If you have "no place to go," come here!

My comment, in moderation at Hullabaloo

vastleft's picture

thereisnospoon says:

The end result is the same, as are the difficult decisions faced by progressives: attempt to change the Democratic Party both from within and without, or attempt to destroy it and subvert the two-party system.

Regardless, attempting to peer into the President's soul is a fairly fruitless exercise either way. The only real question from here is: "So now what?" It's a loaded question, and there are no easy answers.

I would say (if my comments ever get past their moderation):

Sure, there's an easy answer: stop supporting a party that doesn't support our values and interests and invest our energies in something different.

We had an easy time saying that to "What's the Matter with Kansas?" Republicans. So, why not about us?
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vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

He seems to be a resolute shallow-ender, criticizing the ObamaDems considerably... but extremely unlikely, I'd wager, to disassociate himself from the donkeys.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I disagree with RD on the use of the "incompetence" frame re: Obama and on investing any energy into Hillary Clinton as a cure for what ails us. And I, too, wasn't impressed with the arguments there and elsewhere re: WikiLeaks.

But she's streamlined the site to reflect her point of view and maybe one or two other likeminded posters. So whatever dilution of her message you've seen there seems to be in the past.

lizpolaris's picture
Submitted by lizpolaris on

I saw her post in which she jettisoned all of her frontpagers except katiebird. After that, she's got 1 or 2 posts per day each of which gets up to about 20 comments, on a good day. Contrast that with several posts per day getting 100 comments each. I'd say that's the definition of imploding. She decided to go from a participatory website to essentially a personal diary of her political thoughts. No longer something I care to read every day.

Submitted by lambert on


cwaltz's picture
Submitted by cwaltz on

may be two different animals. I rarely comment over there unless I agree with her(or when she became unemployed to lend her my condolences). However, I do still read her. I think there may be others probably that do the same.

Actually now that I think about it I seem to have that philosophy about a half a dozen blogs.

Jack Crow's picture
Submitted by Jack Crow on

...part of the problem has to do with the structure of internet communication? We are not engaging in conversation, with all the nuances and signals of face to face discussion (or those of tone, posture and body language), so much as we are signaling encapsulated positions within media which are all moderated and which can exclude our voices at any moment.

We are subjects of and subjected to rules of interaction over which we have little control, because we have little collective and cooperative wealth shared between us.

I know this is no new observation, but the strength and potency of struggle depends upon emotional bonds and loyalties which cannot be made within mediated forums.

lizpolaris's picture
Submitted by lizpolaris on

before discussion was moderated to support one primary candidate over another during the last presidential election. It was really an organic place - a place you could feel you belonged, that was making a difference. It was sad to see it degrade.

Jack Crow's picture
Submitted by Jack Crow on

...sort of goes to my point, but I think the superstructure was never significantly different from the existing political one. And Kos intended it that way. I mean, he created a mediated environment so that a certain sector of the potential electorate would be penned into opposing Republicans, first and foremost.

It may, given the shift in Democratic fortunes, now allow for fewer voices - but you can expect that to change, I think, if the Republicans capture the Presidency.

And that's the problem. When you limit the range of options for participation to a managed debate about who should rule, you miss the opportunity to discuss the alternatives to ruling in the first place.

I look at this another way, as well - I used to manage people for a profitable retail outlet. Very profitable. And I was exceedingly good at my job as long as I maintained the fiction of my role. That role allowed me to behave towards people with a mediated and sanctified possession of power over them which they would otherwise balk, or actively resist.

I had day to day, face to face interaction with my employees. I was relatively benevolent (or, at least, comparatively so). I worked hard to get as many people covered by health insurance as possible, and to get wage increases whenever corporate would allow.

But I always did these things within a system the operation of which guaranteed inequity, because it can't exist without inequity. I was ultimately struggling to serve my somewhat weakened conscience, and a far more formidable corporate master simultaneously.

And there was no way for me to do the small work of handing out scraps without first accomplishing the greater work of posting a profit for the bosses. I was only allowed scrap delivery leeway because I was first and foremost the sort of managing operator who made sure that the company's bottom line left only scraps for the workers, to begin with.

This, I think, is exactly the problem with engaging the political system electorally. There is no way to use the political apparatus to deliver scraps to the growing mass of capitalism's discontent without first making sure that capitalism produces those discontents. Those who own the border between the accumulation of capital and the management of capital's political system are the exact same people who shape how issues are discussed, in the first.

And we are still having those conversations according to their rules of interaction, organization and political merit.

I we are unable to get face to face, and to abandon the mediated roles which govern those face to face interactions, we are (I believe) doomed to failure.

Submitted by lambert on

I'm not sure there is ever any such thing as face to face interaction without at least some admixture of mediated roles. Why do you believe that's possible, and can you give an example?

Jack Crow's picture
Submitted by Jack Crow on

I use the term "mediated role" as distinct from "role."

I have, as a parent, a role. I can assume the predominant cultural trappings associated with it, or remake it with my own interpretations. But, parenting a child is a role which meets the criteria of a definition of function.

We can observe a number of people performing parental functions, and in recording those observations, assign a range of behaviors to a definition, parent, which we then treat as a role. Most roles fall within this sort of accepted range.

If each generation completely re-invented human existence, and had no access to cultural or exo-somatic inheritance, it would still be possible for outside observers to describe repeated and repeatable functions as roles. People doing such and such (gathering food) would be performing a role. People doing this and that (raising children) would be performing a different role, but those roles would be repeated over time and place, because the needs in which they originate are relatively likely to occur with some universality. Everyday roles also overlap, in so much as a person can perform any number of roles during the same measurable period of time, in roughly the same range of places.

I don't think, so long as people exist, have awareness, have memory, and have mammalian children who are not born competent to provide for themselves, and have daily interaction, that roles are avoidable.

That doesn't mean they ought to be fixed, or mediated.

Where we have a real problem with fixed roles, one hopes, is obvious. Gender, sexuality and race mark historic boundaries over which disputes and blood fights about the division of fixed roles have repeatedly occurred. Fixed roles are those which are or have been assumed to be (a) more or less permanent, for those obligated to inhabit them (b) inherited according to outward appearance or physiological marker, ie, by birth as a supposed type, and (c) universal, as in applying to the people who "ought to" inhabit them, regardless of conformity to them.

There is some overlap between the common assumption of a role, and a social pressure to assume a fixed role, as measured by membership in class, where those from the lower classes are presumed to fulfill fixed roles befitting their class. In some regions, that fixity is more or less theoretical. In others, it is far more material.

What distinguishes a mediated role from an everyday role or a fixed role is intent. A mediated role is one which is created and maintained precisely to preserve a larger status quo.

There is a quality of passivity when it comes to how people treat with roles and fixed roles, generally (or, I believe this to be the case). We can observe repetitions of behavior over time, and reach or inherit conclusions about how people ought to act, according to their implied social functions. You can observe a number of people acting as body servants, and with relative ease reach the conclusion that (a) body servant is a more or less universal role, or (b) that some people ought to be body servants., especially if you are raised to believe the universality of either claim.

It takes someone in a mediated role, often enough, to preserve the illusions of permanence, or even more insidiously, necessity.

And that is the point of a mediated role. A person who occupies a mediated role understands, as a function of that role, that most roles are not in fact fixed, permanent, universal or even fair, just or otherwise tolerable. In fact, the point of occupying a mediated role is to mediate how people interact with each other, while in possession of facts which the job description of that role requires one to obfuscate.

An early example, and an obvious one, is priest. But, in our day and age, the type and kind of priest often includes commentator, reporter, spokesperson, banker or even politician, where the fixed role of oligarch often enough overlaps with the mediated role of deceiver.

The important distinction, regarding a mediated role, and that which separates it from the others, is that a person in the possession of one is often required to know that the lies he or she is telling are actually lies. The pythoness might be making drug induced utterances in good faith, but the priest who interprets them while playing with the mechanical god puppets, or mixing the intoxicants, or casting fireworks as a god sign likely knows that the gods have always needed a little helping getting their message to good believers.

One doesn't have to be a liar to be a "good" and domestic, obedient housewife. One doesn't have to be a liar to be a soldier, cop or prison guard. However troublesome those roles might be, a person can perform them and honestly believe that the role is a just, right and honorable one to assume.

There is little room in fulfilling a mediated role without knowing what the role requires.

Or something like that...

jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

Nothing is true and everything is permitted. If you'll pardon the historical reference filtered through a video game.

Submitted by lambert on

... which is why I curate for writing quality and rhetorical tactics (le style c'est l'homme même). But it's still not the same as on the ground, no question.

Jack Crow's picture
Submitted by Jack Crow on

...many of us live within a day's travel of each other. I mean, typing only for myself, I am six hours away from every person who lives in New England, as well as New York City, Montreal and Syracuse.

Submitted by mwfolsom on

Here is what I posted:
thereisnospoon writes:

But ultimately this argument that consumes so much energy and passion within progressive circles both online and offline is irrelevant. Because in the end it matters little if conservative policies are brought about under Democratic administrations through weakness or ill intent. The end result is the same, as are the difficult decisions faced by progressives: attempt to change the Democratic Party both from within and without, or attempt to destroy it and subvert the two-party system.

The answer is blindingly obvious to anybody but the Democratic elites and those that are their servants. Sadly since most of the so-called liberal blogosphere falls into the servant class it isn't and can't be discussed.

You cannot hope to reform a corrupt Democratic Party from the inside you must walk from it and let it collapse under is own weight. Personally my path has moved from volunteer to the Democratic Party, to Ward Chair, to ex-Ward Chair to a developing Green Party Organizer. Other people will have their own path but the important issue is to reject not the founding principles of the Democratic Party but rather what it has today become - a squalid whorehouse where politicians come to sell their souls to corporate interests.

My response is in moderation too - we will see if it ever shows.

Its pretty surprising for somebody from Hullabaloo to post anything from Matt Taibbi - I can't imagine the powers that be are too happy about that.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

They can complain as much as they want, thus appearing to be reality-based and committed to progressive goals, as long as they never actually advocate for real change.

That's what made "public option" so great -- there could be all kinds of advocacy and fundraising for it, and even if enacted it posed no threat to the MOTU, just like rallying or resignedly rationalizing for Obama-style "change."

Submitted by mwfolsom on

We have a so-called progressive blog in New Mexico called "Democracy for New Mexico" and they have started actually deleting my comments because I'm too shrill.

They are so co-dependent on the Democratic Party power structure they can't believe that their chosen beloved Democratic politicians aren't god's gift to man. Everything is caused by the evil Republicans but the beloved ones are never at fault.

If it wasn't so destructive to the country it would be amusing to watch them suffer as they get sold out again and again and again.

Submitted by JuliaWilliams on

(You can infer his comments from my response, I won't dignify the attack by printing it) (and BTW, he stated he was going to "ignore me and people like me" after a very short exchange)
Julia Williams:

?"Flakker" was the NAME of a commenter I QUOTED, sorry if that wasn't clear. BTW,I don't think calling out ANYONE who is "left" as being "fact-lite", "screechy", "righteously indignant", "liking the sound of (one's) voice", "specializing in Noble Lost Causes", "peeing over 'policy advances"(YMMV), not "being grown-up that way", "trashing people", and then vowing to ignore them is going to get a lot of people to listen to "factual analysis". The D's take scads of corporate money, and have been enacting third-way policies for 3 decades now. This particular iteration took a totally demoralized GOP and breathed life into them, ever wonder why? Their new "jobs" policy is to fight to enact 3 new trade deals with Korea, Panama and Columbia..can we get any more cynical now? And frankly, the populace Mr. Green is so bent on ignoring is calling out the D strategy all over the place,even the D CA Progressive Caucus is flailing about, calling for a Primary challenger to Obama. (I don't think that will do any good, the DNC manages to weed out any real progressives before they get to the national stage, it would interfere with their fund-raising.) I don't think it's all about POTUS, he is after all just one part of the party machine. And frankly, "our side sucks less" isn't going to win any more votes than it did in 2010, especially if the Ds keep enacting and pushing for RW, Heritage Foundation-type legislation. The "look over there! Sarah Palin (Michelle Bachmann, Romney, etc)!" meme isn't going to work, it didn't in 2010, and it will go down in flames in 2012 if we don't fix this economy.(And i wonder if he read the TPM article, or is going to ignore that, too.) I've been called out on many so-called progressive blogs, I've posted facts, articles, lists, and what I get in response are ad hominem attacks just like that one.

Submitted by lambert on

Except in some ways worse, because these guys don't even have the excuse of being bamboozled by a brilliant marketing campaign.

I'm never sure how to respond to these guys. Tit for tat doesn't work, really -- I guess the idea is always to write for other readers. Maybe this is an issue with mediated roles, as Jack Crow was talking about the other day.

What's nice about VL's cartoons is that they distill things down. Maybe just cite to them instead of responding....

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

As far as I can see, everybody is in moderation. Me too. And not a single comment is displayed.

Re: TINS, I'd say he's an articulate, thoughtful poster who shows clearly just what starting from false assumptions can do for you.