March 03, 2007

Six Degrees of Collaboration

'...No empire can exist without collaborators... Collaborators are the lifeblood of empire everywhere...

More important is the second degree of collaborators, the professionals. They are the ones who are just doing a job. They, not the Quislings, actually run their colonized countries. The professional collaborators tend to be apolitical. They figure that, whether their homeland is occupied by foreign tyrants or domestic ones, there is a job to be done and someone has to do it, ostensibly for the benefit of their own people.

Among the professional collaborators are the bureaucrats. Unwittingly, the bureaucrats are not just “doing their jobs”. They are doing the work of the occupier, for without their assistance there would be no “normalcy” and the chafe of occupation would excite the people to resistance.

The “professionals” include the soldiers and police. The soldier class of collaborators, generally young people in their teens and twenties, are indoctrinated into a cohesive, supportive, uniform society when society all around them seems to be disintegrating. They are trained to be “professionals”, which means that they are trained to obey “orders” and to kill other human beings on command. This type of “professional” collaborator is mature enough to be trained and too immature to resist indoctrination...

But it is not the second degree of collaborators who are essential to empire.

More important than them is the third degree of collaborators, the “score-settlers”...

The “score-settler” serves the new empire as an eager collaborator because he was typically maltreated by the newly conquered people. The occupier merely uses the “score-settler” for its own short-term purposes, however, and it is usually only a matter of time before the empire, having achieved domination, proves that he who it elevates to power it can just as easily cast aside...

However, it is not the “score-settler” who is most necessary to the empire.

More important is the fourth degree of collaborator, the opportunists, the profiteers. These people have no qualms about collaborating with their imperial conqueror because they are simply out to make money. They are like the Wall Street investors who see profit in other people's misery, the loan shark who exacts interest income from the poor, the profiteer who lines his pocket by providing necessities at exorbitant prices when all around him is chaos...

The opportunist is an important collaborator, but not the most important to the empire.

The fifth degree of collaboration is the gladiator. The gladiator is the bright, smart one whose services are for sale to the highest bidder. In America, they are the corporate lawyers who cravenly serve the Fortune Five Hundred; the government attorneys who inexcusably generate legal memorandums that excuse torture and secret detentions and abrogation of the Geneva Conventions...

That distinction belongs to the sixth degree of collaboration, the merely compliant.

Us. All of us.

In reality, the empire's foundation rests squarely on its own collaborators, on its own citizens' shoulders. We work, we consume and circulate money, we drive, we watch television, we read periodicals, we go about our day to day activities seemingly unaware that our every little action, socially and economically, directly and indirectly tends to support the infrastructure of the empire. Millions upon millions of us, the merely compliant, are the cells of the empire's body. Without our activities, it all simply grinds to a halt...

We can, incrementally, stop collaborating in the negative sense of the word: stop complying; reduce or withdraw our participation. We can start to collaborate in the positive sense of collaboration among equals seeking a common good.

Our complicity, our collaboration, is the ultimate strength of the empire, and its ultimate weakness...

From: Alternative Press Review
Collaborators come in many forms. The common denominator is that they are aware of workplace bullying but keep their mouths shut, and thus implicitly or explicitly condone the actions of bullies.
  • It can be your trusted academic colleagues who for years drunk bears with you, played cricket with you and had BBQs with your family, played with your children but now are distancing themselves.
  • It can be senior academics afraid that if they speak out and break out from groupthink they will miss out on the next round of promotions, so they join the lynch mob.

  • It can be governors who know or suspect that senior academic staff are engaged in bullying of junior staff but do not confront those who appointed them, and do not insist on the fair and transparent application of regulations - this is while they are active members of the church.

  • It can be the union rep who does not question the entrenched culture of workplace bullying, and from his/her protected position often sleeps in the same bed with the managers.

  • It can be your neighbour who asks you to close the door and move on in life; is prepared to justify and explain what happened to you.

  • It can be the local media that is afraid to question a local public institution for fear that it will loose advertising and burn bridges.
A collaborator is anybody who - for whatever reason - fails to speak out and speak up while watching the victim of workplace bullying suffer mentally and professionally. We all know what happened to the Vichy collaborators... All collaborators are eventually exposed. They are party to the crime. Collaborators await for your future - you will hung your heads in shame.

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