A recent article in the Baltimore Sun, “Spying Uncovered: Documents Show State Police Monitored Peace and Anti-Death Penalty Groups” by Nick Madigan, details a document released by the ACLU of Maryland that shows undercover State Police officers infiltrated various anti-war and anti-death penalty activists for the past few years.  While in no way shocking to those of us who have sent much time in left-activist circles, the article highlights an important aspect of State and governmental authority and its inherent tension with that of individual freedoms.  For instance, this sentence from the article:

…But none of the 43 pages of summaries and computer logs – some with agents’ names and whole paragraphs blacked out – mention criminal or even potentially criminal acts, the legal standard for initiating such surveillance. (emphasis mine)

Should be troubling to everyone of us.  Of course, I emphasized those lines for a reason.  If the State, particularly under the auspices of it’s law enforcement agencies, is bend on selling us on the idea that they, above and beyond all else, are in place to protect us from the many dangers that may exist in the world, I wonder how it is that they can justify thousands of dollars worth of effort and manpower to “infiltrate” groups of people who are breaking no laws whatsoever, but rather, are guilty of the crime of advocating- passionately and sometimes aggressively- a vision for society that runs counter to the financial interests of those who have the power; namely, the State and it’s capitalistic sponsors.  In the article, the above sentence is followed by this:

State police officials said they did not curtail the protesters’ freedoms.

So, it is within the right of the State to spy and meddle within the affairs of ordinary citizens if those citizen’s viewpoints are contrary to the desires of the powers that be, just so long as in doing so the “freedoms” of the dissidents aren’t immediately and directly curtailed?  

This is (one of the many reasons) why, I would argue, the State is an undemocratic, inhumane function that at its root is contrary to the human impulse and inherently oppressive.  When power is concentrated towards some at the expense of others, those who have that power will inevitably use it to work against any people who do not agree or support their program.  Whether overt or subtle, the capitalist State will never have room in it’s vision for dissent from its systematic inequalities and failures, and because of that, it will seek to oppress and suppress any possible challenges to its rule.  Thus, a free society must be a stateless society.

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