“Enemy of the Prevailing Order”

Democracy, and Saying “\'Enough!”

In urban areas with street crime the idealized figure of the honest cop has long been deeply popular, especially among children.

Asked what he wants to be, a young boy in a poor household cries out, eagerly, “Polisi!”, and, on getting his ear twisted by an angry mother, amends, “All right, I’ll be a doctor!”

Actually, his chances of rising to doctorhood are slim — no spare money, no free education — but they may be greater than those of his becoming an honest cop, since that’s a species that, in this community, only seems to exist on cartoon TV.

The police almost never enter the alley (which happens to be in Indonesia) except via proxy cop-protected drug hoodlums, but poor adults with real, off-screen, experience know that to see a police officer is to tense up and then brace for a shakedown (or beating), even if you’re feeling idealistic and furious enough to walk into a station to report a crime. (The practice of demanding a bribe from someone trying to report a crime sets up an infinity paradox, since the demand is itself a crime, and to report that one you’d have to pay again…)

At one of the main traffic roundabouts there’s an enormous full-color poster of three top uniformed commanders, in medals, posing sternly under the slogan “Honesty!” It commemorates World Anti-Corruption Day and is directly across the street from a huge new bright-blue brothel that’s advertised, in part, as a hotel, but if you walk in and ask about a hotel room, they laugh, and can’t stop laughing.

This facility is on the former turf of the legendary crime lord, Olo, who went down in a power struggle with the old district police chief, Sutanto, who later became the national police commander under the president, Gen. Susilo, who ran for and won office on a platform of anti-corruption.

The other big posters are for April elections, the largest of them being for two mass-murdering, US-protégé generals (Prabowo and Wiranto, Adm. Dennis Blair’s old associate [See my News and Comment postings of Jan. 6, 9, and 22, 2009, as well as Dec. 7, 2007]), and — perhaps with the male electorate in mind — for several parliamentary candidates who also happen to be beautiful women.

Elections would be one thing if you could vote consequentially against official murder, against withholding food from the starving, and against things like police-as-criminals. But elections become something else if you can’t cast such big choice votes. In such typical cases, elections become diversions of popular hope and energy that end up legitimating and reinforcing unjust orders rather than reforming them.

But even if you get a rare chance to vote on basics, or on sensitive power issues, watch out if you’re invadable, since if you vote wrong, there could be trouble.

Condoleezza Rice pushed for the ’06 Gaza / West Bank election that Hamas surprised her by winning, and which was acknowledged by President Bush as valid, before he OK’d punishment (see footnote).

On Bloomberg TV this week, from Davos, George Soros, when asked about plunging oil prices, said that the drop was unfortunate in that it’s, for example, hurting Dubai property, but on the other hand “however it’s not all bad news because the main oil producing countries have been the enemies of the prevailing world order” and the price drop is now hurting them, specifically Russia, Iran, and Venezuela, where, Soros said “It’s not so easy to finance a Bolivarian revolution with $40 oil.”

Soros, anticipating further good news regarding Hugo Chavez, said “probably his days are numbered” — and estimated that Chavez would last less than a year, which means that according to the world’s top “democracy-promotion” funder, Venezuela’s freely elected president (whose legal term is due to last 4 more years) should perhaps start looking out his window, looking not for voters, but tanks (“For the Record,” Bloomberg TV, aired Jan. 30, 2009).

More fundamentally, one might wish to hope that a major US left-liberal like Soros might also want to consider himself to be an “enem[y] of the prevailing world order,” a world order in which, as a text scroll from Davos noted: “More than 24,000 people die of hunger every day” (CNN International, January 30, ’09, during an interview with the Oxfam executive director). But that would be a poorly informed hope, at least regarding billionaires (who could each personally feed those 24,000 people, instead of choosing not to), and also regarding most anyone in the current top US leadership and funding strata.

But, given free will, it is indeed possible for them, and especially, less-rich people, to say “Enough!”

If something kills innocent people en masse, it deserves to have enemies.

If a rich-world figure says they’re pro-democracy, start off by asking them this: How would they feel about running the UN Security Council based on direct world popular vote, instead of nuclear weapons (vetoes are now held by the Permanent Five, the immediate-post-WWII nuclear powers), and the same with the world distribution of wealth and key questions of murder law enforcement?

That’s not to suggest democracy as cure-all. Rule by the people is largely myth. Except possibly in small (non-family) groups, strong people will tend to dominate — the questions are under what constraints; don’t pretend everyone’s in charge.

But the point here is merely that when today’s rich leaders talk democracy, or just talk elections, they usually don’t mean it if that raises the specter of a world with less-insanely-skewed wealth or power, or of a world where honest cops run around in life — and not just on cartoon TV, arresting any evildoer who has wrongly caused, or permitted, people’s deaths.


Bush said, for what it’s worth as testament to pre-punishment homage to democracy:

“[T]he Palestinians had an election yesterday, the results of which remind me about the power of democracy. You see, when you give people the vote, you give people a chance to express themselves at the polls, they — and if they’re unhappy with the status quo, they’ll let you know. That’s the great thing about democracy: It provides a look into society. And yesterday, the turnout was significant, as I understand it. And there was a peaceful process as people went to the polls. And that’s positive. What was also positive is that it’s a wakeup call to the leadership. Obviously, [Palestinian] people were not happy with the status quo. The people are demanding honest government. The people want services. They want to be able to raise their children in an environment in which they can get a decent education and they can find health care. And so the elections should open the eyes of the old guard there in the Palestinian territories. I like the competition of ideas. I like people that have to go out and say, ‘Vote for me and here’s what I’m going to do.’ There’s something healthy about a system that does that. And so the elections yesterday were very interesting” (“President Bush Holds a White House Press Conference,” transcript, The Washington Post, January 26, 2006).

Allan Nairn is an award-winning U.S. investigative journalist whose writings have focused on US foreign policy in such countries as Indonesia, East Timor, Guatemala, El Salvador and Haiti. Vist his blog.Allan Nairn is an award-winning U.S. investigative journalist whose writings have focused on US foreign policy in such countries as Indonesia, East Timor, Guatemala, El Salvador and Haiti. Vist his blog. Read other articles by Allan, or visit Allan's website.

8 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. knowdoubt said on February 3rd, 2009 at 11:49am #

    Unfortunately for us, the corruption referred to in these third world countries is much less dangerous than the rampant corruption here in the U.S., particularly in our judicial system. Over there it is out front and in the open and nobody is deceived or under any illusions about it. Here, almost everyone is deceived by the myth of justice and judicial canons and ethics, which makes it much, much more dangerous. Here you risk losing everything, as in career or future, for confronting the evil that surrounds us because it is so well hidden and protected. Whistle Blowers are not revered or protected as the endangered species that they are, or valued for the real public service they do our society and constitutional form of government.

    Corruption in the US has become institutionalized along with our tolerance and participation in the fraud. We don’t dare confront the myth because to do so will jeopardize the economic status and advantages we have achieved. Respectfully submitted in a resigned and docile spirit

  2. bozh said on February 3rd, 2009 at 12:48pm #

    no, we’ll probably never have pantisocracy; nor do we need one; we need much more equallity than we have now.
    we need to have at least free education, health care for all, and freedom.
    once we obtain that we can take another look. we can take a look at media lies and penalize liars.
    we can look differently at our ‘enemies’ and manufactured enemies, and so on.
    natch, media wld accuse us of being utopian even tho we explicitly say and know that utopia (a nonpossibilty) is just a red herring. thnx

  3. John S. Hatch said on February 3rd, 2009 at 1:05pm #

    In Canada, a year and a half ago, a young man came from Poland to join his mother and start a new life. Robert Dzieskanski didn’t speak any English, and no interpreter was provided at YVR, Vancouver’s International airport.

    Mr. Dziekanski was left to wander around for approximately 11 hours in a secure area of YVR after being cleared at customs.

    He became confused and agitated, and eventually the RCMP were called. No one to help, though.

    After less than a minute, the RCMP tasered Mr. Dzekanski, even though he posed no threat. They tasered him five times, something they would later lie about. They tasered him even as he lay reeling on the ground, frothing at the mouth. His last word was ‘Why?’

    Then they handcuffed him.

    YVR medics were available, but were not called.

    Mr. Dzkieskanski stopped breathing. A defibrilator unit was located a few seconds away. It was not employed.

    The RCMP members stood ten or so metres away from the victim as he lay dying and talked to each other. Maybe about hockey. Not one of them raised a finger to help.

    When firefighters arrived, they were prevented from rendering proper assistance. The brave Mounties refused to remove Mr. Dzieskanski’s handcuffs, even though he was most likely already dead.

    Later the Mounties tried to steal the memory card of a witness who recorded the events on a cell phone.

    Then they sent a bunch of their ‘members’ (and, finally, an interpreter) to Poland to try and dig up dirt on their victim, who they hoped to characterize as a drunk and mentally ustable. They failed.

    But they ‘got’ their man.

    His last word on earth was ‘Why?’


  4. Don Hawkins said on February 3rd, 2009 at 3:44pm #

    The first day in the Senate and very easy to see we are all going deep into the rabbit hole. The best way to describe it is Dinosaur minds hard at work making plans for nobody. We need to get credit going again so people can buy things and we can get back to normal. Wall Street will be again working everything will go back to normal and the moon is made of green cheese. You hear from the floor of the Senate on amendments today I, I, no, I. Then you see them walking around in there suits and if they had wings they would look like penguins. Is what we see a new way of thinking, no the same old way of thinking and this time probably not a second chance. Bold thinking, reason, imagination using the knowledge we have gained over the last few thousand years, no. Here’s what we need to hear on the floor of the Senate and seem to be light years away. “Madam President the problems we face are a clear and present danger and we must think of them as kind of a War. This War is in some way’s a war against ourselves and we must find a new way of thinking if we care about future generations. During World War Two the economy was changed over quickly and we can do it again this time not to build weapons but build a new World. Just one example Gm can in this war start to build electric cars and changing over big machinery to natural gas and help with low-loss power lines and wind and solar thermal energy systems and that is just one company. It’s time to go to work and use our minds. So I am right now proposing an amendment that we think of the problems that face us as kind of a War. Who will join me?”

    Now after reading that just watch the Senate on c-span and think about that and if the word pathetic doesn’t come to mind you probably took the blue pill. Do you read DV Barack?

  5. Rahb said on February 3rd, 2009 at 4:36pm #

    It’s all about, in the words of the Beatles, “I, me, mine…” We’re still seeing things as us and them rather than us and us…
    In the meanwhile – do we even take note, and if we take note are we offended that the cartoon cops are only ever depicted as dealing with blue collar crime? A couple of thugs who given the occasion to steal and bully do so -and our hero comes to the rescue. Hoping that you’re uninformed, he continues to distract you with his mini crusade, completely ignoring the giant mining company down the block that, using their power to manipulate the masses with money and fear, pits African against African, man against man, poor against poor, governs distribution of wealth and resources in the community depriving those who already suffer of basic necessities etc., all to assure their bottom line. We’re scared of the blue collar criminal and do need defense from him, the program is all too happy to remind us of this – aggrandizing the power of the blue collar criminal only serves to strengthen him and we inevitably call for an unending supply of more of these cartoon cops. In Edmonton, I’ve heard of homeless people being charged “rent” by the cops too, only for the high quality dark alley -15 ° C doorways, as opposed to the -30°C ones I suppose. Fortunately they aren’t as brutal to the common onlooker here, but how far away is it really when they taser the innocent, engage in the economic prejudices that continue to pave our destruction, pepper spray and tear gas people who exercise their right to participate in our so-called “democracy” along with their rights of association and peaceful demonstration, etc?

  6. The Angry Peasant said on February 3rd, 2009 at 8:09pm #


    You done gone and hit the nail on the head. I couldn’t’ve said it better.

  7. Don Hawkins said on February 4th, 2009 at 4:10am #

    “The Senate is not in order, the Senate is not in order, will the Senate please come to order and lose the suits and go to work”. ” Don’t worry about those two million people out front that’s just the little people and you will have to speak up I can’t hear you those little people are a little loud”. “I just called our people and those people outside don’t have any people they are the people did I say that right what did you say I can’t hear you”.

    “You take the blue pill, the story ends and you wake up believing whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland and I show you just how deep the rabbit hole goes”.
    Think of this as kind of a War.

  8. MrCynic3 said on February 5th, 2009 at 6:37am #

    Mr. Narin wrote:
    “Condoleezza Rice pushed for the ‘06 Gaza / West Bank election that Hamas surprised her by winning, and which was acknowledged by President Bush as valid, before he OK’d punishment”.

    Condeezza Rice was not surprised , she expected Hamas to win and
    that what she wanted. She new Hamas will engage in power struggle
    with Fatah. The classic “divide and rule” .
    And with Hamas resistance to the Israelis, the stage will be set
    for Hamas to be “punished”.!!