Friday, December 10, 2010

Seismic Shifts and Wikileaks

Julian Assange.

His name is everywhere!

Literally, everywhere!

He's on the tele! He's all over the internet. He's taking up headline space in the papers.

Facebook, Twitter, blogs and Youtube is going gang busters as the World scrambles for opinion, history, re-framing, defamation, and everything else in between.

Now, for the purposes of this particular blog post, I make the following disclaimer. The current rape case/s before the courts in Europe alleged to involved Mr Assange are not the focus of this post. Rape is a very serious crime. I do not condone it. However, I also do not necessarily know if Julian is either guilty or innocent. Under the law of most countries, he is currently innocent until he has been PROVEN guilty (forgive my shouting at you - emphasis etc).

Okay enough said on that particular conundrum.

There appears to have been some kind of seismic shift under the tectonic plates that social and political 'normality' have hitherto been built upon. The populaces living under regimes - which we have long accepted with laissez faire despondency - as being despotic and cruel, are fuming and foaming at their proverbial bits; defying the arrogance of those who have held power for far too long at the expense of liberty and the right to opine freely.

Wikileaks for all its possible naivety has given current major governments - both despotic and moderate - The Bird! You know? Middle finger extended upwards while all the others point down? That one!

It's about time! When a government decides that "Free speech" is a luxury only for those who have the currency (financial as well as social), to tweak things to their advantage... then its time for whistleblowers to go to town and blow, blow, blow!

There will probably be a whole slew of whistleblower sites springing up on the net from here on in. I haven't taken too much notice of the whole USA cables leak debacle, but it does seem they're being aired in the media on a pretty regular basis.

It is embarrassing to be caught out with your dirty little secret. But, if that dirty little secret is affecting hundreds of thousands of people around the's not so little anymore. It's a collective - global - problem and one we all have to face and deal with.

Julian Assange has struck a mighty blow to American hubris and of course the government's not happy! More and more, America's empiricist brand of politics is being whittled away fiscally, socially and politically. People, collectively - if not necessarily individually - are not gong to remain tolerant of the kind of government that interferes, lies, abuses trust or lacks integrity anymore.

But the good thing - if there is one - is that the Middle East is changing before our very eyes. Well educated, savvy and intelligent men AND women have been armed with the information they needed to "prove" that what they want is not what their respective powers are offering. The force of change occurring before our very eyes cannot be underestimated.

As I watch the riots and bloody revolutions taking place in countries I've never been to, it seems to me that people are ruthlessly beginning to model the past subversive styles of their governments. Whilst it is true that Facebook, Wikileaks and the Web itself did not create these revolutions, it is certainly true that they have served to fuel them.

The Web is creating Wild Governments of its own. There are Cyber Tribal communities on the web now. They're becoming organised, politically savvy, and even militant and/or as Machiavellian as their geographically placed governments.

These are cyber tribes are made up of many cultures and even languages, but all the individuals within hold certain tenets to be of especially important value - regardless of any actual law for or against these tenets. These cyber communities are forming their own "laws" and "jurisdictions" across the globe and becoming 'as if' they were nations in their own right. To me it seems that the one overriding factor common to many of these communities is the infallible right to free expression of personal thought and idea.

This may prove to be of grave concern in the future if the pendulum swings too far towards nihilistic and/or anarchic individualism. Still, I have noticed that the Web appears to be creating a social imperative which implies that everyone is "entitled" to the right to express him or her self as he or she sees fit.

Governments, particularly despotic ones, don't like this notion at all. Hence, the bloodbaths we are witnessing all too frequently on our televisions and computer screens!

Perhaps national boundaries, long drawn on printed maps and hung on walls are going to be redrawn; this time, in the cloud?

Where will the lines be drawn to confine those of like beliefs and perspectives? Politically, this will be almost impossible to control. Socially it will be as ephemeral and quixotic as the individuals making up the cyber tribes.

I don't yet know - nor can I foresee - how this could play out in practise, but already it seems to me that cyber-social connectivity is creating a sort of Diaspora from geography to ideography.

I sort of feel as if the Julian Assange/Wikileaks story may perhaps mark the beginning of this seismic shift in human social and political history.

As always, time will tell.