While the NSALeaks scandal unveils, our mailboxes are flooded by messages protesting against it. A while ago arrived a message from Stop84, a movement in Philadephia (USA), calling for an End to the Surveillance State. And, in yesterday's The Guardian (UK), veteran whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg wrote that Edward Snowden is "saving us from the United Stasi of America".

How does the American surveillance problematic relate to our discussions about global democratization and the World Social Forum? In numerous ways, undoubtedly. De nobis fabula narratur, these tales about the surveillance state concern us all, the Africans, Asians and Latin Americans as well as the North Americans. Plus, of course, all the citizens of this fake European Union (which will some day still be the real European Union that Spinelli envisaged).

Tyrants, princes, even elected political leaders, have always spied on their subjects, serfs and citizens. Only the scale of today's surveillance operations is unprecedented.

Our counter-operations, on the other hand, are also previously unheard of. Thanks to whistle-blowers like Ellsberg, Manning and Snowden, and ethical information pirates like Julian Assange/ WikiLeaks, and even some (but still rare) courageous journalists of the mass media (like Glenn Greenwald), we, the spied-on, are already becoming capable of blowing back on our rulers with their own surveillance weapons.

The roots of the present surveillance state go back to the Manhattan project (and similar projects outside the USA), the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the ensuing new kind of military-industrial-academic complex(es). George Orwell's 1984 tells the story.

The present period of the surveillance state started with the crimes of 9/11. But here we come to questions which have only rarely been discussed in connection with the WSF: What was 9/11?

Was 9/11 an attack against the the Empire? Or, was it an attack by the Empire? Was 9/11 only a terrorist act, albeit one of unusual dimensions? Or was it a strategic act of war, a "continuation of politics by other means," characteristic of the nuclear age? Was 9/11 a criminal revenge by fanatical Islamists? Or, was it a state crime against democracy? (See footnote)

Personally, I am inclined to answer yes to the second parts of the above questions. This means that I am what they call a conspiracy theorist. Which brings me back to another conspiracy, although one of the more benign kind. Namely, the WSF itself.

In these days, meanings and contradictions are reversed, just as Orwell predicted. For instance, we can now read about Pirate Parties in the papers. Well, pirate used refer to criminals only. Now a Pirate can already be a popular member of the European Parliament; see "Amelia Andersdotter: Internet copyright laws? They can walk the plank", says Pirate Party politician" (The Independent 12 May 2013). Ethical pirates are becoming possible.

Perhaps the time has also come for a global, but good, conspiracy: a new (and less technocratic) edition of the "Open Conspiracy" which H.G.Wells pleaded for back in the 1920s?

Much remains to be discussed, and done, about the World Social Forum, including the regional, national and local social forums. One vision of the WSF's future is that we make it into something more like a library, but not only a library of books. It needs to become at the same time a library of books and a library of activities. Public activities, which are well documented so that the library can be easily "surveilled" by us all. There you see: the "surveillance" in itself needs to be turned into a public and positive activity of the citizens. Not of the state.

The sender of the posting from Stop 1984 was right: End the surveillance state! But, by all means, continue to keep the state under surveillance!

Footnote: The concept of State Crimes Against Democracy (SCAD) is discussed and illustrated by the authors of the articles in American Behavioral Scientist, Volume 53, Number 6, February 2010. The main example of a SCAD discussed there is 9/11. It is also applicable on the electronic surveillance which has now been revealed by Snowden and the Guardian.