Keith Sanborn on Sun, 19 Aug 2007 16:51:20 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Criminalization of critical academic research and political engagement

It seems fairly clear that the translation of a "trust rating network
for political artists" is basically a way of saying: how do I know
that the police were not correct in arresting this person?

Everyone must of course inform themselves, but living in the current
political conditions in the United States, it is sobering to realize
how much simply being an intellectual is a crime in itself outside
the US. Here it has been a crime at least since the 1950s-yes I mean
McCarthyism-and possibly earlier. In Germany this is a very serious
matter as the very mechanisms which were put in place to prevent the
resurgence of the kind of totalitarianism of the middle part of the
last century may be twisted to actually reinstate it.

The assault on "constitutional guarantees" in the United States has
advanced so far, that there is little resolution to turn it back the
other way. And please forgive my naive belief in the importance of
"constitutional guarantees." I admit it is at best a stopgap measure
against the assault; more trenchant measures are appropriate.

Are "terrorists" the new "communists"? Yes. Every politician loves
a scapegoat and it is certainly more important that one "guilty"
"terrorist" go free-and I make no judgments either way here-than that
the entire system be subverted by those who excuse their assaults on
liberty by the simple formula of a state of exception. Surely people
on this list must have read at least the Wikipedia version of Agamben.

Epistemological flux breeds ugly uncertainties. We needn't fall victim
to them.

Keith Sanborn

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