At the dawn of the 21th Century, humanity undergoes a renewal of understanding that is manifested in the use of reason more that of dogma. The advance of science has lighted gray areas in which beliefs were the only way to “explain” life.
Today we see people in the trains reading, by means of a portable device, information that was restricted before and is now available electronically in huge virtual libraries. The multitudes share information and organize on the social networks through Internet. Youth analyze in real time political events on the other side of the world. These are only some of the characteristics of our times that oblige us to make a more rational reading of life. How is this reflected in politics?
In order to become aware of the magnitude of change, we should begin by recalling that in ancient times the rulers and the ruled seemed to belong to different worlds. The former were enthroned like demigods, and the latter were subjected to obedience or repression.
In large measure, that was because the people had no access to information, and far less took part in decision-making. Therefore, power was the privilege of kings, and knowledge was the privilege of wise men, both of these exercising the supreme authority granted by a designation from God.
In many ways, that manner of understanding politics remained in effect through time, changing in form more than in substance, until the late 20th Century, when technology placed information and knowledge within reach of the peoples through Internet. The difference in knowledge as between the ruler and his people was eliminated, leading to the gradual replacement of the concept of “shepherds and flocks” by that of “server and client”.
Today, it is enough to see what Evo Morales is doing in Bolivia for us to realize that times have changed. We are at a historic point for humankind, because it’s not necessary to be a messenger from God in order to lead a people. Neither must one be heir to a particular lineage, nor have some kind of title of nobility. Not even is it necessary to be a millionaire to buy power, or to control the military in order to govern by force. Ever since the people gained access to information, they ceased to depend on the political class that had controlled it in order to force them to cede their representation in the farce of representative democracy.
Before, one became ruler through the sponsorship of the sources of power, mainly money, arms, and knowledge. A monopoly on any of those sources of power was the mechanism that served to remain in or rotate into power, but
at present the liberation of knowledge has given to the people an unexpected power that frightens the conservatives.
The Right is disconcerted worldwide because it does not find the way to face this new force. Now, it does not know how to act in a democracy, because it is programmed to operate only under the traditional concept of power: the power of one who wields absolute authority over the destiny of his people and whom the masses only obey, their only responsibility being to be loyal.
Power now emerges from the principle of effective association to reclaim the political representation that belongs to the people. Individuals organize into civil groups, associations, confederations, and international organizations without losing their original autonomy.
Their responsibility, therefore, is no longer blind loyalty to the ruler, but to inform themselves so as to exercise independently, through their vote, their capacity for rationality. Now, the leader’s responsibility entails a knowledge of what the people want, and the honesty to achieve their will. The pre-requisite for being president is no longer personal power, nor extraordinary knowledge, and far less predestination. It is loyalty to the interests of the people.
That is why, in South America, men and women without duplicity, poses, or false greatness lead their nations through profound processes of change, demolishing the old colonial structures that subjected their peoples. Times are changing, true, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that we owe all this to free access to knowledge. In brief, the new battle of the empires and former empires against the peoples will be for the control of communications and the Internet.
There are still those who do not realize the importance for all of humankind of the case of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks. It is obvious that, behind the charge of unprotected consensual sex, the NATO countries hide a different motivation: not just to prevent the leaks of their incriminatory internal communications, which show their betrayal of the interests of the people, but also to carry out very discretely a different project oriented to control communications and the Internet.
Under the pretext of “national security,” they seek to monitor the Internet, invade the privacy of all humankind, and accumulate information on all that is said and done. In parallel, they plan to fill the Internet with criminal violations, such as, for example, and with the excuse of defending “rights of authorship,” to criminalize the free distribution of information, including images. With those two mechanisms, they would have us in their hands, not in order to jail us all, but to be able to choose those who turn out to be inconvenient, as is the case of Assange today.
Humanity is truly changing, but this is a crucial moment for the peoples to make their voices heard in defense of free access to information and truth. The corporate media continue to write their deceitful tales, and if the peoples do not come out now to support the cause, we may lose the freedom that we have barely begun to enjoy.
Let us make our voices heard in defense of Internet, of the right to information, of Julian Assange, of president Rafael Correa and the people of Ecuador. Let us give instructions to our governments, and demand action in international forums. Assange’s detractors say that governments have the right to privacy. I think they are absolutely wrong. We the people as individuals are the ones who have the right to privacy. The governments we create, as public servants, have the obligation of transparency, especially when it comes to diplomatic relations and not national security.
It is free access to knowledge and information that is creating a new political consciousness and giving us the courage to face rulers who previously seemed untouchable. It is that freedom that is giving to the peoples, perhaps for the first time in history, direct access to power. Let us not allow to be taken away those fundamental rights that for so long were taken from us.