Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The following is a reprint from the 'Notes of an Anarchist Physicist' e-list, run by George Salzman presently resident in Oaxaca Mexico. For instructions on how to subscribe to this list see the end of this article. This article gives connection to a valuable internet resource, the Wikileaks list, that aims to break through internet censorship to bring the actual news to people across the world. The Wikileaks people have prepared a digest of videos on what is actually happening in Tibet, and hope that this may serve to help break the Chinese government's attempts to censor the news.
Breaking all censorship – the Wikileaks goal
I’m with them, one-hundred and ten percent

Oaxaca, Mexico, Tuesday 18 March 2008
Absolute freedom of communication among all the world’s peoples is The Rock-Bottom Necessity we must achieve if we are to have any realistic hope of changing the savage dominant global society in which most of us are living into a humane world for all peoples. In this struggle the Wikileaks group is exemplary. Today I got from them an e-mail on censorship by the Chinese government. Following their e-mail are some personal, slightly critical comments.

Subject: Wikileaks releases 35 censored videos of the Tibet protests

Wikileaks Press Release
Tue Mar 18 10:00:00 GMT 2008

Wikileaks has released 35 censored videos relating to the protests in Tibet and has called on bloggers around the world to help drive the footage through the so called 'Great Firewall of China'.

The transparency group's move comes as a response to the the Chinese Public Security Bureau's carte-blanche censorship of youtube, the BBC, CNN, the Guardian and other sites carrying video footage of the Tibetan people's recent heroic stand against the inhumane Chinese occupation of Tibet.

Wikileaks has also placed the collection in two easy to use archives together with a HTML index page so they may be easily copied, placed on websites, emailed across the internet as attachments and uploaded to peer to peer networks.

Censorship, like communism, seems like a reasonable enough idea to begin with. While "from each according to his ability and to each according to his need" sounds unarguable, the world has learned that these words call forth a power elite to administer them with coercive force. Such elites are quick to define the needs of their own members as paramount. Similarly "from each mouth according to its ability and to each ear according to its need" seems harmless enough, but history shows that censorship also requires an anointed class to define this 'need' and to make violence against those who continue talking. Such power is quickly corrupted.

The first ingredient of civil society is the people's right to know, because without such understanding no human being can meaningfully choose to support anything, let alone a political party. Knowledge is the driver of every political process, every constitution, every law and every regulation. The communication of knowledge is without salient analogue. It is living, unique and demands its rightful place at the summit of society. Since knowledge is the creator and
regulator of all law, its position beyond law commands due respect.

James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and other Enlightenment framers of the US Bill of Rights understood this well when they began the First Amendment's constitutional protections of speech and of the press with 'Congress shall make no law....'.

As knowledge flows across the world it is time to sum great freedoms of every nation and not subtract or divide them.

The Wikileaks folks implied criticism of communism is flawed in its evident belief that the concept "from each according to his ability and to each according to his need" necessarily “call[s] forth a power elite to administer them with coercive force.” The Wikileaks statement is urging us to move in a very good and essential direction, freedom of communication unencumbered by any elite power structure. This is precisely what those who believe in anarchist-communism advocate and work towards. No nation-state has ever existed, so far as I know, that was communist, despite some states declaring themselves to be Communist (with a capital C!). We ought to recognize that anti-communism is an important component of the ideology of capitalism. That in and of itself doesn’t imply that it is bad, because there are parts of capitalist ideology that are good. But this is not one of them.
All comments and criticisms are welcome. <>

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the power of collective action and Wikileaks...their recent triumph over a lawsuit to shut them down is partly due to their vocal crowd of supporters. In fact, they are running a campaign on PledgeBank now to draw continued support: Great example of collective action at its best!