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, July 1, 2013
Philip Agee, the CIA agent who spied on Ecuador and then told all
In a surprisingly good machine translation of the Cuban article, the author reports on the life of an early CIA whistle-blower who was hounded all of his life by his government because he could no longer tolerate being a part of their Mafia-style activities.
Over the years I read many of his articles in obscure left publications, but I never knew about his many difficulties in eluding his vindictive CIA pursuers. Philip Agee, a courageous man of conscience, is another American hero.
I am puzzled and rather resentful that I learn only now of the details about his difficulties and the ongoing threats he faced from his government--and only from a Cuban source. Thankfully, this is not the case with Snowden and his contemporaries as this piece entitled "Edward Snowden’s Long Flight" (the article follows the introduction by Tom Engelhardt) written by a relatively minor whistleblower illustrates. The author, Peter Van Buren, gives us a poignant description of what Snowden must be experiencing based on his own experience.
On the other hand, Buren's piece also illustrates the general naïve level of the political awareness of Americans. There is no acknowledgement of class rule that really functions behind the vacant facade of the Constitution and the pretense of the rule of law. The author only points his finger at the Obama administration when it is clear in the article that this has been the pattern over many administrations. Operatives of the ruling class have long since tightened their grip over the executive branch as well as all other branches of government. Obama is little more than the public relations officer for the Empire. (For an illustration of a contrasting political consciousness, read the above post.)
When push comes to shove, class interests always rule. It is only on minor issues that the rule of law has some influence. This is always the case with any class-structured society: a ruling class always needs some ideological supports (constitutions, rule of law, divine sanction, an elaborate mythology, etc) to justify and to disguise their naked class interests.