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(en) UK, Walthamstow Anarchist UNDERDOG #9 - Wot anarchists fink: Privacy, and more...

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 3 Jul 2004 07:17:53 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
http://ainfos.ca/ http://ainfos.ca/index24.html

Freedom, if the word is to have any mean-
ing at all, includes the ability to live one's
life with minimal interference from oth-
ers; a society in which individual freedom
was respected would surely not feature
such routine intrusions as exist in this one.
I'm sure you're familiar with the kind of
intrusions that I'm talking about. Walk down
any high street and you can expect to be
caught on dozens of security cameras. Surf
the Internet carelessly and your personal
details could find themselves in commer-
cial - even governmental - databases. Even
driving a car, your identity must be dis-
played at all times in the form of a license
and registration plates. Soon, if David
Blunkett has his way, we will all be issued
with compulsory ID cards.

Failure to carry such cards could result in
arbitrary arrest by our nation's overgrown
school bullies, AKA the police.

All of these denials of privacy exist to keep us
in line, keep us as "productive members of
society" -- in other words, cogs in the machine.
But violations of privacy are not just un-
dertaken by the state -- even ordinary citi-
zens participate in the culture of surveil-
In far too many families children are still
expected to be seen not heard. They are
told what to do and pressured into con-
forming to reflect well on their parents
who want to be seen to be in control and
`normal'. This system continues in school,
where all thoughts and conversations out-
side `official' teaching are policed, and
reaches culmination in work, where most
employees are surveilled constantly to
ensure subservience and `productivity'.
The worst thing about this culture of sur-
veillance is that many of us have internal-
ized it. For example, look at the apparent
general clamour for more and more CCTV
surveillance, trumpeted by the local
Guardian almost every week, despite evi-
dence that it has no effect on overall anti-
social crime.
Even when alone we feel we are being
watched. There are those of us who ad-
here to the traditional Judeo-Christian-Is-
lamic conception of God as master, as an
ever-present authority watching us, and
refuse ourselves pleasures that "he" might
disapprove of -- or else engage in such
activities and then feel unnecessarily guilty
for having done so.
It's as if there were no escape! And pend-
ing a revolution, I don't think there is for
society in general. As with most other
forms of control that we are subject to in
this society, there is no way of disman-
tling the culture of surveillance without
abolishing the principle of authoritarian-
ism itself. Since all forms of oppression feed
on one another, attempting to isolate and
struggle against certain aspects is doomed
to failure. A society that respects the au-
tonomy and privacy of the individual can
only be one without politicians, without
bosses, without patriarchs: one without
rulers of any kind.
Is the present situation hopeless, then?
Far from it! We can begin to respect pri-
vacy - our own and that of others - in the
here and now. We can refuse unneces-
sary intrusions. We can feed the system
disinformation. We can create spaces of our
own, with our own values and standards and
where official authority and surveillance to
enforce it are irrelevant..
People who deny the importance of privacy
claim that those who value it "must have
something to hide".
Damn right -- living in this society we have
good reason to hide the fact that we might
enjoy life for its own sake, that there might
be some experiences that are the busi-
ness of no one but ourselves and those
we choose to share them with. Without
being watched, without being answerable
to anyone but ourselves, what
joyousactivities might we get up to? No
one knows, and that's the beauty of it!

The "Wot anarchists fink" section does
not necessarily reflect the views of The
Underdog editorial collective and is not
intended to give an editorial position.
Get involved with
The Underdog is Walthamstow's only TRULY
independent paper. We have no rich back-
ers, and we tell it how it is. We distribute
on the street, in community centres,
pubs, cafes, shops and by delivering door-
to door. If you like what you read, we
always welcome help: You may have local
news, gossip, or opinions, letters or
comments about anything we have writ-
ten. Or you may be able to help with dis-
tribution -perhaps in your street. If you
want us to post the next 6 issues to you
as soon as it comes out, just send us 6
first class stamps. We also pay for this
ourselves so if you want to bung us a few
quid towards the next issue, this would
be much appreciated.
The Underdog is produced by the
Walthamstow Anarchist Group. We are a
group of Waltham Forest residents who are
sick of the system of capitalism which al-
lows the rich and the bosses to exploit
and control the rest of us. We promote
working class resistance and self-organi-
sation and through this aim to create a
new society where people live together in
freedom and as equals. We believe in di-
rect action as a method by which we work-
ing class people can begin to take control
of our communities and workplaces now
and in doing so build a movement strong
enough to challenge the entire system.
If you want to get in touch you can e-mail
us, phone or text us or drop us a line at,
or visit our website. We also meet fort-
nightly at a local venue and you are wel-
come to meet up with us for a chat if you
are interested in getting involved.
Interested in anarchism?
Want to find out more?
Apart from contacting us to arrange meet-
ing up, a short train, bus or tube ride away
is Freedom Bookshop. Tucked away be-
hind KFC, up Angel Alley on Whitechapel
High St, you'll find it packed full of anar-
chist books, magazines and papers and will
probably find someone to talk with about
anarchism if you like. Open 12-6 Mon - Sat.
Freedom Bookshop, 84b Whitechapel High
St, London - nearest tube Aldgate East.
Otherwise you can visit the excellent
online resource www.enrager.net
Groups we support:
Anarchist Federation
84b Whitechapel High St
E1 7QX
Solidarity Federation
PO Box 469,
If you need a copy of
The Underdog in LARGE
TEXT or would like a
taped copy, we would
be happy to supply
either. You can also
download The Underdog
from our website.
Walthamstow Anarchist Group
PO Box 35832
London E11 3WT
Tel: 07810 288 889

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