Saturday, August 11, 2007

Chip off the ol' block, eh?

The US may be an authoritarian state flirting with fascism, but so too it appears that if we peer across the pond, the UK is rapidly catching up. The "New Labour" Blair/Brown regimes have been every bit as toxic to civil liberties and human rights as their US counterparts (be they Clintonistas or Bushistas). From Ten Percent:

And so it progresses, the war on terror that is the brand name covering the new authoritarianism, new terrorism laws that were promised not to be abused, continue to be misused to stifle dissent. The MOD moves with the times and bars troops from disseminating information via the web. And the BBC now browbeaten and bitch slapped by the machinery of the Hutton lever denied funds and playing nice by cutting programs that deal with injustices and uncovering corporate and govt. wrongdoing. Of course corporations and govt. are interchangeable one hand washes the other, MOA hooks together those stories with AT&T taking it upon itself to censor anti govt. popular artforms and this is not an isolated incident.

At the sharp end of the crackdown, the lockdown, the authorities rape, torture and kill dissidents under the guise of ‘fighting terror’. And the organ grinder has both parties in lockstep to legalise it’s overwhelming technologies and mechanisms of state surveillance, making sure it’s security apparatus is sufficiently brutalised & trained on less visible minorities. Sending torture fan and serial liar to Iraq to advise on its legal system while whistleblowers hear the boots kicking down their doors and running them out of town.

Lenin's Tomb:
Anyone who thought that the Brownites would be less zealous in the war on civil liberties will have to revise their opinion. The government has threatened environmental protesters with the use of anti-terror laws so that they can be stopped and searched without evidence or reasonable suspicion, detained for up to a month without charge, have their homes searched etc. Naturally, the police insist that they're concerned about a 'minority' of protesters who are intent on disruption. Imagine someone disrupting something. Imagine someone challenging the inalienable rights of private property. Wouldn't that be simply awful?

The anti-terror laws are nothing of the kind, of course. That is sort of given away by the fact that they have been used almost exclusively against dissidents and protesters who aren't terrorists. Those seeking to disrupt the Great British arms trade for instance. Antiwar demonstrators. Protesters outside the Labour conference. And many others besides. Which I don't think is merely an odd coincidence. Surely the only reasonable course of action is for as many people as can be there to attend and ensure that the camp is a little bit too big for the police to push around and bully.
What I keep trying to remind myself and my readers is a simple point that is something of a rally cry for the Zapatistas: "You are not alone." As dark as these times may be, the advances in electronic communication offer some hope - human rights abuses that once upon a time might have remained hidden are much more likely to be publicized via blogs, indymedia, etc. Mobile phones and digital cameras often have a video feature, making it relatively easy for bystanders and participants alike to catch the agents of repression in the act and then upload the results on YouTube or elsewhere for all the world to see. Not only can folks mobilize en mass on location, but that solidarity can be shared potentially throughout the globe; we as human beings can say "¡Ya Basta!" (loosely "No more" or "Enough is enough" en Inglés) and "You are not alone" and those words can mean more than ever before.

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