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When Did You Vote for the Empire?

Long version: mp3, 4.3 MBs, 4:22
Short version: mp3, 3 MBs, 3:08

[Col. recorded 1/27/03]

"[T]he attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peace."
Dr. Nelson Mandela, 2002

Anti-war rallies are bubbling up all across America, from Iowa to Indiana, from Minneapolis to Maine. They swell the streets of Paris, of London, and Berlin. They burst through the souks and casbahs of the Muslim world. They reflect, if anything, widespread opposition to the jingoism and bellicosity of the Bush Regime.

Yet there is the sneaking suspicion, the deep gut feel, that these demos may not be enough to stay the hand of the Bush White House, which seems perilously poised for a deadly strike into the Iraqi homeland, no matter the human cost.

Which raises an interesting question: If the government ignores the wishes of a majority of its citizens, how can that government be called "democratic" (small 'd')?

If the White House isn’t listening to the will of the People, who is it listening to? Who decides?

Is it following the wishes of the defense industries, the oil companies, the military-industrial networks of extreme wealth and power that routinely feeds on the carcass of war?

Time will answer that question--and apparently soon.

The recent public departure of France and Germany from the pro-war club, seems to have put a chink in the U.S. loincloth of developing a 'coalition' against Saddam. However, no sooner had these two European powerhouses left the tent, then was sparked the retort from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, that they represented 'old' Europe, and that the U.S. didn't really need them, preferring instead, the assistance of 'new' Europe, like Poland, and perhaps, the Czechs.

Empires, it seems, can be as petulant as teenagers.

Petulant though it may have been, it revealed the desire for Europe, 'old' or 'new', to back their play. It also revealed how desirous empires are for others to bow to their self-evident glory. What seems indispensable for all empires, is arrogance.

But the question remains: How did we get here? How did the nation that boasted of its 'democratic principles' emerge as an imperial force in the world?

Who voted for this thing?

A recent column in The Washington Post suggests that the U.S. became a global empire as an "accident". It quotes a senior Bush regime official defending the position of the U.S. assuming "an almost imperial role" in the world.

The short rationale? There's no one else. Period.

It is presented as if this is but the inevitable fruit of the tragedy of 9/11. As if the U.S. somehow grudgingly accepts its terrible burden, because it alone is strong enough.

This is a misreading of the last half century of history if ever there was one.

Remember Vietnam? Remember the ridiculous 'domino theory'? How many millions around the world were sucked into that imperial nightmare?

It is easy, and somewhat cheap, to lay all of the present madness at the feet of the present president; but this is also misleading. The imperial parameters of the United States may be seen in every American administration, from Truman on down to the present office-holder. They may not have used the words, but they certainly acted as if the whole wide world, was but the plaything of the Empire, and if a leader arose who dared not know his place, he was toppled. Have we forgotten Mohammad Mussadegh?
Patrice Lumumba? Salvador Allende? Rafael Trujillo? Sukarno of Indonesia? Americans may not know these names, but much of the world does. They know that the American Empire isn't some kind of "accident" of history. They did it the old-fashioned way: through assassinations, destabilization, spycraft, and military domination. Just as Rome did.

Who voted for this abomination? This edifice of terror?

Did you? Well, if not, then you must seriously question the notion that this is a democratic state; for if you had no say in these extremely serious matters, when has your will been respected?

Some democracy, huh?

An imperial democracy, ain't no democracy at all.

Check out Mumia's NEW book:
"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life of African and African-American People" at

The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia!

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Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa


Text © copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.