I Always Feel Like Somebodies Watching Me


Dedicated to my bosses

I have recently experienced quite a chill in my life and this project. As many of you know, I do a lot (most) of my work on this website during the down hours at the restaurant I manage. Well, my corporate Dear Leaders have taken it upon themselves to enhance the “security” of me and my coworkers by installing surveillance cameras that can view every single inch of space that we spend most of each day living in. These cameras are not pointed at the doors and areas where apparent bandits or “terrorists” might enter, no, they’re pointed at each and every worker. In fact the one in my office is pointed directly at the computer screen–the computer I used to interview Mickey Z btw.

So I now have all access to the internet (except yahoo news) blocked, they create our email passwords and monitor all emails and now they can watch any and all of us from any computer in the world…YIPPEE! They even have censored me personally by limiting what type newspaper or magazines I can read. So for example it’s been made clear that it is perfectly acceptable to read a sports page or Good Housekeeping or whatever, but when it comes to me flipping though my Z magazine, “we can’t have that shit in here.”

No Space

This is not just me bitching, this is what our everyday lives are now and I refuse to accept it.¬† People say that, sure, we are being spied on in the workplace, the highways, airports, malls, government buildings and so on, but if you’re not doing anything wrong what’s the problem? Well the first problem is just look at that list: that’s pretty much everywhere! And if we take into account Bush’s warrantless wiretapping and the fact that cops can search our homes now (without probable cause and without even informing the “suspect”) what we have here is a total surveillance system that makes the KGB look like Mayberry cops.

The second problem with this domestic spying absolutely everywhere is that in this beacon of “Democracy” and “freedom” where precisely is dissent supposed to take place? For example corporations have free speech anywhere and everywhere, but if I were to hand out dissident leaflets in any of the above mentioned locations I would probably get tazed on the spot, get hauled off to jail and possibly be put on the “no-fly list.” Freedom? People have said that in my case that the workplace is not an appropriate place for politics or dissent. Well, OK…why not? And why not all of the other above places? One would assume that the greatest “democracy” in human mother fucking history would celebrate political debate, full participation and well informed citizens that have access to as many points of view as possible. Right? Try not to laugh. The Capitalist press spends so much effort yammering on about China’s surveillance State and the stifling of dissent, well what is the difference here in the ‘ole USA?

The third problem with the above argument is that what precisely does doing something “wrong” mean? And who decides? I think what happened to our sisters and brothers in St. Paul last week answers that question pretty well. Doing something “wrong”is any thought, speech or action that challenges entrenched power and who decides are the cops that work for said power. And yes, the people that were fucked up by cops or “preemptively” arrested before the protest were spied on (and infiltrated) before, during and after the events in St. Paul last week.

The reason I borrowed Naomi Klein’s expression “No Space” above is that it helps make the connection between what is going on at my workplace and what went on with the coppers and protesters last week. We have the perfect merger between corporations and government (Fascism) where there is absolutely no truly free space for anyone other than corporations, government shock troops, good and loyal workers (good Germans anyone!) and passive consumers. As Ward Churchill said, “we’re free to do what we’re told.”

To illustrate further the lack of space for dissent (or jesus, just privacy) just think of what our peaceful assemblies are like. The obvious observation is that we are stuffed into “free speech zones” (cages.) Yes, that’s true, however I think any of us can remember witnessing this little scene unfold that is very, very telling.

We’ll be marching along in our completely nonthreatening little parade of dissent and somewhere around the city there will be a tiny scuffle between the black bloc and cops, where (Gasp!) some people throw¬† bottles or rocks that harmlessly bounce off of their Robo-cop armor. What happens next like freaking clockwork is soon after the cops charge the peaceful protesters who never even know what is happening or what they did “wrong.” And here is the telling part, we’ve seen it over and over is, totally freaked out people being hit with batons, pepper spray and often times much more, will shout out desperately, “Where do we go? Oh my god! Where do you want us to go?!”

The cops might as well say “Go to fucking hell” because the message of their viscous brutality is that we have nowhere to go with these messages and ideas. There is no space left. Each thwack on a protester’s skull says, “Keep your fucking mouth shut and do what you are told. You are free to work hard for corporations and return your wages to corporations trough consumption. You are free to vote for candidates preselected by corporations. If you would like to read anything in the workplace you are free to read corporate produced material pre-approved by your corporation.” And so on.

In the workplace the surveillance camera is just the soft extension of the police baton.

What is so dangerous about losing more and more space for freedom and dissent is the same reason clearcuts are so horrifying. In clearcuts, for example, once a species loses it’s habitat it tends to go extinct and with that also the delicate ecological relationships that held together a thriving forest. What is left is a wasteland. Welcome to wasteland America.


Maxwell Black

A Moving Train

P.S. Dear upper management, since I’m aware that you’re aware of this website, tonight under the gaze of your “security” cameras I’ll be rereading Derrick Jensen’s book Endgame. Now go fuck yourselves.


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