Monday, September 23, 2013

Julian Assange: Street Fighting Man

You do not become the USA's Public Enemy #1 without cojones de hierro. So before we commence this little missive, let us pause for a moment and recall The Rolling Stones' epic 1968 classic "Street Fighting Man" (yes you really should click the youtube link):

Everywhere I hear the sound of marching, charging feet, boy.
Cause summer's here and the time is right for fighting in the street, boy.
Tell me what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock n roll band
Cause in sleepy London Town
There's just no place for a street fighting man.

Hey! I think the time is right for a violent revolution!
But where I live the game to play is compromise solution!
Well then what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock n roll band
Cause in sleepy London Town
There's no place for a street fighting man.

Hey I said my name is called Disturbance!
I'll shout and scream, I'll kill the king, I'll rail at all his servants!
Well what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock n roll band
Cause in sleepy London Town
There's no place for a street fighting man.
Do the lyrics sound familiar? Just imagine how Mick Jagger felt screaming such revolutionary rhetoric on stage in 1968 at the top of his lungs - see video of his crazy escapades, including police demolishing stage props - while the masses applauded like mad and did... erm, well ... nothing.

Keith Richards reckons Mick went to demonstrations in London and was even charged by the police, but by 1973 Jagger was already faking the lyrics to hide the original message. The song became a staple of Stones tours but the band never committed to the ideology it espoused because... ah well... that's the Capitalist Music Industry, innit?

Fast forward 40 years. The Stones are all millionaires and another poor street-fighting man is taking it to the streets in London Town. And once again the masses are cheering like mad but doing... erm...  well, just about nothing.

So this is where I come in. Bear with me...

I totally believe Julian Assange is a "street fighting man" in the best tradition of the genre.  As a working class nobody myself, I fully support his efforts to bring transparency to the powerful with WikiLeaks. And this is something most of his Australian supporters can agree on, because as a nation we have a proud anti-authoritarian background.

Furthermore, I think Julian's hardcore street-wise attitude is exactly what the world needs right now, as the Arab Spring, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden revelations attest. But let us not get confused.

Julian Assange launched into the latest Australian elections with a new party that aimed to break the mould, seize the balance of power across three states, and change the face of Australian politics forever. Sadly, it did not succeed. In fact, it was a dismal failure. And that is hardly surprising.

As a politician, Julian Assange makes a great publisher.

Although the Greens (lead by @SenatorLudlam) were Assange's biggest supporters in Australia, he appears to have made a bizarre but conscious decision to oppose them.

Given the WikiLeaks Party's hostility to the Greens, as shown in Senate preferences, plus comments from major players, plus Julian's expressed support for US congressman Ron Paul and Libertarianism in the final weeks of the Australian political campaign, this anti-Greens stance appears to be not just a deliberate tactic but also a personal political viewpoint. So be it.

This is unfortunate, especially for supporters like myself who sympathised with the Greens and committed years of our time and effort to the WikiLeaks Party. But fair enough.

If the WikiLeaks Party is just Julian's political plaything - rather than the democratic game-changer some of us had hoped for - then it's his choice to just piss it all up against the wall out of pure spite. After all, he's the guy in the embassy still facing a lifetime away from deserved liberty. Not me.

Sure, it would have been nice if the WikiLeaks Party had not contrived such a deliciously seductive Constitution, or if the original National Council did not include such wonderfully inspiring people. But what the fuck. We can get over it.

I just worry that Julian the Street Fighting Man will be left bleeding from the gums with nobody in his corner aside from a bunch of  ladder climbing media stooges and wannabe socio-revolutionary pissants

Hope I am wrong.


  1. We will of course fight for Assange. But if he affirms the agenda of Barns, as it was published in his latest piece, i´m out.

  2. why does everyone have to support the Greens?

  3. lol Asssange is no one. Just a king without a crown.
    >His Party failed.
    >And he failed the Idea behind WikiLeaks
    >New Leaking platforms will come and Assange will go down with his Ego.

  4. Hi Gary,

    Thus proving your heart is in the right place.

    I know you don't want to, but maybe best to wait for the full results of the independent review before deciding exactly what were or were not Julian Assange's motives/politics/involvement in the whole farce.

    There are rules which professional auditing companies follow to ensure impartially. I am sure they will not destroy their own professional reputation and future business prospects by returning a skewed report.

    Personally, I think that akaWACA's refusal to participate in the review reveals bad faith, and perhaps an awareness that the behaviour of the people who left the National Council will, in the end, be seen in a less favourable light than it has so far in public. It is unquestionable that the Wikileaks Party Constitution shows that the National Council was APPOINTED, NOT ELECTED to fulfil a basically administrative function until after the election, when it would then be reselected on a democratic basis by popular vote of the Party's ordinary members. They overstepped their original role. And caused huge problems, and then massive bad publicity, fatally damaging Julian Assange's and other candidates' chances at election. Whether the actual preferencing order on the paperwork was a genuine mistake/WA candidate decision (right or wrong) -as the WLP says - or skullduggery, as akaWACA maintains, will come out in the independent review. It is a pity that akaWACA is attempting to discredit the review, rather than participate in it, before it even happens. That makes their motives look very questionable indeed.

  5. @ Anonymous, look, there is nothing like an "administrative function" described in the statutes of the WLP. The first NC of the party was not APPOINTED but incorporated.

    9. National Council-Directors-Office Bearers

    9.1 The first National Council of the Party shall be comprised of such persons as hold the office of Director at the date immediately following incorporation. The first National Council shall be the first Directors of the company and shall hold office until the first Annual General Meeting after the next Federal election succeeding the 2013 Federal election, at which time a vote to elect the National Council by Party Members shall take place. Directorship of the National Council prior to the aforementioned meeting will be by unanimous invitation of the sitting National Council Directors."

  6. Hi Nighbee,

    Shall I point out the relevant words in that clause for you?

    "... SHALL HOLD OFFICE UNTIL the first Annual General Meeting AFTER THE NEXT FEDERAL ELECTION succeeding the 2013 Federal election, AT WHICH TIME A VOTE TO ELECT the National Council BY PARTY MEMBERS shall take place. Directorship of the National Council prior to the aforementioned meeting will be BY unanimous INVITATION of the sitting National Council Directors."

    in other words the current National Council members were put in place by way of invitation/appointment. They would not be democratically elected to those roles by party members until the next election after this 2013 election. Here's Clause 11 of the Directors, Office Bearers section of the WLP Constitution:

    11.1 Subject to the Act, the Members in a Party Meeting convened on at least thirty (30) days notice may by ordinary Resolution remove any Director and APPOINT another Member in place of that Director. The PERSON SO APPOINTED shall hold office until the following Annual General Meeting. Before a vote of Members is taken about removing the Director from office, the Director must be given a full and fair opportunity to show cause why he or she should not be removed from office. A Director has no right of appeal against the Members removal from office under this rule.

    As to whether the National Council was originally intended to fulfil a basically administrative role, have a read of the first part of this section, National Council Role, Power and Entitlements:

    Note especially, at Clause 18.1, that the National Council was expected to meet "at least four times" per year - hardly the level of input expected of a "democratic governing body" and certainly very far from the 13 NC meetings called within the space of a couple of weeks to thrash out the minutae of preferencing decisions, which not all NC members - especially lead candidate and NC member Julian Assange - had the time to attend.

    1. Hi Anonymous and thanks for your reply. You might be right, i might be right as well. We will see what happens next. Fact is, the WLP did disappoint many people, especially their own supporters and i do not see efforts from side of the party to reintegrate them and evaluate together what went wrong.

    2. Thank you Nighbee. Yes, I agree - everyone should wait for the facts before deciding where they stand. I can't believe many supporters would keep up that disappointment if it turns out the NSW preferencing was a simple mistake on the forms. Shit happens, y'know.

      What's that saying of George Orwell's?

      "Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."

      Maybe a lot of this has been just that, "an appearance of solidity to pure wind"?

    3. Well, i´v followed the public available info on the wlp really closely, because i was inspired by the possibility it implied. And my impression is not that there has just happened a mistake. But - and we agree on this - we will see...

    4. What about things like the public comment from Alison Broinowski that she was happy there had been "no skullduggery"? Experienced former diplomat - it'd be pretty hard to pull the wool over her eyes, no?

      I'm not trying to argue with you Nighbee - I agree with you, everyone should wait - but I think there's a perception that no one from "the other side" has put out any counter-point, and that's not true. There have been quite a few statements, both formal from the WLP and informal from the candidates. AB, GG, BK, JA, KT have all said basically the same thing (except GG - but he never reiterated it and has said his formal statement to the review will clarify) - made once, and only once - but their statements seem to have fallen from view. Supporters seem to have lost sight of them, amid all the noise from those who shout louder. That's what I meant by "to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind". Can you see what I'm saying?

  7. Bloody cheek, I've just been called a "ladder-climbing stooge", I think. Have an idea who the owner of this blog thinks I am, but I've got news for him - I'm not even Australian. I guess he's so caught up in his blame game that he can't even recognise the perspective of an outside observer.

  8. It's amazing. So far on this blog I've been accused of being John Shipton (twice, or is it three times now?), Julian Assange himself, no less (!), and now Matt Watt.

    I think that says a ton about the mindset of the people doing all this mudslinging - accusing people of this and that, naming names, all the "he said this", "they did that", "they're lying", "they're covering up" "they're (omg) silent!" - how did these people, these villains, all get so corrupted so quickly? They somehow morphed into "fascists" and "Hitlers", contemptible beings, virtually satanic, overnight? Seriously? In the space of a few weeks good people turned bad - en masse?

    Or... there's more to the story and the other side are behaving ethically in awaiting the formal outcome of a professionally audited external review before shooting their mouths off?

  9. WACA
    @KealohaDudoit @wikileaks This is Kaz. WACA have been discussing name change for 10wks.our resources are our own.this change will come soon.

    10 weeks, eh? That would make it the first week in August that akaWACA were thinking of changing their name. If anyone cannot see by now that the whole National Council debacle and rage quit wasn't really about a mistake in the preferences ordering on the ballot paper, then they are blind. Sam Castro made a powergrab in the NC and tried to hijack the Wikileaks Party to her own political project. When it failed she rage-quit, taking her accolates (and Dan Mathews - I don't include him. I kind of assume he didn't have the full picture on what was really going on) with her, then immediately started a high-profile campaign (leaks to media, smears of her "opponents", lying to the supporter base on twitter) to destroy the WLP. Clear as day that's what happened, to me. Seems to be what WL are saying too:

    @akaWACA @KealohaDudoit Ten weeks well preceeds our request and reflects that akaWACA is a power vehicle and does not put WikiLeaks first.

    @AnonOpsAU Of course not. Almost all are good people. Sam Castro operates WACA for her own ambitions. Others are recruited in our name.

  10. So sorry to hear that you have now decided to end your support for Julian Assange entirely and have now taken the Free Assange stickers off your car, Gary.

    Sam Castro has been maligning her opponents - including Julian Assange - on twitter very, very loudly since at least the third week in August. Wikileaks has been virtually silent about the matter in public - brief comments about "a hard-left faction", "the wikileaks party is not a front group for the Greens" and "I'm glad they're gone" said by Julian Assange in ONE interview to try to rescue the election two weeks before that election is ALL so far - until this week. It looks to me very much that akaWACA inserting themselves with his family and exploiting Christine's name and reputation was the final straw.

    But there is no getting away from that fact, issued from the mouths of akaWACA themselves: they were thinking of a name-change for their political movement the FIRST WEEK of August. That's BEFORE the preference issue had even arisen. It's BEFORE the preference ballot papers were submitted.

    1. Taking bumper stickers off my car does not mean ending support for Julian Assange. The stickers had a URL on them. I also had a few other old WL stickers that were getting a bit gnarly and wrinkled, produced by people demonstrating on the streets at their own expense.

      Meanwhile, what the fuck is WLP doing...???

    2. Oh, cool. Really glad to hear you still support Julian Assange.

      As regards WLP, well I guess like the rest of us they are awaiting the outcome of the external audit before commenting. Beyond that, I don't know. It's hard to judge from here (UK) whether they've been decimated entirely by all this fallout or whether they have any chance of continuing as a political party.

      But you haven't addressed my main point here, and I'd really appreciate your views on it. akaWACA clearly stated that they had been thinking of changing their name "10 weeks" ago. This tweet of theirs was dated 14 October, I think, which means they were thinking of a name change for akaWACA during the first week of August 2013. THAT IS TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE BALLOT PAPER WITH THE NSW AND WA PREFERENCES ON IT WAS SUBMITTED. What is all that about, then?

      I notice someone on Twitter challenged them about this, saying akaWACA's chronology didn't add up, and they were quick to say they only thought about changing their name AFTER being threatened for their "whistleblowing". That doesn't wash, though. The preferences row blew up in THIRD week in August, not the first week, which is 8 weeks ago, not 10. If they meant 8 weeks, why say 10 weeks - if they can't keep their facts straight about that what else haven't they given accurate statements about?

      So, what was going on within the internal structure of the National Council and the election campaign TWO WEEKS BEFORE the preferences row? Why were akaWACA already thinking of a new name (new political direction?) at that point? I have long said that I could see evidence in what's come out already of an attempt - on the part of Sam Castro - to depose her own boss by subverting an obscure clause of the Constitution as written and take over "leadership" of the Wikileaks Party, and to bend its support base (which, in fairness, akaWACA are somewhat responsible for building in the first place) to her own political preferences - Green, socialist, "left" - give it whatever labels you like, that doesn't matter. What matters is they were not identical with the JA-directed WLP election platform - "oversight chamber of executive government", "reform of media", etc.

      I've called this a "hijack attempt", because 1) she was appointed to a role, not elected and she clearly made a power-grab by trying to depose her own boss, 2) it wasn't *her* party; if she'd wanted her own political party she should have set one up herself, not steal someone else's (JA's), and 3) her tactics since quitting have been ENORMOUSLY divisive and fatally damaged Julian Assange's chances of returning to Australia. She really hasn't given a fuck about how much damage this all did to the lead candidate and to support for Julian as a whole. And I don't care how much you personally despise John Shipton, that must have been heartbreaking for him. That's why he sank so much of his own life savings into setting up the Wikileaks Party in the first place - to help his persecuted and embattled son.

    3. PS. I should have said also that the WLP election platform was clearly flagged as "NEITHER left nor right", and, from what I can gather, the preferences tactic was to harness the preferences of a large coalition of the other MINOR parties (a mixture of left and right-wing ones, IIRC - though a few 'nasties' in the mix there, agreed.) It sounds to me from what Dan Mathews said in his first resignation statement that he "couldn't imagine the Australia First preferences was anything other than a mistake. No one was talking about putting them anywhere but the bottom" (check his statement for exact wording) that there was a plan to weed out the worst ones from the coalition in the WLP preferences, but that it all went horribly wrong through human error. My pet theory is there might have been a mistake through the similarity in the names of Family First and Australia First, but I don't know.

      I should also say that Wikileaks' tweets in the last week do seem to show that they also see things as I've outlined in the above post.

  11. Halle-bloody-lujah. FINALLY the truth is getting out. It's great that it's a candidate from the Sex Party saying this about what happened with the Wikileaks Party preferences and their attempts to join the Minor Party Alliance:

    "Wikileaks were players who made a couple of genuine administrative errors in their final preferences."


    "At one stage, a young and inexperienced staffer who had mistakenly allocated a high preference vote to Australia First thinking it was Australian Voice, was so bombarded with hate mail by Greens supporters, that she went into hiding." < not sure if that's referring to Cass Findlay or Gail Malone.

    So, I was almost right. I guessed the mistake was mixing up the Family First and Australia First parties; in fact, it was Australian Voice and Australia First. Still, close - and I'd like that cigar please anyway.

  12. assange agrees with the official account of 911.

    he says that questioning the facts that prove the official account impossible, annoys him.

    nothing else needs be said.. hes a fake, a phoney, a shill..