The impending extradition of Julian Assange shows us that the pretense of free speech in the United States is a farce. In fact, amid the right-wing panics about one’s inability to spew homophobic or racist ideas without pushback, Assange’s situation reminds us that the rich and powerful do have free speech — but those who challenge the brutality of American empire will always face persecution for their heroism.
Unsurprisingly, Assange’s defenders in Washington have been few. Diametrically opposed to one another on most basic political issues, Representatives Ilhan Omar and Marjorie Taylor Greene took to Twitter to condemn the extradition. But centrist politicians kept mum. Which leads us to an interesting question: How is a broad array of anti-establishment politicians, thinkers, and activists brought together in an understanding of the central importance of Julian Assange’s whistleblowing?
We’ll be tackling questions like these and more with this week’s guest, author and Jacobin writer Branko Marcetic, who has recently written about the hypocrisy of American politicians and commentators tacitly supporting Assange’s extradition. In “We Would Never Tolerate Julian Assange’s Persecution If Any Other Country Carried It Out,” which was published this week in Jacobin, Marcetic offers a compelling thought experiment: How would those politicians and commentators weigh in if the individual in Assange’s position was from a country that the United States has written off entirely as an enemy force? While American leaders often profess their project to consist of saving democracy and expanding the “free world,” the very charges they level at the perceived threats to this project apply all too well to them.
We hope you’ll join us for this week’s episode. Paying subscribers can access the video when it’s released Friday. Everyone else can listen to the podcast when the audio is released Saturday evening. Thanks for tuning in.
David Rovics - Behind the prison walls:
"Behind these prison walls there's a man who's won awards
For the work that he has done and all that it affords
Such as the knowledge of the horrors committed in our name
They can't stop the message, so the messenger gets blamed
Behind these prison walls is a part of Wikileaks
An eloquent orator, but you won't hear him speak
Locked away in silence, one who knows too well
How those in power act when there's another war to sell