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Ubiquitous drone surveillance 

I’ve been reflecting on a dark but plausible prediction by Edwards Snowden in his forward to The Assination Complex by Jeremy Scahill and the team from the intercept. On loc 195 he argues that the technological barriers to ubiquitous drone surveillance are now minimal: Inevitably that conceptual subversion finds its […]

Digital labour and the epistemic fallacy 

One of the arguments which pervades Uberworked and Underpaid, by Trebor Scholz, concerns the materiality of digital labour. As someone whose back and neck start to ache if I spend too much time at a computer, I’ve always found the tendency to assume there is something mysteriously immaterial about using […]

Metrics and the death of imagination

In John Thompson’s Merchants of Culture, there’s an interesting remark about the structural position of first time authors which I think has wider purchase. From pg 200: Ironically, in a world preoccupied by numbers, the author with no track is in some ways in a strong position, considerably stronger than […]

A vicious circle of reprisals and hostility

From this week’s Economist leader. I suspect they’re underestimating the extent to which Trump will largely enact the Ryan-ist mainstream in economic policy. However they’re surely correct about the underlying dynamic: Trump’s policies intensifying the conditions which gave rise to him, creating more anger and encouraging the ethno-nationalist channeling of […]

Call for Papers: State Crime and Digital Resistance (Deadline 30 November)

Special Issue, State Crime Journal (May 2018) STATE CRIME AND DIGITAL RESISTANCE Sign up for 6th January 2017 workshop here: http://statecrime.org/state-crime-research/call-for-papersworkshop-special-issue-of-state-crime-journal/ This special issue of State Crime seeks to investigate how changing patterns of state crime are being shaped by the massive growth of a digital communications infrastructure which permeates […]

The bureaucratic origins of algorithmic authoritarianism

I just came across this remarkable estimate in an Economist feature on surveillance. I knew digitalisation made surveillance cheaper but I didn’t realise quite how much cheaper. How much of the creeping authoritarianism which characterises the contemporary national security apparatus in the UK and US is driven by a familiar impulse towards efficiency? […]

The coming army of American demagogues

There’s an interesting extract in this Guardian article about the growing civil war in the Republican party, concerning the adoption of Trump’s tactics by aspirant politicians within the party: Trump’s refusal to support McCain and Ryan comes exactly one week before Ryan faces a primary challenge from the businessman Paul […]

The Return of the Riot

From Joshua Clover’s Riot. Strike. Riot pg 2. He argues that the return of the riot reverses a long term trend observed by Charles Tilley, in which the riot had given way to the strike as the foremost tactic in socially available repertoires of contention: As the overdeveloped nations have […]

What might Trumpist authoritarianism look like?

A worryingly plausible set of suggestions in this article: Absolute Loyalty to the Boss Partisan Control of all Three Branches ICE as a Gestapo for the Foreign-Born Politicizing the IRS Prosecutorial Discretion Presidential Regulatory and Executive Power Trump and the Labor MovemenThe Use of Mobs National Security Emergencies and Subversives […]