Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The death or Aaron Swartz, or how the FBI does it's job.

Firstly my sympathies go out to the Swartz family.  Your son, and through him you, were creully and unjustly persecuted, punished for the most virtuous behaviour.  Your son will truly be missed by all lovers of freedom and integrity. 

Those who have faith in the core idea of the State will see the hounding to death of this innocent man as a cruel anomaly.   Something that should have been prevented by safeguards within the FBI and other Federal Agencies.  More controls are needed, they will conclude, to eliminate the persecution of those who do no harm and concentrate on the FBI's real purpose, detecting and prosecuting crime. 

Those who believe the actions of State employees are designed to benefit the "ruling class" by crushing movements against it's interests will believe the FBI was concentrating on it's real purpose.  Charging an innocent man with nonexistant or trivial crimes (that even the "victims" didn't want punished) was retaliation for peacefully, legally, constitutionally and above all sucessfully opposing SOPA and therefore entirely consistent with the FBI serving the "ruling class". 

I would like to put forward a third possible function of the FBI, the FBI exists to justify it's own existance, both to the general public and to the "ruling class".  Periodic persecutions of people connected to movements the "ruling class" don't like is simply an attempt to convice them that the FBI is acting in their interests.  No actual success in promoting "ruling class" interests is neccesary or even necessarily desirable from the point of view of those deciding what the FBI does. 

The FBI opposed organised crime, the civil rights movement, communism, "right wing" "radicals", environmentalists and other causes.  In order; 1) organised crime flourised for decades and continues to do so individual syndicates only being destroyed when they fell to internal rot, 2) blacks not only got the equal rights they deserved but arguably much more and one of them is in the White House, 3) communism was not only kept alive by the membership dues of FBI agents but was given massive cover by the FBI's bungled attempts to crack down on it (e.g. the Rosenberg executions which massively undermined anti-communist credibility), 4) right wing radicals were massively justified and empowered by the Waco fiasco and continue to be grow as a movement (depending on how you define "right wing" and "radical", and finally environmentalists are dictating the diversion of perhaps trillions of dollars of resources into probably useless "green" projects and aims.  So only when the success of a movement opposed by the FBI would imply the failure of another movement opposed by the FBI is such success not assured.  The fact that the FBI opposes you seems to be an infallible indication that you will triumph.

While saying this might seem like just a dig at the competence and professionalism of the FBI (and believe me there's plenty to criticise there) it's not, it's a fundamental part of the FBI's role as the security blanket of the "ruling class".  The FBI is sicced on groups the ruling class can't stop with it's normal means.  When they start to feel powerless (and yes, that can happen to the "ruling class" they think "Well, we'll just send in the Feds, that'll stop them dead in their tracks.".  Saying this to themselves makes them less worried, allows them to feel in control of the situation.  It is however an illusion.  If they were really in control of the situation they would have used the media, government zoning regulators or your own neighbours to stop it.  That they resorted to the FBI means deep down they know they can't stop something and simply want to remain in denial. 

So this is my prediction, on the 25th anniversary of Arron Swartz's death, we will look back and say "Everything he wanted came to pass" (except maybe no ads).

Some of you might be wondering why I kept using "ruling class" in parenthesis.  That's complicated and will be my next blog post.