"what goes on on these forums makes little or no difference to the real world, it never will."

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Dundee_United
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Dec 23 2006 15:22
"what goes on on these forums makes little or no difference to the real world, it never will."
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what goes on on these forums makes little or no difference to the real world, it never will.

Comrade Madashell wrote the above statement in a discussion on libcommunity about the persistent flaming that plagues the forums here. I have a great deal of difficulty with this position. It seems to me to reflect an anti-organisational viewpoint that is quite prevalent here, and in fact is part of the ideological apologia for the flaming.

I am concerned that those who hold this viewpoint haven't really grasped the concrete reality of what has been going on on libcom for some time now. What we have here is international collaboration and discussion from comrades across the Anglophone world, and indeed now beyond it (EKS for example). Surely the potential for that must be fucking obvious. Imagine if our comrades in the 19th century had been able to communicate instantaneously across oceans, circulate positions, discuss differing opinions and organise! I very much doubt they would have had much time for that kind of position.

So far this week libcom has allowed some of us in Glasgow to make contact with a comrade in Inverness who we would never have met otherwise. It has enabled me to make contact with comrades active in housing struggles in the US and I will be following that up for concrete organisational purposes. it has enabled us (along with anarkismo, to which this debate also applies) to spread information about the existence of our little group here. And it has helped me at least in the theoretical discussion to understand in a more nuanced way the Parecon ideas of Albert and Hahnel and others.

Last week it helped in the organising of a successful anarchist bookfair, which brought comrades in Glasgow together in a fruitful way for the first time in ages. I also found a possible route for future organisational discussion during a debate in which comrade Nate contributed, surrounding international transport workers organisation.

If we look back over the entire past year there are so many personal examples where I would say libcom has helped with organisation it barely. To take one example, as a result of some discussions here comrade 'the porkadian' started a movement which defeated stock tranfer in the Highlands. Through libcom he was able to put the campaign there in touch with the STO from a very early stage.

This is to say nothing of the solid and inspiring work comrades involved in the libcom collective did around the CPE movement, or have been doing in building an internationally significant liobrary or in creating a forum of such awesome potential. Anyone who can't see the organisational potential of libcom is frankly just not looking hard enough, or, I would suggest, is trying very hard not to look. Once the flaming has been sorted out, given the number of solid new posters and comrades who have come aboard here, particularly from North America, it can only become increasingly organisationally relevant.

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madashell
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Dec 23 2006 15:36
Quote:
what goes on on these forums makes little or no difference to the real world, it never will. At most it serves as a resource for information and debate, which can help anarchists coordinate our activity.

Quoting things in context is fun, don't you think? smile

These boards have potential as a resource, but I think you overestimate their importance quite considerably. The stock transfer thing is interesting though, do you have a link?

Dundee_United
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Dec 23 2006 15:45
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These boards have potential as a resource, but I think you overestimate their importance quite considerably.

Perhaps at the moment comrade, but I'm optimistic. it certainly is moving in an overall positive direction. smile

The link you are after (well actually there were several threads where this sort of thing got discussed, some of which were in the old general forums so will be hard as fuck to find) is:-

http://libcom.org/node/6282

rosa_sub_rosa
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Dec 23 2006 16:16

I think these boards have massive innate potential as a networking tool for those involved in class struggle.

I also think that there is a tendency for people-like me,even-to get trapped in a sort of ideological maze, wherein it is hard to communicate what our desires and goals are to a broader working class populace. The only thing that seperates us from the broader working class is the fact that we have read certain books and particpate in organisations full of people who have read certain books. But,like those who are not conversant with the lingo and history, I myself am only interested in an illustration of the kind of world that we'd like to see, and viable strategies towards achieving that goal. Its better that we elucidate all these things to ourselves in the plainest language, in almost personal terms.

If that could be done, we could find our way out of the ideological maze and get back on the streets with a language that will resonate with everybody. I'm sure many here understand that already. But there is a danger in getting locked into this sort in-crowd (predominantly boy's club) mentality of my group vs: yours, my theory vs: yours when if you get down to it we should all want the same thing and hope that everyone else does, too, but more importantly knows that it is possible. People do want and believe that a what we call a 'revolutionary society' is desirable- after a lot of the fears and false consciousness are stripped away. But perhaps our own fetishization of ideology and organizational intrigue are there very own form of false consciousness, one that prevents us from seeing what is right in front.

To spread revolutionary class consciousness without advertising for any particular ideology is a start. And showing people historically what that consciousness has made possible is crucial in the larger process. libcom does all these things, so it is worthy of respect and worth engaging in.

PissedOnceMore
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Dec 23 2006 19:52

Since teaching in Asia, I've encountered a couple of pedagoligical principles to apply to all ignoramuses. 1) make it fun; 2)make it simple. This also applies to the working class in the metropolises.

rosa_sub_rosa
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Dec 23 2006 19:53

lol.

true that.

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madashell
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Dec 23 2006 20:32
PissedOnceMore wrote:
Since teaching in Asia, I've encountered a couple of pedagoligical principles to apply to all ignoramuses...This also applies to the working class in the metropolises.

'nuff said.

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 23 2006 21:01
PissedOnceMore wrote:
Since teaching in Asia, I've encountered a couple of pedagoligical principles to apply to all ignoramuses.

Oh man, what's the comedy equivalent of autocritique? grin

EDIT: Think Madashell may have got there first...

rosa_sub_rosa
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Dec 24 2006 02:38

actually looking back on madashells post which i only grazed, somehow eyeskipping the ignoramuses bit, it does seem kind of fucked.

i don't know who is an ignoramus, what i do know is that everyone in the working class knows that they are being screwed, that they don't use the same language for their condition or in reference to the structures binding them does not make them ignorant.

too many are ignorant of the options...it plays like 'screw or be screwed' when in fact it is 'solidarity, cooperation, mutual aid, or we all get screwed.' That shouldn't be so hard to render.

sovietpop
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Dec 24 2006 14:18

Dundee I also feel very frustrated with these forums at times, they are so much less than they could be. I think some people on here are just much more comfortable mucking around in the gutter than reaching for the stars.

E.P. thompson said that one of the good things about William Morris is that he had "an understanding of the subordination of individual differences of outlook and temperament essential to the growth of the movement". That understanding is often missing here too

Still, I'm ever the optimist and I think its perhaps slightly better than it was six months ago - and if I didn't believe that it is was possible to change things for the better, I wouldn't be a revolutionarly now would I? wink

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888
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Dec 24 2006 14:42
sovietpop wrote:
I think some people on here are just much more comfortable mucking around in the gutter than reaching for the stars.

S Club 7 reference?

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georgestapleton
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Dec 24 2006 15:31

Oscar Wilde reference.

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georgestapleton
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Dec 24 2006 15:34

Yeah I know. How we laughed. I swear a little bit of pee came out.

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Stripey
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Dec 24 2006 16:03

Well I got a place to stay at a punk house in Montreal due to these boards.

I think they're useful and they could carry on becoming moreso.

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Steven.
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Dec 24 2006 19:58
Gwen wrote:
Well I got a place to stay at a punk house in Montreal due to these boards.

I think they're useful and they could carry on becoming moreso.

Yeah I agree, I've had a few real-world benefits from these forums; met a bunch of cool people from various countries, learned a hell of a lot. I've also managed to talk lots with anarchists and libcoms from Canada, the US, Australia, Japan, Turkey, France and other places I would probably never have met in real life, and look forward to seeing the international side of the forums continue to grow.

Those are some great examples of real-life positive things that the boards have helped with dundee, it's really good to know stuff like that.

Solidarity pickets and things have also been organised on here, and we've had reports posted from striking nuclear plant workers, a striking bin worker printing strike histories from our site and handing them out on picket lines, postal workers in Sweden following struggles here and trying to contact other postal workers around the world, the CPE struggle which got tens of thousands of people to read libertarian, working class, revolutionary analysis and reports of the situation better than any corporate media... We have loads of emails thanking us for various history articles, and we've put online useful old texts not available anywhere else, like recent ones on the UCH occupation, and a guide to occupying hospitals. One of our articles has appeared on one university reading list that we've heard of... and so much more.

I think stuff's going pretty well. Pretty soon we'll be making the site look pretty as well and be improving the user-friendlyness.

Mike Harman
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Dec 26 2006 01:45

Dara posted this on the WSM thread, I think the reply is better placed here:

Quote:
Does this make posting on Libcom 'propaganda work'? I may be misinterpreting, but are you actually suggesting this? And there is of course a substantial difference between posting and editing the site. The News, Library, and History sections could be seen as propaganda, but the Forums?

I don't think the forums are "propaganda", although they've clearly changed several individuals' opinions over time (including mine) - I've also met most of the politicos I know in real life via here (either directly because they're posters or because they know people on here), and my real-life political activity, such as it is, has been due to contacts (and more recently ideas formed via) these forums and their predecessors.

Quote:
How many people do read Libcom? genuine question.

It was c. 2-2,500 different people per day between the 23rd Novermber and 22nd December, according to google analytics. Over the month that equated to 87,000 visits (not visitors, i.e. including people returning) and just over 500,000 page views.

Quote:
The conflation of posting on Libcom and the propaganda work that anarcho organsiations do is a little suspect..... The News, Library, and History sections could be seen as propaganda, but the Forums?

In terms of individual articles, http://libcom.org/popular/alltime gives you an idea. Forum topics get disproportionate traffic because people have to click on them multiple times if following a discussion, so the following information excludes the forums completely.

Since July/August-ish when we moved over:
There's around 160 news, history or library articles with more than 1000 page views during that period.

There's over 600 articles with more than 500 page views.

Over 1,500 with more than 300 page views.

I think it's fair to say that a large number of those articles have been read many more times on libcom in the past four months (let alone three+ years) than they ever were as pamphlets or newsletter articles, and some articles have had tens of thousands of reads since they were first put on.

The examples already given of real-world interaction with struggles - the CPE stuff, the Tottenham bin-men printing out and distributing article on the Brighton strike, some of the strike reports we've had, DU's examples - that's what I think this site at it's best should be used for - as a resource to circulate information on struggles between people in different localities and industries (or the same ones even). Most of the forum discussions don't involve this, but nor does people google searching for stuff and turning up here randomly (like the 60,000 or so searching for sex text wink.

However in terms of the rest of the site and real-world influence developing, pretty much the only way this happens is via the forums (outside of a handful of people who only submit articles to the main sections and are in contact via e-mail etc.) - this is especially so when things kick off - the CPE, higher education strikes and other things have seen quite a bit of off-line and on-line co-ordination via the forums.

Obviously I'd personally like the forums to be as welcoming as possible to new posters, but that doesn't mean an atmosphere where people should be afraid of offending people by criticising organisations or positions etc. We've got neither of those situations, and it's not a balance I think we're very good at striking, but it depends on 'friendly' people posting and being welcoming wink

petey
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Dec 26 2006 01:53

bully for libcom

after a long time (like, decades) out of the loop this place has been an invaluable path back in. no ironical content here. really mean it.

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Steven.
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Dec 26 2006 01:57
newyawka wrote:
bully for libcom

after a long time (like, decades) out of the loop this place has been an invaluable path back in. no ironical content here. really mean it.

That's really good too. I've heard that from one or two other people as well.

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EdmontonWobbly
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Dec 26 2006 01:57

Good points catch, FWIW this forum for all its problems lately is still leaps and bounds ahead of other ones I've been on in terms of civility. In particular I really appreciate the news items and I really do think these will grow with time.

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Steven.
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Dec 26 2006 02:01
EdmontonWobbly wrote:
Good points catch, FWIW this forum for all its problems lately is still leaps and bounds ahead of other ones I've been on in terms of civility. In particular I really appreciate the news items and I really do think these will grow with time.

you get in touch with those swedish posties btw?

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EdmontonWobbly
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Dec 26 2006 02:16

No actually I keep meaning to, but its too easyt to procrastinate on the internet, actually I'll do it right now.

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Steven.
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Dec 26 2006 13:13
EdmontonWobbly wrote:
No actually I keep meaning to, but its too easyt to procrastinate on the internet, actually I'll do it right now.

Damn right, lazy fuck angry

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EdmontonWobbly
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Dec 26 2006 14:15

Did it last night, though if I remember correctly it also took you some time to get it to me. smile

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Steven.
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Dec 26 2006 15:30
EdmontonWobbly wrote:
Did it last night, though if I remember correctly it also took you some time to get it to me. :)

you lie!

embarrassed

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Durruti
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Dec 26 2006 16:16

Hello, i am new arround here, from spain, loving these forums

To the point, as far as i know these forums form part of the real world so they do affect it. Even if it is just by teaching people stuff, opening eyes.
As far as on the streets, i dont know. but i think and hope it will get there some day.

i hope i made my point, sorry for my bad english

salud

Feighnt
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Dec 27 2006 02:06
Durruti wrote:
Hello, i am new arround here, from spain, loving these forums

To the point, as far as i know these forums form part of the real world so they do affect it. Even if it is just by teaching people stuff, opening eyes.
As far as on the streets, i dont know. but i think and hope it will get there some day.

i hope i made my point, sorry for my bad english

salud

huzzah! durruti still lives! smile)

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Steven.
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Dec 27 2006 02:08
Feighnt wrote:
huzzah! durruti still lives! smile)

Course he does:

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georgestapleton
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Dec 27 2006 02:20
Durruti wrote:
i hope i made my point, sorry for my bad english

I couldn't spot a single flaw in what you posted up. You're english is grand. Welcome to the boards.

Dundee_United
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Dec 27 2006 02:23

Welcome comrade!

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jef costello
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Dec 27 2006 10:10

A lot of people, myself included, found libcom as one of their first points of reference.
The biggest problem I've found is translating what we've learnt here into reality, I was thinking about posting on the subject.
The examples of people using the boards to organise are fantastic. Also considering how isolated most of us are politically in everyday life I think that the opportunity to have a chance to talk about our ideas and share them is something we should never underestimate. Personally I think I communicate my ideas beter as a result of libcom, I may not really have changed anyone's perspective but people do ask me stuff, it's a minor thing but it might not have happened without libcom.

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Stripey
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Dec 27 2006 12:28
jef costello wrote:
Also considering how isolated most of us are politically in everyday life I think that the opportunity to have a chance to talk about our ideas and share them is something we should never underestimate.

Yeah libcom is a warm fire in the cold winter's night of capitalism. It's been really nice when everyone I know tells me lobbying and advocacy are the ways to change.

(PS I fucking love this 100% rye bread. That's one thing you can say for Ottawa; it has great fucking bread.)