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No Moral Superpower: Arundhati Roy, Edward Snowden, and the Crimes of Empire


No Moral Superpower: Arundhati Roy, Edward Snowden, and the Crimes of Empire

Jake Johnson

When Arundhati Roy was preparing, in 2014, for a trip to Moscow to meet Edward Snowden, she was troubled by two things.

One of them was the fact that the meeting was arranged to take place at the Ritz-Carlton, a beacon of luxury, celebrity, and unfettered greed — a symbol, in short, of what Roy has spent much of her life opposing.

"My last political outing had been some weeks spent walking with Maoist guerrillas and sleeping underneath the stars in the Dandakaranya forest," she wrote. "And this next one was going to be in the Ritz?"


" If there is something to be done, then one thing is for sure: those who created the problem will not be the ones who come up with a solution." - Arundhati Roy

Thank you Arundhati Roy and thank you Jake Johnson.

While Donald Trump will lose this election, the dynamics that brought his rise to popularity persist. The next iteration poses the risk of being a more intelligent and sophisticated manifestation. The establishment Democrat machine ensures that the Democrat alternative will continue to promote plutocrat friendly economics, economically/environmentally unsustainable practices, domestic repression, and militarism. Meanwhile, wealth continues to concentrate in the hands of the rich, the US military continues to commit worldwide mass murder with impunity, and hostility with the Russian and Iranian governments makes war more likely.

Hopefully more people will join efforts to promote social, economic, and environmental justice. Hopefully larger scale anti-war/pro-peace efforts will gain momentum.


Great article Jake Johnson. Thanks...


The current dominator standard of "greatness" that Arundhati Roy so adroitly characterizes is based on a false perception of "power": Power as domination over rather than its authentic sense of cooperation with. To change this brutal society means beginning with a new paradigm, and it must start now, within each one of us alive now, and be taught to every subsequent generation, if homo is to truly be sapient, and both our species and all species survive. NOW, people...


You can either vote to support the continuing crimes of empire or you can vote Green.

Clinton's a warmonger and Trump's a loose cannon. A vote for either is a vote for more Imperialism - although Clinton, with her history, her campaign speeches, and her relentless demonization of Putin and Assad, is the one likely to bring us to war with Russia soonest.

But you don't need to choose between worst and even worse that that - you can step outside the duopoly and help the Green party hit the 5% that will get them federal financing in the next Presidential election.

Do some good with your vote, vote Green.


"One of them was the fact that the meeting was arranged to take place at the Ritz-Carlton, a beacon of luxury, celebrity, and unfettered greed — a symbol, in short, of what Roy has spent much of her life opposing."

Is the problem capitalism or the wealth inequality it is used to further? If unlike oligarchs, the people were not concerned with having more money and power and had its needs met, would we not elect to have a beautiful unpolluted world and as much free time as we could have to enjoy it?

Direct democracy


"The ones with the solution"..The People rising! Uniting, World-wide, every person will add strength; and there is a not so secret Power. Look to our native brothers ans sisters, all over the World. They know!
Humans Must work with, and Love our Earth Mother,! There is the Power for Victory!


If I had a vote, I would also vote Jill Stein. However, I suspect that absolutely nothing would change whoever was POTUS because the Presidency is a facade and the election a distraction. Always, there are examples from History e.g. JOhn Balliol, vassal king of Scotland was known as "Toom Tabard" (empty coat) because he had no power and the English King Edward was his puppet master. I suspect that this may have always been the case, becoming more apparent since WWII with the exception who proved the rule i.e. JFK - the man who would be President. Allen Dulles thought otherwise and ensured his assassination - both physical and psychological. Dulles, in a late interview, said of Kennedy: "That little Kenedy. He thought he was a God"...ergo, what did that make Dulles?
Eisenhower's Valedictory to beware the Military Industrial Complex was his admission that he was handing over a poisoned chalice. JFK's demise is the clearest guarantor of obeisance, should any fool ever again dare challenge the MIC. Today the Unspeakable are more visible, and even more insane. When the apropriately named Ash Carter in the Pentagon defies Obama and Kerry and destroys the ceasefire in Syria, constantly goading Russia as the singular cause of all evils - neatly forgetting the atrocities in Yemen. Where might this all lead? Are they so insane that they believe their own propaganda? Strangely, they have not yet blamed Putin for 9/11. Watch this space...


Have you never played Monopoly? Patently, the goal of Capitalism is to destroy all competition so as to control all the wealth. There is nothing fair, decent, altruistic or Humanitarian. Once the Midas curse is triggered in the Human mind, then all such soft thinking dies. There are psychological insights into the Human brain e.g. the theory of Simon Baron-Cohen (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/200803/male-brain-vs-female-brain-ii-what-is-extreme-male-brain) which explains how the so-called alpha male rises to the top with extreme violence (see also Sapolsky's monkeys). In ancient myth and legend maybe, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments i.e. the guidance for Humans to guard against their innate failings so as to create more just societies. As social code of behaviour, they would still work if anyone bothered to apply them. Maybe Sapolsky was onto something: give all the alpha males TB and the world would be transformed.....:wink: Whoops - the slippery slope to Eugenics!


Excellent journalism Mr. Johnson. This sad story is being played out. It has reached a level of complexity where it starts to be ungovernable. Though it seems it is to big and too strong to break, it is in it's last throws and we are just getting started.
We have the power to imagine and work for the future we must have to survive the climate disruption on the horizon. With so many great writers like Jake, and websites like CD, the word is getting out. This election was a large enough fraud to expose the whole thing. Bush did it to the Repubs and Clinton machine is doing it to the Dems. The cracks are happening. We have to be strong and together behind our moral vision. DAPL has inspired me.
Vote for Stein and a new direction.


Signs point to YES.


Knowledge is power

Ignorance is how it's held


Excellent article Jake Johnson.


The American empire is in its slow decline. This is a dangerous time for empires because they tend to counter their slide into dotage with extreme bouts of violence. Unfortunately the American empire, declining as it is, has enormous amounts of destructive power, sufficient to destroy the World several times over. Where other nations have made it national policy never to be the first to use nuclear weapons against any other nation, the US has not followed that lead. No, it has kept nuclear weapons as a first strike option in its arsenal of military options. There is no way to be polite about it, the US is an indecent, immoral, unethical and completely militarily obsessed nation of evil destroyers! That's what the history books show. If I am wrong, I sure don't see where.


All you really need to know about America is that this country has killed more people, far more people, than any other country since WW2. If you could make this any worse you could also know that most of these millions never threatened or attacked America.


What Will Replace It?

--"capitalism will fail too. The existential question we face, then, is: what, and who, will replace it?"
_ -- Arundhati Roy

The idea of growth betrays us,
the mountains burn.
I look for a small bird

in marshes where great egrets ballooned
into the wind
rolling over in waves

just like this hand
this bloody stew of rivers
and limbs and bombs

and bombs: this torture in the museum of emperors
over and over
this loss this loss

this loss, this witness.
I cross the dead country
with pockets full of shale

and teeth
the whores in the skyscrapers
ignore the water board

and the children
sacrificed on the altar
of the holy paper and oil

of the messianic plunder: growth
standing at the lectern
making money for the network of famine.

We are forced to attend
in spite of the nature of the eruptions
that scald the children of cranes

and the last room of the bear.
What songs leave us this wounded?
Whose prayers

bring us such a cauldron of thieves
these daughters of the purse
this growth that smothers

wide tracts of trees?
There are no secrets.
We will not be able to run.


Comment on 'What Will Replace It'

It might have something to do with the sun
It might have something to do with the sun
It might have something to do with the sun.

wrestle with the rot we left them
and turn it into food

I want to believe the riches
the next farm will harvest
will sustain themselves

I have lost so much
My heroes have all been drowned

dropped from planes
and into mysterious bloodletting.
It might have something to do with the sun.

Can you invent the way to go on?


SI, total de acuerdo, together we go Forward!


You are totally correct! And what we must do is to go on, with the empire collapsing around us!


Maybe some good news...



That is good news. Thanks.