Constitution, Capitalism and Anarchism: Moving Beyond Corporatism in a post-post-9-11 United States of America
This piece is a conglomeration of responses inspired by George Washington's piece entitled Are Those Who Question 9/11 Anarchists? and the dialogue it engendered. It got me thinking about the nature of our form of government, its relationship to the best in anarchist thinking and the creative possibilities for a future America post-9-11 justice. It's a bit rambling and jumbled, but I wanted to put it out there for folks to read and respond to if they so desired.
It started with a response to Jon Gold's laying out the definitions of anarchism in relation to the criminality and lawlessness:
I think it's important for people to see...
The definition of anarchy...
1. a state of society without government or law.
2. political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control: The death of the king was followed by a year of anarchy.
3. a theory that regards the absence of all direct or coercive government as a political ideal and that proposes the cooperative and voluntary
association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organized society.
4. confusion; chaos; disorder: Intellectual and moral anarchy followed his loss of faith.
We currently have a society that can't hold the people sitting in the White House, that are responsible for so many damn crimes, accountable. Does that count as a "society without Government or law?"
PART 1: Nihilism and Criminality vs. Anarchy and Liberty
I would say number 4: confusion, chaos, disorder is the closest description of the "anarchism" of those in the White House and beyond. Although I would associate them more with a nihilistic will to power than any sort of "anarchism." The problem is that they are following the same path as the Third Reich in that they are making the law as they go along. They have entered a permanent state of emergency in which the unitary executive makes laws and drafts signing statements to create the new super-legal territory we all inhabit. This is why, after dozens of scandals, it seems like nothing will stick. And, of course, this is where the hard truth of 9-11 comes in. It WILL stick and it is the latest and most powerful national-security event upon which this super-legislative era is built.
Paul Craig Roberts and Jon Gold are both right about these people we are letting rule over us. They are the biggest lawbreakers of all and the most extreme and violently radicalized group in the land. I think I saw something on 911blogger here about using HR 1955/1959 as a way to investigate the White House and the rest of the neo-cons. I'd been thinking along the same lines. We want the government to investigate our beliefs, because, in terms of 9-11, they're based on facts. Name a group that fits the description of "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism" better than this junta. I'm writing an article called "The Fitful Sleeper Cell in the White House" based on this idea. Let's get some damn Centers of Excellence to send us some USC professors to study the deeply disturbed ideology and actionable strategy of the neo-cons and their handlers.
Getting back to "anarchy," if you look at the word "anarchy" itself, the deeper layer of meaning that it suggests is "without hierarchy" rather than without law. In many ways, you can consider the step from a monarchy of a divine-right king to the democracy (meaning "rule by the will of the people" not "pure majority") of a constitutional republic (currently in the hands of a plutocratic oligarchy, true) as an an anarchistic move. It is a leveling of the governmental playing field.
In my eyes:
3 positive contributions of "anarchism:"
1) Faith that humans can figure out how best to care for themselves and each other when given the non-coercive space to do so, which stems from
2) An understanding that "laws" are founded on a deep mutual understanding and an instinctual and evolving ethical imperative that emanates from the human "spirit," and that the best publicly articulated laws attempt to describe that rather than dictate it which leads to
3) Respecting every human being as an individual with equal rights to pursue their own desires and express their unique differences.
3 negative "tyrannies of thought" that "anarchism" sometimes leads to:
1) That hierarchy of any sort in any situation is inherently bad or against human freedom (i.e. there is no such thing as earned position based on skill, experience or responsibility), meaning that
2) There is no room left for much of any level of government being that embedded hierarchies spring up immediately as humans tend towards community, society and governance (i.e. the individual becomes the family becomes the tribe becomes the town becomes the city becomes the state becomes the country becomes the world) whereas
3) Size/scale itself becomes the enemy rather than tyranny, when although more likely, and more easily accepted at larger scales, tyranny is possible at all scales of being (think about the ways you've treated yourself or your loved ones unfairly).
I would say that the USA has a deep streak of some of the best in "anarchism," of the value and pre-eminence of the individual as the source of sovereign power that any level of state power might desire to draw upon, i.e. the consent of the governed. I don't think the more problematic tendencies that we face can be solved just by scaling back the size of government (yes in some cases), but by scaling up the power, rights and responsibilities of the individual(s). And that's what I believe 9-11 truth and justice might lead to if we are focused. I also am writing an article where I title this possibility "The Treason Trial Dividend."
PART 2: Constitution and the Governance of Liberty
Before I hone in on economics, anarchism and the potentially creative role of government, let me make a few more points about the relationship of our Constitutional Republic to the best in anarchist thought. I should point out also, before I make these few points that I, like George Washington, am not talking in any way about the "overthrow" of the government. As I outlined early on in my legally mandated letter to Federal Judges on Bush and Cheney's treason ( http://www.911blogger.com/node/10746 ) about which I still have more follow up to complete:
"My intention is not to engage in sedition or libel, but to speak openly and honestly about the largest and most severe case of treason and mass murder in our history. I am not calling for the overthrow of our government but for the restoration of our government by bringing to justice those that have overthrown our government."
What is disturbing about our current state of governance is that there are so many laws (just go watch Henry Waxman talking about his relationship with the "thought crime" bill (HR 1955) he mindlessly and ignorantly voted for which will potentially rule the land- http://www.911blogger.com/node/13359 ) but the most fundamental and most ancient in their mandate, such as the mandates against murder and treason, are (semi)openly violated. This is why you cannot claim yourself to be a pro-constitutional, pro-American candidate or politician if you will not confront the most basic, pernicious and destructive breaking of the framing mandate (protect the life, liberty and possibility of happiness of the individuals whose sovereign power you claim to represent) by the highest officials of the land. And, in this case, I would say there is not one presidential candidate who has followed this basic legal and moral duty to its root, Paul, Kucinich, Gravel and McKinney included (though she is the closest I would say). I will expound on this idea in an article titled "Why "We the People's" Movement for 9-11 Truth and Justice is the Real Constitutional Candidate of '08."
Some of the genius of this country's framing documents is that their content implies the massive un-circumscribed space of freedom from which they draw their conclusions and which they remind us still exists no matter what manner of State comes into being. A couple examples of this are:
1) the idea in the Declaration of Independence that our rights and our equality (not our sameness) are "endowed" to us by our "Creator." If you don't like Godtalk, this can be redefined as "inherent in human nature" or "Spirit" "human destiny." But what is crucial to this formulation is that the Constitution and the government/State it engenders is NOT what gives to we individual human beings our rights, it only exists to secure them and to help define their space in a society of interlocking personhoods. This is a very anarchistic revelation.
2) the idea articulated in Bill of Rights that those rights defined are just the very minimum of freedoms that we have. There was much argument amongst the framers whether even defining these crucial few rights would imply that others did not exist. I see the wisdom in that argument, but am grateful that they went ahead and defined these few, or, I have a feeling, we would already be in full blown tyranny. When there is danger, real or fictitious, liberty can fly out the window quickly as Franklin warned us. Just the 1st and 2nd amendments (the potently practiced power of the 1st and the largely implied power of the 2nd) have been crucial to defending the ultimate liberty of the people against the fear and war mongering "perpetual emergency" National Security State.
4th Amendment=freedom to be left alone by the unreasonable and unjustified intrusion and/or coercion of the state. Most if not all the amendments in the Bill of Rights can be defined negatively in some way, meaning "freedom from" the State intruding upon these rights. 1st amendment=not freedom of speech, but freedom from laws made to obstruct our inherent freedoms of speech/press/assembly/religion. In this way, the Bill of Rights secures these rights and implies many more to be protected and enhanced through time. The last 2 amendments explicitly state this:
9th: Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights
10th: Powers of states and people
Again, a deeply anarchistic concept.
PART 3: Cooperative/Competitive Synergies in a Post-Corporatist Economy
The most appropriate way to describe the junta currently in control is corporatism. Mussolini would have been in awe of the Bush/Cheney puppet-headed oil and war cartel. This is not libertarian free market capitalism. I think it is its right wing authoritarian opposite. Oil companies use government levers to gain access to the people's treasure to kill competition literally and figuratively.
In terms of tyrannies or authoritarian states, you have:
the Left (where the many tends to take precedence over the one) example of totalitarian Communism (Dictatorship of the Proletariat), where the State and Industry are merged with the State bureaucracy in the position of power
the Right (where the one tends to take precedence over the many) example of Fascism, articulated most famously by Mussolini as Corporatism, where Industry and the State are merged with Industry (or corporations) taking the driver's seat.
Interestingly enough, they end up looking very similar to each other, mangled messes of tyrannical overreach that serve to hinder the human quest for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, or as I would say, life, liberty and the embrace of meaning in all its forms, happiness, sadness, confusion, inspiration, despair, hope, love... except for state-sponsored fear, war and madness of course.
Tyranny of all sorts-mental, physical, emotional and spiritual- are what we are clearly opposed to.
Capitalism, or a free market system based on profit, is linked to what I see as an inherent thrust or instinct in human beings, namely, the deep desire to compete. Whether looking at the evolution of species (whether or not you see design in that process and its resultant forms) or the play of youngsters on a playground, the human desire to compete as an individual and as a team is powerful. I see the better qualities of a capitalist free-market system as related to sublimating, transmuting or focusing this urge to compete into a game that can have benefits for human life; for competition can take the form of sports, b-boy/MC/DJ battles, the upkeep of Moore's Law of doubling micro-processor speeds, or tribal warfare and nuclear proliferation.
However, it must be recognized that while the surface of capitalism is competition, directly beneath that is a vast and deep network of interdependence and cooperation, which is also a deep, deep human instinct. While the NYSE daily delivers a battle for investment and stockprice, the infrastructure depended upon for the traders and bankers to both get to work (streets/powergrids/trains) and be able to have the capacity to work (read/write/rithmatic, let alone biological sources of food) is a work of finely tuned cooperation. The same thing can be said about the evolutionary process. Too much has been made of crude Darwinian "natural" selection. Operating right beneath the surface of the ecological law of the jungle as a battle to the death or "eat or be eaten," is, literally, the underground law of the rhizomatic, cooperative, internodally-communicative ecosystem as a "humming being", further expanded into the living, breathing panetary being of the "Gaia Hypothesis" (co-conceived by 9-11 truther Lynn Margulis).
So, to me, the question is how then to facilitate the creation and nurturing of an economic set-up that properly balances these two crucial forces and gives to them their proper place?
First, it should be pointed out that cooperatives, which are an economic model that anarchists have both embraced and helped develop, are very close in their structural composition to a standard "for profit" corporation. The main difference in structure is that the hierarchical composition is more tightly knit (closer connection professionally, personally and pay-scale-wise from bottom to top) and has a more closed loop in terms of where the "profit" goes. Instead of having a Board of Directors and investors who are mainly disincarnate to the daily work of the business itself, both the "Board" and the "investors" are made up of those that work the business. And, has been shown in the Mondragon network of cooperatives in the Basque region towards the north of Spain (or some would just say "North of Spain"), it ironically appears that well run cooperatives will out-compete the standard corporate model. But this makes inherent sense. If those who work for a business are more involved in reaping the benefits and playing a role in management and long term planning, there tends to be more of a sense of "ownership," responsibillity and care in the quality of the work being done and the long-term intent of the fiscal planning.
I believe that there are powerful synergies that can work with the best of these different types of economic models which can be stirred into the mix of American traditions such as- innovation, worker comraderie, states and townships as laboratories of possibility, good-natured and legally bound but fierce competition, and a commitment to equal opportunity- to create immense creativity, abundance and possibility.
Working with the idea of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, I think that the further down to the root of needs (i.e. food/shelter/healthcare) you go, the less dependent on a global system of cut-throat competitive capitalism you want to be and the more related to a local and cooperative source you do want to be. For example, you don't want to be dependent on Bechtel for your access to fresh water if you are in Bolivia (or anywhere for that matter), but being dependent on Intel for access to micro-processing power is probably a better bet than your local neighborhood computer co-op (though these days I guess you never know what might be possible).
So, here are a few ideas, from my "Treason Trial Dividend" article, that I think might work well in the USA.
Health care/food-1st of all, we need to stop talking about "healthcare" as if it is all about access to high-end medical technologies and affordable pharmaceuticals. This is a tyrannical and myopic way of thinking about this problem, and it is a problem. We face a serious health crisis in this country that we are handing down in even worse forms to the coming generations. In order to deal with "healthcare," we need to talk about "health." And as the father of Western medicine Hippocrates said, we should "Let food be [our] medicine." A very simple, but crucial starting place for proper healthcare is securing access for all people to good food, clean water and fresh air. If these elements are not present, then no matter how many pills, invasive surgical techniques or health spas we have access to, we will be burying ourselves in band-aids in a shallow grave. So, the preamble to a well-organized, IMHO at least somewhat state sponsored (at all levels of government), community-directed, neighborhood physician system is rejuvenating and cleaning up our air and watersheds, and initiating multitudinous Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) cooperatives to recreate the family farm, or something that scale, in an organic or bio-dynamic growing process. This will also draw back together the ancient and highly interdependent relationship between town and country, city and rural.
Justice Thurgood Marshall once made the point that 1st amendment free speech rights are fundamentally dependent on an access to education, being that you can't freely express yourself unless you know of something you want to say and are literate (aurally and textually) enough to say it. So, being that the Preamble speaks to the Common Welfare and our free speech rights are dependent on access to good education, basing school funding so heavily on property taxes sets the next generation into an immediately unequal situation and is anti-American I think. The way I would propose doing it is financing education fully and equally across the nation on the federal level, being that a well educated group of citizens is the most powerful source of liberty and security a nation can have, and allow the spending decision to be completely decided on the local level. The only federal mandates that publicly-funded schools would have to live up to in terms of education should be civics (understanding the workings of your government and your role as a citizen), and basic literacy (math and verbal). Of course, opting out, in the form of home-schooling or charter schooling would be a family's inherent right.
Instead of having a fiat currency, not-so-secretly backed by oil control and military might, or even an openly "backed" old-school scenario of precious metals, I think we should drive a move to hyperlocal, renewable energy production, by backing our American currency in new renewable electricity capacity and, possibly, in informational system capacity (broadband and wifi networks). We do have the Saudi Arabia of wind in the middle of this country. And when you combine a strong move to solar/wind/geothermal with land-based energy sources such as switchgrass, cannabis and algae-based biofuels, as is already beginning to happen, you reinvigorate the heartland and the rural areas of this country, which will benefit everybody very quickly. Just as you can set-up CSA's for good food, you can set-up Community Supported Renewable Energy Projects where, hypothetically, you could have community or individual investment in a new green energy project met halfway by the government (a mix of federal, state, local), which could then launch simultaneously a Community Development Corporation and a Community Credit Union with a Community Backed Currency (scalable to the global level because its based on a universally desirable, translatable and easily measured good- green power, the ability to do work over time, in a clean and renewable manner).
Just a start.
And just wait till we permaculturalize the Pentagon, then we'll be walking and talking like a sovereign, responsible and inspiring citizen of the international community.
For now though, we gotta hone in on speaking the truth with power about treason in the White House and beyond. But it never hurts to dream, scheme and plan for what is coming.
“Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught in falsehoods school. And the one man that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool.” –Plato
"We must speak the truth about terror." --George W. Bush