Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Are WE ready to take on the Empire?

In response to Alternet article "Neocon Fantasies of Empire Crushed: the New Global Reality", By Mark Engler, Foreign Policy in Focus. Posted April 21, 2009:

Are we the people ready for a serious battle to shut down the Empire, close all the bases and bring the troops home? If Obama were to lead us down that path are we ready, willing and able to take his back, with the Republicans and the media baying for blood and using their power to "manufacture outrage" about God knows what? Do most of us even have access to good information about what's going on in the world?

Many commenters deride Obama for not taking on the military and the Empire. But before we lay this all on him, we need to ask are WE ready?

No, we have some serious organizing to do, not least of which is building an alternative media that the millions will turn to, with our own foreign correspondents to give us a people's-eye view of the world. Even AlterNet readers are not well informed, as we sometimes discover. It has great writers, editors, thinkers; but imagine how the situation would be different if we were getting regular reports from AlterNet's South Asia correspondent, or better yet our own Pakistan correspondent? But as far as I can tell the alternative media are not yet even able to support a Capitol Hill reporter, as witness the fact that AlterNet didn't pick up on the House bill to authorize a naval blockade of Iran until three weeks after it was introduced and it already had 100 co-sponsors!

Obama is doing the right things for right now, lowering tensions, opening doors, defusing situations, and encouraging us to organize and develop the habit and ability to make ourselves heard in Washington. The test will come when we are able to *demand* more - with a voice that's millions strong, unity that is based on experience and good information, and a megaphone that can't be drowned out by Fox. (In this regard, making good use of the window Obama has opened to get the Employee Free Choice Act passed is absolutely key to laying the foundation for such a movement!)

When the time is right, Obama will either respond to our pressure and change directions, or we'll find a new leader. Perhaps he's only our John the Baptist; only time will tell. But even if it's the latter, we'll be building on ground he helped us prepare.

And prepare we must, urgently, because time is short. Engler's article is a good and fascinating read, and I agree with his prescription for the present in his conclusion, but he fails to appreciate the depth of the economic crisis. When he talks about "now" and "later" he's apparently thinking in decades. I'm thinking years. A few years.

The crisis of Empire and of US hegemony will unfold rapidly, with unforeseen and dramatic turns of event. One thing can be predicted with some confidence however: other governments won't "decide" to replace the dollar as the world's currency; rather, there will at some point be a panic and a race for the exit!

We have serious work to do: build the alternative media, inform, teach and organize the people, and build the pressure on Washington - and on Obama. As Joe Hill once said: "Don't kvetch, organize!" (Did he really say that?)
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