EMPIRE IS EVIL Why, and How, We Should Dismantle America's
by Caleb Rossiter
(Adjunct professor, Department of Political Studies, University of the Western Cape; Director, American University Abroad - Southern Africa; email@example.com)
In 1983 President Reagan used the phrase "evil empire" to describe the Soviet Union. He picked an appropriate venue in which to be Manichean, the annual convention of the National Association of Evangelicals. As with most of his speeches on national security in his first term, Reagan's purpose was to blunt the une "evil." Empire, any empire, Roman or Greek, Mogul or Mongolian, Chinese or Japanese, Zulu or British, Soviet or American, is evil in both conception and practice. To use language that would resonate with Reagan's audience in 1983, our nation's failure to understand that is our greatest sin.
Empire is evil in conception because its intent is the domination of one people by another. We know by all our teachings and preachings and in fact deep in our bones from the moment of birth that domination is unjust. Empire is evil in practice because its effect is to degrade both ruler and ruled by codifying armed theft, and not justice, as the primary purpose of society.
Empire's acts of theft generally enrich some, and at times many, oxpected popularity of the nuclear freeze movement. In the speech he accused Americans who were calling for a halt in the production of nuclear weapons by both the Soviet Union and the United States of ignoring "the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire."
We in the freeze movement argued with Reagan's logic, since building thousands more U.S. nuclear weapons would have been unlikely to provide any greater deterrent to Soviet misbehavior than the 50,000 we already had. What we couldn't argue with was his description of the Soviet Union. Reagan's wordsmiths were right to call the Soviet Union an evil empire. On reflection, though, we should have recognized that they were being redundant by using the adjectivef the citizens whose country is the dominator, and impoverish some, and at times many, of the citizens whose country is the dominated. However, it is also true that empire can be costly to the dominator and can provide benefits to the dominator. From a moral viewpoint consistent with the creed of Jesus, which is rightly accepted even by the atheists among us, that "man does not live by bread alone," the fact that an empire provides some benefits to the dominated is irrelevant. As an Indian student of mine replied after listening in amazement as an American student called the British Empire a "net plus" for the subcontinent because it built a solid railroad system, "We beg to differ."
Also begging to differ, Ho Chi Minh rejected Lynire is to act in a just fashion, and dismantle this latest version of the ancient evil of foreign domination.
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What is the American empire? There are three elements of any empire: the physical, the financial, and the cultural. Primacy goes to the physical element, because empire relies in the final analysis on organized violence, which is state military power. Without the threat of violence, there is no unequal discussion between dominator and dominated, which is the discussion of American diplomacy today, be it country to country or at multilateral negotiations.
In the American empire, state military power is comprised of: nuclear and latest-generation conventional weapons, both of which can render any other natiodon Johnson's lachrymose offer to build a Mekong Delta Authority that would bring the two impoverished Vietnams electric power and hope for the future as the Tennessee Valley Authority had for impoverished Appalachia. This act of charity, of course, was to be contingent on Ho accepting U.S. suzerainty over the southern part of his country. It is a measure of the power of the human spirit that conquered people want independence, not social services. The peace of mind brought by freedom from foreign rule simply cannot be bought.
Refusing to dominate, or to assist in the domination of, other people is a virtue, and a good definition of a just person. The primary task of both the citizens and the subjects of today's global American empn non-functioning in a matter of hours; a global network of surface ships, submarines, and ports that guarantee unimpeded movement to U.S. forces and supplies in any region in a matter of days; a million well-trained and paid troops, and a variety of other operatives, who work in or on virtually every country and ocean; sophisticated communications and intelligence-gathering machinery that girdles the globe; assistance in weaponry, training, and communications to the armed forces of collaborative nations; and the flood of logistics and consultants who maintain it all. This costs the Departments of Defense, Energy, State, and Veterans Affairs, and the Central Intelligence and National Security Agencies over $500 billion this year, a sum greater than the military budgets of all developing nations combined, and also greater than those of all of Europe, from Russia to Portugal.
The next necessary element of empire is the financial. The governmental resources marshaled from, and to support, empire come from taxing the growth it creates. Without these revenues, there is no state military power with which to threaten others, and so no empire. In addition, the private interests who ride on the back of empire, be they the investors in the British East India Company in the 18th century or the stockholders in American multinational corporations in the 21st century, pump their profits back into the imperial economy, raising everybody's boats, including the government's.
Empire requires a network of institutions with civil servants to regulate the economic system that supports the imperial government and its citizens. Today these institutions include the U.S.-dominated International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization, and U.S. entities such as the Agency for International Development and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, State, and Treasury, as well as the contractors and universities who collaborate with them. While proclaiming their mission to be the promotion of "economic development" and "free trade" for the benefit of the poorer nations, in fact these institutions exist to guide, cajole, and when necessary force them to follow economic strategies that lock them into the role of suppliers of raw materials to and markets for the good and services of the wealthier nations.
Funds are available from the "development" and "free trade" agencies only to nations who follow these strategies, and only for purposes that promote them. Desperate for any funds to maintain living standards, less developed nations tend to accept the conditions with which they come. The option of growth by economic combat, chosen by Korea and Singapore in the 1960s, through subsidizing and protecting of domestic agriculture as well as manufacturing and refining sectors until they could compete with the similarly-subsidized and protected sectors of the developed nations, is simply not available to impoverished nations today. No nation, America included, gives up voluntarily the power it has fought for, let alone funds projects abroad that result in even short-term economic dislocation at home.
The final element of empire is the cultural. For an empire to be justified, it must construct a celebratory myth of firmness and benevolence. A simple recourse to the worldly cynicism that imperial planners display in private discussion will not do in the false realm of public posturing, since it would acknowledge the innate appeal of justice. The construction of the lie that empire is benevolent allows its citizens to accept empire as normal. As Bob Dylan sang, "in ceremonies of the horseman, even the pawn must hold a grudge." Although empire provides little benefit to the average imperial citizen in physical or psychological terms, the song of patriotism has encouraged the pawns to prepare the horsemen's steeds for millennia. Ironically, many of the horsemen in the American empire disdain the empire for its costs, since it is only a select few in even the highest income group who are rewarded with direct benefits of dominance, while the rest of the country must bear its costly military budgets. Still, all horsemen and pawns alike benefit indirectly, as the economy is strengthened by the dollar's special role as international specie and the maintenance of a system of international trade and investment favorable to the developed nations, both of which, it must be stressed, result from America's near-monopoly over the international means of violence.
Continued empire requires a certain mood on the part of its citizens, an acceptance of empire as not immoral, not banal, not evil, but positively saintly and good for the world. This is achieved by the denunciation of foreign and domestic actors standing in the way of dominance, and by the celebration of the justice of the imperial agenda and its agents. Back into the mists of history, soldiers and government and business leaders of empire have claimed to believe that they bring freedom and hope as they level whatever supposedly archaic structures and systems existed before their arrival. To distract themselves and public opinion from the reality of their aggression, imperial invaders build roads, water systems, sports fields, schools, and banks, and ornament their occupation by promoting a human right for the occupied population that appeals to the imperial population. The British invasion of Zululand in 1879 was justified at home by tales of Zulu women being executed by King Cetswayo for violating the edict that forbade marriage until a man had completed his military service, the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 by tales of women denied their right to participate in public life. In the Soviet Union, local officials were instructed to generate the lie of benevolent empire, but the wonder of empire is that the lie can usually be generated voluntarily in any system.
Nobody ordered the mayor of my little town to gather the enslaved draftees for a breakfast honoring freedom before shipping them off to die in Vietnam. Nobody sends down edicts from Washington requiring that soldiers and flags be prominent at basketball games and holiday parades. Nobody told the media to report breathlessly on the series of nonsensical claims by the Bush administration about Iraq's weapons and links to September 11 in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Yet such self-congratulatory or self-interested cultural underpinnings of continued support for empire, for treating it as normal and decent, are firmly entrenched in American life.
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Since empire is evil, it follows that so must be the institutions that are designed to maintain it, such as U.S. departments and agencies and the international financial institutions, the universities and consulting and security firms who provide them advice and services, and the media and cheerleading think-tanks who celebrate the American empire or treat it as normal by ignoring it. Are the people in those institutions evil as well? And what of politicians who encourage high school students to join the "service" (a phrase that itself denotes a humanitarian act) by intoning patriotic thoughts at local events? Or professors who encourage students to sign up with the State Department and the World Bank? Are anti-imperialists to see them as criminals whose behavior requires some sort of sanction as a deterrent to potential criminals, the way Nazi war propagandists were seen by the Nuremberg judges, or pro-apartheid newspaper columnists by South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission?
Here we must, remembering that our motivation in destroying empire is the search for justice and humanity, distinguish actively between the crime and the criminal. Or, as Martin Luther King Jr. famously paraphrased from the New Testament, we must hate the sin, and not the sinner. Since justice for people should be our goal, an anti-imperial movement must be one of respect for all people, and respect for the fact that others see the choices differently. We can, indeed must, sit down and talk with people whose words and deeds we abhor and excoriate. Consider the choices made by the recent presidents of South Africa and the Czech Republic, Nelson Mandela and Vaclav Havel. Given the murderous abuse that they, their families, and their nations suffered at the hands of empires, nobody could have been more justified in governing with hatred, vengeance, and demagoguery. While never moderating their firm beliefs in the evil done by their oppressors, these two men reached out to them, even to those who refused to admit their errors, and in doing so created a more just society. As King was fond of saying, hate is too heavy a burden to be carried by a people on the path to freedom.
Looking far into the past from our modern set of values, it surprises us to see that during slavery, monarchy, feudalism, colonialism, segregation, and apartheid, many, indeed most, thoughtful people rejected the counsel of their prescient peers who called for an end to these evils. Even most members of the intelligentsia failed to see outside the confines of the context in which they lived, and grudgingly supported a repressive system as the only workable system imaginable. Looking at the present, it is just as hard for the typical busy American citizen, analytically inclined or not, to see the light about the new empire. As was the case in those historical examples, the evil of today's empire is cloaked in intellectual, patriotic, and religious appeals, and dissenters are aggressively ostracized. Americans are told repeatedly by their rulers and the rulers' court sycophants that America is no empire, because it seeks to rule no territory directly (as if empire's purpose had ever been land rather than control of the fruits of the land) and to bring freedom (as if empire had not ever made this claim before). The machinery of imperial justification is ever-present, and ever-appealing. Anti-imperialists cannot despise those whom it has captured. It is our job to make them aware of the self-serving myths of the American empire, and to ask them to join us in opposing it as evil.
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So how are we to proceed? I have been struggling with that question, looking for the right strategy and tactics with which to recruit and rally our troops and engage the imperial enemy, since 1970, when at 18 I called for draft resistance in a newspaper ad in my little home town that was titled, "Sons of American, Don't Accept their Lies." From doing research in the 1990s for a book I wrote on the anti-war movement, I know that there were millions of little acts of individual protest like this, and that movement strategists tried to organize their authors' energies into a variety of channels. These channels ranged along a continuum from acceptance to rejection of the social rules, from electoral politics to marches, sit-ins, and violent revolt.
America, and the world its empire dominates, suffered from not examining the causes and the conduct of the Vietnam War. This was the war in which, in the late 1940s, we first assumed the mantle of imperial policeman of the colored world from the European colonial powers, a mantle that we now wear with a vengeance, and one that defines us as a nation. Similarly, the anti-imperial movement has suffered from not knowing its own history during that war. There will be neither direct analogies nor immediate answers, but there is a richness in our history of protest that can inform us about how to proceed. My conclusion from studying the history of protest against the empire's effort in Vietnam is that while the movement succeeded in helping America make its halting exit from Vietnam, it failed in not undermining the uncritical base of support for the Vietnam foreign policy.
It was this policy of empire that led inexorably (and not, as liberals argued, mistakenly) to the adoption of the French colonial cause in Indochina by Truman and Eisenhower, to the war's escalation by Kennedy and Johnson in order to maintain a pro-American government in the south, and to Nixon's continuation of the war despite evidence that it was no longer winnable. The policy of empire was only briefly derailed by defeat in Vietnam, and was aggressively reinstituted through fraud and hysteria over the convenient Soviet threat by the members of the "Team B" exercise at the CIA under President Ford and the Committee on the Present Danger who today form the core of the "neo-conservative" foreign policy establishment. The policy of empire has guided U.S. interventions in the so-called developing world ever since, even surviving the dissolution of the Soviet Union and its replacement with new enemies to justify the same military, financial, and cultural policies of empire. It is a circular policy one, feeding on itself, providing power as its own rationale. The policy is that U.S. power is brought to bear on all international political bodies, from the World Bank to the smallest government, to the extent necessary, ranging from economic pressure to invasion, to ensure compliance with U.S. power, so that U.S. power is available to, again, be brought to bear on the international political bodies.
By the early 1970s the anti-war movement had finally connected with a broad base of Americans to end U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam, but it had not convinced this majority to oppose the imperial policy that was its cause. The movement's call for U.S. troops and assistance to be brought home from Vietnam found resonance with the public after five years of costly, inconclusive violence there, but its call for such a withdrawal from our backing of friendly dictators in the rest of the developing world never made it into the mainstream media or the mainstream debate. As we challenge the empire now over its illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, we must seek to do better, and set our sights higher, than merely ending one imperial misadventure and waiting for the next one.
As is often, sadly, the case in politics, our only useful enemies are our closest allies. We can forget about reaching the conservative intelligentsia and the Republican electorate. They former positively glory in hating and abusing enemies of their empire, and the latter have a self-interest in convention and order that allowed the re-election of President Bush even after his policy of torture was revealed to have been added to his policy of illegal invasion. People who say, or accept, that torture is justified by our mission in the world cannot be brought into a debate about justice. Nothing we can do can convince them to challenge the foundations of their almost religious certainty. No, we must first fight an intellectual battle with the liberal intelligentsia and its adherents among voters, over the very idea of empire. Only a victory in a battle to turn liberals into radicals on the idea of empire, or at least a well-publicized bloody draw in which the idea is discredited, can give us hope that we can eventually win the overarching war against the empire itself.
In this intellectual battle we should no longer rely on selfish arguments about how empire hurts the average American, or how empire benefits primarily a small class of Americans. Working in and around, and running for, Congress, I have often taken this tack, arguing, like a Belgian legislator in 1885 refusing to take on the Congo for King Leopold, that our support for foreign dictators who are collaborators in our empire leads to costs for most Americans. Dictatorships we support, I would point out, do lead to war, which kills young Americans, costs tax dollars for military operations and post-conflict aid, and reduces economic growth for other countries and us. Compare Somalia and Botswana. Somalia was a brutal, U.S.-backed dictatorship in the 1980s, when the dictator Siad Barre gave Presidents Carter and Reagan military bases for operations in the Middle East. When Somalia descended into civil war, U.S. soldiers died, U.S. relief aid was spent, and U.S. exports dropped to nothing. In contrast, Botswana was a democracy throughout this period, and it took no U.S. lives and little U.S. aid, and bought lots of U.S.exports.
So, it is true that an end to the American empire would bring us a world of more Botswanas and less Somalias, and a dramatic reduction in military spending, to the benefit of nearly all Americans except military contractors, labor unions, and imperial civil servants. But we can never build a popular case against empire with that reasoning, since it implies that if there were times, and there are, where many Americans benefited from empire, then it would be all right. It is these cases that explain why we see traditionally progressive politicians like Representative Dick Gephardt (of Missouri and its F-15 fighter factories) and Senator Chris Dodd (of Connecticut and its Blackhawk helicopter factories) linking arms with progressive labor unions to promote corporate-driven, as opposed to strategically-logical, arms sales to repressive regimes.
These politicians build coalitions to support the sales, pledging help for other politicians when they wish to promote similar sales based in their districts. The rest of America pays for these sales in lost jobs, as when Middle East oil revenues are pledged to pay for weapons and not the other U.S. exports that would otherwise result, and in the foreign aid needed to help other U.S. allies, such as Israel and Egypt, keep up in a spiraling regional arms race.
With this problem of self-interest in empire in mind, we must focus almost exclusively in our arguments on the evil done by empire. We can make the argument local and immediate by asking people not to take part and profit. We must be able to say to the executives and workers: your profit is immoral. We must be able to say to the politicians: your pandering is immoral. We must ask them to renounce the benefits of empire. Of course, we must also ask ourselves to do the same. Our movement should identify ways in which we and our favored communities and institutions benefit from and collaborate with the empire, and renounce them, painful as it will be.
For example, I recently worked with a group of students and professors at American University in Washington, D.C., to oppose a contract that some professors had taken to help U.S. occupation authorities in Iraq train school principals, turning our School of International Service into a School of Imperial Service. Similarly, communities could campaign to keep military recruiters and training programs out of junior and senior high schools, and organize debates on empire, globalization, and war. Unions could refuse to invest pensions in corporations directly supporting the military might of the empire. Citizens could march and work for candidates for office who make specific promises to oppose the methods of empire, such as renouncing our veto power at the World Bank and the U.N. Security Council, slashing the military, intelligence, and foreign aid budgets, and abiding by international laws we have pointedly rejected, such as the Geneva Conventions, the International Criminal Court and the landmines ban. The choice of tactics is purely local. What matters is that we work with others to identify a way that an institution that touches our lives supports the empire, and to pressure it, publicly of course, to build a consensus against its inherent evil.
Frederick Douglass advised that when in doubt about strategy, "agitate, agitate, agitate." Little, local campaigns can blossom richly, as the Montgomery Improvement Association found out when it simply sought a predictable seat on the bus, not even one in the front. A few protestors were arrested for refusing to leave the South African embassy in 1984, sparking a movement that led to the enactment, over President Reagan's veto, of the financial sanctions bill that helped bring an end to apartheid. The protestors had no master plan, and no idea that this particular protest would work, but they felt the need, out of desperation from Reagan's crushing re-election victory, to agitate. If you play, you may not win, but if you don't play, you certainly can't win. As King said, time is neutral. Just because our empire is evil doesn't mean that it will crumble without our help.
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But is it possible to convince a sizeable share of Americans to oppose their own empire? Is such a task ever possible? Consider the French under Buonaparte, seeing their sons universally conscripted for the first time in European history to dash thousands of miles in all directions to die in Spain, Russia, and Egypt, yet still rallying to him in the hundred days. Consider the British seamen who fought against Buonaparte's France, impressed and imprisoned on their ships, subject to flogging and hanging for a single act of disobedience, yet heartily cheering as Lord Nelson led them into a battle that would bring little but death or dismemberment to them.
How are these constituents of historical empires different in their acceptance of what they know to be national madness from Chris Rock, the host of the Oscar Awards in 2005, who cracked jokes about President Bush's fraudulent invasion of Iraq, yet solemnly ended his comic diatribe, to thunderous applause from the Hollywood liberals, with a heartfelt thanks to "the troops" who are supposedly guarding our "freedom?" Imperialism is a disease that is borne purposely by political elites. Once it infects the body politic, it may be incurable by debate or demonstrations designed to reform policies. The only cure then is treason, meaning the renouncing of the government's legitimacy, and its overthrow, by civil disobedience if possible, but by force if necessary.
Has the ethos of imperialism, spewed through the airwaves by court sycophants and validated by the respect shown it by the mainstream media, fatally infected the American body politic? It may not have, since the elites still feel the need to justify their imperialism not in its own terms of power and economic advantage, but in jingoistic, mawkish terms of humanitarianism and democracy, and in terrifying terms of threat. We have not yet fully explored legal and non-violent ways to discredit the concept of empire, and until we have, it is premature to talk of disruption and violence. As a note-take recorded King saying in response to a question about civil disobedience when he first joined the anti-war movement with his speech at Riverside Church in New York in 1967: "At the moment, this is not the point to do so. Many preliminaries can and need to be done in hope that the country's conscience will be aroused. We need to inform - people are unaware of the full historical need. We need massive teach-ins, preach-ins, non-violent demonstrations on special points." Yet, it may well prove true, after all the informing is done, that without a significant disruption of their lives, even liberal Americans will not focus on the problem of empire and the painful steps needed to resolve it.
Even those who are opposed to violent protest on moral or practical grounds must acknowledge that massive non-violent protest, particularly civil disobedience, seems to engender violence, both in the governmental response and in the popular reaction to that response. Like Jesus, King knew that those who promote protest against injustice "come not to bring peace, but the sword." Federal marshals and U.S. soldiers were sent to guarantee black rights in South in the 1960s only when there had been widely-publicized white violence against civil rights protestors, and public opinion made reluctant presidents act. Somebody had to be shot, hosed, tortured, or "dog-bit" while protesting before the injustice of segregation became newsworthy and the American public reacted. I fear it will be the same in the anti-imperial struggle.
Whether or not anti-imperial protestors are violent, the response will eventually be, and rock-throwers and bombers will sprout in the fields of discontent that we have created. Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress decided in the 1960s, after the Sharpeville Massacre and the imprisonment of the ANC leadership and the banishment of their names and ideas from the media, that violent protest was necessary and inevitable. They decided to direct the bombings, rather than leave them to isolated hotheads, so that economic targets could be attacked with minimal human toll, and so that the violence could be turned off easily during negotiations. Just such a moral choice may be forced upon the anti-imperial movement before too long.
As we create anti-imperialist campaigns, we will eventually run into government opposition. Do we want to run candidates for government, to build support there? And in what party should they run? Both major parties have had strong anti-war wings at times. Ogden Reid and Mark Hatfield were Republican leaders against the Vietnam War, as were Don Edwards and George McGovern for the Democrats. Yet anti-imperialists were virtually eliminated in the Republican Party, after its capture by the Christian Right and the neo-conservatives of the Committee for the Present Danger in the 1980s, anti-intellectual movements that rejected the traditional conservatism that characterized the Republican Party of Dewey, Eisenhower, and Rockefeller. For example, opponents of aid to the Nicaraguan "contras" were pressured into being supporters through credible threats that they would otherwise lose their leadership positions and their local appropriations.
Anti-imperialists have been always been hamstrung in the Democratic Party by the party's inclusion of a conservative wing that supported the Vietnam and Central American Wars and now supports the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. The Green Party has the most obvious anti-imperialist core, so perhaps it should be the focus of our organizing. Or perhaps we should build a party based primarily on anti-imperialism, the way the Republican Party was built on the lowest common denominator of opposing the extension of slavery to western territories.
Yet the question of party is moot for now, since successful political organization can only follow a victory over the idea of empire. The gerrymandered, PAC-chasing souls of the two main parties do not lend themselves to a competition of ideas about empire in local elections. As I know all too well from my own foray into electoral politics, as the Democratic candidate for Congress in a Republican stronghold, local elections hinge on who can claim most convincingly that their policies would benefit the electorate. Until the evil of imperialism becomes a popular concern at the local level, so that it can compete as an election issue with the tangible benefits of empire to the voters, there will be little chance for the two main parties to adopt anti-imperial positions, or for minor parties with anti-imperial planks to make headway.
Once the public mood starts swinging toward rejection of imperialism, then the few, true anti-imperialists who are in the minority in the Democratic Party and the soft anti-imperialists who are in the majority might begin to capture it. Anti-globalization activists might be willing to join such an effort, and long-standing anti-imperialist groups like Pledge of Resistance and Peace Action have not eschewed electoral politics. But this can all come later, or a bit at a time, as the conditions become ripe through public rejection of imperialism. Until that happens, the anti-imperialist center of the Democratic Party will not be prepared to risk disciplining its Dixie wing the way that the imperialist center of the Republican Party has been able to discipline its anti-imperial wing.
In addition, both main parties are locked in moral limbo by their fixation on not offending campaign contributors who support anything an Israeli government does. The parties' blanket pledge to maintain aid to Israel no matter what happens must be openly criticized, especially by American Jews and those others of us who are strong supporters of Israel's right to exist. We cannot expect political parties to be both pro-American and anti-imperial if they cannot even become both pro-Israel and anti-occupation.
Over the past 35 years I have written hundreds of pieces on U.S. foreign and military policy - pamphlets, articles, speeches, reports, books. Whether they are about Vietnam, South Africa, Central America, Africa, the World Bank, arms sales to dictators, human rights, democracy, or landmines, I find on reviewing them that they all contain within them that one simple argument: our policies are contrary to the interests of the vast majority of Americans. This approach has seemed to work at times in the short term, in that it reaches out to others to build coalitions that win skirmishes and sometimes even battles, but it has failed in the long term to build coalitions that win the war against empire. We must stress a new theme, that our empire is evil and we have a duty to dismantle it. We must figure out concrete ways to help Americans, locally and nationally, see the immorality of empire and the fraudulence of patriotic appeals to it, and take direct, nationally-coordinated local actions to disrupt it. Any fool can take a fortress, said Marshall Kutuzov in Tolstoy's War and Peace, as he planned how to defeat Buonaparte's empire as it expanded toward Moscow in 1812, but winning a campaign, now that takes patience and time. That is the spirit we need to bring to our task of dismantling the American empire, evil like all the rest.
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