Julian Assange Sends Speech on Activism to FuturePerfect Ö Festival

At the end of August Vaxholm, Sweden was the host of the FuturePerfect Ö Festival which is focused on sustainable living. The festival hosts many speakers and this year Julian Assange gave a speech about activism, a key ingredient in the fight for human rights and the changes required in our world for true sustainable living.

While not being able to attend the event himself as Assange is still staying at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, he was able to send a pre-recorded speech to the event.

Assange began his speech by expressing his happiness at the festival still being a “possibility” in Sweden because despite the political changes that have occurred in the country that he himself is unhappy with, it represents the “best part of the Swedish tradition.” He added that rather than have another speech about his own problems, he would be talking about the challenges we all face as people – the challenges to bring about change in our society.

Civilisation, Assange says, has some key ingredients which need to be understood before we can bring about a better society, such as the media.

“Let’s take away all media, let’s take away all mediums, let’s take away all ability for human beings to communicate with each other in the present and also it will learn from past experiences to teach the future. If there is no communication between people, if every person is entirely isolated like a tree in a forest, then clearly there is no civilisation and there is no society.”

While many may be quick to point out that traditionally the term “media” has been reserved for an industry rather than the channels we use to communicate, Assange addresses that industry as well saying that while it is successful and profitable, it’s also corrupt. This corruption occurs because the people in the media have been given a certain amount of power and in turn become part of the establishment that they should be “policing”, and that’s where the power of the internet comes in.

The Truth Just for a Moment

Thanks to the internet, media organisations no longer have the complete control over the flow of information that they once had. The internet has brought about the ability for organisations like WikiLeaks to “publish for a moment the truth.”

Assange says the response of the media so far has to simply bury this truth in ever-increasing quantities of “propaganda” which may sometimes work. He likens the fight for the truth to fighting a fire with a hose; we just have to determine the size of the hose by deciding on whether we will come together or not.

This truth, as Assange points out, has never been as important as human civilisation is on a precipice. All over the world people are facing constant surveillance, continuous war, collapse of laws etc.

“We face a serious global crisis, so we must understand that this is not a choice about doing the right thing, this is not a choice about whether we appear to be moral, this is not a choice about whether we make friends, or are approved as an effective member of society. We face a choice of whether we will have a civilisation that is civil or not.”

Fight Fire with Fire

For Assange, that choice is simple. People need to see the problem, understand the problem and spread the word. People need to come together and invent a means, technological or otherwise, to fight fire with fire with unity and determination.

Assange concluded his speech by saying that it is the unity and determination that will play a key role in this fight. If you look at the past and the many resistance struggles we’ve seen around the world, he says, these two factors were what gave those struggles power.

“That is what held the day in the end. Unity, determination, understanding and creativity, looking for every possible venture where the forces of darkness can be held back, that is the only way that we are all going to survive that on-going threat that is against everyone.”

You can listen to the full speech on FuturePerfect’s SoundCloud Page.

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