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McLaren and Farahmandpur conceive of the new imperialism as a "combination of old-style military and financial practices as well as recent attempts by developed nations to impose the law of the market on the whole of humanity itself" (2001, 136).
McLaren and Farahmandpur note, too, that the concept of class division is a taboo subject within the "guarded precincts of academic discourse, leaving discussions of class out of discussions of global capitalism, exploitation and oppression linked to capitalism. Certainly, this was true in the Martha Stewart case. The media was at pains to point out how well accepted she was by the other inmates, pointing out that she hadn't even won the Christmas decorating contest. Every once in a while, to use George Orwell's mythology, some of the more equal pigs must appear to be less equal in order to convince the less equal pigs that all pigs are equal. However, even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Modern icons of imperialism
Doubtless, too, Martha Stewart and all the other 'guys' have some redeeming human foibles once in a while. But it is characteristic of militarism to cover those foibles under a uniform and distance them through discipline; arguably, Stewart was simply being disciplined for an infraction of the rules. She can lie to the public (in what universe could women possibly content with covering books in hand-made paper when there are children to raise and valuable work to do for those who have no work?), but she can't lie to the other officers in the global financial army. As in the military, once a soldier has been sanctioned and borne the sentence, all is forgotten because there are still battles to wage and win.
McLaren and Farahmandpur take the discussion out of the military realm and into lifestyles, and still make the case that globalization is a war waged by greedy lunatics whose divorce from their own humanity is almost total. "How the dynamics and crises of capitalism are handled, and how the state is organized, are core questions for political struggle. They also are inescapably class questions" (2001. 136).
They note that class interests are inherent in the writing of laws, the way politicians pursue issues, the ways the sciences and social science are funded, the ways work is done, the ways universities are governed, the ways news is reported, the ways mass culture is created and manipulated, how careers are propelled or hampered, how racism and sexism are defined and reinforced.
On each one of these subjects, a treatise could be written vis-a-vis its relationship to globalization. But perhaps a few recent top-of-mind incidents will serve at least to point toward the negative impact of globalization in some of these areas.
Recently, a law was written in haste to deal with the treatment of a brain-dead women. The woman has been brain dead for a decade, and yet, suddenly, a patriarchal government rushes to judgment where seasoned medical and ethical workers feared to tread. How does this speak to globalization? It speaks to the ownership of bodies. In this case, it is clear the state is claiming that it 'owns' Terri Schiavo, more than the man to whom she was legally wed. Whether one thinks 'he done her in' and profited, the fact of government stepping into a private and medical affair at all puts things into bold perspective; the government is busy claiming all the world's citizens as its own. Globalization, Krishnan argued, was fostered primarily by the United States. Linking the Schiavo case and Iraq leaves one with an interesting picture of globalization, one that lead directly toe the McLaren/Farahmandpur conclusion that "globalization" is simply an acceptable euphemism for U.S. imperialism.
An issue concerning the governance of universities also puts globalization into perspective. Recently, a university professor made a perfectly reasonable assertion, from his own observation of the situation, about the lack of women in pure science. The media covered it as if he were the devil incarnate; in the end, he was censured by his peers, with his pension threatened. All this for speaking his mind. But worse, he spoke his mind about one of the globally taboo issues, class, in this case represented by gender, although the gender issue stands on its own as a reason for the attack on him by his peers. It won't do -- back to George Orwell -- for people to go about pointing out actual facts, especially when those facts are inconsistent with the somatic picture the power structure is attempting to paint for the gullible populace. and, like the Martha Steward case, the case of the outspoken professor suggests that a 'soldier' in the campaign for global values (lip-service to false feminism) had gotten out of line and had to be sent to the brig for a couple of days, metaphorically.
In the United States, mass culture is manipulated by the government, arguably every bit as much as it was in the U.S.S.R. In the bad old days. However, the United States does not employ a central agency for censorship duties; rather, there are a large number of watchdog groups concerned with public decency and voluntary compliance with a bunch of standards developed by an amorphous group of 'experts'. This makes it easier to export those standards; were the government to attempt it, it would seem to be imperialism, a fact the power structure would like to keep hidden. It is difficult to imagine a suggestion by President Bush, with his sly grin and hollow laugh, telling the aristocratic Jacques Chirac that France really needs to stop having a nude competition in its Miss France contest and especially, it needs to stop showing it on public TV. But if a group of Mothers Against Nude Competition takes its message to France...well, that's just people to people, right? Never mind that the Mothers are supported sub-rosa by a fundamentalist juggernaut of grand proportions, fueled by money from the Religious Right, which, by virtue of the non-profit status of its leading organizations, is basically carrying out its campaign with government funds. The idea of Mothers Against Nude Competition is fiction, one hopes. The fact of the competition itself is (or at least was) fact as late as 1987, according to personal reports.
Saying the right thing
There is an adage that in Ireland, one must do the right thing, but one can say anything. In Britain, it is the opposite: one can do anything, but one must say the right thing. In terms of globalization, Britannia still rules, if filtered through the militarism of its first great breakaway colony, the United States.
The revolution that created the United States, it might be argued, was the first step toward globalization. It is easy to understand many nations being involved in the European wars of the modern era, that is, after the Age of Enlightenment began. They are so close together, it would be difficult to invade one without another. But in the American Revolution, Ben Franklin went to France to gain their aid. Hessians and Prussians from the are now called Germany and Poland also showed up to help. This began long allegiances between two very distinctive parts of the globe, and it also paved the way for U.S. imperialism in the current era. While the assistance of the French and Germans was helpful, it is probable that England would have been vanquished, if less rapidly. The fledgling United States was born in a surge of militarism and imperialism unbroken until the contiguous United States had been secured, as well as Alaska and Hawaii. That those two territories became states only in the mid-19th century is instructive; that Puerto Rico has resisted statehood is also instructive in terms of globalization. It would see that if we cannot completely gain an island over which we have had dominion for eons, we will simply co-opt other parts of the Caribbean to U.S. needs, while retaining Puerto Rico as the poster-child for U.S. laissez faire policies, as inaccurate as that might be.
Besides that, Latin America has had identity problems from the outset, making them much more exploitable in terms of globalization (by which, at this point, read U.S. imperialism) than, for example, France. Feminism re-enters the picture as well.
Miles (2000, 6), in writing against globalization, now that feminist activists are convinced of the truth of the statement, "No woman is free until all women are free." "To win our full freedom, and not merely ameliorate women's conditions, we will have to transform global as well as national and local structures of power. Feminism is necessarily an internationalist politics, for the systems of exploitation and control we resist are global" (Miles 2000, 6). France, in many of its…[continue]
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