Friday, February 6, 2009

A Different Angle

tooker government bureau2 1956.jpg

George Tooker

1 Republic: Founding (Constitution)
2 Republic: Civil War
1st Empire (After Reconstruction)

3 Republic: Rise & Fall of Labor (Roosevelt-Truman)
4 Republic: National Security State (NSC, CIA, Cold War)
2nd Empire (George H.W. Bush...

This is not an original thought. In fact I've swiped the idea from IOZ, quoted below. I've merely elaborated and named the Republics. It gives one (or me, at least) a whole new perspective on the broad outline of American evolution. I'm not saying it couldn't be modified or reworked a half dozen different ways. But that the French are really onto something, thinking of their governmental history in terms of separate republics. It lifts one out of the realm of parties, of quadrennial changes in management, and focuses, instead, on the current structure of power and it's goals.

The French conveniently subdivide their post-Revolutionary history into numbered Republics. Makes reference easier and all. America might do the same, with our First Republic lasting from the promulgation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights to the Civil War, the Second lasting through the brief era of Reconstruction, the Third lasting through the period of expansion and Empire through the First World War, the Fourth beginning under Roosevelt and lasting through the early years of the Truman Administration, the Fifth beginning at the creation of the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the apparati of the Cold War, and the Sixth and current starting with the fall of the USSR, the Gulf War, and the stewardship of George H.W. Bush. IOZ Numerology

The question remains: whether this is the Dawn of the Republic V or a continuation of  Empire II. So far, the signs are not terribly hopeful. To quote from Margaret Kimberley, writing in Dissident Voice:

The usually peaceful people of Iceland threw out their government after international banksters destroyed their economy. The French, never shy about protesting, took to the streets to show their government that they wouldn’t be silent as unemployment rises and wages fall. The rest of the world may make demands on their political leadership, but Americans are stuck in a morass of apathy and ignorance brought about by corporate media disinformation....
Citizens ought to demand drastic cuts in military spending for the nation that spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined. Instead they are foolishly impressed when Obama puts on a show and pretends to be concerned about corporate jets and billion dollar bonuses on Wall Street...
Easily fooled Americans were glued to the television watching the Obama inauguration while simultaneous(ly) ignoring their own worsening financial situation. Who can bother to look at the fine print on multi-billion dollar deals when HISTORY is being made? Now the same zombified population ignores presidential inaction on bankruptcy “cramdown” legislation that could save their homes, explicit threats to Social Security, and backtracking on employee free choice for labor unions.
In their delusion and despair, the only reaction left to non-class conscious Americans is to turn on themselves. Murders and suicides are too often the reaction to financial disaster instead of righteous indignation directed towards a failed political and economic system. Americans are losing their minds when they might alleviate their depression by taking to the streets or at the very least giving their elected leaders a piece of their minds.
Americans never had the tools to fully understand the system that is failing them so terribly. Now they are enthralled by a man who explicitly instructs them not to confront the people and institutions that have brought them to the brink.

What's most interesting in the Republic Model is the patterns that emerge. First an increase in the military, for whatever reasons: Civil War, the Cold War, followed by a flourishing of imperialistic aspirations. Or, to put it another way, the population is pummeled into submission by fear and propaganda, so that the autocrats can grab the reins of power. What's less evident is how that power, once grabbed, is ever returned to the Demos. In this, America is not an exemplar. It occurs to me, also, that in the spaces after the empires, one might have inserted the marker, "...Financial Ruin..." and added yet another level of interpretation.

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