On reading Stephen Graham's Cities Under Siege, Nicholas Lezard is gripped with an uneasy fear about the spread of military strategies from warzones to domestic cities in the US and Europe. The fact the book is well referenced and the author "knows whereof he speaks ... has the facts at his fingertips, and he is able to make connections" only makes matters worse, as he explains in his review for the Guardian.
The combination of mainstream US politicians' contempt for cosmopolitan populations, increased urban surveillance and the generalisation of Israel's strategies against Gaza—described by Graham as "a mere ‘terrorist infrastructure’ to be destroyed in toto”—raise for Lezard a terrifying spectre of militarised dystopian state so real that "you begin to wonder whether books like this will be allowed to be published for much longer."
The prospect of this nascent potential cityscape of political violence, "the kind of society whose aim is to monitor and control every single inhabitant", far from scaremongering is already underway:
Look, you're just going to have to read this book. Because what's happening in Baghdad and other contested or occupied cities - not just the surveillance, but the militarisation too - is going to happen here. In some cases it already is, or there are in place contingency plans for it, should serious trouble arise.
Visit the Guardian to read the review in full.
Stephen Graham, academic and author of the new in paperback Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism, appeared on Democracy Now today to discuss his book in the context of the occupy movements around the world, and the police crackdown on protesters in New York City early Tuesday morning.
In discussion with Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh, Graham detailed the process by which urban police forces have incorporated sophisticated technologies, heightened levels of surveillance and increased militarization into their policing, creating targets out of the homeless, the poor and others they deem undesirable.
Sparing no room for nuance, the magazine covers are all reminding us that the United States—and hence the planet—is set to commemorate the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, a day that not only changed the world and signaled the end of innocence and spawned a new greatest generation, but also launched a thousand new slogans with which to label that day, and inspired thousands of speeches intent on inspiring thousands more.
However, despite the horror, anger, uncertainty—and yes, for some, glee—from the damage inflicted on that momentous day, there remained, in the aftermath and up to now, a limited vocabulary within the mainstream with which to describe the events of that time and the trail of destruction that followed.
And since we aren’t anticipating a commemorative circuitous flight over the country on Air Force One with the President of the United States, we would like to offer an alternate journey—that is, a survey of Verso’s responses to 9/11:
Steve Graham, author of Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism, is quoted in a piece for the Guardian on new military technology and the trend towards remote warfare:
The Oxford-based Fellowship of Reconciliation is "seriously concerned" the UK might be sanctioning a culture of "convenient killing ... Our core concern is with 'PlayStation warfare', where the geographical and psychological distance between operator and target lowers the threshold for launching an attack."