The USA PATRIOT Acts (et al): Collective Amnesia, Paranoia and Convergent, Oligarchic Legislation in the ‘Politics of Fear’
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Flinders University School of Law
Comparative analysis has been ignored in recent decades as the mantra of ‘convergence’ has taken hegemonic forms under globalisation and, more recently, under the exporting of a United States–inspired ‘exceptionalism’ within this Neo-liberal project. The ‘War on Terror’ provides an unusual window for ‘seeing’ real convergence in the largely ‘invisible’ manoeuvring over framing and re-framing of anti-terrorist legislation in the US, UK/Europe and Australia. A cursory, comparative glance at The USA PATRIOT Act 2001, The USA PATRIOT Act 2006, other legislative variations in the United Kingdom/European Union (UK/EU) and Australia, and Stalinist legislation - Article 58, Criminal Code of the RSFSR (1934) - provides uncomfortable reading and an interesting convergence in the use/abuse of the ‘politics of fear’. Within Neo-liberalism, arguably, the destruction of long standing civil and political rights in the name of defending such rights is surely an issue for future democratic account. The current irrelevance of Habeas Corpus in so-called Anglo-American democracies would have many a tyrant marvelling at the rapidly convergent, authoritarian behaviour of political oligarchs in Liberal-democratic societies and the actual de-legitimation of sovereignty and democratic values under the onslaught of hubris, propaganda and fear.
Thorne, K. & Kouzmin, A. "The USA PATRIOT Acts (et al): Collective Amnesia, Paranoia and Convergent, Oligarchic Legislation in the ‘Politics of Fear’" 10 FJLR 543