I am making a special post outside of my regularly scheduled content to bring you a very important message. A message that will upset some of my fellow leftists but I think it needs to be said.
I think leftists should stop supporting Julian Assange. We should not be focused on one mediocre white man. We should be focused on a multi racial and international working class that is actively fighting patriarchy.
I do not support the arrest of Assange nor do I support his extradition to the U.S. I do think Wikileaks did the right thing by releasing the footage exposing atrocities in Afghanistan and Iraq and exposing the DNC’s insider game against Bernie. I think Chelsea Manning is a beacon of integrity as well.
All of that said, the amount of support that some on the left are giving to Assange is infuriating to me.
Here are some things about Assange we must consider when talking about his case:
1. Assange is not a leftist, he hates the left. He released a video in 2014 that revealed he was a Ron Paul libertarian and that he is blatantly misogynist. He is vocally against a woman’s right to reproductive choice, which in my opinion doesn’t help his defense against sexual assault since the allegations revolve around him using broken condoms.
2. Assange has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women. This is often ignored by his supporters because it defeats the narrative that he is purely a victim of state oppression. What is even worse is that some will decry the allegations against him as a conspiracy by the CIA, totally removing his victim’s agency. If you call yourself a leftist but you refuse to believe victims, even victims whose stories hurt your narrative, you are not an agent against patriarchy and therefore you are not an agent against capitalism. We can not pick and choose which victims we support, truth is more important than narrative, period!
3. The DNC wikileaks release doesn’t make up for Assange’s misogyny, and yes the DNC leaks did help Trump win. It wasn’t the only thing that helped him win, but it did help him win. I am glad that the corruption of the DNC power play against Bernie was exposed, however the way it was framed inevitably helped to paint Trump in a positive light when compared to Hillary Clinton. Assange released nothing about Trump because he said what he had on Trump, “was no more embarrassing than what Trump has already said publicly.” This means that Assange had information on Trump but didn’t release it or it means that he wasn’t looking for it as actively as he was for information against Hillary. Even if what Wikileaks had on Trump (if they indeed had something) was inconsequential, it is bad optics and just bad journalism to be selective about who and what you expose. I am not saying it is the Wikileaks DNC leak that made Trump win, I do not think there is any single reason Trump won. Had that story come out with Bernie as the winner of the nomination he would have been painted as the man who defeated corruption in his own party. It cannot be denied however that the DNC leaks helped Trump’s narrative more than they helped Bernie’s. Despite the DNC corruption, Bernie supported Hillary, that speaks to his integrity and dedication to defeating the right. You do not have to defend Assange to believe the DNC Wikileaks info release.
4. Are we really going to stop everything and demand the release of one mediocre white guy who had lived and ate for free in the Ecuadorian embassy for years while children are detained, war refugees created, and black lives are shot, beaten, and jailed daily!? If you are marching in the streets for Assange and rallying for his release while there are still people rotting in jails across the planet for minor drug offenses, most of whom are black or non white, then you have terrible priorities. Also I would like to remind everyone that there are already multiple political prisoners throughout the world who need our support. Mumia Abul Jamal, Leonard Peltier, numerous LGBTQ people in oppressive anti-queer states, and countless others, but we are going to sidebar them for one white guy who did his job? I call bullshit.
5. All Assange did was his job, a journalists job is to expose harsh realities, but that does not make him a hero of the leftist movement! Releasing the info he had on the DNC and the war in Iraq was his obligation to do so as a journalist. I’m not about to praise someone for merely doing what they are supposed to be doing, especially not someone with the societal privilege that Assange has. What also frustrates me about people leaping to his defense is that several are acting as if governments like the U.S. or U.K. have never used state power to suppress journalism before. Have we already forgotten the Pentagon papers? Watergate? The Bush Administration banning photos of soldiers coffins? Instead of being outraged that Assange is being prosecuted under the Espionage Act, shouldn’t we be outraged about the fact that the law has existed for a century!? Why are we outraged about the person being prosecuted and not the fact that the avenue for prosecution has existed for a century!?
6. Assange let Chelsea Manning take the fall for Wikileaks, period. I applaud Chelsea Manning for her integrity and refusal to snitch on Wikileaks, however her integrity is not Assange’s integrity. When they came for Chelsea, Assange did not stand by her, he ran. He ran like a coward and he ran far! Now I do not blame whistleblowers like Edward Snowden or others for running away and seeking asylum when they can find it. However I will blame people who leave their fellow whistleblowers to rot and Assange left Manning to rot. He used her as a source, then left her behind. A journalist with integrity would never do that.
7. Some acknowledge that he is an asshole but are still rallying for his release because his arrest might set a dangerous precedent for censorship. However I disagree with this analysis because the precedent was always there and has been there as long as we have had capitalist governments. The Espionage Act, as I have already stated, is a century old. This means that the U.S. government has had the legal authority to suppress journalism FOR 100 YEARS! Assange’s case is nothing new. Stop acting like the state has never done this before just because some of the stuff he released helps the leftist narrative against the American state.
I do not support Assange’s arrest, in fact I think it is despicable that once again the state is using it’s power to retaliate against journalists. However, as long as there are black lives being lost, children being detained, war refugees ignored, you will not hear me rally for Assange anytime soon. My priorities are with the multiracial multi gendered working class, not with one white guy who did his job. Assange is no hero, he is a coward who abandoned the people who gave him his information. We should repay him in-kind and abandon him.