Once the government is able to monitor everything we do and say, we will be unable to fight back.
Editor’s note: The following is a transcript of a speech delivered by Glenn Greenwald at this month’s Socialism 2012 conference, on the massive growth of government and corporate surveillance and their chilling effects on Americans’ rights.
Last year was my maiden trip to the Socialism 2012 world. I started off by standing up and saying — I was actually surprised by this, pleasantly surprised, because I didn’t know what to expect — how amazingly inspirational I actually found this conference to be. The energy of activism and the sophisticated level of the conversation and the commitment that people displayed and the diversity of the attendees, really is unlike any other conference. And so when I was asked back this year, I was super excited to come back and accept. Not only because of that, but also because the conference organizers asked if I could speak about challenging the Surveillance State.
The reason that I was so eager to come and do that is because I really think that this topic is central to all of the other activism that’s being discussed here this weekend.
The Surveillance State hovers over any attacks that meaningfully challenge state-appropriated power. It doesn’t just hover over it. It impedes it, it deters it and kills it. That’s its intent. It does that by design.
And so, understanding what the Surveillance State, how it operates — most importantly, figuring out how to challenge it and undermine it, and subvert it — really is, I think, an absolute prerequisite to any sort of meaningful activism, to developing strategies and tactics for how to challenge state and corporate power…
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