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Generation Snowden: On Why Surveillance Reform Is Inevitable


Generation Snowden: On Why Surveillance Reform Is Inevitable

Anthony D. Romero

About a year ago, a thirty-something sculptor in Los Angeles began working on a bust of Edward Snowden. When he was done, he shipped the bust to his artist friends on the East Coast. Just before dawn April 6, the artists crept under cover of darkness into Brooklyn's Fort Greene Park and installed the 100-pound bust atop a Revolutionary War memorial.

"We chose to pay tribute to Snowden through the medium of a bust because that is one of the visual pieces society uses as a guidepost to who a hero is," one of the artists said in a video released after the bust was installed.


As much as I am eternally grateful and supportive of Snowden, Assange, Manning and other whistleblowers, the comparison between same sex marriage progress and reforming surveillance is a big stretch.

The Democratic Party’s need to do SOMETHING progressive amidst their serially regressive agenda and actions since the 1985 Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) formation, not millennials, has driven same sex marriage progress. Same sex marriage is one of the few progressive issues the Democrats can support without risking Wall Street shutting down their funding pipeline.

Both Democrats and the GOP take their orders from Wall Street, not from millennials.

Note also that, with the exception of 2008, a high percentage of millennials don’t vote, further diminishing the influence that Romero alleges.


I couldn’t agree with you more! For years, it’s seemed to me that the principal differences between the Ds and Rs are on social issues, none of which threaten the power and wealth of a micro-sized, macro-powerful super elite. Folks get super charged up every time there’s an election as if we have meaningful choices which we do not unless you regard same-sex marriage, abortion, freedom to discriminate (masquerading as religious freedom) as the most important issues of the day. Without devaluing any of these issues, none of them seem to me to have any impact on, for example, climate change which could possibly wipe out the human race. But we don’t have a choice as to whether to take the immediate steps necessary to reduce the severity of the impact of climate change. Neither do we have a choice on whether to eliminate all mass surveillance or not. Neither do we have any discussion of, much less the choice to abolish or not, the NSA or CIA. While I share some of the writer’s optimism about the millenials’ values and wish their influence would come to our nation sooner, we need to be able choose the framing of national discussion, rather than choose from options within a frame that’s already pre-selected by those who wish the status quo to remain unchallenged.


The abortion issue is certainly the politicians’ biggest hypocrisy when you consider that anti-choice legislation eliminates the abortion option only for lower income people who can’t afford to travel to another state or nation to obtain abortion.
Politicians and their wealthy cronies are unaffected by abortion legislation, (pro or con) since they have always had the financial means to travel wherever in the world they need to in order to obtain abortion and other medical services/drugs that are not available or overpriced in the US.


Abortion is the issue that won’t die. This was settled in the 1970s with Roe vs Wade. No other western country keeps revisiting this issue that I know of. In the U.S., it’s like phoenix rising from the ashes every few years. When will we let it go?


Surveillance is core concern for the power elite. Social wedge issues are only tools to be used as needed. If it is useful to change positions on a social issue to maintain social, “electoral” control, then easily done, but surveillance is a primary tool to act with preemption as public distress organizes into points of possible action; it will not be given up so long as the Great We send all of our communications through centralized systems and as long as optical and computer technology allows for the massive collection and analysis of data.