S1E24 - Philip on Security Culture
The guest, Philip, has compiled this list of further resources and encourages people to check out look into them because there are a lot of good lessons about how counterinsurgency has operated historically that can help us resist today. Know Your Rights trainings are available from the CLDC and ACLU [including the Live Like the World is Dying episode on the subject] For the history of police and state repression
* "Our Enemies in Blue": "Secret Police, Red Squads, and the Strategy of Permanent Repression"
* "Life During Wartime" - Kristian Williams, Lara Messersmith-Glavin, William Munger
* "Witness to Betrayal / Profiles of Provocateurs" - Kristian Williams
* "Basic Politics of Movement Security" - J Sakai
* "Policing Indigenous Movements" - Andrew Crosby & Jeffery Monaghan good for Canadian context
* Intercept article on TigerSwan surveillance of Standing Rock:
* "New State Repression" Ken Lawrence
* "War at Home: Covert Action Against US Activists and What We Can Do About It"- Brian Glick
Government resources on counterintelligence
* Church Committee Report (federal committee on FBI COINTELPRO ops)
* "Low Intensity Operations: Subversion, Insurgency, Peace-Keeping" Frank Kitson
The host, Margaret Killjoy, can be found on twitter @magpiekilljoy, instagram @margaretkilljoy, and on Patreon at patreon.com/margaretkilljoy. Transcript:
Margaret 00:14 Hello, and welcome to Live Like the World is Dying, your podcast for what feels like the end times. I'm your host, Margaret Killjoy, and I use she or they pronouns. This week I'm talking with Philip who, among many other things, teaches security culture trainings. And I first was introduced to Philip's work on it when we had a conversation about the complexities of security culture. Security culture—we'll go over in this episode—is basically the idea of creating a culture of security, a culture of a way—creating a culture by which people don't get caught as much for the types of things that they may choose to want to do in order to advance, you know, their desires. It's for activists and revolutionaries and shit to not get fucking caught. It has lot of good tools around how to do that kind of culturally. This podcast is a proud member of the Channel Zero Network of anarchist podcasts. And—but for this week, and next week, I'm going to do it a little bit differently, and instead of running a jingle for another show on the network, I'm just gonna tell you about another show on the network because I don't think they have a jingle yet. And basically say that the Maroon Cast is now a member of the Channel Zero Network of anarchist podcasts and I'm very excited about that. And you all should go check it out. Also, the Institute for Anarchist Studies is an organization that gives grants to people who—well, I'm just about to play a fucking jingle for it. So I'll just fuckin play the jingle for it—da daaaa!
Jingle 01:40 Hey, radicals, anarchists, and all of you liberatory leftists: Are you a podcaster, video maker, multimedia artist, or writer? The Institute for Anarchist Studies wants to let you know we have grants available for projects focusing on Black and indigenous anarchisms, police abolition and alternatives, and mutual aid. For details and how to apply visit anarchiststudies.org and click on the grants application post on our main page. That's anarchiststudies.org. Anarchist-studies-dot-O-R-G. Applications close January 31, 2021. Spread the word and tell your friends.
Margaret 02:24 Okay, so if you could introduce yourself with whatever name you want to go by, your pronouns, and I guess kind of a little bit about what brought you to this work of teaching and security culture trainings?
Philip 02:35 Yeah, my name is Philip, I use they/them pronouns. I'm living in Suquamish Territory and the Salish Sea. I've been involved in a lot of solidarity work with Indigenous liberation movements and Black liberation movements that have exposed me to a lot of frontline experiences and experiences with state repression, both immediately and down the line. And in response to those encounters with law enforcement with legal repression, and with the effect that that has on our movements, me and a lot of friends and comrades have dived into learning about security culture, learning about the tools and the techniques that we can all use to keep each other safe. And also learning about the ways that the state works to isolate our movements, to discredit our movements—basically, to disempower us—so that we're able to be more informed about how to take care of each other. So I'm definitely deeply indebted to a lot of Black and Indigenous liberation movements for developing these skills and passing them on. And I'm here to just try to contribute now what I've been taught and foster a conversation about how we can be moving into this, like, pretty unprecedented territory in the world of new state surveillance, expanding state surveillance, more encounters with police, but also with right-wing vigilantes, paramilitary groups, white supremacists, and some of the tools we can use.
Margaret 04:07 That makes sense. Yeah, one of the reasons that I wanted to have you on in particular is a conversation that we had about the nuances of security culture, and I'm really excited to get into that stuff. But for people who have no idea what we're talking about, could you introduce the concept of security culture?
Philip 04:26 Yeah, that's a great question. I feel like there's a lot of intersections between security culture and a lot of other topics that you've had on this show or that you might have on in the future. Ultimately, I think of security culture as this big framework. And it's a framework that helps us reduce risk for ourselves when we're engaging in social movement work, basically by protecting sensitive information. So one definition might be: It's like a mix of interpersonal and organizational and technical practices that help us be more resilient to state repression. It's a shared set of customs, that helps us minimize risk by explicitly naming some norms, over our boundaries and over our communication and that helps us lessen our paranoia, reducing ambiguity, and feeling more secure as we're engaging with the inherently risky work of challenging unjust power systems.
Margaret 05:31 So what are some of the examples of that when you talk about, like, changing social norms in order to accommodate security culture? Like, you know, what comes to mind with that?
Philip 05:43 Yeah, well, I think that the first thing to say is, intentionally or unintentionally, we all have a set of security practices that we do as human beings. We all have boundaries with each other, intentional or unintentional. And the point of security culture is really to be explicit about those boundaries. I, you know, I really want to do a shout out that a lot of people already practice security, culture, and situational awareness in their daily lives, you know, especially trauma survivors, people who are targeted by police and state surveillance. But some of those specific boundaries and norms that we might use would be having, you know, a clear idea of what information is sensitive, and then not sharing that information with people who don't need to know it, to protect yourself and to protect them.
Margaret 06:37 Like so concretely like—
Philip 06:38 That—
Margaret 06:38 Go ahead.
Philip 06:40 Yeah, so that would, you know, a big, obvious one is like, don't talk about illegal activities that you have done, or that you're thinking about doing or asking someone else if they've done it. A big thing might be like, "Oh, yeah, I thought I saw you at this protest the other week doing this illegal action. Was that you? How does that feel to you?" That's a big thing that we wouldn't do. That's a pretty clear violation of norms and boundaries over not wanting people to expose themselves in that way.…