To round off the series of posts in the last week that related in various ways to the question ‘why do (left-wing) politics?’, I thought I’d try to put down some thoughts on ‘why blog?’, or more precisely, ‘why do I blog?’
In a way, the main purpose of this blog is a certain sense of purposelessness. As indicated in the title, I feel somewhat directionless.
I mean that, of course, mainly in relation to politics, which accounts for about 75% of my posts, I think (does that sound about right?) The other stuff – philosophy and zoology mainly – is more just for diversion. But politically, I feel drawn sometimes towards something a little like despair: so much is wrong, and I have very little sense of what to do to lead out of it.
I look at the present, and I see a left in disarray, barely relevant to most of what’s going on. And in the midst of a gathering crisis – principally economic and environmental – I see much more to fear (WWIII and a second run of Fascism amid the embers of a dying world anyone?) than to inspire hope.
A natural response would be to look back at the past, such as ‘Old Labour’ and its supposed authentic socialism, or the ‘revolutionaries’ who crushed the Russian proletariat. But the more I look at them, the more I come to see them not only as ‘failures’ in whatever grand emancipatory project, but as part of a process of the system that was supposedly to be revolutionised. And whatever inspiration might be given by the CNT or the Paris Commune or the workers’ councils of Hungary or whatever else is cancelled out by the fact that they were so successfully destroyed.
I have hope, certainly, but only for the long run. The variables of the world system will change gradually, pushing against their limits. I believe people are becoming better informed, and I believe that genderless vegan communism can only be held back, ultimately, by misinformation. And there’s no shortage of examples of real resistance, genuine struggle against oppression. But right now? I don’t know how it will become the force needed. But no doubt when it does, it will take people by surprise to some extent.
So part of the point of this blog is to try to explore where I think we might see that process, and how it might be advanced. Some blogs function as ‘weapons’ in political conflict: relaying news, co-ordinating actions, conveying advice, faciliating tactical discussions. But this isn’t one of those. My role in ‘the struggle’ is practically nil.
Rather, the point of this blog is, perhaps, to be a historian of the future, to try to understand theoretically the process of political change (and, of course, to understand the process of political stasis) so as to catch a glimpse of what the next couple of centuries may hold. And because it’s looking at such a spread of time, of course it looks at what changes the least over time, at the general features of society and politics, both in terms of how they actually work and how they should work. It’s for thise reason that I would call this ‘a philosophy blog’.
I don’t know how much success I’ve had so far. I certainly feel that I’ve deepened my understanding of various topics, and taken steps towards theoretical synthesis. But I don’t know if I’ve managed to get away from the feeling of being directionless. Perhaps that was too much to expect. But nevertheless, it’s been fun and very rewarding so far.
In ‘conclusion’ (for there’s really nothing like that here), I thought I would request a de-lurk, whereby people who read but haven’t commented (‘lurkers’) leave comments saying who they are, just so as to make the anonymous void of the internet a little less anonymous and a little less like a void. I’m interested to know who’s reading, why, and what they think.