The Battle Hymn of the Empire

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Image for post
Painting by Andrea Mazzocchetti

First, let me say that the Americans didn’t invent imperialism, and these lyrics could have been written about any imperial power at any time in history — including my own native land, the UK. Plenty of imperial nasty to choose from. But I happened to be living in America at the time…

To the obvious tune. Feel free to perform it in public :-)

The Battle Hymn of the Empire

O mine eyes have seen the glory of the Pax Americana:
where there’s anything of value, be it oil or bananas,
our corporations gather like mechanical piranhas —
then our troops go marching in!

Glory, glory, it’s pre-emptive —
Glory, glory, it’s redemptive —
But all the while we know the real incentive
is Money in the Bank!

O the peasants of the world get silly notions in their heads,
like the right of common people to respect and work and bread;
just whisper “Land Reform” and we see Reds beneath our beds —
then our troops go marching in!

We love to call it patriotic,
when we rush to aid regimes despotic;
admittedly it seems a bit myopic —
but the Money’s in the Bank!

O we needn’t fear the public ‘cos our media are tame,
we can trust them to conceal the dirty details of our game;
the voters never know what we get up to in their name
when our troops go marching in!

We’re building bases in Malaysia
and every ‘stan in Central Asia;
the profit-margins would amaze ya!
and it’s Money in the Bank.

We admit no God but Mammon: every prayer’s a sales pitch.
We obey no law but Darwin’s: social justice makes us itch.
As we strive to make them stupid, let them die to make us rich —
let the troops go marching in!

Disease, disaster, radiation;
climate change, deforestation;
hunger, fear and degradation:
and it’s us they have to thank!

Poisoned water, ruined soil:
grief and rage and vengeance on the boil.
Who cares? what really matters is the Oil —
and the Money in the Bank.

[all together now in close harmony!]

Glory, glory, it’s pre-emptive —
Glory, glory, it’s redemptive —
But all the while we know the real incentive
is Money… in… the… Bank!

— GPL Mar 2003 D. A. Clarke

Suggested background reading: Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’s Greatest Hits

Retired; ex-software engineer. Paleo-feminist. Sailor. Arduino tinkerer. Enviro. Libertarian Socialist (Anarcho-Syndicalist, kinda). Writer. Altermondialiste.

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