by Jay Monaco
Too Many Socialisms
It’s 2015, and reading about politics on the internet has devolved to the level of cable and satellite television – even for the most ardent activists and junkies among us. Hundreds of channels and nothing to watch. And whatever you finally settle upon is bound to be depressing as hell.
For leftists, this condition is certainly no better and may even, in fact, be worse. On top of the fact that we simply don’t get a lot of good news, everybody’s got a socialist website.
Every sect and sub-sect in the globe has its own page (of wildly varying quality, of course), and even the local branches of these sects and sub-sects often have their own little corners of the interwebs, if only in the form of Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Apart from all these organizations and agendas, you have old media publications, labor-based magazines, issue-based issue aggregators, along with the always excellent and always frustrating literary/academic/theoretical journals and mags. Each of these does a wonderful job both complementing and contradicting the others, such that anyone seeking intra-left conflict, angst, great ideas (sometimes separated from practical implementation), and the ups and downs of activists on the ground, are basically covered, for better or worse.
So if we all agree on socialist online media’s market saturation (wink, #capitalisthumor), why jump into the fray? Why us? Why now?
It’s Not About You, It’s About Us (INAYIAU)™
And I mean that with all due respect. It’s just that we don’t really care if anyone ends up reading this. We’re not out for clicks, recognition, respect, or financial solvency, and we don’t really expect any of those things. The purpose of this project is primarily to benefit its participants by building key skills and develop crucial relationships to help in however small a manner our organization of revolution.
The challenge of a nonexistent global audience broadly and the absence of a local audience in uncharted territory in particular will – we hope – force us to learn how to speak to ordinary workers in relatable terms without condescension, cynicism, or watering down our ideology. This may be the most important skill of them all. As Pablo Iglesias, general secretary of Spain’s Podemos, said last year:
The enemy wants nothing more than to laugh at you. You can wear a T-shirt with the hammer and sickle. You can even carry a huge flag, and then go back home with your flag, all while the enemy laughs at you. Because the people, the workers, they prefer the enemy to you. They believe him. They understand him when he speaks. They don’t understand you. And maybe you are right! Maybe you can ask your children to write that on your tombstone: “He was always right — but no one ever knew.”
If Communique New England succeeds at nothing but developing within its contributors a greater ability to be understood by those for whom we claim to advocate, that alone would render this project an unmitigated success.
On a simpler level, the more of us lefties who understand not merely how to write effectively but how to use the tool that is the internet to maximum effect, the better. The only way to make that happen is practice. This project is, in large part, our way of putting in that practice.
There’s Nobody Else Here
Our origins in South-Central New Hampshire and in the northern Massachusetts city of Lowell place us, if not exactly in the geographic center of New England, in an area that might very arguably be considered the heart of the region. Boston, as one might expect, has its share of activity and leftist networking, with pockets of the same to be found in some of the smaller cities and university towns. The New England countryside, and especially our little section of it, is a veritable wilderness as far as Marxism is concerned. Embarrassing though it may be, libertarians – with their ubiquitous and sad Free State Project – have this area marked as their turf. They’re way ahead of us in both organization and numbers. But we exist – and we know the other leftists are out there, too. We want to provide a voice and be a watchdog for all our comrades in New Hampshire and northern Mass, and we want to call you out of the shadows, to meet you, to ally with you.
A Point to Prove
Having expressed our lack of wide-ranging ambition, having boldly declared representation for all of New England while remaining open about our humble base of operations in semi-rural New Hampshire, I must now add that we are not merely content to serve the needs of a limited partisan or local audience. We hope that the sharpened skills and experiential benefits we gain might be of some benefit, if only indirectly, to anyone who should read it. In a more practical sense, we intend for everything we post at Communique New England – from broadsides about international affairs to coverage of the smallest local interventions – to be of interest to leftist readers around the globe.
Furthermore, all of us leftists spend enough time feeling dejected and warding off despair. While seemingly inevitable, this is a bad state of affairs for our collective and individual mental health and simultaneously makes our case an even tougher sell to outsiders than it already at times seems to be. Communique New England is a serious publication with serious goals and firmly-held ideology, but we’re also here to prove that leftists can still have a good time. When we can laugh, we should – and a healthy mentality permits laughing at our own selves and the absurdity of the capitalist predicament just as much as anything else.
After all, if we can’t experience music and laughter and joy now, amidst even the greatest adversity, what kind of post-revolutionary world are we even working toward?
As I’ve said, we expect nothing from you – not even your presence. If you’d like to know more about us, if only to know whom, exactly, you’re making fun of, go here. You’ll find out much more than you even want to know. We make it easy for you to contact us and send us things. We will even take your money if you want.
If any of this sounds interesting or at least mildly amusing to you, welcome to Communique NE, and thanks for coming along with us.