Revolution#113, December 23, 2007

“Surveillance Nation”

From a reader

Two recent newspaper articles caught my attention. Each demonstrated the extent to which the entire population of this country is now subjected to electronic surveillance.

The first was a column in the Examiner newspapers on the Congressional testimony of a retired technician for AT&T. He told the Senate Judiciary Committee how the National Security Agency has 10 or 15 secret installations across the country where they have spliced into the optical fiber trunk cables for all U.S. telephone and internet communications. This massive data collection is aimed at identifying networks of people who call each other.

The second article, in the Washington Post, describes how federal and police agencies routinely ask the big telecom companies for the location of people by tracking their cell phones.

I think this compulsion the rulers feel to have the entire population under some degree of surveillance is based in the massive crimes they commit at home and abroad, and what they have in mind for the future. For them, everyone in society now becomes a potential enemy. They feel compelled to keep tabs on everyone, sift everyone’s e-mail, and check up on where we go and whom we are associating with.

By contrast, I also think of what it would mean to get past class society with all its government repression and fear of dissent. The ability to debate out ideas and get to the truth of things is critical to any society of truly free and voluntarily associating people. A crucial part of that revolutionary society would be the ease of mind that comes from being able to network with others, and listen to and exchange dissenting ideas, without having to look over your shoulder at whom might be watching or listening.

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