Contra Center for a Stateless Society, Wikileaks cannot be easily replaced

Let me address the recent article Do We Really Need WikiLeaks? published at the Center for a Stateless Society. Phrases like the “social networking revolution against top-down hierarchies” are often just buzzword sentiment. Wikileaks is one of the few examples of actual libertarian anarchist counter-strategy of institutional defense from Statist aggression by successfully playing competing monopoly legal jurisdictions off one another. Wikileaks media distribution model may rely on distributed networks, and it’s journalistic model, in part, may rely on social networking, but it relies on a political patchwork for protection. The latter is not easily duplicated. Remember, Wikileaks is a journalistic organization by virtue of it’s government sources. But it is also, ultimately, a journalistic organization by virtue of it’s political protection. Without the political protection, there are likely no government sources.

Assange, to some extent, has expressed his disappointment with respect to any emergent “editorial capacity” of the the social networking model. If Wkileaks doesn’t provide any editorial synopsis of the documents, the documents disappear down a black hole. They don’t get noticed or distributed. So, the social networking journalistic model at this point relies on editorial direction(Assange has stated bloggers blog primarily to express their values to like-minded groups; it’s opinion journalism). If Assange was personally taken down on bogus charges, such as, for example, sex crimes, which are now being levied against, him, it might prove somewhat difficult to maintain an editorial team who are willing to be the next in line to go to jail for trumped up crimes. If the US government were able to successfully pierce the intricate political patchwork journalistic protection of Wikileaks, well then that would be pretty much spell the death knell of document-sourced journalism for the foreseeable time being. There would simply be no way to architect “political protection.” If, however, the political protection of document-sourced journalism proved resilient, then the “editorial problem” could likely be overcome by “competing firms” who could politically protect themselves using the same Wikileaks protection model.

People need to quit with this nonsense that the internet magically signals an inevitable death knell of the State. The hell it does…

10 thoughts on “Contra Center for a Stateless Society, Wikileaks cannot be easily replaced

  1. “People need to quit with this nonsense that the internet magically signals an inevitable death knell of the State.”

    Amen, brother!

    People also need to quit this nonsense that the opinion of one author necessarily represents an “official position” of the organization which publishes that opinion, so much so that in criticizing the opinion, one might as well just name the organization instead of the author.

    Tom Knapp

    1. fair enough…

      however, when i write a “Contra…” piece, if the author is well known, I will use the author’s name(or pseudonym handle); if the author is not well known but the publication is, i will use the publication name. Nothing sinister going on. I think it’s only misleading if the author who may be associated with a particular publication writes the piece on his/her own blog/journal and then the headline references that publication.

  2. dL,

    My suggestion would be to identify author AND institution, but that’s just a suggestion.

    You make some very good points in any case. I’m working on some musings that take them further, which I hope you’ll enjoy when they go up (at C4SS or my personal blog, not sure which yet).

  3. Also see – been publishing documents since 1996 to very little attention.

    I think a lot of that is due to the minimal editorial work. The reader is required to make judgements about the veracity of any documents (personally I find the most interesting bits the editorials and comments which appear).

    As for Internet -> end of the state: Very true, it is not certain. It is a tool which could be used for such ends, but its by no means certain (or even likely…)

  4. dL: To second Tom, the whole techno-triumphalist thing really is more my personal branding than a C4SS position.

    The relation of what you call the patchwork of political protection reminds me a bit about a particular aspect of the debate over Peak Oil. Peak Oil critics suggest that the supply shortfall in 2008 was “just” about political and economic factors — “above-ground factors” — rather than about below-ground factors like geology. Pipeline disruptions, speculation, restriction of output, etc., were the “real” reasons. Jeff Vail pointed out, though, that the growing prominence of such “above-ground” factors were secondary effects of the central underlying below-ground fact: a peak in extraction capacity. As supply peaks, the political leverage to be gained by disrupting supply lines, blowing up refineries, etc., greatly increases. And commodity markets where supply has peaked are prone to speculative bubbles for the same reason that Henry George described in regard to land.

    In this case, I think the growing importance of competition between states in providing a patchwork of political protection for each other’s enemies is in part a secondary effect of the underlying phenomenon: the shifting balance of power between networks and hierarchies. In area after area, for over thirty years political and economic centers have become fiscally and militarily exhausted, and incorporated larger and larger network elements into themselves; the Nixon Doctrine and the Nike “outsource everything” models are both examples. Balance of power politics, where the hegemony of the sole remaining superpower creates its own limits by provoking a counter-coalition, is probably another related part of the shift. And the fiscal exhaustion and growing enforcement difficulties of states in general probably heightens the competition between them, as individual states (Sweden, Iceland) try to make peace with hierarchy and profit from it — cut a deal — at the expense of other states.

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