The report below from the Guardian UK describes accelerating government and military planning for major civil unrest caused by climate change, energy shocks, and economic crises. The recently highlighted NSA surveillance – with its engagement of both government and corporate players – is a part of this. Another part, highlighted here, is the domestic use of the military.
I see this as an example of the power-over forces attempting to maintain control – articulated by them as “government stability” and “domestic order” – as crises and technological developments undermine the capacities of centralized rule and management, as covered by my recent review of THE END OF POWER.
This emerging narrative of behind-the-scenes government fears and preparations increases the importance and urgency of developing power-with and systemic power at the grassroots – that is, our ability to satisfy our authentic human needs and to pursue our highest aspirations TOGETHER. That broad bottom-up capacity generates peace, justice, democracy, the abundance of healthy economics, and sustainability. The ability to exercise that capacity together at appropriate scales lies at the heart of the world many of us are trying to bring about. We have collectively created countless resources to promote it.
In a world of rapid change and challenge, top-down systems can only successfully play a subsidiary role. Collaborative, distributed, networked peer-to-peer and bottom-up systems must predominate because the complexity of “the rapids of change” overwhelms top-down management. But we need far more development of our power-with capacities if we wish to generate services remotely comparable to the top-down order that is approaching collapse.
To the extent we develop those capacities we will be able to minimize the suffering and destruction that are an intrinsic aspect of any transition of the scale we currently face. Our efforts to employ those capacities will often be met with resistance from power-over forces (such as the efforts of multinationals to block community initiatives to control their own food and water, or of banks to get non-profit user-owned credit unions taxed, or the suppression of the Occupy movement). The creativity, courage and engagement required to deal successfully with such opposition is part of the capacity-building development we need.
To the extent we fail to develop those capacities and continue to simply rely on the services and controls of dominant and dominating politics and economics, we tie ourselves to the painful collapse of those unsustainable systems.
A complementary challenge (can we make it an opportunity?) is that the American public respect the military FAR more than Congress or the President. The military (76%), small business (65%), police (57%), and organized religion (48%) were the institutions that earn the most respect. Congress rated 10% and the presidency 36%. The complete Gallup Poll results are at http://www.gallup.com/poll/163052/americans-confidence-congress-falls-lowest-record.aspx
We each have roles to play in how this turns out.
Pentagon Bracing for Public Dissent Over Climate and Energy Shocks
DR. NAFEEZ MOSADDEQ AHMED, Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development – The Guardian (U.K.)