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POLITICAL POWER AS VIOLENCE April 4, 2012

Posted by wmmbb in Democracy, Human Rights, US Politics.
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The American democratic project conceived in the opposition to a monarch is sliding, seemingly inexorably, on the the slipway to the sea of fascism. How could this happen?

Who else will be drawn into the purple, polluted sea of violence infested with fear? Over stated? Alarmist? Failing to allow for built-in self correction?

When a lowly operative in a elaborate, brutal killing machine conditioned by the command imperative to murder walks out of his base to massacre women and children, burn their bodies, returns to base and then walks out again to another village and repeats his actions, we a blithely informed his is a deranged act. Otherwise he was a good and kind man with a wife and two children.

So something of the same analysis might be applied to the national system whose bearings have been realigned. We can expect to find that many of the same processes are at work. We are all part of systems and systems work with outcomes that often can be forecast albeit subject of variance and uncertainty. Natural and socio-political systems change for which we have some responsibility.

Chris Hedges writes, in Truthdig:

The security and surveillance state does not deal in nuance or ambiguity. Its millions of agents, intelligence gatherers, spies, clandestine operatives, analysts and armed paramilitary units live in a binary world of opposites, of good and evil, black and white, opponent and ally. There is nothing between. You are for us or against us. You are a patriot or an enemy of freedom. You either embrace the crusade to physically eradicate evildoers from the face of the Earth or you are an Islamic terrorist, a collaborator or an unwitting tool of terrorists. And now that we have created this monster it will be difficult, perhaps impossible, to free ourselves from it. Our 16 national intelligence agencies and army of private contractors feed on paranoia, rumor, rampant careerism, demonization of critical free speech and often invented narratives. They justify their existence, and their consuming of vast governmental resources, by turning even the banal and the mundane into a potential threat. And by the time they finish, the nation will be a gulag.

This is why the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was contested by me and three other plaintiffs before Judge Katherine B. Forrest in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Thursday, is so dangerous. This act, signed into law by President Barack Obama last Dec. 31, puts into the hands of people with no discernible understanding of legitimate dissent the power to use the military to deny due process to all deemed to be terrorists, or terrorist sympathizers, and hold them indefinitely in military detention. The deliberate obtuseness of the NDAA’s language, which defines “covered persons” as those who “substantially supported” al-Qaida, the Taliban or “associated forces,” makes all Americans, in the eyes of our expanding homeland security apparatus, potential terrorists. It does not differentiate. And the testimony of my fellow plaintiffs, who understand that the NDAA is not about them but about us, repeatedly illustrated this.

Meanwhile Noam Chomsky has some interesting observations on the Occupy Movement:

The reaction to what is essentially people meeting a public park to engage in political activity and protest has been extraordinary. The agora was the foundation of Athenian Democracy. Now a massive, militarized police formation is arraigned against it. All said and done, the power elite is not as benevolent as was thought or might have been expected in a constitutional democratic republic.

The predilection of news reporting, and from which I am equally blinded is to see events in isolation without interrelationship, interaction and process. In A Users Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: and how to save it, Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed according to the Amazon blurb argues:

This book argues that financial meltdown, dwindling oil reserves, terrorism and food shortages need to be considered as part of the same ailing system. Most accounts of our contemporary global crises such as climate change, or the threat of terrorism, focus on one area, or another, to the exclusion of others. Nafeez Ahmed argues that the unwillingness of experts to look outside their specialisations explains why there is so much disagreement and misunderstanding about particular crises. This book attempts to investigate all of these crises, not as isolated events, but as trends and processes that belong to a single global system. We are therefore not dealing with a “clash of civilizations,” as Huntington argued. Rather, we are dealing with a fundamental crisis of civilization itself. This book provides a stark warning of the consequences of failing to take a broad view of the problems facing the world.

The video, produced in 2010, is somewhat long:

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