Protecting Whose Security?: Anti-Terrorism Legislation and the Criminalization of Dissent
This paper provides a critical evaluation of some of the rarely-considered impacts of legislation that is passed in the name of ‘security,’ particularly the anti-terrorism legislation that has been passed throughout northern industrialized countries and beyond since September 11, 2001. Since September 11, a growing body of literature has developed examining the impact of anti-terrorism legislation on civil liberties, but very little addresses the impact of the legislation specifically on social movements or on dissent to the current configuration of power in our society more generally. This paper seeks to open space for such a debate. It offers a preliminary analysis of the impact and potential impact of anti-terrorism legislation on social movements and community organizing, focusing on the possible political rationale behind such impacts. The analysis pushes us to ask the question, “Whose security are these acts designed to protect?” and presents us with a disturbing answer: the beneficiaries of contemporary capitalist relations.