The invisibility of empire

25 Jun

Modern imperialism, as distinct from direct rule colonialism, is defined by the export of monopoly capital from global north to global south, and repatriation of profits from south to north. This later form of exploitation came to prominence in the early 20th century, and since 1945 its globalisation of capital-labour relations has been as reliant on the armed might of a US-led West as was colonialism on the land and sea dominance of the Great Powers in 16th through to mid 20th century Europe.

The era we are now living in, the most deadly in human history, is characterised above all else by the decline – making it triply dangerous – of the USA in the face of Eurasia rising. Save for the existence of nuclear weapons, WW3 would already have taken place. No one should take solace in that narrow and icy truth.

steel city scribe

Anyone remember this 80s advert for an Australian lager? Not the Fosters brew of Paul Hogan (“Crocodile Dundee”) fame – though those ads were just as funny provided you didn’t get too PC about things – but its main competitor, Castlemaine XXXX.

Leveraging a Barry McKenzie stereotype of the Ozzie outback male, the ad makes witty play of our all too human tendency to form ludicrously skewed and self-serving – but to a slit-window worldview, coherent – attributions of causality. Edward de Bono would have appreciated it, I’m sure. As would the incomparable Mullah Nasruddin. 1

Hold that thought.

It’s likely I alienate some – OK, many – potential readers with formulations like this, from my previous post:

Only the politically imbecilic and the criminals who rule (a few through political office, most in the shadows) would contest that [Julian Assange] told us nothing but truth about the crimes against humanity committed, and bare faced whoppers told, by the fake democracies of America and its allies, and by media whose business models debar them from any course other than tokenly critical complicity.

In the same post I spoke of Owen Jones and a hand-wringing ‘woke’…

… whose elevation of identity politics over those of class and empire made them credulous consumers of smear whose particulars they did not trouble to study …

… while lamenting that:

… the politically imbecilic is a very large constituency.

Have I nothing but contempt for my fellows; my peers in the liberal intelligentsia especially? Far from it. I am not only as one with the Christians on the principle of hating the sin yet loving the sinner – even if it does stick in the throat at times – but can only go on doing what I do because I glimpse a better way for humanity. A way that does not entail a world run for profit, which is to say a world run by and for the criminally insane; rather, a world where wealth is created by and for humankind and by that fact does not demand a trashed planet, constant wars and levels of inequality as economically and politically dysfunctional as they are morally grotesque.

The most damning indictment of corporate media – whether liberal or conservative, financial or generalist, tabloid or ‘quality’ – is that their seemingly sober and calmly reasonable columnists and reporters (many of whom I deem subjectively sincere) are in the pay of an industry whose business model cements their objective role – no matter how combative they may be on topics embarrassing but not seriously threatening to the ruling class