In a highly predictable response to the WikiLeaks Party of Australia’s (WLPA) “inadvertent” preferencing of at least one fascist party over several revolutionary workers parties, Leslie Cannold – who was Julian Assange’s running mate in the Victoria Senate elections – has resigned from WLPA. Leaving with her were six National Council members angered at what Leslie Cannold, in her resignation letter, described as “consistent challenges to the rights of the National Council, the 11 person democratic governing body of The Wikileaks Party, to do it’s job: to make democratic, transparent and accountable decisions.”
Cannold writes in her resignation letter:
“Today I am resigning from my role as the second Victorian Senate candidate for The Wikileaks Party. My understanding is that others will also resign today. This statement reflects my own reasons for resigning. Because we have different roles in the organisation we all have slightly different reasons why we can no longer stay. However, the core of our concerns are essentially the same and so some of what is in this statement may also appear in others statements.
“To keep being a candidate feels like I’m breaking faith with the Australian people, and those in the media who assist me to communicate with the public, many of whom I’ve had a long and respectful professional relationship with. This is because by being in this role I am implicitly making a statement that The Wikileaks Party is what it claims to be: a democratically run party that both believes in transparency and accountability, and operates in this way.
“Over the last few weeks those of us resigning and some others have been struggling to make this true. Over the course of the vigorous debates that have taken place over preferences there have been consistent challenges to the rights of the National Council, the 11 person democratic governing body of The Wikileaks Party, to do it’s job: to make democratic, transparent and accountable decisions.
“Since June when I joined the campaign, I have been concerned that where disagreement exists with decisions Council makes, these have been white-anted [sic – FowlChi] and resisted, forcing Council to re-affirm these decisions and assert their right to make them. At one point, there was a direct challenge to the Council’s democratic right to decide and implement decisions about preference and instead proposed that it become a rubber stamp. This was rejected by Council.
“The failure in WA and NSW for the National Council’s instructions for the Group Voting Tickets to be implemented exposed problems with the capacity of the party to sustain its democratic processes. I joined with many of those who are resigning today and others to get an immediate and independent review of this process, something that was opposed by some National Council members, candidates and staff.
“Despite this resistance, and after days of battle, we prevailed. This morning a review and a commitment to make the results transparent was announced.
“This victory came at a cost. Those who fought for the review felt tired and disillusioned. We met this morning and after hours of soul-searching decided that we would battle on. How else could we ensure the review had proper terms of reference and that the results were produced expeditiously and released to the public?
“But then, the bombshell. A member of the party rang two key volunteers in succession and requested that they join with him in going outside the party’s formal structures. In these phone calls, the Council was denigrated and a proposal made to each volunteer in succession that they join with select candidates and Council members in taking direction from other than the National Council. The consequence of the proposal was that the National Council and two of the campaign coordinators – also National Council members who have been actively involved in pushing for the preference review – would be bypassed.
“An additional call was made to a campaign staffer. In direct contrast to the public statement The Wikileaks Party put out this morning in which we promised the public that we would have an immediate independent review of the preference outcomes, this person said that the review would be delayed until after the election and that it wouldn’t be done independently. The caller would run it.
“This is the final straw. As long as I believed there was a chance that democracy, transparency and accountability could prevail in the party I was willing to stay on and fight for it. But where a party member makes a bid to subvert the party’s own processes, asking others to join in a secret, alternative power centre that subverts the properly constituted one, nothing makes sense anymore. This is an unacceptable mode of operation for any organization but even more so for an organization explicitly committed to democracy, transparency and accountability. Even if I stop campaigning this minute, remaining in my role implicitly invites voters to trust The Wikileaks Party. By staying in this role I am implicitly vouching for the worthiness of this party to receive the votes of the Australian people. I can no longer do this because I no longer believe it is true, and so I must resign.
“There are some wonderful people in this organisation. People who joined it and have put their heart and soul into making it into what they believed, and I believed, it could be. I have more respect for those people than I can possibly express.
“Some are leaving today. Some are considering their position. I have respect for any decision they make – we each have to do what we must to keep faith with ourselves and those who trust us.
“Six (6) other people resigned on 21 August 2013 with Leslie. This followed the many resignations that had followed the preference outcomes.
“Sam Castro, National Council member; Kaz Cochrane, National Council member; Luke Pearson, National Council member; Dr Daniel Mathews, National Council member; Sean Bedlam, social media captain; David Haidon, Victorian volunteer coordinator;
“Their resignation letters can be found here:
“Collective Statement: http://waca.net.au/resignations-from-the-wikileaks-party-statements/#more-1516″
[Source: cannold.com: “Leslie Resigns from The WikiLeaks Party”, (no date)]
“Statement on the appointment of Binoy Kampmark as Julian Assange’s primary running-mate
“We are pleased to announce that Dr. Binoy Kampmark, a noted scholar and expert on Australia’s international relations, will now be Julian Assange’s primary running mate in the Federal Senate election for Victoria.
“Dr. Binoy Kampmark replaces Leslie Cannold.
“The WikiLeaks Party is happy to accept the resignation of Leslie Cannold from its Victorian Senate ticket. We thank her and those who have chosen to leave with her for the significant assistance they have provided to date. We wish them well in their future activities and are grateful for their statements of ongoing support for Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks publishing organization.
“Our six Senate candidates – Julian Assange and Binoy Kampmark in Victoria; Kellie Tranter and Alison Broinowski in NSW; and Gerry Georgatos and Suresh Rajan in WA – continue to form a strong ticket in the three states in which we are standing.
“We give below some background to other events this week as there has been considerable misreportage.
“A clerical error was made in our GVT (preference list) for NSW. Fortunately this error is unlikely to have any electoral impact. However we have announced that there will be an independent review into this error so that a more rigorous process can be implemented in the future. We will also issue “how to vote below the line” cards in NSW, so that this error in our preferences is not passed on to voters.
“The WLP has not in any way aligned itself with the policies or agendas of the far right. The WikiLeaks Party policies, the work of the WL publishing organisation, and the personal achievements of the WikiLeaks Party candidates make this abundantly clear.
“There has been a lot of chatter and misinformation spread about this issue, as various parties look for electoral advantage. This includes misinformation from Christine Milne, leader of the Greens, who has stated incorrectly that we made ‘administrative errors’ in ‘three states’. We did not. The ‘administrative error’ occurred only in NSW. In Julian Assange’s state of Victoria, the submitted GVT was entirely correct.
“Milne also claimed that in WA, Senator Scott Ludlam was placed at the bottom of our preferences. This is not true. In all three states in which we have candidates, WLP have placed the Greens 1st among the major parties, so Milne’s comments must be seen as ungracious and part of a hostile attempt to divert voters from the WikiLeaks Party.
“A confusion has arisen about our preferences in WA because the National Party there, unlike in other states, is an independent small party and is not part of the Coalition. In the last election it received just 3.4% of the vote while the Greens received 14% of the vote. Our WA candidate, Gerry Georgatos, interpreted the Party’s instruction to “place the Greens above the majors” in this light. Gerry Georgatos is a strong campaigner on Aboriginal issues, having completed a PhD on Aboriginal deaths in custody. The fact that this year the National Party’s candidate in WA , David Wirrpanda, is an Aboriginal Australian for the first time in history, was something that Gerry Georgatos states he felt was worthy of acknowledgement. It is Gerry Georgatos’ analysis that the extreme difference in vote means that Mr. Wirrpanda cannot be a meaningful threat to Senator Ludlam. The party’s admiration for the work that Scott Ludlam has personally done in the Australian Senate is unbroken. However, the WikiLeaks party is not a front group for any other party, including the Greens. While the major parties and the Greens have significant problems, we believe there are good individuals engaged in all sides in politics.
“The most admirable goal of the left is justice and the most admirable goal of the right is freedom. The WLP is both a party of the left and the right in that we represent the struggle for both justice and freedom.
“In common with the left, we oppose privilege for international big business and the war industry, and we support social and economic justice for all. We also believe that where there is a natural monopoly in areas of public infrastructure, those areas should not be subject of profiteering by private companies.
“In common with the right, we believe in the self-determination and freedom of individuals and communities. We oppose intrusions of the state into the private lives of citizens, their families and communities and we advocate a streamlining of government bureaucracy and red-tape.
“The best way to achieve the admirable values of both the left and the right is through transparency and accountability of government. The WikiLeaks Party is independent of any other political grouping and intends to remain that way. We are the party to bring Transparency, Accountability and Justice to the Australian Parliament.”
[Source: The WikiLeaks Party of Australia official website: “Statement on the appointment of Binoy Kampmark as Julian Assange’s primary running-mate” by “admin”, published 22 August, 2013]
We had writen in a previous article about our own concerns about this debacle with the preferencing statement of the WikiLeaks Party of Australia, in which a fascist party, the “Australia First” party, was “preferred” over several bourgeois reformist parties and – for us, far more significantly – over several revolutionary workers parties. This action of the WikiLeaks Party of Australia – along with Julian Assange’s open avowal of admiration for extreme conservative, racist, anti-immigrant, right-to-life U.S. Senators Ron and Rand Paul – led us to openly disavow any political support for the WLPA. We reaffirm that position. Not only has the explanation given so far as to how it came to pass that the WLPA preferred fascists over workers parties been utterly inadequate; we have learned in the past day that Julian Assange intends to allow himself to be interviewed by former U.S. Senator Ron Paul!
We sent the WLPA an email a few days ago asking them for an explanation of the “preferencing” debacle and pointing out quite forcefully our objections to the WLPA lending its support to either of the Senators Paul. To date we have received absolutely nothing from the WLPA at all. We found out about the resignations of Cannold and the National Council members from the bourgeois press.
We would, if asked, urge Julian Assange to run, not walk, away from the Sens. Paul and their ilk; we have, in fact already done so in our open letter to the WLPA. However, Julian Assange is an adult, apparently intelligent enough to choose his political allies. We wait with, frankly, more than a degree of ambivalence over his political maneuvering as he flexes his political muscles for the first time. We’ll be happy to stand aside and let him make his own political decisions – even if this leads him to commit political suicide in the eyes of the working class internationally; and then we will make OUR own political decisions as to whether or not we can continue to support him personally, and his whistleblowing organization, WikiLeaks. “WikiLeaks” is a distinct organization from the WLPA. And we are the “Friends of WikiLeaks” – not in any way bound to defend the political platform of the WLPA or the political opinions of Julian Assange. But if the WLPA and Assange continue to “accidentally” avow their fondness for right-wing scumbags like Ron Paul, we will have to reappraise our willingness to continue working under the banner of the WikiLeaks organization. We will, of course, keep our readers informed of new developments in this debacle as they occur.
Friends of WikiLeaks – Chicago