Pissonu Alert

Other Alerts

dhs advisory
Terror Alert Level


Welcome to San Salvador, NYC

From one of my favorite columnists, George Monbiot [via Public Domain Progress]:

A similar clampdown is taking place all over the world. The US Patriot Act, passed by Congress before any representative had read it, allows the state to treat dissenting citizens as if they were members of Al Qaida. For the past three years, the European Union has been seeking to reclassify the protesters who travel to European gatherings as terrorists. This is the contract the powerful have struck with each other: to agree to a single set of neoliberal policies, and to criminalise all those who seek to challenge them.

We are often told that the passage of laws like this is dangerous because one day it might facilitate the seizure of power by an undemocratic government. But that is to miss the point. Their passage IS the seizure of power. Protest is inseparable from democracy: every time it is restricted, the state becomes less democratic. Democracies like ours will come to an end not with the stamping of boots and the hoisting of flags, but through the slow accretion of a thousand dusty codicils.

This was the front page picture in one of Toronto's papers yesterday. This is how other countries now see America. A paramilitary NYPD officer protects the Stock Exchange (how fitting!), a heavy-duty automatic weapon cradled in his arms. Giant Murkan flags, reminiscent of other infamous standards, fill the background. I couldn't believe my eyes: even though I knew I'd see such pictures someday I wasn't prepared for the jolt I felt. Welcome to San Salvador, NYC.

People wonder where America is heading. But it's already there. The train has arrived — it's just going to take a while to unload the cargo and assemble it into something unmistakably recognizable.

Though the tune is faint and vague, the dirge has begun. Soon the plaintive refrain will sound in the brass...

(American's new anthem: Shostakovich's Symphony #10, 1st & 2nd movement.)