In late modernity widespread crimes have become one of the major preoccupations of nation states. To be sure, states themselves commit plenty of hideous crimes and they do so by leveraging their monopolistic position on ‘legal violence’. They conduct covert and overt operations routinely, with the help of specialized institutions created for the purpose. Well-organized non-state actors, with subversive political agenda, are also visible in our world system. These include the likes of ISIS, etc. These violently operating entities are customarily called ‘terrorist’ organizations. At times, the labeling can be quite arbitrary, depending on the position of the declarer in the prevailing hierarchical interstate system. For example, the USA recently declared the ‘Iranian Republican Guard’ a terrorist organization, even though it is a bona fide arm of the Iranian state!
Disgruntled and sick individuals bent on committing mass murders are also in the ascendance, not only in the USA, where it is more or less an everyday affair. Unfortunately, the root cause behind such atrocities is one topic not to be discussed in polite company. To some extent, mass shooting is a mere upgrade on the background homicide rate, facilitated by the ever-increasing sophistication of killing weapons. In many countries where homicide is relatively high, mass murders follow suit. Mexico is another example. The mass shootings that are happening in the USA is of a different breed. By and large, it has no perceptible purpose, except mere satisfaction that accrues to the criminally inclined from the very act of killing other human beings! Whatever the reasons that propel one to commit such socially (may be not psychologically) puzzling crime, the availability of weapons to all and sundry, is certainly another major culprit behind the scene. But the question still remains: what lies behind the increasing number of people who are determined to committing very cold-hearted crimes, particularly in such rich nations? See Rall’s article next column.
At least in the case of the traditional crime syndicates, the major reason behind their criminal activities is quite clear. Here, the message is: ‘don’t stand on our way; if you do, we will get rid of you’! While these entities seem to be receding in the west, (core countries of the world system) they are gaining significant grounds in South America, Africa and Asia. To a large extent, these are entities obsessed with making quick and beaucoup money, using all kinds of means, legal or otherwise. When a state fails to have a convincing integrity system with transparent, accountable and participatory mode of governance, the tendency amongst the impatient sheeple (human mass) is to take matters in its own hands. Moreover, in such societies the large majority gradually develops stoic apathy, with unappetizing consequences that are bound to be detrimental to the future of the country!
Those who do not use extreme violence, but are essentially in the same camp with that of the traditional organized crime (fixated on making fast/plenty of money) are running the world financial systems, by extension, the global economy! They do so, mostly by manipulating existing laws and buying influence; like bribing lawmakers, corrupt judges as well as elements of the executive organ. Thanks to the states, these quietly operating criminal syndicates have already setup intergovernmental institutions to protect their various cartels that span the whole world. The most these accomplished manipulators get for their callous crimes is a slap on the wrist, so it seems. If truth be told, the globalization we gullibly/ignorantly talk about is essentially the making of these concocted institutions at the service of these ‘legal criminals’. These people masterminded the financial crisis of 2008, which has destroyed the lives of millions. Soon there will be more devastating crises to come! To add insult to injury, these white-collar criminals have been rewarded for their evil deeds. Policies like QE (quantitative easing) is tailor made to make these criminals even richer. See Smith’s article on page 46.
In Africa it is mostly those affiliated with the ruling elites that commit such intricately massive crimes. As in the core countries, these individuals also revert to physical force/violence, if and when they deem situations demand it! Amongst the various means of criminal accumulation pursued by the Africa’s parasitic elites, we can mention government tenders, transfer of state assets to cronies under various pretexts, including privatization, favoring cronies in the state’s procurement processes, the facilitation of massive bank credit, relative to the underlying, usually front/phony business operations, etc., etc. However, there is always a catch in our context. It is; unlike the strong states of the industrially advanced countries, popular resentments in the weak states of Africa usually result in accelerated mass uprisings, to be followed by generalized destabilization. Unfortunately, ‘It Is Our Turn To Eat’ (Michela Wrong) remains a powerful guiding light to the perennially parasitic African polity. Nonetheless and at the end of the day, ignorance and corruption, fuelled by the ideology of identity politics, will bring neither lasting peace nor sustained prosperity! The cul-de-sac ideology of identity politics only incentivizes comprehensive mal-governance. Elections after elections have not given a glimmer of hope, let alone deliver salvation, to the majority of Africans. This old ‘rinse and repeat’ tactic only benefits the few at the expense of the many. Yet, this dead-end cycle to nowhere continues, until it doesn’t, resulting in state collapse. How many African countries are on the verge of becoming ‘failed states’, mostly on the account of criminal transgression and apparent intransigence on the part of the ruling elites? Refreshingly, traditional antidotes might make a comeback. See Plummer’s article on page 41.
“Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land, they own and control the corporations that’ve long since bought and paid for, the senate, the congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pocket, and they own all the big media companies so they control just about all of the news and the information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them.” George Carlin (American comedian). Good Day!