Blows Against the Empire, the Criminalization of Dissent & the Futuristic Police State
John Trudell: The Futuristic Police State (From 2003)
By way of preface, let me give you a little of my background. I was born a prototypical Southern California working-class surfer boy. As a poor, white kid, I was educated by the California Public School system of the 1960's and was, therefore, both the avatar of the Liberal Contract of Egalitarianism and an exemplar of the Last, Best Hope of the Uttermost West. As a student of History, I made it a point to learn the Lessons of History so I could help avoid it's Mistakes. Growing to adulthood in the San Francisco Bay Area of the late 60's, my mind was further expanded by the cultural ferment of the times, seeing in the Civil Rights, the Anti-Vietnam War and Countercultural movements a "Great Becoming" as formerly marginalized groups forced the society to be more open, more tolerant, more free. In short, to expand our society to more perfectly realize the vision of the founders of this nation., a Free Self-government of Free, Informed Citizens ruling with Equality and Justice for ALL. Combined with my background as a child of seafaring men, I was instilled with the knowledge gained from growing up in a seaport town, where goods and ideas were exchanged by people from all over the globe.
My upbringing allowed me to both demonstrate against the Vietnam War and join the Navy. While serving I found myself in charge of safeguarding, loading and firing nuclear weapons during the entire Watergate episode of the Nixon administration while I was suing the Navy for fraud as part of a class-action suit over a bonus they promised me and 30,000 others. As a result of my voyages to some 36 countries across 3 continents, I was able to relate to the people there and see myself in them. It also gave me some inkling of the true power of the vision of America as opposed to it's reality.
The reality is that, for every two steps forward, there has been a step back. Because my granddad was a merchant seaman in the early 1900's, I know of Andrew_Furuseth , because he signed my granddad's SUP card. Because my Dad grew up in San Francisco in the 1930's, I know about the San_Francisco_General_strike . I also know of the governmental and corporate power interests' efforts to marginalize and eliminate those voices of progress and dissent. Despite the setbacks, that "Great Becoming" seem to grow until it reached it's peak in the early 1970's with the End of the Vietnam War, The End of the Nixon Presidency and the Church_Committee Investigations and reforms.
As the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, beginning largely in the Reagan administration, we have seen an increasing proscription of personal liberties and an enhancement of governmental and corporate power through legislative means, executive action and judicial decision culminating in the Communications Act of 1996, which did away with much of the privacy of communications provisions from the previous Act of 1934, the Patriot Act of 2001, which further enhanced the government's ability to spy on it's citizenry while expanding the definition of "terrorism" and the Military Commission Act of 2006 , which stripped US citizens of all rights and liberties by the mere designation AS "terrorists". What this has led to is the growth of the Domestic Surveillance Industry with it's primary function as the identification and suppression of dissenting voices and organizations. In the past, this "intelligence" was gathered exclusively by government police agencies and the military.
What is new in this structure is the growth and utilization of private corporations as an adjunct to government surveillance and a method of further populating intelligence databases in circumvention of statute. This phenomenon has been documented recently by the Washington Post in it's series on Top Secret America . This has manifested itself in many ways over the years. The Corporations' Public Relations War On Activism , erection of The Global Surveillance System , Spying on innocent citizens , The Intelligence Authorization Act of 2004 , The Animal Enterprise Terrorist Act , The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 , The growth of Infraguard , laws allowing the Seizure of War Protestors Assets , the conflation of Domestic Activism with Domestic Terrorism and the use by governments and corporations of Deep Packet Inspection are all part of this continuing trend. What these programs all have in common is the expansion of secret corporate/governmental surveillance of the citizenry while concealing the uses made of this intelligence. So, How HAS this intelligence been utilized?
In 2008, we saw the use, by police agencies, of Preventive Detention at both the Denver Democratic and St. Paul Republican national conventions in order to prevent mass demonstrations. The harassment of Wikileaks and Bradley Manning supporters represents a continuing evolution of this strategy. The ACLU has compiled a Resource Center documenting, in a systematic way, the corporate/governmental surveillance efforts over the past years. They also recently held a Town Hall Meeting in Philadelphia dealing with the War on Dissent. This coincides with both governmental and corporate efforts to monitor Social Networking sites like Facebook for information on citizens and employees for inclusion into intelligence databases through "Fusion Centers" . With no real oversight or controls to protect privacy. The fact that these "fusion centers" have private, corporate components virtually ensures that information found will also populate corporate databases and credit reports to turn up the next time someone tries to get a job, buy a home or obtain a loan.
While it seems that there is no stopping this combined assault on our privacy and liberty, there ARE a few bright spots. The Wikileaks , Cryptome , ACLU and similar sites are publishing information documenting the rise of the Futuristic Police State. Additionally, individual acts of resistance are appearing and leading to organizing of mass protests and actions to confront these assaults. It seems to this correspondent that we may be reaching a tipping point as the larger populace wakes up to the assaults on it. While the future is not assured, it must be remembered that these assaults cannot succeed without our acquiescence and consent. For every enemy, a hero is fashioned. It is up to each of us to become that hero in our hearts and minds. So Get Up, Jonah . It's your time to be born. Because in the absence of visions there are nightmares, in the absence of compassion there is cancer