Skip to main content

Apologies and Complaints: Posting Infrequency

Apologies to my regular readers for the longer spaces between posts.  I realize that, in the past year, my posting frequency has dwindled to the point that I only have one post this month, which is reflections on a book I read, and find the thought of posting something else terribly exhausting.  Hence, I've decided to waste a post explaining my current inability to post with the same consistency as I posted in the past in order to: a) apologize to my faithful readers who might be growing impatient with this blog; b) provide at least something to read so that this month is not represented by just a single post.

The first and most obvious justification for my lack of posting frequency is that my life is extremely busy, which I've already indicated in previous posts.  Since September 2014, in order to save money because childcare is not socialized, we've had our daughter out of daycare and have cleverly organized our work schedules around her childcare.  Due to the fact that both my partner and I work in vocations that, despite their casualized nature, occasionally (at least for this year) permit for such scheduling craftiness, we have been able to work around childcare: I only had to be at the university for two [very long] days this week, my partner could work out her gallery schedule for three days, and we struggled to do the rest of our labour at home, around our daughter's nap schedule and late into the nights.  In some ways it has been extremely beneficial because of all the time we get to spend around our kid, but in most other ways it has led to extreme exhaustion: between childcare, work, and other (for me, political) responsibilities, there has been little free time.  Thus, when I have had the free time to write a blog post I have preferred to spend it on working on other manuscripts, papers, reviews, or even socializing.

The second reason for this blog's loss of velocity is that I have found it more difficult to come up with topics that: a) I am not working out, in a more thorough manner, in papers and manuscripts; b) I have not written about before; c) are appropriate to write about without coming across as an asshole.  Much of my earlier work on this blog was an attempt to draw (what I believed to be) significant lines of demarcation so as to explain my particular political commitments.  I've already drawn most of these lines, ranted and expended political exacerbation with positions I disliked, and there's only so many times I can keep repeating the same claims.  Many of these posts were energized by my annoyance with specific positions within the mainstream left that I had encountered during my entire existence as an activist… but now the annoyances/frustrations I encounter in organizational life, though doubtless fuel for angry posts, would not be principled to articulate in this format since they have to do with individuals whose recent behaviour pisses me off, particular micro-aggressions and asinine liberalisms expend my energy.  All of this shit of collective life is not always what should be aired publicly, since it doesn't have to do with general political lines, so my blog––which once served as my angst for the mainstream left in my social context as a whole––can no longer produce posts based on its initial reason for existing without being unprincipled!

The final and larger reason for my posting infrequency, though, is that in the past year I have become more and more disheartened with my interaction with internet leftists.  I've complained about internet leftism before, so this should come as a surprise, but this problematic has made me less and less interested in posting.  A certain angst is produced from the contradiction of realizing that, on the one hand, social networking is useful for the advocation of a political line but that, on the other hand, such an advocation will eventually drawn trolls, semi-trolls, asinine pseudo-marxists, and internet communist saviours who think they know everything despite the fact that their "activism" exists only online.  And it is this reason that I will explain, in more detail, below…

aargh!!!

When this blog became somewhat popular the negative reactions were easy to moderate: hundreds of comments by reactionaries, usually IN ALL CAPS, were quite frequent because they were the product of bargain basement anti-communist, white supremacists, or MRA men-children.  I would delete these bullshit comments every day (and I still do) because they were so obviously useless.  At the same time, I would receive discussion comments that, either negative or positive, were useful for debate and helped sharpen political lines––these I would publish, even if they were antagonistic, because they were written by people who cared to engage in a thoughtful, even if it was a thought that was angry and opposition, manner.  These were useful comments, antagonistic or not, because they contributed to critical engagement.  Now, however, these kinds of comments are less frequent than comments that I cannot always recognize as trollish.

Comments that complain about a post because I disliked the commenters' pet theorists that are filled with rhetorical insults and no arguments are becoming common (I dissed Laruelle, I'm an "authoritarian personality" because I found some autonomist thinker's speculative mind farting annoying, I don't understand my own Maoism just because, etc.).  As are weird Avakianist statements that are too "Poe's Law" to know whether they are earnest or some weird attempt at trolling––weird because why the hell would anyone waste time pretending to be an Avakianite just to be "funny" on a comment string nobody will read anyway.  I mean, good lord and butter people, if you get a kick out of wasting your time bogging down a comment string on a small blog by pretending to be an RCP-USA Avakianite––a joking pretence only a very small amount of people will understand, if they even understand it's a joke––then what meaning do you attach to your life?  Mocking a small faction of the worldwide left that has become a self-mockery because of a very tragic decline is not funny, even if you and your ten friends think this is the case, it is pathetic.  It is more pathetic if it wastes the time of other leftists, and if your intention is to waste the time of other leftists than congratulations: you are a happy part of the right, because who else would expend so much time trolling the left?  But then again, since it is still possible that these claims could be written by Avakianites, due to the RCP-USA's cultishness, I can never know if this is actual trolling.  When someone starts ranting about Hardial Bains right after a possible Avakianite intervention, though, I have to wonder… but I digress.

The general point, here, is that the current state of my commenting readership is such that I feel that I have approached and intelligence sink hole where a bunch of internet leftist jerkwads, with a 4chan attitude, are wasting my time.  Such an attitude is common amongst the internet left and wastes too much of time, even when I'm not trying to waste time.  Take, for example, the time suck that I've experienced on the "communism" subreddit where I've been drawn into arguments with internet leftist know-it-alls who will keep arguing, even though they don't know shit, just to get the last word in––which is why I usually allow for their last word, and try not to look at their final responses on m account, because I don't see the point in continuing a discussion with people whose marxism is akin to someone who is a member of a historical reenactment society.

I mean, really people: I know you disdain intellectual training, and I know that my training is not as important as those who have been trained in actual struggle, but the fact that I have a fucking doctorate and you are just people who educated yourself online means that I'm smarter than you––I've read more than you have, I've been forced to study more about what you've read than you'll ever be forced.  If you were part of an organization, and embedded in the revolutionary masses, I might be forced to defer to your understanding because this is what ultimately counts (because I admit that I've learned more from people who have been involved in struggle than my academic training), but you're just self-educated internet individuals, probably a decade or more younger than me, who has never done anything practically significant but argue on the web.  This is the problem: both this blog and my internet life has forced me into wasting time with these useless, individualistic-educated "expert" trolls, and this time might be better spent elsewhere.  I have a book I need to promote, I have an academic career I need to work on, I have a job that pays the bills that needs to be pursued (which is also one that teaches students who think like these "experts" who waste my time), I have a child that needs to be raised, and most importantly I have activist responsibilities that need to be pursued––the kind of responsibilities the vast majority of internet leftists don't give a shit about.

The point of my internet presence was not to behave as an internet leftist, and just argue an eclectic line without social investigation (because internet leftists have never involved themselves in any actual practice, as demonstrated in their eclectic self-affirmed theory), but to try and locate like-minded possible cadre and plug them into a viable communist project, particularly the one with which I'm involved.  This is the only thing that is useful for an internet leftist presence; anything else is marxist cosplaying.  Which is why I cannot help but be annoyed when I end up wasting time and energy dealing with these marxist cosplayers, either on my blog or elsewhere––the kind of personalities who only want to be personalities.  Several days ago, for example, I wasted time and energy dealing with someone who thought that Jason Unruhe's Maoist Rebel News platform possessed some level of viability.  (Since then I've discovered that Unruhe, this internet marxist presence who has never practiced his marxism in actual life because he is committed to the kind of Third Worldism that gives him an excuse not to––the kind of Third Worldism that some other Maoist Third Worldist groups, such as MIM-Prisons or RAIM, would shirk––has been baiting me with a bullshit critique of my understanding of theory.  Part of me is considering responding, another part of me thinks I should just ignore it: on the one hand it is asinine enough to ignore, because it comes from a position of theoretical impoverishment––no practice, no training whatsoever, just pure individualism; on the other hand, another part of me thinks it might be worth responding to, if only once, because it might pull some critically minded readers towards an actual practice… even if he wastes my energy my responding to my response, but then I usually only respond once to these internet aesthetes because they usually have nothing more interesting to say!)  And after I wasted time with this concept, I wasted even more time with someone who insulted me for being an "authoritarian personality" simply because I had a problem with a particular autonomist critique of the recent capitalist crisis.

All of this is to say: maintaining this blog has started to become a chore.  When even some of the possible activists I've helped pull into organizing have demonstrated that, at the end of the day, they will remain internet activists––that they will imagine their insights manner when they have done nothing previously but exist as internet activists but don't want to participate in the hard work of activism in the concrete world––then I cannot help but feel that this blog is becoming less and less of a priority.  Not that I won't maintain a presence, or that I won't try to find future and creative ways to intervene, only that I currently cannot find the energy to maintain posting frequency.

After all, any communist who can maintain posting frequency but does nothing outside of this posting––whose activism is only internet posting and arguing––probably shouldn't call themselves a communist in the first place.  Without an understanding of theory and practice that comes from collective life, without any theoretical training outside of this lack of collective life, they are just an individual ego talking to themselves forever.  I'm becoming extremely exhausted by their existence and starting to wonder if this kind of social networking can attract anyone worthwhile.

Comments

  1. Hi,

    i hope you keep blogging. Trolling is now an epidemic, and frankly, it should be seen as a symptom of the internet itself. in particular, a number of leftist sites have been obviously trolled, such as the Kasama Project and The Workers Dreadnought site by trolls pretending to be Avakianites.

    however, there are many silent readers who read articles but never comment. I personally have given up commenting on sites or social media because i realise its a pointless activity for the most part.

    I don't think serious political activity can take place online, but at the same time, there are good blogs, and MLM mayhem is a good blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's more the trollishness of internet marxists, who probably don't see themselves as trolling but intervening with their oh-so-special insights, than actual trolling that annoys me. I do delete far more comments than I publish, but even many of those that I do publish these days have very little value.

      In any case, this is not a post about closing down this blog: I'm not planning on stopping blogging. I simply was explaining the reasons behind my lack of frequency. And more than these internet marxists is just the fact that there is less for me to write about these days that: a) wouldn't be part of the manuscripts I'm working on; b) wouldn't be principled to post.

      But yeah, I'll still be posting!

      Delete
  2. According to the Kasama Project, they were trolled by fascist and NSA forces:
    http://k2.kasamaproject.org/threads/entry/on-sustained-trolling-campaign-against-kasama-project

    there are some resemblances between what Kasama said and what you say. Do you also think that there are fascists, or an eastern european fascist working for the NSA, or is it just there are too many assholes online?

    Some friends of mine who run pro-Palestine blogs have been trolled by people who may either be zionists or neo nazis pretending to be zionists, or just assholes. Really hard to tell. Or perhaps something like the NSA.

    these things are hard to prove, of course, but if there is in fact sustained trolling by reactionaries of whatever type, then the issue is a little more serious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really, I think it's just part of internet culture. I mean, look at the 4chan (and now "8chan") communities and the amount of trollish online groups, many of whom are more than happy to troll everybody and anybody just because they think it's fun. And as I said above, my problem was not just with the obvious trolling but with the trollishness of internet leftists who probably don't think of themselves as "trolls". These aren't really "reactionaries", but just assholes who have convinced themselves they are god's gift to theory.

      Delete
  3. I am admittedly an internet leftist at this point in my life; I do try to be humble and I have a genuine desire to participate in actual political work, both to have a concrete contribution to furthering revolution and to deepen my own theoretical understanding. Fortunately I've been mature enough in recent years to avoid any trolling- I looked back at some old posts I wrote on internet forums and was pretty disappointed; kinda similar to your reflections on your autonomist phase I guess. I'm sorry to hear that maintaining the blog has been such a drain. I think I'll try to post a bit more frequently now (though maybe I should spend that time searching for activism opportunities instead!) It would probably help to try and check yourself when considering a response to some asinine post ("Is it really worth it?", "When's the last time this has led to anything useful?", etc)

    While this is only tangentially related (I guess it could be though of as a continuation of my comment on your reflection on James Yaki Sayles' work), I was curious if you could recommend any works discussing China's policy towards minority nationalities, including during its revisionist/imperialist stage. I'm trying to evaluate the experiences of socialist countries on the national question, along with a variety of other topics, to try and develop a hypothesis that's been marinating in my head a bit- communist parties in settler-colonial countries should not only advocate national self-determination, but should actively promote political independence for oppressed nationalities in their agitprop. Hell, maybe your doctoral work covers this too.

    Anyway, I'm sure you'll figure out the best way to adjust your approach to this blog that fits it better into your life. Hang in there.

    CD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words. Again, as I've said to others, this was more of a rant about why I don't spend as much energy posting here as I used to… I'm otherwise doing quite well in my life, particularly when I ignore the suck-hole of internet marxism.

      As for your question about Chinese imperialism and the like, it might be worth checking out "Is China an Imperialist Country?" I haven't read it myself, but I hear good things about it. Also, Kersplebedeb is going to be putting it out in print very soon.

      http://www.red-path.net/analysis/is-china-an-imperialist-country

      Delete
    2. I have actually read that a while back, and it was very good- I think I'll skim through it again though. Cool to hear it's going to get published.

      Delete
    3. Looking at the introduction, I cannot say I am favorably impressed. For one thing, it didn't even address the Chinese situation, seeming to content itself with the notion that charging opponents as believing in Kautsky's "ultraimperialism."

      I'm not confident in the author's ability to correctly analyze this, as they attribute the betrayals of Social Democracy at the outbreak of WWI to this theory. Skipping over Kautsky's actual position as the great ideologue of centrism (as opposed to patriotic social democracy,) this attribute supernatural powers to revisionism, or possibly Kautsky personally. He devised the notion of ultraimperialism after all in September 1914. I gather he may have taken inspiration from J.A. Hobson, but it hardly seems likely Hobson was the dominant ideological leader of international Social Democracy, and therefore ultimately responsible for voting for patriotic war.

      For another other thing, it seemed to me the introduction clearly was mostly about defending popular revolutions in Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, Iran and Turkey against arguments that supporting these movements were counterrevolutionary and proimperialist. Well, I am firmly of the opinion this is not true. If it is indeed the case that the theory of ultraimperialism leads to this conclusion, I'm afraid I'm first thought is, "Is there some grain of truth that needs to be rescued from Kautsky's centrist muddle and deceit?"

      Well, introductions are merely introductions. Perhaps the author inadvertently put their right foot forward? I will follow up with a closer reading. But, for good or ill, I will do so with the knowledge that after the English beat the Dutch in three wars, there was indeed never again interimperialist rivalry between the Dutch and the English that resulted in wars. That the Czech bourgeoisie could surrender their country in 1938, and surrender Slovakia in 1993. That the US was the imperialist victor in WWII. The implication that the verdicts of that titanic struggle can be surreptitiously reversed strikes me as mind boggling. The burden of proof is very heavy.

      Steven Johnson

      Delete
    4. I can't really respond to this because, as I indicated, I haven't read the book. Whatever the case, I think arguments about China's attempt to become an imperialist power, as long as they avoid Sinophobia, are worth putting out there for debate and discussion. Outside of this, your comments about the grain of truth in Kautsky's theory of ultra-imperialism reminds me of a passage in Biel's recent *The Entropy of Capitalism* where he argues something similar.

      As for there being popular revolutions in the aforementioned countries, I think that there were popular rebellions, and it is a mistake to see these simply as managed from the very get-go by proimperialist forces. Instead, the lack of a strong revolutionary movement in these countries very quickly led to popular rebellions being taken over by the organizations that were most organized in theory and practice: which were reactionary organizations. Though, only knowing about this book and not having read it (aside from glancing ahead at other sections), I don't know if this nuance comes across.

      Delete
  4. UpholderofthoughtsMay 24, 2015 at 9:44 PM

    I know exactly what you are talking about with the eclectic communist who functions as a troll. That being said your lines are definitely drawn really clearly over the course of the blog and many people I work with have either understood maoism and become involved in practice, or understood maoism and decided that it's not for them specifically spurned by this blog.

    I'm glad that you are able to make ya'll schedules work for your kid, you should give us a kid update.!

    And also with respect to MRN, because it seems like it would be easy and actually could(?) damage his reputation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comments. Unfortunately, drawing clear lines of demarcation will cause some people to be annoyed––there's no avoiding that, though maybe sometimes I was too ranty than what was warranted. Kid updates are always fun to do, but I'd have to think of a good angle that wouldn't be just a boring "here's-what's-going-on-with-my-daughter-isn't-she-awesome" post. As for MRN, I'm conflicted: on the one hand I do want to respond, because it would be easy, but on the other hand I don't want to embroil myself in an internecine internet exchange or feed the troll.

      Delete
    2. As somebody learning more about the different modern variants of Maoism, I would appreciate any clarification on your line versus other popular lines, like Unruhe. He isn't a scholar, but it could be illuminating if done responsibly.

      -Andrew

      Delete
    3. I've clarified my line on MLM here in the past (it's the kind that comes from the PCP and the RIM) on this website, so if you're interested you can just read my past posts about this (i.e. "Onwards Maoist Century", "Misconceptions About Maoism", and even my much larger document "Maoism of Trotskyism").

      Delete
  5. Hi JMP,

    First of all, sorry for bothering you with such a comment:

    I was hoping you could help me out with some indications regarding a general plan to study philosophy by myself (maybe turn it into a blog post?) with some emphasis of marxism. Again, im sorry to be asking this but this was the first place that came to my mind.

    I have enjoyed every post since i first came across your blog. good luck with everything you are working on.


    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment