How All of Us Are Helping Build a Participatory Totalitarianism

From Alternet:

We are not passive objects of the surveillance state. We are active subjects of our own YouTube channels.

By John Feffer
June 5, 2014

According to the Chinese zodiac, the heavens circle around every 12 years. The Year of the Snake, the creature that sheds its skin to emerge anew, marks a time of great transformation. Indeed, for the last quarter century, the world has experienced three profound shifts at 12-year intervals, beginning with the Year of the Snake in 1989.

On June 4, 1989, on one side of the globe, Poles were participating in their first semi-free elections in more than 40 years, which—though few suspected at the time—sounded the death knell for Communism in East-Central Europe. Meanwhile, on the same day on the other side of the globe, the Chinese government was cracking down on the Tiananmen Square protests and ensuring that Communism would continue there as an official ideology for at least another 25 years.

Twelve years later, the Year of the Snake returned, and the ground shifted radically beneath our feet once again. This time, the 9/11 attacks brought the two sides of the world together as both China and Poland threw their weight behind the U.S.-led war on terror. Poland, presided over by a former Communist who’d embraced market reforms, even went so far as to host one of the “black sites” that the Bush administration set up to interrogate suspects gathered up through extraordinary rendition. China, presided over by a current Communist who’d also embraced market reforms, used the opportunity of 9/11 to ramp up operations against  separatists in Xinjiang and secure  “unprecedented” counter-terrorism information sharing with the United States.

And then last year, the Year of the Snake came around again, and this time it was Edward Snowden who caused a seismic shift in our understanding of everyday reality. We thought that we’d seen through the efforts of the Communist state to control our minds and the efforts of the corporate state to control our desires. But it turned out that we really didn’t know the full extent to which intelligence services and corporate entities had invaded our private spaces. Nor had we understood our own complicity in this brave new world. It wasn’t just states like Warsaw and Beijing that had joined forces with Washington against non-state actors. We had all become informers under this new regime, whether we liked it or not.

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2 Responses to “How All of Us Are Helping Build a Participatory Totalitarianism”

  1. Bonze Anne Rose Blayk Says:

    “it was Edward Snowden who caused a seismic shift in our understanding of everyday reality.”

    Not mine.

    To experience surprise at what turned up, you had to have been entirely without a clue about the nature of intelligence services and the evolution of their practices over the past 100 years; frankly, I’m kind of surprised that people are surprised, but then again… I’ve been studying on these topics all of my life…

    Personal Library Holdings on War and Espionage – 3/20/97 – Bonze Anne Rose Blayk (F/K/A “Kevin Eric Saunders a/k/a bonze blayk”)

    If, like me, you would like to contribute somehow to averting WWIII, you have to try to understand what’s going on?

    By the way: if anybody out there cherishes their “privacy” and “right” to transmit free of surveillance (say) images of their “membership” using their cellphone over having a rather small (but real) chance of warding off a release of biological warfare agents into the general population, I think you’re out of your mind; personally, I can’t give a damn about what “somebody” (everybody) “knows” about my private affairs, as long as they leave me the hell alone.

    Oh Good Lord: Getting to the Bottom of Why Zombies Are Showing Up Everywhere in Our Culture Right Now – “Explaining our blossoming relationship with the undead.” – John Feffer

    “But wars, for lucky Americans, remain ‘out there.’ What cuts much closer to home are pandemics: AIDS, SARS, MRSA, and their acronym kin. Pandemics, like the Spanish flu, often come in the wake of war, as soldiers return home to spread new and potent viruses.”

    He’s close to it, but misses the point: the big media push on the Zombie Menace is desensitization programming as psychological preparation for being on the receiving end of a biological warfare attack.

    Yes, you will probably be having to kill some of your friends and neighbors if that comes to pass, through quarantine and unavoidable neglect if nothing else. Trust me, it’ll suck.

    So hey, maybe it’s not so bad having an employee of GBHQ scanning over that “head shot” you transmitted to your girlfriend via your smartphone, which for all we know, might just by the way be containing an action program for god-knows-what steganographically encoded in it? You’re not being arrested for it, right?

    Just a thought.

    – bonzie anne

    PS: I’m a nudist: I could care less. What I do care about is almost that all the people bitching about surveillance long to punish others for, say, transmitting a “head shot” to the girl-or-boyfriend, or smoking pot, or criticizing somebody else’s religion; if people don’t give up on their lust to govern the fine details of other people’s lives, we’re all going down.

    Hell, I’ll quote Zagria quoting Harry Benjamin: “Too many individuals are that way; what they do not like must be forbidden and punished.”


    • Suzan Says:

      I was a 1960s radical hippie anti-war activist. I know all about red squads, MK ultra, CoIntelPro, Black-ops et. al…
      In the 1970s I viewed “The Conversation” as a documentary. In the new Millennium I view “Enemy of the State” the same way.

      I don’t own a smart phone.

      I don’t join organizations. I don’t believe the “Talking Heads” left or right as they all sound like a 1970s SNL skit with Chevy Chase and Jane Curtain.

      We live in a world that is a hybrid of Brave New World and 1984.

      We are taught to think bullshit issues are the most important thing in the world while some 5000 people are rapidly gaining control of something like 80% of the world’s wealth.

      Climate change combined with the detonating population bomb is going to result in billions of people dying and massive numbers of people on the move.

      Keeping people in the dark and under control is a growth industry.

      Docile and brainwashed, preferably defenseless and unarmed is a social priority for those in charge.

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