HomeArticleSome Thoughts On Sectarian Infighting In Activist Circles

Some Thoughts On Sectarian Infighting In Activist Circles

Well it finally happened. After months and months of avoiding the vapid sectarian infighting between Assange activism cliques like the plague, a few hours ago I finally got sucked into the drama. I always do my best to keep my head down and focus my energy on corrupt world leaders, depraved government agencies, malignant media narrative managers, viral psyops and cultural mind viruses, but sometimes people force their drama upon me no matter where I hide. I won’t bore my readers with the details, and I won’t indulge the drama queens by naming them.

The experience was intensely moronic, but it also gave me an opportunity to form some thoughts about the way energized dissident activist groups almost invariably find their energy collapsing in on themselves with soul-sucking sectarianism.

A few hours before a couple of longtime WikiLeaks advocates got up in my Twitter screen demanding that I denounce the Assange advocacy group Unity4J, the co-host and co-founder of the organization Elizabeth Lea Vos had tweeted the following:

“It is absolutely sickening to watch attacks on WikiLeaks and WL supporters amp up as we hear news regarding Assange’s deteriorating health. No matter what movement (or no movement) you choose to work with, DO SOMETHING to support Assange, #Manning, WikiLeaks, Ola Bini, etc.”

This is a message that Unity4J leaders have been putting out there for quite some time: just do something. It doesn’t have to be with Unity4J, and it doesn’t have to be with any organization at all; just do something to bring public awareness to the reality of Assange’s plight and its consequences. Everyone has the ability to do something to help Assange. If you’re uncomfortable with the fact that Unity4J sometimes has speakers with political ideologies that different from your own, for example, there’s not actually anything stopping you from pouring your energy into supporting Assange in a completely different way.

For this reason, it makes no sense to instead pour that energy into attacking a pro-Assange activist group that has the same goal you have: the freedom of Julian Assange. It is impossible to simultaneously attack a pro-Assange activist group you don’t like and conduct pro-Assange activism; you can only do one or the other at any given time, and if you choose the former, that says a lot about your motivations and values.

Drama can be a powerfully addictive drug. I mean that quite literally; an article in Psychology Today explains that drama “causes the pituitary gland and hypothalamus to secrete endorphins, which are the pain-suppressing and pleasure-inducing compounds, which heroin and other opiates mimic.”

“There is also another factor,” the article continues. “Using drama as a drug feels good so it is rewarding. Reward uses dopamine, the brain’s happy dance drug.”

Conflict and drama also delivers adrenaline, which is another potentially addictive neurotransmitter.

When you see people who habitually stir up dramatic tensions in activist groups or dissident political circles or anywhere else, they might be speaking as though they find the experience emotionally uncomfortable, but underneath the performance they’re getting exactly what they want out of the ordeal. It’s literally getting them high.

We’ve all known people in our lives who are addicted to drama in this way. If you’ve never known any, that’s because it’s you. Some people just don’t know how to feel okay inside without regular fixes of that neurochemical hit. It doesn’t necessarily make them bad people, but it definitely makes them unpleasant to be around.

I avoid sectarian infighting partly because it’s a huge waste of energy and attention that I could be spending creating useful content, but also because at the center of it, wherever it occurs, you’ll always find drama addicts. There is simply nothing to be gained by engaging such individuals, because while they’ll pretend their concern is with correcting a dangerous policy or treasonous influencers or whatever, their actual unconscious concern is with getting high. It’s impossible to have a meaningful conversation with someone who’s completely uninterested in having a meaningful discussion and is actually only seeking a neurochemical fix.

People who aren’t addicted to drama do not engage in this behavior. They don’t bow to the vampirous drama queenery of “call-out culture”, which mandates that energy remain bogged down in endless lateral-punching and fragmentation instead of up-punching at the real enemy. If there’s a group that isn’t what they like, they just don’t join it. They take their energy elsewhere and do their own thing.

This allows for a far more efficient use of revolutionary energy, but it means standing as an individual. It means not being married to any clique, organization or ideological group and standing as a revolutionary free agent. It’s more intimidating than plugging yourself into the groupthink of a particular faction and fighting from there, because it means taking sole responsibility for the ideas in your head and the things you put out into the world. But it frees you up from the choice of either (A) accepting immersion into a tribe that will necessarily be far from perfect or (B) wasting your energy trying to make that tribe perfect.

Be brave enough to stand on your own two feet. If you see an organization or initiative which is doing something you support in a given moment, then give it your energy in that specific moment. And then take it and move it to the next thing.

Decentralization is where it’s at anyway. Putting all our revolutionary eggs into one revolutionary basket will with 100 percent certainty guarantee that the establishment will focus all its firepower on undermining that basket with smear campaigns, censorship, infiltration and sabotage, so the more we can attack the machine as individuals the better. We can still converge together on the same issues at the same time where appropriate, but if we’re not chained together we’re much harder to undermine.

If you’re standing in your own sovereignty on your own two feet, you’ve got no investment in whether this or that activist or political group is doing things right. All you’re doing is watching for opportunities to strike the head of the beast with as much force as possible.

Standing as an individual also frees you up to make clear distinctions. I never waste my energy policing other small time dissident alternative media figures, for example, but I have been aggressively attacking the propaganda construct known as QAnon. Q acolytes get upset, telling me that they’re on my side and they want the same things as me, but using my own discernment I can see that that’s not true. Ask any real Assange supporter what they want and they’ll tell you they desire his unconditional freedom; ask a QAnon cultist what they want and they’ll say they want him to remain imprisoned until the Trump administration can force him to testify that Seth Rich was the source of the DNC emails, or that Assange isn’t imprisoned at all. Unlike other political dissidents and activist groups that I might simply disagree with from time to time, QAnon is very much a part of the same oppression machine that I am attacking.

You can trust yourself to make these distinctions. You can trust yourself to stand on your own two feet completely apart from all groupthink and fight the machine as an individual. You can trust yourself to know when to collaborate on a specific issue and with whom, and you can trust yourself to know when to cease collaborating and return to operating on your own. Nobody is more qualified to tell you how to understand the world and how to act in it than you are.


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Latest comments

  • I’ve been a part-time organizer. I ended up forced to take time off due to health problems exacerbated by in-fighting and possible infiltration of the group I organized. In-fighting became an impediment to accomplishing goals. More recently I was part of a group where it also became impossible to accomplish anything, or even agree on a goal. A clique of unfulfilled PhDs felt it was their forum to lord over the other members. They posted paragraph after paragraph of critiques, some directed at other activists in the same group when they tried to share information. It appears some activist groups are dominated by an overbearing, petty clique who feel more important. It is unlikely they’ll change their ways because they enjoy drawing attention to themselves in chat rooms and email lists, rather than real constructive grunt work. The focus becomes not accomplishing concrete goals but winning endless arguments, while pouncing on people for minor mistakes in emails, discrediting those around them– in order to “win.” Of course, I think there are paid infiltrators who take advantage of such tendencies also. It is important that people in a group devote attention to methods of mediating these problems. In my experience, there is this macho attitude that you are supposed to be able to take the heat, but if we are honest, the truth is most people end up angry and feel betrayed. This causes them to cut back on their effort significantly.

  • Or groups can actively choose to “fight gracefully”. Try using a Talking Circle protocol like http://www.ConstitutionOfPeace.com … It guarantees equal speaking time, no interruptions and multiple rounds of speaking … all run to a strict time limit agreed by the group. It can be done on-line or face to face.

    Internal group conflict needn’t be demonised or pathologised. (with cries of “infiltrator”, “troll”, “drama queen”, etc. … followed by “conflict avoidance”, sweeping under the carpet and purges.)

    We need tools for “ego management”, disciplined discussion and efficient time-management of group discussions … under-pinned by a desire to learn, even from your “enemies”.

    In theory, the Left is keen on “diversity”, but this must (by definition) fly in the face of “unity” … which is often just a code word for “group think”. People love diversity, as long as it’s the right kind of diversity?

    I’m hoping to hear from people who are interested in conflict resolution, creative facilitation, meta-analysis of group dynamics and alliance building.

    Chris.Poynton@gmail.com …. VIC Australia

    • “diversity”, usually referring to biological diversity, is for the identity politics crowd, which is definitely not the Left.

      meaningful critique of a philosophy or an ideology can only come from OUTSIDE that particular philosophical / ideological world, made by someone who subscribes to an alternative philosophy or ideology.

      we can only point out logical errors — made by others who share the same set of philosophical premises — WITHIN the philosophico-ideological world.

  • I disagree with Jimmy Roberts, the whole organised disciplined Marxist led thing is simply not going to happen. When you are dealing with a Leviathan that is almost unassailably powerful, protected by the atomised fractured and horribly dissociated mass psyche after 30 years of MK Ultra style collective abuse, the way to fight is small, low tech , random guerilla individuals. Caitlin is 100 % correct.
    Absolutely we are in the situation of the Viet-Cong


    • So you disagree with the need for collective, mass action, and yet point to the Vietcong as an example to follow!! A glaring contradiction, if ever there was one. The 50 years long struggle of the Vietnamese people for national independence could not possibly have been successful against French, and then American imperialism, without : – 1. An organised political and military resistance; 2) The support and sympathy of the masses for the struggle to oust the imperialists; 3) Worldwide support and solidarity with the Vietnamese on the part of the working class, including the American working class. The mass Peace movement in the USA was a key aspect in forcing the US withdrawal in 1975.

      The success of the struggle would have come sooner but for the fact Stalinism took the leadership of the struggle, and focused on guerilla war in the countryside instead of seeking to mobilise the working class in the cities of the South in combination with the peasantry, as the Bolsheviks did to spectacularly successful effect in Russia in 1917.

      Stalinist methods on the part of the Vitecong, using force instead of persuasion, also impeded the winning over of the working class and peasantry to the goal of national liberation. Events subsequent to the victory over the Americans in 1975 have also shown that Stalinism is a cancer that will eventually kill the revolutionary ideals of the masses, and imprison them in a military/police dictatorship. The Vietnamese regime is now cosying up to the Trump administration in the hope of gaining US aid and loans.

      Guerillaism is the equivalent of Liberals with a bomb. It is always a case of individuals, some of them undoubtedly very brave individuals, substituting themselves for mass action, and setting themselves up as saviours of the masses. History demonstrates in China (Mao), and in Cuba (Castro), that such guerillaism always ends up in a personal dictatorship, ruthlessly enforced by the Army and Police. It also leads eventually to capitalist restoration as we are seeing before our very eyes in China and Cuba, and as we saw with the collapse of the Soviet bloc between 1989 and 1991.

      The Bolsheviks of Lenin and Trotsky showed how to organise, lead, and inspire a successful Revolution that conquered one sixth of the planet. There is NO OTHER TEMPLATE FOR SUCCESSFUL REVOLUTION THAN A PARTY BASED ON LENINIST PRINCIPLES AND INSPIRED BY SOCIALIST (MARXIST) IDEAS, as history has demonstrated.

      Unity is strength. Individualism is a road to nowhere.

      • I think you may have misunderstood me there Jimmy, i was referring to the guerilla military struggle of the VC against a vastly superior enemy, similar to what Iran would do if the US invaded them. The system is omnipresent, all powerful, there is no desire for Marxism in the dossociated west. There is no Soviet Union to help, the Chinese are very nominally communist. Comng out as a Marxist revolutionary will make you an object of curiosity at best, a known quantity. But i dont have a mortgage on what is ABSOLUTELY ThE ONLY WAY. This is just my opinion. Coincidentally, i was just reading Ranciere and he quotes Stephane Mallarme from ‘The Water Lily’
        ‘Separes en est ensemble’ – separate we are together
        Keep fighting the good fight old son.
        Separately together, we will be like millions of little cluster bombs until consciousness shifts.

        • Separately, my friend, we are as useless as grains of sand in a windstorm. United, we can build pyramids. The US imperialist juggernaut is built upon a class-divided societ and is inherently unstable. It is only able to rule through enchaining – psychologically and physically – the exploited class, the working class. Once those chains are broken, anything is possible. The state machine will fall apart like all previous “omnipotent” empires and regimes once a revolutionary situation arises. History is littered with examples of such overturns – Ancient Rome, England 1642-49, the USA, 1775-81, France 1789, Russia 1917, et al. Your outlook is one of utter pessimism, defeatism, and fatalism because you have NO REVOLUTIONARY THEORY to guide you in understanding changing reality, and changing mass consciousness. You will find such enlightenment only in the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky.

    • I, too, suspect this is the case. What we’re up against has been developed in secret by think tanks and publicly implemented step by step via corporate-state cooperation for approximately forty years. It’s become too big, too pervasive, to tackle head on. It will have to be a multi-pronged approach on the part of the people — devious, wily, guerilla-like. We’ll have to out-think them, surprise them, undercut them. One of the side roads will be a continuation of what Assange has been doing: stripping off masks, shattering the illusion, exposing the parts of the vast machine for what it is. We’ve seen how they hate and fear Assange for what he has started. He is an exceptionally noble and courageous human being, and it is possible that they will succeed in destroying him, but our response will need to be tens of thousands of little Assanges probing deeper and exposing more widely, getting it all out into the open piece by piece. And that’s just one avenue.

      Coincidentally, I just ran across this relevant article: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-06-01/edward-snowden-most-effective-means-social-control-history-our-species-place

      I’m glad we have some very good people on our side, one of whom is Caitlin. Each of us, despite our limitations, can do something to help — if we care about future generations.

  • Sound like sabotage by CIA infiltrators; shades of COINTELPRO.

  • I understand your frustration with the endless bickering of miniscule grouplets who can’t see the wood for the trees.

    But your advocacy of individualism, and retreating into self-imposed isolation, is reactionary, counter-productive, and a gift to the capitalist powers-that-be.

    This is, after all, the goal of capitalism the world over – to reduce us all to individual customers and consumers, completely enslaved to the profit system, and divorced from fellow human beings, except when we pass in the shopping aisles.

    The fact is that Julian Assange and humanity as a whole can only be saved by COLLECTIVE ACTION, HUMAN SOLIDARITY, AND MASS PROTEST.

    There can be no decisive, lasting, and transformative political action to end the horrors of capitalism and imperialism without a Revolutionary Socialist Party.

    Capitalism/imperialism is not going to depart from the scene of history without implacable, relentless, and intelligent struggle on the part of significant proportions of the world’s population. That struggle must be LED to a successful conclusion, whether you like it or not, and it must be led by an organised, disciplined, and Marxist Revolutionary Party.

    Spontaneity is to Revolution as a match is to conflagration. If you want to set the capitalist system ablaze, and efface it from the face of the earth forever, you need a wildfire not a campfire.

    • You set yourself as the perfect example for Caitlin here, Jimmy. You and yours make the claim that this and that must be done before this or that can happen, while it’s obvious to just about anyone else that you’re just a selfish, radical prick.

      Good luck with all that Jimmy. I won’t be helping you start any fires. I’m here because I care about Julian Assange and I’m doing all I can to help.

      BTW, have you donated to him?

      • well if jimmy and his time-honored ways of activism had been effective, we wouldn’t be here would we?

    • You make some valid points Jimmy. But Caitlin’s points are valid too. It’s not a case of either/or. It’s more like harmonizing and pursuing both.

  • As always, brilliantly put! By the way, great song. Here’s another one …https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkeioFU2vw8

  • If you haven’t seen this already, it’s great!
    Honest Government Ad | Julian Assange

  • What appears to be infighting may really be an attempt to expose enemy infiltrators. It’s not unheard of for enemy agents to build a reputation as a comrade-in-arms within a movement for a long time before they begin to undermine it from within. I used to think Maddow and Olberman were allies. No more ( Maddow’s recent “support” of Assange notwithstanding).
    Consider the possibility that some people you find guilty of infighting have more and better information about the people they’re fighting than you do , and then ask them to fill you in.

    • and sometimes you feed the infiltrator a good portion of mis-information…

  • For a lifetime, I’ve been watching Left-on-Left Friendly Fire tear movements and organizations apart. I’ve seen so much of it, that I’ve long suspected that at least a bit of it is no accident. I’m only talking about a bit, because if your goal is to tear leftist organizations and movements apart, you don’t need very much. Just a few key voices that get people stirred up, the conflict and drama, adrenaline and dopamine, and a very big dose of ego in a movement where everyone wants to be a big shot on the internet and few want to do the hard work. That’s enough to start the infighting within a group.

    Note: I won’t ever call someone as deliberately wanting to do this. I’m sure most are just joining in the excitement and not knowing any better. But the Left as a whole needs to learn to resist this and keep the fire directed at the real enemies. After all, in a world with Donald Trump and Joe Biden and John Bolton in it, Lefties don’t need to be engaging in Friendly Fire as there are much better targets out there to shoot at.

  • Caitlin Johnstone: For this reason, it makes no sense to instead pour that energy into attacking a pro-Assange activist group that has the same goal you have: the freedom of Julian Assange. It is impossible to simultaneously attack a pro-Assange activist group you don’t like and conduct pro-Assange activism

    Indeed. I was just trying to persuade one left group to retract its online criticism of another somewhat less left group’s call for Assange & Manning’s freedom, which the first group contrived to interpret as meaning the opposite of what it said.

  • The shadow government, deep-state bureaucrats, CIA, FBI, NSA, psy-ops units of the ruling elite, always get their man/woman. So if JA dies in custody, you can expect the autopsy report to say ‘ ‘natural causes.’ ‘

  • After closer examination of the actual information Wikileaks and Snowden have provided one would greatly suspect these as limited hangouts.

    Snowden technically gave out information that has already been known, James Bamford has reported about the NSA spying since the 1980s.

    And as Prof Michel Chossudovsky puts it, Wikileaks seems more like a vehicle for ‘manufactured dissent.’
    “The broader question is why would Julian Assange receive the support from Britain’s foremost establishment news outfits which have consistently been involved in media disinformation?

    Are we not dealing with a case of “manufactured dissent”, whereby the process of supporting and rewarding Wikileaks for its endeavors, becomes a means of controlling and manipulating the Wikileaks project, while at the same time embedding it into the mainstream media.

    It is also worth mentioning another important link. Julian Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens of Finers Stephens Innocent (FSI), a major London elite law firm, happens to be the legal adviser to the Rothschild Waddesdon Trust. While this in itself does prove anything, it should nonetheless be examined in the broader context of Wikileaks’ social and corporate entourage: the NYT, the CFR, The Economist, Time Magazine, Forbes, Finers Stephens Innocent (FSI), Vaughan Smith and the Frontline Club, etc.

    Manufacturing Dissent

    Wikileaks has the essential features of a process of “manufactured dissent”. It seeks to expose government lies. It has released important information on US war crimes. But once the project becomes embedded in the mould of mainstream journalism, it is used as an instrument of media disinformation:

    “It is in the interest of the corporate elites to accept dissent and protest as a feature of the system inasmuch as they do not threaten the established social order. The purpose is not to repress dissent, but, on the contrary, to shape and mould the protest movement, to set the outer limits of dissent. To maintain their legitimacy, the economic elites favor limited and controlled forms of opposition… To be effective, however, the process of “manufacturing dissent” must be carefully regulated and monitored by those who are the object of the protest movement ” (See Michel Chossudovsky, “Manufacturing Dissent”: the Anti-globalization Movement is Funded by the Corporate Elites, September 2010)

    What this examination of the Wikileaks project also suggests is that the mechanics of New World Order propaganda, particularly with regard to its military agenda, has become increasingly sophisticated.”

    For all intents and purposes Wikileaks could be just an ‘honeypot operation’ by the Intelligence services.

  • If you’re inferring that the person Caitlin is deriding is a ‘paid professional’ you are completely in error. The person is a well-known, long-term Wikileaks supporter who is personally known to a number of other supporters, IRL. Incidentally, the world is not divided into allies and enemies based on their opinions. That’s an immature and limited view-point.

    • this “ANNIE” creature is most definitely a paid operative to sabotage this blog. beware!

      • Yeah, that axe Annie is grinding ought to be plenty sharp by now, assuming there is any metal left..

      • Don’t be ridiculous. Here’s one of my blogs. I am @AnnieDarkhorse . I started my blog in 2011, I believe. https://t.co/pFy8WEJMsz . I’ve personally met a number of supporters, with whom I have been conversing over the years, including Julian’s Mum, years before Caitoz appeared on the scene. Beware of anyone sticking vindictive labels on other people to smear them. Ask yourself why. Seek the truth for yourself. That is one of Julian Assange’s suggestions and it’s a good one. No ‘activist’, no matter how persuasive or aggressive they are, can hand that to you.

        • you say nothing in so many words.

  • Now for what ACTUALLY happened:
    Caitlin personally created the particular drama she’s discussing by reacting irrationally by sending a long series of abusive, aggressive and hostile tweets in response to one person’s honest concern about Unity4J’s regular practice of having Right-wing commentators on their videos. The one of recent concern, a Scientologist, was promoting Donald Trump and CIA Torturer-in-Chief, Gina Haspell. This is a concern held by a number of Wikileaks supporters, some of whom are long-term supporters and intelligent, thoughtful people (i.e. not ‘hand-wringing’ ‘drama Queens’ as Caitlin so charmingly, vindictively and patronisingly accused them of being on Twitter).

    Caitlin immediately became insulting, aggressive, patronising and hostile because she didn’t like the concern being expressed – including replying with childish memes. She was previously abusive to another two Wikileaks supporters over the same issue. She was called out on Twitter for her uncalled-for aggression and hostility but refused to accept it. She then made the bizarre, patronising, arrogant claim that the person who raised the concern was a ‘critic’, by virtue of having expressed the concern and was therefore ‘uncreative’ because of this. The person concerned was a musician and a long-term Wikileaks supporter who had previously written lengthy blogs in support of Assange, over a number of years and on issues such as gun-control.

    As wholly expected, she then immediately wrote this piece to have the last word, further dig the knife in and:

    a) save her image by painting herself as not being the total cause of the aggression – which she clearly was, as the tweets, in their entirety, demonstrate.
    b) falsely place herself on the intellectual higher ground, complete with meaningless piece of psycho-babble to underplay the fact that she behaved like a completely irrational bully.
    c) further diminish the person who raised the issue and to whom she owes an unqualified apology for her nastiness.
    d) further discourage anyone from criticising Unity4J, lest they cop the same abuse – so much for free speech and truth.
    e) claim, again, to want to encourage people to think for themselves when she personally, actively and aggressively, discourages people from doing exactly that by throwing her weight around on Twitter then deriding people in blogs.

    In short, Caitlin needs to start being a bit more honest with herself and her readers and owning her own garbage.

    Caitlin, defending yourself, or having a different opinion from the one preferred by you or your friends, doesn’t make you a troll. Verbally abusing people, to avoid questions which give you cognitive dissonance, then refusing to apologise when you behave like a creep and a bully, then compounding your bad behaviour with a bullshit blog to hoover up positive reinforcement from sycophants, clearly does.

    Let’s see if you have the moral fortitude to leave this comment on your blog without more lies to follow it up.

    • now i see what kind of drama queens Caitlin has to deal with on a daily basis behind the scene….. this long pointless comment is Exhibit A.

      everyone, save your time. no need to read this. trust me on this.

      • Yes, don’t read the evil words, beloved Minions! Shield your eyes. God forbid you’ll get more than one perspective. No wonder Trump was elected. Some people crave an omniscient saviour. Newsflash: There isn’t one!

    • I agree with Caitlan. Helping Julian Assange is the key and really the only goal. The man needs our help. I think he should have gotten a medal for great service to American democracy, but those who hate democracy want to torture him for it, and have been. Julian needs our help. And people who worry about who they end up standing next to or listening to as if that is more important need to sit back and think and understand that the goal is to help Julian. If I see someone I don’t like supporting Julian, all I can say is “Hear, Hear!” and welcome them to the party. The key is always that if I’m supporting what I think is a worthy cause, and I see others doing the same, then I’m glad to see them at my side on this day. I’m not planning on marrying them, so I don’t need a background investigation on who they are and everything else they’ve supported. I’m just always happy on any day to see people alongside me fighting for the cause I support. I don’t care how they got there.

  • Ms Johnstone your concern for Mr. Assange is surely saintly!! Your devotion is also surely saintly and worthy of any ” Buddha “!!! However, Mr. Assange should have realized when he created Wikileaks that ” the monstrous Empire ” would be coming after him any way that they possibly could!! After creating Wikileaks Mr. Assange should never have been anywhere where the evil hands of the ” Empire ” could put their very filthy hands upon him!!! I too feel great empathy for Mr. Assange; but the plight he now finds himself in is because of his own failure to adequately protect himself!! Ms Johnstone make yourself a cup of hot Chrysanthemum Pu-Erh tea and calm down because our world desperately needs you at your very unselfish best!!!

    • Saintly? Seriously?

      • Was Ron not sarcastic enough for you? Should he have used more exclamation marks?

        • Apologies. There are so many sycophants in these comments I took the comment seriously.

          • Please-don’t apologise, particularly not to the likes of me.

  • Technically and legally speaking, have Assange/Manning done something wrong to deserve such vituperation and disdain? Some formerly high ranking military officers insist Assange is only getting what he truly deserves. Is this so? Did he steal military secrets or pass on secrets so as to actually jeopardize the US?

    • Not that anyone has ever been able to demonstrate, and it’s not like they haven’t tried.

  • I moved to Ireland a few years back, and got involved in a bit of community activism. Very soon i started to feel hidden hand manipulating people, because so many have political allegiances that they do not necessarily declare. Behind the scenes are people trying to manipulate, via proxy, this way or that. The micro-politics within Irish Republicanism is depressing. Not surprising that a true Irish Republic has never been achieved. The Machiavellian Brits have always been so adept at the dark arts, but you really have to be more aware.

  • Great piece.

    • Thank you so much for posting those links.

  • “You can trust yourself to stand on your own two feet completely apart from all groupthink and fight the machine as an individual…” Thanks, Caitlin, for that great bit of advice and encouragement, especially coming from an empowered female’s point of view (that is often not expressed among the plentiful male political writers). I often feel very alone in my daily alt reading that results in my own shock and rage at the bombardment of cruelty and injustice that prevails worldwide—all the doings of the mark of the (Elitist) beast’s insatiable appetite for constant war, plunder and slavery. My heart breaks for Assange, our fearless leader in the fight against this extreme corruption, who is now being silenced, possibly forever. But never in our memories: he has left his larger than life courage behind for all of us to latch onto.

  • Thanks for laying it out

  • there are lots of shadowy, shady, paid, professional operatives of all colors and persuasions everywhere. that’s for sure. we are all actors / players with agenda. sometimes, i find myself up-voting two comments that oppose each other. as long as i think my action can help weaken my enemy, i’m willing and happy. one should do whatever one can for one’s agenda at each moment. you are 110% correct, Caitlin!

    remember your own advice: sometimes, your enemy’s enemy is your ally, even if temporarily.

    BDS everyday!

    • If you’re inferring that the person Caitlin is deriding is a ‘paid professional’ you are completely in error. The person is a well-known, long-term Wikileaks supporter who is personally known to a number of other supporters, IRL. Incidentally, the world is not divided into allies and enemies based on their opinions. That’s an immature view-point.

  • Yes, Don’t feed the Trolls.

    U.S. Socialists get into these fights all the time.
    “What is a REAL Socialist?” -Socialists will argue this forever.
    And while they can never agree, they never agree on an actual strategy to promote Socialism.

    • internally debating what a real socialism is useful, even critical as long as the self-identified socialists unite, whenever necessary, against what opposes and attacks socialist agenda, as long as the socialists don’t fall for “divide-and-defeat” tactics of their sworn enemies.

    • Newsflash: not everyone who disagrees with Caitlin or Unity4J is a troll. Make sure you’re not being sold snake-oil.

  • I don’t understand. What has #Unity4J done that is so awful? They have been campaigning consistently on behalf of Assange for a long time. Before a lot of these bandwagon jumpers had even heard of him. We are allowed to garner support from different factions. Sometimes we become involved with strange bedfellows. We might we agree about something profoundly important but disagree on the detail. We have to consider the bigger picture and let go of our egos. Isn’t this a sign of maturity?

    • Um, ‘band-wagon jumpers’? A number of the people with concerns about #Unity4J’s way of doing things have been around, actively supporting Assange and Wikileaks for periods of up to 10 years. Let’s not over-dramatise. Expressing concern is not the same as saying they’ve done something ‘awful’, though Caitoz apparently considers any criticism an unforgivable sin which means the person should be insulted and accused of being a ‘drama queen’ and a vampire. So much for individual expression. LOL.

  • So there is a place for the free individual, who can selectively choose where, when, and how much energy to give to any collective effort, large or small. Describes my stance exactly. Thanks Caitlin for standing up for us true rebels, who don’t sell our souls out to anyone. You make it clear that you are such a soul. I never let anyone dis me for refusing to buy into groupthink, however prettily it is packaged.

    • Marx apparently said he wouldn’t be Marxist if trade unionism of his time was Marxist. i say Jesus would say he isn’t christian if today’s organized christianity is christian. so there it is.

      some are more flexible and strategic than others, though. let’s not damn all organized activists are sellouts. we all do what we can.

      • as sellouts, not are sellouts. i wish i could edit my comment.

    • That’s a nice sentiment but you’re missing the point here. Caitlin demands that everyone agrees with her view that Unity4J cannot be criticised, lest they be subjected to insults. That’s ‘group-think’ and attempting to enforce a narrow range of views through peer-pressure. Trying to bully someone into silence, with insults, is both cowardly and the antithesis of everything Assange has tried to inform.

  • Thank you, Caitlin, well said. One wonders how much time Assange spends worrying about the political ideologies of his advocates, and whether he cares. He needs all the help he can get.

  • What a brilliant critique, explanation and solution on focusing one’s mental energy and it flows as if “off the top of the head” of a free mind!

  • “New Think Progress and the Ozzard of Wiz” > Multilevel Information Racketeering for Sheeple > satire at FauxScienceSlayer

  • The Buddha could not have said it better!

  • Exactly. Caitlin, this is why we respect you so much. Thank you.

    • Newsflash: not everyone who disagrees with Caitlin or Unity4J is a troll. Make sure you’re not being sold snake-oil.

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