Synopses & Reviews
The story Americans are wont to tell themselves about their nation is a compelling one: the United States is a force for good in the world, a haven for prosperous upward mobility, and a stalwart defender of democracy and human rights abroad.
With The Racket, veteran investigative journalist Matt Kennard pulls back the curtain and reveals a much darker truth. The picture of America he paints is radically at odds with that noble image: through Kennard’s eyes we see another America, one that has lashed the world to a neoliberal vision and has rewarded wealthy elites at the expense of ordinary people, genuine freedom, and the global environment. Building his case from more than 2,000 interviews with officials, intellectuals, and artists around the world, including Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Howard Zinn, John Pilger, and Banksy, Kennard reveals how we are sold a dream and how that dream obscures the reality of the corporate state, mass incarceration, and the evisceration of human rights.
A ringing polemic that’s powerfully rooted in fact, The Racket is as sure to be controversial as it is to fan the flames of serious reform and revolt.
Praise for Irregular Army
“Kennard’s careful and judicious investigations reveal an aspect of the modern US military system that should be of deep concern to American citizens—and to everyone.”—Noam Chomsky
“Chilling. . . . Illuminating. . . . Kennard’s nonpartisan portrait of martial waywardness is foreboding.”—Publishers Weekly
"In this sweeping, timely, and well-researched study of global capitalism, York University political scientist Panitch and York University visiting social justice scholar Gindin (coauthors, with Greg Albo, of In and Out of Crisis: The Global Financial Meltdown and Left Alternatives) trace economic developments from the 1944 Bretton Woods conference to the present. Panitch and Gindin maintain that after WWII, U.S. officials did not pursue a narrow conventional concept of national self-interest; rather, in pushing for nondiscriminatory international access for capital, 'European capitalists forged ties with American capitalists both within Europe and within the US,' strengthening cross-border capitalist powers. If this argument stretches the concept of class unity to a perhaps untenable solidity, it also underscores the evolution of 'a truly global financial system based on the internationalization of the U.S. financial system.' However, decades later, global capital mobility led to 72 financial crises in the 1990s among low- and middle-income nations. The authors conclude that 'turning the financial institutions that are the life-blood of global capitalism into public utilities' is a 'necessary prerequisite for social justice and democracy'; whether this is a desirable, or even plausible, action need not vitiate the merits of the authors' compelling arguments. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Lucid and indispensable guides to the history and practice of American Empire." Naomi Klein
"They have few rivals and no betters in analyzing the relations between politics and economics, between globalization and American power, between theory and quotidian reality, and between crisis and political possibility." Doug Henwood, editor of < i=""> Left Business Observer <> , author of < i=""> Wall Street <>
"This is a major work in political economy—rigorously researched, compellingly written, and bursting with fresh insights on nearly every page." Robert Pollin, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
"Combining the ferocity of investigative reporters, sophisticated skills in interpreting the historical archive, and a profound grasp of theory, Panitch and Gindin provide an astonishingly illuminating account of the making of global capitalism through the organization of a global financial system under US hegemony since World War II. A must read for everyone who is concerned about where the future of capitalism might lie." David Harvey, author of < i=""> The Enigma of Capital <>
"Panitch and Gindin give us a history of global capitalism that brings together what has often been represented as unconnected. The authors help us see the active making of global capitalism mostly overlooked in mainstream explanation. A great book." Saskia Sassen, author of < i=""> Territory, Authority, Rights <>
"In this important book, Kennard explores the direct impacts of militarized, globalized American capitalism on some of the most battered parts of our world. With devastating precision and a formidable sense of urgency, he reports on corporate shock doctors in Haiti, imperialist drug warriors in Honduras, pillaging coal and mining giants in southern Africa and Appalachia -- and so much more. Most importantly, he never loses sight of the growing numbers of resistors holding on to their creativity and self-determination in the face of these forces."
"Matt Kennard's perceptive direct reporting and analysis of policy aim to expose 'the racket' that dominates much of global society and to 'blow their cover'. His in-depth studies, ranging from Haiti to Palestine to Bolivia to Honduras to the destitute in New York City and far more, bring home in vivid and illuminating detail the reality of life and struggles of much of the world's population, their defeats and victories, their suffering and vitality and hope."
"Matt Kennard's The Racket is a powerful tool for self-education: it offers essential information about the insatiable and sordid nature of global, elitist, exploitive, profit-blinded governments and institutions that have, together, perfected the task of making billions of people miserable, poor and fatally unhappy. It also offers testimony from activists and artists who are not giving in, giving up, or lying down."
"Matt Kennard threw away a cushy career with an establishment newspaper just to let you in on a secret: you don't get the story, you get the cover-up. From Honduras to Haiti to Washington to London, Kennard lets us in on the details of buried truth."
"A crucial exposé of the powerful, of injustice, and of the war against the poor. It should inspire all of us to fight back."
"A brilliant atlas of what Kennard calls 'heavy history' - the hurricane-like path of global destruction wrought by neoliberalism and wars against the poor."
"This firecracker of a book, written by a former insider journalist who realised the true, exploitative agenda of corporate media, unleashes a gonzo journey across the world of US empire. From Palestine to Bolivia and America to South Africa, reporter Matt Kennard provides a roadmap of deformed economics, state violence and inspiring resistance. The Racket's key message is that another, more just world is possible when political and media courtiers of power recognise their own complicity in Washington's destructive policies in the name of 'development', 'humanitarian intervention' and 'liberation'. Read this book, be startled and then take action."
"Matt Kennard reveals the ruthless criminal dynamics of global imperialism. His analysis is richly researched, keenly illustrative, and consistently on target. May this book get the wide readership it deserves."
"I congratulate Matt Kennard for this brutally honest work. We need Kennard other writers like him who have the courage and creative mind to expose the lies and deception of the Free Market, Free Elections, Free Choices, Democracy, Peace, Cooperation, Friendship, Partnership, Equality, Justice and other beautiful words hiding savage brutality, violence, terrorism, colonialism, and imperialism."
"The Racket is tough, angry, relentlessly researched and riveting, in the grand Chomskyian tradition but with the added value of the journalist's mobility and on the spot coverage. Kennard's range is wide, both geographically and topically, but with a single target-the depredations of the US superpower's corporate and political elites on their own home turf and abroad that the lap-dog media rarely touch."
Groundbreaking account of the development of capitalism.
Panitch and Gindin's monumental study offers a significant rethinking of the development of global capitalism. Transcending classical theories of interimperialist rivalry and the false dichotomy between states and markets in the neoliberal era, this book produces an exceptionally rich account of postwar global capitalism to the present day. Focussing on the American state, Panitch and Gindin argue that its distinctiveness rests in its capacity to identify the interests of its own capital with that of capital in general, while restructuring other states to the end of spreading capitalist social relations and preventing economic crises from interrupting capital's globalizing tendencies. Examining recent economic crises, the authors identify social conflict occurring within, rather than between, states, producing political fault-lines replete with possibilities for the emergence of new movements to transcend capitalist markets and states.
The all-encompassing embrace of world capitalism at the beginning of the twenty-first century was generally attributed to the superiority of competitive markets. Globalization had appeared to be the natural outcome of this unstoppable process. But today, with global markets roiling and increasingly reliant on state intervention to stay afloat, it has become clear that markets and states aren’t straightforwardly opposing forces.
In this groundbreaking work, Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin demonstrate the intimate relationship between modern capitalism and the American state, including its role as an “informal empire” promoting free trade and capital movements. Through a powerful historical survey, they show how the US has superintended the restructuring of other states in favor of competitive markets and coordinated the management of increasingly frequent financial crises.
The Making of Global Capitalism, through its highly original analysis of the first great economic crisis of the twenty-first century, identifies the centrality of the social conflicts that occur within states rather than between them. These emerging fault lines hold out the possibility of new political movements transforming nation states and transcending global markets.
The US Empire, while masquerading as a force for good in the world, has enslaved much of humanity in the name of progress. At home, while its business elites have in turn enslaved the poor and underclass, the American rhetoric of freedom and democracy for all resounds.
In this controversial book, investigative journalist Matt Kennard takes us deep into the dark heart of American power. From the corporate state, the prison state and the state of our environment, to humanitarian intervention, the free trade fetish and the divide and rule of the working class, Empire Explained reveals how, no matter which side of the border we are on, we are all being conditioned to condone this modern form of slavery.
About the Author
is the former Research Director of the Canadian Autoworkers Union and Packer Visiting Chair in Social Justice at York University. Among his many publications, he is the author (with Greg Albo and Leo Panitch) of In and Out of Crisis: The Global Financial Meltdown and Left Alternatives
Leo Panitch is Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy and Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science at York University. Editor of The Socialist Register for 25 years, his many books include Working Class Politics in Crisis, A Different Kind of State, The End of Parliamentary Socialism, and American Empire and The Political Economy of Global Finance.
Table of Contents
PART 1: HOW WE OWNED YOU
1. Creating a Modern-day Slave State
2. The Racket
3. Rigging the System
4. Cursing Your Riches
PART 2: ENFORCEMENT
5. The Mob
6. With Friends Like These
7. Might is Right
8. A Drug War Colony
9. War on Hope
PART 3: REINFORCEMENT
10. The First Peoples of America and Their Land
11. Working America
12. Destitute America
13. Lock-up America
PART 4: WE'RE LOSING YOU
14. Turf War
15. Freedom Fighters
17. Successful Defiance
18. Culture as a Weapon of Resistance