Wednesday, January 3, 2018

We Are More Powerful Than The Oligarchy Could Ever Hope To Become

When we defy tyranny and injustice, we align ourselves with something far more powerful than the corporate state’s military forces, propaganda, and financial control systems. This is the power of the human spirit, which can’t ultimately be crushed by any regime. That’s because it’s based on nurture, compassion, and the desire for freedom, things that fascists can neither destroy nor make honest arguments against. The oligarchy will be at risk as long as there are people who refuse to surrender themselves, and with them the spirit of humanity, to the forces of oppression.

Choosing this defiance is usually met with scorn from conventional thinkers and severe punishment from authorities. Last month, when the Israeli government murdered the cousin of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi during an invasion of her Palestinian family’s home, she slapped one of the Israeli soldiers on camera. Tamimi has since been indicted on assault charges and may be facing decades of jail time. Yet the resistance to Israel’s apartheid continues, inflamed worldwide by Tamimi’s widely viewed act, and it may one day end like the resistance to South African apartheid.
Americans who resist our corporatist government's version of apartheid are now having to accept similar personal sacrifices. Many of the protesters at Donald Trump’s inauguration have narrowly avoided sentences to decades in prison. Under Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act-passed under Obama-the military can be used by the president as a domestic police force. Habeas corpus, the first and fourth amendments, and the Geneva Conventions have been made largely irrelevant by the assaults on civil liberties since 9/11. Government whistleblowers have lost their rights. Police have been heavily militarized and empowered to confiscate property with impunity. This gives the state the tools to easily obliterate freedom as soon as it has a pretext for doing so.
“Imagine yourself in early 2019,” writes Chris Hedges in his latest column. “The Democrats, despite never articulating a political vision other than not being Donald Trump and refusing to roll back Republican legislation such as the 2017 tax bill, have regained the House of Representatives by a slim majority. They vote articles of impeachment. The Senate Republicans, pressured by many within their own party to abandon Trump because of his ineptitude, increasingly erratic behavior and corruption, call on the president to resign. Trump refuses. He uses the megaphone of his office to incite violence by his small, fanatic base. The military, whose deployment as a domestic police force is authorized by Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, is called into the streets to quell unrest. The United States, by the time the violence is snuffed out, is a de facto military dictatorship.”
Whether this happens through that scenario, or through the next terrorist attack, economic crisis or major war, we are on the precipice. Decades of our institutions being incrementally taken over by powerful corporations, religious zealots, and the security state, have left us with almost no protections from the neo-fascists that now dominate our government. Detainees can be convicted, sent into solitary confinement, and even killed by the state with little or no justification. Black sites, used to physically torture prisoners, have been built in and out of the United States. Almost all the time we spend around electronics is spent with us under government surveillance, including the kind that lets the CIA watch us from the cameras in mobile devices.
We can’t be intimidated by the escalated police violence, censorship measures, McCarthyite attacks, increased propaganda, and expansions of corporate and military power that we’ve seen in the last year or so. These are responses to the upwells of revolt happening around the world. If we keep fighting the corporate state, the power structure will unravel.
We can do this by joining and mobilizing around groups like Democratic Socialists of America, which has more than tripled in size since the 2016 election, and the Green Party, which elected dozens of new candidates last year. Other groups include Redneck RevoltWorld Beyond WarPopular Resistance, and Revolt Against Plutocracy. Then there are the countless local revolutionary groups throughout the country. We can use these to build the institutions for revolt.
We need to think in terms of charging from outside the political system. There are organizations that can help citizens resist paying taxes. There are the options of direct action, including strikes, blockades, and occupations, so that the system will be disrupted into obeying the will of the people. There’s the alternative media, which needs more of our support than ever after the “fake news” censorshipmeasures of the last year. There's the prospect of a renewed Occupy movement, which could be started with just one well-publicized demonstration. We need to pool our money, labor, knowledge, and personal meeting locations into countering the mechanisms of the corporate state.
There will be blowback. The next wave of repression could come when telecom companies start purging disfavored websites as net neutrality officially goes away at the start of February. There’s the threat of military action against protesters, which President Trump will use more eagerly as his administration unravels. Serious expressions of dissent are now routinely denounced as Russian propaganda, making us one step away from a formal ban on those expressions. But these are all just details about how the human spirit can win against the oligarchy. The human spirit will remain, regardless of political events, and it will always be superior to what fascism offers.

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