Civil groups in Panama have protested authoritarianism and laws that can send demonstrators to jail for for “blocking highways” and increased force used against indigenous protestors.
California columnist Andrew Cockburn writing in The Week makes local trends seem like small potatoes, or the thin end of the wedge.
THE NEWS is in. White births are no longer a majority in the United States. The Bureau of the Census confirms that non-Hispanic whites accounted for 49.6 per cent of all births in the year ending July 2011, while minorities including Hispanics, blacks, Asians and those of mixed race reached 50.4 per cent.
I felt lonely and went out on the porch and hollered for my neighbour, a white German-American. Nothing stirred. I went back to my computer.
At least someone is thinking constructively. The World Wildlife Fund says we need two planets.
The rationale is that we create too much waste for one, but the roots of American environmentalism were always nourished by dislike of "those of mixed race", and someone over there at WWF has got their thinking cap on.
Is whitey ready for a fresh start? Face it, we may be a minority, but we got the firepower.
Where did we go wrong? Too much atonal music, maybe. Richard Pryor probably put his finger on it. Pryor to a white audience:
"What the matter, y'all stop f**kin'? There will be no shortage of niggers. Niggers is f**kin'."
I began to sort things out for the big move to Planet 2. What a mess whitey had made of things! One horrible move after another. What will we Americans be handing on to the new majority? The news is not good.
At almost exactly the moment we yielded majority status, we - not the people to be sure, but our president and our Congress - were putting the finishing touches to our modern system of government, known as fascism.
As I wrote earlier this month, Americans have a habit of flinging the charge of fascism at Europe, while ignoring their own proto-fascist government. The mobs who flooded onto the streets to revel in the execution of Osama bin Laden were not exulting in America, land of the free and of constitutional propriety. They were lauding brute, lawless, lethal force. In this year of political conventions we'll be hearing a lot of tub-thumping about American freedoms, but if there's any nation in the world that is well on the way to meriting the admittedly vague label of "fascist", surely it's the United States.
Fascism, among other things, is a system of extreme, methodical state repression, violent in contour and threat, buttressed by ultra-nationalist mythology, a militarist culture and imperial ambition. In the 1980s America started locking up its poor people. Seven million adults were under correctional supervision in 2009.
A fascist system uses constant harassment. Last year there were more than 600,000 stop-and-frisks in New York City, overwhelmingly of blacks and Hispanics.
Historically, fascist regimes have been particularly cruel toward what is deemed to be sexual deviancy. US sex offender registries doom three-quarters of a million people - many of them convicted on trumpery charges - to pale simulacra of real life. Others endure castration and open-ended incarceration.
Fascist regimes, ultimately the expression of corporate power, repress labor in all efforts to organise. The onslaught here began with Taft-Hartley in 1947 and continued with methodical ferocity during the Reagan and Clinton years.
Obama reneged on pledges to make organising easier, froze the wages of federal workers and advanced free trade across the globe. Attacks on collective bargaining are pervasive. Big money's grip on both parties ensures corporate control no matter who's nominally in charge. Fascist regimes show open contempt for democracy while deifying a leader who embodies the national spirit. We salute democracy while suppressing it.
A fascist regime is the sworn foe of the right to assembly, 'unauthorised' marches and encampments. We see more signs of this around the Nato summit and will endure more of it at the national conventions. America is a network of Swat teams and kindred state-employed thugs on permanent red alert.
A fascist regime spies obsessively on its citizens. Study US laws on secret surveillance since the Patriot Act and you will find procedures that would have been the envy of the East Germans.
Ultimately a fascist state claims the right, currently under judicial stay by federal judge Katherine Forrest, to imprison its victims without term or hope of redress or legal representation.
As the executive power, in the form of the president, it claims the right to kill its enemies, whether citizens (Awlaki) or others (Guantánamo), without judicial review. In other words, rule by decree - which is what Hitler's Enabling Act won him in March 1933.
We live in a fascist country. It will take a while, many decades, to prise Wasp-dom's tenacious fingers from power, but maybe the new majority won't merely ratify evolving fascist arrangements, withcaudillismo thrown in on top of everything else.
Meanwhile on Planet 2 perhaps the old white majority can re-reread the constitution, excavate the jury from disuse and refresh the roots of freedom. And if for some technical reason Planet 2 is slow to dock, all forces will have to combine constructively here, shoulder to shoulder.