Kellie Tranter, lawyer and human rights activist “clears the air” on Assange’s legal situation, and calls for ordinary people to join the free speech and transparency movement. “Politics in the Pub”, September 21, 2012.
It is said that “one way to limit free speech is by the chilling effect of monitoring it”, and those in power are trying to do plenty of chilling.
To those who may feel disempowered, or suffering from a little grassroots wilt, or reluctant to join this or any movement, I leave you with this gem, one of many from the interviews of Studs Terkel, when he interviewed the great philosopher Bertrand Russell:
STUDS TERKEL: Why do people, the great majority of people the world over, feel as helpless as they do, they feel as impotent as they do? This seems to be in the air, I’m sure, all over the world, feeling that the individual, I, John Smith, John Doe, says, “I can’t do anything about it.”
BERTRAND RUSSELL: That’s just [inaudible]. They can. I mean, an individual, if he has the pluck and the independence of mind, can do a very great deal. Actually, here we sit, no organisation, none whatever, and simply by expressing an opinion which is known to be unbiased, an individual can effect a very great deal. And this powerlessness of the individual is a form of cowardice; it’s a pretence, an alibi for doing nothing.
So let’s drop the pretence and forsake the alibi. We are individuals but we’re part of a society. We aren’t ineffectual if only we do something. Now is the time to do it.”