Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

There’s No Place Like CounterPunch

There's no place like CounterPunch, it's just that simple. And as the radical space within the "alternative media"(whatever that means) landscape continues to shrink, sanctuaries such as CounterPunch become all the more crucial for our political, intellectual, and moral survival. Add to that the fact that CounterPunch won't inundate you with ads and corporate propaganda. So it should be clear why CounterPunch needs your support: so it can keep doing what it's been doing for nearly 25 years. As CP Editor, Jeffrey St. Clair, succinctly explained, "We lure you in, and then punch you in the kidneys." Pleasant and true though that may be, the hard-working CP staff is more than just a few grunts greasing the gears of the status quo.

So come on, be a pal, make a tax deductible donation to CounterPunch today to support our annual fund drive, if you have already donated we thank you! If you haven't, do it because you want to. Do it because you know what CounterPunch is worth. Do it because CounterPunch needs you. Every dollar is tax-deductible. (PayPal accepted)

Thank you,
Eric Draitser

Global Guantánamo


A few weeks ago, as I was standing outside Target on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis, an elderly woman approached me and shared her life experiences in the Twin Cities. She told me something that has been troubling me since our conversation. I asked the woman how she likes living in the Twin Cities and her response to me was, “I grew up out here, but the city has changed so much, especially since the trash started moving in.” Now, I don’t know precisely whom she was referring to as “trash,” but her comment made me reflect on the racial dynamics of the Twin Cities. The use of the word “trash,” reflects a xenophobia which subordinates racialized minorities; this discourse, articulated by the woman, renders these communities “undesirable,” and therefore, “disposable”.

In a post-9/11 world, we have seen the rise of the security state within and beyond the borders of the U.S. nation-state. We have seen the reopening of Guantánamo Bay Naval Base (GTMO) to detain “enemy combatants,” the growth of surveillance technologies, and the usage of drones to wage war in South Asia and the larger Muslim world. The War on Terror has established a paradigm to practice a “state of exception,” where the U.S. nation-state has the ability to suspend the law and make decisions without being held accountable for its actions.[1] Similar to how the U.S. state uses GTMO as a lawless site where the U.S. constitution and penal codes are irrelevant and thus, facilitates the torture and illegal detention of its “prisoners,” the U.S. nation state has effectively rendered, for instance, Somalia and Southside Chicago as “failed states,” or a space ineligible of sovereignty or personhood. Depriving individuals who live in these places their respective state and municipal sovereignty allows the U.S. national security state to operate in these sites to secure its own interests.

Chicago does not invest in schools, hospitals, or public housing in the Southside; municipal leaders cite budgetary reasons.  However, Chicago nonetheless has enough resources to continue policing the communities these investments would actually help and instead, has chosen to incarcerate its citizens and residents. Rohit Chopra describes Southside Chicago as “socially abandoned by being starved of resources but is then heavily policed, requiring additional resources from shrinking budgets for extra officers, gang task forces, and overtime costs.” Somalia also has a deep history of the U.S. national security state meddling in its domestic affairs. The U.S. has supported IMF-World Bank sanctioned economic policies that ultimately have impoverished the country, and thus, have been influential proxies in the resulting famine and civil unrest that continues to this day; additionally, the U.S. utilize drones to target and kill “terrorists” there and as a result, have but taken the lives of innocent Somalis. Thus, IMF and the World Bank operate similar to Chicago municipal leaders. They strive to privatize and limit governmental spending. In Chicago, the lack of investment has a militant arm as well—its police forces target and harm the lives of innocent predominantly black and Latino populations. In Somalia, the lack of investment, sponsored by the IMF and the World Bank, has a militant arm as well—the U.S. military targets and harms the lives of innocent Somali people.

The U.S. nation-state treats both Southside Chicago and Somalia to be “failed states” as a means of denying sovereignty to the members of these spaces. Rohit Chopra explains the significance of this denial in a post-9/11 state:

The denial of sovereignty has long been a vital strategy of colonial domination and the purported inability of subjected peoples to be sovereign (or to govern or rule oneself) a time-honored justification for colonial ventures…The post-9/11 security state continues this tradition.

The state continues to deny people of color the ability to self-govern. Instead, we are subjected to state-sanctioned violence at the hands of local police, the military, or vigilantes (read: George Zimmerman). As Lisa Cacho explains, “A person does not need to doanything to commit a status crime because the person’s status is the offense in and of itself;” the person simply has to exist in a racialized body or space to be legible and vulnerable to state sanctioned violence.[2]

Both of these communities converge in my new home: Minneapolis. The “failed state” of Southside Chicago and Somalia has driven many to the Twin Cities, where targeted policing and surveillance continues.[3] It’s important we recognize the role of the U.S. nation-state in creating such conditions for these communities. In doing so, academics, activists and people of good consensus can create new alliances and new forms of solidarity in response to the complex interplay of federal, state, municipal and transnational processes. I make these points to draw parallels across the geographical sites GTMO, Somalia, Southside Chicago, and Minneapolis. In a post-9/11 world, the U.S. national security state has normalized the detention, deportation, disappearances, and surveillance of racialized minorities through constructing spaces of lawlessness in places like Southside Chicago and Somalia, facilitating the act of purging those deemed “undesirable” into the U.S. prison system, detention centers, and GTMO. GTMO does not solely operate in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba; we can also see it within our own borders and around the world in East Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. We are living in a time where Guantánamo is, in fact, everywhere.[4]

Soham Patel is a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota in the American studies department. The essay above originally appeared on the Guantánamo Public Memory Project’s blog.


[1] Agamben, Giorgio. State of Exception. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2005: 1-31

[2] Cacho, Lisa Marie. Social Death: Racialized Rightlessness and the Criminalization of the Unprotected. New York: NYU Press, 2012: 43.

[3] Yusuf, Ahmed I. Somalis in Minnesota. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2012Top of FormBottom of Form

[4]Kaplan, Amy. “Where is Guantánamo?” American Quarterly 57.3 (2005): 831-858


More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 25, 2016
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation wasted $32.2 million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians