Posts tagged ‘John Basil Barnhill’

May 2, 2011

Freedom of Speech?

People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people” (2005) V For Vendetta


            In the 2005 film V For Vendetta, V paraphrases the ideas of John Basil Barnhill. “Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty.”

            This idea has been lost on those of us who are here in America. My own father remarked to me about my writing, “I hope its not Anarchy shit. You’ll have the FBI asking you questions.” I scoffed at this, then later thought hard, since when has it been that we have to be in fear of our government?

            With the USA Patriot act, many activists waited in anticipation to see how it would affect their work towards a better world; myself included. At the time I was only in high school, and the question plagued my mind, “being an active and outspoken anarchist, how much should I really be concerned about this?” For years nagging at the back of my head was the possibility of ending up in Gitmo.

            Over the years my over-active-imangenation has calmed down. Yet running into any hippies, punks or conspearitest theoriest, I come back to the same thought; we all could disappear one day. Some comfort came from the news stories regarding the mortal wounding of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. It sounds a bit twisted, but because the government feeling off guard, I felt comforted. The shooter’s internet activity was in step with exactly what he wanted to do, the government responded to accusations of laziness by claiming they can not check every ‘seeming empty threat’.

            A week ago an UK underground press released a story. The government claimed over 15,000 anarchists wanted to blow up the royal wedding.[1] Those involved in the incident called it a set up, the anarchists in the UK said the royalty was the last symbol that they wanted to hurt. “What a waste of time, we like the royals! They make the upper classes look far more stupid than we ever could.” Granted some groups want fame from such a large gathering of nobles, anarchists do not look for fame or fortune, but rather change.

What is the real story here: governments invoke rationality to scrutinize whom they chose. In the UK the anarchist and other movements were worried that this rouse was plotted just to allow the police to crack down on activism groups—much like an incident a few years earlier with the queen’s golden jubilee. It caused pause within me, could Giffords’ shooting be a set up, a way to for the US government to justify hacking and shutting down innocent idealist social media. Some bloggers and profiles are already being shut down due to who they are or who they know. Activists again should be in over drive.

Now, we are in a time when the freedoms, that so many like to tell us we have, are in question. No longer can you just say what you want short of hate crime and treason, instead one has to watch their back. A police state is on the horizon, will you die fighting for what is right or live in fear being quite?