We the (only) People


We the (only) People

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Written by: A. Sivanandan


Racial superiority is back on the agenda – in the guise, this time, not of a super-race but of a super-nation, a super-people, a chosen people, on a mission to liberate the world.

The Iraqi peoples have to be saved from themselves – by force, necessarily, because they know no better. And who better to do it than the US of A, ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave’? ‘Liberty’, may not, as the President has said, be ‘America’s gift to the world’, but it is certainly, ‘God’s gift to humanity’ (Bush in excelsis).[1] And I, he might have added, am merely His messenger.

That is what is so terrifying about the Bush junta – the certainty of their righteousness, the righteousness of their certainties. It doesn’t matter how you put it – it’s a closed circuit of thought. Nothing intrudes, neither doubt nor dissent. It is whole. It is organic: religious conviction rooted in economic rationale backed by military might.

Their doctrine is written in tablets of stone – regime change, pre-emptive strikes, full-spectrum dominance – and is conveyed to the nation through the metaphysics of fear and the politics of deceit, wrapped up in the vision of a Manichaean world polarised between good and evil, Us (of A) and Them (the sub-homines), based now on the myth that ‘our way of life, our freedom, our democracy'[2] is the sine qua non of all civilisation.

And it is that notion of a superior civilisation that marks out the racism of the twenty-first century and ’embeds’ it in America’s imperial project to redesign the world to its corporate needs.[3] Already the US has begun to destabilise international institutions, such as the UN, the ICC, the WHO, that stand in the way of its imperium.

Every single struggle against racism, therefore, has consciously to take on the larger fight against imperialism and extend its remit to the true liberation of Third World peoples.

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A. Sivanandan is founding editor of Race & Class and the director of the Institute of Race Relations.
[1] Speech to the MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, 26 March 2003.
[2] Blair echoing Bush, see the Guardian, 21 March 2003.
[3] See the programme of the PNAC.


The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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John Latham
John Latham
18 years ago

The comment about the fundamentalist nature of the Bush world-view is spot on. No evidence filters through into neo-conservative minds which contradicts their self-image as liberators and spreaders of democracy. When the Shia tell the USA to go home, the majority of the Iraqi people are dismissed as Iranian puppets. Garner claims he wants no “outside interference” in Iraq! When American troops are shot at because they are perceived as an occupation, the Republicans claim the shooting is done by religious fanatics or Saddam supporters. Like any other imperialist power, the USA justifies its actions by assuming its superiority and by discourses of deceit. However, the hopeful point is that around the world there are millions of us who can easily see through the hypocritical lies of the US government.

Marique
Marique
18 years ago

I can’t resist sending part of a Very Long Poem as comment. It was written on the day of the innauguration when I turned on the tv hopeing to be in time for the assasination. America fits the bald eagle with a wig Lifts the face of democracy Tucks the tummy Covers the ears that listen to reason Shades the eyes that notice the season Has changed America is courting disaster America is engaged in conflict America is getting married to itself America is divorced from reality America is suing itself for half the horse America comes up with a settlement Takes stock Sells shares Creams off the dreams Shows interest in indices Follows the market Rates the exchange And banks the spoils

Nick
Nick
18 years ago

A simple question for the author. Could he care to outline another scenario for the removal of a regime at the moral level of the pre holocaust Nazis which would have cost fewer Iraqi lives? I know Iraqi refugees who are now planning their return to a country rid of its dictator. That the left did not make the defeat of Saddam an anti fascist struggle will be eternally to its shame.

Elle
Elle
18 years ago

I concur with Nick. I think it says a great deal for humanity when people from countries across the world unite to overthrow a dictator and his abusive, violent and selfish regime and allow the people of Iraq to take back the right to live their lives within their traditions and customs and which allows some civilised form of democracy to evolve which protects the rights of the country’s citizens. My only concern will come when any abuse of power takes place where capitalist notions or ideals are being forced upon the people of any race or nationality by the USA as this would only serve to evidence itself in a more subversive type of dictatorship. But then again, perhaps I am naive and overly idealistic.

John Latham
John Latham
18 years ago

The comment about the fundamentalist nature of the Bush world-view is spot on. No evidence filters through into neo-conservative minds which contradicts their self-image as liberators and spreaders of democracy. When the Shia tell the USA to go home, the majority of the Iraqi people are dismissed as Iranian puppets. Garner claims he wants no “outside interference” in Iraq! When American troops are shot at because they are perceived as an occupation, the Republicans claim the shooting is done by religious fanatics or Saddam supporters. Like any other imperialist power, the USA justifies its actions by assuming its superiority and by discourses of deceit. However, the hopeful point is that around the world there are millions of us who can easily see through the hypocritical lies of the US government.

Marique
Marique
18 years ago

I can’t resist sending part of a Very Long Poem as comment. It was written on the day of the innauguration when I turned on the tv hopeing to be in time for the assasination. America fits the bald eagle with a wig Lifts the face of democracy Tucks the tummy Covers the ears that listen to reason Shades the eyes that notice the season Has changed America is courting disaster America is engaged in conflict America is getting married to itself America is divorced from reality America is suing itself for half the horse America comes up with a settlement Takes stock Sells shares Creams off the dreams Shows interest in indices Follows the market Rates the exchange And banks the spoils

Nick
Nick
18 years ago

A simple question for the author. Could he care to outline another scenario for the removal of a regime at the moral level of the pre holocaust Nazis which would have cost fewer Iraqi lives? I know Iraqi refugees who are now planning their return to a country rid of its dictator. That the left did not make the defeat of Saddam an anti fascist struggle will be eternally to its shame.

Elle
Elle
18 years ago

I concur with Nick. I think it says a great deal for humanity when people from countries across the world unite to overthrow a dictator and his abusive, violent and selfish regime and allow the people of Iraq to take back the right to live their lives within their traditions and customs and which allows some civilised form of democracy to evolve which protects the rights of the country’s citizens. My only concern will come when any abuse of power takes place where capitalist notions or ideals are being forced upon the people of any race or nationality by the USA as this would only serve to evidence itself in a more subversive type of dictatorship. But then again, perhaps I am naive and overly idealistic.

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