As­sange, Snow­den, Man­ning . . .

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL - By Wayne Kublals­ingh

They’ve been called whis­tle-blow­ers. But this is a mis­nomer. They are, to use the po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect ep­i­thet, “white folk he­roes”. They be­long to a tra­di­tion of white folk hero­ism connecting with the past through deep pri­mor­dial modes of be­ing and feel­ing. They have ex­posed all the nasty lacy pat­terns of the un­der­skirts of Em­pire. Here are seven ex­am­ples of such hero­ism over the last two thou­sand years:

Rome: Not ev­ery­one wanted to be col­o­nized by Rome. Re­volts against Ro­man im­pe­ri­al­ism were not spas­modic. They were con­tin­ual and for­mi­da­ble: be­sides wars and re­volts in North Africa (Carthage) by the Jews and Per­sia, there were anti-Ro­man cam­paigns in Greece, the Ibe­rian Penin­sula, Por­tu­gal and Spain (His­pania), in Bri­tain (Boadicea), and by Ger­manic peo­ples in the north who even­tu­ally in­vaded and ru­ined the Em­pire in the 5th Cen­tury AD. Of course, “civ­i­lized” Rome re­ferred to its en­e­mies as bar­bar­ians, tribes, hordes and so on. Van­dals! Par­lia­men­tary Rule: At the be­gin­ning of the 13th cen­tury dis­grun­tled barons in the north of Bri­tain re­volted and forced the king, John, to sign the Magna Carta, a doc­u­ment later can­ni­bal­ized, re­formed and trun­cated, but which got the feu­dal king to ac­cept the prin­ci­ple that all men, even the king, were sub­ject to the prin­ci­ples of law.

In the late 14th cen­tury, peas­ants, pressed by harsh eco­nomic times and high taxes, re­volted and set fire to sec­tions of Lon­don, build­ings, gaols, law books, a palace (the Wat Tyler Re­bel­lion).

The 1832 Re­form Acts in Bri­tain, a crea­ture of pub­lic pres­sure, brought great changes to par­lia­men­tary re­form, curb­ing abuses and bring­ing a greater num­ber of dis­tricts and com­mons into the elec­toral realm. Europe had moved from Feu­dal­ism, rule by monarch, dukes, barons, the Pa­pacy, to bourgs par­lia­men­tary rule.

19th Cen­tury Artists: Many artists, po­ets, nov­el­ists in 19th and 20th cen­tury Europe and Amer­ica were un­happy with bour­geois rule. Wordsworth and Keats painted the rav­ages on the in­dus­trial econ­omy on the com­mons, the so­cial and nat­u­ral world. Dick­ens painted pic­tures of young chil­dren, chim­neysweeps, vagabonds, or­phans caught up in hos­tile dys­func­tional met­ro­pol­i­tan

economies. Mark Twain, per­haps be­lat­edly, pointed to the in­jus­tices of slav­ery, hu­man­iz­ing Jim, im­mor­tal­iz­ing the child con­science of Tom Sawyer. Henry David Thoreau mythol­o­gized the nat­u­ral and imag­i­na­tive world, like the Euro­pean Ro­man­tics, as a counter to the pre­vail­ing cult of Manichean rea­son and ma­chin­ery. The Abo­li­tion­ist

Move­ment: The French Revo­lu­tion (1780s) had pro­claimed ‘Lib­erty, Equal­ity, Fra­ter­nity’. These were ideals de­vel­oped by Euro­pean thinkers, philoso­phers, such as Rousseau, Mon­tesquieu, in the in­tel­lec­tual trenches of the 18th cen­tury. Af­ter the French and Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tions, their ideas were hon­oured more in the form of rhetoric and le­gal clauses than in prac­tice. Some who prac­ticed them could be lynched, hanged. In 1859, Amer­i­can John Brown and his sons led a raid against the Harper Ferry Fed­eral ar­moury. His idea was to chan­nel slaves to the north, to a free coun­try; to end slav­ery by in­sur­rec­tion. He was hanged. Wil­liam Wil­ber­force ear­lier gave voice to the anti-slav­ery lobby in the Bri­tish Par­lia­ment. Rid­ing the wave of slave re­volts ev­ery­where in the Caribbean, the Amer­i­cas, he spent eigh­teen years in­tro­duc­ing many mo­tions in par­lia­ment as part of the cam­paign to abol­ish slav­ery. The Rus­sian Revo­lu­tion: The Revo­lu­tion of 1918 put an end to Rus­sian feu­dal­ism, the monar­chy. The peas­ants and work­ers joined to over­throw the rul­ing dy­nasty but when its lu­mi­nary Vladimir Lenin died in 1924, and his al­ter­nate, Trot­sky was axed to death in Mex­ico in 1940, the con­science of the Revo­lu­tion was knocked un­con­scious. Stalin, called by Trot­sky the “out­stand­ing medi­ocrity of the Party”, con­verted the na­tion and the states around him into a Gu­lag state, like his U.S. coun­ter­part across the At­lantic. These two

Big Brothers joined hands in a com­mon surge for global em­pire.

So­cial Ac­tivism: In the 1960s and 1970s young Amer­i­cans took to the streets to re­volt against the Viet­nam War. Over the past forty years, young and old, in cities across the U.S. and Europe, have joined cam­paigns to fight the self-pro­claimed New World Or­der: the puni­tive as­pects of the neo-Lib­eral econ­omy and glob­al­iza­tion; too big to fail banks; the Iraq War, debt, depre­da­tions to the Third World econ­omy, trade agree­ments such as NAFTA, the TPP. While many politi­cians and cit­i­zens in the “Third World” refuse to fight, through ig­no­rance, cow­ardice, col­lu­sion, many of the cit­i­zens in the First World sit in, break down rail­ings, take in­com­ing pep­per spray and tear­gas, go to jail. For the Third World!

Ju­lian As­sange, Ed­ward Snow­den, Bradley Chelsea Man­ning: these three rep­re­sent the lat­est in­car­na­tion of Western rev­o­lu­tion­ary hero­ism. Their mil­lions of re­leased ca­bles, memos and emails have pre­sented a de­tailed pic­ture of the ac­tual think­ing and modus operandi of Western geno­cide across the planet. They have con­verted sur­mise and de­duc­tion into hard data, raw proof: the or­ches­tra­tion of war and geno­cide through mass sur­veil­lance, mass me­dia, in­ter­net and drone tech­nolo­gies. Since Au­gust 2012, As­sange, an Aus­tralian, the co-founder of Wik­ileaks, has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Em­bassy in Lon­don. Since June 2013, Snow­den has been ex­iled in Rus­sia, un­able to re­turn home. And Chelsea Bradley Man­ning, a for­mer sol­dier, sen­tenced in July 2013, is serv­ing thirty-five years in jail.

As­sange, Snow­den and Man­ning are an­ti­dotes to ter­ror. The so­lu­tion to ter­ror, lies not in Wash­ing­ton DC or West­min­ster, but holed up in jail, sanc­tu­ary and ex­ile across the planet.

He­roes or vil­lains? Le­gendary whis­tle-blow­ers (left to right) Ju­lian As­sange, Ed­ward Snow­don and Chelsea Bradley Man­ning.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.