What Happened to the American Empire?

Has anything out of the ordinary happened to the US as an imperialist power since the ascent of Trump to office? While the continuities between Trump and his predecessors are considerable, have there been any significant discontinuities that mark the first year of this presidency? Is there any reason to think that the rise of […]

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Donald Trump, Empire, and Globalization: A Reassessment

“Hey, I’m a nationalist and a globalist,” Donald Trump recently declared, “I’m both”. The only way in which the two (seemingly contradictory) positions can be reconciled is by introducing a third term, one that is absent from Trump’s vocabulary: imperialism. Trump might not be conscious of the implication of his statement (nor would he be […]

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2016: The Ending of the Year of Beginnings

Probably the most memorable year in decades, 2016 was a non-stop accumulation of turning points and landmark events. In broad terms, we began to witness the demise of globalism, the rise of deglobalization, and the sunset of (neo)liberal imperialism. Not only did the nation matter once again, so did the triumph of local narratives and […]

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Open Borders, Global Citizenship, and the Working Class

In this and the next article I will discuss some of the politically contentious issues surrounding what some of us call “illegal immigration,” with reference to the works of three anthropologists—Andrew Kipnis, Nicholas De Genova, and Luis F.B. Plascencia—and the commentaries they sometimes make of each other’s arguments. This is a promised continuation from two […]

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Force Multipliers and Cuba

Much of what appears as “novel” thinking in US imperial strategies, masks deeper historical foundations. Numerous authors have already explained how Latin America and the Caribbean, from the early 1800s onward, have served as “laboratories” for incubating and developing strategies of destabilization, intervention, occupation, and counterinsurgency. More recently, counterinsurgency was being sold as a new […]

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The “Science” of Global Domination

While it is an odd mix of physics, biology, and geometry that has captured the communications strategy of military planners, the messages themselves are very telling about how such planners go about envisioning US global domination, and the parts to be played by others in assuring that dominance. Some thus speak about the “center of […]

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Instrumental Partners: An Imperial Science of Agency

For an empire whose imperialism is still denied by many, a striking number of terms and concepts have been generated by US leaders that nonetheless are premised on the root idea of “force” in achieving or securing US “global leadership”. These terms command the language of US military, political, and corporate spokespersons, and they have […]

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Our Report for 2014

This year has seen an almost frenzied escalation of US intervention around the globe, ranging from the determined provocations and threats against Russia and backing a coup in Ukraine while quietly supporting Ukraine’s genocidal warfare in the east of the country, to supporting violent anti-government protesters seeking the overthrow of the elected government of revolutionary […]

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The Real World of Democracy (and Anthropology)

Review essay, Part 2 (see Part 1) Referring to the process by which he studied Cuban democracy, August explicitly refers to it as “ethnographic research” (p. xiii). This is an important point, because he was trained as a political scientist in Montreal, but he is producing the kind of book that no anthropologist has offered, […]

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Democracy in Cuba and at Home

Review essay, Part 1 (see Part 2) Cuba and its Neighbours: Democracy in Motion. By Arnold August. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing; London: Zed Books. 2013. ISBN 978-1-55266-404-9. 267 pages (not including Preface and Acknowledgments) Arnold August’s Cuba and its Neighbours is a richly documented and thus very detailed description and analysis of the history, theory, and […]

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History Will Absolve Me: Sixty Years Later

Today marks the 60th anniversary of Fidel Castro’s famous “History Will Absolve Me” speech, given in his defense during his trial following the unsuccessful guerrilla attack on the Moncada barracks on July 26 of that year. The complete speech, which was transcribed after the fact entirely from memory, is available here in English and aquí […]

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