nettime-l on Thu, 18 Oct 2001 17:31:43 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Non au tout sécuritaire -- translation

>Souriez vous êtes filmés
>10 Octobre 2001
>Non au tout sécuritaire
>Translated into English as
>No to "Total Security"
>At the beginning of the 1990s, video cameras were supposedly installed in
>Levallois to facilitate "the circulation of automobiles." P. Balkany, Mayor
>of Levallois, installed the first open-air laboratory for
>video-surveillance research with the support of Pasqua, then Minister of
>the Interior, who passed the infamous Pasqua Law. Meanwhile, the CNIL,
>which is supposed to protect our liberties, closed its eyes and gave its
>approval. Despite local opposition, a hundred cameras invaded the town;
>others were installed at street corners. Several years later, when he
>appeared before "the judge for the diversion of public goods" (an audit
>ordered by his successor), Balkany clearly emphasized the inefficiency of
>the video surveillance system in his new plan, which he said was designed
>"to fight delinquent behavior." Despite this and since then, ten more
>towns in >France have installed and intensified the use of video
>surveillance systems in >public places, and have put the entire population
>under permanent video >control. Today, when cameras equipped with face
>recognition software add their
>spectres to the pantheon of the failed illusions of
>security, the government is trying to pass liberty-killing laws under the
>fallacious pretext of the "fight against terrorism."
>Here, we are made to live in the psychosis of continual control: filmed,
>surveilled and filed all day, as if we are all criminal suspects, and asked
>to accept the "fact" that -- in the name of our security -- men, women and
>children will have to be killed. We denounce the drift towards
>totalitarianism of this State [France], which is said to be democratic,
>but votes to implement -- for an indefinite period of time, without true
>parliamentary debate or an attempt to inform the public -- laws that would
>attack our freedoms and would so do according to particularly opaque
>criteria. We denounce those truly responsible for this masquerade, those
>thirtsty for political power who do not hesitate to use
>demogoguery and opportunism to inflame fears of "the Other" and who, even
>before 11 September, were playing the "Total Security" card in an attempt
>to get votes. We demand the rejection, from now on, of politics in the
>service of the maintenance of the market-economy and social inequalities,
>of politics that have as their guiding principles the enslavement of the
>general population and the restriction of human possibilities.
>We hope to live in a different world, one in which we don't have to submit
>ourselves to the government-subsidized industrial companies that pollute
>our air, land and water, that rapaciously enrich themselves by riding the
>backs of workers, those in precarious socio-economic situations and poor
>countries, and that set up the market in the
>surveillance of private citizens. The images of money-traffickers and
>fiscal paradises, political operatives who can act with total impunity, and
>deal-makers working in the rich soils of the powerful will not be captured
>by surveillance cameras, despite the facts that they are the ones who are
>responsible for the world in which we are forced to live, and
>who should be held accountable for it. Those killed on the highways -- more
>than 600 in September [2001] -- would still be alive today, were it not for
>the irresponsibility and frivolousness of the politicians who caved into
>the pro-automobile lobby. And yet the roads, streets and city squares are
>surveilled by video cameras. The supermarket
>is surveilled, as are the offices and factories. What a plethora of images!
>And why are they captured? In the supermarket, each movement and gesture of
>the apathetic consumer is filmed and analyzed so as to discover the unknown
>factor that will facilitate the sale of mad-cow-infected meats, spoiled
>cheeses, and aseptic chickens. At the office and at the factory, we are
>surveilled in the name of profits; in the street, we are surveilled so that
>we never lose the sense of being watched! Today, universities are
>installing surveillance cameras instead of investing money in education and
>job-creation. "If you want a job, become a surveillant" is becoming the
>slogan of the dominant social
>For those who have any doubts, the uselessness of security technologies in
>all their many forms is easily demonstrated, especially in the last month.
>Clear up the muddle, stop the investment in this indignant "democratic"
>road, stop the acceptance of the sale of our lives and liberties. We call
>for a crisis of conscience among all citizens, so that today we can oppose
>the politics that is clicking its totalitarian heels. September 11 should
>not be used as the occasion for reinforcing the politics of sterile,
>dangerous and useless security, but rather the occasion for a thorough
>re-examination of the global nature of our society.
>When will we address ourselves to the real problems, the ones that erode
>our capacity for life? When will we have the intelligence -- which is
>lacking in this society, which turns in the wrong direction -- to refuse to
>accept these conditions, neither for us nor for the generations to come?
>The progress of digitalization and computerized information profits the
>type of social control that we fear will exist in the future. Aren't people
>already enmeshed in the gears of the market, which without hesitation
>supports every political manipulation so as to have servile consumers? We
>say "No" to the liberty-killing laws that would legalize this fuckery.
>Today, we say that it is still possible to re-think what animates us and
>what would be a human society truly worthy of the name.
>[By the French group Souriez vous etes filmes, dated 10 Octobre 2001, and
>translated into English by Bill Brown.]

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