Josh Kolety’s Footage and the Volunteer Surveillance State


“To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them that they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed. Just as a camera is a sublimation of the gun, to photograph someone is a subliminal murder – a soft murder, appropriate to a sad, frightened time.”
― Susan Sontag, On Photography

Participating in a protest first hand you witness a story being written into the collective mind that exists in the streets. The narrative is chaotic yet we see and hear a symphony politic that can be described as a reverberating love ethic with a deep history. Once police arrive with provoking riot gear though, they change the tone of protests, putting people and themselves on edge. It’s even worse for those with PTSD. How many police formerly fought overseas? A large percentage.

Josh Kolety’s slice of history captured by his journalism on December 6th, 2014 armed the state media apparatus with a juicy story about protesters clashing with police – a common verb corporate media use to set a dark tone – maybe they should use “voicing against the white supremacist imperialist capitalist patriarchal system”?

Footage like this only hurts people, and over all damages the fabric of social and environmental justice movements. Josh was told by members of the community to promptly take down this video:

As you can see even after being blurred it fails epically to conceal identity in a timely manner.  The footage was usurped by media, and law enforcement further enhancing the police state. Here is a brief introduction about the history of police – they are modern day slave patrols. Along with corporate media only looking out for the bottom line.

Despite Josh’s best intentions, his smooth journalistic operation has put people at risk, and causing unnecessary pain and suffering for everyone involved. Youtube and social networks are friends’ tools with benefits when it comes to surveillance. Edward Snowden is an eery reminder of this reality among others.

Take heed the lessons from the activist community, including Susan Sontag. We have been saying for years: put the camera away, and live your fucking life before you shoot someone.