Command and Control Resistance by Justin Frost 3/31/2013
“There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.” – George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four.
Oppression is a dilemma brought about by the existence of a hierarchical state that uses force, coercion, and manipulation to limit the free action of individuals. Historically revolutions have resulted in temporary defeat of oppressors only to have those revolutionaries who take power become the new oppressors. The subjects of the statist religion cannot see past their limited programming to envision an alternative means of organizing society without the state. The widely held belief that the state is necessary for the peaceful operation of society is an irrational fear generated by oppressors to keep a populous subdued enough to allow for the persistence of despotic rule.
Transformation occurs when an individual overcomes a dilemma by evolving beyond their previous paradigm. Transformation is more than just learning new information or becoming aware of a dilemma. One transforms perception by questioning the principles used to make sense of the world and reprioritizing one’s values and directives. Transformation results in strategically changing one’s intentions and perceived purpose to address the conditions of a dilemma.
As an activist, journalist, and scientist I am constantly engaged in the process of cultural action. “Cultural action refers to any type of project which attempts to transform relations prior to the taking of power…. The aim of these projects is to enable people to develop a critical perception of their oppression and as far as possible prior to the revolution, to prepare themselves for full active engagement in cultural revolution. Cultural revolution is a permanent process in which conscientized people engage in the continuous creation and recreation of their society.” (Darder, 429)
No small task, the goal is to free civilization by abolishing the state and with it an entrenched system of slavery. “When a relation is antagonistic, producing domination and subordination, and so on the idea for the radical activist is to abolish or radically transform the relation…” (Darder, 427) There is no new form of government that can successfully transplant the old way. The goal is to achieve autonomy by bringing forth a renaissance of technological advancement. A free market of productive peaceful individuals armed with 21st century technology creates better solutions to problems than the government sector can. The government attempts to monopolize media, education, arbitration, security, food, and medicine. The goal is to out-compete the hierarchical centralized command and control system with parallel systems that render the state obsolete.
The municipal courthouse serves a corrupt tyrannical system that exploits the most vulnerable members of society in the name of protecting them. The agents of the court derive their authority over their subjects by claiming to act on behalf of the corporation known as the state. The corporation asserts a monopoly over the exercise of force in a geographic region. The subjects in a fiefdom are not permitted the same rights as the agents of the state. Members of peaceful society do not have the right to impose their will on others. Those who participate in voluntary peaceful production and exchange are merely peasants at the bottom of parasitic feudal system that depends on coercive threats and violence to fleece members of productive society in order to sustain its despotic reign.
I recently went to observe a court room along with several liberty activists and was surprised by the number of school kids that were being slapped with multiple $300 fines for “disrupting class”. In a matter of hours the court reaped thousands of dollars from families struggling with poverty. The students were before a judge to compensate the state for the crime of dissent.
I was appalled by the way the students were treated. One after another, teenagers were brought to stand trial for the crime of disrupting class; a minor offense that would have in a previous era been dealt with by a trip to the principal’s office. Instead these kids were labeled as criminals and not allowed to even discuss what they did wrong or why it was a crime. The judge simply told them to be obedient in school and get a job to pay the fines. “Childhood is a sacred state, one that society demands be protected by public institutions, until the “children” become “criminals,” at which point they are tossed into a moral abyss, perceived as somehow less than human but increasingly held accountable as adults.” (Darder, 129)
The servants of the state dare not allow themselves to ponder the possibility that school is not preparing these kids with useful skills to prosper in the real world. The state can see no blame in its actions since it is the ultimate arbiter of all conflicts, even conflicts involving its self. In matters involving its actions the state always rules itself to be just. This arrogance is the hallmark of tyranny. This command and control system’s one objective is totalitarianism, absolute authority over the individual, and domination of humanity under the state.
There is no contemplation on the court’s part that the school system’s methods might be to blame for a court packed full of young poor minorities. The court claims to be protecting the children by removing these disruptive elements from the classroom and applying zero tolerance policies to any behavior that attempts to disturb the status quo, when in reality it is exploiting children and society by serving the interests of the corporations it has allegiance to. “Public education depends on victims and criminals, potential or actual, to justify its risk management functions, which enmesh industry interests and police actions with educational institutions.” (Darder, 129)
The hypocrisy in this oppressive process is blatant. The double standard and unequal application of the rules highlights the stark difference between the oppressors and the oppressed. The authority figures of the court sit several feet higher than the common citizens and armed guards stand like sentinels at the entrances so the threat of force is ever present. The court room is filled with surveillance cameras embedded in the ceiling. The citizens have no way of knowing who may be watching. There is no accountability of the abuses of the state but every action of the lowly citizen is held to the harshest scrutiny with severe punishment for any misbehavior.
As the conveyor belt of disruptive kids was harvested by the judge, one activist attempted to exercise his right to film this unprecedented process of criminalizing children’s behavior. Without warning, the judge confiscated the camera and forced the activist to erase the video or be charged with contempt of court. The judge treated the adult activist just like a child in trouble at the principles office. There was no regard to the citizen media’s right to film. When the audience in the courtroom protested the judge said that no one could film because minors were present. One activist responded by questioning the judge about the cameras positioned in the ceiling. Indeed the state’s claim is that when a citizen films it is a form of intrusion, but the state records it is a form of protection. As if confiscating the citizen media’s camera wasn’t enough of an outrage, the judge then cleared the courtroom when she realized that dozens of activists were present. The judge allowed main stream media outlets to remain and film, specifically ordering only the citizen media to be cleared from the court. She then threatened criminal trespass to all the activists and ordered police to force everyone to leave the building at threat of arrest.
The audacity of the surveillance state originates in its perverse scopophilia and the distance it creates between those who command and those who are controlled. “Surveillance systems may not directly create prejudice or fear, but they tend to cultivate extreme voyeuristic impulses that enforce divisions between subjects and objects and amplify the base qualities of those doing the watching.” (Darder, 128) The oppressors use video recording to suit their ends and use force to limit being scrutinized themselves. The rules are not applied evenly and equally. The state will use law and reason yet equally resorts to dispatching its opposition with brute force when it suits its ends. Any attempt to hold the police-state accountable will be met with retaliatory force. Fear of retaliation compels people to submit to the state’s beastly authority. Fear fuels the bullying powers of agents of the state. Brave people need only rise up in opposition and the machine of the state will come to a grinding halt. The next phase of human evolution will begin within a stateless society based on voluntary interaction.
The surveillance state is part of a cancer that has metastasized into every aspect of human existence. The totalitarian state is the antithesis of humanity. To be more human and evolve each individual must shed his dependence on the state in whatever way possible. The abolition of the state requires bold individuals to live independent of socialist systems and strive to outcompete and undermine command and control architecture in every aspect of life.
Darder, A., Baltodano, M., & Torres, R. D. (2009). The critical pedagogy reader. (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.
Orwell, G. (2004). Nineteen eighty-four. London: Penguin Books.