How Britain exported next-generation sur­veil­lance:

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.

The Prob­lem With Youth Activism:

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.

New face of the war on immigrants?

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.

The End of the Nation-State?

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.”

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 gets easier

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.


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.