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Shaking it up

Guy Rundle has a good article over at The Monthly on the new Wikileaks party set to contest this year’s senate election:

What position will WikiLeaks take on industrial relations, macroeconomics, social policy? Asked about this, Samantha Castro, the party’s Melbourne campaign manager and co-founder, has said that the party will develop a full slate of policies over time, rather than simply bud them off pro forma. That is wise, but it may also lead to complexity in the future: although Assange is seen by many as a standard-issue anti-American under false cover, he is no knee-jerk leftist. His distrust of the state is so great as to ill dispose him to the large corporate–state entities that make left-ish social programs possible. After all, WikiLeaks sprang out of the “cypherpunks” group – the mailing list and network of ’90s hackers, alarmed by an increasingly surveilled global state – and more than a few of those have seen their cyber-anarchism lead them towards the right. The WikiLeaks Party’s campaign director is Greg Barns, a one-time John Howard staffer, who in 2002 was disendorsed by the Liberals in Tasmania over his views on asylum-seeker policy. Barns’s position on social issues has always been left-liberal, but he remains oriented to laissez-faire policies in matters economic. Yet the majority of those who have flocked to join the WikiLeaks Party come from groups like the Occupy movement, whose leftism is undoubted. Should the party fall short at the election, all of this will be a dead letter. Success will bring with it some interesting conversations.

The Wikileaks perspective doesn’t really have any representation in our current political makeup, which is what makes it worth paying attention to. In the end it may end up posing the largest threat to the Greens. And we could certainly do with some more interesting conversations. Like this one, as Rundle points out:

In June 2012, foreign minister Bob Carr went out of his way to deny that Assange was under any threat of prosecution by the US, despite journalist Philip Dorling having revealed statements by the Australian embassy in Washington that indicated media reports of a secret grand jury charged with considering indictments against Assange were “likely true”. Should the returns on the night of [the election] produce a Senator-elect Assange, then such blithe evasions will no longer suffice. Any threats made will be against an elected representative of the Australian people: the insult will not be to one individual, but to our sovereignty.

I guess we’ll wait and see.

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