Size/scope of the revolutionary/ultraleft

10 posts / 0 new
Last post
Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Apr 12 2018 21:58
Size/scope of the revolutionary/ultraleft

I was thinking that now with social media, it should be relatively straightforward to figure out the general size and spread of the revolutionary movement globally.

I'm sure that security services have done this already.

You could get a pretty good rough idea by looking at some of the biggest radical Facebook/Twitter pages. And you could take a sample to see how many people who say follow one page/account are the same as those who follow another (or there may be data tools which can do this already).

Then if there is a day to talk, you could do that to map people's geographical locations, or failing that you could ask pages to share their data (libcom and WCH could do this, for example), and you could then compare that data with general information about the proportion of people within specific countries who are on Facebook or not (e.g. if there are 10,000 anarchist sympathisers on Facebook in London, and half of Londoners are on Facebook, then you could assume there will be up to 20,000 anarchist sympathisers in London, total).

If someone had the time/inclination then this would be an interesting exercise. (It would also be interesting to do the same with the far right, for other reasons)

Just from my anecdotal information, it appears that on Facebook at least anarchist pages which grow quickly seem to level off at around 140,000-180,000 (anarchist memes, red and black anarchists, Europeans against the political system)

More general lefty ones can often get to the 300,000 mark (Jacobin, Zinn education project etc).

What are the biggest left/ultraleft social media pages/accounts? And does anyone know of any data tools which could do what I'm talking about?

R Totale's picture
R Totale
Offline
Joined: 15-02-18
Apr 12 2018 22:15

Is it too old-fashioned of me to wonder what the relationship between people liking anarchist/communist pages and them doing anything at all in real life is? Genuinely not tryna be difficult, but I think that's as interesting a question.

zugzwang
Offline
Joined: 25-11-16
Apr 13 2018 00:38

I don't think following necessarily means sympathizing either; you have communists following Trump. The number of people on Facebook liking a page doesn't tell us about people not on it, who might be sympathetic to libertarian communism. I'm not involved in any Facebook groups so I wouldn't really know, but I'd be skeptical about the quality of their understanding of libertarian communism as well (I don't really associate memes with informed people).

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Apr 13 2018 02:03
R Totale wrote:
Is it too old-fashioned of me to wonder what the relationship between people liking anarchist/communist pages and them doing anything at all in real life is? Genuinely not tryna be difficult, but I think that's as interesting a question.

it doesn't mean someone does anything, no. It would just be an indication of sympathisers, rather than activists. Although you would expect that even in active anarchist sympathisers would still have conversations with friends, family, workmates etc

zugzwang wrote:
I don't think following necessarily means sympathizing either; you have communists following Trump. The number of people on Facebook liking a page doesn't tell us about people not on it, who might be sympathetic to libertarian communism

Following a Twitter account I would agree with you to some extent (although I don't really think people would, say, follow a Nazi Twitter account with their genuine Twitter account if they didn't support their views). But Facebook pages are different, as Liking a page is specifically an endorsement of the page. If you just want to see the content for some other reason, you can Follow the page without Liking it.

Quote:
I'm not involved in any Facebook groups so I wouldn't really know, but I'd be skeptical about the quality of their understanding of libertarian communism as well (I don't really associate memes with informed people).

of course not. But then thing being a member of a libertarian communist organisation doesn't exactly seem to say much about that either, considering the range of opinions which exist within various anarchist groups, and the odd types of views and behaviours some members exhibit. But it's about getting a general idea.

zugzwang
Offline
Joined: 25-11-16
Apr 13 2018 03:57

Yeah, I'm never on Facebook, but I know there's a difference between following to stay updated and "liking" something. Is there a problem with just surveying people, or looking at existing surveys, instead of looking at what/whom people are liking or following on Facebook?

Spikymike
Offline
Joined: 6-01-07
Apr 13 2018 10:28

A collection of small pro-revolutionary political groups, publications, websites, Facebook pages and their wider supporters and 'followers' does not make for a 'revolutionary movement', though they might, in the right conditions, contribute to such provided they don't become frozen in some past self-chosen historical identity associated with past actual revolutionary movements.

Serge Forward's picture
Serge Forward
Offline
Joined: 14-01-04
Apr 13 2018 11:51

Everybody knows, it's...

Two people and a dog!

jolasmo
Offline
Joined: 25-12-11
Apr 15 2018 16:26
Serge Forward wrote:
Everybody knows, it's...

Two people and a dog!

Be fair Serge, the revolutionary ultra-left isn't *just* the ICC.

jondwhite's picture
jondwhite
Offline
Joined: 23-10-12
Apr 16 2018 19:36
Spikymike wrote:
A collection of small pro-revolutionary political groups, publications, websites, Facebook pages and their wider supporters and 'followers' does not make for a 'revolutionary movement', though they might, in the right conditions, contribute to such provided they don't become frozen in some past self-chosen historical identity associated with past actual revolutionary movements.

Although I agree it would be interesting to measure numbers of the 'revolutionary left', this topic does beg the question of what to do about it. Even if you don't agree with either: the minimal participation of voting in elections; or the upper end of participation of joining a formal registered political party, 'politics' ought to imply bringing about some sort of desirable society.

Unfortunately various strands of 'anarchism' place differing levels of importance as against 'voting', 'elections', 'parties' and even 'politics'. Was this simplification prevalent among early anarchists or is it a more modern phenomenon? I can't imagine Kropotkin, Makhno etc. caring much for 'likes', maybe Bakunin.

radicalgraffiti
Offline
Joined: 4-11-07
Apr 16 2018 22:25
jondwhite wrote:
Unfortunately various strands of 'anarchism' place differing levels of importance as against 'voting', 'elections', 'parties' and even 'politics'. Was this simplification prevalent among early anarchists or is it a more modern phenomenon? I can't imagine Kropotkin, Makhno etc. caring much for 'likes', maybe Bakunin.

i bet Kropotkin cared about circulation when he was at freedom