Thursday, August 12, 2010

Clicktivism is ruining leftist activism

Bloody hell, the Guardian’s editors really will let anyone loose on Comment is Free, won’t they? The long-term problem I suppose will be the complete erosion of whatever credibility the name has left.

But in the meantime, somebody called Micah White writes one of the great comic blogposts of recent times, following in the illustrious footsteps of Kingsnorth/Monbiot and Marc Nash.

Clicktivism,” announces White, “is ruining leftist activism.” This is important because “at stake is the possibility of an emancipatory revolution in our lifetimes.”

The problem, you see, is that “exclusive emphasis on metrics results in a race to the bottom of political engagement.”Gone”, cries White, “is faith in the power of ideas, or the poetry of deeds, to enact social change. Instead, subject lines are A/B tested and messages vetted for widest appeal.”

Clictivists are comparable to both McDonalds and Wal-Mart (both of which are, as we all know, worse than Hitler and almost as bad as George W Bush). But White is determined to resist, and ends with a stirring call to arms:

“Against the progressive technocracy of clicktivism, a new breed of activists will arise. In place of measurements and focus groups will be a return to the very thing that marketers most fear: the passionate, ideological and total critique of consumer society. Resuscitating the emancipatory project the left was once known for, these activists will attack the deadening commercialisation of life. And, uniting a global population against the megacorporations who unduly influence our democracies, they will jettison the consumerist ideology of marketing that has for too long constrained the possibility of social revolution.”

But who is this Micah White, bravely resisting the use of internet campaigns for leftist causes? He’s a Contributing Editor at Adbusters and an 'award-winning activist'. You can join his online Fan Brigade here.

11 comments:

Joey Joe Joe Jr. said...

Favourite comment:

"Micah White is correct. The way forward is through the liberal use of papier-mache puppets and the pie-chucking antics of street theatre."

worm said...

adbusters started out quite cool, but they long ago sailed off into loony lefty teeth-gnashing land. What this bloke is trying to say is completely lost on me.

Gaw said...

It must be very emancipating not to pay any heed to the events of the 20th century. He's gonna party like it's 1899.

His site is a scream - where to begin? I've seen more witlessness on the web in the last couple of months than I have in most decades.

Willard said...

Cool biography. "[H]e has had seminars with internationally renowned philosophers Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, Judith Butler, Michael Hardt, Jacques Rancière, Avital Ronell, and Slavoj Zizek."

I never realised that attending lectures was actually a qualification we're allowed to cite...

I need to start making a list.

Vern said...

A great find, Brit. Almost as good as Kingsnorth. Viva la muerte! Etc.

Recusant said...

I see from his brief Guardian bio that he is an 'award winning activist'. What on earth is that? Where do I go to get the prize? And is it worth having?

Do they really give awards for 'activism'?

Recusant said...

And I could learn to read your last line where you draw attention to his award winning.

Back of the class for me...........

Brit said...

I don't blame anyone for scanning, Recusant, life is short. You are to be applauded for spotting it on second look...

Recusant said...

As ever, Brit, you are a gentleman. Posh or non-posh variety, the choice is yours.

malty said...

The Guardian at last finds a niche, an inkey substitute for Gormley's plinth Number four 'There was something very poignant about the sight of a single human on a space designed for a massive statue. Gormley championed the little guy against the intimidating grandeur of the square's institutions ...' (Alex Needham, The Guardian)

ghostofelberry said...

Tried to read MC´s piece but i couldn´t shut out the 80s action movie trailer voiceover, thundering polysyllables and buzzwords:

IT WAS A TIME OF HEROES, DANGER, WAR. A BATTLE WAS RAGING ON THE STEPPES. IT WAS AN EPIC STRUGGLE BETWEEN LIGHT AND DARKNESS. EVIL WAS EVERYWHERE. AND THEN A HERO CAME: CONAN.

"A battle is raging for the soul of activism. It is a struggle between digital activists, who have adopted the logic of the marketplace, and those organisers who vehemently oppose the marketisation of social change. At stake is the possibility of an emancipatory revolution in our lifetimes."