Something very few people know is that I was actually added as an author to the site, probably from other times when it seemed I might not flinch in a cowardly manner.
The surprising thing about yesterday wasn’t the content of the post itself, written by Dave Semple – whose requiem for the blog he started a little after I started my own explains how he escaped onto the open web from behind the walled garden of Labour’s blogging platform, a virtual community where both of us had previously exchanged words, verbal fisticuffs and on occasions substantial doses of mala leche.
In fact, reading back through some articles on the blog which I had used to ultimately make my way out of Labour’s cocoon, I stumbled across this one on what I called the porous versus the non-porous web. In turn, it led me to an old one of Dave’s, on new media. It makes for good reading, and sadly – in many respects – seems relevant to today. Sadly in the sense that we still engage in a broadcast medium, where virtual community and the stomping of webby pavements has really not managed to fulfil its early and engaging promise.
Perhaps the promise never existed. Perhaps it was only ever a chimera.
Yet when Dave, in his blog’s requiem from 2012, has argued that blogging is all too likely to equal an airy-fairy commentariat of armchair disciples, given to irrelevant opinions, he doesn’t absolutely convince with his example. His writing is always sternly coherent (I always imagine my paternal grandfather, his round spectacles, his unfashionable moustache and his Esperanto politics), and so it is that in Dave’s very own condemnation of wordy revolution, he shows us precisely the power a wordy revolution can exhibit.
So if he can do it, why not others? And if his blogging can win elections, why can’t others?
It would seem then, with what happened yesterday, that even Dave recognises this truth. As I said at the top of my post today, it wasn’t the content that surprised me but what happened to the meta:
- a long list of interesting blogs was summarily removed from the blogroll, and reduced to only two;
- the two that remained are clearly interesting blogs, but not the only interesting blogs on the matter;
- I was removed as an author from the blog which I had never posted to, but which I had read avidly and commented on occasionally in its first few years of existence;
- a link to my old blog was also removed (password-protected for a year or so I admit – though not the RSS feed – as I tried to work out what to do with it. It’s now available in archive form for whatever legal and constructive purpose anyone wants to put the material to);
It is, of course, the right of any content and website owner to do with their content and their website whatever they wish to do. So I’m not questioning this issue at all. But I am wondering what such actions – never cowardly, always brusque, inevitably disagreeable to the bourgeois sensibilities – mean for the future of the political dynamic Dave’s uncowardly politics aims to drive.
He argues that there can be no accommodation with Capital (the capitalisation is his, not mine; probably Marx et al’s, too – anyone wish to confirm?). I can understand this point of view intellectually, and yet I’m not sure it leads automatically to the violence – verbal, figurative, political, literal – which I feel he’s looking to propose.
I tweeted a few days ago my resistance to the building of a movement around the figure of one leader, as well as posting a rather wry analysis of what Jeremy Corbyn’s comms remind me of. I find this kind of process resistible whether I agree with the politics of the leader or not. And, ultimately, as the Labour Party is hollowed out by the Corbynites in much the same way as the Blairites did a generation before – ie reshaping a pre-existing and historically complex org for clear and well-planned purposes & politicking (hijacking also comes to mind as a concept – but maybe that’s an inevitable dynamic of all politics which, in times of real crisis, aims/claims to renew) – there will be serious pain.
The violence I fear on the horizon is comparable to the violence already committed in the name of “greed is good” economics. And in proposing, in blogging, in defining and refining its nature, Dave has already accommodated – perhaps better said would be appropriated – the violence Capital has made its own.
It may be inevitable, too – though it’s never going to be my way. The violence I mean. And people like Dave know it. And people like me know people like Dave see no other way.
The lockdown of Though Cowards Flinch is just one example of this.
But then all’s fair in war.