20 February 2006

The most recent issue of In These Times sports an article by Lakshmi Chaudhry titled Can Blogs Revolutionize Progressive Politics?.  In the article, Chaudhry is rather pessimistic about the ability of blogs to generate grassroots organizing.  His article has several points:

  • Limited participation: "An effective netroots strategy in 2006 will also have to master the shortcomings of the Dean's campaign, which stalled mainly becaause it failed to grow his support beyond his online constituency -- antiwar, white, and high-income voters.
  • A hierarchy of blogs: "The 'elite blogs"' serve as a filtering mechanism, deciding which information offered up by smaller blogs is useful or noteworthy.  In, effect A-list blogs get to decide what issues deserve the attention of journalists and politicians, i.e. the establishment.
  • The internet slant toward "urban professionals": "'For me, the greatest problem is low-income people,' (Pew scholar Michael) Cornfield says.  The irony is that it's not because they don't have the money to get a laptop -- especially with the $100 laptop now.  It's that people who are poor don't have the civic skill stets and motivation to go online and do these sorts of things.  That will take a concerted effort.'"

I suppose a moment of self-clarification would be useful to my readers here.  I don't really think the Web is a good place to organize an ecosocialist revolution or anything like that.  But I do want to nurture a small group of people who have an inkling that some sort of radical ecological and social change will necessary to preserve civilization against the destructiveness of the capitalist system.  I envision this blog as part of a "ground floor" effort.  The tasks at hand are:

  • 1) proving that small changes to the existing system will not in themselves make the system sustainable,
  • 2) organizing the professional stratum whose job it is to pursue "sustainabiltity" around the necessity of radical social change,
  • 3) documenting the disaster purveyed by the existing system upon the world,
  • 4) helping educators to empower students to a radical understanding of the existing system and its relation to the environment,
  • 5) spreading the word about means of "hacking" the existing system for socially-beneficial goals.

In short, this blog conceives of itself as a seed effort, a beginning to a much larger ecosocialist movement.

Oh yeah: and the article suggested a link, which you ought to investigate:

Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?


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