In 2011, on a bright, cold day in May in a resplendent Norfolk jail, Julian Assange reflected on the seismic uprising of a global counterculture, of united students and workers, which could have, and did, scare a thousand kings by reviving the ideals of the 1871 Paris commune within the context of the Information Age.
Against this raw new zeitgeist, and against the backdrop of uprisings in US proxy states engendered by Wikileaks’ exposure of endemic corruption in Cablegate, Julian answered, under duress, to Google Kingpin Eric Schmidt and his motorcade. Of all the erudite evaluations he made later in a long meditation of the event, the most striking–for he has no formal training in the theory of politics–is his deft demystification of the hagiography of fabled “civic society”. Julian deftly debunked the central pillar of the dominant pluralist school of democratic theory by illuminating how agendas are being set and enacted by shadow networks beyond ceremonial government, in think tanks, transnational lobbies, and military committees. Were we to sideline media conjecture for a moment and reflect on the ideas being published, everybody has something to learn from those words with their wisdom any jail, any subpoena cannot erase with the bludgeon of its authority. It is wisdom worthy of the megaphone.
Julian acknowledged the critical influence of radicals the world around regarding the febrile atmosphere of protest which snaked from Arabic speaking nations to the poor underworld of London. He hails, in the introduction, with an equally erudite analysis, a fresh generation of activists, empowered by brave, socially conscientious use of ITC. In the process, he exposes the corruption of ossified officialdom–at once hopeful and tragic gestures like those of self-immolating democrats–whose names should be spelled across the stars. This is the era of permanent struggle; a form of rebellion brews in which righteous renegades see possibilities for the collapse of the system of domination today.
Within Julian’s diligently developed philosophy and action of individual and social emancipation–evident not only in his published texts but his activism and interviews–has come a highly regarded and influential source of guidance for oppositional movements in a new age of authoritarianism and dissident. It is the idea that the goal of every serious citizen should be to leverage an arsenal of technological knowledge and critical doubt of establishment claims to scatter the seeds of a non-repressive society based on fundamentally free existential relations inhibited. A relationship incarnated by contemporary society and intensified by the establishment’s monopoly on ITC.
Julian imagines that common cause in communal cryptography collectives and a sort of global agenda to nationalise information so as to give a leg up to informed consent amongst citizens under duress of official lies. This movement aspires to manifest a utopian world; to this end, Julian invests serious time as a cryptographer, publisher and activist bringing his influence to bear on power, for peaceful revolution. According to Julian’s world views, nascent collectives and protest movements bring utopia closer to fruition because they mobilise against the centralised infrastructure that has encoded the dominance of all manifestations of oppression perpetuated by the institutions of civilisation, namely money and war and organised religion.
His meditations on the backlash against informational imperialism, the craven misery born under its aegis, the geopolitical doom it engineers, made in the zenith of the Wikileaks controversy, reveal his thoughts on liberation in their broader cultural and historical context. Now is a time of transition, a seismic era: imperialism increasingly assailed by protest and revolt organised diligently by those no longer invested in the rigged game of society. They work together towards laying the foundations of a qualitatively different and unique society, one which transvaluated and transformed the values of the corrupt civic order they lived in.
The counterculture, and the tide of protest movements which succeeded it, were passionately abloom with a stir against imperialism. This movement transcends its conditions of alienation which cuts to the roots of its existence and argued vehemently against its henchmen in the third world, and despised, mocked its culture, its morality of nihilism and wastefulness.
By this point it had become clear to protesters that the growth and success of the imperial state was an expression of a project at the centre of which is the experience, transformation and organisation of life and people as the mere subjects of domination. Civilisation entrenched tyranny, subjugation, exploitation and alienation of the masses and nature. But Julian, like the counterculture, was incandescent for bubbling with optimism about change. There was a world to win.
The culmination of Julian’s letters, loves and learning experiences represent an attempt to realise the revolutionary potential of radical philosophical experimentation that mark him as truly a man of the counterculture. Whilst the historical trend had been towards the continuation of war and aggression as a policy of the dominant powers on the world stage, Julian nevertheless remains committed to the project of global peace and peaceful enlightenment. A world in which he sees the potential to realise a rational and moral utopia banished of social ills and wants such as war, pollution and greed.
Julian believes in this project presumably because the conquest of the war machine over the natural instincts of love and peace–symbolised most negatively by the atomic bomb–and the exponential development of the productive forces of the war machine in the advanced industrial states. The developments signal that the utopian designation for revolutionary ideas had ceased to be an operative truth, because the means really existed to rationally and creatively plan society in such a way as to create solidarity, abundance, happiness, and peace.
If that social vision is to be dismissed as utopian, then realism can be called into disrepute. That is to say ideology had concealed the reality of domination and alienation inherent in imperialism. Julian’s message implicitly implored people to think about the terrifying truth of the world we currently live in by imagining one that was better. #21stCenturyProphet Click To Tweet
The larger than life persona of Julian places him as the crux of an opposition of youth and intellectuals and persecuted minorities against a corrupt authoritarian statist autocracy. These despotic governments engage in military warfare against its own citizens, insofar as it coldly perceived how powerfully they could subvert the continuum of repression perpetuated by the hegemonic and hawkish military-industrial complex. What made Julian and his followers so dangerous to the status quo was the way they acted beyond the continuum of repression, conscientious about liberating themselves from its repressive imperatives.
His anger at social injustice and organised repression developed to focus on the ways in which war-makers and the political classes were tightening control of their societies not only through the rule of the iron fist, but also through new technologies like the web, the new religion. Have faith, though times seem dark, there is a hope for an integrated movement that binds the working classes into regulated modes of thought and behaviour on a journey to realizing universal justice.
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” ~ John F. Kennedy