Entry - July

2011-07-17 Announcing the WikiLeaks Central Essay Competition Winner

The winner is:

Continued improvements in technology will eventually render the State obsolete.

by xaviercromartie

We would like to make clear that the judges are not 'endorsing' the underlying philosophy of the writer by announcing a winner. What we liked most about the winning essay was the writer's ability to clearly describe the relationship between the seemingly anarchical state of the Internet and the centralized structure of the state proper vis a vis the individual. We believe the writer successfully rendered the topic relevant and worthy of further discussion.

Competition Entry | Empowering the Individual - The Answer to Tyranny

How can individuals and societies protect themselves against the encroachment and abuse of government power in the modern age?

By "Peacenik" Rick Dickinson

The specter of totalitarianism is looming. A cyber-backed authoritarian regime, arising from the collusion between government and other powerful institutions, forever protecting the interests of the few from the threat of a free human race. Yet the solution to prevent this dystopian future can be found where it has been all along: inside every person.

The surest way to keep out tyranny starts with a voice inside that says "I can make a difference. My voice counts. I matter!" Whatever it is that makes someone feel like this, is precisely what is needed in larger amounts. Anything that takes an individual from feeling helpless and afraid to feeling hopeful and engaged is what will ultimately set humankind free.

Of course, one invigorated individual alone wouldn't stand much of a chance against the influential entities seeking to enslave the planet. But that's where emergent technology comes into play. Now, unlike any other time in history, humans have the tools to channel independent actions from a multitude of engaged citizens into an indomitable player in the political spectrum.

Everyday, more and more people are getting infected with the empowered spirit, and, all the time, innovations arise to more effectively organize this scattered people-power into a focused force for change. Soon, if it hasn't happened already, the world's population will recognize that the balance of power is now in their hands.

With an enlightened global populace demanding accountable governance everywhere, humans will be set free to create, in the words of Paul Krugman, "a society each of us would want if we didn't know in advance who we'd be."

Competition Entry | How can individuals and societies protect themselves against the encroachment and abuse of government power in the modern age?

How can individuals and societies protect themselves against the encroachment and abuse of government power in the modern age?

By anonym

Gesellschaft motivieren, sich gegen Machtmissbrauch des Staates zu schützen Noch nie war es so einfach wie heute sich zu informieren. Durch Internet hat jeder Bürger nahezu kostenlos Zugang zu fast grenzenlosen Informationen.

Dennoch ist ein Großteil der Gesellschaft so wenig politisch interessiert und folglich so schlecht informiert wie wahrscheinlich keine Generation davor.

Die Macht, die die Gesellschaft theoretisch durch den Zugang zu massenhaften Informationen hat, wird nicht genutzt und vermutlich noch nicht einmal wahrgenommen.

Es ist den Medien gelungen, die Aufmerksamkeit der Gesellschaft vollständig auf die Sparte Klatsch und Tratsch, Triviales und Sport zu lenken und die Bedürfnisse nach Information damit zu befriedigen. In einer Demokratie sollte die Gesellschaft und die Medien durch kritisches Hinterfragen ein Gegengewicht zum Staat und der Wirtschaft bilden, so dass Machtmissbrauch des Staates und der Wirtschaft verhindert oder deutlich erschwert wird.

Dieses Gegengewicht ist durch die politische Gleichgültigkeit der Gesellschaft und durch die Oberflächlichkeit vieler Medien nicht mehr ausreichend vorhanden. So glaubt z.B. der Großteil der Gesellschaft, dass in den TV-Nachrichten auseichend objektive und neutrale Informationen vermittelt werden. Dadurch wird es dem Staat einfach gemacht seine Macht zu missbrauchen. Es kommt zu Verquickungen zwischen Staat, Wirtschaft und Medien. Der Machtmissbrauch des Staates wird von der Gesellschaft nicht oder sehr spät erkannt. (Beispiel: So wurde in Deutschland gegen das Bahnprojekt Stuttgart 21 erst nach Baubeginn demonstriert.). Wie können sich Bürger und die Gesellschaft gegen den Machtmissbrauch des Staates schützen?

Die Gesellschaft muss zuerst motiviert werden und die Notwendigkeit erkennen, sich zu schützen.

Competition Entry | A Modern Social Contract.

How can individuals and societies protect themselves against the encroachment and abuse of government power in the modern age?

By Bradley Bowman

When a government abases the social contract that protects natural rights and prosperity without the consent of the governed, a new contract must be made.

For the first time in history, the communication of information flows indiscriminate of class or culture. The modern age has witnessed the impact in the Middle East where individuals and societies continue to rewrite their social contracts against their former governments. It is within the social media groups, the hacktivists, and the protestors of impoverished nations that power shifts from the privileged few back to the protection of the people.

In a recent interview with two Anonymous operators, the administrators stated that the group was not represented accurately by the mainstream media. “ 99% of Anonymous aren’t hackers at all. They are just normal users,” said one operator, “People that care and are sick of the system.”

People go on the irc client, irc.anonops.li, for mostly social reasons and network with each other for active protests. If interested in “joining” Anonymous, go to the IRC address and join the channel #opnewblood to learn more about becoming active as a protester, supporter, or to become more informed on current issues pertaining to government abuses. Most people can contribute to the cause just by spreading the word. From Anonymous’ perspective, the power of an idea can change the world.

One member sent a link to a video of a protest at Scientology Church in
Edmonton. See http://vimeo.com/798098?utm_campaign=embed&utm_source=798098. Anonymous members stood outside the building in Guy Fawkes masks and held up signs of protest denouncing it as a cult.

Competition Entry | Speak Boldly

How can individuals and societies protect themselves against the encroachment and abuse of government power in the modern age?

By Rhonda Dolen

If one stands and watches a mass of people in a dark night, take one candle, and with it, light all the other candles held by hopeful hands under dark skies, until the night flickers with a brilliant beauty from star-like, flickering candles, lighting the darkened landscape; then one is witnessing a representation of the power of words, words that are filled with appeals to humanity, to justice, to reason, to freedom, to an end to corruption. Appeals to justice and humanity catch fire in people’s souls until soldiers accept flowers in the barrels of their guns and stand down as iron curtains are ripped to pieces.

The best way to fight off the encroachment and abuse of government power in the modern age is by appealing to the quality of being humane – by appealing to humanity. These appeals to humanity should encourage people to recognize the vital importance of supporting WikiLeaks and organizations like it - and of supporting whistleblowers in general.

Appeals to humanity have achieved exquisite victories in modern history with no weapons but voices. Gandhi in India, Martin Luther King, Jr. in America’s southern states, the recent Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, all testify to the power of our better natures when we stand up and say, “Enough!” And indeed, the use of weapons by individuals against modern governments would be a hopeless, and at the very least, bloody endeavor in most cases.

Competition Entry | Freedom and Moral Right are Inseparable

How can individuals and societies protect themselves against the encroachment and abuse of government power in the modern age?


Anyone not blindly influenced by his own prejudices can't help but perceive that there is a close and inseparable relationship between the moral condition and climate of an individual and a nation and the agreeableness to liberty of a government. History is full of examples of a people being oppressed by government when the virtue of the people declines and tends toward corruption. Loss of liberty and freedom always follow the rejection of vicissitudes by a people or nation. Truth, honesty, goodness, kindness, peace and mercy are the sure and eternal supports of a free people and that a deviation from those points invariably lead to a slow and then rapid decline in the freedom of people. Conversely; lying, theft, malice, greed and killing are inimical to freedom and liberty.

Competition Entry | Shrouded in Secrecy

How can individuals and societies protect themselves against the encroachment and abuse of government power in the modern age?

By Joel Phillips, Columbia University Undergrad

The first time I heard about WikiLeaks and its mysterious rebel leader, Julian Assange, I was definitely impressed. My generation was one of the first to grow up in a world in which our lives revolved around our computers. I certainly had a reserved admiration for those cool hackers, fueled by Redbull, who could create chaos around the world – from their dark, basement lairs.

Many of us also, I believe, long for a worthy cause. Julian Assange, in a sense, embodies this image. He is a rebel who is challenging the powers that be, bringing secrets around the world to light. However, all fantasies aside, if someone truly pressed me to reveal what I really believed, I would have had to admit that, cool as he may be, governments and corporations could never function without being able to retain certain “secret” information. I’ve been in leadership roles before. Some things are just simply better not shared with the masses. That would only create chaos. Right?

Leaders and politicians around the world tend to agree with me. Even the Obama administration, which had been such an advocate for government transparency, has come out in adamant condemnation of Julian Assange and his rebel organization, WikiLeaks. Just last year, in 2010, the first big bomb exploded in Washington’s face when WikiLeaks released the controversial footage of a 2007 air strike carried out by the U.S. military in Baghdad – against civilians. When the Pentagon learned of the potential leak of this information to the public, they went so far as claiming a national security threat from the WikiLeaks website. (The Guardian, 5 April 2010)

Competition Entry | Engineering Resistance: From the Triangle to the Circle

How can individuals and societies protect themselves against the encroachment and abuse of government power in the modern age?

By Andrew Mckenzie

The laws of parliament are complicated for the same reason the National Bank makes currency difficult to print. So, people can’t figure out how to do it. The liberation of humanity is achieved only through the liberation of the individual. We need to build tools, pirate the parliaments, unleash the political conscious, and build a new democratic basis for a better future.

What does the Internet mean for politics in the West? In the Middle East, WikiLeaks, Al Jazeera, and social networking sites have been credited with putting social and democratic movements on steroids, having played a large role in bringing millions of determined revolutionaries into the streets. Closer to home, Anonymous and Lulzsec have thrived, prying at the secret corporate and military supra-structures of Western societies.

The Internet is a place for the freedom of ideas, actions, and information. We have seen the Internet profoundly improve social contact, business efficiency, and information accessibility. The Internet is unique because of its ease, structure, and familiarity. We are now beginning to see the political consequences of this revolutionary technology.

The Internet is not merely an archive of accessible information. It represents quite powerfully a representation of human reality. This reality is home to humanity's ideas, culture, knowledge, transactions, and social communication. In this essay, I argue that the Internet is evolving into a tool to liberate the individual from the alienation of our modern political systems.

Competition Entry | Bradley Manning for President?

How can individuals and societies protect themselves against the encroachment and abuse of government power in the modern age?

by Timothy Lawson, http://timothylawson.tumblr.com/archive

The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings.

Kennedy’s words are true today.

In a historic address to the American Newspapers Publishers Association ANPA in 1961, President Kennedy outlined the contradictory nature of the need for secrecy in matters of national security and the need for greater public access to the machinations of government. The ideals of free speech and a free press are enshrined in the American national consciousness.

The concern expressed by President Kennedy in his 1961 speech is just as valid and relevant today as it was fifty years ago. Two recent chains of events have bought this issue to the forefront of the media spotlight; the actions of Anat Kam and the alleged actions of Bradley Manning.

The current furore over the Wikileaks scandal bears many similarities to the Anat Kam affair. Kam, the young Israeli journalist, was accused of stealing over 2,000 military documents and leaking them to Uri Blau – a reporter for Israel’s oldest daily newspaper, Haaretz. Her aim was to expose war crimes committed by the Israel Defense Forces (IFD) in the West Bank.

Competition Entry | Cont'd improvements in technology will eventually render the State obsolete.

How can individuals and societies protect themselves against the encroachment and abuse of government power in the modern age?

by xaviercromartie

A human is, by nature, a capitalist—a producer of capital. As Frank Chodorov wrote in The Rise and Fall of Society, humans seek to satisfy their infinite desires with the least possible net expenditure of labor. Technology continuously improves over time because humans are capable of understanding nature's laws and calculating ways in which producing something today can make life easier in the future. For example, by expending the energy to produce a spear, an early human found hunting and self-defense significantly easier thereafter.

The State is not a producer; it is "a bandit gang writ large," as Murray Rothbard put it. Politics is not a science; it is simply control over other people. In The State, Franz Oppenheimer explained the origin of the State. The origin of the State is the conquest of capital-producing people. The State comes into existence entirely for the purpose of economic exploitation. The conquerors become masters and the producers become their slaves.

In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond supports the idea that the State arises out of conquest. Diamond cites, in detail, the example of the Battle of Cajamarca between the Spanish Empire and the Inca Empire. 168 Spanish soldiers massacred an army of approximately 80,000 Incans. The Spaniards won because they had superior technologies such as guns, cannons, and steel.

Introducing the Monthly International WikiLeaks Central Essay Competition. Brilliance equals payola.

Welcome to the first monthly WikiLeaks Central Essay Competition 2011.

WikiLeaks is a disruptive innovation in the field of publishing. Both a new kind of institution and an idea, Wikileaks and 'scientific journalism' have emerged from, and are created for, the information age.

A donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, approached WLC and offered to fund a monthly essay competition to elucidate foundational concepts and currents that underpin and run through the shifting boundaries of our social, economic, and political landscapes. They hope that this competition will inspire discourse about the 'most important things' regarding 'human matters'. Their objective is to help the public examine, discover, and understand the topography of life and civilization in the modern era. They are especially keen to hear the essayist write on and about the fundamental threads of thought woven through the WikiLeaks phenomenon.


How can individuals and societies protect themselves against the encroachment and abuse of government power in the modern age?


1.) If you do not already have one, register for a WLC account.

2.) Send an email to admin@wlcentral.org with the header: Competition: TITLE OF ESSAY by WLC ACCOUNT NAME. Insert your essay into the body of the email.

3.) See submission guidelines and rules below.

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