FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Our Dystopian Present

by TIM TOLKA

Behind the gleaming armor of his speeches, the emperor’s new clothes of Obama leave him naked. We are to believe that the persecution of the press is protection of national security, secrecy is transparency, debt servitude is opportunity, imprisoning the poor is correction, assassination is public relations, a militarized police state is public service, and protecting the interests of the 1% is the common good. When nonviolent civil disobedience is treated as terrorism and dissent as treason; when the censor lives in our minds, naked totalitarianism has emerged. Yet, despite all, I still reject the contention that we are beyond the point of no return.

As Michael Hastings observed before his patently unbelievable accident, Obama has enshrined in his foreign policy the two most radical principles of the Bush doctrine, torture and extraordinary rendition, and has made targeted assassination and spying on journalists major tenets of the national security state. Despite Obama’s assurance that the CIA will move away from paramilitary tactics, the intelligence community anticipates a sinister future, and the Pentagon is pushing for the US to aggressively reassert dominance devoid of moral leadership and enforce dictatorship without hegemony, domestically and in the international arena.

Power now circulates through the information and obedience we unwittingly provide to the national security prism and the commerce panopticon, which are a fusion of private power and public authority used to monitor and record our license plates, our shopping habits, our personal correspondences, and our very thoughts. If, as Robert Reich supposed in his recent piece in the Huffington Post, a group of wealthy Americans is systematically dismembering government, disenfranchising the minority, spreading PR campaigns of lies, and buying off the media, that is a form of treason worse than terrorism, and it must be stopped.

However, I would argue that the social safety net, which we depend on for services and the protection of economic and social rights, is being dismantled, while the national security state, which should respect our rights during peacetime or repress them in times of national emergency, is being massively expanded and the state-of-emergency is now permanent.

In order to counteract the undemocratic substitution of national security in place of human security, we must:

(1) Fight mental censorship and reject influence of the defense and intelligence community in our society. Put NSA watch words in every mundane email. Find innovative ways to fool them. If ‘they’ have a blacklist, then every American should endeavor to be included by speaking out. We can influence the spies of the national security state and the directors of their agencies by flooding their press offices with calls to tell them that the violation of American citizens’ civil rights is unjustifiable and unpatriotic.

(2) Demand that the foolish, wasteful, and failed wars on drugs and terror end. I call congressmen everyday, and if you want change, you should, too. The war on terror has greatly outlived its usefulness for the resources we spend on it, which are now being directed towards the repression of dissent. When we quit wasting valuable resources on crimes that have few or no victims, i.e. hacking, whistleblowing, drugs, and terror, we can begin focusing on rapists, murderers, and corrupt elected officials, the true enemies of the state.

(3) Demand accountability from the justice system. Judges, prosecutors, and police not infrequently exhibit racism, gender bias, partiality, and even collusion in corruption, occasionally verging on mobster-style organized crime. Unfortunately, corruption convictions are rare, considering that there are half a million elected officials in the U.S., and light punishments and window-dressing are unacceptably common. Qualified immunity is the enemy of justice and we must abolish it.

(4) Reclaim the terms that have been wrenched away from us by the 1%, their political cronies, and the phony media. Orwellian doublespeak tells us that people in favor of women’s rights are “radical feminists;” those who point out probable or obvious connections between phenomena are “conspiracy theorists;” online activists are “hackers” or “cyber terrorists;” the rich are “job creators,” changing wealth inequality that would make robber barons blush is “socialism,” etc. Don’t believe anything the mainstream media says about activists, because the media is the piehole of the 1%.

(5) Join forces, despite race, gender, social class, or party affiliation against the warmongers, Wall Street plutocrats, and neoconservatives who conspire to maintain the status quo. Class warfare needs to make a comeback, because “the blob” and the permanent war economy has reached a place where it must be exposed and dismantled.

(6) Practice civil disobedience. Support Anonymous and Occupy, which continue to evolve, even today, despite false reports, myths and lies surrounding them. MLK said we have a moral obligation to break unjust laws even as we have a moral responsibility to obey just ones. When you allow your outrage fuel your courage to fight for social justice, your fear and apathy will melt away.

Protest. Period.

Tim Tolka just finished a Master’s degree in social movements, the state, and civil society at American University.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 28, 2017
Mike Whitney
Ending Syria’s Nightmare will Take Pressure From Below 
Mark Kernan
Memory Against Forgetting: the Resonance of Bloody Sunday
John McMurtry
Fake News: the Unravelling of US Empire From Within
Ron Jacobs
Mad Dog, Meet Eris, Queen of Strife
Michael J. Sainato
State Dept. Condemns Attacks on Russian Peaceful Protests, Ignores Those in America
Ted Rall
Five Things the Democrats Could Do to Save Their Party (But Probably Won’t)
Linn Washington Jr.
Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Hiring Practices: Privilege or Prejudice?
Philippe Marlière
Benoît Hamon, the Socialist Presidential Hopeful, is Good News for the French Left
Norman Pollack
Political Cannibalism: Eating America’s Vitals
Bruce Mastron
Obamacare? Trumpcare? Why Not Cubacare?
David Macaray
Hollywood Screen and TV Writers Call for Strike Vote
Christian Sorensen
We’ve Let Capitalism Kill the Planet
Rodolfo Acuna
What We Don’t Want to Know
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of the Electronics Ban
Andrew Moss
Why ICE Raids Imperil Us All
March 27, 2017
Robert Hunziker
A Record-Setting Climate Going Bonkers
Frank Stricker
Why $15 an Hour Should be the Absolute Minimum Minimum Wage
Melvin Goodman
The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS’s Losses in Syria and Iraq Will Make It Difficult to Recruit
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer Bernie Morphs Into Public Option Dean
Gregory Barrett
Can Democracy Save Us?
Dave Lindorff
Budget Goes Military
John Heid
Disappeared on the Border: “Chase and Scatter” — to Death
Mark Weisbrot
The Troubling Financial Activities of an Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate
Robert Fisk
As ISIS’s Caliphate Shrinks, Syrian Anger Grows
Michael J. Sainato
Democratic Party Continues Shunning Popular Sanders Surrogates
Paul Bentley
Nazi Heritage: the Strange Saga of Chrystia Freeland’s Ukrainian Grandfather
Christopher Ketcham
Buddhism in the Storm
Thomas Barker
Platitudes in the Wake of London’s Terror Attack
Mike Hastie
Insane Truths: a Vietnam Vet on “Apocalypse Now, Redux”
Binoy Kampmark
Cyclone Watch in Australia
Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail