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Just in time for the elections, Arundhati Roy offers us this lucid briefing on what the Bush administration really means when it talks about “compassionate conservativism” and “the war on terror.” Roy has characteristic fun in these essays, skewering the hypocrisy of the more-democratic-than-thou clan. But above all, she aims to remind us that we hold the essence of power and the foundation of genuine democracy—the power of the people to counter their self-appointed leaders’ tyranny.
First delivered as fiery speeches to sold-out crowds, together these essays are a call to arms against “the apocalyptic apparatus of the American empire.” Focusing on the disastrous US occupation of Iraq, Roy urges us to recognize—and apply—the scope of our power, exhorting US dockworkers to refuse to load materials war-bound, reservists to reject their call-ups, activists to organize boycotts of Halliburton, and citizens of other nations to collectively resist being deputized as janitor-soldiers to clear away the detritus of the US invasion.
Roy’s Guide to Empire also offers us sharp theoretical tools for understanding the New American Empire—a dangerous paradigm, Roy argues here, that is entirely distinct from the imperialism of the British or even the New World Order of George Bush, the elder. She examines how resistance movements build power, using examples of nonviolent organizing in South Africa, India, and the United States. Deftly drawing the thread through ostensibly disconnected issues and arenas, Roy pays particular attention to the parallels between globalization in India, the devastation in Iraq, and the deplorable conditions many African Americans, in particular, must still confront.
With Roy as our “guide,” we may not be able to relax from the Sisyphean task of stopping the U.S. juggernaut, but at least we are assured that the struggle for global justice is fortified by Roy’s hard-edged brilliance.
|Peace Is War||1|
|Instant-Mix Imperial Democracy||41|
|When the Saints Go Marching Out||69|
|In Memory of Shankar Guha Niyogi||79|
|Do Turkeys Enjoy Thanksgiving?||83|
|How Deep Shall We Dig?||95|
|About Arundhati Roy||157|
Posted April 19, 2011
I don't think anyone could exercise more free speech than Mr. Roy has done is this rather interesting comparison of the United States to India and its struggle to gain a place in the world community. The US's efforts in several hotspots around the world, most notably Afghanistan and Iraq, are criticized greatly in the book reiterating the irony of a free Iraq under occupation. I think that Roy's argument is sound and should be considered but must be considered from both sides of the argument. Roy takes a more direct, aggressive approach to the argument against the United States while simultaneously arguing about the failures of democracies around the world, in particular India struggles with the concept. It's my opinion that Mr. Roy needed to pick one subject or the other: America's failures in spreading democracy or the failure of democracy itself. Had he selected one of the aforesaid topics, I think that his inquiry and conclusions would have been clearer. Overall the book was not a very good read and was sporadic in its presentation of the facts concerning America's struggle with leading the spread of democracy and the world's acceptance of democratic principles.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.