Fears of a corporate police state
From private prisons to warrantless searches, the government is working with corporations to trample your rights
BY DAVID SIROTA
“Corporate Police State,” it’s a fraught — some might even say, overwrought — term. But in its purest, apolitical form, it simply describes the periodic commingling of state and corporate power to protect private interests.
In the American psyche, any discussion of that phenomenon typically brings one of three images to mind. There’s the Old Corporate Police State — the sepia-toned America of decades long past, a place where state militias murder striking mine workers on behalf of Gilded Age barons and Congress empowers the government to forcibly ban work stoppages that defy corporate executives’ wishes. There’s the Fictional Future Corporate Police State — that smoldering bombed-out world depicted in “Robocop,””Fortress” and every other dystopian flick in Hollywood’s post-apocalyptic catalog. And there’s the Foreign Corporate Police State — think Dubai, Singapore, Monaco and every other lavish enclave defined by lots of rich people, lots of corporate headquarters, lots of heavily armed cops — and almost no civil liberties.
By imagining the Corporate Police State primarily as a historical, fictional or foreign monster, these snapshots encourage us to believe that this monster poses no threat to us in the here and now. They encourage us, in other words, to ignore the monster’s creeping advances in present-day America.