I have been so upset by the tone and character of the comments section these past few days that as I walked this morning I gave serious consideration to closing down this blog, assuming I could figure out how one closes down a Google blog. I have been especially angry at the sneering and insulting remarks of the person called Talha. I shall remove every one of this person’s comments that I can find and ban him [?] from the blog. If you are eager to interact with Talha, you can find another platform on which to do it. Fair warning: it won’t be more than several months before you are the target of his contempt.
Meanwhile, I think it is worth taking some time to explain why I am upset. First of all, let me assure Chris that I am not a snowflake who melts if someone says an unkind word to me. In justification of Talha’s mean-spirited remarks, Chris invokes Lenin, Trotsky, and Rosa Luxemburg! Really? Let us not get above ourselves!
This sort of infighting has a long, primarily religious history, in Christianity, in Islam, and for all I know in Buddhism and Shinto. If one longs for eternal salvation and believes that every syllable of every word of revealed text is divinely inspired, then the fate of one’s soul may hang on the tiniest doctrinal quibble. But there is no God of Revolutions who will bless us with Socialism if only we can find the correct position on the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. There are only men and women who have made common cause in the struggle for justice.
Now, in that struggle, as I have said here before, what matters most of all is simply, Which side are you on? Are you on the side of the exploiters, or on the side of the exploited? Are you on the side of the oppressors, or on the side of the oppressed? All of us who are on the side of the exploited and the oppressed are comrades, regardless of our judgments concerning tactics or the correct analysis of the facts.
In the quasi-religious version of politics that too often passes for ideological purity, it may be a matter of [figurative, never literal] life and death precisely which candidate for office you think best, or which reading of the Grundrisse you favor. But in the real world of political action, accomplishing anything requires the solidarity of millions or tens of millions of people who have all chosen the same side of the struggle, even though they cannot even all agree on whether the sun rises in the East or the West. It is self-defeating, not to say rude, to adopt a tone of contempt toward a comrade.
Now, the mistake I made, apparently, was to believe that all of us who read and comment on this blog are comrades in the struggle for justice in this country and around the world – not merely idle observers, but comrades.
But in the anonymous, dispersed world of blog commentators, is comradeship impossible? Perhaps so. I may simply be bound to earlier modes of human interaction that were prevalent when I was young.