Recently, Cindy Sheehan interviewed Jack Balkwill of LUV News, co-author of the Dump the Empire Voter's Pledge.
|Click to take the anti-immperialist pledge!|
Cindy Sheehan: What is imperialism, and, in your opinion, is the United States and imperialist state?
Jack Balkwill: I've always thought of imperialism as the imposition of force by a powerful nation against a weaker nation, usually by wielding the "Big Stick" of which Teddy Roosevelt spoke, but it also applies to wielding economic power over another nation, as the USA is currently doing to Venezuela, Iran, and the Peoples Republic of Korea. The USA is the most imperialist nation today.
CS: What motivated you to write and promote the Anti-Imperialist Voter's Pledge?
JB: I was motivated by watching the USA in action intervening all over the world. We have an astounding 800 permanent military bases abroad and a few hundred temporary ones at any given time, and are engaged in countless wars. I say countless because even few in Congress are allowed to know how many wars we are waging today. I was shocked last year to be reading the news and find that special operations soldiers had been killed in Niger. I had not known, and I'm sure most Members of Congress didn't know, that The Empire was waging war in Niger. Most people don't know we have troops in the Philippines. Military engagements out of control like this have been the demise of the empires of the past, they simply exhausted their treasury at some point. I am excited that the March on the Pentagon has picked up the Dump the Empire Pledge. It gives me hope.
In the most prosperous nation on earth, we have 1 in 5 children hungry at least part of every year, and families going bankrupt because of medical bills, every 30 seconds. This doesn't happen in other major industrialized nations, and it is because the Empire requires massive funding. Those who are ashamed of this should be supporting the Dump the Empire Pledge and help to get support for it.
CS: Looking at the current crop of a couple of dozen candidates for POTUS in 2020, what are your thoughts about any of their "anti-imperialist" credentials?
JB: Certainly, the establishment wants Biden, and are currently drowning him in corporate money and free air time on their TV monopoly. He will do their bidding and sell out the people as he has his entire career, so he is the front-runner in a corrupt system. I wish the Greens would decide on a candidate earlier, they may be the best chance, along with some of the socialist parties. Bernie Sanders is at least talking about the wars and military spending, which he didn't do in 2016, but I think he has to go much further to begin to show he is willing to even partially cut into the Empire. Tulsi Gabbard has flirted on the edges of Dump the Empire and I think if we could show such a person they could get our votes, she and Bernie might go a bit further. If we were to get a big effort behind Dump the Empire, hopefully we could convince a candidate to break from the pack.
CS: For you, do you see any hope in the current US political climate where only Democrats or Republicans are considered "electable?"
JB: No, this is my 75th year and decade after decade I have watched things actually get worse. As military spending has increased (every year, no matter what) average wages have dropped since 1973. Even the minimum wage has dropped since 1968. As corporate media rave on about the great Trump economy, I watch the economic indicator that I believe to be the most important-- homelessness, and I see it's increased for two years in a row (I think they mean the billionaires are doing well). We must get information to people around the corporate viewpoint media or we are completely lost. Hammering this Dump the Empire Pledge could hopefully encourage enough of a mass to drag candidates into doing the right thing.
CS: If a true anti-imperialist were to be elected POTUS, what do you think that would look like? What positive changes could be made in such a bloated and diseased Empire?
JB: This would be a courageous person under constant attack from the mainstream press and national security state apparatus. The CIA, FBI and others would be trying to undermine this person. Such a person would, however, be very popular with the masses, as polling tells us the masses want peace, and health care, and a clean environment-- all the things the Empire prevents by its spending us deep into unnecessary debt. For those who say such a president would not have support from the Congress, that is irrelevant-- the president is commander in chief and can order the troops to come home, an end to the wars and closure of military bases (after, in some cases, giving proper notice required by treaties). The Constitution gives Congress the power to declare wars, but it does not have the power to eternally wage them, that power is in the hands of the commander in chief. So a number of Members of Congress would huff and puff, but could do nothing about it legally.
Yes, with Mothers Day coming Sunday I would like to remind people that Ann Jarvis, who thought it up, was a peace activist, and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if she were here today, she'd sign the Dump the Empire Pledge. Please sign it and convince your family, friends, work colleagues and social network contacts to sign it, because our future depends on getting rid of the Empire. And contribute to the March on the Pentagon for hosting the Pledge, and to Cindy's Soap Box which is simply wonderful and vital to a world hungry for knowledge.
CS: Do you have anything else to add?