Despite a bus fleet that is overdue for replacement, the MBTA is installing what it says is the most extensive surveillance system on a major transit system in the country. As reported in today's Globe, a total of 225 buses will be equipped with three cameras each, capable of providing live, high definition video feeds to the MBTA's control center as well as to MBTA police cruisers.
OMB Guest Editorial
Some years ago, at the heart of a South African region once aptly nicknamed the “generator of the revolution,” tourism boosters proposed the erection of a giant, Statue of Liberty-scale Mandela figure triumphantly looking out onto Nelson Mandela Bay and the Indian Ocean beyond it. The statue was to have replaced a hazardous manganese-ore shipping terminal. Mined in the ecologically fragile Northern Cape, the ore is railed South to Port Elizabeth where it is stored for exportation. How fitting it must have appeared then that Nelson Mandela’s statue should supplant the ore dump - a toxic node in a global economy where health and environment are incidental to returns on investment. But that was not to be; the statue remains an artist’s sketch and metropole-bound freighters continue to dock. The next super-sized city project to engage the future Nelson Mandela City’s imagination is a white elephant, a giant soccer stadium built for the World Cup. But the story captures South Africa’s and the world’s difficulty in handling the contradictory Mandela legacy: genuine hope powered by struggle, shameful compromise camouflaged by revolutionary imagery.
Connecting the Dots: the Digital Media Conference Addresses Activism in the Age of Ubiquitous Surveillance
For a time, most Americans believed theirs to be a liberal democratic republic respectful of individual freedoms, and many including some with authority, behaved as if it were. As long as there was a separation of powers—the federal authority limited by the power of states, while itself divided by across executive, judicial and legislative branches, and big business balanced by government regulation—it was believed that space exists for individual freedom. Where the individual confronted the state, due process would guard against abuse.
Terror, successfully executed, requires two somewhat contradictory threats. First, nobody is exempt: You, yes, you are a target! Second, the idea that some people deserve what they get: Your race, religion, beliefs and, maybe even your actions, make you a deserving target. So it is that the new American Moment is defined by an unremitting war waged by state, church, citizens, soldiers, citizen-soldiers, and vigilantes alike. This is the War on Muslims. The latest threat to burn the Koran was a curious maneuver with both proponents and opponents agreeing that Muslims are dangerous people.
Sergio Reyes is a serious person.* This May Day he is marching in support of workers and immigrants.
Reyes brings a gravitas to the day that accompanies few. Neither a college lefty nor foundation-weaned and preened non-profit operative, Reyes comes to the United States from Chile where a US-back military government installed the world’s first regime that would implement everything that neo-liberal Washington demanded: government that cut taxes on corporations, cut programs for working people, cut regulations and, yes, cut people.
Editor's Note: We inaugurate our five-week series of Open Media Boston guest editorials with Patrick Bond's timely discussion of the very direct connections between American politics and the politics of other nations - via the conduit of U.S.- and corporate-dominated transnational institutions like, in this case, the World Bank.