Wikileaks, Denver, Radicals & a Critique of Messaging

In Denver, Colorado outrage about the case of Julian Assange and the illegal attacks on Wikileaks is almost invisible.  Exceptions to the rule include random messaging on college campuses, such as Auroria Denver, and street messaging, such as this graffiti picture, taken from a locomotive next to the Lightrail at the 10th and Osage station.  These messages are beautifully done, and certainly it is better that these exist than nothing at all.  However, these meager offerings, moderately inspiring though they might be to some, are only in reaction to the dominant discourse.  At best these messages are an attempt to radicalize people at an incremental level, influencing the discourse and encouraging people to action and inquiry, however shallow.  At worst they honestly hope to influence policy about Wikileaks or the attack on Julian Assange with some pressure-group theory of politics.  Unfortunately, the current mode of production, system, or totality (krapitalism, the spectacle, the commodity relationship, class rule) not only determines the dominant discourse, it defines it.


The thing that is really crazy about the case of Wikileaks and Julian Assange is not the fact that the organization has unveiled any truly damning or insightful information.  Except for accidentally publishing a complete blueprint for a nuclear weapon, Wikileaks has yet to reveal anything that could potentially disrupt any local or international distributions of power.  The Iraq war files reveal nothing that wasn’t understood about the way the US military operates at least since Winter Soldier in Vietnam, if not from the very beginning with testimony about the Indian wars.  The diplomatic cables are mostly trivial, taken from the lowest designation of US secrecy.  I do not mean to malign Wikileaks or the work that individuals in that organization do to fight for justice or subvert the system, but neither do I find their work to be the pinnacle of human endeavor. 


The degree of severity in the reaction by the authorities is also nothing to write home about.   The degree to which, in reaction to Wikileaks, the US government has infringed on any civil liberties that we might enjoy is not in any sense unprecedented or uniquely troubling either.  Although it is perhaps somewhat unusual, in the sense of an illegal computer attack against the wikileaks website, the government already reserves the power to shut down and even take over any domain or website that it finds threatening.  The only thing that is stopping them from doing this at an official level is the fact that Wikileaks is operating in a legal loophole of the Constitution called “Ammendment I.”  However, the government has seldom let that stop its efforts to squash dissent through legal and extralegal means, even though it also defines and interprets the legal rules under which it operates as well.  The attack on Wikileaks is no exception to this pattern of oppression, although the tools are new.  Furthermore, by all comparison, the situation with Julian Assange is an example of the use of kid-gloves and low-intensity conflict compared to what is currently happening to radicals and rebels throughout the globe, let alone in the past.
 
In fact, the crazy thing about the Wikileaks controversy is the fact that it has been made public.  It is the fact that the main-stream media has deigned to talk about it.  Not that there is any sort of Alex Jones-ish conspiracy to create a show case to operate as an excuse for the government to increase its repression.  Indeed, to the degree to which the government plays by its own rules, the government needs no excuse to change them, and does so (if only incrementally) as and when it sees fit, with little if any opposition or media coverage.  To believe otherwise is to delude oneself into believing that democracy works in this country, which even according to the standards of its own mythology, it plainly does not.  No, the degree to which any civil liberties exist is largely the degree to which the efficient monitoring of organized chaos and worker self-policing needs to be allowed for overall maintenance of peak-levels of wealth accumulation.  Individual actions may result in the system changing these facts, but only due to a new variable being introduced into the equation which brings down efficiency and effects the best methods of maintaining production.  It is not because a conspiracy exists to mechanize everything and subdue humanity and the only thing stopping it is the Libertarian Party, the ACLU, and a lack of genuine threats as excuses.  The decision to report about the Wikileaks controversy is not made in a closed board-room video conference of elites, but extremely indirectly, in the graphing of a thousand market curves and cost-benefit analyses .


 The second most crazy thing about the Wikileaks controversy, is the fact that so many radicals seem to embrace the media’s perspective, if not its conclusions.  It is tempting, surely, to embrace the current controversy.  For the first time in a long time, in the United States the media is consistently reporting on some form of opposition to imperialism and authority which does not take the form of religious extremism or vested self-interests such as extreme nationalism or dictatorial socialism.   This is partially due to the fact that the media exists on an international basis, and when the story is reported elsewhere, it eventually reaches the United States.  It’s better to co-opt the story than to not report it.  But this is only a minor aspect of the situation.  Media in other countries where people have different tendencies or interests pander to their perspective while simultaneously limiting it.  Coverage is provided, but in a superficial way, and over a narrow range of perspectives.  Before even this limited approach would have been too dangerous in the United States, a country where some individuals have proportionately greater amounts of money and power than most others, and which in aggregate people have the greatest amount of control of the global system through a monopoly of wealth and weapons.  Such a situation so obviously unjust that it had to be justified by appeal to myths about creating peace, promoting freedom, and self-defense. 


However, the situation has finally changed.  No-longer do we see ourselves as innocent.  We are no longer an idealistic, thoroughly ignorant nation.  Instead, through a combination of corruption and disillusionment, we have become incredibly cynical and narcissistic.  It’s not all our own faults, the best revolutionary groups were systematically targeted and destroyed.  Nevertheless, today, many people have still never heard of Wikileaks before.  Those who are seen as naïve enough to think that paying attention to world affairs might matter still are not naïve enough to think that anything can ever really change, or even that it should in any fundamental way.  Wikileaks can be reported precisely because it’s not dangerous.  Nobody is shocked, nobody really offended.  The revelations during the Bush Era of electioneering, WMD fabrication, lying about issues related to 9/11, and open financial and government corruption were just as damning if not more so than the Pentagon Papers or the Watergare Scandall ever were, yet the reaction was far less dramatic.  The Wikileaks controvery is merely an echo of the same phenomenon, only this time there is no partisan political factor.  Today, to most people, either the ways of our world are necessary evils, or inevitable tragedies. 


While it is currently impossible to free ourselves or exist outside of this all-encompassing paradigm, it is possible to destroy it or at least overturn it.  While our actions, thoughts, and perceptions may be at least partially unconsciously determined to a degree by the totality, it is not the ultimate arbiter of existence, nor the fundamental point of reference.  The material conditions, or real physical and metaphysical facts and tendencies of life on earth ultimately control most aspects of not only our individual lives, but the makeup of any superstructure which exists above us. Things can change.  We can have an effect. Our actions matter.  Unfortunately, as radicals our numbers are few, our resources limited.  It’s easy to view media controversies as opportunities which help lay the groundwork for our efforts. Sometimes they might actually be opportunities, but there is always a danger of getting distracted and losing your message, or even forgetting your overall analysis. Should we attach ourselves to every cause that aligns with ours to a degree, stick with it for about two weeks, and move on to the next?  Or should we spend the same time promoting our most honest, accurate, and fundamental critiques? To attack the dominant ideology, and all of its physical apparatus, we cannot hope to win by surrendering to its pre-determined discourse. 


Wikileaks’s site can be accessed at http://wikileaks.ch

Let us hear : Wikileaks is not enough! No war but social war!
 

Wikileaks actual impact

This isn't even worth the read. Wikileaks is doing what "radicals" have thus far

failed miserably to do, especially those who blindly and indecisively call for actions

they describe using a vocabulary of general terms that people can too easily interpret 

differently, and without foresight, skills or experience, which is fundamentally irresponsible. 

Wikileaks is releasing cables, albeit a little recklessly, but that is for a good reason, 

and that reason is that the State Department wasn't entirely sure whether or not the leaks incriminate them to their own public and will scurry about, as they have, making a mockery of their own image, in order to try and cover their hides.

The cables do include some rather alarming and incriminating things that, granted holier-than-thou 'radicals' didn't

need in order to believe, but the rest of civilization - especially courts of law, as well as the realistic and professional

media (excluding the U.S. "mainstream" that is entirely corporate perhaps) certainly is needed in order to make a case. 

Believing, or for that matter using beliefs as an excuse for reckless abandon and arrogant but militant self-indulgence portrayed as struggle (yet another bourgeois facade, although a different one), is much different and less relevant than making a case. 

A case can lead to actual action, not merely protests and graffiti, and BS, but activity in terms of effectively challenging power, for example secretly arming and training a militia in the wilderness and then declaring actual war on the state and its institutions, or more ethically but possibly less effectively taking someone to court and suing them. Most effectively in the sense of changing binding laws. Getting random civilians to believe something is only half of making a case, if that. Lots of people see atrocities in media that is not mainstream and all it compels them to do is send donations, sign petitions and maybe go to a protest once in awhile. 

Now, getting back to what Wikileaks is doing that 'radicals' often and especially more recently miserably fail to do, they are compelling the State Dept. et. al. to incriminate themselves, and showing up the media to the extent that the media pundits commentate themselves into a hole, a ratings hole. It is the same old method 'radicals' used in the past, even Che Guevara provoked the regime in Cuba to expose its cruelty to its own people, which ruined Batista's image and made Che and Castro look like heroes. They arguably could never have taken Cuba were it not for that. Assange is using the threat of exposing truth to compel the lying and conniving governments to incriminate themselves in childish and pathetic attempts to save their reputations, which of course are reputations dependent on the masses' believing the lies that design them. It is somewhat sad when people claiming to be the most 'radical' of radicals don't even notice that when it happens. 

It isn't worth your time, much less the Wikileaks groups' time to 

have a pissing contest. 

"This isn't even worth the

"This isn't even worth the read." 

Well I do wonder if you read it, as you seem to be making false conclusions.  I wonder if you missed the point where I said, 'I do not mean to malign Wikileaks or the work that individuals in that organization do to fight for justice or subvert the system, but neither do I find their work to be the pinnacle of human endeavor."

I also think that you assumed that I was talking about strategy on a much longer-term, larger scale than I meant to.

 

"Wikileaks is doing what "radicals" have thus far failed miserably to do, especially those who blindly and indecisively call for actions they describe using a vocabulary of general terms that people can too easily interpret  differently, and without foresight, skills or experience, which is fundamentally irresponsible."

Generally I agree with you on this point.

 

"Wikileaks is releasing cables, albeit a little recklessly, but that is for a good reason, and that reason is that the State Department wasn't entirely sure whether or not the leaks incriminate them to their own public and will scurry about, as they have, making a mockery of their own image, in order to try and cover their hides."

I don't personally find it reckless...

"The cables do include some rather alarming and incriminating things that, granted holier-than-thou 'radicals' didn't need in order to believe, but the rest of civilization - especially courts of law, as well as the realistic and professional media (excluding the U.S. "mainstream" that is entirely corporate perhaps) certainly is needed in order to make a case."

Ok, but my point is that it never would have been covered by the media in the first place if it wasn't already somewhat mild and if our society wasn't already so cynical... That's all I'm saying.

"Believing, or for that matter using beliefs as an excuse for reckless abandon and arrogant but militant self-indulgence portrayed as struggle (yet another bourgeois facade, although a different one), is much different and less relevant than making a case."

Alright, I don't exactly know what you're refering to, but I can make a good guess... And you might be right except that I disagree with your charchterization of it as "bourgeois" and the guilt-by-association fallacy that the whole concept of anti-bourgeois polemic is based upon.  Again, the case is great, what wikileaks is doing is good, it's just not that important... it would be a drop in the bucket if not for the media.

"A case can lead to actual action, not merely protests and graffiti, and BS, but activity in terms of effectively challenging power, for example secretly arming and training a militia in the wilderness and then declaring actual war on the state and its institutions"

I don't see how wikileaks will lead to an armed revolution. Nor do I see any other example in recent history where "making a case" alone did so.

, ..."or more ethically but possibly less effectively taking someone to court and suing them. Most effectively in the sense of changing binding laws." alright...?  Is wikileaks doing that either?

 

"Getting random civilians to believe something is only half of making a case, if that."

Agreed.

"Lots of people see atrocities in media that is not mainstream and all it compels them to do is send donations, sign petitions and maybe go to a protest once in awhile."

Interesting point, but it's hard to really back that up with facts.  I'm of the opinion that all kinds of information sources are beneficial, especially if the information itself is.

 

"Now, getting back to what Wikileaks is doing that 'radicals' often and especially more recently miserably fail to do, they are compelling the State Dept. et. al. to incriminate themselves, and showing up the media to the extent that the media pundits commentate themselves into a hole, a ratings hole."  You're right about the State Department, not about the media.  The media could have potentially simply not reported on this story. 

 

"It is the same old method 'radicals' used in the past, even Che Guevara provoked the regime in Cuba to expose its cruelty to its own people, which ruined Batista's image and made Che and Castro look like heroes."

Good.  I don't know about any specifics but assuming for the sake of argument that youre right about the facts, I wonder how that info or "case" was presented - radical / independent press or corporate/private?  I also wonder the degree to which the two situations are not comparable (role of unions and an underground to spread info, lack of media monopolies, other conditions).  There certainly was pleanty of radical messaging and simple slogans spray painted everywhere too.  But that wasn't all Che and Castro did, now was it..

 

"And you think Assange is using the threat of exposing truth to compel the lying and conniving governments to incriminate themselves in childish and pathetic attempts to save their reputations, which of course are reputations dependent on the masses' believing the lies that design them."

I don't exactly understand this sentence, could you please be more clear.  But it seems like I agree with these facts.

"It is somewhat sad when people claiming to be the most 'radical' of radicals don't even notice that when it happens."

Well, I don't see why that's so sad, if an event is so global in scale that our power to do anything about it so relatively small that we don't bother to read the daily news, that really is not an indictment of our beliefs or actions even.  However, I think that the reverse is true, and that too many people pay too much attention to the regular gossip of the global media.

 

 

"It isn't worth your time, much less the Wikileaks groups' time to have a pissing contest. "

You're right.  I wasn't trying to.  Re-read my post.

 

However, since you mentioned it, some people do view Wikileaks as a sexist, heirarchical organization and have started OpenLeaks, if you want to get involved in that debate.  I certainly don't.

Rally to support?

So, in the aftermath of spending too many late nights spent in front of my computer, firing off rounds with the LOIC, I neglected to think about looking here for comrades. 

I was really disappointed that I couldn't find any plans for a march/rally in Denver on the Saturday day of solidarity with Wikileaks that happened a few weeks back. 


Any upcoming plans?

Appology

I would just like to say that I do take back a little about what I said in regard to Wikileaks, as this article was ill-timed by the fact that shortly after a string of riotous rebellions if not revolutions took place throughout the middle-east which can in-part be related to the spark of Tunisia which was partially influenced by revelations from Wikileaks.  However, I do think we should aknowledge that legitimate work, conditions, and other factors were probably the main cause of these upheavils, Wikileaks being essentially the straw that broke the camel's back.