The criminalization of activism seems to have become a trend this month. Governments all around the world are increasingly criminalizing democracy, prohibiting the pursuit of Justice, and preventing any real chance of Corporate and Governmental Responsibility.
This trend of course, comes as a heavy-handed bureaucratic response to activists and indigenous peoples increased efforts to protect the land, to demand accountability and Justice, and to insist that governments and corporations stop infringing on our lives and preventing us from having our needs met—so they can get what they want. Needs are after all, more important than wants.
Well, Governments and Corporations seem to subscribe to a pretty obscure doctrine, which leads them to act as if it’s the other way around: That wants are more important than needs, and that the only people who deserve to have their needs met, are those who can first satisfy their wants.
That’s garbage-thinking of course, but no less true. And to top it off, they know what they’re doing is wrong, and they know we know. They also know that nowadays we’re more inclined to defend ourselves and take action to prevent their wrong-doing. What choice do we have? They literally expect us to sit down, shut up and die—No one with a heart can accept that. And so this trend has appeared, an effort to silence and petrify us.
This trend is not something to be taken lightly. I mean, if was just a few situations here and there, then it would be like any other day, a matter of policy and practice.
But now this policy is being made into law, an international one at that.. One that’s jumped ahead this month in particular, with America towing the line as if begging for the return of the good old days.
First of all, there was a recent presidential Executive Order issued in on July 17th, which has effectively made opposing the Iraq War in America a Criminal offense. To top it off, Bush also took the approach of Singapore and Indonesia, by giving himself the authority to confiscate the assets of any opposition.
Next we turn to the Government of the Philippines, who recently passed it’s own anti-terrorist doctrine called the “Human Security Act of 2007,” A Draconian Measure of Insecurity and Terror which was developed largely in response to the growing popular resistance to the Arroyo government. This applied policy has also paved the way for the prohibition of dissent.
And now to Bangladesh, where just last week a Jumma leader was sentenced to 17 years in jail for protesting against the eviction of his people from their land to make way for an army training centre. As you may recall, the exact same situation occurred El Salvador at the beginning of this month— for opposing the privatization of water.
Late last week the government of Sikkim, India itself began taking steps to make non-violent protesters into criminals, but fortunately they decided not to act on it (The hunger strike continues)
Then we have the recent arrest of activists in London who are opposed to the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapon system. Two of those arrested were in fact survivors of the Atomic-bomb attack on Nagasaki, August 9, 1945.
Other situations this month occurred in Canada, Brazil, Honduras, Oaxaca, Botswana, and Iran.
I first heard the phrase “It’s not Global Party Time Anymore” from Noam Chomsky, in a speech he gave at the World Social Forum in 2003. One thing Noam has frequently discussed since then, was how close we came to “the end” during the Cold War (aka WW3). He points out that a Nuclear war was literally no further away than one man pushing one button. Fortunately that man decided not to do it. But the fact remains, that’s all it would have took. One button.
Well there was another significant trend this month, one that screams of button-pushing. It’s seems appropriate to mention here since it’s directly related to the above efforts…
Columbia for starters, offered to host US military operations once the lease for the current base in Ecuador expires, in two years.
Heading to Africa, a U.S. military command base has been recently proposed for Liberia, as part “a new U.S. Africa Command infrastructure, code name AFRICOM, to “coordinate all U.S. military and security interests throughout the continent.””
Libya and France have also recently signed a number of “cooperation agreements,” which includes military cooperation…
Australia is also significantly expanding is military program, with Military alliances being made with Japan, India and Indonesia in concert with the US against China.
And finally, the US has developed plans to build new military bases in eastern Europe, which caused Russia, in turn, to announce that it will now be expanding it’s own military.
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