Full names every time?

Chris, London 100423.2040 at compuserve.com
Sat Dec 9 12:24:24 MST 1995


Louis: 
------
Is there some reason you don't use your last
name? Please don't think that this has anything to do with "security".
The police have no trouble finding out one's identity with or without
"party names." Is this the standard practice of your party? If it is, 
you must realize that it is a little bit laughable. 

Chris:
------

I hope Louis does not generalise, and think I am getting at him, but
I do not completely agree with this. Personal security, like security 
of your own house, apartment/flat is never complete, and can be breached 
by a determined attack. It is about whether you may have reasons to want to 
impede or deter a possible intrusion.

If List members wish to open up a wider space in public in 
the USA to the left of the Democratic Party that is fine. But torture is 
practised in over one hundred countries in the world. Tonight there is
a picket outside Shell House in London in memory of Ken Saro-Wiwa 
and some of the participants will have to calculate that by attending
they may put their lives and their jobs at risk, and those of their
family.

If one of them had wanted to post a notice to this list, they would
have needed to weigh up whether there is a protocol of mutual 
assistance between UK/US security agencies and those in Nigeria. 
["After all, although it is very unfortunate, we do not want 
any more traditional chiefs killed in the Delta region, by
pseudo-marxist hot-heads, do we, old chap?"] What do you think 
the building insurance premium on Shell House is? It is unlikely, 
shall we say, to have been reduced in the last four weeks. All this 
is part of the material reality of politics today.

It is also a question of personal boundaries. Every Marxist group has
to contend with the possibility of attracting people with shall 
we say, unusual personal agendas. This list is open to the skies.
It is your decision, Louis, but while you might enjoy lunch with Doug,
you might not always enjoy a date with someone else. 

There is also the connection with work life. Employers have lists.
Left wing academics or professionals, may suspect that their conduct
is subject to somewhat closer scrutiny and gossip than others. Who
knows why you did not get that last interview, or last funding 
application.

In my own line I have to work with people who may be paranoid, 
often in a context in which they have every right to feel a bit 
paranoid, but I have to try to calculate how far it might go.

To come back to the security forces, they undoubtedly vacuum up this
list, and can do word searches for names and try to compile a bit of 
a database. But there is a hell of a lot of noise on this list from 
their point of view and they have to decide how much of their
budget they are going to spend checking out each grad student to 
find the one person they need to sabotage the next attempt say, at a 
nationwide strike in France, and the minimal chances of success, by 
this strategy. 

It is probably best that this list does not carry any particularly
sensitive information. While I was very interested in the US Navy's
policy on the internet, routine posts like that might be best 
going to a civil liberties forum, used by people of a wide
range of political persuasions. You may recall the public 
controversy about the marxism archives. 

In short, I do not think it is laughable if you are comfortable for
your name to be public, but nor is it laughable if some 
subscribers choose to be at times a shade more obscure.

Regards,

Chris,

London.






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