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David Whyte

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Market Patriotism and the “War on Terror”

The perennial problem for capitalist social orders is that the real, experienced conditions of capitalism undermine the universalist principles that have historically legitimized capitalist social orders. Neoliberalism creates a set of conditions that more openly and transparently undermine the basis of its own legitimacy insofar as the fundamental contradictions between the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few and the liberal tropes of universal prosperity, representation, and freedom become more apparent. As the viability of liberal universalism begins to wane, U.S. imperialist military interventions are increasingly characterized by an ideological mobilization of “market patriotism” that is welding notions of “national security” and the “national interest” to the (neoliberal) market. The article considers how, under conditions of a “war on terror” market patriotism, has been mobilized to facilitate the uninterrupted accumulation of profits, and to provide a basis for heightened collaboration between corporations and government institutions. It analyses the role of market patriotism in the period following the September 11 attacks on New York and in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, before arguing that market patriotism is central to the mobilization of public and private apparatuses to “secure the Imperium” at home and abroad.

neoliberalism, market patriotism, war on terrorism, hegemony, Gramsci, U.S. imperialism.

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 34, Nos. 3-4 (2007): 111-131