A Pan-abolitionist view on Julian Assange’s release

By Julia Wright
June 29, 2024

As freedom fighters who have seen many wars, from Vietnam to Algeria, from Palestine to Kanaky, we do not take the good news that comes our way lightly.

First, because we fought and put our lives on the line for it.

Second, because there is always a dark lining to a silver cloud.

Third, because good news of a battle won, if treated correctly, can lead to a victory if we stay sober and do not get too heady.

Assange in Australia after being released from a British prison, June 26, 2024.

The liberation of Julian Assange is certainly a battle won but should be viewed in the wider context of the release of only one political prisoner among a legion of others taken captive by the USA hegemon.

In a pan-abolitionist optic, Julian Assange’s freedom is meaningless unless it is connected to the release of all the political prisoners the empire has taken inside and outside its borders.

If Joe Biden’s government had to reluctantly let Julian Assange go, it is for three main reasons:

1) Mass mobilization for Assange was maintained worldwide over decades in spite of the betrayal by the press — the very class whose freedom was at risk.

2) The grassroots mobilization of peoples worldwide for Palestine has shown luminol on the bloody hands of the very war criminals Wikileaks denounced — war criminals who walked free while Assange was behind bars.

The post-October 7 resilience and the longevity of the Palestinian uprisings, both in Gaza and throughout the world and within the belly of the beast, is both the direct context and one of the causes of Julian Assange’s freedom today.

The powers that be could not afford a Julian Assange front to open up on top of the already unmanageable Palestinian one. Something had to give.

3) The Democrats are desperately in need of political theatre to appease an electorate increasingly uncommitted as it rightly identifies Biden’s government with genocide.

In conclusion, the question would be: At a time when the monolithic front of the hegemon is cracking and the warmongers are desperate to don a mask of benevolence and “electorability,” should we not seize the time to make a stronger than ever, frontline case for the other political prisoners — Leonard Peltier, Kamau Sadiki, Rashid Johnson, Jamil Al Amin, Mumia Abu-Jamal (who remains a truth-to-power journalist behind bars) to quote only a few?

Let’s remember the advice of Assata Shakur and Dhoruba Bin Wahad: Save the living while it is still time — there will always be time to honor the ancestors.