Sunday, August 14, 2016

The great man theory of Wikileaks

There comes a time in the life of any organization where it has to choose. Either between the things the organization ostensibly stands for, or the people and circumstances that happen to be relevant to it.

In the case of Wikileaks, this time was years ago, and they made their choice.

They faced, in no uncertain terms, the choice whether to focus on the structural and systemic possibility of whistleblowing, or on those who happened to lead the organization at the time. They could have chosen the former, yet have continually doubled down on the latter over the years.

This is not a subtle distinction to make. Assange and his crew could have made a statement to the effect that he would step back and deal with things privately until the issue was resolved, leaving the day to day operations of whistleblowing and media coordination to those left in the organization. Instead, they chose to turn Wikileaks into an Assange-focused organization, rather than a whistleblowing one.

What's interesting is that there are those who to this day continue to insist that the person of Assange is more important than the structural and systemic possibility of whistleblowing. They insist so fervently that they actively aid in sacrificing every shred of credibility Wikileaks once had in an effort to see their man go free. Instead of keeping the lines of communication open and trustworthy, they prefer to drag it all into the mud and make everything slower and dirtier for it.

It is not a wise choice. But if it is the one you're making, I ask only one thing: is it worth it?

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