Communicator (communicator) wrote,


The world is unfolding in the most astonishing way at present. Why has Assange turned himself in to the British police? I think he is martyring himself, and I don't mean that sarcastically. I have always suspected his character is unusual - I don't mean ill or bad, but a little unusual. I guess he will be killed at some point, and I think he must think so too.

I think he put himself up as the face of Wikileaks a couple years ago for strategic purposes (and vanity), and now he is trading in that notoriety for strategic purposes (and to be fair, vanity). Almost as a decoy. Really he is personally unimportant to the process which is underway, which is probably out of any single person's control. It cannot be decapitated using the methods being employed by the authorities. But the authorities do not understand distributed power systems, because they by definition operate under a completely different model. It reminds me of the way that people used to want to identify the women who 'run' feminism - it doesn't work like that.

What this does bring home to me is the strategic opportunity afforded by a feature of the world which generally frustrates me - that official hierarchies are dominated by dumb venal people using their power to impose poor conceptual models. This makes them vulnerable.

I think it's worth revisiting the Adam Roberts novel New Model Army. I think that novel is spectacularly wrong about many aspects of distributed movements, but it also makes you think about the greater intelligence and effectiveness of a non-hierarchical system. Where I think he was way wrong was to make the network a hostile parasite on the general population. Instead networks like Wikileaks are only effective if they are embedded in a sympathetic population (like the French Resistance, the Viet Cong etc). Then you can't contain, because any individual can move in and out of the movement, which is a shape like a wave, rather than a collection of elements which can be neutralised.
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