Imperialism is hegemonic in the sense that the citizens of Empire are often shocked or angered by the assertion that they do, in fact, live in one– usually before they bother to define that term.
In honor of Fleet Week– which is clearly a symbol of American Empire– here are two speeches that have been supplemented with images.
First, a by-now viral video of Ellen.
I’d never heard of this next one until yesterday. I don’t know who originally made it.
Consider our discussions about hegemony and interpretation. What codes and values are invoked by these clips? How does form shape or undermine content? Do you live in an Empire? What evidence and arguments support your claim?
“Give me a hundred capitalists just as you find them here in Ohio and let me ask them a dozen simple questions about the history of their own country and I will prove to you that they are as ignorant and unlettered as any you may find in the so-called lower class. They know little of history; they are strangers to science; they are ignorant of sociology and blind to art but they know how to exploit, how to gouge, how to rob, and do it with legal sanction. They always proceed legally for the resaon that the class which has the power to rob upon a large scale has also the power to control the government and legalize their robbery.”
— Eugene V. Debs, The Canton, Ohio Anti-War Speech (this is the one that got him charged under the Federal Espionage Act, the same law that Bush II, Obama, and Trump have used against whistleblowers).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Being a communist would no longer be a fireable offense for California government employees under a bill passed Monday by the state Assembly.
Lawmakers narrowly approved the bill to repeal part of a law enacted during the Red Scare of the 1940s and ’50s when fear that communists were trying to infiltrate and overthrow the U.S. government was rampant. The bill now goes to the Senate.
It would eliminate part of the law that allows public employees to be fired for being a member of the Communist Party.
Employees could still be fired for being members of organizations they know advocate for overthrowing the government by force or violence.
The bill updates an outdated provision in state law, said Assemblyman Rob Bonta, the San Francisco Bay Area Democrat who authored the measure.
Some Assembly Republicans said the Cold War-era law should not be changed.
Assemblyman Randy Voepel, a Southern California Republican who fought in the Vietnam War, said communists in North Korea and China are “still a threat.”
“This bill is blatantly offensive to all Californians,” said Assemblyman Travis Allen, a Republican who represents a coastal district in Southern California. “Communism stands for everything that the United States stands against.”
We’ve got to seek some new methods, a reappraisal of the situation, some new methods for attacking it or solving it, and a new direction, and new allies. We need allies who are going to help us achieve a victory, not allies who are going to tell us to be nonviolent. If a white man wants to be your ally, what does he think of John Brown? You know what John Brown did? He went to war. He was a white man who went to war against white people to help free slaves. He wasn’t nonviolent. White people call John Brown a nut. Go read the history, go read what all of them say about John Brown. They’re trying to make it look like he was a nut, a fanatic. They made a movie on it, I saw a movie on the screen one night. Why, I would be afraid to get near John Brown if I go by what other white folks say about him.
But they depict him in this image because he was willing to shed blood to free the slaves. And any white man who is ready and willing to shed blood for your freedom—in the sight of other whites, he’s nuts. As long as he wants to come up with some nonviolent action, they go for that, if he’s liberal, a nonviolent liberal, a love-everybody liberal. But when it comes time for making the same kind of contribution for your and my freedom that was necessary for them to make for their own freedom, they back out of the situation. So, when you want to know good white folks in history where black people are concerned, go read the history of John Brown.