Rights and Liberties
Introduction to Volume 9, Number 2, of the Connexions Digest (Rights & Liberties issue)

Diemer, Ulli

Publisher:  Connexions Information Sharing Services, Toronto, Canada
Date Written:  01/07/1984
Year Published:  1984  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX4726

Civil liberties and human rights appear as a key dimension in almost every other field of social justice and social change, but those who seek a freer and more just society cannot rely on the state to achieve their goals.

Abstract:  If one trend is clearly visible in virtually every society, it is toward greater centralization, bureaucracy, and social control, and a corresponding curtailing of individual and collective freedoms. The principal agent of this process is the state, often linked to and assisted by the other institutions, classes and elites, and ideologies that also wield social power.

The relentless expansion of state-dominated power structures is often explained as necessary precisely to achieve social rights that are so widely seen as just and desirable. To obtain economic security, we are told, we must yield more power to police and state security agencies. To be protected from hate literature or pornography, we must accept that the state or its agencies will rule on what is fit to be expressed and published. To ensure essential services, we must give up or drastically restrict our right to bargain collectively and withdraw our labour by striking. To obtain credit, or a government job, the most personal data about us must be handed over and scrutinized. To ensure the efficient and "fair" administration of all the programs and institutions set up (supposedly) to benefit us, we must submit ever more to the imperatives of computers, technology and hierarchical, controlling forms of social organizations.

- Ulli Diemer

Subject Headings