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Old 02-02-2003, 09:13 AM   #1
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Another world is not only possible, she is on her way

An incredibly great article/ speech I found.

Please feel free to discuss, but donīt kill this by using the
arguments we have already heard a million times in FYM.

And please, donīt make that a discussion about U.S. vs. Iraq.

You can set up another thread to discuss that topic.

This article is about much more.

Its about changing the world.

Thank you for your respect.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.

On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing"

(Arundhati Roy; January 28, 2003 Porto Alegre, Brazil)

Confronting Empire
by Arundhati Roy; January 28, 2003

I've been asked to speak about "How to confront Empire?"
It's a huge question, and I have no easy answers.

When we speak of confronting "Empire," we need to identify
what "Empire" means. Does it mean the U.S. Government (and
its European satellites), the World Bank, the International
Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and
multinational corporations? Or is it something more than
that?

In many countries, Empire has sprouted other subsidiary
heads, some dangerous byproducts - nationalism, religious
bigotry, fascism and, of course terrorism. All these march
arm in arm with the project of corporate globalization.

Let me illustrate what I mean. India - the world's biggest
democracy - is currently at the forefront of the corporate
globalization project. Its "market" of one billion people
is being prized open by the WTO.

Corporatization and Privatization are being welcomed
by the Government and the Indian elite.

It is not a coincidence that the Prime Minister, the Home
Minister, the Disinvestment Minister - the men who signed
the deal with Enron in India, the men who are selling the
country's infrastructure to corporate multinationals, the
men who want to privatize water, electricity, oil, coal,
steel, health, education and telecommunication - are all
members or admirers of the RSS. The RSS is a right wing,
ultra-nationalist Hindu guild which has openly admired
Hitler and his methods.

The dismantling of democracy is proceeding with the speed
and efficiency of a Structural Adjustment Program.
While the project of corporate globalization rips through people's
lives in India, massive privatization, and labor "reforms"
are pushing people off their land and out of their jobs.
Hundreds of impoverished farmers are committing suicide by
consuming pesticide.

Reports of starvation deaths are coming in from all over the country.

While the elite journeys to its imaginary destination
somewhere near the top of the world, the dispossessed are
spiraling downwards into crime and chaos. This climate of
frustration and national disillusionment is the perfect
breeding ground, history tells us, for fascism.

The two arms of the Indian Government have evolved the
perfect pincer action. While one arm is busy selling India
off in chunks, the other, to divert attention, is
orchestrating a howling, baying chorus of Hindu nationalism
and religious fascism. It is conducting nuclear tests,
rewriting history books, burning churches, and demolishing
mosques. Censorship, surveillance, the suspension of civil
liberties and human rights, the definition of who is an
Indian citizen and who is not, particularly with regard to
religious minorities, is becoming common practice now.

Last March, in the state of Gujarat, two thousand Muslims
were butchered in a State-sponsored pogrom. Muslim women
were specially targeted. They were stripped, and
gang-raped, before being burned alive. Arsonists burned and looted shops,
homes, textiles mills, and mosques.

More than a hundred and fifty thousand Muslims have been
driven from their homes. The economic base of the Muslim
community has been devastated.

While Gujarat burned, the Indian Prime Minister was on MTV
promoting his new poems. In January this year, the
Government that orchestrated the killing was voted back into
office with a comfortable majority.

Nobody has been punished
for the genocide. Narendra Modi, architect of the pogrom,
proud member of the RSS, has embarked on his second term as
the Chief Minister of Gujarat. If he were Saddam Hussein,
of course each atrocity would have been on CNN. But since he's
not - and since the Indian "market" is open to global
investors - the massacre is not even an embarrassing
inconvenience.

There are more than one hundred million Muslims in India. A
time bomb is ticking in our ancient land.

All this to say that it is a myth that the free market
breaks down national barriers. The free market does not
threaten national sovereignty, it undermines democracy.

As the disparity between the rich and the poor grows, the
fight to corner resources is intensifying. To push through
their "sweetheart deals," to corporatize the crops we grow,
the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the dreams we
dream, corporate globalization needs an international
confederation of loyal, corrupt, authoritarian governments
in poorer countries to push through unpopular reforms and
quell the mutinies.

Corporate Globalization - or shall we call it by its name? -

Imperialism - needs a press that pretends to be free.

It needs courts that pretend to dispense justice.

Meanwhile, the countries of the North harden their borders
and stockpile weapons of mass destruction. After all they
have to make sure that it's only money, goods, patents and
services that are globalized. Not the free movement of
people. Not a respect for human rights. Not international
treaties on racial discrimination or chemical and nuclear
weapons or greenhouse gas emissions or climate change, or -
god forbid - justice.

So this - all this - is "empire." This loyal confederation,
this obscene accumulation of power, this greatly increased
distance between those who make the decisions and those who
have to suffer them.

Our fight, our goal, our vision of Another World must be to
eliminate that distance.

So how do we resist "Empire"?

The good news is that we're not doing too badly. There have
been major victories. Here in Latin America you have had so
many - in Bolivia, you have Cochabamba. In Peru, there was
the uprising in Arequipa, In Venezuela, President Hugo
Chavez is holding on, despite the U.S. government's best
efforts.

And the world's gaze is on the people of Argentina, who are
trying to refashion a country from the ashes of the havoc
wrought by the IMF.

In India the movement against corporate globalization is
gathering momentum and is poised to become the only real
political force to counter religious fascism.

As for corporate globalization's glittering ambassadors -
Enron, Bechtel, WorldCom, Arthur Anderson - where were they
last year, and where are they now?

And of course here in Brazil we must ask: who was the
president last year, and who is it now?

Still, many of us have dark moments of hopelessness and
despair. We know that under the spreading canopy of the War
Against Terrorism, the men in suits are hard at work.

While bombs rain down on us, and cruise missiles skid across
the skies, we know that contracts are being signed, patents
are being registered, oil pipelines are being laid, natural
resources are being plundered, water is being privatized,
and George Bush is planning to go to war against Iraq.

If we look at this conflict as a straightforward eye-ball
to eye-ball confrontation between "Empire" and those of us
who are resisting it, it might seem that we are losing.

But there is another way of looking at it. We, all of us
gathered here, have, each in our own way, laid siege to
"Empire."

We may not have stopped it in its tracks - yet - but we have
stripped it down. We have made it drop its mask. We have
forced it into the open. It now stands before us on the
world's stage in all it's brutish, iniquitous nakedness.

Empire may well go to war, but it's out in the open now -
too ugly to behold its own reflection. Too ugly even to
rally its own people. It won't be long before the majority
of American people become our allies.

Only a few days ago in Washington, a quarter of a million
people marched against the war on Iraq. Each month, the
protest is gathering momentum.

Before September 11th 2001 America had a secret history.
Secret especially from its own people. But now America's
secrets are history, and its history is public knowledge.
It's street talk.

Today, we know that every argument that is being used to
escalate the war against Iraq is a lie. The most ludicrous
of them being the U.S. Government's deep commitment
to bring democracy to Iraq.

Killing people to save them from dictatorship or ideological
corruption is, of course, an old U.S. government sport.

Here in Latin America, you know that better than most.

Nobody doubts that Saddam Hussein is a ruthless dictator, a
murderer (whose worst excesses were supported by the
governments of the United States and Great Britain).

There's no doubt that Iraqis would be better off without him.

But, then, the whole world would be better off without a
certain Mr. Bush. In fact, he is far more dangerous than
Saddam Hussein.

So, should we bomb Bush out of the White House?

It's more than clear that Bush is determined to go to war
against Iraq, regardless of the facts - and regardless of
international public opinion.

In its recruitment drive for allies, The United States is
prepared to invent facts.

The charade with weapons inspectors is the U.S. government's
offensive, insulting concession to some twisted form of
international etiquette.

It's like leaving the "doggie door" open for last minute "allies"
or maybe the United Nations to crawl through.

But for all intents and purposes, the New War against Iraq
has begun.

What can we do?

We can hone our memory, we can learn from our history. We
can continue to build public opinion until it becomes a
deafening roar.

We can turn the war on Iraq into a fishbowl of the U.S.
government's excesses.

We can expose George Bush and Tony Blair - and their
allies - for the cowardly baby killers, water poisoners,
and pusillanimous long-distance bombers that they are.

We can re-invent civil disobedience in a million different
ways. In other words, we can come up with a million ways of
becoming a collective pain in the ass.

When George Bush says "you're either with us, or you are
with the terrorists" we can say "No thank you." We can let
him know that the people of the world do not need to choose
between a Malevolent Mickey Mouse and the Mad Mullahs.

Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to
lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To
mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our
stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer
relentlessness - and our ability to tell our own stories.
Stories that are different from the ones we're being
brainwashed to believe.

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy
what they are selling - their ideas, their version of
history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of
inevitability.

Remember this: We be many and they be few.

They need us more than we need them.

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a
quiet day, I can hear her breathing.

-Arundhati Roy

Porto Alegre, Brazil

January 27, 2003
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Old 02-02-2003, 02:37 PM   #2
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I'd like to respond to the fantasy's and rubish presented in Arundhati Roy article, but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to.
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Old 02-02-2003, 03:35 PM   #3
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You are not censored by me in any way, STING2.

I just ask you not to start with "fantasy" and "rubbish". I ask you not to use any of the arguments pro/ contra a war. The war is not the major issue here.

Again, its not about the war.

And again, its not about the war.

I ask you to be respectful with this brilliant speech.

If you want, go ahead and put up a little of slick talk that is feeding and defending the system. I wonīt censor you, you are a member of this forum just like me, and we - still - enjoy the freedom of speech.

It wonīt change anything.

Like the author has said, the mask is dropped.

This empire now stands before us on the world's stage in all it's brutish, iniquitous nakedness.

America's - and Europeīs - secrets are history, and its history is public knowledge.

It's street talk.

It won't be long before the majority of American people become our allies.

You canīt change that no more, you see?

So, if you have nothing substantial to say, there is no use. Leave it out, but go ahead, if you want to - you canīt take the power out of this speech, by no means.

On the other hand, if you have some ínteresting details, f.e. about the Indian government, and not about the war, I would even be interested in hearing them.
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Old 02-02-2003, 03:42 PM   #4
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It is, again, going to be dismissed, because it is using key Marxist code words, and, as such, will be dismissed by non-Marxists summarily.

Nothing new is being said here.

Offhand, I find it ironic that Islam has become the new symbol for its anti-capitalist struggle, despite the fact that Islam would likely find Marxism to be repugnant in practice.

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Old 02-02-2003, 03:54 PM   #5
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I donīt see any key Marxist codewords.

And I donīt care about what are codewords for what.

I donīt see any communist codewords either.

And the Islam isnīt any symbol for me. I am a Christian, not a marxist, not a communist, and still agree with the things said in this speech. Many other Christians agree, many Buddhists may agree, many capitalists may agree (for example the "old money" ones), many whites and blacks and people from evry nation from every belief or political system etc. etc. may agree with the sense of the message this speech is expressing.

I donīt label.

Labelling is disrespectful.

Everyone is entitled to his opinions without being labelled.
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Old 02-02-2003, 03:57 PM   #6
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Then I would suggest reading a book on ideological criticism. It would take me too long to list all the code words.

And I'm not saying that I agree or disagree with it necessarily. It is just that certain rhetoric is going turn people on or off, regardless of the content.

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Old 02-02-2003, 04:06 PM   #7
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I see what you are saying, but why do I have to care about ideological criticism? Thats not the point of the article, not the point of the speech.

Its like if you say: Ah, there is a certain kind of beat in that song. It must be hiphop. Or ah, there is an electric guitar. It must be rock. Bullshit, you know. The artist probably wouldnīt say it is hiphop or rock, he would just say its music. Its the industry people who label it, who put a stamp on it, who put it in a certain order.

That order is not the point, and keywords are not the point.

Everyone should be free to use the words he wants, without being labelled.

That said, maybe you understand why I donīt need to care about ideological criticism. Its an intellectual disease that only so-called intellectuals can afford.
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Old 02-02-2003, 04:10 PM   #8
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And you are right with rhetoric turning people on or off, but we can decide to leave that aside, too. To not waste our time on senseless discussion of the rhetoric we use. The effects may be not the same, some people may get turned off. But I am not Ted Turner who has to get reliable TV quotes for attracting spots, or to perform so-called Quality Management, you know.

It is about the message. And about the spirit.

And people feel this spirit.
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Old 02-02-2003, 04:20 PM   #9
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If its not about the potential war and Iraq, why does the writer devote nearly 1/3 of the entire essay, specifically the last part of the essay towards potential war with Iraq? If this has nothing to do with the potential war with Iraq, why does the writer even mention Iraq once? How can one accurately and fully critique an essay if the final 1/3rd of the essay must be ignored?

Understand that it is an opinion that this is a "brilliant" speech or essay. The main topic is flawed because the "Empire" does not exist. The only thing that is naked is their imagination. Of course that is my opinion.

"substantial to say" well thats a subjective phrase there. But perhaps the fact that you say its "not about the war" means you feel the person had nothing substantial to say about it either.

"If you want, go ahead and put up a little of slick talk that is feeding and defending the system"

I'm not feeding or defending anyone, I try to approach each issue objectively and have formed my thoughts and opinions on my own, from independent analysis and experience.
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Old 02-02-2003, 04:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by whenhiphopdrovethebigcars
I see what you are saying, but why do I have to care about ideological criticism? Thats not the point of the article, not the point of the speech.

...

That said, maybe you understand why I donīt need to care about ideological criticism. Its an intellectual disease that only so-called intellectuals can afford.
"An intellectual disease that only intellectuals can afford." I'll have to post that in my signature one of these days...lol.

It may not be the point of the article, nor the point of the speech, but neither is the point of ideological criticism, which looks for the hidden meaning behind everything. FYI, ideological criticism is the lasting philosophical gift of Marxism, which used this to find hidden meanings behind "capitalist" media and writings, and how such hidden messages perpetuate the status quo without us consciously realizing it.

My point is that if you read a book on it, maybe you'll see why I and many others will not find this speech as "brilliant" as you do. To poorly paraphrase Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Marxist who died in prison under Mussolini and a key figure in ideological cultural studies, education is the only thing that is going to change anything.

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Old 02-02-2003, 04:49 PM   #11
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Exactly, STING2, I think there is not much substantial that is said about the upcoming war. Especially because I have heard that arguments more than a few times, just like Iīve heard your arguments pro-war for more than a few times.

This is why i asked you to not concentrate on that part, even if I know that maybe youīre offended by it. Ignore that part, if you want to. Think about the rest of the speech.

The part about India is very interesting, of a "market" of one billion people and the struggles that are going on.

The part of the Indian elite and the RSS is interesting.

The part of impoverished farmers who are commiting suicide by inhaling pesticides is - interesting...

The part of the widening gap between rich and poor is interesting.

The part of crime, chaos and nationalism as a breeding ground for fascism is interesting.

The part of the privatization of everything, including one of the most natural resources on Mother Earth, water, is interesting - this is whats happening in my own country, the water of the Alps is being sold, can you imagine that!

The part of international treaties like the CTBT not ratified by the U.S. as one example amongst many others is interesting.

The part of censorship, human rights on decrease, is interesting, - that said, you know why I wouldnīt censor anyone.

The part of civil disobedience and being a pain in the ass is interesting.

The part of the propaganda of "Youīre either with us, or with the terrorists" is interesting - watch more TV.

The part of shaming the empire, the system or however you might call it, with "our art, our music, our literature, our
stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer
relentlessness - and our ability to tell our own stories" is interesting.

The part that nationalism and terrorism march hand in hand with corporate globalization is interesting.

In fact, I would have preferred to edit the part of the war out, but I donīt do that because of respect for the whole speech, and because I am not censoring, like said above.

I think arguments pro or against war have been said more than enough times in this FYM forum. If you want to talk about that, why donīt you do another thred, or a spin-off, or whatever. Its not that it must be ignored. But I would like you to ignore it. Just for one time. I know your arguments, you know mine, there is nothing new to be told.

Tell me something of new. Tell me something interesting.
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Old 02-02-2003, 05:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon


"An intellectual disease that only intellectuals can afford." I'll have to post that in my signature one of these days...lol.

It may not be the point of the article, nor the point of the speech, but neither is the point of ideological criticism, which looks for the hidden meaning behind everything. FYI, ideological criticism is the lasting philosophical gift of Marxism, which used this to find hidden meanings behind "capitalist" media and writings, and how such hidden messages perpetuate the status quo without us consciously realizing it.

My point is that if you read a book on it, maybe you'll see why I and many others will not find this speech as "brilliant" as you do. To poorly paraphrase Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Marxist who died in prison under Mussolini and a key figure in ideological cultural studies, education is the only thing that is going to change anything.

Melon
Fine I agree that education offers a lot of possibilities, especially for the so-called third world.

Anyway, Iīm not a Marxist, and also after your well said argument I donīt care about ideological criticism. If I want to find hidden meanings, I say "this is propaganda".

Now, maybe for you that article is Marxist propaganda? I canīt follow you. With the points of interest I have quoted above which have practically nothing to do with Marx, the keywords you read out of there are non-existant for me, because I am not a member of the ideological-critical school, so to say. Could be that I admire Gramsci in some of his books or for some of his ideas, but yeah, thats not the point.

I am just a practical Christian, mixed with a few other things, and eclectic.

And now, lets go back to the topic.
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Old 02-02-2003, 07:58 PM   #13
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Ok, I'll bite.

Ten, maybe even five years ago, I was an idealistic moderate democrat who thought that even when my ideals for the future suffered setbacks we (all people) would progress to my ideals. You know regular ones: peace, fairness for all people, food, a home, water, basic necessities. The shadow people, the type in a movie with Donald Sutherland or the smoking man from Xfiles, were fiction.

After getting more involved with international news via the internet I'm more and more convinced in the World Economic Conspiracy crap. I don't believe that American corporate politics don't hum along the same lines when the other party is in power. I do believe it is slowed down, but never defeated.

I don't believe I'm a crackpot or non-patriotic, just someone who has lived long enough to have my blinders removed. I love America in so many ways. Of course the beauty of its land and the beauty of so many of its people. Our sense of goodness and compassion. I just believe these same qualities are being used very sucessfully to blind us.

Sorry I highjacked your thread.

In the end I think the writer hit on many truths, whether Marxist or not. It comes back to the same issue ultimately discussed over and over in FYM. When are US citizens going to again require truth in journalism?
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Old 02-02-2003, 08:14 PM   #14
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You didnīt hijack nothing, Scarletwine. Your input is appreciated.

Truth in journalism: another good question. I spoke with a fine journalist who told me that one of the problems is research. Journalists are too lazy to research. They donīt believe any more. After all, what should they believe in?

Plus, some donīt give a shit about morality and integrity. They know they write the wrong things, they know they feed the world with the principle that pop music invented: reduce the message to one bit, and then blow it up like a bubblegum. And they like their incentives.

One of the problems of everyone being so damn tired is that they donīt believe. They donīt feel a spirit. They donīt think this world could be changed, and if, why should they be the ones to get off the TV chair? Its much more comfortable to sink into that tiredness, to let all those products and goodies and shows kindly make you forget the pain that Mother Earth is crying out every second.

But belief can be put into charge again. Its like a growing seed.
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Old 02-02-2003, 08:24 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by whenhiphopdrovethebigcars

One of the problems of everyone being so damn tired is that they donīt believe. They donīt feel a spirit. They donīt think this world could be changed, and if, why should they be the ones to get off the TV chair? Its much more comfortable to sink into that tiredness, to let all those products and goodies and shows kindly make you forget the pain that Mother Earth is crying out every second.

But belief can be put into charge again. Its like a growing seed.
I'll admit it is very hard to maintain a positive attitude on change, that was the greatest thing about the article you provided was the writers optimism.

I was one of the 1/4 of a million in Washington and I drug a good non-political friend with me. It was my first demonstration in my life, but it felt so f*****g good. It was F***king brilliant. To be a part of 200,000+ people for peace was astonishing. I didn't agree with all the speakers on every issue, but the main reason overrode the other political bites. If nothing else it did fuel a possibility in me that things can be changed for the better and I can contribute to that change. Whatever that mey be.
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