Confronting the Leftist Media Juggernaut


#1

… or: who and where are the media of the left? What kind is needed now?

Background: Where this all started was that over the past few months, I have been thinking more about organization and networking with people, as well as some concern about re-inventing the wheel in certain areas. For much of my life I have lived and cities, and been poor with minimal internet access, but it was easy to go to meetings and events. Now that I am in a suburban hellscape I figured I should really see how people are getting on politically online.

So here’s the obvious joke: When I did some web searches for “radical left forum” or some such thing I got pages and pages of search results of people complaining about all of the leftist media, but none of the actual leftist media which they claim is everywhere. Probably because they conflate some token “commercial liberal media outlet which has somewhat progressive standards of not hating oppressed people” with “actual different systems of political/economic social organization”.

Where and Who?: So, who do YOU think of as the important media of the left? Should people look for authentic leftist media in the profit-driven world of broadcast media? Or should we establish something else? What are some blogs, forums, chatrooms, etc groups where interesting discussion and action are happening? How appropriate is the centralized corporate nature of most “social media” to this type of culture?

“Us” -VS- “Them”: What notable differences do you see with how leftist groups use the media, versus other groups such as the alt-right, religious conservatives, traditional fascists, racist nationalists, etc.? What can/should we co-opt, versus avoid?

What now?: What approaches do you think are most relevant now? What technologies are more resistant to censorship if things get tough? What sort of "image: should such media project? How centralized/decentralized should it get?


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#2

Authentic leftists in the media will never equal an authentically progressive profit-driven media (an oxymoron if ever there was one). Same thing goes for leftists in profit-driven legislatures.

What the media can be is adversarial, or at least more adversarial than it’s current normalizing of fascism to curry access to the administration it did its best to create.

It really depends a lot on which leftist groups you mean. That’s a huge category with a wide array of not always compatible agendas. An anarcho-socialist will use it differently than a Marxist, who will use it differently than a moderate progressive or an incrementalist, who will use it differently than a Rockefeller Republican (who by this point are basically on the left of the aisle).

Word of mouth. Part of how we got here was by thinking the only valuable forms of political expression were those that go viral or have a megaphone. Over time politics went from being a taboo subject at the dinner table to a taboo subject in meatspace period. Now everyone’s afraid of offline argument. That’s bad news for civic discourse.

Adversarial. Instead of begging for scraps at the White House Press Corps table.

Honestly, centralization of the media isn’t the main problem. If anything, there is more decentralized media than ever before. The problem is that the media and plenty of it’s audience across the political spectrum have abandoned facts (yes, it’s worst in the alt-right, but they don’t have a monopoly on elevating narratives over reality, narratives like the one that said Clinton was a shoo-in).

Facts, real reporting, real investigation of the things the powerful don’t want investigated.

But here’s the thing. As long as the public continues to reward lazy, sloppy, soft journalism, that’s where the money will go.

“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” ~ H. L. Mencken


#3

Yes indeed. That’s one of the things that amazes me about what few lefty communist/anarchist forums I have seen. They seem incredibly factional and doctrinaire, and I am skeptical that the right suffers the problem to the same degree. There was the “Kasama Project” forum a few years back which tried to overcome this, but it seems to have disappeared.

As distasteful as it is, I wonder if I should get a VPN, hold my nose, and join some right-wing sites and forums to see how they are organized. But it’s a chore and hard to stomach.

I think that there’s a big advantage to dealing with contemporary problems and solutions instead of harping on about the classic figures, texts, and movements of the past. Good to know about them, but keep them in perspective. I get the feeling that the right focuses more on acting to address current issues than it does baroque scholarship of Leo Strauss or whoever they fap to.


#4

Those on the right are definitely better at uniting against people they dislike to defeat people they hate. Probably a combination of greater moral flexibility on average and more of a no “I” in team mentality. On the genuine left, ideals often take precedence over the moral quagmire of real politik. The right is more kraterocratic; the strong lead and the weak follow.


#5

That’s probably a lot of what I am trying to process: the right profess to be anti-collectivist, yet they team up upon perceived enemies - while the left profess to be collective and often cannot unite to save their lives. Like why so many who claim to be individualists are also militantly nationalist.


#6

I don’t think the right is really collective. They’re just more willing to follow leadership they perceive as strong. The real reason they admire safely dead conservative leaders has little to do with shared agendas and much more with the perception that those leaders were strong. The perception by the right of the 2016 GOP candidate field as being a bunch of weak also-rans set the stage for a cartoonish blowhard to come in and take over their party.

I don’t think that would work on the left even if it was a good idea (which it probably isn’t). Most on left don’t want to follow or lead, they want consensus on issues of fundamental disagreement and they’ll never get it because it’s really three or four parties shoehorned into one movement by our fallaciously binary political spectrum.


#7

Could be. I consider hierarchies to be collectives, but of a sickly sort. Kraterocratic is a new term for me.

You well anticipated my next question about perceived strength of leadership on the left. I relate entirely to neither wanting to follow nor lead. Although I see striving for consensus as more of a statist problem. I am coming at this more from a revolutionary angle than being concerned with the Democratic party, although I would not be averse to there being a more functional Democratic party in the US. But my own thing is more networking to create autonomous collectives.


#8

Just so I’m being clear, I do think many (though by no means all) on the left do want strong leaders (I misspoke earlier, thinking this through as we go). They’re just not willing to submit to strong leaders from left factions who don’t share their ideals. At the risk of painting with a very broad brush, the left put ideals before leadership. For the right leadership is among the most important ideals, so others are bent or simply ignored when the right thinks it’s found a strong leader (even when they’re getting conned by a buffoon).


#9

My saying is: “Leadership is for people who don’t know what they are doing.” That’s why much of my interest is in systems which make centralized control practically impossible. Ideals are important, but not as much as actions, actually creating collectives and doing anything beyond theorizing. Otherwise your ideals probably die with you. Waiting for the circumstances to be better or to finally achieve consensus seems more like a recipe for inaction.


#10


#11

I am surprised that more people don’t find the topic to be of interest.


#12

Does The Intercept count? Or maybe Al Jazeera? RT? The Young Turks?

Or maybe they’re more centrist, and only seem leftist by comparison to the background drivel?


#13

I would say that the first two do, don’t know about the second two. I will assume that “RT” is not the “Radio Times”?

Those seem to be on the more slick broadcast, curated end of things. And considering how many progressive people there are, I am astonished that there aren’t more.

But I am thinking probably more on the egalitarian end of the spectrum, such as BBS forums, IRC, etc where actual discussion takes place. Maybe not for planning sensitive actions, but reporting news and exchanging ideas. Most of what I have seen in cursory searches for leftist thought on the internet has been blogs.

It seems to me that what is out there is mostly disorganized, and obscure. That it makes progressive politics seem more “fringe” than it really is, and maybe yields a lot more alienated isolated people who are likely to feel dejected and ineffective. There seems to be a lot of room for improvement in this area.


#14

I travel in both left and right wing crowds, and we’re all pretty much the same, a bunch of self-destructive and self-important apes looking for ways to rationalize our irrationalities.

Lefties attack me for not being afraid of Trump, righties attack me for not being afraid of Clinton, and both sides attack me because I’m proud I voted for a Jewish woman. From where I stand, the similarities are almost as strong as the differences, and getting more so all the time.


#15

Hold on a second there, are you saying that conservatives are related to apes too!? I thought only liberals evolved from shit throwing primates, conservatives are all God’s children my friend! They were gently placed here one by one a mere 6000 years ago to prevent the women from gettin uppity and the poor from gettin healthcare. Its all in the bible, don’t ya know?

/s… I think.


#16

Just for the sake of building a list of media resources:

The Young Turks

The Intercept

Jimmy Dore

The Humanist Report

What else?


#17

http://www.counterpunch.org

http://blackagendareport.com


#18

Other than what’s already been mentioned, I have these in my regularly used bookmarks:

http://libcom.org/news and http://libcom.org/forums/current-affairs

From the more mainstream media there is:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/ (they are affiliated with http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/, who are like a UK based SPLC)

but I often find myself having major disagreements over their editorial policies.


#19

I still check Der Graudian for quick news sometimes, but they lost me when they paid so little attention to Corbyn, then mostly just denigrated him when they did pay him some. It’s swung to the right, it seems, along with so much else.


#20

Russia Today gets shitcanned for being a propaganda outlet, but whatever - they have the Keiser Report.

Dude’s a fucken champ.