by Kelley B. Vlahos, December 27, 2011

The year 2011 marked a critical confluence of militarism and revolution, not only in places like Libya and Egypt, but also here at home, where massive demonstrations in cities and towns throughout the country were met with a well-oiled law enforcement machine deployed in camouflage and Kevlar, lobbing tear gas grenades and packing rifles with rubber bullets.

SWAT police at antiwar protest at Qantico in September (Kevin Zeese photograph)

Like tanks, bulldozers commandeered by police over the last weeks crushed several “Occupy” encampments in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Salt Lake City, and more. It could be the first time for such a strange juxtaposition in global images: the massive iron will of authority chewing away dissent here and in such far-flung places as Tahrir Square in Egypt.

As recent events in Egypt have demonstrated, revolution does not necessarily begin with resistance and end with an election. In the United States, Americans are facing decade two of a domestic war on terror that has expanded a vast security and surveillance apparatus that seems to be in perpetual confrontation with our Constitutional rights. The trouble is that every time the public cedes more control to the government, Washington just takes more (see the new military detention policies just passed by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act).

In other words, war and the struggle for control is constant. Last year at this time, the world was absorbing tens of thousands of WikiLeaks documents that offered clues to how our governments behave, plot, and prioritize behind closed doors. They offered us, too, grim and dreadful windows into the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and they have been credited in part for exposing corrupt government behavior and providing a catalyst for massive street demonstrations in places like Tunisia, which overthrew its dictator, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, in January.

Today, the leakers of those documents are on trial. One, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, is in the United States. The other, Julian Assange, faces extradition to Sweden on unrelated charges. Meanwhile, we watch to see if our influence — or lack thereof — in places like Syria and Bahrain will hamper genuine triumph over tyranny and whether the U.S., undeterred by the now apparent failures in Afghanistan and Iraq, will continue its covert operations and drone attacks in Pakistan and in less reported fronts in North Africa and the Middle East.

Link to the rest of the article 2012: Revolution or Devolution