For those in the US, we live in an Empire — the largest, most powerful empire the planet has ever seen. The United States Empire enacts genocide (just ask the Hopi, the Navajo, the Western Shoshone or any other Native American tribe). The United States Empire plays key roles abroad in colonization, both through military operations like the dirty wars waged in Latin America in the ’80s and into Iraq in the present as well as through economic means (through neoliberal institutions like the IMF and WorldBank). The United States Empire makes war for profit (Military-Industrial Complex anyone?). The United States Empire makes a very few rich at the expense of everyone else (it is the nature of Empires, after all). Overall, like any Empire, the United States is a massive force that has shown that it is willing to throw its political, economic, and military might around without care for human dignity. (If all of this seems strange, offensive or unheard of to you, there are a number of things that you might want to read. I’ve listed a few books below, but I’d welcome others to throw out more book suggestions that are instructive on issues of Empire and global domination. The one’s I’ve chosen may not be the best)
Given that we do live in an Empire, which I rate to be pretty awful on the whole, I have wondered what it is this so-called movement is working for? Are we just working for windmills and solar panels so that we can sustain the Empire? Why should we expect Empire be any less destructive just because it’s powered by so-called “clean energy” and so-called “green jobs”? Isn’t that just trying to put the wolf into sheep’s clothing? Can an empire ever be reformed to be “sustainable and just”? Are we just enabling oppressors by trying to get large banks and governments to “invest in wind and solar”?
I think it’s instructive to look at history for an example. Has there ever been a “sustainable and just” Empire? No! Then why should we expect that we can make this one “sustainable and just”? (For those who don’t think there’s ever been a sustainable and just human society, what do you think humans were doing for those 190,000 years between the emergence of homo sapiens and the rise of massive civilizations and Empires? I’ll give you a hint, it’s not the cavemen lie we’ve been spoonfed since birth…)
I was talking to a good friend of mine recently and he was saying that he feels it’s important to not just ask questions or provide simple “solutions” and “fixes” to complex problems, but to offer difficult answers, which themselves act as a riddle. So, how do we tackle climate change and social inequality at the same time? We dismantle Empire and the structures of Global Capitalism which keep it going.