| Map of police stations blue dots and prisons orange dots in Massachusetts | MR Online Map of police stations (blue dots) and prisons (orange dots) in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts’ Imperialist Landscape

I have come to the conclusion that imperialism and exploitation are forms of cannibalism and, in fact, are precisely those forms of cannibalism which are most diabolical or evil.

–Jack Forbes, Columbus and Other Cannibals

 

“Cannibalism,” as writer Jack Forbes (Powhatan-Renapé/Delaware-Lenápe) defined it, “is the consuming of another’s life for one’s own private purpose or profit.”

As Forbes writes, European colonization brought this form of cannibalism to Turtle Island, and American imperialism has continued to cannibalize lives ever since.

This cannibalistic enterprise requires land. On the colonized land known as “Massachusetts,” we find a dense network of centers that support U.S. imperialism.

As part of the Mapping Project, we developed maps to visualize some elements of this imperialist landscape.

Massachusetts is home to weapons developers and U.S. military bases

| Map of weapons developers and weapons research laboratories light green and US military bases light blue in Massachusetts | MR Online

Map of weapons developers and weapons research laboratories (light green) and U.S. military bases (light blue) in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts is filled with entities doing the work of U.S. empire

The red dots show entities that received funding from U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as of 2021. The larger, darker red dots indicate entities that received very large sums from DoD and/or DHS.

| Entities funded by US Department of Defense DoD and Department of Homeland Security DHS which have active contractsawards in 2021 shown in red dots The larger darker red dots indicate entities that received very large sums over  alt=

Entities funded by U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which have active contracts/awards in 2021, shown in red dots. The larger, darker red dots indicate entities that received very large sums (over $1M and in larger size, over $1B) from DoD and/or DHS.

Some entities have received staggering amounts of money:

  1. Raytheon: >$41 billion
  2. MIT: >$8.7 billion
  3. Moderna: >$8.1 billion
  4. General Dynamics Mission Systems: >$6.2 billion
  5. General Electric: >$5.2 billion
  6. Draper Laboratory: >$3.3 billion
  7. MITRE Corporation: >$2.6 billion

(These figures are underestimates since they do not include funding received by subsidiaries of the above entities.)

Universities are major service providers to U.S. empire

Universities are major service provider to U.S. empire: MIT, for instance, has partnerships with weapons developer Raytheon, leases spaces to weapons developer Boeing, and has a joint laboratory with IBM, a major developer of policing and surveillance tools.

We can see the broad pattern by overlaying the universities’ land parcels and locations with addresses that have received funding from DoD/DHS. As expected, universities are hubs for this kind of work: they’re surrounded by other entities that have also received funding from DoD and DHS.

| Map of universities yellow dots entities being funded by DoDDHS red dots and university land parcels Harvard University in brown MIT in green Boston University in orange Northeastern University in red Boston College in yellow | MR Online

Map of universities (yellow dots), entities being funded by DoD/DHS (red dots), and university land parcels (Harvard University in brown, MIT in green, Boston University in orange, Northeastern University in red, Boston College in yellow).

Kendall Square: “the most innovative imperialist square mile on the planet”

| Map of Kendall Square area where many of MITs buildings and startups are located showing recipients of DoDDHS funding red dots and university land parcels MIT in green along with police and weapons developers | MR Online

Map of Kendall Square area, where many of MIT’s buildings and startups are located, showing recipients of DoD/DHS funding (red dots) and university land parcels (MIT in green) along with police and weapons developers.

Police are everywhere

A truly American landscape, Massachusetts is dotted with police stations (blue dots) and prisons (orange dots).

| Map of police stations blue dots and prisons orange dots in Massachusetts | MR Online

Map of police stations (blue dots) and prisons (orange dots) in Massachusetts.

Working for empire amidst displacement and ethnic cleansing

In the Boston area, there are entities getting major funds from U.S. empire, and creating private wealth through “entrepreneurship,” while surrounding working-class and poor communities–especially Black and other people of color–are being evicted and displaced.

Those entities working for empire fuel displacement by colonizing new areas, bringing in a wealthier and whiter workforce, and driving increases in rent prices and property values.

We can visualize how the centers working for empire are surrounded by displacement by overlaying eviction filings on top of our map.

| Map of entities being funded by DoDDHS red dots eviction filings filed between 20152021 grey dots and university land parcels Harvard University in brown MIT in green Boston University in orange Northeastern University in red Boston College in yellow Note that eviction filings underestimate the true number of evictions since evictions often happen quotinformallyquot through coercion and intimidation without leaving a legal record | MR Online

Map of entities being funded by DoD/DHS (red dots), eviction filings filed between 2015-2021 (grey dots), and university land parcels (Harvard University in brown, MIT in green, Boston University in orange, Northeastern University in red, Boston College in yellow). Note that eviction filings underestimate the true number of evictions, since evictions often happen “informally” through coercion and intimidation without leaving a legal record.

When combined, we get a glimpse of Massachusetts’ imperialist landscape

| A glimpse of Massachusetts imperialist landscape | MR Online

A glimpse of Massachusetts’ imperialist landscape.