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
Friday, April 15, 2011
Libya: blood bonanza for contractors [3:45m video and script]
I think that there is more substance in this report than first meets the eye. As corporations become ever more powerful in today's world, they are frequently using private armies to protect their interests. The resulting human rights abuses are dreadful. But, are private armies really that much different from government armies?
Private armies are distinguished from government armies only in the degree to which they can function without compliance to any rules or regulations. Frequently, secret government agencies like the CIA use private armies to pursue their "interests", which ultimately means corporate interests. And, as we've seen in so many of the wars engaged in by official armies, there have been numerous human rights abuses. (If you have been asleep for the past 40 years, see this, this, this, and this.)
A prime example of this is the US military, the Goliath of national military forces. Many American youth join the military only because they see no alternative in order to obtain a decent lifestyle (health care, higher education, housing, pensions, etc). Nominally, the US military is government owned and controlled, but what does that really mean when there is so much evidence to show that the US government itself is largely controlled by corporations.
Since WWII the Executive branch of US government has not bothered with the Constitutional requirement to officially declare its wars. Due to the legally recognized rule of precedence, the Executive branch can now direct military action anywhere in the world to secure or enhance "US interests"--the interests of the financial-industrial-military complex.
Corporations have become so concentrated and so large that they now exercise far more power than most national governments in the world. All levels of government whether municipal, State or provincial, and even national governments compete to have corporate enterprises locate to their areas. In the US, military related industries have been deliberately scattered throughout every State in the Union in order to create political constituencies (in support of jobs and local economies). Thus, governments are forced to offer all kinds of incentives such as tax reductions, infrastructure, low or subsidized wages, training of workers, exemptions from environmental laws, etc, in order to secure employment for their citizens.
Whether private or governmental, armies are now being used to secure the interests of wealth producing corporations for the one-percent of the world who claim ownership rights to them under the system of capitalism.