Naomi Klein-type people are fond of saying that “austerity” (i.e. cutting social security, medicare, welfare, food stamps, etc.) is just an example of what U.S./Europe did to 3d world countries in the ‘80s and ‘90s, come back to bite us in the ass. According to this theory, Western-controlled organizations like the WTO, World Bank, and the IMF “practiced” screwing the common people in debt-ridden poor countries around the world, and once they’d “perfected” their methods, those same methods are now being brought home to the rich countries, and used on US. And that’s why Chicago had to sell their parking meters to Arabs, why New Jersey tried to sell the Turnpike, and why Congress cut food stamps for unemployed people at Christmas.
I’m all for this theory! But it seems to me that “austerity” is just one of A DOZEN damn awful things that are all moving from the periphery of our global empire to the heartland. At the same time. A DOZEN things that were invented or perfected at certain borderlines, and now are being brought to bear on the same regular American jerkoffs who kept voting for those policies to be applied to marginal folks.
I suppose you could say that this traditional German poem already called it:
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
But actually not really. All the victims in that poem were all people in the middle of German society. The people that the USA government is “coming for” are mostly at the physical borders of our country, and the rollback of human rights is sort of physically, literally creeping in and converging on Kansas.
If anything, USA’s current situation is more like Japan in the ‘30s, as described in Mark Driscoll’s excellent book, ABSOLUTE EROTIC, ABSOLUTE GROTESQUE: Japan’s international sex and drug trade, and gangster-driven administration . . . that all started in their Asian colonies in the ‘20s and ‘30s. And then all the corruption became entrenched in Tokyo politics as WWII started, giving birth to both a mafia-style corrupt and violent political sphere, as well as a very decadent, erotic grotesque, burlesque pop culture.
So let’s look systematically at all the corruption pouring into mainland America from our various borders:
1) AUSTERITY. Already discussed.
2) WAR. Techniques that started in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are now being used at home: The militarization of our police forces (military-grade vehicles and tactical weapons given to small-town Ohio police forces just in case Al Quaeda decides to blow up a strategic Hardee’s), drones over America, and the designation of American citizens as “enemy combatants” who can get sent to Gitmo or even assassinated without even being accused of a specific crime. . .
3) COUNTER-TERRORISM. In the past, the government would only search you for contraband at the border or airport. But in 2013, Homeland Security declared they had the right to stop traffic at random checkpoints and search all vehicles with no probable cause. . .WITHIN 100 MILES OF THE BORDER. This is literally the creeping-from-the-periphery-to-the-center that I’m talking about.
Also, the CIA (who, remember, is supposed to spy on foreigners) is helping the NYC police spy on basically the entire Muslim population of NYC. Speaking of creeping over borders, the NYCIA decided to extend their spying into Jersey as well . . .without telling any Jersey law enforcement.
Also I guess we can throw in the whole NSA bulk data collection here. The original NSA phone-tap program was just spying on calls FROM foreigners TO foreigners. I.e. outside the border of America. But then things got complicated when, say, a call from France to Saudi Arabia was routed through a telecom hub in, say, New York. (apparently this is a thing that happens?) So the NSA started tapping foreign calls on American soil. Then they started tapping ALL the calls, because, hey, they already had the back-door in the NYC telecom router.
All this is justified by, “Hey, OK, that’s technically against the constitution, but it’s just for terrorism! We would never use that authority to help police in any other types of crimes, right?”
4) DRUG WAR. The drug war seems to be creeping in from a lot of different peripheries at once: at the physical borders, of course, where smuggling occurs, but also at the WAR periphery (see #2 above) for example, the militarization of our local police forces, and the physical drug wars we are fighting in Colombia, Mexico, etc. Like the anti-terror war, law enforcement seems able to bend the rules because the crime is seen as so dangerous. Then those precedents are used to justify new police powers to go after ALL crimes. For example, Civil asset forfeiture. No-knock raids. Joint Task Force 6, the only army unit allowed to go to war on Americans. Which I did not know until I googled “drug war civil rights” just now. All of these were originally just for drug lords. Then they were for any drug offender, or anybody in a ghetto or vario. Then they were basically for anyone, anywhere. A great example of periphery-creep is what is called PARALLEL CONSTRUCTION.
Let’s back up a second here: as anyone who watches cop tv shows knows, evidence is only admissible in court if the cops get it legitimately, i.e. with a warrant. And they’re required to show ALL their evidence to the defense, so the defense can maybe find something in the evidence that makes their client look less guilty. But apparently the NSA is showing their phone-taps to the drug police. The drug police can’t tell the judge or the prosecutor where they got the evidence – since the NSA is only supposed to spy on terrorists, not drug guys. So the cops do PARALLEL CONSTRUCTION: they fabricate a paper trail to supposedly show they got their evidence legally. For instance, the NSA illegally intercepts a phone call saying, “We will put drugs in a blue Mustang on freeway 101 at Tuesday night.” They tell the cops “pull over the blue mustang and tell the judge it was a totally random traffic stop or the mustang had a blinking tail light or it was just good luck.” So, first the NSA was ONLY supposed to use their spy powers for terror. They would never never ever spy on anything else. Now they’re openly using them for terror AND anti-drug stuff. But of course they would never never use that for anything besides terror or drugs. Or porn.
Actually this terror-to-drugs-to-everyday enforcement dealie is pretty common, you can use it on anything:
Airports. The “border exception” to civil rights. We’d only go into your pants and etc. with no probable cause to look for bombs. Well, as long as we’re doing it, we’ll look for drugs. Because drugs are used to finance terrorist groups. Well, as long as we’re looking for bombs and drugs. . . .
Ditto Homeland Security giving army surplus gear to small town cops. Just in case the Talibans invade Possum Ass, Arkansas! But as long as we got ‘em it would be a shame not to use ‘em. Let’s use ‘em on drug raids! Well, as long as they work so good on the drug raids, it would be ashame not to use ‘em on everything!
Also check out how this dealie is physically, literally a periphery-to-center thing: terror-to-drugs-to-anywhere = overseas-to-borderland-zone-to-middle-america.
5) PRISONS. As detailed in the book LOCKDOWN HIGH, technology developed for prisons (and even cattle farms!) is now being used in schools: tracking RFID cards attached to students, and metal detectors.
6) IMMIGRATION. Without any real notice in the mainstream papers, ol’ liberal Obama has been deporting record numbers of immigrants, more than Bush one or two, or any other president ever. Not only that, but the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has developed its own parallel justice system – they have their own cops, their own laws, their own courts, their own standards of evidence and who gets what rights while on trial, that is totally different than normal trials. They especially have their own jails, a gulag system spread throughout the USA the same way the CIA’s “black sites” are scattered throughout the world for the detention of possible terrorists. Also there is a thing where the Border Patrol will now shoot over the border, killing Mexicans for “throwing rocks”. Across the Rio Grande.
7) THE HOODS. OK, so ghettos and varios are not on physical borders, so that fucks up my metaphor here. But what happens in the hood is often like a midway point, where outside-of-America tactics (drug war, the war-war, the immigration police) are tried out in certain *ahem* parts of America, before being rolled out nationwide. They use the hoods to work the kinks out of the system. SWAT teams, no-knock raids, dog-shootings, surveillance cams, “just-in-case” helicopter flyovers, stop-and-frisk, etc. all first premiered in the hoods. Then spread to anywhere there was a suspicion of drugs (i.e. all the on-purpose disruptive search-light-happy copter flyovers in the Pacific Northwest, where entire towns were buzzed for days on end, because the cops thought that the locals weren’t being ‘cooperative’ enough in snitching on their pot-growing neighbors). And finally, the tactics are just used anywhere, anytime!
And this ‘hood’ stuff, inevitably, leads me to an important point: All the white kids that want to be ‘down’, that want to be ‘hood’ . . . well, you’re going to get your wish! Only it turns out that being ‘down’ doesn’t involve you owning giant spinnas or hella big-booty bitches or chilling in VIP with A$AP $murf. It turns out that being ‘down’ involves you getting thrown in jail because a license-plate scan showed a passing patrol car you owed a $50 library overdue fine! It turns out being ‘down’ involves being threatened with 20 years for a tiny bag of weed, then turned into an informant where you have to go hit up dangerous felons who you’ve never met, with no backup, no training, while wearing a wire. It turns out being ‘down’ means spending most of your life under surveillance cameras while your neighborhood is stripped of jobs and education opportunities! It means that you, too, can lose your house, fall victim to predatory landlords, while the government declares you a “taker” and a “bum” and strips you of unemployment benefits right when you need them the most. Rad! Have fun getting your student debt taken out of your paycheck for 30 years because regular banks REDLINED you and wouldn’t consider loaning you money to improve yourself!
Hey, white kids, isn’t it fun to be ‘down’? Don’t you worry about if you’re “official on the streetz” or if your “name rings out”, you’ll be getting plenty more hood in the years to come. Whether you like it or not! Because there’s no backing out now, kids! You’re just getting like a little 10% taste of what the government has been doing to the hood all along. And the other 90% is heading to a
trailer park suburb near you! Pretty soon you’ll be as ‘hood’ as it gets! You seemed to really enjoy all this when it was Black people talking about it in movies or mp3s . . .instead of protesting it, you’d do those funny hand-gestures in the shower! But now you get to participate! You’re welcome.
And the white kids’ white parents? Even more rad! The white parents that, for decades, have been voting again and again for the politicians that were getting tougher on third-world countries (those lazy natives needed debt restructuring! We’re doing them a favor!), that were getting tough on immigrants, arabs, “enemy combatants”, “threats to homeland security,” protestors, prisoners, minorities, and dopers? Hey! Guess what? Those politicians want a word with you, Mom and Dad!
“Thanks for the votes! Glad you liked us taking away habeas corpus, the fourth amendment, innocent-until-proven-guilty, and the right to privacy! Glad you approved of us fucking with everyone else in the dang Earth! And guess what? we saved some of that just for YOU! You seem to really like that stuff, so it would be a shame to waste it all on those douchebags – they’re not even grateful! Yeah, what’s that? You didn’t think we’d spy on YOU? Or stop YOUR car for no probable cause? HAHAHAAHAHA – you’re such a kidder! You LOVE that stuff! That’s why you always keep voting for us! Well since we’re so happy, we decided to let YOU have all the rest of it. Matter of fact, we have a LOT left over, even after the muslims, protestors, immigrants, potheads, and ‘inner city youth’. Oh man, you wouldn’t believe how much is left over. You could say we’ve been saving the best for last! And it’s all coming right for YOU! Just our way of saying, thanks for your support!”
So NOW Mom and Dad are joining a Tea Party and NOW the kids are turning down Tupac so they can go out and Occupy some shit, and everyone in the family – regardless of their politics – is SHOCKED that the government would treat people like this.
I mean, treat WHITE people like this.
Back in the ‘60s, you had to be a really big-time black Panther to even get the FBI to listen to your phone. Nowadays even some dental hygienist in Maryland named Abigail got a digital file 100 times thicker than Eldrige Fucking Cleaver. It used to be just cameras in “high crime” , uh, “urban” areas, but now everybody is getting watched via their cellphone’s GPS! NOW it’s a fucking outrage! Back in the day, you’d only get assassinated by the government if you were Malcom X or Fred Hampton, but now the freaking President is on TV saying ANY American can fucking well get DRONED. Now entire WHITE families are getting evicted, having their unemployment cut, having to choose between education and food, entire WHITE families are being forced to ‘assume the position’ over a fucking traffic ticket, Sure, NOW it’s a huge scandal! NOW it’s tyranny!
Some rapper needs to do a song with a chorus involving a really small fiddle and the phrase HOW’S THAT FEEL?