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State

Creeping Toward Tyranny

The destruction of the rule of law, an action essential to establishing an authoritarian or totalitarian state, began long before the arrival of the Trump administration. The George W. Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq and implementation of a doctrine of pre-emptive war were war crimes under international law. The federal government’s ongoing wholesale surveillance of the citizenry, another legacy of the Bush administration, mocks our constitutional right to privacy.

The Case For Delegitimizing The Police

The institution of policing doesn’t deserve the unquestioned authority and purpose people give it in the United States. Fraud, corruption, and violence are too common for the institution and the systems connected to it to be trusted by default. While the conversation about how unjust “the justice system” in the United States is has gained some headway—especially regarding the racism of mass incarceration, a direct byproduct of discriminatory law enforcement—policing remains woefully legitimate in the hearts and minds of even well-intentioned folks. Instead of dismantling the institution, advocates will often push for reform measures, such as body cameras, changes in gear, or calls for diversity in hiring.

How Corporate Power Killed Democracy

By Richard Moser for Counter Punch - The rise of Corporate Power was the fall of democracy. Over the long haul, US politics has revolved around a deep tension between democracy and an unrelenting drive for plunder, power and empire. Granted that our democracy has been seriously flawed and only rarely revolutionary, yet the democratic movements are the source of every good thing America has ever stood for. Since the mid-1970s, when the corporations fused with the state, a new imperial order emerged that killed what remained of representative democracy. Not only would corporations exercise public authority as only government once had, but government would coordinate and serve corporate activity. Power and profits became one and the same. Corporate power has replaced democracy with oligarchy and justice with a vast militarized penal system. Instead of innovative production, they plunder people and planet. To achieve this new order, elections and the economy had to be drained of any remaining democratic content. Both Democrats and Republicans were eager to have at it. By the 1990s “Third Way” Democrats like Bill Clinton abandoned what was left of the New Deal to try to outdo the Republicans as the party of Wall Street. The Republicans pioneered election fraud on a national scale in 2000, 2004, and 2016; a lesson the Democrats learned all too well by the 2016 Primary. Neither major party wants election reform since free and fair elections would threaten the system itself.

Roger Taney Statue Removed From State House Overnight

By Pamela Wood and Erin Cox for The Baltimore Sun - Under the cover of night, a work crew removed the statue of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, taking down the author of the infamous Dred Scott decision from his 145-year prominent perch in Annapolis. Cheers erupted from a few dozen onlookers as the hulking bronze statute of Taney was lifted from its pedestal on the State House front lawn just before 2 a.m., clipping tree branches on its path to a waiting truck bed. It’s the latest monument linked to the Confederate era to be removed from a public square since white nationalists rallied in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend. State officials have been under mounting pressure to take down the Taney statue. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan reversed his stance on the matter this week. His shift provided enough votes for the four-member State House Trust on Wednesday to approve removing the monument. Hogan’s spokesman, Doug Mayer, said the state decided to quietly and swiftly remove Taney’s statue overnight “as a matter of public safety.” The granite pedestal that supported the Taney statue since 1872 temporarily remains in place, surrounded by green plywood and guarded around the clock by two officers.

Political Myth-Making And State Legitimacy

By Gerald Sussman for Counter Punch - First off, it is quite evident that the United States, which for years has been losing internal state legitimacy, is in crisis. (It’s already lost external state legitimacy, the Trump brand reportedly now distrusted by three-fourths of the world.) This means that a majority of American citizens no longer believe that the political and economic elites are working in the public interest. Once this happens, to cite Humpty Dumpty: “all the king’s horses [the police and military apparatuses] and all the king’s men [loyal state officials and publicity agents] couldn’t put Humpty [state legitimacy] together again.” Short of implementing explicit police state controls over a rebellious public, which appears unnecessary in the present somatic corporate state, the ruling class must resort to intensified and unending propaganda (state and commercial). This is exactly what PR guru Edward Bernays had proposed in his book by that title in 1928. We’re well into that propaganda society, with continuous mass distraction and censorship of authentic alternative news sources – all directed toward maintaining a public order of complacency, spectatorship, and establishment-orchestrated political consensus.

“What Does It Mean To Smash The State? This Is Our Great Challenge.”

By Staff of Left East - A: People are speculating all over the world on what the exchange rate will be in the future. They are buying future contracts, and you as a producer are buying in that sense an insurance policy. The production couldn’t go on without this. You know, when the US Congress wanted to put greater restrictions on the banks after the 2008-09 crisis, especially in the trading of derivatives, it was Caterpillar, the biggest American industrial multinational corporation that objected to this, because it would increase its costs in the derivative market. So there is an illusion that finance is not connected to the kind of production we have all over the world. It’s speculative, but every capitalist speculates when he invests.

State Denies Lease Needed To Build Big Longview Coal Export Terminal

By Joel Connelly for Seattle PI - The state of Washington will not allow its aquatic lands along the Columbia River to be used in a major coal export terminal, a decision announced late Tuesday by outgoing State Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark. The decision by Goldmark deals a serious blow to the Millennium Bulk Terminals project, which has already experienced the bankruptcy filing of its parent firm Arch Coal. It is the latest of several blows to the fossil fuel industry in the Northwest. The lands commissioner turned down a request by Northwest Alloys, a subsidiary of Alcoa, to sublease state-owned aquatic lands to Millennium.

A Nation Of Snitches

A totalitarian state is only as strong as its informants. And the United States has a lot of them. They read our emails. They listen to, download and store our phone calls. They photograph us on street corners, on subway platforms, in stores, on highways and in public and private buildings. They track us through our electronic devices. They infiltrate our organizations. They entice and facilitate “acts of terrorism” by Muslims, radical environmentalists, activists and Black Bloc anarchists, framing these hapless dissidents and sending them off to prison for years. They have amassed detailed profiles of our habits, our tastes, our peculiar proclivities, our medical and financial records, our sexual orientations, our employment histories, our shopping habits and our criminal records. They store this information in government computers. It sits there, waiting like a time bomb, for the moment when the state decides to criminalize us.

Hedges On Bill C-51 & The Corporate State

We can't talk about free citizens in the state where everyone has all of their electronic forms of communication not only monitored, but stored in perpetuity in government computers. It doesn't matter if they're not using it. History has shown that if the government feels threatened or they seek greater control -- and I think that is the trajectory of the corporate state -- they will use it. The goal of wholesale surveillance, and something that Hannah Arendt wrote about in The Origins of Totalitarianism, is not to discover crimes but to give information to the government that it can use if it decides to arrest a certain category of the population. I think this is extremely grave. What I find disturbing is that although the revelations of Edward Snowden are known, we're not reacting.

The Grand Strategy To Cast Off The Corporate State

This is a strategic memorandum to all movement organizers, social justice organizations, and free citizens disgusted with a corporate state that has systematically extracted our wealth and resources for its own private gain, while giving back nothing in return. If we’re to preserve our collective resources and small amount of wealth we’ve managed to hold onto in light of this corporate onslaught, and if we’re to do it nonviolently, we’ll have to come together on a single strategy to win decisively. This document contains the solutions needed to attain total victory against the corporate state, defeating it politically, financially, and emotionally. This document also contains the solutions needed for our movement to unite across issue focuses and eliminate the imaginary boundaries the corporate state has successfully forced between us, with the ultimate goal of making our public institutions accountable to us, and only us, in perpetuity.

Blazing The Terrorism Trail: The US War Industry

In a recent op-ed, Noam Chomsky, who is often acclaimed as America’s greatest intellectual, wrote, “It's official: The US is the world's leading terrorist state, and proud of it." Chomsky cites a New York Times piece that had quoted President Obama as saying he had demanded the CIA to conduct a review to find cases of “financing and supplying arms to an insurgency in a country that actually worked out well. And they couldn’t come up with much.” Each case cited was a “major terrorist operation conducted by the US,” according to Chomsky. The self-defeating war on terror has destabilised and wrought social chaos in the Middle East, and “helped spread jihadism from a corner of Afghanistan to a larger part of the world.”
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