The Technocorporate Empire State Strikes Back

Now-failed states like Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya are the blueprint for a world order modeled on the principles of a slash-and-burn corporate structure that seeks to eliminate “non-performers” from its vast portfolio. Surplus labor worldwide has been given the pink slip in the form of an order of execution, and condemned to live out its numbered days warehoused in squalor. Israel’s once refined methods of incremental genocide has now evolved into a more efficient method of mass extermination for its one-time cheap labor force, now permanently confined in the world’s largest prison on land coveted for an emerging class of settler-property developers. Whether these “non-performers” reside in the Gaza strip, housed in some US immigration detention center, or “loitering” on some pre-gentrified patch of concrete, the memo from HQ is explicit in its downsizing imperatives worldwide.

David Cameron’s UK, serves as an example of a well-performing neoliberal/feudal franchise state, where the poor are forced out of public housing estates to make room for more unoccupied oligarch-owned townhouses, and re-branded as “scroungers” for having the temerity to exist. Much of the British media is devoted to chronicling the bad behavior of its obese, lager-swilling underclass in a concerted attempt to demonize the poor as they are being stricken off the nation’s financial portfolio, while the US prefers a more aspirational model of propaganda a la the Kardashians and the Bravo Housewives. Local insurgencies can be temporarily quelled by a never-ending parade of heiresses enjoying the fruits of their “hard work” designing swimwear, or TED’s nerdy trust funders who are lionized in the media as “outliers”. Never mind that they are already beneficiaries from birth and blood ties to a system that already favors their race and class. Yesterday’s “temporarily embarrassed millionaires” are today’s start-up billionaires and trophy wives in-waiting.

In Japan, where power is politically and directly blood-linked to the select few class-A war criminals who were somehow able to wriggle out of their nooses, the ruling party is poised to unveil a new, war-embracing constitution that will not only replace with Article 9’s infamous war-renouncing clause, but will transform citizens with inalienable rights into vassals with “obligations”. As Abe’s new secrecy law comes into effect, it will be illegal, just as it will be in Canada under bill C-51 to criticize the government; a step already taken in Israel where Palestinians can be imprisoned for supporting their nascent, internationally-recognized state on social media. France’s “anti-Semitism” laws similarly penalize anyone who expresses an opinion that Israel deems objectionable. It was only a matter of time before our political institutions underwent the same process that intricately connected our economic and financial systems. The trend towards globally imposed feudalism is becoming more apparent as the US gears up for an election that has been genetically-engineered to favor one of two ruling class families with non-competing agendas.

Rampaging militants destroying the museums that house Iraq and Syria’s antiquities, while carrying out the wholesale destruction of libraries represent the same aversion to history and learning that the US and Japan in particular demonstrate, as the former guts funding to cultural and educational institutions, while Abe’s recently re-elected government has wasted no time revising textbooks to reflect the viewpoints of the ruling party’s war criminal ancestors. IS has merely proved more efficient at the task of culling ideas and individuals who aren’t in line with the neo-feudal order than their more sophisticated benefactors in the west, whose sleek drones perform the dirty task of preventing nomadic people from permanently settling on land designated for gas pipelines. Abe is able to push through with his ‘Imperial Proclamation of Glorious Serfdom For All’ to replace the Constitution largely, if not wholly, in part by IS’s execution of two Japanese nationals, whose deaths unleashed a media-led outpouring of outrage that Abe was able to capitalize on in order to shift public opinion away from pacifism and back to pre-war levels of militarism. A diplomatic solution to end the hostage crisis that resulted in the horrific deaths of Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa, would have stalled Abe’s militaristic agenda, which explains his government’s seemingly bungled response to the crisis that in retrospect was anything but.

Callous ineptitude, whether it is the Japanese government’s ongoing handling of its still unfolding nuclear crisis, or the implosion of the Eurozone under Merkel’s stewardship, is proving to be a tactical and precise instrument of economic and social control that even a cross-eyed, bib-wearing pant load like Australia’s Tony Abbott can wield. Being able to tie your own shoelaces is no longer a requisite for a G20 leader as oppressive measures to shield elites from the inevitable tide of human misery poised to wreak havoc on their bottom lines can be codified at a keystroke. Surveillance, as a duel-purpose instrument of the public and private sector is just one example of the ‘synergization’ of “free” markets with oppressive legislation. The techno-corporatist state, an amalgamate of American and European powers and their client states, multinationals and NGO’s wields the soft power necessary to create a market for smart phones in Borneo, while launching the hard weaponry required to quell an insurrection there if too many people start googling ‘human rights’.

Curiously, but hardly coincidentally, Canada, the US, the UK, Japan, Israel and France have all drafted punitive and simultaneous measures to rein in dissent within their own borders under the rubric of “national security”. If the “anti-terror” bill C-51 gets approved in Canada, “Total Information Awareness” will mean prison terms for critics of Stephen Harper and the state of Israel, as well as criminalizing speech critical of oil companies. The timing and wording of these bills gives credence to heretofore tinfoil head conspiracists that power is a concentrated and seamless entity, whose most prominent players meet every second Friday, ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ style for a masked orgy at Bilderberg.

Draconian legislation coupled with more direct means of “undesirable” population control has already unleashed a justifiably wrathful people’s ‘Spring’ in countries designated as ‘Ground Zero’ for privatization and foreign control of dwindling resources. IS, whom we are meant to fear more at home than the mass surveillance state set up for multinationals to operate unimpeded by any form of resistance, are this decade’s evil-doing poster boys for Islamic domination worldwide. ‘Jihadi John’ – more a symbol of ‘Broken Britain’ under austerity than a recruiting tool for armed jihad poses a greater threat to humanity (if you believe his PR flaks on Fleet Street) than say, TEPCO’s still-leaking nuclear reactors, and the mass extinction of species not seen since the dinosaurs last roamed the earth.

Media-driven narratives that exaggerate the threat of grudge-bearing men with beards while ignoring the ongoing heist of the world’s wealth by Wall Street’s clean-shaven masterminds highlight a growing disparity between impoverished individuals bound by oppressive laws, and powerful institutions freed from regulation. IS could turn out to be just another US-Saudi joint venture like their predecessor al Qaeda, or merely a private sector rival to the vast and growing network of state-sponsored terrorists who carry out mass murder under the banner of officialdom. In any case, IS and its neo-Nazi counterparts in the Ukraine represent the inevitable outcome of a deliberately implemented political vacuum that has empowered and armed useful idiots to eradicate genuine people’s movements before they gain a democratic foothold on soil earmarked for foreign ownership. Knocking an 85 year old Okinawan protester unconscious at the site of a planned US military base is part and parcel of the same tactics used against darker-hued individuals at invisible and randomly placed checkpoints on American soil. Surplus fodder for the private prison complex are now targeted in unofficial urban wildlife culling initiatives commonly referred to as “isolated cases of police brutality”.

While we should be shivering in abject terror of the Nestle CEO’s open declaration of favoring a system that would divert the world’s water supplies into his company’s coffers, or news that a quake-damaged nuclear reactor in Fukushima is leaking into the Pacific, we instead expend our energies reacting to whatever is ‘trending’ in any given news cycle. Mass outrage over slain cartoonists becomes a collectively expressed grievance for Pentagon-scripted films “snubbed” at the Oscars. And while we’re on the subject of movies, is it really a coincidence that Zero-Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker, Argos, Unbroken and American Sniper – all films devoted to individual American suffering in wars it started are suddenly enjoying unprecedented commercial success and critical acclaim, most vocally expressed by the so-called “liberal” media; a predominantly white and male establishment who serve as geeky gatekeepers to a political status-quo that similarly benefits from the militarization of the bedroom. When you consider that the marketing juggernaut behind ’50 Shades of Grey’ is also responsible for the military pity parades that dominate the cineplex screen, you have to wonder where the boundaries between Hollywood and DC begin and end, and if they even exist at all. The inclusion of Angelina Jolie, Katherine Bigelow and Sam Taylor-Wood into the war effort is not so much history-making, but history repeating Leni Riefenstahl’s contributions to the Third Reich, which similarly required a deft, feminine hand to crank out propaganda.

We fear the worst as an imminent threat when it has already arrived in extreme weather patterns derided by climate change deniers, even as they are already hunkered down in survivalist mode, wielding the law as a weapon against the domestic insurgencies that are sure to erupt when soaring food and fuel prices drive desperate people to defy police truncheons and tear gas, setting in motion the events that launched and then derailed an Arab ‘Spring’, and one that will cast a permanent ‘Winter’ worldwide. We are entering an ice-age, both geographic and political that is manifesting itself both as a recurring and worsening polar vortex, and a blizzard of human discontent one bread line away from permanent catastrophe. The resources and brain power required to reverse the trend of global warming, mass starvation and unemployment, have been harnessed by an intricately connected network of elites to insulate themselves from its effects, while prioritizing their endless appetite for luxury and comfort. Clean drinking water for those who can pay Nestle for the privilege, and contaminated sewage for the rest. Or in the case of Detroit, none at all. Whimsical stadium-sized lofts for the “creative class”, and cardboard boxes for the feral “scroungers” at their spiked doorsteps. Playground slides and napping pods for the brainchildren of mobile phone apps, deep fryers and paper hats for the service industry dunces who have not yet been replaced by robots.

As climate change threatens to decimate crops and create food shortages, revolt against the systems in place that favor the elite minority in terms of wealth distribution will be bloody, protracted and ruinous, and not just within the ‘failed’ or failing states targeted by the US military, but wherever resistance to “reform” threatens the bottom line of its corporate stakeholders. Our overlords, when they are not purchasing remote real estate in the Utah desert for their subterranean panic rooms, or outfitting their yachts with gun ships and paramilitary escorts are bracing themselves against the howling, flesh-eating hordes in expanding ‘have not’ buffer zones. But overreach comes with a caveat that so far the Technocratic Empire Machine has ignored at its own peril: Cast a dragnet too far and you’ll be caught up in its clutches. The US ambassador to South Korea is the latest “victim” of the sort of isolated zombie strikes that occur when the suffocated blindly and spontaneously lash out before they can be preemptively placed in a literal chokehold. The system makes no distinction between an unlicensed cigarette seller in Staten Island and a razor-wielding, would-be assassin in Seoul. The virtual strangulation of all forms of resistance have the foreseeable consequences of an overplayed hand, and expose the risks inherent in a system that will eventually cannibalize itself in a bid to preserve its privileges and its murderous capabilities.

Israel, having perfected the legal and military frameworks necessary for the efficient streamlining of genocide now feeds on the ‘anti-Semitism’ it deliberately engenders to raise the specter of holocaust against itself in the absence of actual external threats. The success of an official “Jewish State” is largely dependent on its pariah status in the world community, as the notion of a beleaguered and isolated nation up against an eternal enemy plays well to voters at home. Or so it would seem. Tens of thousands of Israeli demonstrators agitating against their leader in the wake of his much maligned performance to the peanut gallery in Congress is welcome evidence of an overplayed hand punching itself in the testicles. Israel’s foreign policy objectives wholly rely on a reverse telling of the David and Goliath myth. But a psychotic behemoth with a nuclear arsenal “mercilessly targeted by stone throwing children, thus requiring the obliteration of Iran”, crossed the line from fabrication into farce. Netanyahu may have unwittingly inflicted more damage on the Techno-Corporate Empire State than Edward Snowden’s honest revelations about its unlawful and tentacled reach into our private lives. The Israeli leader may very well be deposed by the now autonomous, self-evolving machine he helped engineer. Eventually, it will blow the whistle on itself, alerting us all to the flawed programs and mechanisms driving it (and us) towards oblivion.

Jennifer Matsui is a freelance writer living in Tokyo. She can be reached at:

Jennifer Matsui is a writer living in Tokyo and a columnist for the print edition of CounterPunch magazine.