Victor Wallis is a professor at the Berklee College of Music and was for 20 years the managing editor of Socialism and Democracy. Several months ago he joined us to talk about the radical intervention he saw as necessary to deal with the threat from climate change. He outlined this in his book Red-Green Revolution.
Now Victor Wallis returns to WhoWhatWhy to talk about his broad alternative framework of America, which he lays out in his new work, Democracy Denied.
This project began as a series of lectures he was to give in China, to an audience that didn’t understand America. As he worked on it, he realized that many of the ideas he was presenting were also not known by most Americans.
In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, he talks first about what he sees as the flawed notion of “American exceptionalism:” the supposed moral authority by which we proselytize for freedom while having the highest incarceration rate in the world and increasing levels of inequality.
He explains how our moralizing leads to and perpetuates the kind of police state necessary to take on a war on drugs, encourage law and order, and plan for potential rebellion.
Wallis talks about US imperialism— 800 bases around the world, the projection of American power directly on to the regimes of other countries, and our constant need to pass judgment on those regimes. This is one of the hallmarks of imperialism, as he sees it.
He combines all of this with a sharp critique of the long history of racism in America and shows how it has, from our very beginnings, defined how we see, judge, and sometimes look down upon, people around the world who are not just like us.
Wallis provides us with his alternative view of the world in a kind of economic and geopolitical tour de force.