On (not) doubting the value of left-wing blog agitation

This started out as a comment to a reply Dave Semple posted in his “Requiem for a Blog”.  I thought I’d reproduce it here because I feel it may have a wider applicability to others who may frustratedly feel the same at the moment on the subject of left-wing participation in the blogosphere in particular – as well as social media more generally:

“But as a great man once said, philosophers have interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.”

Yes. That is very true. I still do wonder if what we need out here is a better feedback mechanism.  So much of what we have written gets taken onboard (that’s my firm belief) – and yet we can’t be absolutely sure it has at all, because a comment isn’t made even as a conclusion is quietly reached.

Blogging see-saws between furious trolling on the one hand and an uncommon reader silence on the other.  The happy medium – where the comments are just as important and frequent as the OPs; a happy medium which I have to say has often been found on TCF – is not widely apparent elsewhere.  So if you were looking to engage people and get them off their backsides, in our monitor-facing virtual world you already achieved quite a lot.

It’s clearly not enough, of course – and your appeal to change the real world in order that as a side-effect the blogosphere be conquered is revealing.  Everyone wants a job.  That individuals use their freely offered-up writings to lever such positions of paid employment is only human.  That it should corrupt the potential power of the blogosphere was perhaps inevitable.  That the solution is to retire from a game you feel you cannot win – and which you conclude in any case is secondary to the real task at hand – is, however, in my gently expressed opinion, not a viable option.

But I do respect the thought processes which have led you to such a conclusion.  Those I cannot deny – they are as totally coherent as one could want.

Perhaps you’re simply not a natural editor- and blogger-in-chief?  Too impatient to sit back and let ideas take their unpredictable and unrecognised course?

Or perhaps you were once a natural editor- and blogger-in-chief – and now you’ve grown into something else?  Doesn’t mean you have to reinterpret the past – or conclude that the tool that got you thus far is generally corrupting, weak and inappropriate for left-wing agitation.

That the big bloggers scurry rapidly to become as MSM as possible is their choice.  It doesn’t, however, have to be ours.

Each to his own is the principle which I think might operate here.

I’m never going to be able to stand up physically in front of a crowd and lead them intelligently through the steps a revolution should take.  I simply cannot do it – I would physically shake.  I *can* gather my thoughts in front of a computer screen and put them together reasonably cogently.  If you are prepared enough and capable enough to do the first, and are good at organisation, and can see clearly enough to communicate your vision in first person, then do so.  And let others, who are only just setting out on their journey of understanding, creep there slowly by beginning to write and communicate tentatively in public.  Where that is what *they* want to do.

The blogosphere often serves as a mechanism of self-initiated consciousness-raising.  Yes.  It’s inefficient, lumberingly repetitive and leads to so many people reinventing the wheel.  But it also means that once such a state of awareness is reached, a real sea-change of understanding is auto-cemented.

Truth of the matter is that what we’re unable to achieve right now is a useful appreciation of how to tap into those very permanent sea-changes – and take advantage of them for our own ends.  But they *are* out there – and they *do* exist.

Don’t give up on social media, Dave.  Even if it simply means you choose to use it behind the scenes, only.

And I would say the same to all of you out there who find it difficult to maintain the patience of ages.  Publishing – a measured historical act which, under social media’s auspices, has morphed into an instantaneous tool for rapid communication – even now sustains its ability to lay down future paths of unknowable development.  It’s true.  Sometimes we don’t know if what we are doing will lead to a modern “Mein Kampf” – or, alternatively, to a truly brave new world we can all be proud of.

But there is nothing we can do about those unquantifiables – all that is open to us is the choice between an irreproachably perfect inaction or a criticisably imperfect participation.

I know which choice I’d prefer to make.

So what about you?

Where are you going to stand?


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