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Democratic leaders in Congress are poised to grant new spying powers to President Bush and arrange retroactive amnesty for telecommunications companies accused of illegal surveillance, according to a deal announced Thursday evening. Today's New York Times describes the legislation, which the House could vote on today, as "the most significant revision of surveillance law in 30 years" and a "major victory" for the lame duck president. If passed, the bill would constitute the largest capitulation by Democratic leaders since winning control of Congress, an especially striking setback as Democratic voters rally around a presidential nominee who has flatly opposed Bush's spying policies -- and repeatedly promised to challenge the corruption, doubletalk and "politics of fear" that rule Washington.
Yet Barack Obama has been mostly silent as the House caved into White House demands for more surveillance power this week. He has advocated civil liberties and accountability during previous clashes over surveillance, voting against a White House spying bill in August, but Obama has sidestepped the issue this week, despite pleas from supporters. "If Obama remains missing much longer, it may be necessary to issue an Amber Alert for him," wrote Glenn Greenwald, an attorney and Salon blogger who rallied activists to raise over $115,000 in two days to run primaries against Democratic incumbents who undermine the rule of law.
First a definition of power in the abstract. Piven notes the "widely held thesis that (it's) based on control of wealth and force" - big landowners over peasants, rich over poor, armies over civilians, and so forth. However, it's not always the case, and "history is dotted" with examples of "people without wealth or coercive resources....exercis(ing) power, at least for a time."
She notes how societies organize through cooperation and interdependence, but disparate interests at times conflict. While workers depend on management for jobs, managers, in turn, need a work force to produce. If labor is withheld, production halts. Both sides have leverage. Either one can activate it. Piven calls the "activation of interdependent power 'disruption.' " It's a power strategy based on "withdrawing cooperation in social relations." Protest movements "mobilize disruptive power." They achieve leverage by breaking down "institutionally regulated cooperation" as in strikes, boycotts or riots.
At these times, ordinary people (potentially) have enormous power - "their ability to disrupt institutionalized cooperation that depends on their continuing contributions." Key is that great reforms in history have been "responses to the threatened (or use of) disruptive power." In the US, it achieved representative government, ending slavery, the right to organize, social welfare and civil rights. Grassroots bottom-up "disruptive power" produced them.
But it takes more than marches, rallies, slogans, shouting or even violence. It's also too simplistic to think power from below is there for the taking. Actualizing power depends on the ability to withhold cooperation. But it's not "actionable" until certain problems are solved:
-- recognizing interdependence and the potential power from below such as workers withholding their labor or wives their domestic services;
-- the necessity of people breaking rules; rules are power strategies; they allow some people to dominate others, establish property rights, become law, and so forth;
-- individuals must coordinate their disruptive power for strategic advantage;
-- they must overcome constraints of an entire matrix of social relations; examples are the influence of family ties or the threat of religious excommunication;
-- disruptive power must be sustained, cooperation withheld, and be able to withstand whatever reprisals occur; and
-- the determination to stay the course in the wake of threats and uncertainty - employers who may hire scabs or relocate their plants and facilities.
Originally posted by marg6043
Well this only tells who is in power in this nation, looks to me that from the president to the congress they all nothing more than clowns serving their masters.