Explaining why dragnet surveillance is terrible, and why you should rally against it

A spectacular PSA from the Electronic Frontier Foundation calls on Americans to join in a rally against mass surveillance on Oct 26, featuring everyone from Phil Donahue and John Cusak to Molly Crabapple and David Segal, as well as Congressmen like John Conyers, prominent whistleblowers like Daniel Ellsberg, Mark Klein, Thomas Drake, and a many others, making the case for limiting government surveillance. It's a spectacular video, and I'd take it as a personal favor if you'd tell your friends about it and show it around.

A Rally Against Mass Surveillance

Notable Replies

  1. Any time, Cory!

  2. Kimmo says:

    So how much can we realistically hope for from this?

    For it to get as big as #OWS?

    Because it'd seem that's not enough; apparently business as usual subsumes all.

    Maybe we should have a look at the matrix we're stuck in, huh? Nothing much worthwhile gets done in it...

  3. ... Sorry, imo OWS was not a good example of anything. A social movement is people coming together to affect change - that presupposes they agree at least to some tiny extent on what those things are, and how they might be changed.

    OWS was a trainwreck of ideas, and mostly served to showcase a bunch of people who could get together long enough to say "wall street bad, rah rah rah," but not come even close to a consensus on exactly what was wrong, let alone how to fix it. Add to that the occupy sites - I visited several, and it wasn't a great experience. OWS did more harm to progressive change politics than it did good.

  4. Sorry. Next time hopefully we can have some music you like or maybe people will dress more to your style or have just the right mix of whatever the fuck we need to dance just for you.

    I can't believe protest movements in the US get reviewed like cafe on yelp.

    Rather ... I can believe it.

  5. My point is, despite that, it accomplished fuck-all besides marginally raising awareness of wealth disparity and systemic corruption.

    Considering the mountains of entrenched walls that were in place to keep awareness of disparity and corruption out of many Americans' collective consciousness, I'd like to see you come up with a plan that would have worked better in such a trivial amount of time.

    Speaking of trivial, where are you getting this "marginal" raising of awareness from? If you are to go by facts and reality (instead of libertarian "think tanks" or the like), there's been a sea change of awareness among Americans that wasn't there before.



    That was the best all those folks could manage.

    What have you managed?

    So I'm not real interested in taking to the streets with banners and bongos

    If that's what you think OWS was all about, then your are grossly misinformed. Where do you get your information from? The overwhelming majority of people that either participated in OWS or were inspired by it and branched off into other endeavors have never played a bongo in their fucking lives.

    Have you ever considered that it's dismissiveness and divisiveness from people like you that do more harm than good?

    So I'm not real interested in taking to the streets with banners and bongos. Fuck that noise

    Taking to the streets is one of the only ways to get the corporate media to cover certain anti-corporatist issues at all. It sound like you're full of bluster, but you know little or nothing about what we're up against and proper strategy. Taking to the streets is, of course, not the only thing we do, but to dismiss it entirely is to be ignorant of the impact it has had in the past and continues to have to this day.

    Are you not aware of all the advantages of the corporatist right when it comes to reaching Americans with anything that's not a pro-corporatist agenda?


    • Far more retired elderly at home exposed to corporate TV media and radio that influences them to vote conservatively. (This affects other points below as well)

    • People who commute further distances than those who live in (or near) cities are heavily exposed to and influenced by right-wing radio in their automobiles. Furthermore, the electoral system leans in the favor of these more rural dwellers who are heavily inundated with corporatist propaganda.

    • Corporations are vastly more likely to fund anti-regulation, conservative agendas. The most you can hope for is something like MSNBC that leans socially left, but is (overall) conservatively pro-corporatist. The rich support conservative media (even when they run at a loss) because they understand the long-term profits of influence.

    • More people still get their "news" from the corporate TV media than online alternative media sources (source). Also, many get their online "news" from corporate media that's simply moved online. This influences these people towards a pro-corporatist agenda.

    • Many moderates and left-leaning people work more than many people do on the right (for various reasons). This gives them less time than those on the right to dedicate themselves towards getting involved in national and local politics, voting, etc. in general. On the flip-side, this also exposes more on the right who work less to more corporate TV media and radio.

    • The rich are far more likely to support Republicans, even though they're not more likely to be socially conservative. That confuses people who don't understand the difference. Most of the rich hold their noses and vote Republican (and give them money) because it supports their corporatist conservatism. In other words, they prioritize the profit they gain by not paying for externalities (pollution they create, public health care, public education, etc.) over socially liberal agendas they may agree with (gay rights, women's rights, anti-censorship of sex/violence, etc.).

    • It's much easier to organize and get media attention when you have money and influence over ~~sheep~~ people who have too much time on their hands, too little education and too little critical thinking skills. On the other hand, trying to organize moderates and people on the left is like herding cats.

    • They can and do use their control of mainstream media to use fear to suck money and massive power away from average Americans to support their monstrously corrupt and extremely profitable military-industrial complex. There has never been anything with this much vast power in human history. They can spy on many average Americans' communications to thwart everything from business to activism. This kind of power is vast and undeniable.

    • They have the money, power to lobby (bribe) and influence candidates to basically only fear being voted out of office and little more than that. Your little third party candidate doesn't have the bribe money to stand up to this and many politicians and top advisors, etc. simply go into profitable business with the same corporatists they "legislated" after leaving office (and vice versa).

    • They have vast money, power, connections and media resources to spread their chosen campaign over the airwaves. How many third party TV commercials did you or any other Americans see in the last 20 elections compared to Democrats and Republicans? Exactly.

    ... And this list just scratches the surface of the power they have over third parties.

    So...... in this currently reality, what does an underfunded, true left (or true moderate), third party dream candidate have against that? Little or nothing because most Americans aren't going to get exposed to their ideas or will only get a distorted, filtered view of them via mainstream, corporate media.

    That's our current reality. This is what we cope with and overcome. This is why there are only long-term strategies that will actually work against this vast, entrenched power.

    If we don't face the reality of our current, entrenched power structure... we'll be doomed to keep spinning our angry wheels with lots of squealing and smoke, but no traction. - And that's the difference between the teabaggers and OWS. The teabaggers created nothing more than a lot of squealing and smoke by propping up tea party candidates that only hurt America in the end. OWS is fomenting long-term revolution. This isn't a video game. It's not going to be quick, it's going to take decades.

    Let's face it, it actually takes guts to push the establishment to the left and it very often requires civil disobedience for the mainstream media just to even bother covering it. You can gather five teabaggers in a park and it'll garner far more mainstream media coverage than 5,000 left-wing protestors of wars, income disparity, etc. Why? Because the teabaggers aren't a threat to the status quo. They aren't a threat to the corporations that run the mainstream media.

    That's reality. And, it's time to cope with it, deal with it and overcome it. While it's certainly more difficult and takes GUTS to push the establishment to the left, there's plenty of us still willing to do it and we're never going to stop.

    Can we get our fucking shit together enough to sidestep3 all this bullshit within my lifetime, please? I'm soo. fuucking. fed up with waiting. I mean, look13 at these cunts. Can you stand to live another second under them?

    Sorry, there's no quick-fix. It's trying to build a representative democracy in a vast nation. Nothing "suddenly" is going to happen no matter what we do, but what we've been doing by embracing false equivalency is spinning our wheels. The teabaggers and those who support OWS and its vision have very little in common when it comes to tactics and lasting progress.

    Suggested reading: Sun Tzu - The Art of War

    With lots of commentary:

    Pretty much just the translated book:

    Can we get our fucking shit together enough to sidestep3 all this bullshit within my lifetime, please?

    You'll catch more flies with sugar. Disparaging the entire OWS movement isn't exactly a good strategy to pull any of us over to your grandiose ideas. If anything, it's a great way to get people to dismiss you outright since it appears you're more a stranger to solid strategy and more comfortable with your own platitudes instead.

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