Monday, March 28, 2011

Keeping Power

Ungrateful masses attack their government for assorted reasons. Recent popular unrest in various parts of the world also highlights assorted methods used by governments to maintain their hold ("iron grip") on power.

The following is a partial, growing & unranked list of government methods to keep power.

This list can be useful for oppressed people seeking to promote popular change. (Agents of scummy governments: we are deciphering your tricks... please read no further).

-- intelligence services (Mukhabarat) provide early warning about dissent & dissidents

-- cultivate individual self-censorship through fear of recrimination and reprisal (arrest, torture, murder, etc.)

-- significant & well-publicized brutality generates fear & self-censorship

-- reshuffle top ministers or key personnel

-- pledge to hold free elections within 18 months

-- promise not to seek reelection

-- pass power to "A New Generation" (child of the leader)

-- institute public order laws with draconian fines & imprisonment

-- monitor & control the press; limit access of foreign press corps

-- treat internet & telephone network access as a privilege, to be turned-off when threatening

-- do as little as possible to promise justice for past misdeeds; cultivate the aura that government operates with impunity and can do anything

-- discuss amending the constitution

-- stall for time by creating diversion

-- stall for time by creating committees to study assorted problems; maintain control of committee composition, schedule, agenda, and reporting

-- blame foreign or minority elements for troubles

-- condemn individual enemies for use of drugs, or sexual or economic crimes

-- coopt opponents via government employment

-- encourage opponents toward foreign exile

-- equate criticism with dissent & disloyalty

-- watch the watchers: police, intel, military, political colleagues

-- express shock when opponents are murdered, dismembered, etc.

-- lease land to imperial power for airfield, naval port or military base (though this increases possibilities of foreign intervention)

-- allow the development of tame 'opposition' groups, fracturing opposition energies

-- blame revolutionary groups, 'armed gangs' or paramilitary forces beyond government control for disruption or outrageous attacks on opposition

-- promise investigation of abuses, but require substantial proofs & evidence

-- ally with organized criminal groups

-- share crumbs of corruption, coopting key people

-- make defamation and treason major crimes

-- utilize harassment, interrogation & detention without charge for social control

-- tightly control the judiciary; delay trials indefinitely