Just Reads- Wages of Rebellion- Ch 2

By 1JustCity Citizen
February 18, 2016

Chapter 2 – Post-Constitutional Era

In this chapter, Hedges provides examples of those who have tried to fight the injustices of government and the oligarchic corporate elite, yet have failed due to the corrupt tyranny that exists among the ruling elite. Hedges calls our current era, post-constitutional, because it is impossible to work within the confines of the current judicial system. The U.S. constitution is manipulated to serve the best interests of the top 1% of the population, leaving more and more citizens marginalized and powerless to change. There is an unequal access to information to defend oneself against the state and eventually those who do fight against state power come to a dead end. The constitution is becoming irrelevant to individual freedom. Freedom is only perceived to be real to those who maintain the status quo. Citizens who challenge the ruling power realize how little freedom they have.

“As an attorney, [Lynne] Stewart stood up to state power for more than three decades. She defended the poor, the persecuted, and the marginalized. She wept in court when one of her clients, Omar Abdel-Rahmen, was barred from presenting a credible defense. But at the end of her life she was on trial herself, disbarred and imprisoned. Her career coincided with the collapse of the American court system and the rise of the post-constitutional era, in which the courts are used to revoke the constitutional rights of citizens by judicial fiat (pg. 45).”

Hedges summarizes his own experiences with coming to a dead end with the judicial system in April 2014. He goes on to say, “When a citizenry no longer feels that it can find justice through the organs of power, when it feels that the organs of power are the enemies of freedom and economic advancement, it makes war on those organs. Those of us who are condemned as radicals, idealists, and dreamers call for basic reforms that, if enacted, would make peaceful reform possible. But corporate capitalists, now unchecked by state power and dismissive of the popular will do not see the fires they are igniting. The Supreme Court ruling on our challenge, like the imprisonment of Lynne Stewart is one more signpost on the road to revolt. The longer citizens are locked out of and abused by systems of power the more these systems become targets (pg. 53).”

This chapter goes on to explain how the system of surveillance is the cornerstone of control for the state. The goal of wholesale surveillance, as Hannah Arendt wrote in The Origins of Totalitarianism, is not, in the end, to discover crimes, “but to be on hand when the government decides to arrest a certain category of the population (pg. 54).”

Hedges goes on to say, “Any state that has the capacity to monitor all its citizenry, any state that has the ability to snuff out factual public debate through the control of information, any state that has the tools to instantly shut down all dissent, is totalitarian. The state may not use this power today. But is will use it if it feels threatened (pg. 54).”

“Those who sweep up all of our financial data, our tweets, our file transfers, our live chats, our medical data, our criminal and civil court records, those awash in billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars, those who have banks of sophisticated computer systems – along with biosensors, scanners, face recognition technologies, and miniature drones – are those who have obliterated our anonymity, our privacy, and our liberty (pg. 54).”

“…the state assures us that our rights are sacred, that government abides by the will of the people and the consent of the governed, that our right to privacy is protected…the state abolishes liberty and rights while claiming to uphold and defend them (pg. 55).”

“The courts and legislative bodies of the corporate state now routinely invert our most basic rights to justify corporate pillage and repression. They declare that massive and secret campaign donations – a form of legalized bribery – are protected speech under the First Amendment. They define corporate lobbying – under which corporations lavish funds on elected officials and write our legislation – as the people’s right to petition the government. And according to new laws and legislation, we can be tortured or assassination or locked up indefinitely by the military, be denied due process, and be spied upon without warrants. The US Constitutions has not been rewritten, but steadily emasculated through a dirty system of judicial and legislative reinterpretation. We have been left with fictitious shell of democracy and a totalitarian core (pg. 56).”

“But our corporate totalitarian rulers deceive themselves as often as they deceive the public. Politics, for them, is public relations. Lies are told not to achieve any discernible goal of public policy, but to protect the image of the state and its rulers. These lies have become grotesque form of patriotism (pg. 56).”

“The citizenry cannot take self-corrective measures because it is denied factual information. And when the unchallenged elites soon come to believe their own lies, the state descends into dysfunction, terror, and burlesque (pg. 57).”

“Totalitarian states use propaganda to orchestrate historical amnesia, a state-induced stupidity. The object is to make sure the populace does not remember what it means to be free. And once a population does not remember what it means to be free, it does not react when freedom is stripped from it (pg. 57).”

Hedges goes on to say, “The public’s inability to grasp the pathology of our oligarchic corporate elite makes it difficult to organize effective resistance. Compliant politicians, entertainers, and our vapid, corporate-funded popular culture and news media hold up the elites as leaders to emulate. We are repeatedly assured that through diligence and hard work we can join them. We are taught to equate wealth with success. This narrative keeps us from seeing the truth (pg. 61).”

“Foremost among their mechanisms of control is the control of ideas. Ruling elites ensure that the established intellectual class is subservient to an ideology – in this case, neoliberalism and globalization – that conveniently justifies their greed. “The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships,” Marx write, “the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.” (pg. 63).”

“Oligarchs do not believe in self-sacrifice for the common good. They never have. They never will. And now that they have full control of the economy and the legal system, as well as the legislative and executive branches of government, along with our media outlets, they use power as a blunt instrument for personal enrichment and domination (pg. 64).”

“As there is less and less to exploit, this quest leads to mounting repression, increased human suffering, infrastructure collapse, and, finally, death (pg. 65).”

“Class struggle defines most of human history Marx got this right. The seesaw of history has thrust the oligarchs upward. We sit humiliated and broken on the ground. It is an old battle. It has been fought over and over in human history. The only route left to us, as Aristotle knew, is either submission or revolt (pg. 66).”160120.1jc.08




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