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
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.
Some entities have received staggering amounts of money:
- Raytheon: >$41 billion
- MIT: >$8.7 billion
- Moderna: >$8.1 billion
- General Dynamics Mission Systems: >$6.2 billion
- General Electric: >$5.2 billion
- Draper Laboratory: >$3.3 billion
- 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.
Kendall Square: “the most innovative imperialist square mile on the planet”
Police are everywhere
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.