We're all Anti-Americanists now
Perhaps one reason for Anti-Americanism is because there is a definite political position called Americanism to be anti.
It wouldn't make sense for there to be an Anti-Denmarkism or Anti-Papua New Guineaism. Because we kind of assume that these states are empty(ish) vessels, which parties of different political ideologies compete to control.
But Anti-Americanism makes sense because America is a state conflated with a political ideology. In most countries there is narrow choice of government, but in the US, the parties seem more constrained by the constitution and by the fact that America is the political affiliation of the U.S.
If America is a political idea, then anti-Americanism is a political position akin to being anti-communist, anti-monarchist or anti-capitalist. It is not a form of racism, nor like being anti-Catholic or anti-Muslim, nor yet a weird kind of national prejudice like a dislike of Scotsmen.
(That's not to say that that there aren't some fanatics who are racist against whites, anti-Christian, or just infuriated by some stereotypical America in their heads.)
Can come in two varieties :
- the stronger form holds that the US state is the most advanced and evangelical pure capitalist culture. Unlike in European states which tend to believe in a capitalism tempered by state control, in the US, both market liberalism and libertarianism are more widely supported within the government. The US must therefore be opposed, as the largest state sponsor of capitalism.
- the weaker form holds that the US state has currently (and maybe only temporarily) fallen to hands of corrupt corporations. Both political parties are dependent on donations from large corporations; those donations come as part of deals where parties sell support to the interests of the corporations. Government and business exchange people constantly, and many come into government having spent years within industry, and with a mindset focused on the needs of the commercial world. Some retain interests in the success of companies, or can expect lucrative employment in companies after they leave government. This lack of a disinterested political class means that the government is easily and often bought by corporations. And for this reason must be suspected as an instrument of corporate power.
Q : Phil, which are you?
A : Mainly the latter, though I feel some of the force of the first. America is the most serious state sponsor of capitalism; and as I believe capitalism needs to be opposed, that can include opposing America's support at a deep level.
Q : You believe capitalism should be destroyed?
A : No, opposition doesn't mean desire to eradicate. It means desire to oppose the corroding influence it has and to correct the problems caused by it. But capitalism is the best system we've got.
I've recently been having some interesting discussion with a Marxist friend of mine, but I'm yet to be convinced that they have a worked out viable alternative. And I think in this case, an attempt to live without capitalism would quickly fall back into some kind of oppressive hierarchical control. More discussion to be found on Optimaes and CriticalSocialism.
Q : Where do you stand on September 11th?
A : Read (and discuss) the comment from my blog from SeptemberEleventhPlusTwo
- Pax Americana : (Google archive) http://18.104.22.168/search?q=cache:05MqWjD_tdUC:www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/opinion/0902/29bookman.html+pax+americana&hl=en&ie=UTF-8
- Cultural anti-americanism by European writers : http://www.newyorker.com/printable/?fact/030310fa_fact
- Good RobinCarmody article : http://www.livejournal.com/~robincarmody/9387.html
- Pro US opinion plummets : http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=175
- Simposium on left-wing anti-americanism : http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=4489
- JosephStiglitz on AmericanHypocrisy
- Compare : with http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20041101faessay83603/robert-w-tucker-david-c-hendrickson/the-sources-of-american-legitimacy.html?mode=print with this discussion of the split in "liberalism" and US legitimacy : http://www.cis.org.au/Events/JBL/JBL04.htm
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