We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Edward Snowden, Tattletale

Click here to access article by Arthur Silber from Once Upon a Time... 

After examining the unfolding story of Edward Snowden's revelations about extensive NSA surveillance of the communications of citizens, Silber argues that Snowden should be described as a "tattletale" rather than a "whistleblower". His exposition of this distinction makes some very important points about the significance of the leaks. As we know, less than 1% of the leaked documents have been released to the media and many of those are highly redacted. 
Be sure to appreciate the meaning of the...phrase: a tattletale is someone who reports "something bad or wrong" to an authority. And that is precisely what Snowden has done. He has entrusted the documents to "responsible journalists," who have adopted the rationales and methods of the States themselves. Moreover, these "responsible journalists" work together with "government stakeholders" to determine which documents may be "safely disclosed" on the basis of factors that are explained in only the vaguest and most vacuous of terms. We haven't escaped the oppression and abuses of authority: we have only added to the authorities who decide what we will be allowed to know. 
In other words, Snowden "told" on the NSA to the state who, of course, have little concern other than protecting those secrets from the public which all parties are effectively doing. This framing of the events, once again illustrates how the state does not serve the people: it is not, as it pretends to be, "of the people, by the people, and for the people". Well, then, for all the naïve or slumbering citizens out there, this begs the question: who does it serve?