The First Global Civil War

Manning, Snowden, Assange, Miranda, The Guardian. With each passing day, we receive confirmation of a truth that many would prefer to ignore: we are at war. An undeclared, relatively quiet war, but nonetheless a war.

Unlike a conventional war, a civil war has no well defined front, nor belligerents clearly identifiable by the color of their uniform. Each camp is everywhere, in the same city, the same area, or ​​the same family.

On one hand, there is the class in power. Rich, powerful, they are used to control, they are alien to questions. They simply make decisions and are firmly convinced to do so in the public interest. They have many supporters that are neither rich nor powerful. But they fear any change. Or have strong habits. Or personal interests. Or have the fear of losing some of their properties. Or they simply don’t have the intellectual ability to understand the ongoing revolution.

On the other hand, there is the digital generation. From all sexes, all ages, all cultures, all geographic locations. They talk to each other, exchange experiences. Discovering their differences, they seek common ground while calling into question the deep faith and values ​​of their parents. I call them a “generation” but they are from all ages.

This population has developed values ​​of its own and an uncommon analytical intelligence. They use all the tools available to quickly pinpoint contradictions, ask relevant questions, lift the veil of false appearances. Across thousands of miles, its members can feel empathy towards all humans.

A Growing Gap

For a long time, I was convinced that it was only a matter of time. The digital culture would permeate through individuals and the divide would eventually disappear over the generations and the natural renewal.

Despite the popularization of tools such as Twitter or smartphones, this divide was not resolved. Instead, it only gets worse. The “power” generation has not adopted digital culture. It merely blindly manipulates the tools without understanding them, in a desperate parody of the cargo cult. Results: musicians who insult their own fans; newspapers, whose websites are flooded with advertisements, seem to be copies of the paper versions; young politicians who use Facebook or Twitter as a press release publishing machine without attempt to communicate with their electorate.

40 years ago, two journalists showed the world that the president of the most powerful nation used the Secret Services to wiretap his political opponents. This investigative work granted them the Pulitzer Prize and led to the resignation of the president.

Today, actors empowered by the digital culture show to the world that the president of the same nation wiretaps the whole world! He sends soldiers to cynically kill civilians. Another Pulitzer Prize? No, 35 years in prison for one and a hunt across the world for the other. The president in question, on the contrary, holds a Nobel Peace Prize.

The Death of Journalism

Unlike in the Watergate era, it is no longer possible to rely on the press. A large part of the journalists have abandoned any investigative work, even superficial such. Newspapers have become organs of entertainment and propaganda. With a little criticism, you would be able to refute the majority of news articles after a few minutes of googling.

And when the few journalists left start digging, they see their family arrested and detained without reason, they receive political threats and are forced to destroy their equipment. The online newspaper Groklaw, which was a key actor in multiple industrial trials, recently closed because its creator was scared.

The ruling class has decided that journalism had to settle for two things: fear of terrorism, to justify total control; and fear of losing your job, to give a false impression of inevitability.

Of course, all this has probably not been implemented consciously. Most actors are intimately persuaded to work for the public good, to know what is good for humanity.

You may believe that spying on mail or the Wikileaks case are details, that the important issues are the economy, jobs, and sports. But these issues are directly dependent on the outcome of the currently ongoing battle. Major financial crises and wars were created from scratch by the current ruling class. The digital generation which tries to bring new proposals to the table is gagged, choked, mocked, or persecuted.

The Panic

In 1974, it was easier for the ruling class to sacrifice Nixon and to cut a few heads with him. Parallels to the current situation are troubling. Today’s ruling class is afraid, in a state of panic, and does not act rationally any more. It seeks to make examples at all costs, to repair each leak hoping it is only a few isolated cases.

They do not hesitate to use anti-terror laws unfairly against the journalists themselves. Those who predicted such things a year ago were called paranoids. But even the worst paranoid had probably not imagined to be right so quickly, so directly. We are now more terrorized by the counter-terrorist state than by the terrorist threat itself.

The destruction of hard drives at The Guardian is certainly the most emblematic event. Its uselessness, its utter absurdity can not hide the political violence of a government that imposes its will by threatening a recognized and renowned media. It also illustrates the complete misunderstanding of the modern world by the ruling class. Draping itself in the ridiculous authority of ignorance and arrogance, the rulers openly declares a war on every citizen of the world.

A war which can not be won, which is already lost. But they will try to make it last, dragging down many victims who will be unjustly imprisoned for years, tortured, arrested, harassed, destroyed, morally driven to suicide, stalked around the world.

This is already the case today. And because you had the misfortune of being on the wrong plane or sending an email to the wrong person, you could be next on the list. There is no neutrality possible. We are at war.

This post was originally published in French on Picture “Mixed Messages” by Jayel Aheram.


  1. David Gerard

    Groklaw didn’t stop because PJ was scared; it stopped because she was disgusted. She’d spent ten years showing people how the law worked, in her firm belief in the rule of law; she gave up in disgust at seeing it conclusively demonstrated that the rule of law was functionally a lie.

    1. c0rw1n

      “Rule of law”, as if that ever had been a thing… PJ was wrong to believe in it. Whoever has the guns makes the rules, end of story. Reality has no law but those of physics, everything else is fiction. Some fiction is collectively believed, some of those beliefs are enforced with guns. That is truth, as in “description of reality”. Reality as in, “that thing that returns the results of experiment”. I pointed this out in Pj’s last post, if not in so many words.

  2. Galileo Galilei

    I love what Mr. Ghandi said:

    “Whenever I despair, I remember that the way of truth and love has always won. There may be tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they may seem invincible, but in the end, they always fail. Think of it: always.”

  3. MrLemming

    That’s well said but there are a few errors in the grammar. I’ve been on so many wikis that it seems rude to not fix them up for you 🙂

  4. dmol8

    You are wrong in the words you use. The same way it is not stealing intellectual property (it is in fact a manufacturing of software) so too the ruling class is not actually willingly trampling human liberties (they are trying to make the world safe for their friends and children).

    Of course to make the world safe they need to make their security forces as effective as they think they can get them. The most effective security forces are the ones who react to any and all problems instantly and effectively. This is what people who support the current erosion think is the problem: Too much red tape limiting the speed of law enforcement’s response time and a lack of ability to do thorough checks of people, people’s stuff and every space that may be used for nefarious purposes (anything the size of or bigger than a space between a tooth’s root and human gums) since the inability to check everything limits the effectiveness of law enforcement.

    Except as we learned increasing the range of places where law enforcers do not need to think about their own behavior makes them less effective not more and while overuse and misuse of the red tape has been a problem in the past and will probably be a problem in the future somewhere the red tape exists so that every action of the law enforcers can be scrutinized so as to see where the problems are to find solutions to the problems.

    There is no such thing as 100% security. Not everybody who end up in the position of power will refrain from abusing it (most will use it for something than its intended purpose). The idea of civil liberties laws did not come out of the blue just so they could be used to hinder law enforcers, it was introduced as a limiter on the power law enforcement could have because history had proven that it is detrimental to security and peace give law keepers carte blanche for anything (like say stop and frisks).

    Also as certain published experiments proved entitlement is hard codded into human psychology: the more power there is in our hand the more we think we have earned the right to use it and the more we think it is our right to wield power as we see fit. With this comes the increase in our sense of self worth and with increased sensitivity to public humiliation. This in turn leads to the more powerful people trying to hide every single thing that they think could cause their reputation harm and to the use of the Internet’s favorite educational stick: The Streisand Effect.

    We are not at war with outright card carrying villains, but that just makes it worse since killing is of the table as any viable long term solution to this problem. We are at war with people who want to have a guarantee of security in their homes in their towns in their cities and in their reputation they have painstakingly built, but without having to put in the effort to watch how they move around their places of living and without the effort of maintaining a standard of behavior for themselves.

  5. Gray Joe

    Great article! We need spread it to form correct point of view in heads of ordinary people

  6. g4bb3

    The new control apparatus being created to try control the new internet generation is doomed to fail on the long run.
    But before we see it fail, we will see alot of more confusion.

    It’s no secret anymore that most goverments work hard to keep their population from knowing to much
    and we now know how they in the future will try even harder to control information and keep the internets in check.

    Despite all new fun gadgets like oculus rift and powerfull phones we have bad times ahead of us.
    Sports and lots of entertainment is distractions subsidized by the elite since the Roman empire.

    But as time progresses some more people will realize that their lowered purchace power and shackles of debt
    causes an experience that freedom cannot be simulated any longer.

    Shell presented two diffrent future energy scenarios waiting for us, it’s pretty clear that we are heading to a scramble.

    On news feeds we see hungry and thirsty unemployed people revolting in desperate conditions stricken by horrific violence.

    The human nature, take large amounts of people who are very hungry, thirsty, unemployed and throw in some agitators.
    It does not matter what religion or education level you have. It’s a proven cocktail for trouble well known by the elite.

    Unfornately we see how this is exploited by the ongoing positioning in geopolitics and how the energy problems beeing solved with ruthless divide and conquer tactics.

    Many of us knows and can imagine a vision of how most of the remaining industry could be more automated instead of using communist slave labor.
    We have the tools to be able to start solving most of our energy needs globally instead of treating energy as a private commodity.

    We need to find good clear examples to bring out to the light about patents, technologies and research areas that would solve a lot of problems
    that are held in line by the ruling elite to maintain their structures.

  7. nick

    People should read more books of Noam Chomsky, I find him a great man, also many videos on youtube. Maybe an article idea.

  8. Jayel Aheram

    Can you guys add attribution to the photograph being used? It is called “Mixed Messages” by Jayel Aheram. Thanks.

    1. Ploum

      Sorry, it should be solved, I’ve added a line a the end of the article.

  9. Steve Foerster

    “Manning, Snowden, Assange, Miranda”

    Yes, but all of them are still alive, at least at present. If it’s really a looming civil war, then Michael Hastings might be a better example of an early casualty.

  10. Autolykos

    I prefer the metaphor of a “Cold Civil War”. The actual fighting is rare, often personal, and mostly low-level skirmishes. Both sides are currently building tools, manoeuvring their “armies” in position, spreading propaganda and getting ready for the day things go “hot” (like they did with the Arab Spring). I sure hope it can be avoided again, like the last Cold War becoming hot, but (to paraphrase Rick) we should be prepared to use the fourth box nonetheless.

  11. War Quote
  12. Ancapistan

    A government never take or give you rights, it can only harass you to a minimum extent or to a maximum extent.
    Fighting a government is futile in the long term, since the state will always expand to the maximum after a while.
    Abolishment is the key, and a good system to replace it with.

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