Monday, November 29, 2010

I've just made a donation to WikiLeaks.

Yes, what wikileaks is doing is pretty scary. There could, indeed, be bad repercussions.

On, the other hand, this is potentially the biggest shift in the relationship between governments and people in a generation.

Looking back historically, the people never get concessions out of government except through (some kind of) force. And we will not get a government that remakes itself for the internet age voluntarily. Only if we demand better behaviour and more openness from the powerful will we get it. (And I mean demand from a position of strength, not plead from a position of weakness.)

Today, the best way we can tell the governments of the world that we want (and that we deserve) a new contract with them, is to stand up for WikiLeaks in both principle and practice. Give money. Give more information. Mirror and help distribute documents. Defend the physical persons involved - if it comes to that. (Or just be willing to defend the idea of Wikileaks in that argument down the pub next week.)

In all events, the people must be willing to carry on the work that WikiLeaks has started, to ensure that governments (and the oligarchies that sway them) can no longer conspire in comfort.

Because there's going to be a tumultuous outcry, in every alleged political colour, against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. The accusation of irresponsibility, the accusation that lives will be lost, that the business of government can not be undertaken without a necessary cloak of secrecy. That *our* government cannot successfully work against *their* government to defend *us*.

There will be dirty tricks (as in the rape accusation of a couple of months ago.) There will be physical threats and possibly murder.

But if we allow Wikileaks to be destroyed, we will be giving yet more power to the already over-wealthy and over-powerful.

Update : John Powers says I should tag this story with "netocracy" as netocratic theory is a great way to understand this struggle. That sounds right to me. I hadn't really thought through that far but I'm sure there's a lot more to say about that ...

1 comment:

John Powers said...

Tonight on PBS Newshour former National Security Advisors Zbigniew Brzezinski and Stephen Hadley were on talking about Wikileaks. NB: I watched this at supper and those two make me sick so didn't listen all that intently. However both rather glibly talked about Wikileaks in terms of spy-vs-spy and "spy-vs-spy-vs-spy." Their chuckles sounded like gloats to me.

I try to have a diverse Twitter stream, so there's all sorts of weird stuff that comes up in my stream. Tonight numerous links noting the emphasis on Iran and then the leap to Assange is CIA. I don't buy that but it does suggest a weakness of Assange embodying Wikileaks.

Assange seems to me to be an example of John Robb's super-empowered individual. He's no Subcomandante Marcos. The Zapatistas could loose Subcomandate Marcos, not sure Wikileaks would survive loosing Assange.

Wikileaks does not seem resilient enough. It's hard to imagine the Washington Post publishing "The Pentagon Papers" today. But the press is a more distributed and therefore resilient network. The press of course isn't doing its job. Still a distributed network seems the more robust model.