December 10, 2001
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There was a time, in the not so distant past, when common people had to guess at the plans and tactics of the ruling class. It's always been a guessing game for those able to see through the propaganda used to manipulate the masses, but today we can read about the grand scheme in books written by the most impetuous of the elite.
"Ever since the continents started interacting politically, some five hundred years ago, Eurasia has been the center of world power." (p. xiii) "THE GRAND CHESSBOARD American Primacy And It's Geostrategic Imperatives," Zbigniew Brzezinski, Basic Books, 1997.
Some may assume that Mr. Brzezinski is an expert on international relations, if not chess, since he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; was founder for David Rockefeller of The Trilateral Commission; was a National Security Advisor for President Jimmy Carter (1977-81); and a Counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; a Professor of American Foreign Policy, Johns Hopkins University (1953 Ph.D. from Harvard); an international advisor for several major US/Global corporations; an associate of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; was a member of the National Security Council-Defense Department Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy under President Ronald Reagan and member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board; is a past member, Board of Directors, The Council on Foreign Relations (1988); and co-chairman of the Bush National Security Advisory Task Force. He has also been a participant at several conferences of the Bilderberg Group, whose constituency includes the wealthiest and most powerful families and corporations in this world and is otherwise known as the plutocracy.
One might assume that Brzezinski is an expert on international relations; however, Eurasia is not and never has been the true "center of world power." The very people that lieutenant Zbigniew serves are at the center of this world's financial power, no matter where they happen to be. Of course, it's best for the plutocracy to stay below the radar screen so terrorists aren't flying airliners into their mansions and chalets; thus the reference to a land mass, Eurasia.
Nor did the continents start "interacting politically, some five hundred years ago." Invading, subverting, enslaving and colonizing are not "interacting" unless one considers rape a consummation of marriage. Also, the dysfunctional state of geopolitical relations and its wasteful, impoverishing and genocidal results is testimony to fact that plutocratic game-playing, chess or otherwise, is not indicative of any sort of rational expertise (commonly known as common sense). Rather, it is world-class self-indulgence; anthropocentric globalization.
"The last decade of the twentieth century has witnessed a tectonic shift in world affairs. For the first time ever, a non-Eurasian power has emerged not only as a key arbiter of Eurasian power relations but also as the world's paramount power. The defeat and collapse of the Soviet Union was the final step in the rapid ascendance of a Western Hemisphere power, the United States, as the sole and, indeed, the first truly global power." (p. xiii)
If one ignores the fact that the United States government is the largest debtor in the world and that the next largest debtor is the American people, one may also ignore the shaking before the eruption. We've seen plenty of economic retrofitting in recent months: cavernous corporate tax breaks, ebb tide interest rates, landslide backfilling for the airline and insurance giants. However, you know options have dried up when the price of oil at the barrel-head starts dropping; mom and pop plutocracy lose short-term profits on that fix, though in better times it has been a cost-effective investment in maintenance of the world's petroleum-based economy.
Also, the "defeat and collapse of the Soviet Union" was largely a matter of paperwork and media hype. Russia still has 6000 nuclear warheads and is capable of delivering them post haste a presence that has considerable influence on regional politics and global strategies. So little has changed there in real terms, though the official dissolution has freed many minds of the notion that the Soviet Union was in any way a socialist state. Cold or not, war is never over when politicians, pundits and plutocrats say it's over and political and economic battlefields are seldom where they seem to be. As a matter of fact, since the first war was fought until now, war has never been over. There have been moments of silence and times to reload, but never peace.
Brzezinski wrote this book with the intent of setting forth a formulation for "comprehensive and integrated Eurasian geostrategy." (p. xiv) His premise is that the key to controlling Eurasia, all the territory east of Germany and Poland, lies in the Central Asian Republics. And the key to controlling the Central Asian republics is Uzbekistan. Not coincidently, just days after the 9/11 events president George W. Bush in his address to a joint session of Congress stated that Uzbekistan would receive the first U.S. military deployment. Actually, the U.S. Army and CIA have been busy in Uzbekistan for several years; now a war plan unfolds in accordance with designs that have been on the drawing board for at least four years.
The dictatorship of money has launched its final offensive, according to Mr. Brzezinski, the final conflict before international banks, transnational corporations and ruling elites establish total world dominion. The only alternative Brzezinski sees is a world in chaos and all those who resist the offensive are deemed socialists, anarchists, terrorists, or any combination thereof.
Professor Chomsky is probably amused, and not at all lonely.
All of these grand plans for establishing world domination depend upon a few basic ingredients, not the least of which is a petroleum and chemical dependent world economy. Centralized energy production and control are as essential for maintaining the plutocracy's hegemony as is centralized government and its agents of enforcement, including the press.
I agree with most people I meet; with rare local exceptions American government is not democratic, from the first time men stepped off the Mayflower and began the process of colonizing to the present day it has never been a democracy. America has one political party, the War Party, which consists of Republicans and Democrats; you may pick your side. Wealth rules this country and always has, and wealth uses military violence to control the rest of the world and the media to justify its actions and quell dissent. But it does not rule our minds; we do. When we begin breaking our frivolous habits of consumption, resisting the war culture and controlling our own aggression, and utilizing alternative forms of information and communication, we take a personal step outside plutocratic influence. That the plutocracy owns the mass media is obvious to many people, but full realization of the implications is not.
In a somewhat belittling article for The New York Times, "Protesters Find the Web to Be a Powerful Tool" (11/21/01), Amy Harmon states "With opinion polls showing overwhelming support for President Bush, war protesters are relying heavily on the Internet to weave their fragmented constituents into a movement. Though they number far fewer than the opponents of the war in Vietnam or even the Persian Gulf war, the first generation of Internet activists may well be spreading their message farther and faster than their predecessors in political protest. America's first war of the Internet age is spawning a new cohort of protesters who take for granted the ability to consult a vast array of international news sources with a few mouse-clicks and is teaching old activists new tactics."
May we never take the Internet for granted.
Not only does this "old activist" find news and organizing tools here on the World Wide Web, I also find insightful analysis of the events shaping the world, and opportunities to share my own thoughts, uninterrupted and uncensored. Thanks to a great publisher, I can feel free to say things that many people believe but don't say. For instance, I believe the bombings of September 11th were provoked. I also believe they were symbolic acts against the plutocracy. I believe the "terrorists" involved did not have any other voice, certainly not in the international press or at the United Nations. All that does not make what they did right, only understandable. I have felt their frustration.
Almost everyone realizes we cannot access government through the elective process to create the changes necessary for ending plutocratic rule. Without effective campaign finance and other electoral reforms, the only change occurring in the future will bring complete plutocratic dominion of the global economy, communication, education and culture. If you've been paying only slight attention to the Bush administration and congress you have seen those election issues vaporize, ignored with relief by Washington and abandoned for the flag by most of America's media. Rep. Dick Armey derided it as "the lowest thing on the American radar screen" while Sen. Mitch "Money Is Free Speech" McConnell took time out from his busy fund-raising schedule to chastise the editors of The New York Times for "continuing to obsess" about an issue that has completely "dropped off the list" of the public's priorities.
I'll not delve into the statistics concerning who owns what and how much in the world of "network news," Mom and Pop America's Radar Screen, that's easy enough for you to find if you care to look again. US General Electric immediately comes to mind; it's been one of the energy, military and media industry kings for a long time now.
Last week I revisited a great community access TV station and was once again impressed with the importance of this powerful tool. Properly used, a local access station can define and represent a community, and that's important. Many communities have lost all identity and the critical thinking that accompanies it. A dynamic community access station brings people together; it educates and informs, it offers local culture and watches local government. If you live near a university and a community access TV station, you may find opportunities to produce edited and titled videotapes of speaking engagements by some people of the same mind; submit them for telecast and reach an audience who needs to see them, right where they sit. The best station in our neck of the woods is at the Community Media Center in Santa Rosa, CA. If you need information or advice about how to start up and operate a public access television facility, contact them. (http://www.communitymedia.org/)
The Arcata Eye (http://www.arcataeye.com/) is an impressive and unique local newspaper; it has political comment and some intelligent discussion of local concerns. It is also a sounding board, a firebrand for local news, an arena for games of competition, and a pasture for sheep to graze in. I have no concerns with censorship in that publication, though I do not like an editor retitling my columns. Don't pass up correspondence with larger, national newspapers, they offer a wide audience and spontaneous discussion. Keep your letters brief and to the point and write same day responses.
We receive two local community radio stations where I live. One is KMUD-FM (http://www.kmud.org/) in Garberville, a back woods station with updated reports on area crews employed in the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP). They also carry Amy Goodman's international news program, another great local news program with Estelle Fennel, lots of great music, and "The Politically Correct Week In Revue." Call-In radio talk programs are another option for public discussion of important issues. Those in syndication are usually part of the corporate package so if you join those discussions have the facts with you, stay on topic and don't be intimidated. Speak truth to power.
KHSU-FM (http://www.khsu.org/) is the only legal, listener-supported, Arcata-based FM radio station. It is more contemporary and, since its studio is on the Humboldt State University campus, local influence and listener preferences are reflected through more diverse programming. Arcata also has an 'underground' FM station.
You see my point, of course. Localizing human energy devoted to public education and straightening its influence is a viable goal. We are fortunate to have a good school board in Arcata; our community is engaged in the process of educating through a wide variety of venues. The evolution of local communication has brought forth the Redwood Peace and Justice Center http://www.redwoodpeace.org, in downtown Arcata, just a few weeks ago. Tee shirts, buttons, posters, art, great books, audio and video tapes, petitions, event board, internet access, a meeting space, a small kitchen and four bathrooms; it's really about education and organization, and friendships and contacts. It is our enduring hope and comfort that our community will continue to communicate and educate personally and locally as well as globally.
Nuclear power could represent a great hope for the future of plutocratic supremacy. It uses a highly toxic fuel that is not available at your local hardware store. You and I are not qualified to handle it. Presently, those who control it have control of the product it produces, very hot water, and the market value of electricity. Nuclear reactors have always been very expensive tools, beyond the reach of an individual homeowner or even a city, so they have not been a practical consideration for people in search of an independent source of power production. That may be changing.
Nuclear power plants can be well engineered and there are some innovative plans on the drawing board awaiting implementation. One envisions a silo-like structure filled with composite wafers impregnated with radioactive material. An exterior cooling jacket extracts the heat energy and control rods govern the furnace. This device would be small and prefabricated and have replacement parts, an innovation in nuclear reactor design. The full capacity of the fuel chips is less than critical mass reaction and it would be incapable of "melt-down." A process called photonuclear transmutation could neutralize all the radioactive waste. Based on the development of a new high-intensity gamma laser system and research on its applications, Japanese scientists have concluded that the use of gamma rays is a feasible approach to efficiently transmute nuclear waste into stable non-radioactive end products. Their results were reached through scientific experimentation and study of concepts closely related to the photonuclear, gamma-neutron reactions currently being developed by Nuclear Solutions as the foundation of its patented and patents pending waste remediation technology. http://www.beam.cop.fi/energy/nuclear/ Small, relatively inexpensive local power plants with waste neutralizers could be a part of the future, but until existing radioactive material is safely contained the moratorium on construction of nuclear power plants should continue.
Wind farms could represent a vital source of electricity and, because they are inexpensive, communities with the appropriate natural resource, wind, should add them to their energy grid. They are safe, as dependable as the weather, and don't produce waste. Similar attributes apply to solar cells and to distributed hydroelectric power, with high tech waterwheels along the course of a river replacing a single big dam across it.
We will need a great many wind farms, solar cells, and other low-density installations. But that's the point; a greater number of small systems are inherently safer, as is a diversity of supply. Smaller power generators are also more affordable for community-based production and home power usage. http://www.homepower.com/
The widespread adoption of hydrogen fuel cells as part of a decentralized energy infrastructure would be a further means to the same end. Hydrogen is a way of storing energy and thus increasing the period during which supply and demand may be matched; it's a way of distributing energy generation through time as well as space.
One of the most effective methods for neutralizing plutocratic rule involves money, the lifeblood of the elite. Take monetary control away from them and they will eventually face extinction.
First, clear up your debt. As I mentioned earlier in this column, Americans have a nasty habit of buying things with credit and private debt is now approaching the same level as government debt. As long as you are beholden to the lenders you are at their mercy.
If you are currently the customer of a national or transnational bank, get out. Do your banking business with a locally owned bank or with a credit union. This may cost a little more for services and not be quite as convenient, but that's what it will take to turn things around and it's a small sacrifice that can have meaningful consequences when it becomes a trend.
Many Americans have capital invested in the stock market and investment portfolios. There are opportunities to make a significant impact by investing your assets wisely, in late November the Social Investment Forum, a national nonprofit association that includes mutual funds, community development organizations, portfolio managers and others involved in investing according to social and environmental screens, reported "assets in socially-screened investment portfolios climbed 36 percent to $2.01 trillion from 1999 to 2001, despite a slumping stock market." The growth rate was about 1.5 times that of professionally managed assets of all types. The full report "2001 Report on Socially Responsible Investment Trends in the United States" is available on the group's website http://www.socialinvest.org. They are not alone in this endeavor, check around and find a people-friendly, environment-friendly investment firm.
We have several municipal committees in Arcata; one is the Committee on Democracy and Corporations. The folks serving on it are engaged in research for implementation of programs and ordinances that protect our local businesses from unfair chain store dominance. After the logging boom ended here about twenty years ago, people began diversifying the local economy with many small businesses and a thriving cottage industry. Not only has economic diversification become an effective hedge against corporate dominance but it has also opened peoples' minds to opportunity and a progressive community has since evolved. Now we find ourselves protecting our identity.
Buy locally. Recycle everything you can and reuse containers, fill them with goods you can buy in bulk. Buy used clothing and anything else you can use at your local thrift stores. The hunt for great bargains doesn't have to end in your neighborhood. There is an Internet directory that helps you find flea markets wherever you happen to be. Flea Market Guide http://www.fleamarketguide.com covers the U.S. and Canada, and the listings include addresses, hours, and other information. The average American consumes forty times as much of natural resources as does a person in the "third world" so lower your consumption.
The challenges before us are real, not games, and I'll not advocate playing chess with Mr. Brzezinski or his cohorts. Let them keep their chess pieces; we'll remove the board.
Michael W. Stowell is chairperson of both the City of Arcata, Humboldt County, CA, Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Commission and the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Arcata Library. He is the producer/editor/videographer of numerous public access television programs; he is a naturalist, a gardener, a bicyclist and a Swans columnist.
[Ed. Note: The City of Arcata, incorporated in 1858, is located in Humboldt County, on California's Redwood Coast, at the juncture of California Highway 101 and 299 West. The city is approximately 289 miles north of San Francisco, 150 miles west of Redding and 760 miles north of Los Angeles. The 1990 census reported Arcata's population as 15,197 and the county population as 119,118.]
Please, DO NOT steal, scavenge or repost this work on the Web without the expressed written authorization of Swans, which will seek permission from the author. This material is copyrighted, © Michael W. Stowell 2001. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
This Week's Internal Links
Un-American, Fly-Shit Melody - by Gilles d'Aymery
Le Déserteur (The Deserter) - by Boris Vian
This War Is a Fraud - by Stephen Gowans
Depleted Uranium or Depleted Conscience? - by Jeff Lindemyer
When Did The Lies Begin? - by Milo Clark
We May Have Waited Too Long - by Deck Deckert
A Power Game Made in Serbia - by Mile N. Tankosic
Support Christ and Your Local Library - by Matthew J. Barry
Freedom - by Ambrose Bierce
Michael Stowell's Commentaries on Swans
Essays published in 2001
Barbarians of Our Own Dark Ages? Debunking the Myth Behind the Nuclear Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (December 2000)