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You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone…

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How much do we sleepwalk through life, imagining that all is fine and it’s a blessing to be in the ‘free’ world? Meanwhile, what we assume to be a ‘democracy’ subtly and inexorably sucks the juice out of our liberties. Whether it be GCHQ mass surveillance a la Snowden, reduction in free legal support for the poor, increasing observation of households through computers in the home, unfettered criminal banking behaviour, the impunity with which the Cabinet Office at Westminster and senior police officers cover up high-level corruption, including paedophilia, the insidious pressure of the multinationals in shaping government policy and deregulating  ‘red tape’ to ensure profit, regardless of the consequences for the environment …

… but this is a blog, not a list…

Three films to watch which will turn the viewer into a radical revolutionary, if he or she can be credited with any critical consciousness at all, are the portrayal of real-life freedom fighters in The Internet’s Own Boy (Aaron Swartz), Citizenfour (Edward Snowden) and Kill the Messenger (Gary Webb). They are unadorned documentaries compiled from footage of interviews, events and documentation. Though ostensibly about unbelievably vicious and unwarranted US government attrition (sadly, largely under the Obama administration) they also point up how freedoms are being eroded by all governments.  Wherever one lives, the films are a testament to the need to arrest sleepwalking.  The brave, central figures in these films wanted to seek the truth, to expose government criminality, corruption or the repressive docking of freedom of expression under the guise of protecting national security, while they were actually serving the profit-motives of the rich and powerful.

Webb and Swartz committed suicide in inexplicable circumstances and Snowden is in hiding in Russia.

It is easy, with elections looming, to believe that life is all about the pound in your pocket or foreigners taking your jobs. It’s not, it’s about the loss of civil liberty, the freedom to speak out against injustice, empathy with others and the will to curb the powerful. Better to be a little poorer in a compassionate society than witness, silently, the draconian laws being passed almost daily by authoritarian, scare-mongering governments.

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