Julian Assange and his protégés have made common cause with Black revolutionaries in their zeal to lay bare the dictatorial nature of the omni-pervasive national security state and the sheer, racist barbarity of the U.S. imperial project.
“A huge struggle must be launched to claim the means of human expression.”
All of our fates are entwined with that of Julian Assange, a political prisoner of the global imperial state. Assange, an Australian currently held in solitary confinement in Britain’s Belmarsh prison, faces 175 years behind bars if extradited to the United States, the imperial power whose international crimes and domestic machinations have been severely compromised by Wikileaks, the journalism operation Assange founded.
The United States has many political prisoners, most of them elderly former members of the Black Panther Party whose willingness to resist racist police violence made them supreme enemies of the U.S. state, never to the forgiven. But Assange, and his protégés Edward Snowden, now living in exile in Moscow, and Chelsea Manning (né Bradley Edward Manning), currently imprisoned for refusal to testify against Assange before a grand jury, are cousins in struggle with Jalil Muntaqim, repeatedly denied parole in the 1971 death of two New York City cops, and Sundiata Acoli, comrade-in-arms with exiled Assata Shakur, who will next be eligible for parole in 2032 when he will be 94 years old.
“Imperial power has been severely compromised by Wikileaks.”
In a racist society, it is the ferocity of the state’s pursuit and prosecution of dissidents that is the best measure of their contribution to the struggle against oppression. Although, in white supremacist societies, punishment of Black resisters to state power is always more swift and barbaric than for whites, it is the intent and impact of the blows inflicted on the oppressor that should be the basis of solidarity. From that perspective, Julian Assange and his protégés have made common cause with Black revolutionaries in their zeal to lay bare the dictatorial nature of the omni-pervasive national security state and the sheer, racist barbarity of the U.S. imperial project.
Charles Sims Africa was this week released from a Pennsylvania prison, the youngest of the Move 9 members convicted in the death of a Philadelphia cop in 1978. Two Move family members, Merle and Phil Africa, mysteriously died in prison. In 1985, eleven Move men, women and children were incinerated by helicopter-borne police, along with 62 houses in the block, on orders of the city’s Black mayor. It is inconceivable that white Americans would be subjected to such bestial, unrelenting punishment by the U.S. state – lynching and ceremonial burning is reserved mainly for Black people. But the Move family’s politics is as much environmentalist as it is Black liberationist, and members early on warned that the ever-encroaching electronic political weaponry of the State was designed to subdue and imprison all of society. Similarly, the Black Panther Party made common cause with all peoples that resist U.S. imperial subjugation, and called for a global order of socialism and peace.
“The Move family’s politics is as much environmentalist as it is Black liberationist.”
Nearly a score of Black Panthers were extra-judicially executed in 1969, when FBI director J. Edgar Hoover labeled the Party the number one internal threat to national security – among them, Illinois Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. The Party had been severely weakened and disrupted by a “total war” of surveillance, infiltration and demonization, with the eager collaboration of the corporate media.
Today, the “brother” chosen to succeed Fred Hampton as leader of the Chicago chapter, Bobby Rush, is a U.S. congressman who supports the presidential campaign of Michael Bloomberg, the nation’s champion stop-and-frisker and world’s 8th richest capitalist pig (oligarch, in polite terms). Black Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who not so long ago blasted the CIA for implanting the crack cocaine trade in Los Angeles to fund the illegal war in Nicaragua, now hails the CIA and the FBI as bastions of ”resistance” against fascism, in the person of Donald Trump. Three-quarters of the Congressional Black Caucus have voted to make the police a “protected class” and assault on cops a federal hate crime, while fully eighty percent of the Black Caucus supported the Pentagon program that funnels billions in military gear to local police departments. A new and even more maniacal Cold War, birthed in the bowels of the CIA in 2016, now smears all dissent as Russian-inspired.
“Three-quarters of the Congressional Black Caucus have voted to make the police a “protected class” and assault on cops a federal hate crime.”
Desperate to reclaim the political “narrative,” the corporate Democratic Party works hand-in-glove with the national security state and social media moguls to rig internet algorithms and censor all critique of capitalism and its imperial guard dog. At this stage of conflict – when the national memory of past struggles, and the capacity to commit events and thoughts to collective memory, is at stake -- Assange, Manning, Snowden and other targeted, mostly white dissidents are at the vanguard of resistance to corporate enslavement.
It was Manning, through Wikileaks, who shocked the world with chilling video and audio of U.S. helicopter troops gleefully murdering journalists, children and bystanders in Baghdad. Wikileaks released millions of documents from U.S. embassies that revealed what the Empire really thinks of the “lesser” peoples of the world, and who among the locals was collaborating with the imperialists. And, in the revelation that may have set off the new Cold War, Wikileaks showed that, not only was the Hillary Clinton campaign monumentally corrupt, but the top Democrat was urging all of her forces to encourage the Republicans to nominate Donald Trump, believing he was easy to beat.
“Assange, Manning, Snowden and other targeted, mostly white dissidents are at the vanguard of resistance to corporate enslavement.”
Wikileaks, along with Edward Snowden’s revelations, has been fantastically disruptive of U.S. imperial and domestic corporate governance. But the national security state’s counter-strike – “Russiagate,” and the new Cold War – combined with the global American military offensive that began in 2011 with the attack on Libya, has pushed the world to the edge of the precipice. Domestically, but also across national boundaries, a new kind of hi-tech-enabled fascism looms – indeed, it is partially in place.
Late stage capitalism is finding out just how late it really is. The oligarchs are afraid, which is why they are taking to the electoral field with their own money, to defend their dictatorship. In desperation and monumental hubris, they make huge mistakes that need to be captured and displayed. Outside the imperial homeland, they widen their wars with sanctions as well as bombs and bullets, attempting to terrorize the planet, but instead quicken the processes of their own decline.
We need to shine billions of spotlights on these fat rats as they scurry from crime to crime. The world’s people are wired, from Harlem to Kenya to Mumbai and Sao Paulo. A huge struggle must be launched to claim the means of human expression, so that we can seize the means of production and establish security and sustenance for all, on a livable planet. Otherwise, a squat in the dungeons is reserved for all of us, at the whim of the oligarchy.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].
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