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The Bases of Empire
Book Review by Peter Dwyer, March 2009
Catherine Lutz, Pluto Press; £17.99
This book details how military bases, the springboard for US militarism, have changed continuously throughout history in relation to the needs of imperialism and the resistance to it.
It shows how in Latin America the US is using the "war on terror" as a subtext for new ways to get a foothold in key strategic areas such as the tri-border area of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. This is an important economic area and close to the Bolivian gas reserves at the centre of the class struggle unfolding there.
The second part of the book chronicles in rich detail the myriad forms of the beautiful, heroic and moving forms of resistance to US bases. It is a resistance that faces assassinations, violence, constitutional manipulation and vote-rigging by the US and the local ruling classes.
The book pays much attention to the role of social movement campaigns around the world. However, the inclusion of a chapter on resistance in the belly of the beast and the role of the US anti-war movement would have been a useful addition to an otherwise fascinating second part of the book.
The struggles of the people in places as diverse as Okinawa, Turkey and Hawaii are an inspiration to us all. This book is useful ammunition and a timely reminder as to why we must mobilise as many people as possible to protest against Nato in Strasbourg this April.
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