It’s going to get worse, before it gets better

Posted by on January 24th, 2009 in activism, doomed future, security, surveillance, weapons

No Future
photo by ~emimerx

Let’s start this thing off nice.  Firstly, a belated Happy New Year to everyone.  Personally, I had a freaking fantastic NYE, and I hope y’all did too. 2008 was a great year for me, and building on that, personally, 2009 was filling me with optimism.  So many great projects in the works, so much hope for the Future.

And then I turn on the News. Reality is a harsh mistress my friends.

And now I’m going to tell you all the ways in which we are totally fucked.

Firstly, we’ve got the news from NY, which George Rohac was kind enough to alert me to.

The New York Police Department wants to be able to shut down cell phones, in case of a terrorist attack.

Because, you know Mumbai.  The whole attack was apparently coordinated over mobile phones by handlers who were monitoring the Media.

Which you kind of need, given the attackers were allegedly dosed to the eyeballs on LSD and Cocaine. Making the thing sound more and more like a 24 script-writer’s wet dream.

So the NY police want to prevent a similar coordinated attack.  Does this make sense?  Yes and No.

No, because Terrorists analyse and exploit weak points to create maximum carange.  The best way to do this is by making every attack original. That’s why post-9/11′s hellish flight security measures only punishes the masses.  And those guys sure didn’t need mobile phones, did they.

Yes, because Obama. Here’s my first prediction for the year:  Copycat Terrorism is coming kids.

You can bet there’s armed and angry right-wing militias in the States studying every single bit of data they can on the Mumbai attacks. And thinking they can do it one better.  Have we forgotten who the first people to try to blow up the World Trade Center were. And when that was.  The Clinton era.  Those “evil Democrats” who want to take peoples guns away.

Al Qaeda et al have hardened troops from the battlefields of Afghanistan, Chechnya and Bosnia. The US has a bunch of pissed-off Vets returning from Afganistan and Iraq.  How many people remember the post-WWII crime waves? We have a lot of trained killers out there again.

But let’s keep moving.  Let me tell you why blocking cellphones and filtering the Internet is the beginning of the end of this phase of civilization.

Corporate Democracy hates you.  Every single Democracy is deeply in bed with and funded by the Corporations.

The US passes the DMCA laws because Disney wants to sell more Mickey Mouse dolls.  Then through “Free Trade” it spreads around the world. France wants to filter the Internet so that Carla Bruni can sell more CDs.  Britain apes France, and Australia apes Britain. But of course they do it in the name of the children and the family.  Please.

It’s about CONTROL.  The State exists to command and control.

We are supposed to Trust in Authority.  But the illusion of Control is being eaten away.

Exhibit A:

YouTube Preview Image

The Police, the fists of the State, caught red-handed executing one of it’s citizens.

Has this happened before?  No doubt.  What’s the big difference then? Not only was it witnessed by the train full of passengers, it was recorded by a great deal of them.This clip is just the best of many you can find on YouTube. 

This is evolutionary. If those Cops were more than just brutish thugs, if they had half a fucking brain, they’d have gone onto that train and taken every single mobile phone and video camera away.

As Evidence.

So let’s fast-forward a little.  Because you can bet that the band of brothers, those boys in blue, are mighty pissed off that one of their own had to resign like that. And they’ll be sure now not to go out that way either.  They will confiscate all the phones and video cameras from now on. But some bright soul will have already uploaded photos to Flickr, or even better using Zannel to post it through Twitter. Even better an impromptu citizen-journalist might be streaming the whole affair with Qik or its many clones.

That might work a few times.  Until the Police decide they need to be equipped with mobile cellphone jammers, nominally for the fight against Terror. Then second the shit goes down in front of a bunch of witnesses, on goes the jamming.

But Terrorism is bad, right.  We want to stop that.  It’s all for the Greater Good!

Exhibit B:

Well, let’s wander over to France for a minute.  A bunch of kids decide to drop out and live their own Future in a little village.

There’s a tenuous link to them involving some train derailments.  Trains were hurt, but there were no deaths.  So what happens?

..the French government claims that Tarnac and its small shop are the headquarters of a dangerous cell of anarchist terrorists plotting to overthrow the state. Images of balaclava-clad police swooping to arrest suspects in Tarnac were compared by bewildered villagers to a strange, rural action movie. The government hinted that locals were too gormless to have noticed the terrorist activity in their midst. But after weeks of controversy, supporters are rising up to defend the young people of the village.

Those kids aren’t ETA (the Basque separatists). They’re just saying no to the ‘rat race’ and finding their own niche to live in. Yet they are declared an Enemy of the State that must be crushed.

So let’s go back to the start; to Mumbai.  How did the word get out so quicklyTwitter and Flickr. What did the Government eventually try to stop happening?  You guessed it.  Would this have stopped the handlers coordinating the attacks? Given they were most likely getting their intel from CNN, no.  Would an immediate Media blackout have prevented this?  NO! Because you can bet your asses they had their own, separate cell watching from afar and reporting in anyway.

I repeat, these are well planned attacks exploiting observed gaps in the defenses of their target(s). 9/11 was accomplished with just box-cutters. The best defense is an armed and knowledgeable citizenry; all this just demonstrates the increasing power of mobile communications technology.

Are you still reading?  Did you think I’d forgotten about the Economic Collapse?  Don’t worry, I’m getting to it.

This is, as a Prime Minister of Australia once said, “the recession we had to have”.  This is the System collapsing. The Governments of the world can’t fix Global Warming; it is, quite frankly, all their fault.  They are agents of the Status Quo.

As Dr Horrible sez: “the status is far from quo”.

The next decade will be very interesting.  These are the Breaking Times. The Post-Industrial future is coming, whether people like it or not. You can look forward to more decaying strip-malls and empty shops in general.  eBay and it’s like will be where everyone shops. As everything slows down, people will be forced to prioritize.  Shopping as therapy will become a 20th relic.

The Future as I see it is peer2peer.  The answer is never Fear, but Love.  So I call for Revolutionary Optimism!

I implore you; skip the Corporations and buy from your fellow man as much as you can. Make your own clothes or buy them on etsy at least. Garden!  Barter! Hang out at local markets.  Cook for your friends.  Skip that crappy Hollywood blockbuster and veg out on the Internet instead.  Or with people in Real Life.

Reality is Fiction;  society is a social construct.  The Future has never been more in our hands. Since our species first stopped hunting and settled down to start Agriculture it’s been all about top-down control systems. But, Internet be praised, we are quite possibly positioned for the first time since then to change this. Technology is what defines us as being human; and we increasingly don’t need the Bureaucracy of the State to manage things for us. Instead, we can engineer and maintain solutions that run fine by themselves.

The State’s days are numbered!  Sadly, this most likely means it will become more violent in it’s death throes. The Evolution is not about burning shit down; it’s about obviating all the crap that’s got us in this mess to begin with.

Power to the People!

Thanks for listening; you’ve been a wonderful audience.

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24 Responses to “It’s going to get worse, before it gets better”

  1. State-level paranoia tend to be self-fulfilling, especially in the matters of security. They see enemies everywhere and end up manufacturing them in the process of defending against them.. Yet as long as we have real world issues that has concentration of resources as a major part of solutions (notably, poverty,sciences and education; funny how they always go together) the concept of state power will always have its proponents. Even more problematic, it won’t be just from cynical fatcats of the industry, but from people who desperately needs something backing them up.
    The change through p2p economy and information exchange will definitely shape the upcoming era (I’m hoping for second renaissance of sorts), but I believe the change will be more evolutionary than revolutionary.

  2. The thing that I keep trying to tell people is that the future will be neither Grim Meat Hook/Doomed, nor Singularity-Perfect. It will be both.

    The world will not end with a bang, or a whimper, but a “Did you feel something, just then? Like everything felt purple and magenta inside-out metal-spiky flowers in infinite dimensions, for half a second? No? Oh well.”

    All we can do is work to ride the line, work to make the implications and understandings of those in charge not aim for control, but for Co-Operation and Continuance. “Betterment,” if that’s what revs your engine. Because there will always be greedy, power mad, petty little people, with nothing inside them to offer but keeping others down. All we can do is work to ensure that they are outnumbered, outgunned, and, in very special cases, torn apart– mentally, physically, emotionally, whatever– very quickly, into tiny little pieces, and never heard from again, except as a remnant, on the wind. A puff of sour-smelling dust to remind us.

    But it always starts, again, and it will definitely get worse, before better. Because better takes more and more people seeing that it’s bad, to begin with. And, bit by bit, people will no longer be able to say to themselves “Well it’s not THAT bad; they only came for my neighbour because he was looking at the books on Terrorism, in the library.” “In the Bookstore.” “On Amazon.com.” “On Google.”

    Eventually, “They” will come for the things they like, and they will realise that Something Must Be done.

    Eventually.

  3. It’d be smarter to co-opt the police. They tend to have guns and training. So if they identify with the people who pay their salaries more than the greed heads higher up – the people win. The media needs to inform the people if cell phones are confiscated when authorities screw up.

    I remember hearing this in HS: “Socialism works if everyone has a mansion and a Bentley”.

    I think it will get better fast.

  4. now here’s some verbal vomitting ;) you are mixing like 6 different things into one post. I still like you though.

    I think you need to be more friendly with “the corporations” and “the police”. None of them has a mindset of trying to control people like you. They are all just humans with a limited view on reality, that reinforces what they believe in, and blends out other aspects of living. None of them believes they are doing something “evil”. Put yourself in their shoes and look at you. If you want to change the way they think, you have to talk to them in their language, not in that leftist paranoia tongue of yours.

    I think the real scoop with the Oscar Grant shooting here was that an officer mistook his gun with his stun gun. That was bound to happen. There was a concern that officers would be more deliberately using their gun if it was non-lethal. Combine that with similar looking weapons and possible confusion in stress situations, and you have a much higher risk of being shot. Police must draw the conclusions and act here.

    There is no reason to panic. It makes little sense to aggregate different news in such a way that they build an image of an overwhelming dystopia. These problems need to be solved one by one. We need to look at the reasons, make conclusions, and handle each case in its own article.

  5. @ Leonard Ritter

    Ooh. I don’t mean to start anything, but thinking that all corporations and etc other power structures have no interest in controlling people to seriously unreasonable extent wold be naive.

    The unreasonable hunger for power and authority is a very very real concept that affects a lot of people in the world.

  6. Milky,

    Contacting you now about continuing this conversation, this is a good start. Just as their communications and networks are evolving, ours have to as well.

    We are calling on the publics to draft plans for social change. We’ve analyzed it to death, let’s start putting the pieces together. Can we build anti-preneurial businesses, can we make the system work better? Can we apply technology and seize back some of the things that make a healthy mental environment?

    Anyone interested in taking the next step? We hope you’ll help us draft the roadmap, the plans, and the tools that will get us there.

  7. [...] • Things are going to get worse before they get better January 25, 2009 Filed under: Uncategorized — phenomenality @ 9:22 pm This is authored by m1k3y posted originally on grinding.be [...]

  8. That’s some fine preachin’ Mikey!

    Absolutely, we should be looking for ways to keep our sanity and morale in the face of these different flavours of international and local fear. Making our own networks more useful and self-sustaining is a good start.

    (Those who ain’t already with the program, I seriously recommend reading John Robb – not only is he The Man regarding how modern and future war will be fought and over what battlespace, he’s deep into looking at the best way to survive collapse of hollow states and/or mass terrorism on infrastructure – namely, building resilient communities.
    http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/)

    And after all, aren’t we Grinders here? Reshaping ourselves and reshaping the world are only differences of degree, not kind!
    (OK, slight exaggeration… but a useful one I hope. The better we can Grind ourselves into the kind of people who can live in this mad bad world, the better equipped we are to make useful adjustments to that world – even if it’s just getting fit and flexible enough in mind and body to deal with the shit and finding those of like mind to adapt and work with.)

    @Ed Ayce:
    Happy to talk about those next steps, here and elsewhere.
    First suggestions – looking at alternatives to corporate slavery (either in terms of job or products we use and consume), ‘cos those corps are fighting for their lives – and nothing fights harder, or with less care about collateral damage, than a cornered beast.

  9. Thanks, M13ky.

  10. I love a good long post. Thanks for this one. I don’t have anything much to add right now – just words of encouragement and a request for more!

  11. Ummm… you do realize that the media is engaged in ontological terrorism of their own, don’t you?

    They are trying to make you more compliant through fear. Fear of terrorists, fear of police, fear of plague, fear of poverty… if you aren’t “Educated” by their broadcasts, you too may fall victim.

    Things like this have always been happening. They just get shoved in your face a bit more now.

    Kill your TV.

  12. Thought this was interesting, sounds like some people on that train platform actually did get their phones take from police that night.

    From Wikipedia:

    “The incident and subsequent direct evidence of the shooting was documented by video cameras held by passengers on the train idling next to the platform, as police detained Grant and a number of other men police suspected of being involved in the disturbance. These videos were made available through television news and internet video.[10][38][39][40][41]

    Attorney John Burris “said BART had confiscated numerous cell phone images from others” that he believes contains additional evidence of the killing.[42] In her video interview with station KTVU, eyewitness Karina Vargas stated that the female officer on the scene approached her, the doors of the BART train shut just then, and the officer “banged” on the door “telling me to give her my camera.” Vargas refused to surrender it.[43]

    Orloff, the district attorney, said that several passenger videos that have not been made public were “very helpful” in the investigation.[1]

    On January 2, KTVU aired another video by an anonymous passenger who submitted a cell phone video of the actual shooting, and since, there have been higher resolution, clearer videos surfacing.[citation needed]

    On January 23, KTVU aired a cell-phone video of a second officer punching Grant in the face before kneeling on his neck.[14]

    BART officials initially claimed that the Fruitvale platform cameras could not record.[11] Subsequently BART spokesperson Linton Johnson described the surveillance footage as “benign” and said the platform cameras had recorded some of the incident, but did not include the actual shooting,[11][44] BART’s video remains unreleased.[citation needed]“

  13. There is no justice in this world, or I could smoke weed without fear of getting raped in jail.

  14. So glad to see it’s not just me.

    @pezmen – what I find interesting re: TV is that some many more people are bittorrenting their shows or watching it on DVD. Meaning their exposure to advertising and Govt propaganda is diminished. Steal your content, free your mind?

    To All that pointed out the BART Cops _did_ in fact take as many mobile phones as they could. *Shit*. It’s worse than I thought..

    @captain trips – widescale legal reform on victimless crimes is *long* overdue.. in fact, I have an unfinished rant on that kicking around.. stay tuned!

  15. The biggest concern here is not understanding that the nature of things has to change. Its the concern regarding how far the people in receipt of the greatest benefits of the current system of things will go to keep it in place, regardless of the fallout. As the tools of government become more aware of the erosion of power through documentary, the more will be done to stop it. The technology to stop recording, phoning, and other telecoms already exists. The real danger is if the powers that be start to use it.

  16. RE: media, Jonathan Hickman, the same guy that wrote TRANSHUMAN, also wrote THE NIGHTLY NEWS – it’s an excellent read concerning the media.

  17. Ultimately, I think Leonard Ritter on the comments here has said what will probably help best in the long run.

    The inherient problem I see in this is, like he mentioned that members of the police and corporations aren’t fully evil. They’re not singular, mustache-twirling villains. To the police, they are just doing their jobs, protecting the peace with what their superiors give them. To the big-wigs of corporations, they’re just trying to make their companies as successful as humanly possible, and doing what others have done to keep up. Of course, the problem is that when your whole system is full of these mentallities, that’s when it starts to become a overwealmingly bad force.

    So, while taking arms and calling for revolution sounds inticing, I still think the best way to create positive change is to create nonviolent protest and create open dialogue to them in ways that they can understand. Tell the policeman that having limits on them and being open to question like any public servant will make people more trusting of them. Tell the businessman that their massive, risky endevors they do to keep up with the competition will only make things worse for them in the long-run. Hell, the recession is already showing them this, except our government thinks the best way to keep our financial system intact is to reward these poor bastards for their failures.

    …You know what else will help change things? Elect competant fucking people into the government.

  18. Hey Mikey – if you’ve not read this work on the subject of victimless crime, you might want a gander before you finish your next opus: http://www.mcwilliams.com/books/books/aint/
    (It’s on the many reasons why removing all victimless – or as the writer terms them, ‘consensual’) crimes and only persuing those who break consent on people or property. Interesting, if US-centric.

    @Jared – it doesn’t matter if those elected are competent if the system they inherit is broken and corrupt… unless they fix the system. Most, however smart, seccumb to the traps of corruption and pressure groups and money.
    But I do concur that working with police etc as people rather than symbols of a monolithic ‘The Man’ is good policy. Works well on the Green action camps.

  19. @Cat

    Yeah, I kinda equate “smart” and “fix the system” to basically be the same thing.

  20. A quick note for all you Americans (google will give you further detail), but in the US police ARE NOT allowed to just confiscate your camera like that without a court order. Your First Ammdnement rights protect pictures and footage you take. SRSLY; look this stuff up.

    Dunno about other countries but here in the UK section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 has been getting abused by police confiscating cameras, and the law is quite muddy on this issue unfotunately, but recent guidance from the NPIA says that you ARE allowed to take pictures where “an authority under section 44 is in place” unless other legislation forbids it. The police may confiscate cameras/memory cards, but may not destroy them, and only if it pertains to suspected involvement in terrorism.

  21. “You can bet there’s armed and angry right-wing militias in the States studying every single bit of data they can on the Mumbai attacks. And thinking they can do it one better. Have we forgotten who the first people to try to blow up the World Trade Center were. And when that was. The Clinton era. Those ‘evil Democrats’ who want to take peoples guns away.”

    I think you’re confusing the 1993 WTC bombing with the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklahoma_City_bombing). The earlier WTC attack was the work of al Qaeda, not US militants.

  22. @taz – you’re right, i was. mea culpa

  23. We have noted that your blog includes information on committing acts of terrorism and links to the same. Many blogs do this, which could be a threat to our way of life.

    Therefore we are proposing a law that, in order to keep the citizens safe from possible terrorist attacks by people who gain their information from blogs, all blogs will be suspended.

    This is for your safety, and for the safety of your children.

    Thank you for listening, and have a day.