2010/12/18

My remarks at the recent SF protest against the repression of Wikileaks

Well edited by and posted on Indymedia.

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Directly as an mp4 movie.

Transcript:

Basically what happened was Monday night I was like, ok, this is bullshit! This is San Francisco. San Jose had a protest, San Francisco can't take this shit lying down, right? So I was like, ok, well I'll look and see if there's something online, and then if there isn't, I'll just do it, on Friday, let's say, cause that'll give us lots of time to prepare - four days, right?

Somebody had something for Thursday so I said, Okay. I just took the ball and ran with it and then Rainey just kicked it out of the park. And then you all showed up, which is the key part, so thank you very much for showing up. [Applause] YEAH!

I have a few things to say … I'm having this be whatever you want it to be. We have materials for making signs. Feel free to do that. Put any message on there that you want. I know there's people here supporting Bradley Manning, there's people who are supporting Wikileaks, and I don't know how many people came out for this, but there's also just the issue of supporting due process and free speech.

Even if you don't like what Wikileaks has done, even if you think that Assange is not doing the right things, that doesn't mean that they should be treated differently than the rest of us. They certainly shouldn't be subject [You go, Martin!]. That's right! They certainly [Go for it! Tell 'em the truth, Martin!] They certainly shouldn't be subject to threats of execution and assassination. [Right.] This is absolutely not the way our system is supposed to work. [Innocent before proven guilty!] Exactly.

I wanted to make a brief just like where I think this is coming from. I think what's happening is that with the internet, the relation between state power and the power of the people has changed, that the population has a lot more information, a lot more ability to organize - like we were able to be here in three days. And so what's happened, when Wikileaks - the Cablegate came out, all of a sudden a lot of people realized that at once.

It didn't just happen that that power relationship changed, it happened sometime in the last few years and we all of a sudden figured it out. And so the Establishment went apeshit. And this is why they are all reacting in a way that seems completely unbelievable. I mean, Feinstein saying that an Australian should be tried in the US for treason. [Laughter.] Charles Krauthammer, a person who works at a news organization, saying that Julian Assange should be assassinated. I mean, none of this makes any sense. But it does in light of thinking about the power of the state has diminished, and they hate it, and they're trying to get it back.

And if they get it back, I don't think it's gonna look real good. And so I think we need to keep doing what we're doing and make sure that they don't get away with changing the rules, and that we keep the internet available as a medium for doing exactly this sort of thing, of organizing and having people power.

What's that? [The internet is the press now.] The internet is definitely the press now.

A few things - for my mind, we're here at the British consulate mainly because whoever put that post up named it. I think that there are many governments that are complicit in this persecution right now and I think the issue is more of people versus the governments.

Many corporations are also to blame. One thing I want to point out is that Mastercard and Visa, who cut off - who basically blocked people like you and me from donating money to support Wikileaks, and Amazon who kicked Wikileaks off, none of them have issued even a press release. I contacted them and Mastercard had some lame thing like "well, there's quotes in news articles". [Laughter.] I was like, no, it's the modern age - it's the internet - you're supposed to talk to the people and tell them directly. You can't even have a press release explaining what you did and why?

[You're an individual - you're a corporation, you have all the rights of an individual.] Right!

So I think that that's very very lame. I personally want to pressure them to have a press release. I'd love to work with any real press person because the PR people talk to press people. But all of you can do something. All of you I'm sure have tons of cards that say Visa or Mastercard in your pocket.

Look at all of them, there's customer service numbers. Call those numbers, explain what Wikileaks is, complain that you can't make donations, even if you don't want to - just complain that you're not allowed to with those cards, and then ask them to make a complaint to the larger organizations of Visa and Mastercard.

The beauty of this is that you get to explain the whole situation and your point of view to the customer service person and then to their supervisor usually and the banks are paying for it.

I'm gonna wrap it up. There's a great quote that a reasonable person adjusts themselves to the world. An unreasonable person tries to adjust the world to themselves. Therefore, the only thing that causes progress in this world is unreasonable people. [Laughter.]

And I think that Julian Assange is an incredibly unreasonable person. There're reports that he's very hard to get along with, and I don't doubt that at all. You'd have to be absolutely fucking crazy to do what he did, and I thank God that he did it.

So if Julian Assange and Wikileaks are out there punching way above their weight class and taking on the likes of the Pentagon, I'd say we can do similar things. And I'm glad that you're all here and I encourage you all to keep going, to sign up on that sign-up sheet, and we will have more of these in the new year.

This fight is not a short one, but it's an incredibly important one. Thank you.

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