Censorship, The Committee of Three and a Warning from the Past.

As if the stress and strain of a bare-knuckled brawl between the Senators Clinton and Obama was not enough to stress a progressive out a new and truly deadly danger to Left Blogistan, the progressive blogosphere, has emerged. Bush wiretaps you ask? Well, they are ongoing but it’s something much closer to hand. Well, then another assault on Net Neutrality then? Nope, the Telcos are lying low looking for another chance to get off the hook and with what’s going on in the Bush-engineered market they might be busy just staying in business.

No folks, what’s going wrong, really wrong, in Left Blogistan is censorship and more than just censorship. In a repeat of what sent the so-called ‘New Left’ into oblivion and left Richard M. Nixon a free hand in ‘Nam certain A-List bloggers have decided that if you do not support their choice for President…well, you should just STFU! That is, their judgment is what’s important; not yours. What’s this you yell? You thought we were all progressives working together to push back the ReichWing conspiracy to stifle dissent? Well you are wrong.

If you oppose Senator Obama’s campaign and seek to say so on certain ‘progressive’ web sites the following may happen: You will be rat-packed and troll-rated into oblivion, attempts may be made to discover your ‘true’ identity so that your boss, friends and other members of your circle can be pressured by Obama supporters, yes this has happened, you may have your ability to rate other commenter’s in the threads removed, and finally should you persist you will be denied access to the site. Banned if you will. For you see you have no ‘rights’ to ‘free speech’ on any site. The site owner can pretty much do as they like as I have been repeatedly told by same. Let me be clear this isn’t about me. I can be outspoken but the worst of what I’ve ever said in terms of ad hominem attacks on others, profanity, general surliness pales in comparison to the average commenter in the average thread about Clinton and dKos. If you don’t believe me…go look.

Back now? Okay, no what I’m talking about is being warned that the following statement is grounds for being banned: ‘in my opinion there would not be a dime’s worth of difference between how Clinton, Obama or McCain would govern. The political situation dictates gridlock.’ Or, ‘In my opinion Obama is a fifth columnist whose backers would like nothing more than to destroy the progressive movement.’ Or, ‘The differences between Clinton are not minor as many folks, Obama fans pre-eminent among them, would have you believe. Progressive Punch’s ‘Chips are Down’ Rating ranks them as follows:

Obama 41st in the Senate

Clinton 24th….

The following Senators ranked higher than Obama:

Webb, Feinstein John D. Rockefeller and Ben Nelson.’

Now upon protesting that my comments should not be deleted nor I banned I was informed that ‘there is no right to free speech on a blog…what may be said there is totally at the whim discretion of the webmaster.’ which is legally correct.

Now I think that the ‘Committee of Three’ are full of shit and I am not alone in this. But I really could care less about Markos, Bowers, Marshall or even Big Tent Democrat per se. The awesome massed intellect of Left Blogistan will ‘discipline’ them, or not, as the case may be. Much will depend on Obama and whether his campaign is successful and just as importantly how it is run from here on out. How are things going for your guy Kos? Oh…really? Hmmmmmmmmmmm……… I really thought you smart operator when while introducing Mark Warner a the the Astrosphere in Vegas you declared that you weren’t ready to make a commitment to his campaign…that he needed to ‘earn our vote’. I wonder just how Obama the most divisive Democrat since Huey Long got to you pal. Maybe that gig at Newsweek infected you with pundit’s disease. I can go on filling this post with links to new websites of folks so disaffected with the C of T that they went off on their own but I’m not. They are easy enough to find.

That’s a good thing. A very good thing because being an old codger I can tell the arrogant C of Three that I’ve seen their ilk before. Back in the late 60s when I was an active draft refuser, whom in those days they sent to jail, not some idiot member of the ‘creative class’, Chris, who thinks Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww! I don’t want to belong to a union…unions are for people who get grease under their fingernails, the self-styled ‘leaders’ of the ‘New Left’ taking a leaf from their Trotskyite professors declared that the ‘Movement’ needed leadership. Leadership of the proper kind that would keep the ‘Movement’ on the correct path to revolution. Further is was asserted that all dissent within the New Left was pro-Clinton anti-revolutionary and must be stamped out. They, SDS, Panthers, SNCC and others would lead the way.

The rest would fall in line and follow.

To which I and my brethren replied, ‘In a Pig’s Eye Fucker.’ about which more below.

The ‘leadership’ was quickly targeted by the FBI, set up and removed to Federal prison. Nixon was left with a free hand on Vietnam the economy, see Republican recession folks, and the ‘New Left’ died before it was ever really born. Now today’s repressive arms of the uber-rich are much more sophisticated than Nixon. They recognize the true danger of the blogoshere. That is twofold it’s Boolean network structure which allows it perform astounding feats of analysis in real time and it’s de-centralized decision tree which prevents any one node or group of nodes from determining which problems will be addressed. What to do? Well one thing might be to support the distraction of the ‘sphere from the important issue which face us. Secondly, support the growth and domination of segments of the ‘sphere by ‘promoting’ one site over another.

I truly doubt the FBI understands much of this but they don’t have to.

This sort of ‘fall in line and follow me…’ is hardwired into our monkey-brains. It’s how current social science has shown that humans organize themselves. Just like the Alpa chimp in every troop can and does control and influence the rest of the troop as to hierarchy, sex, survival and culture. So do humans as many studies have shown. These studies have shown that this structure arises in any group of humans. I submit that just as in the late 60s and early 70s the current progressive movement is running afoul of this biological and cultural roadblock. Chimps and humans evolved in groups no larger than 150 for millions of years. Now we have social and political structures numbering in the millions and there is growing evidence that rule by the ‘Big Men’ is not only dysfunctional it’s deadly to what we want: A peaceful progressive society.

We see this today in Left Blogistan with a few sites becoming infested with partisan idealogues and administered by people I can only compare with the Tyrants of ancient Athens. And like the early city states the suppression of free speech and exile (banning), as noted above, have been rediscovered and are now in use. Those Greek city states went on to fail, after leaving a legacy we still rely on as to politics and democracy, and I believe that the structure of the progressive blogopshere is about to undergo a profound change. Social scientists call it radiation. Just as the mythical survivors of Troy trekked half-way around the Mediterranean Sea to found what would become Rome outcasts from dKos and OpenLeft and all the rest who banned are on the Internet Highway bound for the promised land. And just as those proto-Romans did they have all the tools they need to start the next wave.

Now don’t get me wrong, many of those banned, myself included, were obnoxious, rude, probably wrong-headed and real pains in the ass. But that does not make the folks who did the banning right. Kos, Marshal and Bowers are just guys who ‘fell’ into the blogging thing early and prospered. None are particularly good writers or analysts on politics, culture or society. They are the pioneers. But the times are rapidly outgrowing them and their antique ideas of their place in the ‘sphere could not be more clearly highlighted than by their continued attempts to impose top-down control and it’s abject failure. Others such as chicagodyke and lambert, running a Drupal platform, at Corrente show the beginnings of Left Blogistan 2.0 with their distributed form of blogging and tolerance for dissent. Now some will say that Kos cannot impose his will on the site. It’s to frikin’ big. To which I say that’s right. You got it pal. The problem in a nutshell.

Individuals cannot impose top down rules in the ‘sphere. It’ gotta be a rule by consensus. The self-appointed leaders need to recognize this and step aside. Banning should be, just as it was in Athens, by public vote. Pseodo-anonymity should be guaranteed and candidate endorsement by the site should itself be banned. The Committee of Three can scoff all they like at folks such as me but I were they, and I’m glad I’m not, I would not look over my shoulder.

The next generation of bloggers in on the way guys and if you stick to top-down ‘leadership’…..

You are in their sights.

Which is bad for you and good for Left Blogistan 2.0. If you really are concerned with the progressive movement you will abandon your attempts at control and give democracy a chance. Relinquish one man control before it’s too late for ya.


4 Responses to Censorship, The Committee of Three and a Warning from the Past.

  1. selise says:

    thanks AC, much appreciate your thoughts. i was just a little kid in the ’60s so i don’t have the historical context you do, but i’ve also been thinking lately that we are in big trouble and not heading in a good direction.

    although i think my take is more of an institutional analysis (at least that is what i am striving for), because no matter how pissed off i get at individuals, i don’t think any small group of people is the source of our problems. although, of course, as individuals we can act in constructive or destructive ways. and i have seen the other side of what you describe (since i am no fan of either of the clintons)… the accusations that get thrown around about how clinton hatred is poorly disguised misogyny, for example. i haven’t been banned, but if i really spoke my mind i think there’s a good chance i might (at fdl no less).

    here’s a bit of my thinking along these lines, modified from something i just emailed to a friend a few minutes ago:
    why should our obama / clinton quandary divides us? why isn’t our primary identification with each other instead of with the candidate we think would make the better president? why can’t we work on various, even opposing campaigns, and see that as a good thing? just as some people write, some protest, some organize… the list is endless. why aren’t we seeing ourselves as an ecological system (to use kirk’s analogy) with a variety of niches – and that the diversity of approaches makes us a stronger and more resilient movement?

    i agree that community requires an atmosphere of mutual respect, but i want to ask: how do we get there? what are we doing that either undermines or fosters that atmosphere? because i think, in the long run, we need a culture, we need institutions, we need to find ways of working together that are all organized consistent with the principles we claim to have.

    sadly, taken as a whole, i think the blogosphere is doing the opposite of this… and if that’s true, maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised to see the difficulties we are facing now.

    well, i hope this is an on going conversation that others will join… because i don’t give a flying fuck about either obama or clinton – what i care about is us.

  2. selise says:

    p.s. where’s your rss feed AC?

  3. film says:

    nice :))

  4. film says:

    very good post šŸ˜€

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