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Two Pieces on Surveillance
Surveillance // Panopticon // Security Culture // Paranoia

Why hammer out concepts--be it speculative, critical, or pragmatist--if there is a meta-authority overseeing it all? Why conspire in the light?....We need to develop dissident knowledge of how to bring down drones, detect sensors, hack servers, distort GPS signals, and disrupt Google by fooling its algorithms. Forget the next innovation cycle. If the common hacker’s paranoia informs us correctly, we lost the war years ago and are surrounded. Soon we will be called to surrender, one by one.
--Geert Lovink "Hermes on the Hudson: Notes on Media Theory after Snowden. e-flux.com/journal, April 4, 2014.


A culture of security is one which enhances an organization's capacity to determine its interests and act on them in spite of another organization's opposed interests. Corporate workforces and law enforcement agencies both cultivate cultures of security, as do management teams, investment rings, smugglers, unions, militia men, and academic researchers. All of these cultures are supposed to control flows of information (trade secrets, exclusive suppliers, price indexes, strategic plans, etc.) and restrict communication in furtherance of an organization's interests.

Among dissident circles, the term Security Culture has been popularized as a response to the absence of organization and shared organizational interests. Security Culture carries a few hard and fast rules (don't talk to cops, need-to-know basis, interrupt gossip, etc.) which have established a rough outline of best practices when daily life and sensitive operations overlap or are indistinguishable.

Best practices are fundamental to the Insurgent, who frequently operates without clear structures of command and communication, enjoys limited operational awareness, and can hardly imagine an everyday life divorced from sensitive operations. The Insurgent, however, should not be confused with a dissident or “common hacker,” as Lovink puts it, and the conflation of Security Culture with Operations Security carries heavy tolls.
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30 Sep 2014 | Filed under: Commentary / Organizing : Police and Prisons : Technology : War and Militarism
Bostonians March for End to Violence in Israel/Palestine
jul9action3.jpgBoston, MA - Hundreds of students, faith leaders, and activists from 15 local organizations marched today to protest Israel’s escalation of violence against Palestinians, citing 52 killed and 450 injured in Gaza in just the last two days. They picketed the downtown Boston locations of three companies they say are complicit in the violence: TIAA-CREF, Veolia, and Macy’s.
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10 Jul 2014 | Filed under: News / Organizing : Palestine : War and Militarism
Over 150 Rally Against Northeastern's Double Standard: Silencing Students, Applauding Israeli Knesset Members
northeastern.4.1..pngBoston, MA - Tuesday night, over 150 students and local activists protested at Northeastern University with a strong message to the administration: Don't silence Students for Justice in Palestine and applaud the Israeli Knesset. The protest was sponsored by a coalition of 20 Boston-area organizations, and took place outside of a university-sponsored "town hall" meeting with six members of the Israeli Knesset. The rally followed a talk by author and activist Ali Abunimah, co-founder and director of the publication The Electronic Intifada.
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02 Apr 2014 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : International : Organizing : Palestine : Race
Over 200 Protesters Oppose Northeastern University's Suspension of Students for Justice in Palestine
Boston, MA- Over 200 protesters from a coalition of 30 student, labor, faith, feminist, LGBTQ, environmentalist, peace, and social justice groups rallied at Northeastern University to oppose the administration's suspension of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).
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18 Mar 2014 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Organizing : Palestine : Race
Days After Settlement, Pickets Return to Insomnia Cookies
insomnia1.jpgPicket lines have returned to Insomnia Cookies, less than two weeks after the company settled with four workers who struck in August of 2013. On Friday, March 14, two dozen union members and supporters rallied in front of the Boston location of Insomnia Cookies demanding the reinstatement with back pay of union organizer and bicycle delivery "driver" Tasia Edmonds. On March 9 the company suspended Edmonds without pay for a month, alleging insubordination, while the union maintains she was disciplined for her union-building efforts.

Video of the picket
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15 Mar 2014 | Filed under: News / Labor : Organizing
URGENT ACTION: Northeastern University Suspends Students for Justice in Palestine
NU_SJP.jpgWith profound disappointment and righteous indignation Northeastern University Students for Justice in Palestine announces it has been suspended as an organization. SJP is disappointed because Northeastern’s claims of creating a diverse learning environment that encourages the free exchange of ideas and promotes Academic Freedom are impossible to reconcile with the university’s decision to suppress our speech and suspend our political group. As if banning our activities from campus and denying us all use of campus resources wasn’t outrageous enough, the university is pursuing expulsion-level sanctions for two students—all for participation in a mock eviction action. SJP is furious to report the only individuals to face our school’s opaque disciplinary process are two young women of color; none of the white or male participants have faced any charges. This unprecedented ban and appalling prosecutions are the latest attempt by the university to suppress pro-Palestine speech, and continues the university’s disturbing history of enacting injustice.
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12 Mar 2014 | Filed under: News / International : Organizing : Race
Insomnia Cookies Forced to Compensate Fired Workers
"...Something told me to stand up for what I believe in. To me,
this victory was worth every bit of the struggle."
- Jonathan Peña, IWW
member and Insomnia Cookies Striker.

Four workers at Insomnia Cookies' Cambridge store went on strike on August
19, protesting poverty pay and wretched working conditions, and demanding
$15/hr, health benefits and a union at their workplace. The company
illegally fired all four. For the next six months strikers, IWW members,
allies, and student organizations at both Harvard and Boston University
held pickets, marches, rallies, forums, phone blitzes, and organized
boycotts, while workers continued organizing at both the Cambridge and
Boston locations. The union also pursued legal charges through the National
Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
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05 Mar 2014 | Filed under: News / Labor : Organizing
Minimum Wage Hikes
raiseupma.jpgReposted from Cradle of Liberty

During the 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama expressed his intent to sign an executive order that would raise the minimum wage for new federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour. Though some very vocal pundits and politicians were outraged by the president’s decision to bypass the legislative branch to enact a wage hike, the executive order he wrote is limited to new contracts starting in 2015 and does not apply to contract renewals unless there are significant changes to the terms of the contract, such as the number of employees or type of work involved. The budget for federal contracts shrinks every year, decreasing the number of new contracts with it. So President Obama’s executive order will actually have very little impact. But the brazenness of a unilateral action to give the lowest-wage earners working for the federal government a little bump called attention to two issues that have been on the minds and placards of many in the past few years: poverty and inequality.
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11 Feb 2014 | Filed under: Commentary / Labor : Organizing : Politics
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