Blog Post

Transparency Revolution

There is much talk about the arrest of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.   Opinions are divided and some politicians even go so far to suggest calling him a "terrorist.”  In his recent interview with Time when asked if he considered himself practicing civil disobedience, he has said that he is practicing civil obedience.

In fact, his site has exposed many illegal acts committed by different organizations and individuals.  He has contributed to more transparency in the relationship between governments and their peoples. Wikileaks was on the side of law, by exposing illegal activities or murders.  But somehow, people involved in International Diplomacy consider themselves above the law—they think the law is just for ordinary people, but not for governments or high powered multi-national corporations.  Wikilieaks was exposing lawbreakers—and in the end its founder was arrested for forgetting to use condoms during consensual sex.  That is how law is understood by the elites.

But this arrest is not going to be able to diminish the great significance of transparency to public institutions around the world.  Assange and his friends are true Revolutionaries, who have already changed the world.  It is not just them—but the Internet industry that has revolutionized the world with the ability to share more information about the powerful elites. 

According to the American Constitution which is one of the most democratic acts of law, people are the masters of the country and they hire the public servants through paying taxes—and therefore they are totally entitled to know what their hired servants are doing.  In this sense Assange is a law-obedient person par excellence, not just for Americans, but for the citizens of all countries the infidelities of whose governments his site has exposed.   He has served people.  But there is a serious question:  which people first of all?

He served American people by exposing some illegal acts and intents of its government for sure.  I think history will judge him as one of the heroes who tried to clean government of corruption.  But he also helped Saudi people, Yemeni people, Chinese people, Russian People, Georgian people and God knows how many more peoples, by exposing the hypocrisy of their own governments.

The Assange Revolution is a big blow to the already outdated Nation-State system and Multinational Corporate elites.  As the matter of fact, willingly or unwillingly, the Assange Revolution has justified the well known Anarchist truth:  Big Governments and Big Corporations oppress people—it is a libertarian revolution of an individual against the oppressive power of big institutions.  “Big Brother” was exposed in a very embarrassing way.  Of course, he might retaliate and start killing Assange and other Internet revolutionaries, but it will not succeed in stopping transparency revolution.  Time also quotes a former intelligence-community official.  “The world is moving irreversibly in the direction of openness, and those who learn to operate with fewer secrets will ultimately have the advantage over those who futilely cling to a past in which millions of secrets can be protected”—very wise words indeed.  This is an axiom of today.

But what is the future of our small planet, where every day brings us closer to each other through new technologies and the term “World Citizen”  does not sound terribly insane today.   When, almost 100 years ago Woodrow Willson started to dream about a unified world, many people called this out of line idealism—there are some even today, like Mr. Glen Beck who despise this visionary President for trying to create a world government.  But of course, Woodrow Willson was not talking about a “Very Big Brother”—he was talking about coming closer together.  Ethnic, religious and national divisions brought by a Weberian (some say Westphalian) system of Nation-States caused many tragedies in 20th century.  There were some prophets, like Hannah Arendt, who rightfully so blamed the origins of totalitarianism on ethno-centric system of Nation-States.  But visionaries like Emma Goldman, Kropotkin, Gandhi, Varlam Cherkezishvili, and even our contemporaries like Noam Chomsky and Richard Falk were still treated as marginal thinkers by both Left and Right.  Statism was very strong and it justified itself by taking care of human needs on the left and human security on the right.  But by now, after seeing so many tragedies of the 20th century and so much hypocrisy in the beginning of 21st humanity will start thinking seriously about the ‘feasibility’ of the decentralized Anarcho-Syndicalist World Government. 

The Assange Revolution shows us that big governments and big corporations are not to be trusted by the people.  Whatever they call “National Interest” is in fact the interest of a small elite group that is owning the majority of resources.  According to the World Food Organization 925 million people are starving today—the outdated Nation-State system is not able to help them.  Every day 22 thousand children perish because of hunger, while Kings, Queens, Prime-Ministers, Presidents, Foreign Ministers send each other secret cables describing their lavish parties.  Each of those parties given practically every day if given to those dying children would save many of their lives.   But as we have understood from many cables the elites do not care. They care about lavish parties.  And this is called “National Security”.

Assange Revolution has reminded us that instead of the government watching its people, people need to watch every step of their hired governments, because in democratic societies people are masters.   We saw the hypocrisy of many liberal democracies.   Now in 2010 we understood that many of those “national governments’ are serving only the few—this became obvious.  The words of Chomski, Falk, Rubenstein and others were confirmed.

So where do we go now?  I think it is a time for us to understand that instead of the term “National Security” we have to start using the phrase “International Security”, since thanks to Internet we are becoming one nation.  Also, we need to start thinking about civil rights of “World Citizens’ as opposed to some failed nation states.

Postmodernists have deconstructed the fallacies of modernist dogmatism.  The Assange Revolution has started the time of Reconstruction.   Reconstruction that would lead to the true World Citizenry, where minimum wages, social protections, environmental problems will be dealt with together by the community of nations. 

I wish Varlam Cherkezishvili and Nestor Makhno were alive today.  They would have given us a good recipe for a post-post-modern world.  But since they are not, I guess we have to take up this labor.

 I also suspect that some people in different governments and corporations might become allies of this new libertarian-socialist revolution.  Barack Obama, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs might be for it, God knows even George Soros.  You never know.

Hannah Arrendt and Emma Goldman were the prophets of the Assange Revolution.  Of course, there is a long and difficult road ahead, where powerful elites will do everything to maintain their status-quo.  But, as good-old song says:  times, they are a changing!  And I am glad the man who wrote these words is alive.

Irakli Zurab Kakabadze's picture

Born in 1969, Irakli Kakabadze is a Georgian writer, performance artist, peace and human rights activist. His first prize was awarded in 1990 by the TSISTAKRI MAGAZINE for the best creation of 1990 - Allegro or Chronicle of one Year. In 2009, he was awarded the Oxfam/Novib PEN Freedom of Expression Prize. Kakabadze's articles and stories have been published in Georgian, Russian, and English newspapers and magazines. In 2007 he received the Lilian Hellman/Hammett grant from Human Rights Watch. From 2008 to 2012, Kakabadze was based in Ithaca, NY, where he developed a new method of integrating performing arts and social sciences, called "Rethinking Tragedy" or "Transformative Performance." Kakabadze has also pioneered a multi-lingual and multi-narrative performing style, called Polyphonic Discourse. Irakli Kakabadze's work as an artist-activist is subject of an American verite documentary At the Top of My Voice filmed by Indian American Director Sudhir Venkatesh and Larry Kammerman.
In May 2008 Kakabadze shared a stage at PEN World Voices Festival in New York with György Dragomán, Hasan Elahi, Asli Erdogan, Péter Esterházy, Chenjerai Hove, Jenny Marketou, Ivy Meeropol, Francine Prose, and Ingo Schulze, at the Writers and Artists Against the Surveillance State. In November 2008 at the Miami Book Fair Kakabadze shared a stage with Sarah Mkhonza, Russell Banks and Derek Walcott to perform another piece of Polyphonic Blues. Kakabadze has performed his polyphonic style of poetry at the Frankfurt Book Fair (2009) and “Free the Word” in London (2010) (23). At the 2010 “PEN World Voices” Festival in New York Kakabadze performed Polyphonic Discourse at the Cabaret Show that featured the author with Natalie Merchant, Ben Okri and Ariel Dorfman. He has performed at many literary and peace festivals including in Berlin (2014), Palma De Mallorca (2016), Valencia (2016), ext. His book 'Umberto vs Ernesto' or 'Marginal Delirium' was published and has introduced polyphonic discourse in December 2013. In 2017 publishing house 'Intelekti' has published another book of his essays "Love Doctrine" that is highly influenced by the works of Mahatma Gandhi.