Technology is a tool: it is a process by which political and human desires are instantiated in the world. What is significant about that instantiation is that it must take a visible form. It may be a written, readable code, or a physical infrastructure in the landscape: servers in data centres, cameras on poles by the roadside, rusting signs on forecourt walls declaring the owner’s intentions.
When there is pressure to obscure that infrastructure—camouflaging cameras, closing down networks, or blocking freedom of information requests—a corresponding pressure is exerted on the very democracy it purports to uphold.
Students are surrounded by professors reminiscing about the glory days of youth activism, when groups like Students for a Democratic Society, the Weather Underground, and the Black Panther Party really ignited social change. But the professors don’t seem to make the connection that none of these were school-sanctioned organizations.
The post is from 2007, though is probably no less relevant in 2013. Also does a good job of articulating the problem without just laying blame at the feet of college kids.
Thus, to name a few of the major 21st century transnational labour flows, Turkish and Eastern European workers supply labour to Western Europe, Central Africans to South Africa, Nicaraguans to Costa Rica, Sri Lankas and other South Asians to the Middle East oil producing countries, Asians to Australia, Thais to Japan, Indonesians to Malaysia, and so on.
In all of these cases, it is repressive state controls that create “immigrant workers” as a distinct category of labour that becomes central to the whole global capitalist economy. As borders have come down for capital and goods they have been reinforced for human beings. While global capitalism creates immigrant workers, these workers do not enjoy citizenship rights in their host countries. Stripped either de facto or de jure of the political, civic, and labour rights afforded to citizens, immigrant workers are forced into the underground, made vulnerable to employers, whether large private or state employers or affluent families, and subject to hostile cultural and ideological environments.
A quick scan across the world reveals that where growth and innovation have been most successful, a hybrid public-private, domestic-foreign nexus lies beneath the miracle. These aren’t states; they’re “para-states” — or, in one common parlance, “special economic zones.”
Bad Blood: The Life and Death of Alexander Litvinenko. The story of Alexander Litvinenko and his death in 2006 by radioactive assassination.
The Tyranny of Structurelessness. An article that started as a talk during a conference called by the Southern Female Rights Union. It dates to May 1970. Interesting to read by itself and in the context of more current flat organizations and communities.
Copying only got easier following the passage of these laws—copying will only ever get easier. Right now is as hard as copying will get. Your grandchildren will turn to you and say “Tell me again, Grandpa, about when it was hard to copy things in 2012, when you couldn’t get a drive the size of your fingernail that could hold every song ever recorded, every movie ever made, every word ever spoken, every picture ever taken, everything, and transfer it in such a short period of time you didn’t even notice it was doing it.”
Cory Doctorow - Lockdown: The coming war on general-purpose computing.
Dear Internet: It’s No Longer OK to Not Know How Congress Works. This post is so well put. The tools our political representatives use may seem horrendously backwards, but they are reality and to affect change we have to understand how they work.
Americhrome. File this under things that make complete sense but which I had never thought about or realized before. It turns out the federal government has an official color palette for everything they contract out for. Every time I see a road sign I’m going to think of this now.