Sunday, September 27, 2009

A glossary of open politics.

Anyone trying to make sense of world affairs through the prism of alleged dramatic terrorist threats with consequent perpetual wars and increasing domestic surveillance/police powers being urged upon us by governments, will be helped and enlightened by studying the following from ‘The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America’ by Peter Dale Scott, University of California Press in Berkeley in 2007, pp. 267-271.

Since the UK is practically joined-at-the-hip with the US through that article of faith euphemistically known as ‘The Special Relationship’, ‘The future of America’ is likely to be a large part of ‘The Future of the UK’ too.

Archival history: A chronological record of events, as reconstructed by archival historians from public records; as opposed to deep history, which is a chronology of events concerning which the public records are often either falsified or nonexistent.

Cabal: A network, often of cliques, operating within or across a broad social and bureaucratic base with an agenda and not widely known or shared. According to many dictionary definitions, a cabal is a group of persons secretly united to bring about a change or overthrow of government. But in the deep state cabals can also operate within the status quo to sustain top-down rural, including interventions from the overworld.

Clique: A small group of like-minded people, operating independently within a larger social organization. Before the Iraq war the neocons in the Bush administration represented a clique; the faction preparing secretly for war (which included both the neocons and the veterans of the international petroleum industry, like Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice) represented a larger and more widespread cabal.

Closed power, or top-down power: Power derived from the overworld, as opposed to democratically responsive open power. See power.

Continuity of government (COG.): A term of art for secret arrangements for command and control in the event of an emergency.

Deep politics: All those political practices and arrangements, deliberate or not, that are usually repressed in public discourse rather than acknowledged.

Deep state: A term from Turkey, where it is used to refer to a closed network said to be more powerful than the public state. The deep state engages and false-flag violence, is organized by the military and intelligence apparatus, and involves their links to organized crime. See also dual state and state.

Dual state: A state in which one can distinguish between a public state and a top-down deep state. Most developed states exhibit this duality but to varying degrees. In America [And the UK – Sabretache] the duality of the state has become a more and more acute since World War II.

Globalization: The trend toward a more unified world at two levels: (1) top-down globalization, a system imposed from above on peoples and cultures; and (2) bottom-up globalization, a geographic expansion of people-to-people contacts producing a more international civil society and community. Top-down globalization, if not balanced by bottom-up globalization, will result in increasing polarization.

Islamism: A political Muslim movement with origins in the late 19th century, dedicated to jihad, or struggle for the political unification and purification of Islam, and restoration of its lost territories such as Spain. Often called Islamic fundamentalism but its relation to the fundamentals of Islam is problematic. Its main sources are Wahhabi-ism in Saudi Arabia and Deobandism in the Indian subcontinent.

Meta-group: A private group collaborating with and capable of modifying governmental policy, particularly (but not exclusively) with respect to the international drug trafficking. Over time meta-groups have tended to become more powerful, more highly organized, and more independent of their government connections.

Milieu: A location (not necessarily geographical) where private deals can be made. Relatively unimportant to proceedings and institutions of the public state, restricted milieus are of greater relevance to operations of the deep state.

Open, public, cooperative, or participatory power: See power, soft power.

Order: There are two clusters of dictionary definitions of order, both relevant: (1) top-down or coercive order, meaning “a command or direction” (or the results); and (2) public or participatory order, meaning "a condition of arranged treatment among component parts, such the proper functioning or appearance is achieved."

Overworld: That realm of wealthy or privileged society that, although not formally authorized or institutionalized, is the scene of successful influence of government by private power. It includes both (1) those whose influence is through their wealth, administered personally or more typically through tax-free foundations and their sponsored projects, and (2) the first group’s representatives. The term should be distinguished from Frederick Lundberg's "superrich," the sixty wealthiest families that he wrongly predicted in his 1967 book Sixty Families would continue to dominate America both as a class and as a "government of money." The recent Forbes annual list of the 400 richest Americans shows that Lundberg's prediction was wrong on both counts: his richest inheritors of 1967 are mostly not the richest today, and today's richest are not necessarily those projecting their wealth into political power. Your order is not a class or category.

As a rule it is wrong to think of overworld influence institutionally, and is exercised through the Bilderberg Society, the Trilateral Commission, or the Council on Foreign Relations. However, the less known, usually secret, cabals (such as the Pinay Circle and the Safari Club) that flourish in these overworld milieus.

Parallel government (or shadow government): A second government established in times of crisis to override or even replace the official government of the public state.

Paranoia: The irrational drive through a dominance that is motivated not by rational self-interest but by fear of being surpassed by a competitor. A paradox of civilization is that, as relative power increases (a wall with expansion and exposure), so does paranoia. The dominance over the public state by the deep state is based on (and also generates) paranoia. The paradox that power increases paranoia is seen within states as well as between them. It is not restricted to so-called totalitarian states.

Paranoia, bureaucratic: The dominance of bureaucratic policy bureaucratic responses and budgets. This leads to the paranoid style in bureaucratic politics.

Parapolitics: This time has two definitions: (1) "a system or practice of politics in which accountability is consciously diminished," and (2) the intellectual study of parapolitical interactions between public states and other forms of organized nonviolence (or parastates): covert agencies, mafias, and so on.

Parastates: Structurally organized violence (in the form of covert agencies, mafias, revolutionary movements, and so on) with some but not all the recognizable features of the state.

Power: There are two definitions of power, both relevant: (1) top-down, coercive, or closed power, meaning "the ability or official capacity to exercise control; authority"; and (2) public, cooperative, or open power, meaning "the might of an nation, political organization, or similar group." This notion of dual power is reflected in Gandhi’s distinction between duragraha ("obtained by the fear of punishment") and satyagraha (obtained "by acts of love"). Jonathan Schell paraphrases this as the distinction between coercive and cooperative power: "Power is cooperative when it springs from action in concert of people who are willingly in agreement with one another and is coercive when it springs from the threat or use of force. Both kinds of power are real....yet the two are antithetical." This antithesis is embodied in the tension in the dual state between the deep state and the public state. The tension between top-down power and public power exists to some degree in all developed states. It becomes more acute with increased income disparity: polarization of wealth or economic power is inevitably accompanied by polarization of political power.

Prevailable will of the people: That potential for solidarity that, instead of being checked by top-down repression, can actually be awakened and reinforced by it. It thus becomes the emerging sanction for a generally accepted social or political change. The more common term "will of the people," a refurbishing of Rousseau's "general will," is often invoked as the ultimate sanction of a generally accepted decision. However, even if not a total abstraction, the term has little or no meaning at the time of the major controversy; the "public will" must be established by events, not passively defined in advance of them. The "will of the majority" is an even more dangerous phrase; the opinions of majorities are often fickle, and destined not to prevail. (The Vietnam and Iraq wars are examples where the momentary will of the majority proved not to be the prevailable will.) The prevailable will can be said to be latent in a political crisis but not established or proven until its outcome. In the case of abolished slavery in America, for example, that resolution took many decades, but it is hard to imagine any other prevailable outcome.

Realism: There are two prevailing and conflicting notions of political realism: (1) realpolitik, defined as “a usually expansionist national policy, having as its sole principle the advancement of the national interest”; and (2) what I call visionary realism, a vision of a public order conforming to the prevailable will of the people. I consider the latter more realistic than the former, because it can see more clearly the dialectical consequences of expansion and overstretch.

Soft power versus open power: Soft power, defined by Joseph Nye, works (in distinction to military and economic superiority) by persuasion; it is an "ability... that shapes the preferences of others" that "tends to be associated with intangible power resources such as an attractive culture, ideology, and institutions." Soft power or soft politics puts more emphasis on the persuasive technique; open power or open politics, on a participatory process or result.

State: There are two definitions, both relevant, both deriving ultimately from Machiavelli. What is being discussed here are dictionary definitions, which I called and combined from a number of dictionaries: (1) a system of organized power controlling a society; and (2) a politically organized body of people under a single government. These correspond to two overlapping systems of statal institutions: the deep state (or security state) and the public state. The second interacts with and is responsive to civil society, especially in a democracy; the first is immune to shifts in public opinion.

Thus the deep state is expanded by covert operations; the public state is reduced by them. Following the same distinction as Hans Morgenthau in his discussion of the dual state, Ola Tunander talks of a "democratic state" and a "security state." His definitions focus more on the respective institutions pf the dual state; mine, on their social grounding and relationship to the power of the overworld.

Deep state and security state are not quite identical. By the deep state I mean agencies like the CIA, with little or no significant public constituency outside of government. By the security state, I mean above all the military, an organization large enough to have a limited constituency and even in certain regions to constitute an element of local civil society. The two respond to different segments of the overworld and thus sometimes compete with each other.

Hat-tip to 'The Deep Politics Forum'

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