Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive!
CounterPunch’s website is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. We are supported almost entirely by the subscribers to the print edition of our magazine and by one-out-of-every-1000 readers of the site.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The NSA is the Spearhead for American Fascism

by NORMAN POLLACK

The House on July 24 defeated a motion to restrict, but not abandon, National Security Agency massive-surveillance activities, the Obama administration and Democratic leadership in the House in solid support of continuance, this despite the obvious totalitarian implications and consequences of the program.  Think of it, POTUS identified closely with the most alarming violation of American civil liberties in recent history, placing him in the same crowd with Joe McCarthy, A. Mitchell Palmer, the Alien-and-Sedition forces going back to the late 18th century, a dishonorable pantheon of those contemptuous of freedom of thought, privacy of the individual, safeguards inherent in the Constitution for protection against unlawful searches and seizures.  By this vote, is there any doubt that the Democratic Party is aligned with the Republicans in decisive areas of public policy, beginning, for these purposes, with the support of counterterrorism as the pretext for shaping internal consensus on the military foundations of global superiority with respect to conjoined armed power and capitalist penetration of world markets?  Neither party qua party dissociates itself from the flagrant abuses and atrocities, epitomized in the program of armed drones for targeted assassination, that are integral to the unilateral position—still in effect, but rapidly deteriorating as the complexion of the international system changes to a multipolar context, especially with China’s rise and broad-based Third World industrial growth—of superpower in extremis (i.e., the US view of top-dog, on pain of death otherwise, an internal domino theory justifying barbarism at any cost).

The House vote nails down the truth: Obama’s legacy, contrary to his economic shadow-boxing these days purportedly aimed at “middle class” improvement, is one of consistent support of militarization of capitalist expansion, including, via banking and corporate deregulation, the monopolistic consolidation of the business system, but also the wider correlative setting, a quiescent populace, ready for thought control (as in surveillance), nonchalance, to such threats as climate change, environmental degradation, pollution from multiple sources, associated with nuclear wastes, mining, fracking, etc., and a readiness to intervention, support for the military of “friends and allies,” espionage on behalf of regime change, and presently at center stage, ambitious plans for the conduct, greater than before, of cyberwarfare.  This bill of goods, shoddy, soiled, infested with lice, from a moral standpoint, requires for success the Big Sell, the Obama full-court press, borne out by the expansion of Executive Power and the coordination of previously (under his predecessors) lax efforts at integration, notably, the military shift in emphasis to paramilitary operations, as the type-form for reorganizing and improving the efficiency of the aggressive posture of the United States—all without sacrifice to the bulkier manifestations of power, as in moving significant units, air and naval, to the Pacific in incipient yet more pointed confrontation with China, as the new perceived antagonist in a reviviscence of the Cold War.

NSA surveillance, now giving the Agency growing pride of place as the administration darling, partially replacing the CIA—and its joint activities with JSOC—as the instrument of choice in furthering America’s national interest, is intended to be more than a temporary measure to preserve government secrecy like never before, except maybe, for more justifiable reasons, in World War II, and then, not going beyond military operations (loose lips sink ships) to the blanket coverage of Americans’ private lives, and instead becomes—in Obama’s eyes, and that of his national-security advisers—a permanent state of affairs, on the theory that America will always face enemies to “Homeland Security” and, not publicly expressed, the perhaps equal danger of insistence upon transparent government at home.  From the Oval Office it is hard to distinguish between al Qaeda and domestic whistleblowers, Snowden and Manning openly conceived as dangerous traitors.  What a mess, we’ve allowed ourselves to get into: robbed from above by an irresponsible capitalist system bent solely on profit-taking, terrorized by a “liberal” government decked out in glittering generalities whose test of proper citizenship is silence in the face of its illegal ways abroad and business favoritism at home, castrated in mounting social protest (never mind the flowers, where did all the demonstrations go?)—a mess of our own making, as when we see Democratic leaders in the House, Pelosi, Hoyer, etc., working to keep the party in line to defeat curbs on NSA spying, while Obama’s team mans the phones to ensure the happy results.  Legacy?  Eichmann on the Potomac, consciously, willingly, part of the vast effort to keep American capitalism, encased in military splendor, on track as the global powerhouse across the political-economic-ideological-military spectrum of what we quaintly refer to as, guardianship of a peaceful world order, except, unlike Eichmann, Obama cannot plead cog-in-the-wheel irrelevance.  The power is his, to use wisely or malignantly.  I think, the latter.

My New York Times Comment (July 25) on the article discussing the vote to defeat the motion on NSA surveillance restrictions follows:

If any liberals and progressives need further convincing that Obama is on the side of authoritarianism and shows absolute contempt for civil liberties, Obama, and much of the Democratic party, this should be convincing. But of course they will not listen. They’ve loved him through targeted assassination, they’ve loved him through national-security advisers bent on traditional hegemony, they’ve loved him through every conceivable betrayal of principle stated or implied in his 2008 campaign, etc.

N.S.A. is the spearhead for an American version of fascism, running neck-and-neck with the CIA-JSOC paramilitary-operation synthesis for that honor. How they support POTUS is beyond me, except as confirmation of bipartisan reaction on fundamental issues.

Norman Pollack is the author of “The Populist Response to Industrial America” (Harvard) and “The Just Polity” (Illinois), Guggenheim Fellow, and professor of history emeritus, Michigan State University. His new book, Eichmann on the Potomac, will be published by CounterPunch/AK Press in the fall of 2013.

 

Norman Pollack Ph.D. Harvard, Guggenheim Fellow, early writings on American Populism as a radical movement, prof., activist.. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at pollackn@msu.edu.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
Ralph Nader
Are You Ready for Democracy?
Chris Martenson
Hell to Pay
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
Graham Peebles
Ethiopian’s Crying out for Freedom and Justice
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail