American Samizdat

Friday, December 01, 2006. *
Instant dictatorship at home? The laws are already in place to incarcerate opposition for indefinite time. How the system is pathologizing political disagreement.Where America has beome a Total institution.

I recently sent a friend a link on the Total institution from, in it it discribes Total institutions as social microcosmos dictated by hegemony and clear hierarchy. Total institutions include some boarding schools, concentration camps, prisons, mental institutions and boot camps. But wait, that is only the begining, the ones you can see.

I suggest we look at this transmogrification as if it were a continuum, if we take it a logical step further, you can see the continuing Panopticon like institutions and systems you can't normally see through this lense. points out that, "..sociologists [anthropologist's and other scientists have also recently pointed out that] tourist venues such as cruise ships and theme parks are acquiring many of the characteristics of total institutions. Tourists may not be aware that they are being controlled, even constrained, but the environment has been designed to subtly manipulate the behavior of patrons."

What about shopping malls , college campuses, gated communities, retirement communities, city/State government e.g. the DMV etc, the Repressive State Apparatus (RSA).

I have stated before, it seems as if we are covertly and methodically being herded into a mental plantation, by a system that has gladly inherited the worst of both the Soviet and Nazi germany type authoritarian means of control and governship.

A "quasi-Soviet/facist/totalitarian system." A "Kafkaesque" bureaucratic i.e. State induced non- static labyrinth. Whose rules change only for the elite and not the governed.

I cannot recommend more highly George Kenney's podcast interview with Dr. Kate Brown at ElectricPolitics, simply the best podcast around -- it should be part of the weekly diet for all thinking Americans.

Given all the terrible things that the US government is doing at home and abroad, it's easy to lose perspective — particularly for Americans. To despair or, perhaps more accurately, to despair for the wrong reasons. Dr. Kate Brown, a stunningly brilliant historian (her book A Biography Of No Place won the 2004 George Louis Beer Prize from the American Historical Association) helps us regain perspective by making comparisons to the former USSR, of which there turn out to be many. It's well worth being reminded that such a system inevitably collapses, though how it collapses may be an open question. And specifically, though we can't (yet) get into the secret US prison system, NKVD and KGB documents regarding the Soviet Gulag tell us a lot about what we could expect to find. I'm very grateful to Kate for talking with me. I enjoyed this conversation immensely and I love her Chicago accent. Runtime here of about an hour and eleven minutes.

Also see, Six Questions on the American "Gulag" for Historian Kate Brown


1 In 32 American Adults In Jail, On Probation Or Parole At The End Of Last Year...

A record 7 million people -- or one in every 32 American adults -- were behind bars, on probation or on parole by the end of last year, according to the Justice Department. Of those, 2.2 million were in prison or jail, an increase of 2.7 percent over the previous year, according to a report released Wednesday.

More than 4.1 million people were on probation and 784,208 were on parole at the end of 2005. Prison releases are increasing, but admissions are increasing more.

Note: America has the highest percentage of its population in jail of any industrialized nation on the planet. As a percentage of population we make more people criminals than China, Vietnam, Russia, or Cuba..however, that is not my point, my point is the unseen structural device parameters of the panopticon like intracacies of the system which is beyond the scope of the offically incarcerated.
posted by Uncle $cam at 8:47 AM
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