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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bmaz @Steplor @ggreenwald @hsmoghul @Ali_Gharib @RBrulin @stamp Not sure how relevant it was here, but it was worthwhile to see that piece again.
bmaz @Steplor @ggreenwald @hsmoghul @Ali_Gharib @RBrulin @stamp Well, I do appreciate it in that I like+respect Exum+McCants quite a bit.
emptywheel @AllThingsHLS Btw, struck that both DOD GC Preston & Panetta recently described as citing revenge for their choices @CIA. @RyanJSuto
emptywheel RT @NEPD_Loyko: The #Patriots INACTIVE list could win the NFC East.
emptywheel @AllThingsHLS @RyanJSuto Well, OBL succeeded in accomplishing most of his interim policy goals. Faisal Shahzad, mad abt drones, not so much
bmaz @Steplor @ggreenwald @hsmoghul @Ali_Gharib @RBrulin @stamp Yeah, golly, thanks, that was super helpful. Or, you know, not so much whatsoever
bmaz Doink! Shanked extra point, but hat's off to Cam Palmer, the Cardinals new running QB.
bmaz Sorry, that was a clean hit by the 49ers on Carson Palmer. I'll take it, but it was total bullshit.
emptywheel @AllThingsHLS Einstein, the guy who got us thinking about relativity? That made you want to come up w/theory of terrorism?
emptywheel @AllThingsHLS Not sure how you can distinguish. Unless it is considered belief of career FBI guy punishment doesn't change behavior?
emptywheel @AllThingsHLS Punish people for legal behavior he doesn't agree with? Sounds political.
bmaz @JoshuaHol @froomkin Shameless is too kind. It is simply sick.
November 2015
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