We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Monday, January 10, 2011
Wikileaks: Bradley Manning and the Rule of Law
I think that there is a pronounced element of naiveté running through this article. But it is very common among progressives and liberals. I am referring to the "rule of law" that is often invoked to criticize the actions of the capitalist Empire.
Once again, I insist that progressives grow up. The "rule of law" is used by the ruling classes to obscure the fact that they, the ruling capitalist classes, rule, and rule according to their interests, that is, to secure total domination of working people and accumulation of wealth.
Think of the "rule of law" as an adult fairy tale designed to have working people believe that life under their regimes is fair and just. As is often cynically expressed, the "rule of law" is more like a "golden rule of law"--those that have the gold rule.
Look how they are treating Bradley Manning. The authorities in this case don't even bother with legal procedures. He hasn't been charged with any crime and yet they have been holding him in dehumanizing solitary confinement for six months.
There are lots of adult fairy tales used to hide the realities of class rule such as capitalist governments are democracies, the elections they stage are legitimate means of securing democracy, we have freedom of the press, the virtuous "founding fathers" designed the perfect political system, all citizens enjoy equal political rights, etc.
Laws are a reality, but a reality only for working people, not for those that rule. They make the rules, but those rules don't apply to them, only to us. How many banksters have you seen arrested for the crimes they committed while creating the current economic collapse? Only one--Bernie Madoff! He made the mistake of stealing from fellow members of the ruling class.
How many war criminals have stood trial for their crimes? Only leaders of defeated nations or leaders of small countries are tried for war crimes. The ruling capitalist classes have a code of conduct that is very similar to the Mafia--you don't snitch on, or steal from, or harm each other unless members break these rules or are very minor players.
The ruling class has established the institutions of law to present a thin veneer of legitimacy to their rule while enforcing their will upon us. To sum up, they make the rules of law. They enforce them only on us. And finally, they fool us into thinking that the system is legitimate so that we obey them without question.