The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: World Revolution to go bi-monthly . The discussion was initiated by Fred.Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!
"...if we are to reinforce and adapt our web site, we need at the same time to reduce the effort we put into the paper press..." Regarding the monthly press: by the time I get it I've already read everything in it on-line a number of times. This doesn't apply to everyone of course. But, although a late-comer to the internet, I find now that I'd rather read your current articles there, than in the old-fashioned paper format. It's the immediacy. Also, if provoked by an article, a swift response is available on the net. (This doesn't necessarily improve the quality of thought in the response I know, but there's also something to be said for seizing the thoughtful, but fleeting moment before it's gone. At least I hope so.) I very much think you should reinforce and adapt your website, but don't really know how, or even exactly why! (Not much help.) But I always feel there's space for a lot more posters, if only they could sense the possibility of speaking what they think, and weren't afraid of saying the wrong thing, of saying something stupid, or of getting bashed by some superior guy of immense revolutionary credentials and an apparently Einsteinian intellect, who might suddenly jump out of nowhere and have them for supper. On the other hand I myself wouldn't want a sudden invasion of vacuous one line posters with little or nothing to say. The Red Marx site seems to have attracted quite a few of them, nor would one welcome the type of vicious attack to be found sometimes on lib com. But thats enough for now.
thanks, Fred - we are very interested in feedback on this process of shifting the focus to the internet as the 'central' form of publication
I have mixed feeling about this. On the one hand, it seems like a practical adaptation to a reality we all know to exist. Communication today is almost exclusively carried on through the Internet, etc. In this sense, it is only logical for the revolutionary organiation to find ways to adapt and remain relevant in this new envrionment.
That said, on a substantive level, I think it is also true that these new technologies are not "content neutral." They represent more than mere technological developments. The internet, social media, etc. have dramtically changed the nature of personal relationships, reorderded information and knowledge hierarchies, and contributed to a kind of decentering of social life and the production of a new culture of electicism to go along with it. In some ways this new culture represents a challenge to traditional authorities and the methods through which captialist society has often been legitimated. But, I don't think the story is all positive . In some, ways these new communication mediums also play into social decomposition and produce a highly individualized--everyone is worthy of having their own blog--culture that can work to undermine the discipline necessary to construct an organization and promote all kinds of stylized, individualist forms of pseudo-rebellion that do not, in the end, escape the captialist horizon.
In this sense, the printed press is kind of a bulwark against this tendency. By constitutiing a defined (and limited) space, the printed press forces a kind of analysis that increasingly gets lost in the cacophony of the Internet today. It forces the organization to focus, to plan, to decide what events are worthy of analysis and reflection in a limited space and to come together on a regular basis to produce a collective product. In this sense, it is good to hear that WR will not abandon the printed press altogether. In the end, we must acknowledge and adapt to the new reality, but let's not let this site turn into a blog. There are too many of those already.
Talking about internet communication, jk says: "In some, ways these new communication mediums also play into social decomposition and produce a highly individualized--everyone is worthy of having their own blog--culture that can work to undermine the discipline necessary to construct an organization and promote all kinds of stylized, individualist forms of pseudo-rebellion that do not, in the end, escape the capitalist horizon." I both agree and disagree with this. I think, in a way, everyone is, or should be, or will be, "worthy of having their own blog" though it's full of dangers to be overcome. But capitalism is full of dangers to be overcome all the time, and the learning process, as it takes place via communication on the web, doesn't of course automatically escape the capitalist prison. However, it does permit a lot more people to have their say - mistaken and/or individualistic as this may be - which the printed press certainly doesn't, being a sort of bulwark against the development of ordinary workers to speak and gain confidence.
Mistakes will be made when people not used to trying to express their ideas, start trying to do it. Look at my ugly mistake above, when I make snide off-the-cuff comments about revolutionaries, which I didn't really mean, and which have given me great cause for remorseful reflection, and for which I am now deeply sorry. But I hope to have learned something from this, which I couldn't have learned if the forum hadn't allowed me the opportunity to be a smart-arse, a clever dick, and to make a fool of myself. But this doesn't effect in any way, the discipline or integrity of the revolutionary organization, which has to withstand greater misfortunes than this.
The Internet is certainly open to abuse and their is certainly cacophony to be found there. But it's still very new, it's adherents are still very young, and it's a new kind of democracy opening up new possibilities for us all that we need to learn to make better use of. And we still have the printed press as well.
Your concern about the possible impact of the 24/7 nature of the internet on the quality of the analysis we are able to make is shared by the organisation. There has been, and still is a lot of discussion, within the ICC on how we can make this important transition the most effective possible for ability to carry out our role. To this end we welcome and encourage all those who read our publications, whatever media they are in, becoming invovled this this process.