An activist adage goes “Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean you’re not being watched.”
This week, it was revealed that my friend and colleague Josh Tulkin, currently the field director for Power vote and formerly the deputy campaign director at Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), had been put into the Maryland State Police’s “terrorist” database. In fact, they informed him that he was a suspected terrorist along with Maryland anti-death penalty advocates and anti-war activists, and put under surveillance from the period of March 2005 – May 2006.
After receiving this information, Josh went public with this information along with colleagues from CCAN. He even made this short video.
The past 40 years has seen surveillance, harassment, and even false imprisonment of activists in the US. COINTEL tactics have been used against the environmental movement. The government and corporations are terrified of our movements cutting into their power and profit margins, particularly in these unstable economic times. As we move forward, they will increase these tactics, not decrease them.
This reminds me of the words of Gandhi- “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
I’m thankful that Josh does and continues great work in making a better world possible. I even more thankful in the face of state oppression that he continues this work.