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  1.  (252.1)
    Personally, I'd say it is pretty safe here in the UK, all things considered. Sure, you'll get police snatching cameras (breaking them, in fact), making up laws on the spot and trying to detain you for looking at them funny. Other times, of course, you'll get police who cheer you on. You win some, you lose some.

    All you really need, so long as you're not actually doing anything illegal, is to know your rights. No, the police cannot prevent you from taking their pictures, for example. If you are doing illegal things, well. Don't get caught.

    I'm talking about protest and political activism, of course. As for voting, it all depends where your polling station is. At a secondary school in East London? Well, of course that's not gonna be safe.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2007
    In the old Soviet Union, one of the most frightening things was how FEW political prisoners there were.

    After Kruschev, there were usually at any time only a few thousand people in prison (or mental hospitals) for their political views. That's out of a population of close to 300 million. The threat of prison and death along with the other milder sanctions (like loss of work, forced relocation, denial of access to education) was enough to cow the rest of the population.

    Currently, the figures for China seem to be similar, once you allow for their larger population. It's hard to tell because you can be sent away for up to three years re-education through labor without trial and without the government giving any explanation. But the Chinese too practice intimidation and denial of privileges.

    America is not Russia or China, it's vastly unlikely it will ever become as bad as Russia or China. But you don;t need mass arrests and prison camps to shut people up. Harassment and the occasional examplar is all you need. Most high school kids in America aren't going to get suspended for wearing an anti-war shirt but some have been. That's all it takes to make other students (and their parents) think twice.
  2.  (252.3)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    If you're doing it right, it shouldn't be safe.
    • CommentAuthoradrian r
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2007
    @ cat vincent:

    By apolitical, I refer to those who opt out of any kind of political dialogue or acknowledgement of their influence in the world, and instead choose to behave as consumers, whether in the mainstream Daily Mail reading world, or whatever subculture they inhabit.
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2007
    I found it disappointing when a review of BLACK SUMMER # 0, voicing that the opening act was possibly a criticism of America's current regime from a non-citizen's perspective, turned into a harsh belittling of the reviewer's liberal views and an indignant opposition to foreign opinion of the U.S. in general.

    On top of that, when I began to speak of my amusement at the concept behind issue # 0 at my LCS, I was warned that voicing that sentiment was going to cause a heated argument not wanted by the manager.
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2007 edited
    Derleth, you wouldn't have ahd to worry about that here my store.

    When 0 came out and sold out of over 80 in one week and all subsequent re-orders, we were laughing it up.."look on the floor, look who it is"...Thanks RYP!

    We even have southern conservative republican ex-Marine whos really a nice guy who argues politics and conspiracies with me in the shop almost every wednesday, then we shake hands and laugh, becasue we are more alike than not, see thast what still gives me hope about America.

    This un-named Marine reads and loves everything by Ellis, Ennis, Morrison, and Moore..arguably all counter-culture anti-establishment writers though i hate to label them as anything by uniquely individual writerss with great ideas and stories.

    Thing is he knows its fiction and he undertsands the context, things that we shouldn't have to worry about discussing openly.

    His only critisism levied at Black Summer was that Bush would have had a contingency group of controlled heros/villains that wouldn't have let Horus commit the act. Then he laughed, he loves the book and pretty much everything else Ellis writes.
    • CommentAuthorrobb
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2007
    Kosmopolit: "In the old Soviet Union, one of the most frightening things was how FEW political prisoners there were."

    maybe this is just my American education during the stuttering end of the fall of the Soviet Union, but I was under the assumption that in the Old Soviet Union, the people whom could qualify as political prisoners disappeared before becoming prisoners?
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2007
    Randy, your ex-Marine story makes me think of my Hassidic Jewish friend who lapped up Ennis' Wormwood trade.

    Some people understand the need for conceptual fiction, and some don't, I guess.
  3.  (252.9)
    I think there is a difference between an environment which is damaging and silencing to discourse, which we clearly have right now in the US, and an environment that is dangerous to life and limb if you are a voice of dissent in discourse, which we clearly do not have.

    I would argue one reason we can both discuss and try to fix the first situation (and reverse the damage the Shrub has done via laws and policy alone) is we do not have the second.

    Could that latter happen? Well, sure it can happen anywhere and we have made many bad choices so the fear is understandable. However, declaring it to be the case already seems profoundly ahistorical when examples of what actual silencing of dissent by force and fear are considered.
  4.  (252.10)
    @adrian r:
    Fair definition.
    By those terms, I'm political. But very cynical about party politics and governance in general (I have worked in the Civil Service and seen the how-sausages-are-made horrors there) and far more inclined to support focussed work for 'fringe' issues.
    And some of that stuff does has dangers - I know a lot of eco-protesters who've done jail time and an awful lot of the recent 'antiterror' laws are being aimed directly at them rather than more violence-threatening targets (such as the first case brought to force individuals to give up private computer encryption keys was against a green protester, not a Muslim). I see the legislation already in existence for a draconian hammer to just drop on UK freedoms instantly at the right excuse. These are not comfortable times to stand up and declare you're different, or that you doubt the majority paradigm. And the US is much worse.
    • CommentAuthoradrian r
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2007
    Exactly. Here in the UK there's a whole bunch of unpleasant legislation that just isn't going away from the statute books. If nice Mr Gordon doesn't abuse it, one of his successors surely will: none of these measures allegedly developed for extraordinary times gets repealed.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2007
    "maybe this is just my American education during the stuttering end of the fall of the Soviet Union, but I was under the assumption that in the Old Soviet Union, the people whom could qualify as political prisoners disappeared before becoming prisoners?"

    Back in the 1930's and 1940's, this was the case.

    Under Kruschev in the 1950's, the system became somewhat less draconian. If you ctriricised Stalin you and your family got a bullet through the head, if you criticized Kruschev you get ten years hard labor and your family got tranferred to a collective farm in Siberia.

    By the 70s and 80's the system of intimidation and endless surveillance was refined to the point where the death penalty was hardly even necessary to punish political dissent - and when it was employed it was usually against ethnic separatists in places like the Caucasus, rather than ordinary Russians.
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2007
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    Personally I think the UK is worse than the US for being a Orwellian fascist state. I have a coonskin cap with the head on the front I bought just for my planned trip to London. It is not the government that will get you it is the ecohumanist jesuits. How on earth is it anyone else's business if I want to go fox hunting? They are not endangered. But people will actually threaten to KILL you for it. First in the UK they banned all guns ,then replica guns and then most knives and now they want to ban pictures of guns. The same fanatics are up in arms over the movie poster for Shoot em up which ironically is a blatant antigun propaganda piece. Apparently it glorifies "gun violence". Gun and knife violence is more propaganda speak. Pe3ople commit violence the tool they use is really unimportant as it can always be easily replaced no matter how much stuff you ban. Blaming inanimate objects for violence would be funny if it was not being widely accepted by gullible sheep people
  5.  (252.14)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    I have found that, in the US, if your white, male, and civil you wont have any problem (other than maybe a no fly list). Once you deviate from that, to certain degrees I've heard of much much worse happening.

    A coworker of mine (Young, Liberal College Student), tried to insist that the current admin is almost like the nazis.

    I tired to explain to him that, to be fair to all the jews out there(and peoples of Europe at the time), That no, no it isn't. He still wouldn't submit.

    That said, some of these laws are definitely leaving room for them to do much more than they are(That we know of). I've at times read excerpts from the patriot act and some were pretty frightening. I remember one clause that allowed to laundered money using any name/method/reason they wanted and weren't responsible for reporting about the cash flow.

    I wonder how scared they are that they might have just made Hillary the most powerful president in history.
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2007
    Honestly, I can't want to live worrying about if it's safe to say political things or whatever. In a smaller way, the same thing comes up in the form of "watch what you say on your blog, you'll have trouble getting work again," and so on. There's a brilliant XKCD about that, and I'd include it here as an image but it's pretty big, so I'll be nice and just link it then. But do read it.

    And that's how I feel about sweating whether the gov is watching me say they're doing bastardly things when they're doing bastardly things (which is to say, almost always, I suppose.) Not being fearless, just too stubborn to worry about it.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeDec 11th 2007
    First in the UK they banned all guns

    No, they didn't.

    Rules on gunbuying in the UK

    To buy a shotgun in Britain you need to hold a Shotgun Certificate, and to buy a rifle you need to hold a Fire Arm Certificate. You can ask for forms for these from your local police station.

    Ask also to speak to your local police firearms liaison officer, who will tell you what you need to fill those forms out to his or her satisfaction. They may also want to see a 'good reason' for you wanting a gun, such as membership of a clay shooting club or pest control. They usually want to see that you will keep your gun or guns in a secure place, such as a steel gun cabinet bolted to a wall. You have to store ammunition separately.
    Certain types of firearm are hard to obtain in Britain without a stringent Home Office licence. These include automatic weapons and most handguns.

    Most British people don't so much seem to object to killing foxes (they can still be culled by farmers) as they do to torturing them to death and then ripping them apart.
  6.  (252.17)

    XKCD is automatic Win. That one especially.
  7.  (252.18)
    I guess I would consider myself quite apolitical, just by the virtue of the fact that I believe in democracy. If the united masses want to vote some dumb fuck into office, so be it. Who am I to say that I know better than a whole country? (even if I do sometimes say that and secretly wish I could run the planet with an iron fist. but with a charity wristband). That's not to say I don't have political views of any kind, but I vote, and I think that's all there is too it. The main problem with government today is that people who are interested in politics and the betterment of their country don't want to be politicians. Me included...

    Look at sanctimonious pricks like Michael Moore and George Clooney. Clooney has everything it takes to be a politician that the general populous would vote for (i.e. money and charisma) and y'know, he cares about global warming and Iraq, but he'd rather be partying in Vegas while filming Ocean's Thirteen. And who watched Fahrenheit 9/11 and genuinely had a massive upheaval of their belief structure? Wow, look at brave Michael, with all his noble preaching to the converted. Don't get me wrong, freedom of speech and the right to expression are probably what I believe in more than anything, but what good are they doing?

    Closer to Topic:
    Adrian Brody (first instance that came into my head) criticised the US army in Iraq, on stage at the Oscar's in front of millions (billions?) of people and didn't get sent to Guantanamo Bay. Kanye West, on live television, said "George Bush doesn't care about black people." and his latest record sold (looking this up now) around 2.5 million copies so far.

    I think we're going to be okay.

    And that XKCD strip was nice.
    • CommentTimeDec 11th 2007
    "H.R. 1955 is overbroad and almost certainly unconstitutional, but have you actually felt your rights to protest being oppressed or damaged in such a way that that you are in personal danger?"

    This bill really scares me, for the first time it allows Americans to be picked up and labeled as terrorists thus stripping them of their rights. Once labeled a terrorist, an American citizen can then be labeled a enemy combatant. It's bad enough that my nation does this in other Western countries, but now they want to bring it home.
  8.  (252.20)
    Speaking about the United States...

    Depends on what you mean by "dangerous." For the time being, being outspoken on political matters will not likely get you arrested. (Unless of course you defy local authority's bans -- however illegal -- on peaceful assembly.) It might however bring some extra attention from the sad fucks that listen in on phone conversations, depending on what views you express. On rare occasions, if you happen to fall under the penumbra of an illegal activity, the bully-boys could decide to make an example of you (c.f. Tommy Chong). Things could change for the worse in the next few years, though. Keep your ear to the ground.

    In terms of job or career advancement, expressing views very far outside the mainstream of whatever industry you're in, can result in anything from losing a few useful networking contacts to losing your career, depending on the industry, and how far outside the group mind you have strayed. Although sometimes, if you are very clever about it, and really good at what you do, it can actually work to your advantage. (c.f. Alan Moore, Philip K. Dick, Chuck Dixon, Charlton Heston)

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