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Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | NOVEMBER 12, 2010 7:20 AM

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Resist efforts to expand state power

The Obama administration's attempt to expand the surveillance state — in this case, to make it easier to wiretap the Internet — is pretty much a dog-bites-man story. A fairly typical response is: "I'm not worried. After all, I'm not doing anything wrong."

Sure. Because governments have never done bad stuff to people who weren't doing anything wrong.

Look at the role of the state in the post-Haymarket repression of anarchists and leftists and the direct role of federal troops in breaking strikes, such as the Pullman Strike. During the Copper Wars at the turn of the century, governors installed martial law to suppress unions.

Look at the nightmare under Woodrow Wilson, during and after World War I. The War Hysteria and Red Scare under Woodrow included wholesale repression of dissent — American Railway Union leader and Socialist Party presidential candidate Eugene Debs was imprisoned — and culminated in the political imprisonment of socialists and "Wobblies" and a shut down of left-wing newspapers.

Then there was the internment of Japanese Nisei in 1942. Were they doing anything wrong? And don't forget COINTELPRO. And all those civil-rights organizers. Were they doing anything wrong?

How about the people who had drugs planted on them by cops who "knew" they were guilty — or worse yet, had guns planted on them by the cops who murdered them — what were they doing wrong, other than being foolish enough to trespass on the turf of vicious thugs whose gang colors are blue?

Folks, the U.S. government has murdered or imprisoned countless people who weren't doing anything wrong. The question is why anyone would be gullible enough to trust the government not to do anything wrong.

Kevin Carson
research associate, Center for a Stateless Society


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