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(en) US, Phoenix, Upheaval* #2 - FREEDOM ISNT ARBEIT MACHT FREI by Ken Dahl

Date Sat, 21 Jan 2006 08:53:53 +0200

Americans seem unaware of the great loss we've all suffered by the Padilla verdict.
If the President is allowed to arbitrarily decide who has "inalienable rights," than
those rights become the provisional gifts of the government rather than a reliable
shield against the abuse of state power. It means that every American citizen
is as vulnerable to the same violation of human rights
as the men currently imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.
It also means that the legal wall that shelters the citizen from the random violence
of the political establishment has been reduced to rubble. -- Mike Whitney
According to political scientist Dr. Laurence Britt, every fascist state
ever created has shared fourteen criteria in common.* They are:
1. Powerful and continuing nationalism.
2. Disdain for the recognition of human
3. Identifying of enemies and
scapegoats as a unifying cause.
4. Supremacy of the military.
5. Rampant sexism.
6. Control of the mass media.
7. An obsession with national security.
8. Strengthened ties between religion
and government.
9. Protection of corporate power.
10. Suppression of labor power.
11.Disdain for intellectuals and the
12. Obsession with crime and
13. Rampant corporate and goverment
14. Fraudulent elections.
At this point, it should be self-evi-
dent to all of us that each of these
criteria has been met by our current
regime. As Americans, we now
share the privilege of citizenship in
the Fourth Reich.
Largely, this has been cause for
unquestioned approval -- after all,
membership has its privileges.
Today Iraq, tomorrow the world!
But how long can it all last? How
long until the center can no longer
* Britt, Laurence W. "Fascism Anyone?" Free
Inquiry Magazine, Volume 23, Number 2. A
transcript of the article can be found at:
hold, before we stretch our vast
imperialist war machine too thin,
before our greed and privilege col-
lapse under the weight of our own
festering consciences? Eventually
we'll be forced to admit that, as
Americans of the 21st century, we
are nothing less than co-conspira-
tors in a global empire -- the
largest, farthest-reaching, and
bloodiest tyranny in all of recorded
human history. We've crushed
entire cultures, obliterated whole
species, despoiled ecosystems, all
just to see the view from the top.
But here's a little secret, for
those of you still hitting the snooze
button on the American Dream:
they're on to us. They've figured out
the scam. And they are pissed.
Of course, "they" is simply the
rest of the world. And like the pur-
sured fugitive, we red-white-and-
blue-handed criminals have had to
pick up our pace lately, developing
an acute sensitivity to the approach
of -- and flight from -- global
human justice.
We can all feel it coming these
days -- that quickening crawl
toward the edge of collapse. In the
quieter hours, we can almost hear
the gathering hoof-falls of the
awful horsemen, charging from
either side of the horizon towards
our shrinking little oasis of calm.
With every passing workday we
become more dogged by the notion
that it can happen here... that it
will... that it must.
And as the clues parade before
our glassy eyes, we don our
favorite, rusting old suit or armor:
business as usual.
Business as usual. The mantra
we've been repeating with an
increasing vehemence these days,
when even we pampered neo-
Roman footsoldiers have begun to
feel the poisoned waters rising. We
hear of more bloody bodies
bombed from Baghdad to Bali.
Another impotent restriction is
sidestepped in the new rush for
more atomic weapons, power, and
waste. The Himalayan glaciers drip
away into nothing; the polar ice
shelves crumble into the warming,
mercury-stained sea. There's a sud-
den new hole in the ozone layer; a
spike in hurricanes and tornadoes;
a few more devastating earth-
quakes. Some plague-infected lab
mice go missing; some military
dolphins escape to open sea toting
payloads of chemical weapons. The
president goes public about avian
flu and martial law within US bor-
ders. More starched white conser-
vatives are slotted for life terms on
the Supreme Court; the rats begin
gnawing on Roe v. Wade. Congress
casts the PATRIOT Act in stain-
less steel; politicians draft laws to
make pregnancy illegal before
marriage. Another day, another
10,000 people starve to death. Our
government abandons a War on
Poverty for a War on Drugs, while
pairing the domestic War on Terror
with a new War on Porn, all while
continuing the same old War on
Iraq -- and crushing losses are
reported on every front.
Every day in this country, we are
asked to choke down another pun-
dit's sedative alibis; another offi-
cial's half-hearted lies; another
general's cynical decree to global-
ize murder and damn the body
counts. And so we waddle a few
more steps toward the new
American Fascism.
Of course, the question some
have alredy begun asking is: Why
not fascism? After all, there are dis-
asters to contain, family values to
uphold, dissent to quell, gods to
appease, taxes to cut, troops to
support, threat levels to assess and
color-code. There's new enemies to
engage, both real and invented;
there are lurking caricatures of
evil, beasts without names,
glimpses of shadowy faces and
swarthy hides. Make no mistake,
they're out there -- all this and
At least, that's what our fearless
leaders keep repeating, and repeat-
ing, and repeating, even as they
fearlessly proclaim that everything
-- and everyone -- is under control.
And what do they ask in return?
Only that we do our job, our sacred
duty, as citizens of the Reich: con-
tinue business as usual, while "stay-
ing alert" -- to everything in sight,
and nothing in particular.
And so we continue to rehearse
our precious routine. Sometimes it
can be quite exhausting, just main-
taining this business as usual dur-
ing these twilight hours of the
global American Reich. Since 9/ 11,
it's getting harder and harder for
even the wardens of this global
prison to just feel safe.
The trick, of course, is knowing
what exactly to stay alert for, and
what to ignore entirely. Exercise
caution, but never your rights.
Keep your eye on the enemy and
your back to your government. Let
your vigilance slip and you're The
Terrorists' next victim; become too
aware and we'll start eyeing you as
the next enemy. And when the cen-
turions break down your door,
they'll remind you: freedom isn't free.
In fact, freedom has become a lux-
ury that most can no longer afford,
even here behind the ramparts of
These days, everyone's a suspect
and everyone's a snitch. Stay alert,
and you might stay out of trouble.
Watch for suspicious behavior and
abandoned luggage. Report shifty
looks and unusual dress.
Stay alert in your own mind, too
-- that's where the worst threats lie.
Cauterize all criticisms of your
fearless leaders. Exterminate all
compassion and comraderie for
your fellow human. Uproot the
treason of your skepticism and the
blasphemy of your common sense.
Don't second-guess the polls. Your
fear and mistrust must be honed to
a fine, sharp edge between foreign
threats and domestic unrest. As
long as you stay afraid, you'll never
get angry.
Above all, never peek behind the
curtains for the culprits you have
always, at some level, suspected
were behind this whole shabby
mess: your leaders, your bosses,
your gods and kings and landlords.
Because then, if you're not careful,
you might start thinking for your-
self. And in the media-tutored,
internet-suckled, dystopian
American Reich, that is the newest
cardinal sin. When even genocide is
no match for the latest iTune, dis-
sent always threatens to lure you
into exile.
Because by now, we all know the
dangers of biting the hand that
feeds us -- even as that same hand is
beating us to death; even as that
same hand excises all our biting
teeth. Who has the courage left to
kick the USA habit, to challenge
the privilege of the good slave, to
coax the well-kept pets out of their
safe, warm cages? Without the
guidance of our superiors, who will
protect us from what we've been
taught to fear most of all -- our-
selves? Why destroy the machine, if
only to clear the way for another,
more brutal, more indestructible
machine? Who would ever dare to
imagine a world without the machine?
Nothing left to do but sit back,
relax, shut your blinds down tight,
tune in to the latest episode of CSI,
and drift off deep into the same old
stupor. You can rest easy (but
alert), knowing your leaders are
working to protect the faithful.
That is, as long as you keep up
your end of the bargain.
And so we trudge on, our battle
cry a commercial jingle, ever chant-
ing in the same sterile, cloyingly
oversimplified harmony. We'll
stand united, even as we march
deep into oil-black floodwaters,
towering wasteheaps, and the mer-
ciless theaters of our eternal war.
Fallujah. Basra. Kabul. Kosovo.
Mogadishu. Bogotá. Islamabad.
Waco. Seattle. New Orleans.
We continue to march because,
somewhere deep inside our hearts,
below the unfurling flags and shin-
ing crucifixes and prim stock
reports and sports-stat placebos,
we keep an intimate awareness of
how much worse things could be
for us if only we were standing on the other side of our
death squads, our stealth bombers, and our concentration-
camp walls. For now, those are still threats for someone
else to stay alert for.
So we manage to postpone the inevitable for another
day, and demonstrate again the extent to which we are
capable of maintaining our obedience to this business
as usual, spreading the ill-will of the greatest, most pan-
demic abuse of power humanity has ever allowed. We'll
carry on through nightmare scenarios more hideous and
unimaginable yet. In Auschwitz they discovered that
prisoners could maintain an obedience to duty and unjust
power even through torture, disease and starvation -- all
the way into the gas chambers. It's a principle well
understood by fearless leaders everywhere: under the
right conditions, human beings have a bottomless capaci-
ty to deny that the time has come to act.
So let's roll, America. Keep on rockin' in the free world.
Shop `til you drop. Buy now and pay later. Soak up
the sun. Party like it's 179, while the huns begin rattling
their axes at the gate.
Or go out and join them, before Rome burns again.
* Journal of the Phoenix Anarchist Coalition
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