23 November 2003
“When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me”
“Order is not a natural state…chaos is the natural state [of affairs]” – Robert Cooper, head of Political and Military Affairs for the UK government on BBC Radio 4’s “The Moral Maze” when attempting to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq and as I continue to state (some might say, ad infinitum), one of the intellectual authors of Blair’s ‘new’ imperialism.
Under the guise of the ‘war on terror’ we are witnessing the destruction of ‘democracy’ in order to protect it.
As predicted here, the government is introducing its own version of the Patriot Act. Innocuously entitled the “Civil Contingencies Bill” if passed it abolishes civil rights of all kinds under the cover of the ‘war on terror’ and an “emergency”. And was Cooper’s ‘innocent’ remark made in the light of the fact that he knew this bill was coming down the turnpike? The linkage is clear between chaos and order, chaos is al-Qu’eda and order by the removal of all our hard-won freedoms and the creation of a de facto police state.
Among its provisions it gives the government the power in the event of an “emergency” to:
- Suspend all or part of the Human Rights Act without Parliament’s approval
- Order the destruction of property
- Order people to evacuate an area
- A ban on traveling
- Prohibit assemblies of specified kinds or other specified activities
- Actions that threaten the activities of the government
“Emergency” is defined as any threat to the welfare of the population that includes the environment, political or economic stability or the security of any part of the UK. The proposed powers are so sweeping that they include any event that “causes or may cause disruption of the activities of Her Majesty’s Government,” a catch-all phrase that covers any and every event that could challenge or question the state’s actions.
“Political repression in the United States has reached monstrous proportions. Black and Brown peoples especially – victims of the most vicious and calculated forms of class, national and racial oppression — bear the brunt of the repression even as it now engulfs the most presumably respectable groups and individuals including members of Congress. Literally tens of thousands of innocent men and women – fill the jails and prisons; hundreds of thousands more are the subject of police, FBI and military intelligence investigations…. It seems to us that the most important fact to be considered in the midst of this repression is that it and its attendant paraphernalia for coercion, manipulation and control reflect serious infirmities in the present social order. That is, while we do not we do not underestimate the coercive resources – available to the state to suppress all forms of opposition (and the centralisation of control over those forces), we think that the necessity to resort to such repression is reflective of profound social crisis, of systemic disintegration.”
Angela Y Davis
Back in May of this year, I wrote a piece entitled “Apologies — Remember to remind me“, that was in part a reference to a statement by Pastor Niemoller that I misquoted and to compound my error, confused with another, similar quote by the great James Baldwin from the book by Angela Davis, “If they come in the morning…”. Well it’s time to reprint them both, again:
“If we know, then we must fight for your life as though it were our own…. For if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night.”
“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out.
And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”
– Martin Niemoller
‘Democracy’ capitalist style
In another programme also on Radio 4 this week, we heard another member of the ruling capitalist intelligentsia propagate the myth that Adolf Hitler was as much “anti-capitalist” as he was “anti-communist”. Why do I mention this? Well the relationship between capitalism and ‘democracy’ is a long-standing myth propagated by the state and its lapdogs in the media.
Even a brief survey of history reveals that ‘democracy’ is mere convenience for the imperialists and as with Hitler’s Germany, the citizen’s ‘rights’ can be removed at a stroke if the basic ‘rights’ of the owners of big capital and their servants in the state are threatened by the actions of the citizens.
The backers of the National Socialist Party, were without exception the owners of the big capitalist formations and their allies in the state machine. Whatever pronouncements Hitler made about the ‘evils of capitalism’ were for public consumption only and indeed, exploited the almost universal rejection of the ‘capitalist way of life’ prevalent in Germany during the 1920s and 30s.
And whilst (unfortunately) we are not seeing a comparable rejection of British capitalism, the capitalist system is in a state of crisis, entirely of its own making. The laughable pronouncements of Blah, Straw and co that there is no connection between the invasion of Iraq and the increase in the attacks on Western assets is simply not borne out by the facts. Quoting events that preceded 9/11 as proof of this assertion is akin to saying that the IRA bombings of the 70s and 80s were also part of the process.
Moreover, the centrality of 9/11 as the pivot around which the ‘war on terror’ has hinged, lends credence to allegations, that without it or some comparable event, the attacks on civil rights, never mind the invasion of Iraq, would have been extremely difficult to sell to the citizens.
And as part of the hysteria currently being generated by the British state and the media we read in the Independent on Sunday (23/11/03) under the heading “The unthinkable has become inevitable” the article opens with the following:
“Britain is facing what may be its darkest hour since the Second World War.”
And just in case we don’t get the message, the piece ends by reiterating the same propaganda line:
“Now Britain’s spies and the public alike realise that the war on terror may last far longer than the dark days of the Second World War.”
Harking back to the ‘darkest days’ of WWII is not only a pathetic attempt to push the ‘patriot’ button, the current situation simply bears no relationship to that period, when Britain was faced with the biggest army in the world. One might add however, that prior to Britain declaring war on Germany, Britain did its damnest to strike a deal with the Nazis! Moreover, when faced with Nazi backing of terrorist Spain in the form of the Falange, it declared itself neutral in the struggle between democracy and the military fascist assault of Generalismo Franco. So much for Britain’s allegiance to ‘democracy’.
The article by Paul Lashmar goes on:
“[We] are facing the most ruthless international terror organisation the world has yet seen.”
No, he’s not talking about the government of the United States but of course the al-Qu’eda “franchise”. The body of the piece quotes the so-called experts at length, including one by Paul Bremer’s company Control Risks (without mentioning that it’s owned by Bremer) that “Britain is ranked 10th most likely to suffer an an al-Qa’ida [sic] terror attack out of 186 countries.”
And along with the General Tommy Franks piece, it’s clear that we’re being lined up for a major attack either here or in the United States as a prelude for what will undoubtedly be the 21st century’s equivilent of a Fascist state, only the modern-day communist, Jew or Gypsy, will be ‘terrorist’, Muslim or ‘Arab/Asian’, not anyone of a paler complexion unless of course, they can be a labelled a ‘terrorist’.
Franks tells us that in event of a WMD attack we can look forward to:
“”… the Western world, the free world, los[ing] what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we’ve seen for a couple of hundred years in this grand experiment that we call democracy.”
Note the description of our ‘cherished rights’ are no longer a basic element of democracy but merely an “experiment” whose time has obviously come to an end. Will we stand by and do nothing just as Pastor Niemoller did until it’s too late?