[Marxism] Julian Assange, a Leninist in practice?
jglastonbury at gmail.com
Sat Jul 9 17:41:04 MDT 2011
I have a good observation that begs many questions, and you all know alot
more on this than I do.
Recently I read a bit of Lars Lih's "Lenin Rediscovered" which was helpful,
I didn't manage to finish it, but it was the first real exposure to Lenin
and 'leninism' I had. By real, I mean seeking to clarify, not misrepresent.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the take-away is that Lenin's formulation of
'making a revolution happen,' is to set your minimum programme at the very
maximum of bourgeois democracy; free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of
the press, full voting rights, etc. If opinion does turn towards this
position in a significant way, then by extension the road to a real social
revolution becomes possible; perhaps even widely advocated by a large
segment of the population that supports the maximum freedom possible under
bourgeious forms of government.
Now, I'm willing to hear more, and to be corrected, but is the gist of this
And, if so, let me move to why I think Julian Assange is a Leninist in
practice, if not in self-aware consciousness. His actions, namely the war
logs, the cablegate, etc., have always been defended by him as 'reclaiming
transparency,' or 'de-privatizing' information. He often cites the American
founding fathers; and defends himself and Wikileaks on grounds that he is a
journalist. He often pays lipservice to the British and American court
system and the 'innocent until proven guilty' formula.
To me, he seems like a very clever man; and furthermore, one who is able to
cloak his real goals underneath more 'mainstream' positions. In this case,
his claim to be fighting for free speech, and fighting for freedom of the
press, and fighting for government transparency, are relatively modest
truisms that we would find espoused by democrats, republicans, tories, and
labour. Considering the extreme means he has taken to 'recover' or 'reclaim'
as bourgeois a value as free speech, it seems that he carved out a 'staging
ground' for activism to go well beyond these basic claims.
As I've personally seen, on that asshole of the internet, 4chan, Assange's
acts have galvanized large portions of the 'fat unemployed basement
dwellers' that constitute a huge part of the unemployed youth in western
countries to engage in hacktivism, whether through the faceless borg that is
Anonymous, or through newer groups like Lulz Security.
Now, I had this thesis in the back of my head for a while, but watching the
Frontline Club Interview that Amy Goodman moderated between Assange and
Zizek (who, wonderful slob that he is, wore a Lenin t-shirt) has only
further clarified this matter to me.
It would destroy the credibility Assange has built up among modern youth who
tend towards libertarianism and anarchism, and among the moderates who
sympathized with him before the ridiculous rape case put him into media
blackout territory, if he were to come out as an out-and-out
marxist/leninist/communist/revolutionary, but his 'moderate platform/radical
tactics' approach seems to be paying dividends, especially since it is
cloaked under the inviolable catchall of 'free speech'.
Thoughts? Criticisms? Anyone wanna commission me to actually write this up
into a real 'article'? ;)
Expect more impudent and uninformed questions/observations as they arise,
especially since I had another tangle with the cops today and will probably
lose my license, becoming a real honest hermit/homebody. Hopefully no jail
time... oi vey.... I'd rant about that too, but Michael Perelman has already
let us know about his terrible bad luck, and while mine is certainly
comparable, I don't want to start a pissing contest of all our sorrows.
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