Last week, Stephen Graham sat down with WBEZ 91.5 in Chicago to talk about the new and increasingly militarized forms of law enforcement that are fast becoming the norm throughout the West. Drawing from his new book on the topic, Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism, he addresses this rapid transformation and critically examines both the subtler and more familiarly overt modes of social control and surveillance that are being put to use in troubling ways. In the interview, Graham touches on these new modes of enforcement and considers how they are used to subdue dissent and criminalize behaviour, among other things. With new technologies and invocations of "security concerns," these are now becoming a part of our urban landscape and are being used in everything from the increased policing of borders and crowds to the surveillance of public space and police crackdowns. As Graham suggests, it is part of larger, discomforting trends that are changing the way people live and move within cities.
Please visit WBEZ to listen to the interview in full.
Stephen Graham appeared on Radio 4's Thinking Allowed to discuss Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism with Laurie Taylor and Melissa Butcher of the Open University.
Graham explains how military ideas of controlling space, honed in war zone cities like Baghdad, are being repackaged and sold to civilian police in Western cities. Concepts like 'smart' CCTV which attempts to identify suspicious behaviours in urban crowds, & the creation of fortified enclaves in certain areas, modelled on the Iraqi Green Zone, and the use of surveillance drones are all being imported back to Western cities after being developed in foreign warzones.
Graham views these new methods as more Minority Report than Big Brother - new CCTV technologies are designed to attempt to prempt terrorist attacks by scanning crowds, learning from previous incidents and trying to predict suspicious activity through monitoring behaviour.
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.