PDS – Basic analysis:
The citizens of the USA comprise roughly 4% of the world’s total population, but we currently consume 25% of the world’s resources and products. This disparity is untenable in the long term and unjust, regardless.
The USA became the dominant economic power in the world by virtue of the 20th century wars that decimated its potential imperial rivals. Our chief global economic rival, Europe, embraced a culture that rejected war as a means of conflict resolution, as a result of these wars. The USA then consolidated its dominion by becoming the world’s leading military power due to the fact that it outlasted its main military rival in the Cold War.
The US projects power though a system of post-colonial neo-imperialism (i.e., economic colonies under the management of compliant, local bourgeoisie without the administrative costs of true colonies). US society has largely become a warfare state, an economy dependent on the catalyst of government military spending. In the recent past the more insightful American political leaders have indulged the domestic working class in the spoils of imperial conquest just enough to tie them to the nationalist crusade.
Outside its residual dominance in military technology, all the factors that led to American dominance are diminishing. Other countries and regional blocs are becoming comparable economic powers, and none are friendly to continued US supremacy. Collectively, they point toward the return to a multi-polar world. This is incompatible with a US ruling class that clings to its role as the “last superpower”, able to enforce its will unilaterally and with impunity.
The US manufacturing base has largely been sent overseas in pursuit of cheaper labor. Financially, the US wallows in debt, most of it owed to potential rivals. The military now finds itself eroded, with plenty of guns, but few who volunteer out of principle to carry them. As only youth with limited prospects can be induced by ever-growing financial rewards to put on the uniform, it becomes an army of mercenaries in search of justification.
Another major byproduct of our unrestrained capitalism and its venal leadership is environmental destruction. The recent flooding of New Orleans, triggered by government-denied global warming and created by a careless incompetence is a case-in-point. Environmental degradation is also a crucial ingredient in societal collapse, because the effects lead to hunger, disease, and territorial aggression.
The twilight of the era of American dominion has begun. The future will be one of reduced US power and wealth relative to the rest of the world. Doubtless, however, those in the most privileged positions of American society and their deluded minions will defend privilege with all their resources. A militaristic reaction is a typical response to the decline of empire. This reaction is already evident in the Bush administration and among those who support it.
As citizens of the world living in the heart of danger, how can we react in order to advance our values of peace, justice, and equality? An essential element of this effort must be that it is international. The struggle solely within the national context of home-country of an empire in decline cannot succeed. However, this domestic struggle is crucial to the future of humanity.
Unless the empire can reform so as to be a better global citizen, the potential for catastrophe is high, if not inevitable.
People for a Democratic Society 15 Point Program
- End militarism and support powerful international institutions for conflict resolution.
- End poverty via progressive taxation to support provision of basic services (clean water, sanitation, basic food, healthcare, affordable housing).
- Gender equality.
- Racial equality.
- Gay and lesbian equal rights, not subject to majoritarian limitations.
- Two-year, universal public service (military, healthcare service, infrastructure construction labor, emergency services).
- Free public education through college, including related child-care.
- Clean air, soil, and surface water.
- Development of “alternative” energy sources (solar, wind, wave, etc.).
- Affordable, environmentally-sensitive public transportation.
- Proportional representation.
- Equal justice for all.
- Socialism for “commodities” (insurance, banking, steel, oil, power).
- Support co-ops for agricultural products from production through retail via tax breaks.
- Legalize, control, tax all drugs.
David Hamilton and Paul Spencer