Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity

 by Robert Jensen

April 2004, City Lights Publishers

ISBN 0-87286-432-4   160pp   $11.95

Maintaining political, intellectual, and ethical hope in the heart of the world’s most powerful nation.

As we approach the elections of 2004, U.S. progressives are faced with the challenge of how to confront our unresponsive and apparently untouchable power structures. With millions of anti-war demonstrators glibly dismissed as a “focus group,” and with the collapse of political and intellectual dialogue into slogans and imperatives used to stifle protest — “Support the Troops,” We Are the Greatest Nation On Earth,” etc. — a state of hopelessness and cynicism can become overwhelming.

Citizens of the Empire probes deeply into the sense of disempowerment that has resulted from the Left’s inability to halt the violent and repressive course of post-9/11 U.S. policy. In this passionate and very personal exploration of what it means to be a citizen of the world’s most powerful, affluent and militarized nation in an era of imperial expansion, Jensen offers a potent antidote to leftists’ despair over the future of democracy.

In a plainspoken deconstruction of the dominant political rhetoric —intentionally crafted to depress political discourse and activism — Jensen reveals the contradictions and falsehoods of the prevailing myths by using common-sense analogies that provide the reader with a clear-thinking rebuttal and a way to move forward with progressive political work and discussions.

With an ethical framework that integrates political, intellectual and emotional responses to the disheartening events of the past two years, Jensen examines the ways in which society has been led to this point and offers renewed hope for constructive engagement.

Robert Jensen is a professor of media law, ethics and politics at the University of Texas, Austin. He is the author of Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream, among other books. He also writes for popular media, and his opinion and analytic pieces on foreign policy, politics and race have appeared in papers and magazines throughout the United States.

City Lights Books is a publisher of fiction, essays, memoirs, translations, poetry, and books on social and political issues. We publish a dozen new books a year and are committed to providing the finest works of vanguard literature and oppositional politics.