H.M.P. Open Prison, London

“To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorised, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolised, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.”

★Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.

For a vision of a future city, go the foot of the glass fronted ghost-towers in Aldgate and feel the sterility of this homogenised environment. These were once, admittedly rough, but once-thriving and characterful working class areas, that have now been fully socially cleansed and replaced by soulless investment monoliths, empty commercial units and the banal decoration of meaningless art-washing. Aided and abetted by compliant and corrupted local authorities, developers have completely eradicated the deep and historical culture that once existed there. There are ‘public’ areas though, that are heavily monitored by private security guards and CCTV – these areas can tellingly, be electronically gated off. All this replicated across the city, from Kings Cross, to Elephant & Castle and coming to an area near you. We will of course, need at some point, to expropriate these areas and repopulate them with real people.

On demonstrations and picket lines, we seem to have now accepted the fact that we will be tracked, filmed, pointed-out and monitored on social media and our data gathered. The police are now wearing cameras that use facial recognition software to scan crowds for ‘criminals’. You even have to watch what you’re saying as: “Features include two-way audio, potentially allowing controllers to listen in, and the ability to pinpoint potential suspects in crowds.”

The leaderless protests in Hong Kong from a coupla years ago showed the way – responding to surveillance and state oppression by covering-up in Black Blocs, using laser-pointers to disable facial recognition and CCTV cameras, self-organising medics, scouts, fire teams and supply runners, using de-arrest techniques, making preparations for gas attacks and being pro-active on demonstrations instead of passively marching from A to B mouthing a few tired chants.

A decent umbrella can also be revolutionary.

Face-scanning CCTV approved for London hot-spots despite privacy storm:

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