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.

Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @ScottGreenfield @LilianaSegura @roomfordebate I would have scowled at the very question. Which is exactly what it deserves.
3mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @michaelbkiefer Will; Bodney dile an immediate special action?
5mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @JMSilverbrook @gideonstrumpet Okay, that is pretty awesome. Well done! Nice doily too!
6mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @AZ_Dream_Killer What you been up to lately? May have to come visit you for ASU game.
8mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @ColMorrisDavis @twitter Are you done yet?
12mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @ScottGreenfield @LilianaSegura @roomfordebate In fairness, if they asked people like us, we would be screaming and hissing at the question.
13mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @LaurieRoberts @MacEachernDoug Unfortunately, not exactly a shocker.
14mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @ScottGreenfield @LilianaSegura @roomfordebate What in the living fuck is wrong with people??
17mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @ScottGreenfield: This can't be serious. RT @LilianaSegura: No. Next question. RT @roomfordebate Do We Need a Law Against Catcalling? ht…
17mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @cbpolis: Why I'm grateful to #KaciHickox for fighting #Ebola in #SierraLeone/globally, & anti-science ignorance in US: http://t.co/aiT
18mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @PatrickCToomey: New @ACLU comments on #FBI's proposal to make it easier to hack suspects' computers: https://t.co/6ExEjc1yfw @NateWessl
22mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @Will_Bunch But, still, leaking this on a Friday 5pm dump is pretty bogus.
36mreplyretweetfavorite
October 2014
S M T W T F S
« Sep    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031