You can watch both segments here.
In the first part, the interviewer expresses disbelief that American police departments are using tanks to make arrests. Hopefully, she's since recovered from her original skepticism after (hopefully) watching events in Ferguson, Missouri unfold.
For as Henry Giroux warns in the second part, regarding Canada's comparatively strong safety net, "There's a cold wind blowing from the south."
He could have been talking about the fate of Michael Brown, gunned down for the crime of being a BMW (Black Male Walking) in Ferguson when he wrote,
The war on terror, rebranded under Obama as the "Overseas Contingency Operation," has morphed into war on democracy. Everyone is now considered a potential terrorist, providing a rational for both the government and private corporations to spy on anybody, regardless of whether they have committed a crime. Surveillance is supplemented by a growing domestic army of baton-wielding police forces who are now being supplied with the latest military equipment. Military technologies such as Drones, SWAT vehicles and machine-gun-equipped armored trucks once used exclusively in high-intensity war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan are now being supplied to police departments across the nation and not surprisingly "the increase in such weapons is matched by training local police in war zone tactics and strategies." The domestic war against "terrorists" [code for young protesters] provides new opportunities for major defense contractors and corporations who "are becoming more a part of our domestic lives." As Glenn Greenwald points out, "Arming domestic police forces with paramilitary weaponry will ensure their systematic use even in the absence of a terrorist attack on US soil; they will simply find other, increasingly permissive uses for those weapons." Of course, the new domestic paramilitary forces will also undermine free speech and dissent with the threat of force while simultaneously threatening core civil liberties, rights and civic responsibilities. Given that "by age 23, almost a third of Americans are arrested for a crime," it becomes clear that in the new militarized state young people, especially poor minorities, are viewed as predators, a threat to corporate governance, and are treated as disposable populations. This siege mentality will be reinforced by the merging of private and corporate intelligence and surveillance agencies, and the violence it produces will increase as will the growth of a punishment state that acts with impunity. Too much of this violence is reminiscent of the violence used against civil rights demonstrators by the forces of Jim Crow in the 1950s and 1960s.The New York Times noticed the same thing and today posted side-by-side photos on its home page to illustrate it:
|Left: Ferguson 2014 (NYT) and Right: Birmingham 1963 (AP)|
The latest news, after a night of peaceful protests when a more professional state police force took over from the militarized thugs, is that the cop who shot Brown last weekend had just been alerted to a convenience store robbery, and put two and two together when he saw the suspicious "BMW" nearby.
Additionally, there's been a bipartisan call from congress critters to demilitarize local police departments in the wake of the discovery that boys will play with the dangerous toys that the patrimonial Pentagon bestows upon them. Well golly gee willikers, and here they thought the kiddies would stash the hand grenades in their closets until the zombie apocalypse.
I'm waiting for President Obama to try to quietly quash any such reining-in, the same way he quashed the Congressional reining-in of the NSA last year. We'll see if our legislators take the bait when their own political futures are on the line. We'll see whether, in the words of Henry Giroux, we'll fall victim once again to the "violence of organized forgetting."