Attempted Assassination of Congresswoman Giffords in Arizona
As fast as fingers can fly the news has gone from bad to worse, Democratic Congresswoman Giffords was shot at a public event. She is now reported in surgery, though earlier she had been reported dead. Fox News reports at least 12 were shot. This is not an isolated incident. Napolitano was the target of a mail attack earlier this week.
The right wing is in revolutionary mode, they are now close to gain a seat in Congress if the shooting becomes a successful assassination, and they have already put the Democrats on notice that they have the support to wage war within the United States upon the Democratic Party. So it is move to the right, or else. This has happened in Israel already, where politicians have admitted that the assassination of Rabin led to a move to the right. Political violence works, that is why people do it. Political violence does not work, in that societies that lose their sense of civil norms, cease to function. The United States has lost these norms over time, both in our civil and popular culture.
How many films have you seen where the plot was:
- Ordinary person wronged.
- Ordinary person gets gooned up.
- Ordinary person goes postal on the perp.
- Ordinary person is exonerated.
Many have been released, and it is difficult to avoid the genre. It comes in male and female flavors, whether the wrong is economic harm, or sexual attack. As a staple of culture, think on what it tells people.
However, it is a staple of public culture, because we have made normative, the nomos, of the society a continual illegality, and disrespect for the ideas of fairness. A recent example is the "Ibanez case" in Massachusetts, where the state's highest court put the beat down on foreclosures without title, and title transfers that failed to meet even the semblance of compliance with the standards of the law.
It is impossible to condemn assassination with the full force of the social order, when our popular mythology, and economic reality, is of the res the order of things, being one of casual violence against common decency, where the mythically approved response, is to go on a personal killing spree. It speaks to a rage in the society, which is the analog of the Victorian repression of sexuality. The Victorians placed their superiority on greater artifice and greater naturalism, as well as a cult of romantic love. However, economically, they were constantly on the ragged edge of starvation, and therefore had to link sex to marriage, and marriage firmly to economics. This denied their founding literature, and created the genre of novel as exploration of infidelity: their deep fault line. The Victorians had a cult of the naturalistic romantic, but a practical fear of its obvious results. Our own age places revolution as a value in itself, and action as a virtue in itself. However, as our society relies on a vast structure to extract a few rents from a few places, process them through a very fragile supply chain, controlled by a relatively easy to disrupt digital architecture, actual change, is actually not allowed. Anyone who is really a revolutionary, has ever force imaginable against them.
Thus, what lust was to the Victorian, rage is to our own age: the hidden demon that is both worshipped, and feared.
The right wing sanctifies this rage, by combining it with reactionary intent. The right wing allows revolutionary violence in favor of a reactionary order. It can no longer be called plutocratic, because the bankers and other leaders do not actually control the capital. They do not own most of the factories, they do not own the resources. They own the pipes, but these pipes are virtual creatures: securitized mortgages, broadcast channels, even seemingly physical lines do not actually have the ability to exclude others, without force to do so.
Thus force, itself, is increasingly the currency of the society, rather than capital, or even physical assets. This is a shift from asset based money, where the money supply and the means of its expansion, was regulated through the proxy of home values, to a strategic money, where the question is quite simply one of the consequences of not accepting the increase in money, and the responses that it brings.
In doing so, the right wing creates a dislocated, poor, populist front, which is a revolutionary class, in favor of a right wing revolution. Palin's embrace of this front is not coincidental, her record of governance shows that she is that creature that is constantly erased from historiography, and sociology, because it is inconvenient: the right wing socialist.
The right would be demanding that the left disown an act even a fraction as violent. If the left has a single piece of wit about it, it would be to goad the moderates into demanding a denunciation, not only of the act, but of Palin's crosshairs, and SarahPac. The left should say "This is Terrorism!" because, in fact, it is terrorism: violence to send an expressly political message to suppress unwanted political action. The message from the right is for the center to return to a right wing- center alliance, with the right wing as the dominant partner, that is, the Bush coalition.
If the Democrats have any sense, they will begin demanding that politicians return any donations from "an organization that incites terrorism," which is what SarahPac, demonstrably, now is, an organization that incites terrorism. Giffords was shot for being a Democrat. She was not a liberal Democrat, nor a friend to the left, but she was a loyal Democrat on votes that had a core of rabid opposition in her district. It took courage for her to continue to do public events.
There are two lessons that need to be learned. The first is that the moderates must understand that they will not survive in coalition with the right, that the noose around their necks will tighten, and grown tighter with each year. The second is for the left to realize that if there is to be political courage, there must be political coverage. That means the willingness to put bodies in the line of fire, because otherwise, the center will see us as fair weather friends, and foul weather dead weights.
The bullet box is replacing the ballot box.
In large measure this is the fault of the moderates, they were happy with a "good enough" recovery, and have sat down and declared themselves the best of all possible worlds. Since this was a recovery for the rich, but not for everyone else, the inevitable result is violence in favor of the out party. Since there is no extreme left party available in any form, right wing socialism is the natural outlet for the violence.
If this lesson is not learned, that active recovery, combined with a forceful ideology, are the only counters to a reactionary revolution – and so far it has not been – then we will see more spiraling steps downward. This was the most successful attack, but far from the last.