“Now I’ll never know if I was right” – the Adric syndrome

Say you had a time machine, and you could go back and “change one thing” (yes, yes, assassinating Hitler, A Sound of Thunder, The Lincoln Hunters, Marty McFly etc etc).

But say you were more constrained… say you could only seed social movement tactics and techniques.

What would it be?  Personally, I wouldn’t shout at people about the “Smugosphere.”

It would be, drum roll, the notion of “legitimate peripheral participation/activist skills and knowledge.”

We have so many people have slipped through “our” fingers who might have wanted to be involved but DIDN’T want to give up everything else in an effort to crack their way into a cosy and smug (there, that word!) clique.  And given the choice between all and nothing they quite rightly chose…  nothing. But what if we had kept them, and been able to harness their two hours a month or whatever?

See here

For an older generation of political theorists, as Sassen admits, not least those from a Marxist background, the current trends have sometimes been puzzling. “I remember talking to [British Marxist historian] Eric Hobsbawm – a dear friend. He asked me: ‘What’s up [with Occupy]?’ I said it is a very interesting movement. But his reply was: ‘If there is no party, then there’s no future.'”

Indeed, it was precisely this concern two years ago that led Malcolm Gladwell – in a controversial essay for the New Yorker, Small change: why the revolution will not be tweeted – to ask a similar question: whether networks of activists modelled on social media and with “weak tie-ins” can sustain themselves in the long run.

“The old pyramid way of organising protests does have its limitations, but so too do the new ways of organising,” says Hatuka. “Often it does not feel very effective in the long run. People will often go for a day or two and these protests are not necessarily offering an ideological alternative.”

P.S. Adric?  This…


About dwighttowers

Below the surface...
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2 Responses to “Now I’ll never know if I was right” – the Adric syndrome

  1. Wotan says:

    1. I agree with Eric Hobsbawm. 2. I remember that episode very well – ‘Now I’ll never know…’ They didn’t play the theme tune over the credits, did they, as a mark of respect…

    • dwighttowers says:

      1. I do too, but it is surely not beyond our wit (or would not have been beyond our wit), to “design” a party that didn’t implode into deranged forms of Stalinism etc.

      2. No, they didn’t. I was 11 years old, and traumatised!!

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