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In Navel-Gaze or Thumb-Suck?

April 12, 2005

The Complicated Mill

Ordinary common sense tells us that if you support the goals of an organization, it is rational to support the organization. Thus, Nader fans donated to the Nader campaign; Reverse Vote Swappers utilized ReverseVoteSwap.org; Bolsheviks personally participated in one of the Party organizations; and so on. As with many other things, however, the iron laws of logic become molten in the fevered minds of liberals who wish to support the Democratic Party. In this case, it is considered a virtue to squeeze one's cheese through the most byzantine conduits into the Party's coffers. To the extent that middlemen take a cut at every opportunity, thereby reducing the amount that the Democrats ultimately receive, this is very progressive. To the extent that people bamboozle themselves into thinking they're doing "independent politics," this is very harmful.

As a reductio ad absurdum, let us consider a recent ZNet "Action of the Week" proposal by Michael Albert. (Some of you may know Albert as a leading proponent of Participatory Economics, which shows the proletariat how, if it does not deviate an inch from Albert's utopian schemes, it can avoid all mathematical contradictions in the struggle for anarchism!) Here's the proposal, for those of you who like to conserve bandwidth:

MoveOn takes up campaigns that are in accord with their member's [sic] desires. To determine if their member's [sic] would support an effort to urge Bush and the U.S. government to withdraw our military from Iraq MoveOn would need to poll its members [got it right that time!]. It is, as of now, not doing so, claiming it knows that they would not support such a stance. The proposed action is to urge the leaders/hosts of MoveOn not to decide for their base, but to poll it and act on the results.
A poll follows. Which is to say, ZNet is polling its members on whether ZNet members should lobby MoveOn.org to poll its members on whether MoveOn.org members should lobby liberal Democrats to lobby the Democratic Party to favor withdrawal from Iraq. Hmm. In the spirit of fraternal Internet criticism, ReverseVoteSwap.org would like to suggest to ZNet that it may be more directly effective to induce butterflies to flap their wings in a different fashion.

On a final note, although 629 people thought the proposal was a good idea, only 370 said they would participate "for sure." To the extent that the numbers reveal the utter passivity of ZNet members, this is very harmful. To the extent that the whole idea is stupid anyway, this is very progressive.

Posted by convener at April 12, 2005 09:52 PM