on 7 November 2011
This splendid book is a well-informed and well-written study of imperialism today.
Empires, like wars, are not made by accident. They are built on the denial of the democratic right of nations to self-determination. They are imposed and maintained by force and fraud, through a variety of economic, political, military and cultural institutions and arrangements.
Parenti points out empires depend on the countries they run: the poor countries in the world are not so much under-developed as over-exploited.
He notes an October 1970 cable to CIA operatives in Chile from Kissinger's `Track Two' group (released more than 30 years later) said, "It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup ... We are to continue to generate maximum pressure toward this end utilizing every appropriate resource. It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the USG [United States Government] and American hand be well hidden." This combination of violence and denial is all too typical of imperial behaviour and is a pattern repeated today.
The US state regularly denounces Cuba as a dictatorship, but Parenti observes that Fidel Castro promised to open Cuba's press to counter-revolutionaries when the US state allowed American communists regular exposure in the USA's major media.
And even the US Interests Section had to admit that Cuba's `human rights groups' "lack demonstrable evidence of persecution ... Almost none show proof of house searches, interrogations, detention, or arrest."
on 24 September 2011
It's a summary, with simplicity itself at the heart of the matter, which uses sources you may find hard to credit as being used to draw the conclusions, but it is powerful and compelling and instructive and accurate (I checked)
Myths die in these pages... and happily so.
Wealth and prosperity do not come from the capitalist free market system - - - surprise, surprise!
Read it, weep and then celebrate that you are now a wiser and more eye-opened individual.
In his comments on Rudyard Kipling's writings, George Orwell's notes perspicaciously that the defender of the British Empire didn't understand it, simply because he didn't see that `an empire is primarily a money-making concern'. Of course, Michael Parenti doesn't make the same crucial mistake in this pamphlet.
For Michael Parenti, imperialism is not only a question of power and dominance, but, more importantly, of real material interests, and, more precisely, of transnational investments and capital accumulation. It is a process whereby the dominant investment interests (capitalists) of one country use their political, military, economic and financial clout to grab land, the labor of the population, capital, natural resources, commerce and markets of less powerful countries.
Imperialism knows only two types of nations: satellites (vassals) and enemies.
Free trade, globalization, the media
Major means to secure and extend imperial dominant interests are free trade and globalization. Free trade is devised to leave the world's economic and environmental fate to the mercy of bankers and transnational corporations. Globalization, which promotes free trade, is a logical emanation of imperialism. It is a victory of the imperial international financial and commercial interests on local producers and merchants. Free trade and globalization constitute also a direct attack on the democratic sovereignty of independent nations and their right to social wage settings. For Michael Parenti, free trade agreements (NAFTA, WTO) are nothing less than a global hold-up committed by large transnational companies.
Another important issue is the reporting by the `mass' media. They give the impression that the political, social, economic and financial national and international institutions serve the masses, when in reality they serve the elite.
His own country
Michael Parenti criticizes severely the leaders of his own country. They are milking the entire population as a cash cow for the national budget, of which the lion's share goes to defense expenditures, for, in particular, waging wars, securing transnational economic dominance and keeping worldwide authoritarian regimes in the saddle.
This hard-hitting book is a must read for all those who want to understand the world we live in.