Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Assange, Trump and the US Elections

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Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

Additional note added 1-04-17

We are adding this comment to this blog posting that was originally published December 24th in light of the interview of Assange by Sean Hannity and recent praise he is getting from anti-worker, bigots like Trump and the imbecile Sarah Palin.

While strong supporters of Assange, we have commented in the past and do so below, on some of his weaknesses. His failure to have a historical materialist view of the world and consequently his inability to see the working class as the force for change in society. He does refer at times to the "multitudes" in his excellent book, When Google Met Wikileaks, but this is a term devoid of class content.

We caution Julian Assange that he is making a mistake in being connected to or being seen to be connected to, the likes of Palin, Trump or Hannity.

Both he and Wikileaks will lose credibility among workers and left forces if he is too closely associated with these right wing characters. It is regretful that he allowed the notorious anti-worker individual Hannity to interview him. We hope that Julian Assange will consider these comments that we offer in solidarity.

“Hillary Clinton and the network around her imprisoned one of our alleged sources for 35 years, Chelsea Manning, tortured her according to the United Nations, in order to implicate me personally.”
Julian Assange to Stefania Maurizi

Julian Assange was recently interviewed by Stefania Maurizi of

What Assange says in relation to Trump’s electoral victory is interesting:
"Hillary Clinton's election would have been a consolidation of power in the existing ruling class of the United States. Donald Trump is not a DC insider, he is part of the wealthy ruling elite of the United States, and he is gathering around him a spectrum of other rich people and several idiosyncratic personalities. They do not by themselves form an existing structure, so it is a weak structure which is displacing and destabilising the pre-existing central power network within DC. It is a new patronage structure which will evolve rapidly, but at the moment its looseness means there are opportunities for change in the United States: change for the worse and change for the better".

Those of us that run this blog and have raised similar issues and discussed them in our weekly conference calls.  We have discussed what could be a historic shift in US political and economic life and the affects this will have on the situation globally. Will Trump make a deal with Putin? Will he make a deal with the Chinese and is it conceivable that he envisages in his mind a tri-polar world headed by the US, China and Russia?  The Syrian developments have clearly increased Russia’s influence in the Middle East in a major way. Is it possible that traditional US support for Saudi Arabia is waning and if so, will this thaw relations between the US and Iran?  What about Israel?

Is there a changing of the guard and a different section of the US bourgeois recognizing this and using Trump to advance its agenda including foreign policies and alignments?  Or is trump simply an accident of history and completely uncontrollable. This does not seem likely but we are in interesting times. The preferred candidate of the big bourgeois in the US was defeated this is certain. They did not get their first choice.

We have recommended to our readers that they read Assange’s book, When Google Met Wikileaks and also The Wikileaks Files. The latter is now out in paperback and can be ordered at Verso books for $9.98 with free shipping. In both his excellent account of his meeting with Google’s Schmidt and also in the interview and quote we share here, Assange leaves out one major issue, and that is the role of the working class. He is not alone of course. The US working class especially has been relatively quieted by global standards with the help of the heads of organized labor. But this will not last and Trump will likely help in that regard as he intensifies the assault on the US worker.

But for people like Assange and the example in the quote below, Stephen Hawking, why would they see the working class as a significant force to be reckoned with? They are not from the working class or connected to it in any major way.  And while there are sporadic and regional struggles in every continent the working class has been on the defensive in the main. Hawking suggests that the only hope for humanity is to emigrate to another planet and while Assange does talk of capitalism, the market and revolutionary movements and the multitudes rising up at times, he clearly does not see the working class as the driving force in this process, as the force that can change society and build an alternative system.  But there is another major factor why individuals with brilliant insight in to certain aspects of life make this omission.

We explained this in a posting back in October, that the reason such learned people cannot see the class issue clearly is that they do not understand the world and human history from an historical materialist perspective.

In a post back in October, Sean O’ Torain wrote:
Historical materialism sees the world in this way. The human species clawed its way out of the swamps of pre history and in the process established and overthrew system after system, one following the other. First there were the were primitive hunting and gathering societies, then slavery, then feudalism and today capitalism. While there was some overlap here and there, some steps forward and some steps back here and there, this was roughly the process.  Each of these systems was replaced by a new system when the old system could no longer take society forward, and when a new system which could take society forward came into being. So in this way society was changed. The establishment of these new systems was led by the new progressive classes of the time. This does mean these new “progressive” classes were gentle entities, in a kindly way nudging society into a new form. Far from it they were ferocious new forces which, with as it has been said, emerged out of the old systems with blood dripping from every tooth and claw and fang.

Where no class or force existed the old societies collapsed in on themselves or were overthrown by more backward societies which in turn themselves collapsed. The ruins of these old societies can be seen in the pyramids in the deserts and the old cities and magnificent ruins in the deserts and jungles. There was no class or force that could take these societies forward so they collapsed. It is in this context that we have to look at capitalism today. As it hurtles towards the cliff edge of its own destruction: is there a class or a force that can prevent this taking place? This is the issue. Not un-realizable speculating about the human species emigrating to other planets. Is there a class that can end capitalism and take society forward? This is the question.”
Read this blog post in its entirity here

Assange referred to Jared Cohen, who co-wrote with Eric Schmidt, The Digital Age, as “Google’s head of regime change”.   He wrote of how Google’s Schmidt and he and Wikileaks sees the future, as "  two different futures of the internet in conversation with each other: the one, a pervasive Internet of centralized corporate power and the other a vibrant decentralized Internet, fit for the emancipation of human history and human beings.


“For Assange, the liberating power of the Internet is based on its freedom and statelessness. For Schmidt, emancipation is at one with US foreign policy objectives and is driven by connecting non western countries to western companies and markets . These differences embodied a tug-of-war over the Internet’s future that has only gathered force subsequently.”

It is clear that people like Assange and many of the tech and cyber warriors that have come in to conflict with the capitalist state apparatus, in the case of Assange, held to house arrest by it, are huge potential allies of the working class and can play a crucial role in ensuring the victory of the working class in the struggle against capital and the filth that accompanies it.

Here is a link to more information
we have put together on this subject


Anonymous said...

We are interested in establishing a think/do/tank to seek to discuss and absorb and bring the lessons of past revolutions into the present world and integrate the best of these, the correct principles and ideas of these with the new world in which we live.

All right Richard, if you're serious at engaging these upcoming leftist internet communities I have a couple for you. One is an anonymous forum on by the name of /leftypol/. I'm not sure if it's serious enough for your tastes, but in between the ironic memes and the tongue-in-cheek humor you will always find some serious theoretical discussion with a number of people who are very well read. It's possibly the largest of the "pure" lefty forums on the open web. The other big forum is /r/socialism on Reddit which is sadly populated by people too often obsessed with identity politics who can't see the forest for the trees.

I really enjoy the writings on your blog but there can be no substitute for direct community engagement at the end of the day. Please stop by /leftypol/ sometime, the role-players there love hearing from people with physical-world experience at organizing and radical leadership:

Richard Mellor said...

I just went to leftpol on and it seems like almost everyone is anonymous. I'm not used to that sort of forum and to be honest, while we have the anonymous settign available here I'm not fond of it. Unless there is a real reason not to a person should identify with their ideas. I'll check the other one out. We are hoping to have some sort of face to face meeting at some point. I get the feeling we know each other is that the case?

Anonymous said...

I met you at this year's Green presidential nominating convention. I understand your discomfort with anonymous discussion. For many of us the allure of anonymity is that you can have a discussion or debate solely predicated on an argument's merits, with more openness and less of the baggage of forum clout or tribalism that sometimes gets in the way (even subconsciously)... That's the ideal, anyway.

Remember the terror that multiple generations of Red Scare propaganda has instilled in many people's minds. The more general anonymity of the internet has been one excellent aspect for getting people to open up and have meaningful discussions about socialism that they might not otherwise have had.

I get being paranoid about this stuff though. There's certainly been a history of government infiltration and subversion of leftist causes. Just remember that the NSA now already harvests phone records. If you're using a VoIP service like Skype for phone conferences Microsoft willingly participates in their PRISM program as well. Not to mention e-mail services that datamine like gmail, yahoo, etc. The surveillance state has merged with private interests and it's very difficult to escape its reach these days, but know that communities that value anonymity are also very astute about means of protecting privacy.