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Surveillance, theatre and radicalism.

November 4, 2015

In response to this article: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/04/theresa-may-surveillance-measures-edward-snowden

We are now being bombarded with even more measures which aim to strip away our right to privacy. Theresa May sews a rhetoric of fear in order to pass these plans which she claims will defend us but which will actually defend her.

We are slowly being stripped of any ability we might have to question our own government, mobilising online against a government which is currently exerting brutal powers against its own people can now be seen and stopped before it even happens. Safe spaces such as Human Rights websites and sites facilitating the right we have to protest are now under watch, and the government can track any people who choose to go to these websites. 

 

The idea that if you have "Nothing to hide" then you're safe is flawed. I have lots to hide. The government now has access to see what politicall aligned sights I visit regularly and this data is the kind of thing that can allow them to label someone as a radical. in mainstream culture being "A Radical" is rejected and radicals are demonised, it makes you seem dangerous. Being labelled "radical" is usually the product of speaking out against whatever dominant ideology has labelled you. I don't really care if I am labelled a radical, a radical to the current government is anyone who believes in our basic human rights. They can have more ability to aemonise and discredit anyone who speaks out against them. This is not democracy, this is control. 

As a storyteller I work across multiple mediums, sometimes online (like here) but often not. There are records of the films we watch, there are records now of our internet data, there are records of anything that is produced through an online medium. What there isn't a record of is live performance. What happens in a theatre is not usually filmed, what happens at karaoke on a friday isn't filmed, what happens at a spoken word event in your local pub isn't recorded online either. We are moving into a world where our freedom of speech is finding more of a home in live creation. Whether this is through live sampling technologies being used in night clubs, tiny spoken word events in back rooms or Showstoppers which is currently running on the Westend. If something is created live, you can't stop it in advance, no matter how many surveillance powers you throw over the itnernet. 

In my world there is no such thing as a radical, we are all entitled to our own thoughts but we are not entitled to have them without being challenged. What the current measures are doing are removing our right to challenge, removing our right to question our own government. If I stand in a room infront of a group of people and tell them a story which emerges from my head, one which I haven't written down anywhere in advance then I can challenge. I can speak without censorship and I can present my opinion in such a way that I will be challenged fairly and not stripped of basic rights. 

If the only space left to challenge something which is wrong is in live performance, and if anyone who does speak out is labeleld a radical, then I say let the radicals perform and let them speak. 

 

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