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Our Masters, Ourselves

By Dale Allen Pfeiffer

05 November, 2007

We are all armed with monkey wrenches, it is time to use them. It is time to take back our power and to realize that we, ourselves, are our own masters. And let us never delegate that power or that responsibility again.

Corrupt beyond Redemption

Those of us living in the US live in a fascist system, right now, today. We live in a system where powerful corporations call the shots, both nationally and globally. They do this beneath a façade of democracy, a façade that has grown exceedingly thin. And every day they come closer and closer to allowing this façade to drop.

It should be quite plain by now that our government does not heed the public mandate. They have not stopped the war in Iraq, they have not moved to impeach Bush and Cheney, they refuse to discuss a working solution to global warming, and they will do nothing about outsourcing, capital flight and impoverishment of the US working class.

Yet activists in the peace, environmental and labor movements continue to lobby the government for change. We are content to wait until the next presidential election and replace the incumbents of one crooked party with the candidates of another crooked party. Yet no election is going to make the slightest bit of difference in solving the problems with which we are faced.

Our politicians are bought off. Most of them are members of the privileged class to start with, and once they leave office they will go to work for the very firms they should now be attempting to regulate. The move to privatize has reached critical mass; we have sold off our infrastructure and our vital government services to corporations - worse than sold, we have handed these things over while promising to subsidize their ownership with taxpayer's dollars. The privatization mania has gone to the point that we have now largely privatized our military and police services to private firms whose first loyalty is clearly not to the US public.

The building of a fascist system within the façade of democracy has been in progress for a long time. It can be traced back to the days of the Great Depression and even further. The move towards fascism accelerated in the 1970s and particularly in the 1980s. Privatization, outsourcing, labor and environmental deregulation, mergers and in particular media monopolies have all been tools in producing this transformation. Global trade agreements consolidated fascist power throughout the world, while formalizing the supremacy of international corporations over federal governments.

By the turn of the century, the advance of fascism had reached the point that corporations and political lackeys in the Bush administration could act with impunity, openly trashing the US Constitution and the Geneva Conventions while making jokes about it. What previous administrations used to do in secret, the Bush administration does in the open, and then grants itself immunity from future prosecution.

And now Bush has granted himself the power to abrogate the constitution and suspend elections through the declaration of martial law. He can do this for any perceived threat, whether it involves terrorism, economic crisis, environmental catastrophe, or social upheaval. Soon even the trappings of democracy will become unnecessary, and the US public will find themselves living in a repressive police state without any of the freedoms and protections from abuse that we have for so long taken for granted.

None of our elected officials wish to repair these breeches in our governmental system. Instead, they are all lining up to profit from them. Instead of taking up the public mandate, they are vying with each other to feed at the corporate troughs and assume the mantle of fascist dictator.

The Shame of Our Flag

The United States is the power behind world repression. Since World War Two we have made it our policy to support the corporate exploitation of resources and populations the world over, so long as the bulk of those riches flowed into the US to maintain US consumption and economic growth.

The US is the leading producer of greenhouse gasses. Yet the US is the one country that has refused to do anything about them. It is the top consumer of world resources, consuming at a level far exceeding the carrying capacity of the environment. As such, the US is largely responsible for resource depletion and mass extinction.

Yet even our gluttonous over-consumption is not enough to sustain economic growth. So we have turned to juggling bubbles of debt. The public is told that it is their patriotic duty to consume, consume, consume, even as their adjusted income continues to shrink. To fulfill our patriotic duty, we take out second and third mortgages, and we max out credit cards. Our debts are then repackaged and sold off as investments.

Now these bubbles are becoming unmanageable. Foreign investors, the other pillar of our economy, are beginning to divest themselves of the US dollar. A major economic crash is imminent, a crash that could make the Great Depression pale in comparison. Once this crash is complete, plans are already in place to replace the US dollar with the North American Amero, to establish the supremacy of the North American Union over the federal governments of the US, Canada and Mexico, and to keep the public in line through the establishment of a repressive police state.

Meanwhile the US Empire and the conquest of the rest of the world will continue. Under the guise of fighting a war on terror, we have assumed the right to attack any country we wish through so-called pre-emptive strikes. We can imprison anyone anywhere indefinitely, without filing formal charges. And we can use any amount of force necessary, even torture.

The country we live in has become a fascist empire. Our government and our corporations have joined together to commit crimes against humanity and crimes against the planet. If allowed to go on, all of us will suffer - all of us but our elite masters. That is, if their insane greed does not destroy this planet's ability to support complex life.

Something has to be done to stop this madness, the sooner the better. And that goal will not be achieved by voting, writing letters to our congresspeople, or marching on the capitol. Our only recourse to prevent the unthinkable is a major uprising.

Disinformation & Complacency

Right now, we simply cannot stage a successful uprising within the US. Those of us who are aware of the many issues I mentioned above are reaching the point where we know an uprising is necessary. But we do not have the numbers to pull it off. If we were to attempt such an uprising right now, they would simply round us up. If enough of us rose up, it would give them an excuse to declare martial law, formalizing their fascist dictatorship.

There are simply too few of us at this point. For each of us who recognizes the necessity of a mass uprising, how many people do we know who are unaware of the impending crises that we are facing? How many are somewhat aware, but think that these problems will be solved for us? How many still think that all we have to do is petition our elected leaders or vote the scoundrels out of power?

The public is uninformed. They do not know what crimes the government has committed and is committing under our names. They do not know what major crises are bearing down on us. They do not know that democracy is dead in the US and we live in a fascist system. They do not know this because the media they are exposed to does not discuss these things.

Our media conglomerates are part and parcel of the fascist system we live under. They will not permit an honest discussion of the problems we are facing. Or, if they allow such a discussion, then they will keep it framed in a fashion that supports the fascist system.

The majority of US citizens believe we invaded Iraq because Saddam Hussein was involved in 9-11. The war was necessary to fight terrorism. Sure Bush was wrong about the weapons of mass destruction, and his administration has fumbled this war all along. But we had to invade Iraq to fight the terrorists.

Back up. Who ever said that war was the way to solve the problem of terrorism in the first place? Terrorism is a problem for law enforcement. You hunt the terrorists down, you arrest them, you place them on trial and if they are found guilty you hold them culpable for their crimes. Then you resolve the problems of repression and desperation that give birth to terrorists in the first place. You do not declare war against other countries, using war (which is state terrorism) to increase the level of repression and desperation, breading more terrorists.

This is just one example. Where the media does allow discussion, it first establishes a framework that supports the overarching goals of the fascist system. And once the discussion is over, it lulls the public back into a stupor by moving on to sitcoms, cop shows, sporting events, OJ Simpson and Britney Spears.

So if we are going to stop this madness, we need to begin talking to the people around us, helping them to understand the situation we are in. This can be a long process, depending on how far each person is sunk into denial and complacency. Talk to them, give them information, answer their rebuttals, but do not put too much pressure on them at one time. Let them digest what you have said and work through it for themselves. And move on with your argument when you perceive that they are ready for more.

Currently the US population is too complacent to stage a mass uprising. We have it too easy. To some extent or other, we are insulated from the problem. We have been co-opted by our own consumption and our 401k's. The media keeps us insulated from the real world, and the system keeps us comfortable.

But that is beginning to change. People are being squeezed tighter and tighter by the economy and corporate greed. Rising energy prices due to declining energy supply will have a growing impact on our lives from here on out. Life in the US is going to become increasingly uncomfortable from now on.

Talk to people about their discomfort, help them to understand how this relates to the world at large, the avarice of our corporations and the treachery of our political system. Minorities such as Blacks, Hispanics and American Indians are already well aware that we live in a police state. Reach out to them. The poor are well aware of how unfair our system is. Reach out to them. Yet be aware that the disaffected are already being preached to by media mouthpieces and by religious fundamentalists. But every day more and more people become aware that something is wrong. Reach out to them.

Drawing Momentum from the Crash

Oil has already peaked. Production began declining in 2006, and is now diminishing at a rate of 7% per year. The latest studies show that natural gas, coal and uranium will soon follow. (Steep decline in oil production brings risk of war and unrest, says new study. The Guardian, October 22, 2007.,,2196435,00.html

What, you mean you hadn't heard?

Overall, energy prices are going to keep going up. And as the price of energy goes up so will everything else. At some point, the economy will crash. Hunger will become a problem all over the world, even in once prosperous nations such as the US.

Global Environmental Outlook 4 has just been released. This is a publication of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) produced by 390 experts using data compiled over the last two decades. They warn that we must act now to safeguard our own survival and the survival of future generations. (Save the planet? It's now or never, warns landmark UN report. AFP, October 25, 2007.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner is quoted as saying, "The systematic destruction of the Earth's natural and nature-based resources has reached a point where the economic viability of economies is being challenged - and where the bill we hand on to our children may prove impossible to pay,"

The report also recognizes that overpopulation is a very real problem, something that many on the left refuse to acknowledge. The report warns that our population is now so large that we have exceeded the carrying capacity of the planet. The amount of resources necessary to sustain our population exceeds what is available.

Life on this planet, and life in the US, is going to become increasingly uncomfortable. More and more, people in the US are going to be caught in a bind. We will not be able to make ends meet, and we will discover that the system is failing us. As time goes on, the public will become increasingly dissatisfied and even angry.

It is up to us to reach out to these people, help them understand, and help them channel their anger and dissatisfaction to constructive ends. We can begin right now by seeking out others who are aware. Attend meeting of activists, particularly peace groups. I have found that people attending events sponsored by Veterans for Peace are particularly receptive to this message. Peace activists in general seem to be more aware than many other activists that they cannot reach their goals through the system. It also seems that global warming activists are more likely to believe that they can work through the system.

Attend meetings, and talk about how the system has become irredeemably corrupt. You will find others who have come to this conclusion. Talk about the necessity of a mass uprising, similar to the uprising in Venezuela following the US-backed coup against President Chavez. If the Venezuelans did it, so can we.

At a recent meeting that I attended, someone came up with an excellent suggestion. He said he would like to see people everywhere go out en masse and sit down on the highways and the expressways, stopping the flow of commerce. This is what we need to do: stop business as usual. We must bring the system grinding to a halt, insisting on a return to sanity, and a move toward sustainability and egalitarianism.

As things get worse, the time will come when people are ready to create such an uprising. For now, we must seek out those around us who already aware of the necessity. And we must do what we can to help wake up everyone we know.

Don't Fool Yourself

The government is already preparing to deal with public disaffection. Why else do you think they are rolling back our liberties and paving the way for martial law? They know all about energy and resource depletion and all the various other approaching crises. They know that life is going to become increasingly hard for many of us, and they know that those suffering these hardships are going to become troublesome. They know that some of us will try to organize an uprising, and they probably know many of us by name.

When the time comes, they think they can deal with us, and even use our efforts to their advantage. For that reason, we must make this uprising very organic in nature. There should be no leaders. There should be only the recognition that business as usual cannot go on and a willingness to do what it takes to bring the madness to a halt.

People need to understand that we are faced with a madness that will make life miserable for us and for generations to come, if it does not severely damage the viability of this entire planet. Yet they also need to know that each of us has the power to stop this madness, simply by ceasing to take part in the system that perpetuates this madness. We are all armed with monkey wrenches, it is time to use them. It is time to take back our power and to realize that we, ourselves, are our own masters. And let us never delegate that power or that responsibility again.

Dale Allen Pfeiffer is a science journalist, a geologist, a novelist, and a noted authority on energy and related geopolitical issues. He is also author of Eating Fossil Fuels, 2003. He may be contacted at:[email protected]



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