"I think this is an incredibly efficient, actually, a scarily efficient way of organizing society that's actually being celebrated here, which is a hybrid of some of the worst elements of authoritarian communism—mass surveillance of the population, total lack of civil liberties, lack of a free press, lack of democratic rights, authoritarian central planning, all harnessed not to advance the goals of social justice, even in name, although there may be some lip service still paid to that, but to advance the goals of global capitalism. So it is Stalinism meets global capitalism.... There are 100,000 security officers just on Olympic duty. And to put that into perspective, the stadium itself, the Bird's Nest Stadium holds 90,000. So there's 90,000 spectators and 100,000 secret police keeping control of things in Beijing. So this is an incredible operation. But when you hear people like Lou Dobbs and other commentators talking about the problems in China, it's always red China, communist China, or the Chi-coms. And it's really this blast from the past of—you know, it's almost as if the Cold War never ended."
The Olympics: Unveiling Police State 2.0
[from Huffington Post]
The games have been billed as China's "coming out party" to the world. They are far more significant than that. These Olympics are the coming out party for a disturbingly efficient way of organizing society, one that China has perfected over the past three decades, and is finally ready to show off. It is a potent hybrid of the most powerful political tools of authoritarianism communism -- central planning, merciless repression, constant surveillance -- harnessed to advance the goals of global capitalism. Some call it "authoritarian capitalism," others "market Stalinism," personally I prefer "McCommunism."
...Much of the Chinese government's lavish spending on cameras and other surveillance gear has taken place under the banner of "Olympic Security." But how much is really needed to secure a sporting event? The price tag has been put at a staggering $12-billion -- to put that in perspective, Salt Lake City, which hosted the Winter Olympics just five months after September 11, spent $315 million to secure the games. Athens spent around $1.5-billion in 2004. Many human rights groups have pointed out that China's security upgrade is reaching far beyond Beijing: there are now 660 designated "safe cities" across the country, municipalities that have been singled out to receive new surveillance cameras and other spy gear. And of course all the equipment purchased in the name of Olympics safety -- iris scanners, "anti-riot robots" and facial recognition software -- will stay in China after the games are long gone, free to be directed at striking workers and rural protestors.
China's All-Seeing Eye
[from Rolling Stone]
American commentators like CNN's Jack Cafferty dismiss the Chinese as "the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years." But nobody told the people of Shenzhen, who are busily putting on a 24-hour-a-day show called "America" — a pirated version of the original, only with flashier design, higher profits and less complaining. This has not happened by accident. China today, epitomized by Shenzhen's transition from mud to megacity in 30 years, represents a new way to organize society. Sometimes called "market Stalinism," it is a potent hybrid of the most powerful political tools of authoritarian communism — central planning, merciless repression, constant surveillance — harnessed to advance the goals of global capitalism.
...Remember how we've always been told that free markets and free people go hand in hand? That was a lie. It turns out that the most efficient delivery system for capitalism is actually a communist-style police state, fortressed with American "homeland security" technologies, pumped up with "war on terror" rhetoric. And the global corporations currently earning superprofits from this social experiment are unlikely to be content if the lucrative new market remains confined to cities such as Shenzhen. Like everything else assembled in China with American parts, Police State 2.0 is ready for export to a neighborhood near you.
Never too much [Naomi Klein]