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  • Doug Belshaw 4:21 pm on August 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: co-operation, Mayel de Borniol, ,   

    Lower leftism 

    As Mastodon is decentralised, instances are ‘federated’ together using a social networking protocol called ActivityPub. Instances within the ‘Fediverse‘ can be more or less specialised. For example, social.coop is focused on co-operativism, humanities.one is for discussing the Humanities, and donteatanimals.org for discussing animal rights and veganism. There’s even a guide at joinmastodon.org for choosing an instance that suits you.

    I was talking with Mayel earlier today about some controversy there’s been around social.coop’s federation policy. Over and above the ability of individual users to block or mute other users, instance administrators can ‘silence’ other instances. The proposal was to implement a federation policy which states:

    An instance will be silenced if it meets any of the following criteria:

    • Explicitly allows something forbidden by Social.coop’s Code of Conduct
    • The instance has as one of its goals shitposting or the instance has no moderation policy.

    The following are examples of any of the instances that would be silenced:

    • sealion.club (shitposting)
    • shitposter.club (shitposting)
    • toot.love (no moderation)

    In practice, that means that if you’re a member of social.coop and toot.love is silenced by the administrators, then you don’t see any toots from that instance in the federated timeline. It also mutes any notifications from that instance. You can, however, still follow specific users from that instance and you’ll get notifications from them.

    I thought it was all pretty uncontroversial, to be honest. But then I’m a straight, white, middle-aged man who doesn’t have to deal with online/offline harassment.

    This brief conversation between Mayel and I reminded me of a post he’d shared a while back entitled Lower leftism: expanding upon the political map by Margaret Killjoy. It made me think in new ways about my own politics. You can read the post for the nuance, so I’ll skip straight to the diagram I found useful:

    Political map

    One thing that frustrates me about (what’s usually referred to as) ‘the Left’ is the constant in-fighting. Killjoy’s map, however, explains some of that. We’re not all advocating for the same future; it’s much more nuanced than ‘left’ vs ‘right’.

    A lower leftist is anyone whose politics fall into the anti-authoritarian, cooperative quadrant of the political map. It includes anarchists, Zapatistas, anti-state Marxists, democratic confederalists, libertarian municipalists, and a large number of traditional societies from across the globe… any society that does not desire a state and does desire economic cooperation. (While we’re at it, let’s throw in that we’re only talking about identity-tolerant societies, because regardless of how “anti-state” they claim to be, a society that persecutes people for ethnic, sexual, gender, or ability reasons is just as authoritarian in practice as any formal governmental society.)

    I wouldn’t call myself an ‘anarchist’ but I’m definitely some kind of left libertarian. As such, I fall squarely inside that purple ‘zone of solidarity’ — although probably closer towards the middle of the map. (Which explains, if you read the post, why I vote for The Green Party.)

    The key insight in Killjoy’s post for me is that we shouldn’t form alliances with those who seek different futures as it won’t end well:

    When considering strategic allies (in contrast to the natural allies to be found in the lower left quadrant), my suggestion is that we ought not prioritize one axis over another. We ought to only form strategic alliances with those who aim to push society — in relation to the existent society, rather than in relation to our ideal society — in the same directions that we do. We ought not, presumably, ally ourselves with those who aim to push society in a direction counter to our interests. This seems obvious, when written out, but is a mistake that lower leftists have made time and time again.

    I’ve still a lot of thinking to do around this.

    • mike hales 10:15 am on September 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Replied to this Doug, but my reply isn’t flagged as in your queue for moderation. It was a long one – d’you have a word limit?

      • Doug Belshaw 10:28 am on September 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Mike, not aware of any word limit, but as you say it’s not in my moderation queue 🙁

    • mike_hales 12:19 pm on September 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I still couldn’t post for some reason. And what I wanted to offer was long. So I’ve posted it here https://www.foprop.org/lower-left. I hope you feel it meshes with your thoughts Doug?

      • Doug Belshaw 12:34 pm on September 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Mike! I’ll take a look at this after this conference I’m attending 🙂

  • Doug Belshaw 7:52 pm on April 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: co-operation, , spectrum   

    The Spectrum of Exchange 

    On page 72 of Richard Sennett’s book *Together: the rituals, pleasures, and politics of cooperation,* he outlines five different ways social animals engage:

    1. Altruistic exchange *(entails self-sacrifice)*
    2. Win-win exchange *(both parties benefit)*
    3. Differentiating exchange *(partners become aware of their differences)*
    4. Zero-sum exchange *(one party prevails at the expense of another)*
    5. Winner-takes-all exchange *(one party wipes out the other)*

    Sennett explains:

    > In animal terms, this spectrum runs from the worker ant which offers up its body as food for other ants, to the wolf whose exchanges with sheep are invariably lethal; in human terms, the spectrum runs from Joan of Arc to genocide.

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