The Global Lockdown

When a visitor to the United States enters the airport they plan to leave from they expect to show their passport and declare their baggage. However, it used to be that most passengers expected these interactions to be conducted by customs officials only in their own country. This is often no longer the case. Instead, many airports across the planet have now become outposts of the United States Border Patrol. It is officials from this agency who will ask for one’s passport, conduct a search and often ask for a passenger’s laptop and cellphone. Then they will ask for the passwords to those devices and any social media platforms the potential traveler might use. Fingerprints will be scanned and, if the airport has the proper equipment, so will the traveler’s retina; both scans will be entered into a database for future retrieval. If the officials conducting this exercise find a reason, they can deny the traveler their journey to the United States. Potentially, they could also detain that traveler. Yet, they are not physically inside the borders of the United States.

The above scenario is but one of several that author Todd Miller describes in his latest book Empire of Borders: The Expansion of US Borders Around the World. The other scenarios are often more violent and involve a process considerably more dehumanizing then being denied a plane flight. They include the incarceration of children and their families (together and apart), the construction of physical walls that divide towns and villages in half, and in some zones, shoot to kill anything that moves orders. The latter instances are part and parcel of the world today. Most of us tacitly accept their continuation. Many even desire an intensification of these efforts, believing the militarization of their nation’s borders somehow makes them safer. It is those voices that lead to massacres like the one that occurred in El Paso on August 3, 2019.

The border Miller describes is more than a line on a map, more than a wall separating communities, and more than a checkpoint staffed by uniformed individuals motioning one to pull over and park. Indeed, the border he describes is a series of electronic sensors, cameras, armed men and women, satellite transmissions, drones and buildings large and small populated by techies who monitor all of the above from their computer screens. It is a billion-dollar business populated primarily by US and Israeli companies determined to put the whole world under observation. The modern border is a border designed to insure the exploitation of other nation’s resources and markets by the dominant capitalist nations, especially the US and some members of the European Union. It is also a border designed to keep those whose land and resources are being stolen from getting back to that land. The latter is especially true in the case of Israel and its occupation of Palestine. In short, the modern border is meant to keep the haves from the have-nots. National armies and border police are, more than ever before, stooges and hit men for the global one percent—most of whom happen to be headquartered in the United States. It is their intention to continue gathering wealth and they will do whatever it takes to fulfill that intention. If a population or segment of a population gets in the way of their plans, laws are passed to declare that group of people illegal.

In an excellent combination of reporting and analysis, Miller describes a system of borders that are mutable, invasive, and multidimensional. The once national borders of the world’s most powerful nations no longer begin and end where national boundaries appear on a map, but now often go deep into neighboring countries territory. Surveillance and incarceration are the order of the day; those under the gun include activists and others opposing this world order and ordinary humans who just happen to be in the way of the powerful’s pursuit of profit. If apartheid is defined as a policy of separation and separation is a point, line, or means of division, then what Miller describes in The Empire of Borders is a system of global apartheid. It is a system that becomes more pervasive and insidious with each tax dollar spent on it. It is also a system that needs to be resisted and dismantled. That is an uphill task, to say the least.

More articles by:

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

Weekend Edition
December 06, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Eat an Impeachment
Matthew Hoh
Authorizations for Madness; The Effects and Consequences of Congress’ Endless Permissions for War
Jefferson Morley
Why the Douma Chemical Attack Wasn’t a ‘Managed Massacre’
Andrew Levine
Whatever Happened to the Obama Coalition?
Paul Street
The Dismal Dollar Dems and the Subversion of Democracy
Dave Lindorff
Conviction and Removal Aren’t the Issue; It’s Impeachment of Trump That is Essential
Ron Jacobs
Law Seminar in the Hearing Room: Impeachment Day Six
Linda Pentz Gunter
Why Do We Punish the Peacemakers?
Louis Proyect
Michael Bloomberg and Me
Robert Hunziker
Permafrost Hits a Grim Threshold
Joseph Natoli
What We Must Do
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Global Poison Spring
Robert Fantina
Is Kashmir India’s Palestine?
Charles McKelvey
A Theory of Truth From the South
Walden Bello
How the Battle of Seattle Made the Truth About Globalization True
Evan Jones
BNP Before a French Court
Norman Solomon
Kerry’s Endorsement of Biden Fits: Two Deceptive Supporters of the Iraq War
Torsten Bewernitz – Gabriel Kuhn
Syndicalism for the Twenty-First Century: From Unionism to Class-Struggle Militancy
Matthew Stevenson
Across the Balkans: From Banja Luka to Sarajevo
Thomas Knapp
NATO is a Brain Dead, Obsolete, Rabid Dog. Euthanize It.
Forrest Hylton
Bolivia’s Coup Government: a Far-Right Horror Show
M. G. Piety
A Lesson From the Danes on Immigration
Ellen Isaacs
The Audacity of Hypocrisy
Monika Zgustova
Chernobyl, Lies and Messianism in Russia
Manuel García, Jr.
From Caesar’s Last Breath to Ours
Binoy Kampmark
Going to the ICJ: Myanmar, Genocide and Aung San Suu Kyi’s Gamble
Jill Richardson
Marijuana and the Myth of the “Gateway Drug”
Muzamil Bhat
Srinagar’s Shikaras: Still Waters Run Deep Losses
Gaither Stewart
War and Betrayal: Change and Transformation
Farzana Versey
What Religion is Your Nationalism?
Clark T. Scott
The Focus on Trump Reveals the Democrat Model
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Do Bernie’s Supporters Know What “Not Me, Us” Means? Does Bernie?
Peter Harley
Aldo Leopold, Revisited
Winslow Myers
A Presidential Speech the World Needs to Hear
Christopher Brauchli
The Chosen One
Jim Britell
Misconceptions About Lobbying Representatives and Agencies
Ted Rall
Trump Gets Away with Stuff Because He Does
Mel Gurtov
Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and the Insecurity of China’s Leadership
Nicky Reid
Dennis Kucinich, Tulsi Gabbard and the Slow Death of the Democratic Delusion
Tom H. Hastings
Cross-Generational Power to Change
John Kendall Hawkins
1619: The Mighty Whitey Arrives
Julian Rose
Why I Don’t Have a Mobile Phone
David Yearsley
Parasitic Sounds
Elliot Sperber
Class War is Chemical War
December 05, 2019
Colin Todhunter
Don’t Look, Don’t See: Time for Honest Media Reporting on Impacts of Pesticides