Monday, July 4, 2011

The Last Word on Independence

The Corbett Report
by James Corbett

This is James Corbett of with the last word on independence.

In the course of human events, nothing has been more dangerous to the ruling elite than the concept of human liberty. Not the documents that have encapsulated that idea or charted its development, not the Magna Carta, not the Declaration of Independence, not the Emancipation Proclamation, nor any of the other pieces of paper upon which the idea of liberty has been set down, but the idea itself.

That humans are born equal. That there are inalienable rights that no self-proclaimed authority is ever justified in attempting to usurp under whatever pretence. That our life, our liberty and our property are inviolable, and that it is our duty to resist those who seek to violate them. These are the truths we hold to be self-evident, here, now, in the 21st century, blessed as we are to stand on the shoulders of the philosophical giants who had the vision of foresight to realize that tyranny is not the natural state of humanity and the courage of their convictions to fight and die for those beliefs.

This idea has been dangerous to those who seek to dominate others precisely because it is an idea, a fire in the minds of men that once loosed upon the world can never be put out. It cannot be imprisoned, stabbed, shot or put under the guillotine, although those who have furthered the cause of liberty have all too often been subjected to these punishments. The documents upon which it is inscribed can be ignored, revised or destroyed altogether, but the idea itself is as immutable as the inalienable rights it upholds. The idea of liberty is dangerous precisely because it is permanent, indestructible, and ultimately irrepressible.

Not that the tyrants haven’t tried, of course. For as long as there have been ordinary men and women, lowly peasants and humble labourers willing to stand up to the lords and ladies, the kings and queens and noblemen of all stripes who would presume to control them, there has been those who have tried to repress them.

In 73 B.C., Spartacus led a slave rebellion known as the Third Servile War against the Roman Republic. Using nothing more than kitchen implements, he led a band of 70 men in a plot to escape their bondage in Capua. They seized supplies from some wagons full of gladiatorial weapons and armour, plundered the area, and escaped to Mount Vesuvius, all the while recruiting other slaves to join them in their uprising. Defeating wave after wave of militia sent to suppress them, the Spartacan rebellion grew to 70,000 men. Beset by eight legions of Roman troops under the command of the feared Marcus Crassus, Spartacus made a valiant last stand at Brundusium and was decimated by the disciplined, well-armed Roman forces. Spartacus died on the battlefield with his men, and those that survived were captured and crucified by Crassus’ legions.

In the late 14th century, King Richard II of England levied a deeply unpopular poll tax on the poor British serfs, already living in abject poverty under English feudalism. When a tax collector tried to extract the poll tax from the village of Fobbing, the villagers refused to pay and he was sent away empty-handed. When a Chief Justice was sent to investigate the incident, he was attacked. Soon the revolt had spread and an armed uprising began to march on London. They stormed the Tower of London, killing the nobles ensconced there including the Lord Cancellor and the Lord Treasurer. Desperate to contain the rebellion, King Richard agreed to negotiations with the rebel leader, Wat Tyler. During the negotiations, Tyler was killed. King Richard lied to the crowds, telling them that Tyler had in fact been knighted and that the king had accepted his demands. The crowds were told to march to St. John’s Fields where they would be reunited with their leader, but they marched into a trap and the revolt was suppressed. Having killed the rebel leaders, Richard withdrew his concessions.

In 1869, the newly established government of Canada negotiated the purchase of Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company and appointed an English-speaking governor to rule over the French-speaking, Métis-dominated region. Louis Riel led an uprising of Métis known as the Red River Rebellion that led to a provisional government and the establishment of the province of Manitoba. As a condition of the entry of Manitoba into confederation, the Riel-led rebellion drafted a list of rights for the people of the territory that established their right to their own legislature, the right to elect their own sheriffs, magistrates, constables, and other officials, the right to a full representation in the Canadian Parliament and the right to all privileges and customs at the time of the transfer. Riel was banished to the US for his part in what the Government of Canada branded a treasonous act, and when he returned to lead a new rebellion in the 1880s, he was eventually captured and hung by the Canadian government.

The annals of history suffer from no shortage of martyrs in the pursuit of human liberty. They have come from every race, every creed, every corner of the globe and every walk of life, but they have all been united in a passion for freedom and a pursuit of those ideals which are anathema to the tyrants: that we are all equal, and that no “official” in whatever office, dressed in whatever uniform, or claiming to speak with whatever authority can take away our right to life, liberty or property.

But the tyrants of the 21st century are not stupid, and it cannot be said that they suffer from the same delusions of their ideological forefathers that the idea of human liberty can be suppressed by the barrel of a gun. Certainly there still are repressive regimes all throughout the world that do use the infrastructure of the police state to encroach further and further upon the rights of the people, but more insidious by far are the ways that modern information warfare are used to convince people that their slavery is in fact their freedom, that the answer to the problems created by centralized forms of control is in fact even further centralization of control, and that our independence finds its fullest expression in our dependence on these systems of control.

In our modern context, we have watched as the world has been brought to the brink of economic collapse by the concerted attempts to subsume local sovereignty into regional, supra-national governments and organizations. We have witnessed the destruction of national economies by groups of political pirates who have squandered away their own country’s finances for their personal enrichment and then run to the IMF for the privilege of selling their country into debt-bondage to the financiers and vulture capitalists who are all too willing to buy up national infrastructure for pennies on the Euro. We have watched as our so-called “leaders” have led us into war after war without seeking declarations of war from our elected representatives, but based on ill-defined mandates of international bodies that we have not created and in which we have no say, like the UN and NATO.

And in each case where these activities have left us more impoverished and more enslaved than before, we are told that the answer is to allow these same “leaders” and “authorities” even more powers over our lives.
The Europeans are arguing that the answer to the collapse of the Euro is to strengthen the financial institutions of the EU, including the creation of a European finance ministry with the power to intervene in the economies of individual member states. The Europeans are being told that their further dependence on the EU is the only way to save them from the calamity that their dependence on the EU has gotten them into.

Residents of the NATO-member states are being told that in order to insure the freedom of the Libyan people, they must commit their forces to the bombardment of those very same people at the behest of the UN Security Council. France has now been confirmed to be directly arming the so-called rebels in Libya in direct contradiction to the Security Council resolution they claim to be enforcing, but the fact goes unnoticed in the establishment media and the war continues against the wishes of the vast majority of the people.

Those who are seeking to once again claim their independence from the system and to stake out for themselves those rights that our forefathers and foremothers fought and died for are now being dubbed “extremists” and socially demonized for their refusal to go along with their own enslavement. Those who grow their own gardens to free themselves from dependence on the big multinational food conglomerates are portrayed as wackos. Those who invest in precious metals against the devaluation of the debt-based fractional-reserve derivatives-backed central bank-issued funny money that serves as the basis of our system of economic dependence are deemed kooks. Those who refuse to recognize the authority of the government to impose limits on their inalienable human rights to freedom from unlawful searches and seizures, and even freedom from violation of their own bodies, are branded dangerous subversives.

And now, as another Independence Day comes and goes in the United States of America, and as we watch the political puppets of all stripes line up to pay lip service to the ideals of human freedom, it is time to once again for people the world over to ask themselves if they still stand with the ideals enshrined by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, in 1776, that:

“when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Because in reality, our liberty is not a vague concept that we can reaffirm on occasion as it suits us. It is a choice that we make each and every day, to live in independence or in slavery.

Every day is independence day.

For The Corbett Report in western Japan, I am James Corbett.

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