America’s legitimation deficit

It's morning in America

Once again Chris Hedges addresses a theme to which he often returns:

The ability of the corporate state to pacify the country by extending credit and providing cheap manufactured goods to the masses is gone. The pernicious idea that democracy lies in the choice between competing brands and the freedom to accumulate vast sums of personal wealth at the expense of others has collapsed. The conflation of freedom with the free market has been exposed as a sham. The travails of the poor are rapidly becoming the travails of the middle class, especially as unemployment insurance runs out and people get a taste of Bill Clinton's draconian welfare reform. And class warfare, once buried under the happy illusion that we were all going to enter an age of prosperity with unfettered capitalism, is returning with a vengeance.
While it is not at all certain that America's newly déclassé citizens will act in their interests with respect to the economic and political crisis of the moment, the situation now emerging surely promises to provide novel experiences for many Americans and will trouble the country as a whole for an indefinite length of time. We are Americans — poor, starving, homeless.
The uncertainty about a popular response to America's faltering economy reflects the fact that injustice on the ground only generates a motive for but does not directly cause substantively rational political action. Injustice may instead prompt the emergence of a reactionary political movement looking for scapegoats to torment, groups that can include immigrants (legal and illegal), the homeless, the jobless, the criminal, the insane and the African-American. The Sarah Palin followers who made themselves conspicuous during the summer of 2008 were a forewarning of such a reactionary movement in the United States. Their ranks could grow as the crisis intensifies. They can also swell the ranks of those staffing America's security-surveillance state, along with its vast prison system, its hidden gulags and its desiccated legal system. This police state has long waited for its moment to shine. Indeed it began to prepare for this moment since Nixon announced his barbaric War on Drugs.

No comments: