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Pugilist
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Oct 25 2010 16:36
Wikipedia

I have recently begun editting Wikipedia and I am sorry to say all articles pertaining to Radical Leftism seem to be in pretty sorry shape. I was hoping to draft some help from here to clean things up. Here is the issues I've noticed:

Libertarianism - There is an ongoing feud in which all Leftism is essentially trying to be pushed out of the article. The article is at a critical junction, as a third party moderator has locked the article and its being rewritten for "balancing issues".

Communism - Although there is reference to non-Leninist schools of thought, the historical orientation of the article largely omits anything not relevant to the development of Bolshevism and the following tyranny.

History of Communism - Again, focused only on Leninism but also entirely blank in some sections.

Criticisms of Communism - The redirect and the related pages have equated Communism to Leninism and I would like to add in elements which point to the distinctions and internal conflicts of the Communist Left.

Additionally, everything related to Libertarian Marxism seems to sparse in its content.

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Khawaga
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Oct 25 2010 17:13

In my experience trying to change wikipedia articles that people have invested a lot of time and/or interest in is almost impossible. I've given up on wikipedia.

Yorkie Bar
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Oct 25 2010 20:43

I kind of agree with Khawaga. Fighting to get wikipedia to present anarchists in a more favourable light is only slightly less futile than fighting to get the BBC to do the same. It's a capitalist site, it's not going to be nice about us.

Pugilist
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Oct 25 2010 23:32

I've made progress and it doesn't seem particularly rational to allow a few stubborn individuals to misrepresent your politics to the countless millions of people who visit wikipedia....

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Oct 26 2010 06:32

I've been editing the Syndicalism article for a while now, a lot of it is new, though the history section is taken from the anarcho-syndicalist article. So far the syndicalism article isn't really visited enough for my changes to have been contested, so far so good smile still working on the citations and I might add more sections.

I'm not to bothered my anarchism not being mentioned so much in communism sections, I mean that we are communists is actually still mostly contested within anarchism, so I figure it will save us a lot of headaches by simply letting the Leninists keep the term "communist" and feck off

I'm more concerned with the libertarianism articles, though I've actually found them to be alright, anarchism is mentioned a fair bit and it does say that it has been a substantial force within libertarianism, and that in many parts of the world libertarianism still means anarchism.

I'm actually quite impressed with wikipedias general handling of anarchism, but lets not forget that that's ecause it's mostly anarchists, not mods, who have been editing it, we are fortunate, ancaps article just gets the crap kicked out of it with edits every week tongue

My least favorite articles are the ones dealing with socialism, these ones don't mention anarchism nearly enough, just marxism and social democracy.
I know what the mainstreamers would say, anarchism isn't really that important, but it basically dominated the labour movement of Europe and America (and South America at times) for decades.

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Steven.
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Oct 26 2010 13:01

editors adding links to relevant articles or tag indexes on libcom in the "external links" of any articles on Wikipedia is much appreciated!

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Khawaga
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Oct 26 2010 17:23

libcom is not considered a reliable source on wikipedia btw.

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Joseph Kay
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Oct 26 2010 17:38

odd, it's cited in course readings at some unis. iirc Ed even got a whole tag index linked as additional reading at Sussex.

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Khawaga
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Oct 26 2010 20:05

If you go to the Hakim Bey entry and read the discussion it comes of several times.

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888
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Oct 27 2010 01:12
Yorkie Bar wrote:
I kind of agree with Khawaga. Fighting to get wikipedia to present anarchists in a more favourable light is only slightly less futile than fighting to get the BBC to do the same. It's a capitalist site, it's not going to be nice about us.

It's hardly a capitalist site in the same sense as the BBC - the comparison is daft. In fact it is pretty easy to portray anarchism in a good light on wikipedia. Whether it's worth your time is a different question...

Yorkie Bar
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Oct 27 2010 08:57
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It's hardly a capitalist site in the same sense as the BBC - the comparison is daft.

Do you not think charities are capitalist institutions?

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Oct 27 2010 13:54
Joseph Kay wrote:
odd, it's cited in course readings at some unis. iirc Ed even got a whole tag index linked as additional reading at Sussex.

I didn't do anything, I was just looking at the suggested reading and there was an article by Nick Heath on Hungary 56 and the Hungary 56 tag.. that's just how sweet libcom is..

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Khawaga
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Oct 27 2010 16:57

Fighting for anarchism on wikipedia is just a waste of time. Not because it's a capitalist institution per se, but because too many internet warriors have vested interests in certain articles and too much time on their hands. Same internet warrior are also on a deletion frenzy. Lots of entries on small communist groups have recently been deleted and there's nothing to be done about it. The problem is that the site is not "peer-produced" anymore; it's run by a small clique of editors and admins.

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Oct 27 2010 17:36
Yorkie Bar wrote:
Quote:
It's hardly a capitalist site in the same sense as the BBC - the comparison is daft.

Do you not think charities are capitalist institutions?


That misses the point of who controls the editing. Do you think the views of random wiki contributors are necessarily capitalist? The views of the BBC are far more moderated and controlled. Besides, a capitalist institution can give a view of anarchism that's totally one sided in favour of anarchism - the old encyclopedia britannica entry on anarchism was written by Kropotkin, so it's hardly as simple as that.

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Oct 28 2010 03:13

Libcom has been used several times - by myself once - as a citation in syndicalist articles and an syn, no deletion yet, it seems accepted to me.

wikipedia is hardly an evil capitalist entity, I can name personal friends who would not be lieft wing if not for wikipedias wealth of information, I certainly ouldn't be here or as political if not for wikipedia.

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Chilli Sauce
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Oct 28 2010 10:42

Wikipedia is capitalist in as much as it manages capital--like any charity, NGO, co-op, or 'social enterprise'.

However, I do think taking measure like refusing advertising is probably going to reduce the direct power of capitalists to influence content on the site. So there's probably is more space for radical topics on Wikipedia than in many other sources as there is at least some attempt made at neutrality and objectivity.

Plus, it had previously been an attempt at democratic control. My understanding is that it's now more or less run by a self-selected group of admins and editors and, no doubt, foundation grants and large private donations have undermined that potential democracy.

So instead, here's where I go for my unbiased information:
http://www.conservapedia.com/Main_Page

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Oct 28 2010 13:23
ncwob wrote:
So instead, here's where I go for my unbiased information:
http://www.conservapedia.com/Main_Page

If you search for socialism the article's main picture is Hitler. Then, after proving what a big fat socialist Obama is, they move on to 'Criticisms' which makes the same point as the rest of the article. grin

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Oct 28 2010 14:41
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Libcom has been used several times - by myself once - as a citation in syndicalist articles and an syn, no deletion yet, it seems accepted to me.

You will see it challenged when the article gets attention from the "wrong" people.

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Oct 28 2010 14:47

Well that seemed excessive.

What's your disagreement then? Do you not think Wikipedia is capitalist? Do you disagree that the internet (and the websites on it) are commodities? Or is it that since libcom.org doesn't employ anyone it's not capitalist?

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Oct 28 2010 15:23

Well you didn't answer my questions and you seem far more concerned with sniping than actual discussion, but I'll give this a try.

Any organization that functions under capitalism (or any commodity produced under capitalism) is going to face the restraints of capital. The libcom.org group may not employ people, but they do need funds to purchase commodities like domain space, technological upgrades, and anything else. If those funds dry up, libcom dies. The commodity relationship affects all aspects of capitalist society and that includes internet sites like libcom and Wikipedia.

This is probably more pronounced with Wikipedia as it has larger backers and it's financiers and administrators don't seek to overturn the commodity form, but all institutions that manage capital are going to face the restraints of capital. This seems quite simple.

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Oct 28 2010 16:03

Well the finances managed by the IWW (or SolFed or Wikipedia) will face the restraints placed upon it by the logic of capital. When investing those (for example, purchasing pins in the hopes items will increase membership), the IWW is investing capital.

The IWW in particular is a good example because they have do have some office employees (or at least they did, it may be all volunteer labor now, I'm not sure). Despite the best intentions of the union and the union officers, the wages paid to those individuals will reflect the relationship of capital, even if the IWW isn't making a profit off of them in the classical sense.

I mean I can see how Wikipedia is not classically capitalist, but then where do we draw the line? Are worker co-ops not capitalists? How about non-profits? It seems to me that organizations which purchase and produce commodities are acting in a capitalist manner and that calling them capitalist enterprises is fully logical.

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Oct 28 2010 16:22

Facing the restrains of capitalist does not make any entity capitalist. Fucking indigenous people living in the Amazon face capital from time to time, but that does not make their community capitalist. It's a looong strech ncwob. Non-profits, libcom and wikipedia do not produce commodities for exchange even though all of them have to buy commodities to function. If "everything" is capitalist, then the value of that category is zilch. I can understand your argument if you were referring to "all entities in a society where the commodity form is generalized" is under the rule of capital or some such theory, but you're making no sense really.

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Oct 28 2010 16:27

As an employer, yes the IWW is capitalist. Part of the reason I'm opposed to having revolutionary organization taking on employees. You would agree that UNISON as an employer is capitalist, no?

As the IWW manages capital, it is restrained by the logic of capital and is forced to act in a capitalist manner. I say this not necessarily as a criticism, but as an objective analysis of how the material reality of capitalism inflicts its social relationship on all of society.

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Oct 28 2010 16:31

I take your point that IWW employs people, but their goal is not to produce and realize surplus-value in order to accumulate capital. So no, neither IWW or UNISON is capitalist even though they have to impose the wage-relation.

Mike Harman
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Oct 28 2010 16:42

This boils down to the "every organisation under capitalism is capitalist" argument (find an organisation that in some way doesn't buy or produce commodities), which I largely agree with in principle, but in practice that makes it pointless to use as a label.

Also I frankly wouldn't rule out organisations that rely entirely on volunteers to do the work, volunteer work is a donation same as giving money, and it's one that gets managed by the organisation (even if it's self-managed). At a certain point it's extremely likely that the organisation will become dependent on either a regular group of volunteers putting in a lot of unpaid hours, or need to start paying people to do some of the work (often for continuity), or some of both.

In the former case, then you're either relying on people being full time unemployed, or students, or independently wealthy - and people with the most time end up in control of all the day-to-day stuff (or they put in more time than they actually have and burn out). In the latter case you end up with the dual issue of the relationship of the organisation to its paid staff as an employer, and/or the relationship of full-time officials to the rest of the organisation.

This isn't really any different to the past 150 years of discussion about libertarian vs. authoritarian models of organisation and their relative strengths and weaknesses both in theory and practice. However with wikipedia and similar projects, then things like file sharing, open source/free software there's been a combination of a lot more people experiencing some kind of volunteer-driven organisation (often with lefty/free-speech/anti-commercial elements to it), and also some of those becoming extremely large extremely quickly (which hasn't happened to any anarchist or Marxist groups for ages), and a lot of this happening without the theoretical/historical baggage that was connected to organisations in the workers movement, charities, co-ops etc. which generally had a stronger/more defined ideological foundation at least by the time they became actual organisations but were no less prone to getting fucked up.

However from that it doesn't follow that 'Wikipedia is a capitalist site, it's not going to be nice about us", I very much doubt that wikipedia has much of an identifiable editorial agenda whatsoever. As others have said, some people spend a massive amount of time maintaining specific pages they care about, and some people spend a massive amount of time editing stuff they don't think meets standards - dealing with either of those groups of people is going to require either that you agree with them, or you also have a massive amount of time to spend on it.

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Chilli Sauce
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Oct 28 2010 17:08
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. Fucking indigenous people living in the Amazon face capital from time to time, but that does not make their community capitalist.

Except that isn't what I said. I said organizations that manage capital are going to be forced to follow the logic of capital. What I would argue is that those little Zapatista dolls are commodities produced for the capitalist market and are therefore capitalist.

However, I think this argument has probably run it's course. I'll concede that it given me something to think about and I'll with that, I'll duck out.

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Chilli Sauce
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Oct 28 2010 17:33
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goal is not to produce and realize surplus-value in order to accumulate capital.

Sorry I know I said I was going to duck out, but I just caught this. It's kind my point: goals don't really matter. The IWW may very well accumulate surplus capital through employing office staff. Capital is a social relationship that exists outside of intentions.

Related, isn't this the argument made by (big S) Socialists in relation to public sector workers and even the Soviet Union itself?

Caiman del Barrio
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Oct 28 2010 20:18
ncwob wrote:
What I would argue is that those little Zapatista dolls are commodities produced for the capitalist market and are therefore capitalist.

Tell your branch member that. wink

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Oct 28 2010 20:32
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The IWW may very well accumulate surplus capital through employing office staff.

How? Seems like you're doing an autonomist....

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Oct 28 2010 20:54
Khawaga wrote:
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The IWW may very well accumulate surplus capital through employing office staff.

How? Seems like you're doing an autonomist....

Well, by selling books for a start....

Surely we'd agree that Borders staff generated surplus value?

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Oct 28 2010 20:59
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
ncwob wrote:
What I would argue is that those little Zapatista dolls are commodities produced for the capitalist market and are therefore capitalist.

Tell your branch member that. ;)

Heck, I have no objection to commodities. If we're gonna live under capitalism, gimme "the good things in life"... I've been enjoying my cycle quite a bit this week (manufactured by a co-op, no less).