Mohamed Bouazizi

Václav Havel: From the Prague Spring to the Velvet Revolution to the Year of the Protestor

We’re an empire now. And when we act, we create our own reality. –Senior Bush Advisor to Ron Suskind


It can be said, therefore, that ideology, as that instrument of internal communication which assures the power structure of inner cohesion is, in the post-totalitarian system, something that transcends the physical aspects of power, something that dominates it to a considerable degree, and therefore, tends to assure its continuity as well. It is one of the pillars of the system’s external stability. This pillar, however, is built on a very unstable foundation. It is built on lies. It works only as long as people are willing to live within the lie. –Václav Havel, “Power of the Powerless

In his essay, Power of the Powerless, Václav Havel described how citizens of “post-totalitarian” societies perform certain rituals–his central example was a green grocer putting the sign, “Workers of the World, Unite!” in his shop window every morning, but he saw the “dictatorship of consumption” to work similarly–to signify their adherence to the ideology on which power in the system rests. The system relies on (and rewards, with access to a comfortable livelihood) the universal performance of such rituals to sustain the ideology that gives the raw power behind the system some legitimacy. He argued that if people began to live within the truth–stopped putting up the sign every morning and paid the consequences in terms of lost benefits–it might expose the lie behind the myths people told themselves about their society.

But the moment someone breaks through in one place, when one person cries out, “the emperor is naked!”–when a single person breaks the rules of the game, thus exposing it as a game–everything suddenly appears in another light and the whole crust seems then to be made of a tissue on the point of tearing and disintegrating uncontrollably.

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emptywheel @OKnox Look. I learned today I'm younger than Keanu Reeves. I'm not THAT old.
emptywheel @onekade Also bc they've moved that to EO 12333 so it doesn't have any control.
emptywheel I'm so old remember when we decided it only fed terrorists to make their beheading videos readily accessible. Apparently CNN is not that old
JimWhiteGNV RT @joshuafoust: Famous principled conservative Trent Lott just got hired by Gazprombank to lobby against Russian sanctions #classy http://…
emptywheel @onekade CLICK OUR LINK TO SEE DEATH AND KILLING but the terrorists are the only problem. @shawncarrie @CNN
emptywheel RT @mlcalderone: Politico CEO-turned-WaPo CEO Fred Ryan stresses winning the morning in meeting with staff:
emptywheel @charlie_savage Isn't McRaven's shuffling of OBL photos to CIA to get them classified akin to that? @Krhawkins5
emptywheel @youbsanctioned So even more cynical than it appears on first glance?
emptywheel @charlie_savage Which means Hellerstein's SOL?
emptywheel @youbsanctioned Interesting. Thanks.
emptywheel @youbsanctioned So why do they ask Treasury and not State for permission?
September 2014
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