By Middle East Rising (MER) contributor, Clive Hambidge
“If it’s a neurotic superpower you’re looking for, then America’s your one”
“In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” All governments encroach, creep into our lives, and smother our minds with ever more legislation that infringes our human rights and civil liberties. We must bind them down with human rights which should be the catalyst at the very core of any nation state and the altruistic actions of its people, for we the people have no “confidence in man”. We have however confidence and indeed owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the souls of Assange and Snowdon, and all those who have, are, and do this very moment take up like a hot coal the cause of freedom from tyranny in the twenty first century. The tyranny of neo slavery and disinformation where human beings are seen as disposable products to be moved and abused in “underground trading”: mere commodities. Their souls are otherwise engaged . But for now, to “underground trade” we turn our collective gaze.
Many still unaware of such realities are beginning to get an idea of the immense scale and complexity for indeed and shamefully “Underground trade in human beings in the twenty first century still exists. Regions heavily involved in the trade now include Eastern Europe, West Africa, South America, and South Asia. Contemporary slavery comes in various forms, including bonded labour, early and forced marriages, forced labour, slavery of decent and human trafficking.”
The figure is as staggering as it is sobering. “Today, 27 Million men, women and children are held; sold and trafficked … this modern slavery … this age old evil persists.” This must be addressed. Volunteerism, the developing culture, is proof that when a person rids themselves of fear, volunteerism becomes a natural expression for all human beings who ask such fundamental questions as how can I help, who can I help and where can I help. Now!
Governments and the business world would persuade us subliminally, or crassly, to buy into an all pervasive pathology of consumerism: acquire what we don’t need, increase the ever rising tsunami of personal debt and the all consuming fear that feeds it, chain us to a subconscious consumerist slavery, that saps energy and the will to help those in developing nations, indeed our own nations. The outcome is a pandemic rise in mental, physical and relationship breakdown where reality is relegated to the back of the mind. Only to rear up to catch us unawares; no more so than in America where “Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 22.1% of Americans aged 18 and older -about 1 in 5 adults- suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 1998 U.S. Census residential population estimate, this figure translates to 44.3 million people. In addition, 4 of the 10 leading causes of disability in the U.S. and other developed countries are mental disorders – major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time.”
So beware the law-makers, and those who unscrupulously, would make of us the gullible, bound with visible and invisible chains by intelligence gathering agencies, so called think-tanks, corporatists, and politicians on the make. Think right-wing and you will find it in America. No country is more skilful than America when it comes to enslaving its citizens to market forces. This of course pertains to all developed and emerging economies where the leadership is found wanting, including my own country of residence England. It is a sad affair. What energy of love would be released if minds and hearts consciously turned to the plight of the exploited? If America would be an educator in values, it must first become literate in morals and ethics. Right-wing, it must find its left -wing for the dove of peace to fly.
In Propaganda and The Public Mind, Chomsky relates a pernicious statement of a group of business leaders which captures the very essence of corruption “we have to impose on people a philosophy of futility”, and ensure that they’re focussed on “the superficial” on “the superficial things of life fashionable consumption.” They have to try to pursue what were called “fanciful wants,” or invented needs. We create the needs and then get them to focus their attention on it. Then they don’t bother us, they’re out of our hair.”
You have then a double whammy. Impose on people a garish consumerism and fill ’em up!! And is not the business and servitude of the media community brilliant at it? Then tell them they are in danger of a terrorist act any day now. So go now, enjoy the things you don’t need and get out of our dammed way!! Because, we America want the world. Hell yeah!! They need us, they want our democracy, they are jealous of our pre-eminence. We don’t think so and neither do billions around the world.
It is a fact that we are influencing each other all the time. May it be that over the long haul and for the benefit of all human kind we become golden influences, burnished with love. At the present time, we are whisked, whipped and tossed, into a state induced nightmare. Automated and corralled into small mental places creating ever more tension. Someone wrote recently “even the grass is depressed”, and as we have pointed out before, the leaders whom we have mandated to address these issues at the ballot box act with all the speed of a sloth on diazepam.
From his salient The New Rulers Of The World, John Pilger writes in matters of war and death that “When American Vice-President Cheney said that the ‘war on terrorism could last for fifty years or more, his words evoked George Orwell’s great prophetic book, Nineteen Eighty Four … We are to live with the threat and illusion of endless war; it seems, in order to justify increased social control and state repression.” This is no longer an illusion it is a fact. Push, shove, cajole, and peacefully remonstrate with your president, your prime minister make it known the depth of your feelings for others. Lay aside your apathy and realise your potential through selfless activism.
We see at the begin of this article the power of Jefferson’s words, a hope for and of a more benevolent power, expressed in law, natural law, and institutional law; as interpreted in The American Constitution “Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.”
The Constitution when understood expresses the American opportunity where the majority could lead creative, fulfilling, simple and responsible lives, if given the chance, and the right education; education being the universal unlocking key to greater understanding and the bedrock of the Constitution. Read it. Learn from it. Implement it. And above all protect it as it protects you. Then as understood, one can challenge a president’s actions and that of his administration. Not least his alacrity, his right use of power, his honesty. Augustine Washington Senior to his son: “George,” said his father, “do you know who has killed my beautiful little cherry tree yonder in the garden? I would not have taken five guineas for it!” This was a hard question to answer, and for a moment George was staggered by it, but quickly recovering himself he cried: “I cannot tell a lie, father, you know I cannot tell a lie! I did cut it with my little hatchet.” The anger died out of his father’s face, and taking the boy tenderly in his arms, he said: “My son, that you should not be afraid to tell the truth “is more to me than a thousand trees! Yes – though they were blossomed with silver and had leaves of the purest gold!” This then must be our maxim, challenging all presidents to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God. For without that they have no authority.
America inviolate, has given a natural form (even when ignored) to that said Constitution where all Americans are invited to share in moral and ethical justification for actions they undertake. If one salutes the flag, then a natural step is to challenge the administration to respect the Constitution. The Constitution is for all people and proffers protection, if adhered too; for an evolving integrated, intergraded, understanding of consciousness indeed conscience, the applied rules of governance and the collective and individual response to that governance. Toward this, the ethical compass of the mind is inevitably, inexorably drawn, when fear is swept away by the broom of intelligent reasoning. It then the mind would strive north and blossom into the south, as integrity personified.
Measured, the Constitution remains radical, in that Americans are judged or judge in the execution of its executive, judicial and legislative light. It is wise in that it is ever new, a florescence, because justice and freedom are always present when forensically advocated, much as an elder brother hovering in a moral ethical dimension looking for signs of maturity sorely lacking in the adolescent sons and daughters of successive American Administrations and their increasing connivance with “unaccountable private power”. Nevertheless, the Constitution, its light remains undimmed drawing to it all those who seek a road map towards justice, equality and freedom.
“The supreme law of the United States of America” looks for the investment in moral and ethical judgements arising from the inclusive idea we are all one. That this does not pertain where American administrations and Presidents act unilaterally is clear. We speak, they speak of “notions of democracy” rather than the real deal, where influence of the people doesn’t end at the ballot but is then ever nascent as actions of the Constitution. The Constitution is not meant to reflect oppressive actions, neither is it meant to “protect the minority of the opulent against the majority who spoke of the “dangers of democracy.” Democracy is dangerous for elites because democracy would inculcate and be welcome to all souls that reflect the movement toward an evolutionary freedom of expression, that expression gilded by the rule of law and its benefactor love.
Slavery is still a blight on the world where trafficking, slavery and worse is rampant in almost every country of the globe including America. History must be visited again and again, as it is shrouding us with unholy visitations again and again, until we learn the lessons of its spirit: right human relations. Here are some facts concerning modern slavery from FreeSlaves: “21-30million people are trapped in slavery around the world today. Slavery generates $32 billion for traffickers each year. 78% of slavery victims are in labour slavery. 22% of slavery victims today are in sex slavery. 55% of slavery victims are women and girls. The US has 60,000 victims in slavery today. The US ranks 134th out of 162 countries for slavery prevalence.”
The past is not over as it elides cyclically with today’s arrogance of power in corporations that seeks to “eliminate democracy.” This is a serious debate in elitist groups, where radical takes on a dark stately cloak. Chomsky makes this clear, rightly, in a interview with John Nichols entitled “Radical democracy”. Turning to Aristotle, Chomsky suggests that we need to “eliminate poverty”. Chomsky talks of the “welfare state” not in the realpolitik of propagandists where slackers are lazy and happy to survive on “handouts” nonsense, but the deep concern for the welfare of the true sovereign wealth of any given country, its beleaguered citizens whom should not only move the executive levers, the social mechanisms of governance, polity, but its very execution.
The very heart of American leadership -if they are ever willing to find it- should be beating in rhythmical time with the hearts of those less fortunate and those more able. The growing demand for social justice and equality rise from convulsions of suffering and paroxysms of pain. Then you would have an American people clear about what it can do for its country. Reminded of the benevolence of Its Constitution and the battles ahead for Democracy and Justice through the auspices of the United Nations, its touch stone; in all lands.
Thomas Jefferson was clear that“[T]he judicial power of the United States shall be vested in courts, the judges of which shall hold their offices during good behaviour.” This is no time, and, there can never be a time for a dependent judiciary for its independence must prevail at all times to hold the excutive to account. Chomsky warns us that what’s developing is a kind of “Corporate Mercantilism with huge centralized, more or less command economies, integrated with one another, closely tied to state power –relying very heavily on state power, in fact … and enforcing social policies and a conception of social and political order that happen to be highly beneficial to the interests of the top sectors of the population, the richest sectors.”: the Physiocrats of the twenty-first century. None more so than in the agrarian sector. In Historical Capitalism, Immanuel Wallerstein writes “The ‘plantations’ of the capitalist world-economy–whether based on slavery, imprisonment, share-cropping (forced or contractual), or wage-labour– can scarcely be said to have provided more leeway for ‘individuality’… Historical capitalism developed an ideological framework of oppressive humiliation which had never previously existed, and today we call sexism and racism.” Further emphasising this crucial point, Wallerstein states “Let me be clear. Both the dominant position of men over women and generalised xenophobia were widespread, virtually universal, in prior historical systems …. But sexism was more than the dominant position and, racism more than generalised xenophobia.” America has put herself forward unasked as the protector of democracy, at home and abroad but, She America has been built on racism and sexism having come close to exterminating the original indigenous inhabitants, subduing them and relegating them to reservations asserting a predominantly white supremacist world view. It was then but a simple ideological step toward the slave trade, remorselessly shipping sensitive intelligent human beings of all ages from Africa. Thus, constituting one of the most shameful episodes in America’s short but on-going violent history.
How then does the American Constitution sit as mere words against the backdrop of a world in turmoil and where reasoning in fine words denies action as right practice at home and abroad? Herein lies American failure, but equally, when understood by the American people, the solution. That the true needs of the world must be commensurate to decisive and compassionate actions by American and her allies. A new Marshall Plan is sorely needed in this regard and context. It is needed now. America grow up and do the right thing. Take those parts of the Constitution which glow with the light of justice. Don’t dismember though other parts of the constitution. But remember it is your vehicle to ride in and change the world. It was for all, it remains a visceral document for all.
Thus, as clearly stated by the United States Supreme Court in Ex parte Milligan “The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times and under all circumstances. No doctrine involving more pernicious consequences was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government. Such a doctrine leads directly to anarchy or despotism, but the theory of necessity on which it is based is false for the government, within the Constitution, has all the powers granted to it which are necessary to preserve existence, as has been happily proved by the result of the great effort to throw off its just authority.”
There you go. “That central idea came from a certainty that we were created by “nature’s God” and that God—not government—had endowed each of us with rights, first among which were life, liberty, and property, the combination of which allowed the pursuit—but no guarantee—of happiness. (It is precisely because the power of this argument was understood that those who advocated slavery denied the full humanity of slaves.)”
Power in reasoning seeks and finds in the rhetoric of power close alignment with these terse words from Niccolo Machiavelli from his 16th century Treatise The Prince “it is safer to be feared than loved” [my emphasis]. Aristotle, though, gently bends our ears another way toward a reasoning power for man’s good, “Nature, as we say, does nothing without some purpose; and for the purpose of making man a political animal she has endowed him alone among animals with the power of reasoned speech.” History surely shows that the ideas of Machiavelli where cruelty and barbarity leaving scars in the hearts and minds. Power such as this damages the mind, narrows the heart, mines deep into our insecurities and in the end leaves countries in corruption, oft destitution for its struggling majority and always, always deep distrust as where to place the ideas of authority with no philosopher king at the helm, a moral prince or an ethical nobility. The next step usually is wholesale destruction as we collectively frack subversively under the value of honesty of intellect. Nations have been decimated by American policy in tow with her allies who would maintain their greed. It is the tsunami of warring factions coming to a deteriorating ‘hot spot’ near you that will bring countries to the point of anarchy as they implode throughout the Middle East, Russia and elsewhere. They, the elites are not safe now, they never were, and neither are we, even though we the moderates, for the most part, would save this glorious globe, by exploring the natural part of power, its virtues and the wisdom of the virtuous. If we do reason so then, let our speech be reasonable, our actions kind, our institutions compassionate, our instrument for any action be love. As so reminder by Dryden “For lawful power is still superior found, when long driven back at length it stands the ground.”
In 1787 the Constitutional Convention James Madison a so called libertarian and “main framer” for the Constitution, could not, according to Chomsky “allow functioning democracy”. Chomsky sets out Aristotle’s ideas that “democracy had to be a welfare state; it had to use public revenues to ensure lasting prosperity for all to ensure equality.” Madison however, “recognized that, if the overwhelming majority is poor and if the democracy is a functioning one, then they’ll use their electoral power to serve their own interest rather than the common good of all … Aristotle’s solution was, “ok eliminate poverty” Madison faced the same problem but his solution was opposite “eliminate democracy.” I mention Madison for this is our battle either we learn that we are, as individuals, organizations, to work untiringly to better conditions for millions of people thus their welfare, then lobbying government to release and properly monitor funds to end this abhorrence is of paramount importance. We see this as the role of America, and her allies. Without government support as the statistics bear out; this scourge of the innocent will not be ended.
I rather agree with Dacher Keltner’s article titled ‘The Greater Good The Science of a Meaning Life’ from which I have happily gleaned much good sense: “True power requires modesty and empathy, not force and coercion … a new science of power has revealed that power is wielded most effectively with the [real] needs and interests of others. Years of research suggest that empathy and social intelligence are vastly more important to acquiring and exercising power than are force, deception.” The Preamble to the American Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, Insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the Common Defence, promote the General Welfare, and Secure the Blessings of Liberty, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United State of America.” The crux is simple Eliminate Poverty, Eliminate Poverty, Eliminate Poverty. Using the American Constitution as a catalyst for education, that sharing is wealth gained, moral wealth, ethical and spiritual wealth, this is the way to overcome “Historical capitalism,” which has been the master of oppression; in this understanding there is no place, time to rest for those who campaign for change in our collective conscience.
So what does, the former Harvard Law Professor, now President think of the Constitution? “Obama in [an] interview disparages the Constitution as merely “a charter of negative liberties. It says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the federal government can’t do to you but doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.” The citizens of America must challenge this view of the elites with the Constitution as an inclusive American fact. That the Constitution reigns back the wild horse of republicans and democrats bought by market forces and vested interests. And if push comes to shove, as it will, the Constitution will back up people power if, and only if the American people wake up to the realities of this crucial time in our history. If you think Obama is going to set you free think again, and, in that mood, listen again to Martin Luther King ‘s speech “I had a dream”, may it be it could be yours too ….
Also we and others seared by the conflagration of wilful violence as–practiced by the so-called super powers to keep whole nations in line with acrid military/corporate and State sanctioned declaration of “war is peace” we will make ending poverty a peaceful movement through peaceful awareness, our right war. Americans Your Constitution. Your very Constitution which blesses others in other lands: us the Being and Becoming. Do you not declare that your president is the “leader of the free world”, walking with our God, others’ God, our brothers and sisters, from that same God recognising none are more equal than others therefore duty of care a natural order in a recognised equality. With our information and practicable action we can turn to the NGO Free the Slaves and thousands of others; where there is a “focussed strategy in the context of efforts around the world to enable people to meet their basic needs.” There are according to FTS, “thousands of NGO’s working toward a better future … the worlds civil society is on the rise.” We are that society and growing fellowship in recognition that all forms of slavery must be exposed and overcome. This “age old evil” of slavery banished to its inimical space.
Clive Hambidge is an abstract artist by training with artworks included in Getty images. He is Human Development Director at Facilitate Global, a London based human rights NGO. Clive is a columnist at Media With Conscience. And staff member at Global News Centre. Clive’s articles have been published extensively worldwide to include Sabbah Report, Dandelion Salad, Counterpunch, IRIN, Al Haram, Fatah, Palestine Chronicle, Friends of Lebanon.
Clive acts in an emissary capacity to His Grace the Right Reverend Bishop Riah Abu El Assal (former Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem and the Middle East).
Clive can be contacted at [email protected].