by Yasha Levine

Finished on

I only came across Yasha Levine this year, and I believe it was about something “more” political.

I say “more” with the scare-quotes because the internet is political. Its creation was political, its existence is political, its ramifications for everyday life are political.

Surveillance Valley made me grasp that. Yasha’s quip that “the internet is a weapon” took me aback at first. It was created to serve US imperialism and still today serves US imperialism.

An inexact analogy: computers are a weapon. The IAS machine described in Turing’s Cathedral and its siblings were used to create weapons that threaten all life on Earth, and modern machines are used in killer robots and to damage civilian infrastructure.

That doesn’t capture the scope of Surveillance Valley, though. Ultimately it’s about the importance of taking political control over our societies, control currently held by capital and the state and military machinery it controls.

I recommend it to anyone — it’s incredibly well written and several sections made me laugh out loud, and its subject is more important than ever.