& OTHER GEAR
An Erotic Novel
How we lost the right to feel.
Go to the beach.
Literary Love Affair
Lessons from Mexico on the Nuclear Option and the One-Party State
By Jules Siegel
The nuclear option is obviously a key factor in the Republican
plan to impose a one party dictatorship. That's the reason people
like Cheney are ignoring the argument raised by some Republicans
that they shouldn't mess with the fillibuster because they won't
always be the majority power. They plan to be the only power. The
Democrats will be reduced to a Quisling-like pseudo-opposition.
The judiciary is the only real obstacle to this Republican goal,
because independent judges would still retain the power to nullify
fraudulent elections. The Republicans leadership therefore has to
be able to emasculate the judiciary by appointing only totally compliant
judges, first in key positions such as the Supreme Court and the
Appellate courts, then throughout the court system. A clue to why
this is absolutely necessary was revealed in the confrontation between
Jeb Bush's forces and local police in the Schiavo case. The local
police demanded that a judge appear personally and authorize Terri
Schiavo's removal from the hospice, and the state forces backed
If the theocrats plan to return to Biblical times when judges ruled
the Hebrews, the judges better be absolute loyalists because there
will come a time when local security forces, remembering France
under the Nazi occupation, and Nuremberg, and well aware of the
temporary nature of absolute power, will choose to obey only their
own jurisdiction's judges when receiving what they believe are illegal
orders from outside forces.
Although it's been jokingly (I hope) suggested that the theocrats
would annoint Bush king, I think it's more likely that the Republican
leadership has in mind a system like the Mexican Partido Revolucionario
Institucional, in which the president changed every six years, but
the power remained with the ruling party.
Congress (and representative government in general) would be reduced
to the status of a market research system. A high PRI official once
told me that the PRI always counted the votes as accurately as possibly,
even when they didn't announce the true results. It was their method
of detecting who was actually functioning at the local levels. They
needed to know how many votes were cast to see if the party functionaries
were actually doing their work at the grassroots level.
They used the information to weed out poor performers behind closed
doors, not in messy public fights that would have damaged the party
image. Although the PRI has been much maligned, they stayed in power
for 71 years not by force of arms (although that did enter, especially
in the years after the Revolution) but by a combination of very
skilled sociological manipulation combined with well-planned moderately
populist policies that actually did deliver results for the country
as a whole and key population segments in particular.
Mexico under the PRI was Stalinism without Stalin and without insane
abuses such as the Gulag. The role Stalin played in Russia was institutionalized
in Mexico. The power remained in the position of the presidency,
but the face of the president changed to reflect inner currents
in the party, and changing trends in the country as their social
action programs such as education succeeded.
They ceded power because it became the only way to purge totally
corrupt (and also intellectually intransigent) party elements who
were standing in the way of what people like Zedillo perceived to
be the modernization of the Mexican economy and political control
systems. Here in Cancun and the state of Quintana Roo, the new wave
of PRI leadership -- young, healthy, intelligent -- just won the
governorship and the mayoralty races, but lost control of the legislature,
but this is not yet a predictor for national politics.
Unless they can keep Mexico City mayor Andrés Manuel López
Obrador from running for president in 2006, it will take another
six years before the story is fully played out. López Obrador
is by far the most popular candidate, but he's been charged with
a ridiculous trivial offense (supposedly defying a court order in
a very dubious land dispute case) and stripped of his immunity from
prosecution by a congressional coalition of the right wing Partido
Acción Nacional and the PRI. López-Obrador is a very
appealing candidate, but the performance of his party, Partido Revolucionario
Democratico, here has been just awful. He might be a great candidate
and win the election, but it will remain to be seen whether or not
he can manage the country well enough to stop the PRI in 2012.
The PRD began when "leftist" followers of Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas
were expelled from the party in 1987 by the "centrist" technocrats.
The PRI lost its impregnable majority and some of its most important
intellectual leadership, the conscience of the party. Over the years,
dissident PRI elements have joined the PRD and some other smaller
parties. If López-Obrador does win, it's possible that what
will then be left of the PRI will be merged into the PRD. So the
country will once again be governed by the same people who ran it
before Fox was allowed to be elected in 2000.
The PRI was a progressive force in Mexican history. The Republicans
are a regressive force. If they prevail, the United States will
become more and more like Italy under Mussolini (state capitalism)
rather than Russia under Stalin (communist industrialism). They
will continue in power until the leadership becomes so physically
and intellectually corrupt that they are unable to control the military
and the police when the system collapses because of widespread unemployment,
bank failures, famine, plagues, power failures and the like.
What happens then in the United States? Don't ask me. I won't be
alive to see it. At least I don't think so. I don't want to say
I hope not, but it does remind of what Jim Brewster, founder of
the Chinese House, a social action mission without portfolio in
Lagunitas, Calif., told me in 1969: "I am arranging for my own survival
when it gets into the heavy scenes." Jim and his family are now
living near the Canadian border in what could easily be converted
into a mountain redoubt, with their own food and survival supplies
assured. I'm living in Cancun, utterly dependent on society at large.
American Interfaith Non-Violent (I hope) Taliban Movement considers Gordon
Inkeles' work too shocking for your sensitive eyes.
Busted Book in Santa Barbara
surrender at last to performance art.
ME ABOUT THIS
the Nuclear Option is Really
Satire will flourish in the one-party state.
for the Humor Impaired?
You, too, can make jokes!
not a joke.
but it's a