The use of secret police, security agencies and informers to spy on, disrupt and undermine opposition to the dominant political and economic order has a long history. This book reflects on the surveillance, harassment and infiltration that pervades the lives of activists, organizations and movements that are labelled as ‘threats to national security’.
Activists and scholars from the UK, South Africa, Canada, the US, Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand expose disturbing stories of political policing to question what lies beneath state surveillance.
Problematizing the social amnesia that exists within progressive political networks and supposed liberal democracies, Activists and the Surveillance State shows that ultimately, movements can learn from their own repression, developing a critical and complex understanding of the nature of states, capital and democracy today that can inform the struggles of tomorrow.
Activists and the Surveillance State is a wide-ranging exploration of collective organizing in response to state and corporate surveillance. The book’s rich discussion of what movements have learned–and failed to learn–about how surveillance works makes it a crucial reference for scholars and activists alike.
– Arun Kundnani, author of The Muslims Are Coming
This important collection draws critical attention to the harms of state surveillance and police power, and how this power has been challenged and resisted by ordinary citizens. It is a must-read for activists, community organisers, and scholars alike.
– Waqas Tufail, Leeds Beckett University
Activists in social movements and others challenging the prevailing socio-economic and political structures will find in this book invaluable lessons and an effective antidote to the harassment, infiltration and ‘dirty tricks’ of agencies that uphold the interests of the corporate and political elite.
– Salim Vally, University of Johannesburg
By asking us to consider different histories of knowledge production and resistance, this book provides a nuanced and timely intervention in our ongoing reflections on confrontations with state security, and how they can be used for advancing radical political alternatives.
– Dr Lina Dencik, Cardiff University
An important intervention that moves us beyond assessments of the scale and scope of surveillance and securitisation to reflect on lessons learned from multiple global resistance movements. The contributions in this book prompt us to consider possibilities for more hopeful futures.
– Nisha Kapoor, author of Deport, Deprive, Extradite: 21st Century State Extremism
It has been questioned whether the policing of political groups in the UK has continued despite the demise of the SDS and NPOIU. No official answer has been given, but, having read Activists and the Surveillance State, I can find no reason to anticipate any change in the practice, save that surveillance will almost certainly take more overt forms - making activism for social justice an even more hazardous course.
|1||Lessons learnt, lessons lost: Pedagogies of repression, thoughtcrime, and the sharp edge of state power
|2||The surveillance state: A composition in four movements
|3||Activist learning and state dataveillance: Lessons from the UK, Mauritius and South Africa
|4||Coming of age under surveillance: South Asian, Arab and Afghan American youth and post-9/11 activism
|5||ASIO and the Australia–Timor-Leste solidarity movement, 1974–79
|6||The plantation-to-plant-to-prison pipeline
David Austin interviewed by Aziz Choudry
|7||Forgetting national security in ‘Canada’: Towards pedagogies of resistance
|8||Prevent as far-right Trojan horse: The creeping radicalisation of the UK national security complex
|9||Political policing in the UK: A personal perspective
|10||Spies wide shut: Responses and resistance to the national security state in Aotearoa New Zealand
|11||Undercover research: Academics, activists and others investigate political policing
|Notes on contributors|