Singing the Bite Me Song


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July 04, 2005

Wonder if folks in the US have this kind of backbone...

We're celebrating freedom today, but do we have the commitment to fight for our own freedoms? Or is it just a sentiment for one day, going only as far as celebrating a mostly good-hearted military in hapless service of those delusionaries with imperialist ambitions, rather than putting our money where our mouth is?

If that sounds like a hard-edged challenge, it is.


Link: The Observer | Politics | Rebels ready to face prison over ID cards.

Rebels ready to face prison over ID cards

Refuseniks will copy Australian tactics to foil scheme

Jamie Doward and Ned Temko
Sunday July 3, 2005
The Observer

Hundreds of thousands of people are set to defy the government by refusing to carry ID cards, despite the risk of imprisonment.

Campaigners say that a network of anti-ID card groups, ranging from hackers to anarchists, plans a series of assaults in the coming months to try to block the scheme. A £1 million fund is being raised to help pay legal fees if, as expected, prosecutions are brought once the cards become compulsory, probably in 2010.

'We have to show these [people] that we did not vote for them and that we will bring them down. This is the poll tax all over again. I am prepared to do time for this,' runs one entry on the No2ID campaign website. Another says: 'I'm not an anarchist, but we're getting to the stage now where I think peaceful protest isn't going to work.'

[...]

Would a protest like this fly in the U.S.?

I'm not sure I'd bet on it, but of course I'd encourage it. I hope it happens here, because I believe a national ID card (probably with RFID chips) is a precursor to chipping people, and total monitoring, for both marketing and governmental purposes, for panoptic discipline and turning us all into fixed butterflies stuck with pins in a case.

And would I refuse in protest? I'd surely WANT to join such a movement.

I always assumed I would, and then I was face to face with my own hypocrisy. I live in a state that requires a digital thumbprint on its driver's license.

Sure, I pitched a massive fit after waiting in line for three hours to get the license (you have to take a half-day off work), to find out that I could not REFUSE the digital thumbprint and still get a license.

I was against the wall. I commute to work, my old paid-off car had just died, and I was replacing it with a newer cheapo model of the same thing. Just a problem... I was living in a new state. No financing, no insurance, not without a current state driver's license. Without that thumbprint, that car became off-limits.

Coercion? To be sure. So let this be a warning, a kind of preparation. Those in power won't give us a chance to be refuseniks when they lay the totalitarian control state on us.

There won't be any room for a political movement. You won't be able to get the very things you need to keep your job, which means losing your house or even your cheapo apartment.

It means that when you make this stand, you need to know that THIS is the moment when the threshold is crossed. THIS is the moment when you leave the regular economy and become the 2000's equivalent of a "hobo," dependent on a network of sympathetic safe houses and people with kind hearts, as you become a permanent resident of the underground economy.

Sure, risking arrest sounds like noble civil disobedience, like something Thoreau would approve of. But when you get busted at a sit-in protest for peace or when chained to the fence at a nuclear facility, your life isn't destroyed. You don't instantly cross the threshold into persona non grata, relegated forever to the black market economy, unable to hold a job or keep a roof over your head.

Those whack-job folks in the religious right mistakenly believe (as rehearsed in the "Left Behind" series) that some evil Anti-Christ in a black hat will make them form two neat and tidy lines, a chip or the guillotine, and of course they imagine themselves all heroically choosing the guillotine rather than take the "Mark of the Beast."

They seem to have a hard time wrapping their minds around the idea that their favorite son Bush 43 will be telling them it's their patriotic duty to take the chip, in the name of "Homeland Security," and "if you aren't with us, you're against us."

It doesn't dawn on them that there won't be two clear lines, one marked "Jesus Guillotine" and the other marked "Get your Chip Here."

Rather, it will be as quietly insidious as that day when you need a new car just to keep your job, and you need the job to keep your house, and to not capitulate to the coercion means that is the moment when you lose everything.

And they like their "empowered riches megachurch" lifestyle too much to ever risk losing everything, to join the rootless life of the escaped and unregistered sex offenders and ex-cons trying to get those little bracelets off their ankles. They aren't ready to move from the country club to under the bridge.

[Link: Soldiers of Christ I (Harpers.org): Inside America's most powerful megachurch. Posted on Thursday, May 26, 2005. Originally from May 2005. By Jeff Sharlet..]

And the political lefty "refuseniks" in the U.S.? Now is the time to check your commitment. This one is worth it, but it ain't for the faint-hearted.

Get ready now, if you're planning to make this stand.

[...]

The Home Office estimates that around 17 per cent of adults - up to four million people - oppose the cards. A recent ICM poll, commissioned by No2ID, found that 43 per cent believe they are a 'bad' or 'very bad' idea.

'Whichever poll you believe,' says Phil Booth, head of No2ID, 'there are millions who just won't do it.'

Many of the tactics to be used by the campaigners have been borrowed from Australia, where in 1987 the government scrapped plans for ID cards after a network of 'refusenik' organisations obstructed the scheme.

Booth was at the Glastonbury festival last weekend drumming up support. So far 7,000 people have pledged to resist the scheme.

He says they could be followed by hundreds of thousands of others willing to obstruct the whole scheme. 'Our next pledge will be to raise £1 million for a fighting fund from people who feel they cannot actively reject the scheme, but are sympathetic to those who will.'

The phased nature of the scheme's launch - with ID cards initially distributed on a voluntary basis to Britons and compulsorily to foreign workers from 2008 - has been seized on by campaigners as proof that the government knows the strength of the opposition. Ministers have yet to commit themselves to a date when the cards will become compulsory for all.

'The government appears to have learnt from the poll tax, in that it's not going to introduce it in one go,' said a man called Nathan who helps to co-ordinate the Defy ID network, a loose, pan-national organisation that advocates direct action.

[...]

The Passport Office, which in the autumn will roll out new biometric passports with scans of applicants' faces, fingerprints and irises, will be a key target. Initially only those who need to renew their passports will be required to have the scans.

Opponents are preparing to launch a co-ordinated mass application to the Passport Office over the summer. The applicants would be issued with the current non-biometric passports that would, theoretically, be valid for 10 years. The surge in applications would cause a major headache for the office, which has suffered backlogs due to IT failures.

[...]

Individuals are being encouraged to launch their own forms of resistance. One idea is for people to refuse to touch their fingers on the scanners, causing backlogs at the 70 ID card centres.

Campaigners are also being instructed to cross their eyes when in front of the iris scanners. Another suggestion is for people to say they have undergone a religious conversion, and insist on wearing burqas - which cover the face - in front of the scanners.

Booth said: 'There will very definitely be resistance. As with the poll tax, mass refusal to comply occurs when people feel something is deeply unfair.'


Miasma ----- practicing the cross-eyed thing in the mirror (but you know, if you don't smile, they won't take it in the U.S.)

July 4, 2005 at 07:56 PM in Best Essays, Current Affairs, Democracy, Favorite Links, Media & Journalism, News to Note, Politics, Privacy & Free Speech, Singing the Bite Me Song, War/Terrorism | Permalink

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