“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana
At the start of the 21st century, the following things did not exist. In the US, a large network of purpose-built immigration prisons, some of which are run for profit. In western China, “political education” camps are designed to hold hundreds of thousands of people, supported by a high-tech surveillance system. In Syria, a prison complex is dedicated to the torture and mass execution of civilians.
In northeast India, a detention center is capable of holding 3,000 people who may have lived in the country for decades but are unable to prove they are citizens. In Myanmar, rural encampments where thousands of people are being forced to live on the basis of their ethnicity.
On small islands and in deserts at the edges of wealthy regions – Greece’s Aegean islands, the Negev Desert in Israel, the Pacific Ocean near Australia, the southern Mediterranean coastline – various types of large holding centers for would-be migrants.
In the US we have hundreds of FEMA camps across all the states, we have previously made a list of all known FEMA camps in the US covered in two articles, you can find them here:
The scale and purpose of these places vary considerably, as do the political regimes that have created them, but they share certain things in common. Most were established as temporary or “emergency” measures, but have outgrown their original stated purpose and become seemingly permanent. Most exist thanks to a mix of legal ambiguity – detention centers operating outside the regular prison system, for instance – and physical isolation. And most, if not all, have at times been described by their critics as concentration camps.
The definition of a concentration camp is sometimes fuzzy, but at root, such camps represent a combination of physical and legal power. They are a way for modern states to segregate groups of civilians by placing them in a closed or isolated location via special rules that are distinct from a country’s main system of rights and punishments. Many have been set up under military jurisdiction – by the British during the Boer war, for instance – while others, such as the Soviet gulags, have been used in peacetime to deal with social “undesirables”.
Cruelty and the abuse of power have existed throughout human history, but concentration camps have not. They are little more than a century old. The earliest began as wartime measures, but on numerous occasions, since then they have become lasting features. They are a product of technologically advanced societies with sophisticated legal and political systems and have been made possible by a range of modern inventions.
Military technologies such as automatic weapons or barbed wire made it easier for small groups of officials to hold much larger groups of people captive. Advanced bureaucracy and surveillance techniques enabled states to watch, count, and categorize civilians in ways they couldn’t have done in earlier eras. As Pitzer writes, such camps “belong in the company of the atomic bomb as one of the few advanced innovations in violence”.
Today, they are really planning on setting up ‘camps’ to separate people who are considered ‘high risk’…according to a CDC document:
”The shielding approach aims to reduce the number of severe COVID-19 cases by limiting contact between individuals at higher risk of developing the severe disease (“high-risk”) and the general population (“low-risk”). High-risk individuals would be temporarily relocated to safe or “green zones” established at the household, neighborhood, camp/sector, or community level depending on the context and setting. They would have minimal contact with family members and other low-risk residents.” CDC document source.
Up to 100 sites run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency could begin offering coronavirus vaccine within the next month, part of a strategy that would dramatically expand the federal government’s role in the effort to ”corral the pandemic”.
“FEMA … will mobilize thousands of clinical and non-clinical staff and contractors who will work hand-in-glove with the National Guard and state and local teams to assist, augment, and expedite the distribution and administration of coronavirus vaccines,” the FEMA document states.
Same as in NY Act 416: ”the unvaccinated are enemies and belong to a concentration camp”.
Luckily, some took issue with the Biden administration’s efforts, in a sign that greater federal coordination is already becoming politically charged. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), a close Trump ally, ridiculed the plan, referring to the anticipated centers as “FEMA camps.”
“I can tell you, that’s not necessary for Florida,” he said.
But the plan was welcomed by FEMA officials throughout the country, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they had not been authorized to address the efforts.
One official said he was moved to tears by the new sense of purpose. “It’s amazing what we can do when we take the gloves off,” the official said. Another recounted a regional planning call in which emergency managers were discussing how to get additional information from states about the gaps in their existing infrastructure. Biden administration officials have begun calling state leaders to consult with them about how federal assistance could augment their capacity, according to people familiar with the calls.
To some, these comparisons minimize the use of concentration camps by Nazi Germany in its effort to exterminate Jews. For others, the comparisons are a necessary warning, not least because one kind of camp can easily transform into another. Pitzer gives the example of a refugee camp: if people are not allowed to leave, and are systematically denied their rights, then it starts to resemble more sinister creations.
Concentration camps are uniquely dangerous spaces. Their effects may vary considerably, from the horror of Auschwitz to the more mundane misery that Arendt experienced in Gurs, but the people caught up in them almost always end up being treated as less than human. And if the political and technological innovations of the late 19th century made them possible, does the 21st century make them any more likely?
Unvaccinated line up this way.
Fully Vaccinated go in a different queue.
Are you starting to see any similarities here? We talk about the Holocaust a lot – and the boxcars that will take you away to the camps. But this is a much more recent, and perhaps closer-to-home example of how easy it is for governments to decree segregation, based on whatever they want to base it on.
When something today is described as a concentration camp, it almost always provokes an angry dispute. If camps aren’t being used to exterminate people, as they have been in their worst instances, then the comparison is frequently condemned as inappropriate. But condemnation can be a way for governments to shield themselves (remember ”The shielding approach” from the CDC document) from criticism of their decisions, and from criticism of the legitimacy of state power itself.
If the state as we know it is here to stay, then what can people do when governments start filling the camps? The history of the concentration camp has also been a history of people’s resistance to camps, from both inside and out. Until you wake up, we are here and we will fight for you… (Click to Source)
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