Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Survival mode

So ddjango, over at "P!" makes the case pretty well. We must all begin to switch over to survival mode. He says, and I agree, that the chances of any of the resistance movements afoot today actually being able to stop, slow or divert the juggernaut of late capitalist empire are pretty slim. Most people in America are completely clueless as to what's really going on, and all our efforts at education, dissent and resistance are pointless. Most of what's happening is being manipulated to create circumstances so the controlling interests in the world can further consolidate their control and keep most of us blissfully ignorant of what's happening.

If any serious resistance were to arise, the jack boots would come out.

A few more excerpts:

"The US government or its client state, Israel, will strike Iran, as much to introduce its willingness to use nuclear weapons as to disable Iran's nuclear ambitions. Two things will then happen: a nasty hot war involving several Middle East states and the global "terrorist" elements and a major false-flag "terrorist" event in the US, resulting in martial law and suspension of the Constitutional rights and freedoms of the ordinary citizen. The chances of this occuring before the '08 election are rather high.

"The entire planet will then go to DEFCON 5. There may be a brief period of "diplomacy", during which some bargaining will occur among nuclear-capable states. Governments will calculate acceptable casualty rates in hundreds of thousands and ruling elites will concentrate their efforts in devising personal survival strategies and mechanisms, caring little about the fate of their citizens.
"The New Deal is dead. Johnson's Great Society never was. Over the next few years, we will see the cornerstone of The Great Diversion - The American Middle class - begin to erode. The buy-off mechanisms - cheap gas, high wages in new technologies, fortunes made in stocks through market funds, and cheap credit (including mortgages and car loans) - cannot be sustained. A major bete noir that drove Roosevelt to the brink of socialism was the menacing spectre of communism. It won't happen again. As I noted earlier, all the boiled frogs in the middle class will take a long time to realize they've been scammed by The Great Diversion. By that time, the security state now being built will be ready for the forces of rebellion. Be ready for 1984 meets The Gulag on crack. And don't be surprised when the Men behind the Man Behind the Curtain show their ugly faces.
  • The Great Diversion, which might also just be called "Americanism", pervades 95% of all American society. Its main characteristics include terminal narcissism, the religion of Materialism, addiction to entertainment, ignorance born of jingoism, a national inability to think conceptually, magic thinking, refusal to accept personal responsibility and make meaningful sacrifices for the common good, and massive, unremitting denial.
So where are the solutions? They must be found at the popular level, in movements of cooperation; politics with a spiritual base; reduction in energy-inefficient economies; development of sustainable, democratic, and intentional communities; sacrifice for the common good; and meta-knowledge."

This is all from "P!" again...

Someone agrees with me!

Well, at least he seems to... The blog is called "P!" and he says:

"Indeed, some of the recent cries of "conspiracy", "coming financial collapse", "total environmental breakdown", and "apocalypse/end times" may be somewhat alarmist in terms of their scale and immediacy, but they should be considered and studied seriously - there is much substance to them. We should be afraid . . . very afraid. And we should be well-informed enough to motivate ourselves to organize effectively for the eventual arrival of economic, ecological, and societal catyclism on at least a regional scale. Lovejoy's predictions of "broken rabble led by brutal warlords" are ignored to our great peril."

Which is essentially what I've been kicking around lately. And then...

"...the short-term outlook may not be as apocalyptic and immediate as I think, I am certain that the overall situation, both domestically and globally, is much worse than described by even the best and the brightest in the political spectrum..."

And, "The paradigm shift required to effect the changes necessary to avoid something like an apocalypse must be radically more dynamic and far reaching than most anything I've seen put forward so far. Short of that shift, I believe that the human race and the biosphere will look something like the settings and societies portrayed in Blade Runner, Road Warrior, and The Terminator combined, or worse."

So he's pretty far beyond me, so far... I'm hoping to be able to summarize his argument in next post.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Ya gotta watch what you say!

This article from the NY Times underscores the dangers I mentioned earlier for progressives. As the government becomes more and more desperate to prove that they are effective, and that the administration needs to be allowed free rein to fight threats, the action required to get one arrested is less and less.

The NY Times report says:
Published: July 9, 2006

WASHINGTON, July 8 — In Miami last month and now in New York, terror cases have unfolded in which suspects have been apprehended before they lined up the intended weapons and the necessary financing or figured out other central details necessary to carry out their plots.

For officials in Washington, it is a demonstration of the much-needed emphasis in this post-9/11 era for pre-emptive arrests.

"We don't wait until someone has lit the fuse to step in," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Friday at a news conference about the New York plot.

But the Miami and New York cases are inspiring a new round of skepticism from some lawyers who are openly questioning whether the government, in its zeal to stop terrorism, is forgetting an element central to any case: the actual intent to commit a crime.

"Talk without any kind of an action means nothing," said Martin R. Stolar, a New York defense lawyer. "You start to criminalize people who are not really criminals."

In the two most recent plots, the authorities have simultaneously warned that the suspects were contemplating horrific attacks — blowing up the Sears Tower in Chicago and setting off a bomb in a tunnel between New York and New Jersey — but then added that as far as they knew, no one was close to actually making such a strike.

In the Miami case, an F.B.I. official said at a recent hearing that the suspects apparently did not have written information on how to make explosives, details on the layout of the Sears Tower or any known link to a terrorist group.

In New York, officials said Friday that none of the eight suspects believed to be planning the tunnel attack were in the United States, and that they apparently did not have bomb materials and had not completed reconnaissance work on their supposed target.

The arrest on April 27 in Beirut of Assem Hammoud, 31, a Lebanese man who is accused of being the mastermind of the tunnel plot, came after the authorities monitored Internet chat rooms used by Islamic extremists who had used coded language to discuss a possible attack. One American official said the members of the group had never met one another.

In announcing the case, federal officials, including Mr. Chertoff, said the government could not waste time trying to determine whether the suspects were smart enough or serious enough to turn their threats into destructive action.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


The way things are going...

I often feel that the political situation in this country is beyond hope. The mainstream media are certainly lost as an avenue of information leading to change of heart, as this Media Matters post makes clear (thanks to Jessica Wilson for the link). The threat to the internet as a vehicle for other, alternative sources mounts, and despite the heavy hitters lining up to defend it, it seems clear that sooner or later, we will see some limits on effective use of this medium for the rest of us.

That's usually the first step in despotic takeover - shut down all avenues of dissent. As an Iraq attack veteran was pointing out recently, street protest and similar movement activity against the war has become nearly pointless, since the administration has declared itself to be above the law and immune to the will of the people. They literally don't care what the people think or want. Obviously, they lost the last two political elections, but maintained control anyway, so why should they care? They control the process to an extent that leaves them impervious to the will of the majority, and they control the media to an extent that makes it possible to maintain the illusion of democratic form and conceal the reality of control from most people.

We have passed the point that I expected to result in some real change, some real action against the administration. Enough serious, established people have spoken out and revealed the truth of the Emperor's new clothes. The June 25 statement by Ann Wright, for example. Fitzgerald's statement from my last post should have begun the unraveling of the Bush/Cheney robes. Something big, serious and radical should have happened by now. It hasn't. The PNAC has closed up shop, mission accomplished. The right wing has consolidated control to the point where they no longer even pretend to be concerned about the majority consensus.

I am now in transition to survival mode. Open resistance is futile. We must go underground and get safe, establish secure communications, and then procede to plan for the survival of true human values, progressive ideals, and alternative modes of existence.

If we wait for the crunch, much will be lost. We have a year, maybe two, to get it together and be ready the loss of much of our present freedom to communicate without fear of retribution. We need to make the most of it.

In this transition, we must begin building ways to protect our sanity and shore up our internal resources. We may need to begin memorizing important texts, as in Fahrenheit 451. We certainly need to establish networks of social, spiritual and economic support independent of institutions and technology.

I don't have much in the way of practical solutions for the problems this poses, and of course, I hope I'm wrong about its necessity. But I think it bears consideration. What if we knew that freedom of speech and communication, mobility, and exchange would be shut down as of some date, say January 2009? What would we do now?

I think it's time we began to think of those possibilities, began to make contingency plans based on that worst-case scenario.

Politically, organizationally, the progressive movement in the US is about as naive and unprepared, as in denial, as the society as a whole is about global warming. We just keep thinking, 'it can't happen in America' and pretending that we will be able to go on being the vocal opposition and that somehow that will change things. The realities don't seem to be tending that way.

As long as we do nothing, they're happy to let us rock along preaching to ourselves. As soon as we take any kind of action that really threatens corporate domination, we will become "terrorists" and dealt with in summary fashion. Like the seven guys in Miami.

As Glen and Peter say, "We are targeted." That we includes anyone who seriously becomes a threat to the mind-numbing control that the system currently has over this society.

So either we maintain our "harmless" ineffectiveness or we go underground. Seriously underground. It's transition time.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

John Stewart had him first...

Well, when Joe Wilson was a guest on John Stewart's "comedy news" show - July 24, 2003 it was (check Lisa Rein's archives) - I knew Stewart could count a major coup, because it would turn out to be the big story on Bush's war. It may not bring Bush down, but it looks like Libby and Cheney are in for some serious dusting off over it, and it should be clear to all but the blindest that the war was a put-up job from the get go.

The Washington Post ran this today:
"As he drew back the curtain this week on the evidence against Vice President Cheney's former top aide, Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald for the first time described a "concerted action" by "multiple people in the White House" - using classified information - to "discredit, punish or seek revenge against" a critic of President Bush's war in Iraq.
Fitzgerald wrote that Cheney and his aides saw Wilson as a threat to "the credibility of the Vice President (and the President) on a matter of signal importance: the rationale for the war in Iraq." They decided to respond by implying that Wilson got his CIA assignment by "nepotism."

They were not alone. Fitzgerald reported for the first time this week that "multiple officials in the White House" - not only Libby and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, who have previously been identified - discussed Plame's CIA employment with reporters before and after publication of her name on July 14, 2003, in a column by Robert D. Novak. Fitzgerald said the grand jury has collected so much testimony and so many documents that "it is hard to conceive of what evidence there could be that would disprove the existence of White House efforts to 'punish' Wilson.""

It can't get much plainer than this. Even the willful ignorance of the Republican true-believers will be stretched thin. I don't have great hopes that the Dems will do anything with this ammunition, but if Bush's approval rating drops below 30%, it should make a great difference in the mid-term elections.

Then of course, we wait to see if the jack boots come out.

Do we start burying the silver in the backyard yet?

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Stan on The Shootist

Stan Goff, my hero, is freaking eloquent on the Cheney shooting incident! Carries it far beyond the typical analysis into a whole send-up of the silly machismo that gets people elected in this pseudo-democracy. Read it! at: The Shootist....

...and his comment re: mass movements and what we need to do is also right on the mark:

Mass movements that struggle against existing power relations cannot remain mass movements unless they connect with the sensibilities of the masses themselves. Good leadership in mass movements connects initially with people’s affective, not merely cogntive realities, then develop that connection into a deeper understanding — developed in the process of struggles that teach people who their real enemies are (like the ruling CLASS, and not merely one inidivudual expression of it). Backward tendencies (like racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, heterosexism, et al) are isolated and corrected by good leadership, and those with advanced understanding of their struggles self-select as political cadres. But the mass movement must still connect with the masses, and one place that connection must happen to make opposition effective is through delegitimation of actually-existing power-holders. We have to say, that emperor has no clothes.

Gender is a particular interest of mine, because I think we have ignored it at our peril and loss.

Moments like this are opportunities to use ridicule as a method of unmasking gender — which is a legitimator for ruling circles.

Yes, if we expect to have social/political/change, we need to listen to Stan and others with his savvy, and we need to educate people in this direction, much like the Civil Rights Movement educated its people in non-violent direct action before hitting the streets. Forty-six years since the Greensboro Four, and we haven't done much to use what that movement teaches us about successful mass movements. The "de-legitimation of power holders" was what the Movement did so well in the South.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Times video

The NYTimes article on Bolivia (see previous post) also has a great, 8 min. video on Bolivian coca production. Several good, on-location scenes with real cocalero allowed to speak on camera. Also some good commentary from Bolivian officials. Despite their problems, the Times does a good job on many subjects. (Note: you'll probably have to register to view this, but it's free.)

The Times on Bolivia and coca

The NY Times has a good article on Bolivia, Evo and coca today! Fair and level, for the most part, the article even includes this great little paragraph:

Stripping the small, shiny leaves from a branch, Pasquale Quispe, 53, owner of a 7.4-acre farm, explained that she and other peasants saw coca in almost spiritual terms. "Coca is our daily bread, what gives us work, what gives us our livelihood," she said. "In other countries, they say coca is drugs, but we don't use drugs. It's the gringos who use drugs."

Saturday, January 28, 2006

A New World is Possible

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez released another bombshell Friday night. He declared war on “the imperialisms of the world,” in the name of the people of Latin America, Africa and Asia. A “new offensive” he called it. “This century we will bury the North American empire, you can be sure of that,” he proclaimed.

He called George Bush “Mr. Danger” and the leader of a “perverse empire.” And he promised to work with Evo Morales in Bolivia to supply petroleum and exchange products, and to help educate Bolivian youth.

Addressing the World Social Forum in Caracas, Chavez called on the spirits of Bolivar and Miranda, Pancho Villa, Sandino, and Farabundo Marti, as well as drawing a full minute of “vivas” for recently-dead Salvadoran leftist Shafik Chandal, and urged the WSF to develop an action plan.

(from Inter Press Service/Terraviva reports)

You haven't heard much about it from the mainstream US media, but the World Social Forum has been going on most of this week in Caracas, and its face is the face of the future. As loud and colorful as the Southern hemisphere, the WSF is raising the issues that the rest of the world is concerned about, though most of us here in the US go blithely about our business, and our entertainment, as if these problems didn't exist.

Activists at the World Social Forum called for decisive actions against poverty, an immediate end to the war in Iraq and a radical shift away from free trade,” CNN online reported on Wednesday. The report said the WSF held panels on imperialism and 21st Century socialism, and participants spoke of the lack of justice in the world, and raised issues like world hunger, the Iraq war, and US military presence around the world.

Among the 60,000 participants is Cindy Sheehan, who pointed out that what the US administration calls a war on terror is really a “war of terrorism against the world.” WSF is making the connection that, were the forces available, this war would be waged against Venezuela and surely will be in some form waged against Bolivia as Evo raises a challenge to "zero coca."

Other issues raised include corporate policies, pollution, racism and women's rights. Mexican activist Hector de la Cueva called for the world to put human rights above profits. Set in President Hugo Chavez's Venezuela, the Forum is highlighting the Southern Hemisphere's leadership in dealing with these world problems.

Zach Hurwitz of US-based Global Exchange, who sent a delegation to the Forum, said the event is generating a new optimism about the possibility of change in the US, and pointed to the example of Venezuela, which has recently upstaged Bush by donating fuel oil to poor US communities and homeless shelters. In the IPS report, Hurwitz says, "More and more people are catching on to the idea that the Bush administration is radically aggressive based on self-interest, while Venezuela is looking out for the welfare of people around the world."

Truthout has been reporting live from Caracas, as well as running Inter-Press Service reports and reports from Cindy Sheehan.

It's events like this that show where the world is heading. The neo-cons and the evangelicals may wear their blinders and sashay around the world killing people in the name of Jesus and corporate profits, but in the long run, the people of the world will assert themselves and their right to a decent life. Chavez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia are harbingers of the new world that WSF declares is possible.

We Norte Americanos need to wake up and smell the coffee!

Other reports: Common Dreams
older analysis - WW4 against neo-liberalism interview