Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wanted: New Home for a Non-Deranged Socialist, or How I got the Boot from Babble

I know that for Liberals/Conservatives the term "deranged Socialist" is simply redundant, but what about within Socialist/ Leftist discourse? Is there a place on the Left for a democratic socialist whose politics include not only Marx, but also Christ, Gandhi, Beckett, Levinas, Derrida, Lacan and a healthy splash of Zizek to name a few. From Marx, I take political economy, from Christ and Gandhi I take strength, compassion, radical love, and a praxis where means and ends are inextricably linked such that the magnanimity of a goal never justifies achieving that goal ignobly. From Beckett and Derrida I take a path of interminable openness parodic laughter and intellectual humility. From Levinas and Lacan I take a respect for alterity. And from Zizek, I take the wonderful zeal, intensity, contradiction and brilliance that is Zizek.

I know I'm asking a lot, but at this point I'd settle for a home where the Left tolerates debate and doesn't respond with knee-jerk reactionary feeding frenzies when one of its allies publicly disagrees with a singular aspect of their revolutionary politics. At this point I'd settle for a home where members are not banned because a moderator finds their posts pompous. Not inflammatory, not incendiary, not offensive, not intellectually dishonest, but in the subjective opinion of the moderator, riddled with "pomposity". All of this while tolerating, in fact implicitly encouraging, favoured members to hurl epithets, name call, as well as to speak cynically, disingenuously, and quite frankly abusively.

I am, of course speaking of that beacon of Leftist enlightenment, Rabble, and I speak as synthome, a former member censored and banished for displaying, you guessed it, "pomposity" (which I take to mean disagreeing with the essentialist fundamentalist views currently held on Rabble). I implore dear readers to weigh in on whether my banishment seems justified. Interesting that not one of those enlightened and "progressive" voices even raised an eyebrow at my banishment. It was passed over in complete silence, suggesting there was either unanimity of agreement or people were intimidated to speak up for fear of being banished themselves. Whatever the case, the total silence is symptomatic.

More importantly can anyone point me towards a Socialist community that believes in ethicality, democratic ideals, intellectual rigour, justice for all, and intimidation by none? I refuse to be intimidated by fundamentalism whether it be political (e.g. Unionist on Rabble), atheist (e.g. Richard Dawkins), or religious (Islamic, Christian or otherwise). Furthermore, I refuse to elevate victimhood to the impenetrable unquestionable status of a sublime object/ Cause (whether "the Proletariat", "the Palestinian", "the baby seal"). I believe in speaking the truth and I believe in love, and thus in truth spoken out of love.

Not that I wish to promote Rabble, but here are some threads in which the deranged Left is in fine form and in which yours truly, le sinthome (synthome), responds, leading to my eventual deactivation (followed by my brief re-emergence as objet_petit_a. Incidentally, I am open to the idea that I'm the crazy one. So let me know...

7 comments:

Dr.Dawg said...

What a breath of fresh air this post is!

I've had my own problems with Babble, and then with EnMasse, which proved to be a kind of Babble(ML). You are, of course, entirely right, both about the feral participants there, and also the "moderators." These are line boards pretending they're not.

But I wonder if there isn't something about talk boards in general that evokes our worst impulses. The leftish ones--although I think I'd make an exception for Bread and Roses--are just an alternative Usenet, and not necessarily on a higher level.

Anyway, bravo. If the Left is ever going to be more than a discussion group, we need to kick open the doors, challenge our leftist commonplaces, take a new direction.

You know, like win for a change.

Dr.Dawg said...

Not that I agree with your position on the ONDP, by the way. :)

Derrida said...

What! You disagree with me! Your momma! FU. I banish thee for excessive hubris, pomposity, not to mention overweening temerity. :-)

Dawg, I wouldn't have it any other way. I suspect we might not disagree altogether. I'd be curious to read your thoughts, if you had the time.

Best...

Dr.Dawg said...

Well, very briefly, being a productive anti-poverty activist doesn't give you a free pass forever and ever. Cheri was out of line.

Things look especially mucky when the Leader sends a letter (but issues no press release) effectively contradicting everything her caucus-member said the day before.

I agree with Horwath: such resolutions are not helpful. They are, in fact, chilling. This one was moved by Unionist's evil twin, from the sound of it.

There is a good (on-going) discussion of the "apartheid" question at my place--just do a search on the word. Red-lighting it at the get-go is surely inimical to everything you're saying in your post.

Ti-Guy said...

What did I say just a few posts down:

They eventually turn on you. You'll find that out, one day.

That day has come.

Don't join anything that doesn't have very specific, time-limited, measurable-in-teaspoons goals and objectives. It always ends in tears.

Derrida said...

Hey Ti-Guy,

How's it going? I've never underestimated the Left's propensity for fundamentalism, for divisiveness, and for eating its own. They're like Conservative in that way. Problem is they're right in their non-negotiable stance that capitalism is at the root of injustice.

I know the Liberals will always be there with open arms, but I'll stick to attending their functions for the food, the drink, and the "pretty" people. For true sustenance I'll stick with the rare honest, ethical, and intelligent Leftists I find. Unfortunately, I can't find any Liberals that fit that bill, although for what it's worth you come close.

Take care...

Ti-Guy said...

...but I'll stick to attending their functions for the food, the drink, and the "pretty" people...

That's the spirit. And don't be shy about saying what's on your mind. We Liberals can handle it.