Tuesday, July 09, 2013

the collapse of civilization begins with global corporatist totalitarianism...,

howtosavetheworld | A Salon.com reporter recently quoted a Turkish professor of saying about Obama: “He talks like the head of the American Civil Liberties Union, but he acts like Dick Cheney.” Use of killer drones, force-feeding uncharged decade-long prisoners at Guantanamo, xenophobic border hysteria, lawless Grand Juries indefinitely incarcerating innocent people, the ruthless prosecution of Edward Snowden — these are the actions of right-wing extremism, and frighteningly comparable to the actions of leaders of nation-states just before democracy was replaced by brutal totalitarianism in the past around the world.

What exactly is “Global Corporatist Totalitarianism”? I would argue that it has these attributes:
  • the collusion among ‘leaders’ of governments of affluent nations and large global corporations to establish “we know better than you” policies that subordinate the interests of the public to those of the ruling group, and the concentration of wealth and power in that group
  • the suspension of all rights and freedoms in the interest of being able to maintain order no matter how bad things may get
  • the abandonment by the public of belief in the viability of participative representative democracy, due to constant and egregious abuses of the process by all political parties (once all parties are either controlled or eliminated by the ruling group)
  • the control and use of the media to misinform, oppress and terrify citizens to cow them into submission to the ruling group’s authority
  • a total surveillance state including the suppression of all dissent (of speech and action) under the guise of fighting “terrorism”
  • financial and military support of, and collusion with, despotic leaders in struggling nations, sufficient to allow continued theft and desolation of their land and resources, the wage enslavement of their citizens, their exploitation as consumers of the ruling group’s corporations’ products and its governments’ weapons, and the usurious “lending” of unrepayable and crushing debts to these nations, the proceeds of which are personally appropriated and offshored by the despots as the price of complicity with these atrocities
  • the dismantling of all regulations, taxes and organized labour groups that inhibit the unrestricted accumulation of wealth by the ruling group
  • the denigration of government as an appropriate agency for any purpose other than “security”, military and commercial imperialism, and fear-and-denial propaganda
If you’ve read The Shock Doctrine, you’ll recognize the growing presence of all of these attributes in our current political and economic systems.

How, while we’re working furiously to prepare ourselves for economic, energy and ecological collapse, do we begin to factor in the need to also prepare ourselves for what is essentially a corporatist coup, nation-state by nation-state, that deprives us of our rights to organize, to free speech, to freedom of association, and to dissent?

My hope was always that as the first three Stages of collapse played out, government would be mostly a passive and inept player, a victim rather than an actor. But if the ruling group installs worldwide the kinds of corporatist totalitarian regimes I describe above, I fear they may strenuously act to suppress or prevent many or all of the coping/resilience mechanisms we hope to employ (shown in the right-hand column of the table above) to reduce the suffering of collapse and start to transition to a much more modest post-civilization society. Specifically, they will work to obfuscate what is really happening in the world, thwart attempts to create self-sufficient local communities (free of the ruling group’s authority), and prevent us from creating a sustainable sharing economy, growing and gifting healthy, organic local food, living off-grid, living in “non-standard” housing, looking after our own health and education, and weaning ourselves off “employment”, money and socially- and ecologically-destructive goods. What we see as taking responsibility for our own well-being in the face of cascading crises, the ruling group will inevitably see as threatening all the levers of control of wealth and power they rely on keeping.

So while we’re struggling to cope with a plethora of economic, energy and ecological crises — market and currency collapses, loss of our life’s savings, massive unemployment, deflation and hyperinflation, interest rate spikes and credit cutoffs, underwater mortgages, oil and water shortages and rationing, energy and food price spikes, blackouts and brownouts, pandemic diseases, droughts, famines, floods, fires, storms, massive influxes of refugees, collapsing bridges and other infrastructure failures, and the loss of essential services — we’re also going to be struggling against a ruling group that is using all the wealth and power at their disposal to prevent us from taking sensible, local, independent, personal and community-based steps to reduce the suffering all these crises will create. They will try with all their might to make independence from the crumbling systems they oversee, illegal, even seditious. While we’re studying up on coping and resilience, we’d better study up on how to deal with this additional challenge too.


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