Monday, January 16, 2012

Twin Specters of Repression in America

As we prepare to protest the "Sit Down & Shut Up" ordinances at City Hall tomorrow, it must be stressed: that this is not just about Chicago. If there was any doubt before, Obama's signing of the NDAA -- with all its detention provisions -- makes it clear that everyone in the U.S. live in a police state. And Rahm -- long after ending his stint as Obama's chief of staff - is still Obama's Number One hatchet man.

Places like Guantanamo exist to remind the public, "this is what we have in store for you if you get out of line." And that message is nicely supplemented by the specter of Chicago police wearing their riot gear and carrying truncheons.

Guantanamo & Chicago '68 live in the public's subconscious, where they lurk in the shadows, threatening anyone who has a dissenting thought. It's time we dragged those images out into the open, forcing people to consciously address the way people are being intentionally terrorized by our government. Only if we can do this -- put a name to the threat -- will the ordinary Chicagoan wake up and say, "You expect me to be intimidated? HELL NO!"

Personally, I think any Chicago mayor low enough to dredge up the specter of '68 in order to cow the American public all over again deserves to be recalled.

Related posts

As Sankari explained, when people everywhere unite to fight back against the illegitimate prosecution and persecution of Muslims, they are making an important contribution to the leading edge of resistance against the racist and political repression that affects the African-American community as well as all people of color, with harsh treatment dealt out to undocumented people, LGBT people, women, Muslims, and people involved in the labor, peace, and solidarity movements; and when Muslims join in the broad movement against racist and political repression that affects all these groups, they are contributing to the resistance against prosecution and persecution of Muslims.

(See GUANTANAMO: "Is that who we are?" )

Naturally, the jury in the NATO3 case has no reason to buy into Anita Alvarez's narrative about the threat of terrorism from ordinary citizens and how it justifies a culture of fear and a militarized, all-seeing, secret-driven police state. Which is not to say that they're not concerned about terrorism.

(See In Chi-town USA: got terrorism?)


I think the U.S. is in the midst of a big shift.  I think that for over a decade following 9/11 people have been so enmeshed in fear that their instincts weren't working properly. I think that we are in the midst of a slow process of awakening: people are emerging from the shadow of fear to a wider range of sensibility -- and they are realizing there are some things that are out of joint.

(See Too Much State Power? (Asymmetric Warfare and Asymmetric Policing))