May 1, 2003

Raw People Power

What would global democracy look like? It seems apparent that the rise of a global corporate state, which is represented politically by George W. Bush & Co., has engendered an opposing force, a global democratic movement. We are seeing it manifest in novel ways.

Some of the most dramatic manifestations are the globally coordinated antiwar demonstrations, which provide a glimpse of the massive power that exists to oppose global corporate totalitarianism. The resistance is now in a very rudimentary and unorganized form. But even unorganized, the will of a massive movement can exert a great deal of force.

What would happen if the world boycotted the US? By offending and insulting -- if not actually threatening -- the rest of the world, the Bush government is creating an inevitable reaction that cannot help but have a diminishing effect on US power and influence.

Nazi Germany experienced a brain drain. The repressive regime was by nature the adversary of free thinking, so it lost many of its most creative and valuable people. Now the Bush administration has so alienated most of the civilized world, that the effects are starting to show in ways that may not have been anticipated by the warriors. The US under the Bush regime has proceeded on a principle of bringing raw force to bear on every negotiation. Other, more subtle forms of power elude the regime's understanding.

How might a majority of people worldwide who oppose the tiny clique of power-mad ideologues exert meaningful force against a superior military capability? For an example of how one act could mean a lot when multiplied by thousands or millions, see Online Journal for an e-mail exchange in which a scientist refuses to cooperate with any American institution.

Dr. Daniel Amit, a professor at the University of Rome, was asked by the American Physical Society to review a manuscript, and he declined. After the society sent another message imploring the scientist to reconsider in the spirit of science as an international endeavor above politics, Amit clarified his refusal.

"What we are watching today, I believe, is a culmination of 1015 years of mounting barbarism of the American culture the world over, crowned by the achievements of science and technology as a major weapon of mass destruction," Amit wrote. "We are witnessing man hunt and wanton killing of the type and scale not seen since the raids on American Indian populations, by a superior technological power of inferior culture and values. We see no corrective force to restrain the insanity, the self-righteousness and the lack of respect for human life (civilian and military) of another race.

"Science cannot stay neutral, especially after it has been so cynically used in the hands of the inspectors to disarm a country and prepare it for decimation by laser guided cluster bombs. No, science of the American variety has no recourse. I, personally, cannot see myself anymore sharing a common human community with American science. Unfortunately, I also belong to a culture of a similar spiritual deviation (Israel), and which seems to be equally incorrigible.

"In desperation I cannot but turn my attention to other tragic periods in which major societies, some with claims to fundamental contributions to culture and science, have deviated so far as to be relegated to ostracism and quarantine. At this point I think American society should be considered in this category. I have no illusions of power, as to the scope and prospect of my attitude. But, the minor role of my act and statement is a simple way of affirming that in the face of a growing enormity which I consider intolerable, I will exercise my own tiny act of disobedience to be able to look straight into the eyes of my grandchildren and my students and say that I did know."

There are humanitarian values that are born into the human heart that are more powerful and abiding than military force, even such a massive military force as the US now wields with little apparent restraint. Those men like Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Cheney, who see the world only through the narrowing lens of physical force are blind to higher powers. But they will still be subject to them.

Even God can't beat a Royal Flush with a Full House.

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