On 8th June 1949 George Orwell published his novel 1984. It was a warning of the society that would emerge if the totalitarian thinking he believed had taken root in the minds of intellectuals and policymakers everywhere was left unchecked.
Sixty-six years later we find that Orwell’s novel resonates as strongly as ever.
Democratic governments around the world are enacting laws that enable greater and greater monitoring of the people, curtail freedom of speech and undermine protections once enshrined in our legal systems.
Bill C-51 in Canada, a new pro-surveillance law in France, the Counter-Terrorism Legislative Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Act 2014 in Australia, a 1.6M euros system to track social media in Spain… And in the UK the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, a proposed new Counter-Extremism Bill and plans to re-introduce the “snoopers charter” to spy on all communications. To name but a few!
All this removal of freedoms is being done under the guise of protecting those very freedoms using a skewed human rights agenda that justifies anything in the name of “national security”, for example the UK’s so-called ‘Protection of Freedoms Act’. A truly Orwellian state of affairs.
1984 Action Day is an opportunity for people to raise awareness of the many threats to our liberties and freedoms. Anyone can take part, whether it be performing in street theatre, public readings of ‘1984’, handing out leaflets, or discussing the meaning of freedom with friends down the pub. There are a few action ideas at www.no-cctv.org.uk/1984_action_day.asp#ideas, but ultimately it’s up to you, have some fun!
As the recent election in the UK all too keenly demonstrates, issues of individual freedom are not part of the political agenda. It is only through our own actions that we can effect a change to thinking in our societies. Without individual freedom there is no freedom at all, so we need to fight as individuals to win our freedoms back, while we still can.