The most consequential Anarchist attack on the Western world may be in meltdown. The Anarchists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were responsible for the assassination of a number of world leaders, the last of which led to World War I. This movement hoped to destroy the established governments of the day so that a “new and better” world could emerge. Their mission did not spell out what kind of better world that would be, but these ideologues believed, with little evidence, that government was an evil force and that without it, people would be virtuous and happy.
There are three Anarchist movements today, all of them enthusiastically supported by young activists, but run by behind-the-scenes masterminds. The “Occupy” movement focuses on the injustice of growing disparity of wealth between the one percent that has grown even richer and the 99 percent in which the middle class is in steep decline. The issue is of real concern, but this movement of sincere young people has been usurped by anarchists with another agenda: to take down capitalism.
The second Anarchist movement has been directed against global financial organizations such as the UN Monetary Fund and G-20, meetings of the world’s top financial powers each year. This Anarchist movement has already gone violent, so far only in the destruction of property; no deaths yet.
The third Anarchist movement was the brainchild of an Australian drifter, Julian Assange, reared by a staunchly Anarchist mother. He gathered a community of computer hackers (clever young people who do it for fun) and had them hack secret government transmissions. Nations have always spied on each other, but this spying has been different: it has been not only reading private mail, but publishing it. What has made this a successful program for Assange has been the enormous mischief that this hacking has done. He has been particularly eager to sow dissention among the leading democracies, less interested in the more oppressive states around the world.
Wikileaks would never have been so successful had the “free press” resisted the temptation to publish stolen secrets. We no longer have “gentlemen’s agreements” to use responsibility before publishing; today, it is a ratings game, and the more awful the better.
Now, the Pied Piper of Wikileaks is in his end game. Sweden, where he once visited and has been accused of sexual misconduct, wants him back to address these accusations. Assange not only fears this investigation, but also fears that Sweden will turn him over to the United States, where he is accused of violating secrecy laws.
He has been protected and housed by a wealthy admirer in England and enjoyed the adulation of his young and naïve followers. Now the British courts are ready to send him to Sweden for trial, but the wily Assange has taken refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and has been granted asylum to Ecuador, a country not fond of free speech. Therein lies the problem: the British are not going to give him free passage to the airport to flee justice. Assange even gave a Mussolini-style balcony speech for his foolish followers.
Wikileaks has now fallen on hard times. They are without their disgraced leader, the donations of money have fallen off, and many of the young hackers have quit and moved on. There has always been a question of the sources of their money, and several suspects are nation states.
The whole issue of Wikileaks leaves us with an unresolved issue: how can diplomats correspond with their governments when their communication channels are hacked and contents published? The last time that any Western nation was in such a position was when the English Ambassador in the mid-16th century witnessed a French pogrom against French Protestants but had to wait until he returned to England to debrief Queen Elizabeth I. He could not trust the security of sending messengers with vital secrets. Are we approaching such a dilemma today? We could be unless we figure out how to protect our secrets.
Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of Ten Inventions That Changed Everything. You may contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.net.