Monday, September 21, 2009

Dispossessed People and the Rise of the Security State

Both Repbulican and Democrat alike seem to acknowledge, and fund, the rise of a security state, spurred in great part by 9/11. More electronic equipment and other hardware, more trained staff, more joint task force committees and "centers", etc.

At the same time, Connecting the Dots, we are witnessing a growing number of dispossessed people, the "jobless" in the "jobless recovery." Detroit and many unnamed towns and cities, like Flint, MI, have had former factory workers sitting on their porches now since the 1980s. (As an aside, the parents of these people sitting on the porches, many of whom have now passed on, got slammed by the Savings and Loan crisis/heist; an "economic failure" not too unlike the sub-prime loan debacle. But I digress....)

The establishment seems blind to the realities of families and individuals who must cope with ... no money... no health care... Where do they go? In the case of Brazil:

These dispossessed people have only two places to flee to: the shantytowns or the Amazon.

We're talking about formerly "lower-to-middle class" becoming destitute. These people "seem" to "go away," and some do, pushed to death. Those who live chop at the edge of rain forests or do whatever it takes to survive.

A glaring image of the dispossessed closer to home (the US) was splashed all over establishment media when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans.

The rise of Security State was seen in New Orleans during Katrina; something new was a heavy presence of privatized security, Blackwater being most notable because of reports of their abusive behavior. The key word is "private;" as soon as disasters become profitable, be the natural or man-made, the security industry benefits... disaster capitalism as described by Naomi Klein.

I could go on, but my only point is to connect-the-triangle-of-dots between the growing dispossessed, the rise of the security state and the bi-partisan support of the latter in the face of the former... the establishment fears the unwashed masses, nothing new there.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

American Exceptionalism: The Connection

So, what's the connection between the concept of American Exeptionalism and the Establishment? There are surely many, but one is a subtext of the two-party system... that the both parties accept the myth of American Exceptionalism.

First, American Exceptionalism is a view, deeply ingrained in our culture, that the United States of America superior among nations as if god-given. The "Gods" in this case were the "founding fathers," and the US form of democracy is viewed as not only the best, but unsurpassable.

This notion of being "special" includes a belief that US actions are for the common good of the world. The US spreads democracy, which is a noble pursuit. It is a belief held by both conservative and liberal Americans, albeit liberals acknowledge past imperfections of slavery, the omission of women's rights in the original constitution, etc.

When it comes to foreign policy in particular, American Exceptionalism binds the Democrats and Republicans to very similar views and imperial activities abroad. Take the following doctrine for example:

Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.

This policy was voiced in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter. To be even more clear, no outside force will impinge on US Control of Persian Gulf Oil... it is unstated that the "benevolent" United States should have control over this oil rather than anyone else. The establishment agrees, and American Exceptionalism is a common underpinning of that agreement.

For More on the mythology of American Exceptionalism, and its implications, check out GDAE Podcast Episode 18 (35 - min).