Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The Left's disarray over the Assange case.

Over the Assange case the Left has found itself once again divided, once again schismatic, sectarian and ultimately unable to articulate itself in the midst of a state-media consensus on the extradition of Assange to Sweden. The liberal commentariat has reacted with a cretinous apologetics for the government's hysterical threat to raid the Ecuadorian embassy to forcibly seize a whistleblower for allegations he isn't charged with yet. The BBC have set the agenda, the debate has been limited to just two positions: you either take the side of law and order to extradite Julian Assange to face the allegations in Sweden, or you believe that the allegations against Assange are illegitimate. It is the case that there are three main positions on the Left, but only one can be acknowledged by the mainstream media:
- It's about Justice: Assange needs to answer to these allegations given their serious nature, for the sake of a consistent commitment to transparency and accountability he should be extradited. The threat of extradition to the US has been greatly exaggerated by his supporters to justify his refusal to face these serious allegations.
- Bad Sexual Etiquette: The allegations of rape/molestation are illegitimate, possibly cooked up in order to vilify WikiLeaks and detain Assange for revealing secret information. It's purely a political matter, the allegations are a cover to extradite Assange to Sweden and then to the US. We have to stand beside Assange at this time.
- Don't underestimate the US: It isn't the definition, or even what constitutes, rape that we should be debating. The allegations are extremely serious. But it is a matter of the extradition purely. The Swedish government could question him in Britain, possibly by video link, and has the power to veto any extradition to the US that might come up. Yet the Swedish government refuses to do either. Surely then it makes sense for Assange to seek refuge in Ecuador to avoid a similar fate as Bradley Manning.
Of course the only line that the bourgeois media are interested in is that of 'bad sexual etiquette' - it was irresistable - given the hysteria WikiLeaks seems to have provoked even among liberal news outlets. And the Left has been in an almost perpetual state of crisis for a long time. There isn't much of a coherent Left left, though there never was a unified Left. It seems that this is a symptom of the decline and disarray of the Left.

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