That is to say, imagine the world in terms of haves and have nots, which groups occupy the dominant positions and which ones are marginalized, the oppressors and the oppressed, the colonizers and the colonized. Think of the power relationships between the two as a sort of magnetic field. Near the "equator" the plus and minus charges seems relatively equal--the give and take occurs in everyday negotiations with a lot of interplay between the two. But the whole structure of power is governed by the poles. In geology these correspond to magnetic north and south. In terms of social power they correspond to the violent imposition of, or resistance to, the will of a given polity/elite. If this sounds murky, think of the icons of these two polarities as Robert E. Lee (the dominators) and Che Guevara (the resisters).
Doesn't have to be these two men. But they're particularly good for the job. As I explained a few days ago to Tom Bruscino when he asked about War Historian's logo:
OK, here goes with a bit more explanation. Both are cult figures who, in the popular imagination of their proponents, are thought almost Christlike. So they're icons of the best in the warrior ethos. They have that in common. But Lee fought to preserve a system of stratified power, Che fought to challenge and overthrow such a system. Military historians, in effect, spend most of their time looking over the shoulders of the Lee's of this world. They need to look with equal facility over the shoulders of the Che's. I plan to write a short, direct essay on what I call "postcolonial military history" in a day or two. Let me know whether or not this brief downpayment on that post seems clear to you. Venceremos! ;-)BTW: This is that "short, direct essay."
Makes sense to me. A question: Where does George Washington fit in this discussion? (Note I did not call it a model, for the very reason that individuals like GW don't fit very well.) Washington was fighting both to overthow a system and to preserve another one. Just something to think about.They say the earth's magnetic field reverses every several thousand years. This can happen in a human being's life, too.