This diary is a follow-up of my position in a comment and previous diaries.
Somehow, it comes close to a tribute to our very own AG. Under the first link, there are another number of essays worth reading.
Activists and dissidents should understand that evil forces and tyrannical governments have evolved. Just as human knowledge and science expand, so do the strategies and instruments used by rulers, elites and plutocrats. By learning from history and using new technology they have smarter tools of tyranny. The best ones prevent uprisings, revolutions and political reforms. Rather than violently destroy rebellious movements, they let them survive as marginalized and ineffective efforts that divert and sap the energy of nonconformist and rebellious thinkers. Real revolution remains an energy-draining dream, as evil forces thrive.
Most corrupt and legally sanctioned forms of tyranny hide in plain sight as democracies with free elections. The toughest lesson is that ALL elections are distractions. Nothing conceals tyranny better than elections. Few Americans accept that their government has become a two-party plutocracy run by a rich and powerful ruling class. The steady erosion of the rule of law is masked by everyday consumer freedoms. Because people want to be happy and hopeful, we have an epidemic of denial, especially in the present presidential campaign. But to believe that any change-selling politician or shift in party control will overturn the ruling class is the epitome of self-delusion and false hope. In the end, such wishful thinking perpetuates plutocracy. Proof is that plutocracy has flourished despite repeated change agents, promises of reform and partisan shifts.
The tools of real rebellion are weak. Activists and dissidents look back and see successful rebellions and revolutions and think that when today´s victims of tyranny experience enough pain and see enough political stink they too will revolt. This is wrong. They think that the Internet spreads information and inspiration to the masses, motivating them to revolt. This is wrong. They await catastrophic economic or environmental collapse to spur rebellion. This too is wrong.
Why are these beliefs wrong? Power elites have an arsenal of weapons to control and manipulate social, political and economic systems globally: corruption of public officials that make elections a sham; corporate mainstream media that turn news into propaganda; manipulation of financial markets that create fear for the public and profits for the privileged; false free trade globalization that destroys the middle class; rising economic inequality that keep the masses time-poor and financially insecure; intense marketing of pharmaceuticals that keep people passive; and addictive consumerism, entertainment and gambling that keep people distracted and pacified.
Another essay below the fold …
Communism’s defeat does not automatically guarantee the supremacy of liberal democracy, writes Daniel Daianu, professor of economics and former finance minister of Romania. Rather, different varieties of capitalism are competing in the global marketplace, including the Balkans.
Earlier this month, Serbian President Boris Tadic narrowly won re-election, emerging the victor after a hard-fought battle with a radical nationalist challenger, Tomislav Nikolic. The race not only reflected the deep political divide within Serbia, but also provided another example of the competition among international powers for influence over the Balkan country.
Similar contests for influence may be expected in the region in the years ahead. By virtue of its geographic location, the Balkan peninsula inhabits a geopolitical divide between East and West. That divide is no longer underpinned by a clash between different economic systems — that is, capitalism versus communism. Rather, in the emerging era it is increasingly a contest among different models of capitalism, not all of which imply political democracy.
More recently, the scope of discussion has broadened further to take into account the rise of China and India. Their economies are highly vital, as measured by growth rates, export expansion, size of forex reserves, and the absorption — as well as, increasingly, the generation of modern technologies.
Resources have also fueled Russia’s comeback on the international scene. While Western economies reel from higher energy prices, the Russian giants Lukoil and Gazprom have been expanding their operations in Europe. In January, Gazprom secured a deal to buy a majority stake in Serbia’s gas and oil monopoly, NIS. The terms include giving Serbia a role in gas shipments to Western Europe.
Significant trends have also been seen in the financial sector. Following the subprime crisis that threw banking into turmoil on both sides of the Atlantic, for instance, top-notch financial groups such as Citigroup and Morgan Stanley looked to Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) as a vehicle for offsetting huge losses. More than a few SWFs belong to countries which have been ideological adversaries of the West during the past century. China and Russia, whose foreign exchange reserves as of late 2007 exceeded $1,400 billion and $400 billion respectively, have both set up SWFs with large endowments.
As worldwide competitive hierarchies are modified, the West faces challenges to its ability to set the rules of the game in the global marketplace. The pressures of globalization have not created a “flat world economy”, but rather a redistribution of world economic power. In addition, zero sum games are becoming common, especially during periods of rapid and frantic change, as adjustment costs vary enormously among countries.