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  • Assange warns of Information Apartheid & Encompassing State: "This is the Last Free Generation"
    • libertarian framing

      Where does this meme come from?

      Did you watch the video of Assange's talk from the CCC?

      His talk - to me - repudiates a libertarian frame. He is arguing that tech workers must collectivize and use their industrial power to alter policy.

      You don't have to love Assange, but at least recognize that his position on unaccountable power is at least as critical of unaccountable corporate and private sector power as it is of state power. Indeed, the closeness of the two - an understanding of which forms the basis for any sophisticated left critique - is a good reason why we ought not to regard NSA as an "other" against whom we have to struggle, and not as an "expression of popular majority."

      In what sense is the NSA's surveillance vortex - which is what Assange is taking aim at here - the "expression of the popular majority"? Yes, it remains nominally within the control of notionally public-sector institutions, although those institutions are riddled with private sector incursions. But the entire thing arose in the last decade or so without so much as a notification, never mind a public consultation. This is an accumulation of structural power that does not answer to - and has up until recently remained invisible to - the popular majority. Ought lefts to remain silent on NSA spying because NSA is a government organization? Why is it that many American lefts remain tepid on this issue because of an apparent reluctance to 'sound too much like a libertarian'?

      This is a troubling simplification I see very frequently with American lefts: the right hates the public sector and the left hates the private sector and anyone who transgresses against this order should be regarded with suspicion. More and more lately I think this idea does more harm than good. I think on the left we ought to be concerned with structural inequality wherever it manifests itself.

      Government officials having power, through their offices, that the general public doesn’t have is some sort of problem.

      There is no evidence he said anything like that. It's simply a straw man.

      Leaving out the corporate data gathering element entirely, and discussing collection purely as a government endeavor.


      It’s always interesting to me how Assange’s esoteric techno-anarchism gets folded into more liberal critiques, when in a lot of ways, it doesn’t really fit.

      I think you should watch his talk and explain how it is not a positive and decisively left-ish development that Assange is advocating that the only way to make serious inroads against the surveillance state is by applying a class analysis to the situation, by collectivizing tech workers, and by means of some form of industrial action.

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