As regular readers of this blog know, I tend not to be pollyannish about much of anything-- indeed, I might actually have, what's that word... a "following..." if I weren't such a damned downer most of the time... and yet... I'm pretty much in agreement with this somewhat upbeat assessment by the great Charles Hugh Smith.
As 2011 showed us, really for the first time I've been cognizant of (I was a small child back in the '60's), actual on the street protests (particularly, when that street is "Wall Street," albeit technically Broadway about two blocks from Wall Street, though across the street from my office), not to mention the Arab Spring, European social unrest from the UK to Greece to Iberia to Russia, etc.... have been making a difference, at least here in the US of A [yes, I acknowledge the effects of street protests in Eastern Europe in the late '80's early '90's... though, surprise, surprise, American perceptions of what happened in Russia in the '80's/'90's, and what is happening now, tend to be exactly backwards.] Anyway, here, that "difference" made by the Occupy! protests has been about changing the national narrative, and baiting the system into calling out the militarized constabulary as the first response... which the system, having surprisingly little besides violence to draw upon... promptly did.
Which takes us to our next event: in just over a week, the World Can't Wait will be hosting an event here in NYC featuring our friend Andy Worthington, as an NYC kick-off to the coming GTMO +10 mirth and merriment, which will culminate in a (hopefully) huge event in D.C. on the 11th.
O.K., here's the thing. Activists have been engaging in various forms of street theater pretty much since GTMO opened; it was nearly nine years ago that the mother of all street protests-- hundreds of thousands [including myself and TD mother-in-law] took to the streets of midtown Manhattan on the coldest day in years to protest the Iraq War-- ultimate got exactly no resonance with the public at large (let alone the power structure), even if the so-called liberal media had given it non-dismissive coverage.
Things have changed. The chickens have come home to roost here in a way that all but those still clinging to the floating debris of their upper-middle-class lives can no longer deny. The shit-storm our nation's elite has traditionally unleashed on the people of weaker nations has now blown black homeward, and we in the USA have now discovered [in an extremely unpleasant way] that we are now the recipient of their not-so-tender mercies, as the predatory forces that run our world and merrily dissipate and pollute our resources (which, perilously include the air, the water, the topsoil, and the future itself) for continued extreme profits for the few, while the rest of us... get to live amidst the tailings.
Anyway, I've been telling you for years that the whole GTMO thing really turns on the Jose Padilla case-- if the government can pick up an American citizen on American soil, and, rather than affording due process (charges, counsel, trial)... instead sent that citizen straight to due-process-free military detention... for years... and the courts have basically said "yes, fine"... then, what real freedom do any of us have? GTMO, and its much larger companion facility at Bagram, and their off-the-books counterparts around the world (the American gulag archipelago, which domestically has largely been used for "illegal aliens"... but stick around...), are all, ostensibly, beta-tests for broader use here. I'm less "appalled" by the recent Defense Authorization Act that "codified" the due-process-free practices applied to Padilla (Constitution? We don't need no stinking Constitution...), because, as I've been telling you... it's already the law.
It's all connected people: if Goldman Sachs or J.P. Morgan Chase wanted GTMO to be closed... it would be closed. Indeed, finance is such a driver of our system, that it could end our wars (all of them, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq-- which now goes on in its "all-mercenary phase," Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Uganda, and God knows where else)... except for the fact that finance BENEFITS, and quite directly, from the wars. Thing is, "risk-free industry"-- and the military industrial complex's political inviolability makes them "risk-free"... is a very useful companion to finance that has been engaging in more and more "risk-free" practices (for itself; the rest of us have more risk than ever.) Anyway... that's my point: it's all an organic whole, and we really need to focus ourselves as just that.
There are no "parties": Democrats and Republicans compete to see who will erode human rights faster (note that the recent Defense Authorization/Permanent Detention law was introduced by the '08 Republican candidate and signed by the '08 Democratic candidate... and late on the Friday before Christmas, btw, for those keeping score). Both parties favor bail-outs of giant banks, but not you. Both parties don't want to tax the elites. Both parties support environmental degradation. The window-dressing of "differences" on "issues"... masks the fundamental agreement (and control of both "parties" by finance).
Finally, it seems, the haze is coming off much of the populace, at the precise moment that the system is so rapacious [and the elites so greedy] that Money has forgotten the fundamental rule that it needs to co-opt enough of the populace with a share in the spoils of the system so that they don't bolt from the system...
I think we have arrived. In many ways, 2012 is probably going to suck. But on the broader arc-- human dignity, human freedom, the possibility of an ongoing, sustainable system... '12 just might the year that "good stuff" finally begins to happen. Resistance just might NOT be futile.
Just saying. Healthy, Happy new year, everybody!