"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Jun 5, 2010

All Borders Serve the Purpose of War

 We have arrived:

"Predator B aerial drones, which have proved successful fighting insurgents in Afghanistan, were deployed this week along the border between Texas and Mexico. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection began flying unmanned surveillance missions along the Mexican border on Tuesday, according to congressional sources briefed on the matter. 

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), who was instrumental to pushing the issue in the Senate, applauded the news Friday. 

'The beginning of UAV flights over the west-Texas portion of our border with Mexico marks an important advancement for border security in our state,' she said in reference to the unmanned aerial vehicles, which have been used by the military to survey the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

'We are working hard to make round-the-clock aerial surveillance the standard for all 2,000 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, and I hope this development is the first of many steps to bring our border detection and security efforts into the 21st century,' Hutchison added. 

Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from south Texas, has also praised the deployment of drones."


You read it here: cheer leaders in both corporate parties. Because this drive to militarize the commons, starting first at the borders and in the "drug war," plays no mean part for both broad factions of the corporatist hegemony.

At the risk of reinforcing this point too much, again:

"The ruling class - represented in this age by corporations, military hierarchies, academia and managerial service institutions - has already cast its lot against the Commons as shared public space. It has begun the revaluation of the state, and therefore of social relations, towards the preservation of economic and social advantage in the face of oil contraction, resource scarcity and rising population. Towards this end, deconstructive crisis hastens the project of redefining the Commons as a policed military space, and away from three centuries of construction and agitation for the Commons as commonweal and social amelioration."

Let's elucidate the reason any state* or proto-state (see, for example, multinational corporations operating in the "third world") has borders. Borders delineate populations. Borders, when enforced, demonstrate (a) who controls the territory within them, and (b) whom they control.

Borders define captivity.

As such, all borders** serve the purpose of warfare, since a border marks the boundary between competing powers who have captive population groups upon which they can draw for labor, arms and fealty.

The division of persons into territorial, ethnic, religious and branded factions, by those who rule, allows the same ruling classes to isolate population groups by manipulable categories, categories which the state and other powers reinforce through compulsory education, religious indoctrination, language barriers, advertising and punishment.

Borders work, in short, because people believe them. The violence employed against border and boundary violators, the blood spilled or the lives imprisoned, serves a very specific purpose: the inculcation of identity through fear. Identity which, when accepted, marks the relevant parties as captives of the ruling power. As discussed earlier, here:

"[This] blood soaks the hands of every single beneficiary of the American imperial project. Everyone who votes. Everyone who pays taxes. Every single person who puts gasoline in her tank, and the credit card through the card scanner.

That state - that Death State, to quote Art Silber - depends upon the passive acquiescence and compliance of those who accept its protection in exchange for obedience, as much as it depends on its active servants, its gunslingers and toy soldiers, its thug cops and workaday jailers."

In that vein of thought, take a moment to ponder the excellent insight of John Caruso:

"...No doubt they [Gaza Freedom Flotilla] knew (as we did) that Israel's desire to avoid an international incident would give them a measure of protection—but they also knew the Israelis had rammed and nearly sunk a boat in a previous flotilla, and that much worse could follow.  They went anyway because they cared enough about the inhuman levels of suffering Israel has inflicted on the people of Gaza to risk their lives to challenge the blockade and try to bring the world's attention back to the Occupied Territories.

And they were spectacularly successful at that and much else besides--more so than any other action I can remember.  The flotilla story dominated the news all week, with over 20,000 articles registered on Google News (one of the highest totals I've ever seen).  The flotilla participants managed to turn Israel into more of a pariah state than it already was, doing even more damage to Israel's image than the 2009 attack on the Gaza strip (which is saying a lot).  They drove a massive wedge between Israel and Turkey, which may well lead to a permanent fracture in the unholy US/Israeli/Turkish trinity...

...They put the Gaza blockade squarely in the spotlight and raised tremendous opposition to it, to the point where even US politicians are calling for changes (not for the right reasons, of course, but the very fact that they feel compelled to say it is a major victory).  They dealt a serious blow to Israeli propaganda, which reached new depths of ludicrousness in its attempt to sell the notion that people sailing in international waters have no right to defend themselves against heavily armed attackers--an argument that impressed Israel's army of liars, its conservative loon fellow-travelers, and nobody else.  And finally, they planted a seed of discord that may eventually drive a stake in the heart of NATO."

While I take a more cautious approach to the durability of hegemonic hierarchies (states and corporations, like kingdoms and empires, have a marked capacity to last), we cannot ignore John's fundamental insight:

Those people who violate borders, who challenge their enforcers, who break blockades and risk the punitive force of the state, challenge the very rationale of power and warfare. Even in death and defeat, we must see the defiance of borders as the defiance and rejection of both war and captivity.

To break a border is to liberate not only oneself, but those persons bound by it.

Which explains precisely why Imperial Barack, with support from Democrats and Republicans, has brought the weapons of the Terror Wars back to the homeland. 

The War has come home. And we, seeing each other as we pass through our days, see those captives that war intends to keep.

We are the population they need to maintain their power.The police actions, punishment regimes and wars they employ to enforce it should disabuse of us of any notions to the contrary.

Until they don't need us anymore.

In the spirit of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, the MV Rachel Corrie and every person hopping the Rio Grande or coming down from Canada - break them. Break them all.

h/t Suburban Anarchist

* - The "state," a fiction, serves as shorthand for "people organizing themselves in hierarchies, with armed staffers, with control over a large enough resource base to allow for the continued application of population controlling violence.

** - Borders overlap. Mafia organizations have territorial and ethnic rivalries contained within national borders, as well as operating in spaces controlled by competing corporations and other hierarchies.


Ethan said...

Jesus. The deployment of the National Guard along the border was bad, but I thought we were a ways away from the predator drone proposal becoming reality. Things are worse than I thought.

Jack Crow said...

They hold us by force - and that includes the colonization of our minds with national identity - or they lose their wealth and power, methinks.

Richard said...

Fucking great post.

I also liked how Caruso names Israel's "liars" and "conservative loon fellow-travelers". The latter trouble me more than they should, or some do. There is a blog I read occasionally, the writer is clearly smart, clearly moral, and yet very clearly wrong on most any political issue. And completely off in space about Israel. I waste too much time wondering a) how someone gets such wrong coordinates of belief and b) what it would take for such a person to see what Israel is.

Jack Crow said...

Thx, Richard.

On Israel - it's hard to break down to one single factor, I think.

A former co-worker of mine makes a yearly pilgrimage to Auschwitz (lost both grandparents, IIRC), and takes her heritage very seriously.

But could give a rat's ass about Israel and doesn't attend Temple because "the fees are too high."

One of our employees didn't have any Jewish forebears, was a red headed daughter of Eire, read the Bible literally (as a believing Protestant Christian convert from Catholicism) and would get visibly upset (as in, shaking) when we good and bad Jews had no positive opinions about Israel, but would plan going out for drinks after work.

There were seven of us of some sort of Jewish extraction, and the only who one cared about Israel in any way was on her way into the Coast Guard, had a fundamentalist Christian mother (convert), and was from the South.

I really think that religion plays a major part. If the theology in question places a high value on Israel (for prophetic reasons, or in the case of practicing Jews, as a homeland)than Israel means more.

But I doubt it's just that.