An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire


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An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire
Arundhati RoyArundhati Roy offers a lucid briefing on what the Bush administration really means by “compassionate conservativism” and “the war on terror.” In An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire, Roy skewers the hypocrisy of this more-democratic-than-thou clan and its cohorts, but more importantly she reminds us that we hold the power to counter tyranny—in all of its forms—in our own hands.

Focusing on the disastrous US occupation of Iraq, Roy urges us to recognize and apply this authority, urging US dockworkers to refuse to load materials heading for Iraq; reservists to reject their call-ups; and activists to organize boycotts of Halliburton. Roy also calls on people in other countries to resist working as “janitor-soldiers,” and leave the detritus of the US invasion untouched.

Roy’s Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire also offers sharp theoretical tools for understanding the New American Empire—a dangerous paradigm, Roy argues here, that is entirely distinct from the imperialism of the British or even the New World Order of George Bush the elder.

Finally, she examines how resistance movements build power, offering 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 structural racism faced by many African Americans in the United States.

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