BTC – Today I heard about the retirement of Phillip Booth, a hero in the international fight against national ID cards and data surveillance. Phil led the UK to the first of several victories in the nation’s fight against eruptive onslaughts of gestating identity programs.
“No one should underestimate the debt the whole country owes to Phil Booth. His incredible energy and hard work has been key in making NO2ID the fastest growing and most successful campaign group in modern British history, killing the Home Office’s identity scheme dead. Our task now is to use that invaluable legacy and experience and take the fight to the surveillance state.” — Guy Herbert, Phil Booth’s successor
Booth led NO2ID six years from inception through this February, 2011.
Without a doubt, Booth’s conscientious delivery towards the goal of protecting citizens from identity abuses will be what he is known for.
There was talk that he would return to a life as sculpture artist.
One could see the allure of having achievements carved in stone or cast in metal. The evidence of legislative art is more akin to a sand mandala; which upon completion is then taken by monks and dumped into the river to return to the earth. This type of work is symbolic, impermanent and eternally slavish to the process of death. The iterations of strength are exercised as freedom from attachment. However, this disallows observance of a more final permanent work past the hourly, weekly, monthly and even yearly institution of the labors granted.
Activism as an artform doesn’t necessarily ground to renew with impartiality. One can be left imbued with a visceral understanding of the baser natures of man creatures. The experience taken in excess or without adequate relief will make one recalcitrant, apathetic or insensitive to legal versions of collateral damage resulting in compassion fatigue.
Reporting and news sources don’t help longevity of messaging. They can turn over the foundation of great work like a faddish “hit”; which came and went in the washes of a 24 hour news cycle. It can be about as satisfying as being fed into a hamburger grinder.
Some of us certainly feel a loss in arms, possibly envy, as Booth returns to the mystery of life-in-general or life after the charitable fight.
The following clip is relatable. In the film Alien 3, the beleaguered protagonist Ripley is caught off guard and unarmed by a pursuant alien. The team was not yet free of the consumptive menace of her alien foe or of the fight itself.