Throw Away Your Telescreen!

the truth is always subversive

This Is What A Police State Looks Like

Posted by Dave (The Void) on February 26, 2008

It’s not fascism, so ignore the hysterical Hitler references.  However, this short film (14 mins), compiled from the police’s own footage, is definitely one to watch.

Anyone who’s been on a demo in the last few years will have clocked the police intelligence teams, snapping up faces with their oversized cameras.  This footage shows how the operate – and reveals the lengths to which the police will go to enforce their authoritah.

10 Responses to “This Is What A Police State Looks Like”

  1. Vello said

    “It’s not fascism….” ????
    I suppose a country which has police arrest guidelines stating that those who quote the Constitution in public could be possible terrorists, a Democratic-majority congress which just voted to extend the state’s use of unwarranted wiretaps, a legal vocabulary which can strip any citizen of any country in the world (including America) of all rights and protection from torture simply by designating that person an ‘enemy combatant’ instead of a criminal, a mass media owned by just five corporations, and which currently has more people in prison than China, despite having a quarter of its population, is still considered a democracy in some circles.

  2. I suppose a country which [is in many ways quite undemocratic] is still considered a democracy in some circles.

    In some circles, I suppose there are only two conceivable political systems, one called “democracy” and the other called “fascism”, and every country must be squeezed into one of these two boxes no matter how ill it fits. I’m not defending the US system of government – I’d love to see it toppled by revolution – but not everything I oppose can be called “fascism”, which means something far more specific.

    Incidentally, if you’re really looking at activities of the US of which Hitler would have approved, it’s bizarre that you don’t mention the war.

  3. Vello said

    I didn’t mention the war because I assumed everyone has already heard of that, and anyway, war against other nations goes by the more common sobriquet of ‘American foreign policy’. What is happening now is something very different, which I’m sure even Nixon would have blushed at. Be interested to know what your specific definition of fascism is. Incidently, (my mistake) America has never been a democracy, and I had meant to add a question mark to my earlier statement.

  4. Nice to see you’re sticking around to discuss this, Vello. The point about the war is that the clampdown on civil liberties is very much linked to it. I agree, aggressive military “interventions” are what the US has been all about for some time, but there’s no getting around the fact that post-9/11 there’s been a serious escalation in this. And I mention it not because I think you don’t know about it, but because I think it’s important to make the link; the war has had far-reaching effects on domestic politics, and treating them as seperate doesn’t make for an effective understanding.

    As for fascism, I would say that it is an organised and militant mass movement, which basically sees the nation as a human body: violently suppressing and intimidating anything it sees as alien to that body, as well as anything it sees as threatening the internal Order of that body. At a time of crisis, when people are looking to solutions outside of the familiar mainstream politics, some variant of fascism raises its head – usually among the middle classes – and draws in those most atomised sections of society who feel least capable of uniting with those of their own class to pursue a common interest. It is the “anti-revolutionary revolution”, something which sweeps through society with immense violence and intimidation to prevent any kind of united workers’ movement arising. This is how Trotsky saw it, and I think it’s been validated by the history. Fascism only comes to power when the ruling class are so scared of their own people that they need an alliance with the fascists to bring them into line. Hitler, Franco, Mussolini, and Pinochet all fit this pattern, more or less; George Bush certainly does not.

    Other than Trotsky, I think Robert Paxman gave a good dictionary-style definition in his Anatomy Of Fascism:

    A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

  5. Vello said

    Thank you for the comment. Wow. I am thrilled by your definition of fascism, which makes me think you know what you’re talking about (no irony, honestly). But I think you might be making a mistake in linking the (Iraq) war to a difference in American aggression. Bush et al have gone overboard on blatant lying, but I think you misstep if you think 9/11 was a unique event. I would go back to at least the end of WWII with the setting up of the CIA. As John Pilger has said, in the past 50 years the USA has been responsible for the toppling of 50 foreign governments, many of them democratically elected. This recent event (which I deem a false event, enforced by the mass media, and with no disrespect to the people who have suffered, particularly in Irag and Afghanistan) is only the latest of a series of slaughters which have been going on for millennia (just look at the Bible in Exodus and Leviticus, for example. The oldest justification I know of for genocide).

    What is really troubling to me is that we may become accustomed to theoretical definitions of what is right and what is wrong. Maybe fascism is the wrong word. But my honest concern is with spreading the idea that what our governments are telling us is not what is happening. And if words like fascism, and pictures of Hitler in association with images of American/ Canadian/ English / etc. police brutality grab someone’s attention and make them question what they are told, I think the term is appropriate.

    In the end I guess I side with my punk roots, and feel instinctively that anyone who tries to tell me what to do or think is a fascist. I see no reason not to listen to instinct.

  6. Well you’re right to find something repulsive in the rulers of the US, both now and in the past (I would go back a lot further than WWII, too. How about the colonisation of Cuba, as an arbitrary prewar example? Or, earlier, of Mexico, or right to the beginning with the genocide of the native Americans). And I certainly agree with not letting our politics get too academic or abstract, too. I think you should get involved with the organised resistance in whatever country you’re in, start organising strikes and demos and the like.

    But, at the risk of sounding pretentious, let me offer a word of advice: know your enemy. If you use the word “fascist” for shock value, you blind yourself to what fascism actually is. Hitler isn’t just a more extreme version of Bush, he’s something qualitatively different. The two have different origins, different agendas, different weaknesses.

    I’m not saying you have to become an expert before you get active – the opposite, I would say, is true, it’s since I’ve been involved in political activism that I’ve really come to pursue these questions – but that it’s counterproductive to blur the lines between fascism (which is a radical mass movement) and neoconservatism (which is a movement confined to the small ruling elite of a powerful nation losing influence).

    (My point about the war and civil liberties still stands too. This isn’t the first time America has gone to war, but nor is it the first time it has clamped down on its own population – and the latter often follows shortly after the former)

    By the way, you may have noticed this blog is basically in hibernation – I think I last updated it over a month ago – so I invite you to check out my main blog, “Complex System Of Pipes“.

  7. Vello said

    Hmmm. ‘I think you should get involved with the organised resistance in whatever country you’re in, start organising strikes and demos and the like.’ Sounds a bit like fascormity to me. What does ‘I’m not saying you have to become an expert before you get active’ mean? How do you define ‘expert’ or ‘get[ting] active’. I would never consider myself an expert in anything but my own body movements.

    Maybe for you the word ‘fascist’ will ‘blind [one]self to what fascism is.’ Personally, I think whether you’re blindfolded by words like ‘democracy’ or ‘communism’ or ‘christianity’ or ‘fascism’ makes little different when you are confronted by the firing squad.

    At the risk of getting blogged down in semantics… I mean, seriously. Fascism (Nazism) was a ‘mass movement’ while neoconservatism ‘is a movement confined to a the small ruling elite’?

    Please. (I hate to use this rhetorical word: I’m hoping you’ll forgive me).

    Fascism became a mass movement because it was imposed on millions of people from vastly different ethnic backgrounds. Now, to get personal, my father (whom, btw, I’ve despised all my life) wore the German military uniform, not for Nazism, not for totalitarian rule, but to defend himself and his country – take your pick which European country he happened to be born in. He didn’t want to fight for fascism or German supremacy, but he did anyway because of his circumstance. He was no fascist (except in a familial way, which I’m sure his war experiences enforced) or Nazi, but he did what he did to survive. I think he saw himself as a patriot, which I think he was in a way. He went out and killed Russians. But he probably also would have tried to kill me if I had been of his generation and wearing an Allied uniform.

    If we don’t wake up to what our governments are doing to us now then it doesn’t matter what we call it. War is war, and it’s happening now, whether we wear a uniform or not, or call fascism only something those bad people in the dictionary definition did way back when.

    Hitler was brought in by a German ruling class? Pinochet made an alliance with a fascist movement? Bush realized the American dream, proving that ‘anyone’ could be elected President. I suppose that’s true. And I still tell my kids there’s a Santa Claus (I really do, but now at least, we are all old enough to realize it’s a game we play at Yuletide).

    To edit your quote from Robert Paxman:
    ‘A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline (and you wrote: ‘At a time of crisis, when people are looking to solutions outside of the familiar mainstream politics, some variant of fascism raises its head – usually among the middle classes – …’(If you’re saying Bush can’t be a fascist because he isn’t middle class I would say, is there a middle class anymore?), humiliation or victimhood (ethnic profiling, and ‘extreme’ rendition don’t really happen) and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, (‘You’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists.’ ‘Either support our troops or shut up.’ etc.) in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, (the federalization and out-sourcing of American municipal and state police forces is not happening?) working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites,(the silence of mainstream media, hello? – the ‘I never heard of it’ mentality – The NY Times saying ‘If we had known then what we know now…’ Well, you do know now. What are you whingeing about? I suppose the ‘unease’ comes because some reporters actually tell the truth once in a while) abandons democratic liberties (the US Supreme Court tells Bush he can’t do what he is doing. Bush’s response: ‘National Security Interests’ and anyway ‘We Don’t Torture’) and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints (the Invasion of Iraq called illegal by Kofi Annan, how many more citations does one need to drag up) goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.’ (hmm, ‘internal cleansing…’ only lemon juice and cayenne pepper de-tox programmes do that – ‘external expansion…’ something the Romans only did, right?).

    My final point is:
    I totally respect anyone who is fighting the powers that be, no matter what they say or their sense of urgency.

    ((((This is irrelevant, but just as a curiosity: I would guess you are male (no doubt) well over 25 years old (guessing about 32), a university student or graduate, in a good relationship but with no children, English (though your spelling is slightly American), light brown hair, blue eyes, physically fit. Am I far out? Actually, now I’m getting a vibe that you’re over 50, with brown eyes and a Guinness belly. Anyway, speculation is fun!))))

    All the best,
    Vello

  8. Vello said

    No, no, no no. Sorry, silly me. I’d been drinking. Of course you’re English.

    On another note you wrote: ‘Fascism only comes to power when the ruling class are so scared of their own people that they need an alliance with the fascists to bring them into line. [...] Franco [...]‘

    It might be just me, but I heard that there was a serious war between people of all kinds of political persuasions, funded on all sides by non-Spanish military interests, that brought Franco to power. Maybe Santa Claus told me that too.

  9. If you want to be really hostile towards trying to understand where these things come from, then that’s your perogative. Everything bad is fascist, why not? I respect any system-fighting you do, too – that was my point about not having to be an expert – but I find it a bit wierd that you’re so set against trying to analyse those you’re fighting against.

    You seem to be knocking down a straw man of me that says “this isn’t fascism, so it’s fine”; that’s not, and never has been, my position. I think the Iraq war was an appalling crime against society, and the product of a political system that I abhor.

    I’m under 25, for what it matters, and from the North of England.

    [Incidentally, you're misreading what Paxton says about victimhood and humiliation. He's talking about how the fascists complain that they and their "nation" or "community" or whatever is being made a victim. I also think you misunderstand me on class, but since trying to go into these things clearly annoys you so, I won't go into it any further]

  10. Hugh E Torrance said

    so why do the police harm the innocent public ??? … they do it because they are paid money to do it…just think what they would do if they had to pay money to do it…

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