Sep 1, 2010, Vol: 17, No: 35
The Book of Revelation is not about predictions of the future. Rather it describes how empires destroy life, hope and the possibility of renewal. Chapter 6 symbolically reveals the mechanisms of empire. The Red Horse wields a great sword that takes peace from the earth resulting in people slaughtering one another.
This is most certainly a core strategy at the heart of American empire. Our history as European invaders began with our own slaughter of the native population, and then evolved into a strategy that exploited differences between tribes so that they would slaughter each other. When African slaves began to make alliances with poor whites a strategy was devised creating the movement of white supremacy known as the Ku Klux Klan. Later when the Civil Rights Movement began to organize into a poor peoples movement a new strategy called the “war on drugs” emerged which functions as a mask to imprison millions of black and brown folks. It is known as the new Jim Crow, a form of population control and enslavement in full view for anyone with eyes to see.
Our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan show this strategy on full display as we continually arm all tribal sides in a perpetual war of all against all. As benevolent peacekeepers we can claim to be the voice of law and order even though we have become the primary source of violence. This is what the Book of Revelation reveals: the inherent warring blood thirstiness which is characteristic of all empires, including ours.
The Red Horse is constantly turning people against each other while acting as a source of authority and control. We most certainly see this within our own city in the rise of homelessness, and hopelessness. The homeless are not poor because of their own character defects. The homeless are poor because the system in which we live is a system that is set up for winners and losers. At the top are fattened pigs whose appetites are insatiable. At the bottom are emaciated once-humans who stagger through our streets ghost-like no longer knowing who they are, whose they are, or why they are. Empire, like a vampire, has sucked them dry of lifeblood. They are zombies, economic refugees, the living corpse of capitalism.
What is needed is the power that can resurrect the dead. This is a power so full of life and community that it overcomes fear, freeing us from empire’s illusions and threats. Freeing us to become maladjusted to what is thought of as normal. We need a movement that restructures society so that a ceiling is put on wealth, ending forever aristocracies of power. We need a floorboard through which the poor cannot fall, so that generational poverty might perish from our land. We need the resurrection of a new insurrection, a revolution of a new socialism. This is the path toward hope.<< Back to Article Details