Mobilization will bring discipline

Hugh Rodwell m-14970 at
Tue Sep 3 12:26:32 MDT 1996

Jon F argues that the time factor is important:

>Would anyone stay long at a meeting where 2 or 3 individuals commandeered
>the microphone and insisted on no time limits to their remarks? Would such a
>meeting be an example of workers democracy?

There is however a difference. The list is not a meeting. Nobody has to
listen, and there is no forced order of presentation. I can read all my
enemies' posts, then all my friends' posts and then one or two newcomers,
or start with the newcomers, delete my enemies' stuff and then soothe my
soul with buddy vibes, just as I choose.

What a list does is impose a discipline on its readers. If the readers
don't like this, they'll skip the stuff they see as difficult or
irritating. Here we could well find stuff that is felt to be 'too long' or
people who are felt to post 'too often'.

And we should never forget that workers' democracy has absolutely nothing
to do with what's happening at Jefferson/Spoons. The lists are run by a
self-selected collective with arbitrary powers to discipline subscribers to
these lists. They are not parties with statutes, they are not organs of a
bourgeois democratic state subject to bourgeois-democratic laws, they're
not even bound by the statements of list purpose etc they put out.

If some of the lists allow sufficient leeway for an appearance of
subscriber democracy to assert itself from time to time, this is fine, but
it doesn't alter the reality of whose finger is on the zap button or able
to pull the plug.

I've got a pretty optimistic perspective on cyber-Marxism. I see all our
experience here on the list as preliminary skirmishing and trial-and-error
learning. As things hot up and individual subscribers get more and better
organized, the posting will become much more purposeful, a lot briefer and
more focused -- out of necessity. Shared principles will be much more in
evidence, reducing the need for what we might call exploratory polemics,
and people will be a lot busier getting things done, so posts will take on
a more business-like tone. To get a flavour of what things might develop
into, look at Lenin's writings after the victory of October, or Trotsky's.
For every elaborated article or book, there are hundreds of brief telegrams
or letters on single points.



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