Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Costs of Imperialism

Part 1: New World Notes #285 (August 20):

Broadcast-quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Part 2: New World Notes #286 (August 27):

Broadcast quality MP3 (40MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

In brief 

A brilliant, witty speech by Progressive political scientist Michael Parenti, delivered in 1994.  First in a New World Notes series of classic talks by Parenti.

In Part 1, Parenti argues that the U.S. is an imperial power.  However, the goal of this empire is not national glory but rather increasing the profits of the Fortune 500.  He shows how "neoimperialism" has replaced "direct-rule" imperialism, how empires cannibalize the republics from which they sprang, and how imperialism is a matter of class politics more than national politics.

In Part 2, Parenti develops his point that empires are about class and wealth, not nationalism. Empires are ruinously expensive, but the expense is paid by [what we would now call] the 99% in order to make the 1% even richer. The costs include not only dollars but also environmental damage, the gutting of the civilian economy, loss of liberty, degradation of politics and public discourse, increasing poverty, many deaths and injuries of our soldiers, and many others.

The gloomy picture is enlivened by Parenti's trademark wit and humor.
With many examples from recent U.S. history.  Introduction by K.D.

Note: In Part 1, Parenti and I each discuss the U.S.'s glorious military victory over the island nation of Grenada. This year marks our great triumph's 30th anniversary!

Michael Parenti


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