The midterms saw defeat of several surveillance reformers in the Senate, notably Mark Begich and Mark Udall, and the arrival of ardent authoritarian Tom Cotton. But even had reformers won, electing surveillance reformers does not of itself make surveillance reform more likely. There are certain policy outcomes that are not permitted, and real surveillance reform is not permitted.
Here at Digital Fourth, we offer a more radical and more realistic perspective. What is not permitted has in the past included ending Jim Crow, ending legal discrimination against gay and lesbian people, and electing professed atheists to public office. The parameters of the not permitted can shift more abruptly than it’s possible to imagine ahead of time. Ending the mass surveillance state may be not permitted, but it can absolutely be done.
In a global sense, as even the Boston Globe has noticed, the actual opinions of the people have had no measurable effect on US national security and foreign policy. The party in charge may change, but the deep state remains in power, and the fundamental assumptions of American imperial management remain essentially the same.
Despite this, the change in control of the Senate has meaningful strategic implications for how surveillance activists should be pursuing the battle against mass surveillance over the next two years, both federally and at the state level. So, follow us below the fold for the first in our five-part analysis of next steps for the movement.
PART II: CIA and Elite Torturers Win, The Rule of Law Loses
PART III: Congress & Obama At Daggers Drawn – Except Where It Really Counts
PART IV: Surveillance Doesn’t Pay: The New Massachusetts Political Landscape
PART V: And I Have Seen Blue Skies
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