We are a transnational virtual institute. Aside from non-Europeans, we are primarily Americans and Germans located in Tübingen, Germany. We attempt to rise above the clamorous rhetoric heard on both sides of the Atlantic and view the transition of the new order with a detached attitude, detachment from passions and intellectual prejudices, because such an attitude is necessary for reevaluating our collective assumptions concerning the flow of history. Any institute that intends to coordinate and study the phenomena of contemporary imperialism, will have to address its own political relationship to both the global power of the United States and multinational corporations. First, we at the Empire Institute think of ourselves as neither its friends nor enemies, but as detached academic analysts. Second, our position towards multinationals differs from the dozens of conservative institutes, organizations, and think tanks that have emerged in recent decades to prepare studies on various matters from a propertied and corporate perspective. Unlike these creators and disseminators of ideology, we attempt to unmask the machinery of universe maintenance.
Because we are neither institutional men nor free-floating intellectuals, we have established an institute that lies somewhere on a virtual continuum between symposiums of yore and alternative internet magazines. However, in contrast to alternative on-line news sources—whose aim is to provide readers with pertinent facts and passionate opinions—our approach to current events is informed through world history and geography. In other words, we attempt to understand current international politics by ignoring most of the daily press; limitless facts only cramp the mind from envisioning larger geographical and historical generalizations. In spite of our academic approach, we differ from most academic establishments in that our project critically faces the forces of western capitalism. The liberalization of global market forces has empowered corporations since the 1970s and the counter revolution, which in turn have increasingly influenced what Talcott Parsons called the American University System, which has become the model for universities around the world today, regardless of their individual histories. Instead of intellectually adjusting to this order, we act as a Counter-University that is neither concerned with political correctness nor in serving religious, state and corporate interests. Finally, we see ourselves as members of global civil society, who wish to explore contemporary imperialism and reexamine the relationship between ‘global empire’ and ‘globalization’ and ‘global civil society.’ A task that is needed because the current discussion on these topics is fragmented.