Governments around the world are attempting to control information in order to suppress opposition to war and inequality. On Tuesday, the World Socialist Web Site hosted a live discussion on internet censorship between Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges and WSWS Chairman David North. WSWS reporter Andre Damon moderated the discussion.
The webinar explored the political context of the efforts to censor the internet and abolish net neutrality. It also examined the reasons used to justify the suppression of free speech (such as "fake news") and discussed political strategies to defend democratic rights.
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, and independent journalist John Pilger sent written statements that were read during the broadcast.
"The future of humanity is the struggle between humans that control machines and machines that control humans. Between the democratization of communication and usurpation of communication by artificial intelligence," read part of Assange's statement. "While the Internet has brought about a revolution in people's ability to educate themselves and others, the resulting democratic phenomena has shaken existing establishments to their core."
"Something has changed," read part of Pilger's statement. "Although the media was always a loose extension of capital power, it is now almost fully integrated. Dissent once tolerated in the mainstream has regressed to a metaphoric underground as liberal capitalism moves toward a form of corporate dictatorship."
"The elites seek and have been quite successful at ... channeling energy back into a dead system, i.e., the Democratic Party," Hedges said during the webinar. "This is why, not that he cared or it mattered, I would not endorse Bernie Sanders [during the 2016 presidential campaign]. Because all of that money, all of that energy—and remember, he even used the word 'revolution'—ended up with him running around the country telling everyone to vote for Hillary [Clinton]."
Watch the whole discussion with Hedges and North above.