. So. Since we are examining energy use worldwide.lead to a technical buck or two… At the same time. even after extensive research and development to which there has been no meaningful political commitment.” The process of either reforming methane or producing hydrogen through electrolysis is both expensive and energy-intensive. contrary to all the utopian fantasies that are being propagated by charlatans and consumed by people who don’t understand the science. as many hydrogen-acolytes want to do for the “hydrogen car. China. In 1995.” And while the immensely expensive and energy inefficient hydrogen has around 39. In fact. Youngquist and others estimate that full exploitation of all alternatives. It also embrittles metals and diffuses through all non-metals. We are stuck with hydrocarbons. or the fossil inputs that will be required to retool and restructure the whole world for an new energy regime. The unpalatable truth. the hydrogen can only deliver 3. there is sure a lot of hogwash and misinformation out there. This exceedingly bad news does not win huge numbers of devotees.000 watt-hours of (carried) energy per kilogram. there is not now nor will there ever be a “hydrogen economy. Most commercial hydrogen is produced by reforming methane.000. if inefficiently burned. Hydrogen. using hydrolysis… with nuclear electricity. Our system is a world system. and there is no way to realistically assess energy issues in any other context. and they will be running out sooner than later. and (2) it will take many years more dependency on fossil fuel to effectively transform our energy paradigm into anything that approaches sustainable. to include its research and development capacity at an unprecedented rate.

consumption was 16. Suffice it to say the repositioning scramble was on. Gulf States' production. with Saudi Arabia being the greatest producer. four. the single most central priority of the state was economic development. It is in the examination of the global conjuncture that we have to more fully integrate the question of energy with that of geopolitics. because. Many historians speculate that had it not been for the USSR. They cannot be permitted by the US continue on the path of growth. In response. the relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States defined the 20th Century. and by 2015. The USSR was a “developmental state.662 barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) per day. just as it was becoming clear even to the most obtuse among the powerful that the earth’s very resource base was drying up. The financial and military dominance of the world system dropped into the lap of the United States. But as it winds down. By 2005. around 2010-2012. Review any of the documents produced by the think tanks from where the current administration has drawn most of its cabinet. If you do the math. on that same trendline. it means that everyone except the Gulf States is already peaked or in decline. The conquest and control of Southwest Asia is their absolute highest priority. and that “growth” uses up these resources. and they are extremely frank and explicit about their goals. it will be 64. But the USSR was distinct from China and India inasmuch as it had an overwhelmingly determinative role in the global system during the Cold War. because it is here where we can see how energy as a long-term secular trend figures into a massively destabilized world system that has been left since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. it is projected to be 32. will peak around 8-10 years later. using the International Monetary Fund combined with selective applications of military power. In many respects. Best predictions for the end of recoverable oil are between 50 and 100 years. created a bipolar world that served as the impetus for the development of “free-world multilateralism. and the drive to control what's 36 . Aggregate world oil production is peaking right about now. and has been for almost a decade.475. I will leave the detailing of this immense post-Soviet disequilibrium to historians and political scientists. This makes it more than a resource. This is just one example of the emerging conflict over finite global energy supplies. with the most neutral folk predicting 2070 or so. crisis-stricken economies in the global South have been plunged into deeper and deeper misery. it is a zero-sum game. there would have been three. They know that there is grave danger to both the bioshpere and the world energy system. while China and India today are merely articulated within a system in which the United States plays the single most politically determinative role. including the former adversaries of the Soviet Union.” When that system collapsed with the USSR in 1991. which according to the Hubbert Curve begins almost immediately. or more world wars between the industrialized capitalist metropoles. but the US-USSR standoff. the raison d’etre of multilateralism collapsed with it. The factor of the Soviet Union in the international equation had given credence to an illusion of autarkic national-industrial development that impacted even on the thought processes of US-aligned states like Japan and Germany. as Hornborg shows. That is. and the suddenness of that shift – the equivalent of a Richter-8 geopolitical earthquake – caught the whole world unawares.” just as present-day India and China are. there are a series of crises that will occur. renegotiated during WWII for reasons this article will not dwell on. like the United States.776. precisely because over 50% of the world remaining easily extractible oil is there.

Iraq is the best potential swing producer outside of Saudi Arabia. now in its first stage with the occupation of Iraq. and North Africa. which is what the administration was telling us quite openly they were planning to do before Iraq turned into a military swamp. from the point of view of the Bush administration. though. NOPEC peaked several years ago. and they have accomplished that to some degree. and NOPEC is in a permanent free fall. but a declining one. the US remains in a dilemma. the US has been trying to structure this post-WWII space for quite some time. is to gain political control over the region. But the most optimistic scenarios are that all regional producers combined. OPEC is largely concentrated in the Gulf region. By 2010. and regimes that are perceived to be in the US camp are facing the not totally unjustified perception that they are Quislings of the US. with massive investment (over $1. given the passing of Arab nationalism. You've got to die and come back in 2 billion years to get it back. it is likely that this is happening right now. 37 . In fact. North America. but world production is an average. for the purpose of analysis. Oil is not a mere commodity. So. it's an over-reach. OPEC is inevitably regaining dominance over the overall oil market. China. the Islamist appeal to large masses of people has increased. and it can't not try. This is the diminishing lifeblood of the global economy. let's say. World oil consumption right now is around 77 million barrels a day. Central Asia. a number that is daily rising with Iraqi armed resistance) in new infrastructure. and half the world's remaining accessible oil is there. you're out. now being in permanent decline. which could evolve into a new kind of world war. Given that OPEC production is still rising. is to wage the “infinite war. has put a lot of backs against the wall. In fact. It can't do it. World production is peaking right now. Military action against many groups across the globe. Gulf States' oil does not peak in production until 2010. That is why there is an attempt afoot to resolve this situation in favor of US economic interests by military means. When we run out of a commodity like shirts. the US as the biggest end user needs to figure out how to compensate for the losses being sustained in NOPEC production.5 trillion. That doesn't tell the whole story. and the bare fact is. and NOPEC is getting weaker. and so forth. NOPEC is the North Atlantic. Given that our extrapolated appetite will go up 25 million barrels a day within nine years. This oil is produced by two major groups. Nigeria. OPEC is getting stronger. by ensuring the corrupt Saudis and others invest heavily in US financial instruments. with Iraq second. The soon-to-be-decaying oil fields of the Middle East embedded in a sullen ocean of mass anger are no great prize upon which to build the next wave of capitalist accumulation. we can make more shirts. Saudi Arabia – an OPEC nation – is the biggest pool.left is more than an economic competition. When you run out of oil. Since world oil production begins to decline on average almost immediately.” a war of extermination against 100 million Islamic people in the Middle East. might put out an additional 15 million barrels a day. Mexico. Their solution. that is expected to increase to 100 million barrels a day. OPEC and non-OPEC (NOPEC). The only option now. Russia. The US has for years been trying to ensure domination of OPEC. The war in Iraq is first and foremost an energy war. and therefore the best potential stalking horse within a newly reconfigured OPEC. It is a war fought not to grab a huge new untapped and undefended asset. Terror attacks are already multiplying in the region. As standards of living in those nations fall.

If we are reading something from the right. I think he has mastered a uniquely effective international art of war. and a very circumspect analysis of some sort. but something that can only be accomplished through a revolutionary change in society. which I will call “phallic judo. the fourth part will be a comparison of the London casualties to the casualties of Anglo-American state terrorism. Whether we can accomplish the social transformation necessary is one issue. 2005 in response to the London subway bombings) Right or left. an expression of sympathy for the victims.” 38 . with which he has managed to establish a situation that is. Anti-American sentiment around the world is the strongest in living memory. Between 1945 and 1990. Between 1990 and 2000. that fourth item will be a brave admonition not to “back down” in the face of terror. along with Tel Aviv perhaps. and the US loss of access to critical energy supplies is now at least within the realm of possibility. coordinated attacks against the transportation infrastructure of a city that. the US has begun to more and more organize these adventures without UN approval or oversight. India. but the fact is that an energy soft-landing will require us to dramatically conserve dwindling fossil fuel stocks. how can one ignore a set of well-planned. degrading the very institution upon which he most desperately depends to see his agenda through: the military. The Transportation Bombing (Written July 9. This is it. So I want to try something different.-Mark Jones The people who are now in possession of half the world's remaining oil reserves are being unpredictably destabilized. This drive to achieve independence of military action has now culminated with the grant of the broadest and most ill-defined war powers of any president in history to George W. Conservation is not conservative. and is now abrogated the Test Ban Treaty and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Accord. If we want to know the logically simple but socially very difficult solution. it is conservation. If we want to know what the energy crisis looks like. has taken more security precautions against bombings than any metropolis in the world? Nearly everything we have read over the last week has three common parts: a ritual denunciation of the bombers. I want to examine the hypothetical agenda of Osama bin Laden. by as much as 75%. using gender as my point of departure. paradoxically. Bold agendas and timid analyses are the twin characteristics that seem to unite both right and left commentary at this point. Russia grows more hostile to US foreign policy by the day. the US intervened militarily on 52 occasions. Pakistan has been destabilized even as it continues to be in a nuclear standoff with its neighbor. and begin to think seriously about how to de-link from the growth economy… forever. look around. I want to analyze an agenda. If we are reading something from the left. Bush. in a recklessly hypothetical way – knowing full well that in a short time I could be proven enormously wrong by the emergence of unsupportive facts. As we progressed through that decade. Our government has refused to ratify the land mine convention. it intervened 60 times.

because that which is inevitable merits no deeper reflection. But the whole question of militarism – either as policy or a weltanschauung – is a room occupied by an elephant we can ill afford to ignore… and that elephant is the hegemonic masculinity of American militarism. said during an interview in May 2005: In a culture based on male domination and in which most things feminine tend to be devalued. the best way to avoid the topic of gender as a system of social power is to treat it as if were inevitable. and the variant of martial masculinity that drives Karl Rove to portray George W. we have to draw a very sharp distinction between the variant of Wahabbi Islam incorporated into Osama bin Laden’s political project. and the Politics of Anxious Masculinity. The key to this imbalance is the US military occupation of Iraq. Like the sport of judo. political contests among men are in many ways the ultimate battles for masculine supremacy. author of The Wimp Factor: Gender Gaps. This femiphobia – this male fear of being feminine – operates unconsciously in many men as a very powerful determinant of their political behavior. even if they are secretly envied. but in order to understand how the Bush administration – like others before it – is being defeated by opponents using the weight of this American military masculinity in political leadership. The gender categories of the Wahabbists have not yet been destabilized by an open. Ducat is correct. Bin Laden’s agenda has never been a secret. and we tend to be perfectly content to let sleeping dogs lie when it comes to our own cultural privileges and political power within the gender order. bin Laden has so far been very adept at using the aggression of the United States to trap it militarily and diplomatically. particularly war. Relieved. whose agenda is to seize control of Saudi Arabia.” and therefore not in constant need of reassertion in the loud and insecure ways of destabilized American masculinity. Stephen Ducat. Bush’s tenure as a Sylvester Stallone presidency. in a sense. Bin Laden. This makes disavowing the feminine in oneself and projecting it onto one’s opponent especially important. in my view. is operating out of a milieu in which this masculinity is not “anxious. The actual form taken by the Bush agenda in Afghanistan and Iraq has been shaped in no small part by the hyper-masculinized dialectic between Bush and his popular base. The Anglo-American media has been immeasurably complicit in concealing that agenda from those who still rely on CNN and 39 . most of the people commenting on wars and on international relations are men. Two. bin Laden finds himself in a position to use precisely that need on the part of the Bush administration against it. then to convert the strength of the opponent into one’s own momentum. In fact. This powerful adult male imperative to be unlike females and to repudiate anything that smacks of maternal caretaking is played out just as powerfully in politics as it is in personal life. One. of the need to engage in banty rooster displays of ritual aggression as part of his political theater.There are two reasons we ignore gender in most of our analyses of international relations. where one seeks to break the balance of one’s opponent. decades-long struggle by women for social and political power. It also constitutes a very significant motive for fundamentalist terrorism. the most important thing about being a man is not being a woman. Holy Wars.

not an organization – certainly seems to have ways to signal itself. With that kind of support generally comes a powerful degree of strategic accountability to some central staff somewhere. Iraq is in tatters and unlikely to ever become a regional power again. but the al Qaeda movement – and it is a diffuse movement. Sir Ivor Roberts. and what better way to inject renewed energy into the military folly in Iraq than to push the old masculinity button again – that one that reflexively says.” one must assume that the real bin Laden is ecstatic with the US occupation of Iraq and hopes it will go on for quite some time.” but a well-favored and highly competent group with pretty substantial funding. and seen nothing so far that would disabuse me of my hypothesis. What is there about this circumstance that might distress Osama bin Laden? For all Bush’s prevarications attempting to associate bin Laden with Saddam as the premise for repeatedly referring to Iraq as “the main front in the war on terror.” I don’t say that the London bombings were planned by bin Laden. “Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward. As long as I am being this speculative then I will say that this particular operation was not the work of some independent cell of “leaderless resistance. multi-factional civil war (of its own making) that is rapidly becoming a domestic political liability. Given the regional and global strategic centrality of Saudi Arabia. after having crafted an appropriately manly message for the occasion. Considering that two of bin Laden’s most reviled foes were Saddam Hussein and the United States.the BBC for their window on the world. then the Bush-Blair governments were not the only people afflicted with a growing sense of alarm at the British and American populations’ increasingly surly impatience with the Iraq occupation. that the World Trade Center-Pentagon attacks were symbolically constructed.” 40 . I have speculated before.” If this is accurate. “We cannot back down. Saddam is in prison. and freedom will be defended. yet even the most superficial research reveals that bin Laden has always had as his political target his own country of origin – Saudi Arabia. Given the most predictable emotional response of white male American culture – always in the thrall of cultural icons like Rambo and Dirty Harry – and given that the actual white males who reactively exhibit this mentality as a manifestation of their own gender anxieties are a substantial part of the Bush Base. Bush as al Qaeda’s “best recruiting sergeant. there was never any doubt that (1) Afghanistan would be invaded (bin Laden probably knew from his Pakistani intelligence contacts that this operation was already planned) and (2) that the administration – whose ideological architects had already written on the subject at some length – would follow on with an invasion of Iraq. it makes perfect sense from the point of view of bin Laden to break his key regional and global enemies as an inevitable first step on the long march to political power over the Kingdom. 2001. even to give the green light to certain kinds of operations against certain particular targets. UK’s ambassador to Italy recently referred to George W. Bin Laden will not want to see the occupation end either. When Bush finally emerged on September 11. and the United States is mired down in an evermore Somalia-like. he announced. and I believe it is. we can assess the situation in Iraq at the moment from a more instrumental perspective than the Bush-Blair passion play of good-versus-evil. but instrumentally designed to provoke a reaction.

If America shows uncertainty and weakness in this decade. I believe.” Abu Ghraib created a crisis for the administration precisely because it turned such a bright light on feminization of the enemy. of deliberation. disembedded. and one of the most remarkable of all is that a pre-feudal. claiming it abandons philosophical materialism. that an earlier construction of gender – and one not yet destabilized by history – that of the Wahabbist. When an American comedian dared to suggest on television that intentionally committing suicide as an operational necessity was hardly an act of cowardice. “Bring ‘em on. The mere suggestion of courage – synonymous in the semiotic universe of George W.This is the masculinity that cannot admit of doubt. The right has long understood the power of the emotionally resonant symbol to assert itself in our material lives. We are discovering the actual contradictions of late imperialism now. is thrown onto the historical stage with the “anxious” masculinity of a militarized America… as a military advantage. of ambiguity. and therefore fully human – was met with howls of outrage. after all – and Charles Graner was a veteran prison guard from his civilian life– is where we see most starkly how biological gender can be dissociated from the 41 . but I play one on TV.” and combine that with the dissemination of images on the ranch. because this obvious point undermined one of the most essential propaganda tasks of American society at war: the feminization of the enemy. The latter is fundamentally predicated on the most post-modern of assumptions: that the narrative trumps the reality.). And nothing is so emotionally engraved on our psyches. This is the paradox of phallic judo. after all. now may stand as a superior antagonist against the loud. Such mechanical thinking is one of the main reasons we have failed to regain any semblance of ideological hegemony even among wage workers and the oppressed. Some of my friends on the left will have at me for this riff on psychology. his show was cancelled. cutting wood with a chainsaw. the rich white-boy playing at boyz-in-the-hood bravado with remarks like. “I believe the most solemn duty of the American president is to protect the American people. the world will drift toward tragedy. When Bush’s phrasemongers pen bold missives like. as gender. and male is juxtaposed to female in the coded language of courage and cowardice – analogs for male and female. That narrative is the brash triumphalism of the momentary and illusory victory – the high-five dick-thing camaraderie strutting across the deck of an aircraft carrier dressed up like a fighter pilot (I’m not a fighter pilot. and it must be framed in binaries. Human beings’ relation to the material world is. The reference to “freedom” was juxtaposed against “those who hate freedom” (for what reason we are not invited to ask). mediated by a system of meanings. Bedouin gender order that was nurtured and protected from modernism in the heart of a US vassal state – Saudi Arabia – with its pastoral masculinity that emphasizes guile and patience. Hardly a person in the United States or Great Britain failed to understand how the sexual humiliation and plain “dominant-top” sexual abuse was tangled up in visions of revenge for the guards who participated in it – even when the “tops” were imperial women feminizing enemy men. This will not happen on my watch. Bush’s base with male. at every formative stage in our lives. and performative post-modern masculinity of 21st Century America. they are creating the image of the strong white father with all its cultural and emotional resonance. Prison. and because everyone knew it.

which creates an artificial binary opposition that is resolved through the physical annihilation of one side by the other. People were stunned when Bush patronizingly dismissed the massive anti-war demonstrations in his “Father Knows Best” speech on the following Monday. the Western.S. The evocation of the Western and all its prejudices now infuses U. Ann Kibbey. But there is another dimension to it: The polarization of gender roles that is intertwined with it. a female victim whose role is to be helpless. He was everywhere.S. The gendered-ness of the occupation was caught walking around with its fly open.S.S. in the February 2003 edition of Genders. always penetrated (a common military term) in the construction of masculinity as domination. The other was the authoritative father. could suddenly be structuring and mandating U. What Americans seem slow to realize is the repugnant role in which they have now been cast.masculine-feminine binary. The parallel action that typifies the conclusion of the Western (and other U. political rhetoric… from Bush's “Wanted Dead or Alive” Bin Laden poster.S. but that's consistent with the gender ideology of the Western. pointed out how effectively the Bush handlers were already using the mythic American signifier of the Western film genre.S.S. the ideology of gender and the ideology of genocidal violence are intertwined in the Western. Both liberals and leftists in the U. militarism. We were rebooted by the crashing buildings – returned to a gender default. It was as if the whole nation was being converted into a male revenge-fantasy film. uniform. There was a kind of ritual denunciation of the London bombers by one and all. There were two images that predominated on the airwaves on September 11. mute. has succeeded in forcing (and enforcing) that same inarticulateness and stupidity on the U. public. to the numerous U. wherein a state of emergency obliges the women and children (including those men who are feminized and infantilized) to cringe into the background. not only embodied in George W. and the bitch is always on the bottom. in every guise. while the martial Reichian warrior-father transcends conventions in order to unleash his pure supra-rational masculine energy on the evildoers. but in a plethora of newly anointed ‘terrorism experts. 42 . writing about the Iraq War political climate in the US. culture and underwrites U. As we ought to be aware. have had difficulty in believing that a much-discredited American film genre. Bush. initially distinctive for his inarticulateness and stupidity. television and print media that report daily on the “Showdown” or “Standoff” with Iraq.’ and in the suddenly ubiquitous dick-thing posturing by male politicians and reporters with variously processed hair. and repeated). During the Abu Ghraib scandal – and as part of the subsequent cover-up – politician and pundit alike had to express their outrage with an appropriate ration of crocodile tears. to Colin Powell's insistence that “time is running out” as we cut to the chase. that of the female victim who must be rescued and saved by the male hero. ‘action movies’) has generally been characterized only by its racist polarization of populations. and only one of them was the perverse and hypnotic repetition of the aircraft crashing into the buildings and the billowing erasure of the Manhattan skyline (controlled. and its preservation depended upon the restoration of absolute authority to the white father. The nation became the family. It seems that Bush.

September 11. It is in some strange way the antithesis of realpolitik. They are artificial “tempo tasks” (Sergei Eisenstein's wonderful phrase). Shoot first. and we all have to stand by our man. She is referring to a “task” that becomes so urgent (the war on terror) that it trumps all the ethical concerns of peacetime. to show neither doubt nor hesitation (unmanly reactions) – a tendency based fundamentally on the aggressive anxiety of the post-modern American male faced with the disequilibrium of gender. that tendency to dive in. 2001 became a national tempo task. We all become a collective woman now. Such rescues are in no way about social justice. immobilized by fear as she awaits the outcome of the chase. ask questions later.and passive. who is surely delighted that Blair and Bush stood together in the wake of the London bombings and promised not to “back down.” Their transference to bin Laden and others of their own conception of the gendered world has blinded them to the reality that they are responding to his initiative. so we don’t have time for all this quibbling with Father. Time is running out. inasmuch as the image has come to mean more than the reality. in the way expected of them by their most energetic popular base – dangerously frightened white men. It is this reckless masculinity that has been such a boon for bin Laden. And so there is that urgency. and there has been a concerted effort ever since to maintain that sense as the precondition for retaining the energetic support of the Bush administration’s popular base among white men for whom this narrative resonates best. 43 .

Our adversaries consider US territory an integral part of a global theater of combat. From the Executive Summary: We now confront an enemy who will attempt to engage us not only far from US shores. The first line of the article read: “The U. who asked not to be identified. we must think and act innovatively. “US military rethinking the two-war strategy” It wasn’t actually the military as a whole reconsidering anything. we have to go to the strategy document itself. D.S.The Global Battlefield (Originally published at From The Wilderness.. our economic institutions. according to defense officials. military. but also at home. this desperate new phase in the empire that had been gestating in the tense womb of the Pentagon-White House nexus. There was an artful rebellion taking place among generals. To defeat 21st Century threats. Terrorists will seek to employ asymmetric means to penetrate our defenses and exploit the openness of our society to their advantage. this would add conspiracy to the charge. we found upon reading the article. Washington. -Alf Hornborg It’s also what allows some of the most mediocre political and military intellects in the last century (and that is a highly competitive claim) to create one of the most dangerous and decisive historical conjunctures we may ever witness… and hopefully survive. they seek to destroy American democracy. like the Plame case. and our social fabric. We dare not underestimate the devastation that terrorists seek to bring to Americans at home.” Further along. This is a leak from high-level Pentagon insiders to the press. our physical infrastructure. It appeared in the most arcane of headlines. We must therefore have a strategy that applies to the domestic 44 . and why did this leak come at the same time that the Department of Defense published its strange and alarming Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil Support? To answer that rhetorical question. and more than one insider. By attacking our citizens.C. is debating whether it can remain ready to fight two big wars at once. July 2005) Money and Mediocrity General purpose money is what allows people to trade tracts of rain forest for Coca-Cola. So what was going on. plural. Department of Defense. June 2005 – Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil Support. If the leak were a felony.” Officials. under stress from fighting in Iraq and protecting America from terrorism. confirmed a report in Tuesday's New York Times that top Defense Department planners were challenging longstanding strategy that requires the armed forces to be prepared to fight two major wars at once. we find out that the “civilian and military officials.

so insanely grandiose. had fielded thousands of former Badr Brigade members. in short. On the contrary.” the fate of Kirkuk. expense. Lebanonization In April 2005. It was a strategy so ambitious. The Kurds commanded the largest militia. Just as money can trade rain forests for Coke. Because it was – and I will describe exactly how as we go along – a roadmap to martial law. largely from Saudi Arabia. But military expertise isn’t what had gotten them this far. they had already secured their places in history as the leaders of the most powerful military in the world that was heading to being defeated by a stateless insurgency. Bear in mind. But it was also the outline of a strategy of abject failure. That is why the generals were leaking. who also predominated in many of the “official” Iraqi armed forces and police. The Iranian-controlled Da’wa Party had organized a militia as counterweight to these two large ones. Rumsfeld himself added the cartoon-like Bush quotes as a series of kisses planted firmly on his boss’s ass. There could not be any doubt.000-strong peshmerga. after studying this so-called strategy document that the content was developed by the metrics-worshipping sycophants of Donald Rumsfeld. and mind-boggling complexity at every scale would render the reality a ragged effigy of its own feverish ideal. 45 . Each section of this ten-year strategy outline for the Department of Defense was headed by an italicized quote from Reich Fuehrer Bush. The Bush administration spent money. a document prepared by ambitious bureaucratic functionaries to please two people who could give them what they wanted – advancement at any cost. money can buy expertise. Muqtada al Sadr still controlled a very substantial militia that operated almost as a government in many parts of Baghdad and Najaf. that time. With the new constituent assembly still engaged in a monumental struggle behind the scenes over three key issues – the form of “federalism. and the second largest armed organization in Iraq. the 80. that while it is hard to underestimate the intelligence of these two powerful mooncalves. The Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution (SCIRI). which dominated the constituent assembly. Pepe Escobar. This is what must be borne in mind as part of any analysis of this document. And the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance (IPA) – the dominant and most well organized element within the guerrilla resistance – operated in many areas throughout Anbar with strong popular support. again. and the disposition of Iraq’s oil industry – each of these factions was backed by armed militias. writing for Asia Times. It was. which was scaring the bejeezuz out of a lot of civil libertarians. and so interdependently complicated in any attempt to put it into practice.context the key principles that are driving the transformation of US power projection and joint expeditionary warfare. it is hard to overestimate the danger they present with control over the most expensive military apparatus in history. had infiltrated Iraq and engaged in multiple actions. called the degeneration of the tactical situation for the Anglo-American occupation Iraq’s “Lebanonization” – a reference to the 80s when Israeli aggression around the region catalyzed the transformation of Beirut into an apocalyptic street-war of multiple and shifting armed factions. including firefights with the IPA. Islamist fighters.

Lebanonization was proceeding nicely. Haig counseled Reagan that US “credibility” involved “sticking to its guns. Reagan responded more positively. a mammoth truck bomb exploded in a Marine compound at the Beirut Airport. and whose worldview was heavily informed by a kind of Billy Badass. His name was Colin Powell. 2005. and advised Reagan that he was slipping into a Vietnam-like conundrum. be happy” kind of guy. often trading shots with opponents they could not identify. Kirkuk had become a tinderbox of contention meanwhile. to someone whose grasp of global politics was as limited as his own. In the early 1980s. also cautioned withdrawal. 44year-old Cyrus Kar – an American journalist and Navy veteran working on a documentary film in Iraq – was imprisoned by US occupation forces on “suspicion of insurgent activity. what exactly are we doing there? In this case. some of his own closest advisors. 46 .” This was in the wake of The Guardian’s release of a story that led with: Secret torture chambers. big-dick machismo – former Secretary of State and then-National Security Advisor Alexander Haig. Yasser Salihee – working for Knight-Ridder – was killed by a single bullet to the head. Within weeks. Salihee was researching ever more frequent reports of US-trained Iraqi paramilitaries who were engaging in death-squad style activities against anyone suspected of opposing the occupation. however. Iranian Defense Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani announced an agreement between himself and Iraqi counterpart Saadoun al-Dulaimi. and that the US forces needed to be withdrawn as soon as possible.The territorial division of these armed elements has minimized conflict between them to some extent. on a joint Iran-Iraq military cooperation agreement – which surely dismayed Abazaid and Rumsfeld.” and Reagan – himself a veteran of several cinematic Westerns – determined to “stay the course. with the widening Kurd-Arab current of conflict creating a kind of political quicksand for the constituent assembly. including Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. apparently fired by a US sniper. Less than a week later. does not read his messages. That was when Americans began to ask in earnest. the Marine outposts in Lebanon had become embroiled in the civil war. as in both Somalia and Lebanon. On October 23. murders by paramilitaries with links to powerful ministries. and is a “don’t worry. John Vessey joined his voice to that of Weinberger. the brutal interrogation of prisoners. but the question of regional or ethnic federalism was far from resolved. while he was halted at a US roadblock near his home. Bush. 1983. the ludicrous notion of building democracy would have choked the public. Another officer. Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. spelled big trouble for US forces there. it was reported. Just days earlier. On July 7. were telling him that this was a situation ripe for disaster. President Ronald Reagan – the first of two second-rate actors to have been Governor of California – ordered a military intervention and occupation in Lebanon.” Within a year.. and its complexity.. and many of these armed actors were leaning forward in anticipation of politics by other means. another journalist critical of the US. a young up-and-coming colonel working as Weinberger’s primary military advisor. killing 241 American troops and wounding more than 100 others. Foreign affairs editor Peter Beaumont in Baghdad uncovers a grim trail of abuse carried out by forces loyal to the new Iraqi government.

Powell would write later in his memoirs. “We’re not bugging out. the real political investment – which is brilliant in the same sort of sociopathic way Karl Rove is said to be brilliant – has been in legal advice. 2001. Powell. But the right to indefinitely detain without charge was not challenged by that ruling. then his envoy to the Middle East. maintains his Orientalist ignorance of political history.” In February 1984. and carrying these new.” The attempt to summarily try detainees on the presumption of guilt at Guantanamo Bay suffered a setback by a ruling in November 2004. More recently it has become a legal testing ground for the legal doctrine that underpins the Bush War Doctrine. and who got paid well for being an obedient house negro. Global Battlespace I said earlier that the Bush administration had not solely invested appropriated revenues in military expertise. Reagan announced the withdrawal from Lebanon.” No doubt Reagan coached Donald Rumsfeld. in a “War Against Terrorism. it seems. we’re just going to a little more defensible position [the ships sitting off the shores of Lebanon]. when the plan for the prisoners to appear before a military tribunal was ruled illegal in a US court. Over time. but to Cuba. and is willing to shut up and take orders to oversee disastrous lies. then sought a judicial rubber stamp that will give these actions precedential power in the future expansion of their application. Money buys space and time. One case in this regard is the concentration camp in Guantanamo Bay. Money also buys a great battle-staff of lawyers. The Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base in Cuba has long served as an offshore prison. Money buys scientists who lie about climate change and tobacco. Look not to Iraq to understand this.” the administration has created a number of facts on the ground. on how to mangle the English language in the service of obfuscation. Based on the notion that the entire world is now a metaphorical battlefield. an American citizen detained without showing cause as an “unlawful enemy combatant. precedent-establishing cases before a series of courts. dominated by Republican appointed judges. the metaphor of global battlefield has come to be treated by the administration and the obedient press as a literal and legally recognized reality. With the attacks of September 11. and it is now known that several detainees were transferred to Guantanamo from countries in 47 . He will be remembered by history as a man who gave good advice based on bad but fortuitous logic. the Bush administration accelerated its push to extend military power by pressing the limits of juridical precedent. The federal court held against the US government – that there must be a process to determine whether detainees are entitled to protection as prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions. The other case is that of Jose Padilla. still intuits trouble well (like any successful bureaucrat). saying. “America [was] sticking its hand into a thousand-year-old hornet’s nest with the expectation that our presence would pacify the hornets. In fact.

In effect. Within a month of September 11th. this ruling merely rejected the process that put prisoners before a military bench. nor shall private property be taken for public use. when in actual service in time of War or public danger. is obviously an attempt to push the envelope of legal precedent in order to employ surprise and indefinite detentions against anyone the executive branch determines is an “enemy. However. or property. On June 9th of that same year. This clear violation. and possibly even the United States. without just compensation. by introducing various measures under various precedents to produce a de facto state of martial law which is immune to a singular de jure remedy. He has not been charged with any crime. except in cases arising in the land or naval forces. Padilla – who converted to Islam and changed his name to Abdullah Al Muhajir – was detained in 2002 by the Department of Justice. liberty. that is. or otherwise infamous crime. it did not weigh in on the question of whether the President or his representatives can simply declare anyone an “unlawful enemy combatant” by fiat… which is exactly what happened in the case of Jose Padilla – a US citizen – and what has happened with the detention of Guantanamo inmates from places outside the US so-called “battlespaces” in Iraq and Afghanistan.” The 5th Amendment states: No person shall be held to answer for a capital. using the military. It is far harder to unravel a security-state legal apparatus that is composed of dozens of individual legal precedents than to mount an opposition to a declared state of emergency. Let’s look at the background. It is not insignificant that the Bush administration is using the military to hold him out of the reach of civil law. Muhajir/Padilla was transferred from civilian control to the control of the military and incarcerated in a South Carolina navy brig. and he has been denied legal representation. the evidence the government had indicated it has is currently (as of September 2005) too weak to make a credible case.which the US is not engaged in hostilities – definitely from Bosnia. the Guantanamo and Padilla cases are designed to make actual martial law unnecessary. without due process of law. because these actions in conjunction with the recently released Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil Support. lifting the declared state of martial law. unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury. of the 5th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. nor be deprived of life. nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself. which explicitly lays out plans for a kind of partial-martial law in the event of any attack which effectively puts the military in control of the movements of the entire population of the United States. the executive branch jumped completely over an acquiescent Congress with executive fiats that included establishing the following: 48 . nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb. or in the Militia.

This entire legal edifice is erected.) and section 301 of title 3. United States Code. The reason this gross usurpation of Congressional authority happened was because Congress itself. ages 18 to 33. November 2001) The basis for this collection of discrete orders (as opposed to laws) is. and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States. which declared a national emergency by reason of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. 2001. United States Code. with precious few exceptions. 1601 et seq. including the National Emergencies Act (50 U. (WSWS. from 25 Middle Eastern and African countries. Their names will be checked against databases maintained by the FBI. New York. however. Only Congress is legally authorized to make such declarations. The Constitution does not authorize the President to unilaterally declare such emergencies. The suspension of running tallies by the Justice Department of the number of people rounded up by law enforcement agencies in the antiterror dragnet. a rule that could affect “hundreds of individuals. therefore it surely does not authorize him to impose any form of emergency measures to meet one. ostensibly to gather information concerning future terrorist attacks. All such applicants will face intense scrutiny and long delays in the processing of their requests. A new policy on visa applications affecting men.) and section 301 of title 3. 1601 et seq.S. 2001.S. and now they are as loathe as any neo-con loon to admit they screwed this one up. You can pore over either document until the cows come home.” according to the Justice Department. three days after the World Trade Center collapsed and at a point when the number of Congress members with enough sand left to resist the stampede could be counted on one hand. An order to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to carry out “voluntary” interviews of more than 5. his proclamation of September 14 has all the legal validity of a Shakespeare sonnet.C.000 mostly Middle Eastern men. and the Pentagon. New York. who are living in the US. Moreover. if I may be short. and no such authority exists. and in furtherance of the proclamation of September 14. in fact. displayed the most craven and opportunistic cowardice in the face of this administration.” This “state” was actually enacted by an Executive Order on September 14.A directive empowering the attorney general to authorize the indefinite detention of some non-citizens. But there is more… 49 . The problem here is that the Executive Order cites the NEA as follows: By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America. So this illegality stands to this day. on a very shaky foundation – the “state of national emergency. ages 16 to 45. Declaration of National Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks. This Executive Order claims its authority from the National Emergencies Act (NEA)(50 U. I hereby order as follows: One little glitch… nothing in the NEA gives the President Constitutional authority to declare shit.C. the same basis that must be established to impose martial law – it is just a matter of degree.

Not later than six months after a national emergency is declared.According to United States Code. true enough. This language is not ambiguous. The key to this inevitable crash is something referred to dozens of times in the SHDCS as “integration. And this administration knew it. but they managed to leave without pulling down an entire system around them. across the boundaries of federal. it must by law undergo a Congressional review and approval for any extension a minimum of every six months. Just as the specious claim that Iraq was harboring Islamist “terrorists” has been transformed into a reality by the actions of the United States. Integration The ride-em-cowboy military adventurism of the Reagan administration in Lebanon became an embarrassment. with no clear definition of who the enemy is.” Integration is a fetish that refers to the standardization of equipment and operational procedures across the boundaries of international law enforcement and military action. Sub-chapter II. Section 1622. The basis for extension of military rule through precedent until now had been this thoroughly unchallenged state of national emergency. but this time they were working madly to ensure that all failures become systemic failures. state. and bequeath its most criminally-inclined diplomatic reptiles to the current administration… and still live to become a conservative icon. and with the presumptive battleground conceivably covering every square inch of the earth. Yet fiat-detention. and (2) failure of anyone to successfully challenge the notion of a “global battlespace. as Executive Orders. once a state of emergency is declared (by the legal method). evade prosecution for a host of felonies related to the Iran-Contra affair. the provocations of the Bush administration based on the metaphor that the world is a battlefield could very well serve to make it into a frightening reality.” The latter could become tougher as time goes on. and not later than the end of each six-month period thereafter that such emergency continues. rescue a wrecked US economy by conducting an IMF hold-up of Mexico. are fundamentally predicated on an existing state of national emergency that has not been brought under review for a joint resolution of Congress since it was unilaterally declared. Reagan went on to conduct its own illegal terror campaign against Nicaragua. It was alarming. Two things gave the administration the green light for this abuse of power: (1) Congressional cowardice. each House of Congress shall meet to consider a vote on a joint resolution to determine whether that emergency shall be terminated. one which presumes without explanation that there is a state of war. Title 50. Chapter 34. That’s why the Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil Support (SHDCS) began with the assumption that such an attack was inevitable within ten years. and local 50 . but also fascinating to watch in the same way we are fascinated by the film of a parachutist whose canopy never opens. But the Bush administration was now affording many of the same ministerial malefactors – from Rumsfeld to Negroponte – a second opportunity to fail grandly.

All domestic and foreign partners within the homeland defense mission space require situational awareness for three reasons: to identify threats as early and as distant from US borders as possible. and its unwavering tendency to seek evidence to support its own preconceptions.” in unpredictable ways. is based on direct and concrete observation at every scale of battle. In Boyd’s theory of warfighting – designed by the way for local combat and not national strategy – all actions are taken in the context of a decision cycle. (page 23.authorities. and ends with decision-action. SHDCS) No wonder the generals are afraid. The decision-action then changes the dynamic of the “battlespace. The whole notion of tactical agility.” which is assigned its own acronym: SSA. Like the Iraqis greeting the American occupation as liberators. Shared situational awareness is defined as a common perception of the environment and its implications. to provide ample time for an optimal course of action. This amounts to the conceptual simplification of numerous complex official-social systems. like the US military. Large bureaucratic organizations. They believed that… because that is what they wanted to believe. the whole repeating decision cycle spirals down to disaster. we find the most Orwellian notion of all – expressed in that uniquely one-dimensional manner of the military (and certain socially adept psychopaths) as “shared situational awareness. which begins with observation and orientation. While the SHDCS nodded to flexibility and agility again and again. and an attempt to bring these systems more nearly under the singular control of the American executive branch. and to allow for a flexible operational response… the US government continues to make great strides in overcoming obstacles to shared situational awareness. The Achilles heel of this entire concept is precisely in the realm of observation. which Rumsfeld and his “transformation” predecessors had fallaciously cribbed from warfighting theorist John Boyd. 51 . The Bush administration blundered into its current Iraqi quagmire because of its insistence on perceptual conformity. the general thrust of the “strategy” was to place that flexibility and agility in the hands of a tiny international general staff – the US National Command Authority – and this was the inevitably fatal contradiction. whereupon one has to observe those changes in order to reorient for the next decision… a cycle. are categorically incapable of operating with this degree of inhering dynamism. The Boyd cycle is most quickly undone when preconceptions and-or false expectations interfere with the accuracy of observation. among all the deadening bureau-chatter of integration. That is why they can only ultimately succeed by employing the principle of mass – large forces with multiple and redundant capacities to absorb contingencies with which they cannot compete one a one-to-one level. and across the boundaries of military doctrine and police doctrine. because their size and complexity oblige them to operate within long-term strategies to maintain institutional stability. In other words. In the SHDCS. if the observation is faulty. The efficacy of action is directly related to the unbiased accuracy of observation and appropriateness of orientation.

local. a National Strategy for Homeland Defense (which falls under the Department of Homeland Security). warfighting mission. and they were also monotonously repeated throughout the SHDCS. tribal. (page 27) One can only wonder whether capitalization of “Constitutional” in the second claim and non-capitalization in the first are Freudian slips. There were actually multiple interlocking strategies presented in this document: a National Security Strategy (euphemism for their more militarized foreign policy). For the decisive transfer of power to the military on US soil. this expanded national security challenge necessitates an unprecedented degree of shared situational awareness among Federal agencies. transnational terrorists have blurred the traditional distinction between national security and international law enforcement. and private entities. The administration was not yet trying to have its cake and eat it.” Right. Today. there had to have been at least the (perceived) presence of actual attackers. a thoroughly mismatched perception and reality. and with that we enter the mismatch-spiral to breakdown. Having Your Cake and Eating it Too Excerpt from the SHDCS: The scope of DoD’s role in preventing terrorist attacks within the USD land domain is defined by the President’s constitutional authority as Commander in Chief and limited by statutory authority related to military support of civilian law enforcement. a National Defense Strategy (which is a DoD responsibility to attack hypothetical enemies before they reach our shore). This was not as clear-cut a contradiction as many distressed civil libertarians had claimed in their first startled reaction to this document. Domestic security is primarily a civilian law enforcement function.One example given of how SSA has worked was how “the American law enforcement community worked with its international counterparts to thwart international drug cartels and worldwide crime syndicates. SHDCS) “Integration” is based on perception-integration. When conducting land defense missions on US territory. too. Together with the development of other security threats. (page 23. the President and the Secretary of Defense may direct military forces and assets to intercept and defeat threats on US territory. The keywords were prevention and defense. But perception-integration can easily become. and between the United States and its key partners. fulfilling the Commander in Chief’s Constitutional obligation to defend the nation. in fact will become. It had just baked two cakes. (page 26) If circumstances warrant. and the strategy outlined in the document under 52 . with state. DoD does so as a core.

It works. but the intelligence tsar’s (domestic and international) and Attorney General’s (domestic) boss. He is the perfect Secretary of Defense.” that must be interpreted after action is taken. Congress could have reasserted itself any time to demand a review of the presidential declaration of a state of national emergency. before and during an attack. but on page five of the SHDCS “homeland defense” was defined as “protection of US sovereignty. They have one cake. His inability to go beyond his own empiricism is a reflection of his own narcissism – self-referential above all. the award of the 2012 Olympics to London. What brought them all together conceptually was “shared situational awareness. and secured through Congressional cowardice and opportunism. and on very sound Constitutional grounds. 2005. we woke to the news of a coordinated attack against the transit system of London. domestic population. Asymmetry On July 7th. because there is a match between personality and system here. territory. even mentioning the integral necessity of building and maintaining foreign bases in order to make this febrile dream work.review – the SHDCS. The attacks coincided with a G-8 Summit meeting in Glasgow. It just didn’t. then left remaining the clause. What brought them all together symbolically (and legally – unless and until this concept is successfully challenged) was the “global battlespace. or other threats as directed by the President. Rumsfeld himself could read this analysis.” What brought them all together operationally was the enhancement of executive authority asserted using the global battlespace premise. incapable of genuine empathy. grandiose. And they can eat another. manipulative.” under the direction of the new intelligence tsar and former Reagan accomplice. and a systematic attack against all foreign 53 . which bantered along in the tone-deaf language of Rumsfeld’s metric-entranced toadies. But the cakes are poisonous. who have now been largely appointed by Republicans. We have already briefly analyzed the situation in Iraq. who is not only the Commander in Chief of the military. but he has come with an administration and an epoch that is transforming the offensive power of the United States military into the central instrument of imperial decline in its commitment to control the world’s remaining easily extractable energy supplies. While our eye is on the institutional demarcation between military and non-military.” (italics mine) What the SHDCS did that left the door open to transgress these jurisdictional boundaries was insert elastic clauses that will be left ultimately to the interpretation of Federal judges. It stated that DoD’s responsibility is to address external threats. “other threats as directed by the President. convinced of his infallibility even in the face of extraordinary evidence to the contrary. The wholly pessimistic prognosis there seemed to be utterly ignored by the SHDCS. we might miss the consolidation of power to interpret before action is taken in the hands of the President. and critical defense infrastructure against external threats or aggression. and anything I write here would be absolutely lost on him. Homeland defense was named as the responsibility of the DoD. John Negroponte. which describes how the military will interact with other agencies inside the US.

When no one anywhere can credibly face down such a powerful military head on. there is no effective mechanism for either disabling their parent institution (the state) or attempting to apply a kind of pointby-point revenge. but that part of their plan failed spectacularly. or with the terrorists” language was reproduced in the SHDCS. while the national blood was still burning with the desire for revenge. the US is a sprawling collection of 54 . Any actions now taken by the US military in response to any attack has a better chance of making more enemies than defeating some enemies. And as the SHDCS accurately states in somewhat more elliptical language. there is not the slightest need for the Bush administration to build its own terror attack.diplomats in Baghdad. Emergency systems in London were strained to the limit. about the characterization of the post-9-11 period as a “crusade.” and about the attempt to throw down a gauntlet that said. “Terrorists will try to shape and degrade American political will in order to diminish American resistance to terrorist ideologies and agendas. The US was put on a heightened state of alert.” (Page 9) Ergo… anyone who opposed this plan would be complicit in “degrading American political will” and therefore participating in a “terrorist agenda. The miniscule American left stood up first and defied the administration within days. a metropolitan city that has long ago blurred the distinctions between military and police functions in its attempt to hang onto power in Northern Ireland. Stocks fell around the world. Let me say here. Its stubborn refusal to change course in Southwest Asia. and a city already accustomed – if anyone ever becomes accustomed – to bombing as a method of asymmetric warfare. I do not mean to imply that there is some conspiratorial connection between these phenomena. and that push-back by the US left was extremely significant in creating a space for doubt… about official narratives. As I’ve pointed out before. and the unspeakable technological power of the US armed forces.” This is where they wanted to go after 9-11. light airplanes from private fields. with non-state actors. This attack happened in London. There were predictable expressions of shock and “determination” from Bush. But a glance at the SHDCS showed that this was expected. its aggressive militarism around the world. and they are on a policy trajectory that makes it a near certainty. The connections are emblematic of a trend. That it happened in London was a bit off the script. The document was surprisingly honest about the vulnerabilities in the US. So they need that next attack. The city screeched to a halt. because the clear expectation. The “with us. “You are with us.how general aviation aircraft. written between every line of the SHDCS was that it would happen in the United States. Traveler’s insurance jumped. all make an attack nearly inevitable. about the wisdom of accepting the Bush population control measures. for anyone inclined toward conspiracy theory. could be employed as a poor-man’s Cruise missile against nuclear or chemical plants. Over 40 people were killed and more than 700 wounded. or you are with the terrorists. then they have no choice but to bend to the will of the US or fight back using asymmetric methods.” This leftist push-back may have been the most significant political victory of progressive forces in the US in many years. in fact mentioning for the first time – which I had written about in December 2003 . and it created the conditions for a rapidly assembled and vital antiwar movement later. not a conspiracy. None of the goals for the imposition of domestic population control were met in the wake of September 11th. Blair was visibly shaken.

deter.” as a bullet point in this military strategy overview certainly should give us pause. these kinds of attacks were referred to in the SHDCS as chemical.” The document did not say “At the direction of the President and the Secretary of Defense. it stated.” which implied (a) that the Sec-Def could take it upon himself to make one of these momentous decisions. biological.” which would indicate a chain of command and accountability. the Department of Defense executes military missions that dissuade. I have already outlined how they were laying the legal groundwork to go after political enemies. Partial-Martial There was a plan within a SHDCS plan. The fact that they don’t. This is what aroused civil libertarian watchdogs. to whom he punted questions the answers to which might incriminate him in the future. or high-yield explosive attacks (CBRNE). and the response to them – which is discussed repeatedly and at length throughout this “strategy” – is called “CBRNE consequence management. In another example of the psychotically flat language of this document. as I stated earlier. but “At the direction of the President or the Secretary of Defense. London today. chemical. is an indication that they can’t (at least for now) and the reason I find it personally impossible to fantasize yet about building escape tunnels under my house or emplacing food caches throughout the local pine-barrens. radiological. and defeat attacks upon the United States. and biological weapons in the form of infrastructure. on more than one occasion. our population. that are pre-deployed weapons of mass destruction waiting for anyone who is so inclined to activate them.” This was interesting on two counts: (1) It gives the Secretary of Defense unprecedented power by using the conjunction “or. As usual. however. and 103 licensed nuclear power facilities. and our critical defense infrastructure. who rightly believe that the Bush administration would set up concentration camps for all of us if given half a chance. poorly protected research labs. Using these accountability cut-outs was one key way that Rumsfeld evaded any responsibility in the Abu Ghraib scandal. nuclear. and it definitely supports the idea that this administration wanted to exercise that kind of population control. 55 . but it can increase its probability. the President could plausibly deny he had anything to do with it.” I swear to readers that I did not make that up. Where tomorrow? Military power cannot prevent asymmetric attack. toxic chemical plants (over a hundred near populations of a million or more).” (2) It says the military can be used inside the United States to protect itself (force protection) through the expansion of itself to include “critical defense infrastructure. and (b) that if a decision were later scrutinized for who was responsible. The statement that “Terrorists will try to shape and degrade American political will in order to diminish American resistance to terrorist ideologies and agendas. In the SHDCS. Exposed water supplies. he surrounded himself with a phalanx of generals and bureaucrats.hundreds and hundreds of nuclear. “At the direction of the President or the Secretary of Defense. When he went before Congress. the Ostrich Congress did not point out this transparent maneuver. to impose martial law that is not martial law.

and provide direct logistic support in times of crisis. It didn’t take much imagination to figure out how broadly this could be interpreted. US homeland. It seemed to be a fait accompli that the US could now go to war without any declaration of war. the SHDCS then claimed the right to move on … …“critical defense assets… located at public or private sites beyond the direct control of DoD… [that] could include elements of the Defense Industrial Base. The ability to take over roads alone effectively puts the military in a position to completely control the population… de facto if not de jure martial law. But when the definition of “force protection” was expanded to include “critical infrastructure. approaches. The SHDCS did not accomplish the concentration of power in the hands of the Presidency. and other utilities that military forces and DoD support organizations rely on to meet their operational needs.” Ensure labor availability? How did they plan to do that. The strategy document claims that “Defense contractors must be able to maintain adequate response times. and that it could demand all the international rules and conventions relating to war apply to the US as protections but that these same rules and conventions would not apply to the US as they relate to US actions. Further along. it stated. transportation.” This was fairly common sense and not alarming in and of itself.But it was also interesting in a third way. “DoD will continue to transform military forces to execute homeland defense missions in the forward regions. It was the combination of this concentration of fiat-power in the presidency and the redefinition of “force protection” for the military as including “critical infrastructure” that laid the foundation for a state of partial-martial law that effectively functions as martial law.” Here they were explicitly stating that the military could and would operate inside the United States. or parts to meet military requirements… defense critical infrastructure could also include selected civil and commercial infrastructures that provide the power. Apparently the DoD already found itself in a position to assume that the war making powers formerly and exclusively assigned to Congress had now effectively passed exclusively to the executive branch. which is a worldwide industrial complex with capabilities to perform research and development and design. produce. Of course. exactly? 56 . subsystems. and global commons. that it could claim a state of war as the basis for declaring the entire world a battlefield without a declaration of war. Congress abdicated its won power every day that it continued (and still continues) to allow this to go on. the President or the Secretary of Defense might direct US military forces to protect non-DoD assets of national significance that are so vital to the nation that their incapacitation could have a debilitating effect on the security of the United States. communications. components. ensure supply and labor availability.” and force protection came to mean capability protection. DoD would protect its own inside the US. Congress was nowhere mentioned. and maintain military weapons systems. “The Department is also responsible for protecting DoD personnel located in US territory. Later in the same document. In addition.

China. where there are an average of four firearms per household. like Berlin in the late 1930s. who now owned $403 billion in US debt. And while a significant number of them had evolved into the twisted bureaucratic creatures we saw in the guise of John Abazaid or Rumsfeld’s pet weasel. but the last of the old ones. 2003. but only as the basis for using an emergency as the pretext for rounding up and neutralizing their political opposition. Thus.” 57 . the first Gulf War was “not a new kind of war. Imperial Washington. a radiological cloud leaking from a destroyed reactor wafts gently toward their families? Where would the money come from? The military was already driving the national debt and current account deficit through the stratosphere. for example. we could not take this document seriously as a plan. a chief theorist of the revolution. The United States military could not even secure a military victory in Iraq.418 square kilometer land mass. and this mad document from the Pentagon was talking about establishing martial law over 290 million armed people within a 9. The Anonymous Generals This was not what most generals signed up to do. This was one concrete manifestation in the social relations of the Energy War.In the United States of America. The reality of Full Spectrum Dominance. and the war in Iraq’s cost was being borne in larger and larger part by the real target of US international intrigue. Unless we were prepared to accept that everyone at the Pentagon. was clinically insane. Mark Kimmett. the air wars in Kosovo and Afghanistan were only pale previews of the postmodern blitzkrieg that will be unleashed against the Baathist regime. from Rumsfeld down. Instead of old. was actually Full Spectrum Delusion. in addition to creating a new geopolitical order in the Middle East. has become a psychedelic capital where one megalomaniacal hallucination succeeds another. we are promised nonlinear “shock and awe.fashioned sequential battles.631.” Likewise. it was apparent when one looked below the surface of things. Mike Davis wrote an essay called Slouching Toward Baghdad." According to Admiral William Owen. Donald Rumsfeld was going to form press-gangs of labor? This was the reason many of us were not building our tunnels and stocking canned food under tree roots. many of these senior officers were watching Iraq with growing dismay. In February. even as they had seen the development of this eerie little Metrics Novella of the Apocalypse being scratched and sniffed through its composition in the Pentagon. This is their plan? They were going to accomplish it with whom exactly? Did they honestly believe that American soldiers would impose this kind of control on US populations? Moreover. we are now told by the Pentagon's deepest thinkers that the invasion of Iraq will also inaugurate “the most important ‘revolution in military affairs’ (or RMA) in two hundred years. This was the pretext for the selective application of partial-martial law. did they believe in any real mass casualty emergency that soldiers will stay buttoned quietly down in their posts while.

and establish control through forward basing in strategically essential Southwest Asia? Rumsfeld had dismantled his pre-“revolutionary” military capacity. and that same month signed a military cooperation pact with the (part) puppet government of occupied Iraq. Europe flirted with Russia. and taken his “minimalist” revolution in military affairs into a dangerous impasse. If the Rumsfeld doctrine continued to fail. NCW may in fact be the inevitable road to nuclear war. the missile-armed drones? Indeed. 58 . for that matter.thermobaric bombs. the new paradigm -. and China invested in the Caribbean.Although the news media will undoubtedly focus on the sci-fi gadgetry involved .leaves little backup in terms of traditional military reserves. PackBot robots. the generals leaked the story that the US had lost the capability to execute the so-called two-war doctrine. the little stair-climbing robots.the truly radical innovations (or so the war wonks claim) will be in the organization and. Stryker fighting vehicles. microwave weapons. but that the giant was hopelessly entangled in Iraq. Promoted by military futurists as a “minimalist” form of warfare that spares lives by replacing attrition with precision. what if some North Korean cyberwar squad (or. In their own subdued roundabout manner of Washington intrigue. indeed. In the Persian Gulf. the very concept of the war. and so on .with its “just in time” logistics and its small “battlefield footprint” -. unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). They may have only intuited the implications – implications that went far. This is one reason why the Rumsfeld Pentagon takes every opportunity to rattle its nuclear saber. as it was failing spectacularly in Iraq. a new kind of “warfighting ecosystem” known as “network centric warfare” (or NCW) is slouching toward Baghdad to be born. Persia itself – Axis of Evil member Iran – was emerging in the tortured realpolitik of US intervention as a new power center. In the bizarre argot of the Pentagon's Office of Force Transformation (the nerve center of the revolution). isolate Russia. far beyond the concern they had for how Rumsfeld and his whiz-kids had ripped up and wasted the institution to which they devoted their entire lives. while China bid for Unocal and Latin America drifted away on the tectonic political plate of Bolivarianismo. not to fight terrorists. but to encircle China. Davis asked in his 2003 article just two months before the premature climax of Shock and Awe: But what if the RNA/NCW’s Second Coming of Warfare doesn’t arrive as punctually promised? What happens if the Iraqis or future enemies find ways to foil the swarming sensors. where the whole world was alert not to US strength. the night-visioned Special Forces. a fifteen-year-old hacker in Des Moines) manages to crash the Pentagon's “system of systems” behind its battlespace panopticon? If the American war-fighting networks begin to unravel (as partially occurred in February 1991). Davis had put his finger on another reality that the more adroit among the Pentagon Admiralty understood. how would the Untied States pursue its “integrated” long-term strategy.

purely for simplicity. was echoing another imperialist with impeccable bona fides -. not any moral revulsion at the cost of the war to Iraqis. but to salvage one in an emerging state of decay.. out of Iraq itself – acknowledging in a manner the commitment of the whole US ruling class to controlling this region as an absolute necessity. That is precisely what the SHDCS is about. It was building a rampaging nuclear terror state. is that we need not delve into the arcane business of Levi-Strauss’ modern Machiavellianism to unpack the definition of the so-called neo-cons. using the words “incompetence” and “quagmire. a hawkish ex-career Marine who enjoys close personal relationships with much of the Pentagon brass. Condoleeza Rice – not merely an African decoy for the white supremacist Republicans. the former CEO of the world’s largest defense contractor. deputy defense secretary from 1994-1995. Colin Powell was still Secretary of State. It is further interesting to note that he called for a regional presence “beyond the horizon” – that is. With the subsequent call by Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha. John Deutch. said. It is interesting to note that his concern was degradation of the military as an institution. “Those who argue that we should ‘stay the course’ because an early withdrawal . If things were about to get much rougher internationally.who had suggested the same thing only three weeks earlier.” Deutch. is their belief that the key to rescuing capital accumulation and holding onto American global dominance within that accumulation regime is the militarization of both foreign and domestic policy. The US was not attempting to build an empire. we see the advance of this rebellion. And the strange collection of rulers running amok in the executive branch was not angling to “integrate” any defense of the people. Now Powell has been replaced by his female counterpart.And they may have understood the implications of the SHDCS when it was placed in the context of this global impasse. At the heart of that crisis is the head-on collision about to occur between capitalism and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Afterword to The Global Battlefield In the early portions of this monograph. What differentiates them. and the behind- 59 . On July 15. Murtha was saying for the generals what they could not safely say themselves. and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (19951996). then they had to prepare to get a lot rougher domestically.Zbigniew Brzezinski -. who called for immediate withdrawal from Iraq. but also a female decoy for an administration characterized by a lot of dress-up masculinity. would hurt America’s global credibility must consider the possibility that we will fail in our objectives in Iraq and suffer an even worse loss of credibility down the road. Their deepest commitment is synonymous with any garden variety liberal Democrat. to extract US military forces from Iraq. Finding solutions to the crisis of capital accumulation in the coming historical period. 2005.. When I wrote “The Global Battlefield” in July 2005 for From The Wilderness. Another point that should be re-emphasized here. I noted an “artful rebellion” among generals. Her own lack of any military experience is no doubt comforting for both Bush and Rumsfeld. aside from the struggle for institutional dominance within the American body politic.” These alarms sounded by some of the most hawkish representatives of America’s ruling class were perhaps the best indication that a crisis is stalking the empire.

Hussein al-Tahan. This time. it was a sloppy attempt and failed. Holding discussion with Iranians about 60 . Regardless of repeated doomsday predictions of an impending US or Israeli attack on Iran. and encouraging even more reckless behaviors. Sadr secured his place as a power broker thus. pending an investigation. as well as the contingent loyalty of Jaafari. always directing his ire toward the American occupation. not only is the US in a position where an attack on Iran would precipitate a seismic Shia resistance within Iraq that would quickly translate into an American military defeat. who had to settle for the Vice Presidency. the US – even with all its saber-rattling rhetoric directed at Tehran – was conducting back-channel communications with the Iranian government since last February. and when they sting. had galled the US authorities quite enough. There are credible reports now of a Kurdish-Sunni alliance to balance the IranianTurkish condominium manifested in the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA – the Hakim-Jaafari bloc). Sadr’s ability to emerge from every confrontation with the Americans as a more popular leader and a pivotal king-maker. This is the second time US hostility to Sadr has raised the specter of a generalized Shia rebellion. Bush may have finally gotten a clue after all this time that the Cheney-Rumsfeld faction’s prediction of “turning corners” in Iraq. it seems. Not even behind closed doors. and Jaafari’s Da’awa Party as well as the larger Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim are united in a pro-Iranian bloc. Just days ago. Curiously enough. Jalal Talabani. This in turn provoked an apoplectic response from Kurdish “unity government” President. who has played the role of political broker ensured the hair-thin majority required for Jaafari to beat out the SCIRI prime ministerial candidate. who Muqtada al-Sadr supported in the latest election. has borne nothing but poisonous fruit. The March 26 mortar attack on Sadr’s Najaf compound missed the cleric. there are hornets aplenty. it backfired politically. The compliant unity government envisioned by the every-self-delusional Americans had just been subjected to another assault when Jaafari – without clearing his trip with the US Central Command – took a trip to Turkey to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. and consistent with every other action of the Bush administration in Iraq. and it was followed up in short order by a combined US“Iraqi Special Forces” attack on the Sadrist Mustafa mosque in northeast Baghdad that witnesses say involved the massacre of at least 17 people. and arguing for a consolidated but truly independent Iraq.the-scenes bureaucratic tussle between Rumsfeld and Powell has obviously been resolved. People should think twice before playing poker with this man. There will be no talk of hornets in this White House. Sadr himself is the only prominent Shia who has consistently warned of splitting Sunni from Shia. someone is bound to cry out. Adel Abdul Mahdi. Sadr. wounding an adult and a child. the provisional governor of Baghdad summarily suspended all security cooperation between his government and US forces. someone – either the American spec-ops establishment or one of their Iraqi surrogates – attacked Muqtada al Sadr. De rigeur. these politically disastrous attacks appear to be motivated by the US desire to rid itself of Da’awa Party prime minister-elect Ibrahim al-Jaafari. But as this is written (early April 2006). Iran is at least as hostile to the notion of an independent Kurdistan blossoming in northern Iraq as the Turks.

how they might pull the US cookies out of the Iraqi fire is about as grim an irony as can be imagined. Operation Swarmer. and is likely too little too late. 2006) 61 . the symptoms of the larger problem don’t appear in day-to-day form with a sign around their necks. one in Haditha last year. where word travels fast. swept into Samarra only to meet no resistance and haul off 50 detainees. because as I told a friend recently. billed as a bold offensive. a whole phalanx of retired generals joined a call for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld. There are at least two credible reports circulating of American massacres. and accused the Iranians of trying to destabilize the Iran-Iraq border of Kurdistan… which they very well may be doing. Talabani was frothing by late March at hearing of these talks. These are widely spoken of inside Iraq. The difference between perception and reality… real hornets and imaginary ones… is evident yet again in Iraq. 2006. In April. that the latest recapture-theinitiative attack. Babies murdered execution style with a single bullet to the head. talking about hornets. I am including it below. and one near Balad on the 15th of March at a village named Abu Sifa. As a way of further exploring the social relations of the Energy War. In response to that I wrote a commentary for From the Wilderness. (July. It seems another splash of irony.

at how he treated their fraternity-brother. but my glory shall be everlasting. Riggs. Shinseki – 62 . and through this esteem. Sex. Alas. and Eaton. The Generals’ rebellion is unprecedented. Is it the clannishness of the Generals? Are they still pissed off at how Archduke Donald dissed them at every meeting. 1985) Overdetermination. The conflict between what the hero must do for honor as opposed to even life itself is replicated in other ways in the hero’s situation. by Nancy C./but if I return home to the beloved land of my fathers. and Power – Toward a Feminist Historical Materialism. where the collective good of the community can be the primary concern of the hero. April. but there will be long life/left for me. as Socrates/Diotoma point out in the Symposium./my return home is gone. to Caesar Texanius himself. and my end in death will not come quickly. and as an instrument of his own glory and honor. 2006 Achilles is given a clear choice. but the enjoyment of public esteem. The highest good for the warrior-hero is not. and Eric Shinseki – who was Rumsfeld’s first object lesson on dissent – there is now a new conspiracy of generals who are circling around Rumsfeld. when ostensibly defending the embattled Sec-Def. Hartsock (Northeastern University Press. The community both sustains and provides for the warrior-hero and sends him to possible death… the warrior-hero experienced the conflict between the collective good as an end in itself. The political community as a community exists only on the battlefield. There are multiple forces working in multiple directions that fold into every moment – even historical ones. I am being sucked irresistibly in. He is told that he carries two destinies: “If I stay here and fight beside the city of the Trojans. Newbold./the excellence of my glory is gone. They include retiring Generals Zinni.” The primacy of honor is memorialized in Achilles choice to stay and fight. because a point has been missed. Exempting the weird and slippery Wesley Clark whose presidential pretensions long ago led him to “critique” the Bush administration. and through him. Like weather patterns that result in storms. precisely because the rapidity of the collapse of the Bush administration is unprecedented. a quiet conscience. couldn’t resist backhanding Rummy for his treatment of General Eric Shinseki in the early hours of the war. In the role of the hero. The walls are tumbling down.The Night of the Generals (Originally published at From the Wilderness. one finds the prelude to the tensions and conflicts that structure the polis at later centuries. Even Oberstgruppenführer Peter Pace. It means that one should never seek only one. The commentary about this is so omnipresent it has created a chattering vortex. immortality. linear cause-and-effect that produces any phenomenon. -from Money. M. Batiste. Swannack.

and that reason itself has a dual character. except as a spokesperson. if only we hadn’t cashiered the Ba’athist troops. CEOs make 400 times what workers do. But there is one overarching reason.” What obliges him to jump into this new. and why should he join this chorus? He is not under the gun if Geneva gets dusted off. as a television personality who put on oh-so-serious masculine airs and repeated mindless mantras about strategy and tactics to a guileless audience in order to paint the slaughter as a contest instead of a conquest So why should he care. but Generals barely make a 14 times what a Private does. nor the other Generals. are in it for the money… at least most of them aren’t. diplomatic way) that his network-centric warfare doctrine was a half-baked lunacy? Is it the progress of the Fitzgerald investigations. No doubt many of them. We drank and debauched together when I was at Delta. The first aspect of this Janus is referenced by Hartsock in the lead-quote. if. But frogs don’t have wings. the investigations into Abu Ghraib and Bucca and Haditha and Fallujah will suddenly cast the nets much more widely than one demoted (female!) General and a handful of enlisted people? Are the Generals preparing to tie Rumsfeld. If only a frog had wings. to a sacrificial stake? Is it because they are seeking allies among the Democrats as that other shithouse burns? Do they need someone to watch their collective political back? At least some of the Democrats have been sufficiently frightened – committed imperialists that they are – that the lunatic fringe of the administration might decide on the diplomatic-suicide-bombing of an attack against Iran. The Iraqis do. methodically trenching their way toward the White House like Giap’s foot-soldiers digging their way into the perimeter of Dien Bien Phu? Do they see that when this edifice falls.” 63 . if only … always be alert when you hear that retrojected conditionality … if only “we” had sent in 500. His father was once the most decorated General in the Army. Nor are they in it. “We” don’t get to decide that. and later my Regimental Commander at 75th Rangers. as Hartsock says. which the Generals and their new pals in the Democratic Party continually raise is a smokescreen. It is all these things. My team trained him when he came to the unit. Neither Grange. I’ll use Dave Grange to make my point about the twofold character of this Night of the Generals.000. retired General. The question of win-ability. I personally know David Grange. under any circumstances. if. He was my Squadron Commander. Because Dave did not participate in this one. and they have. and its relation to losing the war. Dave is now tentatively joining the chorus. We spotted each other in the weight room.when Sir Eric told Rumsfeld (in his roundabout. even for those who deploy it to delude themselves. and this war was never winnable. It is overdetermined. He can’t be blamed for the defeat of the world’s most expensive killing apparatus by “sandal-clad barbarians. including General John Vines (the gadfly still working at CENTCOM who has repeatedly warned that the insurgency is large and it is Iraqi). if. and perhaps even Gonzalez with him. CNN military expert. for “a quiet conscience. it wouldn’t bump its ass every time it hops. The US is losing the war. flame-retardant shithouse? The answer to that is revealed inside the twofold character of this rebellion. if only those prison photos hadn’t gotten out. really believe the war was winnable.000 instead of 130.

Be the bully. 64 . There is a little boy in them all that wants to be the warrior-hero. That the Generals seek after it makes it no less imaginary. and through this esteem. And at some gut level.” In modern imperial warfare. they didn’t say a word until it was too late. You’re only 23. Not being European. Modern conventional war is deeply and inescapably bureaucratic. when this was still a glorious war. and you already have your war. the hero is a mere cipher for the public imagination. there is a scene where an aging Colonel (played by Nick Nolte) blurts out to a subordinate. They require yes-men and yes-women. and when you can’t. So Rumsfeld will be the conceited civil authority who stabbed them all in the back. General Grange. or stay home. because he has always seen himself first as a cunning bureaucrat – and in war he wanted nothing less than to prove anyone’s manhood.” All these Generals signed on. “I’ve eaten buckets of shit to get here. immortality. Including Dave Grange. Colin Powell never experienced this conflict. The night is long and dark indeed. I may never get another chance. people know that this is the antithesis of heroism. he said. If they knew something was wrong. Thin Red Line. Bureaucracies don’t require heroes. as Achilles’ tale points out. while the news-models drooled all over him… “oh. and as an instrument of his own glory and honor. thank you. but having fought for the polis: … “the warrior-hero experienced the conflict between the collective good as an end in itself. together. and Grange lived with a highly esteemed General. perhaps he is less enamored of feudal warrior myths. In the superlative film. in co-signing this war. They are trying to salvage their immortality. their feats of derring-do.They are seeking “public esteem. Grange got on CNN and cheer-led the whole thing.” They grew up with the history of kings and generals – as we all did. They thought they could have their bureaucratic cake and eat their hero cake… but it was the same cake. and with his sacrifice they can all be restored. Losing or winning. lapped that shit up like dehydrated Bassett hounds. And the public perception of them – critically important to the whole enterprise of war in this post-modern epoch where heroic spectacles have to be created as overwriting narratives to conceal the banality of evil – is a perception that they will all retain or lose. Every last one of them ate shit. is not the issue for the warrior.” and he and all the others. go in big. and it had a name and a people: Iraq. They are engaged in this little conspiracy for the same reason people whisper bargains at the sky in the back pews of churches. and this was their collective aspiration. Avoid conflict when you can.

and Kerry goddamn well knows it. The administration is hoping they can duplicate the Reagan administration’s military “Keynesianism” of substituting the state – via Defense spending – for a manufacturing export market. of course. and left whoever wins the 2004 US electoral ritual holding a bag of rattlesnakes.The War for Saudi Arabia (Written for Sanders Research Associates. based on consumer spending. He will dance around the ring until November with one central campaign tactic – to prove that he is not George W. The Bush administration itself has been forced by electoral pressure into ever more reckless economic policies to ameliorate what might become a chronic recession (or even stagflation). The current uptick in the so-called economic indicators. are a combination of historically low interest rates that have fueled equity-loans against refinanced home mortgages and a flash flood of fictitious value rushing into a housing market bubble. No other commodity has five US navy battle groups patrolling the sea lanes to secure it. because the wheels have fallen off Operation Iraqi Freedom. is as preposterous as the same claim made by the Republicans before they oversaw the invasion of Mesopotamia.” This claim. the collapse of which could rival the dot-com crash of 2000 in its liquidation of fictional value. that presidential candidate and Senator John Kerry began broadcasting his claim to the US electorate that he would “cut troop numbers in Iraq. Such a “plan” is so contaminated with shifting variables outside the rule of a US administration as to be utterly meaningless. -Mark Jones It was in early August. Kerry is not saying he will take unilateral action to disengage the American occupation of Iraq. 2009. it has further delayed decisive action to reverse the reverses of the Bush administration. August 9. He is saying he will “work with our allies” to “put a deal together over the course of time” to cut numbers before the end of his first term – January. at the same time that the United States falls more deeply into its unpayable international debt to finance the counterinsurgency in Iraq. Bush. The real war being fought. is related to a terrifying crisis about which they can say not one word to the American people. This is the kind of hollow oath that is taken with the frequency of a piss every general election cycle. A one-time tax refund boosted the mad dash to buy new SUVs and home entertainment systems. at the same time attempting to induce mass amnesia about his own original support for the war – which was also pandering. This is a tough period for politicians in both the United States and Great Britain. in the wake of the most strictly scripted Democratic Party convention in US history. and the staffs of both Bush and Kerry know it. 2004) Oil is not a normal commodity. He is pandering to the growing popular discontent with the occupation among US voters. Just 65 . and the underlying crisis – which none of them can publicly name – is growing more urgent with each passing day. and the average personal debt load of Americans – already astronomical – went up correspondingly. While the election itself does not constitute a primary contradiction on the world stage right now.

as the Democrats themselves circled their wagons to protect the fraudulent 2000 electoraljudicial fiat – in order to avoid a constitutional crisis that could undermine the legitimacy of the whole system – they are now being forced to collaborate with their elite rivals in sending the American public on a snipe hunt to avoid that public seeing an ugly imperial reality. seem unwilling to discuss. Still. are ludicrously inadequate. This was valuable in shifting the usual premises of public discourse in the heavily-indoctrinated United States. This does not mean that we simply use a lot of cars. or that this decline will happen sooner rather than later if our imperial government fails to secure military control over Southwest Asia. 66 . The recent Michael Moore documentary. but around the private automobile. for two reasons. We are absolutely dependent on the oceanic web of asphalt that connects every economic activity to every other with roads for private automobiles. even though it will ultimately mean economic hardship for the West). The complexity of the question of Saudi Arabia makes it impossible to say exactly how and when the decisive historical shift that is now in progress will finally play out. and procrastinating about revealing the tougher truth that no simple political brake in the US will be sufficient to stop us running over the fossil energy bluff. The Bush-Saudi connections are reflective of a deeper structural connection that both the left and the right. Economic dislocations in the United States. And the issue is not how that war is managed or who is responsible for the “intelligence failures. but not the way most people imagine. The war is about terrorism all right. will pole-axe the rest of the world. for different reasons. The United States is particularly vulnerable to any disruption in the constant flow of inexpensive oil – more vulnerable than any society in history. or that the decline of living standards all over the world has already begun to encroach even upon the working class of the United States in order to finance that accumulation. painting the right as the source of all our problems. it mist be said. Public transportation systems. with a few exceptions in places like New York. The left doesn’t want to tell the same people that their living standards are destined to fall based on the energetic limits to growth. regardless of who is in power. They are interested in stopping the war (and I share this goal. We have developed a social infrastructure not just around ground transportation that requires petroleum-based fuel. regardless of the consequences. in particular my own that we may be seeing the initial stage of the historical obsolescence of conventional imperial military power. but an absolute necessity because of the spatial separation inhering in our economic specialization. and my spouse commutes 35 minutes each way to her job each day. but it was also illusory. laid heavy emphasis on Saudi Arabia and its connections with the Bush family. that grossed more than any documentary in history. Cars are no longer a luxury in the United States. The nearest grocery store to my home is two and a half miles away. and our beleaguered imperial rulers now have their attention riveted upon Saudi Arabia.” What is at stake is the entire unipolar world system. Any disruption in oil flow would have immediate and near catastrophic consequences for the US. The right doesn’t want to tell the people that it must have Persian Gulf oil for continued capital accumulation. it is helpful to lay out some of the constituent parts of the current conjuncture as a way of developing some credible hypotheses. Fahrenheit 911.

notably Taiwan. this is a political calculation. on purchasing manufactured goods and services of all kinds. the current stability of currency markets is underwritten by the inherently unstable system of “dollar hegemony. Almost all such countries have very high marginal propensity to consume. becomes a prime directive. the shock to their domestic economies will hit like the Bam earthquake. In the 1973-81 period. along with wages (by increasing unemployment with Fed interest rate hikes). Secondly. In fact. the New Industrial Countries of that period . as we are about to see in the post-peak-oil era. South Korea and Singapore experienced very large and rapid increases in demand for their exports.” Central banks around the world have cached US Treasury bills as currency reserves in a dollar-dominated world system. Abrupt decline in consumer demand in the US could easily lead to an equally abrupt overproduction crisis among export economies and precipitate a synchronized global recessionary nosedive. determination of prices has typically been a closely monitored monetary and political question. with the deindustrialization of the US economy and the rise of debtleverage imperialism. While supply and demand certainly are associated with each other. and whose economic advances would constitute the bulk of this improvement. The paradox of pricing. most of them Low Income (GNP per capita below $400/year). and despite the 405% price rise. Petroleum rents in the Gulf States have been assessed more to ensure the longer-term stability of rentier-regimes than to allow market equilibrium. by 60% to 80% in volume terms. the US has taken on the distinctive role of world consumer of last instance. is that higher prices would actually benefit the aggregate world economy. outside the OECD countries. in which oil price rises before inflation were of 405%. This is through the income or revenue effect on oil exporter countries. is very rapidly spent. The pricing of petroleum is not solely an issue of market value in the usual sense. The price of oil in the west has been used carefully to balance the profits of oil entrepreneurs against the larger financial equation of inflation. due to prices of their export products increasing in line with the oil price. are not the EuroAmerican metropoles. The rub is that the economies that will most benefit from oil price increases. if we are using aggregate “growth” as the benchmark for improvement. and then lead to increased growth inside the OECD. These three countries increased their oil imports in under 8 years through the 1973-81 period. not a merely economic one. minerals and agrocommodity exporter countries.First. McKillop: Higher oil prices operate to stimulate first the world economy. When the unpayable international dollar overhang finally breaks off and these nations are obliged to sell off their dollars during the free-falling dollar devaluation. as Andrew McKillop of the International Association of Energy Economists points out. and then on metals. That is any increase in revenues. This macroeconomic mechanism of higher revenues for fast spending poorer countries quickly levering up world economic growth (the 67 . the most significant consumer of export goods in the world is the United States. When inflation is seen as a threat – which is almost always in the arithmetical cosmos of economists – holding oil prices down.

but at the global level) is easily triggered by rising oil and real resource prices. and the chief pig at the trough is the United States. and (2) demand is increasing. and Shaybah. Even this is optimistic. McKillop supports his thesis with a consistent empirical correspondence between higher oil prices and increased demand. Berri.51 barrels a year. when oil prices were (in adjusted PPP dollars) $100 a barrel. only Shaybah has produced for under 30-50 years. Import-dependence in these countries has risen from 25% in 1990 to over 50% today. OECD economies are not now less reliant on oil imports than they were during the oil shock of the 1970s. DOE and the OECD IEA claim that output will increase to 115 mbd by 2020 to meet demand. but they calculate global demand rising at 1-1. The EIA was basing its projections on the claim that Saudi Arabia contains adequate known reserves (260 billion barrels) for production at these rates for 90 years. however. if you believe the US Department of Energy which has a tendency to rationalize its figures in order to make production and demand match. and so does John Kerry. Zuluf. Higher revenue earnings for many low income oil exporter countries.25% each year. When the Energy Information Agency (EIA) stated in 2004 that Saudi Arabia will need to boost its production from its current 8 million barrels a day to 20 million. called the “oil column. Per capita consumption in China is one-third of the world average. global output can be pushed no further than 84-87 mbd.” 68 . Ghawar being the leviathan that regurgitates 5 million of the 8 each day. it must be noted that world per capita consumption in 1980 was 5. with a per capita consumption rate of 25. and flatly contradicts the arguments by authorized 'experts' who opine that higher oil prices 'hurt poorer countries the most'. Simmons points out. The facts that make this a zero sum game between the metropolitan “North” and the under-developed “South” – and therefore a structural antagonism between these two aspects of the world system – are both geological and political.25%.28 barrels a year (higher than today). Of all of them. he was aghast. and in India only one-quarter. Safaniyah. and also for the special case of Saudi Arabia may be the only short-term way to stop these countries falling into civil strife. The fundamental problem is that (1) the world cannot produce oil fast enough to maintain current average world consumption. counter-intuitive as this may seem. The flow rate in these fields has been maintained through water injection at the margins of the fields that maintains flow pressure in the area around the center.very simplest type of Keynesianism.5 million barrels a day (mbd). All perfidious claims to the contrary. The others are Abqiaq. insurrection or ethnic war. even as many experts who are not on someone’s payroll as professional Pollyannas say that if we achieve world stability and commit to massive infrastructure improvements. The current United States government understands this perfectly. Global demand this year is approximately 79. Saudi Arabia has six significantly productive oil fields. To see the deeper trend. Energy investment banker Matthew Simmons has studied the Saudi oil fields in detail and for some time now.6 barrels a year within a world average of around 4. current demand is tracking up each year by 2. In fact.

In every one of these fields, this oil column is shrinking, and every one of them is experiencing progressively greater problems with water migrating into the crude. Interruptions in the flow are called “water cuts.” Water is settling under the oil, and the water-oil line is rising. So ARAMCO (the state oil corporation) began using horizontal drilling to harvest the crude above the water-oil line, but water cuts were still occurring. New technology has now been employed to network the horizontal wells, monitor for water cuts, and automatically close the water cuts then transfer extraction to another point in the network. There have also been more frequent flow interruptions due to gas. Claims of both the EIA and the Saudi government, if checked against historical data, are not very reliable, but the Saudis make even more wildly optimistic projections than the EIA. Simmons suspects that all the Saudi fields have already peaked eight years before even the pessimists predicted it would happen, and that they are now entering a period of permanent decline. One of those pessimists, petroleum geologist Dr. Colin Campbell, has been warning the public for years now that stockbrokers, oil executives, and government agencies lie about oil reserves, or twist the numbers to conceal the most fundamental fact that the world is at or extremely near global peak production. “All of this is so incredibly obvious,” Campbell said, “being clearly revealed by even the simplest analysis of discovery and production trends. The inexplicable part is our great reluctance to look reality in the face and at least make some plans for what promises to be one of the greatest economic and political discontinuities of all time. Time is of the essence. It is later than you think.” Saudi claims that they could up production to 15 mbd for the next 50 years were put to the test by recent oil price hikes that have begun to threaten the Untied States with an inflationary spike. The US pleaded with OPEC and with Saudi Arabia to increase output. When terror threats against the US sent prices soaring above the $40 a barrel mark in August (2004), the plea to OPEC became more urgent. “There is no more supply,” OPEC president Purnomo Yusgiantoro told them on August 2nd. Oil hit a new record that day on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Saudis waffled, saying they would need more time to achieve the production hikes. The cat, it seemed, was out of the bag. When two consecutive and highly successful attacks were executed within three days against Iraq’s northern oil pipeline, the price of crude jumped to $44. Noting that the PPP adjusted price of oil during the Carter era was once $100, that shouldn’t seem an issue, but the Bush administration is now struggling to keep its economic numbers inflated during their feeble “jobless recovery” until November. Interest rates are still rock bottom, and if inflation accelerates, there is no interest rate weapon to use against it that doesn’t threaten the US with a second consecutive recessionary dip. Employment figures released in August – already grossly distorted because they are measured by the number of unemployment insurance filings and not actual un/underemployment –were a crushing disappointment to economists and the Bush administration that had both predicted the addition of 200,000 jobs to the US economy. This is likely to dampen any enthusiasm the Fed might have for the interest rate hikes they recently hinted were inbound. Chinese demand for imported crude by 2020 is projected to rise to 7 mbd. This year, it will pass Japan as the second largest national importer of oil, after the US.

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There is a collision about to occur. The chief colliders over oil are the United States on one side, consuming almost 20 mbd now, and rapidly industrializing China on the other. Neither of these countries is self-sufficient in oil production, and both are on steep demand-increase trendlines. So the question becomes twofold: Where is the oil? Who can elevate production? Dick Cheney’s so-called Energy Plan for the US called for an additional 7.5 mbd by 2020. The cost of the counter-insurgency in Iraq alone right now in Department of Defense oil consumption is around 350,000 barrels a day. Most people do not have a real appreciation of the immense oil dependency of the US military. This means the Iraq war alone is approaching 2% of total US consumption. The US strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) is sufficient to provide around 50 days of US supply at current demand levels. Iraq’s pre-invasion production was 2.5 mbd, and it is now stuck at 1.8 mbd in the face of persistent guerrilla attacks against contractors and sabotage of the pipelines… a net loss of 700,000 barrels a day on the world market from fallen production and combined with the energy expenditure of the occupation, less the cost of a peacetime military, around a million barrels a day now being lost to the Bush-Cheney war. The dual role of the Persian Gulf countries becomes progressively clearer in light of the numbers. Not only does this region supply 18 percent of US oil imports; it is the only region that has any putative capacity to boost production for the purpose of shifting prices (though as we’ve seen, this is in doubt). Moreover, it is the only region that (ostensibly) has not reached its Hubbert peak of production, and therefore the sole oil patch that is not objectively in decline in a world where demand has the American and Asian locomotives howling straight at each other on the same track. In terms of its international demand-competition, the imperative for the US – having chosen uninterrupted capital accumulation above all other priorities – has become what McKillop calls “demand destruction,” which includes ripping up the existing development of peripheral countries and curtailing the development of semi-peripheries like the Asian giants. This leaves 'demand destruction' as the sole option and real response to any large rise in oil or gas prices, through economy destruction by the interest rate weapon. The last time this was done, in 1980-83, oil prices were surely reduced through cutting economic activity in general. Oil prices in today's dollars fell from $100/barrel in late 1979 [PPP adjusted] to around $60/barrel in 1984, but the collateral economic and social damage was awesome. Unlike today, however, the OECD economy started from a position of growth, with balanced budgets in many countries including the USA, in 1979-80. The world economy could and did take the horse medicine of sky-high interest rates without imploding into a sequence like that of 1929-31, but there is no certainty or guarantee this would be the case today - no 'soft landing' is currently on offer. The United States is now caught between the Scylla of economic stagnation – temporarily perched atop a potential avalanche of personal debt – and the Charybdis of inflation if fuel prices continue to rise… the specter of the temporal coincidence of stagnation and inflation – stagflation. 70

The actions of the Bush administration are not, as presumed by the vast and spectacularly stupid population that has been convinced of American invincibility, acting out of a position of strength, but of overpowering crisis and radical instability. The US is aggressively attempting to diversify its oil sources, not just in the Gulf where it has ensnared itself in the toxic miasma of Iraq, but in Latin America, Africa, and the Caspian Basin. In all these regions, the populations have been bled white by the debtpeonage of US-directed structural adjustment programs, and anti-American sentiment is at an all time high. This animosity is further inflamed in the Caspian Basin and the Gulf by the unrepentant support for Zionism by the US and the current administration’s invocation of the Crusades in its wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. None of these countries, however, compares to Saudi Arabia in its strategic centrality to the world system right now, or its centrality to US hegemony within that system. And it appears that one Saudi revolutionary has apprehended both this centrality and the increasing frangibility of that system – Osama bin Laden. There really is a war between Osama bin Laden and the United States, and the war is for Saudi Arabia. This war has monumental geopolitical consequences waiting in the wings, and we have already seen the first of them if we are paying attention – the military balance of power has irrevocably changed in the world. The attack of September 11, 2001, has been extensively judged through the lenses of morality. It’s time we judge it from a military perspective, because this was a brilliantly conceived and almost flawlessly executed martial strike at the military, political, and financial centers of the United States by a non-state actor. There was good reason for the administration to have been stunned and confounded by these strikes. They graphically demonstrated the vulnerability of the United States and all the metropolitan countries. As Mark Jones wrote on September 18, 2001: The truth is that the civilian populations of all the advanced industrial states are hostages penned inside extremely dangerous concentrations of chemical, nuclear, biochemical and other volatile industrial complexes. And all of us living in the west are vulnerable to attacks by toxic or biological warfare agents as well as by suitcase nukes, planes launched at reactor buildings etc. Clearly, arguments from historical precedent no longer apply... For the first time in 250 years, since the industrial revolution gave the west unlimited military superiority over all its enemies and victims, the West has decisively lost that military advantage, and we are therefore entering new and uncharted waters. A new era in world history has been opened, and it is clearly a transitional era, an epoch of contestation in which the traditional advantage enjoyed by the capitalist states is no longer so certain as it was. Lashing out at Afghanistan was a purgative exercise in revenge, and likely the execution of a plan that was already on the books – considering the invasion was prepared in only a month. As many have pointed out, the Pakistani government had been put on notice by the Americans as early as July 2001 of an impending October invasion, and a

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trans-Afghan pipeline was already under consideration by Hamid Karzai’s ex-employer, Unocal. What the Afghanistan invasion proved was that the US military had become an unstoppable force in the world – of course, we pretty much knew that – when it comes to militarily wrecking any state that doesn’t have a nuclear deterrent. The Taliban government was scattered in short order. But the other thing that became apparent, if it wasn’t already from the September 11 attacks, was that the US military is singularly incapable of stopping many determined non-state actors. Both Taliban fighters and bin Laden’s “Arabs,” no longer obliged to protect and preserve a state apparatus, were free to scatter into the mountain wilderness along the Afghan-Pakistani border, from where they may again show that they can strike at a time and place of their choosing. They already roam and strike in southern Afghanistan with almost monotonous regularity. This lesson did not register in Washington, DC. Guided by the fevered martial imaginations of career non-combatants like Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld, they decided to destroy the Iraqi state once and for all… which they did, creating yet another stateless milieu of 26 million mostly hostile inhabitants with access to an inconceivable supply of weapons and explosives. The deep underlying crisis has been complicated by a fairly straightforward military crisis. The US has tied up the bulk of its ground combat forces in an un-winnable guerrilla conflict. That conflict “just happens” to be adjacent to Saudi Arabia, and the hostility of the Iraqis toward the Americans is now a regional contagion. Osama bin Laden, once you overlook his obscurantist chatter, has always been relatively direct. He has stated two objectives. One, he wanted the non-Muslim military forces out of Saudi Arabia. Two, he wants to overthrow the House of Saud. Over the last year, the United States has quietly begun acquiescing to the first demand. While Americans have not paid this much attention, the furious masses in the Muslim Crescent have; and bin Laden’s stature has never been greater. Let’s examine for a moment how much closer he may be coming to his second goal. There are two implicit steps bin Laden has to take: (1) topple the existing regime, and (2) seize power for his own faction. Paul Michael Wihbey of the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, writing just after the September 11 attacks, said that, “contrary to much of the conventional wisdom about Osama bin Laden, the Saudi fugitive is hardly a madman. In fact, he has developed a stunningly deceptive regional war calculus that stands a reasonable chance of success. “Despite the massive build-up of allied forces, bin Laden's strategy depends on a set of well-conceived geopolitical assumptions that he fervently believes can turn Western military capability to his strategic advantage.” What, then, are the factors and assumptions in this war calculus? Many observers err in focusing exclusively on the internecine low-intensity war that characterizes the Royal Family. This is certainly part of that calculus, but it ignores approximately 19 million other Saudis, and around 9 million foreign professionals/workers who constitute a significant portion of these two essential economic strata. Those foreigners have come under ever more frequent attack, and the Saudi government and economy is extremely dependent on foreign professionals. Any precipitous out-migration of this stratum will be a body blow to the Saudi system.

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vowed that Riyadh would win its war on terrorism.$33. is being robbed to pay Paul. Sixty percent of Saudi foreign investment is in the United States. “We are not fighting this war for public-relations purposes. Radio Free Europe correspondent Jeffery Donovan wrote that: The government had predicted that the amnesty would greatly aid a campaign to rein in militants. Adel al-Jubeir. This pressure against foreigners is coming as the situation for average Saudis themselves steadily deteriorates. is further complicated by an age shift. This is in part due to the venality of the political leadership. People in Saudi Arabia are being murdered. 2003.5 billion every time the price of oil drops by one dollar a barrel. Its public debt is over 120% of its GDP. whose profligacy is legendary. This tripling of population in three decades.” Al-Qaeda has appeared determined to bring down the Saudi ruling family through a wave of suicide bombings and kidnappings. now fallen in actual dollars to less than $7. But it is also due to low oil prices. In 1973. and this heavy Saudi investment significantly disinclines either country to disentangle with the other. rising from a Saudi-to-US FDI in 1998 of $2. Since 1975. “We are fighting this war to ensure the safety and security of our citizens and our residents.000 in actual dollars in 1982. Another festering issue in Saudi Arabia is water. We do it for our sake. and in many urban neighborhoods. Some 90 people have been killed in the attacks since May 2003.76 million. $28. in conjunction with the massive urbanization of the Saudi population. the people. the rate of urbanization in Saudi Arabia has gone from around 59% to nearly 90%. Shortly after the amnesty was announced.” al-Jubeir said. So the Saudis pay a high price for providing their US benefactor cheap oil. when Saudi Arabia led OPEC in its historic “embargo. Over 40% of Saudis are now under 15 years old. Peter.” the population of Saudi Arabia was 6.5 billion in military hardware alone. Saudi Arabia loses approximately $2. an imperial tribute to the United States above all. and partly to balance the influence of Israel in the region. Any blow to the US financial establishment reverberates through Saudi Arabia. population density is as high as a thousand per square kilometer. Arab News reported: 73 . and the Saudi Royals are heavily invested in the US financial sector. The US manages to sweeten this bitter medicine with the largest single outlay of US foreign military sales in the world . after discovering the head of American Paul Johnson in the freezer of Saleh al Awfi after a police raid. This demographic left-shift is combined with historically high unemployment and the steady erosion of Saudi Arabian per capita income.Alarmed by the frequency and success of the attacks. In June. We have every intention of stopping those murders. the regime’s mighty American security guarantor and investment banker. an adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah.4 billion by 2001 when the World Trade Center fell. the Saudi government offered an amnesty in July to militants. mainly aimed at terrorizing the 9 million foreigners who play a vital role in the world's dominant oil industry.7 billion to $4.000. This investment is growing.

agricultural shortage are trends against which Saudi Arabia’s demographic shifts and social dislocations are creating a treacherous social fault line. despite its claim to be working hard to find a lasting solution.2 million tons. They called on the ministry to review the situation carefully and find solutions on a priority basis. On the other hand.000 cubic meters in daily consumption during the summer. It is against this backdrop that we must understand the political standoff in the House of Saud.” said Ibrahim Al-Owain. This extremely arid country now must mine fossil groundwater for threequarters of its water needs. aquifer depletion. The problem is compounded by an increase of some 50. By tapping a deep underground aquifer. So the biologically essential mineral.000 tons in 1980 to 5 million tons in 1994. Daily consumption in Saudi Arabia is high at 400 liters a day. but it has failed to address the grievance so far. water. writing this year. In some areas residents have left their homes because of undependable supplies of water. “The Ministry of Water and Electricity has assured us time and again that the problem of water scarcity is at the top of its agenda. “Saudi Arabia presents one of the worst cases of unsustainable water use in the world. oil. Population Reports issued a study called Solutions for a Water-Short World. but over 85% of Saudi Arabia’s aquifer water is used for agriculture. an apartment owner.2 billion cubic meters a year. explained. The other half comes from its aquifers.” These three cascading trends of oil depletion. Riyadh residents say that the problem has made their lives miserable. and depletion has had a deleterious effect on this sector of the Saudi economy. the Saudi's raised grain output from 300. The depletion rate of Saudi aquifers is directly tied to the water injection technology required to maintain Saudi oil flow rates. according to a recent report. In 1999. Unfortunately the aquifer could not sustain large-scale pumping and by 2003 the wheat harvest had fallen to 2. 74 . Lester Brown of the Earth Watch Institute. A number of Saudis have expressed their anger at the continuing interruptions in the water supply just as the heat of summer arrived. “During the late 1980s. compared to the average individual consumption in other countries where it ranges from 180 to 220 liters. in which it stated. Fossil groundwater depletion in Saudi Arabia has been averaging around 5. Saudi Arabia launched an ambitious plan to become self-sufficient in wheat. One could hardly imagine a more painful dilemma for an unstable regime sitting atop an increasingly restive population. the ministry claims that some 40 percent of the city’s daily water consumption can be saved if waste is eliminated.” Only half of Saudi Arabia’s water is supplied by its massive desalinization capacity (37 facilities).Frequent interruptions of the water supply have led to acute water shortages in different parts of the city during the seasonable hot weather. is being exhausted in order to continue exploiting the economically necessary mineral-commodity. The water issue is experienced as a water shortage in the cities now.

Abdullah. Another dimension to this struggle is within the family itself. the Crown Prince. Fahd has been in Europe being treated for his illness since 9/11. the latter of which is highly suspicious of the westernized ways of Saudi compradors. which could lead to successive intra-factional struggles for leadership. It is important to note that Abdullah himself is in his late 70s. This was a highstakes firing that radically ratcheted up the factional tension. His rival. has his base among the Bedouins (and therefore the National Guard) and the Ulema. as it were. Nayef went to Abdullah demanding Turki’s resignation. but a royal entitlement – and Abdullah’s Bedouin military-clerical faction embracing political “modernization” which includes rooting out corruption to re-legitimize the Saudi state with its own population. so the various leaderships in Saudi Arabia literally have a limited life expectancy. Saudi Arabia had teetered dangerously close to a civil war. the former Saudi chief of intelligence who had close ties to both the CIA and Pakistani intelligence. Prince Turki alleges that in 1998 he had arranged the extradition of Osama bin Laden to Saudi Arabia with the Taliban government in Afghanistan. [The king died after this was written. and Osama bin Laden is in a grabbing frame of mind. unclear. as always. Prince Sultan who was the defense minister. saying it would violate Saudi sovereignty. This plan.” and “intrigue” yields over 3. on the other hand.000 links. Instead. These “diplomatic illnesses” in the past have tended to coincide with intensified struggle within the Royal family factions. and Abdullah succeeded him. I will only construct a cursory outline of the latent instability in the Saudi government. In the wake of King Fahd’s stroke in 1995. A Google search using the four words “Saudi. While few in the west understood the significance of this move-countermove. Sultan’s faction has its popular base in the business stratum primarily preoccupied with international commerce. left the country for a meeting in Oman. and in fact his son Prince Bandar – a long standing friend to the Bush family – is the Saudi Ambassador to the United States. and therefore by extension to the Taliban (a creation of Pakistani intelligence). They are up for grabs. Though the Byzantine details are. Prince Turki. then. now the de facto ruler. Abdullah. according to Turki.The internet is littered with stories detailing the struggles within the Saudi Royal family. This article will not attempt to explore the fracture lines in the House of Saud in exquisite detail. it appears that interior minister Prince Nayef disagreed violently with Turki’s suggestions that the kingdom cooperate more fully with the American FBI. What is notable here is that the vast majority of Saudis are left out of this social base calculation. Turki is now ambassador to Great Britain. and a deathwatch has ensured ever since. At the center of the instability is the power struggle over succession. and when Abdullah returned he mobilized the largely Bedouin National Guard for a very aggressive and very public military exercise. used this opportunity to approach the Ulema (the Saudi religious authority) for support of his own bid for succession. The Ulema refused. with the faction relating to Saudi’s international business sector infamously corrupt – which they see not as corruption. was fired just prior to the September 11 attacks. was disrupted by the African embassy bombings which precipitated a US Cruise missile strike against Afghanistan and queered the extradition deal when Mullah Omar 75 .” “royal. –SG] King Fahd has been incapacitated by a stroke since 1995.” “family.

explains the role of religion in swinging the population for political purposes: In its cynical pursuit of power at all costs. the brethren fell upon it. In 1919. they have. slashing about with their daggers and screaming their war-cry: "The winds of paradise are blowing!" The military prowess and religious piety of the feared Ikhwan helped to mould the growing militancy of today's Wahhabite dissident clerics. Turki had long been warning his Taliban associates that bin Laden would bring evil down on the heads of the Taliban government.the precursor of bin Laden's al-Qa'eda . Bin Laden surely saw the simultaneous flare-up of Saudi court intrigue as anything but fortuitous for the Royal family. His decisive break with the Saudi Royal family came when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. Crown Prince Abdullah may well seek Fahd's abdication. offered to organize a popular army to repel any invasion by the Iraqis. Against this backdrop. then apparently bin Laden was already outmaneuvering the Saudi government in 1998.angrily reneged. When the Saudi Royals turned him down – in no small part because they had intense reservations about arming 76 . As Abdullah's camp was sleeping. and with the memory of the bloody attempt by Iranian-inspired militants to seize the Grand Mosque in 1979. with which Turki was closely identified. and in that role indirectly became a CIA asset [bin Laden has never been on the CIA payroll. experienced now as a military facilitator in Afghanistan. at the Battle of Turabah. Mohammed. And the sudden diplomatic illness of King Fahd less than two weeks after September 11 – always an indication of political crisis in the House of Saud – was almost certainly counted a tactical victory by bin Laden. and effectively manipulating US policy vis-à-vis Afghanistan. Bin Laden himself is no political outsider. as he has been portrayed by mainstream media and the US government. No longer content to provide constitutional legitimacy to the House of Saud. given that the Pakistanis and probably the Saudis were already aware of US intentions to invade Afghanistan in October. issued fatwas condemning members of the royal family and demanding the overthrow of the Saudi regime. At this point. in recent years. Bin Laden. Osama bin Laden has been a player on the Saudi political scene for many years.to confront and defeat his rival. The sudden departure of Turki just days before the September 11 strikes. Wihbey. writing in 2002. was instrumental in the seizure of power from King Saud by King Faisal. If this story contains any truth. Ibn Saud employed Al-Ikhwan (the Brotherhood) . His father. the more likely it is that he will conjure up the spirit of the Ikhwan among his Saudi followers. The longer bin Laden is able to evade American bombs. one of the richest men in the world. the Hashemite Abdullah. may well have been an attempt in advance of Abdullah’s government to distance itself from the Taliban. the House of Saud has often traded in religious fanaticism. or received personal training from them] for the US-sponsored proxy-war with the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. the planners of September 11 had already pushed the start button on the operation.

While there was an attempt in 1993 to bomb the World Trade Center and a successful attack against the USS Cole. The key to setting up the unstable House of Saud for a post-crisis takeover. To quickly consolidate a political revolution. It was with the election of a fanatical clique to the US executive branch that had repeatedly declared its intention to go forward with an ill-considered invasion of Iraq. because it was a near 100% certainty that the US political establishment 77 . It is important to note that while this was probably the genesis of bin Laden’s planning for an overthrow of the Saudi government. and second psychological. It is reasonable to infer. they would not precipitate a social or political collapse. since these are high value social infrastructure. is the preparation of the already restless population. To call this a pure act of terror is a demagogic claim that requires intentional ignorance of the facts. and political Islam does that with the additional benefit of its emphasis on iron discipline. They had more the character of a reconnaissance in force. The planners had no irrational desire to incinerate the West. an imminent invasion of Islamist bases in Afghanistan. within the hypothesis presented here. political. Hitting financial. and just as certainly they knew this attack would galvanize a vengeful anger among the general population. Certainly they knew that. How better than to “invite” the Americans into the region as an invading force. whereupon he is believed to have been involved in the planning of the attacks on the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. bin Laden was furious. a probing tactic to observe reactions and to refine one’s own methods. This kind of discipline is often craved by the masses once any political struggle is decisively engaged. in the right wind conditions. with regional rage peaking against the Israeli response to the Palestinian Intifada. and military headquarters makes perfect military sense in two respects – first tactical. could indefinitely turn metropolitan New York and large swaths of the Eastern seaboard into a radiological wasteland – then it is conspicuously apparent that the target selection was political. even near the actual targets – think here of the Indian Point nuclear power facility. these were not in any way decisive. targets that could have been far more devastating in loss of life and property damage. while these attacks would deliver a terrible blow. When one considers the plethora of targets available to the September 11 hijackers. he did not issue his fatwa against the United States until 1998. where the ignition of spent fuel and/or a core melt. He has to provide the emotional and ideological fuel for this struggle. as the Iranian masses did behind Khomeini in 1979. The embassy bombings.large sectors of the Saudi population – and invited the American armed forces to use Saudi Arabia as a military launch platform. that bin Laden could have seen a unique confluence of forces in which a devastating strike against the United States could initiate a cascade of political consequences that would come crashing into Riyadh. from the perspective of a bin Laden. there must be an energized and militant mass movement that throws itself behind the new regime. and by extension associating them with Zionist Israel. that bin Laden saw the need to await the development of internal and external forces in Saudi Arabia and in the international situation for a decisive strike. as we shall see however. He has to mobilize the resentment of the Saudi masses against the House of Saud as a US puppet. where they can become bogged down in the same way the Soviets did in Afghanistan where bin Laden cut his teeth as an asymmetric warrior? All that is required in this scenario is the catalyst. may very well have been part of the larger strategic calculus leading to 9/11.

” he writes. the Cold War and the Roots of Terror (Pantheon). Afghanistan. a struggle between secular-minded and fundamentalist Muslims that has resulted in extremist violence against the West. or. by Hugh Eakin writes: In the varied explanations for the 9/11 attacks and the rise in terrorism. “The real damage the C. he also insists that the spread of terror as a tactic is largely an outgrowth of American cold war foreign policy. using the momentum of the larger adversary to throw him. Mamood Mamdani. belonging to an era in which international relations are no longer defined by the titanic confrontation between two superpowers. What better time for a pre-emptive attack – already planned to the last detail – against the United States than when the US was already leaning forward for a military action in the region. supported terrorist and proto-terrorist movements in Indochina. he argues. the United States and the Soviet Union. during the final stages of the stand-off with the Soviet Union. or even to cultivate. The calculation of bin Laden.would feel compelled to react swiftly and decisively even if there weren’t – in Rumsfeld’s own words – any good targets. Africa and. two themes keep recurring. is not Islam but rather non-state violence in general. did was not the providing of arms and money. the American government shifted from a strategy of direct intervention in the fight against global Communism to one of supporting new forms of low-level insurgency by private armed groups. is based on his experience in Afghanistan courtesy of the United States. “In practice.I. But in the eyes of Mahmood Mamdani… both those assumptions are wrong. leading to a clash of civilizations.the formation of private militias -. in this scenario.A. does anyone believe that this billionaire guerrilla was unfamiliar with the ravings that were openly available from neo-con think tanks that explicitly stated they would attempt this regional takeover if presented “a new Pearl Harbor” as a pretext? Bin Laden and his staff had close ties to Pakistani intelligence. makes the case that what we now call “terrorism” is a direct outgrowth of the Cold War and the logical correlative of the post-Cold War political environment. terrorism in the struggle against regimes it considered pro-Soviet. “it translated into a United States decision to harness. the C. a political scientist and cultural anthropologist at Columbia University. when there was a near certainty they would promptly follow through with the very plans for regional occupations that they had articulated on the public record? It is politicomilitary judo.capable of 78 . as more nuanced versions have it. Good Muslim.I. One is that Islamic culture itself is to blame.” The real culprit of 9/11. he argues in his new book. Latin America. which was well aware that the US was planning to militarily topple Afghanistan in October 2001. The second is that terrorism is a feature of the post-cold-war landscape. in other words.A. of course. After Vietnam. Bad Muslim: America. “but the privatization of information about how to produce and spread violence -. In a 2003 New York Times article about Mamdani.” Mr. Not only does he argue that terrorism does not necessarily have anything to do with Islamic culture. Mamdani has written. Moreover. Using third and fourth parties.

the most important in the Arabian peninsula. The ultimate irony (or ultimate brilliance of bin Laden as a strategist) is that bin Laden now shares a strategic goal with the neo-cons -. Bin Laden is applying that lesson to the United States right now. largely secular.A. It was a characteristic that took on. and. he notes dryly.who dare not say it now -. metaphorically speaking. Shaun Waterman reported that the anonymous CIA author of the new book entitled bluntly Imperial Hubris – Why the West is Losing the War on Terror is actually analyst Mike Scheuer who has specialized in “Osama bin Laden” for several years. Scheuer was officially “gagged” by the administration. a logic that eventually broke free of the geopolitics that started it.of overthrowing the House of Saud.” Bin Laden’s experience in Afghanistan was the experience of a tectonic shift in the dynamic of war with the emergence of non-state actors presenting new and still insoluble problems to the armed forces that are embedded in the larger political apparatus of the state. Certainly the neo-con think tanks are issuing a steady stream of vitriol now at the Saudis. on the CIA asset list. In the August 9 edition of the Washington Times. in fact. With the upcoming elections.” The best-known C. we occupy that in their eyes [Saudi Arabia]…We now occupy 79 . a logic of its own. “Scholar-pundits like Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami tell us that the culture of Muslims or Arabs cannot cope with modernity. just as the US encouraged the gory trench war between Iraq and Iran when bin Laden’s allies were still. is Osama bin Laden. Timothy Mitchell of New York University says. “Mahmood's argument is that terrorism is a defining characteristic of the last phase of the cold war. commenting on the Mamdani thesis. And while elections years always shake out the differences between US elites about future political directions in the oblique double-speak of the campaigns. The Bush administration’s ritual sacrifice of its own intelligence establishment for its miscalculations in foreign policy were almost certainly going to evoke retaliation from those within that establishment.” The logic from which it broke free was the logic of the state as the principle actor in war. And Mamdani challenges the Orientalist rhetoric about this being some “premodern” phenomenon. especially those who warned the administration that they were heading down the path of self-destruction. a state inherently constrained by its own domestic and international relations… by its territorial logics. especially in Africa [he speaks here of ‘proxy-war’ – Mamdani is originally from Uganda]. said. the more direct indication of a political crisis within the seated administration is when internal conflict in the government breaks out into public view. Mamdani shows us that the origins of political Islam are themselves modern. In his account. and the supreme historical irony is that he is doing so by having baited the US into a fight with his other arch-rival Iraq. just as they had been for decade prior to their invasion of Iraq.” It validated so many of the arguments he's made over the past decade…We have the first one. the Democrats are now inveighing against Saudi Arabia as a bludgeon against the Republicans. Robert Meister. he called the Iraq invasion a “tremendous gift to Osama bin Laden. spring-boarding off of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911.-trained [sic] terrorist.I.creating terror. in the same NYT article.

and bin Laden is not the pre-modern embodiment of war. Indeed. 80 .that's validated by our actions…And his claim that we lust after control of Arab oil. that Orientalist canard that bin Laden is a pre-modern warrior is belied in this statement. but the post-modern one that augurs ill for the US state and its military. and the Israelis have Jerusalem. We are seeing not an older face of war.Iraq. but the newest one. the second holiest place. Iraq has the second greatest reserves in the Arab world… So it's been an astounding victory for Osama bin Laden in terms of perceptions and perceptions are reality so often. Perceptions are reality. the third… The idea that we would smash any government that posed a threat to Israel .

The so-called 9/11 Commission report. and it is not being produced by the right-wing clique that runs the present administration.” -Agence France Presse. This is to be specifically contrasted with Arabs.000 members of the People's Mujahadeen. Iran is former Persia. as I will explain. However. amplified and accelerated by its engagement in Southwest Asia. The emerging fight between the “realists” and the neo-cons will only serve to further muddy the waters on the question of what the neo-cons are up to… and what the realists are up to as well. this ignores a larger process and it obscures the relation of class forces that were the primary actors in many of these dramas.Persian Peril – Is the Bush administration about to commit the fatal imperial error in Iran? (Originally published in From The Wilderness. In every case. This essay will try to trace not only the development of a uniquely US imperialism and the danger that system faces in the present conjuncture. but the interplay of Anglo-American relations throughout the 20th Century that accounts for the Bush-Blair relation we see today.perhaps even to the point of armed aggression -.) Neocons are frightening the rest of the US elite. like all “Old World” societies. these public exchanges are designed to camouflage the real forces behind US policies. that has shamelessly identified the wrong scoundrels (the intelligence agencies) for the September 11 attacks (since they are already the goats for Iraq intelligence “failures”). has been making the interview circuit to inaugurate a high level resistance to the apparent intent of the Bush administration to escalate -. 2004 Contrary to an increasingly popular belief. But like many anecdotal accounts of history. In the past three weeks. the State Department stressed that the move.as a “foreign terrorist organization. when the CIA orchestrated a coup d’etat against Mohammed Mossadegh. imperialism is not new. which has drawn a warning from Tehran. The US already has a track record for regime change in Iran. This is easy to believe because of the slightly crazed character of the neo-cons. July 26. is a mirror image of the obfuscation now being generated by the realist vs. had no effect on the US designation of the group -also known as the Mujahadeen e Khalq (MEK) or National Council of Resistance of Iran -. but it is deceptive precisely because it is such an easy conclusion to reach. Jimmy Carter’s former national security advisor. Persian civilization. now confined to a military-run camp in Iraq. underwent a series of often-violent transformations that eventually led to a somewhat stable community sharing the same 81 .its demonstrated hostility toward Iran. Zbigniew Brzezinski. The United States on Monday confirmed it had granted protected status to nearly 4. August 2004. neo-con debate. and it is inhabited predominantly by people who consider themselves Persians. Iran’s main armed opposition group. Most political history buffs know this story. and the American left is quick to cite it as a kind of passion play to demonstrate official hypocrisy on the question of democracy.

as the legitimate post-war ruler of Iran. Reza Shah. In 1920. They even had their own religion. By the time World War II broke out. that a British company would stake its claim on a comparatively minor commodity. Reza opened up several new trade partnerships. It was the 19th Century when Great Britain established itself in Iran. and mechanized warfare. not the least of which was the British Empire itself. now controlled by Hitler’s Nazi Party. and the suspicious Russians (for good reason it would turn out) hung on until 1946. in 1900. The other great nation that coveted Iran was Russia. and both Stalin and Churchill had strong reasons to doubt the neutrality of Reza. That company was the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. but the reality was that the British needed the oil. The first British interest to gain a foothold there was the British Tobacco Company. the petroleum of Southwest Iran. Iran had captured the interest of the all the Great Gamesmen.language and culture. led a rebellion against the Qajar dynasty. as the dominant financial partner in the Allied war enterprise. Great Britain attacked Iran and forced her to surrender what is now Afghanistan. so the British and Soviets conducted a concurrent military occupation of Iran in 1941. With the introduction of the automobile. The British left immediately after the war. Reza had embarked on an industrialization program to more effectively exploit Iran’s oil. and the now-Soviet Union needed the warm water port and a rail line to receive supplies from the Americans and English. It was at the turn of the century. the Persians amalgamated their own distinct beliefs into Islam. and most of its new machinery was German. Between the two world wars. they reclaimed their own language. and secured the promise of both occupiers that they would dismantle their military presence there upon cessation of hostilities. around Baku. The Russians had already begun taking oil from the north. who also shared a border with Iran and were equally covetous of Iranian oil. That form was Shiism. One was with Germany. over half of Iran’s trade was with Germany. who – while allied with the Soviets and the British – had designs of its own. by the time World War I broke out. however. prevailed on Britain and the USSR to accept Reza’s son. and it invaded Iran in 1826 seeking a warm water port to its south. whom the British and Soviets had themselves appointed as a figurehead. which we now call Farsi. Nevertheless. Great Britain and Russia would share Iran. Zoroastrianism. This was a key co-location of Russian and British interest in their combined struggle against the Ottoman Turks (in World War I). which would in short order become the most important commodity in the world. The US. which endured as the state religion until the mid 7th Century. Iran declared itself neutral in WWII. when Arab armies swept over Persia and forced the conversion to Islam. This led to deep consternation in the United States. Throughout the second half of the 19th Century. And while the Persians adopted the Arabic script. This was troublesome but not critical to the British and the Russians… yet. that lasted through all of WWII. when they too departed under an atomic threat from US President Harry Truman. the airplane. 82 . and five years later Reza crowned himself. when the venal Qajar monarchy parceled Iran out to foreign concessionaires at fire sale prices. an Iranian cavalry officer. creating a heterodox form of the religion as a cultural weapon against the oppressive Arab rulers. In 1856.

There is still a strong appreciation of the danger lurking in the grassroots.” a more Jeffersonian political tradition. western farmers. Its ideology was laissez faire.The Roosevelt administration that oversaw the entry into World War II was a new government imbued with a new philosophy of capitalist imperial governance. isolationism is no longer an option. called the Fusionists. The Democratic Party was avowedly white supremacist. that the military occupation of the South that was Reconstruction was officially ended in the same year. Their philosophy was. because it goes to the heart of the tension between the neo-cons and the realists today. they may be right. and they were centralizers. including a virtual coup d’etat against an elected Fusion government in North Carolina in 1898. and identified with the more decentralist South. and its practice was expansion. But the predisposition of the federalist technocrats – like Brzezinski – is to move through the room without breaking the china (no pun intended). In today’s inescapably international. economic and territorial. A challenge to both parties erupted in the 1890s with the Populist movement. and offered federal albeit bureaucratized solutions to those problems. 83 . This was the policy essence of the New Deal. these technocrats preferred this jujitsu to the karate of the gunboat. This was a period of the rapid expansion of national capitalism. who had associated the struggle to preserve Slavery with “states rights. which led to inevitable conflicts between capitalists and labor. The Republican Party was the party of labor suppression but also the party identified with manumission and Reconstruction.” They set about actually exposing a whole host of social ills. It is important to digress for a moment to describe that philosophy. and they tended to support a strong and activist central government. In foreign policy. it engendered a period of rapid technological innovation alongside the concentration of capital into the first big US corporations. The Civil War not only broke the political power of the formerly predominant slave-holding South. 1877. the Republican Party dominated American politics. for example. On that account. Its political essence was the bureaucratization (for control) of the Democratic Party in order to inoculate it from undue grassroots pressure. “to transform politics into management by experts. too. and to co-opt social movements. That didn’t mean they were averse to military power projection. This movement was violently suppressed in the South by the Democrats. interdependent world. It was no accident. identifying themselves with Hamiltonian federalism. which in the South even forged a political alliance between Black Republicans and white Populists. These “reformers” included Franklin Roosevelt. This led to the development of an elite political movement of “progressive” federalists who sought to contain the turbulence of grassroots politics. in the words of Loren Goldner. directly reflecting the sectoral consciousness of their emerging base (poor southern whites. This is the danger that they believe the neo-cons – who have adopted Jeffersonian decentralism for their racist domestic agendas – are ignoring. From 1860 until 1933. that the US saw its first wave of nationwide strikes. This resulted rapid industrialization. This open class antagonism lasted all the way into the first year of the FDR administration. but that they were sensitive to the ebb and flow of international power politics and they understood that sometimes you bend so you don’t break. and northern industrial workers).

By August. In 1951. managed to cut free the Korean anchor around the US neck. told him. with oil revenues. There were two powerful sectors who opposed him: the Majli. will fall under Communist control.the big landowners -. that Pahlavi was a puppet of the US. this raised the specter of nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. In 1949. under great grassroots pressure. and his CIA Director. the Shah abdicated. They advised -.being veteran technocrat federalists -. with substantial aid and direction from the CIA. there is little doubt that in short order the other areas of the Middle East. Chiang Kai-shek. The Iranians were in fact watching China.assistance for modernization and land reform.wildly popular in Iran -. Mohammed Mossadegh. and the Shah was restored.” This fear was “confirmed” in its own self-fulfilling way. where it was combined with the emerging Cold War -. it was 1953. the new Iranian Communist party. “If Iran succumbs to the Communists. and he badgered Eisenhower to push Pahlavi into social reforms as soon as possible to preclude another build-up of grassroots resistance.ignited a prairie fire of grassroots activity then that threatened to become revolutionary. and who weren’t keen on the land reform program being suggested by the United States.At any rate. This action -. and the resistance to the Shah accelerated. Dulles – himself a crafty technocrat – was running policy in Iran by then. It was this theme. But Truman was so spellbound by the phenomenon in China that he staggered into a proxy war with the Chinese on the Korean peninsula only a year later. which resonated with both sectors. Dwight Eisenhower. where the Majlis . and the industrial workers. and that Iranian industrial workers were filling the ranks of the Tudeh. For the Americans and for the British. even in the face of massive US assistance to Mao’s nemesis. He presided over two nations: one the semi-feudal countryside. Eisenhower. including paying off the Majli.subjected millions of peasants.in Iran. when the US engineered a trade embargo against Iran and force Mossadegh to sign a trade agreement that same year with the only nation that had the inclination or ability to violate the embargo – the Soviet Union. and so the resistance developed – as had the Chinese Revolution – as a struggle for national independence. and the other in the city. because while he opposed US influence – as the rest of the xenophobic Majli did – he supported land reform. Shah Pahlavi became the unquestioned autocrat of Iran after the Soviet withdrawal in 1946. with some 60% of the world’s oil reserves. They were right. A month later. When the next US president. He signed the expropriation order in March. who also saw Pahlavi as an Anglo-American puppet. Mossadegh was a good choice from the perspective of the peasants as well. which he said could be financed. where the oil business was articulating its own industrial proletariat. monarchists in the Iranian army staged a coup. the technocratic tradition was inherited by Harry Truman after the war. the infamous Allen Dulles. the Shah appointed Mossadegh prime minister. however. dithered with studies and 84 . who controlled the parliament. 1951. The National Front that developed was led by the Majli. Mao Zedong stunned the world when his People’s War succeeded in seizing state power over the most populous nation in the world. Truman’s advisors noted that the system and conditions that engendered the Chinese Revolution were similar in many respects to the situation in Iran.

and from the “anti-modernization” clerics on the right. kept the money flowing to Pahlavi. Africa. As it turns out. and there was massive improvement in health and (secular. Richard Nixon took office in 1968. This. and a re-expanding chasm between the richest and poorest. William Safire. Since oil payments were denominated in dollars. the US effectively killed several birds with one stone. and the destruction of the gold pool. via excess petrodollars passing through Wall Street. Grassroots agitation. Land reform was implemented. The Nixon administration had completed is abandonment of gold and fixed exchange rates. This led to ten years of relative stability. 85 . and indebted poor countries to itself with the glut of loaned-out petrodollars. resumed. Then in 1978.) and Africa. inheriting the hair-raising collapse of the US Treasury Department’s gold pool and the un-winnable war in Vietnam that had caused it. and the combination completely destabilized Pahlavi’s Iran. Kennedy was aggressive to the point of angering Pahlavi. Lightening inflation ensued. once stated that Pahlavi was Nixon’s favorite head of state. and the one weapon that the US had in its economic arsenal was the-dollar-as-international-currency. in neighboring Afghanistan. Nixon’s relationship with Pahlavi was very warm. then through these peripheral regions. Japan. on the other hand. This was a top-down program of reform called the White (as opposed to Red) Revolution. It worked.policy pronouncements. the jump in the price of oil from the embargo was a destabilizing jump in the price for Europe. and with it mass migration into the cities. short of nuclear. The US dumped 20% of its debt to rich creditors. had everyone’s thinking caps on. Those procurements coincided with the jump in oil prices. the Nixon administration started hinting to key allies that US oil production was about to peak then go into irreversible decline. Nixon’s former speech-writer. compounded by inadequate urban infrastructure. That offer was not rescinded during the ostensibly hostile oil embargo in 1973-4. one of whom was Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. and then turned the whole mess over to John F. The Nixon administration was also facing the growing threat of autarkic national liberation movements in Latin America (Chile was overthrown that same year by the Nixon administration. There is strong circumstantial evidence that suggests the Nixon administration then colluded with Saudi Arabia and Iran in the so-called Arab Oil Embargo of 1973. the Washington-approved strong man Mohammed Daoud Khan began arresting the leaders of the influential People’s Democratic Party. In 1969. Nixon offered to sell Pahlavi’s regime any weapon they needed. land foreclosure skyrocketed. The US. The author of this plot was none other than arch-realist/technocrat Zbigniew Brzezinski. allowing a 20% devaluation of the dollar that hit European and Japanese creditors in the solar plexus. Kennedy. that blunted the nationalist charges of “US puppet” that continued to come from the Tudeh on the left. They had been personal friends since Nixon was Eisenhower’s vice president. Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor. from almost every sector now. and Iran continued to make outlandish weapons procurements from the US. and Latin America. By recycling the oil crisis. but by 1963 he prevailed on Pahlavi to begin a process of modernization and reform. this was an action that Washington was provoking in order to provoke a Soviet response to trap them in a guerrilla struggle in Afghanistan. a pro-Soviet political formation that has substantial support within the Afghan army. followed by housing shortages. owned the printing press for dollars. By all accounts. male/female) universal education.

driving them back into a tactical alliance with Iran’s own clerical right-wing. tried to warn the administration of the impending revolution. Massively supported by the US. This element operated out of Pakistan for more than a decade. high-attrition border war with Iran that chewed up around a million human beings. This fjord-navigating foreign policy kept at least one partner stable within the region. and not from Iraq. even as the administration was colluding behind the scenes with Iran to finance its illegal war in Nicaragua by selling weapons to Khomeini’s regime. clearly recognizing that the Wahabbist grievance. with very little understanding of the provocations and machinations that led to the attacks. but from Saudi Arabia and tangentially from Pakistan in response to the basing of military troops in Saudi Arabia. in Afghanistan. and the Soviets were eventually drawn into a protracted and destructive military occupation of Afghanistan. When the Reagan administration took power. and thereby restructure by dint of arms the architecture of the global economy. and less notice still that the US actually withdrew its troops from Saudi Arabia shortly after 9/11. The CIA began funneling support to right-wing clerical opponents of the regime inside and outside Afghanistan. The Bush doctrine in the region is certainly one powered by immense hubris and the apparent belief that the US can simply impose its will directly. and it led to Jimmy Carter’s defeat in the 1980 election. which does not speak to the issue of whether it was or is possible to contain the social crisis in Southwest Asia. establishing a secular socialist government. this was an utter debacle. which they did with a terrible vengeance in September 2001… not from Iran. A contingency plan was even organized for a US military takeover of Iran that was later rejected as unlikely to succeed. including its intelligence service and military. Carter’s Ambassador in Tehran. as stated. and this alliance poured into the streets in 1978 creating the security crisis on top of the existing economic and political crisis that broke Pahlavi’s power. Saddam’s Iraq inaugurated a grueling eight-year. and came to exert a tremendous social and political influence on large sectors of Pakistan. and fifty-two Americans were taken hostage inside the US Embassy in Tehran. the US was providing massive material and training support to the Sunni political-Islamists who would eventually constitute the Taliban government of Afghanistan and the so-called “network” associated with Osama bin Laden. William Sullivan. But the chickens had to come home to roost eventually. the Shah was overthrown. Iraq’s Arab secular nationalist. For the US. 86 . On the other side of Iran. as political Islam had come to give voice to mass grievances in the place of the very nationalism that Islamism had been deployed to crush. This policy has maintained the US grip on the region for 60 years. and not some generalized “hatred of freedom and democracy. that gave the sense of urgency to the entire US ruling class to re-establish control over this key strategic region. As part of this fight against the left. that there was a real threat growing in the streets of places like Riyadh. was the provocation. the clerical forces had suppressed the secular left. The only argument was over the method. home to the holiest sites in Islam.” It was this recognition. tacking back and forth between the tides and currents. The general outcry in reaction to 9/11 was for retaliation.The leftist officers organized a coup against Daoud and shot him. Saddam Hussein. and developing a partnership with Zionist Israel as a surrogate US military in the region. In 1979. they turned to the one leader in the region who might be able to confront Persian-clerical Iran. the Shah in neighboring Iran increased his suppression of left secular forces inside Iran.

and is still going on in the opium wars against China. for example. The system is unique monetary-military imperialism of the US is tottering with contradictions. as unfortunately happens all too often with notable women in history. If the military failure in Iraq caused consternation. talk of attacking Iran is setting off alarm bells… for some. the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins. the extirpation.This is. Money. The same applies to American capitalism that was built up first using non-waged (slave) labor. one that has been incorporated into world system theory and into feminist critiques of political economy. But their fears may be very well founded. But in her 470-page opus. Whether they technocrats have an alternative solution to the underlying crisis that is driving this drive to conquer Southwest Asia is an open question. and for her sharp debates with Lenin. The expansion of British capitalism. a grave miscalculation. or without direct military plunder of colonized people and resources. &c. has been badly overlooked. she made a significant contribution to the theoretical understanding of imperialism. enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population. non-capitalist inputs. and the only question is where and when the catalyst will come that tips it over. “The Accumulation of Capital. the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies. These idyllic proceedings are the chief momenta of primitive accumulation. signalised the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. with the globe for a theatre. Luxemburg said that “capitalism. -Rosa Luxemburg.” an economic system based on the self-expansion of monetary value for a propertied class. Marx himself recognized this as an essential dynamic for the build-up of modern capitalism in Volume I of Capital. The Accumulation of Capital. and military expansion into indigenous lands. She is remembered mostly as a leftist leader in Poland and Germany who was the victim of political assassination. 87 ." Luxemburg’s point is that this reliance on “primitive accumulation” is a constant within developed capitalism and that it is magnified as capitalism generalizes into various forms of imperialism. assumes giant dimensions in England's Anti-Jacobin War. where he stated: The discovery of gold and silver in America. could not have happened without colonization and exploitation of more “primitive” economies. Money. On their heels treads the commercial war of the European nations.” 1913 Rosa Luxemburg. It begins with the revolt of the Netherlands from Spain. in the eyes of the realist-technocrats. Money Rosa Luxemburg and Geography Imperialism is the expression of the political accumulation of capital in its competitive struggle for what remains still open of the non-capitalist environment. has never functioned nor can it ever function without external.

Mexico three years ago. my bank won’t take them either. Patriarchy and Accumulation of a World Scale – Women in the International Division of Labor.13 with tax.4 pesos for one US dollar. we can easily delude ourselves that our bustling. this is demonstrably true. but its constant necessary condition. has opened a window on the international interdependence – petroleum. Maria Mies paraphrased Luxemburg’s analysis in her own 1986 work. Colonialism for Rosa Luxemburg is therefore not only the last stage of capitalism [as Lenin claimed]. But now we have arrived in a historical moment where one key and irreplaceable resource. we are talking about money. But when I was in Xalapa. I had no problem getting Mexican merchants and bankers to accept or exchange dollars on the spot. When we speak of capital in this way. why won’t they accept 116 Mexican pesos? Not only will they not accept it. [She] showed that historically such a system had never existed. that’s $10. So if I go to Wal-Mart down the road to pick up a DVD of “Jaws” for $9.Even today. resources. a resource that forms the energetic foundation of the global system. that capitalism had always needed what she called ‘non-capitalist milieux and strata’ for the extension of labour force. because what we don’t think about with regard to money may contain the key to a number of riddles.’ later the colonies. and it is central to the occupation of Iraq and the saber-rattling at Iran. this is not easy to answer. Robert Biel in The New Imperialism – Crisis and Contradictions in North/South Relations (2000) said that “the general problem raised by Luxemburg’s contribution to imperialism theory [is the question] is capital accumulation renewing itself or merely exhausting its own basis?” Peak oil is a dramatic answer to this question. Why is that? 88 . no matter how many sophisticates attempt to portray petroleum as secondary or passé. and above all the extension of markets. our shopping malls crammed with luxury commodities. These non-capitalist milieux and strata were initially the peasants and artisans with their ‘natural economy. like this: [Luxemburg] had come to the conclusion that Marx’s model of accumulation was based on the assumption that capitalism was a closed system where there were only wage laborers and capitalists.44. which make this licentiousness possible. In other words. I can get around 11. So it seems important at this juncture to examine money itself. We know it when we see it. What is money? When you think about it. and our shiny grocery warehouses bursting with food are natural features of a superior social system. pre-capitalist societies – or their exhausted lands. SUV-infested highways. Because geography has divided the industrial capitalist centers from the subjugated peripheries. We do not see the exhausted legions of foreigners – many living in pre-industrial. but do we really know how it works? Why do people accept it as a universal equivalent of exchange? Are all moneys really universal? What does it really represent? On the international exchange today. without colonies capital accumulation or extended reproduction of capital would come to a stop.

There are two points to be made here. but all those debts still stand at the same numerical value… not purchasing power value. even though they know very well it’s not fair. It fluctuates.The first time I was in Haiti. If the government prints too little money. This may seem like a great deal. your debts represent a greater liability against your buying power. 2002). That central bank says how much money to print. The problem is there is no such fictional Bubble-Country. The main commodity we produce is… dollars. It wouldn’t bother me much because I had someone do the numbers for me recently. In the United States right now. because without a regulated market a lot of bad things happen…. Asia Times. If a hypothetical country lives in a bubble. wages drop through the floor. But lenders (banks. too. and such. free haircuts. (See “US Dollar Hegemony has got to go. they have no means of collecting taxes… unless they want to start accepting chickens. wool sweaters. but they know that this is complete nonsense. etc. and if it quits functioning.especially the main food. and my net worth is minus $15. Many bankers like to talk about a “free” market. We live it a world with a lot of countries that are grossly unequal. this would be seriously bad news.” by Henry C. I’d get fewer Euros than I did two years ago. when they had to pay 48 gourdes for a dollar’s worth of rice instead of 15 gourdes. And who decides what passes for legitimate money. and suddenly $10. in a ‘money economy’. the dollar will fall to its “natural” market value. Liu. April 11. If not. have much scarier minuses. which sounds like a good deal until you think about owing money. But a lot of people. (2) Some money is more ‘universal’ than others.) have an issue with this. That same dollar now gets me about 48 gourdes. with the average household debt at nearly $20. because with deflation.000 buys twice as much as it did before you incurred the debts. then controlling the supply of money by exercising a monopoly over the printing presses. I could get 15 gourdes for one US dollar. (1) The value of money is not fixed. this country has a central bank that is run by the government. The standard of living that is being maintained right now in the United States is being maintained because we can print all that money and because other countries are forced to accept it regardless of how few commodities we actually produce. This might not seem like a big deal if wages go up. It’s scary. really quickly. isolated from all other countries. K. except that many things in Haiti are being shipped there from the US -.” If the central bank prints too much money. sacks of flour. and everyone else in the world will accept this money for all the stuff they make. then prices go up (inflation). this is a disaster. rice. Here’s the point on printing money.000 in debts. It’s a scam of the first order. For Haitians. controls interests rates. I can eat that without much pain. if I were to exchange US dollars for Euros today. On the other hand. people get laid off en masse. There is one country right now that prints all the money it wants to. prices fall (deflation). If you owe $10. and all you Visa shoppers and home mortgage equity borrowers will be 89 . after all? The government needs to begin by making that decision. It’s the United States. Other countries produce things to get dollars. the central bank tries to measure the total value of all commodities circulating in the economy and to maintain around the same value in circulating money with a little extra to extend credit for something called “growth. because prices went up without pay going up. loan-sharking companies.000. because it eats into the buying power of the interest they collect on debts. In this fictional isolated country. when they look at their debt liabilities. and so on.

but an actual thing. Gold and silver were favorites. That money claimed you. we tend not to think about it. People just have to agree to accept it for a lot of other things. They say it’s an entitlement to your energy… your work-energy. put up with some dim-witted boss’s bullshit.. okay. and more importantly. No one gave you the money. People who have the inside skinny on accumulating money (by owning everything) then assert their “claims” by working the shit out of all the rest of us so they can have wild cocaine orgies. etc. and everyone had a stake in the stuff being accepted. which made it sort of a government check against precious metal. Because we “need” the money. so we also fail to think about money being this claim. it entitled your boss to your obedience. Then we slipped into ‘monetary faith’ by degrees. instead of falling to the ground like a homesick brick the way the market says it’s supposed to when you are running the printing presses at the velocity of a meth lab? Okay. or gold… it doesn’t matter. At a deeper level. It’s a claim on someone else. but you get the picture. You can send virtual money around with computers. It entitled the boss to your energy and time. collect million dollar horses. backed up by the fact that you had to have it to pay your taxes) stuck. we’ll just issue paper without the gold backing. Pretty shells. We just go buy the DVD. 90 . etc. in the US. Yet there is a dimension to all this that goes beyond the rich and the not-so-rich in one place.joining the legions of the depressingly destitute in a modern-day version of the Dust Bowl migrations. by then people were used to it. But the monetary value of that DVD is based on all the energy that was expended to get it to the rack at Wal-Mart. buy yachts. or pastry dough. from rendering silicon for chips to packing those little plastic containers into cardboard boxes. that is. Well. Think about it. You had to go someplace you didn’t want to be for eight hours every day. But on what exactly? This is where radical political economists can help us out. just to get paid the money. Money is an entitlement to someone else’s labor. It’s the geographical dimension. they said to hell with it. for one thing). then in 1971.. we’ll get to that. etc. They play. We don’t see it that way. you don’t even need to handle paper. Nobody does that. So. Nowadays. because when I buy the “Jaws” DVD I don’t head over to Wal-Mart thinking I’m going to use this money to lay claim to the expended energy of the people who work in the DVD factory or the residuals due to the people who worked to make the movie or to the truck driver that delivered the DVD’s. when money was only partly redeemable for gold. that supposedly you could cash in at the central bank for silver or gold. really. This is the whole system. There is an international division that is even sharper than what most of us in the industrialized metropolis ever realize. and deal with people you wouldn’t give the time of day otherwise. It used to be any old thing people would accept as a universal exchange equivalent. So how does this work? Why does the US dollar continue to soar around like a turkey buzzard on an Appalachian updraft. But then it became paper money (more portable. for reasons I’ll touch on later. and paper “fiat” money (that means without anything behind it but faith in the system. this entitlement. or ride around in limos… different things float their boats. Let’s return for a moment to what money is. Since we don’t see the work being done. and we serve. what is this “money”… really? It’s an entitlement.

When I was in El Salvador in 1985.pulls together $10-12 billion through its credit resources and uses intermediaries to begin buying up gimcracks. But the rich countries can’t get away with this unless at least most of their own population is complacent. huh? But it doesn’t last.printing press and the military -. The herd mentality takes over in the Big Casino. With so many gimcracks being bought up. cheese sticks in individual wrappers. so you could cash out $5. a line of credit to buy that useless. We have plenty of poor people. Let’s say you are a huge securities account of pooled funds from a lot of ultra-rich bastards. if you got out there fast (Bring your firearm!). And the two -. they bought in at ten and nine)… then six to one… because when people see how many are being sold. the official exchange rate was 4 colones to $1 US. We’ll come back to that. right up to five to one. televisions.are inseparable. say. where statistics show that we are on average the most wasteful. but on average we use more land per capita to feed ourselves. The colone or (pick you currency) gets “devalued.called a hedge fund -. then at eight to one. Since one country’s currency can now change its value relative to other currencies on any given day. unwieldy. they allow key fractions of their own working people to have some nice things… a ranch house. which is why we don’t realize that… …we couldn’t do that right now if we didn’t have monetary printing presses and the most expensive. and DVDs. Let’s also say that you don’t like Country X because they haven’t gone along with your program. and the whole party comes to a screeching halt. who can lord over mere bank directors like peons. When that happened. and consume more nonessential luxury crap than any society in history. Country X’s currency is the gimcrack. They had to have dollars. make more trash. The worst of these rich countries is the United States. 91 . Good deal. the gimcracks begin to exchange more dear. gas-guzzling SUV. and you can mobilize as much credit in one day as.000 for 50.000 colones. and lethal military on the planet. Rich Salvadorans could not use colones to pay their big international debts. So ever so often there would be a bidding war for dollars that spilled into the street where the mini-mafiosi had hundreds of moneyexchangers. liquor. Your giant account -. Lose one. It exchanges for ten to the dollar. at five to one (remember. Eventually. it has led to gambling on the price of money.” Now let’s pump up this scenario. then go to the bank that same day and get $12.Just like Rosa Luxemburg said.500. Meanwhile. the banks get wind and the official rate has to be changed to reflect the reality of this “speculative” market. the recognized international currency. there are a few rich countries that suck the labor and resources out of a lot of poor countries. That’s a sort of microscopic version of currency speculation on the world market. They cash out fast. It has made many of us soft and stupid. consume more water per capita. expensive individuals in the world. But the rate in the street – the black market – changed almost hourly. first at nine to one. you might get a temporary rate of ten or eleven to one. So to get this political complacency. burn up more fossil fuel. too. the GDP of California. turning gimcracks into dollars as quick as they can. and everyone wants to get in on the action – kind of like everyone did during the dot-com boom right before they all lost their asses. these intermediaries that have been intentionally heating up the market for gimcracks on behalf of the hedge fund… they start cashing out.

but the gimcrack is in stampede-over-the-cliff mode. in order that the hedge funds can play the markets with truly enormous resources.” This is at least part of the calculation of our present-day neo-cons for preserving the wealth of their industrial-capital cronies in a time of indeterminate war. It was the South Korean crisis which ended the temporary stabilization of Indonesia and which finally brought complete collapse there. Gowan explained how these hedge funds became “weapons of US statecraft. But the really decisive financial crisis was that to South Korea. And the South Korean crisis was responsible for plunging the whole region into slump. This is a speculative attack. If you’d like to read about it. one month after the Clinton administration launched its campaign demanding that Thailand and Indonesia open their financial sectors fully to US financial operators… The Asian crisis began in Thailand in July 1997. It was done on purpose. their creations [the hedge funds]. The biggest of the banks then lend huge sums of money to what are. since the US was running a trade deficit. Among the attackers was George Soros. What they do is have the central bank hold enough assets denominated in 92 . The next economy to fall was Indonesia. the expansion of the military. often registered offshore for taxdodging purposes. you are making 10 gimcracks an hour today… except every price in the country is being jacked up 50% to protect the merchants’ bottom line. “meant that the US state was acting as a surrogate export market for the industrial sector. the favorite of many liberal NGOs in the US. in effect. It is what caused the 1998 “Asian meltdown.the herd stampedes the other way… then eight to one… by now the hedge fund is out. by the Clinton administration. If you were making 10 gimcracks an hour in your local sweatshop yesterday. meaning the entire Country X just suffered a 50% devaluation. richer by a fair piece. especially new military hardware.” Hedge Funds… is a euphemism: these are speculator organizations for making money through the buying ad selling of securities on their own account to exploit price movements over time and price differences between markets. and carried out by giant hedge funds from the finance-capital sector of the USA. Not cronyism. The biggest of these hedge funds are not marginal speculators… they are nor banks but partnerships. and won’t hit bottom until it is at twenty to one. The first hedge fund assault on the baht occurred in May 1997. (Gowan also noted that during the Reagan administration.) How does a country protect itself from such a speculative attack? That’s a very good question. then on other regional currencies and the Hong Kong stock market. and a key supporter of the Kerry campaign. This scale of resources is vitally important because it enables the speculator to shift prices in the market in the direction he wants the prices to move in through the sheer scale of funds… There is no doubt whatever that the hedge funds were the driving force of the attack first on the Thai baht. on the orders of Commerce Secretary Robert Rubin. Not loose loan policies. pick up Peter Gowan’s The Globalization Gamble – The Dollar-Wall Street Regime and its Consequences.” Not bad management.

the US Treasury reportedly informed them that this would be considered an act of war. One of the key factors in the thinking of the Saudis. they can use those dollars to buy up their own currency and pull it out of the line of fire of the speculators.S. These are like Savings Bonds. for the major oil producing nations to invest all their surplus money in dollardenominated assets too. therefore. That’s some catch. So in effect. Kuwaitis. The US would wipe its debt to foreign central banks off the hook. This would mean that it would have got all the balance-of-payments deficits for the past 32 years for free.even if by market standards it deserves to be dumped like a dirty diaper -because devaluation of the dollar would knock the stuffing out of their very own currency reserves.the most internationally recognized currency (the US dollar). that Catch-22. for instance. which the US government will pay back with a variable interest rate after maturity. as a shield against this kind of assault. American diplomats have said that they won't allow central banks to use their dollars to buy US corporations. explained in a 2003 interview: The U. Guess who? Here’s the big problem. There are now so many countries holding so many US treasury bonds that the US is categorically not capable of paying them all off. United Arab Emirates. then. so in an emergency. it has proposed “funding the US dollar overhang” into the world monetary system. The US has been proposing this for 30 years whenever Europe raises the issue of payment for its dollar holdings. So most countries’ central banks have collected the most available dollardenominated asset they can get their hands on -. has said it can't pay back its dollar debts and doesn't intend to. now has a vested interest in ensuring that there is no speculative run on the dollar -. World Dominance. So no one is going to do that. the financial historian who authored Super Imperialism – The Origin and Fundamentals of U. Michael Hudson. was that there was only one country around who could guarantee and monopolize the military security of the major sea lanes leading out of the Persian Gulf. and the debt turns into further security against anyone calling in the debts. what will happen to all those treasury notes in our central banks? The US can now borrow from as many people as it wants. If everyone we owe money to called in their debts. Every country. Uncle Sam would be bankrupt.S. Not only that. the US engineered it all the way backing the early 70s. because if Uncle Sam goes bankrupt. while it was abandoning gold-backing and fixed currency exchange rates that prevented speculative attacks. They are a loan to the US government. 93 . but these holdings no longer would be US Treasury obligations. A significant portion of any country’s reserve currency needs to be denominated in dollars. the reserve currency in most central banks in the world to protect the local currency from an attack is US dollars. When OPEC countries proposed this after 1973. et al. with no quid pro quo. That’s right. and thereby made sure that everyone around the world who had to pay for oil had to pay in… dollars.treasury bills. Other countries would get IMF credit equal to their dollar holdings. As an alternative.

Whereupon. This led directly to the rise of Hitler fascism and the Second World War. But the theories of Hilferding.far from being the benevolent post-war ally -. and the US -. and that he maneuvered throughout the war to let others -. not as a fellow combatant. So the treasury note system has other countries locked in at the central banks. The United States stayed out of the war until it became likely that without US intervention. but as a creditor to the other allies. From the very beginning. These theses held true for Europe and the stage of imperialism that they witnessed. it was not drawn into the inter-imperialist rivalry that sparked WWI. But as Michael Hudson exhaustively documents in Super Imperialism. but exporting it to the advanced capitalist states.” The two pillars of the US imperial edifice are monetary and military.behaved much like any Brooklyn loan shark. And the development of this unique ability was closely related to the unique geographical position of the United States.like the old import substitution industrialization (ISI) strategy (itself erroneous) -. people still have to have dollars to pay their international debts. loans approved and guaranteed but by the United States government. particularly Great Britain.in dollars -. “The US makes dollars. While there is no doubt that the state was acting on behalf of its own capitalists. the US began its participation. of course. then -. It is very clear now that Franklin Roosevelt developed financial designs on the colonies of the British Empire. and the need to pay off bigger and bigger external debts -. as loans for its war with the Germans and Ottomans. and Lenin on imperialism do not accurately describe the actual character of US domination unless we selectively censor a lot of information -. and not merely financially dominant. Great Britain and France were heavily indebted.as certain sectors of the left have been wont to do. bleeding its former allies so severely that they in turn wrecked the post-war German economy with reparations to assist the allies in their debts. Hobson. Today’s Imperialism – Uniquely American How credit and debt put the United States on top The United States is dominant in the world.take the 94 . the Allies would lose and thereby lose its loan repayments. everyone else makes things to get dollars. The US did so first in the role of national creditor. materially dominant.particularly the Soviet Union. While the US had employed direct conquest and domination in its own hemisphere. and the predominant actor was not monopoly capital. again.even more surprisingly -in the role of national debtor. and to the First World War. but also England and France -. the United States began in the First World War by exploiting this rivalry itself to gain advantage. Once the war was over. So the US did not find itself predominantly “exporting capital” to its colonies via private institutions. but the US state. outside the lethal circumference of European wars.into export commodity platforms oriented to the US.Meanwhile. Where do you get dollars? From the United States. the Hilferding-Hobson-Lenin theses centered on the needs of monopoly capital as the driving force that led to inter-imperialist rivalry.forces the majority or poor countries to convert their entire economies away from local development -. it was not doing so in a largely reactive way but in a leadership role.

and one state would dominate the general direction of global capital accumulation. the central banks would become the primary battlefield. It is a demonstrable fact that England has been a satellite of the United States ever since the First World War. and this accounts today for the unsavory affinity of Tony Blair’s lips for George W. Gunder Frank. The Law of Unintended Consequences caused WWII. In fact. Britain was the principle (but not only) target of US post-war loan-sharking in the 20s and 30s. and with significant sectors of the US working class looking with great interest at Russia’s example from 1917. the US state had no idea at the time that they were becoming the principle cause of what would become the world’s most destructive war only two decades down the pike. In the competition between private capitals. (A. 95 . but more importantly – from the point of view of US elites – to take the increasingly revolutionary edge off of their agitations. Consistent with Luxemburg and later world system theorists. especially Britain. The combined refusal of the US to negotiate new terms with the Europeans for repayment of war debts and the strategic devaluation of the gold-free dollar led to a series of competitive devaluations of European national currencies – a destructive race to the bottom – that ended up hitting the United States like a tsunami. Roosevelt then became the first president to abandon the gold standard and conduct a cold-blooded strategic devaluation of the US currency as a weapon against its putative allies in Europe.. which I doubt. while he built up the geographically warimmune US industrial base. with a mandate to take extraordinary measures ostensibly to relive the suffering of the American working class masses. This was the first intentional foray into state-initiated economic warfare using currency as a weapon. driven more by an archaic banker’s ruthlessness than any prescient self-interest.. This was a policy of deliberate inflation domestically to raise prices as part of his domestic pre-Keynesian overhaul. This was only a glimmer then.’ The uncivilized world was however less than concerned by the event . S. but it further battered the European exporters. Tony will eagerly jump aboard the bandwagon to attack Iran soon… if there is any attack at all. and positioned the US to again be a post-war creditor and the new super-power. this period of economic disaster in the capitalist metropoles loosened the exploitative grip on the underdeveloped periphery. it gained. Andrew McKillop wrote that: Through 1929-35 or 1929-36 in some countries of the “civilized world” there were unremitting falls of activity in ‘key sectors. with the US in the worst economic doldrums it had ever experienced. Amin and suchlike will give you… the related and unrelated sequences of economic change governing metropole-colony relations). the state would eventually become the referee to ensure the health of the whole. Bush’s faux-cowboy ass. After the speculative crash in 1929.brunt of Hitler’s aggression to weaken them. and it displayed just a glimmer of understanding that in state-tostate economic competition. who needed to export to the US in order to acquire the dollars to pay their compounding WWI debts. Franklin Roosevelt was elected the 33rd President of the United States in 1933. Prior to the 1929 crash. and hit the US with an even deeper economic crisis. Simple facts and figures show considerable economic growth in the ‘colonial South’ of the 1929-39 period. the US bled the British Empire like a financial vampire.

Private finance capital could not have achieved that end… [but] the world tumbled into a depression. It was to bring Europe and ascendant Asia under the sway of the United States as sub-imperial powers in a new global hierarchy that would extend the influence of the US state beyond anything ever yet imagined by former empires -. beginning with Great Britain.S. Michael Hudson writes: It would be false to say that the United States provoked World War II out of malice or out of knowledge of the results of insisting on repayment of its war debts by a world utterly unable to repay them… intolerable burdens that the United States imposed on its allies of World War I and.in a qualitatively new way. The intent was never to destroy the British. governmental finance capital into world power politics thus ended in ignominious failure. The intent was never to take over as British (or other) surrogates in the colonies. but to replace the Sterling as the world reserve currency.This strengthened many of the colonies even as their colonial ruler-states were being weakened. it became the principle sufferer from a collapse of its own creating… The first great foray of U. and after implementing heroic Keynesian measures to ensure the political stability of the United States.even in harebrained military adventures like the current Iraq quagmire. This goes a long way toward explaining the seemingly inexplicable subservience of successive British governments in toadying to the US -. above all Britain’s.a set of relaxed trade rules within the British Empire -. Mark Jones (1999): 96 . The effect was to splinter Europe so that the continent was laid open politically as a possible province of the United States. The Lend-Lease Act. Every US administration from 1917 through the Roosevelt era employed the strategy of compelling repayment of these war debts. This was unanticipated by the US. but Europe itself. even as its assault on the British was coldly calculated. on Germany. and were eventually reduced to a US financial satellite on the border of Europe. he turned the lemon into lemonade through his carefully calculated commitments of the US to World War II. through them. was an instrument that just as intentionally broke down the British Empire with debt for the purpose of dissolving the Imperial Preference -. Roosevelt was a determined man. Not only did the United States not escape the Great Depression. any more than it was to replace the direct European colonial rule that World War II would mortally wound. and contributed to the creation of conditions that would lead to the wave of national liberation movements that were folded into the Cold War dynamic later on. The British were subsumed by the United States into the financial pole of capital. and ultimately in a war dimensions vaster even than World War I. by which the US supported the Allies without troops in the Second Word War for almost two years before it intentionally provoked the Japanese into the attack on Pearl Harbor. bringing not only the peripheral “south” under its sway. UK has now been transformed into a financial and military appendage of the US state. This set the stage for the post-war displacement of the Sterling as the global reserve currency by the dollar.in the commonwealth.

during which the US was maneuvering to expand its influence throughout the world at the expense of the European capitals -. (In fact.in particular the British. will likely be grisly. the US had built up its industry to surpass the British. “that had already existed since the 1950s: the international role of the City of London in financial transactions. The country is now a fiefdom of [US] international finance capital. the world slump which is now in its early stages will have peculiarly sharp social effects in Britain. Apart from finance capital. Gowan writes. see Gowan’s aforementioned extensive essay. Those stabilization measures were codified at Bretton Woods in 1944. The Nixon Revolution Why the Left is wrong about “money for people and not for war” From the Civil War until World War I. The disproportionate weight of banking. the world's leading money-launderer (as much as $200bn of narcodollars and dirty money in some years is washed in the City's giant laundry).. using government finance capital in the international arena. Britain's most successful trades are the Intelligence Service. which has now consolidated its national hegemony while totally internationalising itself. Gowan noted how the US actually used the City of London to break down the post-war Bretton Woods system after the Vietnam War almost bankrupted the United States. where the debilitated Europeans consented to a new global system in which the US would be “first among equals. the Armed Forces and the arms industry…For this reason. its working class little more than servitors of the City [of London – a banking consortium]. there was little that resembled “equality” in the Bretton Woods institutions – the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. The country now exists as an adjunct of the City. Britain's role as the world's largest financial offshore island..” For the details of this. The period from 1914 until 1939 was a period of continuous and profound crisis. pummeled between the euro and the dollar. but also to establish dollar seignorage across the planet.The British working class has been restructured out of its birthright and out of its collective identity. when the US had a controlling 97 . “It is true that the Nixon administration was able to exploit a breach in the Bretton Woods system. its selfappointed segregation from Europe and refusal to participate in EMU (economic and monetary union) means that the fate of sterling. The Roosevelt administration had imposed what Gowan called “repressive measures on the private financial pole of capital” in order to regain the monetary stability necessary to lay the foundation for a fresh upwave of capital accumulation after the war. finance and transnational corporate capital in the British economy means that the effects of crisis in these sectors will spread with lightning speed and devastating effect through what passes for the specifically-national economy. precisely to prevent overheated currency speculation.” in a system that fixed the dollar to gold and established periodically negotiable but fixed currency exchange rates.

which led directly to the transformation of military-monetary creditor imperialism to the current system of military-monetary debtor imperialism. claims on US gold created a grave danger to the dollar. Contrary to the Hilferding-Hobson-Lenin thesis. Nixon calculated that dollar hegemony as a global system was “too big to fail” for the rest of the world. and the rest of the world backed down. one that was fought to a stalemate in Korea. In one of the boldest and most brilliant political moves of the century. We had now entered the stage of debtor-imperialism. and unilaterally abandoned Bretton Woods. and one that resulted in a shattering and domestically-destabilizing defeat in Vietnam. as a way of both backstopping and expanding the newfound US international influence. While these two wars undermined the myth of US military invincibility and threw gas on the fires of national liberation movements. The combination of both a debt and a trade-deficit came to head under the Nixon administration. This abandonment of gold and fixed exchange rates decisively lifted the New Deal private “financial pole repression” regime. It is worth noting here that the US state has “driven” the system into crisis that would have been avoided – though different crises would have appeared – if short-term economic interests had been the policy locomotive. The United Nations was established at the behest of the United States – who had earlier rejected the League of Nations – indicating the new US willingness to incorporate multilateralism into its imperial blueprint.and not “monopoly capital” -.was in the driver’s seat. and the vigorous post-Marshall Plan economies of Germany and Japan had converted the US from a net exporter into a net importer. they also converted the US from a net creditor in the world into a net debtor.) The fact was not unnoticed that during the run up to and conduct of the war.e. but with the practical result of creating even deeper security dependency for sub-imperial Japan and. Korea then Vietnam. This became a new nodal point in US post-war imperialism. NATO was organized. both of whom had to sit by and fume helplessly. all under the guise of containing Communism. 98 . The Marshall Plan was implemented as a bulwark against the “spread of communism. It simply quit the gold standard and fixed currency exchange rates.” simultaneously a genuine fear among many elites as well as a new form of conflict with which to discipline US satellite states. and that was the goal of unchallengeable military superiority. and as a politico-diplomatic adjunct to the IMF and World Bank. The Plan also provided the US with viable overseas sub-imperial investment conduits.both direct functions of the state. the US state -. i. and it decisively ended the post-WWII upwave of domestic prosperity. the Nixon administration played “chicken” with the rest of the world. and US bases proliferated in Asia. But there was another dimension to this blueprint. the US embarked on two costly wars.. with the French leading the way. and it was followed by a series of strategic devaluations of the dollar that wiped billions of dollars of US foreign debt off the books in Germany and Japan. The two pillars of US power were US government finance capital and the US military -. In its attempt to fight Communism/extend and consolidate US influence in Asia. on Germany and the rest of Europe. in particular. the US Treasury Department had absorbed the largest pool of gold in history. in effect daring the rest of the capitalist world to run on the dollar. using the AngloAmerican bloc.plurality and exclusive veto power. During Vietnam.

Since the 1980s. The ballooning and essentially unpayable debts of debtor nations (with the US as the sole exception) are denominated in US dollars. treasury bonds! . “What is new in today’s imperialism. using the IMF as a lever with its conditional emergency loans. This “technique” was pioneered by the Reagan administration in response to the Mexican currency crisis of 1982. U. GDP. and have inexorably grown into larger and larger fractions of the national outlays of peripheral economies. These IMF structural adjustment programs (SAPs) are in effect a loan-sharking operation of unimaginable magnitude imposed on almost 70 poor nations. It is a sign of WEAKNESS. as was indicated by the Asian meltdown’s unintended threat to the US economy and by the dot-com bust of 2000.S.S. The federal budget deficit is $455 billion. The situation became permanent with the Vietnam War. Hudson’s book. shifted from a creditor to a debtor nation.” 99 . This is no sign of strength.S. This year’s U.S. is importing far more than it is exporting and it’s going deeper and deeper into debt. This obligation – in the face of a crushing international economic sanction threat – to service burgeoning external debts using US dollars is precisely why these national economies are pressured to almost wholly export to the US – now the world consumer of last instance – leaving local populations to rely more and more on the increasingly stressed household.S. Foreign capitalists now own 46% of all U. This same debtliquidity crisis is re-forming now in the US as a real estate bubble that will just as certainly burst.. trade deficit is $450 billion. and primitive accumulation sectors of their own economies (as Luxemburg said) for plain survival.S.What turns this financial key-currency imperialism into a veritable super imperialism is that the privilege of running free deficits belongs to one nation alone.S. largely due to military expenditures. and both systems are guaranteed in multiple dimensions by US military power.S. Super Imperialism. The U. This debt-leverage system in the periphery augments the Treasury bill extortion of European and Asian sub-imperial centers. But this system is itself now exhausted. the U. and they consolidated dollar hegemony in its present form. November 2003 In the Korean War the U. As Hudson said. describes the US-IMF relation in great detail. is forced to tap the resources of foreign capitalists by getting them to buy U.S. To finance these enormous deficits the U.. subsistence agriculture..’s debtor status as a net importer of surplus capital has been a central feature of the world economy.S. “What is novel about the new state capitalist form of imperialism is that it is the state itself that is siphoning off economic surpluses. The U. The two add up to 11% of U. treasury bonds and various securities. Peter Hudis describes the weakness of debtor-imperialism in his essay.This also set the stage for taking advantage of crises generated by currency speculation for US capitals to penetrate markets throughout the world. and it is strongly recommended for anyone who wants to understand exactly how that relation developed. is now more dependent on foreign capital than at any time in the past 50 years. artisan.” News & Letters. indebtedness has by now reached phenomenal levels.

and the expansionary imperative of capital growth periodically creates crises of “overproduction.” which is one of the reasons they are often incapable of seeing crisis as it approaches. so that profits by global companies were the measure of how much imperialism was occurring. This is always a destructive and painful process (recession and war). machines. and consumption of goods that we can understand the contradictory tendencies that lead to crises. Another word for Super Imperialism would be Inter-Governmental imperialism. still focused on the commodities themselves.” superficially the process of “making money grow. So in order to recoup ROI. is that profit is extracted from a labor-base that also constitutes the consumer base. imperialism always has exploited mainly the rich countries. This overcapacity is exacerbated by technical innovation – in the drive to increase “productivity” – that renders existing facilities uncompetitive or “obsolete” and no longer capable of producing ROI. This is the mechanism of crisis in the “real” economy. quantitatively speaking.” So there must be equilibrium between profit and other ROIs if the system is to remain stable. The richest nations are the ones with the most economic surplus to appropriate. says Goldner. call this “overcapacity.” The mainstream economists. which distinguishes this ROI from interest and ground rent. this overcapacity has to be liquidated.” is the fundamental process that drive the entire (global) capitalist economy. and where we can actually describe concretely what those crises are. and closing down public services -. as a self-anointed “debtdeflation crisis theorist. “Valorization. etc. for which the dominant class compensates itself by using its political power to increase regressive taxation. That is done not via the repatriation of profits. My point is that the largest form of exploitation. More useful. The United States exploits the rest of the world above all via foreign central banks accumulating dollars. we are apt to lose sight of the “real” economy. (fixed capital plant) that make them. Economists refer to ROI simply as “capitalization. movement.The older theories of imperialism saw private corporations running the system to profit. One problem. for the same reason that Willy Sutton is said to have robbed banks: That's where the money is.” It is in the interaction between the political-monetary surface and the material transformation. enclosing commons. etc. where actual commodities – many of them necessities – are produced. 100 . dropping wages. is the Marxian distinction of “profit” as surplus monetary value extracted from the production.” Goldner begins by teasing apart the term “profit” as it is generally used by economists.in effect. now occurs among governments. but by the Treasury-bill standard and the free ride that it gives the United States. by which they actually mean return on investment (ROI). however. But ground rent and interest are circulatory mechanisms. Loren Goldner has written a number of essays on this. while only profit can produce the new “real” inputs to sustain “growth. and – remembering Luxemburg – the “total social capital is reproduced.” a glut both of goods and the buildings. In paying attention solely to the machinations of the financial-political dimension of the economy. attacking the working class and the peripheries. As for your other points.

China. the unpayable external debts of Thailand. pumping more and more un-valorizable dollars into the global system has been creating a “fictitious bubble” for decades: a growing mass of paper claims that are being circulated not primarily in productive investment but in speculation. and available surplus value on the other -. Indonesia.. then.” suggesting correctly that as this mass of overhanging dollars expands it grows more perilously close to breaking off and falling. and Brazil. disease. Third World debt. means that individual capitalists “throw” money into investment with the expectation that. interest and ground rent cannot be “valorized” through the existing available surplus value: they are FICTIONS which must be destroyed by “devalorization”. this process can be ameliorated by shunting some of the “austerity” into the periphery. in the suddenly insolvent “hedge funds”. When it is not available. The current attack on European and American working class standards is a good barometer of both the exhaustion of resources in the periphery and the disinclination of peripheral peoples to put up with it any longer. Aside from the treasury loans that the US won’t pay back. and consumer debt at every level of society. corporate debt. in the multi-trillion dollar holdings of U. shortened longevity -. To make the long story short.In imperial metropoles. We see these fictions – fictitious capital – today [1998. “valorization” continues. on the surface. in a first approximation. When a new equilibrium is established between profit. and the servicing of the U.S. But there is also what Goldner and Gowan refer to as “fictitious” capital. and the threat – as even Greenspan is beginning to acknowledge – is no longer inflation (the bugaboo of interest collectors) – but deflation. in depression.S. and ground rent on one side. Mexico. “On the surface”.a new cycle can begin. thereby avoiding political crisis at home.whatever the interim cost to society. The dot-com “bubble” that exploded in 2000 is already re-emerging as a real estate bubble. and Europe.. what are the two sectors in which the US enjoys industrial dominance. government debt. As long as adequate surplus value [value appropriated from the production process itself] is available to sustain expected rates of return as profit. there is crisis.S. interest and ground rent. and paper claims to wealth are destroyed or devalued. it will return to them as expanded money. Hong Kong. in the still unliquidated real estate assets in Japan. On the world market. a crisis such as the current one occurs because the totality of existing claims to profit. because the production of un-valorizable dollars continues. immiseration. People are beginning to think again about 1929. interest.. Russia. South Korea. The container for all this fictitious value is debt. “Valorization”. US imperialism has become paradoxical in that it is a net importer of foreign capital. over time. during the Asian crisis] in the vast non-operating assets” of the Japanese banks. a “world financial meltdown” entails. That is what. to a large extent by foreigners. this expansion of dollars is expressed in the metaphor “dollar overhang. Treasury bills. which might be attracting foreign capital? 101 . the U. war.

is a great polemical device that will blow up in the Left’s face. A restructuring at least as dramatic as the Nixon transformation is not a choice. They feel there is no safer haven for their capital than the land which aims to rule the world through military prowess. What the Bush administration is doing. treasury bonds. and US capital as an economic engine.at least an indispensable aspect of it -. The deeper reality is that the global economy and therefore the US-dominated accumulation regime is now trying to valorize the total world capital with fewer and fewer wage laborers. but he is right that foreign governments finance the military… not the taxpayers of the US.” here understood erroneously as some unchangeable carrier of value independent of the monetary-military world system. thereby transferring much of war’s cost to countries overseas -. have reached the impasse that was latent within the monetary-military system of debtor-imperialism all along.S. deficits place added pressure on foreign capitalists to invest their surplus dollars in U. and within a month bums will be wiping their asses with five 102 . that we can locate the economic basis of the U.Military technology and agriculture.is the globally deployed military power of the US. both heavily subsidized by the US state. even as former capitalist expansion had ballooned the world population well above six billion persons. can be withdrawn from the US Department of Defense in order to correct the structural social deficiencies at home -. a crisis of profit. That’s why concentrating on the neo-con Republicans is a form of self-deception. This is but one dimension of the role of the US military in the world system today. The US as a political power. Capitalists like to avoid risk. There is a false dichotomy on the left now about whether the US war in Southwest Asia is about controlling oil or about the US attempting to intimidate the rest of the world with a military “demonstration effect.S. And the basis of the US to extract this imperial tribute -.predictably -. and both of these goals are in trouble. Great Britain. and they are doing so -.” Both theses are true. It is here. drive for permanent war. The other is direct. if that is even possible. Unlike the Gulf War of 1991. but a desperate necessity. is expanding the role of the military within that model to effect this transformation. with an able assist from its subaltern.S.money for people not for war. foreign capital has not agreed to DIRECTLY pay for today’s Iraq war. military might. So claiming that “money. because it won’t work. Hudis: No less key is U. foreign capital is footing much of the bill through a more circuitous route.S.in the most strategically important region in the world. Permanent militarization projects an all-powerful image which acts as a magnet to attract foreign capital. The external financing of US military expenditures forms the basis of US domestic economic stability in the near term. far more than on the issue of oil. The Democrats will be equally obliged to tear down the old architecture and replace it with something else. The U. This is the underlying reality that Goldner pointed to. as the slogan goes -.including those which opposed the war! Hudis was wrong to suggest that oil is a secondary consideration. However. Subtract the military.

And that will begin with people around the world preparing for armed resistance to local compradors and imperial armies. the strict rationing of electricity. and the construction of a nationwide public transportation network as a first step to dramatically reducing dependence on fossil fuel. 103 . beginning with prisons and working up. free universal health care. alongside a massive and unified default on external dollardenominated debts. Most of us who give a shit are still clinging to the illusion that this is an outcome of the right-wing cabal.dollar bills. The change will in all probability be imposed on us from the outside. A doctor does not tell a patient who needs an amputation to prevent dying of gangrene. however. Still today. but rather a privileged activity. So we’ll be dragged into hell in four-year increments of mystification and false hope. The stark fact is. in Mesopotamia. a minimum wage of $20 an hour with imposed price controls. Since self-delusion and denial are at the core of our metropolitan cultural being. Technology. not manipulate them. it means the entire US political and economic establishment will have to be removed.Global Inequalities of Economy. That would merely begin with dumping half the so-called service sector jobs in the entire economy. draconian progressive taxation that limits personal income to $100. Rosa Luxemburg was probably the first to see the full implications of this. even if we are telling them what they understandably don’t want to hear. The armed resistance is already in progress. and we will have to commit to at least a whole generation of bottom-up. Altamira Press. and we believe we can solve it through elections. and a lot of them will be jobless because their own employment was directly or indirectly connected to the military contracts where “the US state was acting as a surrogate export market for the industrial sector. “We can wait a few days. is to educate people. The Power of the Machine -. in my humble opinion. The Material Basis of Accumulation Why Iraq and now Iran? [R]ather than a historical stage. the expropriation of the pharmaceutical companies. -Alf Hornborg.” The responsibility of the Left.000 a year. and Environment. 2001.” If this is to be dealt with in any meaningful way. there is no easy way out of the predicament we are in. I have very little confidence that this will happen. and there will be no solutions forthcoming from the system that put us there. and surely things will get better. the expropriation of agribusiness and systematic abandonment of capitalist agriculture. radical changes in every single facet of our lives. into a massive jobs training program. the existence of which would be unthinkable without various other modes of transferring surpluses of labor and resources from peripheral sectors to centers of accumulation at different spatial scales. industrial capitalism is very far from the universal condition of humankind. industrial capitalism should be understood as a functional specialization within a larger field of accumulative strategies.

Another misapprehension is that the war is to protect the dollar denomination of oil from a Euro-challenge. Certainly. which -.as key resources demonstrate their geological and thermodynamic limitations -. The violence of that management is a reflection of the depth of the crisis. except as a drag on accumulation) people. when we must resort to force with our children. Moreover. Control over the largest patch of oil. Current international arrangements give the US access to exorbitant quantities of oil at cut-rate prices. The easiest error to dispense with is that the US is simply stealing the oil. but as any parent knows. leaving in its wake billions of human beings who are now superfluous as producers or excess as resource consumers to the accumulation process. Forgive the paternalistic analogy that emphasizes the imperial standpoint. on the other hand. largely young. Military power is the only card the US has to play in this new Great Game. Europe does not have large oil reserves for reinvestment of Euros. given the US ability to export its crises through petrodollar recycling. moreover. This is the reason that Southwest Asia is now the epicenter of world crisis. the old post-war myth of development that was held like a carrot in front of the underdeveloped nations has dissolved. as well as nuclear Russia and industrializing China is absolutely and inescapably logical from a strictly mechanistic. to continue to accumulate.be expelled and eventually exterminated for the center of the center. it is an indication that all other measures have failed.is competing for this diminishing material base even as it sinks further into geo-economic penury. But so long as Europe itself is unwilling to sell the dollar short – thereby wiping out billions of dollars of monetary value in their own currency reserves – then the Euro can never be more than a satellite currency. Marx’s “reserve army of labor” has grown into a giant mass of superfluous (to the market. There is now a largely urbanized. other nations are looking to diversify their reserve holdings into a dollar-Euro mix. US payments for oil. The leverage that petroleum gives over the rest of the over-developed world. the US. The US does not need to steal oil. Ecologists now tell us that it would take three additional Earths for the atmosphere alone to support the whole world up being developed to the technological standard of 104 . it is increasingly China and India. That was always Europe and Japan. but that does not resolve in any fundamental way the game of “chicken” that the US can continue to play with its printing presses. And since the 1980s. is leverage against all competitors who rely on imported oil. TheUS is not expanding its power. to the biggest consumer market in the world. As the number of human beings actively involved in the process of valorizing the total global capital shrinks. military point of view. are already so low in their net impact on the US economy that oil is virtually an imperial tribute.There is clearly a connection between the current war in Southwest Asia and petroleum. It is trying to manage its decline.by the logic of the market -. But there is another aspect to the military solution. teeming mass around the planet that must -. There is no nation that will refuse to sell oil. but there is a great deal of confusion about the character of that connection. and that is that the rest of the world. and the question of how to manage that decline goes to the heart of the struggle developing between the neocons and the technocrats.

So they are playing a game of retrenchment. In every case. If this structure is generalized on a global scale. I am speaking of a thermodynamic input. though not explicitly. alluding to the labor-theories of value pioneered by 19th Century thinkers like David Ricardo and Karl Marx. 60% of GDP. although acutely aware of global exploitation. the US share of global product was 50%.consumption now extant in the United States.what some theorists refer to as unequal exchange. just as Nixon forced the last restructuring on his reluctant allies. it can reproduce itself only by exchanging its output of products for a continuous input of specific substances like fuels and raw materials. This drag. I have also alluded to the social relations concealed beneath that surface.the bubble phenomenon. In 1980. This article has briefly described the process of accumulation on the monetary surface. The federal debt is over $6 trillion. This tells the story of “unequal exchange” in the realm of money. It is half of that now. but it does not explain what is happening in the material substrates of the system. I have further alluded. where this mass of superfluous people is now a drag anchor on continued accumulation. showing how monetary value is “added” to products in the transformation from “raw material” to finished product. It has become the thermodynamic lifeblood of industrial capitalism.” A factory does not grow out of subterranean ore deposits like a mushroom. and without it the entire system will fall into utter and ruinous collapse. must be systematically cut loose. portable form of energy that is unmatched and unmatchable in the world. There is an international class war going on. where symbolic “fictional” value can create turbulence at the interface of monetary value and production -. or 33% of GDP. the existing capital accumulation regime is increasingly obliged to force a change on the world so it will accept yet another restructuring. but the game of a desperately weak system. because it has trapped within it a concentrated. As the monetary position of US power is continually weakened by its public and private debt overhangs. that figure was $1 trillion. we are dealing with commodities as an output. In 1945. from the standpoint of the accumulation regime. and one reason we only see the military dimension of it is that we only look at the economic indices. once the question of dollar hegemony is understood. but it is a resource unlike other material resources.as an input.the industrialized metropoles (“where the money is”) and the periphery/semi-periphery. The American ruling class is perfectly aware of this.particularly oil -. to the fact that labor in the politically subjugated periphery of the world system “trades” at a lower rate of monetary exchange than it does in the industrial metropoles -. This is not the game of the strong. Petroleum is only one resource in that hypothetical development.that the ruination of the masses in the United States will lead to an upheaval that could undermine or even end that power. There are two aspects to this enforcement -. My own hypothesis is not complicated. and not merely an input of raw materials like we get from a quarry or a forest. nor does it explain why petroleum in particular is unlike other commodities. the secret of industrialism can 105 . The American trade deficit is half a trillion dollars. which ignores the role of hydrocarbons -. have strangely circumambulated their own implications for our understanding of industrial technology itself. The US now imports 60% of its petroleum. Alf Hornborg notes that “Marxist theories of imperialism. and they are also aware that their power is ultimately political -.

the state -. raw materials. Ergo. metaphorically designated “growth. Economics cannot defy physical laws. and eventually forces them to run all over the planet looking for more destitute workers to accept lower wages. He bases that challenge on physical laws. mobilizing energy for work that massively outstripped the ability of any human or animal.” Negentropy is shorthand for negative entropy. because both resources and population were finite. 106 . In fact. Hornborg has turned his attention on the energetic limits of expansion.imperialism -. Nothing can.is every bit as much a social relation as Marxian “profit. no longer concentrated in a form available for work (moving things). Hornborg is speaking of more than heat. but a physical one. Continuous expansion in a finite world is not possible. but that technology itself represents a socially constructed form of inequality. When a human being eats 500 calories concentrated in a banana split.inextricable from capitalism as an historical process -. The introduction of fossil energy to the industrial process became an immense “force magnifier” for production. but I will focus on energy because it is central to this discussion and it is a good general analog for the larger process Hornborg describes.” The notion here is that technology is not culturally neutral. beginning with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. which has implied that industrial technology might be placed under the control of a non-capitalist politico-economic regime and transformed into an agent of equality.he is looking at the planetary constraints of the biosphere.is fundamentally characterized by expansion. as of “realizing” the industrial products on a global market at exchange rates that guarantee the industrialized sectors a continuous negentropic buildup. that it erodes the margin of “surplus” value that constitutes (by the Marxian definition) profit. energy inputs are the single most important variable in the massive increase of “productive” output in the last 200 years. entropy being the overarching tendency in nature for every process to dissipate “order. The industrial technomass cannot subsist by itself… but depends on the existence of nonindustrial sectors where the price of… fuels.” Hornborg makes the case that the drawbacks of industrial technology are not “circumstantial” but “intrinsic. and thoroughly embedded in the capitalist accumulation process.” Luxemburg pointed out that one nation could not sustain this expansion without exceeding its own borders. that 500 calories is dissipated into the air around her as heat.” a term used by economists to denote how much product one can squeeze out of how much time they are paying for from workers. his use of the arcane term “negentropy. We have already alluded to the problem with technology for capitalists. He is pointing out that industrialism -.” thermodynamically “heat” available for doing work. This is not an economic law. The development of this technology was not outside history. then runs out to do her day’s work. When we look at the issue of economic “productivity.be seen not so much as a matter of applying increasingly intensive technology to a certain piece of land. Globally hypertrophied capitalism -. Hornborg is going a step further here than the Marxists. it is a direct challenge to that idea. and the labor to extract them is so much lower that such exchange rates can be maintained. It was developed with “growth” as the impetus. And instead of the limits imposed by a politico-territorial boundary -. Luxemburg’s thesis. This is a very different proposition from orthodox Marxism. While she was concentrating on the materio-economic limits on the expansion of value.

world per capita consumption is 60. turn the key.” that is. the appropriation of space and time is not merely a luxury. But North America is 342. the primary biomass energy inputs are food for cheap labor (embodying 10 calories of fossil fuel in every calorie of food). by subordinating that worker to the machine. The typical Malthusian accounts of oil depletion found on websites. put it in Drive. compared to Africa. One might attempt to account for that -. as indicated above in the banana split example. even more stark in its demonstration of international inequality than monetary figures. These technomass concentrations only “grow” by demanding ever-higher and uninterrupted inputs of energy concentrates. When we view industrial technology locally (or sectorally). The oil in the Persian Gulf leaves there with a very high potential for doing work. It flows to one of these giant agglomerations of technomass like New York or Tokyo. Without that technology – burning fossil energy that has been concentrated for millions of years. for example.89 Gj. But viewed globally. which is a piddling 12.” This can lead the Malthusian perspective into both simplification that 107 . Hornborg examines the world system from the point of view of its energetic flows. In gigajoules (Gj).91 Gj.or industrialized metropoles -. This empiricism that looks at global population trends and compares them to global fossil energy extractions trends implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) suggests that the train wreck of the end-of-oil is biologically determined -. but they provide only superficial (and therefore misleading) accounts of the social and political forces that constitute the world system. an organism is a “dissipative structure.dieoff. provide important empirical accounts of the perils we face as fossil energy is depleted. and as the ability ultimately to appropriate space and time (a very important aspect of class). in much the same way we might examine the “growth” of an organism. profit in the productive process and useless dissipated heat. he notes that there is a correlative. whose heating needs are not dissimilar from North America as an aggregate.org and www. and when I got there I would have been too tired to qualify as good company. inverse relationship between monetary value and negentropy.15 Gj. but a survival necessity where an entire urban-industrial infrastructure has now been designed around the spatial sprawl and complete dissociation of residential from productive space based on the private automobile. In the US especially.97 Gj. if it weren’t for the fact that Europe and Central Asia.in the same way: as giant concentrations of technomass that require constant inputs to maintain themselves. One very interesting statistic in this regard. I jump in my Chevrolet. and I can travel to my friends’ house 25 miles away in half an hour. simultaneously. we see increased output. has a per capita consumption of 131.in the most disingenuous manner -. Hornborg looks at highly technological societies -. heat. which Hornborg does. we can use this metaphor of growth in an entirely different way.org. where it is then turned into. In tracing the energetic flows.The first factories were designed expressly to discipline the worker to a rate of output. and the primary material inputs are raw materials. with a high level of industrial development. by the way – the trip one-way would have taken me all day.peakoil. The primary thermodynamic inputs are hydrocarbons.a direct outgrowth of something called “human nature. in the process of reproducing itself is dissipates order -. according to a UN report on per capita energy consumption in 2000. Literally.or thermodynamically. is the per capita energy consumption of different regions.by citing the requirement for household heat. like www.

these vast technomass concentrations that can actually be seen now from satellites -. where it is dissipated… in the case of oil liquidating half the world’s economically-extractible supply in just over a century. fossil energy) from across the planet and draw it into themselves. Within these angular and smog-smothered masses of dissipation live most of the people on Earth. the earth’s capacity to render up the black gold will be exhausted within 25 years. when it was millions of years in the making. This is the basis of the environmental justice movement. is not exclusively.capitalism) without petroleum. Contrary to the unsubstantiated fantasies of a handful of “alternative” energy wonks. or even predominantly.obscures the socio-cultural bases of the way we use energy and to some profoundly racist notions that the problem is fundamentally one of brown people reproducing too quickly. even as it consumes its own food base.modern machinery and structure -.” the actual metabolism of the world system.suck in “order” (thermodynamically. for example. “Growth” accelerates this process. The Emotions Matter Don’t ignore the people. Hornborg is describing. the present system categorically cannot carry on as is (as a growth economy -. Like a beast that grows ever larger. using the Mujahadeen e Khalq (MEK) of all people. it hasn’t. Hornborg’s method of tracing energy flows demonstrates how the industrial capitalist centers -.is itself a consumer of thermodynamic order and an exporter of thermodynamic disorder. as if the culture doesn’t matter when we have the cluster bombs. and it is not correctable so long as there is a growth economy. which because they are politically powerless also become the global cesspools for the detritus of industrial capitalism. Iraq should have disabused them of this bone-headedness. whom the US itself has placed 108 . The weird apparent plot to unleash an Iranian-dissident armed resistance against Iran. This is the material basis of the inevitable conflict. the larger it gets (look at the explosive growth of mega-cities). This facilitates the extraction of other “orders” (raw materials and labor) from other regions. the human organisms that populate these urban centers. and flexibility of application. portability. Technomass -. The consumer. between the United States and China. They seem to actually relish this ignorance. will consume the material basis of its own continued existence. Something has got to give. Energy is a real thing. but of inequality. the faster the general rate of consumption becomes just to sustain it. One of the key issues that the technocrats have with the neo-cons is their demonstrated ignorance of the cultures they aim to conquer. but if the threatening noises directed at Iran are any indication. however. by adopting the organism-metaphor of “growth. like an introduced species on an island. Not in this biosphere. where current energy-demand trends in the two countries has put the world on a course where for those trends to be sustained. Industrialism and capitalism are inextricable. recognition that this “disorder” is being shipped away from the rich and onto the poor. and they are a single system that. visions of growing alcoholproducing sugar beets across the whole state of Texas notwithstanding. and there is quite simply no replacement for petroleum in energy concentration. not just of depletion.

each is itself factionalized.in the face of Saddam’s removal and the cyclic but steady erosion of the political power of Iran’s clerical establishment -. Iran is not now politically unstable. no sector is willing to see a destabilization when the outcome would be completely unpredictable. growing out of the very real imperial and expansionist history of these three political actors in the region.is rapidly becoming an historical dead letter. there is a kind of pendulum effect between clerical and secular forces that inevitably. Azerbaijan. and an attack -.particularly putting an economic “modernization” agenda on track. Bush that Iran is part of an “axis of evil. Among the non-clerical and anti-clerical forces. From the US media that always attempts to reduce every situation to categories appropriate to the attention span of a trout. so the political war between the secular Arab Saddam and the clerical Persian Khomeini -. What has grown up in its place is a nascent pan-Islamic resistance -. Older clerics were positively negligent in economic affairs. Instead. as did many American capitalists who desperately want the trade restrictions lifted so they can sell Iran food and join Iran in the oil business. even if lurid Western headlines do occasionally declare that Iran is “sitting on a time bomb. But the political scene is far more diverse than that. but it has not been a return to the rule of the older clerical establishment.against Iran could further consolidate pan-Islamic solidarity based on the justifiable perception that this is an attack against Islam.” reinforced by the insistence of Ariel Sharon that Iran be the US second regime-change target. where the younger clerical forces are aggressively pursing deals with India.on its terrorist organization list. But the Zionists within the administration have prevailed in convincing George W. and Russia to get an economic development program going again. Alarm at the aggressive rhetoric of the Bush administration and Israel led directly to the clerical reassertion of power and to the resumption of nuclear research. even if that pendulum is for the moment leaning their way. and even hoped for a rapprochement with the US. The recent resurgence of clerical forces in Iran was assisted by the belligerence of the US. Remember the 60% of Iraq is Shia. After all. Each of these is oriented to a particular class-and-age base. and no one sector has the popular power on its own to exercise any form of political hegemony. probably qualifies as a higher degree of self-delusion than even the intrepid Ahmad Chalabi was able to midwife the war with the Defense Policy Board. Strategically. and at the autonomous aspirations of the Kurds. there is a division between the technocrats who want economic liberalization (privatization) and the nationalistic left that is resisting this agenda.” sitting on journalistic bombast is closer to the mark. who cling to the centrality of Islamic law like their predecessors. Younger clerics.even a proxy attack -. and the extreme pluralism contained within that diversity does not now incline the Iranians as a whole to abandon political stability. swings further away from the clerics. why shouldn’t we? It’s actually a fair question. This resistance will not facilitate deeper 109 . Iranian politics is complex. Iran saw the fall of Saddam Hussein as a positive. if slowly. Now Iran is looking with consternation at the US attempt to establish a puppet-Iraq as the new regional hegemon (which is a plan falling apart). Iranians say. For this reason. recognize that the general dissatisfaction of the Iranian public with the “reformists” represented by Khatami was with their inability to get things done -.symbolically perceived as a struggle against a Zionist-Anglo-American enemy. the US and Israel have nuclear weapons. we hear a tale of clerics versus reformers.

when an economically ruinous war polarized an American society that was seeing the end of the post WWII consumer bash. Instead it is a process of accretion. Rather than provoke a Constitutional crisis that might awaken a whole host of social resentments and shake the body politic out of its virtuous political inertia. Already. More importantly. It is notable that in this election year. This process is not happening in one apocalyptic movement. shortened life spans. Bill Clinton resided over sanctions that killed far more Iraqis than Bush’s little military fiasco. is the goal of Osama bin Laden. and the wars of social disintegration. paradoxically. will not be abrupt or direct. They have shown themselves to be equally willing to raise body counts. it has to be noted. the act on them with social upheavals. this accelerates not only the requirement to speed up the transfer of disorder to the peripheries – with its attendant political destabilization and resistance – it hastens the shifting of this burden onto the population of the United States. but episodically. This anecdotal crisis -. We are seeing the outlines of this process most vividly now in Africa. So. This process represents the shrinkage of the material basis of global accumulation. garden-variety self interest. Their fear is that the kinds of questions that are raised in the public mind by the bull-in-a-china-shop methods of the neocons might lead significant sections of that American public to seek out genuine answers. isolation. The Democrats are constitutionally incapable of describing the crisis I am describing here. and it is now closer to being fulfilled than he might have dreamed five years ago. This. The subtext of this appeal is a fear of political polarization in the United States in the face of the inexorable decline in US living standards. depending on withdrawal. On the contrary. let’s get them an election… fast! This justifiable Democrat fear of domestic social polarization was already in evidence when the Democrats lay down before the Republican judicial fiat that decided the 2000 General Election. The “exterminist” process of jettisoning global surplus population. with the largest remaining oil pool on the planet. they stood down the base within their own party.can still be seen against the backdrop of the larger systemic crisis of profit described above. but the reality is that this is not cowardice but plain. These same polarities were catalyzed in the 1960s. oil price escalation is threatening Bush’s equity-loan recovery with inflation that corresponds to a second recessive dip in early 2005… the dreaded lose-lose combination of stagnation and inflation that was termed “stagflation” in the 1970s. it will turn it into an even deeper politico-military quagmire. upon whom the US ruling class’ political stability rests. the primary appeal of the Democratic Party – that bureaucratized institutional vehicle for the federalist technocrats – is that their patrician presidential candidate is not George W. Bush. manifesting itself in pandemics. eco-catastrophes.if it happens -. Who can forget the most astonishing scene in Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11.entrenchment of the US military. and neglect. I am guilty of calling them cowards in polemics. it has a huge potential to destabilize the puppet regime in Saudi Arabia. If this process is unmediated. by God. and it is this we have to understand to see into the mind of the technocrats – their most immediate fear. Their fear of the neo-cons is not that the neo-cons will hurt brown people half a planet away. when Al Gore presided over a Congress wherein every Democrat who challenged the election result – mostly African 110 . even accelerated in one grandiose grab as the neo-cons are now attempting.

This is a successful assertion of Filipino popular will against the US and against the Arroyo dependency. not the last. When they do see the masses in action. This is the nightmare Brzezinski is trying to avoid: a domestic polarization that might result in an upsurge of grassroots agitation. those of us who are paying attention. to the dominant class in our present conjuncture. and none too politely either. when. and to ignore the masses. many of them simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. The same thing was true in Turkey in the run-up to the March 2003 ground offensive.” of course. The habit of thought of the powerful is to focus on others who are powerful. they tend to judge but not interpret. This was not a decision – defying the US – that was taken lightly by the Arroyo government. and the rage we witnessed in the streets of Fallujah is simmering just under the surface of a whole region that has just about had enough. by Gore himself. How many people who saw that wondered where that rage came from? Did they really believe that people in Fallujah are simply savages who would engage in this postmortem mutilation for entertainment? We have since learned.American legislators incensed at the inattention to the Jim Crow tactics employed by the State of Florida – was summarily shut down. in a stunning defeat for the Bush administration. The vast unpopularity in the Philippines of the Iraq war has forced the removal of Filipinos from Iraq. and driven the normally compliant Filipino government to defend its decision against the Australian government. there is a very real destruction of the all-important myth of American military invincibility. These technocrats are alarmed that the neo-cons are firing their artillery at a distant target. the newly elected Turkish parliament – facing a massive Turkish anti-war movement – narrowly denied the United States military its northern front for the March ground offensive against Iraq. were subjected to as the colonial dominator-mentality flowered among the occupying troops. dependent as it is upon the US for its very existence. of dragging the bodies down the street then stringing them up in a grotesque display on a bridge. which might wake up the hordes right outside the perimeter. The Abu Ghraib photos gave us a glimpse of the kind of humiliation that Iraqis. Last April we first saw the images of people in Fallujah dragging the charred corpses of four mercenaries out of burning vehicles and taking turns pummeling the blackened cadavers with shovels and stones. This humiliation is now being borne collectively. It is not only the armed resistance of Iraq that is making a material contribution to the erosion of US military power. Beyond that domestic “perimeter. Will it be the deflationary avalanche that is building under the mountain of debt? Will it be from a polarized America that takes it back to the streets? Will it be in the Zulu Dawn of some military debacle? Or will it be in a nuclear strike approved by the Defense Policy Board? Or will it come as the sum of 111 . and that many of those who vented their spleens on these roasted corpses had lost family members and friends. This is the first danger. *** Where the fall will begin. no one can say. that Fallujans had been subjected to obscene disrespect and violence by American troops since the beginning of the operation in March 2003.

Bring it on. as civilization collapses not with a bang but a whimper? We don’t know. only alter slightly the direction from which it will come. the end of oil. They just have enough sense to be alarmed. and neither do the technocrats.climate change. success seldom does. There is nothing so blinding as success. -Immanuel Wallerstein 112 . And the United States has had its fair share of success in the past 200 years. Success is a poor guide to wise policy. the destruction of fisheries. the salinization of arable land. They do not however have the power to prevent it. So vote away… I have only one thing to say to the Bush administration’s fantasy to regime-change Iran. Success has the vicious consequence that it seems to breed almost inevitably the conviction that it will necessarily continue. Failure at least often leads to reflection.

The Bush administration.. the Bush administration has talked tough about defending the United States against terrorism. to attack government and corporate whistleblowers. from invading Iraq to limiting civil liberties to relaxing environmental regulations. 2003) Contrary to its assertions of deep concern about the domestic security of the United States. 1982: [A] large commercial airliner striking the reactor dome. Thousands of 113 . 2003: Washington. and to protect the enormous energy conglomerates from accountability.. But..Energy & “Homeland Security” (Originally written for Counterpunch.S.. bridges or dams. ** Mark Hertsgaard. would easily penetrate the reactor dome. obliterate the reactor core's primary containment thereby immediately releasing massive amounts of radiation into the atmosphere without any chance of evacuation.. The latest warning from the Homeland Security Department that al-Qaida may be plotting an attack is renewing calls for stricter security on cargo planes. the Bush administration is in fact failing disastrously at the practical job of keeping the American homeland safe from terrorist attacks. targets as nuclear plants. November 7. itself composed predominantly of energy industry insiders.. the Bush administration has substantially degraded “homeland security” since September 11 while facilitating a massive transfer of public and private wealth into the coffers of the energy industry. the administration is doing worse than nothing . In particular." Vanity Fair. leaving serious flaws in the nuclear-security system unrepaired. December 3. The department advised law enforcement officials Friday night of threats that terrorists may fly cargo planes from another country into such crucial U. Leon Laylagian of the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations security committee said the government must take air cargo security as seriously as it takes air passenger security. ** Argonne National Laboratory. November 2003: Over the past two years. for the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. "Nuclear Insecurity... Homeland Security spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said. Associated Press. pointing to the September 11 tragedy to justify much of its domestic and international political agenda. has cynically invoked (information) “security” to conceal this degradation of domestic security. it is silencing the very public servants who are trying to fix the problem before it is too late.

two years before he became eligible for his pension. eliminated the advantage of surprise.” and wholly shifted an extreme burden of proof onto whistleblowers. The Levernier story is emblematic of a Bush administration antagonism toward all whistleblowers. convert the containment dome itself into a bomb. to conceal backroom deals. author Mark Hertsgaard writes an account of Rich Levernier. ** Tale of a Professional (Government) Nuclear Terrorist In a recent article in Vanity Fair. The facilities failed to stop attackers in half the exercises. Levernier pushed aggressively to upgrade security at DOE for years. Department of Energy (DOE). Kaplan had overseen the transformation of the OSC from yet another toothless watchdog into an agency that was as relentless in pursuit of investigations as it was protective of its sources: especially whistleblowers.. the explosive force of jet fuel exploding inside the containment dome would.. and to marginalize--and sometimes even criminalize--insiders who speak their conscience.people would quickly perish and thousands more would perish over time. laser-tag commando attacks to test Department of Energy nuclear weapons facilities for six years prior to the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. it has declared virtual war on whistleblowers. Levernier coordinated mock-terrorist. Office of Special Counsel (OSC). Silencing the Witnesses In May 2003. the agency that investigates wrongdoing often reported by government whistleblowers." a standard that is more appropriately applied to court proceedings. The Project on Government Oversight called her tenure a "virtual revolution." Her efforts ran headlong into a heavily Republican Federal Circuit Court of Appeals that has shown an implacable hostility to government and business whistleblowers. Carl Levin (D-Mich. even when prior notice. a reluctant nuclear whistleblower who was fired after 22 years with the U. Sen.. Since this administration took office. That antagonism has vastly increased domestic vulnerability to attack. issued for safety reasons.) bristled that the Federal Circuit had “corrupted the intent of Congress” which had crafted the 1990 Whistleblower Protection Act to shield civil 114 . and was ignored until his persistence was rewarded with a job termination and cancellation of his security clearance.S. The court granted the government agencies themselves the “presumption of good faith..S. The Federal Circuit interpreted the whistleblower protection in a way that raised the bar for protection only to include whistleblowers whose information is "undeniable and incontestable. public and private. Special Counsel Elaine Kaplan and deputy Tim Hannapel simultaneously resigned from the U. The administration is deploying “homeland security” concerns as justification to shield Bush-friendly corporations from public security upgrade costs.

It repeals whistleblower protection for employees who report human rights violations. “Government agencies too often want to cover up their mistakes. in which the Bush administration managed to slip clauses that undermine previous regulatory law.servants from retaliation who spoke out about suspected waste. Whistleblower protections were excised from proposals for the Department of Homeland Security and the newly formed Transportation Security Administration (TSA). or neglect would be a primary concern encouraging open-door policies for whistleblowers. Kaplan left the agency. Now it might even be the entry to a jail cell. or falsify shareholder reports for companies with contracts for Iraqi oil commerce. The Bush administration began accelerated planning for agency consolidation within the Department of Homeland Security immediately in the wake of 9/11. When federal judicial hostility to whistleblowers was combined with the aggressive anti-whistleblower interventions of the Bush executive branch. He quotes Tim Edgar of the American Civil Liberties Union. Homeland Security (Village Voice. At the same time. this public oversight would have been summarily killed and even stating the location of one of the facilities no longer under public scrutiny would have become a felony.issued a call in 2002 to restore whistleblower protection to all jobs and contracts. 2003) details this bit of trickery. To his great credit. corruption. however. Among the first targets of the Bush administration. and from which he still receives a six-figure annual check. for which Dick Cheney was the Chief Executive Officer before taking office. Kaplan was deputy General Counsel to the National Treasury Employees Union until going to the OSC in 1998. of which the OSC is a part. after it declared the “war on terror. was the exit. by classifying data available to the public on hazardous emissions. Chief among these corporations is Halliburton. a department where one might assume that abuse. abuse. Nat Hentoff. April 18. mismanage accounting. This year Executive Order-13303 was issued. neglect. It is perhaps not surprising that prior to her appointment to the OSC. like the Clean Air Act. humorously called the Domestic Security and Enhancement Act. even if their motivation 115 . The door that opened.” were government employee unions. Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa -." In section 202 of Ashcroft's ploy.” said Grassley. Edgar told Hentoff that “government whistle-blowers who reveal any information restricted under this section commit a criminal offense. President George W. in Bush-Ashcroft vs.breaking ranks with many in his party -.” This was precisely Rich Levernier's intent when he became a nuclear gadfly: to overcome bureaucratic inertia that left weapons grade nuclear material vulnerable to theft. the information whistleblowers provide is all the more important when public safety and security is at stake. Bush and Vice President Cheney both have strong personal financial ties to energy companies. particularly the whistleblower protection clauses of their contracts. who points out that the Clean Air Act requires that "corporations that use potentially dangerous chemicals must prepare an analysis of consequences of the release of such chemicals to the surrounding communities. “and the temptation is even greater when bureaucracies can use a potential security issue as an excuse. Another egregious example of this pattern was the Ashcroft Justice Department's attempt to railroad Congress to accept Patriot Act II. and malfeasance.

In addition to the threat of intentional activations of these cesium-bombs for malicious motives. On September 11.. The results from a reactor core melt would be more acute. while the result of burning waste fuel would take longer to materialize. Nuclear power plants contain immense quantities of highly radioactive material. Lies.” Impartial security experts as well as 27 state attorneys general. would easily penetrate the reactor dome. This was a lie. when confronted from several quarters with information to the contrary.000 cancer deaths... Gordon Thompson. Thousands of people would quickly perish and thousands more would perish over time. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). As it turns out. the Argonne National Laboratory/NRC studied the question of the impact of a large commercial airliner in 1982. 116 . The nation's 103 nuclear power plants have packed the waste fuel from each reactor into water-filled cooling pools like sardines. which oversees security at all 103 nuclear power plants in the United States. accidental loss of cooling will also cause a pool fire. The primary beneficiaries of weakened clean air regulation are energy companies. and any one of them could be activated as a “Predeployed Radiological Weapon” (a term coined by Dr. which Brookhaven National Laboratory estimates could cause--depending on the location and conditions -. the NRC admitted that the statement was not true. 61-65) contradict the September 11 claim. Unfortunately. the U.. had the act passed (which it thankfully did not). and the putative Nuclear Regulatory Commission has its leadership appointed by people who win elections with generous contributions from the very utilities that continue to gamble with public safety to protect profit margins. obliterate the reactor core's primary containment thereby immediately releasing massive amounts of radiation into the atmosphere without any chance of evacuation. are already located near large urban centers. This nightmare scenario can be rendered moot by simply re-racking these waste fuel assemblies back to the original design distance.was to protect the public from corporate wrongdoing or government neglect. now agree that the spent fuel pools at nuclear plants present an equally devastating and far more easily accessible target than the reactors. Damn Lies.. 2001. “[A] large commercial airliner striking the reactor dome. would have done nothing to increase public security. a nuclear security expert). Ten days later. Their own results (published as NUREG/CR-[REDACTED] pp. but both scenarios are unthinkable. issued a public statement that nuclear power plants were designed to sustain an aircraft attack like those that had just destroyed the World Trade towers..S. and contamination of thousands of square miles..” This clause of the Domestic Security and Enhancement Act. $500 billion in off-site property damage. where air convection can prevent selfignition. convert the containment dome itself into a bomb. the explosive force of jet fuel exploding inside the containment dome would.. its clear intent being to wrap a cloak of secrecy around corporate patrons to enable maximization of profits while neglecting public safety and health.up to 140. and 103 Dirty Bombs A May 2003 report from North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network reveals that there are nuclear facilities with far less protection than nuclear weapons plants. few elected officials want to confront the nation's powerful utilities about their irresponsible behavior.

McGaffigan told Lochbaum that the NRC opted not to rebut the EPRI study because it might “call al Qaeda's attention to soft spots. and that the NRC attacked the Princeton study because it was “overstated. McGaffigan admitted that the NRC deliberately stood back while the EPRI falsifications were propagated by the industry. had been considering the possibility of just such an attack since 1994.S. including the NRC. as we were to find out in 2001. while admitting that an aircraft could destroy a nuclear plant after all. that nuclear plants could withstand aerial suicide attack. And yet again. when a study developed at Princeton showed the vulnerability of spent fuel pools to attack and its consequences. In a recent exchange of correspondence with Union of Concerned Scientists nuclear safety engineer David Lochbaum. Lochbaum. At around the same time. was recanted and replaced with yet another lie. Why did this commission try to discredit a scientifically valid report and simultaneously stand by while the industry repeated the dangerous EPRI deception to the public? McGaffigan claimed to Lochbaum that the NRC had publicly criticized the EPRI study. had been strongly validated in Princeton's peer review process. nuclear industry. issued a report purporting to show that nuclear plants would withstand a suicide pilot attack. the NRC made a conscious choice not to impose this financial hardship on the U. the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). a nuclear industry public relations consortium. 117 . Black Hats & Cruise Missiles While European nuclear plants began in the eighties to harden their own plants-especially spent fuel storage--against aircraft crashes. Nor did McGaffigan or the NRC even once take the nuclear utilities to account for repeating the false conclusions of the EPRI study in public in order to rebut community concerns about nuclear risks.The NRC's September 11 lie. Neither McGaffigan nor the NRC criticized this report that was quickly exposed by the scientific community and the media as little more than a fraud. Commissioner McGaffigan told at least one lie during his exchange with Lochbaum. the federal government. accidental or intentional. Commissioner Ed McGaffigan of the NRC issued a memorandum to his staff directing them to discredit the study. responding to the Department of Homeland security alert that al Qaeda might be planning to hijack cargo planes to hit nuclear plants.” In fact. not to review the study to determine its merits and weaknesses.” That study. On September 21.” Yet in the same breath. In Spring of 2003. but this writer has searched in vain for a single instance of this alleged criticism. but to “discredit it deeply. in fact. confronted McGaffigan with the contradictory reaction of the NRC. the NRC spokesperson said that the nuclear industry was unprepared for this contingency because “nobody conceived of this kind of assault. Later asymmetric warriors corrected that deficiency. McGaffigan claimed that this “lost” criticism was issued to acknowledge weaknesses in nuclear plants.” Either the NRC publicly criticized the EPRI study or it did not. “security” was cited as a reason for reducing public accountability and sustaining inaction. after the Algerian “Armed Islamic Group” hijacked an Air France plane with the intention of flying it into the Eiffel Tower – a plot that was foiled because none of the hijackers knew how to pilot a plane.

a trained and committed force of fewer than ten people. invariably near urban centers. even though as early as 1982 the agency acknowledged a crash could convert a nuclear plant into a hellish catastrophe. the Associated Press reported that the U. NRC Chairman Richard Meserve claimed after 9/11 that the risk of attack at power plants was “too speculative” to warrant upgrading the DBT. Nuclear weapons sites are given a far higher level of protection than commercial power plants. Nuclear power plant security personnel are barely trained above the level of mall security guards.1 What the Department of Homeland Security apparently has not figured out is that it is likewise not necessary for attackers to hijack airplanes outside the country to activate 1 For the record.The basis upon which the NRC evaluates the security posture of a nuclear power plant is something called the Design Basis Threat (DBT). Of course. The NRC failed to upgrade the DBT to include an aircraft attack after the 1994 Algerian hijacking. Apparently “al Qaeda” figured out that there is no need to transport a radiological weapon into the United States. could breach the security of a U. was forced by public pressure to act. I do not believe there is such an organization as al Qaeda. 2003. and power plants cannot employ (as weapons facilities can) relaxed standards regulating the use of deadly force. it is safe to assume that the DBT of three terrestrial attackers for commercial power plants was inadequate. This seems to infer that the federal government. But the NRC did so grudgingly. and if faced with a determined attack they would likely “run like hell. Nuclear weapons facilities have SWAT-like teams and far more robust external barrier and sensor systems. who are all ex-military. and given that Levernier's “black hat” mock terrorist teams. Bush administration NRC Chair Nils Diaz. When surveyed. but readers may miss the fact that my tongue is sometimes resting against my cheek. is using post-9/11 security-state measures to preserve and protect private sector negligence. and the minimal changes in the DBT (reportedly from three attackers to five) are now classified and unavailable to the very public whose safety is at stake.or both. with nothing more than what they could carry on their backs.” Given that September 11 involved a minimum of 19 attackers. The alarming fact is that in the real world--with the element of surprise that actual attackers would have -. The DBT for attack that it continued to use was a scenario where only three armed intruders on foot attempted to gain access to the plant.S. nuclear power plant almost one hundred percent of the time and demolish either the spent fuel pools or the reactor -. a scenario upon which all security mandates are predicated. when 103 of them are already deployed around the country. far from enhancing the physical security of people in the United States. some of these personnel have openly stated that if they are out-gunned. the NRC has altogether refused to include any one of various air attacks in the revised DBT. -SG 118 . Department of Homeland Security had information that led it to believe elements of the al Qaeda network were planning to hijack cargo aircraft outside the United States and fly them into nuclear power plants.S. Nuclear power plants are not authorized to use (as nuclear weapons facilities do) automatic weapons. On November 7. who replaced Meserve in 2003. a career expert in testing the defenses of nuclear weapons facilities. used teams of ten or more people who succeeded in stealing weapons grade material from the more heavily guarded nuclear weapons facilities in half of the canned exercises. This brings us back to the story of Rich Levernier. as I have explained elsewhere.

This would be consistent with a longstanding NRC tendency to prioritize the financial health of nuclear utilities above all other concerns. Cursory research shows that the most common light aircraft in the United States is the Cessna Skyhawk. .” The GAO pointed out that: . stating not only that the system was inadequate to ensure genuine security. the NRC's force-on-force exercises are completely unrealistic. and likewise can hug the contours of the earth to evade radar and deliver its payload with pinpoint accuracy.” (italics added) 119 . evade radar. the GAO recently released a sharp criticism of the NRC’s nuclear power plant security program. can carry a payload up to 675 pounds. Richard Meserve. These formerly documented lapses are simply no longer written down. travel to a range of 600 miles. the chairman of the NRC after 9/11.” The U.” The latter problem is particularly troubling. . including public safety.the huge “dirty bombs. but that “aspects of its security inspection program reduced NRC’s effectiveness in overseeing protection of the nation's plants.S. That is an average of 14 aircraft a year. In response to criticisms that the NRC is loosening oversight just at the moment when tighter control is called for. General Accounting Office (GAO) released a report in September 2003 that showed 70 general aviation aircraft had been stolen inside the United States within the last five years. Cooking the Books The “non-cited violation” is among several changes that the NRC has implemented in the reporting of security and safety compliance failures by nuclear utilities. NRC inspectors (whose numbers have been dramatically reduced by the Bush administration) now classify many security lapses as “non-cited violations.000 pounds of high explosive onto a target. A Tomahawk Cruise Missile is a precision weapon that can hug the earth. we back off. These changes have consistently resulted in fewer industry violations being reported without any actual improvement in security performance by the utilities. It is logical to assume then that minimizing the numbers of violations reported is the actual intended goal of NRC procedure. claimed loosened regulations were merely “better analytical tools” that let the NRC “assess the risks and make judgments in a more precise way than we were before. the NRC had no centralized system to upgrade industry security.” In a different report. with the simple addition of a committed pilot prepared to die and 500 pounds of high explosive with a simple impact-detonation device. and deliver up to 1. These general aviation aircraft then. And where we believe things were overly conservative and unnecessary or imposing an undue burden. could be employed as a “poor person's Cruise missile. These are small planes at short-takeoff-and-landing (STOL) airfields. A Cessna Skyhawk has a range of 687 miles. because it gives credence to the suspicion (alluded to above) that understating the threat at nuclear plants is the intent of the NRC.

EMS.It is very difficult to understand how (1) muzzling whistleblowers. and fire departments have been subtracted from net manpower. The Joseph Wilson case demonstrated the lengths to which this administration will go to punish any government employee who dares to tell the truth if it has embarrassment potential. the plants failed the exercises 46% of the time. California burned. has actually been degraded under the pretext of “homeland security. the utilities hire security-training consultants and additional guards to improve their security posture and chances of success. in which some guards were worked in repeated 14hour shifts. not more secure. government point to serious flaws in our current security posture. reservists who worked in local police.” Even with this massive and artificial preparation. Rather than increase the security of people inside the United States. so is the notion that perpetual war soemhow improves security. Even a nuclear industry representative acknowledged that utilities spend 'millions of dollars' getting ready for the tests. is bureaucratic obfuscation. particularly nuclear power utilities. aside from breeding millions of new enemies with international arrogance and lethal military provocations. state and local emergency services budgets have been stripped bare. they are not rewarded with bonuses and promotions and their insight acted upon to correct the flaws. National Guard troops have been sent to Iraq.” A recent Project on Government Oversight (POGO) study of mock attack evaluations at nuclear plants showed that “in the months leading up to a mock attack test. Perhaps the most substantial threat to U. Homeland Insecurity When whistleblowers in the U. The Bush administration has been more ruthless than any executive branch since the McCarthy era at punishing them and railroading them out of government service. Wilson exposed the Niger uranium deception that was used to further justify the invasion of Iraq. was a CIA agent. the entire northeast was blacked out. As an insider.” Then again.S. and most paradoxically security against attack. Since September 11. domestic security. This exposure forced her to be brought in from the field and permanently demolished any chance she can ever again operate in her former capacity. I saw the things that weren't being done. (2) concealing security criteria from public scrutiny and accountability. This has led to a situation in which public health and safety. and Iraqis are more and more often naming their newborns Saddam. ironically enough. 120 . children across Southwest Asia and North Africa wear Osama bin Laden t-shirts. “They're making us less secure. from regulatory mandates that would heighten safety and security measures. specializing in weapons of mass destruction.S. this administration has used 9/11 as a pretext for imposing secrecy – under the guise of national security – to protect capitalist accumulation. A “White House official” (probably Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff “Scooter” Libby) retaliated against Wilson by telling the press that Wilson's wife. and (3) “backing off” on reporting security violations are consistent with this administration's rhetoric about “homeland security.” White House counter-terrorism advisor Rand Beers resigned in disgust with the administration in March saying. Valerie Plame.

that nuclear energy is cheaper.” The real nuclear power story however is the Bush “Energy Transition Advisory Team” (ETAT).8 cent per kilowatt-hour nuclear production tax credit that could cost taxpayers over $7. with a 121 .” Newsweek opined in May 2001. led by Joe Colvin. along with the petroleum sector. “This dumbed-down test cannot offer any assurances of adequate security. “It appears to me.” In a rational system. They run it. Lay was quietly eased aside after the huge energy trading company was exposed as one of the biggest criminal enterprises in history. and cleaner than all fossil energy (it is none of these). On Saturday night.” Thirty-four of the 48 members of the ETAT gave personal campaign contributions to the Bush presidential campaign. It is little wonder that nuclear utilities (all of which are also coal utilities). safer. and 14 of them are from nuclear utilities. The NRC.POGO executive director Danielle Brian commented. have done so well under the Bush administration.” The Bush administration's public relations people have spun out a series of Orwellian narratives implying that the energy needs of American society are synonymous with the financial imperatives of the huge holding companies that now own most public utilities. the regulators (NRC) would be grateful to those who pointed out this serious security flaw. “Not since the rise of the railroads more than a century ago has a single industry [energy] placed so many foot soldiers at the top of a new administration. “Bush is so close to the nuclear industry that when you turn off the lights he glows in the dark. CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute.5 billion. “we have the [energy] industry directing policy. It has 48 members. Nevada Senator Richard Bryan said. November 15. and even reward them for creating the opportunity to correct it before a tragedy occurred. directed them to retract publication of a letter to NRC Chairman Nils Diaz that outlined POGO's security concerns. Stacking the Energy Deck The Natural Resources Defense Council called the Bush cabinet an “Energy Industry Dream Team. Previously existing subsidies and public support of nuclear energy amounts to almost $4 billion a year now. Kenneth Lay. and one that wiped out the life savings of tens of thousands of people. however. Nevada Representative Shelley Berkley said that the ETAT “reads like the who's who of the nuclear power industry.” quipped Senator Harry Reid of Nevada. the Bush administration secretly slipped new provisions into their execrable so-called Energy Bill that included a 1. claiming POGO was violating security.” Bush administration perks for energy companies are hardly surprising when the Bush cabinet and the contributors to the Bush 2000 election campaign are taken into account. On the Bush administration's coziness with the nuclear power industry. 2003. One top member who was the biggest single contributor to the Bush campaign was then-CEO of Enron. and that emotional rhetoric about homeland security somehow suggests that this is an administration that is showing a genuine material commitment to public safety. according to the Nuclear Information Resource Service.

precisely because there is such a glaring mismatch between word and deed coming out of Washington. a smokestack. or that nuclear bomb material could fall into terrorist hands. This monograph has attempted to show the connection between putative national security measures and what appears to be a massive assault on environmental. and the emblazoned red. is one of the most egregious instances of social and environmental vandalism in memory. and bunker in the dry storage modules remains a high priority.” Their corporate logo could be a giant Panopticon eye in the background with an oil well. when subjected to close scrutiny. and this is a tremendous political vulnerability of the Bush administration policies. consumer advocates. and the symbiotic relationship between this administration and the private energy sector. corporate welfare opponents. So much for those who argue that we should abolish the state! The issue of nuclear risk reduction is embedded in the framework of a much larger question about the whole Bush energy agenda. they could well change their name from the Bush administration to “Bush-Cheney-Ashcroft. even for those who want to decommission all nuclear power facilities. safety. Given the administration's penchant for demonizing opponents of its domestic andor foreign policies. heighten security. including the scapegoat roundups of thousands of immigrants without due cause.cumulative total of $140 billion since the industry began. “Apparently the Bush Administration only upholds free market principles when it isn't inconvenient for their campaign contributors. health. and security oversight any time genuine oversight threatens the expansion of already-substantial energy sector profits. and “repeal a ban on exporting highly enriched uranium to other countries.” said Folker. nuclear watchdogs. and a cooling tower in the foreground. That agenda. labor unions. The same people who call these racist roundups an issue of homeland security willingly deploy the pretext of national security to erase corporate accountability and even to criminalize truth-tellers on behalf of private companies. The stakes are incredibly high on many accounts. NIRS spokesperson Cindy Folkers sardonically remarked. white. anti-sprawl 122 . increasing the chances that nuclear reactors could be hit by terrorists. The immediate concern must be plain security. the waste material must be secured for many generations. Inc. and blue motto: Patriotism For Profit! Public Safety for Sale! A starting point in any campaign to reverse the dangerous direction of domestic and foreign policy with regard to energy is to continue to confront the most dangerous and expensive form of that energy: nuclear power.” But the most remarkable aspect of the new provisions is that they gut terrorism protection provisions written in the original House-passed bill. thin the spent fuel pools. So the fight to harden nuclear power facilities. This is an administration that has shown an alarming willingness to use national security as a pretext for going after its political enemies and undermining constitutional protections. making nuclear generated electricity the most expensive in existence. campaign finance reformers. Environmentalists. civil libertarians. Conclusion The first step toward understanding what this administration is doing is to connect the energy-security nexus dots. Whether plants are running or not.

a founding member of the International Association of Energy Economists. to protect the public from this increasing hostility. We might have learned something about international provocation. The Bush-Cheney-Ashcroft Homeland Energy Plan was a disaster in the making.activists." One wonders whether he was staring into a crystal ball. "Energy . Four years later. bureaucratic complacency. behind a veil of official secrecy. fuel efficiency advocates. transportation reformers. is certainly linked to. the Bush administration's symbiotic relationship with energy profiteers at home is lowering our ability. those who want genuine domestic security. 2001. military adventure or environmental catastrophe that we are forced to witness almost any day.. committed. and dangerously sophisticated nonstate actors. war. and many other organizations and advocates share a common interest in fighting back against this so-called energy plan when it is inevitably resurrected. It needs a stake driven through its heart. Early in the morning of September 11. Meanwhile. public health advocates.. 123 . or behind almost any international event. This administration apparently has not. and political arrogance. crisis. the Bush administration's energy wars have destabilized the globe and husbanded a proliferation of hostile. 19 men boarded airplanes as people who worked at the World Trade Center reported in for an average day. Andrew McKillop. never considering that history was about to lethally converge on them. said in 1998.

The Helicobacter discovery process is interesting because it was an accident. and Fox. They structure what we can know. So is North Carolina. Entire medical protocols. Identifying some of the illusions about this so-called aftermath. a colony of Helicobacter pylori had grown out. I lived inside another political boundary – Wake County.” 124 . and applying unfamiliar ways of understanding it. North Carolina. Hardly part of our daily discourse. however. The reverberations from Hurricane Katrina (and Rita in its wake) are too numerous to know or name. Marshall and Warren gazed at the critter long enough to imprint its microscopic morphology into their own neural pathways. Three years ago. had been developed and deployed based on this false belief. and meanings extolled in our usual chatter don’t just structure what we do know. This is not a constant. symbols. Stress management cannot treat ulcers effectively. The categories. MSNBC. The stress ulcer proved to be no more valid than the Medieval European certainty about “humors” or the persistent New Age confidence in astrology.” Exterminism I live in Raleigh. You’re going to give yourself ulcers.” Even though Australian pathologists Barry Marshall and Robin Warren have just won the Nobel Prize in medicine for their discovery (20 years ago!) that ulcers are not caused by stress at all. the most significant lesson here is that we need new language if we are to think about things in new ways. and then noticed that the same curly creature was present every time they studied inflamed gastric tissue. That didn’t stop anyone from treating ulcers ineffectively for decades. but outside Raleigh. For me. I did not move inside the boundary of Raleigh. Raleigh is a transient political boundary. When he came back.Exterminism and the World in the Wake of Katrina (Originally published in From The Wilderness. September 2005) Helicobacter pylori. The Aftermath is better understood when we learn to say “exterminism. it moved over me. as well as entire lines of symptom-amelioration pharmaceuticals and commercialized stressmanagement schemes. Ulcers are better understood when we learn to say Helicobacter pylori. but by a bacterium with the Latinate name at the beginning of this commentary. Not only does the popular belief persist that ulcers are brought about by “stress. “Stop worrying. will put us on ground high enough to see over the puerile nonsense we hear from the oral formulaic news models of CNN.” the medical community itself resisted this discovery for years. Marshall was tired before Easter weekend in 1982. We were “annexed. Two morals to this story are (1) that our most treasured and erroneous beliefs are often based on unexamined and widely-accepted premises and (2) that the law of unintended consequences can be our friend if we retain a healthy skepticism about our premises and prepare to follow-up on new information. He forgot to wash out a Petri dish at the lab. is it? But all of us have given and received the popular wisdom.

He called me on his cell phone. but the scale of this was different. There are orange plastic ribbons tied to the trees that remain in the shrinking ribbons of forest that were bypassed by the bulldozers to mark the paths of the bulldozers to come. fifteen minutes of pain and fear. We don’t have the capacity to know how to think about this misery and terror… times millions. No one intentionally killed the deer or the beaver. Internalities & Externalities “Progress. when I first moved to where I live now. The annexation happened on schedule. When I first moved here. the soil graded into flat terraces by giant diesel-powered machines. Just weeks ago. The shock of the car hitting her. where I saw a dead beaver – run over by a car. by hundreds of millions of people every day. Exterminism is the final stage of imperialism. My oldest son and I used to walk in the woods past our cul-de-sac. a Super WalMart . The trees were toppled.22 target pistol. we sat quietly long enough for a beaver and two of her kittens to come paddling up that stream. Much of the world routinely lives in conditions as dire as Katrina’s deadly wake. whereupon they disappeared into a den that we hadn’t noticed before. Rain frequently drives worms aboveground for the robins. The shot must have nicked the spinal cord because her neck momentarily convulsed around as if she were trying to reach up into a thicket for a morsel before she convulsed and lay still. a monster strip mall. and hundreds of new Masonite houses with vegetation purchased from the Lowes’ and Home Depot’s Garden Departments. as I strolled on the asphalt walking trail in my neighborhood and along the concrete sidewalks. lying in a ditch completely conscious and terrified. For several weeks one late Spring. where they would be picked off by gluttonous robins or left to shrivel and harden into curly fries under the next sun. I suspect a landscaping chemical. 125 . my younger son. She died instantly. distressed because the deer was alive with two obviously broken legs. and there was a stream there. observed a hit and run near that knocked a young doe off the road. A worm die-off. Exterminism is this process writ large – writ worldwide.” and it has to “grow” to increase tax revenue. One day. We don’t have the willingness to think about what it is like to die slowly.” or “growth” chews threw the world like a feral pig – just as it chewed through the forest around my house. I drove out to where he was and put his and the deer’s minds at ease the only way I knew how – I shot her in the head with a . Raleigh needs to increase tax revenue to promote “growth. Now we have an industrial park. there were orange plastic ribbons tied onto the trees. They marked future streets for future subdivisions and for commercial lots. But such is the world. Compared to those who drowned in their own homes during Hurricane Katrina. Jeremy. trapped in a sweltering attic with putrid floodwaters climbing at us. I lived in a neighborhood surrounded by a deciduous forest. Katrina exposed us to images of misery and fear – unique to us. but I can’t know for sure. I saw another curious thing. Throughout the woods. thousands and thousands of earthworms emerged after each rain and crawled out onto the sidewalks in writhing masses. and last year I was driving down a new road near the stream.Seven years ago. this little doe actually had a merciful death. then the relief of death. just as 9-11 was – that are experienced by millions. Their deaths were simply a by-product… a statistical probability… the collateral damage of a social system reproducing itself.

in other words. Ecocide – a terrifying danger often ignored on the left and right – permanent war. describes “those characteristics of a society expressed. The Big Not-So-Easy The Port of New Orleans is central to the world’s busiest port complex – the Lower 126 . War and neglect are two faces of exterminism. the tacit or open acceptance of the necessity for mass exterminations or die-offs (often beginning with mass displacements) as the price for continued accumulation and the political dominance of a ruling class. malnutrition . and eventual death as part of its inexorable logic. This goes well beyond shopkeeper logic. Exterminism was first proposed – as close as I can determine from cursory research – by Edward Thompson in 1980. and the twin-tendencies of expanding technological mass and urbanization. Imperialism is not merely the oppression and control of nation by nation. It is a system of inter-dependency in a very specific form – of capitalism.We cannot know the true meanings of Katrina in the familiar language of the Imperium. its polity and its ideology – which thrust it in a direction whose outcome must be the extermination of multitudes. Louisiana. It requires the plunder of nation by nation. with the spectacle of people starving and dehydrated on flood-besieged rooftops while a smiling George W.” Must be… as in “inevitable within the system. and we cannot link Katrina to either ecocide or the seemingly maniacal devotion of the neocons to the Iraqi bloodbath by simply comparing the costs of Katrina and the costs of the war. and “natural” disasters… and frequently facilitated by economic isolation and the mass displacement of populations. the last stage of civilization. This is what we saw on a relatively small scale. many in the US – whether they will say it aloud or not – find this African dieoff perfectly acceptable. Refusal to intervene in the AIDS crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa is equally an expression of exterminism. are intimately and structurally related. In fact. There is no ideal and universal form of capitalism but only transient forms. bounded by changing externalities and driven by changing internalities. Today’s form is both imperial and exterminist. the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. The internalities include the tendencies within the capital accumulation regime – the tendency of population to grow as part of the expansion of capital. mass neglect. characterized by offensive action against whole populations. and the malignant neglect of Katrina’s victims. even if we did not know it. Bush cut a birthday cake for a smiling John McCain. The externalities include resource limitations and the laws of thermodynamics. Exterminism is not totally. within its economy. but frequently accomplished by calculated neglect – the instruments of which are poverty. in differing degrees. and are dramatically determined by how we consume of fossil hydrocarbons. and it necessitates mass displacement.” Exterminism. Iraq to New Orleans. The results of interaction between externalities and internalities can be seen from Tal Afar. or even most often. according to Thompson. “Shock and Awe” doctrine is an expression of exterminism. in which he wrote an essay for New Left Review called “Notes on exterminism. disease. This is what we don’t see – because it is not displayed in our cultural production – in the wasting away of tens of millions with HIV-AIDS in Africa.” It is.

and the continued demand from industrial metropoles like the United States. containers. In January 2004. and sold constitutes an internality. it doesn’t take a rocket scientist. Internally. exploiting two-thirds of them beyond their capacity. This “externalizing” is not the same as an externality. have laid waste to the world’s fisheries. it is not overstating the case to say that the world is in the early stages of a steel famine. refined. that Hurricane Rita barely missed. In the “reconstruction” of New Orleans. PCBs. By-catch is environmental exterminsm. weakening the overall structures. contrary to the pure free-market ideology. and less so but significantly India. to understand that iron is a finite resource. steel for corporate office buildings. refers to the material world and its processes outside the direct gaze of economic activity. the direct outcome of capitalist competition in the fishing industry. Throw the rest overboard. to oil production.Mississippi River. to ensure their expansion and profitability. plywood. In the aggregate. It is at the terminus of 14. and development. Galveston Bay. that the mining and smelting and forging of steel depend on tremendous inputs of fossil hydrocarbons – steel for cars. As the resources are depleted. The interactions between externality and internality can be measured in numerous ways – from steel shortages. natural rubber. The coastal wetlands that are critical to ocean habitats are being destroyed at a rate of 20. In the last 10 years.000 acres a year. writing for the New Yorker (“Atchafalaya”) on September 12. research. have killed plant life and contaminated fish. steel for ships. and the percolation of heavy metals. who will be the by-catch? Coastal development. but the problem then became the build-up of silt on the high-water side of the levees. the government has invested almost half a billion dollars in this facility to “externalize” the costs of the corporations who reap the profits passing through this port. Kill everything. It is also the import point for most of the nation’s imported steel. the strongest will lay claim to the remainder and let the rest shrivel and die if necessary.” It might be called Africanization. and other toxins. to climate-change weather patterns… the list of indices is very long. agricultural runoff (mostly petrochemicals). Exterminism has a seagull ethic… but these gulls have only a pond and not an ocean. Hydrocarbon-powered super trawlers. 127 . demand for steel was on a rocket-like rise based on the rapid industrialization of China. It means that public funds are provided to capitalist enterprises via critical infrastructure. The social process that determines how it is extracted.500-mile inland waterway system for the export transshipment of steel. It is the only deepwater port in the US connecting to six class one railheads. business journals were abuzz with the news that steel prices had risen 66% in six months because of a global shortage. Externally. and coffee. on the other hand. 2005. has already lost over 90% of its sea grass from pollution. steel for weapons. as they say. This worked. tropical produce. Take what you want. John McFee. toppling coral reefs with their drag nets. There is also human “by-catch. grain. which required periodic additions to the tops of the levees. Externalities. and wrecked entire ecosystems by killing “by-catch” – non-saleable sea life that is simply thrown overboard. The levees in and around New Orleans were built originally to keep the port clear of silt. It must also be noted. to fishing harvests. and not incidentally. and manufactured goods. The quantity and disposition of the earth’s remaining oil is an externality.

because the swamp is higher than the land outside the levees. It has devastated twenty-four thousand acres of wetlands. tearing up landscape made weak by the confinement of the river. As sediments slide down the continental slope and the river is prevented from building a proper lobe – as the delta plain subsides and is not replenished – erosion eats into the coastal marshes. A hundred years hence. and they erode the region from the inside. “The coast is sinking out of sight. causing the largest river swamp in North America to appear to be the world’s largest prison.” a Corps engineer remarked to me one day. In the nineteenfifties. having eroded laterally for twenty-five years. Exterminism does not recognize the precautionary principle. a fort was built about a thousand feet from a saltwater bay east of New Orleans. the swamp elevations are building up. In the middle of the nineteenth century. The threat of destruction from the south is even greater than the threat from the north. and has built concrete floodwalls along the tops of the levees. The Corps has been obliged to deal with this fact by completing the ring of levees around New Orleans. Go. and quantities of Louisiana steadily disappear. is as much as three times its original width. A mile of marsh will reduce a coastal-storm-surge wave by about one inch.noted: “You put five feet on and three feet sink. The people of Acadiana say that the swamp would be the safest place in which to seek refuge in a major flood. fifty inches of additional water will inevitably surge. Plaquemines Parish is coming to pieces like old rotted cloth. In a hundred years. after Louisiana had been made nervous by the St. and shipping has largely ignored it. After the canals are dredged. A typical three-hundred-foot oil-and-gas canal will be six hundred feet wide in five years. Gradually. The net loss is over fifty square miles a year. “We’ve reversed Mother Nature. but silt. of course. replacing them with open water.” Oliver Houck has said. Mr. a shipping canal that saves forty miles by traversing marsh country straight from New Orleans to the Gulf. The fort is now collapsing into the bay. There are in Louisiana ten thousand miles of canals. Sow the Wind and Reap the Whirlwind 128 . so the Corps has given up trying to fight the subsidence there with earth movers alone.” Hurricanes greatly advance the coastal erosion process. Lawrence Seaway. no Terrebonne Parish. This is especially true of the levees that frame the Atchafalaya swamp. their width increases on its own. The canal is known as Mr. Go. It keeps in not only water. there will in all likelihood be no Plaquemines Parish. Louisiana as a whole has decreased by a million acres. the Corps of Engineers built the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet. Such losses are being accelerated by access canals to the sites of oil and gas wells. thus creating New Avignon. a walled medieval city accessed by an interstate that jumps over the walls. Where fifty miles of marsh are gone.

the only direction is down. We have allowed market forces (the valorization of capital under competitive pressure) to design our entire society in ways that trap thousands inside New Orleans during a storm.8 billion. and not surprisingly annual carbon emissions into the atmosphere have increased from 3. Latinos. In that same period. and China. That number now is around 800 million. and Native Americans). India. oil extraction has gone from 46 million barrels a day to around 80 million. two major events are now coinciding that combine externality and internality: Peak oil and global warming. Saudi Arabia – the world’s largest oil patch – reluctantly announced that it could not increase production sufficiently to offset the losses.9 million metric tons to 6. almost 8 billion tons of pollutants are now released annually in the US (disproportionately onto the communities of African Americans. air traffic has multiplied by six. melting the iconic snowcap on Mount Kilimanjaro. half of the coastal areas in the US were declared unfit for swimming or fishing.By all economically disinterested accounts. raising the temperature of 129 . The accelerated burning of fossil hydrocarbons to fuel capitalist expansion has expanded humanity itself to almost 7 billions souls and parked us at a tunnel on the top of a mountain – the Hubbert peak of oil extraction – and in the process re-injected enough of the carbon that was captured inside the earth to abruptly (in geological time) raise the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere. he publishes an interesting list of figures. This is the third time in the last two years that Saudi Arabia has made excuses for not raising production.4 million. and that Saudi Arabia itself may have already peaked… meaning that the world has passed its Hubbert peak and will go into permanent decline in the face increasing demand from the US. In 1972. That doesn’t sound like much. Matthew Simmons. Joel Kovel.” In the same book. But what this degree has done is begin melting the permafrost. For a “dematerialized” economy. On the other side of this tunnel. calls the United States “Automobilia. the United States certainly needs a lot of that material oil. and the road is very. Our whole society is now developed around the private automobile – the colossal stupidity of which will astonish future historians for centuries. the earth was home to around 250 million automobiles. and that will trap millions in the unsustainable suburbs of the not-toodistant future. very rough. the hole in the atmospheric ozone over Antarctica opened to half the size of the continental Untied States. In the same period. This is externality and internality pressing in contrary directions like the two faces of the San Andreas Fault. fish harvests doubled. author of The Enemy of Nature. the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere rose one degree Fahrenheit. half the wetlands were destroyed. tree harvesting (the cutting down of carbon buffers and oxygen producers) has more than doubled (destroying approximately half the remaining forests of the word). natural gas extraction from 34 trillion cubic feet per year to 95 trillion. when Earth Day was first declared. energy investor and author of Twilight in the Desert – The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy – who actually served on Cheney’s energy panel (but who is now the equivalent of Benedict Arnold… or Joseph Wilson) – has been warning that Saudi production projections (which Hubbert advocates said would push Saudi’s peak production past 2012) are inflated. 40% of agricultural soil was degraded. coal extraction from 2. In the wake of Katrina and the damage it inflicted on US oil platforms and refineries. since we see fluctuations of one degree in our personal lives every few minutes. and in the face of Western Europe’s near total dependency on oil imports.2 billion metric tons annually to 3.

Clair calls it in Grand Theft Pentagon – “capitalism’s last utopia. but a kind of financial-military bacchanalia before the end. This declaration of aristocratic nihilism – allegedly uttered by Louis XV – seems particularly fitting in the wake of the US state’s response to post-Katrina New Orleans. To do that we have to look at what is in that water. Although we cannot say at present whether more or fewer hurricane will occur in the future with global warming. and the deliberate decision to sacrifice as many as are necessary to perpetuate that class’ power. at what has happened to it. in fact. From the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University: The strongest hurricanes in the present climate may be upstaged by even more intense hurricanes over the next century as the earth's climate is warmed by increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. as it turns out.the oceans… the effects have been well documented. We don’t normally put these emergencies together with the documentation of 112 marine species since the 1700’s and 16 marine extinctions since 1972. marks a nihilist utopia. 28 Days Later – “extremely fucking nigh. perched in their redoubt. surrounded by the furious unwashed in the final days… an après moi. It is the recognition by the ruling class that there are now too few “resources” (note how this term removes these things from the web of life) to support the valorization of capital through development of all human society. the flood).” This utopia is the utopia of the few.” Exterminism. le deluge (after me. the hurricanes that do occur near the end of the 21st century are expected to be stronger and have significantly more intense rainfall than under present day climate conditions. This expectation is based on an anticipated enhancement of energy available to the storms due to higher tropical sea surface temperatures. This is not a general utopia wrought by capitalism.” a toxic corridor between Baton Rouge and New Orleans – peopled by the mostly-Black poor who 130 . In this steady accumulation of contradictory forces. le deluge variety of utopia in which the rich devour everything then let future generations suffer “the flood. the Almighty Market – with its field of vision no longer than the next business cycle (or even the next online trade) – fuels the inertia of this runaway train and produces the dog-eat-dog evacuation plan that strands the flooded poor atop their roofs or dying in their attics. The biosphere is collateral damage. It was also referred to as “Cancer Alley. The increased water temperature and slight elevation in sea level that fed energy into and ramped up the landfall of Hurricane Katrina. which is – as the graffiti said in the biological-apocalypse film. It is – as Jeffrey St. external and internal. Here we will talk about only one effect. The philosophy of exterminism is après moi. and at how the Market determines that those people on the roofs are mere “by-catch.” This is the essence of exterminism – which accepts massive displacements and die-offs of human beings and of whole sections of the biosphere.” The Loop Many have forgotten – if they ever knew – that this region of Louisiana was not known just for jazz and crawfish etouffee.

and soon. as energy is scarce anyway (the wound was incurred at the onset of what will soon become a global energy famine). nations as “organisms” do this very well. However. Think of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast as a gaping wound in the national body. has been severely damaged. 2004)]. rebuilding will proceed in the context of a national economy that is crippled and perhaps mortally wounded. Thus it seems likely that the available energy may not be sufficient to overcome the entropy that has been introduced. New Orleans will be rebuilt. When Hurricane Katrina leapt ashore. But in this case the timing is bad. it treats subjugated nations themselves as toxic waste dumps. along with the accumulated poison of the Mississippi Valley’s nitrosominic industrial agriculture folded into the levee-bound silt. export the bad stuff. In ordinary times. it took this toxic effluvia. and people will desperately want to return to their homes. this port is the only one in the United States that is designed to accept the great oil supertankers from the Persian Gulf. and the site of the wound couldn’t be worse: it is in the part of the national body through which much of its energy enters (the region is home to half the nation’s refining capacity and almost 30% of production). rather than being contained and eliminated.” or Louisiana Offshore Oil Port. and the port needs a city to support and service it.” writes Richard Heinberg [The Party's Over: Oil. 2003) and Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World (New Society. a wound is like an intrusion of entropy within the system. Toxins or no toxins. and redistributed it across the entire transformed landscape. past the destroyed barrier islands and decimated wetlands. War and the Fate of Industrial Societies (New Society. Hence Katrina may mark the beginning of the inevitable unraveling of the petroleum-based industrial world system. Exterminism not only makes toxic waste. The only event likely to prevent rebuilding would be another strong hurricane hitting Louisiana later this season. the nation has already been hemorrhaging materiel and trained personnel in Iraq for three years. Organisms need a steady flow of energy in order to maintain their ordered existence. The United States is the center of that system. And once these stores are gone. disorder may fester and spread. and a 131 . It must be: the nation needs a port at the mouth of the Mississippi. after all). Import the good stuff. “While the bringing to market of a few tens of millions of barrels of stored oil and gasoline may temporarily calm speculators and thus prevent dramatic price spikes. …it cannot balance the global supply-and-demand equation for more than a few weeks (the world uses 84 million barrels of oil each day. the body essentially takes energy away from other parts of itself to restore order at the site of injury. few nations will have any cushion in the event of other supply threats. The region has been a battleground for the environmental justice movement – one that combines its environmentalism with a powerful critique of poverty and racism. It is one of the few US cities with character and charm. These dangers will have to be minimized. because “the Loop. When wounded.worked for the giant petrochemical industries along Interstate10.

Brown. Halliburton is one of the top three contractors to receive no-bid contracts. even as the land speculators move in to the condemned properties of New Orleans in order to gentrify it into a Disneyfied African American cultural theme park – too expensive for many of its former residents to live there. it represents capital-in-general. take what they can. 132 . In Houston. who also represented the Shaw Group – another winner in the Katrina Reconstruction Sweepstakes. there is little doubt that the US production and refinement capacity have been dealt a serious blow at a critical time. Autonomy & Legitimacy In stable. Another contractor is Bechtel. Just as the Bush administration waived the Davis-Bacon Act to pay post-Katrina reconstruction workers below the prevailing wage. This often means that it has to suppress or even eliminate certain fractions of capital – whose range of view is limited by its own business cycle – in order to ensure continued power by the class as a whole.) Cronyism and something called “unequal exchange” are both characteristics of late imperialism and determining factors of exterminism. The government and the industry are tight-lipped about the damage wrought by the combination of Katrina and Rita. The main contract to rebuild the Port. Bush’s former campaign manager and the former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). They are having trouble getting volunteers. They also make subjects brutally mad. The capitalist state is owned and operated by the capitalist class. and Root. So they pick through the net. was given to Halliburton. and forget about the by-catch. Under conditions of stability and productivity. but the (inadequate) release of emergency reserves from around the world to temporarily staunch the postKatrina hemorrhage is an ominous sign. public pressure from the scandalous nature of these contracts is set to reverse this situation and re-open bidding. Halliburton and its subsidiary Kellogg. the biggest contract was awarded to AshBritt. pretending to be society’s umpire. and the huge new pool of desperate labor in the region. the military recruiters moved in. Given their exemption from paying prevailing wages under the waiver of DavisBacon. which is classified as a Naval facility. the state has one overarching objective. Poor workers and Black workers and Latino/a workers will be welcome for this task. productive capitalist economies. they stand to make a killing. represented by lobbyist and former Mississippi Governor and Bush confidante. Haley Barbour. after homeless storm victims were transported to the Astrodome. it will work to ensure a vast pool of under-employed and unemployed to accept below-par wages and exposure to the toxic stew of the LOOP to repair it. closely associated with Republican heavyweight and former Secretary of State George Schultz. It is the ruling class’s umpire.global complex system of production and trade that is starting to lose its battle against entropy. have been represented by lobbyist Joe Allbaugh. Finally. Whether Heinberg’s prognostications turn out to be as cataclysmic as he suspects (they may). (As this is written. And they both make rulers brutally stupid.

To further describe the capitalist state. One of the island’s capitalists pleadingly objects that the commander has wiped out the island’s profits. Even when the state itself promotes the notion of a dangerous Other. and masks plunder of the Other as “self defense. A hopeless ghetto is a great place to get mugged. The state creates enemies – real and 133 . a powerful anti-imperialist tract to this very day. killing three people. Butler was transformed into an anti-imperialist began when he observed poverty-stricken WWI veterans descend on Washington DC in the legendary “Bonus March. Privilege is a crucial concept here. and Macarthur against the vets. Sheer numbers alone would overwhelm these armed bodies. and through unequal wages paid in countries where the reproduction of the labor force is cheaper due to underdevelopment. including an infant.” there is always the possibility that this Other will become a real threat. we have to put it in the context of a world system – now thoroughly integrated under so-called globalization – in which core-capitalist economies require the peripheral nation inputs – acquired not through the valorization of capital as described by Ricardo and Marx. and even semi-socialist programs. The state – any state – has to enroll a substantial portion of its population as full-citizens – that is. and the military disaster in Iraq. based loosely on the history of Haiti. There is little doubt at this particular conjuncture that the United States has become a kind of metastasized hyper-state. objectively enjoying the privileges of citizenship and subjectively identifying with the nation – giving them some stake in the continuation of the system as it is. What holds the state together is legitimacy. to ensure social order for capital in the long term. All states in this system are not equal. Even if whole sections of the polity are not full-citizens. This so angered some capitalists that they attempted to organize a coup d’etat against Franklin Roosevelt’s administration in 1934. which was uncloaked by former Marine Commandant Smedley Butler – the most decorated Marine in the United States. from feared Others. Butler then published his famous War is a Racket. A short story of capital and the state: The New Deal involved quite a lot of suppression of capital. in order to crush a Black proletarian rebellion. but through chicanery and plunder. the racially-polarized and highly militarized response to Katrina. and that this “pacification” is required to ensure profits for all. including its lucrative sugar plantations. The commander then explains that the destruction of the island is necessary to send the message to other workers on the rest of the colonized islands. not just over the next business cycle. but for the next decade. A humiliated people will seek both self-defense and revenge. Patton. through debt leverage. It is in this core-periphery dynamic that we can unravel more of the threads connecting ecocide. without even taking into consideration that ours is a heavily armed society. With privilege goes protection from non-citizens.” President Hoover broke up the “Bonus Army”’s “Hooverville” camp on the DC mall by sending tanks under the command of Eisenhower. from outsiders. the colonial military commander orders an entire island colony set ablaze.In the classic Brando film Burn. It is glaringly obvious to anyone that the entire police and armed forces of the United States are not even close to capable of controlling the population of the United States if that population were to become – hypothetically – disobedient. but aside from sheer military power and the levers of a vast global monetary extortion and loan-sharking scheme. there must be a critical section of the population that sees its interests – and privileges – tied up with that state. what are some of the characteristics of the US state that differentiate it from other core-capitalist countries and from the various peripheral states? The answer to this question revolves around legitimacy.

Protect us from the 16-year-old Black kid we call “superpredator. feared that the civilising process would be engulfed by the barbarity of war.” but she has written insightfully – if in a fragmentary and eurocentric way – about the evolution of something she calls the “new war. The price of these gains. the social contract associated with the construction of the nation-state could be said to have taken the following form.imagined – to consolidate the dependency and loyalty of its full-citizens. piracy and brigandage). were all mutually reinforcing in wartime. the nation. It was during and immediately after this period that the United States began a radical transformation from a 134 . the growth of taxation and public borrowing. was readiness to risk a nuclear war. of the London School of Economics. civil and political rights were guaranteed in exchange for paying taxes and fighting in wars. and had to be ready to die for the state. the citizens became part of a collectivity. moreover. the regularisation of armed forces and police forces. Essentially. As war became more extreme and terrible. and the OPEC oil embargo. She subscribes to what I believe is a crackpot theory of “global cosmopolitanism.” So the effective state must retain two characteristics: autonomy and legitimacy. is a student of war. Hence.” Inter-state war became the only legitimate form of organised violence and. war became a discrete episode that was reserved for use against other states and was excluded from internal relations. The wars of classical modernity had a kind of extremist logic that is well analysed by Clausewitz. This process was disrupted in the late 1960s and early 1970s by the combined shocks of recession. The individual rights that citizens enjoyed in peacetime were exchanged for the abrogation of those rights in wartime. Protect us from the Ay-rab terrorists. In place of more or less continuous warfare. the reduction of corruption. reaching its logical end point during the Cold War period. writing just before the Second World War. the development of nationalist sentiment. In exchange for individual civil and political rights in peacetime. during this period. during this period. was sharply distinguished from peace. so the social contract was extended.” writes Kaldor in her essay.” “The construction of these public monopolies [states] was… intimately bound up with war against other states. But the risks were also dramatically extended. In wartime. the citizen accepted a kind of unlimited liability in wartime. but then the state has to ensure protection from these created enemies to retain its legitimacy with those citizens. Elias. Essentially. Inter-state war is sometimes described as Clausewitzean war. the Vietnam War. Domestic pacification (the elimination of private armies. Beyond Clausewitz Mary Kaldor. violent crime. “Cosmopolitanism and organized violence. there were unprecedented gains in economic and social rights.

All decisions about future development are circumscribed by the Holy Trinity of neoliberalism – Debt-leverage. Then we get lost. which included both purges and ordinary criminal executions – with most killed during the 1937-38 bloodbath [680. using dollar hegemony to extort un-payable loans from fellow capitalist core states. The grossly inflated and discredited figures generated by Robert Conquest were commissioned by archanticommunist William Randolph Hearst to “prove” that communism was worse than Nazism.” The former was exhausted in its attempt to create socialism in one country. because these projects were always fully contained inside the capitalist world system.271 executions from 1929 until the start of the war. and – remarkably – its own debtor status. Autonomy and legitimacy go hand in hand. with which Hitler put himself in competition. Earlier struggles for state power were planned on a map of the state. it obliged these states to expose themselves to loss of legitimacy if they were perceived as non-autonomous or incapable of protecting “citizens. a goal that was almost accomplished with Yeltsin as a US puppet in the 1990s. but of capitalism… the terrible combination of domestic underdevelopment and hostile capitalist encirclement. and Export-economy. however – more than 25 million killed in the war. with numbers reaching into the tens of millions. Neoliberalism is in its very essence the antithesis of peripheral state autonomy. Stalin was not a phenomenon of socialism. loansharking to the periphery. The continual assaults on the economies and states of these projects militarized them – resistance became barracks socialism.productive-economy hegemon into a nation that ruled the world by nuclear threats. But the actual terrain represented on a symbolic map can change. Privatization. and its own experience with state-destruction in Africa – began deploying surrogates around the world to dismantle the autonomy of peripheral states who resisted US demands.692] – are that there were a total of 727. National autarky is off the table. The numbers of those executed by Stalin’s regime are grotesquely inflated as a form of popular wisdom in the west. and the socialist states coexisted with them in an inter-state political system. was to squeeze the last drop of value out of Russia and cast it aside to rot afterward.) The crisis of capitalism was a crisis of the capitalist state. the US covert operations establishment – cribbing from the Israeli conquest of Palestine. even on behalf of these states’ national elites. Stalin met with exterminism. An entire society was transformed into a military organization to prevent not capitalism – which was not what the West held in store for Russia – but Africanization. During the period under review. The best estimates of those actually executed. This in no way serves as an apology for Stalin’s purges and show-trials. In the event that any state attempted to resist this imperial assault on its autonomy – as in Yugoslavia and Iraq – then covert operatives from the CIA to the National Endowment for Democracy begin to destabilize 135 . but merely to set the record straight. The intent of the West. The crisis of capitalism brought with it a crisis of socialism and national liberation. and the latter has transformed itself as part of a long-term development strategy into an archipelago of Dickensian sweatshops that are now the envy (and sometimes the province) of western capitalists.) of the Soviet Union and China required exposure to international capital. Just as the large-scale complexity (Cuba is an exception precisely because of its small scale. (Mostly in the conduct of WWII.

the weakness of representation. for example. it could be Kosovo. It could also be seen in Blackwater mercenaries invading post-Katrina New Orleans. reductions in security expenditure. production.] Moreover. The combination of privatisation and globalisation can give rise to a process. through. unemployment and rural-urban migration. which is almost the reverse of the process through which modern states were constructed. the inability and/or unwillingness to regulate the privatisation and informalisation of violence that gives rise to violent conflicts. may lead to break away groups of redundant soldiers and policemen seeking alternative employment. consequently. In particular. rent seeking or criminal activities. this ‘uncivilising process’. tends to be reinforced by the dynamics of the conflicts. The United States itself – having pillaged its own accounts for Wall Street and adopted a private-sector-does-it-better ideology – has now begun extensively using mercenaries. I call the conflicts ‘wars’ because of their political character although they could also be described as massive violations of human rights (repression against civilians) and organised crime (violence for private gain). The above description could be Russia. or it could be Afghanistan.the target state for the purpose of delegitimating it. which have the effect of further reordering political. vigilantes. They are about access to state power. It is the lack of authority of the state.organised crime and the substitution of ‘protection’ for taxation. para-military groups associated with particular political factions. Reductions in public expenditure as a result of the shrinking fiscal base as well as pressures from external donors for macro-economic stabilisation and liberalisation (which also may reduce export revenues) further erodes legitimacy. They are violent struggles to gain 136 . economic and social relationships in a negative spiral of incivility. followed by the coup de grace where necessary of a military strike. [It remains interesting that Kaldor does not mention the US itself in this description – blinded by her extreme euro(American)centrism. (Kaldor) Kaldor partially overlooks the role of the US state in creating the conditions for these “new wars. especially international companies. combined with the loss of legitimacy. private security guards protecting economic facilities. weakens the rule of law and may lead to the re-emergence of privatised forms of violence . Corruption and clientilism leads to an erosion of the tax revenue base because of declining legitimacy and growing incapacity to collect tax and because of declining investment (both public and private) and. The declining tax revenue leads to growing dependence both on external sources and on private sources. A growing informal economy associated with increased inequalities. These are the circumstances that give rise to the ‘new wars’. often encouraged by external donors for the best of motives. the loss of confidence that the state is able or willing to respond to public concerns.” but she describes what they look like very well.

it is the deliberate manipulation of these sentiments. violence is itself a form of political mobilisation. Undoubtedly. and the desperate preservation of the US as the world’s consumer base – a base dancing on an overhang above a deepening chasm of personal debt – to sop up that overproduction in an orgy of technological bread-and-circuses. through expulsion or elimination of those who challenge political control. and the appeal of Osama bin Laden (who has proven smarter by orders of magnitude than anyone in the Bush administration). They provide a new populist form of communitarian ideology. In these wars. And political control is maintained through terror.” The policies of the US created terrorism for its own purposes. The US state still requires the withering fig leaf of spreading democracy to the terrifying dark Ay-rabs to legitimate its attempt to militarily cordon the global oil patch. it shifts from being the main organisation for societal regulation towards an instrument for the extraction of resources by the ruler and his (and it is almost always ‘his’) privileged networks. But the “blowback” goes far deeper than Johnson describes. and has inexorably expanded the stateless milieu of (the cipher) al Qaeda in the interstices of the world system now deeply in the grasp of exterminism – the policy and ideology of mass displacement and death. these ideologies make use of preexisting cleavages and the legacies of past wars. often assisted by Diaspora funding and techniques and speeded up through the electronic media. linguistic. in the latter case. As the state becomes privatised. that is to say. And it is the line connecting these instances to their epoch. The tactic is to sow the ‘fear and hate’ on which exclusive identity claims rest. Violence is mainly directed against civilians and not another army. It is not fully fruited yet. The aim is to capture territory through political control rather than military success. that is the immediate cause of conflict. so access to state power becomes a matter of inclusion or exclusion. these wars are fought in the name of identity – a claim to power on the basis of labels. But this is the basis of what Chalmers Johnson and others describe as “blowback. These are wars in which political identity is defined in terms of exclusive labels –ethnic. Population displacement. a way to maintain or capture power. they are a deliberate strategy for political control [note Israel]. But nevertheless. even. the Israeli occupation of Palestine. (Kaldor) Here is the line connecting the Rwandan massacres. widespread atrocities are not just side effects of war. Labels are mobilised for political purposes. It is also the case that the appeal to tradition and the nostalgia for some mythical or semi-mythical history gains strength in the social upheavals associated with the opening up to global pressures. they offer a new sense of security in a context where the political and economic certainties of previous decades have evaporated. that uses the language and forms of an earlier period. or religious – and the wars themselves give meaning to the labels. one of a protracted crisis of capital – a permanent overproduction crisis that forces the acceleration of the plunder against the peripheries.access to or to control the state. massacres. 137 . In the majority of cases. especially those with a different label. of survival.

not vice versa. where he had a very clear way of describing the state-capital contradiction: “The logic of territory vs the logic of capital. liberation movements. Moreover. DeLay is known for his scorched earth political tactics. but because in its specificity this contradiction points increasingly – because of this administration's lethal mix of machismo and incompetence – toward an extremely violent period in the first half of the 21st Century. “chasing across the globe. While this relates to the whole question of legitimacy. The plan was to hop from one regime change to the next. The dollar still wants to move. exist in weaker forms in most urban conglomerations in the world and indeed often have direct links with the most violent regions. It increasingly describes the US government itself. as well as criminal links..” Kaldor has missed this contradiction entirely in her obsessive avoidance of class. it is not (yet) a political crisis.” said Smedley Butler. The US state finds itself captured by a clique that fails completely to see how they are undermining the state’s ability to act autonomously – confusing that with the ability of the executive branch to act with impunity. not only because this is where the fault lines are appearing in the ruling class. constitute a new distorted social formation. But the flag and the troops are embattled in a asymmetric quagmire that is very definitely bounded by the geopolitical outline of Iraq. The various actors –states. (Kaldor) This doesn’t merely describe the Afghan-Pakistani border. legal and illegal trading groups. The Crony-Warfare State The latest in a series of scandals being tamped down with the able assistance of the mainstream media is the indictment of the Texan Bush-crony. the conditions which give rise to the ‘new wars’ and which are exacerbated by them. para-military groups. on charges of conspiracy and money laundering..The ‘new wars’ are no longer discrete in time and space. Cease-fires and agreements are truces. – depend on continued violence for both political and economic reasons. with its requirement to retain legitimacy. breathing spaces. and the troops follow the flag. “The flag follows the dollar. In David Harvey's The New Imperialism (Oxford University Press. 2003). The interesting thing about DeLay – at least for me – is his background. remnants of states. The networks of politicians. Capital now finds itself in the service of a state emergency. Iraq today does not any longer represent part of the master plan. which has a tendency to spread through refugees and displaced persons. which are often transnational. while the latter is necessarily more and more and more mobile. 138 . etc. Congressman Tom DeLay. he is even admired for his ruthlessness. that could easily become nuclear when the US state finds itself backed into a corner.” The former is geographically fixed. is increasingly at loggerheads with the tar-baby geography of Iraq. But the fixed-geography of the state at home. resetting the grand chessboard for capital's next period of accelerated accumulation. It's time for us to get our heads around this state-capital contradiction. security forces. which do not address the underlying social relations –the social conditions of war and peace are not much different. identity based networks often crossing continents.

which are flush with T-bills. Let’s compare warfare to pest extermination. dressed in material clothes. a former Nixon aide who has professed admiration for Franco. This stratum has long been the birthplace of sociopathic reaction. along with many others. They both objectify life for the purpose of taking it. if a nation imports much more than it exports. in which the US consumer is required to buy Wal-Mart’s shit. The economy is not dematerialized at all. By all classical economist accounts. Does the nation export more than it imports. That’s the secret of the US’s “dematerialized economy. it will mean war. China. And they are both ecological travesties. and inside a material house. It’s a game of financecapital chicken. They both expose their foot soldiers (DeLay was never that) to the hazards of operation. And if this Gordian knot is cut. Moreover. The recent obsession about intellectual property rights is a response by the state to the needs of biotechnology and communications technology sectors. has been warning that China’s growing pool of US debt has given the world’s most populous nation a grip on the trachea of the US economy. There has been an international division of economic labor realized.” which I. which is made in China or some other Dickensian paradise. know that selling the dollar short would crash their own central bank reserves. But that’s not true. so the US state creates surrogate markets (in the face of its own grand pronouncements 139 . have written about in more detail elsewhere. When I stated that the US is no longer a productive economy. xeno-homo-phobe Pat Buchanan. You are likely reading this on a material computer. even when dollarhegemony makes the stuff we build too expensive for other nations’ people to buy – and ourselves. Both are instrumental in the extreme – accomplishing what they set out to do with little to no regard for tangential consequences. who would buy Chinese products in the US’s place? The dollar-economy is worldwide.Before he went into politics. The transnational ruling class is largely American. US exports are relatively low. and dollar hegemony to ensure the repatriation of currency. By many mainstream political accounts. We all bluff together or we fall off the bluff together. they have moved productive platforms offshore to widen profit margins. like Japan and other US debt-holders. and the Chinese – no chumps – know this better than anyone. especially when massive debts are incurred to support that nation’s continued expenditures as its currency zooms across the planet chasing cheaply made commodities. it was of course hyperbole.” What can we infer about a government that heads up its own most representative federal body with a man who made his living spraying poison on bugs? Reichsfuhrer Heimlich Himmler was a failed chicken farmer. With the military power of the United States to ensure its overseas assets. But there has to be some production in the domestic economy. its currency’s buying power is endangered. driven by their own cannibalistic competition. It is “transnational” because it operates overseas. not because it is diverse. or vice versa. Things are still made here. Classical economists see commodity-production as a question of balance. There has to be some kind of market for the stuff produced more expensively in the US. so is that nation’s security. too. he was a Houston exterminator. The Texas Toreador refers to him as “the Bugman of Sugarland. in order to complete the virtuous cycle of global capital. nibbling on material food. Anti-Semitic. but US capitalists have five times more assets overseas than they do in the US itself.

Hmmm. Maybe the war-tax resisters are onto something. is that there is 140 . We can starve ‘em or we can shoot ‘em.). In 1997. The reason. if you’ll indulge my zoological allusions. Lockheed-Martin’s F-22. these industries both made panicked calls to Washington – which threw gas on the fire of no-bid reconstruction contracts for the Bush administrations buddies.about the invisible hand of supply-and-demand). Then they have to float further loans to buy subsidized food produced in the US. reluctantly admitted by Adolph Reed who was there as a Labor Party rep. It was octogenarian pacifist and physicist Joe Straley who elected to be the skunk at this party.” and that is the Department of Defense.” Not only does it constitute a waste of many rare minerals and a history of corrupt contracts and cost overruns. And the US has created a huge and cancerously growing consumer surrogate for other “goods. Very tricky. It is a massive shell game of no-bid. I was at a meeting at Chapel Hill about organizing the Labor Party. Of course. Left luminaries with roots in the labor movement were there. This port is so critical that the Export Administration Act prohibits any boycott activity against it – to include prohibiting interaction with countries that are involved in boycott-like activity against Israel. was fined last year by the US government for a 1993 trade with Lebanon when that country still boycotted Israel. In the unhidden costs of war spending. of course. and the aforementioned international debt profligacy. was the idea that would break through the post-1990 metropolitan malaise that smoldered off the collapse of the Soviet Union and the embrace of Dickensian capitalism by China. making many high-dollar weapons systems a cosmic money-sink. Agri-subsidies and weapons contracts go hand in hand. and will likely never see combat unless someone blows one up on the airfield – doing its pilot a tremendous favor. cost-plus contracts. Peripheral nations are increasingly incapable of food self-sufficiency because they entire economies are directed to getting dollars (through export) to pay usurious perpetual debts denominated in those dollars. at last. but the US peddles military technology around the world – even knowing we will eventually see it used against us. the US government spends the equivalent of $6. The US massively subsidizes its agricultural exports – to the outrage of the rest of the world that the US consistently punishes for the same thing. is the most expensive airplane in the world ($300 million a copy). WECO Agencies. It has never performed correctly. the pillaging of the public sector to increase “defense” spending. Now there’s a support the troops concept! Lockheed-Martin pulls in an average of $228 per American household every year. of course. the US has had to bribe other nations with more money to get them to buy the thing. “Does anyone notice the elephant in this living room?” He was talking. a Louisiana firm. Much of this materiel is pure shit. about the fact that the Labor Party program mentioned not one word about either war or the bloated US war industry. woman. and there was a sense that this. the biggest purchaser of US-manufactured military hardware is the US state itself. by asking. for example.000 a year for every man. New Orleans is the major US export terminal for both agricultural products (60%) and military technology (The largest buyer is Israel. and child in the country. by the way. It’s legions of detractors – which include many former fighter pilots – call it “Tiffany’s on wings. When the port closed in the wake of Katrina.

There are plenty of symptoms of this kind of problem at the present time. the vast majority of the population is turning against an oil war that has already been lost. instead. It can. a million new displaced persons are poised as long term unemployed in a frangible shell-game economy. when that crisis was resolved the only way available. Even if the company is not Northrop Grumman or Lockheed-Martin. leftists. wondering what happens when the key maritime export facility for US agricultural products is closed down by a hurricane. Peter Gowan. writing for Critical Asian Studies in September 2005 (“Triumphing Toward International Disaster”) noted that “it is far from obvious that a state devoted officially to the social power and values of the business class and openly and directly controlled by the leaders of that class is actually the optimal form of capitalist state.” While Gowan cites the defeat of William Jennings Bryant by William McKinley for president in 1896 as the nodal point for the first triumph of American “business ideology. there are innumerable companies who rely on the contract for ripstop nylon. and the Visa-card storm clouds gather over middle America – now hefting the greatest personal debt burden in the history of the species. become a state devoted to the immediate gratification of the desires of business people to the exclusion of all the other considerations that a capitalist state should concern itself with. dehydrated strawberries – and the list goes on almost endlessly – for the margin of profit upon which they depend to remain viable as capitalist enterprises. would collapse if the Department of Defense closed down. and others who might like to see precisely that. It is not a happy circumstance that our very social stability is now predicated upon military power (which is being called into serious question in Southwest Asia right now) but also on the Romanesque venality of “defense” contractors and the parade of generals who enter their ranks upon completion of uniformed service. deep-libertarians. quite literally. Angora goats (used as patient models in medical training). This form of “military Keynesianism” as it is inaccurately called has been going on to one degree or another since the end of WWII. who make the majority of their money on high-dollar weapons contracts. racial-national contradictions have been suddenly exposed by a disastrous and racist occupation of an American city (posing as a relief effort). This is a very tough pill to swallow for pacifists. but it has been expanded dramatically as a compensatory measure ever since the crisis of the late 60s and early 70s.” 141 . more fictional value will be inevitably pumped into the world economy in the form of more un-payable loans to the US through its treasury bills.scarcely a productive industry of any scale left in the United States that is not vitally linked to what is satirically referred to as defense spending. by lifting the controls off of the financial pole placed there in the wake of the Great Depression. The emergence of leaderships capable of resisting immediate gratification of the business class in the name of longer-term goals that require reorganizations unpalatable to powerful business coalitions is very difficult in the United States. eggs (to prepare a million breakfasts each day). Extraterrestrial anthropologists who are dispassionate about outcomes may be watching us right now. The US economy. Escape to the Sunbelt The principles – however contradictory – of liberal democracy that are associated with productive capitalist economy were rendered obsolete by the crisis of the early 70s.

The defeat in Vietnam did lead to a serious split in the governing elites of the American state in the 1970s. Privilege and Colonization One can’t help but ponder not just the obvious about the Gulf Coast’s National Guards that were off in Iraq during Katrina. neighbors. It is also where two other significant things happened that conditioned this shameless exercise of exterminism within the boundaries of the United States. and the significant military-industrial activity in the South/Sun-Belt (in addition to California). which.S. the large numbers of U. bases in the South and Sun-Belt states. Louisiana. in the end. but the militarization of the United States was not. friends. reversed. On the contrary. a process that was capped off this year when Tom DeLay and the Texas Republican Party redistricted Texas to ensure Republican Congressional majorities there into perpetuity. 142 . in reality provides a central mechanism for generating new high-tech sectors in the national civilian economy. whose members had to sit by helplessly wondering about their own families. largely civilian sectors. because this is the region that includes East Texas.the post-WWII reassertion of this ideology as a real political force comes with the election of Ronald Reagan – the first post-WWII president to bury the nation in debts to aggrandize giant weapons contractors. It is where Richard Nixon – who oversaw the (exterminist) last stages of the US occupation Vietnam – led the Republican Party to capture the mantle of “party of white supremacy” from Southern Democrats. and Mississippi where we just saw the face of malevolent racialized neglect in the wake of two storms. Military spending has also acted as a very important center of state research and development (R&D) spending. it was eventually reinforced by the Reagan administration in the early 1980s. Military spending has also been an important way of binding the American South into the American state through the large role of southerners in the military. as well as armaments contractors. though formally devoted to military R&D (plus “dual use” R&D during the Clinton period). but about how much relief could be provided. Military spending has also acted as an important lever of industrial policy by offering a protected state market for large industrial sectors. (Gowan) It is interesting that Gowan talks about the Sunbelt in this regard. ranging from aircraft manufacturers like Boeing to the big car companies and many other. The militarization and political re-ascendancy of the Sunbelt are but two symptoms of a deeper historical process. and how effective an evacuation might have been mounted if the total assets of the US military had been available and put to use. The military budget has acted as a crucial counter-cyclical fiscal policy tool in macroeconomic management — a functional alternative to a large welfare state repertoire of instruments.

Cuba evacuated 1.4 million people in advance of Hurricane Dennis, a Category 4 storm that hit them in July, and suffered 16 fatalities (the greatest number for any storm in Cuba since 1963). That’s because Cuba not only invests in disaster preparation and strong civil defense, but because there is a social commitment to medical infrastructure, high literacy levels, and government support of community organizers, to mention a few of the reasons. We did the free-market evacuation, an unenforceable order for people to leave under their own power – by private automobile – after it was too late. Cuba is resource poor. The United States is resource rich. Figure it out. An Oxfam report on Cuba’s response system notes the following as “intangibles” that make the difference: • • • • • • • • • • • social cohesion and solidarity (self-help and citizen-based social protection at the neighborhood level) trust between authorities and civil society political commitment to risk reduction good coordination, information-sharing, and cooperation among institutions involved in risk reduction attention to the most vulnerable population attention to lifeline structures (concrete procedures to save lives, evacuation plans, and so on) investment in human development an effective risk communication system and institutionalized historical memory of disasters, laws, regulations, and directives to support all of the above investments in economic development that explicitly take potential consequences for risk reduction or increase into account investment in social capital investment in institutional capital (e.g. capable, accountable, and transparent government institutions for mitigating disasters)

The reaction of the US government to Katrina was an ugly snapshot of exterminism. You’re on your own… if you’re poor (and especially Black), too fucking bad. There was also no more stark a picture of the African American “national question,” to my mind, than seeing Black families in New Orleans roaming through the poisonous floodwaters in search of survival. African America is only one disaster away from thirdworld status, and we can see clearly how Black people are the vast, vast majority of those who were left behind, without transportation, by the free-market evacuation. The white citizens of the region managed by and large to get out. The Black Nation was left to fend for itself. The poor whites among these refugees have been effectively excluded from the citizenship in the US by their class, but the fact that they are “white” does not change the essential reality of race as a national question – discernable only through the twin lenses of privilege and colonization. Looking at the whole question in light of Katrina’s aftermath, it becomes much more difficult to shazam away the national reality we witnessed on the devastated Gulf Coast. Historically, empirically, dialectically, subjectively… doesn’t make a bit of difference which method you use, the scenes from places like New Orleans, 80% under a toxic soup 143

that the EPA has said couldn’t be cleaned up with the equivalent of the US Gross National Product, are scenes from the African Diaspora and scenes from a colonized nation. Jordan Flaherty, reporting from the zone on September 2nd , wrote: In the refugee camp I just left, on the I-10 freeway near Causeway, thousands of people (at least 90% black and poor) stood and squatted in mud and trash behind metal barricades, under an unforgiving sun, with heavily armed soldiers standing guard over them. When a bus would come through, it would stop at a random spot, state police would open a gap in one of the barricades, and people would rush for the bus, with no information given about where the bus was going. Once inside (we were told) evacuees would be told where the bus was taking them - Baton Rouge, Houston, Arkansas, Dallas, or other locations. I was told that if you boarded a bus bound for Arkansas (for example), even people with family and a place to stay in Baton Rouge would not be allowed to get out of the bus as it passed through Baton Rouge. You had no choice but to go to the shelter in Arkansas. If you had people willing to come to New Orleans to pick you up, they could not come within 17 miles of the camp. “I traveled throughout the camp and spoke to Red Cross workers, Salvation Army workers, National Guard, and state police, and although they were friendly, no one could give me any details on when buses would arrive, how many, where they would go to, or any other information. I spoke to the several teams of journalists nearby, and asked if any of them had been able to get any information from any federal or state officials on any of these questions, and all of them, from Australian to local Fox affiliates complained of an unorganized, non-communicative, mess. One cameraman told me ‘as someone who’s been here in this camp for two days, the only information I can give you is this: get out by nightfall. You don’t want to be here at night.’ In the refugee camp I just left, on the I-10 freeway near Causeway, thousands of people (at least 90% black and poor) stood and squatted in mud and trash behind metal barricades, under an unforgiving sun, with heavily armed soldiers standing guard over them. When a bus would come through, it would stop at a random spot, state police would open a gap in one of the barricades, and people would rush for the bus, with no information given about where the bus was going. Once inside (we were told) evacuees would be told where the bus was taking them - Baton Rouge, Houston, Arkansas, Dallas, or other locations. I was told that if you boarded a bus bound for Arkansas (for example), even people with family and a place to stay in Baton Rouge would not be allowed to get out of the bus as it passed through Baton Rouge. You had no choice but to go to the shelter in Arkansas. If you had people willing to come to New Orleans to pick you up, they could not come within 17 miles of the camp. “I traveled throughout the camp and spoke to Red Cross workers, Salvation Army workers, National Guard, and state police, and although they were friendly, no one could give me any details on when buses would arrive, how many, where they would go to, or any other information. I 144

spoke to the several teams of journalists nearby, and asked if any of them had been able to get any information from any federal or state officials on any of these questions, and all of them, from Australian to local Fox affiliates complained of an unorganized, non-communicative, mess. One cameraman told me ‘as someone who’s been here in this camp for two days, the only information I can give you is this: get out by nightfall. You don’t want to be here at night.’ folks. I cannot imagine this “plan” for a destitute mass this size if they were mostly white

Or such a response. On the news, white families foraging through flooded convenience stores for food and water were said to be “recovering” food. Black families doing exactly the same thing were called “looters.” The organs of commodified information were clamoring for control of this deracinated mass of black bodies — get law and order back, even though the city is gone, was a more urgent cry than finding those who were still trapped in their sweltering attics, slowly dying of dehydration and vascular collapse… children the most vulnerable. Bush spoke on September 2nd in response to the mounting wrath at how the Federal government has responded, and all he could think of to say was, “We are going to restore order in the city of New Orleans.” He knows his white-nationalist base well, and that was all he had left.New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, at his wits end with diplomatic restraint had to be bleeped on the radio when he said, “They don’t have any fucking idea what’s going on!” Louisiana’s Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu, a fully-owned political subsidiary of the oil industry, was being interviewed by Anderson Cooper of CNN on September 1st. Cooper, news model offspring of the Vanderbilts, had been immersed in the post-Katrina reality of New Orleans for four days prior to the interview, and the reality had pierced the shell of privilege around his own heart. Landrieu offered some insipid remark about “Anderson, tonight, I don't know if you've heard – maybe you all have announced it – but Congress is going to an unprecedented session to pass a $10 billion supplemental bill tonight to keep FEMA and the Red Cross up and operating.” “Excuse me, Senator,” interrupted Cooper, “I'm sorry for interrupting. I haven't heard that, because, for the last four days, I've been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi. And to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other, you know, I got to tell you, there are a lot of people here who are very upset, and very angry, and very frustrated. “And when they hear politicians slap – you know, thanking one another, it just, you know, it kind of cuts them the wrong way right now, because literally there was a body on the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman had been laying in the street for 48 hours. And there's not enough facilities to take her up.” Even from the mouths of the press…. such was the hellishness of these scene to the innocent sheltered eyes of white America. Rats eating corpses. The emergence of the American Empire has taken a terrible toll on many people, many nations. I’ll be the last to argue for competitive oppressions. Each was unique in its particulars, and each the same in its purpose — the capitalist must continue to make money, continue to expand, and the capitalist state must continue to ensure his access to materials and — most critically — human beings to work and valorize his capital. 145

When people are excess to that process, when they become surplus people, they are sent away and left to die – exterminism. In New Orleans, where there was 40% illiteracy in the Black Nation, and a terrible job shortage, petty crime and drug use were survival industries that also serve to feed the Dantean slave-mill of Angola State Penitentiary. Now, with Katrina and poverty displacing them, we can pretty well expect the speculators and developers to come in and make good on Bush’s weird promise today that this would lead to a “more beautiful Gulf Coast.” First slaves, then sharecroppers, then meatpackers, then service workers and convicts… now Indians – thrown off the land. The Black Nation is a colony of the United States, as is the Brown Nation now reforging itself within the mass of multiple Latin American Diasporans in the Sunbelt. Past as Present What is unique about African America is that this nation traces back a history of captive immigration. There were no potbellied Minutemen volunteering to guard the border and prevent them coming in. The market had resolved the question of how to make a proletarian an instant and complete 24/7 commodity. Import-slavery. We can say whatever we want to claim this is merely the past, but the descendants of these Africans did not draw a single property line on an expropriated continent. The “white” bourgeoisie — and white became the national-racial identity, since it no more a scientific category than bodily “humors” — drew the lines, passed out the land they had expropriated by force of arms, and proceeded by fits and starts to construct the intergenerational wealth that today can be counted — not anecdotally, but statistically. “White” net worth in the United States is 14 times that of Black net worth, and when a Katrina happens, this translates into the capacity to escape, to re-establish some measure of autonomy, and to reconstruct one’s life. It reflects the ability of families apart from the disaster to intervene and assist with that recovery. During Reconstruction, when the Black nation was being forged out of the charred remains of Atlanta and the blood-soaked battlefields of the Civil War, New Orleans became a unique place in that nation. African Americans managed to gain a toehold in the city, even in the face of renewed white racial terrorism with the 1877 collapse of Reconstruction. And before the Civil Rights movement achieved many of its national goals, as early as the 1950s, the Black community of New Orleans had established a complex institutional infrastructure that gave this community political influence. During Reconstruction, Blacks established churches. White churches that allowed them at all, still clinging to the markers of white privilege, segregated white and Black in the church. So the Black church became the focal point of Black collectivity. Social, economic, and political leadership in Black communities sprang from the independent Black church. The Black church linked “blacks across lines of occupation, income, and prewar status… offered the better off the opportunity for wholesome and respectable association, provided the poor with a modicum of economic insurance, and opened positions of community leadership to men of modest backgrounds.” (Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877, Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Illustrate edition, latest printing 2002)

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It was Fanon’s settler-native construction turned on its head. high spots and low. It took Garvey to call it a nation. the intractable nature of white supremacy as a practice would maintain the solidarity of these institutions through all their internal tensions. Yet there was a distinct and cohesive community that had emerged in the interstice of Reconstruction along the former plantation stronghold of the Black Belt. and linked to the anticolonial struggles around the rest of the world. And it was this gradual recognition by Blacks in the United States that they would never be allowed an equal partnership – even with so-called white allies – that led to the emergence of Black nationalism. Such is the nature of colonialism. the independent Black church has persevered as the locus of community life – for good and ill – where a distinct community identity was forged in resistance to the pressures of persistent white supremacy. It would also be the most reliable Black institution within the white-capitalist society. The Black church quickly developed into a patriarchal establishment where internal battles between liberation and accommodation trends. one emphasizing the national character of Black America and the other talking about unity across the African Diaspora — pan-Africanism. This idea was a direct reflection of the lived experience of Blacks. 147 . Blacks would never control the means of social production. and the literal consignment of African Americans to colonial status within the South with codified segregation. exploited. to the present day. It wasn’t long after the end of Reconstruction that Black nationalism became explicit. and it has been re-imposed through economic warfare since then. but it took DuBois to point out that a national minority could not pursue a struggle for self-determination against a national majority except in an international context across the African Diaspora. and reviled as it was — maintained its distinctive coherence as a both a colonized people and a self-supporting community. More than any other factor. Torn from their African history. opportunist leadership within the church would collaborate with the white elites. and that community — oppressed. and at other times. Garvey and DuBois leapt onto the scene. but African American. which corresponded to the interests of developing classes among Blacks. and privilege built the White Nation throughout the United States. and with it pan-Africanism.Through the coming decades of shifting social conflict. With the decisive defeat of Reconstruction. and therefore the occasional battleground for power within the Black community. It took Jim Crow another 100 years to reach its legal end. Read Fanon. now cohering into a homogeneous community that was only still partly African and not fully integrated as American. Those who claim there is no direct line from slavery to the present are not only wrong. Oppression built the Black Nation in the South. they are trying to jump over Jim Crow. These currents became the theoretical expressions of the lived experience of national oppression and collective solidarity for African America. Slavery ended in 1863. Black national consciousness put down deep roots that persist to this day. Black people in the United States at the turn of the 20th Century were neither wholly African nor incorporated with full citizenship into the American social and political body. would be fought out. yet struggling to make their way after manumission in North America. The church became a point of resistance to white supremacy. so Black churches became the vehicle for social mobility.

and now the United States has the lowest unionization levels of any core nation. poverty. the war profiteers were effectively re-merged with the ideology of white supremacy. while it exports disorder. but many white-led revolutionary formations that were midwifed out of the Great Depression either actively excluded Black participation or relegated the Black Freedom Movement to a secondary status. but of structural colonialism. Alf Hornborg describes imperial privilege as the entitlement to “appropriate [the verb] space and time.Privilege blinded the “white” working class to their latent solidarity with Black workers. The material basis for all society is a finite planet subjected to the needs now of almost 7 billion people. the stark differences in mean income. and offensive war. using the universal equivalent of money. The political viability of the current regime is based on preserving the privileges and illusions of the American White Nation – its political base. The cities fill to bursting with ever more sullen masses. that unequal exchange exists inside the US and is one source of material privilege for its white citizens. trapped in space and time to face the social disorder and to wade through the carcinogens. Those without the money and the cars. Privilege is vehemently denied by most white people. The shift of political dominance to the American South and Sunbelt was based directly on privilege and colonization. The privileged victories of the white working class over and against the Black. Brown. The existence of the South as the preserve of white reaction created the refuge to which Northern industry retreated from powerful. but the reason privilege is repeatedly acknowledged in the overwhelming rejection of the modern Republican Party by Black folk – regardless of class – is that this privilege is “felt on their skin. cultural war. This is the essence of colonization… and the basis of a struggle for national liberation. are all visible manifestations not of mere prejudice. and embryotoxins. So the exported disorder in the peripheries inexorably encroaches on the core nation’s space as the pace of extraction and exploitation is augmented. 2005. and they have achieved their zenith under this administration. The difference between white and Black in the USA is the difference between citizen and subject. and waste. The white citizens of New Orleans – and who can blame them – jumped in their vehicles. mutagens.” and he describes the imperial-core/exploitable-periphery relation as one where the core imports wealth and orderliness. they are left behind. They appropriated space and time. gassed up. and not only the trade union movement. Northern-based. Just as there is unequal exchange between the core and the periphery in the world system. War itself is transformed from discrete if deadly episodes between nations to the war of a transnational ruling class headquartered in a hyper-state against throngs of billions – economic war. What’s left of the labor movement are a collection of feuding white men – splitting the AFL-CIO this year – who share a history of selling out their own membership in a bureaucratic orgy of collaboration with the bosses. 148 . and headed north away from Katrina’s ruthless power. white-male led unions. This is the history that culminated in Anderson Cooper observing rats feeding on the floating corpse of a woman on September 1. and fusion with an ever-more-inept and marginalized Democratic Party.” The sharp variance between Black and white net worth. and the population demographics of the American prison system. and even Asian workers have been Pyrrhic. Under the Republican Party after Nixon’s Southern Strategy.

When the economic life of a nation is based on permanent warfare. The emergence of leaderships capable of resisting immediate gratification of the business class in the name of longer-term goals that require reorganizations unpalatable to powerful business coalitions is very difficult in the United States. That is why Kaldor’s description of “new war” is useful. One difference between Reagan and Bush II is that the Cold War.” If they come for me in the morning.When that fails. but to the transnational business class (as a class) itself. This sector of American capitalists has. New War Order Economic life produces a state in its own image. they will go after the White workers who will have been the former “middle class. is now being seized upon as the primary instrument to reassert American supremacy over the world. There are plenty of symptoms of this kind of problem at the present time. they will come back for you in the afternoon. when the former bases of that supremacy – industrial export production and the dependence of other core capitalists for American military power to face down socialist and national liberation threats – have withered away. instead. through its representatives. even if she confuses its manifestations with its causes. Gowan remarks on the issue of capitalist state autonomy: [I]t is far from obvious that a state devoted officially to the social power and values of the business class and openly and directly controlled by the leaders of that class is actually the optimal form of capitalist state. has invested large amounts of money in politics to maintain this control. It can. and has shown 149 . This seems very wide of the mark as far as the relations between American transnational capitalism and the American state are concerned. then the “mode of warfare” becomes imprinted on the character of the state. It is the combination of this administration’s militarism and its inability to curb the dominant class’s demands for instant gratification that give the Bush regime its unique and uniquely dangerous character – not just to the people at large in the world. become a state devoted to the immediate gratification of the desires of business people to the exclusion of all the other considerations that a capitalist state should concern itself with. It has been fashionable amongst some globalization theorists to claim that the transnational capitalists have broken with their own “territorial” state. controlled the American state for decades. Gowan’s essay refutes the pop theory of many anti-globalists that transnational capitals are actually detaching themselves from the state. which served as the basis of American core-capitalist supremacy – as security guarantor – disappeared. The huge military apparatus of the US. built up for that conflict.

and the Pentagon. In fact. At each juncture. Autonomy is the essence of sovereignty. beginning with Korea and Vietnam and also with the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran. no evidence of this exists. Even with the US development of precision weapons that theoretically reduce the “collateral damage” of war. Military overstretch is the direct expression of the state-capital contradiction: The state is bounded by geography. over and above the American state. Another would be to see whether the American state has worked to penalize the transnational expansion of American capitals. And this political posture has surely been a rational one from their angle. Iraq is different because. Military overstretch has long been a feature of the post-WWII US empire. There is not the slightest evidence of this. One key empirical test of this would surely be to see whether this (dominant) wing of the American capitalist class has worked to build new.” this becomes a remarkably honest account. “Pax Americana. as the administration is fond of saying. mutual loyalty. At the end of the day. and defines the military aspect of Washington’s latent political crisis. and this requires the American state. Wars on popular sovereignty are wars on the people themselves.something like hysteria at the prospect of political forces hostile to its transnational interests gaining power within the United States.” quipped I. it is the main front in the war on terror. Chase Manhattan. capital still requires its armed forces. The fact that the US is losing that main battle is also true. “is the ‘internationalism’ of Standard Oil. the US has struggled to reassert the myth of American military invincibility. members of this administration have been remarkably honest about their ambitions – openly declaring the entire earth a battlefield and their intention to fight on that battlefield for decades. Once you remove the euphemism – war on terror – and substitute the term “global battlefield” or “new war. It is the contradiction emerging between the US military as the enforcement arm of transnational capital – immediately – and the use of military power to play the central role in long-term post-Cold War restructuring – which has overstretched it – that has run headlong into the economic contradictions created by a state that needs to expand its military spending even as it bleeds the public treasury as a rescue-offering to transnational financial speculators. and capital can respect no geographic boundaries in its ceaseless need to expand. “Terrorist” is simply a euphemism for those who resist.F. it has surely taught the importance of projecting the power of their state to protect their capitals from hostile forces in other states. Stone. or those who must be strategically targeted. Kaldor’s rentiers – who now dominate the international financial agenda with what Gowan calls the Dollar-Wall Street Regime. Again. we see the employment of those 150 .” Symbiosis. to further their implantation abroad and their interests abroad in a thousand ways. After all. And if history has taught capitalists one thing about investments abroad. supranational institutions for enforcing their property rights internationally. All this suggests that the relationship between American transnational capitalists and the American state remains that of robust. the American state has worked tirelessly to open other jurisdictions to these internationalist American capitals.

Fault Lines Western Europe. It is the emergence of states that have collapsed from their own lack of autonomy (as in Africa). that still boasts a productive capitalist economy (albeit very vulnerable to US finance capital). It is only at this juncture that the debate about unilateralism or 151 . then promptly returned to Eurozone discussions of a regionally autonomous military security strategy. and the attempt by the US to establish a permanent military presence around the Persian Gulf as a future lever against other core nations has led to the Eurasian courtship of Iran as well as the fractious Euro-opposition to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. and currency speculator cum liberal philanthropist George Soros finances whole campaigns for drug decriminalization. but a financial predator of the first order who made a substantial contribution to the Asian economic meltdown of 1998. That didn’t take. regardless of the hardware. Soros is an interesting character in all this. is no longer in the grip of its Cold War security dependency on the US. This international disequilibrium has loosened. The logic of exterminism is not precision. states that are attempting to reassert autonomy (China and Iran). Not a benign character by any stretch of the imagination. states that are chafing at the mismatch between US hegemony and their own ambitions (Western Europe and Russia). the grip of American primacy in the world. which the federal government idiotically continues to treat as comparable to heroin and rock cocaine. It is deracination and extermination. Soros is completely devoted to American primacy. Both factions around this debate are aware that a mismatch has occurred between requisite (from their standpoint) economic expansion and post-Cold War political fragmentation. both foreign military adventures (in Latin America primarily) and a militarized police war against urban oppressed nationalities in the US were passed off as War on Drugs. but it didn’t take. And the libertarianism that was implicit in the rationale of the mythical free-market led many to believe that taking drugs is a victimless crime. Domestically. The Clinton administration attempted to restore this European sense of military dependency on the US through “human rights imperialism” in the Balkans. because he is a rentier capitalist par excellence and he is violently opposed to the Bush administration. These new conditions have generated fractures – however temporary – between European and American capitals.weapons to target social infrastructure – to the casualties become casualties of starvation and medical neglect. but how. Even the verbose arch-conservative William Buckley argues for decriminalization. removed in space and time from the explosions. and the introduction of powerful non-state actors (like bin Laden. The question among ruling circles in the United States is not whether American primacy. in no small part because many Americans like taking drugs – especially smoking marijuana. The Germans exploited the situation for their own purposes. not tightened. et al) – all these outgrowths of US post-Cold War restructuring – that make Iraq different. at the very time Katrina has exposed in microcosm the depth of the American domestic crisis created by the rentier pillaging of the public treasury. states that attempted to reassert their autonomy and were destroyed in the effort to impose discipline on them (Yugoslavia and Iraq).

the whole project has been an utter failure. When John Kerry. and the secular right is obliged by circumstances to repeat the lie that oil is easily available for the next century. The Iraq war is now proving to the whole world that the US is incapable of defeating a low-tech. Denial and Delusion The other thesis afoot about the Bush war in Iraq is that it is primarily for “demonstration effect. Just as provocation of the Soviets actually caused Western Europe to come under the range of Soviet missiles and force European military dependency on the US. If so. who was supported by Soros. some even believe the Iraq war is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. but decried the lack of meaningful allied support. It is whether the US has the capacity to go it alone. “No guts. This was precisely the fear of the so-called multilateralists – that one does not treat a problem caused by disequilibrium by creating more disequilibrium. are still wedded to the Old Left development paradigm that carries with it an unexamined technological optimism that flies directly in the face of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. He meant exactly what he said. They have theorized oil solely as a commodity in a universe divorced from physical laws and finite quantity.” When 9-11 presented itself. on the other hand. no glory. And there is certainly no debate about whether the US can and will employ military force against any and all recalcitrants. He and Soros both recognize the dangers of military overstretch in a period when the world system has been thrown into disequilibrium. in power due to the political clout of certain business sectors. urban resistance. Right and left alike – in several guises – want to reject this because they object to the idea of peak oil. saw it as a chance to leap over these contradictions and quickly re-establish post-Cold War US primacy on a new foundation. But it would be a foolish gamble. The theocratic right. 152 . but exacerbated by it. I am one of the troglodytes who still believe that the war is about oil. he was not equivocating. The goal was to reorganize the world for a new period of stability under a new form of the Pax Americana – one in which friend and foe alike are obliged to knuckle under to the American diktat. this faction. because the war in Iraq is proving yet again that protracted wars are not won by states but by insurgents. of course. Some on the left. In this sense. that too has been not merely a failure but the antithesis of demonstration effect. the creation of a generalized asymmetric military threat throughout the world might be calculated to recreate that dependency in the absence of the Cold War.” It is an example (a demonstration) to the rest of the world about what happens when you fail to heed the wishes of the American state. The destabilization of strategically critical Southwest Asia may have been part of the (real) Bush doctrine – certainly the almost mindless provocation of Muslims around the world has seemed more designed to cultivate “terrorism” than interdict it. The Bush faction – really the Cheney-Wolfowitz faction – is possessed of a kind of grandiose machismo that says. and that asymmetric warfare is not countered by conventional military strength.multilateralism begins to make any real sense. expressed support for the occupation of Iraq. believes in divine intervention and the like. and entered into a cosmos no less orthodox and abstract than transubstantiation. militarily at least.

CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute. that nuclear energy is cheaper. It is little wonder that nuclear utilities (all of which are also coal utilities). two key things are required: Gasoline for the vehicles. with a cumulative total of $140 billion since the industry began. The first whiff of what this means – not in the empiricist argot of the Malthusians. They run it. "It appears to me. making nuclear generated electricity the most expensive in existence. The final stage of imperialism – exterminism – is coinciding with the final stage of hydrocarbon Homo sapiens. Nevada Representative Shelley Berkley said that the ETAT "reads like the who's who of the nuclear power industry. November 15.5 billion. On a Saturday night. Kenneth Lay. What is often not discussed is how heavily stacked the administration is with the proponents of nuclear power. 2003. The 21st Century will make the 20th look like an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. "we have the [energy] industry directing policy. and electricity." The Bush administration's public relations people have spun out a series of Orwellian narratives implying that the energy needs of American society are synonymous with the financial imperatives of the huge holding companies that now own most public utilities. 153 .” There is a wealth of information available about the administration’s energy corporation bona fides. and that emotional rhetoric about homeland security somehow suggests that this is an administration that is showing a genuine material commitment to public safety. after all. We have gone to war to occupy the oil patch and contain China (Look at the new dispositions of US forces. This is tantamount to rejecting the theory of natural selection in biology because of social Darwinism. safer. but looking at the social relations of energy crisis (and the multiple socio-economic cascades flowing from it) – look at the composition of the Bush administration. and cleaner than all fossil energy (it is none of these).). the Bush administration secretly slipped new provisions into their execrable so-called Energy Bill that included a 1. Lay was quietly eased aside after the huge energy trading company was exposed as one of the biggest criminal enterprises in history." Thirty-four of the 48 members of the ETAT gave personal campaign contributions to the Bush presidential campaign. In order to maintain domestic tranquility in the United States.8 cent per kilowatt-hour nuclear production tax credit that could cost taxpayers over $7." quipped Senator Harry Reid of Nevada. led by Joe Colvin. along with the petroleum sector. according to the Nuclear Information Resource Service. have done so well under the Bush administration. and one that wiped out the life savings of tens of thousands of people. It had 48 members. One top member who was the biggest single contributor to the Bush campaign was then – CEO of Enron. and 14 of them were from nuclear utilities.We have old maps on new terrain. The nuclear energy story was the Bush "Energy Transition Advisory Team" (ETAT). One thing that is missed in this exercise of denial is the urgency of the future we are actually facing and the scope of the task in front of us. Previously existing subsidies and public support of nuclear energy amounts to almost $4 billion a year now. if you don’t believe the latter. We have rejected the empirical evidence in the name of rejecting empiricism – it is accepted by Malthusians. Newsweek once noted that “Not since the rise of the railroads more than a century ago has a single industry [energy] placed so many foot soldiers at the top of a new administration.

154 . as we saw with 9-11. Jackson himself told Mayor Ray Nagin not to rebuild the largely Black 9th Ward – a working class Black neighborhood – where most of the homes were owned. unilateral long range strategy objectives. But the most remarkable aspect of the provisions of the Bush Energy Bill is that they gutted terrorism protection provisions written in the original House-passed bill. actually told the Houston Chronicle that New Orleans would be rebuilt “whiter. the reality behind the legerdemain is that you can’t pop those water molecules open into their constituent parts to get the hydrogen without an external energy source – read: nuclear. and this accounts for the administration’s miraculous conversion to faith in the crackpot “hydrogen economy. The natural gas they’ve been using in their costly research is running low. and security oversight any time genuine oversight threatens the expansion of already-substantial energy sector profits. Bush Housing and Urban Development Secretary. It is exterminist acceptance. In fact. "Apparently the Bush Administration only upholds free market principles when it isn't inconvenient for their campaign contributors. was a developer before he was appointed to HUD. The Bush administration has welcomed every new emergency as an opportunity to advance their agendas – those agendas being a contradictory mix of capitalist short-term (business cycle cool money and speculative hot money) interests and grand(iose). that are just as flood-prone as the 9th Ward. So both the autonomy of the state and potentially its legitimacy are at grave risk. Opportunism and Asymmetry The first step toward understanding what this administration was doing is to connect the energy-security-nexus dots. This is not unconscious neglect. This is an administration that has shown an alarming willingness to use national security as a pretext for going after its political enemies and undermining constitutional protections of freedom of assembly and speech. We have to understand and prepare to exploit that. Alphonso Jackson (one of Bush’s Uncle Tom Squad). The same people who call these racist roundups an issue of homeland security willingly deploy the pretext of national security to erase corporate accountability and even to criminalize truth-tellers on behalf of private companies." said Folker. increasing the chances that nuclear reactors could be hit by terrorists.” the new name for FEMA trailer parks.” reducing the pre-Katrina 65% Black population to around 35%. Jackson. including the scapegoat roundups of thousands of immigrants without due cause. safety. and "repeal[ed] a ban on exporting highly enriched uranium to other countries. more affluent and whiter neighborhoods like Lakeview.” In this energy shell game. or that nuclear bomb material could fall into terrorist hands. by the way." Cheney is known to be an avid fan of nuclear. The stakes are incredibly high on many accounts. Note that after Katrina. There is a powerful connection between putative national security measures and what appears to be a massive assault on environmental. any real attack will be quickly exploited to stampede a cowed Congress into surrendering yet more power to the executive branch. These people – not-fully-citizens from the Black Nation – are to be dispersed into 40 states and housed in “Bushvilles. are already being reviewed for reconstruction.Nuclear Information Resource Service (NIRS) spokesperson Cindy Folkers sardonically remarked. not rented (and therefore affordable). neocon. health. Meanwhile.

Responding to Crisis NEW ORLEANS Oct 5. 2005 (AP) – His city in financial ruin from Hurricane Katrina. At least they have so far." he said. where we could snap our fingers and suddenly impose draconian conservation measures on the core nations. And these mass displacements are emblematic of negligent-exterminism. But they may be inching further and further out onto a legitimacy overhang. 51. Emergencies work for the Bush administration." Nagin said. and the city will work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to notify municipal employees who fled the city after the hurricane struck more than a month ago. Mayor Ray Nagin is slashing about half the city's work force. "I wish I didn't have to do this. "The problem we have is we have no revenue streams. water famine… these are all realities.Nagin himself now appears to be lining up with the developers. it would still 155 . This mirrors exactly the crisis in Iraq. The layoffs are "pretty permanent. Just as the Department of Homeland Security has proven incapable of the “protection of citizens” (a key base of state legitimacy). of New Orleans said he and others have struggled to get private housing set up through FEMA." Nagin said. I wish we had the money. This is just a small example of Bush regime emergency opportunism. it exposed the reorganized Department of Homeland Security as an ineffectual cesspool of patronage and incompetence. “We talked to local banks and other financial institutions and we are just not able to put together the financing necessary to continue to maintain City Hall's staffing at its current levels. In a hypothetical world. In the larger scheme of things. the US military is mired in yet another un-winnable quagmire (ability to wage successful war is another base of legitimacy)." Nagin said Tuesday he would lay off as many as 3. will shave about $5 million to $8 million from the city's monthly payroll of $20 million. a move he said caused him "great sadness." the mayor said… …Robert Warner. The layoffs. which will take place over the next two weeks. just like the threat of “terrorism” is being made real by the very system that claims it as an enemy. That’s where the money is. steel shortages." He said only nonessential workers will be laid off and that no firefighters or police will be among those let go. we are living in an era where scarcity – the bugaboo of past reactionaries and Malthusians – is being made real…. the loss of forests and arable lands. "We've been mired in the bureaucratic red tape since Day One. Fisheries depleted. the resources to keep these people.000 employees because he had been unable to find the money to keep the workers on the payroll. The response to Katrina was not only morally reprehensible.

now disappeared. Exterminism. This cyclical pattern of civilisational growth followed by abrupt collapse. the result of modernism – in its capitalist etiology and in its former guise as barracks socialism – has become its opposite.” But even this is symptomatic. Fail to develop political and social institutions. lost with all its outdated maps. and the breakdown of the very geologic and biospheric architecture that forms the material basis of life on the planet has spawned a global war of incremental extermination for the key material force multiplier of human work within modernism – fossil energy – and a host of other “strategic resources. seemingly. Civilisations which do not develop political and social institutions capable of pushing out the envelope. Effect has now become causative. and so we see the social character masks of crisis – self-referential ruling class impunity. They are mediated socially. civilisations. and intends to wipe out competitive demand.require three additional earths to supply the resources necessary to develop the entire planet to the technological level of the core. and corruption. Great civilisations do not morph into lesser ones. In the absence of a left 156 . is very evident in the historical record. Honest historians can confront us with stark news. Many points of no return have already been passed. 2001: Crises. In the absence of an equivalent institutional development. September 13. The growth of complexity (implying cultural richness. higher technology. complexity. What we see in days and weeks and months and years are mere episodes in the larger epoch – and now we are seeing the crisis of the metropolitan left. because crises do not lay themselves open to laboratory analysis. The seagull ethic. with its attendant entropic burden. and these mere transient manifestations serve to simultaneously expose the ruling class’ social pathologies – a good thing – and disorient the rest of us with the belief that we are witnessing simple moral failures – a problem. And the empirical evidence for pessimism is there in the historical record of previous. The struggle for remaining extractable oil on the planet is part and parcel of a deeper ruling project that recognizes clearly what the future holds. but into totally devastated landscapes peopled by bands of roaming scavengers. more collective power of symbolic reasoning etc) does not necessarily help. Only a bolder way can rescue us from the older way. systemic crisis) are routinely destroyed. of terminal crisis followed by periods of darkness lasting sometimes for centuries. hubris. capable that is of anticipating and preempting or resolving major step-changes (catastrophic. Ecocide. seems only to accelerate crisis when it begins and then to deepen the post-crisis collapse. “sleepwalk into the abyss. as a political and leadership vacuum in a period when people are witnessing the coincident breakup of modernism and capitalism. Mark Jones wrote two days after the World Trade Center attacks. Otherwise we are paralysed into inaction. We don’t see the essence of these crises easily. This is an ominous indicator about the likely fate of Homo sapiens. have to be scaled to lie within some very starklydemarcated existential boundary which maps straight onto to the envelope of everyday life and mass consciousness.

It then sets out to haul the working class up to its level. it gets scared. The sect mentality sees its sanctification only in its Full Program. and to fascist reaction. From behind its organizational walls. The task was not to lift up two workers here and three there to the level of the Full Program (let alone two students here and three intellectuals there!) but to go after the levers that could get the class. and that is precisely why any assessment of the revolutionary potential of any section of metropolitan society needs to assess the degree of citizenship they perceive themselves to have… or not. not its composition or its life. including the “labor lieutenants of capitalism” (its own leaders). the metropolitan left – lost with its archaic maps – spins out programs. Its working-class character is claimed on the basis of its aspiration and orientation. and a retreat from modernism – instead of a fight through to the other side of it – leads people back to mythical pasts. some slogan it puts forth bids fair to become to popular. Instead of leadership. in the sense of being able to get broadest possible masses of workers moving. in a direction. Rather. The sect is a miniaturized version of the revolutionary party-to-be. it thinks of itself this way. Then the basis of every literacy program was teaching the people how to read and understand that new Constitution. It sees itself becoming. god forbid. saw the vanguard elements as avoiding above all the creation of organizational walls between themselves and the class-inmotion. or by eventual unity with two or three other sects. and the agents of capitalists and state. and missionaries to convert two here and three there. or perhaps by some process of entry. Hal Draper wrote all the way back in 1971 about left sect construction (and selfmarginalization): The sect establishes itself on a HIGH level (far above that of the working class) and on a thin base. in what separates it from the working class. which is ideologically selective (usually necessarily outside working class). that is. The job of the vanguard was to work out slogans that would be popular in the given state of the class struggle. or calls on the working class to climb up the grade. a “small mass party. The strongest resistance is now coming from the world system’s non-citizens. First the Constitution was rewritten to transfer citizen-power to the masses from the ruling class. moving as a mass onto higher levels of action and politics. one day. If. it sends out scouting parties to contact the working class. Marx. In Iraq. on the other.with clarity and a fighting spirit. or sections or the class. Venezuela’s revolution right now involves awarding meaningful citizenship to the disenfranchised.” (This is not a caricature: it is drawn from life. or tries to be such a miniature. the masses are each day more susceptible to retreat. in a way that would bring them into conflict with the capitalist class and its state.” a microscopic edition or model of the mass party that does not yet exist.) Marx's approach was exactly the opposite. That means: moving on an issue. “Something must be the matter! We must have capitulated to somebody. a mass revolutionary party by a process of accretion. to atavism and self-absorbed mysticism. where the US is 157 .

but more and more openly disruptive. its statelessness. That will not be yet another leftist sect. The victims of Katrina – especially the Black victims. and the sooner it dies the better. reaction-ARY. This does not mean electoral abstentionism. and (3) focus that resistance in the Sunbelt. using the weapons of the masses – general strike. it is establishing citizenship outside the world system paradigm. and supporting and strengthening the institutions. Build the consciousness for these struggles. and green alliance – and not just because of my deep sympathy for Black nationalism. In Bolivia. has been destroyed and replaced with an irascible and opportunistic rump government that has neither autonomy nor legitimacy. The crisis of legitimacy is latent right now. mobilizing full citizenship. intellectuals. has given that nation the means to survive. the source of resistance is the indigenous population – long frozen out of political power by the racist elites. This is a struggle against slow extermination. In Venezuela. The tactical strength of the resistance and its strategic weakness is its deracination.facing its deepest crisis. which is now representative of the views of the US majority. But the left cannot be complacent. the development of political independence from the Democratic Party. the very state. Out of the very broad antiwar movement. and if the left and other progressives want to face up to the challenge of exterminism. that makes the break possible. because without intervention the reaction to that crisis will be deeply…. instead of managed elections. Peasants in Nepal. the status of non-citizenship left indigenous forces with nothing to lose by using the weapons of general strike and blockade of the cities – the nerve centers of world system integration. and we will push out the envelope. This timid. whose refusal to buy the explicit White nationalism of the Republican Party is a reflection of lack of citizenship – now scattered in a Diaspora within a Diaspora – are on the brink of a struggle to reclaim their homes from the ruling class looters. which creates the basis for citizenship. First. (2) base the leadership core that resistance in populations who are not “full citizens” in the United States. It means building the alternatives at the grassroots. External to the system. urban blockade. Social embeddedness in Cuba. beginning with economic independence. a broad political alternative must be developed to give an independent alternative an organizational assertion. The most critical initial tasks include winning over as large a section of white America as possible to a non-reactionary understanding of the period. This in no way suggests that everyone drop everything and run off to Louisiana to join Black rebel armies. Second. moribund formation is the graveyard of resistance politics. Haiti. In Bolivia. black. My most tentative suggestion is that of a red. Now is the time to (1) seriously re-found a domestic politics of resistance. What is working is beyond the envelope. Political uprootedness and social embeddedness. There are hundreds of thousands 158 . This requires an aggressive effort to develop and teach resistance politics that is not primarily electoral-legislative. combined with manageable scale and the forced march toward sustainability. That is coming.citizenship and begin to re-map the way to the future. and authentic politicalcommunity leaders from the internal colonies of the United States. the moralizing and idealistic (and white privileged) province of the ultra-left. then there is the front line… this is where we renounce our semi. two things need to emerge. secession. It will become real when the storm surge hits the white suburbs. and the Philippines… outsiders. supporting and strengthening the struggle against the US wars in Southwest Asia.

This kind of alliance must also be willing to struggle against the legacy of patriarchy from right and left.of socialists (red) often unaffiliated with any sect. like New Orleans. The key to white activists supporting this critical effort is twofold. and committed to building the alternative institutions we will need as the state continues to careen into the cul-de-sac of de-legitimacy. and the residents themselves are organized to fight for their own self-determination. and ensure that more than half of all leadership positions in every project and formation are authentically representative women. and who are just as deeply skeptical about “green-capitalism” schemes continually trotted out by multimillion dollar enviro non-profits like the Sierra Club. In specific cases. the schools are funded and effective. The political organizing of such an alliance should be as far as possible locallyrooted. but it cannot end until the toxins are cleaned up. There are hundreds of thousands of people across the spectrum who understand the depth of the environmental crisis we have been driven into. 159 . and share resources. and hundreds of thousands of politically active African Americans (black) who feel like taking a bath every time they are forced yet again to vote for a spineless white Democrat who will invariably forget them in the second week of November. The fight for New Orleans has to start with the repatriation of every willing resident to the 9th Ward. Accept Black leadership. there must be national efforts to fight not just for immediate relief. but to fight the imperatives of exterminism – displacement and dispersion.

This is one of many reasons the wall is. the US Congress was embroiled in the solemn business of debating whether they should protect the American flag from the Satanic legions wanting to set it afire. Over thirty languages are routinely spoken there. Who in middle America -. The USINCP is.would constitute a stunning historical oversight.1 billion people. Once ratified. the United States House of Representatives International Relations Committee quietly blessed a draft of the United States and India Nuclear Cooperation Promotion Act (USINCP). The struggle over the meaning of 160 .in the world to a footnote. Nepal. It is the 7th largest nation in the world geographically. bypassing India -as opposed to settling our final critical gaze here -. Afghanistan.one day to be the most populous nation -. It has 28 states and seven Union Territories. it would be irresponsible to relegate the second most populous nation -. the latest US campaign in the global Energy War. In light of the profound complexity and import of the USINCP and its social. and political relations of the Energy War. in fact. then. cultural. India is both a nation and a sub-continent. with 1. In exploring the social. indeed. The flagburning debate was grist for hundreds of thousands of letters to the editors in American newspapers. While the American public was riveted by this momentous rhetorical contest. it will also drive the last nail in the coffin of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). and Burma. China. It may be the second most populous nation on Earth. and many have remarked that these subdivisions are as culturally diverse as the nations of Europe. but why should that matter as we continue the consumer party on the tapering ledge of personal debt and ignore the dark clouds of deflation gathering on that far horizon? People who are raggedy and brown are on the other side of our imaginary wall.India Takes the Stage (Originally published at From the Wilderness.” -Winston Churchill New Delhi is now being seduced by Washington into an nuclear agreement to enmesh India into US spider's web . has always been problematic.could care less about India. which would adversely affect the security of a billion plus Indians . -K Gajendra Singh In June 2006. Hindu most commonly (by around 350 million) with English serving as a lingua franca for over 200 million. Bangladesh. It borders Pakistan. and the sense of national identity was forged as distinctly political in the struggle for independence against the British after World War II. imaginary. Hardly a peep was heard about a bill that will create multiple bifurcations in world history and carries with it the potentials for anything from the collapse of American global hegemony to nuclear war. historical. 2006) Nuclear India “In war every truth has to have an escort of lies. and ecological context.wherever that is -. The national-cultural character of India.

India’s spatial position between China and the petroleum states of Southwest Asia. The major media dubbed the bomb a “Hindu bomb”. This fact has had little impact on the faith in both by both elites and the most influential of the communist parties. While the USINCP purports to be an agreement related to electrical generation with nuclear power. however. Pakistan had announced six nuclear tests at Chagai. the circumstance of India right now on the world stage is more analogous to that of the archetypical coy pre161 . Russia. They play incessantly at India being a “great power” -. because of the delusional pretensions of much of the Indian dominant class. David Harvey. as well as its surfeit of warm water ports.logics of power often fail to correspond to this territorial logic. that sees The Bomb as a world stage credential. India had finally demonstrated its “manhood”. The latter have.embraced in different guises from the right to the left of the political spectrum in India -. and the sudden attentions of the United States. the tests were described as “explosions of self-esteem” and “megatonnes of prestige”.for most of India -unmitigated social catastrophes. militaristic minds on both sides of the border that divided our people half a century ago saw the bomb as a symbol of sectarian power.embodied in both the Green Revolution and the current attempt to industrialize India. been far more nuanced than the right in India about how they relate to questions raised by The Bomb. it is centrally and absolutely about nuclear weapons every bit as much as it is about the Energy War and he epic political contest between China and the United States. The current situation is more volatile. The disastrous war against Iraq is a perfect example of these “logical disjunctions.which in many senses defines the Energy War -. and China as the latter two explore the possibility of forming a bloc against the former. This identical nuclear threat could not be interpreted as a defense of cultural “difference”. political. cultural. This masculine technological-military fetish.” Meeting the challenges to that “stability” has always been arduous. who coined the term “territorial logic of power.” Herein also lay many of the dilemmas for the various power brokers who have recently turned their eyes to India.Indian nationality continues to this day. even as the rest of the world perceives India to be the world’s largest stable “democracy. The masculine. And for all the Indian machismo associated with The Bomb. made India’s reluctant participation in the new Great Game inevitable. have brought India centerstage in what may be the most dangerous conjuncture in human history. 1998. By May 30. and eco. but the confluence of ecological and political pressures in India today.a notion that has led to the muscular Indian-male chauvinism that identifies itself with the successful test of a nuclear weapon in 1998.” has noted that the economic. Vandana Shiva wrote in April 2006: When the nuclear tests were carried out by India in Pokhran on May 11. maps directly onto the development paradigm -. Given the “territorial logic of power” in the contest between the United States and China -. This new bomb was deemed an Islamic bomb by the same media. Both the Green Revolution and industrialization have been -. in part. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) announced that with the nuclear tests.

NYT. In exercising the Bush Doctrine of preemption. India’s economy is less than one-twentieth the size of the US’s. so India’s positioning in this contest belies the very notion of Great Nation-hood that has accompanied the delusion created by The Bomb. 2001. Afghanistan. “President Bush vigorously pursues strategic relations with India because a powerful India will advance American democratic values [sic] and vital US national interests in the decade ahead”. And just as surely as the power of the sought-after mistress conceals her fundamental lack of real social power. or military challenge to US power. Jim Hoagland. Immediately following September 11. Nepal. Accepting Its Atom Status”. (“US Envoy Extols India. Blackwill made remarks that were interpreted by the New York Times and the Washington Post thus: “The tenor and substance of the ambassador’s remarks signaled a calm acceptance of India’s nuclear status”. then refer to a map. Taiwan. The object of recent moves by the US is not Indo-US ‘partnership’. and Indonesia. WP. political. in which it editorialized: Only the most naive would buy the idea—advanced in the speeches of Indian and US leaders—that the reason for the US’s newfound interest is India’s increased importance as a world power.” (“Rethinking Asia in India’s Favor”. South Korea. Bush intends to end the sanctions in a matter of months. at the White House. but with above-average economic growth rates and an empiricist (and therefore faulty) comparison with high growth rates in neighboring China. of course.” One needs merely note the frenetic activity of the Bush-Rice state Department in Japan. 7/9/01) “There is new thinking about nuclear doctrine. Pakistan. and its entire Gross Domestic Product is just about the size of the US trade deficit. Its official military budget is $13 billion or so. In the words of US ambassador Robert Blackwill. and wants a new strategic relationship with India. The difficulties in this plot arising from the radical military miscalculation of the US in Iraq are hard to overestimate. using India as a strategic pawn. 1/7/01) This strategic partnership is. and India. designed to advance the Wolfowitz doctrine of “containing China” to prevent any “economic. In December 2002. according to aides. Aspects of India’s Economy published a special issue on India and the Iraq War. but advancing US interests.courtesan alternating her attention between two suitors. The Game Much of the chatter about India as an emerging Great Power is not associated with The Bomb. 162 . it seems. The latter quote was from US Ambassador (to India) Robert Blackwill on November 27th that same year. to confirm the center of the State Department’s interest. compared to the US’s $379 billion. Uzbekistan.

the US exercises nearly complete economic hegemony. and long-term secular trends associated with world energy peaks -. increasing at a rate of around $13 billion a month. So the question in the near term. comprador bourgeoisies that thrive as national intermediaries within this system. there are highly influential. is combined with substantial US capitalist investment in Chinese enterprise.will inevitably be marked by turbulent international relations. writing this year for Armed Forces Journal. the US military capacity most importantly.” so vaunted by the compradors and the Indian “middle class. medium. every Asian country has to be concerned with US machinations. China is now Japan’s biggest trading partner. Massive and growing US debt to China. It is telling that Tom Donnelly. 2005. would substantially weaken the US position in the region by paving the way for higher levels of cooperation in the overland transit of oil. and US military unilateralism. is which sectors of society will identify their interests with the US and which with the emerging Asian Bloc? The resource. remains a vital concern for all actors. a quarter of its aluminum. A stand-down of rivalries between India and China.” has exacerbated social divisions. particularly energy -. China now imports almost 10 percent of the world’s crude oil. China has been advancing. and rolled steel. while the US State Department sputtered helplessly behind the scenes. iron ore. are not holding still until these political questions are answered. or eco-. Indian economic “growth.” In both India and Pakistan.though the continued control over the economic organs of society in China is still Chinese. and the Chinese Communist Party has maintained control over the state). around a third of the globe’s coal. as “A Test of American Independence” (Lael Brainerd & Michael O’Hanlon). is sounding the alarm that China is “meddling” in both Africa and Latin America (as id American involvement in these regions can be otherwise characterized). native.the Bush administration has preempted itself. given the exacerbation of rivalries for remaining supplies. 163 .growing dependence on finite supplies of raw materials. And Euroland capitalists have now become so dependent on Chinese investments and markets that they recently repealed the EU weapons technology embargo against China. While the US has found itself tied down in the Lilliput of Iraq (and ever more Afghanistan).especially oil over the next three decades -. looking at political logics within both Pakistan and India. and which finances American military profligacy. The oversea guarantor for Southwest Asian energy supply transit is still the US Navy. The Chinese show a greater capacity than the linear neo-cons to understand the diverse “logics of power. while in India. It is this unsustainable trajectory that bodes ill for both China and India -. and India and Pakistan. logics in the region and in India especially. thrown up an obscurantist Hindu-nationalist political movement (Hindutva). In the short term.already in the making -of an Asian trading and security bloc that can wean itself from the US-directed and International Monetary Fund administered “neo-liberal consensus. and over 40 percent of its concrete. and in the formation -. The short. while stalled in Iraq. On the contrary.” Meanwhile. This creates a situation of dependency and vulnerability for the US that the Financial Times decried on July 26. and to a far lesser degree China (where the state has maintained control of financial organs. The United States is no longer China’s dominant trading partner. and led to an expanding ecological crisis with profound economic consequences. The European Union is.

(I will return to neoliberalism further along. and -. on its present development path. which both drives this capital accumulation and accelerates the environmental crisis. Developmentalism on the left and right in India led to the embrace of the Green Revolution. The Green Revolution. of plunder masquerading as progress. The majority of the Indian population still lives in the countryside. Agriculture. using specially-developed highyield (and patented) seeds to dramatically increase the food output per hectare of land in under-developed countries.has remained one. thereby ending their decades of nuclear isolation and technology denial. it implicitly recognizes India as a nuclear weapon state. asks in “End of Cheap Oil.with only a short respite from this status in the wake of its independence struggle -. 2006): Why are we as a country tying our future to a resource that must shrink and become more costly? As we build more superhighways and mega cities. When Lalit Mansingh. Vandana Shiva. recently had a price spike that led to massive “middle class” protests.Energy. Physicist and activist. India was heavily targeted. The combination of the so-called Green Revolution and neoliberalism has utterly destroyed the most helpful aspects of that localized economy and folded its most backward aspects (particularly its misogynistic practices) into a new politics of Hindutva reaction. Energy. as it did in most newly independent nations after the collapse of European colonialism during World War II. at the end of the day. and Politics India was founded as an agricultural colony. This was not solely driven by the short-sighted 164 . The Global Energy Crisis and Climate Change” (Znet. 2000).” (italics added) India’s real needs. monocrop agriculture.” which is demanding a lifestyle similar to its Western counterparts. Not only does it offer the most promising solution for India's looming energy crisis. June 26. destroying the decentralized fabric of our socio-economic organization. but to further secure the political loyalty of the Indian “middle class. not to lift up the fortunes of the Dalit (lower and under-classes). we need to ask how long will this last? While the India-US nuclear deal has been framed in terms of “sustainable” and “green” energy (neither of which is even remotely true). are petroleum and natural gas. and willingly so. was actually the introduction by the Western metropoles of resource intensive. Neoliberalism fit itself atop the outcomes of the Green Revolution quite seamlessly. all the Panglossian blather about “growth” notwithstanding. there was that kind of poverty that at least has access to adequate nutrition and water to sustain the body metabolisms of the people who lived there. he said. Indian Ambassador to the United States spoke in March of the deal. “The Indo-US nuclear deal is a significant achievement.) Both are processes. and not surprisingly. where once upon a time. author of Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge (South End Press. by political actors who’d accepted the development paradigm which included industrialization and its consequent urbanization. 1997) and Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply (South End Press. Indian officials can hardly resist the temptation to mobilize Hindutva A-bomb-masculinity when they discuss the deal. so-called.

unlike locally used seed. pesticides. and high input one. Reducing aquifers not only destroys the water supply. Consequently. they had to prevent themselves from being invaded and at the same time force the pace of development. Advisors and experts came from America to shift India's agricultural research and agricultural policy from an indigenous and ecological model to an exogenous. domestic entrepreneurs would expropriate traditional society at their own pace and develop a level of technology appropriate to a particular stage. It was based not on diversity but uniformity. of course. It was based not on self-reliance.technological optimism of the period. (Vandana Shiva. “conquest-of-nature” applied science. (P. Crisis and Contradictions in North/South Relations (Zed Books. and water. There were urgent international pressures on newly independent nations like India. Both agribusiness and the big. 2000). Western Orientalism. Indian aquifers have been drawn down to crisis-levels in only a few decades. locally-grown seed. In 2004. started pressuring India to pass The Seed Act. The Green Revolution… … was based not on the intensification of nature’s processes. Agriculture. “Terrorism. which it would develop in the absence of international factors. and US-India Cooperation. wrote: For both military and economic reasons the window of opportunity for nations in the South was quite small. The result has been calamitous. neither pestresistant nor drought-resistant. the World Bank. partners in sections of the elite. they required extremely high inputs of petroleum-dependent fertilizers. The 165 . which would prohibit Indian farmers from using their own. but on the intensification of credit and purchased inputs like chemical fertilizers and pesticides. If they could industrialize within a time warp. Robert Biel. it concentrates contaminants.the private American Foundations. August 10. labor-intensive industries recognize a threat to accumulation in locally-grown food and in food security off the laborcapital grid. 2005) The imported “Green Revolution” seeds are.” Znet. nationalistic strategy revolves around the idea that for the South capitalist development cannot proceed at the ‘natural’ pace. and Comintern developmentalism. the American Government and the World Bank. 35) This was the perfect blend of andro-centric. or otherwise the benefits of the primitive accumulation resulting from the liquidation of traditional society would be creamed off by foreign exploiters… Much of the latecomer. in furtherance of the Green Revolution. comprador avarice. finding. but dependence. because the new model suited their political priorities and interests. in The New Imperialism. A lot of water. There were three groups of international agencies involved in transferring the American model of agriculture to India .

Development of high pollution industry took priority over things like water treatment and local sanitation systems that would serve the general population. In “Water Privatisation and Water Wars. was that they would have access to the water contained within the dam. and which is needed for industrialized agriculture. never go to work as wage labourers… The forest is our moneylender and banker. Neoliberalism in India We of the river bank. Privatization. -Bava Maharia Tonk is a town in Rajasthan state. water politics is very serious politics. we would have to pay money in Gujarat. the World Bank. during a farmers’ protest. The protests came when water was diverted from local villages to supply increasing demand in the city of Jaipur. One of the promises to those displaced who managed to remain in the area. we get our medicines. bio-hazardous broth. to where more water must then be diverted. herbs and roots. and the hyper-irrigation has led to massive soil salinization (sterilization). graze here freely as they have always done. which are our wealth. rather than fix the Yamuna River. From its riches we are able to make our baskets and cots.industrial agricultural runoff pollutes surface waters. the same institution that put pressure on India to adopt these catastrophic measures. with its demand to divert 635 million litres of Ganga 166 . offered its own solution to the water crisis. there is a generalized crisis of water throughout India. four farmers and a pregnant woman were killed when the police from the BJP-led local government opened fire. we built our houses. When the results turned out to be horrific. Much of the interstate conflict along the IndianPakistani border is associated with uses of the Indus River that flows through both countries. For all these. 2005. On June 13. Combined with the massive water demand of expanding urban industry and the migration of dispossessed rural populations into cities. and until the mid-1980s. This process of “revolution” began in the 1960s. Ondeo Degrement.000 rural dwellers like Bava Maharia.the Yamuna River. In India. “Development” poisoned it. ploughs and hoes. most of Delhi’s water needs were provided by the river on which Delhi was built -. Delhi didn’t run out of that water. That diversion would deliver the water to a private company. For thousands of years. The 1989 World Bank development scheme that led to the construction of the dam (to provide for monocrop agricultural irrigation) had displaced over 70. From its trees. that would then benefit from increased water fees (also a demand of the World Bank). From its teak and bamboo. Our cattle and goats. It is the site of the Bisalpur dam. (an Asian Development Bank [ADB] scheme. leaves. supported by the state BJP government).” Vandana Shiva describes a plan to divert water from the Ganga River (635 million liters a day) to Delhi. albeit starting over. and the Yamuna was converted into a toxic. The Congress Party in Delhi is determined to create another Tonk in Muradnagar.

[Dr. so that increased tariffs can support a commercial operation (i. the tariff increase is ten times more than what is needed to run Delhi's water supply. and ensure super profits for the private operators. i. While the ideology of neoliberalism has trumpeted internationalism and economic interconnection as the key to preventing a replay of the great armed conflicts of the 20th Century. 167 .e “guarantee profit margins”). It has been characterized by a carrot and stick approach that rewards local national elites (a comprador bourgeoisie) in underdeveloped countries for facilitating metropolitan access to the target nation’s capital markets through debt-leverage (IMF loans). 2004 water tariffs were increased in Delhi. While neoliberalism purports to favor the “free market” theory espoused by Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek. It is World Bank/ADB and other aid agencies creating water markets for global water MNCs [multinational corporations] while robbing the Indian people both hydrologically and financially. Privatization. The real politics of water is not Congress vs BJP. Service and management contracts can be introduced while the government increases the tariff. is part of the neo-liberal orthodoxy. on the sanctity of private property). and raiding the target nation’s assets when debtor-conditions (called “structural adjustment”) wreck local enterprises. Increasing tariffs before pivatisation is part of World Bank's "tool kit".On December 1. Before full privatization. Water will also be diverted to Delhi from the Renuka dam on Giri River (1250 million cubic litres per day) and Keshau Dam on Tons River (610 million cubic litres per day) from distant Himachal in the Himalayas. its practice has supported the collaborative plunder of the underdeveloped nations by the over-developed metropoles. While espousing the values of “freedom” and “choice” (always predicated. While the government stated this was necessary for recovering costs of operation and maintenance. of course. Most important is what neoliberalism does in the realm of agriculture. The increase is to lay the ground for the privatization of Delhi's water. and the commons. with general acceptance of the United States playing the role of arbiter and umpire -. its practice has been about what David Harvey calls “accumulation through dispossession. Water supplies are a key example of commons. its practice has been no more “free” than the history of markets during capitalist development in other eras. The disconnect for many in understanding neoliberalism is this chasm between its ideology and practice. It is part of a stepwise approach to "secure at least some private sector involvement in risky countries".. local institutions.a kind of first among equals. the "privatepublic partnership" is to increase tariffs through a public utility.e.water per day to the Sonia Vihar Plant. of course. Shiva goes on to explain the fee structure (tariffs):] Delhi is also demanding 180 million litres per day to be diverted from Punjab's Dhakra Dam. the plunder of communal systems. which has been privatized to Ondeo Degrement a subsidiary of Suez.

particularly farmers. Two thirds of India still lives in the countryside. Sharma put the number nearer 100.themselves existing parasitically off the tenants -. that enjoys a status of administrative entrechment and patronage 168 . growing millions went hungry and across India thousands of farmers drank pesticides and committed suicide in order to draw the attention of the government to their plight in the wake of agricultural policies influenced heavily by a desire to please the World Trade Organization (WTO). for conversion to industrially-dependent. Two thirds of India’s farmers are in serious debt. Banks have refused loans to farmers for seven years as part of structural adjustment. only a deluded mass media obsessed with consumerist fantasies could fail to notice the banal realities of the Indian countryside.Indian farmers tarred their billboards with the words. high-interest debts. and the re-election of the Congress Party. Rural incomes. During the 2004 election.as part of this “middle class.000.” the poorest in India. As the journalist P. especially that which provides subsistence for the rural poor. Sainath has noted. writing in July 2004. Official estimates of the number of suicides -which are political suicides. The incorporation of the feudal caste system into the culture of Indian modernization has proven effective at rendering the Dalit invisible to this class of managers. “We too exist!” The campaign featured images of the Indian “middle class. NGOs estimate there have been at least 40.Any prevailing system of localized agriculture. sees its land holdings seized through various stratagems (even from peasant landlords -. and left farmers to be preyed upon by usurious comprador loan-sharks. it is in fact surprising that the electoral verdict was not even more severe. have been devastated.are considered to be gross undercounts. This becomes necessary to transform the target nation’s agriculture into an export-led enterprise to find dollars in foreign markets in order to service dollar-denominated external debt.albeit in very insecure ways -. While city journalists fastened their attention on the fashion parades and the beauty contests. While roughly a quarter billion Indians have flourished -. public servants. noted acerbically: When you contemplate the catastrophe that has been brought upon the Indian countryside by the agricultural policies of the BJP government. droughts ravaged the villages. Rural landlessness has jumped from 35% to 45% in the last decade. the reason farmers commit suicide with pesticides -. Climate change is accelerating droughts and floods. The mechanisms for dispossessing farmers were a combination of withdrawn subsidies. when the Hindutva Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) launched its “India Shining” campaign -.” smiling and optimistic under the rule of the right-wing Bomb-men. high-yield monocropping under the control of large corporations.if they fail to support large-scale enclosures). The story of Indian (and Pakistani) farmer suicides is horrendous. always precarious. while monocropping has brought insect plagues. and technocrats. Aseem Shrivastava. Indian analysts like Hari P. This system has devastated India’s kisans (farmers).000 such suicides since 1998. have dropped by a third. was anything but an endorsement of the Congress party. and unrecompensed crop failures. The rejection of ethnic-nationalist (many simply call them Hindu-fascist) BJP in 2004.designed by the giant Grey Global Group PR firm -.

an earlier Prime Minister -. This went largely unnoticed by the American public.3 billion.to the middle class (no more than 15% of the population. In 1990. Ghandi -. and tax breaks to the nouveau riche were being compensated by borrowing from non-resident Indians. under Rajiv Ghandi. “The New Indian Right.comparable to that enjoyed for many years by the Mexican Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). and 16 others. She attended the campaign rally with a very sophisticated bomb concealed under her dress. To assist them were Indian compradors aplenty. named Thenmuli Rajaratnam (guerrilla name. by the masters of finance capital on Wall Street or by the officials of the International Monetary Fund. and sought to appeal the United States. however. External debt nearly trebled over the decade. June. The assassination -. however. When a crisis occurs. During the 1980s. particularly those who had ascended -. the IMF moves in and imposes the structural adjustment programs (SAPs). and detonated it after garlanding Ghandi then bowing before him. with $6 billion needing to be immediately rolled over.” New Left Review.created a blizzard of conspiracy theories and India became a tinderbox. was also assassinated. Implementation of neoliberalism is. the government of PresidentVail Singh dissolved Parliament after an arms trade scandal implicated Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi. and rich by Indian standards… an elite calling itself “middle class”). The assassination (and its subsequent fiscal crisis) did not go unnoticed. In that vein. The story has it that Dhanu had been raped by Indian soldiers who participated in operations with the Sri Lankan government. epitomized by leaders such as Agosto Pinochet. The Rupee was overvalued already. while he was campaigning for Congress Party candidates in Sriperumbudur. Indira.8 billion to $62.given that his mother. while the debt service burden rose from 15 to 30 per cent of export earnings and government interest payments from 10 to 19 per cent of total expenditure. he gave Indian support to Sri Lanka in their counter-guerrilla campaign against the Tamil separatists of the LTTE (Tamil Tigers). from $23. killing herself. and that India was a political cauldron at the time -. generally opportunistic. Harvey describes neoliberalism as a project to restore lost power to the dominant class.however tentatively -.” The Gulf War had already created an energy price spike that further agitated Indians. On May 21. Dhanu). who had been champing at the bit to accelerate India’s “liberalization. Margaret Thatcher. Inroads made in the industrial metropoles by social movements during the period of Keynesianism created a dangerous conjuncture for the ruling class during the turbulent 60s and 70s. (Achin Vanaik. 2001) 169 . 1991. India had run up a major current account deficit feeding the consumer appetite of this sector. Rajiv Ghandi was killed a 17-year-old Tamil guerrilla.unlike his mother Indira.was moving in a neoliberal direction. and even Deng Xioaping. still transfixed in its own triumphal post-war afterglow in the wake of the destruction of Iraq as a modern state. which was systematically reversed during the development of the neoliberal project. I would argue that this is accurate to a degree. as well as the exponential decline of per capita resources and its attendant ecological crisis. Ghandi. Ronald Reagan. but that it was the failure of Keynesianism to permanently overcome the crisis tendencies within capitalism itself.

from Mitterrand to Schröder. this precipitates actual depreciation and inflation. globalization of finance tends to undermine this control area. more generally. notes Indian economist Prabhat Patnaik… …restricts the scope for demand management by the nation-state. but international. necessarily. And they were not the merger of banks with industrial capital.” Neoliberalism had arrived. but an international. from social democracy to Keynesianism to third world nationalism.faulted by Keynesians. India signed up for an IMF bailout loan and a World Bank “Structural Adjustment Loan. undermining Keynesianism directly. The “liberation” of finance capital. It also entailed the abolition of Keynesian repression on the financial pole of global capital -. when finance is international. They were not a Darwinian struggle between metropolitan capitals. purely speculative investment. They were not national. this hostility acquires a spontaneous effectiveness. for the speculative swelter that catalyzed the Great Depression. In The Global Gamble. It also explains the decline of all ideologies of social change. accurately to a large extent.Enter the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. in bad faith or betrayal. State intervention presupposes a "control area" of the state. the “restoration of ruling class power” and “accumulation through dispossession. In December 1991.” changed the character of both “finance capital” and “imperialism” as defined by Hilferding and Lenin. 170 . even to old communism (which lost its immunity to capital flights): since all of them see the nation-state as the agency of intervention. they were barely enough to cover India’s debt service. forcing the state to curtail activity so that speculators feel comfortable. the reason lies in this objective constraint on state intervention rather than. a host of left-wing governments in the advanced capitalist countries (elected on the promise that they would increase employment) have failed to do so. It also established the system’s general immunity to political intervention by any except the one dominant state. but the Indian economy was now exposed for “structural adjustment. but a collaborative venture between them to exploit the South.” Peter Gowan has emphasized method. Rise of the Indian Right While David Harvey has emphasized motive in neoliberalism. he explains that the attack on Keynesian economics was not simply an attack on metropolitan working class gains and the imposition of debt peonage on the under-developed South. technologically networked lava flow of “hot money” that is. Any effort by the state to expand economic activity makes speculators apprehensive about inflation. over which its writ can run. of political radicalism and finance flows out of the country. If. as Keynes and Kalecki argued. tend to be hostile to demand management. Financial interests within any country. exchange rate depreciation and. Global hot money. in conjunction with “globalization. globalization of finance. This gave neoliberalism its grotesquely parasitic character.” Together.

and using them to run society in a low-cost way without the risks of post-neo-colonial direct rule. Metropolitan states are exploited through the Treasury standard for loans the US will never pay back to finance American military profligacy for the same reason Willie Sutton said he robbed banks: “That’s where the money is.” Finance capital is not independent any more than a cheap loan shark is. Imperialism has an economic dimension.” (Panitch & Ginden) The (mostly) indirect rule of 21st Century American imperialism. what these theorists were observing was (as is now obvious) a relatively early phase of capitalism. 171 . but as co-optation strategies. and specifically by military power. and then by calling the organizations behind these strategies ‘NGOs’ [non-governmental organizations] and constituents of ‘civil society’. Accumulation by dispossession is not possible without it. while superficially giving US intervention a benevolent face. is a unique phenomenon in history. Hot money has become a weapon of American statecraft. Lenin’s claim that his imperialism was the highest stage of capitalism was standpoint exceptionalism. p. but it also has its political dimension.by restricting the state's capacity to intervene. particularly any NGO with the sanction in any country of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). but not wholly for that reason. It requires muscle. There must be just enough local accumulation to permit the South to maintain some non-statist institutions or social forces which can enable it to manage its own poverty… it might be possible to address the problem of ‘governance’ by recognizing and ‘validating’ the coping strategies which people have developed to resist social degradation.” Peripheral and semi-peripheral nations are subordinated through structural adjustment programs (SAPs). What Harvey does emphasize in his description of modern imperialism is that the non-dominant states are subordinate to finance capital.” note Leo Panitch and Sam Ginden (Global Capitalism and American Empire. 245) This gives us good reason to examine the role of NGOs not as service agencies. but that finance capital is still secured by the state. the dimension of power characterizing the whole relationship between actors. “needs to be understood through an extension of the theory of the capitalist state. using its creditor status against peripheral nations and its debtor status against the metropoles. It can only be grasped in its complexity. in part to drain value from them. has undermined their coherence. (Biel. The task for SAPs is to establish the economic conditions in which such a society can become self-functioning [self policing in the international order]. This is a dimension within the local political scene in the periphery that belies the notion of sovereignty on close examination. rather than derived directly from the theory of economic stages or crises. whose actions are closely coordinated through the US Embassy with its Economics Sections and its CIA station chief. free online as this is written). “Far from being the highest stage of capitalism. “Capitalist imperialism. Dollar hegemony gives the ability to wield hot money as a political weapon to one state.

then. particularly in times of deep insecurity or outright crisis. Its two national dimensions are the struggle between elites for control of the state apparatus and the struggle between official and grassroots power -. as part of its plan to dismantle the Yugolsav state that heroically resisted fascism during World War II under the leadership of fellow Croatian Josep Broz Tito. and in fact have become grist for thousands of academic papers. The problem is that to satisfy this demand. The so-called middle class in India is in fact somewhere between 150-200 million people out of more than a billion. one that is most marked in large. Here are a few observations of my own. but consumerism.as opposed to outright coups -.as a way to create conditions that inflame difference into conflict using external economic pressure… Yugoslavia being a prime example. culturally diverse states. The latter is reinforced by actual structural relations within a nation-state. Its interstate dimension is in every case a struggle about how to relate to American power. fascism.In the peripheral or semi-peripheral (like India) states. even though once in power it always secures the fortunes of the already ruling class. And there is a cultural-ideological dimension. managers. These have been studied quite a lot. technocrats. they serve as a buffer between the super-rich and the impoverished Indian masses. Western cultural hegemony has carried with it not just neoliberal ideology. Fascism flourishes during times of deep insecurity. a Croatian fascist. They are a composite of professionals. the Indian government has allowed India -. This stratum has certain expectations. It was no surprise. who are threatened by grassroots power. The inevitable result of 172 . political struggle operates along multiple axes. So we look at Mussolini fascism.to run up a trade deficit.which unites even opposition elites. This is a very controversial topic. It comes to power politically (after it comes to prominence socially) during periods when the existing political establishment loses the confidence of the people. both national and personal. It seems to have class dimensions and racial dimensions. often called “inequality. It always co-opts the most inflammatory language of the left as a kind of populist appeal.which does not have an industrial consumer-goods production base adequate to this need -. Politically. and the recipients of political patronage.” but characterized by a far less abstract relations of parasitic domination like “national” oppression (the modifier here used in the historical-community and not the state sense) or caste. It always seems to be characterized by demagogic appeals to racial or ethnic or national superiority. that the US allied itself with Franjo Tudjman. businesspeople who run franchises for the multinationals. a question of dependence or autarky. and try to determine how that is the same or different from Hitler fascism or Franco fascism. This intermediate class has a very high demand for consumer goods as an outward expression of its status. in which “difference” can be constructed as hierarchy or conflict by demagogues. Many people have tried to describe. The problem has been that the term was invented by one kind of fascist. Last but certainly not least. manufactured in the Great Nation promotions of various Indian leaderships who have felt compelled to court them. not terribly rigorous. and they have learned to employ destabilization -. it always makes powerful appeals to a kind of martial masculinity. It always seems to be a phenomenon of a “middle class” that has been destabilized by economic downturns. then applied to a couple more. Metropolitan political operatives have learned the “cultural logic” very well. around 15% of the population. It always seems to be carried forward outside the legitimated political process by an element of vigilantism. or even define.

a charge bitterly denied by the RSS now. the latter betraying the reactionary character hiding under its populist rhetoric. though growth rates.privatization. Dr. Godse was.” and rendered them susceptible -. abandonment of government-supported social services. especially well-paying jobs. paramilitary practices in the form of “physical exercise. the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi. that the fortunes of this class were tentative. This condition breeds a kind of political panic.in the absence of an interpretive framework for understanding their situation -. The rhetoric of the RSS and BJP was designed to inflame this and direct it against Muslims. having been earlier organized (as the Indian People’s Union) but suffering collapse during the government of Indira Gandhi. and fire-sale sell-offs of public assets. The elite “middle class” had hitched its fortunes to the Washington Consensus. has actually decreased. beyond any doubt. (Not true. a huge faux-populist xenophobia came to the fore as an explanatory force. lifelong indoctrination in the organizations principles. devaluation of the national currency. as it were. In 1925. who appoints his successor. This stratum is closest to the lower classes. albeit in the outward ways presented by the market. the BJP went from being a marginal party to a major political force. even before the independence struggle. records actually show no special Hindu significance attached to the site until the 173 . ancient mosque built in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. and birthplace of Samrat Shri Ramachandra.” and a network of local chapters (shakhas) where education involves intense. up until now. a Hindutva true believer . Job expansion rates. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar organized Rashtriya Swayemsevak Sangh (RSS. the political expression of the RSS has been the Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People’s Party. and is easily directed at scapegoats. in the early 90s. It is a highly hierarchical organization that combines Hinduism. accepting their role as the comprador proxy for the US. and expresses a violent Islamophobia. National Volunteer Union) as a formation to fight for a Hindu Nation.this. Hindutva propaganda held that the mosque was built in the 16th Century (true) on top of an ancient Hindu pilgrimage location. This has only heightened the sense of insecurity among the lower “middle class.to demagogy from the right. Nathuram Godse. however. but by creaming the plunder of structural adjustment -. prevented a replay of Argentina in India. have remained unchanged since the 80s. and his public criticisms of the RSS were always that they were not aggressive enough. the RSS has inflamed anti-Hindu xenophobia. however. (RSS ideology is also strongly anti-Christian and anticommunist. It is always and absolutely led by one male leader. BJP). It has been apparent from the beginning. The refusal to expose the Rupee is what has. home to 13 million Indian Muslims. especially at the bottom of this stratum. was alleged to have been a member of the RSS by his own brother in a 1994 interview.) The Babri Masjid was a great . and is in direct contact with the agitations and deformations of poverty… it looks them most directly in the face. has been staved off for a time by the Indian government’s decision not to allow full convertability for the Rupee… until now. With the insecurities that struck the lower-middle class with the introduction of neoliberalism. Since 1980. except that it has well over a million active members. an ostensible Hindu king and demi-god (Rama). even after “liberalization” in the early 90s. and when this surrender of Indian sovereignty had its first destructive impacts on the comprador confusion. Since the post-independence partition. It would be easy to dismiss the RSS as an obscurantist sect. The fortunes of the “middle class” and the rich have been improved not by expansion of productive capacity.

“Ayodhya prompts several thoughts relating to the Temple Mount. This ignited riots between Hindu and Muslim across India. including the capitol. there was now extreme tension around the world with regard to this nascent confrontation between two nuclear-armed nations. Babri Masjid was an architectural marvel. 1992.two months later -. and held immense interest for historians around the world.” Clinton graced Vajpayee with the legitimation of a ballyhooed presidential visit in 2000. It shows that the Temple Mount dispute is far from unique. American neo-con propagandist Daniel Pipes. and in 1999. Moslems have habitually asserted the supremacy of Islam through architecture. to an army-orchestrated coup d’etat. At any rate. ratcheting up tension around the world. around 100. before themselves being killed by Indian security). and Taliban fighters dispersed through eastern Pakistan.18th Century). but this issue has not been resolved to this day. attacking Muslim residents nearby and engaging in widespread looting and vandalism.with US troops now occupying Afghanistan. incited by RSS and BJP operatives with loudspeakers. Pakistan denied complicity. and on December 13 -. the Ka'ba in Mecca and the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople). and coordinated the leadership for this particular instance of vigilante violence.” This not only connected RSS ideology with Zionism in their respective ideologies. This may have been a response to India’s October surprise artillery assault launched against Pakistani positions along the Kashmir line of control. I noted earlier that vigilantism is a consistent aspect of fascism. wellknown himself for his extreme Islamophobia. the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP. September 11th happened. it presaged the “natural” connection that would emerge between a future BJP government and an approving Bush II administration. and almost as quickly put Clinton on the spot with a series of five unannounced nuclear weapons tests that broke a decades-long moratorium (since a single such test in 1974). where most executive authority is vested. building on top of the monuments of other faiths (as in Jerusalem and Ayodhya) or appropriating them (e. After a “decent interval. After all. Exploiting the generalized insecurity amplified by neoliberal predation and disunity in the bujreuacratically moribund Congress Party. In response to these attacks. Bus was appointed by judicial fiat in 2000 and took office the next January. good neoliberal allies in countries of over a billion people are not easy to come by.000 Hindutva fanatics converged on Babri Masjid and destroyed it. Pakistan replied two weeks later with its own test. The Bush administration had thrown in its lot with Pakistan out of tactical necessity for its invasion of Afghanistan. On December 6. and the position of Prime Minister.g. There was a neoliberally-committed BJP government already in 174 . emblematic of which was the bizarre frame-up of Wen Ho Lee -. At Babri Masjid.a Taiwanese American scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Clinton administration was then overseeing an general anti-Chinese hysteria. the BJP came to national power in India in 1998. wrote. once again. the Indian Parliament was attacked by Pakistani paramilitaries (killing several security guards. and General Pervez Musharraf installed himself as Pakistan’s new leader. was handed to the 50-year Parliamentary veteran Atal Bihari Vajpayee. and China was cynically lining up with Pakistan for strategic reasons. and for now sat on the sidelines with regard to India and the BJP leadership there. World Hindu Council) orchestrated much of the actual violence. Vajpayee was immediately embraced by the Clinton administration. the civilian government of Pakistan fell.

and militaristic people.” In other words. in a manner of speaking. writing about the nuclear tests under the BJP government “The Cultural Politics of Indian Nuclearism”) noted: The history of India's nuclear tests extends back.“objectively” -. upon hearing of the tests was. The way George W. Connell. remarked that “fascism promote[s] new images of masculinity [during crises of the same]. virile. as a principally politicoeconomic phenomenon. and the Energy War had now decisively converged. Thackeray. The reason is that men on the right and left remain reluctant to acknowledge the centrality of gender as a system of material. Neoliberalism. It is a telling fact that the first comment of Balasaheb K. W. the general reaction on the Left when polarization is mentioned is to equate that solely with the contradictions contained within economic class.gender. and psychological power is because that acknowledgment puts their own entitlements and their own pretensions and insecurities under the bright light of criticism. that one can finds its adherents in think tanks and governments in any capitol in the world. and Bush could ill afford to do more than remain quiet as his mandarins directed the latest campaign in the Energy War. It is my belief that (1) neoliberalism will exacerbate these polarities and thereby strengthen the right as the guarantor of order. 175 . the chauvinist leader of the militantly Hindu Shiv Sena party who is an open admirer of Hitler. thinking with ‘the blood’) and the unrestrained violence of the frontline soldier. 193) Vinay Lal. Indians have never been able to live down the taunt of “effeminacy”. Masculinities (University of California Press. 1995). to the early days of India under colonial rule. R.place. The reason that fascism is still seen. Bush does when he dressed up like a cowboy or a fighter pilot. with its gendered aspects a kind of barely-relevant curiosity reserved for psychoanalysts. prove they are not like women. and (2) that the general rightward shift that lies in waiting as the logical outcome of neoliberalism’s destructive trajectory brings into bold relief another social polarity that is simultaneously imbricated with class but separate from it in its character and bases -. I believe that is true. and those who know of the cultural nuances of South Asian history are aware that some Indians imagine Pakistani Muslims as a meat-eating. Hindutva fascism. Perry Anderson in a 2003 interview at Berkeley noted that neoliberalism is now the most thoroughly global ideology in human history. “We have to prove that we are not eunuchs. One response was to embrace a certain kind of hyper-masculinity.” (p. even on the left. leading lives of indolence and womanly softness. following the rebellion of 1857-58. the entire country was divided between “martial” and “non-martial” races. which would enable Indians to be construed as a people just as “manly” as the British. is not that gender is -. writing in his superlative book. The British were apt to describe Indians as an “effeminate” people. robust. ideological.somehow secondary as a causative agent. glorifying irrationality (‘the triumph of the will’. However. He further noted that there were two contradictions carried within neoliberalism that will ultimately undermine it: ecological constraints and social polarization.

A striking example of the latter is the Indian “womb” industry. The number of beggars and prostitutes in the cities -. Moreover. designed to ensure their marginal survival at a level that insured against social upheaval.in the “private” realm. as well as the World Bank. violence against women has exploded in India. where the non-monetized subsidization of their survival by women’s work in the reproductive (familial) economy helped keep wages extremely low. This is now referred to in India as “reproductive tourism. and they began using micro-credit loans to women. who are seeking surrogate mothers. and who sought to preserve the sole domain within which they held power -. however. who were still also performing all household tasks. because their lower social status as women left them vulnerable to newly-creative mechanisms of exploitation by men -.” In practice.freed from “backwardness.” With the breakup of traditional structures in India.no longer able to eke out a living on the land -.as predicted by many on the left -.wombs”. It was estimated by Mies.” that kept wages low and ensured foreign and comprador profit margins sweated out of the displaced male working class (though certain industries prefer exclusively female work forces made up of women who have been economically pressed into the cities). ostensibly to “lift them out of poverty. Since the push to modernization as part of the nation-building project. Many NGOs on the payroll of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). can go to India to find agencies who will make a woman’s womb available for a mere $2. and finally the reactionary “communalism” of hyper-masculine Hindutva with its political expression through the BJP.including husbands and landlords… and now through the neoliberal relation between metropole and periphery. sexual slavery.India’s Women Many on the left actually saw the original national modernization process as one of emancipation from older “semi-feudal” structures… as “progress. Men went in search of jobs in the cities. these programs ultimately failed women. and came to be identified with consumption in the public sphere and competitive sexual objectivity in the private. June 16. 2006). The incidence of battery.000 in the US or Western Europe. reports Bangalore journalist Sudha Ramachandran (“India's new outsourcing business . women were not -.exploded into the tens of millions. while maintaining the relatively low cost of social reproduction for which women’s efforts formed the foundation. who did field work there with K. 176 . Infertile western couples. This non-monetized “cost of social reproduction. but would have to pay $45. recognized this explicitly. in fact. the further instabilities and insecurities of neoliberalism. suffered its own crisis as the women who underwrote it with their rural labor were undermined by the enclosures of monocropping agribusiness. Asia Times. prostitution. rape.” but victimized by men whose traditional masculine identities had been thrown into severe crisis by changes in the public sector. Lalitha and Krishna Kumari in 1983.500.” The program was. that 80% of the work being done in the fields was then being done by women. The “emancipation” of newly emerging “middle class” women was into what Maria Mies described as housewifization. the systems of caste and gender hierarchy that pre-existed the march to industrialization and the Green Revolution freed the upper castes and men from their paternal obligations under the old system and lowered the status of women and lower castes from subordinate to disposable.

most interestingly in a movement called the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). fanned by the Hindutva movement. the Campaign for Recognition of Midwives.a lesson activists in the West might learn. SEWA is now expanding into Yemen and Turkey. off the grid. The exacerbation of ethnic rivalry. child car.” that is. which only serves to increase women’s sense of dependence on their co-ethnic males in the perennial gender paradigm of obedience-for-protection. Ninety-four percent of India’s women labor in the “unorganized sector.SEWA is now seen by women activists in the global South as a standard-bearer for women’s leadership in the struggle against both patriarchy and neoliberalism. With almost 700. dowry murders. the Food Security Campaign. The worsening condition of women in India has not gone unanswered. health care.widow burning. even under contract law. They have also taken such initiatives as creation of “fodder banks” to ensure the survival of livestock during drought. a rattan cane smeared with pureed red chili peppers was shoved into her vagina.a dynamic 73-year-old veteran of the Indian Independence Movement and ex-labor lawyer -. Much of its activity is responding to the specific needs of its members and the sectors they work in by creating issue campaigns and alternative institutions designed to reduce dependence on the existing system… to move. 177 . insurance. SEWA and other grassroots organizations form blocs with the left during elections. “Development” as a meme has concealed the terrifying reality of sexual exploitation for Indian women and children. however. Perhaps the most interesting thing about SEWA is that its politics are hardly restricted to electoralism -. Louis Proyect writes: When a city like Bombay is touted in the business press as a high technology beacon. but not without asserting demands in exchange for their support. the Campaign for our Right to Child Care. and female infanticide (associated with the burden of dowry costs) has gone up across the board. they are apt to neglect mentioning that it is also home to at least 20. This sector’s women are becoming highly self-organized. has reignited the widespread use of rape as a weapon of ethnic warfare. SEWA and its emulators are becoming a political force. These include issue campaigns like the Home-based Workers’ Campaign. capacity building and communication services. Begun three decades ago by Elaben Bhatt -. in work that has no state-protections associated with it. legal aid. the Construction Workers’ Campaign. After she awoke. such jobs are unlikely to be outsourced to India from the USA. Politically. the Water Campaign (!). etc. the Vendors Campaign. The very conditions that have shattered the foundations of traditional life and forced large numbers of women into the informal sectors with fewer traditional guarantees of paternal care (from husbands or upper-classes) have created the conditions for an increasingly powerful women’s resistance that will carry with it profound political consequences. her head was banged against the floor until she lost consciousness. so to speak. honor killing.000 child prostitutes. Many are displayed row after row in zoolike cages. When one new victim refused to have sex. Cooperatives have been established for credit. the Forest Workers’ Campaign. If it is any consolation.000 members in five Indian states.

and by creating farms on the land--and ultimately agribusiness and then shopping malls and gated communities. where women are suffering under similar structural and cultural pressures. who says that we can “recover” that “right” over nature which was lost to humanity. and Adam represents the labor that must be used to refurbish the earth. “Development. what hopes could possibly exist for the average African nation? Even if India had the patience to wait nearly 4 centuries to catch up to the United States. Science. the mainstream story of western culture is that humanity can recover the Garden of Eden through science. Eve now represents fallen nature. has never simply stood as the linguistic marker for social evolution. -SG] And then we lost it. and echoed by the male intelligentsia of India’s eager compradors.” after all. Carolyn Merchant. The situation for women in the real world created behind this narrative has been a mixed result.From a regional perspective. the reality here and in other developed countries falls far short of the image created by its paid propagandists. caused by Eve.one might say she’s the first “scientist” -. in a June 2002 interview explained to Russell Schoch of the California Monthly: Since the scientific revolution of the 17th century. through agriculture and ultimately industrial capitalism. As the ecologic and energetic limits to 178 . So. [Bacon actually used a rape metaphor. March 2004). If this is true for a supposedly dynamic country that is a pole of attraction for outsourced high technology. All of this is part of a "progressive" narrative that technology can be used to interact with and to dominate and control nature… The clearest expression of it comes from Francis Bacon. and capitalism come together in the 17th century to allow a secular version of the reinvention of Eden on earth. ergo “chaotic”) Nature.and who then tempted a reluctant Adam. and capitalism by remaking the whole earth into a garden. technology. on development”: Not only did [a] World Bank economist… find that the ratio of per capita income between the richest and poorest nations grew by a factor of 9 to 50 between 1870 and 1960. Louis Proyect notes (Swans. depending on whether the women were in the overdeveloped metropoles or the underdeveloped periphery and semi-periphery. By cutting down forests and making the desert blossom as the rose. This will have profound social and political implications for the future. to recover what was lost. given the grotesque illusions that have been propagated about “development” by India’s neoliberal masters in Washington and Wall Street. technology. but for capitalist “growth” and “progress” predicated on the masculinist narrative of Man conquering (a female. bringing about the Fall from Eden. dozens of major women-led organizations have shown the most willingness to build lines of communication between India and Pakistan. he also projected that it would take India 377 years to erase this gap at current growth rates. in the Fall from Eden. Eve is the one who exhibited the first curiosity -.

the social position of women will be determined by monumental social struggles. at peace with itself and its neighbors. Today's Russia is not our enemy. and thereby ignited a quiet panic among fractions of the US ruling class that are beginning to understand exactly how reckless the Bush administration and its New Centurion advisors really are. Reactionaries.this “growth” continue to assert themselves as crises. into a basis for future political power. to the whole world. still suffering a very serious crisis of legitimacy in the wake of the 2000 elections. but in some ways. attempting to re-consolidate and strengthen male social power over women. Fixed like deer in the headlights by their own failure to appreciate the variant logics of territorial power and the atmospheric dynamics of geopolitical maneuvering. Its government is no longer communist. they will be positioned as a collective vanguard for whatever the next phase is in social development.Republican and Democrat alike -. democratic. This applies to India. Women themselves. 2001. they approach the 2006 elections -. even crises that will inevitably encroach on the metropoles themselves with more force.of a global conflict over one of the world system’s most essential material substrates: fossil energy. will be uniquely positioned to develop the off-the-grid alternative economies that appear in the interstices of a system that is outrunning its own material basis.tied together by a Gordian knot of irrelevance and inertia. and so is the Soviet Union. the sun comes up on a vastly different world. Women predominate the work and therefore the skills that hold together the non-monetized and local economies in most of the world. delivered a speech to the National Defense University. George W. Today. If women establish networks of strong. before September 11 had so dramatically changed the political weather. will continue to masculinze their own political narratives to catalyze male solidarity across class lines. It is this struggle between states that has landed the US in a military and political quagmire in Iraq. Shanghai & New Delhi The long term secular trends we can observe using empirical calculations already demonstrate the inevitability -. conscious political solidarity to get the male boot off their necks within these spheres. Their marginalization now may translate. with strong leadership from other women. It is our responsibility to pay very close attention.all other variable remaining the same -. Figures like Elaben Bhatt and Vandana Shiva now bear immense historic responsibility.than any conjuncture in human history. Bush. The reason it is important is that the geopolitical machinations afoot now are charged with more perilous implications -. I need to quote this speech at length here. 179 . Its president is elected. however. Today's Russia is not yesterday's Soviet Union. The Wall is gone. because it is as rich with retrospective insights for the reader as it is with irony.in many ways -. however. but a country in transition with an opportunity to emerge as a great nation. In May 1.

Cold War deterrence is no longer enough to maintain peace. We must work together with other like-minded nations to deny weapons of terror from those seeking to acquire them. Most troubling of all.states for whom terror and blackmail are a way of life. They seek weapons of mass destruction to intimidate their neighbors. Yet. a less certain. together with a reunited Germany. Hungary and Czech Republic are free nations and they are now our allies in NATO. to protect our own citizens and our own allies and friends. In such a world. Deterrence can no longer be based solely on the threat of nuclear retaliation. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990. Many care little for the lives of their own people. And together. But the international community would have faced a very different situation had Hussein been able to blackmail with nuclear weapons. some of today's tyrants are gripped by an implacable hatred of the United States of America. More nations have nuclear weapons and still more have nuclear aspirations.The Iron Curtain no longer exists. today's most urgent threat stems not from thousands of ballistic missiles in the Soviet hands. This treaty does not recognize the present or point us to the future. This is an important opportunity for the world to rethink the unthinkable and to find new ways to keep the peace. and a number of these countries are spreading these technologies around the world. the world joined forces to turn him back. Defenses can strengthen deterrence by reducing the incentive for proliferation. Many have chemical and biological weapons. To do so. a broad strategy of active nonproliferation. We need a new framework that allows us to build missile defenses to counter the different threats of today's world. We need new concepts of deterrence that rely on both offensive and defensive forces. and individual liberty. 180 . We must work with allies and friends who wish to join with us to defend against the harm they can inflict. but from a small number of missiles in the hands of these states -. Unlike the Cold War. and to keep the United States and other responsible nations from helping allies and friends in strategic parts of the world. We must seek security based on more than the grim premise that we can destroy those who seek to destroy us. counter-proliferation and defenses. this is still a dangerous world. Poland. They hate our values. a less predictable one. They hate democracy and freedom. we must deter anyone who would contemplate their use. Like Saddam Hussein. the list of these countries includes some of the world's least-responsible states. we must move beyond the constraints of the 30-year-old ABM Treaty. Some already have developed a ballistic missile technology that would allow them to deliver weapons of mass destruction at long distances and incredible speeds. They hate our friends. Today's world requires a new policy. It enshrines the past.

“The U. that prohibits us from pursuing promising technology to defend ourselves. echoing the sentiments of Chinese leadership. During a summit between Bush and Putin in July. the hubristic herd that was now directing the US Executive Branch. Ten days later. Nuclear weapons still have a vital role to play in our security and that of our allies. Russia. In the near term. Russia. the composition. cited repeatedly by Bush’s speechwriter. 181 . I'm committed to achieving a credible deterrent with the lowest possible number of nuclear weapons consistent with our national security needs. while US foreign policy has been cognizant of China. the real target of US foreign policy has been Russia. As evidenced by the May Day Bush speech. The very next day. They originally included China. it is China’s thirst for energy that will confront both China and the US with a dangerous political dilemma. well before September 11th. will destroy the balance of international security forces and could cause a new arms race. that the Bush administration and its coterie were aiming directly at unipolar. however.No treaty that prevents us from addressing today's threats. and they had already begun the story-development for an attack on and occupation of Iraq. was uncharacteristically blunt. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. uncontested American global dominance. In the long term. but on June 11 launched an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile that was widely interpreted by the diplomatic corps as a warning to Bush.S. This new framework must encourage still further cuts in nuclear weapons.” it stated. inaugurated under the Clinton administration… one alumnus of which was the intense heir of a fabulously wealthy Saudi business magnate: Osama bin Laden. We can and will change the size. Putin failed to convince Bush to replace whatever was abandoned with a US-Russian bilateral agreement on nuclear weapons. formally re-named themselves in June that year as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). India and Russia issued a joint statement denouncing the abrogation of the ABM Treaty. the normally circumspect Xinhua News Agency.as many of the wonks did -. and between them they controlled the majority of the world’s natural gas supplies. They were dismissive of the SCO. including our obligations to our allies. A group of loosely affiliated nations with common border issues prefiguring the resolution of standing tensions between Russia and China. believing -. the character of our nuclear forces in a way that reflects the reality that the Cold War is over. our friends and our allies is in our interests or in the interests of world peace. called the Shanghai Five. Both China and Russia saw.that the tensions between China and Russia would constitute firm limits on the SCO’s capacity to function as an Asian counter-US bloc. was conciliatory in its rhetoric. missile defense plan has violated the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. adding Uzbekistan when the re-founded. but the door was left open. had convinced themselves of their own unstopability. Kazakhstan. The historical irony that would emerge on September 11th was that the common defense concerns that first brought the Shanghai Five together were based on the large number of Muslim separatist groups who had been strengthened initially by the USsponsored anti-Soviet insurgency in Afghanistan.

For his dour and confident leadership style. to assert himself. What is seldom mentioned is the fact that she was an extremely precocious student. Here too. This prescience would be qualified by emergent realities. and he took the blow with equanimity. which demands respect. shattered nation trying to find its way back on the world stage under the leadership of Vladimir Putin -.an ex-KGB operative who has inspired so many wildly varying interpretations of him that he appears a multiple personality. Putin. and decisively subordinated within the US neoliberal order. This is the era of Exterminism.Former National Security Advisor and current Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is often cited by the unidimensionistas of wonkery for having served on the board of an oil company and having a tanker named after her. and its financial system melted down in 1998. but on the contrary will be intensified repression. as life expectancies tumbled and people quit having children. obscurantism and black reaction.” The preoccupation with Russia has existed since the breakup of the USSR during the Reagan administration. after Putin had facilitated the entry of US bases into former Republics of the USSR. 182 . for creating societies of total surveillance and lockdown. and with these developments a traumatized. Putin seized the opportunities offered up by September 11 as eagerly as the Bush administration. the highest stage of imperialism. Civil society was replaced by some of the most ruthless Mafiosi on the planet. The population fell by over 11 million. The country was looted after the fall of the USSR. seeing it as a possible way to secure a compact with the Americans to advance the US-Russia common interest in breaking OPEC. a historian of the USSR. that would reveal US intentions to Putin. In December 2001. for the shrinking of civil society. Moscow Putin keeps his own counsel. the former Soviet Union and international security policy. internationally or domestically. Rice inherited the developments since then. Putins’ actually-existing Russia I still a deeply traumatized and weakened country. Afghanistan is a foretaste of the future. It was Russia that was to be first encircled. His KGB training had taught him nothing if it wasn’t rapid recognition of the temporal reality of power. was in no position. Bush spat on him with the formal abrogation of the ABM Treaty. speculated on where this impossible alliance would eventually lead: Inevitably… the most pronounced aspects of any new Russo-American realignment will not be any inherent capacity for renewed growth and progress. Mark Jones. for intensified racism and social intolerance. entering college at 15 and earning a Masters Degree by the time she was 21. seeing no hope in the future. It is a recipe for the further militarisation of imperialism. and no country has been more buffeted by history over the last two decades than Russia. Her Poli-Sci PhD was awarded in 1981 from the University of Denver… on “the politics of East-Central Europe. writing a month after the October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. and reassert Russia as a world power by joining hands with the US to effectively encircle China. its economy in tatters. It is also the age of Panopticon. however. however.

The second erroneous story was the alarm that the US would attack Iran this summer (which might still be proven wrong.who bought. But as a wonderfully colourful Japanese proverb has it. Alarmed by the implications of what it was observing in Russia. fled rather than stand trial. of the 183 .” One by one the Oligarchs have been shaken from their slumbers and dragged before the courts for their misdeeds.a process that will not be detailed here. subjected to corruption probes by Russian state prosecutors since 1999. The 1990s were the glory days for this small but highly publicized clique of Russian businessmen .) Planting such a story may have reflected alarm at the fact that Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. The west still had its powerful allies inside Putin’s camp -. The power of Putin’s central government was fractured. including autocratic methods and corruption. wherein he claimed that Iran was on the brink of acquiring nuclear weapons. the Selling of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. 2003 and is currently cooling his heels in a Russian prison. rigging auctions and using the media and even the police as extensions of vast corporate empires. but I doubt it). Cali Ruchala wrote (“American Oligarch. Mikhail Khodorkovsky. announced an accelerated nuclear research and development program.” aiming this weapon at the Russian trading partners of the former Soviet Union. even the mighty shall be brought down low. 2004.In the same month. Which would be facilitated by… Russia. India’s volatile relationship to Pakistan and China’s longstanding mistrust of India (as well as border disputes) were intersected by the tactical alliance between the US and Pakistan. The first was the one noted above.” Sobaka): For more than a decade. Boris Berezovsky and Vladimir Gusinsky. a covert ops front foundation designed to topple foreign governments by financing and training “oppositions.the gangster oligarchs -and Russia was still incapacitated internationally by the devastating legacy of Yeltsin. The very real flaws. On March 26. they were above the law. appalled at both the oligarchs’ violence and conspicuous consumption. As a newly empowered Putin surveyed the geopolitical landscape. and Putin was proceeding in cautious. And Putin had largely recaptured the political prerogatives of the Russian central government. chairman of Iran’s Expediency Council. He also recognized how both India and Russia were positioned within the contradictory web of recent history. but his actions spoke volumes. the Bush administration mobilized the notorious National Endowment for Democracy (NED).popularly known as “Oligarchs” . or simply took over Russia's national wealth for pennies on the dollar. “like an evening dream in springtime. except to say that a nodal point was the arrest of American favorite Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Seymour Hirsh. was arrested on October 25. stole. he recognized the criticality of India immediately. well-considered phases to restore it -. (Hirsh needs to seriously reconsider the reliability whoever is his source on Iran stories. writing for the New Yorker. Putin was not prone to talk overmuch. These measures were wildly popular with the Russian public. The target of a similar probe. wrote one of two rarely erroneous stories. And this is just a first glance.

China “The enemy advances. the Treasury bill standard has enabled the United States to draw on the resources of the rest of the world without reciprocation. like everyone else. Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov. we harass. governing financially through its debtor position. Putin was in the process of nationalizing Yukos. and it’s art-deco “revolutions” in the former Soviet states. 184 . America’s shift into debtor status turned the postwar into an exploitative double standard. and the walls impeding the rise of some future Asian bloc were indeed tumbling down. Since the nation went off gold in 1971. knew that the button to push with the Indian political establishment was called “Great Nation status. World Dominance (Pluto Press. As dollar debts have replaced gold as the backing for central bank reserves.” At home. we retreat. Vice Admiral Cebrowski told the Bush administration that “the dangers against which US forces must be arrayed derive precisely from countries and regions that are ‘disconnected’ from the prevailing trends of globalization.” After 9-11. In December 2004. a Russia-India energy cooperation agreement. Putin was accompanied to India by an extremely high-powered delegation from Russia for the New Delhi Summit with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. we attack. the enemy tires. he had in his briefcase a joint declaration of strategic partnership. and Kyrgyzstan. we pursue.” whose main role (designated by their US sponsors) was to reorient these nations away from Russia and toward the US. George W. Bush.S.” Michael Hudson writes in Super Imperialism -. The upshot is that almost without anyone really recognizing what has been happening.leaders in Ukraine. all three pro-Russian leaders were gone. Putin. the largest oil producing company in Russia. the entire system would be threatened if questions into its intrinsic unfairness were reopened. the enemy retreats. 2003) that… …[t]he sense of shock at the United States’ rising trade and payments deficit has been lost as the deficit has been built into the world economic system. had declared war on Russia. a Russia-India joint space exploration agreement. who’d once declared he could see Putin’s soul somewhere near his retinas. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Included in the delegation were Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov. The bald attempt by the United States to establish its permanent bases in Iraq no matter the costs. the enemy camps. not through its creditor status. and the Director General of the Russian Atomic Agency. Shortly thereafter. Between 2003-2005. Georgia. Russia sold minority interests in Yukos to China and India. Manmohan Singh had Russia’s solemn promise to push for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council with full veto power. Before Putin returned to Moscow.the Origins and Fundamentals of U. had served as a Joshuan trumpet. facilitated this installment of neo-liberalfriendly comprador “democrats. two oil-thirsty emerging giants. and a host of new weapons sales. and hence the world’s credit supply.

S. The war itself is thoroughly financed by the system of “free lunch” loans (the Treasury bill standard) described by Hudson. They are all too closely identified with the United States. but of destabilization. This graphic demonstration of the falsehood of the American military-invincibility mystique has 185 . interstate rivalry between the developed nations of North America. to actually challenge the system. and the plunge into crisis appears a result of reckless miscalculation as a form of cynical calculation. For them. Yet U.and since 1991 even the former Soviet Union -. as many believe. something for nothing. diplomats have been able to convince Europe. and Iran has emerged as the new regional power broker. With the Bush administration’s employment of preemptive war doctrine. and the Third World -. had so mystified their own constituents with regard to both economic and foreign policy with “multilateralism” and “human rights” as the cover for their own complicity in accumulation by dispossession.all of them implicated in neoliberalism as a collaborative system of parasitism upon the global South -was not a moral disturbance. Economies that have fallen into deficit have lost not only their world power. nor as integrated politically. What has been a surprise. and too densely networked within the US-directed world system. the rationale for acquiescence has shifted from an early postwar faith in American moral leadership and the rhetoric of free markets to the fear that the United States will plunge the world into crisis if it does not get its way. because they themselves. but a crisis of legitimacy. Western Europe. but usually also their autonomy to manage their own domestic politics and retain ownership of their public resources and their central bank’s financial policy. they have taken a baton to a hornets’ nest as part of their destabilization strategy. and less surprised.to reorient their economies to facilitate America’s evolution from payments-surplus to payments-deficit status. convincing themselves that somehow they themselves would be immune to the wrath of its residents. following the lead of past US administrations (especially the Clinton administration). nor as conformed culturally to the US as the overdeveloped metropoles. Those who were most alerted. This has not increased. a free subsidy from the world’s payments-surplus nations? For one thing. the acceleration of the shift from manufactured consent to naked force as the instruments of empire -. the US has sunk into a terrific military stalemate in Iraq. Their crises are domestic and political. it has gotten the opposite result of its original plan in Southwest Asia. Members of the administration have displayed more than a little of the logic associated with macho adolescent boys. In that way. The neo-con global strategy has been one not of stabilization. This is still the financial and political principle that they must follow. Asia. carried by the notion that the US was in a unique position to pick up the pieces afterward and reorder them to suit its own purposes. is the depth and breadth of the apparent military defeat of the US in Iraq. and has altered political calculations around the world. How has America been able to achieve this quid without the quo. by this display of military machismo were the very states which were neither as networked financially. Instead of compliant nations happily hosting US military “lily pad” bases. and Japan.No nation before has ever been able to invert the classical rules of international finance. that the macho belligerence of the Bush administration threatens to give the game away by raising embarrassing questions.

Both of these nations are perfectly cognizant of the fact that they themselves are the ultimate targets of US machinations.” the euphemism employed by Deng Xiaoping for selective integration of China into the emerging neo-liberal world system. in the West. The party was subsequently reorganized. women. The details of that process.3 billion people that manages to maintain a viable. And modernization is the framework through which to understand the actions of the ruling Chinese Communist Party. the enemy tires. nearly matching the number of men. we attack. The shift to “market socialism.” Asia Times. has brought with a phenomenal growth rate. we harass. Henry C. Chinese realism about relative strength and weakness in the world system has. But there have been tremendous setbacks and challenges as well. in which the winner-takes-all struggle for the correct ideological line ended with unimaginable chaos and violence that threatened the very future of the party. June 23. the struggle within the Party (and that is what it was. served China very well. we retreat. and New York. local bureaucratic corruption. And both nations have a rich history of conflict in which weak forces overcame strong ones by guile and patience.crated a loss of confidence in American power. unitary state. The under-5 mortality rate has dropped from 209 to 45. It is rife with factions. 2006): Learning lessons from the damaging experience of the Cultural Revolution. so far. the opposite of the “bring ‘em on” machismo of Bush’s coterie of Ivy League generalissimos and business-class gangsters wielding their power like a kid who just found his dad’s gun. and during the 60s. It is also the most complex political organization in the world.K. increasing social stratification. Modernization began only after the overthrow of feudalism by the Chinese Revolution in 1949… less than 60 years ago. and Deng Xiaoping led to devastating organizational wreckage and social chaos. robot-like Communist Party. if at all. are poorly understood. and serious environmental problems. Adult literacy had jumped from under 20% to 99%. Since the Revolutions. and even engendered open opposition among latent rivals. the CCP has since adopted ways and means to smooth out the leadership transition process and to reach orderly resolutions of inevitable ideological and material conflicts in a complex socio-economic186 . an unhealthy dependence on export. The Communist Party of China is the single largest political organization in the world. contrary to the impressions predominating in the West) over its direction between Mao Zedong. Liu notes (“The lame duck and the greenhorn. In Mao’s articulation of guerrilla strategy he summarized: “The enemy advances. we pursue. China has not been engaged in the project of modernization for 200 years. Liu Shaoqi.” This is. with Deng’s faction in control. especially Russia and China. the enemy camps. with 70 million members. in many respects. in a period called the Great Cultural Revolution. as well as any interpretation of events in China today. Texas. Chinese life expectancy has gone from 35 to 70. It is only plain Western racism that supports such a simplistic account of a nation of 1. once the empirical evidence is examined. and children in California. that embraces instead monumentally silly caricature of China as a pure and obedient autocracy run by a tightly disciplined. social service collapses. the enemy retreats.

and the capacity inhering in those assets is feared… by the United States. and now holds almost $324 billion in US Treasury securities. and not from an economic standpoint.their vast natural and human wealth is coveted. The US entrapment 187 . At this point. it can’t. This required a strategy of state-mediated investment from abroad.” Along with Japan. as well as in the administration of a nation four times the size of the United States. but a case. China has placed a protective shield around itself vis-à-vis the political-military establishment. Internationally. as Harvey puts it. This is not an advantage or disadvantage for China. Two years after Mao’s death in 1976. China has used this strategy to hollow out huge sectors of US manufacturing and the cheap commodities produced there are now the lifeblood of giant US-based box-store retailers like Wal-Mart. Among the main goals of market liberalization were technology transfers. but more importantly. these two Asian giants are effectively financing the war in Iraq. China knows as well as everyone else that the US will never pay off its T-bill debts. “preventing the formation of any coherent capitalist power bloc within China itself…” The barriers erected by foreign portfolio investment effectively limit the powers of international finance capital over the Chinese state. Oxford University Press. as a way of both insulating itself from speculative depredations and. Development is seen by many as a way to become part of the modern world. and probably more accurately. this meant limited access by outsiders to China’s market (mostly limited to Guangdong).such as stock markets and capital markets -. (A Brief History of Neoliberalism. p. More than 100 US-based multinational corporations have invested $48 billion in China. that now owns $639 billion in US debt. The shared understanding of the Party leadership is that -. By locking sections of the US ruling class into an economic Gordian knot. and Target. The other way that China has established defensive leverage against the US is by buying US debt. The single most important point of unification within the Party leadership is the preservation and strengthening of Chinese independence. Deng Xiaoping implemented a reform agenda that cautiously opened China’s economy to what was then a very nascent neoliberalism. While capitalist incursions into the Chinese market have been substantial. of a standoff of “mutually assured destruction.000 American joint ventures. domestically. The reluctance to permit forms of financial intermediation other than the stateowned banks -. from a Realpolitik perspective.while alliance of conveniences have existed and do exist -.political system that leave room for constructive disagreement and operational compromise. 123) As part of that survival strategy. the Chinese state has maintained tight control over central banking. the US entrapment in the Iraq debacle must be seen. as a net positive. it is seen as a prerequisite to their survival. This has attracted more than 20. though they would be loathe to admit it aloud. It is in this milieu of complex political struggle that Chinese leadership is formed.deprives capital of one of its key weapons vis-à-vis state power. it began a very real devolution of political and economic power from Beijing toward the localities. in the Cold War nuclear vocabulary. Home Depot. China has cynically used its most abundant asset to attract foreign investment: a sea of dirt-cheap human labor. 2005.

2001 -. and its Navy is pitiable. made blazingly clear in 2002. and both had real concerns in their own fields of operations about political Islam.Bush announced it would do “whatever it takes” to defend Taiwan from Chinese attack.in Iraq is creating the conditions for what China has most wanted since the collapse of the Soviet Union: an Asian bloc. China has good reason to fear recent developments. that will create what the Chinese call global multi-polarity. is a decline in American power and the rise of China as a regional power. While the trend. China made an instant and visible show of solidarity. stating their belief that the real challenge to US power in the world was China. after having been briefed by the outgoing Clinton administration on the growing threat of political Islam. It was at the same conference that Bush convinced Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to abrogate his own Constitution by sending troops abroad for the first time since World War II -. said recently: “A weakness on the left is that we often despise complexity. The left sects of the West castigated China and Russia for this support. with China piloting.that is one final step from assembly… a task that could be accomplished in mere weeks. and its string of new bases in Southwest Asia have actually tightened US encirclement.330 in US possession with the combined destructive power of 125. Bush. demanding they step directly before the raging bull of a post-9-11 US. China’s so-called arsenal of nuclear weapons -one of the only assurances in Bush World that prevents preemption in the eyes of many -is a meager 24 nuclear missiles deliverable to the US. for now. threw red meat to his own right wing at home by again committing to the “defense” of Taiwan. When the US was attacked on September 11th. between the usual platitudes. himself a leftist.yet another indication to the Chinese and the world of the resurgence of militarism in Japan. the economic and military disparity is still so great that China sees itself playing for time for several decades more.000 Hiroshima bombs. where Bush was face to face with both Jiang Zemin and Vladimir Putin.a mere three months after having taken office by judicial fiat -. 188 . But when Bush attended the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Conference in October 2001. China’s conventional military is suitable strictly for home defense. at the same conference. compared to the 10. both continued to offer support. wondering then no doubt whether the US would install a compliant force… which it eventually did: NATO. Before 9-11. This program was implicit before the Bush administration. China was also aware that it was the principle long-range target of such a strategy. but qualified that support by saying that the United Nations was the appropriate occupation force. the Bush administration ignored those warnings. This goes a long way toward explaining China’s hesitancy to provoke the US. and Russia green-lighted bases in the former Soviet states.with China as its only possible target -. A friend of mine. Political Islam was to be a foil for Cheney’s energy team to make a bold play to put the imperial hand directly on the Southwest Asian oil tap. Both offered support for an occupation of Afghanistan. While many have the impression that postHiroshima/Nagasaki Japan is nuclear-phobic.” The Chinese provided intelligence support to the US. but on April 24. the fact is Japan has prepared a nuclear arsenal -. even as China moves cautiously forward with its own development agenda. The US has the capacity right now to conduct a devastating blockade China. Both the Russians and the Chinese were alerted early to US intentions when Iraq emerged as a military target. and began the build-up of a US-Japan-Taiwan theater missile defense system.

With steep demand-increase trend-lines from both industrializing China and profligate America. that China became the world’s second largest oil importer. pursuing interests in pipelines. state to avoid the lethal “shock treatment” afforded Russia. 2002. There has been no more powerful recognition of China’s success within neoliberalism. In more particular terms. is India.yet unstated -. and Russia’s Lukoil had signed on for Iraq’s West Qurna field. on July 8. As it expands its domestic refining capacity and establishes a strategic petroleum reserve. and that more autocratic social control is required to ensure domestic population control. Their anxiety about China as a potential competitor is matched only by their envy of the Chinese state apparatus to exercise control over its vast domestic population. The objectives that unite them are held in common with a singular conviction that liberal society. in the view of the US. But that is only one face of the neo-cons. as foreign policy is militarized. has gone to far in the direction of chaos. 2005. restore US global hegemony. its elitist conviction that societies must be welded together by some shared mytho-heroic narrative of conquest and destiny. including its ability to employ a strong. This same tendency for the exertion of greater social control through obscurantist narratives and the “othering” of some generalized enemy is reflected in the Hindutva politics of India. and has been aggressively diversifying its oil import sources. And when.Maintaining the Chinese growth locomotive would require what all growth does since the emergence of hydrocarbon capitalism: fossil energy. The true target of this policy is China. As it stands now. however. though capitalist. even authoritarian. The sea-lanes that ensure its oil imports are still controlled and protected by the United States Navy. the state oil company. Now both were faced with the apparent attempt by the United States to seize the country as a future lever against all comers. China has one great Achilles heel.goals behind all their blather about democracy. It was the same year. China wants to postpone this conflict as long as possible. had signed a deal to develop the Rumailah oil field in Iraq. and going to the actual -. China National Petroleum Corporation. Oil. and prevent the rise of an Asian bloc. The key to the latter item in this strategy. This explains the neo-con affinity for hyper-patriarchal evangelists and their need for an amorphous external enemy. there is an inevitable point that will be reached where the material antagonisms between the two nations will reach a breaking point. China is investing overseas. to exercise control over the anarchic and most selfdestructive tendencies of the so-called free market… than the people some have come to call the neo-conservatives. and developing its own natural gas industry. by force if necessary. or the ability of a culture steeped in Confucian respect for hierarchy and order. Shanghai 189 . the final nail in the coffin of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was situated under the hammer. the neo-cons have a manifold plan: gain control of Southwest Asia. There are many who emphasize the Straussian roots of neo-conservatism. In 1997. India and the US signed the India-US Joint Statement (IUSJS).

The point of this digression is to say that this administration may be playing well over its head. The Chinese have never felt the cultural attachment of the West to zero-sum games. will India pay attention? There are some indications that it may. Metrics are simply addition and subtraction of indices. and India as well as China would be the primary beneficiaries. where the actions of the opposing player are perfectly visible. The size of the Go board. President Hu Jintao will visit India later this year. (3) a Ko rule stipulating no recreation of board positions from stalemates with the potential for an infinite reciprocity of capture. without a decisive qualitative stroke. and (4) the high value of pattern recognition. wounded. denominated in Rubles. allows multiple strategies to be pursued in conjunction with one another.like chess -. without capture) (There are an estimate 10 to the 90th power of protons in the visible universe.). In spite of India’s cozying up to the US on the issue of nuclear development. (2) the massive numbers of games possible on the large board (9. and a parliamentary delegation. With Russia the near term target of US policy since the collapse of the USSR. The establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was a strategic masterstroke. and we are about to watch the launch of the Russian oil bourse. while the strategy can only be inferred. There could be a natural gas OPEC in the offing.It is in this contest that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has appeared on the scene. Television provides a ready-made script in a Manichean universe that always has a happy ending. Go is resistant to programming for four reasons: (1) the condition of “victory” is optimized. The question is. Putin grew up with chess. and China the long term target of US geo-strategic maneuvering. Russia and Iran are the two largest natural gas producing countries. Computer chess programming is child’s play by comparison.3 x 10 to the 567th power. dead. et al. Go. or measured through maximizing or minimizing something objective.what game theorists call a “perfect information” contest. The denial by members that the SCO is a counter-NATO is not merely disingenuous. and Iran an intermediate target that has been put on hold by the quagmire in Iraq… each of the actors in this global drama is shorn of a predictable script. The cultural analog that may be in play is that Bush grew up on television. Chess provides unpredictability in an amoral test of competitive strategy. is -. This is how he measures progress. 190 . and in Iraq it has become apparent that metrics have served him as well as metrics served Robert McNamara in Vietnam. Bush is a fan of literacy.” It is hard to believe that George W. however. and the Chinese Communist Party entertains itself with Go. The SCO is still a long way from serving such a purpose… if ever. like space. captured. this year Indian Defense Minister Pranab Mukhejee negotiated the signing of a first-ever defense cooperation agreement with China. which give the game a level of complexity that cannot be found in chess. such as capture of a King. with the object being to simultaneously protect and defeat a king. The game of Go has so many strategic possibilities that it has proven resistant to computer programming. It is said that Donald Rumsfeld is a fan of “metrics. also called Igo in Japan and Baduk in Korea. after which China hosted visits from the Indian National Security staff. and the game emphasizes the strategic value of space as well as position. SCO heavyweight Russia is negotiating for a natural gas pipeline from Iran to India.

the waterwheel began to spin at a fairly constant rate. By perfectly. even as the Russian engineers are troubleshooting a pipeline to deliver Iranian natural gas to the energy-hungry Indian doorstep. 191 . The best model I can think of to represent the current geopolitics of the Energy War is the Lorenzian water wheel.Russia. and. hence. The situation is not a tug-of-war. The warning from China this year. to censure Iran in the United Nations. and. But what is interesting is who was sent in his place: Oil Minister Murali Deora. What will be even more interesting is whether the Bush government will be able to compel the Singh government. The waterwheel would continue on in chaotic behavior without ever repeating any of its previous conditions. publicly at least. no matter how long he recorded the positions and contents of the buckets. the number of points of “instability” in any complex system also increases. deny the reality of a current and irreversible oil peak. constant stream of water was propelled from the waterspout. that ruble convertability and a Moscow ruble-oil bourse was premature. may have been an attempt to pass along wisdom to an ally. but it may have been motivated by China’s exposure to a weakening dollar… which could become considerably weaker if Putin’s gamble pays off. A slow. and India share security concerns about armed political Islamist groups. Adeel Aslam Bhutta describes the Lorenzian water wheel as having… …about eight buckets spaced evenly around its rim with a small hole at the bottom of each. there was never and instance where the waterwheel was in the same position twice. Russia has oil for sale. I mean just that -. on the other hand. China. Lorenz decided to increase the flow of water. India and Russia are two huge and hugely needed alternative export markets for Chinese manufacture if it is to disentangle itself from the US. and concomitantly the system’s general unpredictability. As the pace of events increases. but then it would suddenly jerk about and revolve in the opposite direction. too. It is perfectly unpredictable.an aspect of complexity that can create patterns within which there is never a perfect repetition of any other iteration. as predicted in his Lorenz Attractor. or even multiple tugs-of war. but the Chinese. an interesting phenomenon arose. “a fight at close quarters” (People’s Daily). It is hard to tell whether the absence of Prime Minister Singh at the June SCO Conference was merely to avoid being seen with Iranian President Mahmoud Amedinijad prior to his July meeting with Bush on the nuclear deal. Lorenz observed his mysterious waterwheel for hours. The Chinese predicated their own analysis on the dire consequences of a sudden drop in oil prices (high oil prices undoubtedly have played a significant role in pulling Russia out of its economic slump). with the lever of the nuclear deal. The waterwheel would revolve in one direction as before. The filling and emptying of the buckets was no longer synchronized. the system was now chaotic. The entire system was placed under a waterspout. The flow of water is a physical analog for time. The increased velocity of the water resulted in a chaotic motion for the waterwheel.

In recent years many disputes have arisen between different countries as a result of energy entanglements. Liu Jianfei teaches at the International Strategic Research Center of China's Central Communist Party School. And as Lorenz. this time to stay. but also. A first tipping point came with the economic crisis that hit the US around 1970 as a result of. both a mathematician and meteorologist.When we look at the geopolitics of today. especially between big powers. and one and a half years after that the US invaded Iraq again.some churches being a common example. to which India has now been centrally drawn. The reason why the whole world has been paying close attention to Iran's nuclear issue is that the thorny problem does not only relate to nuclear proliferation and regional security issues. it has proven possible. will strike against world oil supply. This was over 30 years after World War II had started. the invasion of Iraq took a mere two and a half years. and its impact on the world system. and called it the attractor. albeit with very imperfect predictability. As the flow of time through this Lorenzian waterspout accelerates. It is seen as a balance to entropy (the tendency toward higher levels of disorder). noted when asked a question about the government’s attempts to control the weather: such a hopelessly hubristic attempt at control is doomed from the start -. in the People’s Daily Online. Liu pointed to the hypocritical stance of the United States with regard to Iran. How to address energy security issues is a major problem facing the entire contemporary world. In society/nature. Writing August 19. among other things. They drum for 192 . But with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. the World Trade Center crashed into a toxic dust cloud. jeopardize energy security and affect the prosperity and stability of world economy. it will affect the traditional military security and influence international relations. Ten years later. but whether that change produces good or bad luck is beyond your control. these attractors occur through emergence alone. 2006. if not handled properly. while exercising some agency. Once the global economy becomes turbulent and unstable. In nature sans Homo sapiens sapiens. the last major punctuation. to generate attractors -. the Vietnam occupation. each of these actors.you can certainly change the weather just as you can shuffle a deck of cards. the vast majority of the countries in the world would not be able to conduct themselves virtuously. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is an attempt to create a counter-pole of attraction to the system of dollar-hegemony as that system has begun a series of catastrophic bifurcations. these disputes will seriously affect the relations between states. is also being tossed back and forth by the chaos that inheres in that acceleration. seems almost stately. Then the time from Nixon’s resolution in 1973 until the break-up of the Warsaw Pact alliance was another 26 years. Although energy security is treated as a part of non-traditional issues. If not tackled properly. Lorenz also posited the notion of a form of stability inside chaotic systems. the pace of the Cold War’s rivalries. Some countries treat the energy issue by using traditional realism thinking and make indiscreet remarks or criticisms on some developing countries’ increasing energy demand. which will eventually undermine the regional stability.

In his very Chinese idiom. with Afghanistan as its military anchor. As this strategy meets resistance from Central Asia itself. however. Scott Ritter and others joined the chorus. any head of state that underestimates the recklessness of the Bush administration or the Israelis would be imprudent. Kazakhstan. Washington has now vested its greatest hopes for salvaging this policy in India. The CSTO is billed as an “anti-terrorism” coalition between member states Russia. in my view) as an attack on China (who gets 13% of its imported oil from Iran). The speculative dates for said attack ranged within July and August 2006. Who could have known that the US-supported Israeli destruction of Lebanon (as a psyop warning to Iran) would have taken place. investment executive. (2) destabilize USclients in the region. The Indian Crossroad As a great admirer of the work of Seymour Hersh. the SCO founders. Regardless of the 20/20 foresight of clairvoyant military analysts like yours truly. Iran launched some very well-publicized war games in August 2006. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is the manifestation a joint ChineseRussian strategy to counter a strategy in Washington called the Great Central Asia Policy. Henry CK Liu. It seems that they are the only eligible countries to consume energy on the earth. remarks on the soon-to-be-opened Moscow Oil Bourse. Like the SCO. In a January 2006 article for From the Wilderness (“Bombing Iran? Don’t count on it. the existence and significance of this formation has gone largely unnoticed by the general public in the United States. Iran is being courted for membership in the SCO. given that Russia is the second largest oil producer after Saudi Arabia and the Russian economy. writing from Manhattan. much less led to the stunning strategic defeat of Israel? Not surprisingly. Meanwhile. Russia and China. that was to conquer the former Soviet satellite states and encircle China. unlike that of the Saudis. I stated that an attack by either the US or Israel-as-proxy against Iran would (1) lead to a rapid US defeat in Iraq. Russian oil denominated in rubles will create a global demand for rubble to make it an alternative reserve currency for international trade. These joint military exercises in August 2006 happened alongside Iranian exercises next door. What many people do not realize.“the only eligible countries to consume energy on the earth. Liu puts his finger directly on US Imperial Exterminism -. whose collective attention span on foreign policy never exceeds the time and active intensity required to watch a Hollywood film. This will transform Russia overnight into a global financial power. is big enough to absorb huge amounts of rubble the Russain government can print. I was disappointed to hear him leading the collective panic attack about the alleged US plan to attack Iran in the Summer of 2006.”). Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. and (3) be perceived (correctly.“energy threat” theory. held joint military exercises in August of 193 . is that these were coordinated with war games by something called the Collective Treaty Security Organization (CSTO).

In CIS.) In particular. Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan are the principal resource-rich countries. Turkmenistan. Its share of world production is at par with that of countries like Syria and Brazil. a New Delhi-based think-tank. which included all the aforementioned *stans. the CSTO and its war games. but to enhance its energy security India needs to look at an alternative source of energy.last year (2005). Uzbekistan. The other country to watch is Ukraine. Kazakhstan joined Russia earlier this year in yet another acronym-laden venue. proximity to India. While this share of production overall is not particularly impressive. the energy issue certainly deserves particular attention. It is not only a large nation strategically located along the borders of Russia. and the Caspian Sea. The opening of (US$2. According to the Kazakh Deputy Minister for Economy and Trade. are every bit as significant to the future of geopolitics… especially to India.6 billion) Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) which runs from the Tengiz oilfield in Western Kazakhstan to Russia will pump around 6. with 40 per cent of this sold in the international market. Kazakhstan is the second-largest petroleum producer after Russia. as 194 . In Central Asia. or Eurasian Economic Community. we need to understand Kazakhstan. In 1996. Kazakhstan is expected to extract over 46 million tonnes of oil and gas condensate in 2002. most of India’s import comes from the Persian Gulf region. at this point in time. This may not set the average American on a worry path. Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan are. reporting for the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis. This is a significant development. (One of the conditions of the US-India deal will certainly be that India joins the US in its harassment of Iran. Kazakhstan has been termed the ‘Second Kuwait’ on the basis of its petrol reserves. Kyrgyzstan.000 barrels per day were extracted.00. it is an energy state that is seen as crucial to India’s future energy security and development. India remains an energy deficient country and needs to ensure a better supply. Currently. while not as sexy for prime time as the disaster in Iraq and the fulminating disaster in Afghanistan (US troops will always attract US journalists after all). the EEC. the principal resource-rich countries. In this perspective. and the region’s promising natural gas deposits makes it critical to India. Analysts feel that with the opening of this pipeline the non-Gulf oil is likely to become more attractive to global oil consumers.600. In this respect the Caspian region can be an alternative source for India since this region is considered to have the proven reserves of 25 to 30 billion barrels of oil. Meena Singh Roy. In light of the US Great Central Asia Policy for imposing its will on the region. but it is making Pentagon planners and Dick Cheney itch like they have crablice.000 barrels of oil to the west from Central Asia each day. In Central Asia. wrote: [A key] factor making Kazakhstan important for India is its energy resources and economic potential. this development. Galum Orzabekov. 4. India will be one of the top five consumers of energy. But perhaps more important to India in both the near and long term is Kazakhstan’s emerging political significance. In 2002. In the first half of the twenty first century. China.

The Russian thinking seems to be that the CSTO will in effect be transformed into the politico-military wing of the EEC. The establishment of a customs union at Sochi. 2001. and one that is apparently going to succeed. In fact. This is a direct Russian challenge to the US grand strategy for Central Asia. “In a way. Viktor Yanukovich.principally. at Vladimir Putin’s invitation. soon to be supplemented by a very desirable Moscow oil bourse. As regards India. is that the post-Soviet states that have been tacitly encouraged by Washington to apply “breaking mechanisms” on the path of the integration processes so as to subvert the CIS from within . and Yanukovich himself may have meaningfully scheduled his first visit to Russia after assuming office this month to coincide with the EEC summit in Sochi. that is virtually impenetrable by the US.in momentous August 2006. while the others are preparing to move forward.is a brilliant and audacious move toward reintegration in the region since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia hopes to involve Ukraine in deeper integration.are being quietly sidelined. Washington has been focusing on New Delhi as its key strategic ally in South Asia and as a counterweight to China. “You cannot advance the economy without first ensuring security. especially in India. What is taking place. At Sochi. 195 . there is a hint somewhere that with the collapse of the “orange” coalition in Kiev. with Kazakhstan and Russia at its core -. To be sure. Washington is evidently counting on New Delhi and Kabul as its critical partners in the “Great Central Asia” policy. a significant point about the Sochi summit was the presence of Ukraine's pro-Russia prime minister. Putin touched on this when he said. Moldova and Azerbaijan . former Indian Ambassador to Uzbekistan (Asia Times.while it may bore CNN spectators -.fundamentally a US decision -.well as Belarus.” writes M K Bhadrakumar. With the refusal of membership to the WTO -. 2006). The “Great Central Asia” policy plays on New Delhi's manifest aspiration (with indifferent results so far) through the past 15 years to be an effective participant as a great power in the affairs of Central Asia. Georgia. EEC and CSTO are mutually reinforcing. The leaders of the EEC met in the same month as the military exercises at Sochi.” Uzbekistan's decision early this year to join the EEC and its subsequent decision to return to the fold of the CSTO have given a significant boost to the integration processes that Russia has been seeking. August 25. Bhadrakumar goes on to say: The US strategy must be seen against the backdrop of the unprecedented expansion of US influence in South Asia in the period postSeptember 11. in essence. Ukraine falls in a category by itself. Afghanistan is geographically an important channel connecting Central Asia with South Asia. Russia has now formed a regional economic entity. a resort town on the Black Sea.

and the establishment of locally controlled. and manly “great nation. Failing to condemn the outrageous recent destruction of Lebanon. as Manmohan Singh did. In Ecology and the Politics of Survival (Sage Publications. seems it is being pulled into the neo-con portfolio as just another postcolonial comprador state tucked into the imperial briefcase of the US. the CSTO. While it would be in India’s national interests to support and even join the SCO. and the EEC -. Washington is calling India a great power. They formed circles around the trees to stop the loggers. In April 1973. 1991). forest-use economics. had noticed that women were the people most involved in the work of maintaining life and community. who had learned his political trade as a devout Gandhian involved in land use struggles throughout India. resisting alcohol abuse (which often led to the battery of women).” Satyagraha is the Hindi word for non-violent resistance. India could pay a huge diplomatic price for this overpowering desire to perceive itself as a legitimated. hesitating even after the Israelis killed an Indian member of the UN Interim Force. but the meaning for locals translated into “tree-huggers. There is a well-known Indian legend about a girl named Amrita Devi. Chandi Prashad Bhatt. in Uttar Pradesh. Vandana Shiva described the evolution of the Chipko Movement from a local struggle over land use into a more general political and ideological one: 196 . gathering food.where combined with the energy might of the EEC and the economic checkmate of the US by China. Washington’s flattery of Indian leadership.” now a common epithet for environmentalists. and its willingness to abrogate the NPT to let India develop its “great power” bomb. India would exercise its greatest and probably most beneficial influence on the outcomes of global history. near the Nepalese border. water. but it is using India’s leadership as a pawn. are more than ideological affinity. a sports corporation won permission from the government to begin felling trees near the village of Mandal. supporting Israel under any circumstances is always a risky diplomatic and political venture. nuclear. Even then. and fuel. its support of the atavistic Indian right-wing. like the BJP before them. the right to use the forests in sustainable ways. and the tactic multiplied so rapidly and effectively that the government was forced to quit letting private logging contracts by December of the same year. is so appalling that it shocked the whole Indian public. Over 12. It is a thoroughly Gandhian concept.000 Indians worked in Lebanon before it was destroyed by Israel. Bhatt used the legend to suggest a women’s strategy to the community of Mandal. It was not until the Qana attack that the Singh government condemned the Israelis. A local organizer. It has even gone so far as to offer support for Israel. by hugging the trees to put herself between the cutters and the trees. and the women did precisely that. that is. The actions of the Mandal women resonated so strongly with other women in the rest of Uttar Pradesh. who gave her life protecting the trees from a greedy Maharajah’s tree-fellers. His organization in Uttar Pradesh had four priorities: organizing women. the condemnation was tepid. Chipko means to cling.In other words. While there is certainly an element of bald opportunism involved in Indian sycophancy as the Singh government awaits finalization of the US-India nuclear agreement. The movement began to refer to itself as the Chipko Movement. the Singh government.

and it bears watching for the same reasons the struggle of the Bolivian cocaleros bore watching as few years ago. and they are actively confronting the homogenization narrative of industrial capitalist patriarchy. The commercial interest has the primary objective of maximising exchange value through the extraction of commercially valuable species. The destruction of the forest ecosystem and the multiple functions of forest resources adversely affects the economic interests of those groups of society which depend on the diverse resource functions of forests for their survival. The Chipko Movement is a very real political force in India today. the spirit of public interest ecological science was captured in the slogan: 'What do the forests bear? Soil water and pure air'. These include soil and water stabilization and the provision of food. fertiliser. and has laid the foundations of an alternative forestry science which is ecological in nature and oriented towards public interest. In the more specific instance of Indian culture. This dichotomy is clearly enunciated in the two slogans on the utility of the Himalayan forests-one emanating from the ecological concepts of Garhwali women. this pattern of resource use generates instabilities in the ecosystem and leads to a counter-productive use of natural resources at the ecosystem level. When the Chipko movement evolved into an ecological movement in Adwani in 1977. Forest movements like Chipko are simultaneously a critique of reductionist 'scientific' forestry and an articulation of a framework for an alternative forestry science which is ecological and can safeguard public interest. Forest ecosystems are therefore reduced to timber mines of commercially valuable species. The movement underwent a qualitative transformation from being based merely on conflicts over resources to conflicts over scientific perceptions and philosophical approaches to nature. 197 . This transformation also led to that element of scientific knowledge which has allowed Chipko to reproduce itself in different ecological and cultural contexts. 'Scientific forestry' in its present form is a reductionist system of knowledge which ignores the complex relationships within the forest community and between plant life and other resources like soil and water. partisan science based slogan: 'What do the forests bear? Profit on resin and timber'. they are also challenging the powerful artifacts of the caste system. and therefore durable and self-organizing character. Its pattern of resource utilisation is based on increasing 'productivity' on these reductionist lines. fodder. Chipko women are doing two important things: they are actively avoiding assimilation into the neoliberal order under the command of the Indian central state. By ignoring the systems linkages within the forest ecosystem.In the final analysis. The insight in these slogans symbolised a cognitive shift in the evolution of Chipko. This was a response to the commonly accepted. fuel. It is a combination of anti-imperial nationalism with a strongly indigenous . the other from the sectoral concepts of those associated with trade in forest products. the dichotomy between 'development' and environment can be reduced to what is 'development' and how scientific knowledge is generated and used to achieve it. The slogan has become the scientific and philosophical message of the movement. etc.

Between January and July of this year (2006). Jharkand and West Bengal. are on top of India’s main fossil energy resource. because it is currently resurgent. a real armed insurgency. none other than The Economist. These five states account for about 85% of India’s coal resources. April 9. It has to be seen in a combined context with Chipko. The Naxalites. Asia Times. Orissa. and in some of the poorer and most heavily tribal states. its inclusiveness. and it has a real popular base. largely tribal communities that make up much of the heart of India’s coal country. The Naxalites have organized an armed rebellion on the coalfields that provide 75% of India’s electricity. particularly Chhattisgarh. notorious for its poor infrastructure and corruption. has said about Naxalism. its democracy. the poor. when India’s growth spurt depends utterly on employment in the information technology sector… yes. see precious little of the profits while suffering substantial environmental destruction and feeling the effects of public corruption. And Naxalism and Chipko are movements physically situated atop vast stretches of extractable profits.The other force that has to be mentioned behind the scenes. in particular. while union leaders. Naxalite guerrillas killed at least 105 security personnel in their areas of operation.” writes Jeremy Carl (“Hidden civil war drains India's energy”. Meanwhile. The Naxalites have at least some presence in almost half of India’s 28 states. and continued disruption and deterioration of the political environment could have profound consequences for both India and its neighbors. 198 . mine managers and politicians routinely skim substantial profits from the state-owned coal companies. Naxalism attacks where it is weakest: in delivering basic government services to those who need them most. to the Nepalese border (southeast of Chipko-land). Naxalism and Chipko both appeal to those who suffer most from caste hierarchies. Obviously. India’s “coal mafias” largely control the industry. the sector that is supposed to “de-materialize” economies. Andhra Pradesh. “[I]n essence. 2006) …the core of the Naxalite rebellion can be seen as a response by many of India’s poor against a perceived expropriation of their natural resources by the state. it is does not share the commitment of the Chipko women to satyagraha. its coal. nonetheless. are now no-go areas for Indian security forces. is Naxalism. well over on the west coast needn’t concern itself with Naxalite attacks on the capitol. “Other terrorists attack the Indian state at its strong points-its secularism. Chhattisgarh. each of these movements is confronting neoliberalism in the countryside in its respective geographic area of influence.” Naxalism is a real movement. because in very different ways. Jharkhand. Mumbai. they are a major political force. but the coal along the Naxalite Corridor is all that keeps Mumbai’s lights burning. Whole sections of India stretching from Bangalore in the south up a corridor through Andhra Pradesh. Naxalism is the Indian expression of Maoist “People’s War” doctrine. and Naxalites collect taxes from businesses that wish to operate in their areas. the chief organ of neoliberalism. Recently.

is in reestablishing genuine cooperative communities with a high degree of Polanyian embeddedness. for India and the world. this will depend largely on whether the Indian Left within the UPA abandons its Comintern conservatism and demonstrates more trust of the masses. and climate instability. One must wonder whether Manmohan Singh’s UPA government is willing to see American Blackhawk helicopters over Chhattisgarh as part of his new. Neo-liberalism creates its opposition inside the belly of the state. On August 27. there is peak oil… which the international Left still. In the United States. an artillery round fired by the Pakistani military found its mark on a cave in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan. The fault lines in India are already clear. but in those regions where semi-feudal relations are still definitive of society. In the long term. It is the state that. Imbricated within the actualization-by-degrees of peak oil is the advance on international Exterminism directed at the weakest and the host of ecological crises associated with the decline of hydrocarbon humanity. the tipping point will be decided specifically by the waves around the boat. and sell the Indian birthright for the pottage of nuclear masculinity. People’s War is not only a viable political doctrine. water. and like the Naxalite Corridor of India. like Nepal. 2006. for the most part. with regional counter-hegemony on the conference tables of Eurasians. it was instrumental in bringing down the monarchy this year. deforestation. bordering both 199 . India’s perennial adversary and neighbor. play the role of Esau. In the short term. and feminism. like Haiti. The way forward. In Nepal. i. so I need to explain what I mean by the term and its application. Neo-liberalism does not create its adversaries in the form of states. Its catechisms are worthy of satire in the overdeveloped world. a political commitment to sustainability in food. I will begin by inserting the text of an earlier reaction piece I did on the Balochistan rebellion in Pakistan. soil destruction. In the medium term.Military Maoism is an anachronism. sharing with other tendencies of thought their technological optimism and their tendency to whistle past the graveyard of the Laws of Thermodynamics. It will remain to be seen. The latter will be controversial (as if the former two aren’t). but will involve and be precipitated by the increasingly top-heavy load of personal debt. the issue at hand is whether the Bush administration will succeed in co-opting India and therefore succeed in at least putting the brakes on the ambitions of the SCO. The American Army and Marine Corps are still being ground down in Iraq. water shortage. finds neo-liberalism an irresistible force. after the killing of Nawab Bugti. food insecurity.e. fishery depletion. whether Manmohan Singh or his political heirs will turn away from the Russians and Chinese. for many reasons. nuclear friendship with the US-Israeli axis… or if the US could respond even if it were begged. studiously ignores (and sometimes denies). the question is whether either India or the United States will maintain financial stability for key sections of the population and thereby assure domestic political stability. it is one for which the modern capitalist military has no response that will not exacerbate the central government’s woes. and the fresh convertability of the Rupee (a demand of the neoliberal boss) will only exacerbate the immiseration of the Dalit and the insecurity of the so-called middle class. and energy. except where it is not. In India..

though it occupies 44% of Pakistan’s land mass. Like its neighbor.Afghanistan and Iran. whose very spirituality was assaulted in the name of “progress. The killing of Bugti has resulted in a province-wide rebellion in the very region that is now serving as the jumping off point for a resurgent Taliban. With its aura of progressive cultural nationalism. dominated by co-ethnic Pashtuns. It may be even more disturbing to the administration’s sycophant ally. to retake Afghanistan. President George Herbert Walker Bush unabashedly embraced the almost Hitlerian phrase “New World Order” as the mantra of American triumphalism. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. militarized socialism. considering it as part of the traditional constraints on development which needed to be uprooted in the cause of progress. Zed Books. The national liberation movements in the Global South had been effectively coopted with legitimating (and completely fraudulent) import substitution strategies as cover for underdeveloped nations’ elites repressing their local populations in exchange for higher rents for their resources and cheap labor.only 70 kilometers from the Iranian border. 255) 200 . more tendential account of its history. however. facilitated and encouraged by the United States as a way of bleeding the Iraqis to bleed the Iranians. developmental modernization was running into the physical limits of socalled growth (the fraud within the aforementioned fraud). It also contains a warm water port -. His name was Nawab Akbar Bugti. and western capitalism were all implicated. must be sought in a broader. Iran. while the US figured out what it needed to do in the uni-polar.” (P. Like its neighbor. “Pre-revolutionary Iran was typical of this sort of modernizing model. 2000). and killed an 80-year-old man with a magnificent white beard. after shattering the vibrant. Containment had been abandoned in favor of rollback during the Carter administration. “Modernisation had attacked the spirituality of mass cultures.” writes Robert Biel (The New Imperialism .Crisis and Contradictions in North/South Relations. The deeper significance of this latest blunder-catalyzed rebellion. and he was the leader of a popular political movement in Pakistan’s largest geographical province. When the promises of modernization failed to materialize for the peripheries and most of the semi-peripheries.” co-opted secular nationalism. in this case the Sui natural gas field that produces 45% of Pakistan’s supply. when Brzezinski engineered the Afghanistan trap which was the biggest covert operation in history. it was only the precipitous collapse that was a surprise. While neither the right nor the left was willing to see it at the time. Balochistan has only four percent of Pakistan’s population. In 1991. Afghanistan. The Iran-Iraq War (1980-88). Yet NWO was merely a place marker. it is populated by religiously conservative ethnic Pashtuns living in extremely rugged and mountainous terrain. it possesses a geologic relic in abundance: fossil fuel. another cheap ruse designed to paper over the fact that the US was pursuing its own most narrow interests and suggesting to the credulous that what is good for America is good for the world. and only the latter stood to manage the aftermath. and all that was left in the ruins were alienated masses. While the popular idea is that the US was surprised by the fall of the Soviet Union. The advantages of the Soviet Union as a world system stabilizer (bipolarity) were seen as lost after the US defeat in Vietnam. which was quite phony and hollow. post-Soviet world.Gwadar -. modern state of Iraq with air power. This is not happy news for the Bush administration.

Oxford University Press. who developed this coup de grace strategy.Even as the US was financing military political Islam to break the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Unipolarity is not an invention of the Bush II administration. points out. or that this was a continuation of American policy that began with the Carter administration. the same contradiction had risen up in their favorite regional client state and precipitated the political crisis that ended the Carter administration. The Saudis dropped the price of oil -. But it could not be legitimated by calling it unipolar American world power. and is still discovering. a class. was that it is not capable of managing unipolarity. or. i. remained a state in a system where a dominant state can only manage an inter-state system. Casey. to establish the New World Order.the Soviet Union’s primary source of development capital -. It had to be called. It has been on the agenda since 1975. David Harvey. as Bush the Elder did. American capitalists and their business partners. The capitalist seeks individual advantage and (though usually constrained by law) is responsible to no one other than his or her immediate social circle.by flooding the market. and turning to the Saudis for assistance in breaking the now doddering Soviet Union. an elite group. The state is dominated above all else by a territorial logic. To begin with. more often. at the behest of CIA Director Bill Casey. and finally by an administrative logic. What the US discovered.. 2003). the US. in his book by the same name as Biel’s (The New Imperialism. Regardless of its attempt to restructure the world system. and the US had given the same World a graphic demonstration -especially with the post-surrender massacre along the Iraqi “highway of death” on February 26-7. the uni-polar boss. The accumulation process requires two key inputs that concretely characterize the New World Order: new exploitable peripheries to absorb the crises that politically threaten elites within the core. while the statesman seeks a collective advantage and is constrained by the political and military situation of the state and is in some sense or other responsible to a citizenry. eventually experiences its own limits in the forms of overcapacity and the class antagonisms that come to the surface with mass unemployment and dispossession. What Arrighi refers to as the ‘territorial’ and ‘capitalist’ logics of power are rather different from each other. Capital accumulation restricted to one country. and Reagan initiated Star Wars as a way of ramping up the cost of an arms race the Soviet Union could no longer afford. a kinship structure. or even one region. however. and there is the rub… as they say. and typically seeks to accumulate more capital. Politicians and statesmen typically seek outcomes that sustain or augment the power of their own state vis-à-vis other states.e. however.of what the Order might look like in the event of disobedience. after the Soviet Union had collapsed. The economic logic that supports the Northern elite. secondarily by a military logic. the motivations and interests of agents differ. the New World Order…. and energy. The Reagan administration prioritized unipolarity by secretly arming the Iranians to finance Reagan’s terror war against Nicaragua. 1991 -. The capitalist operates in continuous space and 201 . The capitalist holding money capital will wish to put it wherever profits can be had. cannot be restrained by territorial boundaries. or some other social group. never had a shade of ambiguity about his intent. This is a knowledge that cannot be acknowledged.

Now the United States has failed in its attempt to impose a client state where a recalcitrant state was summarily shattered by military force.each and every one of them. but states are long-lived entities. Somalia had already shown the United States that “[I]f the problem of social dislocation takes a military expression. yet organized. p. capitalist firms come and go. with the goal of destabilizing Musharraf. we live adjacent to thousands of nuclear. The developed world. September 11th proved something to us. it may give the impression that it would be solved by military intervention. The very non-state forces that were used for the rollback of the Soviet Union have proven as impervious to their former sponsors as they were to their former enemies. chemical. Pakistan has a substantial population of Pashtuns who are sympathetic to the Taliban who remain hostile to Musharraf for his acquiescence to the US. at least in democracies. the metropolitan core countries. cannot migrate. is now territorially trapped. and at the same time territorially within the vortex of this strategic crisis for the United States. His own security and intelligence apparatuses are full of political Islamists. in the words of Gordon Thompson. and biohazardous facilities that cannot be militarily secured and that are essential for continued capital accumulation -. and the limitations of a state (conventional) military in the face of non-state. not only in tall buildings (the targets of 9-11 were not designed to inflict the maximum casualties. whereas the politician operates in a territorialized space and. 259) This is not merely the case for the core. “The chickens. speculates Syed Saleem Shahzad. military actors who are not constrained by territorial logic. or go out of business. We may witnessing an epoch that will be seen by future historians as the obsolescence of the uni-polar dominant state in the capitalist world system even as it is born. but for their strategic and symbolic value). but we were so fixated on the images and our own visceral reactions that we largely failed to grasp what had been proven. or his locations during each would not have been known. even as it finds it almost impossible. and are. we are utterly dependent on an infrastructure of vulnerable electricity grids and a long-distance economy entirely built around personal automobiles that require uninterrupted and massive inputs of oil. Asia Times Online's Pakistan Bureau Chief.” (Biel. a pre-deployed weapon of mass destruction waiting to be activated by an enemy. against orders. in a temporality dictated by an electoral cycle. confined within fixed territorial boundaries.” Musharraf has lived in political purgatory ever since 9-11. but practice has shown that this is not the case. The attack that killed Bugti. the United States. and the two attempts on his life in December 2003 were almost certainly inside jobs. On the other hand. “are coming home to roost. merge. except under exceptional circumstances of geographical conquest. The territorial logic of the US state sits atop this territorial reality at the beginning of the 21st Century. politically.time. 27) In the US attempt to manage unipolarity by imposing an inter-state system of administration (political and economic) on the rest of the world. On the one hand. put for peripheral client states as well. to extricate itself.” as Malcolm X once said. Moreover. it was faced with a new military and political reality that is confronting the limitations of a state in the face of nonstate actors. The rebellion in Balochistan is symptomatic of this phenomenon. shift locations. 202 . was intentionally committed by members of the Army. and especially the uni-polar lead actor. and it is facing a world historic military-political defeat in Iraq. (P.

that is. Obviously. given that both the dominant system and the resistance to it can trace their intellectual origins to the Enlightenment. As it stands. strategically essential to the inter-state system as a whole. India Epilogue --Autonomy and Re-localization “Harvey attributes multiple potential functions to the War on Terror and the invasion of Iraq: to ensure US control over the supply of oil to economic and strategic competitors. the political. however. because it so often works… and that is the real test. relocalizaton has many advocates who have failed to grasp the historical and cultural connections between patriarchy and our general disenchantment with and alienation from nature. and the stopping point seems to be those places where the political expression of Marxism and capitalism were -. isn’t it? But it doesn’t always go far enough.in practice -. that was operating in Balochistan. in which they collaboratively rescued the term and the nascent movement from mysticism. to include the impacts of complexity theory on socalled “hard science. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. to prevent the formation of a Eurasian power bloc. 1986. But the practical centerpiece of any long-term solution is re-localization. there are complexities from the institution of the state all the way to bioregions. the analysis of class conflict is both constant and given.” writes Mies (Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale. Socio-politically. and there are suggestions that well-armed Balochi nationalists will soon be assisting in a fresh Taliban offensive against NATO occupation forces. leads inevitably to one conclusion. as protests have spread to Karachi. clinically looking at the situation in India as a way of relating to the world system. The American FBI. Whatever the theoretical or cultural trappings. The old regionally coherent order in South and Southwest Asia. Welcome to the New World Order.Already. “A feminist conception of an alternative economy. some form of re-localization must happen if we are to avoid both social and ecological catastrophe (these are separate only as analytic categories). to impose a new sense of social order at home by breaking with the dissolute ways of the 1990s. and extrapolating from the specific to the general. is in jeopardy. and not too surprisingly. Vandana Shiva and co-author Maria Mies wrote Ecofeminism (Zed Books.so similar.” and with what Catharine MacKinnon called “feminism unmodified. the death of technocratic developmentalism as a legitimate discourse (it is still deployed ubiquitously as plain instrumental propaganda). and with those who emerged from the Marxist intellectual tradition. a state of virtual martial law has been imposed. like Arrighi and Harvey. as well as cultural obstacles too numerous to count. This is where we have to go deeper. in two key respects: with the incorporation of ecological science. I myself have laid claim to that tradition more than once. 1993). 1998)… 203 . as the finite limits of resource extraction assert themselves. has been effectively neutralized. in my opinion. and the economic. one of the leading lights of this combined critical orientation has been none other than Indian activist Vandana Shiva.” -Arrighi So we see here the confluence of the territorial. Zed Books.” The combination of these two critical methods has been tentatively accomplished by eco-feminism.

Autonomy over our bodies and lives is. their sexuality. but with social ecology. such as when tribal peoples enter into conflict with the modernist project. economy and politics. Men have to refuse to define themselves any longer as Man-the-Hunter. What feminists have done is point out that our labor and lives are not only divided in the sphere of so-called public production. of the technology and relations of social production. interpersonal. but the result of our historical research as well as our analysis of the functioning of capitalist patriarchy. 14. Men have to start movements against violence against women if they want to preserve the essence of their own humanity. but by men. Feminists do not start with the external ecology. State. the centre of which is the relation between men and women. (pp. A change in the existing sexual division of labour would imply first and foremost that the violence that characterizes capitalist-patriarchal man-woman relations worldwide will be abolished not by women. No. This notion is naturalized because it is inscribed on our psyches. Ravi Rajan for Science as Culture (Vol. September 2005). as the alienation of the human being (presumed to be a male) from the environment.intra-psychic. and in our very science. It is further my contention that this ideology is both manifested and reproduced as dualism. 3. then. 221-2) There is a lot to chew on in that paragraph. and Violence. It is my contention that the reason the left and right have simultaneously floundered is their mutual devotion to technocratic developmentalism. from a very early age. the first and most fundamental demand of the international feminist movement. 1–17. both pro-capitalist and Marxist. at the level of our social ecology beneath and before public production. Consider some specific reference points. racial. masculine identity is fundamentally associated with violence -in our social relations. in our perception of nature. but even at a more basic level. I want to focus on the question of violence. In “Science. Within this paradigm. as part of our very (sexual) identity. to briefly trace the parallel paths of male supremacy. But it will place the transformation of the existing sexual division of labor (based on the breadwinner-housewife model) at the centre of the whole restructuring process.” an essay written by S. that then imbricates itself into our lives in every dimension -. he outlines the association between violence and science. and in our economic class relations. These are cases in which the 204 . therefore. economic and political autarky must start with the respect for the autonomy of women’s bodies. and technocratic developmentalism. Any search for ecological. dualism. as the Managainst-Nature paradigm. which is both ideology and practice. have pointed to the gravitational pull of productive forces. national. their productive capacity to create new life. This is not mere narcissistic self-indulgence of women.…will include … autarky and decentralization. citing the repressive state measures taken in India by Indira Ghandi’s government on behalf of a “modernization” program. Many theorists. their productive capacity to maintain life through work. and how these technologies and relations assert a determinative control on both the organization of society and the way we perceive and conceptualize our lives. by a sexual division of labor.

” People who happily refer to themselves as “progressives” really do need to understand the history and implications of this term. Cases in point are large dams that displace such peoples and threaten their ways of life. and of humanity as poles of inferior and superior. they benefited from it. by a struggle between classes for social supremacy. and is so not only because of use or abuse but also due to the structural absence of a democratic mindset in modern science. the competitive predation of capitalism was a positive good. with the language and terms of reference of the latter. is essentially a homogenizing enterprise. as we have seen in court cases. “Progress” as a concept is fundamentally connected. as it was elaborated by Francis Bacon and politically conjured by Thomas Hobbs -. as its polar opposite. But for those on the receiving end it is fundamentally violent. one of “plundering nature’s secrets” (the famous rape metaphor). both in its meaning and history to science as what one writer called a “totalitarian gestalt. were comparable and directly related to the taxonomies imposed on Nature by scient-ISTS. especially when it comes to conflicting cultures of knowing and doing.” In the origins and practice of science. For the bourgeois philosophers and theorists that followed. which draws its very salience from ‘science’. who mounted the most significant challenge to bourgeois science’s mechanism in the 19th Century. as they had throughout history.using the same terminology -. We are pointing out that the project of democracy has thus far not been extended to include the aspirations and world views of pre-modern peoples.science was seen as a cheerfully violent enterprise. of society as a war of all against all (a nascent form of social Darwinism). especially when they are seen as incommensurable. and often. Alongside this notion. “progress. is entrenched in styles of thinking that do not recognize the need for a plurality of world views. “Backwardness” became part of the Marxist lexicon as part of the whole polemic between “utopian” socialism and “scientific” socialism at the same time that capitalist colonialism -. For the Marxists. leveling diversity of all kinds. Violence. the conflict is more often than not resolved in favor of modern state technocracies. a direct challenge to the atomistic practice of science (and economics) that attended to the motion of various parts as if the universe was merely a vast billiard table. the “scientific” examination of capitalism revealed irreconcilable class antagonisms that would be resolved. These hierarchical notions.was in its heyday. was the construct. Hobbs actually claimed that tracing the movement of objects is sufficient to 205 .very assumptions and world views of the technocratic and pre-modern imaginaries collide. and power was synonymous with superiority.themselves the product of an imperial master-nation -. The modern imagination. In most such instances in India. privilege the language and epistemology of modernism over the ethnolanguages of these ostensibly refractory communities. we therefore argue. Even the legal establishments in democracies like India. After all. out of which the unquestioned “superiority” of “progress” grew. of the validity of alternative knowledge systems. One of the key contributions of Marxism to philosophy and politics was the notion of commodity fetishism… that is. This process of homogenization began first in Europe and rapidly spread to other parts of the world.

so must the civilized man. it is the alienated. did most of his followers thereafter. Beyond it begins that development of human energy that is an end in itself. They are “material objects of our own making over which we seem to have lost control. the associated producers rationally regulating their interchange with nature. the forces of production which satisfy these wants also increase. that is probably a good thing. It leads directly. like Hobbes. But it nonetheless remains a realm of necessity. and for them. but of the instruments of production. Just as the savage must wrestle with nature to satisfy his wants. however. socially decontextualized condition of the machine that renders it susceptible to fetishization. and worthy of their human nature. they “conceal significant aspects of social reality. and (2) that bourgeois science (and economics). Marx was the first complexity theorist.e. which.outside the leadership -. to maintain and reproduce life. not from the point of view of the relations of production. but at the same time. The fact is.explain everything there is to know about the universe. But Marx and his capitalist nemeses both agreed on one thing: the positive value of progress. The 206 . It is unlikely anyone will see that on the literature of any of the Marxists sects operating in the United States. He said that bourgeois science had elements that were no less superstitious than the attachment to so-called primitive tokens. Marx said that (in Hornborg’s words) commodities are rendered “opaque” by fetishism. the true realm of freedom. especially in light of what we know now about energy and its relation to technology. by ignoring that. technology itself. and he must do so in all possible modes of production. Freedom in this field can only consist in socialized men. i. to a critique of technological development. In this sense. concealed the history of things and thereby the oppressive social relations that underwrote economic and political power. or fetishes. the majority of those active in Marxist organizations -. can blossom forth only with this realm of necessity as its basis.have never fully understood the implications of this Marxian concept of fetishism. Marx himself fetishized technology. Just as Marx had criticized the mechanistic materialists. but that the relation itself was a reality.. Marx pointed out that (1) the interactions or relations between the components of the universe not only change those things.” They only pretend to emerge from the misty regions of religion fully formed. I am now going to quote one of the most (now) embarrassing passages in Marx’s Capital (Volume III): … the realm of freedom actually begins only where labor which is determined by necessity and mundane considerations ceases: thus in the very nature of things it lies beyond the sphere of actual material production. without a history. while at the same time constituting that reality. instead of being ruled by is by the blind forces of nature. So. for “fetishizing” commodities (by treating them as if they had no social history behind them).” As with commodities. bringing it under their common control. unfortunately. With his development this realm of physical necessity expands as a result of his wants. and achieving this with the least expenditure of energy and under conditions favorable to.

and of the continued lack of autonomy for women-as-a-class. in a word. to hunt in the morning. criticize after dinner. to equip them [machines] with quite other signifieds. such as “growth. fishes. which remains very important to me for many reasons.” (Alf Hornborg. attention to distressed and oppressed people who 207 . is a movement that combines direct contact with the land and water. obliged to subdue female and capricious (blind) Nature. Mies’ reference. 147) Hornborg’s application of this key Marxian interpretation to identify one of Marxism’s biggest blind spots is an important theoretical development. about destruction of the biosphere. (The German Ideology. rear cattle in the evening. Marx & Engels) It is no accident that the same Marx who embraced the fetishism of technology (and its hierarchical development/progress myth) also separated public (waged) labor from the private (unwaged) labor of the wife (who is cooking and cleaning and doing laundry while he hunts. 2001. then pushed women back into largely traditional roles after acquiring political power.” and “development. p. of Marx’s classless communism)… … in a communist society. of colonization. in the Medieval constructs that were pulled into the Enlightenment and transformed -. and engages in scholarly debates… presumably she also fucks him when he takes a fancy. Throughout this book. It was right there. has everything to do with the underlying dualism of the technological development paradigm. just as I have a mind without ever becoming hunter. according to Marxism-theDoctrine). the bearer of Reason. and upon reaching the Enlightenment Utopia (herein. society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow. fish in the afternoon. It is. as violence. fisherman. Technology. obliged to “plunder her secrets” as the precondition of “progress. waiting to hear him make the connection.Global Inequalities of Economy. the Man-the-Hunter meme. during key struggles. to complete his perfect days).Man.” obliged to play the authoritarian father to the feminized and infantilized colonies (themselves “savage” and untamed). shepherd. and the Environment. There is tremendous hope latent in the concern. or critic. Masculinity constructed as conflict. tends sheep. I kept reading the first time. where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity. in Bacon’s rape metaphor. of capitalism (the “infinite growth” system). Karl Marx. Altamira Press. It is based on pure instrumental mythology developed by men who hunted as a sport and sign of privilege. of war.disembedded condition of the various artifacts of industrial technology has made it possible for people in the center of the system. of ecological destruction. opened up spaces for women and given the nod to women’s “emancipation” (which is to be accomplished by letting them work for wages. a lie. is important to confront. such as David Ricardo [a bourgeois theorist] and. having not long before discovered Mies’ book that had done a good feminist deconstruction of science. It is also not simply coincidence that leftist movements who have. but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes. The environmental justice movement worldwide. now universal. as opposed to the imperial NGO environmentalism of wealthy metropolitans. significantly. The Power of the Machine .” “progress.

with GMO French fries and nitrate-laced. feminism is the precondition of any lasting social transformation. that is imprinted earlier or with more relentlessness during the socialization of individual human beings.” There is no ideology that is experienced with the same personal and emotional force. Even before the consequences of the Energy War arrive to roost on the white. And so. than gender… and in the actually-existing world. by women who intuited that they had been left out of the deal. As Steve Biko said. While there is no clear understanding in the television-conformed American metropole of the catastrophic future of the unprepared suburbs of car-culture with the reality of peak oil. as political instabilities emerged. however. The very thing that keeps us all locked into the system on a day-to-day basis. and it was true in the socialist states. the issue of food in inescapable. and a growing understanding of the carcinomic implications of “growth” based economics. Nothing connects everything like food. the vast majority of the world’s population. the political movement for women’s autonomy (not for some abstract “equality” within the very categories established by millennia of patriarchy). that is perceived more like a law of nature. “The greatest weapon in the hand of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed. and therefore the basis of the stability of any system. and struggles for better wages or health care. that means male and female as masculinity and femininity. But the durability (and intractability) of any social system correlates to the depth and strength of its internalization into the psyches of the individual members of society. factory meat. suburban American consumer who has vested all hope in reactionary politicians. a regionally-exploitative word system.to include the Energy War. and creates the political crisis that pivots American society on a new and still unknown political path. however. progressiv-ism (latter-day liberalism) was forced to respond to the challenge of ever-more mobilized women. were so deeply inscribed on the psyches of the plant’s men. No matter how pathological its instantiations. of male power and privilege. We might be able to measure the popular legitimacy of any political establishment by this yardstick… what is its level of commitment to or opposition to food security? Feminism. are always preoccupied with food. and intractable cultural form of oppressive power. Appeals to masculine privilege and “virtue” have been part of every social movement. There is no doubt that the form of patriarchy as it currently exists is interwoven with capital accumulation and racial-national colonization. bosses everywhere… is the fear that we will go without shelter and food. including wide sections of US society. That is why food security is anathema to establishment power. The roots of sexual identity. that pulls us into accepting our alienation and humiliation at the hands of bosses.more than resistance to surveillance. and who were thereby sensitized to the hypocrisy of these Progressives. is an essential component of any political struggle that takes the integrity of the human body as its point of departure. in a hierarchical relation. as well as part of every counter-revolution. This was true in the capitalist world system. food remains a constant. and as well a constant preoccupation of all human beings. because patriarchy as both the political and metaphorical model for all relations of domination is the most long standing.are seen as part of that environment. It may be the politics of food that has the greatest capacity for self-organization -. This is the basis of hegemony as opposed to direct coercion. and the global energy crisis -. persistent. More than that. 208 . that never succeeded in escaping this world system. that the reaction against women seeking higher levels of autonomy was always there in the psyches of men like a dormant virus waiting to be activated. When the liberal trope of “progress” and (abstract) “equality” was pushed under the noses of Progressives. resistance to oppression.

The value of the male and the security of his gender identity is deeply and even emotionally bound up with this “bread-winner” role. was reactionary. and it has not infrequently been placed at the center of labor struggles that saw the male as the (public) wage laborer and the female as the domestic servant of the male. it is that the departure from this as our fundamental point of reference always ends with outrage and catastrophe. because the former was incapable and the latter unwilling to surrender male power. This applied to the collapse of the Soviet Union. 1985): Loathing for the body. Penny Van Esterik. Sex. That seems like an academic discussion. albeit an important one. Nancy C. however. to the right-wing ascendancy in the United States. from the records of history and from the experience of our daily lives. her helplessness. Hartsock writes (Money. Once food production was appropriated away from the household and community. on no small account. if we have to state it thus at all. women began to lose social power. and to begin uprooting patriarchy itself. in the sense that bodily needs and desires are humiliating. and her materiality. to be gained within the logic of the socially Darwinist milieu of “growth” economics. and the latter was devalued (and the women left there with it). Food is no longer seen as an integrated. 1999): 209 . The connection between food security and feminism is that both begin and end with the human being as a physical body. The same disregard for the body that is valorized in the death-cults of men (like the military) is translated into the desire to dominate and defile the “shameful and forbidden” bodies of women.173) The contradictory relation that women have to food in the current order. right now.” observes (“Engendering the Food System .’… The theme of succeeding by ignoring/overcoming the feelings of the body [a consistent theme during military training courses SG] is related to the fear and loathing of the body. M. It is consistently a woman who is… ‘humiliated by her desire. fueled by the deeply affective attachment to patriarchy and by the ideology of gender as a hierarchical system. The equation of contempt for the body with masculinity is demonstrable. I don’t know if the archeology of gender will show that men’s productive relation to the earth through tools and women’s ability to produce life out of their own bodies was at some juncture what led to masculinity being defined as contempt for the body. The male role of “breadwinner” tells us plenty. It is a commodity.Gender and Sustainable Food Systems: A Feminist Critique”. has confused and obscured the essential relation between women’s autonomy and food security. Both liberalism and socialism failed. aspect of survival. especially in the over-developed metropoles. If history has shown us anything. who advocates a “feminist food-praxis.the response. but as an alienated. once the private-public dichotomy became a social reality. appears in… pornography in the form of the contrast between the man’s self-control and the woman’s frenzied abandon. root and branch. to the Taliban. and as a central idea in the Hindutva movement. and Power. Northeastern University Press. Patriarchy is the primary contradiction.” (p.

. however. and self and other are a Western legacy of blinkered. A women’s movement. feeding. body and mind. The special case of breast-feeding makes this clearer. .” says Van Esterik. theory over practice. .” not “either . This is both productive and reproductive work and is both a public and a private act. The task of preparing meals cannot be reduced to a private act of social reproduction when the food may have involved substantial bartering and exchange in the public sector. as I will show -. are only a part) have to be effectively challenged.not as nutrients. not solely people by women. and reason over emotion. but as nurture. The study of food and eating has been marginalized because of Western binary logic. has to reappear on the political scene. abstract over concrete. and. Are these public or private acts? Eating and cooking break down these oppositions. the philosophical and ideological assumptions -. which favours mind over body. Women are both vulnerable and powerful -. They place a higher priority on redressing the imbalance of power in the sexual division of labour (having men take on more responsibility for cooking. public over private. or”). as a means of withdrawing from our own dependency on the “growth grid. Cooking as “thoughtful practice” blends theory and practice. For this to happen. and be exchanged as leftovers with neighbours. et al. “Feminist food praxis thus requires an examination of women’s power in relation to the food system. Latin American women’s groups have successfully established collective kitchens. . Food practices confound the dichotomy between production and reproduction and between public and private and are part of both the formal and the informal economy (“both . but “some feminists have been critical of these women’s self-help organizations because they focus almost exclusively on traditional women’s tasks and do not challenge the traditional division of labour”. and nurturing) and on more fully accounting for women’s labour in food production.that support the global food system (of which organized labor.through food. be redistributed in community potluck dinners. Feminist nondualistic thinking about food reminds us that ethnocentric oppositions such as production and reproduction. among others. but consistently focused on the gender system as its target. and identified with the autonomy of women.” those of us in 210 . Breaking down oppositional thinking is an important part of feminist theoretical reorientation.producing babies and breast milk.all deeply gendered. Other food practices confound the dichotomies between production and reproduction and between public and private.Some Western feminists see food as relevant only to the domestic sphere of social reproduction. Women’s bodies are simultaneously a means of production and a means of reproduction -.victimized and empowered -. binary thinking. It will be important. public and private. object over subject. it reflects the way many women experience food -. which has recognized the value of permaculture and other localized food security strategies. It opens the door to reintegrating everyday practice and objective scientific knowledge. This is not merely a question of urban survivalism.

urban and suburban metropolitan communities. In our paradigms. Monsanto and Archer-DanielMidland are not going to roll over while societies organize a de facto boycott of agri-biz. Agriculture based on diversity. in a statement to the International Conference on Women in Agriculture said. They provide the basis of food security. not “property”. decentralisation and improving small farm productivity through ecological methods is a women-centred. `Assert'. among other tactics. Women farmers in the Third World are predominantly small farmers. This is the language of war. A common myth used by Monsanto and the Biotechnology industry is that without genetic engineering. "Machete". knowledge is shared. `Prowl'. other species and plants are kin. and they provide food security in partnership with other species. and sustainability is based on renewal of the earth's fertility and renewal and regeneration of biodiversity and species richness on farms to provide internal inputs. They have used “intellectual property rights” to lay claim to actual living species of human food. The partnership between women and biodiversity has kept the world fed through history. any coordinated. at present. Vandana Shiva. even and especially within the US. the world cannot be fed. `Cadre'. and will feed the world in the future. using biopiracy and patent law. to establish autonomous and sustainable food security 211 . to begin growing our own food. Agri-business. There can be no doubt that these corporate behemoths will attempt to outlaw. widespread attempt. However. `Scepter'. is waging international war on food security as a way of monopolizing profits from food insecurity. `Lightening'. while biotechnology is projected as increasing food production four times. small ecological farms have productivity hundreds of time higher than large industrial farms based on conventional farms. `Avenge'. the most heavily subsidized and politically powerful economic sector in the United States (outside of weapons production). it would be more fruitful to redirect agricultural policy towards women centred systems which promote biodiversity based small farm agriculture. Monocultures and monopolies symbolise a masculinsation of agriculture. The war mentality underlying military-industrial agriculture is evident from the names given to herbicides which destroy the economic basis of the survival of the poorest women in the rural areas of the Third World. nature friendly agriculture. not sustainability. "Lasso" American Home Products which has merged with Monsanto calls its herbicides `Pentagon'. Monsanto's herbicides are called "Round up". Instead of falsely labelling the patriarchal projects of intellectual property rights on seed and genetic engineering in agriculture which are destroying biodiversity and the small farmers of the Third World as “partnership” with Third World women. But there s a mammoth political struggle waiting in the wings. In this women-centred agriculture. `Squadron'. there is no place for monocultures of genetically engineered crops and IPR [intellectual property rights] monopolies on seeds. It is this partnership that needs to be preserved and promoted to ensure food security.

ambition. and how we can connect the practice of science as the conquest of nature (the most absurd venture in human history). we shall have to reclaim our autonomy -.cure and cuisine are separated -. and the bodies of living human beings -. and other localizing methods. nurtured from the seed of gender. community gardens.as our first and last point of reference. the dissolution of Conquest. Because it could prosper. Hermit tactics and de facto secessionism will not work.as the social beings that we irrevocably are -. but they require a paradigm shift in thinking. feeding. which adapt. Lineal causality is inappropriate to the world of living organisms. Cooking. Cooking and eating. based on urban-suburban food production. of “growth. The American middle class -.doesn’t know it yet. holism. and intimacy have no meaning without context. local farmers markets. relate. pattern. and feeding others concern metaphor. This system of food production forcibly removed millions of people from their land before. and system and call for an epistemology of relationships between people and between people and their food. but with the right collective strategy. and learn. greed. the dualism of Man vs. mutual support. There is no analytical standpoint that deconstructs the ideology of science and developmentalism. In the struggle to overcome our suicidal trajectory.from its very inception. feeding the self. it could largely pull itself off the “growth grid” in ten years if it were willing to politically defend itself at every step along the way. The medical and the gastronomic are separated -. usually the laywoman. mediates between that humanity and the universe of which it is a part -. Nature. Mechanistic metaphors fail to effectively explain relationships. This notion is deeply and dangerously political. alienated. This is why we can say that it is violent all the way down to the molecular level. not an epistemology of cause and effect. and pain.now ignorant.in many cases -.” says Van Esterik… …defined by these same oppositions.systems. and eating are metaphors for interdependence. 212 .and this division further separates the professional expert from the layperson. and the conquest of women (the forerunner of them all). Terms like nurture. or synergy. as having their roots in the historic soil of gender. It is the only intellectual tradition that has the perspective and the depth to understand the pernicious myth of objectivity at the center of the “penetrative” sciences. and it will not idly stand by and watch the kind of challenge mounted by something as fundamentally subversive as feminist food praxis take form and prosper. rather than reacting to laws. and pleasure in a world full of metaphors for independence.and this can only start with the restoration of the autonomy of women. and utterly dependent -. subdivided vocation is what makes science -.” and of the radical(ly wrong) technological optimism shared -. nurture. and sustained on the precipitation of gender. The trope of Conquest that is in the very heart of science as an elite.where all experience. indoctrinated. “But our disciplinary borders still keep us in separate boxes. suffering or joy. reciprocity.from right to left along the ideological spectrum. That paradigm shift is feminism. and the sanctity of Conquest. with the conquest of colonies and subject-nations.

” Anyone who wants to be the skunk at this prevarication party need only ask.” noted that McVeigh took his cues from the very government he had worked for as a soldier. Indiana. about the 1994 invasion and occupation of Haiti. and not merely from those inside the Special Operations “community.A Soldier’s Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti (Soft Skull Press. rape. in some respects. and civilians in their homes. “A few bad apples” committed torture. and that our military is the masculine epitome of that virtue standing between our suburban security and the dark chaos of the Outside. was already reading survivalist and white nationalist literature in his teens. Frugivorous analogies aside. Hideous Dream . There was nothing more inflammatory in my first book.which McVeigh 213 . There was outrage from people who hadn’t a moment of actual experience in the military at all. but the work of “a few bad apples. than my assertion that Special Operations was a hotbed of racism and reaction. Tim McVeigh. Questioning the mystique of the armed forces is tantamount to lunacy at best and treason at worst.” whose outrage was more public relations stagecraft than anything else. and I was explicit not only about the significant number of white supremacists in Special Operations. The massacre was not descriptive of the Marine Corps. 2006.” ominously printed in Vanity Fair just days before the 9-11 attacks expressed another “self-consuming cause. Before McVeigh’s attack in Oklahoma City. but how the attitudes of these extremists connected with the less explicit white male supremacy of white patriarchal American society and defined. the attitude taken by US occupation forces in Haiti toward the Haitian population. “A few bad apples” raped prisoners.after his parents divorced when he was ten. The mythopatriarchal absolutism of racial ideology mapped perfectly onto the consciousness of someone raised by a religiously devout male. That’s when Timothy McVeigh was given a lethal injection at 7 AM in the death chamber of the US Federal Penitentiary at Terre Haute. fellow female soldiers. 2001.an auto worker -. like many other white youth who are socially awkward and living in times of economic insecurity. This is the reason bad-apple-ism has been the predominant meme of the media and the Pentagon when they are compelled to discuss the stories of torture.” Vidal’s account. and murder in Iraq and Afghanistan. 2000) was my personal account of that operation. The resistance to this allegation was particularly fierce. the most recent attack by Americans against Americans outside of warfare was the FBI-BATF massacre of an obscure religious commune that was demonized for destruction at Waco. “The Meaning of Timothy McVeigh. Texas -. “How do these bad apples all seem to aggregate into the same units?” One bad apple was dispensed with on June 11.Training the White Nation (Originally published in two differing editions at Sanders Research Associates and Truthdig. but of a culture. Gore Vidal said that McVeigh “needed a self-consuming cause to define him. McVeigh was not the product of a tree or poor storage. This is an affront to something sacred in the public imaginary of a thoroughly militarized United States: that we are an international beacon of civilized virtue. and the fact that this ideology responded directly to the insecurities of economic and gender destabilization secured McVeigh as an early devotee. Raised in Western New York by a devoutly Catholic father -.

“News” personalities in pancake makeup pander to niche markets of misdirected outrage.000 pounds of explosives under a Federal office building and killed 168 human beings.memorialized by blowing up the Murrah Building on the Waco massacre’s second anniversary. Actors and wrestlers become Presidents and Governors. we cannot assume they are irrelevant. and standpoint matters. Red Dawn. And the formative moment in Iraq for Tim McVeigh was the order by Major General Barry McCaffrey -. written under pseudonym by the late William Pierce. and entertainment is the commodity… a kind of bread and circuses default that prefigures a more general breakdown of authentic community. it changes forms. over-stimulated. in what he described as a defense of the Constitution of the United States. (The owners and producers are almost all men. this old news of white male terrorism in the US. As the old military motto says. He replied that Truman had never apologized for Hiroshima or Nagasaki. “Trained by the best. the production of mass consciousness has become qualitatively different. after al. While “silly” is a descriptive term for both these cultural products. as we enter a postmodern era where life imitates art. It was the oath I took that led me to burn down the houses of Vietnamese. Production. where the body count was three times that of Timothy McVeigh.) On April 19. and so we are treated to a cocktail of frontier masculinity.the sociopath appointed by Bill Clinton to be the nation’s “drug tsar” -. The alienated subject is now pacified. The President himself is costumed as a cowboy or a fighter pilot. is not purely academic. addictive. a neo-Nazi novel about a white nationalist guerrilla war in the US. and the oath taken by Captain Medina and Lieutenant Calley before they ordered the massacre in My Lai. It is driven by competition for market share. 1995.” Much has been made of McVeigh’s affinity for The Turner Diaries. a fan of these martial male fantasies detonated 7. Before we judge this claim too harshly. and militarized revenge fantasies. And white male supremacy (we always leave out that second modifier. this defense of a sacralized political document.to slaughter a seven-mile line of retreating Iraqi soldiers and civilians after the ceasefire in Iraq… now called the Turkey Shoot. When McVeigh was interviewed about the “collateral damage” in Oklahoma. and this market dynamic leads to stimulation-one-upmanship as the threshold of shock and excitement among the masses rises. The reason I being this up at all. With the increasingly sophisticated and penetrative mass media. The cultural product must be mapped onto a pre-existing social imaginary. and politics imitates cheap cinematic conventions. therefore it cannot be simply dismissed. It’s magic. the fear of barbarians outside the gate. The US military is allowing avowed white supremacists back in now 214 . however. a silly film about American teenagers organizing an armed resistance to the Soviet occupation of the United States. Less often noted was another formative cultural product for McVey. more generally conforming. he was asked if he felt remorse. though it is just as consistently true as the first) is not simple. and has inaugurated a new reality reflected imprecisely by academic postmodernism: the “narrative” now has more power than ever to create a reality in its own image. we should take note that this “defense of the Constitution” is the core of the oath taken by every US military member who is now “serving” in the bloody occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. and the consolidation of that media into a handful of multinational corporations. is not explicitly ideological. kill like the rest.

” the group quoted a Defense Department investigator… This. and political dimensions. white supremacy was a norm. the alarm sounded by the SPLC about fascists joining the military with less than perfect oversight to prevent their entry raises some very interesting issues about our entire political conjuncture. writing for the New York Times on July 7th. and openly admire fascist leaders. and conclude unanimously that there is no “objective” measure for what it means. is the question of what it means to be “white. or at worst a social system that erupts from a pernicious ideology. are anything except ab-normal. I believe the case can be made that these young men joining the military. who defined themselves as white as a way of differentiating themselves from those over whom they wielded that power. What is seldom examined in public discourse outside the universities and a handful of anti-racist political formations. Of course. 215 . of course. citing interviews with Defense Department investigators and reports and postings on racist Web sites and magazines. A norm. embodying a racial-purity version of military masculinity. then see how abnormal it is right now. is defined as a standard or model or pattern regarded as typical. openly embrace a vision of fascism. “We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad. in its economic. is symptomatic of a form of mystification that conceals the concrete relations of power behind a set of widely accepted abstractions. by racists and non-racists alike. Skin color is routinely linked to the question of white supremacy. And while I take issue with those who throw the F-word around as a mere epithet stripped of any operational meaning.after an alleged hiatus… one begun in response to the discovery of Timothy McVeigh’s ideological orientations.” Thinkers from Toni Morrison to Noel Ignatiev to bell hooks to Theodore Allen to Mab Segrest to David Roediger have studied whiteness extensively. after all. slavery was a norm. The insistence on existence of a white race. John Kifner. estimated that the numbers could run into the thousands. and the murder of a Black couple in December that same year by neo-Nazis in the 82nd Airborne Division. These explicitly white supremacist groups. Theodore Roosevelt. and only then begin to focus more tightly on the question of fascism and fascists joining the military. Some very well-known American presidents who made openly white supremacist pronouncements were Woodrow Wilson. until the dismantling of Jim Crow in the South. recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed “large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists” to infiltrate the military. and before the Civil War. The Southern Poverty Law Center [SPLC]. cultural. often seen as a kind of psychological disorder and not a social system. contrasted with the implicitly white supremacist Republican Party. for example. is remarkable for its abnormality… or so some might have us think. but that it is a social construction linked absolutely to social power. which tracks racist and right-wing militia groups. White supremacy as a belief has evolved out of the practice of people in power. They are hyper-normal. notes: A decade after the Pentagon declared a zero-tolerance policy for racist hate groups. and Richard Nixon. according to a watchdog organization. with no real material basis. We need to first see for how long white supremacy has been considered ab-normal in the United States.

216 . Thomas said his views on African Americans were based largely on the blacks that he knows and those he sees in his community. Openly racist public officials like Jesse Helms.8 percent among whites.White supremacy was normal enough in 1964. the Republican Party adopted thinly-veiled racist appeals to attract white voters who felt betrayed by the reluctant Democratic Party support for Civil Rights legislation. Again. that after the defeat of Goldwater. The survey found that half of all whites -. Blacks are about twice as likely as whites -. About one in six blacks -. “states rights. according to the Post/Kaiser/Harvard survey.say that the average black is about as well off as the average white in terms of the jobs they hold.23 versus 12 percent -. less prestigious service jobs. 42.believe that blacks and whites have similar levels of education. compared to slightly more than one-fifth of all blacks. the Republican controlled House of Representatives blocked a vote to condemn the Conservative Citizens Councils. compared with 79 percent of all blacks 25 years old or older. and my son's friend is black. and everybody's in the same boat around here in Salem. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey found that blacks were nearly twice as likely as whites to be without health insurance. Six in 10 whites -.” he said. things would be different. In fact.17 percent -. “I have black friends. In 2000. according to the poll. I thought everybody was the same these days. the hard data are less positive: A third of all whites hold professional or managerial jobs.50 percent -.to hold lower-paying. But economic and social distance between blacks and whites is far from closed.61 percent -. a white supremacist organization with whom Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott had close ties. And 88 percent of all whites are high school graduates. blacks are far more likely to be without health insurance than whites. Blacks also are more than twice as likely to be unemployed.say the average black has equal or better access to health care than the average white.” said Jeffrey Thomas.have completed college. How normed does something have to be before we can say it is normal? Denial supports this “non-racist” racism.49 percent -. compared with 3. even after their affiliations with white supremacist organizations were publicized. except in the minds of many white Americans. “Maybe if you went to Portland.” As late as 1999.” Half of all whites -. a perception that again is out of step with reality. “I’m surprised at those numbers. compared with 28 percent of all whites. The Republican appeals to white supremacy were cloaked as opposition to welfare.S. the jobless rate for blacks stood at 8 percent. continued to be elected. an ironworker who lives in Salem. Strom Thurmond. Ore. A poll by the Washington Post in 2001 showed that half of all white people believe Blacks in the US are just as economically welloff and secure as whites. and Trent Lott.” and concern about “crime. in May. the U. according to census data.

Alas. When analyzed together. and we all know that the laws of nature remain out of critical reach.” The poll found that a majority of whites -. and as the Stanford Prison Experiment proved dramatically. director of information technology for a law firm in Dayton. four in 10 whites -. In fact. This is not nearly as newsworthy as a Klan rally.“Those figures are probably correct. seven in 10 whites hold at least one of these misperceptions. And the poverty rate for African Americans is more than double the white rate.believed incorrectly that the typical black earned as much or more than the typical white. Another way to look at the extent of these misperceptions is to see what proportion of whites holds at least one false belief about black circumstances. though.” There is no account here for the demonstrable fact (with rudimentary research) that the US presence is the most determinative force behind the social catastrophe there. “But what were they 10 years ago? Twenty years ago? I think we're moving in the right direction. substantial differences persist between black and white earnings. Blacks were twice as likely to have reported having difficulties recently paying their rent or mortgage and about half as likely as whites to have money invested in stocks. Three in 10 whites -. It is far more important. The role of occupier is the role of dominator. This narrative is reinforced for troops on the ground in Iraq by the circumstances.42 percent -. this dominator role very quickly translates into the dehumanization and objectification of the dominated. Fewer than three in 10 whites earn less than $25. The median household income for whites was $44. that’s just how it is… what a pity.56 percent -. and a majority -. It portrays itself as an outcome of nature. On the ground. And there is an element of white supremacy in the mainstream discourse about the Iraq war. according to the Post/Kaiser/Harvard poll. Fascism traditionally employs either a master-race or master-culture narrative. at the infantry level. nearly half of all blacks in 1999 earned less than that.366 in 1999. 35.recognize that blacks on average earn less than whites. called “Hadji Girl. You shouldn't just make a black a manager because he's black.” in which he humorously describes killing Iraqi children to the raucous applause of his fellow Marines.” said Brian Clayton. as a causative agent for our social antagonisms. moreover.910 for blacks. 217 . there is no recognition of the orientalism (a white supremacist meme) that assumes the superiority of western tutelage and the deviance (violent irrationality) of Arabs and-or Muslims.31 percent -. Still. It's going to take more time.000. bonds or mutual funds. The dust-up recently about a Marine signing a song (which was published on the internet as a video). wars of domination in every instance become race wars. Racial attitudes are constructed around existing material advantage.held two or more.57 percent -.believe that the average black fared as well or better than whites in each of the four areas tested. compared with $27. Both liberals and conservatives articulate the notion that the US has to “stay in Iraq to prevent a catastrophe. for example. Ohio. Privilege naturalizes itself. was hardly a blip in the corporate media.

In American society right now, with the immigration hysteria fuelled by fauxpopulists like CNN’s execrable Lou Dobbs, there is a growing upwave of xenophobia that has begun to legitimate vigilantism, like that of the Arizona Minutemen (supported even by the Governor of California); and vigilantism is always a feature of fascism in periods before it decisively achieves state power. The lines between the comic-opera militias parked along the Arizona border, the “libertarian” militias in the Midwest, and the Aryan militias in the Idaho foothills are not terribly clear. Timothy McVeigh could have just as easily related to all of them. The social currents of racial/cultural supremacy are there. The vigilantism is forming. So two aspects of fascism are already falling into place. Another aspect, and one that was formative of Timothy McVeigh is economic destabilization. Fascism can be described as a “middle class” phenomenon. One can look at the emergence of the three most studied fascist governments, Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain, and Hitler’s Germany, and in every case there was a privileged stratum of the working class that had been the beneficiaries of metropolitan capitalist development (courtesy of peripheral colonies) that rubbed shoulders socially with the professional and managerial sectors. In times of instability, friction develops between fractions of this stratum. Insecurity among the lower middle-classes creates anxiety and anger that can easily be directed by populist-sounding demagogues (Mussolini and Hitler actually claimed to be socialist, even as they strengthened the ruling classes in their own societies during militarization). Those just above these fractious masses are caught between their anxiety at the turbulent resentments of the lower stratum and their fear that they themselves are only a paycheck away from joining them. Leftist scholars have documented and explained this class dimension of fascism at some length. Columbia University’s contribution to Answers-dot-com section on “fascism” notes: While socialism (particularly Marxism) came into existence as a clearly formulated theory or program based on a specific interpretation of history, fascism introduced no systematic exposition of its ideology or purpose other than a negative reaction against socialist and democratic egalitarianism. The growth of democratic ideology and popular participation in politics in the 19th cent. was terrifying to some conservative elements in European society, and fascism grew out of the attempt to counter it by forming mass parties based largely on the middle classes and the petty bourgeoisie, exploiting their fear of political domination by the lower classes. [In the American South, this dread was aimed at Blacks, and the bogeyman of Black-rule was repeatedly invoked, along with the Black sexual satyr, to fuel anti-Black pograms. -SG] Forerunners of fascism, such as Georges Boulanger in France and Adolf Stöker and Karl Lueger in Germany and Austria, in their efforts to gain political power played on people's fears of revolution with its subsequent chaos, anarchy, and general insecurity. They appealed to nationalist sentiments and prejudices, exploited anti-Semitism, and portrayed themselves as champions of law, order, Christian morality, and the sanctity of private property. In each of the European cases, the trigger bringing fascist demagogues to power was a profound economic crisis. This is a tendency buried within an ever-expanding 218

regime of capital accumulation, because the “logic of capital” inevitably comes into conflict with the “territorial logic of power” (David Harvey, The New Imperialism, Oxford Press, 2003). The mobility of capital eventually liquidates or abandons all spaces, including living space, and this throws middle-classes into both economic and psychological disorder. They can break both ways: embracing a progressive path of “going through to the other side” of the crisis by creating new social models, or embracing the (often idealized and mythical) past. Giovanni Arrighi, writing in “Hegemony Unravelling” (New Left Review, Mar-Apr 2005) made the point that “[a]s Karl Polanyi pointed out long ago, with special reference to the overaccumulation crisis of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, devastations of this kind inevitably call forth the ‘self-protection of society’ in both progressive and reactionary political form…” That hasn’t happened in the US… yet. The anxiety has been building, along with an increasingly precarious social existence in the ‘burbs, where car-infrastructure is running into record oil prices, pension funds are being wiped out in strategic bankruptcies, and the household debt overhang is beginning to resemble a plank suspended over a canyon with a couple of nails. Not coincidentally, militarization has been one of the processes that has postponed the inevitable. The militarization of American society has gone on for some time (ever since World War II to be exact), but this militarization -- an aspect of fascism as well -- has taken on a different character since the Bush administration lucked into 9-11. Aside from the Straussian convictions about mythopoetic perception management (using cheap cinematic conventions), the practical result of the neo-con core advisor group around this decayingdynastic White House has been the accelerated militarization of economic, domestic, and foreign policy. Perception management, after all, including cynical constructions of the nation as the bulwark of good against evil, has been in the armamentarium of most governments. The American economy has been using the military contracting system during decades of “deindustrialization” (moving offshore to exploit cheap labor) to create a surrogate export market for key industries. The military has also long been used as a research and development subsidy vehicle for private corporations. What the Bush administration has done that is unique is to prioritize unilateral military action in foreign policy at the expense of diplomatic maneuvering and consensus-building among the core capitalist metropoles, and to centralize population control measures at home under a more militarized system… though the militarization of police forces with “tactical” units has been in progress for decades and the Clinton administration paved the way for the exponential expansion of the domestic prison population. Another unique feature of the Bush administration’s militarization program has been the private contracting of military and paramilitary operations to an alphabet soup of corporations, some led by ruling caste veterans like Bill Perry and many led by the sketchiset characters crawling out of the rank and file of the military itself. In Iraq, mercenaries are now the third largest armed contingent on the ground, behind only the American armed forces and the Kurdish peshmerga. There are roughly 25,000 of these “contractors” working in Iraq… and they are completely immune from any law. Last year, after a homemade video “escaped” (a la “Hadji Girl”… these folks seem to be proud of themselves) showing so-called security contractors in an SUV driving down an Iraqi highway with Elvis music blasting as they shot cars off the road for sport, the blogs 219

began distributing it. In December, the Washington Post finally ran a story on it. Only then did the military even comment on the video, which they said they would investigate. Nothing has come of this alleged investigation. What did surface, however, once the media decided it was worth a closer look, is that this kind of colonial impunity is routinely exercised by contractors, who are little more than extremely high-paid thugs, is not covered by either Iraqi law or the US Uniform Code of Military Justice. Because the salaries of these contractors are routinely above $100,000 a year, with all expenses paid on site, the military itself, especially Special Operations, has had to steeply increase reenlistment bonuses (some as high as $150,000 in a single lump sum) to partially stem the exodus of Special Ops troops into the lucrative world of corporate mercenaries. This is a world unto itself, a culture obsessed with death, firearms, and racial-purity doctrines. One need only page through the periodicals of this sub-culture, the most widely circulated being Soldier of Fortune magazine, to find these preoccupations between the articles and ads like a toxic salad. The glue holding them together is gun-culture. Gunculture is not an obscure fringe, but a very mainstream, widely popular sub-culture, that taps directly into another key component of fascism: martial masculinity. Anson Rabinbach and Jessica Benjamin, writing in American Imago in 1995 (“In the Aftermath of Nazi Germany: Alexander Mitscherlich and Psychoanlaysis -- Legend and Legacy”): The crucial element of fascism is its explicit sexual language, what Theweleit calls ‘the conscious coding’ or the ‘over-explicitness of the fascist language of symbol.’ This fascist symbolization creates a particular kind of psychic economy which places sexuality in the service of destruction. Despite its sexually charged politics, fascism is an anti-eros, ‘the core of all fascist propaganda is a battle against everything that constitutes enjoyment and pleasure’… He shows that in this world of war the repudiation of one’s own body, of femininity, becomes a psychic compulsion which associates masculinity with hardness, destruction, and self-denial. Men who are threatened by women’s decreased dependency and increased organization often adopt an individual strategy of “overconformity,” compulsively acquiring “masculine” accoutrements, be they giant automobiles, guns, or attack-breed dogs, and just as compulsively behave as if they are trying out for a role with the World Wrestling Foundation — affecting a kind of bright-eyed homicidal aggression because they equate fear with respect. Divisions of “male” labor and divisions of “female” labor respond to changes in the economic and political terrain. Look at the more “respectable” masculinity that prioritizes responsibility to the family — which keeps men who are not in the ruling class working. Compare that to the fascistic masculinity displayed by the masculine over-conformers (described above), which merges easily with the idealization of military masculinity in times when warfare plays a more central role in society — for example, during crises of (economic & social) destabilization. War becomes necessary to “rescue” the nation. Gun culture is permeated with this thought, including its sense of embattlement, and its embrace

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of mythical frontier masculinity that sacrifices comfort to overcome dark forces from the Outside. Economic destabilization is extremely disruptive of conventional masculinities that equate the male role with that of a provider; and create the conditions for overcompensation in the form of hyper-normal male identity… as an armed actor. The rise of fascistic masculinity prefigures systemic fascism, often in the form of vigilantism. Gun culture is steeped in vigilantism, which is steeped in military lore. Guns in this milieu transcend their practical uses and take on a powerful symbolic significance. In the last decade, the National Rifle Association (NRA), which has always had close ties with the military, has been taken over from what are considered within the organization as “moderates,” that is, those whose message emphasizes peaceful, lawabiding gun use, like hunting (which is not peaceful for the game animals, but that’s another issue). The NRA Board of Directors has increasingly consisted of people with an explicit right-wing and vigilante orientation. John Milius is among them, the filmmaker who made Red Dawn, Timothy McVeigh’s damascene film experience, and Conan the Barbarian, starring the now-Governor of California, who endorsed the Arizona Minutemen. So is the aforementioned Jeff Cooper, pistol-trainer for the original Delta Force, who calls himself a libertarian and has devoted his life to telling people how to “survive in a gunfight” and who suggested that inner-cities (read: Black neighborhoods) should be supplied with ammunition to keep the homicide rates high. He refers to Africans as orangutans and Japanese as Nips. Research Director Paul Blackman once commented, “In fact, studies of homicide victims -- especially the increasing number of younger ones -- suggest they are frequently criminals themselves and/or drug addicts or users. It is quite possible that their deaths… are net gains.” Then there is ex-rocker Ted Nugent who said of Black South Africans, “They still put bones in their noses. They walk around naked and wipe their butts with their hands… You give ‘em toothpaste and they fuckin’ eat it.” And of Hillary Clinton, he said she is “a toxic cunt… a two-bit whore for Fidel Castro.” The weird Wyoming Representative Barbara Cubin is also on the board. She once described her sons as blonde-haired and blue-eyed, then went on to suggest that Black people are generally drug addicts and should not be able to buy firearms. Representative Mel Watt objected, and Representative Cubin replied, “I would like to apologize to my colleague for his sensitivities.” Quite a number of ultra-conservative Congress-people have served on the 75-member board. Everyone knows the actor Charleston Heston. But many haven’t heard the quote form an NRA speech, where he proclaimed, “Mainstream America is counting on you to draw your sword and fight for them. These people have precious little time and resources to battle misguided Cinderella attitudes, the fringe propaganda of the homosexual coalition, the feminists who preach that it is a divine duty to hate men, blacks who raise a militant fist with one hand while seek preference with the other.” Other board alumni include anti-immigrant militia advocate Wayne Stump, California militiaman T. J. Johnson, Illinois militiaman Leroy Pyle, Soldier of Fortune’s publisher Robert Brown, and Illinois Militiaman Leroy Pyle. Pyle said of Sarah Brady, whose husband was paralyzed by gunfire, “That ugly cackler. She pulls her husband around like a pulltoy on a string. My friends and I say that if that ever happened to one of us and our wife did that, somebody would slip into the house 221

one night and slit her throat.” But Pyle also has other connections. He was the systems operator in 1992 of the internet-based Paul Revere Network, that carried articles from The Resister. The Resister was an underground right-wing newspaper published in Fort Brag within Special Forces. Mastheaded with a coiled rattlesnake, The Resister subtitled itself as “The Political Warfare Journal of the Special Forces Underground.” (SFU) It was founded by ex-Special Forces operator Steven Barry, whose “story” was covered extensively in… Soldier of Fortune. Quotes for editions of The Resister include: Personally, I am sick and tired of listening to Jews whine and kvetch about their Holocaust®, and when I am afflicted by it my reaction ranges, depending upon how much tolerance I was graced with that day, from studied indifference to remarking that, if killing Jews was the Germans' aim for locking them up they were uncharacteristically inefficient about the whole thing and criminally wasteful with precious logistics in time of war, because all the Germans had to do was lock the Pests in efficiently dehumidified and comfortably heated barracks for five days unfed and let them die of thirst. …and… Surgeon General David Satcher, the second Bell Curve proof that Negroes must never be permitted to practice medicine on Whites, recently declared that Negro propensity for puerile and violent behavior is, according to the Jewish operated Associated Press, one of the “leading health indicators -- that address a broad range of health and, one might argue, social concerns.” (Emphasis added.) No kidding. We are discouraged from pondering why America needs a “Surgeon General” (who neither practices surgery nor is a general) in the first place, let alone why every “Surgeon General” appointed during this administration has been a Negro. However, I know why. It is because “our” government really does hate us. During my own service with 3rd Special Forces Group in Haiti in 1994, members of the SFU initiated back-channel communications in support of the right-wing death squad network, FRAPH. Two of Barry’s and SFU’s and Soldier of Fortune’s and the NRA’s favored preoccupations were Ruby Ridge, where Vicki Harris, the wife of an ex-Special Forces white supremacist (Randy Weaver) was killed by an FBI sniper with her baby still in her arms, and the outrage at Waco against the Branch Davidians. Let me say here, for the record, the FBI actions in both these cases was criminal and inexcusable, and largely provoked by the FBI itself. But the fact that Weaver was one of the neo-fascists own, and that Koresh and his acolytes were white, combined with the stunning abuse of power by the Federal Government in both cases, turned these two cases into a twin-cause celebre for the militia-right. I will also note that I own firearms; I have no problem with others owning them; and I think much liberal opposition to firearms is stupid, moralistic, and drives many people into the arms of the lunatic right. I am an advocate of the right to self-defense. My critique of gun culture is a critique of those sectors for whom guns have been combined with imaginary enemies and taken on a deeply 222

symbolic value as tokens of a violent, reactionary masculinity that fantasizes about armed conflict as a means to actualize its paranoid male sexual identity. The problem is that this reaction is far from ab-normal. There is a kind of interlocking directorate between white nationalists, gun culture, right-wing politicians, mercenary culture (like SOF), vigilante and militia movements, and elements within both Special Forces and -- now -- the privatized mercenary forces. It is hyper-masculine, racialist, militaristic, and networked. If one simply pays attention to cultural production in the United States, especially film and video games, it is fairly easy to see that the very memes that are the cells within the body of white nationalist militarism are ubiquitous within our general cultural norms. The film genre that most closely corresponds to a fascist mindset is the male revenge fantasy, wherein after some offense is given that signifies the breakdown of order (usually resulting in the death or mortal imperilment of idealized wives or children) in which Enlightenment social conventions prove inadequate, and the release of irrational male violence is required to set the world straight again. Any reader can list these fantasies without a cue. It is one of the most common film genres in American society. R. W. Connell wrote in Masculinities (University of California Press, 1995): In gender terms, fascism was the naked reassertion of male supremacy in societies that had been moving toward equality for women. To accomplish this, fascism promoted new images of hegemonic masculinity, glorifying irrationality (‘the triumph of the will’, thinking with ‘the blood’) and the unrestrained violence of the frontline soldier. It is in no way aberrant, when the lionized Theodore Roosevelt can be quoted saying, “the timid man, the lazy man, the man who distrusts his country, the over-civilized man, [italics mine] who has lost the great fighting, masterful virtues, the ignorant man, and the man of dull mind, whose soul is incapable of feeling the mighty lift that thrills ‘stern men with empires in their brains’ – all these, of course, shrink from seeing the nation undertake its new duties; shrink from seeing us build a navy and army adequate to our needs; shrink from seeing us do our share of the world’s work, by bringing order out of chaos in the great, fair tropic islands from which the valor of our soldiers and sailors has driven the Spanish flag.” Roosevelt was also a lifetime member of the NRA, itself founded by Civil War veterans who were dismayed by the poor marksmanship of soldiers and decided to prepare the next generation of boys and men for armed combat. Roosevelt is often cited as a conservationist who admired the wilderness. What is less often noted is that “wilderness” was seen as a place where men could test themselves against “raw” nature, and that he referred to said wilderness as “lands we have won from the Indians.” Karl Rove claims to be a major fan of Teddy Roosevelt biographies and quotes Roosevelt often. The use of mythic male wartime figures is a common political ploy. Ashcroft frequently used Lincoln that way to justify his own attacks on civil liberties, implicitly comparing the phony War on Terror to the American Civil War. This is not news; but it does support my general thesis that some key elements of fascism are already norms for broad sections of American society.

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This should give us a special sense of concern that the military -- under pressure from a retention and recruitment crisis -- has relaxed the screening process against white nationalists joining the military precisely to gain military training and combat experience. This not only allows more of these dangerous ideologues into the military, it gives them unprecedented access to other combat veterans, brutalized into the sociopathy of war and inured to white supremacy through the inevitable racialization of the occupied enemy. What makes this particularly alarming is that another essential element for the emergence of fascism is a national enemy. It is not unremarkable that the very people who question the Federal Government as an extension of ZOG/Illuminati/World-Government have also accepted the narrative -- constructed by that self-same US government for its own martial purposes -- of a highly organized, technologically advanced terrorist threat: al Qaeda. This has replaced the vastly overstated threat of the World Communist Conspiracy that proved so useful for the post-WWII American security state. The fact that immigration is now routinely portrayed as a security issue (letting terrorists in), at the same time that anti-immigrant vigilantism is being supported by public figures like CNN’s Lou Dobbs (arguable already a fascist) and Governor Schwarzenegger, should give all of us pause… not only because we are now training future McVeys, but because the immigration polemics are finding a receptive audience even among so-called moderates and liberals among the middle-class. The generalized flexibility of the term “terrorist” makes it infinitely more useful as a political instrument than a specific nation or regime, and so invests the term with a long half-life. The fact that al Qaeda is a fiction created by the US government -- a fact well documented by researchers like Jason Burke, author of Al Qaeda: Casting a Shadow of Terror (Penguin Books, 2004), and even the militarily-connected Rand Corporation that referred to al Qaeda as “a notion.” In a stunning bit of linguistic legerdemain, the actual mass movement of political Islam has been recoded by the neo-cons as… Islamo-fascism; and among the cryptolibertarians of the white right, fascist is an epithet reserved now for liberals. With the same semantic abracadabra, the “notion” that is al Qaeda is transformed by our cultural paranoia in such a way that every Arab, every Muslim, every immigrant, every dissident, every person of color, every (choose your enemy) is a threat; and the world is divided between Us and the Dark Other with no resolution except the agonal, and could -- with economic dislocation as the catalyst -- tumble us into a paroxysm of white nationalist hyper-masculinity as prelude to a new, uniquely American… what? I will close with a comment by my friend, Steve McClure, a resident of Washington DC -- itself a study in colonization and social contrasts: I hate the word fascist. It has been bandied about so much and brings up images of Storm troopers in grainy newsreels that it seems devoid of meaning. Furthermore, classical fascism was possible only in a mass society, organized along industrial lines, with one-to-many communications. Classical fascism is a reactionary modernism, a response to class struggle. Both German and Italian variants came to power after the defeat of revolutionary upsurges. I think our own situation is very different, and a better term needs to be found that captures the unique qualities of our reactionary postmodernism. “Military police state” doesn’t quite cut it. Fascism implies policing of 224

and.is swelling the ranks of tomorrow’s vigilantes of reaction.” lest “we” leave behind a terrible state of disorder. polarization is advanced. today's reaction is selective. They don’t." Now even putative liberals have copped to their own version of “white man’s burden. blood-drenched path of “civilizing missions. The paramilitary policing of urban areas points to selective application of force.thought as well as bodies. these occupation zones—filled with idled. the question of agency is at the core. even the international system of dollar hegemony that the military backstops . Changing outcomes is not the same as controlling them.” 225 . the lock and load approach to crowd control in demonstrations and in civic events unrelated to politics… particularly in the gendered construction of place -cities being the dark. the commons is reduced to controlled civic zones. The recruitment crisis that has opened the door to neo-Nazi youths entering military service was anything but a plan. ecocide...” saying (the rhetorical) we cannot “abandon Iraq. ironically a site that reproduces the existing order of things through transgression. these all develop with multiple determinations. People have the mental habit of assuming that the powerful control their own outcomes. The default is a particularly virulent form of patriarchy -. The ironies of the order of magnitude point to a resurgence of extralegal action to suppress embryonic resistance. female and threatening Other in a binary of patriarchy and race. oh by the way. My greatest anxiety for my two grandchildren is not that they will be the victims of a plot but the inheritors of inertia and a society of “good Germans. with the larger system taking on a character independent of the agents within it. more akin to weather than strategy. We already have whole sections of America—in the former enclaves of a now deracinated working class—where hopelessness exists alongside police forces that function very like a military occupation force. This trend of ignoring the backgrounds of military inductees --driven by numerical necessity -. Before the war.” while society dives into a long period of unanticipated macho warlordism . In DC. The term before the war that proponents used to describe its outcome was ”cakewalk.. policing bodies but allowing private speech and the empty illusions of parliamentary democracy to stand. The militarization of police forces. The shadow economy has blossomed in the void left by civil society institutions. I wish someone would find a word that captures the uniqueness of the emerging reactionary trend defines it so that it can be confronted head on rather than obliquely. secular democratic forms of resistance have been destroyed or co-opted. Alas. white flight and urban abandonment. to militarized masculinity.thuggish and crude. dark-skinned youths—were our middle-class nightmare. In DC. so the war on terror will have to do. and to the cultural celebration of bounty hunting and sexual revenge in feudal prisons. the place-marker of a war on drugs—that created the largest national prison population on the planet—couldn’t create the pretext for bases in Southwest Asia. angry. the Dark Chaos that inevitably leads us back to the patriarchal default. Many-to-many (as opposed to one-to-many) communications is a given. And so “we” continue down that hoary..

THE END 226 . what sowing the winds of war abroad will reap at home. We need to ask ourselves. however.The Bush administration never tires of telling us how war is necessary to protect “us” from disorder. They are not Arabs who are painting Aryan Nations graffiti on the shattered walls of Baghdad.