September 3, 2012
Have you read any good news lately?
In a recent article, ‘The Global 1%: Exposing the Transnational Ruling Class’, the authors identify the global power elite (that is, the mainly white men setting the agenda at the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group and other elite organizations) and explain the ways in which this elite acts to maximise their own private gains at the expense of the 99%. Moreover, they demonstrate how the US/NATO military-industrial-media empire operates in service of this transnational corporate elite.
Another report, ‘The Price of Offshore Revisited’ explains how the global elite has $32 trillion (one-sixth of the world’s wealth) hidden in offshore tax havens while one billion humans live on the edge of starvation and, even in many industrialised countries, basic social services like provision of clean water, healthcare and education are chronically underfunded.
After all, the production of weapons is highly profitable (especially if they are exploded), the capture of oil resources is highly profitable (if ownership is passed to transnational corporations) and even rebuilding programs (particularly of high-tech infrastructure) in countries devastated by war is profitable.
A recent article on the ongoing climate catastrophe, ‘Arctic Sea-Ice Melt Record Just Not Being Broken, It’s Being Smashed’, provides further evidence of the disintegrating Arctic ice cap which, unless halted, will have catastrophic consequences for human civilisation given that a destroyed ice cap will accelerate the melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the collapse of the Gulf Stream.
And two other articles describing developments in the United States, ‘Three myths about the detention bill’, and ‘Homeland Security Prepares for Civil War’, provide illustrative descriptions of how the global elite is responding to our collective efforts to stem their violence, both direct and structural: by inflicting greater violence on us through such mechanisms as indefinite detention without trial or killing us outright with ‘hollow point’ (body exploding) bullets.
We are under enormous threat and the time to deal with it effectively is shortening rapidly.
So, my central questions are these: Why do individuals within the global elite create and control structures of violence, and then defend them with military and police violence, so that they can systematically kill or exploit vast numbers of their fellow human beings? In short, why don’t they care? And what can we do about it?
Most individuals within the global elite have the psychological profile of archetype perpetrators of violence: I have explained this at length in ‘Why Violence?’. In essence, these individuals have suffered an extraordinary level of terror and violence during childhood leaving them particularly badly emotionally damaged. Specifically, for example, two central psychological characteristics of these individuals are that they are terrified and self-hating but, because they unconsciously suppress their awareness of this terror and self-hatred (because it is too painful to feel), they project it as fear of and hatred for ‘legitimised’ victim groups such as members of other races and/or religious faiths; working people; indigenous peoples; women; people
labelled as ‘terrorists’; ‘poor’ people in Africa, Asia and Central/South America; and children. These global elite individuals never developed a conscience; they also lack the capacity to love and to feel compassion, empathy and sympathy. This is why they do not care.
Many individuals who act as agents, wittingly or unwittingly, for the global elite are often seeking a legitimised way to inflict their own violence. This is easy to do, for example, by working within other structures of power controlled by the global elite. This includes national political systems, the military and the police, legal and prison systems. For example, political leaders owe their allegiance not to voters, but to those corporate elites who fund their election campaigns. And judges enforce laws – conceived by elites and put into effect by their political lackeys – to strengthen elite control, to stifle and punish dissent, as well as to control (by imprisoning if necessary) those excluded from economic opportunity. Progressive thinkers, such as Karl Marx, Leo Tolstoy and Mohandas K. Gandhi, have exposed elite violence perpetrated through the legal system. And anyone who has ever asked why there are no laws against poverty and homelessness intuitively understands this. The rule of law is the rule of elite violence.
So how do we strategically resist the efforts of those individuals who perpetrate violence against us whether directly or structurally? How do we replace elite-controlled structures with ones that meet the needs of all human beings as well as the planet and other species? And how do we do all of this within a timeframe in which the Earth’s ecological limits are not fundamentally breached?
To do all of these things, we need an integrated strategy that tackles the fundamental cause of violence while tackling all of its symptoms simultaneously. This strategy has four primary elements. First, and most importantly, we must review our child-raising practices to exclude all types of violence (including those I have labelled ‘invisible’ and ‘utterly invisible’) so that we no longer create perpetrators of violence in the first place (see ‘Why Violence?’).
Let us create people of conscience, people of courage, people who care.
Second, we must noncooperate, in a strategic manner, with elite-controlled structures and processes while simultaneously creating alternative, local structures that allow us to self-reliantly meet our own needs in an ecologically sustainable manner. Anita McKone and I have mapped out a fifteen-year strategy for doing this in ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save
Life on Earth’.
Third, we must keep planning and implementing sophisticated campaigns of nonviolent resistance to prevent wars, end economic exploitation and save threatened ecosystems, as well as strategies of nonviolent defense to liberate Palestinians, Tibetans and other oppressed populations in those circumstances in which elite violence must be directly confronted (see Robert J. Burrowes ‘The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: A Gandhian Approach’, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996 and Gene Sharp
‘The Politics of Nonviolent Action’, Boston: Porter Sargent, 1973).
And fourth, we must courageously pay the price of violent elite repression when we resist nonviolently, knowing that many of us are going to be imprisoned (sometimes as ‘psychiatric’ patients), some of us will be tortured and a great many of us will be killed.
In summary, if we are to effectively resist elite control and violence in our lives and take concrete steps to create our nonviolent world, then we must recognise the enormity of the psychological damage that individuals within the global power elite have suffered and accept that they cannot take responsibility for ending their violence. Instead, we must take responsibility for ending their violence while creating a world in which damaged individuals are unlikely to be created and, if they are created, they cannot wreak havoc on the rest of us. If you would like to consider publicly committing yourself to helping to make this nonviolent vision a reality, you can read (and, if you wish, sign) ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’.
Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: A Gandhian Approach’. His email address is [email protected] and his website is at http://robertjburrowes.wordpress.com
The views expressed are the author’s own.
Robert has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981.
He is the author of 'The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: A Gandhian Approach', State University of New York Press, 1996.
His email address is [email protected]
Read all posts by Robert J. Burrowes