Thursday, 26 November 2015

One Nation,Under Surveillance.

     We all know that the state will use whatever it can manufacture, or whatever comes its way, to tighten security. The recent attack in Paris, though tragic in every aspect, has been seized upon by the French state, and other European states, including the UK, to compromise civil liberties. Engendering a climate of fear, the state apparatus is able to clamp down more firmly on an voice of dissent. “For your own safety” protest marches will be banned, you will be encouraged to snoop on your neighbour, and report all you paranoias to the “proper authorities”, remember Nazi Germany. 

       The noose is ever tightening round the people, new anti-union laws, greater scope for surveillance, ever growing epidemic of CCTV cameras, now monitoring your every move and profiling you as you make your way about you daily business. Now the UK has found money in this austerity age, to fund more secret service units and decided not to cut funding to the police, while still slicing £12 billion from welfare. It knows where its priorities lie, certainly not with the welfare of the people.

     Are we to sit idly by while our civil liberties are shredded on the pretext of protecting us. We need protection from the state more than any other protection.

An excellent article from Crimethinc:

    WE received the following report from the group that produced the French version of To Change Everything, Pour Tout Changer. They describe the situation in Paris before and after the attacks of November 13: the intensification of xenophobic discourse, the repression of homeless refugees, the declaration of a “state of emergency” as a way to clamp down on dissent, the preparations for the COP 21 summit at which demonstrations are now banned, and what people are doing to counter all this. It offers an eyewitness account from the front lines of the struggle against the opportunists who hope to use the tragedy of November 13 to advance their agenda of racism and autocracy. With demonstrations forbidden and the COP 21 summit around the corner, what happens in Paris will set an important precedent for whether governments can use the specter of terrorism to suppress efforts to change the disastrous course on which they are steering us.

Escalating Xenophobia

       The attacks that took place in Paris several days ago, tragic as they are, are unfortunately not an isolated event. The capital city of France was simply another target in a string of bombings in Suruç, Ankara, and Beirut; it represents the continuation and expansion of the strategy ISIS initiated in the Middle East.
In France, these attacks exacerbate a political context that was already fraught. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the participation of the far-right party Front National in the second round of the 2002 presidential election, the political discourse has taken an increasingly conservative tone. For example, Nicolas Sarkozy, as Ministre de l’Intérieur from 2002 to 2007 and President from 2007 to 2012, openly adopted some arguments, topics, and symbols that were previously only used by the Front National. These discourses of “identity” and “security” have especially stigmatized Arabic and Muslim communities. In 2010, for example, a law was passed stipulating that it was forbidden to cover your face in public places in France. While not explicitly directed at those wearing a niqab or hijab, it resulted in more controls targeting Muslim women.
During this same time period, law enforcement groups were given new equipment such as Flash-balls (supposedly non-lethal anti-riot weapons) and Taser guns. The national DNA file, used since 1998 to collect the DNA of sexual offenders and abusers, has been extended to every person convicted of an offense. The “Plan Vigipirate,” a governmental anti-terrorism security plan established in 1995 after several bombing attacks in France, was also updated three times between 2002 and 2006, and more recently in 2014 under current President François Hollande.

Before the Attacks

      For years, refugees have been fleeing their countries to escape death, military conflicts, and constant political instability. Until last summer, the French government and its European counterparts didn’t care about the refugee issue—witness the countless tragic deaths of people trying to cross the Mediterranean sea. In Paris, several groups of refugees have been living on the streets in precarious conditions for months.
      Nevertheless, due to accelerating waves of immigration, the French government started to change its policy, taking part in the European political initiative “Welcome Refugees.” This was more of a political move than an expression of solidarity. During this period, refugees and migrants, left alone by authorities, began to create their own camps in several locations in Paris. They received some assistance from NGOs, collectives, activists, and others concerned about their difficult situation.
      However, refugees faced aggressive state repression, as they still do. They are regularly harassed by police who intimidate, beat, evict, and arrest them or destroy their camps. In June 2015, the fascist group Génération Identitaire (Identity Generation) attacked a refugee camp in Austerlitz with stones and bottles. The Austerlitz camps were removed by the authorities in September.
      At the end of July, another group of refugees and migrants decided to squat an old and abandoned high school in the 19th district of Paris: the Lycée Jean Quarré. Collectives and activists came to offer help; together, they began organizing demonstrations to defend refugees’ rights. On the morning of October 23, police evicted the squat. Some of the migrants who occupied it have been relocated to centers or shelters in the suburbs or even further outside Paris. Others remained without a place to sleep, so they camped in front of the Hotel de Ville, the City Hall of Paris.
Well worth reading the full article HERE:
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