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The Road to Revolution
What is a Revolution? Is it desirable? How do we get there? Far from the idea of usurping power – whether violently or peacefully – or promoting a single politician to a position of power with the hope of “revolutionizing” society, a true revolution is a coordinated and globally expansive idea of solidarity backed up with creation action: not designed to take or destroy power, but to create a new system entirely, one which would make the present power structures irrelevant. Understanding the institutional nature of our society is important in understanding how power structures mutually reinforce one another. Through this understanding, we can – and must – challenge through critique and creative action, each and every existing power structure by creating people-based alternatives, which themselves mutually reinforce each other. This is not a simple or short-sighted program of revolution, but a long process. Elites think and plan for the long-term, and so should we.
Empire, Power, and People with Andrew Gavin Marshall, Episode 14
What is Black Power? When, where, how, and why did it emerge? Taking a look at the Civil Rights movement in the broader context of a Black Liberation Movement, we must examine the concept of Black Power, and look to the revolutionary philosophers of action who both articulated the concept, and actively sought to mobilize and manifest it in the form of empowering communities and creating alternatives. With the ideas and actions of Stokely Carmichael, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Fred Hampton and Angela Davis – among many many others! – we see a profoundly complex, indigenous, grassroots and globally-connected revolutionary movement emerge in the United States in the 1960s, led by young, black leaders, male and female, speaking out against the racism, imperialism, exploitation and domination of the American empire at home and abroad, historically and presently, from Harlem to Haiti to Hanoi.
The Black Panther Party was a particularly active component of the black power movement, organizing free breakfasts, medical care, and education for ghetto residents and children. So threatening to the power structure was the Black Power movement, that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover once declared the free breakfast program to be the “greatest internal threat to the United States.” A look at the Black Power movement helps us understand why it was so threatening back then, and why it’s important to remember today.
Canada’s Rockefellers: The Name is Power
People know the name Rockefeller: from the oil barons, to the bankers and industrialists, politicians and think tanks, foundations, universities and in the whole realm of globalization, the name Rockefeller is synonymous with power and oligarchy. There is another name, just north of the border, which is also known as Power: the Desmarais family. Unquestionably Canada’s equivalent of the Rockefeller family, the Desmarais clan own Power Corporation, and it lives up to its name. With dominance over insurance, interests in oil, gas, electricity, major European corporations (such as GDF Suez, Total SA), and forays into the Chinese market, the Desmarais family are known to those who have power.
Every Canadian Prime Minister since the 1970s has been closely affiliated with the Desmarais family, even to the extent that they have become family (such as with Jean Chrétien), and they socialize in Europe with King Juan Carlos of Spain, French President Sarkozy, and the Rothschild family; and with George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and the others in the United States. Through the Bilderberg group, Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations, Council of the Americas, and JP Morgan Chase, the Desmarais family is closely integrated with the Rockefeller family in the United States. Having managed to keep their names out of the papers and press for so long, it’s time to shed a little light on the Desmarais family and their empire of power.
The American Empire had an early start in East and Southeast Asia, beginning with a U.S. Marine invasion of an Indonesian town in 1832, another Indonesian town in 1839, and a brief occupation of Danang (Vietnam) in 1846. From there, the United States sought to expand its commercial hegemony and establish trade relations in East and Southeast Asia. When a U.S. mission to Japan arrived in 1853, to establish a coaling station for American ships on their way to the lucrative market of China, this marked the “opening” of Japan, which had been isolated for over 200 years. From then on, the Japanese Empire and nation state formed, expanding with the colonization of Formosa (Taiwan) in 1895 and Korea in 1910. In the late 1890s, America established its first colony during the Philippine-American War (1899-1902), and thereafter, the American and Japanese empires expanded their commercial hegemony and military strength over the region, until an inevitable clash of empires took place in World War II, and thereafter established the United States as the reigning imperial hegemony of all East and Southeast Asia.
“Understanding the Arab Spring”
Seeking to place the Arab Spring within a wider geopolitical and social context, this episode draws a thread through the middle of many critical interpretations of the events in the Arab world, those which view the uprisings as authentic and organic democratic revolts, and those which view them as a Western covert strategy of regime change. Instead, the truth can better be found somewhere in the middle. The aspirations and circumstances in which people of the Arab – and indeed wider – world seek and struggle for democracy are the conditions which they live and have lived under naturally breed. Thus, the conditions for democratic uprisings were present simply due to the living conditions of the population, and to the realities of the ‘global political awakening’, which reflects the fact that the majority of the world’s population is now awakened to the social depravity, economic exploitation, political repression, and general domination to which they have been subjected.
On the other hand, American imperial strategists are aware of these changes and seek to pre-empt and co-opt these aspirations to serve their own imperial interests. In this context, a 2005 Council on Foreign Relations report indicated that it was in the U.S. interest to promote democracy in the Arab world, however, the strategy would best be pursued through “evolution, not revolution,” because revolution is inherently problematic and unstable. While U.S. aid agencies and democracy promotion organizations have established contacts with Arab organizations, comparisons to the colour revolutions in Eastern Europe are lacking a critical detail: the difference between popular/public opinion in Eastern Europe (which was more Western oriented in ideology and aspirations) and that of the Arab world (which is virulently anti-American), and thus, authentic democracy in the Arab world is not in the interests of the U.S. The issues are complex, the circumstances are global, regional, national and local, but for any attempt to impose a more comprehensive understanding of the Arab Spring, these issues must be remedied.