In an earlier post I joked that, based on the traffic of certain articles, if I turned this blog into an exercise of pissing on the graves of the recently dead I would probably increase my average traffic. And due to then high traffic generated by my last article, maybe it would also be clever to transform this blog into one about dead people and sexual politics. It could be called DEATH! SEX! and would be sure to offend a lot of self-proclaimed lefties along with reactionaries. Although I am not planning on making such a drastic shift in this blog's content focus, thinking about how some topics have generated far more traffic than others, I have decided to release an M-L-M Mayhem 2011 in Review and list what posts were the most viewed and exchanged across the interwebs from last January to December.
10. Entries regarding the PCR-RCP initiated elections boycott:
These articles generated a lot of traffic, and a lot of parliamentary ire on the part of sectors of the left who should have known better. The boycott itself raised eyebrows in my city, resulted in some rather asinine counter-arguments that intentionally straw-personed its politics, and whenever the articles on this blog were posted they often caused a shit-show and revealed the left's fascination with and addiction to social democracy. The most popular articles concerning the election, though, were Wendy Glauser's guest post regarding the actual capitalist/imperialist politics of the NDP (which is still reblogged now and then because, hopefully, the left in Canada is beginning to dispense with its mindless commitment to a party that has no concrete connection to the proletariat), and my post-election assessment of the fall of the Bloc Quebecois which caused one irate commenter to create a sock-puppet.
9. Entries on the "occupy" movement:
My initial assessment of the occupy movement, was probably the most reblogged, but the others (found in the months of September and October 2011) also generated a lot of discussion. Now that the occupy movement is sputtering out, unable to go beyond its own ideological boundaries [that were presented as a lack of boundaries], the initial assessment and the ones that followed were proved to be pretty much correct. More reason to pursue they type of political organization that has already been proved in practice––but hey, I'm sure that this year (because the objective conditions of the recession continue to be ripe) we'll find other similar manifestations of mass anger that, yet again, leftists who want to reinvent the organizational wheel will tout about as the new brand of margarine.
8. My attempt at an eNovel:
Yes! People are reading my fiction! Well, at the very least they're downloading it––who knows how much it is actually being read. If only someone in the lefty political blogosphere was connected with a publishing company that wanted to publish my modest fictional offerings. I'm still waiting for an offer! Those who did read it, however, seemed to enjoy it and that made me feel appreciated.
7. Trotsky and Stalin!
For some reason, my post about the mimetic similarities of Trotsky and Stalin, though not heavily trafficked on its initial release suddenly became uber-popular and heavily facebooked in December. I have no idea why there was this explosion of interest around the possible similarities between the dead-ends of Trotskyism and Stalinism, and I am still waiting for some irate Trotskyist to comment with a screed about the theoretical perfection of the "prophet".
6. Entries on why I support the PCR-RCP:
All of which can be found on this page. There weren't a lot of comments on these articles, but they were heavily trafficked. I always find it interesting how some of the articles that sustain heavy comments are actually not the same articles that have the most traffic. Take some of my articles on imperialism and false consciousness that, while popular enough to generate 31 comments [which are mostly, to be fair, arguments amongst a small group of people], never generated the kind of traffic that the barely commented upon entries regarding my support of the PCR-RCP generated. Maybe confessional style entries, being less controversial but still interesting, produce a context that is more amiable to reading than arguing.
5. Entries surrounding the intifadas in Tunisia and Egypt:
Before the occupy movement, a repetition as farce, displaced the mass uprisings in the middle east, I wrote about the limits of spontaneity in the context of what would eventually be dubbed "the Arab Spring." Some people immediately took exception to my assessment, one commenter even calling my approach "undialectical" (a typical slur often used by people who don't understand the meaning of dialectics), and yet my analysis has been proved correct. Although it would have been amazing if these uprisings had succeeded in providing a significant challenge to imperial capitalism, and it is extremely sad that they did not, the fact is that, as I argued, the military coup was not progressive, the movement failed to produce a significant political counter-hegemony (because of its structure, as we should historically know, it could not). And yet, as the emergence of the occupy movement proved, so many leftists leap on the bandwagon of the next supposed semi-Draperite phenomenon and imagine that they are witnessing a world historical revolution.
[Side-point: where are you long time commenter but now silent RRH whose interventions were always educational and interesting? I think this might have been one of the last posts you commented on...]
4. Articles around class reductionism:
My initial article on this issue still keeps showing up as well-trafficked, but so too do the articles connected to the PRAC event "This Ain't Your Grandpa's Communism": the first of these a guest post by Baolinh Dang, the second my sequel––both of which were part of a larger presentation that, despite its problems, was well intended. Too bad the central presentation by Rachel Gorman, since it was presented from notes rather than a pre-written paper, was not available to guest post. The continued interest in these posts demonstrate, in my opinion, the hunger amongst leftists for a historical materialist analysis that takes into account identity politics without lapsing into identity politics. The maoist and maoist-influenced tradition is still, in my opinion, the only tradition that can provide this historical materialist analysis in a systematic manner, which is one of the reasons I was drawn to it in the first place.
3. An entry about a proper anti-capitalist approach to social reformism:
My article "Understanding Social Reform in a Non-Reformist Manner" generated a high level of traffic when it was first posted and still continues to be reblogged and facebooked every now and then, showing up on my statistics page as a highly clicked-on entry. (And my thanks to the excellent and super supportive comrades at Mouvement Étudiant Révolutionnaire for translating it into french and reblogging it on their site the same month it was released.) This issue is one that I return to often, and I don't think I really said all I wanted to say in this article, especially since I feel that dominant currents of the left in my social context: a) misunderstands its role vis-a-vis social reformism; b) attacks groups and people who try to be critical, but not dismissive, of this approach. And this strongly connects to my complaints about the NDP-ism (in both the boycott articles and one of my most highly trafficked articles that will be discussed below) that tends to plague our movement.
Already my most recent entry on the sex industry has started 2012 off with bang, but my initial 2011 article regarding this topic was, and continues to be, heavily trafficked––more heavily trafficked than its 2010 semi-precursor. What I have started to find interesting about my left-wing engagements with sexual politics––whether they be about the institution of prostitution or the fetishization of certain sexual "liberatory" behaviours––is that other leftists, especially male leftists, really take offense to any criticism of the unquestioned male right to have 24-7 access to female bodies. I have always felt that it was necessary for the committed left to critically engage with many of the points made by radical feminists such as the Cell 16 collective and Andrea Dworkin [who, as I have often noted, is terribly misread and misunderstood], and I am nearly as shocked by the unwillingness amongst the left to perform such an engagement as I am with the willingness of male-power-loving reactionaries to call Dworkin, whenever she is mentioned, names like "fat dyke". [This despicable insult appears, every now and then, in troll comments I receive in my moderated folder––all aimed at an article written back in Fall 2010.]
Like I said, blog entries where I piss on the graves of the recently dead are, for some bizarre reason, my most heavily trafficked. First there were the entries where I complained about the idiotic tendency amongst the self-proclaimed "anti-capitalist left" to sing the praises of NDP superstar Jack Layton upon his death. Then there was my entry on the deaths of Kim Jong-Il and Vaclav Havel. The latter scored over 1000 hits on its first day alone, and continues to generate more, scooping both Lenin's Tomb and Louis Proyect in pissing on the reactionary legacy of Havel. I am curious, however, as to why negative obituaries produce the most attention. When it came to the Layton entry, I was flabbergasted by the amount of leftists who chastised me on "speaking ill of the dead" (really, are we that superstitious, and why the fuck should I care about a dead capitalist?)… But I am more flabbergasted by the fact that the same people who are angry others are "speaking ill" of the dead are probably the same people who make these entries so highly trafficked. Those who want to protect the legacy of even the enemy dead are the same who are fascinated with obituaries that trash this legacy: people are morbidly fascinated with the dead.
So those were the top entries of 2011, and 2011 proved to be a rather exciting year. Here's hoping that 2012 is more exciting, more rebellious, and that its exciting rebellions are more organized and theoretically unified.