Book Review: Exodus from Empire

July 18, 2007 17:57 | reviewed by Brian Precious

Terrence E. Paupp, Exodus from Empire (London, Pluto Press, 2006) £25/$40/€37.50July 18, 2007 17:57

This is a substantial work which has been praised by progressive academic Professor Richard Falk, among many others.The book's author ,Terrence E Paupp, has taught philosophy and international law,and in this book he outlines a vision of a world beyond US imperialism ,based upon justice and equity rather than on a race for world domination and maximisation of profit.

Pauppe opens by pointing out that the imperial mentality is itself at odds with the recognition of human rights,for which he gives the ghastly example of the truly brutal British suppression of the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya in the 1950s.Supporters of the so-called 'Euston Manifesto' for 'installing' democracy in the lucky recipients of US-led 'humantiarian intervention',take note.

This is particularly because Pauppe compares British conduct in Kenya with the present US ' war on

terror',from Guantanamo Bay to the secret 'rendition' torture centres in Eastern Europe.The 'war on terror' is a war OF terror, Pauppe says.Indeed, Pauppe says the administration of George W Bush has turned the US into 'the embodiment of what is implied by the term "rogue nation" 'and that the Bush gang has declared war on international law, the UN Charter, and even upon the US Constitution itself.

The author goes on to develop a perspective on history based upon the inevitable antagonisms that empires engender in those whom they seek to control and exploit. Paupp remarks that leaders of marginalised communities, such as Martin Luther King, have articulated the needs and demands of the communities they represent through a discourse of and 'exodus event' which,far from extolling the virtues of a 'clash of civilizations' ,would stress the convergence and cooperation of civilizations.

I am not sure if Pauppe is theoretically aware of the many ways in which any antagonism can be expressed in the politics of a marginalised and exploited community - possibly expressed at the expense of other exploited groups- but for this reviewer his analysis seems to point in the right direction.

Paupp is rightly trenchant in describing the extent to which democracy has now effectively been trashed in the United States. He even remarks that the quality and degree of democracy in the US is not only obscured but deliberately repressed - by such measures as the Patriot Act - ,as well as an elite which is happy with an electorate with a seemingly increasing level of ignorance,or "attention deficit democracy". This reviewer is writing from Britain.Does all this remind you of somewhere? With a population as usefully comatose as this, was it any wonder that an idiot like Francis Fukuyama was able to write his 'masterpiece' "The End of History" ? And is it any wonder that Fukuyama has now sheepishly withdrawn this position?

Pauppe goes on to describe how the US and elsewhere have been propagandised to accept a kind of post-9-11 'postmodern fascism', combining cultural uniformity with the apparatus of a national security state,as the domestic discourse of an elite determined to cement US hegemony worldwide.

The final two chapters of the book comprise Pauppe's answer to this dismal future for humanity - including his use of the term 'global governance', a term which makes me wary. This is because this term has been spouted interminably by pseudo-left apologists for the present renewal of imperialism. But in Pauppe's hands the term doesn't seem to be abused or degraded, as he outlines such measures as debt forgiveness, and examines the changes sweeping across Latin America as a new sign of hope. Pauppe also calls for a tribunal in which the US empire will be held to account for it's crimes!

So it does seem as though Richard Falk is right when he says there is no book quite like this one. It is neither a cool narrative history nor a political assault which makes no suggestions of it's own, but spends it's final sections making proposals for what to do about the hideous, awesome mess to which capitalism and imperialism have brought us.