On the show this week, Chris Hedges discusses the emergence of the global police state with Professor William I. Robinson. Robinson’s new book, The Global Police State, uses shocking data to reveal how far capitalism has become a system of repression. He argues the emerging megacities of the world are becoming the battlegrounds where the excluded and the oppressed face off against the global police state. Robinson is Professor of Sociology, Global Studies, and Latin American Studies, at the University of California-Santa Barbara. Among his many award-winning books are Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity (CUP, 2014) and We Will Not Be Silenced (Pluto, 2017).
Democracy is in crisis. Donald Trump and his enablers have intentionally emboldened violent white supremacists for the explicit purpose of attempting to overturn an election. The storming of the Capitol Building, organized publicly and advertised for weeks, is just the latest deadly result of politicians weaponizing a deep current of racism that has coursed through this country’s veins since its genocidal inception. This is part of who we are as a nation, whether we want to admit it or not. In the coming days and weeks we are likely to see pundits and lawmakers call for things like passing a new domestic terrorism law, expanding mass surveillance programs, increasing funding for the FBI and law enforcement...
On August 28, tens of thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the fifty-seventh anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. They protested racial inequality and listened to speakers that included Martin Luther King III and Jacob Blake Sr., the father of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man who was shot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 23, by a white police officer. Because this is 2020, the protesters in Washington were heavily surveilled: their faces and bodies are now catalogued forever on smartphone photos and videos, as well as on law enforcement body cam footage and the city’s surveillance cameras.
Abusive relationships where the abuser is a transparently horrible monster don’t tend to last long, because it becomes obvious to the victim very quickly that they need to head for the door. The ones that last are the ones where the abuser is an adept manipulator, who is able to elicit sympathy and attachment in the victim while constructing a prison of mental narratives in their head. The hardest of these to escape from is the “nice guy” abuser, the kind of abuser whose manipulations revolve around framing themselves as good and virtuous while squeezing the psychological noose on the victim tighter and tighter. These are difficult to escape because by design they are hard to recognize as abusive while you’re in them, even while you’re being drained of life, liberty and happiness to the abuser’s benefit.
The COVID-19 crisis is a story of a predictable pandemic. It is a result of the willful ignorance of the impact of the climate crisis and unsustainable expansion, a failure of multiple governments and the intentional under-resourcing of public health and medical systems. It results from our societies’ ignoring of the conditions for poor people, the unhoused, disabled and chronically ill people, sex workers, migrants, communities of color and street-based communities, and the exploitation of this crisis by a rich, privileged and powerful fascist minority. Our government had the information, the resources, and the ability to prepare for this pandemic, including supporting those most at risk. We could have had the tests, the masks, the ventilators, the resources and emergency plans.
Police demonstrations are not linked to the anti-corruption protests that shook Haiti for most of 2019, in which police violently repressed civilian protesters. Haitian police and members of the army shot at each other for hours Sunday near the presidential palace in the capital Port-au-Prince, during a protest organized by police for better pay and conditions.
If withholding US military aid from a neo-Nazi friendly government in Ukraine is unacceptable, then it is only logical that a fascist police surge on Black and Brown communities in the US is acceptable. Until the threat of war between the US and Iran stole what had been central in media attention, the power elite worked to keep the public fixated on the antics of a useless partisan impeachment. All the while career politicians in the Democratic Party have been betraying their constituents with their typical and deafening silence about a police crackdown by the Trump administration...
One of the Pentagon’s most secretive agencies, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is developing “custom software that can unearth fakes hidden among more than 500,000 stories, photos, video and audio clips.” Once upon a time, when progressives still reflexively distrusted the military, DARPA was a liberal punchline, known for helping invent the Internet but also for developing lunatic privacy-invading projects like LifeLog, a program to “gather in a single place just about everything an individual says, sees, or does.”
Many of us are deeply concerned about the recent wave of mass shootings and hate crimes that have taken place across the United States. As the Department of Justice reported, in 2018 alone there were 25 race-based terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, each committed by an alleged white supremacist. Immediate action is needed to address this crisis and tragedies like the Aug. 3 shooting in El Paso, Texas. So I read with interest a recent press release of Rep. Michael McCaul—the Republican incumbent in the Texas 10th Congressional District and my opponent in the 2018 election—in which he announced a new bill to respond to domestic terrorism.
I've been meaning to write for a while about the many scattered reports of the coming increased domestic surveillance and clampdown in the U.S. — a clampdown that stretches from private companies like Facebook, which is planning to open a surveillance backdoor in WhatsApp, to the exponential growth of facial recognition technologyand its use, to the Pentagon's interest in using marines to fight in "megacities," to the way climate change panic and chaos may well fuel domestic and global authoritarianism., to the Pentagon's high altitude surveillance balloons to "deter narcotic trafficking and homeland security threats,"...
The French National Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Monday to approve President Emmanuel Macron’s “anti-riot” law, undermining the right to protest and further expanding police powers.The law was first announced in January by Prime Minister Edouard Phillippe in response to the “yellow vest” protests against social inequality. It marks a significant step in the transformation of France into a police state. In line with a similar turn by capitalist governments in Europe and internationally—from Hungary, to Brazil, to the United States and elsewhere—the French ruling class is responding to the growth of social opposition in the working class over the unprecedented growth of social inequality by expanding its powers of repression.
Louisiana Sheriff Who Criticized Pipeline Opponents Is Ordered To Release Records On Standing Rock Visit
On December 27, a state* appeals court ordered a Louisiana’s sheriff’s department and its sheriff to release information about its officers’ trip to North Dakota during the heated protests against the Dakota Access pipeline in 2016. The extended, indigenous-led protests near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation drew a highly militarized response from public and private law enforcement. Out-of-state cops, including those from Louisiana’s St. Charles Parish, flooded North Dakota to support it via an interstate agreement. The latest move reversed a decision by a district court, which denied a public records request made by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)...
Police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse demonstrators in Paris on Saturday as thousands gathered in the capital and staged road blockades across France to vent anger against rising fuel taxes and Emmanuel Macron’s presidency. Thousands of police were deployed nationwide to contain the demonstrations, including a tense protest at the foot of the Champs-Elysees where protesters wielded placards reading “Death to Taxes” and upturned a large vehicle. No-one was injured in the clashes, but six were arrested for “throwing projectiles”, Paris Police told the Associated Press.
Military brass suggested that these camps would not violate the constitutional prohibition against using the military to police and enforce domestic immigration law, based on the fact that the military has occasionally provided shelter to people during humanitarian crises, for short periods of time. Apparently, because the military helped out a bit following a hurricane then long term immigrant concentration camps are just fine. According to the Military Times (October 2, 2018), HHS has completed site surveys at Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Texas; Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas; Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas; and Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas.
The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have hidden an undisclosed number of covert surveillance cameras inside streetlights around the country, federal contracting documents reveal. According to government procurement data, the DEA has paid a Houston, Texas company called Cowboy Streetlight Concealments LLC roughly $22,000 since June 2018 for “video recording and reproducing equipment.” ICE paid out about $28,000 to Cowboy Streetlight Concealments over the same period of time. It’s unclear where the DEA and ICE streetlight cameras have been installed, or where the next deployments will take place. ICE offices in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio have provided funding for recent acquisitions from Cowboy Streetlight Concealments...