This desire for unremitting expansion is, I argue, similar to the force that propels imperialism as a constant process of extension. And it is the power of this impulse that has led to a re-fashioning of the Western liberal democratic state, in which greater authority is being given to the executive at the expense of the judiciary and legislature in the name of security. My focus is Europe — the political space that has experienced the most radical expansion of surveillance since the beginning of Nonetheless, the developments in that space belong to a global pattern of change. The imperialism of the will to surveillance is now embedded in the global political system.
It derives, I contend, from an endemic Islamophobia in the transnational world of the policy elite of the global West — its shared norms of political thought, structures of power, and the global system that they constitute — combined with the context of the recent stages of the War on Terror. The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror. London : Verso. Since he published his book, however, the surveillance order has become global, enveloped Europe, and is growing at an exponential rate. A new argument, or rather set of arguments, are needed to explain this dynamic.
Criticism of Islam
In the final part of this article, I set out the range of approaches and ideational histories that we put forward in response to this task, traversing Western Europe, from the sixteenth to twentieth centuries, colonial India, the refugee crisis in the Western Balkans, and the US-Mexican border.
We are not the first to attempt to provide a genealogy of Muslim surveillance.
The racial target, in their analysis, shifts over time, depending on the needs of capital and empire; the Muslim happens to be the main, though not the only, surveillance subject in the War on Terror. But it is on this critical point, of the significance of capital, that the essays in this special issue diverge from their approach even though Kundnani and Kumar have been criticized by others for not emphasizing capital enough Bhattacharya and Selfa a Bhattacharya, Tithi , and Lance Selfa.
A Commentary. A Response to a Response. Like Kundnani and Kumar, we place the state and its power at the centre of our analysis. Our focus is on the evolution, power, and impact of human thought and its role in the state, and across the international state system — not as a sphere that operates in isolation, but as a dynamic agent that shapes and permeates the structures of the state, inter-state collaborations, and the global political order. Capitalism can and does contribute to this picture, but it is not a determining framework, or blanket, that envelopes all; it is, rather, one part of an intricate tapestry.
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The main limitation of the capitalism framework, as we show, is that it cannot explain the specific nature of the figure of the Muslim as a surveillance target. And it is here that we must look if we are to comprehend the dynamics of a surveillance order that represents a new conjuncture in global politics. This is not to say that the particularities of the Muslim figure should be analysed in isolation, or that they do not belong to wider genealogies of political thought — they do.ilconretalong.ga
Early Orientalism: Imagined Islam and the Notion of Sublime Power
This surveillance thought apparatus needs to be taken at face value, and cannot be dismissed as superstructure. The Muslim surveillance target is not merely the latest form of racism that serves to justify imperialist violence and power — a sort of shifting avatar of a racial enemy, which transfigures effortlessly from one form to another. But that is a transference of the Muslim paradigm caused by its current influence within the security state, rather than the universalization, or de-Muslimicization, of its content.
Our concern in these essays is the thinking behind or within the apparatus for spying on Muslims, rather than the practice of surveillance itself. Nonetheless, the conception of surveillance adopted here requires explanation. It concerns any state or state-inspired activity intended to monitor populations — a watching process undertaken by communal organizations within their own communities, by state employees in civil society teachers, therapists, doctors , by border guards and border intelligence systems, media, and, of course, intelligence and law enforcement professionals.
London : Guardian, Faber and Faber. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. This preoccupation with the right to privacy, however, misses the bigger danger to the norms of the West posed by the new surveillance order, of which electronic monitoring is only a part. In the first few years after the attacks of 11 September , counter-terrorism in the United States and Europe concentrated on, but was not restricted to, fighting an external enemy.
This campaign was consciously styled as a traditional war operating within a militarized landscape beyond the homeland, focussed on the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the hunting of Al-Qaeda. The literal and conceptual geography of this War on Terror was, however, transformed by the attacks in Europe in and , which were undertaken by citizens from within the West. Kundnani Kundnani, Arun. This preventive frame of thought and action has developed into an all-consuming and ever-expanding preoccupation that is transforming the liberal democratic state.
Surveillance has moved from being an affair of intelligence and police services to a state-wide political project that is changing the power balance between the executive, the judiciary, and the legislature — the Enlightenment hallmark of Western norms of governance.
In the quest for unrestrained mass surveillance, the executive in many states is diminishing the authority of the other two branches, a process that is being accepted willingly by the majority of judiciaries and parliaments in most cases due to the terror emergency. Amid much controversy, this extension of executive power in the West in the name of the War on Terror first took root in the United States, first under George W. New York : Crown Publishing.
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Particularly since the rise of Islamic State in , and the wave of terrorism that ensued, a similar pattern unfolded in numerous states in the European Union AI Amnesty International. Certainly, EU Member States have developed a range of elaborate mechanisms for the oversight of state intelligence services and surveillance, increasingly so since But much of this machinery is fragmented, embedded in executive power structures, does not stretch across the full lifecycle of surveillance actions, and does not have sufficient independent authority to restrain the executive FRA FRA - European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.
Luxembourg : Publications Office of the European Union. Nonetheless, marked a step-change. From the Netherlands to Poland, governments have brought in laws since the start of that year that massively increased the scope of surveillance powers, and lowered the bar for their justification without independent judicial supervision AI Amnesty International. Certainly, since January the EU Commission has talked tough in response to legislation in Poland that places the executive in direct control of the judiciary in all matters EC a European Commission.
But the Commission has not censured a state for lessening the power of the judiciary in the name of counter-terrorism surveillance. Indeed, the Commission is itself a champion of security through surveillance. In Court of Justice of the European Union. It is noteworthy that before this system can be implemented several Member States need to change their laws on the use of personal data EC European Commission.
In that connection, the Commission has also recently adopted a more proactive role regarding the use of surveillance in the investigation and prosecution of terrorism and terrorism-related offences in Member States, which has the potential to further the surveillance powers held by executives. Nowhere in Europe has the process of remaking Western liberal democracy for the sake of surveillance been more apparent than in France.
In the war against Islamic State, the French governing elite has adopted the weapon of mass surveillance as the primary means through which to defeat the enemy, despite the consequences for its political norms; this politics has had such an impact on the constitutional structures of governance that today we can speak of a surveillance state.
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On the symbolic level, the most striking illustration of this new order was the manner of the arrival of Emmanuel Macron for his investiture as President on 14 May , or, to be more accurate, his mode of transport. It was apt that of anywhere in Europe it was a French head of state who chose to present themselves in this way.
Much more significantly, from November until November , France was in a state of emergency. During certain periods during that time, the Ministry of Interior and its regional representatives, the prefecture, the police and security services possessed the power to place citizens under house arrest, and search private property, vehicles and luggage with no involvement from the judiciary AI Amnesty International.
This protracted state of emergency was only the start. The Macron government has gone further than its predecessor and, indeed, the normative twentieth and twenty-first-century legal state practice of governing in a state of exception, powerfully analysed by Agamben Agamben, Giorgio. State of Exception. Chicago : University of Chicago Press. Whereas in the past, as Agamben has argued, the recourse to a state of exception was invoked as a part of, rather than inimical to, the liberal democratic juridical system, a conceptual and legal separation remained. There was something distinct — something exceptional.
It is perhaps unsurprising that France has gone so far down this path in the quest for surveillance given the number of terrorist attacks perpetrated on French soil since Charlie Hebdo in January As well, France possesses a long history of authoritarian tendencies in times of crisis, going back to the Revolution, which is arguably part and parcel of its Enlightenment foundations, and the idea of the liberal democratic state itself.
Indeed, France is by no means a stand-alone case. It belongs to an EU-wide and global phenomenon. It is the project of war, and the intensity of conflict, that gives surveillance its urgency.
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Hence, it was the existential threat posed by the war with Islamic State — its establishment of an Islamic empire a caliphate , with the aim of destroying the nation-state world-system, and use of terror to that end — that accelerated the expansion of surveillance to such a degree. The notion of surveillance stands apart, however, from other parts of the war machine; it possesses an entirely different thought dynamic to other weapons. To fulfil the desire to monitor all possible threats, as a tool of prevention, complete surveillance demands an exponential expansion of scope wherever the enemy and their activities can potentially be found.
This dynamic of constant expansion — for the need to see all of the enemy all of the time — is similar to the economic force at the heart of imperialism that demands incessant growth, identified more than sixty years ago by John Gallagher and Ronald Robinson, which propels the process constantly outwards Gallagher, John , and Ronald Robinson. Hence, within the EU, the insatiable desire for information to identify the works of the enemy has pushed counter-terrorism surveillance to the centre of security policy, as we have seen.