We are in the middle of a giant planetary cycle of Uranus in Aries to Pluto in Capricorn that began in 2010 and will continue into 2016. But even before that cycle began, Pluto’s entry into Capricorn created a major shift in the global political landscape.
Pluto represents transformation – the kind that comes when something is destroyed so that something else can emerge in its place. Capricorn describes our relationship to the outer world – our concern with money and finance, the structures of society that create the foundation of our lives such as marriage and governments and corporations. Where Pluto in Sagittarius was expansive and optimistic, creating bubbles in everything from housing to the stock market, Pluto in Capricorn was contracting and offered a reality check. So Pluto’s entry into Capricorn began a dismantling process, taking apart any structure which did not sit on a firm foundation. Bank accounts, career positions, governmental entities, corporations – we have seen quite a bit of worldwide change and destruction in these areas from which we have still not completely recovered.
Uranus is the planet of revolution and radical change (as well as innovation and authenticity in our personal lives) and when that planet moved into Aries, the sign of self-assertion and independence, there was a swell of revolution across the globe. The Arab Spring is associated among astrologers with the entry of Uranus into Aries. Aries is associated with Mars, the planet of aggression and warfare, and I have long predicted that when Uranus moved into Aries the political threat facing nations would be from splinter groups such as Al Qaeda rather than from other nations. History has borne out this prediction and now all over the world we are seeing countries being torn apart by radical (Uranus) extremist groups with advanced weaponry (Aries). (You’ll find more details about this cycle along with the relevant dates on my website here.)
Fareed Zakariah calls this the “democratization of violence:”
However, the radicalism of Uranus is locked in a challenging battle (square formation) with Pluto in Capricorn, representing the forces of big corporations and established governmental forces. And as the pendulum swings from the revolutionary fervor of Uranus in Aries to the antithetic crushing of that fervor by those governmental forces, in the US we are seeing military equipment being purchased by local community police forces in astonishing numbers. We have seen the results in Ferguson, Missouri this week where military equipment was used by the police to quell protests against the killing of an unarmed black teen in that town.
From California to Connecticut and several states in between, local police departments have been steadily arming themselves over the years with billions of dollars’ worth of military-grade equipment — including grenade launchers, helicopters and machine guns.
The materiel comes from a U.S. military program that, until this week, received little public attention. But after St. Louis police used heavy-duty equipment in putting down riots and protests following the shooting death of an unarmed teen, new questions have been raised about where this gear is coming from.
The flood of equipment being funneled from the Department of Defense to local police departments traces back to a program created in the 1990s. The excess property program, known as 1033, was initially created to help state and local authorities in the war against drugs, and help unused military equipment find a home — as opposed to being needlessly destroyed.
But the flow of equipment from the military to towns across America has spiked since the 9/11 attacks. And it’s become a thorny topic among critics who say local authorities shouldn’t be outfitted with heavy machinery originally bought by the government to fight actual wars and track terrorists overseas.
From an astrological perspective, this isn’t surprising. The Uranus/Pluto cycle always brings a swell of radical enthusiasm followed by social chaos. The Uranus/Pluto conjunction from 1962-1969 brought us Woodstock and the British Invasion, Black Power and the Feminist revolution, but was followed by the election of Richard Nixon by the “silent majority,” the entry of National Guard on college campuses and the Kent State killings in 1970.
Because of a legal quirk, SWAT raids can be profitable. Rules on civil asset-forfeiture allow the police to seize anything which they can plausibly claim was the proceeds of a crime. Crucially, the property-owner need not be convicted of that crime. If the police find drugs in his house, they can take his cash and possibly the house, too. He must sue to get them back.
Many police departments now depend on forfeiture for a fat chunk of their budgets. In 1986, its first year of operation, the federal Asset Forfeiture Fund held $93.7m. By 2012, that and the related Seized Asset Deposit Fund held nearly $6 billion.
As always, John Oliver cuts right to the core of the matter.