Friday, November 25, 2005

Schell on The Fall of Empire

Reading Jonathan Schell's new piece in The Nation, Fall of the One-Party Empire, I get that familiar creeping sensation again, the one warning me that most liberal and progressive commentators have a wrong angle on what is happening these days, and are spewing their volumes of punditry into the void. Schell is correct that
... the aim of Republican strategy has been a Republican Party that permanently runs the United States and a United States that permanently runs the world. The two aims have been driven by a common purpose: to steadily and irreversibly increase and consolidate power in GOP hands, leading in the direction of a one-party state at home and a global American empire abroad.
But the notion that a handful of indictments and a bit of assertiveness on the part of the Justice Department means that "democracy, after years of decline, has gained the upper hand," is absurd wish-fulfillment.

For the purposes of this Blog entry, I cannot go into the many factors and analyses that have led me to conclude that the underlying institutions of our country are so deeply compromised and corrupted that no reform is possible. That is a determination that each individual must make for themselves, after reviewing the available data and utilizing their intuition as well as their sharpest reasoning faculties. While Schell argues,
The institutions of government and the economy, drawn like iron filings into the magnetic field of power, failed at first to check the Administration. But the public, represented by opinion polls, has stepped in, and the institutions are following. Not since the Soviet Union fell fourteen years ago have we witnessed a greater reversal of fortune.
I would say we should reserve judgment, and await further reversals. The cards of military power, media might, surveillance, and subterfuge are all in the hands of the GOP, who will no dount play them as they see fit. A surprise military strike on an "Axis of Evil" country, a terrorist attack in a major U.S. city, or some similar unpleasant surprise would quickly revert the national mood to one of cowed sullenness.

Instead of focusing their entire energies on on the unlikely possibility of reform of the current system, progressive and liberal intellectuals might begin to build the new institutions and community infrastructures that will be necessary as the current structure disintegrates. The federal response to the Katrina disaster, creating a template for the institution of martial law and the kneejerk revoking of basic citizen rights, should serve as a fair warning for what lies ahead.

Part of what progressive commentators such as Schell are entirely lacking, in my opinion, is any understanding of the shamanic dimensions of consciousness - of psychic, mystical, occult, and prophetic aspects of reality - which are required to gain any true understanding of what is taking place. Of course, that is a topic for a much longer discussion - one I make in my books and articles and will continue in this Blog.

To look at a group that is directly engaged in reinventing community activism in New Orleans, check out CommonGround.

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