When: Wednesday, April 7th @ 12pm
Where: Online via Zoom
Speaker: Michael Zmolek
The United States of America is a signatory to the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Conventions yet routinely transgresses these and other treaties and agreements comprising our system of international law. Why then are presidents not held accountable or impeached? This talk will address this question in light of the ‘informal empire’ that the United States has managed since 1945 and the violations of human rights and international law which have occurred. In sharing personal experiences of helping draft articles of impeachment against George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Dr. Zmolek will attempt to help us connect the dots between the assault on civil liberties and the escalation of violence in US foreign policy post-9/11 and the January 6th assault on the US Capitol by a mob incited by Donald Trump. While this resort to violence in attempting to subvert the outcome of a democratic election has been rightly viewed as an assault on domestic political norms, use of the same tactics by parties supported by the United States has been a routine part of managing the US’s informal empire. The fact that impeachment as a mechanism for upholding accountability to the law obviously remains hostage to the partisan politics of America’s two-party system leaves the door open to future episodes involving the turn to the use of force against democracy.
Michael Andrew Zmolek teaches World History, International Studies and Development Studies at the University of Iowa. His book Rethinking the Industrial Revolution (Brill 2013; Haymarket 2014) explores five centuries of English/British history and is part of a broader effort to understand the nature and origins of capitalism. Mike received a BA in Linguistics and a Certificate of African studies at the University of Iowa before going on to complete his PhD in Political Science at York University in Toronto, where he served as an executive of the Graduate Students' Association for four years. As a legislative assistant in Congress, his work focused on addressing the plight of Gulf Coast survivors of Hurricane Katrina and on drafting articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for representatives Cynthia McKinney (GA) and Dennis Kucinich (OH). As an activist he has worked on the campaign to abolish apartheid in South Africa; opposing tuition hikes for students in Canada; and opposing the bombing, sanctions against, invasion and occupation of Iraq.
This talk is dedicated to the memory of Ed Zastrow.