Defining existential politics.
by Byron Belitsos
With the inauguration of George W. Bush for a second term, we enter a nightmare phase of American history, a descent into the era of what might be called “deep politics.”
In this short essay I reach out for an expanded definition of a phrase first coined by the distinguished author Peter Dale Scott. In Deep Politics and the Death of JFK1, Scott refers to the “underlying continuities of deep politics” displayed by the apparent convergence of the covert interests of military, rightwing, intelligence agency, and organized crime conspirators that coalesced in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Veteran journalist Jim Marrs points in a similar direction with his Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, as does the Oliver Stone movie based in part on that book. Marrs then works out the implications in later books, including Rule by Secrecy and Inside Job2, an expose of US government collusion with the 9/11 plot. Big-picture writers like Scott, Marrs, and investigative journalist Mike Ruppert, author of Crossing the Rubicon3, have succeeded in synthesizing a growing body of evidence that support the notion that America now inhabits a surreal realm of deep politics, where amoral, Machiavellian, covert action directs (or conditions) the agenda of the overt world, and cover stories are spun by self-deceived politicians, “pundits,” and mainstream media.
Meanwhile, the truth and the facts about the black-budget world of covert action migrates to isolated ghettos inhabited by independent journalists, courageous researchers, dedicated whisteblowers, misunderstood academics, overworked publishers, and radical activists of the “left” or “right” who are easily discredited, disrupted by infighting, infiltrated by covert forces, or neutralized by their inability to combine resources and see the bigger picture. This essay is a plea for seeking out this bigger picture, and one man’s attempt to describe it.
In the new definition I would like to suggest, deep politics is a pathological syndrome of post-modern politics and in the evolution of consciousness that bears far-reaching moral, political, cultural, and spiritual implications. I here define deep politics as existential politics–the ironic politics that results when the perception of “radical evil” in the body politic coincides with a cascading series of crises that threaten the survival of life itself. The threats are very real, the rulers are discredited, and the easy “fix” is no longer available. And thus a spectre of blame pervades the collective “field,” wreaking havoc through its projection outwards from one cultural group upon another, especially as it is focalized through the selection of specific “evil persons.” True enough, there are perpetrators against whom compelling legal cases can be made; but in the final analysis, all are implicated. We are all complicit by virtue of the inherent difficulty of finding a way through–and by virtue of being human at a time of massive planetary change.
These are times of epic change, when ordinary people become reluctant participants; when personal lives get overrun by the consequences of corruption, war, resource depletion, pollution, and economic depression. At the ripest point in this process, the divide between “the good guys” and “the evil enemy” dissolves, the projections are owned, and the shared nature of the human condition is itself nakedly revealed in all of its existential mystery. In this rare moment, deep politics is all at once deep psychology and deep spirituality.
Happily, it is in these depths that hope can be found. For in the language of myth, when the heart of darkness has been revealed for what it is, the “children of light” will appear4. When the “shadow of evil” shows its face, a brighter light cannot be far behind.
I believe that the initial entry into deep politics is marked by the appearance of these incipient features of a revolutionary crisis:
The political legitimacy of a ruling group has suffered serious erosion. The economic basis of their rule is becoming untenable. Increasingly brazen covert operations provide overt reasons to support this rule. Conversely, overt operations provide a “cover story” for black budget operations. Legitimacy has become entirely ironic; it is based on denial and the “big lie.”
This Big Lie in our time is, of course, the cover-up of the truth about 9/11–the mother issue of the current phase of deep politics. A prodigious amount of evidence demonstrates that the official story is an obvious farce5, so much so that a shocking percentage of New York state citizens canvassed in a recent Zogby poll hold the opinion that officials consciously allowed the attacks to happen–including 49 percent of residents of New York City6. Yet the official consensus about 9/11 still provides the spin and the cover story needed to launch two imperial wars, plus the rest of the now-familiar list of Bush administration maladies.
And right on cue, President George W. Bush used the lessons extracted from 9/11 as the premise of his second inaugural address. Look back to the opening sentences of this speech: “…After the shipwreck of communism came years of relative quiet…and then there came a day of fire…We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.”
Bush’s “day of fire” is the premise and the mandate for imperial expansion. Here a sitting President entering his second term derives the overt mission of the country, that of “spreading liberty,” from rarefied propaganda–from the spin of the official gloss on America’s most brutal covert operation!
On the very inaugural platform, irony rules!
Such deep irony points us to the moral and spiritual dimension of deep politics. In the matrix of the Big Lie, the ultimacy of the ironic is embodied in the person of a leader–he who represents the shared delusion of those who have taken the “blue pill” (the symbol of self-deception from the movie Matrix).”7
Having attained this zenith of self-deception, the body politic next enters in to the phase that might be called–by those of us who have taken the red pill–the deep-politics tipping point. I suggest that America’s tipping will occur when these three conditions are clearly present: The personality dimension–the accountability issue–becomes the most explicit feature of the crisis. Enough has been revealed that researchers can “connect the dots.” We can now point to a series of identifiable acts of corruption, deception, hypocrisy, and perpetrations by very specific individuals and elites. Republicans must have thought they had reached this point in their efforts to impeach President Clinton.
The “underground” of forbidden truths rises to the surface. The force of the alternative narrative is strong enough to overcome the pervasive repression, omission, and denial from official sources. The mainstream media now becomes irrelevant; it is a saintly theologian, David Ray Griffin, who steps out from the obscurity of academia to prove that the 9/11 Commission Report is a book of omissions and distortions.8
A surprisingly diverse set of groups reach wide agreement on the outlines of the crisis. The underlying moral and spiritual crisis becomes strikingly obvious to segments of society not usually found to be in agreement. A new coalition between left, center, and right becomes possible on constitutional, moral, and spiritual grounds. For example, over one hundred prominent Americans including presidential candidates from the left and the right–John Cobb (Green) and Michael Badnarik (Libertarian)–plus respected rabbis and imams, historians and theologians, military officials and diplomats, as well as celebrated leaders from the environmental, alternative economics and peace and justice communities, have called for an entirely new investigation of 9/11 based on severe doubts about the official story.9
Reaching the tipping point turns deep politics into a conundrum of deep spirituality. When the perceived evils of a debased society become personalized and highly focalized in certain leaders or leadership groups, the crisis takes on an explicit spiritual dimension. One cannot hold an abstraction accountable; a mere concept cannot motivate transformative politics. It must all come down to the domain of the nakedly personal: the Hitler, the Marcos, the Stalin, the Mao, the Dick Cheney–the one who personifies what must be faced by all.
For in the final analysis, justifiable finger-pointing at the “shadow” of other persons, especially if these are our highest leaders, eventually points us back to our own shadow projection. Our leaders are our ultimate mirror. This may vary with the depth of the crisis, but our finger of blame pointing outward to those we must hold accountable before the law, must sometime point all the more inwardly to us, and eventually to the tragedy of the untapped moral and spiritual potential of all the actors in the unfolding drama. And therein lies the foundation for the birth of a new “post-ironic” politics from the ravages of deep politics. The spiritual self innately demands justice and truth, yet possesses a deep capacity for forgiveness. Signs of the recovery of spiritual sincerity will mark the concluding phase of the era of deep politics. Those days will be happier, simpler times, when the surface and depth dimensions may once again become congruent.
The impeachment and resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974 opened up just such a period of moral and spiritual self-examination. But I believe this was mild compared to the adjustments to come when justice is finally served for the perpetration of 9/11 and its aftermath, and when the black-budget realities beneath American politics are finally outed.
Meanwhile, this is still 2005, and our descent into deep politics continues. I observe that a quiet meeting of minds has been taking place across social classes and former political divisions, through means of communication other than the anointed mainstream channels. The narrow, routinized play of everyday politics still continues on the surface. But the vital forces of society are now engaging in a richer, freer, and more polyphonic display of opinions and expressions, all across the political spectrum. A new framework for discourse is emerging that is based on an increasing realization of the gravity of the deep-politics crisis.
Now can come the possibility of a crucial opening: Seeing the deep need for renewal, diverse sections of the population will be able to reach toward each other across the ritualized, false dichotomies of the old regime, and out towards a unifying political agenda with radical implications. Some have called this the movement toward “the radical center.” Other call it the era of integral politics–the higher synthesis of the leading truths of all parts of the political spectrum. Meanwhile, minds and hearts open to the possibility of a cultural transformation with spiritual implications. Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were headed toward this kingdom of goodness before they were struck down. More recently, South Africa’s “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” has lit the way to this place.
And so we must face it: The dark truth will come out about 9/11, election rigging, erosion of civil liberties, contempt for international law, trampling on human rights abroad, lies that led to the War in Iraq, egregious financial corruption, and covert operations run amuck stretching all the way back to Pearl Harbor. These revelations will lead to a crisis of legitimacy of epic proportions, at a time when the economy is loosing its moorings. (Recall that these latter two are the criteria for entry into the era of deep politics.) As these scandals reach their crescendo in coming years, the spiritual impact of the crisis will lead to a revolution of culture, consciousness, and politics–and unheard of forms of prophetic leadership.
We’ve noted that as the era of deep politics ripens, that which was once hidden or denied in the body politic becomes manifest in a way that crystalizes a revolutionary, reflexive self-awareness in society. The flood of forbidden information becomes a torrent. It may even border on the apocalyptical in the original sense of the root meaning of the word: a revelatory unveiling of secrets that were once too harsh to bear, for which too few once had ears to hear. This is now the time that the prophets and the truth-tellers must be heard, for there is indeed no other way forward out of the morass.
But there is no guarantee that a deep politics crisis will in fact lead to lasting progressive political change. That result will take more than “consciousness;” it will require the tactics and strategies sufficient for the direct-action, nonviolent resolution of the struggle for political power that is to come. If this sort of leadership does not present itself according to the vision of the coming prophets of transformation, the change will get sublimated to the symbolic levels of art, culture, and spirituality, with lasting effect only in those realms.
Activists take note: When the epic bubble bursts, there could come a time of chaos, or civil war. It is bad enough that our system is nonreformable through electoral politics; but soon, you and I as change agents may even have difficulty in actually locating something called a “government” that is subject to change. Currently, the ingredients of this soup are not good. The body politic lacks the sensory mechanisms of a vigilant media. Governing today has become a rich man’s hobby for opportunists and climbers. In the vacuum, utterly centralized and corporately controlled political factions collude at times for certain shared goals, using the instrument of state for their temporary advantage for all manner of covert operations and vast array of “dirty tricks.” Then they fall away and act on their own for more specific goals. Thus the political center does not hold; the only thing left standing are centers of private greed. These centers care nothing for “liberal democracy,” but pay others to pretend to celebrate its glories.
Once communism collapsed, capital accumulation could be unleashed planet-wide, free to be projected far beyond the grasp of its local and even national roots, and gaining added support from global institutions like the WTO, the World Bank, and the IMF. Those roots of wealth are the earthy neighborhoods of “living equity” where economic value is actually generated, where real political power originates, where life itself arises from the air and soil, and moral values are known to be true. This world is disappearing. Neighborhoods can shop at chain stores, local power is “parochial,” the air and soil can be desecrated without accountability, and boys and girls are sent off from high school to die in wars no one really understands.
Quaint vestiges of local autonomy remain, seemingly to remind us of what we are missing. Power and profit have been ceded from locality to nation, and from there to corrupt global elites. The winner is the player with the lowest cost of capital10. The local and even national stopping places on the way to obscene concentrations of wealth are weak–or bought off. Those purporting to fight this concentration too often work at the wrong level, offering a mirror image of centralization. Little do they realize that the search for profit is an ever-increasing, ever-centralizing centrifugal force hurling together accretions of money and political power that can only be called diabolical. This global fascism cannot be defeated on its own terms. It can only be stopped by voting with our feet and with our money, right where we live and work, in a global uprising of grassroots democracy and deep spirituality.
Once the rule of law and the rule of markets stood above persons. This is now replaced by an impersonal, inexorable force, a global engine of profits subject to endless manipulation by its self-exalted insiders. Post-modern greed is an electronic Frankenstein that no one person can contain or control, perhaps save of the Federal Reserve Board in its private chambers. Far, far away lies the utopia of a democratic world government based on the realization that the local is the true basis of global sovereignty of the people. Visionary leaders in the era of deep politics may understand this, but who possesses a map to the other side?
It all now comes down to a question of cultural evolution and the search for spiritual values that can have no political party–or rather, this is the party of all humanity, the good ship of all, the great ship of fools and saints and self-deceived evil-doers that we call the brotherhood and sisterhood of humankind, under the parenthood of the One divine source. The revolutionary crisis now upon us reveals that a specific form of insanity actually connects the phenomena now driving the dissent of the left and the center and the right. Somehow, we have permitted the construction of a society that allows our leaders to derail the very course of human evolution. The species is self-destructing. No mere factional group has the right to offer the only grasp of this planetary conundrum. The causation of the crisis does not come from an examination of “Bush’s brain.” It comes from the examination of ourselves, and a faith-filled surrender to the realities of the era of deep politics.
NOTES TO THE TEXT
1. Published by University of California Press in 1993 to critical acclaim. “Staggeringly well-researched and intelligent overview not only of the JFK assassination but also of the rise of forces undermining American democracy… A kind of Rosetta stone for cracking open the deepest darkness in American politics. Will test the most well-informed.” –Kirkus Reviews
2. Inside Job: Unmasking the 9/11 Conspiracies (Origin Press: 2004). This book was published by the author of this article. An updated edition is due out in May 2005 that will contain this essay as the publisher”s preface.
3. See Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil by Michael C. Ruppert, (New Society Publishers: 2004).
4. The phrase “children of light” alludes to a favorite phrase in the gnostic literature of the centuries after the life of Jesus.
5. See especially 911truth.org, the leading portal site for the 9/11 truth movement. See also supporting documentation provided at justicefor911.org for the recent historic filing by the Justice for 9/11 Steering Committee of a Citizens” Complaint and Petition to the offices of the Attorney General of New York State, Eliot Spitzer. The Complaint cites “probable cause for an independent grand jury investigation to examine unsolved crimes committed in connection with the events of September 11, 2001.” Nine members of September 11 families, Ground Zero first responders, and citizens of New York have signed on as the first complainants. The Steering Committee has called on Americans nationwide to support this action, and to initiate similar actions in other states, as well as sign the online petition of solidarity.
6. The results of this poll by the respected Zogby International polling agency are posted at 911truth.org. In summary: half (49.3 percent) of New York City residents and 41% of New York citizens overall said that some of our leaders “knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act.” The poll of New York residents was conducted from Tuesday August 24 through Thursday August 26, 2004. Overall results have a margin of sampling error of +/-3.5 percent. The poll is the first of its kind conducted in America that surveys attitudes regarding US government complicity in the 9/11 tragedy. Despite the acute legal and political implications of this accusation, nearly 30 percent of registered Republicans and over 38 percent of those who described themselves as “very conservative” supported the claim. The charge found very high support among adults under 30 (62.8 percent), African-Americans (62.5 percent), Hispanics (60.1 percent), Asians (59.4 percent), and “Born Again” Evangelical Christians (47.9 percent).
7. Special inspiration for this essay comes from recent writings of Paul Levy, a spiritual and political activist, especially his essay “The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of our Collective Psychosis.” See Paul”s website: www.awakeninthedream.com. His notion of the dreamlike quality of reality is reminiscent of the plot of the movie Matrix. Those who have taken the “blue pill” have come to understand the fundamental deception underlying “consensual reality.”
8. David Ray Griffin, an Emeritus professor at Claremont School of Theology, is the internationally acclaimed author of more than a dozen widely translated books on theology, ethics, and philosophy, and is most recently the author of The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions and a seminal book on 9/11, The New Pearl Harbor, both published by Olive Branch Press in 2004.
9. See “The 9/11 Truth Statement” at 911truth.org.
10. See “The Negative Return on Investment Economy: A Discourse on Americas”s Black Budget,” by Chris Sanders and Catherine Austin Fitts, and other essays by Catherine Austin Fitts posted at www.Solari.com.