You Are In
Whether it is government corruption in Kenya and China, or the sordid secrets of Scientology, wherever there is a will to reveal abuse of power there is WikiLeaks. Worldwide recognition of this organization began with the release of the sensational 2007 video from Iraq war titled Collateral Murder. Opening with a quote from Orwell’s 1984, it depicted from the point of view of the Americans in an Apache helicopter, the gunning down of Iraqi civilians in a Baghdad street with cannon fire. The recent leak of the Afghan War Diary completed the rise to prominence of WikiLeaks on the world stage and brought a huge backlash from the US government. The recent demonization of the messenger by the Pentagon and the servile US media indicates the importance of the materials that were released. As this controversy has boiled over, it raised for many the questions about government secrecy, the importance of transparency, and legal and moral accountability for possible war crimes.
In the three years of its existence, WikiLeaks has begun to change the way governments, media and corporations operate by offering an transnational safe haven for whistleblowers from all over the world. In the wake of this video release, Julian Assange, the main public face of the organization stepped forward into the public limelight. He said the purpose of releasing this footage was to show what the face of modern war really looks like. He also laid out the philosophy and intention of WikiLeaks, saying its main focus is working for justice and for bringing the “civil back to civilization” (Assange, 2010). The cruel state of human misery exposed by this video calls on all to confront the question: are we as a society really civilized?
The development of the idea of civilization was paved by the expansion of concepts of European law into the non-European world (as cited in Mommsen & De Moor, 1992). Europeans in the age of discovery portrayed indigenous people that they encountered as savages, characterizing these unfamiliar cultures as uncivilized. The last few hundred years has seen the development of the nation-state as the structure for social containment. The agendas and models that were put forward by the purveyors of Western civilization became primary factors mediating the development of national and international systems. People are generally subject to the laws of countries set by the government that each are born into. The law of the land regulates human action. This has evolved from specifically Roman and also medieval views of law, which took a patriarchal form based on personal ownership and worker subjugation. Western ‘civilization’ was built upon the colonizing mentality of power, domination and exploitation. African-Martinican francophone poet and author, Aimé Césaire, wrote in Discourse on Colonialism (1950) :
Colonialism worked to “decivilize” the colonizer: Torture, violence, race hatred, and immorality constituted a dead weight on the so-called civilized, pulling the master class deeper and deeper into the abyss of barbarism. The instruments of colonial power relied on barbaric, brutal violence and intimidation, and the end result was the degradation of Europe itself. (as cited in Kelley, 2002, p. 174)
The development of Western civilization was accompanied by a legal system based on a construct of civility that often diverged from the understanding of what is civil held by native cultures.
The 1999-2003 film series, The Matrix was a science fiction action film trilogy that took a creative look at how an invasive social construct might become all pervasive. It went far beyond science fiction to engage people in examining current and future states of society. Matrix as a word means a framework from which something grows. It was portrayed in the film as a system that enslaves and “grows” humanity for its own purposes.
In many ways this film mirrors hidden aspects of current western civilization. “The Matrix is everywhere, it is all around us, even now in this very room …It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth!” said Morpheus to Neo (Wachowski & Wachowski, 1999). What is this Matrix surrounding people today that they are blind to? It is the illusion of an independent media, free economy and functional democracy. All of these are rooted in the rule of law, which has most often been seen in a positive light. There is no doubt that there are many aspects of legal systems that have a higher purpose and promotes justice. Yet, Ugo Mattei and Laura Nader in the book, Plunder: When the Rule of Law is Illegal (2008), revealed the dark side of the rule of law of Western countries, and elucidated how law has been used as a powerful political weapon to legitimize plunder to exploit the weak and the masses in general. Mattei and Nader differentiated the rule of law from the rule-of-law ideology which, supports “a ‘market friendly’ legal system which is actually ‘plunder-friendly'” (p. 169) and showed how it worked to legitimize the narrow western idea of civilization.
Today the imposition of law is more a result of transnational efforts at homogenization for purposes of capitalist expansion, but law is still the vehicle for legitimizing plunder. The rule of law is undoubtedly one of the more powerful “civilizing” devices used, and plunder, yesterday as today, might well be the most powerful force behind the unfolding of the Western ideology of the rule of law. (p. 65)
The increasing influence of corporate lobbyists and legalized corruption in Washington D.C. is an expression of the plunder often hidden from the public eye. Forbes magazine reported how many of the largest corporations in the US pay little or no taxes. This is a direct result of their influence on lawmakers in Washington through corporate campaign contributions (Helman, 2010). The corporate governance structure as an artificial entity grants them a kind of immortality. Corporations outlive their executives and the victims of their actions potentially forever, with existence based on narrow one-sided profits motives. No matter what crimes are committed by these artificial entities, they are rarely held accountable, beyond a few fines.
The recent case of BP’s oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and the disaster at the Massey coal mine in West Virginia are examples of corporate crime and negligence, where no executives will be put behind bars because of the American corporate law of limited liability. Therefore, white-collar crime most often goes unpunished. No one will have to take responsibility for these actions (Goodman, 2010).
There are three main events that paved the way for the legal construct that created the corporate Matrix of our time. The first is the historical framework of colonization and the predatory practice of exploitation of cultures to plunder their natural and human resources. Western civilization, by way of abstract reasoning, enslaved many peoples of the world, creating a huge wealth divide between poor and rich. Another event that laid the groundwork for the modern dilemma was the Supreme Court clerk reporter notes known as Santa Clara ruling that granted corporations legal personhood, allowing artificial entities equal rights to human beings, which set the stage for a new form of colonization that does not depend on the nation-state. It is a hybrid form that is set in motion by the corporate mindset as an evolution of the colonial mentality. This is similar to what Noam Chomsky (2010) portrayed in his recent book, Hopes and Prospects as an “imperial mentality” found in the Wall Street elite. The third foundational element for corporate hegemony is on the one hand the control of the airwaves and media, and on the other, the creation of Federal Reserve that not only controls the flow of money, but monopolizes and profits from the creation of it. Ellen Brown (2007) in her book Web of Debt: The Shocking Truth about Our Money System analyzes the intentional illusion that is the modern financial system that hides its extractive and imperial nature. So, this corporate Matrix is a deeply woven abstract construction that enslaves humanity to the market fundamentalism and profits before all else. It is fundamentally based on the exploitation of the majority of the population of the world.
The Matrix is everywhere. History has repeatedly shown that this system is based on human misery and suffering, perpetuating war and violence. The birth of corporate personhood is like making software for a hardwired system, employed to sustain its operation. The people that support this system are like the sentient programs described in the film, like artificial entities that are set out to enforce the system.
“They can move in and out of any software still hardwired to their system. That means that anyone who haven’t unplugged is potentially an agent. Inside the Matrix, they are everyone and they are no one …. They are the gatekeepers. They are guarding all the doors. They are holding all the keys” (Wachowski & Wachowski, 1999). Agents are everywhere. Many lawyers and anthropologists function as critical agents that “provide professional legitimacy to the imperial project”, guarding the institution of the Matrix (Mattei & Nader 2009, p. 83).
In the U.S back in the 60’s, industries were rapidly gaining power to enact the doctrine of profits at any cost. The Vietnam war was driven by private interests of the few despite public sentiment questioning its purpose and justification. The people were kept in the dark about the actions of the government and the justification of this war, which like most others since then, in the end proved false. Domestically, the large industries held innocent consumers in the dark, making unsafe products, with little oversight. “What truth?” asked Neo. Morpheus answers “That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage… born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind.” (Wachowski & Wachowski, 1999).
In the film, the protagonist, Neo was allegedly the chosen One, whose destiny was to attain freedom from the system to dismantle it. The early 70s was a turbulent decade in America. In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a top government official at that time released the Pentagon papers that exposed how the war was driven by the military-industrial complex. Consumer advocate Ralph Nader took on the auto industry and other domestic corporate abuses of power. It was as if the age had chosen those individuals to carry a task. In a sense, they cracked the hardening shell of the fledgling Matrix, showing that people can take back some control of the course of their lives. At that time more people were beginning to resist simply being passive consumers and instead began to be active citizens, with a growing capacity of critical thinking to counteract the commercial machine that preys on them.
Nader’s actions inspired thousands of young people and he formed what was known as Nader’s Raiders. Their actions brought impressive success at the time, passing legislation that temporarily brought a balance and a sense of social responsibility to Government, which is one true task of the law, to be a force of justice that protects the weak, the environment and promotes a general sense of social responsibility.
Nowadays, corporate power has upgraded, making the Matrix more complex and inextricably interwoven with governmental systems. As the web tightens, the chance of getting through or transforming it are narrowing. As the corporations become more transnational, the power to influence government policy and everyday people’s lives has grown exponentially. The system is ever more effective at plugging people in, as cogs in a machine.
Since the events of 9-11-2001, many of the basic tenets of the Constitution have been stripped away in the act of creating a perpetual security state. Anyone who challenges the system is ridiculed, criticized or punished as heretic or unpatriotic (Chang, 2002). There seems to be few ways for ordinary citizens to fight back against the system. Mainstream media and press has become a censor for the status quo, guarding the gate of access to information, making sure ideas and views that could threaten this system are repressed. People that were highly respected like Noam Chomsky and Ralph Nader are treated as irrelevant dissidents in the system, with corporate media blackouts and marginalization from mainstream discourse. And now with the recent Supreme Court decision allowing corporations unlimited influence with money in US politics and with too big to fail banking industries bailed out in Washington, we have entered unprecedented territory where corporate power is fast making the nation state irrelevant as anything but tools for control of whole populations for benefit of an elite. Mattei & Nader (2009) revealed how:
Corporate market actors and their political cronies are busy modifying those aspects of American rule of law that may discourage plunder. They pursue extension to the center of the imperial rule of law granting immunity to corporate defendants. ( p. 168 )
With such things as the WTO and NAFTA, corporate power has extended their reach beyond borders, mediating international relationships on their terms.
The Matrix is global, expanding into and transforming whole cultures, consuming local and Global economies with debt and monetary control, plugging each one by one into a kind of blood-sucking machine. Antonia Juhasz (2006) in Bush Agenda: Invading The World Economy One at a Time documented how this radical corporate globalization agenda was in place well before the Bush administration’s war in the Middle East for oil.
“Anyone we haven’t unplugged is potentially an agent. Inside the Matrix, they are everyone and they are no one,” explained Morpheus to Neo (Wachowski & Wachowski, 1999). Mr. Smith in the film, who is an agent for the Matrix system is like Adam Smith, the high priest of Voodoo economics. Mr. Smith is also exemplified in the modern agents of plunder, which John Perkins (2004) revealed in his book Confession of Economic Hitman, who work under the radar quietly on behalf of faceless corporations.
Under a shadow global governance structure run by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund they trick developing countries into a web of debt. Now even the middle classes of western nations who until recently vicariously benefited from and maintained a facade of legitimacy for the system are on the chopping block by way of calculated destruction in the biggest fraud in the history of mankind that is well underway by the likes of JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and their ilk.
This Corporate Matrix, born in the USA as a legal fiction has little allegiance to any country or people. It has stretched its influence, taking all under control of a global new world order. The system, equipped with limited liability, mobilizes one country at a time to suck the blood of whole nations. It moves to China for cheap labor, building US military bases all over the world, practicing illegal torture on foreign soil, and always creating bogeymen to fear and blame for the incessant wars. Without any sense of remorse, the people benefiting from these moral crimes are shielded from real consequence and responsibilities. It seems nothing could tame this unregulated imperialism. This system not only places abstract entities above the law, they have in a sense become the law. When this is coupled with a complete lack of allegiance to any nation or people, without an identifiable person as dictator running it, it becomes a shadow system where everyone loses their humanity to the degree that they fear it, buy into it or are shaped by it. In the end, the life of Mother Earth itself is trampled and the unsustainable system begins to crumble.
The question arises, how can we free ourselves from this global corporate Matrix? How can citizens counteract or create an alternative to this system? It appears that much has shifted from the times of the 60s. Many progressives and activists are discouraged from taking action, under the dark cloud that hovers in the sky. It seems there is little that ordinary people can do. Does this mean that one should simply give up and surrender? Is it possible to break through the social knots that tie hands and feet under the rigged laws? In this darkness hovering over the world, WikiLeaks shines a light for a new direction. Prior to the release of the Collateral Murder footage, this mother of all whistleblower sites and publisher of last resort has successfully fought over 100 legal actions by organizations around the world.
In the wake of Collateral Murder video release, Julian Assange spoke of how WikiLeaks intentionally put a slant to the title and released the edited version along with the full unedited footage. Some have wondered whether the edited video’s title was manipulative. Assange indicated that the purpose of release was to show the world what modern war actually looks like and that “his mission is to expose injustice, not to provide an even-handed record of events” (as cited in Khatchadourian, 2010). He described how WikiLeaks wanted “to knock out this ‘collateral damage’ euphemism, and so when anyone uses it they will think ‘collateral murder.'” (2010).
One thing that makes WikiLeaks different than mainstream media outlets is their honest disclosure of slant put on the editing of materials. Assange believes because they “publish the full source material …. WikiLeaks is free to offer its analysis, no matter how speculative” (Khatchadourian, 2010). Publishing all source materials makes journalism honest and situates the event in the agreed upon objective physicality, which then gives some space for editorial freedom. This freedom allows one to move into the subjective field with integrity. Art is a medium where one can bring in what is regarded as subjective, such as opinions, agenda, and guiding telos, that is considered to be taboo in modern journalism.
Can it be seen that WikiLeaks’ honest disclosure of motives and telos of their work transforms a political slant of in what could be perceived as an act of deception to one of artistic deed? When it is used consciously and the intention behind creation is disclosed to the audience, a political slant can become an artistic act. WikiLeaks shakes up illusions of manipulated perceptions that prevail in the modern Matrix. Attempting to combat or balance the extreme power of corporate governance requires radical creative action. Art facilitates and engages in the rapture of perception. It invites people to examine what is propagandized, then portrayed as the norm, i.e. collateral damage, and instead experience the misery of innocent people subjected to the barbarism of war. This is an inner process that begins to reveal the truth; that this is actually collateral murder. Once an audience is opened to other perspective and perceptions, there opens a possibility for public discussion in line with their experience. This breaks the power that keeps people separate in their understanding of events and of each other.
This slant that Assange described as bringing maximum political impact was met with great success as both the edited and unedited versions of the video have been viewed nearly eight million times so far and has garnered news attention worldwide (Warrick, 2010). It appeased the hunger for information that is generally concealed concerning these wars of aggression. When the truth was revealed with an unedited full version of the clip, a sense for justice awakened that had become numbed to the culture of violence and war. This sets in relief the importance of bearing witness to real events hidden by governments, business or mainstream media. Exposing criminal bank deals, oil companies’ poisoning the Ivory Coast as well as the latest Afghan war diary all serves the goal of exposing the powerful who exploits the powerless to the court of public opinion.
WikiLeaks in a way employs a kind of espionage. It is for the people in a global age and differs from traditional forms like the CIA, which was developed based on security and preservation of the nation-state. “We’re not interested in national security. We’re interested in justice…. We are a supranational organization.” said Assange (smh.com.au, 2010). WikiLeaks is also a nonprofit entity that has no state or profit interests.
Another important aspect of WikiLeaks is that it works on the basis and philosophy of open source principles. Deek and McHugh (2007) describe characteristics of open source in Open source: Technology and Policy and compares it to the traditional western attitude of comodifying everything:
Software companies traditionally rely at least partly on closed, proprietary code to maintain their market dominance. Open source, on the other hand, tends to undermine monopoly, the likelihood of monopolistic dominance being reduced to the extent that major software infrastructure systems and applications are open. ( 2007, p. 8 )
Assange echoes this saying, “The whole point of free software is to ‘liberate it in all senses'”. He adds, ”It is part of the intellectual heritage of man. True intellectual heritage can’t be bound up in intellectual property.” (smh.com.au, 2010). This idea of open source is best seen in the philosophy behind an operating system known as Linux, based on an African philosophy known as Ubuntu, a concept which bishop Desmond Tutu defines as a way of being and identity that is formed by community (as cited in Battle, 1997). Here an ancient African wisdom dismissed by those on the Western path of progress advocates collaboration and sharing comes onto the global stage as a vital vehicle to revitalize the impulse for democracy.
Assange saw how thoroughly the national-security state was embedded in all aspects of life. He began to realize how this institutionalized system intrinsically pushes against altruistic human virtues. “He saw human struggle not as left versus right, or faith versus reason, but as individual versus institution.” and that “truth, creativity, love and compassion are corrupted by institutional hierarchies, and by ‘patronage networks'” (as cited in Khatchadourian, 2010). This interlocking system that Assange referred to is portrayed in the Matrix film as a system that depends on keeping the mass of humanity unaware of the true nature of that system that is farming their life energy. When the Matrix was uploaded, it seemed that all doors were closed, and the Oracle urged Neo to find a key-maker who could open certain critical doors.
In a recent in-depth interview, Assange laid out a key point in his biography that ultimately led to his work with WikiLeaks. In a kind of manifesto called “Conspiracy as Governance,” he wrote that “illegitimate governance is by definition conspiratorial—the product of functionaries working in ‘collaborative secrecy’, …to the detriment of a population.” He argued that when a regime’s lines of internal communications are disrupted, the information flow among conspirators must dwindle, and that, as the flow approaches zero, the conspiracy dissolves. Leaks were an instrument of information warfare” (as cited in Khatchadourian, 2010). In a sense, the whistleblower is the Keymaker, the witness opening the doors to the source, weakening the actual structure of powerbrokers and conspiracies. WikiLeaks is a sophisticated self-sustaining gate that allows the flow of light in and the flow of damning evidence out, which can eventually dissolve the walls of illegitimate secrecy.
WikiLeaks works under the principle that society is most just and fair when governments and powerful businesses and religions are not hiding ugly secrets from the population. Transparency one could say, is the mother of all principles of the whole open source movement. And it is by this commitment to transparency that WikiLeaks functions as an open source espionage service for the people over and against national or business interests. What WikiLeaks provides is a safe haven, as we cannot trust those in power since money and power always tends to corrupt. Wikileaks is probably the place where Daniel Ellsberg would turn in the Pentagon Papers if he were to do so now. The release of the Iraqi footage and Afghan war diary was like the new pentagon papers, leaking the truth like a crack in a dark cloud of the corporate occupied Matrix.
Irrevocable transparency and human solidarity without profit or power motive is the light through the cracks in this Matrix. It is an antidote to corporate rule. If corporations go beyond borders and get away from the law or gain the power to control governments and laws in a way that favors their hegemony, why shouldn’t citizens around the world link arms and do the same? WikiLeaks is one answer to this question. Just as corporations locate aspects of their business in countries like the Cayman Islands or Switzerland to take advantage of legal protections and shield laws for tax havens and money laundering, organizations can relocate to Sweden or Iceland or at least locate their computer servers there in order to gain protection for the release of vital information (Cohen, 2010).
In the third Matrix film, Revolutions, Agent Smith multiplied himself into hundreds of duplicate images and attempted to surround Neo. The multiple reflections of illusion are the very fabric of a consumer society. The branding and mass production of everything in life is psychologically a push for everyone to become a replica of something that is not really who they are. When individuality is lost all one sees is the reflection of what has already been created. Agent Smith in the corporate Matrix is found not only in elite agents like the Economic Hitman, but also in the politics of modern media empires as the most complicit systems of obfuscation. Behind the echo chamber of the corporate networks NBC, ABC, FOX and CNN, destructive intentions are at work, pulling the levers of illusion. The seeming diversity of news outlets really preach the same message or distract with a false dichotomies of left and right, further hiding their faces behind the agents of the official story. Mr. Smith pretends to be the everyday average Joe, while actually serving a system that pushes out our higher humanity. When confused by multiple facades, it is difficult to cut through to the truth, to the real intentions. At the same time, this façade helps corporate interests creep in, spying on citizen’s activities, like anonymous ‘friends’ on Facebook as companies like Google are amassing huge databases of personal information on people. The breathtaking pace of change in the information age is morphing business models and perceptions of privacy with business and government tracking of people’s everyday activity.
Government transgressions of the basic Constitutional guarantees are coupled with uninvited corporate intrusion through the gutting of FISA and the direct tapping of AT&T’s mainline. This flies under the radar as far as the average person’s awareness. Many people don’t realize that even when their cell phone is off, the federal government can listen to all you say, as if we are carrying around bugging devices that also locate our positions (McCullagh & Broache, 2006).
How will the people fight back in this time when the Global Corporate Matrix freezes the flow of information, subjugating the people’s right to know, while molding public perception of reality? The model of WikiLeaks may offer a necessary weapon. Assange (2010) described how with its migration onto the digital medium, information critical to the historical record can be erased and controlled at any time:
We are now approaching the state of Orwell’s dictum that he “who controls the present controls the past.” He who controls internet servers controls the intellectual record of mankind, and by controlling that controls our perceptions of who we are, and by controlling that controls what laws and regulations that we make in society.
Information once published electronically cannot be controlled anymore as the internet has made information global. Government officials are incorporated into the system, often hiding the footsteps of their actions. Up till now, people have rarely been able to get through the deception and understand the problems that emanate from corporate power (Assange, 2010). Those who have something to hide have simply been deleting the digital URL trails. Yet, at the same time published information can easily be copied and republished elsewhere to keep the flow of information moving. They hide, we reveal. They delete, we copy and multiply. People can spread information before it is purposely taken out, then multiply. In the age of retweeting and file sharing, critical information can survive.
We live in an era of interconnectedness, where different sub-cultures find each other and collaborate. When those in power hide motives and agendas behind fake multiplicities and erase their footsteps to hide the engine that runs the global corporate Matrix, citizens around the globe can republish on blogs, exposing lies and hidden motives and reposting vital information to consciously surround the fake Agent Smiths with the truth, as well as establish networks to create a more sustainable human future.
Transnational citizen’ networks are growing stronger by using randomizer software that foils much of this top down corporate control of information. One example is the Tor network, a kind of routing software that randomizes ones web activity using other people’s computers around the world who are also on that network (Schneier, 2007). Hacking the Matrix is the latest version of a time honored tradition of speaking truth to power.
The first battle each person must have is with oneself, freeing the mind that is programmed by the Matrix. In the combat training scene, Morpheus asked Neo “How did I beat you?” Neo responded, “You’re too fast.” Morpheus asks again “Do you believe that my being stronger or faster has anything to do with my muscles in this place? … What are you waiting for? You’re faster than this”. Finally Morpheus reminds Neo of a secret weapon within, “Don’t think you are, know you are… Stop trying to hit me and hit me.” A dehumanizing system teaches people how they are inwardly powerless and impotent, degraded into passive consumers. Morpheus teaches Neo to undo the programming of the mind to reclaim ones own power and imagine a new future: “You have to let it all go, Neo, fear, doubt and disbelief. Free your mind” (Wachowski & Wachowski, 1999).
In light of the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) attack on the Gaza aid flotilla and the unaccountability of the corporate gulf oil disaster, the question may arise, are these kinds of actions those of a just and civil society? How is it possible to bring the civil back to civilization? After witnessing nearly three decades of the senseless cruelty of war, which he called the “total failure of the human spirit”, War correspondent Robert Fisk said the only hope that he can see is in “ordinary people who speak out.” (DemocracyNow!, 2005).
In the Matrix film, the Oracle prophesied the arrival of the One who would put an end to war and dismantle the Matrix. It is not that we automatically are born to be the One, but we can become One. The Matrix is like a system of mirrors that is a network of self-illusion. You don’t have to think, the warped mirror will tell you who you are. Agent Smith kept calling Neo ‘Thomas Anderson’. By using his Matrix name, personal power is robbed. It was by claiming his own name, saying “I am Neo” that he regained his own power.
The Oracle’s prophecy is carried out by ordinary citizens who claim their own power and fight back against the inhumane system of Corporate Matrix. At a grassroots level around the globe people are starting to question the direction of the Western notion of civility and its inherent hypocrisy in the new colonization known as neoliberalism. The destructiveness of the current global empire is made to confront its own shadow within each person, where the light emerges from what is looked at as inferior, undeveloped and primitive, to reveal that higher civilization arises only out of compassion and interpersonal responsibility.
The solution to the crises in the world is not simply to go back to the old nostalgic ideas, but to have a true dialogue with that which has been brushed away and dismissed by the current corporate regime, to reshape the direction of civilization. The future lies in moving beyond the nation-state governed by corporate monolithic power. Freeing oneself from the system that oppresses our very human nature is possible when we replace international relations with shared responsibility toward our common wealth and the health of our planet. Around the world, global civil collaboration is emerging as an “earth family, the community of all beings supported by the earth” (Shiva, 2005, p. 1). This earth family shares the principle of “the planet as a commons.” (p. 2, 2005)
WikiLeaks exposed the bankers rip-off of the Icelandic people and it became clear that this small non-profit group was more helpful to them than their own leaders. WikiLeaks is heralding the birth of the transnational non-profit fourth estate. They have been involved in drafting a new Icelandic law to create a safe haven for whistleblowers and journalists, for those who expose crimes or corruption in power around the world (Cohen, 2010). A new global civil society is emerging out of such events as the Battle of Seattle and the recent climate change conference in Bolivia. Citizen led actions have been challenging the Matrix of commercialized globalization, where economic exploitation and ‘national security’ trump human concerns.
The values of shared ownership, collaboration, sustainability, equality and empathy that are held by the new commons are similar to ones held by many indigenous peoples. When technology is used with this sense for sharing ideas, culture, and circulation of critical information and services, open source can serve as a spiritual source that dismantles the Matrix. This turns the model of Microsoft monopoly or government hegemony on its head. What is going on with music, blogs by ordinary citizens etc. are a part of a movement that transforms the way we relate to each other on all levels. People in this are driven not by profit motives, but by a sense of service, using individual skill, talent and passion as gifts to the larger community. Vessels of communication are shared by community and a new sense of ownership is born. Rather than buying into corporate and military takeover, we can build co-ops, credit unions, farmers markets and maximize the openness of the internet.
I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid. You’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin….. I’m going to show them a world without you, a world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries, a world where anything is possible. Where we go from there, is a choice I leave to you… (Wachowski & Wachowski, 1999)
The open source of truth in a Global Corporate Matrix is a new civil justice movement. The key to open the door is within. The life of this planet depends on whether or not humanity can come together to bring society into a new era. WikiLeaks is an icon of our time, reaching for the door to tomorrow. It is up to each of us to walk through it.
Note: This piece was written in June 2010.
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