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Marching Plague by Critical Art Ensemble


Critical Art Ensemble is "Marching Plague : Germ Warfare and
Global Public Health," the long-awaited book initially taken into
evidence by the FBI!

"Marching Plague" examines the scientific evidence and the rhetoric
surrounding biological warfare, particularly the development of
anthrax and other bio-weapons, and makes a strong case against the
likelihood of such weapons ever being used in a terrorist situation.
Studying the history and science of such weapons, they conclude that
for reasons of accuracy and potency, biological weapons lack the
efficiency required to produce the widespread devastation typically
associated with bioterrorism.

Why the public urgency around biowarfare, then, and why the
channeling of enormous resources into research and development of
tools to counter an imaginary threat? This is the real focus of
"Marching Plague": the deconstruction of an exceedingly complex
political economy of fear, primarily supporting biowartech
development and the militarization of the public sphere.

The book concludes with a brief examination of the actual crisis in
global public health, arguing for the redirection of health research
away from the military, and promoting a number of strategies for
civilian-based preparedness and education.€€

If you've been following Autonomedia's work and that of the Critical
Art Ensemble for any amount of time, you're aware of the conditions
from which Marching Plague emerged. Originally scheduled to appear in
2004, the manuscript was in the possession of Steve Kurtz-one of the
text's collective authors-when he came under the intense scrutiny of
the Justice Department and the FBI for suspected biological terror
crimes. Made paranoid by their own rhetoric, the Feds failed to tell
the difference between an art piece scheduled for installation at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and something more
nefarious. Kurtz' house was sealed off, his research was taken
(including the manuscript and his computers), and his colleagues and
publisher were subpoenaed, all for some trumped-up charges of mail
fraud. Two appendices in the book comment on the political
ramifications of Kurtz' trial, and what it means for the culture of
dissent in a time of authoritarian political life.

More on Steve Kurtz' case can be found at