“While you were sleeping, I figured out everything. I was constructed for you, and you were molded for me. Now I feel your pain, coursing through my veins. You shine so bright it’s insane. You put the Sun to shame.”—
Dan Feidt, an independent journalist who has investigated these claims, says there was nothing that complicated about the process: “The sheriff is getting people to do drugs and then they drop you back off at the plaza,” he tells RT.
When the United States imposes its imperialist agenda on third world nations, what is the most common justification? “We’re spreading democracy!” Sure, their intentions may sound good enough, but what do our rulers really mean when they say “democracy?”
Why is it that every election year we are filled with hope and promises of change and are always disappointed even when our favorite politicians take office? It’s because your so called representatives do not represent you or your interests. They can’t because most of our class interests are different. Their agendas are funded by the corporate Capitalist class, thereby influencing the policies politicians put forward.
Maybe we’re asking the wrong questions. Rather, we should ask, “Why do we talk about changing our rulers when we really want to change our lives?”
In this context, your vote means nothing. Your “representatives” were bought and sold long ago. They’re the puppets of the highest bidder. Is picking the lesser of two evils really the best of all possible worlds?
As Oscar Wilde put it, democracy is “the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.” What are the functions of a politician in the first place? Essentially, all they do is talk, create laws, and declare war. Their jobs aren’t to change anything or challenge the status-quo, it is to keep things the way that they are.
Democracy, the illusion of control and choice, is the apparatus that keeps the masses from realizing how powerless they really are. Democrats and Republicans are in bed with the same bankers and special interests. Every time you vote, you vote for the corporate and big business parties with your choice of red and blue.
Perhaps this can be solved by a series of reforms you say. Unfortunately, as long as the control of our physical, social, and cultural environments remain in the hands of those with the most capital and private property, democracy will be perpetually corrupt.
“Beggars can’t be choosers.” The choosers are always the ones begging. They beg their rulers to serve them when they so blatantly serve those who fatten their pocketbooks and ensure future positions of power, so long as they continue to serve them that is.
Let’s do away with representation all together. Their power lies in the mass hypnosis that there can only be one legitimate decision making body; a single means in which we can improve and change our lives. We become dependent on the very institutions that prevent us from achieving the world we wish to live in. That is not freedom. In fact, that is the very definition of slavery.
Democracy means division, police, borders, war, prisons, and surveillance; all the things that ensures that a vast distance remains between government and the governed. It is to ensure that the power remains in the hands of the powerful and out of the hands of the people.
Replace democracy with freedom, true freedom. Let’s build new social structures that promote autonomy, mutual aid, self-reliance, and free association while arriving at decisions together instead of the Capitalist class making them for us.
A staunch refusal to take part in their game and the realization of the potential we, autonomous and independent human beings, have to take back control of our surroundings and our lives is the first step towards living in a world not only without government, but a world where there is no need for government.
Apparently, Police Officers Didn't Like My "Fuck The Police" Column
I know, right?
Here’s the article in which I graciously told law enforcement to kindly fuck off.
The editor at the print publication that I write for forwarded me a response from a police officer who wanted to “set me straight.” Below is how we felt about the column. As a gesture, the officer will remain anonymous because chances are, Anonymous will hack your department’s website and reveal all of your department’s identities eventually.This is what I sent back to him:
"In response to Mr. Nelson’s opinion and thoughts on laws and authority figures, he needs to be set straight. Very briefly, one of the basic requirements of having laws and people to enforce them: ‘To Protect People From Themselves.’ If not you have anarchy and we revert back to being Neanderthals. This I learned many years ago on the first day of police training in order to better understand why I was there and the purpose of my function and others in my position in society.”
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my column officer. Allow me to counter.
Firstly, myself and many people that I care about have already been set straight by law enforcement agents such as yourself. We have been blinded by your pepper spray at point blank range for silently sitting on a plot of grass peacefully. We have been set straight by the beatings, wounds, and scars individuals in your profession have inflicted on us. Law enforcement as a collective whole has busted through our doors in the middle of the night and have stolen our belongings, spied on us, threatened us, and in many cases even killed us. Like I said in my column, the police have almost always been on the wrong side when it comes to positive social change. From the United States to Egypt, your primary objective is to serve and protect the status quo, not the people.
If your passion was to truly prevent crime, then why do you choose the side that oppresses the people who are risking their freedoms and lives to change the social conditions that generate crime in the first place? It’s because that is not your function as a police officer. Your purpose is to ensure that the mechanisms of the current social order are well oiled and continue to reinforce the power of those with capital and seats of power.
You are not protecting the people from themselves, you are protecting power from the people.
However, you are right about one thing. Without you, we would return to Anarchy and that is precisely what we want. Believe it or not, there was a time in human history where we did not need police or any form of government at all. Human beings did not need it because they didn’t live under an economic system that artificially created scarcity. ItwasAnarchy in the sense that human beings were free. Thus, there was equilibrium with the natural world.
I don’t wish to romanticize groups of people who live and have lived in this way, for that’s simply another form of objectification. Thereweredisputes and conflicts then as well. The difference being that people were forced to work them out, part separate ways, or come to some kind of compromise. Indigenous peoples very rarely engaged in armed conflict. When they did, a very few people were ever hurt or killed.
There is a reason why you were taught that you need to “protect people from themselves.” It’s because that’s the thing that rationalizes your injustices and oppressive activities towards people in so called “lower” positions in society.
I don’t expect you to read this a quit your job tomorrow. So I suppose the only other option myself and individuals like me have is to continue working and fighting against you. Believe me, I wish with every cell in my body that this can be dealt with in another way. Unfortunately, so long as we continue to dismantle systems of oppressive power, we will remain in conflict with the institutions you represent.
It’s nothing personal officer. I’m sure you’re a pleasant human being. It’s not you specifically that I have a problem with, it’s your fucking uniform.
If there’s one thing you take away from this, know that we don’t do what we do for a paycheck. You do. When you’re laid off here pretty soon, let us see how motivated you’ll be in beating the shit out of teenagers in the streets for chanting, “No justice. No peace. FUCK THE POLICE!” Chances are, you’ll be joining them.
I’ve always had a problem with authority. I still do. The dominant culture views this as an unfavorable attribute whereas I see it as a redeeming quality. As I have grown up and become an activist finding myself face to face with rows of armored riot police, it seems as though my wariness of the law is more than justified to say the least. I learned that there are myths that this culture perpetuates about the police in order to keep everyone in check as good little Capitalist drones; seemingly unaware of the world they actually live in.
The first myth is that the police exercise legitimate authority, thereby giving them the right to dictate what you can and cannot do. The function of the police officer is to enforce the law, obviously. It sounds reasonable enough unless you question the legitimacy of the laws they are enforcing. Who’s to say that these laws are right or just at all? Slavery was legal and aiding escaped slaves was illegal. The Nazis came to power via democratic elections and passed laws through “legitimate” channels. Those who combatted these unjust laws and the agents who enforced them broke the law to do so. This can be seen throughout history. Therefore, we cannot rely on the law and those who enforce it to do the right thing.
The most dangerous myth, especially among activists, is that there are only a few bad apples but most have the best intentions. Although it is true that some cops take the job, often out of economic pressure, in the hopes of improving society, they still need to obey orders instead of their conscious if they want to keep their job. So long as this is the case, enforcement will always be an extremely dangerous institution and cannot be trusted. It’s an institutional and systemic issue, not an individual one.
The favorite myth among the elites is that we need the police to protect us. Protect from whom? Most usually it is the victims of inequalities created by the very institutions that law enforcement protects. Another function of the police is to protect the interests of the Capitalist class. Every time there is a strike, the police are always on the side of the bosses. Every time there is a demonstration against the World Trade Organization, it is the police who fire rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowd instead of the people who commit crimes against humanity. Humans are not born inherently criminal or deviant, they are shaped by products of the environment in which they are brought up. Instead of attacking the problem at its source, the police further stratify society and reinforce the social and economic imbalances.
The mainstream seems be hesitant to question he police and authority in general. For every protestor beaten by law enforcement there is a massive portion of the population that is quick to blame the activist for the police’s actions. It is this “blame the victim” mentality that stifles social change and maintains the status quo that justifies the gassing of teenagers in the streets and the oppression of the poor and working classes.
In every social struggle, the police are always being pitted against the people they swore to protect and serve. More often than not, breaking the law is a means of doing the right thing and that is something we should all strive to do despite the social, economic, and political consequences.
A friend and fellow activist was speaking at a lecture about taking down civilization and said, “As a long time grassroots environmentalist I’ve been intimately acquainted with the landscape of loss and have grown accustomed to carrying the daily weight of despair.”
If you have read or heard these words before and often feel the same way, know that you are not alone.
I’m not writing this to convince you that climate change is happening and that civilized humans are responsible for it. This should be apparent and common knowledge by now.
I’m going to move the conversation forward; way forward.
For those who deny the reality that we are approaching catastrophic ecological collapse as a result of the lifestyle of the dominant culture, I suggest you stop reading here. You have better things to do such as going to the grocery store or pre-ordering Mass Effect 3.
For those who understand that we are at the tipping point of world destruction, this message is for you. We don’t have much time.
I’ve been putting off writing this column for a while so that I could adequately ease you into these subjects and thought processes. If you thought my previous columns were radical, please secure your tray in the upright and locked position.
Imagine for a moment that aliens descended upon Earth and began deforesting the Amazon rain forest and 98 percent of the planet’s old growth forests, poisoned our food, air, and water, put dioxin in every mother’s breast milk, altered the climate, dumped unimaginable amounts of pollutants into the streams, lakes, rivers, and oceans, and extracted massive amounts of resources at the expense of humans and nonhumans. What would we all do? What’s your first instinct? The majority of us would fight back. Not with petitions, Facebook groups, or campaign contributions, but with and organized resistance. Most of us would fight back directly and fiercely because our futures would depend on it.
Everything I’ve described above is occurring at this very moment, only this time the dominant culture is the culprit. Yet, we are complacent in the face of ecological annihilation.
These realities roll under us like so many hand grenades rolling across the dance floor. Look. It won’t go away. And we continue the dance of world destruction.
It’s evident that the dominant culture will not undergo a voluntary transformation into a sane and sustainable way of life. Most would agree for various reasons.
If this is the case, what does that mean about our strategy and our tactics? We see protests, sit-ins, banner drops, groovy green light bulbs and recycling bins, yet every day that passes the planet is in worse shape. Maybe a change in tactics and strategy are needed.
We don’t need more environmental organizations, we need organized resistance groups. We need not speak truth to power via protests, but force power to change through sabotage and sustained blockades at major nodes of industry.
Find the levers and apply pressure, that’s how we win this war. Indeed, it’s been a war ongoing for thousands of years.
Direct action is the only means in which true social and political change occurs. Those in power are not going to change because we ask nicely. Force is the only language they know.
At the expense of the revolutionary tone, I wept the other night when I found out that TransCanada is going to continue its Keystone XL tarsand pipeline project within the U.S. NASA climate scientists have said that this will mean “Game Over” for the climate. One of the extensions will be built from Cushing, Okla., to the Gulf Coast.
This can be stopped. All of it. Not just TransCanada but Exxon, ConocoPhillips, Chesapeake Energy, and every hydraulic fracturing project T. Boon Pickens has ever started. In order to actually win against these mass murderers and sociopaths, we need and organized political resistance both aboveground and underground.
I’ll leave you with a question and then a quote. Question: If such a resistance movement already existed, would you join it? If not, why? This movement does exist, and it’s closer to home than you think. Seek them out and you will find them.
And for a quote that a good friend of mine once said, “During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Jews who resisted had a higher chance of survival than those who went along.”
Now, please give a moment of silence for the 200 species of plants and animals that went extinct today as a result of this genocidal culture and do the same tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day until we end this ecocide once and for all.
#STRATFOR Inflitrates #Occupy Austin and Deep Green Resistance
(Editor’s Note: This column was written by the founder of Arm The Homeless, Ryan Nelson, and was published in print and online on February 13, 2012 by The Daily O’Collegian.)
On Dec. 25, the Internet "hackivist" group Anonymous hacked into the servers of a private intelligence firms called STRATFOR.
Among the stolen data were more than 50,000 credit card numbers, 25,000 phone numbers, 86,594 emails (many of them .gov and .mil domains), and 40,000 encrypted passwords. They also gained access to STRATFOR’s email database, which is proving to be one of the “lulziest” hacks by Anonymous thus far.
Members of Anonymous claim they have obtained more than 200 gigabytes of data and 500,000 internal emails.
Since the initial hack, Anonymous has been slowly releasing email threads online.
Although the emails they have released thus far have been no more than embarrassing for the company, their most recent revelation was anything but funny.
An email thread from within STATFOR’s private internal email database from Marc Lanthemann, a STRATFOR “watch officer” or undercover intelligence agent, described his infiltration of Occupy Austin and the Texas chapter of the radical environmental group Deep Green Resistance.
This leak was published online by Anonymous on Jan. 26.
Lanthemann goes on to describe Deep Green Resistance as an eco-terrorist group working with Occupy Austin. “Eco-terrorism” being defined as the destruction or sabotage of infrastructure as a means of protecting the environment.
Or it could be that so called “eco-terror” has a smaller carbon footprint than the usual terror (most usually perpetrated by the U.S. government). Either way, I like the sound of it.
He also goes on to describe Deep Green Resistance as a movement inspired by Nazism, implying that their goal is to reduce the world population dramatically in order to save the planet.
As someone who has extensively researched Deep Green Resistance and served as a part-time organizer for the Oklahoma chapter, I can tell you with absolute certainty that Lanthemann has no idea what he is talking about when he says that DGR wants to blow up pipelines because they are Nazi-inspired environmentalists. This uneducated elaboration of DGR further solidifies my opinion that the so-called intelligence industry is rather incompetent and is not deserving of the title “intelligent” at all.
Furthermore, the fact that intelligence firms, who also have contracts with governmental intelligence agencies, are spying on and infiltrating activist organizations should be very concerning to say the least. Although, this should come as no surprise that these sorts of unethical and disturbing activities occur.
The FBI deployed counter-intelligence agents to infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement, Black Panther Party, and the anti-war movements in the 60s and used such tactics as wiretapping, intimidation, and even assassination to disrupt and sabotage the movements.
The United States is quickly becoming a surveillance state where private contractors and government agencies spy on citizens who are organizing against corruption and wrongdoing within the government and the corporate world (as if the two are really separate).
Yet, the public outrage is minimal and the press coverage is nonexistent. However, within activist communities, something long overdue is brewing beneath the surface. There is a transformation occurring in which activist organizations are becoming full-fledged resistance groups.
Just yesterday, Occupy Oakland attempted to take over city hall. They stormed the building, destroyed displays, cut electrical wire, and burned an American flag. On the outside of the building, Anarchists spray painted the word “REVENGE” in retaliation of police brutality against protestors in recent months.
Like it or not, a global uprising is building up behind the scenes. It seems governments are taking notice and are beginning to gather intelligence on activist groups who want a radically new government or no government at all.
I predict that World War III will not be between governments, but between governments and their people. It becomes more evident everyday that even our own government isn’t what it seemed, and people are beginning to realize that; that our government is a fascist/totalitarian government that calls itself a democracy.
Perhaps it is time for you to begin to take notice of the world in which you live, and maybe you will realize that you are unhappy with the current state of affairs. Perhaps you will wake up from the hypnotic trance you’ve been in all of your life and you will find the will and courage to take action.
There is a war going on for your mind. It’s time you either choose to fight with those who wish to live in a free, just, and sustainable world, or you continue on with your daily lives by forgetting this column and stand idly by as the world crumbles around you.
This choice is yours. For all of our sake, let’s hope you make the right one.
(Editor’s Note: This column was written by the founder of Arm The Homeless, Ryan Nelson, and was published in print and online on February 9, 2012 by The Daily O’Collegian.)
The police violence towards peaceful demonstrators within the Occupy movement became more commonplace after the raid in Oakland.
Many police departments followed suit in seemingly coordinated evictions of occupations around the country. But it never really feels real until it happens in your own backyard.
On Nov. 3, the City of Tulsa threatened to arrest protestors at Occupy Tulsa if they continued to remain at Centennial Park overnight, a violation of a city ordinance.
Midnight came and went, yet there was no sign of police. The local media was confused. They were anticipating confrontation.
A man began talking to the viewers on the live feed and said, “I think I know what they’re doing. They’re waiting for the media to leave.”
At 3 a.m., we began hearing reports of SWAT vehicles heading in the direction of the occupation. Police began blocking intersections and exits. About 10 protestors remained defiant and stayed in the park, sitting down and locking arms. One of them was a good friend of mine who wore the now iconic Guy Fawkes mask.
About 15 police officers armed with paintball guns approached the protestors to arrest them. The protestors began chanting, “The First Amendment has no curfew.” An officer took out his pepper spray canister and began spraying the protestors in the eyes at close range. They were eventually handcuffed and placed in the back of a police van.
On the way to the Tulsa County Jail, the protestors started laughing. When they were placed in their cells, they started singing the national anthem and had friendly conversations with police officers.
It turns out the police have more in common with the 99 percent than they do with the banks who filed the complaints that resulted in the police intervention.
By the end of 2011, most of the occupations were evicted. However, the Occupy movement spread to college campuses, including Oklahoma State University, and began organizing more ambitious actions.
There was the West Coast Shutdown, in which occupations in the West blockaded ports in solidarity with worker unions.
The N17 action Nov. 17 was one of the largest Occupy demonstrations in New York City, celebrating Occupy Wall Street’s two month anniversary.
Anonymous, the online hacker collective, began hacking police websites and releasing private information on officers in retaliation for police violence toward the movement.
On Jan. 17, after news pundits said the movement was dead, occupations from around the country converged in Washington, D.C. for Occupy Congress. Occupiers from as far away as Los Angeles and Oakland participated, as well as union workers, teachers and even police officers. They all met with their respective representatives and conveyed their concerns and solutions.
The Occupy movement has changed America and the world. It changed the dialog in the presidential race and in Washington.
In President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, he said one of his goals was to get money out of politics, which has been one of the demands of the Occupy movement since it started. Wealthy Americans began to ask why they have lower taxes than the average American worker.
The youth have become politically engaged. Protestors at universities in California are proposing tuition plans that would reduce the financial burden put on students.
There’s even an Occupy Nigeria, which might transform into a revolution.
Despite what anyone says, the Occupy movement is far from dead, and they will continue to confront and challenge the status quo for a long time.
But where the movement goes from here is anyone’s guess.
Regardless of what your opinion is about OWS, no one can argue they didn’t make an impact on our lives. OWS sparked a wave of political dissent in the United States that is not going away anytime soon.
"…and then you win."
All of this began with an idea, and you cannot silence an idea whose time has come.
Believe it or not, you’ve witnessed history in the making.
(Editor’s Note: This column was written by the founder of Arm The Homeless, Ryan Nelson, and was published in print and online on February 5, 2012 by The Daily O’Collegian.)
Occupy Wall Street was trending both on the never ending stream of the Twitterverse and in the hearts and minds of people around the world. Hope and inspiration began to fill peoples’ souls; feelings that are not too common in today’s world.
It is both a cultural trend that has reached to all corners of the Earth and in the form of a hash-tag online. It began as an idea that emerged from the bowels of cyberspace and manifested in public parks and squares around the world.
This idea didn’t stop on Wall Street. Occupations began springing up in London, Madrid, Toronto, Sydney, Melbourne, Tokyo, and many more. OWS is the Internet personified. It was shared globally and multiplied rapidly, taking on many forms. It became a public forum and an open source community. Public libraries from within the occupations began to grow an extensive collection of knowledge, much like Wikipedia. Occupations were autonomous and independent of each other, yet their actions were coordinated and effective.
A new form of democracy was being put into practice. Communities began making decisions and put them into action, bypassing government completely. It was empowering. Maybe the Occupiers were on to something.
Suddenly, all hell broke loose.
On Oct. 25 Occupy Oakland was raided by riot police. Many of us watched the live feed as lines of armored officers approached the camp. They began tearing down tents and making arrests. Tear gas was fired into medical and food tents. Many of the demonstrators fled into the adjacent street while some stayed to protect the community they helped create.
The streets of Oakland turned into a warzone. Rubber bullets were fired into the crowd. One man lay wounded on the street. Some of the occupiers came back to help him get up and out of the crossfire. A police officer watched, cooked a flash bang grenade, and tossed it underneath their feet.
Occupier and Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen suffered from a fractured skull by a projectile fired by the Oakland Police Department.
You could hear the sound of gunfire in the distance, the flashes of concussion grenades surrounded you and the smell of pepper spray stuck to your clothing.
"…then they fight you…"
Moments later, the streets were silent. Suddenly, you could hear the sound of a woman chant, “We’re still here!” The chant grew louder and louder as more people joined in. A crowd emerged from the tear gas mist, later being detained by Oakland PD.
These events became common place in occupations around the world. The celebration of the freedom to assemble was squashed by coordinated police actions in the United States, even in the birthplace of the Occupy Movement; New York City.
The 99 percent wasn’t going to go down without a fight. They began to escalate their actions.
On Oct. 27, Occupy Oakland struck back by calling for a General Strike. Tens of thousands of people marched to the Port of Oakland, completely filling entire stretches of highway in the process. The port was shut down as a result. Demonstrators danced on top of semi trucks and waved the upside down American flag, a sign of distress.
Time had stopped and the flow of wealth to the 1 percent ground to a halt. For a moment, the world was ours again. Anything seemed possible.
I sat behind a computer screen, still exchanging news and dialog in the Anonymous communications network. The chat room exploded with triumph, as did I.
As I fell asleep, the streets of Oakland chanted, “We are unstoppable. Another world is possible.”
It was a day of victory. Although the battle was won, the war had just begun.
(Editor’s Note: This column was written by the founder of Arm The Homeless, Ryan Nelson, and was published in print and online on February 5, 2012 by The Daily O’Collegian.)
Gandhi once said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win.”
It was Sept. 16 when I entered the Anonymous communications network. You could feel the anxiety and tension from behind the computer screen. More than 200 people who were affiliated with the group and its past actions were recently arrested. We didn’t know how many FBI agents were recording our every word.
The chat feed streamed with excitement and optimism, and rightfully so.
What had just been put into motion was the work and organizing that spanned several months; planning and scheming, never knowing what would come about as a result of our efforts until the day it was put into action. I couldn’t sleep. None of us could.
Midnight struck on the east coast. It was only mere hours until we would see the end product of an idea that has been circulating only as a rumor on the Internet for months. Many believed that it wouldn’t happen, nor did they believe that it would work if it did, myself included.
I saw the sun begin to rise over the horizon outside of my window. It was the 17th, my birthday. However, this birthday would be one I would never forget.
This event was known as Operation Empire State Rebellion among many of us who lurked in the Internet Relay Chat. Today, it’s more commonly referred to as Occupy Wall Street.
A small crowd began to form in Zuccotti Park near the financial district in downtown Manhattan; many were wearing the infamous Guy Fawkes mask. Tents were erected, though only a small few actually stayed overnight.
During the next week, the crowd grew. People were curious as to why a small band of ragtag armchair revolutionaries were camping out in a public park. That’s when the marches down Wall Street began.
A reporter approaches one of the women in the march and asks, “What are you protesting?” She replies, “Everything.”
Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is truly a manifestation of the Internet. It was chaotic, unorganized, and lacked focus. Everyone had something to be angry and frustrated about: unemployment, income inequality, corporate influence in democratic processes, the bank bailouts, etc.
The media ignored OWS even as hundreds of protestors began populating the newly named “Liberty Park”. Some described it as a media blackout. When you can’t get noticed by the media, you have to become the media. That is exactly what OWS protestors did by using video streaming software that allowed them to broadcast live video from cameras and mobile phones to the Internet in real time.
"First they ignore you…"
People from all walks of life came out and participated. Everyone from Anarchists to Communists, Libertarians to Socialists, and environmentalists to union workers took part in the demonstrations. OWS resulted in the unification of the previously fragmented activist and resistance cultures in the United States.
It was a force to be reckoned with, and the NYPD found that out the hard way.
On Sept. 24, the NYPD began pepper-spraying and arresting peaceful demonstrators. Activists were dragged down the street by their hair, women were pepper-sprayed in the face at pointblank range, journalists were detained and their video recordings were confiscated.
Every time the police violently reacted toward the Occupiers, the movement grew larger and stronger.
It was anarchy, pandemonium, chaos; exactly what the media loves. It started paying attention.
The usual slurs were muttered by politicians and big-shot businessmen. They called them hippies, dope heads, dirty, filthy, lazy people, etc. As protestors marched down Wall Street, wealthy stock brokers and businessmen drank Champaign and mocked them as they passed by. It was the usual kneejerk reactions you’d get from individuals that have gained enormously from a system that has destroyed the lives of so many.
"…then they laugh at you…"
Like anything good thing created by the Internet, OWS went viral. Occupations began to form in Boston, L.A., San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Washington D.C, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and even Stillwater. Similar police repression was experienced in some of these cities. It only served to fuel the fire that has spread worldwide.
A movement took shape. What the future held was anyone’s guess.
(Editor’s Note: This column was written by the founder of Arm The Homeless, Ryan Nelson, and was published in print and online on January 29, 2012 by The Daily O’Collegian.)
Throughout history, college campuses have been at the forefront of societal change.
In 1963, the late Howard Zinn was an adviser for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at Spelman College, a college for African American women. He mentored students on how to be activists in the fight to end segregation, which eventually led to his dismissal by the Spelman administration. This set the stage for student activists organizing against racism and segregation, bringing the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements to college campuses nationwide.
November 1973, Athens Polytechnic students went on strike in protest of the military rule in Greece. Crowds of thousands joined in solidarity with the students, including workers who were also fighting for economic equality.
In 2009, University of California Berkley raised tuition by 32 percent. It didn’t take long for students to begin organizing and demonstrating against the U.C. Board of Regents. This resulted in more than 200 students being arrested.
Winter 2010, the U.K. government cut funds to programs as universities tripled their tuition. As a result, students took over and occupied academic buildings, demonstrated in the streets of London, ripped a hole in the side of the Conservative Party HQ building and stormed Parliament Square.
As an activist and incoming freshman, I was excited to find other students who were also angered and concerned with the current state of affairs of our nation and planet. I quickly discovered that the majority of the students were either uninformed or complacent about the monumental issues we currently face and the great challenges we will face in the very near future.
We are in the most exciting yet terrifying times in history. The United States is in wars around the world as our own economy is collapsing. Income inequality in the U.S. is the highest out of all the developed nations in the world, including many developing nations as well, for graduates face an average of $23,000 of debt upon leaving college; transforming them into slaves of debt. Civil liberties have been eroding before our eyes since 2001 in the name of the so called “War on Terror”. The list just goes on and on.
Where is the outrage and concern? Do these issues not matter enough to be actively engaging and confronting?
The students need not take all the blame. Professors, where are you? Where is your guidance in these matters? Why haven’t you followed in the footsteps of your historic colleague Howard Zinn?
It doesn’t matter what opinion you hold on these issues I describe above, but the fact that you have an opinion at all is what matters. What matters most of all is that you act upon your convictions and beliefs.
If we can take anything from history, it’s that you have the immense power to change the world forever. Collectively, as a student body, we have even more power than that.
It’s time to wake up. Our generation faces challenges that no other generation has. History is constantly being written, and we all have the power and need to shape it. In your final moments in life, it matters not how much money you have in your bank account or the social status you hold, but what actions you have taken to leave this world a better place than when you entered it.
We all have the ability to forge the world we wish to live in; to break the mold and dare to live the life we dream of in the world we create.
Students and staff, this is not an opinion piece, it is a call to arms. Educate, demonstrate, organize, mobilize and embrace the struggle.
How will future generations judge ours? The generation that did nothing in the midst of a crumbling way of life; standing idly by as the world around us burns or the generation that changed everything for the better against all odds and expectations?
This question can only be answered by the actions we choose to take and the outcome will be determined by the passion and dedication we use to carry them out.
“This we know; the earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.”—Chief Seattle (1851)
If the Stop Online Piracy Act is signed into law, you will get more jail time for uploading a Michael Jackson song than the guy who killed Michael Jackson.
Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.
SOPA looks more like a bill that focuses on censorship than the protection of “intellectual property.”
It will allow the U.S. government to order the shutdown of any website that is seen to be infringing any kind of copyrighted material and slap them with a ridiculous fine or even jail time.
In addition, you can be prosecuted for violating SOPA if you simply link to a website that has infringed on some ridiculous copyrighted material.
In order for an entire website to be shut down, a simple allegation of copyright infringement will suffice in beginning the process.
Let’s think about the broader implications of this for a moment. This bill proposes that all those who link to copyrighted material will be fined or thrown in jail. So one can assume that there is a mass surveillance apparatus already somewhat in place that can monitor massive amounts of data transfers and traffic flows.
Or our so called representatives simply don’t know what they’re talking about and, if the United States hasn’t become a total surveillance state yet, SOPA will be impossible to enforce on any meaningful scale. Honestly, neither of these realities would surprise me in the slightest.
However, we information activists have been noticing a staggering increase of government involvement into and the facilitation of the free flow of information on the Internet in recent years.
@AnonymousIRC posted an article on Twitter from Torrent Freak that states, “More than 100 leaked cables showed that the US had helped draft new Spanish copyright legislation and had heavily influenced the decisions of both the government and opposition.”
These cables were leaked by whistleblower website Wikileaks when they released thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables onto the Internet. Naturally, the U.S. government put Wikileaks on their hit-list just a swiftly as they put Spain on it.
The U.S. Department of Justice is currently working towards forcing Twitter to release account information about Wikileaks and its supports, including Icelandic MP Birgitta Jonsdottir.
Glen Greenwald, a columnist for Salon.com, voiced his concerns about these events by stating, “All of this extraordinary probing and “criminal” investigating [stems] from WikiLeaks’ doing nothing more than publishing classified information showing what the U.S. Government is doing: something investigative journalists, by definition, do all the time.”
This is very troubling indeed, for it indicates that the U.S. government is willing to selectively enforce laws when it is in their favor and worth the trouble. It’s even more troubling when the executive branch wants to expand that power by attempting to pass SOPA.
SOPA was supposedly written to protect commercial interests that owned intellectual property online and who were losing money due to piracy.
Maybe SOPA isn’t meant to be enforced on all those who violate its terms, but rather meant to concentrate on dealing with specific copyright or intellectual property infringement and gain more power and control over the Internet.
With the vast amount of information leaks that have embarrassed the West enormously, SOPA could be the covert piece of legislation that mitigates it in the future. And indeed, there are more leaks and security breaches to come.
We can also explore the notion that the U.S. government values the health of the economy more than it does the civil liberties of its people; essentially implying that when one sector of the economy is jeopardized, that gives the state the right to take away certain freedoms and forms of expression.
SOPA is a brute force attack on the first amendment because of its blatant and reckless practice of censorship of information online. This legislation must be fought to ensure the freedoms we enjoy on the Internet.
If you are a blogger like I am and SOPA gets passed, we can talk about this issue more as we all sit in jail.
The Underground World of the Global Intelligence/Surveillance Industry
Imagine living in a world where corporations and intelligence firms created software that can intercept communications of entire populations and demographics. Imagine a world where this software was sold by intelligence contractors to governments around the world, including brutal authoritarian dictatorships. Imagine these contractors making billions of dollars in the process.
There’s no need to pretend that this world exists, you’re living in it.
Last month, Wikileaks published a collection of documents called the “Spy Files” which details just how extensive and pervasive the global surveillance industry has become over the past decade. U.S. corporations such as Blue Coat sell software and provide services to oppressive countries like China and Iran to censor, track down, and crush dissent. As a longtime blogger on international affairs, I’ve been told stories of political bloggers in Iran who have been chopped up into little pieces and mailed back to their families in boxes. I know it’s a horrible image to picture in your head, but these atrocities are made possible by corporate entities such as Blue Coat and many like them.
This software isn’t only used by authoritarian regimes abroad; they are used here in the U.S. as well. Commercial interests are responsible for the software used in Predator drones that provide data for the CIA. These drones have recently been authorized to be used by law enforcement in the U.S. to gather intelligence.
Intelligence Integration System Inc. created software called Geospatial Toolkit to instantly identify your location and identity based on your phone signal and voice print. It’s called “location-based analytics”, and it was sold to the CIA and also applied to various drone operations abroad in extrajudicial assassinations. With the PATRIOT Act still in law, one can only assume the worst as to how private our private lives really are and how involved our own government is in it.
With the NDAA now signed into law that authorizes the indefinite detention of American citizens without charge or trial, this global surveillance industry becomes even more dangerous in the United States and creates more room for power to be abused.
Private companies don’t just sell spying software to the U.S. It’s going to go to whoever is the highest bidder as well. Whether it is the president of Iran or the Saudi royal family, profit is profit and that bottom line is what matters in the end. Multinational surveillance corporations don’t have morals or ethics because they can’t afford it.
This elusive industry isn’t only limited to the secret meetings of intelligence agencies or the backrooms of dictator palaces, it has also infiltrated universities around the country.
The NSA has been pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into grants for research funding in academics for at least the past five years. They don’t try very hard in hiding it either. In fact, many researchers and academics take pride in the fact that they are being funded by the NSA. With the dangerously common “You’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists” mentality still very present in today’s political discourse, the NSA doesn’t worry too much about the public outrage as to exactly what they are investing their money in; investments into joyful expenditures such as analysis of intercepted communications, pattern detection, and data mining.
Students do all the hard work in researching hardware and software that will be used in the future to spy on American citizens and kill countless civilians abroad, all with our tax dollars. You’re welcome NSA.
One of the main reasons why the Nazis were so effective and organized when it came to the concentration and death camps was because of computers created and given to them by a U.S. company called IBM. IBM customized these computers specifically for the death camps. Technology is not neutral when the intent of its design is specifically for undermining the freedoms and rights of citizens.
If you could go back in time and stop IBM, would you? What if you didn’t have to? These things are being done right now. Western companies are selling technologies to regimes that have no problem in slaughtering their own people to preserve their power, and indeed they have; mostly with weapons sold by U.S. arms traders and manufacturers. Thank you Lockheed Martin.
These intelligence and surveillance firms are able to do what they do because the public is not informed enough to make them accountable for the suffering and death they have caused in the pursuit of profit and at the expense of privacy and freedom from the state. By talking about these issues and facts brought to light by hackers and whistleblowers around the world and entering them into the public discourse, we will make it harder for these firms to market their oppressive technologies that result in the murders of innocent people.
Go ahead and share this on Facebook and Twitter. Maybe the people who are logging your information will have a sudden change of heart and blow the whistle on the company they work for. Like Wikileaks said in a Tweet the other day, “Programmers and system admins control every intelligence agency and bank. What happens when they awake and unite?”
Anonymous surprised us all by ending 2011 with a lulz-filled bang full of leaks, md5 hashed passwords, and compromising thousands of insecure and poorly encrypted- and by that we mean not encrypted at all- credit card numbers and donated the stolen cash to charitable foundations.
The target? Stratfor Global Intelligence, a Texas-based security and intelligence firm that provides analysis on international affairs and “security threats”. They have several high profile clients including the United Snakes Defense Department, Lockshit Martin, and Bankster of America.
The purpose of this article is to not recap what has already been common knowledge for the past few days, so if you are not up to date with the most recent online carnage then check this shit out before preceding.
For everyone else who has been keeping up with this story, it quite obvious that the mainshit media is doing what it does best by avoiding what the actual intentions of the hack was. Most have completely ignored the fact that supposedly 3.3 million corporate emails corresponding with major multinational corporate entities along with intelligence and surveillance industries are going to be released sometime in the next few days.
The last time Anonymous obtained a metric fuck-ton of emails was this past February when they hacked into the online security firm HBGary Federal and obtained CEO Aaron Barr’s person and corporate emails. This resulted in Barr resigning and the unveiling of a conspiracy to discredit Wikileaks and activist organizations in support of them.
Arm The Homeless participated in the crowd-sourced into the HBGary emails with Project PM, which is headed by journalist Barrett Brown. You can review the information that was uncovered here.
Based on Anonymous’ track record of really shaking shit up and the high profile clients of Stratfor, especially Bank of America and the Defense Department which Anonymous has roughed up a bit in the past, you can see why we bloggers and semi-journalists are excited to see this potential treasure trove of dirt on the biggest capitalist gang bangers in the world.
If this massive leak is as juicy and lulz-filled as we think it is, what will it mean for the intelligence and surveillance industry? For one, it will allow us to see what techniques, methods, and software they are using on us. This will give us the ability to find a way to get around these peeping toms and be safe in the thought that the State or some pig-fucking corporation isn’t logging every link we click and post.
This email dump will also provide us with the evidence and conviction we need to go after these fuckers full force. We’ve known for a while that Bank of America was a piece of shit, but when HBGary was hacked and we found out their plans to undermine Wikileaks, it sent shock waves throughout the media. The reputation of BoA continued to degrade as the Occupy protests began to take over every major city square.
We will know exactly who is doing what and how they are doing it. If we don’t like it, then we have the justification to fuck their shit up. Once we gather the information found in these emails, we can then go back on the offensive against those who we found were doing shady shit and get their emails, passwords, credit card numbers, etc.
This hack can potentially set off a chain reaction as the information in these compromised emails become known and as SOPA continues to slowly creep into law. With the Occupy protests slowing their gears for the time being, that momentum can be recaptured with what comes to light with these revelations; reigniting a fire that has been reduced as a result of the winter weather and violent police repression. We can bring this fight to cyberspace, to the streets, and back online; constantly on the offensive and changing tactics when needed with all the tools and methods at our disposal both legal and illegal and violent and nonviolent. We need a multi-varied solution to a problem that is multi-varied. We need it all.
Information has become our most valuable tool and our most powerful weapon with Anonymous being our greatest ally. We are engaging in a new kind of warfare; an information war. The victor will not be the one with the biggest gun or the mightiest army. Rather it will be the side that has the most information on the enemy as to how to best undermine them. We must have ninjas in the dark and internal void of the interwebz and boots on the ground in the street to combat our enemies; our enemies being those who wish to exploit humans/non-humans for person gain, profit, and control and who are willing to extinguish our rights and liberties to do it.
Our most popular post ever on our last Internet venue was “Why We Need Anonymous More Than Ever”, and those words still stand true today. Not all of us have the technical skills and the computer know-how that give us the ability to unlock the secrets of the world online, we leave that job up to Anonymous and all underground entities fighting for truth, justice, and freedom on and offline.
We salute you all.
Arm The Homeless will be analyzing and posting our findings on this blog once the emails are released. We will also be working with Barrett Brown and Project PM to optimize our investigation.
Follow the investigation on Twitter: @soulpowernow