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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!.
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.“