One aspect of modern fascism that people do not want to face is that torture is part and parcel, on occasion, to dominating peoples through attacking key individuals and intimidating any resisters. In addition to the "War on Terror"'s systematic torture that emanated from Donald Rumsfeld and others at the top of our global fascist state, we see instances of torture and overwhelming intimidation domestically. It is nothing new, but each generation has to discover the reality hidden by corporate media and public education: Examples include "robocops" violating free speech in public areas, and policemen administering pepper spray directly into the eyes of nonviolent, immobile protesters. Both manifestations are on center stage today's mainstream news, at the Republican convention in New York City and on trial in federal court in San Francisco starting on September 7.
Politics, history and figures of Corporatism
The biggest recent indication that individuals can be swept aside in their collective exercise of will could be the 2000 U.S. election, where not only the popular vote did not matter for selecting the blatant corporatist president, tampering and interference as well as the Electoral College system assured the victor. It was finally not the Supreme Court as final arbiter — with its members' pro-corporate philosophy and its body of precedent-law maintaining corporate "rights" — but the U.S. Senate that subsequently chose to ratify the tainted results and non-election of the current occupant of the Oval Office. The "election" of George Bush was a watershed event in corporate rule's advance, when we look at the well-known, blatant corporate connections of the key individuals running the Executive Branch of federal government. Yet, the myth of American democracy keeps the opposition movement (most visibly led perhaps by film maker Michael Moore) from taking on the whole government as a dangerous, unaccountable corporate state. After all, Al Gore and John Kerry are corporatists too.
The World Trade Organization's creation out of a General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs in the early 1990s represented a governmental takeover of almost every nation without a shooting war being fought. This is because the corporations' representatives had already taken over the largest national governments, especially the US, and had already fought a war amongst themselves called World War II. Despite the warning for all to see, corporate power was barely starting to flex its muscles and start expanding with World War II. It was the 1950s onward that saw rapid growth of global corporate markets, thanks to newly refined mind-control in the form of politically successful "public relations" and the influence of "Madison Avenue" that started to utilize television.
Usually when a mass media program on the future is offered, the assumptions are that technology will become ever so more wondrous, with science enabling people to do amazing things and live longer. The similarity with machines is that sophistication of technological design is toward robots and nanotechnology, a molecular approach to controlling nature and the internal functioning of humans.
The definition of fascism presented to U.S. troops in World War II for their education identified a unification or marriage of the state with corporate industry. The peaceful, unaware citizen in the U.S., imagining that the U.S. and its components were completely innocent prior to WWII's hostilities drawing in the U.S., did not want to look at the world's developing fascism as a variant of U.S. institutions that had been on the rise for half a century or more. Yet, innocence may have been in high places:
us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing"
The rule of the corporate machine is on the rise, and threatens to enslave everyone. If we look at working people as already enslaved, and consider the potential of corporations to keep growing and acquiring control over everything from land to water to people's time, it is useful to imagine a future of worker-ant-like slaves. Ants live according to complex division of labor by groups, and there is no other way for ants — or an individual ant must be killed or starve. Does this sound like modern society, or is the unraveling social safety net and the joys of consuming sufficient for someone to ignore the possibility of greater and greater coercion and boxing in?
What people may not realize is that the corporate slave-master is busy plotting their future lives. The reality of the future is being shaped today. The main question may be whether the upcoming end of plentiful petroleum and the resultant crash of the economy will abort — permanently? — the march of the corporations taking over of all society and all the remaining land and resources not owned by corporations as yet.
What about government? Not only is it corporate-structured; it almost always represents the interests of corporations rather than individual people or the remnants of community culture. The New York Times' magazine cover story on August 29, 2004 was "The era of small government is over". This is tantamount to saying that fascism will only be large and global.
Some dissidents, misfits, revolutionaries and anarchists are trying to live counter to the corporate state's rules and institutions. An alternative economy has always existed to the official market economy (see CC Letter #72), but not necessarily in clear opposition with a political agenda to replace corporate rule (whether local corporate or global corporate rule). Nowadays the dissident is not only political but cultural in such a way to include his or her relationship with nature. Sustainable living and progressive/unconventional domestic arrangements are part of the alternative pursued in the margins of corporate society. The opposition does exist, and is in view in the streets in New York at this writing as non-corporate citizens in effect protest for their rights and for a non-corporate alternative government. Not all protesters see the two-party system as simply a corporate tool, but they are on the way to realizing it if they remain in the movement and continue to learn about corporate globalization.
The game of supporting Demopublicans
The Democratic and the Republican parties comprise the dual political structure in the U.S. for big corporate business. Whatever the political leadership does and wants is whatever the corporatist agenda requires. Could this possibly result in a tasteless and corrupt culture? Hmm... Regardless, let us analyze the tendency to settle for something very much less than ambrosia in leadership:
Why would a sensible critic of today's unworkable system support the slightly less egregious of the two wings of corporatism? The reasons are understandable if one simply wants to defeat the Bushes. But the reasoning seems to include the idea that the Democrats are the only game in town. If so, change the game!
The reluctant supporters of John Kerry are right to want to improve the chances for more sensible policies affecting the whole globe, but good-cop/bad-cop is ultimately a dead-end strategy. It is unlikely that the groundswell to replace Bush with Kerry is part of a revolutionary movement to get off the oil habit, for example. There is nothing to stop the Democratic consumer to begin a revolution in his or her own life and neighborhood right now, except the "need" to spend a lot of time and money for an unsustainable material lifestyle. Iraqis will be killing Americans in both hemispheres over the U.S. lifestyle as long as the energy-disparity exists between the two peoples.
Machine humans versus primitives
"The Matrix" movie portrayed a society remarkably similar to the one most U.S. citizens are already a part of. Similar features of the future machine-ruled illusion of the everyday world on the surface (of the planet, technically, and figuratively too) included the regimentation of workers who have been convinced of their individuality — albeit noticeably dwindling — as consumers. The purpose of the film's science-fiction message was in part to alert everyone to the already established characteristics of machine(-like) and police-state rule, and tell the audience (in the tradition of books such as 1984) that we are sleepwalking in ignorance of the extent that our lives are programmed from conception to death.
Traditional economies, primitive as well as quasi-industrial, cling to survival in several regions of the globe, offering diversity and working models of social organization radically different from dominant society. These traditional hold-outs are mostly already contaminated by corporate and consumer-culture forces and may be destroyed soon. A simultaneous sub-trend has been the extinction of languages, as English crushes others with mass media and corporate influence. If the global economy collapses, the remaining traditional societies will be spared complete disintegration. Needless to say, the traditional local economies are not united whatsoever to fight the common enemy, nor are the mostly urban opponents of the corporate state involved or in communication with the remnants of traditional societies.
Tribal organizing for land
Tribes (or rather, smaller bands) are the prime human structure for social organization for over 99% of all humanity's time on Earth. It therefore seems reasonable to recreate tribes if possible in the present urban environment. It's hard to imagine this, without the usual context of pristine nature offering food, materials and non-human companionship.
A tribe can be created and supported by a nonprofit, cooperative system that may ironically be incorporated. It could work on a labor/materials/services-exchange basis among its members, without incurring taxable income for the individuals. A larger goal of such a tribe or collective would be to assure access to land where a support system for members would be secure and permanent. An incorporated, nonprofit tribe could thrive despite the dominant corporatist environment that has taken over almost all the world's land and peoples. Forming modern urban-to-rural tribes and a nonprofit structure will be investigated in an upcoming report.
have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and
the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working
upon the prejudices of the people until
all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.
U.S. Domestic Torture is Important for "Harvesting" Ancient Trees / Update Second Federal Trial in San Francisco with new judge is on!
See Culture Change e-Letter #42 "Resisting nanotech, violence and the corporate state - They're coming for you" by Jan Lundberg
The Corporado's Life and its Antithesis (also appeared in Pravda in Spanish, thanks to Raul Riutor, Culture Change correspondent in Buenos Aires).
Health Care Tribe: Elder Care "Insurance" by Jan Lundberg
"Feels like we're livin' in a police state," you did nothing wrong, "so accept your fate." — a tree-sitter poet of a correspondent sent the following dispatch on August 30 from the Republican National Convention protests:
Culture Change comment: Somehow a police riot in Manhattan, "the media capital of the world," is probably not what Bush & corp. desire, one would imagine. [Note: photos are from Inymedia.org. Pepper spray shot by New Spark Productions]
260 bicyclists out of 6,000 got arrested for exercising their freedom of
assembly, as non-four wheeled killer machines, as the convention began.
See Okie's report on RNC
Critical Mass Bike Ride for Culture Change
readers. Bikes were clearly perceived as a threat to the oil-loving
Republican establishment and the city fathers.