Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Are We Desperate Enough in America to Have a Successful Rebellion?

by Dave Lefcourt

After observing from afar the recent populist uprisings and rebellions in the Arab world particularly in Tunisia and Egypt, still happening in Yemen, Libya and now most unpredictably in Syria, it seems to have any chance for a successful rebellion the people have to be desperate with a determination of not going back, giving in and returning to acquiescing in their "old ways" of passive submission to and in fear of the dictator and his regime.

Each country is different of course with the army and its generals playing significant roles vis-à-vis their following an order to fire on the demonstrators (Syria, Libya and at times in Yemen) or to refuse that order (in Tunisia and Egypt). But desperation of the people and a willingness not to go back to their former ways seems to be the key ingredients.

In America, there are people who are desperate, have lost jobs, been forced out of their homes, had their unemployment benefits and savings exhausted with some falling into homelessness, despair and forced to live on the edge.

But here, the desperation, though widespread and in many areas of the country, is scattered, uneven and in pockets, some urban, some rural, in some small towns and some cities. Yet in many areas of America life goes on as usual without missing a beat. Kids play (as they should) in safe neighborhoods, their parents employed, paying their mortgages and other bills on time with life "normal" and "serene".

These are not candidates for rebellion!

Rebellion may be happening in the Arab world, but that is far away and certainly removed from those who are comfortable in their daily lives.

America may be engaged in endless war, committing atrocities of torture and extraordinary rendition and denying habeas corpus to suspects held in indefinite detention. But to those "comfortable" Americans there is no indignation, no display of horror or even empathy for those innocents caught in the maelstrom of our missile attacks and drone strikes. Besides we get "official" reports that "terrorists" are being killed in these attacks, Osama bin Laden is dead and his lieutenants are dwindling and on the run.

Also in America a large swath of the public believes that those "unfortunate" Americans may be desperate, but they have no one to blame but themselves. The "great recession" (never mind the reckless machinations of the financial industry that caused it) and its by products i.e. joblessness, home foreclosure, bankruptcy, homelessness et al aren't to blame. It is all "their own fault. Nobody owes them anything. This is America. They shouldn't whine and blame anyone for their circumstances."

There is a great disconnect in America with those who have fallen into desperate straits, with little empathy and concern for others, particularly from those embracing an Ayn Rand type mentality of uncompromising selfishness. To them there was no corporate banditry, casino type recklessness and duplicity by the banksters. It's all government interference and regulation that is to blame (despite all the evidence to the contrary; that deregulation and laissez faire capitalism is a chimera always requiring government to rescue it from its excesses).

Most Americans stand apart from the desperation felt by many here in this country and certainly with those in other parts of the world.

We may start pre-emptive wars and occupations based on lies and under false pretenses against enemies that pose no imminent threat or against terrorists and terrorism which is a tactic and criminal but certainly not constituting a threat that requires us to go to war.

We are too disjointed, too isolated and removed each other, too insular and preoccupied and engaged in our own personal pursuits.

  In America there is no unanimity of purpose in which to rally around. From here, rebellion though justified, is highly unlikely.

There are some of us who will take a moral stand in October, with some committing to staying in "Freedom Plaza" in Washington, D.C. calling it our "Tahrir Square", to force the government to listen to us, end its wars, its imperialism, the resort to torture and spend our money creating jobs et al.

But then what"

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