Although buzzwords like freedom, equality, and independence are used gratuitously on the July 4th holiday, we ask: freedom, equality, and independence for whom?

Throughout the modern history of the United States, promoting freedom at home has been tied up with justifying security prerogatives and military presence abroad. The pieces below are taken from our archive, and deal with the intersections of imperialism, racism, and capitalism, both internationally and at home.

—Rosie Gillies



 Against National Security Citizenship
by Aziz Rana

“At the heart of U.S. civic nationalism is the idea that the country’s militarism is always in service of standing warmheartedly against oppression in all the world.”

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The Pervasive Power of the Settler Mindset
by Nikhil Pal Singh

More than simple racism or discrimination, the destructive premise at the core of the American settler narrative is that freedom is built upon violent elimination.

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How Wall Street Colonized the Caribbean
by Peter James Hudson

The expansion of banks such as Citigroup into Cuba, Haiti, and beyond reveal a story of capitalism built on blood, labor, and racial lines.

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What White Supremacists Know
by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

The violent theft of land and capital is at the core of the U.S. experiment: the U.S. military got its start in the wars against Native Americans.

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Decolonizing the University
an interview with Lorgia García-Peña

“Ethnic studies is a critical, anticolonial site of knowledge production, learning, and teaching. I cannot think of a more urgent area of study at any institution of learning, from elementary schools up to college.”

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To Remake the World: Slavery, Racial Capitalism, and Justice
by Walter Johnson

The phrase “Empire of Cotton” points to how imperialism can be practiced at home. But to say that slaves were dehumanized is “harmful, and worth resisting.”

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Peace Regimes
by Jessie Kindig

“To use peace to describe policies reliant on violence is to craft a story about ends that justifies all possible means.”

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When Jamaica Led the Postcolonial Fight Against Exploitation
by Adom Getachew

In the 1970s, a bloc of Third World states forced the United Nations to take seriously the unequal distribution of global wealth. Could their example inspire a new generation?

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What Did Cedric Robinson Mean by Racial Capitalism?
by Robin D. G. Kelley

Talk of liberty and independence seems grossly bloated when we live in a modern world system of racial capitalism dependent on slavery, imperialism, and genocide.

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Frederick Douglass is Dead
by Joshua Bennett

On July 5, 1852, Douglass delivered his renowned speech “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” This poem imagines Douglass both as poltergeist and holy spirit. 

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Imperialism After Empire
by Stuart Schrader

A new book reveals the extent of the "Greater United States," but territory is not as important as it used to be. Instead, imperialism endures today in the logic of capitalism.

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An Open Letter from Guam to America
by Victoria-Lola M. Leon Guerrero

“Today you occupy nearly one-third of our island, and station bombers and nuclear powered submarines here to flex your might to our neighbors.”

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War Is Betrayal
by Chris Hedges

Any story of war is a story of elites preying on the weak, the gullible, the marginal, the poor.

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The Market Police
by J. W. Mason

The origins of neoliberalism can be traced to an admiration for colonial empires and their ability to maintain hierarchies of wealth and power.