babyhueypnewton posted:

That's what the internet is now, basically everyone here could have been a major political "influencer" if we didn't have ideological vestiges of the old SA ethos that the internet makes you stupid

^THIS on the other hand is dangerously wrong bullshit, if bullshit you've likely been fed every day wherever you're posting now, and i REALLY hope you're not trying to start a "career" as a streamer while seriously believing it

like, please, wage ENDLESS WAR against the bourgeois-ideology, consumerist, self-aggrandizing delusion that everyone with "radical" opinions can become a social media superstar if they just Sell Out, and like, we didn't, we're too pure, but oooh if we just did, if we'd just Sold Out in a perfect fantasy way at some point, we'd be sooooooooo famous......

that is not even remotely how ANY of that shit works lol
like.................. the reason why "left" "debate" streamers almost always turn out to be like mondo racist rapists, and why a big chunk of their fans rally behind them when that happens, is because you cannot just take an audience prone to support for vile far-right slime, or the sort of people that become little kings of shit mountain among them, and, like, social-pressure them into becoming socialists. These things too have class character.

And in any case "success" at that is essentially a lottery. it has necessaries, like, you're not actually going to say anything that will make that audience question their own creature comforts. it really helps to be white and have income or a great deal of savings without working a steady job, and so on, the usual stuff for "making it big". but nothing is really sufficient beyond random events, except for the case where someone with a bunch of money and influence in media raises you up as their protege or as part of their gang of attack dogs.

so there is really no case in existing reality where, like, everyone here could have become a "major influencer" if we'd just had like slightly different opinions on the topic of Online.

and i mean this bhpn: you're a smart guy, so please do not pin your future political efforts on that pipe dream.
even putting aside the class character of the audience, what I would urge would-be "political streamers" to understand is that, even when the tone and the person and the rhetoric are agitated on the stream, people consume livestreams almost entirely as comfort food. They are there to fill a part of the day when people are not interested in thinking hard or questioning their lives or worlds. They want stuff that will okay them without asking anything of them (and the success of the far right in that context says a lot about bourgeois politics). Those sorts of media are there for times in your life when you'd rather watch someone else play a video game than bother to play it yourself. They might get you to read a book, or at least start reading one, again most often as a form of comfort food... more likely, they'll get you to start a video game over that you've already played... they might get you to adopt a certain set of words or type of language in online conversations to feel more like you're part of the parasocial clan. But so far, they present few chances to be a tool for socialist or Communist politics in any real way not already achieved by, like, decades of pinko college professors teaching kid-liberals to talk like radicals in essays online. No real buy-in, no real cost to dropping what you've picked up.
I agree that the monetary aspect is missing from my account, the reason I post on reddit (and here) is because it's totally anonymous and has no possibility of turning opinions into monetary value. Critique is only possible when you are not being paid to pander to the largest audience possible and even the general concept of a parasocial relationship prevents both estrangement of the center and the play with ideas and identities at the periphery that were necessary for my own development (and sort of haunt me since I've been here so long, luckily they are not attached to a wannabe media empire). There are many terrible things about twitch streaming but the worst is the regular streams of donations which are required to say anything above the noise of the chat, creating a terrifying hierarchy of money as communication itself.

Basically I agree with everything you said and I might have just overreacted to a nerdy but not incel type female friend being inspired to actually read Capital, though it seems like everyone I know is becoming more reliant on social media to think for them. It's more like I don't know what the alternative is. I prefer forums like this one but they're obviously dead, not just SA but the gussr drama showed that the type of person online has changed and is simply incompatible with web 1.0 ideologies and structures. I'm feeling the limits of what I can do on reddit as a kind of mass organization for which this site is the cadre party since it seems like text itself has been fully subordinated to the image. What was strange about reddit's success is how shitty it looks, even by SA standards, but that's one of its potentialities, it really is just text on a screen, arguably a regression from SA. But besides the fact that I'm the last person on Earth who switches to desktop mode, the pro-China left finally came into its own in terms of meme production and video content and left Maoism in the dust which is still writing 5000 word blog posts in silly Maoist rhetorical style.

Like, think about how knowledgeable BnW is about Maoism, far more than myself. Maybe 50 people have ever read their substantive posts, meanwhile Jason Unruhe is the public face of the ideology for thousands. And he was too early to the game and therefore didn't understand content creation. Those thousands are not inclined towards serious Maoism anyway but nevertheless you have to be in the thick of all the garbage so that when someone actually has an important question at an important moment, out of those thousands a couple hundred will be like "what's going on in Ethiopia?" and take your answer seriously. Imagine if we had done that instead of opportunists like Ben Norton, we were collectively correct on Syria when it actually mattered.

I'm not blaming BnW. As you point out, the paradox is that the algorithms of influencing are not neutral but require you to monetize, the internet produces stupidity by design. The content of their thought would change if curated for an algorithm. Grayzone does good work but is devoid of ideology, hence it fits perfectly into a kind of Sanders social democracy with Chinese characteristics (or Sanders-third worldism).

I watched a show the other day which was a typical story where outrageous conditions are presumed within a setting in order to make race genocide the only reasonable choice. The only place I even found this mentioned was SA, everywhere else was marketing hype and exhaustive cataloguing of wiki elements. It would be one thing if liberals were defending genocide, that can be discussed. But analysis itself is foreclosed, the circulation of the commodity through simulated friendship and group belonging is what matters, the content is irrelevant. Young people are more vulnerable than ever to liberal common sense and are under constant social media surveillance if they deviate, and it's in media that the truth of ideology comes out (I am a good liberal about BLM but in the Star Wars universe I really get to fantasize about slaves that are programmed to enjoy their enslavement, etc.). My fear is that covid lockdown, which gave liberals a moral impetus to living your life online, has dissolved the line between cheap entertainment online and the real world of politics that objective conditions generate. Also my students are totally immersed in social media, the only reason they listen to me at all is because the market has told them to be obedient in school and that taking political positions publicly will get you beaten down, defeating the purpose of teaching them to think freely. I'm soon to be one of those pinko professors so that's exactly what I'm thinking in the age of the internet. Though I should mention graduate school has itself become a means of becoming an influencer/blogger and there is no difference between what is trending on twitter and what is popular in academia (at least at the graduate/postdoc level), capitalism will kill academia as an institution very soon but this generation of students have already accepted the fait accompli. I wouldn't listen to my TAs if I was a student, it's just an inefficient form of youtube.

I recently read Joel Andreas's Rise of the Red Engineers which was recommended in this thread and it made me cynical about young people. The typical story is that the cultural revolution was at its peak in 66-68 and Mao calling in the PLA and then working class to the universities to disperse the Red Guard factions was part of the beginning of the end of thr GPCR's democratic potential. I've always rejected that story but Andreas goes further in arguing that the Red Guards were basically just factions defending their narrow class interest (students of CPC vs students of bourgeois elite) and it was only after they were put down that the genuine democratic potential of the GPCR began through restructuring education systematically. That is, the GPCR began after the Wuhan incident and the end of the Shanghai commune for the more durable and serious Shanghai RC. Mao defended the creative potential of the youth and the GPCR period as a whole is completely different than the rule of old men and technocrats that characterizes China today. There is a perverse truth that "call out culture" is like Maoist self-criticism because we are living in a moment of rising revolutionary consciousness not seen since global 68 and young people feel this before anyone in the realm of culture (defined broadly in the Maoist sense). What was the consciousness of young people then and now? Do we have a particular responsibility to think in their terms and shape them politically? Or is this just another lie about the global 60s, a distraction from the serious work of the Panthers and the new left? These may be unrelated to self-reflection on "posting" which we are averse to because of SA culture but again, this is the reading thread. Oh also I read that book on socialist Mongolia that was recommended here and it was decent although it takes a Khrushchevite line since that's when it was written.

Edited by babyhueypnewton ()


Edited by liceo ()


babyhueypnewton posted:

reddit as a kind of mass organization for which this site is the cadre party

i Red Salute your open eyes and also your intentions, bhpn. and i mean if you want to stream or whatever that's fine so long as you have a clear head about it. it's important in this saturated market though that your face-mapped anime avatar has a unique gimmick such as Sexy Thracian or Sexy Octopus Frankenstein.

babyhueypnewton posted:

Since this is the reading thread I'm reading Roy Bhaskar's A Realist Theory of Science. The introduction is unreadable and the text itself is tedious, which isn't surprising since it was a dissertation and analytic philosophy is tedious by design. It's short so I'm gonna power through but I wouldn't recommend it except that I don't know any other Marxist works on philosophy of science.

Bhaskar's prose isn't great in general. if you want to save time and still get the key details, i recommend picking up Andrew Collier's "Introduction" book, which covers the major points in Bhaskar's "core" CR, which spans "A Realist Theory of Science," "The Possibility of Naturalism," and "Scientific Realism and Human Emancipation." Collier's a nice, brisk read.

Bhaskar's next turn, dialectical critical realism (corresponding to his book "Dialectic: The Pulse of Freedom"), has a similar intro volume all to itself by Alan Norrie (Dialectic and Difference).

after DCR begins the "meta-Reality" stuff that i know exactly fuckall about. some people say it's where he went too mystical, but idk, i figure at some point i'll give it a peek. afaik no one's written a digest of it.

anyway you can find those Collier and Norrie books in this thread

Edited by Constantignoble ()


cars posted:

people consume livestreams almost entirely as comfort food

reminds me of this TLP post. it's discussing pornography but the message is basically the same:

In other words, online porn isn't a drug, it isn't an addiction, it isn't a sign of deviancy or a trigger for disease: porn is junk food. It is a bag of potato chips you eat when you aren't even hungry, and once you start and the initial "mmmm!" passes you're all in, may as well finish the bag, you've ruined your diet/night already, start over clean tomorrow.

After a while potato chips just figure into your routine, there's a passing thought that perhaps you shouldn't but since there aren't any obvious and immediate consequences... And now it's part of who you are.

But no one would ever say that "other foods don't measure up", no one says that potato chips taste better than steak not because they don't but because no sane person makes those kinds of comparisons. If you did, if you played it all out in your head and now deliberately avoid eating a steak in order to get to potato chips-- then you have a problem that is deeper than steak or potato chips.

Junk food is stripped of the essentials of real food, leaving just the vulgar, the simple, the obvious of taste: sugar, salt, fat, repeat. It is the pornographization of food. The mistake people make is that they think it is delicious, but it's really just easy, comforting, reliable, satisfying. And that's where we are now: online porn is the pornographization of porn.

which is why mass internet media or influencer culture are repugnant. it is the pornographization of whatever is supposed to be the influential material. this is better than labeling it as spectacle because the subtext is that it destroys the people that produce and consume it, and likewise destroys its own nature. and just like pornography, the pitfalls of the machinery of internet media are not an accident or a misuse of communication tools, but designed to rapidly erode whatever passes through it.

some good related posts itt: https://rhizzone.net/forum/topic/15972/

if one of us were to become a streamer or internet micro celebrity showing its real face and talking on twitch or wherever theres direct interaction with the public they'd be chewed up and spit like watermelon seeds by the platform. like bphn im sure you would start with plenty of good intentions and propagating the correct line but as time went on youd realize you need cheap entertainment to rake the donations in (which is ultimately the only worthwhile thing with twitch, nobody in their right mind wants to waste five hours everyday ranting in front of a camera and become a virtual pagliacci if not for the money) and the quality of your content would drop and youd become like the other streamers. like how people with good intentions join the cia, or wish for integration into some official institution of some sort. youre not stronger than some infernal system, at some point youll cave in. if you want more people to get on the maoism-rhizzone thought train open a substack and get your old somethingawful friends who became famous postleft podcasters to advertise it or something. but dont go around showing your mug online and reacting to youtube videos all day long. thats like prostitution but for friends, you dont realize how much of youtube and the irl section of twitch is prostitution but for human interaction. maybe the video game part is for people wanting to watch good players play video games, but the talking facet of twitch is just people throwing money at social strippers. you dont want to end up giving lap dances to guys who were mussolini fans until they received their first paycheck and realized theres a problem within our society that goes deeper than seeing black people outside
bhpn in 2 years after starting to stream on twitch

some interesting thoughts itt. this is mostly just an echo of what others have said.

very often streaming is pap. its like having the radio on in the background, or the tv. its quantity over quality and some people like that, but the engagement is low.

Because of the way streaming platforms work there is always a drift towards quantity, up to the maximum number of hours in the day (some sort of marx thing going on here); that ultimately means that streaming becomes reactive - by that i mean that the streamer, in order to generate enough content, can only really exist in reaction to other things. in the case of gamers that is naturally the game itself, which imo is why game streaming took off first, because the thing to react to is ultimately a pre-packaged framework. but in the case of general streaming you are always going to be reacting to something in order to generate on-the-fly content, rather than creating anything novel. And anything novel you do create is lost in the stream. There is just so much content now, the very thought is unsettling to me. Furthermore, your reactions are not going to be particularly informed since there is again a push towards quantity - you are not going to spend hours researching something before talking about it, it just runs through the stream as you spout.

your chance of becoming famous are at best not zero. like the majority of youtube videos most streamers have very few viewers. generally we see the famous ones but it is highly unlikely that you yourself will win that lottery - even mid tier streamers only hang onto a consistent 100-500 viewers, and a handful of very loyal viewers who pay for them to continue streaming through subs and donations. Again the volume of content cannot be over-stated.

most small and starting out streamers are just wanting to hang out with people. small video game streamers meet a lot of the people they play their games with through their streams. This is an interesting thing that the viewers themselves are pulled into the content creation, but generally many small streamers are not exclusively looking to get famous, they're looking to hang out or for connection, which is why they keep doing it.

i dont think, in a vacuum, there is any real reason why you would "sell out" if you started streaming about maoism or something, but in all likelihood if there was any financial element, such as needing the money from streaming, then yes, in all certainty what you do would be guided by what sells. Streaming is a strange amalgam of petty bourgioise in its immediacy and seeming control over "your own business", but also just one of millions labouring in the content factory for jeff bezos.

the idea of changing the world through twitch just feels like the enders game fantasy yet again.

babyhueypnewton posted:

That's what the internet is now, basically everyone here could have been a major political "influencer" if we didn't have ideological vestiges of the old SA ethos that the internet makes you stupid. Which is true but the world is stupid in the same way.

there's a nugget of truth in that last bit, but... leaving aside the feasibility of anyone with good politics becoming a successful influencer on youtube or twitch or whatever, we're now in a transition period for the corporate web in which it is quickly going to become irrelevant how internet savvy you are, radical speech is rapidly going to be stamped out and explicitly prohibited. we see it already in the past week when (according to the countless memes i've been shown) facebook has taken it upon itself to not only censor entire hashtags but proactively reach out to users exposed to "extremist" content. i know this is tantamount to a slippery slope argument but i will be shocked if this isn't the shot across the bow before the major platforms start pulling down any vaguely popular accounts that seriously advocate communism. it's going to become a simple matter of investors making a noise about the inherent risk in being seen to publish certain content.

besides, i'm sorry but all my experience online leads me to the conclusion there is no positive potential in large platforms in terms of community, and that naturally extends to political potential. outside of small niche moderated communities like this, the internet is permafucked.


tears posted:

Again the volume of content cannot be over-stated.

roughly a decade ago, a number of people in a few places (on SA, in the comments sections of econ blogs i'd frequent, etc) asked me if i had a blog they could follow. it was a flattering thing, and at one point i even squared up to start one

and then i started thinking about how having any sort of readership really meant regular updates, of the sort that could become part of someone's browsing habits — the primordial potato scrapings to the proper chips of liceo's example. i'm anything but prolific; i'm a recovering perfectionist who used to comfort himself by recalling that even bach continued to edit his manuscripts after they'd been published. (hell, dr. cat even had to say to me, after one of my front page articles went up, 'it's fine, but let this be the last edit, ok?')

so even at that time, the thought of constantly having something of interest to say and being able to flesh it all out enough to meet my own standards proved too daunting. but nowadays, the blog era is pretty much agreed to be over, and what's replaced it is several orders of magnitude more quantity-intensive, and it's gone from "somewhat intimidating" to wholly beyond reckoning.

anyway i'm thinking of starting a blog

speaking of blogs, i can't stand michael robert's new format, it wasn't good before but at least it was readable
reading the three-body problem by cixin liu
Reading 'Star Maker' by Olaf Stapledon and 'The Art of Poetry' by Hugh Kenner. Add me on goodreads and smash that like button: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/95485926-kit
Is learning from an unimportant minority by j sakai up anywhere? I want to know before I put in effort into scanning/uploading it
all the posts about how forums are dead or only inhabited by 45 year old first world computer programmers with advanced lyme disease have ignored nairaland, the premier forum web site where discussion of biafran secession is now punishable by a ban, and the best possible location of my ultramaoist evangelising. see you all there!
finally reading fanshen. better late than never.

tears posted:

reading the three-body problem by cixin liu

i dont read much science fiction but this book was interesting - it's my first piece of chinese science fiction ever. The following will only really make sense to someone who has read the book, but i found the most interesting parts the underlying theme of the contradiction between Chinese intellectuals and the masses (though this is never outright talked about but was basically the whole book); the turning point of the whole novel - ye wenjie's unhesitating betrayal of humanity - can be read as the ultimate refusal to have faith in what is right in front of you - in part this is prefaced by her experience during the cultural revolution, and of ecological destruction, but theres more to it in that that. likewise the explicit description of the ETO as a collection of the wealthy (who just seem to "get" it) - mike evans the billionaire scion deep-green ecologist Adventist who lusts for the complete destruction of humanity, the Redemptionists who feel closer to Trisolarians than those of their own species but a different class, and the Suvivalists who only want to be assistant to the regional manager after humanity's eradication. The book never strays into any sort of "laying it out" though, its left to me to pontificate about the class themes within.

beyond yakking about marxism and class, the three-body vr sequences were some good and cool science fiction - very mournful

Edited by tears ()

Ive been reading less and playing more video games, which probably isnt a great mental health indicator but all in all i could have done worse over that past year and a half
Also the man without qualities is tedious so i feel less compelled to pick it back it. Its fun to read while im doing it, just not something i look forward to
I read the first book but couldn't be bothered to read the second. I like hermann broch much more
reading tropic of cancer expecting a picaresque funny novel but henry miller is just some pervert
i think i realized 1/3 into the book that it wasnt satirical in the way i thought. it also did not help that it had some 20 page intro claiming henry miller is the greatest author on earth which i had taken to be humorous postmodern self insert but it was for real
also if you want to read a funny picaresque novel i recc "the sot-weed factor" by john barth
I recommend the weed factor... pulling common ragweed and clover before they ruin your garden's summer fun!!
i recommend the soft weed factor by the soft machine

I finished all three of those Cixin Liu books. they kind of went the way I was expecting - but the twin-concepts of the hostile "game theory" universe with that same hostility having wrought, and continuing to cause, progressive, irreversible and catastrophic damage to reality itself was nice.

if anyone wants to recommend to me some "classics of science fiction" i promise to think about reading them
I read the first of those, but stalled out on the second - maybe i'll get back to it eventually.

have you read the culture books by iain banks? i don't think they are really "classics of science fiction" in that they weren't written by an ex-military american in the 50-60's but those and the scifi by le guin are some of my favorites and have decent politics behind them
^^ I have read the banks ones, some of my limited doodling in "sci fi". I am reading "contact" by "carl sagan", but ty for the le guin reminder also.

solidar posted:

i don't think they are really "classics of science fiction" in that they weren't written by an ex-military american in the 50-60's

also i am lolling @ this


babyhueypnewton posted:

Imagine if we had done that instead of opportunists like Ben Norton, we were collectively correct on Syria when it actually mattered.

i wasn't aware Ben Norton had a sketchy background, what are the details? i do think their association with Jimmy Dore is a big misstep and is probably going to hurt them in the long run.

Grayzone does good work but is devoid of ideology, hence it fits perfectly into a kind of Sanders social democracy with Chinese characteristics (or Sanders-third worldism).

i don't think they're lacking ideology, they have a pretty clear anti-imperialist message behind their stories. you could argue that they're not unified under a particular socialist tendency but that's not really the aim of the organization.


Synergy posted:

babyhueypnewton posted:

Imagine if we had done that instead of opportunists like Ben Norton, we were collectively correct on Syria when it actually mattered.

i wasn't aware Ben Norton had a sketchy background, what are the details? i do think their association with Jimmy Dore is a big misstep and is probably going to hurt them in the long run.

Grayzone does good work but is devoid of ideology, hence it fits perfectly into a kind of Sanders social democracy with Chinese characteristics (or Sanders-third worldism).

i don't think they're lacking ideology, they have a pretty clear anti-imperialist message behind their stories. you could argue that they're not unified under a particular socialist tendency but that's not really the aim of the organization.


I find it a bit sketchy that everyone at the Grayzone's views all changed in 2015. Not only because that was when the US had been defeated in Syria but Libya was already destroyed for years. Obviously Syria or Russia were not waiting for the western left to have a change of heart but it's still far too late. We were posting about it at the time so it's not like it was impossible to know the nature of humanitarian imperialism. People like Parenti who are actually principled communists were speaking out about the dismemberment of Yugoslavia while it was happening. Norton is playing a trick here by using the term "opportunism" to mean grifting for money while ignoring its political, ideological dimension. And by counterposing himself against the obviously social fascist left, he is able to ignore the anti-imperialist left and the roots of his errors beyond misinformation and naivete.

Having said that Monthly Review posted some imperialist screed about Nicaragua yesterday so if you're looking for a principled anti-imperialist source it doesn't exist.


Until the Empire calls upon the left again Blumenthal and Norton have been doing good work and are useful in that capacity. Ideologically, what's concerning to me is that this non-ideological anti-imperialism has been leaking into the PSL/WWP and the CPUSA if you care.

non-ideological anti-imperialism won't be materialist when the classes doing the actual work are national bourgeois classes!!
Welcome, Plants

tears posted:

"contact" by "carl sagan"

the end of this book hinges on a concept identical to an episode of psychosis i experienced, 10/10

next: "his masters voice" by "stanislaw lem"