Nettime mailing list archives

<nettime> All Snowden Papers?
Patrice Riemens on Mon, 17 Nov 2014 12:01:11 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> All Snowden Papers?

I am not joining the demand(s) or signing the petition(s) for all
the 'Snowden Papers' to be turned out to 'the public'. Not because I
am opposed to their publication - I'll come back to that next - but
because I am not motivated enough to add my (small) bit of credence to
push for it to happen. As the Dutch would say "we've got the hoard"
, and since we also know the gist of what it holds, its full content
in all details is no longer of immediate importance. What is really
important is what is to be done, how to act on the knowledge we
already have.

Yet there is a secondary, but not trivial point of importance
regarding the non-release of the full set of 'Snowden Papers' held by
Greenwald and/or participating news-media: why were they not released,
'by default', in the first place? It may be me, but I have not heard
very much by way of coherent explanations beyond, e.g. , their need
to be 'redacted' (*) - a humongous task. The most cogent, if somewhat
down-to-earth argument is the plausible desire of the concerned
parties to keep the 'Snowden' revenue stream alive - call it their
milch-cow. OK then.

But one may also, without falling into conspirationism, speculate that
other forces are/were at work. That the powers that be may have made
it somehow understood that full disclosure might carry undisclosed,
but very dire consequences indeed. I would be curious to know more
about that - if only to some extent.

The real and, in my mind, only important, overriding question, is
how to act after and beyond the political and social watershed that
is 'Snowden'. Because Baroness Thatcher's dictum has now been fully
realized: there is no (longer) such thing as society. There are
only 'us' and 'them'. Before 'Snowden' we feared, now we know for
certain, and _must_ act (**) on the fact that 'they' will know limits
whatsoever in the development, expansion, and subsequent application
if they feel the need to, on 'us', of an unlimited array of oppressive
instruments of surveillance, control, repression, and ultimately,
inescapably, of extermination. 'They' did it before, they will do
it again, with the vengeance bestowed to them by the ownership and
mastery of a total, totalitarian tech.

But there is a non trivial problem in the way of an answer, and hence
of action, here: there is no such thing as a clear, demarcated, 'us'
and 'them'. All of 'us' are in various, and very different ways,
part of 'them', from the minute, unavoidable to the near-full and
TINA-consented. And all of 'them' partake, in a diminishing sense as
you near the top the pyramid, in something of 'us'.For the top, a
radical - yes I mean, with roots and all - 'que se vayan todos' is
probably the only solution.

For the rest of society, meaning 'us', nothing less than a full
overhaul of the 'system' would do, starting with that glaringly
difficult act that the French call 'prise de conscience' - so,
good luck! Nonetheless, a dispersed, but quite coherent movement
('of movements'?) in that direction has started for some time
now. Politically speaking, it could be subsumed under the term
'subsidiarity to the fullest extent possible'. Will it gain traction
towards a mass movement? Pessimists will say it is and will remain
very minoritary (adding 'watch the tanks coming' for good measure),
while optimists think its growth is unstoppable, 'Mad Max' scenarios
notwithstanding. I personally adhere to the latter view, while not
discounting the former.

So to conclude, it is towards a better, 'commonist' society, under the
banner 'an other world is possible' that we should apply our efforts,
both in action and in thoughts. In that light, the demand for full
disclosure of all 'Snowden documents' is fine with me, yet doesn't
escape the slight semblance of a diversion.

Patrice Riemens
Firenze, November 17, 2014.

(*)  At a time when the Dutch state is suing to have one of their armed
forces' former translators, name and number fully documented and public,
deported back to Afghanistan, overruling the near 100% certainty that he
will be killed on arrival, the demand for 'redaction' sounds hollow - to
say the least.

(**) My standing joke at whomever - in institutional setting - will not
listen is " see you in (the International Penal) court in have years time,
pal!" It is being 'variously' appreciated ...

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: http://mx.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} kein.org