Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Chicago Libre

Privatization of education in the US is not yet encountering organized resistance like in Mexico, but as Wall Street and the White House continue to impose this anti-democratic initiative and others on American society, the day is approaching when anti-privatization strikes in Chicago may mirror those in Colombia. As poverty and social exclusion intensifies as a result of neoliberal fascism and its privatizing agenda, the streets in America could soon look like Oaxaca Libre.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Subverting Solidarity

Solidarity as a strategy — exemplified by the 1994 Zapatista/Civil Society alliance against NAFTA — made clear the power of unifying the indigenous peoples movement, the human rights movement, and the environmental movement. Taking a lesson from the iconic uprising in Mexico, the U.S. military reorganized its intelligence and public relations capacities to engender a more sophisticated form of psychological warfare and counterinsurgency that includes co-optation of reform-oriented, Civil Society NGOs.

Working in tandem with State Department initiatives to undermine indigenous nations’ jurisdiction under international law, especially the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Pentagon and NATO now frequently create a distorted image of human rights as part of the cover story when destabilizing or overthrowing non-NATO governments. Reinforcing State and Defense Department efforts to subvert the international human rights regime, Treasury and other departments of the U.S. Government — through the austerity agenda — are steadily eroding the ability of Civil Society to support the indigenous peoples movement.

Austerity, as such, is not merely a larcenous agenda by federal governments in cahoots with Wall Street and the European Central Bank; it is equally valuable as a tool of oppression of the populations impoverished by the financial services empire.

The audacity of austerity’s exponents also serves a purpose: transforming economic desperation into a sense of fear and hopelessness creates a submissive citizenry, inoculated against revolutionary politicization. Deprived of the resources necessary to organize a viable opposition to the empire, these downtrodden citizens thus become a reservoir of resentment from which modern states can mobilize sycophants to intimidate and outmaneuver democratic reformers.

In the absence of resources for resistance to austerity, the oppositionally politicized are tempted and encouraged to mobilize disorganized, which ensures their ineffectiveness. Marches, protests and demonstrations are means, not ends; unprepared to challenge the power of empire, they demonstrate at best a false hope, at worst a romantic delusion.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Justice Delayed

For twenty years, the Building Industry Association of Washington has engaged in money-laundering to corrupt elections and undermine environmental protection laws in Washington State. In the 1990s, we fought the BIAW and its paid agent provocateurs who incited violence against environmental activists and Indian tribes, but we received no help from state oversight and enforcement agencies. Last month, the Washington Supreme Court finally handed a blow to the BIAW in the form of upholding an Appeals Court decision ordering the BIAW to return millions in illegally diverted funds.

While this money-laundering initially corrupted or threatened county governments in 14 counties, it was only in the last decade that it came close to buying two governor's races. I suspect this was ultimately the impetus for the recent court decision.

Sometimes justice takes a while.