( – promoted by buhdydharma )
I find myself, on some level, torn between my highly strained faith in American democracy and a perception that it no longer exists. I applaud and encourage political activism and cherish the activists that I know, but for all their heroism, commitment and hard work, I see us sliding steadily backwards. This has been my observation for the past 40 years. We progressives have faced unremitting defeat at the hands of the ultra-conservative ‘system’, which clearly serves our super-wealthy overlords – not us.
Only over the past 8 years has it become so shockingly obvious just how blatant is the case against the existence of American democracy. It came to a head, in my view, with “Impeachment is off the table.” That betrayal was the ultimate selling out of the American people – and this at the hands of the democratic leadership. That has to shake one’s faith.
Pelosi has made it clear, the American people and the values they hold (such as justice and government of, by and for the people) no longer matter.
It is a mistake to underestimate the damage that has been done over the past 8 years. I’ve heard many people state that our long national nightmare is approaching an end. I believe it unwise to think so. The Bush years have left us in a weakened condition and facing a monstrous confluence of catastrophes that will not go away when Bush does. Chief among these is an intractable and corrupted government intent on the repression and exploitation of American citizens – which does not lend itself to real solutions to our very real problems. We are headed in exactly the wrong direction.
China’s All-Seeing Eye
With the help of U.S. defense contractors, China is building the prototype for a high-tech police state. It is ready for export.
NAOMI KLEIN in Rolling Stone
The end goal is to use the latest people-tracking technology – thoughtfully supplied by American giants like IBM, Honeywell and General Electric – to create an airtight consumer cocoon: a place where Visa cards, Adidas sneakers, China Mobile cellphones, McDonald’s Happy Meals, Tsingtao beer and UPS delivery (to name just a few of the official sponsors of the Beijing Olympics) can be enjoyed under the unblinking eye of the state, without the threat of democracy breaking out.
Remember how we’ve always been told that free markets and free people go hand in hand? That was a lie. It turns out that the most efficient delivery system for capitalism is actually a communist-style police state, fortressed with American “homeland security” technologies, pumped up with “war on terror” rhetoric. And the global corporations currently earning superprofits from this social experiment are unlikely to be content if the lucrative new market remains confined to cities such as Shenzhen. Like everything else assembled in China with American parts, Police State 2.0 is ready for export to a neighborhood near you.
Will a President Obama and a solid democratic majority make a difference? Yes – but don’t be surprised if it is far less difference that you may be expecting. The ‘system’ that they will be in charge of will remain essentially unchanged. My guess is that they will treat us pretty much just as Pelosi has (and just as Obama has with FISA) – with a velvet ‘fuck you’ delivered with a huge disingenuous smile, just like she did at Netroots Nation. It was sad to see all the lemmings lapping it up. Too sad for words.
It’s enough to make you wonder if another world is even possible.
Naomi Klein: From Think Tanks to Battle Tanks, “The Quest to Impose a Single World Market Has Casualties Now in the Millions”
‘Is Another World Possible?’ That was the theme of this year’s annual meeting of the American Sociological Association that was held in New York City this past weekend. “We did not lose the battles of ideas. We were not outsmarted and we were not out-argued,” journalist and author Naomi Klein said. “We lost because we were crushed. Sometimes we were crushed by army tanks, and sometimes we were crushed by think tanks. And by think tanks I mean the people who are paid to think by the makers of tanks.”
As we think about reaching this other possible world, I want to be very clear that I don’t believe the problem is a lack of ideas. I think we’re swimming in ideas: universal healthcare; living wages; cooperatives; participatory democracy; public services that are accountable to the people who use them; food, medicine and shelter as a human right. These aren’t new ideas. They’re enshrined in the UN Charter. And I think most of us still believe in them.
I don’t think our problem is money, lack of resources to act on these basic ideas. Now, at the risk of being accused of economic populism, I would just point out that in this city, the employees of Goldman Sachs received more than $16 billion in Christmas bonuses last year, and ExxonMobil earned $40 billion in annual profits, a world record. It seems to me that there’s clearly enough money sloshing around to pay for our modest dreams.
And unlike Jeffrey Sachs, I actually don’t believe that what is lacking is political will at the highest levels, cooperation between world leaders. I don’t think that if we could just present our elites with the right graphs and PowerPoint presentations-no offense-that we would finally convince them to make poverty history. I don’t believe that.
That’s because elites don’t make justice because we ask them to nicely and appealingly. They do it when the alternative to justice is worse. And that is what happened all those years ago when the income gap began to close. That was the motivation behind the New Deal and the Marshall Plan. [emphasis my own]
The real problem, I want to argue today, is confidence, our confidence, the confidence of people who gather at events like this under the banner of building another world, a kinder more sustainable world. I think we lack the strength of our convictions, the guts to back up our ideas with enough muscle to scare our elites. We are missing movement power. That’s what we’re missing. “The best lacked all convictions,” Yeats wrote, “while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” Think about it. Do you want to tackle climate change as much as Dick Cheney wants Kazakhstan’s oil? Do you? Do you want universal healthcare as much as Paris Hilton wants to be the next new face of Estee Lauder? If not, why not? What is wrong with us? Where is our passionate intensity?
“What is wrong with us? Where is our passionate intensity?” ~ Naomi Klein
“The best lacked all convictions, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” ~ Yeats
Where and when will we ever find the courage to resist repression? What will it take to make the American people stand up for themselves? Or is it living in the past to hold out hope for liberty and justice for all – right here in the birthplace of American democracy?
“We are missing movement power.” ~ Naomi Klein
How is it that we have failed to coalesce our collective outrage into an effective movement? I think that we have failed not by a lot but only by a little – and I think the consolidation/corruption of the MSM has accounted for the margin of failure. When a free press honestly covers marches and protests, it grows a movement – just as we saw during the war in Vietnam. Conversely, minimizing or withholding coverage of same can stunt a movement’s growth – and that’s what we have seen in the Bush years.
Disappearing Antiwar Protests
Media shrug off mass movement against war
Hundreds of thousands of Americans around the country protested the Iraq War on the weekend of September 24-25, with the largest demonstration bringing between 100,000 and 300,000 to Washington, D.C. on Saturday.
But if you relied on television for your news, you’d hardly know the protests happened at all. According to the Nexis news database, the only mention on the network newscasts that Saturday came on the NBC Nightly News, where the massive march received all of 87 words. (ABC World News Tonight transcripts were not available for September 24, possibly due to pre-emption by college football.)
Cable coverage wasn’t much better. CNN, for example, made only passing references to the weekend protests.
The MSM tactics were the same for our 9/15/07 protest in DC – and every other protest that has occurred during the Bush regime.
We must make the extra effort required to overcome the dampening effects of a dishonest mass media intent on quashing our righteous dissent.
We need everyone to be prepared to hit the streets – or stand up in public for the American dream of liberty and justice for all.
If it were only about liberty and justice, that would be one thing, but this is about the fate of humankind.
The star of the anti-globalization movement [Naomi Klein] returns with a new book that explains Bush’s real agenda
What are the most profound changes the U.S. faces in the next twenty years?
If we just draw all these lines into the future, we can see more disasters, more inequality. We could have a fully privatized response to climate change, with a small group of people buying their way out for a couple of generations. Our world could look more like Baghdad – a green zone guarded by Blackwater and everything provided by Halliburton and then just a raging red zone outside.
What will be the lasting effect of the Bush administration?
People haven’t fully grasped the revolutionary nature of the Bush years. They are leaving a hollow shell to their successors. It’s like what happens in Third World governments, where the reformers take over the presidential palace, only to realize that the power lies elsewhere. That’s what’s going to happen to whoever comes in after the Bush administration. They will find out how much power resides in this parallel contractor economy.
The state won’t have the ability to just cancel those contracts
The state doesn’t even have the ability to oversee those contracts. This is one of their clever tricks – they privatize the war on terror and then say everything about this war is classified, so we don’t even know what we have contracted out. Maybe you catch glimpses of it – the Abu Ghraib scandal breaks, and we find that some of the key people are contractors. We caught another glimpse of it when it became clear that the State Department can’t function without Blackwater.
America has been stolen from us – and this is NOT a figure of speech. If we don’t take it back, our ‘leadership’ will continue to ignore the very real catastrophes that we face – and we will all lose. Everything.
We will all lose. Everything.
How Do We Go from Empire to Earth Community?
The day of reckoning for our reckless human ways that many of us have for decades warned would be coming is here.
We are all well aware of the crisis unfolding around us. The day of reckoning for our reckless human ways that many of us have for decades warned would be coming is here. The future is now. Peak oil, climate chaos, financial collapse, and spreading social disintegration are all consequences of deep cultural and institutional dysfunction. The imperative to address them presents us with an epic test of our human intelligence and creativity. [emphasis my own]
When I was a student in business school my professors always told us. Go for the Big Picture. If you find a problem, don’t just treat the symptoms. Look up stream to find and deal with the cause. Although we face a daunting variety of problems, the big picture of the human confrontation with the reality of our Mother Earth becomes crystal clear once we step back and take a look upstream. This big picture has three critical elements.
The first element is environmental collapse driven by our relentless growth in consumption and population. From the perspective of our Earth Mother our human excesses have for millennia been little more than the normal nuisance one expects from children.
Somewhere around 1970 we passed a threshold. Our human consumption became more than a nuisance, it began to exceed what our Mother could bear and began to threaten her very life. We see the results in climate chaos, depletion of fresh water and fertile soils, the collapse of fisheries, the erosion of denuded forest lands and melting ice caps. We are building up toxics in the water, soil, and air. We are killing our mother and thereby ourselves. We must grow up fast and accept our adult responsibilities. The implications are pretty straight forward.
“The implications are pretty straight forward.”
Yes they are. We must get our priorities straight and we must do so in a mighty hurry.
We must stand up every time we have the chance, for everything that is right and against oppression and injustice. Speak out, rise up – do not sit silently as injustices bloom all around you.
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”
We need every citizen to stand up like Ray McGovern did.
Ray McGovern Owns Rumsfeld
But confrontation can be so rude. Yes – but some things (like liberty and the fate of our species) are more important than good manners. It’s not the people who sat politely that history will remember (your manners were impeccable).
Good manners are for those capable of reciprocating, not for those who wipe their feet on you.
There is finally a place for rudeness.
I’ve heard many a good progressive put down Code Pink because they offend their sense of decorum. But people, this is serious. This is no time to be quiet and respectful. This is the time to sound the alarm. Code Pink are noisy, rude and clownish – but they get peoples’ attention. And Code Pink will be remembered in history far kinder than will be all those who sat quietly and politely- or those who disapproved of protest, as democracy was displaced by authoritarianism.
Make no mistake, this comes down to the citizens. We have no leaders. We are alone. And if we don’t stand up and turn it around, we’ll lose it all.
Our avenues for recourse have become extremely limited, but we can always choose to stand up.
Am I suggesting violence? No, not at all – I am advocating peaceful civil disobedience. Even less than that, I am asking that we stop taking no for an answer and stop accepting lies for truth – and to stop kissing ass when we should be kicking it (metaphorically speaking).
It’s time we all stand up for what we believe and take every opportunity to speak truth to power – unlike the shameful debacle we witnessed at Netroots Nation.
The disgraceful Pelosi ass-kissing festival I witnessed at Netroots Nation alarmed me – and alarms me still.
If kissing the ass of power is what the netroots have come to – it has come to naught.
It is time to stand up for America – not sit down or rollover. It is time to demand justice and a return to representative democracy that honors the will of the American people. It’s time to demand transparency and sanity in our government and leaders who won’t lead us into war.
It is time to wise up and rise up – or kiss it all goodbye.