Sticky: Their hands on the machinery

The ori­gin of this site

On July 5, 2011, while under house arrest in Lon­don, Wik­iLeaks founder/editor Julian Assange appeared in a pub­lic con­ver­sa­tion with Sloven­ian philoso­pher Slavoj Žižek, mod­er­ated by Amy Good­man of Democ­racy Now!.

Full video and a rush tran­script are available.

Dur­ing that con­ver­sa­tion, Assange broached a sub­ject that appar­ently remains unthink­able for the world’s most pow­er­ful insti­tu­tions: the pos­si­bil­ity of geek rebel­lion. Here’s the text of his remark:

“And I thought I was pretty cyn­i­cal and worldly five years ago, and of course I was sim­ply a very young and naïve fool, in ret­ro­spect. And learn­ing how to—from being with inside the cen­ter of the storm, I’ve learned not just about the struc­ture of gov­ern­ment, not just about how power flows in many coun­tries around the world that we’ve dealt with, but rather how his­tory is shaped and dis­torted by the media. And I think the dis­tor­tion by the media of his­tory, of all the things that we should know so we can col­lab­o­rate together as a civ­i­liza­tion, is the worst thing. It is our sin­gle great­est imped­i­ment to advance­ment. But it’s chang­ing. We are rout­ing around media that is close to power in all sorts of ways, and—but it’s not a for­gone con­clu­sion, which is what makes this time so inter­est­ing, that we can wrest the inter­net and we can wrest the var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ca­tions mech­a­nisms we have with each other into the val­ues of the new gen­er­a­tion, that has been edu­cated by the inter­net, has been edu­cated out­side of that main­stream media dis­tor­tion. And all those young peo­ple are becom­ing impor­tant within institutions.

“So, maybe this is some­thing I’ll speak about with you later, Amy, but I do want to talk about what it means when institutions—how the most pow­er­ful insti­tu­tions, from the CIA to News Cor­po­ra­tion, are all organized—all orga­nized using com­puter pro­gram­mers, using sys­tem admin­is­tra­tors, using tech­ni­cal young peo­ple. What does that mean when all those tech­ni­cal young peo­ple adopt a cer­tain value sys­tem, and that they are in an insti­tu­tion where they do not agree with the value sys­tem, and yet actu­ally their hands are on the machin­ery? [empha­sis added] Because there have been moments in the past like that. And it is those tech­ni­cal young peo­ple who are the most Internet-educated and have the great­est abil­ity to receive the new val­ues that are being spread and the new infor­ma­tion and facts about real­ity that are being spread out­side main­stream media distortions.“

The Julian Assange Show: Cypherpunks

Dur­ing 2012, Julian Assange hosted an 11-episode talk show, The Julian Assange Show, on the Eng­lish lan­guage news net­work Rus­sia Today. (Rus­sia Today was started in 2005 by Vladimir Putin with the explicit pur­pose of pro­mot­ing the Kremlin’s line to the English-speaking world.)

Episode eight of the series was Cypher­punks, a live, in-person con­ver­sa­tion with three “vir­tu­oso geek activists” from “the move­ment that spawned Wik­iLeaks,” in Assange’s words. His three guests were Andy Muller-Maguhn (Ger­many), Jere­mie Zim­mer­mann (France), and Jacob Appel­baum (United States).

The full ver­sion of the episode is avail­able in two parts, here and here.