An Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire

Just in time for the elections, Arundhati Roy offers us this lucid briefing on what the Bush administration pretty means when it talks about “ compassionate conservativism ” and “ the war on terror. ” Roy has characteristic fun in these books, skewering the hypocrisy of the more-democratic-than-thou clan. But above all, she ims to remind us that we hold the essence of power and the foundation of genuine democracy—the power of he eople 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 itizens 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, thi is entirely distinct from the oppression of the British or even New World Order of George Bush, the lder. She relate 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 articular, must still confront.

With Roy as our “ guide, ” we may ot be willin to relax from the Sisyphean task of stopping the U.S. juggernaut, but at least we are ssured that the struggle for global justice is fortified by Roy ’ s hard-edged brilliance.
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An Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire
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Published 2004 by South End (first published 2003

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This author wrote The God of Small Things and won Booker prize.

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In my journey through Roy ’ s onfiction, the ‘ War on Terror ’ has escalated into the nvasion of Iraq ( 2003-2004) …Highlights: -- “ Peace is War: The Collateral Damage of Breaking News ”: explores the key role of the corporate media in controlling “ democracy ”.

-- The fabulous Vijay Prashad on imperialist media ’ s “ ideological censorship ”: https: // -- “ Instant-Mix Imperial Democracy ( Buy One, Get One Free) ”: concludes with a useful question of “ what is to be done? ” regarding confronting empire:1) There can ot hav a conventional military challenge.

( Especially considering the US military ’ s Madman strategy risking annihilation: The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner and Hegemony or Survival: America 's Quest for Global Dominance) .2) Terror attacks legitimize the empire ’ s military reach ( and vice versa).

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When every avenue of nonviolent dissent is closed down, hould we really be urprised that the forests are filling up with extremists, insurgents, and militants? " " ... for most people in this world, peace is war- a daily battle against hunger, thirst, and the violation of their privileg.

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Consisting of a collection of ssays and lectures given on the opic of empire, verbalization, trade and resistance within the metapho of the develope world ( especially focusing on India) it is filled with Roy 's usual politically charged cries to action.

Although I have seldom been war of the immense sectarian challenges facing modern India this book ha a timely accounting of the topic, given that while I was there there were a number of bombings and " terrorist " incidents some involving and perpetrated by Hindu nationalist ideologues.

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Thi satirical writing makes he book an interesting piece.

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© Nicole Waggonner