Solidarity as a strategy — exemplified by the 1994 Zapatista/Civil Society alliance against NAFTA — made clear the power of unifying the indigenous peoples movement, the human rights movement, and the environmental movement. Taking a lesson from the iconic uprising in Mexico, the U.S. military reorganized its intelligence and public relations capacities to engender a more sophisticated form of psychological warfare and counterinsurgency that includes co-optation of reform-oriented, Civil Society NGOs.
Working in tandem with State Department initiatives to undermine indigenous nations’ jurisdiction under international law, especially the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Pentagon and NATO now frequently create a distorted image of human rights as part of the cover story when destabilizing or overthrowing non-NATO governments. Reinforcing State and Defense Department efforts to subvert the international human rights regime, Treasury and other departments of the U.S. Government — through the austerity agenda — are steadily eroding the ability of Civil Society to support the indigenous peoples movement.
Austerity, as such, is not merely a larcenous agenda by federal governments in cahoots with Wall Street and the European Central Bank; it is equally valuable as a tool of oppression of the populations impoverished by the financial services empire.
The audacity of austerity’s exponents also serves a purpose: transforming economic desperation into a sense of fear and hopelessness creates a submissive citizenry, inoculated against revolutionary politicization. Deprived of the resources necessary to organize a viable opposition to the empire, these downtrodden citizens thus become a reservoir of resentment from which modern states can mobilize sycophants to intimidate and outmaneuver democratic reformers.
In the absence of resources for resistance to austerity, the oppositionally politicized are tempted and encouraged to mobilize disorganized, which ensures their ineffectiveness. Marches, protests and demonstrations are means, not ends; unprepared to challenge the power of empire, they demonstrate at best a false hope, at worst a romantic delusion.
[Jay Thomas Taber (O’Neal) derives from the most prominent tribe in Irish history, nEoghan Ua Niall, the chief family in Northern Ireland between the 4th and the 17th centuries. His maternal family name in Irish means champion. Jay’s ancestors were some of the last great leaders of Gaelic Ireland, and in 1999 he walked the fields of Kinsale where they fought. His grandmother’s grandfather’s grandfather emigrated from Belfast to South Carolina in 1768. Jay is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as the administrative director of Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and activists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples seeking justice in such bodies as the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at] yahoo.com]