Joti Brar and Garland Nixon episode 6: Julian Assange and ‘rules-based order’

How does imperialism get away with its persecution of Julian Assange and how does this fit into our understanding of the ‘rules-based international order’?

In the sixth instalment of conversations between Garland Nixon and Joti Brar, discussions range from free speech and the case of Julian Assange to Palestine and the issue of national sovereignty, how the October Revolution and Marxism awoke the world to national self-determination, and the examples of Venezuela and north Korea (DPRK) in this context.

The US imperialists want to extradite Julian Assange from Britain to the USA – where he has never lived, where he did not carry out any of his activities and where he is not a citizen, but where the ruling class wants to put him on trial for ‘treason’. When put this way, it seems absurd. How can a person be charged with treason when they are not even a citizen of that country?

Imperialism’s mortal enemy, free speech, is the reason for this judicial kidnapping and international persecution.

Assange has not committed any crimes. He has simply done what any journalist ought to be doing – bringing facts into the public realm. Wikileaks provides a platform to expose important truths, and as a platform it has a power that an individual on their own does not.

Free speech becomes dangerous once there is a platform for truth-tellers to broadcast their views that is able to connect to a wide audience. Without such a platform, you can have all the free speech you want, but it won’t matter … Because no one will hear you.

There is only one weapon that works against imperialism; the organisation of the masses. This is an understanding noticeably absent in today’s movement – and it is an indication of how far the trade unions have sunk that they are not trying to organise to defend Julian Assange or to stop the sham proceedings taking place in British courts. The leadership of our trade unions in the west have become completely servile to imperialist interests and serve not to enable their members’ independent action but to suppress it.

If governments are ‘for the people’, supposedly accountable to us, then how can they keep such enormous and violent secrets that have resulted in the needless deaths of millions? Because a bourgeois (capitalist) government is not for the people; it’s a machinery for keeping the ruling class in charge and the workers in their place.

Karl Marx and VI Lenin documented how the gradual development of class society results in a state representing the real interests of fewer and fewer people (the super-rich ruling class), which as a result needs a bigger and more violent system of repression to keep the status quo intact. From feudalism to capitalism to imperialism, more and more wealth has been amassed in the hands of an ever-diminishing (in absolute size) ruling class, which continues to lord it over the rest of us by means of increasingly invasive systems of repression paid for by this obscene wealth.

The liberal bourgeois media like to pretend they believe in the ‘rule of law’, ‘international law’ and so on. What is not often discussed is the fact that it was the 1917 October Revolution in Russia that brought the idea of national self-determination and sovereignty into the popular consciousness of humanity. By its deeds, not just through fine words, the living example of the Soviet Union on the world stage brought about a huge rise in global class-consciousness and anti-imperialist sentiment amongst the great mass of working people in the oppressed nations.

It was under the Soviet Union’s influence that countless United Nations resolutions concerning the right of national sovereignty were enshrined in international law, for national self-determination is a Marxist concept. In this climate, it was possible to advance the national interests of many oppressed nations, and the UN even passed resolutions affirming the just nature of the armed resistance of the Palestinians against Israeli aggression. The Soviet Union was the anti-empire of the world.