Le Panoptique

Perspectives sur les enjeux contemporains | More Perspective on Current International Issues


Publié le 27 février, 2011 | 4 commentaires

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For thirty years, the U.S. citizen has been conditioned little by little, to accept less. Less protection from unions, less protection from polluters, less protection from bankers and the financial sector, less actual work from the government, less leadership from elected officials, less transparency, less employment opportunity, less in medical and preventative health care, less in education, less in the protection and maintenance of the infrastructure that makes life itself livable on a civilized level. But they have also learned to accept more of other things: more incivility, more selfishness, more and more encroachment on their hard-won civil liberties and rights, more prisons, more cruelty against the helpless, more injustice, more illegal detentions and torture, more secrecy, more poverty, more war. The richest 1% pays the least tax and shares 90% of America’s wealth; the rest have been distracted like weak-minded children to do nothing about it or face a brutal smack-down – which their indifferent neighbors have been taught to ignore lest it happen to them.

Now women have come under renewed attack; because why not? If you can subjugate 51% of the population, force them to endure medieval strictures and limit their personhood – while increasing that of faceless corporations – why not? This is the power-grab the fearful, wealthiest of the country (and the world) have been working toward. Though their wealth has reached obscene proportions to that of the rest, they believe they can and will continue in power, and that we will continue to grow more and more powerless, eventually surrendering completely to what some of them even believe is their divine right. (http://www.truth-out.org/what-conservatives-really-want67907)

Because they live in a fantasy world, they believe the fantasy that they will be able to control the starving and desperate billions of the future, just because they are in power now. We know that is not so, it’s happening before our very eyes, in countries the U.S. considered backwards and inferior: people do what they must when their back is to the wall. History tells us that whenever injustice and need become intolerable, no matter how downtrodden the masses are, their own human nature will drive them to try to survive, hence with less and less resources reaching the majority of people, the future will naturally be filled with chaos, devastation and mass-suffering on a scale which has never been seen yet.

And it will happen everywhere. Revolution where possible, epidemics breeding from the squalor elsewhere, but no where will there be a safe-haven when climate change is complete, coral reefs have died, making barren the oceans, which will warm and flood the coastal cities while making deserts of farmland and so on and so on – but fear makes the billionaires flee into their bizarro-world, as to accept reality would mean to see that they too must suffer consequences. And this they refuse to do. For centuries the wealthy have deemed themselves superior by virtue of their money, whether it was made on the backs of slaves in mines or stolen outright from the powerless. They can even believe that mere technology will be enough to counter the generations of heedless abuse of the earth. What is clear is that absolutely no one who has great wealth has made it “honestly”, which is to say, within the democratic laws of a free state or those of human decency. And these morally corrupt and self-interested men are the rulers, even over “democracies”.

Am I saying that every billionaire is a ruthless, lawless hoarder of ill-gotten gain? Yes, I am. It’s obvious that this is so, has always been so. Even when they turn philanthropist, we should remember how they “earned” their outrageous wealth in the first place. What is to be marveled at is how docilely the population of what was once known as the “freest country in the world” has walked into their panopticon prison life, distracted by simple toys and junk “luxuries” made in China and other nations where outright slavery is the norm. But it was nothing less than their own indifference to the suffering of others that has brought them to this state, self-absorbed while financial deregulation and cronyism became endemic. Their overlords could not have come this far without their lemming-like obedience and moral failure that looked the other way as decades of wrongs were left unaddressed, and hope selfishly placed in lottery tickets and one’s 15 minutes of “fame”, the idea that a “personal fortune” is worth more than a Great Society. While there have been many brave women and men over the decades who have spoken out against the impending catastrophe, the lack of well-funded leadership and organized ability to unify a majority to the cause has rendered their voices mere cries in the wildnerness. When Mr Obama was elected, their enthusiastic support of the Democratic Party machinery was found to be misplaced.

To me, the turning point, when I knew there was to be no hope or change on the American agenda, was when President Obama, with his majority “mandate” from the voters, declined to prosecute any of the shameless war-criminals and multi-billionaire war-profiteers of the previous administration. From there, declining to prosecute any of the Wall Street criminals was only the next logical step to declining to prosecute BP and other mass-scale environmental polluters. Washington is owned by the lowest sort of people, those who think only of themselves and protecting and multiplying their own personal wealth; and the American public sold it to them, their birthright for a few shiny, and entirely ephemeral things.

And it is fear which has caused them to sell out, fear of losing the little they had worked for, fear of sinking under the poverty line – like being in quicksand and being forced to hope that someone will come along and pull you out, you have to believe or you’ll just sink under until the surface becomes smooth again, without you. As President Obama said during his campaign (when he still said true things), from fear people cling to their guns and their religion – their fantasies of power and salvation. They don’t want to see themselves as victims, that’s not the American way. They see themselves as victors, even when they most resemble the Light Brigade, charging to their certain deaths.

Solidarity is the only real Hope

So what can be done? Is this just another screed decrying the NYTimes, and its constant series of articles on “tiny houses” – as if anyone in the United States should by any standard think of a 6×4 box as a “house” – or the constant barrage of media aimed at convincing people here that the U.S. is still the “best country in the world” when it is so very far from it? No, I am saying there is a way, one way, to bring things back around, but it will involve a revolution, not with the guns the NRA wants to put into the hands of every teenager and mental case in the country, but a revolution of minds. Stop seeing the fate of those worse-off than you as separate than you, as a matter of indifference. This is the message of unions and it is the message that should have been the guiding light of America, like the torch on the Statue of Liberty, for decades and for always. The greatness of the United States is in its being a country for all people, tired, hungry, yearning to breathe free – because if it’s not, its citizens will become those very huddled masses, are already well on their way to becoming them. If citizens don’t want an outright dictatorship of billionaires to inhabit every government office and take away their last remaining rights, they must work together, protest together, share their resources against the lobbyists who have usurped their democratic government. It’s not just organizing a protest for one group or another group – there must be only one group, mature enough to see the common goal and work for it, putting aside differences of politics and faith.

The super-rich are the real enemy of democracy, they actually and really intend to run the U.S. as their private fiefdom, by buying judges and representation to insure their continued domination over the economy, and by creating a social environment that insures the utter subjection of the American people by dividing it with social issues that will mean little once self-determination is off the table for good. They are already doing it and succeeding, people. What will stop them? As the old query goes, if not you, who? If not now, when? Almost 25 years ago I left the U.S. because I never thought Americans would snap out of their complacency and rescue their country from the burgeoning Reagan-enabled neo-robber barons and their creed of “wealth-justifies-everything”. Was I wrong? Is what we’re seeing in Wisconsin and the mid-west the beginning of a real solidarity movement? All I can say is, this is no time to see yourselves as “better off” than the millions of suffering illegal aliens who’ve crept, full of hope, into your borders; you are all Americans now.


Susan B Anthony Vote speech: http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/anthony.htm
Roosevelt New Deal speech:
Eisenhower’s Farewell speech: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm
Kennedy’s Inaugural speech: http://www.famousquotes.me.uk/speeches/John_F_Kennedy/5.htm
Johnson’s Great Society speech: http://www.h-net.org/~hst306/documents/great.html
King’s Dream speech: http://www.mlkonline.net/dream.html
Severn Suzuki Climate Change speech: http://www.sfsf.com.au/econews/econews_story_severin_suziki.htm
Moyers Free Journalism speech: http://cosmiccpa.com/votecherylwolfe/?p=192

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  1. Benson yachnin
    février 27th, 2011 @ 17:21

    Hey Niki,
    WTF you are starting to sound like the littlenvoice in my head… Keep it up!

  2. Emma
    février 28th, 2011 @ 06:05

    I agree with you in many aspects of this article. Solidarity is the only way forward. However, instead of just critiquing the government what about an article detailing useful solutions.

    I have a hard time swallowing that the average citizen of the U.S. (or anywhere for that matter) is complacent in their servitude. I understand the need to take part in a system that is failing. More people in the world are ‘educated’ than ever before though they have giant student loans and are required to take what they can get in terms of jobs. They become a part of the system which destroys our environment because they are educated to. This is far from the American Dream.

    However, in the land of freedom for the ‘individual’, I think onus lies on the individual to step up and create change. You can work less, if you drive less, if you waste less, if you eat less (and better). You can live a better life if you share more, exercise more and grow more (food). Wealth lies in the life you lead and not just the amount of money you have. So, burn down a McDonalds and start a neighborhood garden. Get a bicycle and take a bike trip to a derelic part of town. Find what needs renewing and renew. Don’t just critique the government because they are the last ones who are going to come around…

    Many places in the states will end up looking like Detroit in the years to come: http://bit.ly/etamKq

    However, Detroit is a fine example of how a place undone by industry can be remade. What was the birthplace of cars maybe the birthplace of something new:

    So, lets stop making the government responsible for everything and be responsible ourselves.

  3. Emma
    février 28th, 2011 @ 06:15

    Hey Niki,

    I know you offered an intellectual ideal for change…but I am ready to make change. Give me protest strategies, tips for guerilla gardening, a legit way to make some money in this economy and alternative transportation. Or give me an apron for Starbucks and FOUR MORE YEARS.



  4. Emma
    février 28th, 2011 @ 18:16

    It’s the illuminati, it’s the American government, it’s a reason to move to a foreign country: http://bit.ly/gfEBrs