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Last Update: Mon., May. 15, 2006- Rabi` Thani 17 - 17:00 GMT

‘Anti-Americanism’ Simmering Inside US 

A library photo of an anti-Bush demonstration in the United States. 

SEATTLE, Washington, October 9, 2005 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) -A T-shirt featuring US President George W. Bush as "International Terrorist." Another shows the World Trade Center towers with the words, "What Goes Up Must Come Down."

These are just some of the anti-American items for sale at Left Bank Books Collective, in the liberal and frequently outspoken US West Coast city of Seattle, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

While a lot has been said and written about anti-Americanism around the world following the US invasion of Iraq, little has been said about a vein of the same sentiment that exists in the United States.

If home-grown "anti-Americanism" has a region it calls home, it might well be the left-leaning West Coast, where vehement opposition to Bush and his policies is overt.

If it has a capital, it could be Seattle, site of the explosive anti-World Trade Organization demonstrations in 1999 and a politics so left-leaning that just two voting precincts went for Bush last year.

Collin Coyne, 33, may not embrace the label "anti-American," but Coyne, whose hat is emblazoned with "Solidarity Forever," opposes what he believes is the country's militaristic foreign policy and abusive capitalist system.

Coyne and Americans like him also do not share their fellow citizens' romantic notions of US history.

They take their cues from historian Howard Zinn, whose "A People's History of the United States" tells the story of the rich and powerful elite subjugating everyone else - here and abroad.

Unmet Expectations

Paul Hollander is an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts who has written books on anti-Americanism in America.

He believes the root of it can be found in high expectations and the alienation spawned by disappointment when they are not met.

"There have been few places in the history of the world where people have tried to go and create a new social system," he said.

When grandiloquent visions of justice, freedom and equality are not realized, disappointment sets in, he added.

Cliff Hare, who recently opened a countercultural bookstore and art gallery in Seattle called Infohazard, said Hollander's reasoning rings true.

"America could be a strong force for good in the world, but our generosity has been hijacked," he said.

His bookstore's logo features a biohazard symbol connecting two minds, a reference to William S. Burroughs, who once claimed "language is a virus."


Mark Laskey, 29, is a member who lives in Boston, a city well known for its intellectuals opposing US foreign policies like Noam Chomsky.

In an email interview, Laskey went so far as to wish ill upon US soldiers in Iraq.

"I believe in the right of self-defense, and support the Iraqi resistance on that basis. I also believe that the United States, as the dominant superpower in the world, needs to be defeated in Iraq," he said.

But while US right-wingers love to attack their leftist opponents as anti-American, there's a history of anti-Americanism on the right, too, as evidenced by the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing by conservative extremists.

Hollander said right-wing attacks on the United States arise from a rejection of modernity, which the country -- with its religious and ethnic pluralism, technology and materialism -- embodies.

For now, however, with the right in control of the White House and the US Congress, the sentiment branded by some as "anti-Americanism" seems to reside at places like Left Bank.

Chris Pugmire, another collective member, laid out a vision for a different America:

"I think people should govern themselves as they see fit in a non-hierarchical way so everyone's needs are taken care of, rather than people being taken advantage of."

Experts say the policies of the Bush administration have further spread anti-Americanism worldwide.

A congressionally mandated panel concluded in September that Bush is seen in the Arab world as a greater threat than Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

A 2004 pentagon report said the US administration was alienating Muslims worldwide and losing the "the war of ideas" because of adopting faulty policies and what is perceived as "self-serving hypocrisy".

Bush has recently appointed Karen Hughes as Undersecretary of State for Diplomacy to shine up America’s image in the Arab world, which is described by pundits as mission impossible.

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