Over at Harper's, Scott Horton went through the structural changes that have occurred in our government and its institutions since the 9/11 attacks. It's not a pretty picture.
Heather and Ivan Morison’s latest work at the first One Day Sculpture event in New Zealand was this gargantuan work filling a street in the centre of Wellington, Journée des barricades. The brief was: “to produce a new work that will occur during a discrete 24-hour period over the course of one year.” The scuplture, continuing the Morison’s vision of a world teetering on the edge of impending chaos, was erected on the night of 13th December, created out of urban debris including wrecked vehicles, and dismantled the following night.
Over the years, I have suggested many times that we are on the cusp of a military coup, with St. David Petraeus groomed and ready to take over whenever it looks to The Powers That Be like our experiment in civil self-governance has run out of steam. I still don't doubt the potential for such a coup. But Horton seems to be taking it a step further. He doesn't say so explicitly, the implication of the hand-over of the nation's military to contractors and mercenaries is that the coup, if it comes, is no longer a matter of an institutional military taking over (which most people could understand at least if not agree with) but has become a matter of a shadowy parallel -- and parasitical -- mercenary military force taking over not just the military but the government itself. Even St. David Petraeus is a figurehead under that scenario.
I have often advocated the abolition of the CIA for cause. It's not simply that it is useless, it is counter useful. It was seeded with Nazis, among other anti-democratic interests, from the outset, and it has never wavered from its flawed origins. The appalling things that it does, and its ongoing failures, are built in to the structure of the Agency. It cannot be reformed. It must be abolished.
Institutionalized domestic surveillance is perhaps the key legacy from the 9/11 transformations. That and civic bankruptcy, but who's counting money when there is an existential enemy to fight?
I've often called for the abolition of the Department of Justice as well, for essentially the same faults as Horton is pointing out: it is a politicized -- indeed, practically gangsterized -- hollow imitation of "justice" set up and run for the convenience and protection of those in power. It cannot be reformed; it must be regenerated from the ground up.
Horton rarely goes all the way in his assessments of this or that, and here he does his usual service by pointing out what has happened, but he doesn't indicate what it means.
I would put it this way: there was a Judicial coup on December 12, 2000, in which the Supreme Court lawlessly intervened in a presidential election dispute to put its favored candidate in the Oval Office. The rest of the government in its entirety acquiesced to this coup, with neither a struggle nor even an objection (except from the Congressional Black Caucus, and we saw how far that got.)
Within a few months of the installation of George W. Bush into the Oval Office, key institutions of the United States were (I hate to say it, conveniently) attacked through the agency of both external and internal forces, whether by premeditation or coincidence I do not know. I am speaking not only of the 9/11 attacks, but of the subsequent Anthrax Attacks as well.
These attacks were the spur and the trigger for what has amounted to a revolution from the right that transformed the government and the economy of the United States, paralyzing the one and destroying the other -- in service to... what?
I don't think anybody knows anymore. We are on a spiraling downward path that The (Deceased) Devil Osama seemed intent on making sure we got on. But to what object? Certainly it hasn't led to the termination of our imperial sway in Araby. Not yet it hasn't.
The economic collapse and the forced impoverishment of tens of millions of Americans has yet to give rise to an internal revolt -- that's actually sustained.
From what we can tell, those on top are doing better than ever, not just in the United States, but throughout the world, at the expense of the powerless masses everywhere.
A relative handful of Gods Who Walk Among Us are benefiting beyond belief at the current state of affairs, but no one else is. And seemingly, nothing can be done about it.
The list of institutional changes in the American government subsequent to the attacks mentioned may give us a clue to why no -- left -- populist movement anywhere in the world is currently successful.
While I cheered for the Egyptians and Tunisians in their efforts to free themselves from their fossil-dictatorships, events since have shown that the "revolutions" were not quite what they were cracked up to be -- and their advocates hoped they would be.
To say these revolutions are incomplete is an understatement, but what we've seen in Libya is of a different order altogether and has been clearly engineered by imperialist forces within Libya and abroad to capture the natural resources of Libya for the benefit of certain Euro-American interests. The "revolution," in other words, is from the right.
What do we do about it?
Most people, quite naturally, will yield so long as the impositions of the victors are not too onerous. But there is no limit to the exaction and extractions of the MOTUs. No limit at all.
At least there is a continuing occupation of Wall Street (actually, a park near Wall Street), and the protests over BART's killer cops -- and other authoritarian issues -- continue in San Francisco, and people are getting angrier and angrier at what they see happening all around them. Slowly, but perhaps surely, Americans will learn to take control of their fate once again.
October can't come soon enough.