A Different Kind of Revolution: Obedience to Authority in America By Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney
My email exchange with Dr. Bede Vincent Curley
March 16, 2009 “Information Clearing House

Mike Whitney: I have been beating the same dead horse for three or four years now and many people are getting tired of the endless iterations of collapsing markets, rising unemployment and growing pessimism. What’s needed is a vision of the future and a concrete plan of action, but I don’t have one. So, tell me, what is to be done?

Bede Vincent Curley: I do not know what is to be done in the US…. Thinking people can see that most Americans veer between manic-depression and paranoid-schizophrenia. While they know they are getting kicked around by the rich, there’s such a strong tradition of obedience to authority in America that most people just take it in stride and just get on with their lives. This is a population with an severe “abuse” problem. I compare it to the compulsive behavior among women and children who’ve lived in abusive relationships. The sickness passes from one generation to the next without interruption. It is a condition that has to be treated, which means creating a process where the person can see that the violence being done to them is violence and not love. America is a nation badly in need of therapy.

The US is full of such abusive notions as “tough love” which only reinforces dependence on the violent parent or partner. There is absolutely no way to confront the situation constructively except by raising awareness to what is happening and pointing out as clearly as possible that this crisis was created by the rich and imposed on the rest of us. And, as soon as you say that, you risk being marginalized– especially among the I-Generation.

There’s almost no discussion about class in the US, even among the Left, and yet, the chasm between rich and poor has grown wider in America than anyplace in the industrial world. The rich get richer and the poor own nothing. The middle class–the class of illusion–is committed to defending the so called American dream and believing whatever the rich tell them in order to sustain their own very tenuous existence. Remember, George Carlin said that “They call it the American dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.” Just try to convince someone in the middle class, some working man or woman, that the US kills and exploits the rest of the planet to serve the narrow interests of 10% of the population, they just point to their college educations, their cars, and other trinkets and shrug it off as unimportant or plug their heads back into the sand. What do they care? They have their Starbucks and their I-Pods and their flat-screens.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that the US is a very big country. If reactionaries (militias?) can seize territory (as they routinely do in the South and parts of the West) why not revolutionaries?

Americans should take the constant erosion of civil and economic liberties in their country over the past 30 years seriously. They need to ask themselves who has benefited from the enormous investment in more police, prisons and military, than in schools and hospitals or affordable housing? These developments were not inevitable or automatic. That means that other choices were and still are possible but they must be made consciously and they require action to implement them.

The banks aren’t going to feed and house people or provide them with anything except shinier chains. The poor and black will get rusty chains, tent prisons, and brutality, like they always do (especially given the host of government incentives for the private prison-industrial complex). The next time someone brings up our “post racial” society, just remind them of Katrina and the thousands of poor black people who were herded into the Superdome at gunpoint. The evacuation and “reconstruction” of New Orleans bear an uncanny resemblance to forced removals imposed by apartheid South Africa under the infamous Group Areas Act. Apartheid’s founders drew explicitly on US segregation practice. Don’t think it can’t happen here again.

What is needed is a different kind of civil disobedience aimed at regaining local control of ECONOMIC resources…a whole new model of social and human responsibility focused on localism and community.

The way the financial crisis is unfolding, we’ll all have to focus on saving our own environment “close to home” without help from the government. We should remember what Malcolm X and others who were murdered in the struggle for justice in the US had to say about human dignity and self reliance; we’ll need it.

People should organize to solve real material problems. Forget about overthrowing “the government”. That’s nonsense. They should focus on defending their homes, strengthening their role in the community, and staying alive. By any means necessary. There will be plenty to do just assuring that basic needs are met. For example, a person facing eviction has no chance to resist by himself, but if the community comes to his defense, then the sheriff’s department will have to back off. This rule can be applied elsewhere, too. Small victories can inspire tenacity, too. The “strike” was never a privilege granted by Congress. It is a weapon of self-defense against abuse that involved the whole working community and not just union members. A factory closing is an opening for resistance. Crowds prepared to storm a WalMart for Christmas shopping sales should be able to storm the doors and occupy the buildings to protect jobs like they did in Chicago earlier this year. The same thing happened in Argentina after their meltdown.

Financial crisis is an opportunity for political mobilization, but people have to pull together and work for a common goal. If a supermarket chain threatens to shut down or lay off workers; it should be boycotted. At the same time however, local farmers should be organized to set up community-supported alternative stores to provide affordable food. These are all politically charged actions that have been tried in the past with some degree of success. Not everything will succeed, but what other choice is there? People are losing their homes and livelihoods. The system is breaking down. It’s time for community politics to take precedence over “identity politics”. As Benjamin Franklin was reputed to have said, “We must all hang together, or surely we will all hang separately”.

You can’t educate sedated and misinformed Americans overnight. But resistance is a process, and it’s a process that improves one’s chance for survival. Look at what happened in Gaza. The main cities were bombed mercilessly by the Israelis but they managed to keep the hospital open. If the Palestinians can accomplish that, then it ought to be possible to take over a local clinic and keep it running even if supplies are cut off.

Of course, this will require an alternative media to succeed. People will need to be updated regularly by reliable independent sources. There could be corporate and government manipulation and attacks on citizen access to the Internet and other alternative media to disrupt activism. In fact, the Pentagon already has plans for nearly every imaginable scenario. And, of course, the MSM will try to discredit the so-called “troublemakers”. The government will do everything in its power to crush grassroots resistance, but history tells us, that when a system breaks down, the central authority gets weaker and weaker while local groups step in to fill the power vacuum.

The country is simply too big for a domestic force of a couple hundred thousand soldiers to manage. Just look at Iraq; there were only 25 million Iraqis and it still turned into chaos. There are over 300 million people living in America; it cannot be done. Besides, on the odd chance that rioting breaks out, there may be reluctance among some in the elite to deploy soldiers visibly to major cities, for fear that foreign capital will flee and further aggravate the capital markets. Still, groups should establish redundancies to stay connected and better endure disruptions.

I’ll stop here, since there’s enough to think about in this rather long and sermonizing message. I am an optimist though, because it isn’t over until we die. As long as people have a will to live there is a reason to resist. There are things that can be done that don’t require blind hope. People need to see that their communities are under attack and that their future is no longer certain. The economic problems of feeding the top 10% are not going away, in fact, they’re getting worse.

The only standard by which an economy ought to be measured is whether all the people who live in it are fed, housed, clothed, educated, and receive care and rest– if that cannot be done then the economy has failed and has to be rebuilt to meet that standard. We’re at war, and the enemy is not the government per se, but the super-rich corporatists that run the government and who prevent the economy from serving human needs.

(These comments were edited for grammar and readability. Dr. Curley is the nom de plume of a friend who wishes to remain anonymous)

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8 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Revolution: Obedience to Authority in America By Mike Whitney

  1. Mike, you saved me long ago when you got me moving to pay off my house – that was in summer of 2006. I understand what you are saying in so many sentences and paragraphs about the American People – yep, they like most denizens of the almost any society and especially civilizations, suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. Its an effect induced by the fact that before they knew to quit sucking their little thumbs, their society or civilization down-loaded its vast array of mind-clone data deep into their infant brains. Like Plato pointed out, city-states or nations are really great big parents. But what he failed to mention is that these super-parents are also often centuries old, if not millennia. And while they are built of human organisms, they are neither human nor humane. How difficult it is for even a chimp, that is abused by its SOB male leader, to break away from its troop. In fact considering pack animals, herd animals, and troop animals it becomes plain that for mammals this Stockholm Syndrome is deep down genetic.

    But the abuse seen in large advanced societies or civilizations reaches levels not seen often in primitive tribes or even monkey troops. For mankind this is because, in spite what preachers like to rail about, humans really were never designed to live in such huge numbers. The result is that those bred in our super-societies tend see the body of the said society as the very limits and bounds of the universe itself.

    Your advice is basically what most farm folks tried to do back in the 1930s. Your: “Forget about overthrowing “the government”. That’s nonsense.” is important advice. Truth is it appears to me that the world order leadership has made some booboos and is in a dire situation. There appear to be several splits in their ranks and other contenders for the control of world asymmetric government. You know they were running like heck during the Bush years to build their tyranny machines around the English Speaking world. Even 9-11 was a rush job, a sloppy job. The Powers That Be no longer seem like the talented tyrants they once were in the first part of the 20th century. Even their hired hacks no longer seem to have the same enthusiasm or dedication they once had. They seem to go through the motions, really just concerned whether they get their share of the loot or not.

    I know for a fact that major echelons of the world order got caught with their pants down when the financial banking went south beginning at the end of June 2007. Personally I feel that their attempt to force Bear Stearns to sell its CDOs to bailout the two bad funds was an attempted test balloon to see if such toilet paper that had NEVER sold on an open market, could be sold at a price above 85% of stated value. It was such a small amount I think they believed it wouldn’t hurt all that much if it fell a bit below that level. I think they realized that their derivative beast was painting them too quickly into a corner and they thought they had to attempt an open market test (kind of like what Obama’s team is trying to do today with govt. guarantees). The fact that they attempted to paper over the mess of summer 2007 by pumping out another 150 to 200 trillion derivatives before 2008, or the fact that even though the best idea is to seize the Zombies and clean up the TP, but they refuse to – instead wanting to restart the FAILED SYSTEM – shows that they were caught with their own skin deep in the game and were unprepared for the collapse of the financial banking system at the moment that it failed!

    What this means is that the world order is very weak and in danger of assaults from the other asymmetrical organizations and crime cabals both from within its body and from outside. A massive turf fight could be in the works. The empire could fall. But the average American should stay out of such a fight. I explain elsewhere on the net why this is so.

    Do I still support the world order and Zionism? I decided to do this a decade ago as I came to understand the real dangers to the biosphere (not that carbon thingy) and as I realized the historical truth that most all revolutions backfired and made things worse not better. Our 1776 revolution almost turned out badly many times, and it was really just the big Atlantic, the big wilderness, and a fluke of luck that it worked out as well as it did. Heck even in the aftermath the people wanted to elect George Washington to be a tyrant (a king). People are just whacko really.

    Why Zionism? It seems like the best poison. You see since the earliest days the American system has shown that it was always up for the highest bidder. This became even more true by the 20th century. It was wilderness stolen from Native Americans that kept whites as free as they ended up being until about 1930. Even the early bad roads (muck holes in rain) and few train routes helped keep Americans semi-free up until the 30s. It wasn’t the glorified hall-pass that constitutionalists go on about. There is no such thing as a RULE OF LAW (even the world order is always pushing that phrase!) People rule and use laws only as instruments. But the average American never was all that excited about taking the time to rule. And pouring in myriads of immigrants in the 1800s (most American’s ancestors) made sure that people would leave the ruling to the big Eastern Establishment and the rich rather than fight with their limited means (farming was very labor intensive in the 19th century) to secure their right as collective rulers.

    The rich simply divided the small masses and turned American politics into a farce early on. Corruption and graft was rampant in the 19th century, not even hidden as well as it was in the 20th century. It was always an unsound idea that a scattered people, divided by poor roads and wilderness would ever easily unite to retain a real control of government. In fact those who study history and societies must realize that such a notion in any country is largely an 18th century romantic doctrine.

    Also I have never met an American freedom fighter that had a real viable plan. Most all revolts started by little people fail. In 1776 the leaders were mostly rich men compared to the average American. As I often say, if General Robert E. Lee (who was a very brave and capable battle leader) was here today and saw the odds stacked against the bands of patriots, he’d see that the odds against them was far beyond the odds against his own army when he laid down his sword. He’d tell modern freedom fighters in America to find the courthouse at Appomattox and make peace speedily. For as Jefferson pointed out, every half- baked revolt that fails only strengthens tyranny!

  2. The problem and the solution is a global one. And I have already laid it out in greater detail elsewhere; never the less I shall restate it here in brief because my heart goes out to the author who seems to be struggling with the answer.

    In america the first step could be to simply reassert the structure of its form of government, to reassert constitutional principles and for the states themselves to reclaim their sovereignty on behalf of the citizenry who are the indisputable sovereigns. But the engineered crises of our age are all steps toward a goal, a global government and global systems which are to consolidate power and capital into the hands of the few creating neofeudalism. In short the agenda is to recreate the old world order of monarchic rule at the global level via systems of global financial, governmental and military power.

    Thus, the solution itself must be a global one because the problem is a problem which faces all of humanity not just we americans. While we may be able to break away and create a new america, an america 2.0 founded on the basic principles enshrined in the foundations of this great nation, we cannot hope to ever maintain that state of affairs until the whole of humanity is similarly free. This concept is the natural aspiration of a free people toward their neighbors and is the conceptual framework which was hijacked to perpetrate nearly a century of neocolonialism under the auspices of nation building or liberation. Indeed we owe it to the world I think to finally make good on this promise after so much wanton bloodshed. But I digress and I reaffirm my objective by saying to you all that we must have a global solution to this global problem.

    The solution is this: the creation of a global system of government which enshrines individual sovereignty, whose emphasis is on Localized control and emergent systems and which actively combats via a culture of opposition to domination the formation of highly centralized systems of power. It is actually quite simple and for the first time in the history of our species we have the necessary technology to facilitate such a form of government. SO the choice is there in front of us, do we want technocratic/cleptocratic plutocracy or do we want to create a sort of virtual republic?

    Do you want to go on as we have been, or do you want to free mankind so that people can realize their individual potentials? Do you want to see you children grow up in a world of domination or in a world where the individual can express themselves and realize fully their potential? I suggest to you that all human life is inherently valuable because a strong system is a diverse system, I recommend the creation of a world government which is the antithesis to to the prevailing world order and as the means to this end I recommend a posture of ironclad self defense and self sufficiency conjoined with a networking together of People, not institutions but Individuals. I say to you in no uncertain terms: qui desiderat pacem? praeparet bellum, if you would be free men then stand your ground and be ready to defend yourself against all attackers. They will attack your mind, your health and your environment, they will try to take from you everything you have and love and you mustn’t let them. You must be ready to fight but you must not Pick fights! You must be ready to fight but you must put all your available nervous energy into creating CULTURE. A culture of opposition to tyranny and you must spread that culture WORLDWIDE, until every man woman and child the world over stands as a testament to this idea.

    Let him who has ears for it, hear me.

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  6. Yes, it is a self serving “Criminal System of Justice”!Defense Lawyer’s feed off the Un-Constitutional Statue’s, and have NO reason to rock da gravy boat.
    U may plead Guilty, Not Guilty, or Nolo-Contendre, but not Victim of Conflict of Interpetation of the Statue.
    Fast 1 day a week, don’t drive 1 day a week, take 1 day off of consuming a week, it =’s 14+% X’s Millions, 10’s of millions, 100’s of millions, now that’s real leverage.
    Win by using there weapon, against them, their money.

  7. Yes! The enemy is the rich corporations and the courts and legal system of abuse that supports them.

  8. I agree with your, posting and I guess we straddled with the economy, but lets take a look at the brighter side of possible opportunity that may laid ahead of us.

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