When asked to explain why he was running for a seat in the Australian Senate while holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, Julian Assange quoted Plato: “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”
Plato was “a bit of a fascist,” he said, but had a point.
Imagine the chagrin Mr. Assange must feel now, given that not only did he fail to win a place in the Senate in the recent election, but he was less successful than Ricky Muir from the Motoring Enthusiasts Party. Mr. Muir, who won just 0.5 percent of the vote, is most famous for having posted a video on YouTube of himself having a kangaroo feces fight with friends.
... WikiLeaks members alleged that Mr. Assange’s deputies had overridden the party’s governing body, the national council, to allow for preference deals that place right-wing anti-abortion or fringe parties — like the Shooters and Fishers Party — ahead of leftist parties like the Greens, which had supported WikiLeaks. The campaign manager, Greg Barns, attributed the deals to an “administrative error,” but WikiLeaks’s national council had agreed to put the Greens first, and some directors requested an immediate internal investigation. The conflict over those deals, and a delayed investigation, prompted a high-profile WikiLeaks candidate, Leslie Cannold, to resign. She said the party was not what it claimed to be: “a democratically run party that both believes in transparency and accountability.”
Ms. Cannold, an ethicist, has not spoken to Mr. Assange since. “This internal corruption revealed him to be no different,” she said, than the politicians he was claiming he’d be keeping accountable.
Mr. Assange put the resignation down to “the teething problems of a young party” and said he had been distracted by Edward Snowden. But several others resigned at the same time, including Dan Matthews, a founding member and one of Mr. Assange’s oldest friends. Mr. Matthews said in a statement that their “base evaporated” after the deals were made public and that Mr. Assange was incapable of working with a group. He was “an icon,” but he was “his own man.”
Mr. Assange’s actions were at odds with a democratic party structure. He had appointed himself president, for example, although there was no mention of this role in the WikiLeaks constitution.
When a reporter asked him why, he laughed: “I founded it. I mean seriously, this is so fantastic. Look at the name, this is the WikiLeaks Party. The prominent candidate is Julian Assange! Who founded it? I founded it. Are you serious?”