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Wednesday, April 30, 2014


"Changing everything"

A year ago, two bombs left near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed 3 people and injured 264. As a result, this year in Boston (and, I expect, all future years) was completely different in many ways, all designed ostensibly to ensure security.

But this wasn't the first time a large group of people watching an event had been bombed. Back in 1916 (see p. 3 of the link), a "Preparedness Day" parade in San Francisco was being held, the largest parade ever held in the city, with more than 50,000 marchers (!) and who knows how many people watching. A suitcase bomb, most likely placed there by anarchists objecting to the parade's clear intent to encourage U.S. entry into World War I, exploded, killing 10 people and injuring 40. A death toll much higher than that in Boston, and quite possibly just as many or more serious injuries (I suspect the criteria for who was "really injured" were stricter in 1916).

And what happened? Well, two union leaders, Thomas Mooney and Warren Billings, were railroaded into prison with life sentences, convicted by perjured testimony (finally pardoned and released after 23 years as the evidence of their false conviction became overwhelming). Other than that, nothing. Parades didn't stop in San Francisco. You didn't have to pass through security barriers and be scrutinized to watch a parade. And guess what? As far as I can tell, despite that utterly lax attitude by today's standards, no one else was ever killed while watching a parade in San Francisco.

So why the difference today? Because "security" here at home and military action abroad (also supposedly to ensure our "security") is big business. It's really just that simple. One bombing of a public event, or even the 2977 dead from 9/11 attacks, do not "change everything." What "changes everything" is the security/war industry convincing the public, through their "elected" (i.e., rented) representatives in Washington and elsewhere, as well as their media (owned by the same establishment forces if not directly by the war industries themselves), that we need to "change everything." The need for enemies is strong (witness the ongoing demonization of North Korea and Syria, and the ever-increasing demonization of Russia, and of course the now every-present demonstration of "Muslim extremists), and with the Soviet Union gone, the need to gin up crises that need the "services" of the "security" and "defense" industries is strong.

Which is why what should be events that can be taken in stride, and responded to with fairly simple measures, become the all-consuming events that they are. 9/11, and now the Boston Marathon bombing, will take their place in the "national religion," to be invoked as often as possible, and indefinitely into the future, not because the death of innocent people should be remembered and honored, but because their deaths serve the larger purpose of capitalism and imperialism.

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