Urban Political Networks (The State Stays Weak)

Keeping the State Weak,” by TM Lutas, Flit(tm), 13 June 2005, http://www.snappingturtle.net/jmc/tmblog/archives/005439.html.

One of my blog role models, and tdaxp commentator, TM Lutas worries about the political implications of street cameras

I ran across an article on street cameras themed on the idea that they’re really not such a bad thing for civil liberties. It’s not a bad piece but misses the real problem of the cameras, they make the state too strong. A society where everything done by an individual in public is captured, stored, collated, and attached to a personal file makes it too easy to keep tabs on dissidents, on the loyal opposition, even on personal enemies of those in power.

The US has plenty of experience with corrupt governments. The municipal history of most major urban centers in the US can lay out entire corrupt eras where the city was controlled by this or that corrupt “machine”. Corruption is not something that is of mere theoretical interest but a real, live concern that is a problem from the beginning of the Republic to today.

So what happens when those street cameras are controlled by a corrupt group that is technically savvy?

This is a concern that city governments will use Network-Centric Politics to stay in power. This is related to Network-Centric Warfare, the “hi-tech blitzkrieg” that the Pentagon is planning to defend Taiwan. Lots of technology, lots of technological networks to be build, very top-down.

The citizen’s solution is fourth generation politics. Related to Fourth Generation War, or “netwar,” it relies on human networks to win. 4GW allows common people to use the infrastructure to their advantage, bypassing points of resistance like rivers bypass mountains. So what is the solution if an American city corruptly uses the surveillance cameras to spy on “enemy” meetings? Meet where the cameras cannot see. Or do something completely asymetric, like swarm enemy politicians and neutral media.

Sunni Arab Plans To Subvert Democracy

Iraq’s Sunnis say things never worse,” Associated Press, 12 June 2005, http://msnbc.msn.com/id/8194923/ (from Informed Comment).

Ryan, if you dig into Lightning…,” by John Robb, Global Guerrillas, 13 June 2005, http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2005/06/effects_based_o.html.

Surprisingly, the bloody end of apartheid is unkind to the apartheidistas

Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government has been in power less than two months, and minority Sunni Arabs — the dominant force in the nation’s relentless and bloody insurgency — are struggling to find a place in the country’s future.

Their plan? Collapse the Constitution

But the once-powerful community, at its lowest point since the U.S.-led invasion and ouster of Saddam Hussein, refuses to accept second-class status and believes it still has trump cards to play — chief among them: withholding approval of a new constitution in a fall referendum.

So Sunni tribes attack American and Iraqi soldiers, assassinate Iraqi politicians and religious leaders, and then profit by rejecting the Constitution.

Iraq is in a civil war. The terrorists swim like fish in the Seas of Anbar, Ninevah, and Saladin. Worse, the terrorists may be undefeatable through politics, as their goal is not to win but to throw Iraq into chaos.

if the country continues as a failed state these groups can continue to operate. That is an end in itself. Winning is state failure.

The Iraqi People would win an ethnic civil war. The Sunnis are a small minority.

The Shia and Kurds should strike back. The lakotization of the Iraqi Sunni Arabs should begin.