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Black America's State of Surveillance


Black America's State of Surveillance

Malkia Cyril

Ten years ago, on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, my mother, a former Black Panther, died from complications of sickle cell anemia. Weeks before she died, the FBI came knocking at our door, demanding that my mother testify in a secret trial proceeding against other former Panthers or face arrest. My mother, unable to walk, refused. The detectives told my mother as they left that they would be watching her. They didn’t get to do that. My mother died just two weeks later.


There’s a difference between being broken

And being fixed


We talk about recession almost exclusively in economic terms. But there is a social recession/regression when the economic opportunities are swept up by systematic undermining of ways of life of communities. People need to consciously wrestle to keep from closing off from controversy - and the imposition of that social response is not an accident. It is the hidden legacy of dynamics of extractive, predatory capitalism blister-wrapped by the advertising consumerist mindset. It is identity, however veiled, of ‘consumer’ rather than human being; of ‘career’ identity, ‘climbing the ladder’, divorced from entire aspects of what it means to be a human being.
I think about what a conscious life of the spirit encounters in meditation/true prayer, the origin of the human propensity to explore the unknown, hold it sacred and how that carries into social interactions. 99.9% of existence occurs at a level already integrated in healthy ways and means - totally beyond the human capacity to control. When predatory patterns are introduced, enforced and rewarded for generation after generation, these by nature seek the scope of balance it has become blind to and imagine it can be regained by its perverted form - surveillance. But it never will restore that balance because of its premise, which can only intensify the perversion. That’s why people talk about ‘conversions’ - some little light bulb switches on, energized by that overwhelming percentage of what is real and the perversion is thrown into stark relief in all it horrific reality. And the converted stops, lays down all the instruments of the perversion, breaks down and slowly begins to rebuild with a permanent aversion to the perversion. Love the bright little lights!


Wow, brilliant hard-hitting truth-telling!

“It’s time for journalists to tell a new story that does not start the clock when privileged classes learn they are targets of surveillance.”

Yes it’s long past time for journalists to do a lot of hard-hitting truth-telling, but the “mainstream media” is by and large an arm of the power structure, including the corporatocracy and the national security state, and incorporating all the biases that permeate the culture society and political economy of the USA.

i long for a humanity in which EVERY person can simply look at, recognize, and incorporate the truth into their lives. But it sure seems like it is a lot harder for the privileged to recognize the deep imprint of their privilege on every aspect of their lives and relationships…


This is a highly informative and well-written piece, which reveals how structural racism works, even with the advent of new systems. Had the author taken this one step further, she might have connected these developments to corporate rule. The profits being generated by the huge and growing surveillance state are astronomical: over $456 billion in 2013, and growing.

Let’s face it, there’s only so much the US government can buy. Is it any wonder that these “security” corporations are pushing their stuff to state legislatures and local governments? After all, they sell the hardware at a loss. The annual cloud storage, equipment maintenance, and update fees are where the real money is. Taxpayers will be on the hook for these fess for eternity. The only reason a state or municipality would buy this stuff in the first place is to target areas of concern, AKA communities of color. You can almost hear their racist sales pitches now—whipping up fear in elected officials, who are themselves primarily white men. Racism is the tool of choice when these corporations come calling.