As an American and a Turk, I am used to constantly comparing and contrasting both countries; I observe the political situations in order to find patterns and—sometimes—identify parallel and divergent trends in both. This might be the most crucial period for either country in recent memory; Turkey is struggling with the aftermath of a failed military coup in July and the United States will experience its most contentious presidential election in (arguably) the country’s history on 8 November 2016. The uncertain situation in both countries is not just a local issue; since both states are geopolitically important the repercussions of events in either are felt far beyond their respective borders.
Two Countries That Are Strangely Connected. Image Courtesy Of: http://turkicamerican.org/networking-for-success/
In the era of globalization and late-stage/extreme capitalism, we are seeing a growing dissatisfaction with the system of governance (and its companion, neo-liberal economics) all over the world. Economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen was one of the first to note how deeply the American political system was tied to economics. This is explained in The Social Scientist as Public Intellectual:
Veblen did not treat business and government as separate entities but framed them as components of an integrated institutional order […] the rising complexity of industry and its subsequent growth in productive capacity demanded new regulations to ensure the security of investment capital. The state became the proper means through which to achieve this goal and maintain the stability of traditional economic arrangements” (Gattone 2006, 36).
This system, characterized by an intimate relationship between state power and business interests, has defined the American political system since its inception and—after WWII—was exported to the rest of the world. Following the Cold War and the end of the communist/socialist alternative represented by the Soviet Union and its allies, American style capitalism became the pre-eminent world economic (and thereby political) system. Now, we are beginning to see some of the faults of this global interconnectedness—the state is no longer independent, and it is the rich states who exert a powerful influence on the poorer states; essentially, there is an unequal lack of independence. No state is completely independent, and it is the poorer states that are less independent than richer states in this economic system.
A Rudimentary Map Explaining the Global Divide. Image Courtesy Of: https://www.bartlett.ucl.ac.uk/dpu/news/Thinking_across_boundaries_RGS
Recent events in Turkey are a perfect example of this trend. After a deadly blast in southeast Turkey following the arrest of several prominent Kurdish leaders from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Kurdish protests have broken out in Istanbul. The perpetrators of the blast are not known, but BBC reported that ISIS/ISIL/DAESH claimed responsibility; the Kurdish Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) were originally suspected. Regardless of who the culprits are, it just shows how Turkey—and the Turkish state—is not independent. They have been pushed into the Syrian crisis along with (and perhaps at the behest of) the United States, and now no one knows how to get out of it. Since the 15 July attempted coup, Turkey has slowly spiraled more and more out of control. The BBC asks “is Turkey still a democracy?”, Newsweek is saying “Turkey is Headed for a Bloodbath”, while a Washington Post opinion piece by Asli Aydintasbas laments the downfall of Turkish “democracy”:
The story of Turkey is fast becoming a heartbreaking saga of a budding Muslim democracy tossing out a historic chance at progress, only to settle for a familiar pattern of Middle East despotism by succumbing to a retro personality cult. A decade ago, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was applauded by the world for the pace of its reforms and advances toward European Union membership. I myself was writing in praise of the ruling party AKP’s brand of “Muslim democrats,” which at the time seemed like a hopeful alternative to both the hard-line secularism of Kemalism and Islamic radicalism. A decade later, Turkey is barely able to hold civilized relations with its western allies, experiencing a rapid decline as rule of law, and has become a thorn in Europe’s side.
Ms. Aydintasbas’ retrospective account uses many of the adjectives we have come to associate with liberal, progressive, democratic regimes in the globalist era of neo-liberal economic development: “Progress”, “Advancement”, “Hope”, “Change” and “Reform” are the keywords bandied about in a way to convince people that what is happening is unquestioningly good—both morally and politically. But is all that glitters gold? In order to answer that question, it is first helpful to look at recent events in the world’s number one exporter of democracy—the United States of America—before returning to Turkey.
On 10 October 2016 journalist Mary Forgione’s story appeared in the LA Times with the headline “Detained in Turkey for a visa violation, all alone. Would I ever get home?”. At first glance, it is one of those eye-catching headlines that harkens back to the era of Midnight Express. Of course, there is an element of this—but the real consequences of such reporting go far, far deeper. Ms. Forgione recounts her story of being detained at the airport in Istanbul after returning from Europe because she did not have an exit stamp from Turkey in her passport; either she—or more likely the operators of the cruise ship she had departed Istanbul on—failed to procure an exit stamp upon leaving the port in Istanbul. As the story notes, Turkey is concerned with their border security because of the ongoing Syrian civil war. This is, of course, a normal precaution for a state to take, but in the globalized era that encourages “open borders” as the panacea to all ills these kind of policies are not always shown in the best of lights and this article is an example of that. Interestingly, the last line of the story sums it up well: “And if I ever again run into a visa problem while traveling overseas, I’ll know not to turn to the State Department, which usually doesn’t help with such issues”. At the end of the day, it is the incompetence of U.S. diplomats that is highlighted…but in the headline, Turkey is the place that gets slammed, making it part of a media “narrative”. This is a perfect example of media framing, and it is part of the media bias in the United States that is threatening “democracy” and the flourishing of a larger democratic society.
In coverage of the upcoming U.S. elections we can see this kind of bias everywhere. All sorts of media outlets are rushing to endorse one of the candidates, making sure to tell their readership that this is an “unprecedented” step. This is not a problem in theory since an independent media is one prerequisite for democracy; it becomes a problem when the endorsements are—unquestioningly—in favor of one candidate while shaming the other. Foreign Policy’s recent endorsement of U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is a good example of this process. Their note is couched in language that glorifies the tenets of democracy, designed to disguise the bias:
In the nearly half-century history of Foreign Policy, the editors of this publication have never endorsed a candidate for political office. We cherish and fiercely protect this publication’s independence and its reputation for objectivity, and we deeply value our relationship with all of our readers, regardless of political orientation. It is for all these reasons that FP’s editors are now breaking with tradition to endorse Hillary Clinton for the next president of the United States.
A closer reading of the endorsement, however, shows that many of the points brought out are in fact subject to debate. One such point is that which claims Ms. Clinton’s rival, Republican nominee Donald Trump, “has alternatively forgiven then defended Russia’s invasion of Crimea and employed advisors with close ties to the Russian president and his cronies”. The story cited claims that Mr. Trump did not know about the situation in Ukraine, yet it is clear from other news stories that the United States administration run by Ms. Clinton’s party had a hand in the Ukrainian “regime change”. Indeed, one conservative outlet asks the rhetorical question “is the U.S. back in the coup business?” Leaked transcripts of state department calls cited by the BBC also support the notion that there was U.S. involvement—Russia has repeatedly claimed it, mostly to absolve themselves of guilt in the eyes of the international community. Given the possibility of U.S—particularly Hillary Clinton’s—involvement in July’s attempted coup in Turkey through the reclusive Islamist cleric Fethullah Gulen (possibly to secure Turkey’s position in the global economy given President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s growing authoritarianism), I am not so sure that the United States is completely innocent in Ukraine, either. And that is enough to tell me that maybe the US does not need a President pushing for coups and “regime change” around the world; even if it were true maybe its better that Mr. Trump doesn’t care about Ukraine since it would mean less meddling in foreign countries. Just don’t tell Foreign Policy I said that.
Mr. Trump Has Business Interests All Over the World–Including Istanbul. Perhaps, This Means an Unstable Turkey Would Affect his Bottom Line, and Therefore he Might Encourage Stability in the Country Rather Than Instability…Image Courtesy Of: https://twitter.com/br_uk/status/708263154770448384
This is just one example, from the foreign policy realm, of how media in the United States is continually framing issues and threatening true democracy. The Huffington Post even runs a “Editor’s note” complete with hyperlinks following every story regarding the election that reads:
“Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S”.
Even to the uninitiated, this screams “media bias”. But that is not surprising, since liberal investor—and renowned champion of global homogenization George Soros—has influence over of much of the U.S. Media. It is certainly a worrying trend for American democracy—and indeed democracy in other countries that fall victim to American policies—that the U.S. media is less than independent. Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index shows that from 2002 to 2007 (the years of George W. Bush’s presidency) the United States’ Press Freedom Index fell from 17th in the world (2002) to 48th in the world (2007). Notably, the “change” promised by democratic President Barack Obama didn’t materialize in terms of press freedom either. The U.S. ranking in 2008 was 36th in the world; despite climbing to a high of 20th in 2009, as of 2015 the U.S. ranking was lower than in 2007, 49th in the world. A few outlets have tried to point out how media bias is “unjustified” but, more often than not, they get shouted down in the ideological maelstrom that has become American politics.
The Writing Is On The Wall. Image Courtesy Of: https://rsf.org/en/united-states
It is important to note that the consequences of this media bias are not just confined to engineering the election by encouraging readers to choose one candidate over the other. Rather, this type of bias also defends political actions that are not defensible in “democratic” society. This is, arguably, more worrisome in terms of the political climate and leads Mr. Trump and his backers to make claims that the elections are “rigged” or that these elections will define if the United States will remain a “free country”. Such polarizing rhetoric, however, does not come out of a vacuum. The climate driven by the media is one of an almost fascistic silencing of opposing views, whitewashing corruption and supporting (at least tacitly) political violence.
Shhh! Nothing To See Here Folks, Nothing Corrupt at All. Image Courtesy Of: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-marshall-crotty/has-hillary-clinton-won-the-email-battle-only-to-lose-the-corruption-war_b_11251504.html
It has become clear that the Clinton campaign has received debate questions ahead of time (which is forbidden) through media leaks. When one Clinton aide was questioned about this, she fell back and—unable to defend herself—defiantly stated that “she would not be persecuted”. In the current climate, telling the truth and admitting to a wrongdoing apparently amounts to persecution. Unfortunately, similar “un-democratic” actions also get short shrift in much of the media. After the uproar about violence at Mr. Trump’s rallies (one of the points touched upon by Huffington Post’s aforementioned Editor’s Note), it became clear that agitators from the democratic party had been sent to the rallies to incite violence; a Youtube video shows the conversations. Two democratic operatives lost their jobs after the news came out, but the Washington Post was still quick to report that there was no “direct” contact between these men and Ms. Clinton’s campaign. In an election where the media is quick to believe every new accusation against one candidate—but is equally quick to deny any allegations against the other candidate—it is imperative that all citizens think critically about what they hear and read.
There are many other examples of this process. On 17 October 2016 a Republican Party office in North Carolina was firebombed; of course, the headlines didn’t carry the words “political terrorism”. On 21 October 2016 current Vice President Joe Biden—in a fairly unprecedented comment in the American political context—seemed to challenge Mr. Trump to a fight saying:
A Case of Political Terrorism In the United States? Image Courtesy Of: http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-37673802
What he said he did and does is the textbook definition of sexual assault. And think about this: It’s more than that. He said that ‘Because I’m famous, because I’m a star, because I’m a billionaire, I can do things other people can’t.’ What a disgusting assertion for anyone to make. The press always ask me, ‘Don’t I wish I were debating him?’ No, I wish we were in high school — I could take him behind the gym. That’s what I wish.
It is certainly not the most couth statement any politician has ever made, but the (slightly) menacing picture of Mr. Biden that the CNN sourced story carried gives the impression that the media didn’t have a problem with the statement. After all, Mr. Trump’s comments were “morally” deplorable. Yet on the other side, insinuating that Mr. Trump’s wife was “an escort” is not “morally” wrong at all—such is the state of American politics.
In A Ridiculous Election, Neither Candidate is Very Appealing. Images Courtesy Of: http://www.businessinsider.com/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-helps-her-2015-9 (L) and http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2016/11/04/donald_trump_s_plan_to_privatize_america_s_roads_and_bridges.html (R).
Having given the background regarding the U.S. election, this is where I will synthesize my argument. In the current state of the world it is “progressive” and “liberal” ideas that are pushing the world towards a consensus of a globalized community driven by the engine of neo-liberal economic development. Anything that goes against this “grand narrative”, to borrow a term from French sociologist Jean Francois Lyotard, is labeled as “reactionary”, “xenophobic”, and “bigoted”. While there may indeed be people who feel this way on one side of the divide, there are also those who defend the “progressive” ideals of globalism and neo-liberal economics with an almost fascistic zeal that is no better. In this context, two wrongs most certainly do not make a right. This is why the world would do well to move into a “post-ideological” stage that does away with the steadfast labels “conservative” and “liberal”. Indeed, the current American election has shown that these labels are shifting. The ostensibly left-leaning Democratic party, represented by Hillary Clinton, has become the party of the establishment—even the FBI was pressured to cover up any wrong doing on her part regarding her handling of classified information. And on the other end, Mr. Trump has been vilified and attacked in nearly every manner imaginable; the smear campaign has been so intense it is clear he is not at all the establishment’s choice (which is, in itself, food for thought).
There are many examples in history in the ways that “progressive” and “globalist” ideas have served as cover for more nefarious enterprises of domination as humans succumb to Nietzsche’s “will to power”. Miroslav Vanek and Pavel Mucke’s Velvet Revolutions: An Oral History of Czech Society gives one example of this process in the Czech context; “among other things, they [the communists] launched a campaign against ‘reactionary’ values and ‘bourgeois and petit-bourgeois relics,’ with the goal of controlling as many ‘human souls’ as possible and creating a ‘new human being’ within a ‘progressive’ society constructed (or rather re-arranged) according to the Soviet model” (Vanek and Mucke 2016, 10). The values attacked by the communists justified the creation of what would become a totalitarian state, and later the authors show the parallels to the modern system:
People enjoy freedom through several types of rights: civil, political, economic, and social. Excessive emphasis on one of them over the others is the beginning of limitations on the exercise of free will. The truly free (liberal)society maintains a balance between the various types of rights. In addition, freedom is achieved when it is linked to responsibility. The attempt to separate freedom from responsibility (as under the Communist system and in present attempts by market fundamentalists) usually ends in failure” (Vanek and Mucke 2016, 16. Emphasis added).
The authors show an odd parallel between the communist system of the past and the current neo-liberal order of the world economy. When freedom is not connected to responsibility—such as a free society’s responsibility to maintain a free and unbiased media—we start to have problems.
The same emphasis on progressive values is what brought the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini back to Iran in the days preceding the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Michael Rubin, using it as context for the current situation in Turkey, explains:
Many Carter-administration officials believed Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini when he told the Guardian in 1978, ‘I don’t want to have the power or the government in my hand; I am not interested in personal power.’ William Miller, staff director for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, even called Khomeini ‘a progressive force for human rights.’ Secretary of State Hillary Clinton famously described Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a ‘reformer,’ a view shared by former Senate colleague and successor John Kerry … (Michael Rubin 2016, American Enterprise Institute).
This brings us, of course, back to Turkey. Mr. Rubin calls the July 15 coup attempt “Turkey’s Reichstag Fire”, insinuating that it was forces within Turkey that drove the attempted putsch. As I have said earlier, I am not convinced that the United States did not have a hand in it but that is beyond the point here. What is important is that the United States—and indeed, much of the West—believed Mr. Erdogan when he claimed that he was a “progressive” force representing “moderate” Islam. In those days back in 2004, as a young undergraduate at the University of Colorado pursuing a B.A. in International Affairs, I had said that his mission to roll-back the influence of the secular military in the name of joining the European Union was a ruse; it was his own way of getting rid of opponents in a politically palatable way. Of course, nobody listened back then since Mr. Erdogan was a “forward-thinking moderate”. I will let Mr. Rubin’s piece explain the rest in depth:
Even after Erdogan began subtly shifting Turkey’s orientation from West to East, American officials remained largely in denial. Standing beside Erdogan at his residence in Ankara on June 27, 2004, President George W. Bush praised Turkey as an ‘example…on how to be a Muslim country and at the same time a country which embraces democracy and rule of law and freedom.’ Daniel Fried, assistant secretary of state for European Affairs, described the AKP as ‘a kind of Muslim version of a Christian Democratic Party,’ that is, not religious at all. ‘We are on the same page moving toward the kind of world we want,’ Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a Turkish audience after meeting Erdogan in July 2011. Both public statements and Wikileaks documents show that, with the exception of Eric Edelman (who served in Turkey from 2003 to 2005), every U.S. ambassador to Turkey—from Morton Abramowitz (1989–1991) to Frank Ricciardone (2011–2014) dismissed concerns that Erdogan harbored an Islamist agenda that trumped his spoken commitment to pluralism and integration with Europe (Michael Rubin 2016, American Enterprise Institute).
Again, I have bolded the words that play into the current discourse that connects globalism and pluralism to such abstract concepts as “democracy” and “freedom”. Whose “democracy” and whose “freedom”? Of course Ms. Clinton supported Mr, Erdogan “moving toward the kind of world we want”. That kind of world is characterized by open borders, free trade, and neo-liberal economic development. Mr. Erdogan was privatizing state owned industries in Turkey and opening it up to international capital—while quietly silencing his opponents, such as those who came out during Gezi in 2013. After all, he was an American ally and could do no wrong. That was all until the war in Syria, of course. At that point, things changed. Realist geopolitics returned to the fore, the Kurdish issue was reignited, and the borders started closing. Mr Erdogan began consolidating his power. That’s when, perhaps, the U.S. and Ms. Clinton decided that enough was enough and pushed for the coup attempt. It failed, due in no small part to the fact that the leader had enjoyed so many years of full-blown support from his American allies. Even in Turkey, as opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper journalist Ms. Aydintasbas quoted above notes, his “reformist” ideas had been embraced even by his ostensibly “liberal” opponents—she herself admits to having bought into it! So what is the solution to the ills of late-stage/extreme capitalism and its stranglehold over governments and even human agency? For an answer, like Camus, I look to football.
Albert Camus, a Kindred Spirit. Image Courtesy Of: https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/gallery/2014/jun/24/14-quotes-from-football-inspired-writers-fans-world-cup
We must realize that people—regardless of their nationality, race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation—have real concerns that are not tied to their more general “ideological” outlook on the world. It is more nuanced, and—interestingly—it is in the global game of football that we can see this. The term industrial football is one that may be familiar to many football fans. It basically describes the modern trend where football has become commodified to such a degree that players are merely commodities valued for their labor alone (in the Marxian sense) and that they are just one cog in the machine of profit-based sporting culture. Teams—and their fans—have lost their agency as well in the context of rising ticket prices and international sponsorship deals; the club is no longer an autonomous representation of its community but beholden to investors who come from a class of global capitalist entrepreneurs far removed from the local. In a sense this is the globalizing trend of neo-liberalism in microcosm. Liverpool no longer belongs to Liverpudlians, it belongs to Americans. Manchester United no longer belongs to Manchester, it belongs to Glazer. Chelsea no longer belongs to London, it belongs to Abramovich. And who knows how many English clubs will belong to Chinese interests in the future. The examples could go on forever.
Love United. Hate Glazer. Image Courtesy Of: http://www.toxicfox.co.uk/updates/love-united-hate-glazer-or-love-glazer-hate-united/
Joe Kennedy’s Games Without Frontiers is an interesting take on the processes affecting world football, written from a personal perspective. He notes, in regards to political persuasion, that “there is no space on the left, at least in England, for the current generation of people in their thirties and twenties to define their own version of political authenticity” (Kennedy 2016, 125). This may, of course, be because of the changes in orientation of left-leaning parties as explained above in the U.S. context. Kennedy goes on:
the questions posed by the needs of a wildly variegated precariat and a class who have, as the contemporary sociologist Imogen Tyler argues persuasively, been othered into political oblivion under neoliberalism, are beyond the range of acknowledgment of both Labour’s and football’s comprehension of ‘society’ […] football fans [are] currently immobilized with frustration at the options which seem to be the only ones available to them: acquiescence to the accelerating commodification of supporting or backing an #AMF [Against Modern Football, a movement also against Industrial Football] movement which seems atavistic at both of its ideological poles (Kennedy 2016, 126).
Indeed, the anti-industrial football/AMF movement can be either far-right, as we have seen in Eastern Europe and in England, or far left as we have seen with Hamburg’s St. Pauli and London’s Dulwich Hamlet FC. At the root, however, we see that both sides are against the commodification of sport, they just come from different ideological backgrounds. It is not hard to see why the movement against industrial football has become so widespread, coming to appeal to various ideologies. The 2018 Russian World Cup is quickly becoming President Vladimir Putin’s World Cup, designed to showcase the country’s “progressive” entrée into the world (sporting) economy. The more Russia plays the “game”, the more money FIFA makes. The homogenization of world football too has worked hand in hand with the homogenization of world culture. FIFA, on 3 November 2016, declared that the English and Scottish national teams cannot wear poppies on their shirts during an upcoming World Cup qualifying match. According to FIFA the poppies, a sign of respect for the UK citizens who have fallen in battle fighting for their country, are a “political statement”. Again, in the name of making more profits (God forbid the poppies “offend” anyone), FIFA—as the engine of Industrial Football—have again attempted to sanitize the global game beyond any recognition of its former working-class self.
World Football, Hand In Hand With World (Elite) Politics. Image Courtesy Of: http://mashable.com/2016/06/14/russia-world-cup-fan-violence-france/#Mlv_z.H9DqqS
In the world, then, we must realize that people are moving against global homogenization driven by neo-liberalism and that one candidate—regardless of political party—is not necessarily much better than the other. Rather, we must resist the arbitrary divisions that politicians try to impose and think critically of the ideas beyond just the personalities and parties.
Regarding these divisions, the African-American sociologist W.E.B. DuBois gives an interesting perspective in the context of America’s institutionalized racism. He points out that there is a sense of noblesse oblige inherent among privileged White Americans regarding their African-American countrymen:
Here it is that the comedy verges to tragedy. The first minor note is struck, all unconsciously, by those worthy souls in whom consciousness of high descent brings burning desire to spread the gift abroad,—the obligation of nobility to the ignoble. Such sense of duty assumes two things: a real possession of the heritage and its frank appreciation by the humble-born. So long, then, as humble black folk, voluble with thanks receive barrels of old clothes from lordly and generous whites, there is much mental peace and moral satisfaction (W.E.B. DuBois On the Meaning Of Race, 33).
By paying lip service to “progressive” values nothing ever changes; the rich feel morally secure while the poor remain destitute. One example of this is the case of Shirley Chisholm, the first black women to be elected to the United States Congress. By her own admission, it was Northerners from New York and Pennsylvania (the “progressives” of the time) who urged her to pull back from her campaign for the presidency in 1972. (From 1:00 on in a great video). This climate causes divisions between people who need not–and indeed should not–be divided. In a recent Washington Post article a racial motive is inserted into what seems to be a simple dispute over one neighbor being loud in the middle of the night. The African-American who was accused of being loud says: “White people will sometimes speak without thinking of the bigger implications of their actions…They’re just kind of reacting. That kind of speaks to their own privilege.” Unfortunately for lack of neutral reporting, the fact that the White neighbor was not aware of the other’s race is reduced to a footnote. The wide-sweeping generalizations regarding “white people” in the above quote are, similarly, not questioned. This kind of climate—where everything race-related is hyper-sensitized—is unfortunately a danger to social cohesion. After all, these were—before the race element—two people of a similar economic class living in close proximity to one another. But by inserting the element of race into the dialogue—in the name of progressive politics—these two people become divided against their class and social interests. This is why literary and social critic Irving Howe could say that “the central problems of our society have to do, not with ethnic groupings, but with economic policy, social rule, class relations. They have to do with vast inequalities of wealth, with the shameful neglect of a growing class of subproletarians, with the readiness of policy-makers to tolerate high levels of unemployment” (Irving Howe, “The Limits of Ethnicity,” New Republic, June 25, 1977, p. 19.). It is this unfortunate situation that has led to a situation of “political slavery” for many of America’s African Americans.
In order to break these chains of thought, I argue, we must move to what I mentioned earlier: A post-ideological society. The modern day ideologies of “liberal/progressive” and “conservative/reactionary” tend to classify people according to certain lines of thought—even if they do not necessarily subscribe to them fully. As society modernizes and people become exposed to different ideas a mix of ideas becomes possible; no ideological “ideal type”, in Max Weber’s sense, exists. W.E.B. DuBois, writing near one hundred years ago, explains how difference need not be something bad, something that needs to be erased:
No one can envisage a dead level of sameness in human types . . . there is every shade of method and conception and thought in differing groups of human hearts and minds, and the preservation and development of this interesting and stimulating variety in mankind is a great human duty (W.E.B. DuBois, On the Meaning of Race, 38).
The globalizing project is facing opposition from many corners for precisely this reason. The goal of this project is not really a “progressive” acceptance of all races, ethnicities, cultures, and nationalities. Instead, the goal is the total erasure of all racial, ethnic, cultural, and national identities to further consolidate humanity into one docile, homogenized, whole that can play two crucial roles that will further the uninhibited growth of global capitalism: the role of producer, and the role of consumer.
After all, that is what will allow the world system to continue as it is, unabated. There will be winners (the global north) and losers (the global south) in this exchange, and it will pit the rich elites in the global south against their less affluent countrymen. It very well could lead to a WW3 situation; Syria is just one example of a conflict that could emerge from this kind of internal inequality in the global South. The elites can only hold the majority down for so long.
In order to resist this kind of large-scale homogenization of the world we must recognize and embrace difference; humanity is stronger when difference can be freely expressed. This is something completely reliant on human agency. No one, no state, no government can make it happen magically (and that is why they have focused on a path of erasure (Homogenization), rather than acceptance (Heterogeneity)).
This is why we have a responsibility to stand up to media bias everywhere, regardless of if it is Turkey or the United States or anywhere else. Just because one country is “less democratic” than the other does not mean that censorship and bias are not present. This is why we have a responsibility to stand up to the commodification of our daily lives—down to our sports clubs; just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it is good. This is why we have a responsibility to resist being blinded by decades-old ideologies that only divide us further by pigeon-holing us into certain lines of thought. And this is certainly why we should seriously consider, in politics, which candidate best represents our intentions, and resist those candidates who are only in it for themselves. In short, we must always think critically about what is happening around us. If we do not, we risk being sucked into a vortex from which there will be no escape.