LC Mission Series: part 2 – An insurgency at the gates


8:30 am - February 22nd 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


      Share on Tumblr

Late last year I was invited to speak by the Oxford University Libdems. This is an edited version of what I said, and seeps into much of my thinking.

* * * * * * * * * * *

In 2003 a political operative in the US by the name of Rob Stein made a series of presentations on how conservatives in the US had, over a period of thirty years, built a “message machine” and spent around $300 million a year to promote its agenda.

According to the New York Times the presentations were made to rich political entrepreneurs with a clear message: stop thinking in terms of politics in terms of elections, and focus more on building an infrastructure to support and build political ideas they liked.

Rob Stein wanted to point out how long term investment to ensure that in 10-20-30 years time, the Democrats would be the dominant political force instead of the Republicans.

I’m making this point here, today, in front of this audience, because you may be the future of the Liberal Democrats. And I think it’s time the liberal-left, of which you may be a part of, embraced the necessity and importance of insurgency politics.

What is insurgency politics?
An insurgency is usually meant as a rebellion led by a small dedicated group. But the context I use it in is somewhat different.

The UK is, at its heart, a liberal country that has become progressively more so over history. And yet the liberal-left cowers in the face of the narrative that this is an inherently conservative nation. It’s not. The polls don’t show that on social and economic issues.

On everything from the economy to social issues, we value individual rights over their bodies, we value a sense of ‘fairness’ in opportunity and outcomes, we are distrustful of corporations as we are of the state, and we pretty much ignore what religious leaders have to say.

What we have is a population broadly sympathetic more with the politics of the Libdems or Labour than the Conservatives. And yet, for various reasons, it is the Conservatives who are the incumbents and the dominant political force. They have been in power for much of the past half-century and their narratives are dominant in the press, albeit not in public opinion.

Now you may think that the left-right way of looking at politics is irrelevant. You may prefer a liberal-authoritarian frame instead. What I’m talking about however is beyond the political axis somewhat. This is about why thinking of seeing politics as an insurgency is important. It is about asking why the liberal majority keeps getting denied power and how to change the status quo.

I started by talking about Rob Stein’s presentation because we face the same juncture here in the UK.

Technology is changing the media and politics, and that will impact not only what messages get shaped but also which are heard and seen more prominently than others. Far from democratizing the media, we may even end up with more entrenched oligopolies of vested interests.

What an insurgency requires
First: the explicit recognition that we are in a war of political ideas and policy. And in that war, while conservative ideas and policies are not that popular – they are nevertheless able to out-manoeuvre the liberals and the left.

You represent the majority, and they the elites. And yet they hold the power and you don’t. You are not the establishment and you have never been.

Second: You need to see yourself as the outsiders. It requires you to remember that the establishment is working against the true wishes of the people. The establishment is conservative and it is against too much change in the direction you want.

Third: You have to see yourself as a ‘movement’ not simply a political party – thereby bringing in people who are attracted to your values rather than your party. Movement politics is broader than party politics even though they can’t work without each other. But the movement has to have a strong ideological weight that brings in people because of those shared values.

Fourth: The most important point. In order to build and sustain a movement you need an infrastructure.

What Rob Stein outlined as the conservative message machine was the infrastructure that built and sustained the conservative movement over the 70s and 80s. It transformed the Republicans from a minority party during Roosevelt and the New Deal to the massive 49-state victory that Ronald Reagan won.

Obviously, there are limits to the comparison between the US and UK. But there are important parallels.

Why now?
You may be wondering why I’m using words like insurgency and victimhood than simply outlining how the Libdems or even Labour, can win power.

Two reasons: First the political mood has changed to become very anti-establishment. And secondly, technology will reinforce that mood.

I don’t think I have to tell you how annoyed and angry the MPs expenses scandal has made people. All the polling shows public trust in politicians has fallen sharply and there is little sympathy for any push-back against that. The appetite is for an anti-establishment political movement – one of the main reasons why the BNP made some gains in recent elections.

Secondly, online chatter on social networks is disproportionately affecting the national conversation: and that chatter, because of the nature of the medium, is very anti-establishment.

I’m not claiming that the people rant angrily on blogs are representative of the population or diverse in their outlook. But the political and media class have always been chosen from a narrow range of backgrounds, and political blogging is no different. It’s not right but it’s the way it is.

* * * * * * * * * * *

There’s a bit to add. Social media isn’t the only way to communicate with people of course. I was just pointing out the nature of the medium. There’s also an important distinction between ‘anti-politics’ and ‘anti-establishment’, I see myself as the latter not former.

Also, I think the Left can take advantage of the anti-establishment mood. One of the biggest mistakes The Left made in 1997 was to assume the mantle of the establishment and stop campaigning vehemently. On issues from equality, civil rights, climate change, taxes and a range of issues – we did not push hard enough because of the assumption that the government was one of us.

That was a fundamental mistake. The Left became deeply disillusioned with New Labour only following the invasion of Iraq. We can’t expect a centrist government to push through with a left-liberal agenda, especially not with a New Labour always scared of its own shadow, which makes it imperative to find ways to continually pile on that pressure.

This blog never has been, and never will be, centrist, or just a space for discussion and debate.

The people we stand for, the most marginalised in society, will never be part of the establishment. We can’t be either. We are the insurgency. We have to force them to listen to us. We can’t just complain, we have to organise and be in a constant state of war.

————–
The first part to LC Mission Series is here.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Liberal Conspiracy ,The Left

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


1. Roberto Blanco

Good stuff Sunny. Given that we are about to shift into a conservative government, what do you think the role of blogs like Liberal Conspiracy should be? Whilst LC contained many critiques of New Labour in government, I am not sure these were then used to pile pressure on the government to stand up for liberal left values.

I think a key part of the future of the left will be ensuring that Labour, when it next enters government, is centre-left rather than centrist. How can LC contribute to that?

2. Mike Killingworth

Doesn’t this rather contradict what you said in your last piece, Sunny?

The Lib Dems are caught between a rock and a hard place, anyway. They are not (except in their own fantasies) a party of government and they are no longer the first receptacle of the protest vote – as they were from the 60s to the 90s – depending on what people are protesting about, they have – as you say – the BNP, or the Greens. In fact the existence of the latter as a “serious” party – brought about by the use of PR for Euro-elections (and the GLA) – has probably moved the LibDems towards the libertarian right.

However, I agree that there is an “oppositionist” element in all left-of-centre politics – due to the fact that, deep in our hearts, we don’t think there is such a thing as authority, only power – and if this is to be deployed in a positive way then, as you say, campaigning should continue irrespective of the government in office. However if you and I can agree about that I don’t understand why we contiune to be seduced by electoral politics – isn’t the logic that we should both sugar off into some far left groupuscule?

All good stuff.

Worth pointing out that the liberal-left already has a lot of infrastructure in place. The Daily Telegraph and so on regularly get on their waaambulance about the so-called ‘race relations industry’, evil trade unions, gay rights activists, militant feminazis and so on – which are all part of the Liberal Conspiracy.

So it is not just a matter of building infrastructure from scratch, but helping to review, renew and build on what is already there. It’s not like in the 1970s and 1980s when, say, the LGBT rights movement had to be built up more or less from scratch.

Nice piece.

I wonder how much New Labour was a product of the problem you describe. The instincts of much of the party, up to the highest levels, have always been to ideas to the left of the ones it’s governed with. Yet the party has stayed resolutely in the centre.

Partly this is fear that the voters wouldn’t accept left-wing ideas, and would turf the party out of government. Partly, too, it’s the terror that the Conservatives that replaced them would feel no such pressure to govern from the centre and would drag Britain even further to the right.

Embedded in both these fears is the unspoken assumption that Britain is inherently a right-wing place and that these instincts needed placating.

The people we stand for, the most marginalised in society, will never be part of the establishment. We can’t be either. We are the insurgency. We have to force them to listen to us. We can’t just complain, we have to organise and be in a constant state of war.

But Sunny, your campaign against Liddle was irrelevant to the “most marginalised in society.” They don’t read the Independent and couldn’t care less who edits it. I don’t know how faux Liddle’s apparent connection to the working class via the Millwall website was but at least he has a claim to a connection. What’s yours?

You said on the last thread that you were interested in things like nationalism, identity politics (including class), the environment, feminism, bigotry, the crap state of the media, foreign affairs

If you actually talked to working class people you would find that these concerns are not at the top of their agendas and you would also discover that their views on many of these topics are diametrically opposed to your own.

Thus, your aspiration to lead the shock troops of the revolution on their behalf sounds faintly ridiculous and, to my ear, somewhat condescending.

“The UK is, at its heart, a liberal country that has become progressively more so over history. And yet the liberal-left cowers in the face of the narrative that this is an inherently conservative nation. It’s not. The polls don’t show that on social and economic issues.

On everything from the economy to social issues, we value individual rights over their bodies, we value a sense of ‘fairness’ in opportunity and outcomes, we are distrustful of corporations as we are of the state, and we pretty much ignore what religious leaders have to say. ”

Yes, quite Sunny. We are broadly a liberal people and country. Not a left liberal people or country and most certainly not a socially democratic country or people.

Pretty much the point I try to consistently make.

“We are the insurgency. We can’t just complain, we have to organise and be in a constant state of war.”

Sunny, do you ever worry that you might be slowly losing your mind?

Martin,

Reading that quote out of context, I was inclined to wonder if Sunny has had a conversion to libertarianism (whether that is losing your mind or not is a personal judgement). Sounds just like what they say…

“Yes, quite Sunny. We are broadly a liberal people and country. Not a left liberal people or country and most certainly not a socially democratic country or people.

Pretty much the point I try to consistently make.”

1. Most British people (57%) think that the problems associated with free market capitalism can be addressed through regulation and reform; however, 19 per cent think that capitalism is fatally flawed, and only 13% think that it works well as it is.

2. Four in ten (40%) believe that the government should play more of an active role in owning or controlling major industries, 31 per cent believe that the government should play a less active role, and 23 per cent believe that it should continue to play the same role it does now.

3. Two-thirds (67%) of respondents say the government should do more to distribute wealth more evenly, while 20% say it should maintain its current level of involvement and only 10% say that it should do less.

4. A majority (56%) favour increased government regulation of businesses, compared to 23% who favour the status quo and 16% who favour less regulation.

IMO, there are currently a large percentage of the population who are likely to be open to left-wing and socialist ideas, unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to get the message over. The right might not be an homogenous group but the one thing they have in common is the ability and knowledge to access technology and the social media. Unfortunately, it is the right who appear to be able to appeal to many of the dispossessed, for those who can access the social media, it is the ideology of white supremacism which can give instant gratification.
I agree with John@4, Tony Blair has done more to repulse the traditional working-class vote than Thatcher could dream of, there is going to be an almighty struggle to convince them that any main-stream political party will act for the interests of the many, so what politics needs generally is a massive reinvigoration, the voter turnout has been slowly decreasing since the 1960s
I’m not really sure that the UK has a history of liberalism, although much lip-service is given to liberal ideas, and I don’t think that the UK working-class is radical, mostly the trade unions have settled with trying to make capitalism better. If we look to the last time the left could have made its’ mark (immediate pre-1st WW), our trade unions were able to be distracted to go to war with little resistance, unlike, the French syndicalists
Hate to sound negative, but I don’t think it ‘s quite the right time for the left (it pains me to say it) but on a more positive note, I firmly believe that the policies about to be released on the population might change that rapidly.

Martin Coxall @ 7,

Language is a funny old thing. I think Sunny has some good points to make about the need to keep up a broad liberal / left narrative no matter who is in power. The difficulty is finding a tone of voice that will not appear strident to some.

12. J Alfred Prufrock

@9

Where are those stats from? Not disputing them but would like the source for my own arguments with right-wing friends 🙂

13. J Alfred Prufrock

oh and @10

If we look to the last time the left could have made its’ mark (immediate pre-1st WW)…

Ermmm ever hear of Clem Atlee and the 1945 administration? Welfare state, NHS and all that stuff?

Of course if you mean “made it’s mark” = “revolution” then that’s a different story…

steveb,

“IMO, there are currently a large percentage of the population who are likely to be open to left-wing and socialist ideas, unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to get the message over”

Really? I met socialist messages from my first year in secondary school at the latest, as I also met capitalist messages. It seems what you mean is that it is extrenely difficult to get people to agree with them in the way you believe, which is a problem for all political persuasions (that people have their own minds…)

15. the a&e charge nurse

So called anti-establishment movements are usually dealt with in a predictable way?
Factions divide, either due to internal squabbles, or external pressures – before long high profile figures are gently shepherded into the bosom of the powers that be, or, to use Goffman’s ugly phrase, they begin to ‘acculturate’.

Hell, even former left wing militants like Derek Hatton morphed into a neo-Thatcherite rationalising this seismic shift on the political spectrum with a casual wave of his hand and glib reference to Marx’s axiom that “social existence… determines consciousness”
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/whatever-happened-to-derek-hatton-1264440.html

Sadly, there seems to be no escaping Michel’s iron law?
This study found – “with some significant exceptions, the data support Michels’s theory. Movements tend to become more centralized-bureaucratic and more moderate in their actions over time. There was also a negative correlation between bureaucratization and radicalization”.
http://mobilization.metapress.com/app/home/contribution.asp?referrer=parent&backto=issue,2,7;journal,32,39;linkingpublicationresults,1:119834,1

Incidentally, I think the word ‘insurgency’ may have negative associations?

16. Roberto Blanco

@Don, can you source those numbers please? ta

17. the a&e charge nurse

[9] there really is a danger in attaching too much importance to focus groups or phone surveys – this type of data gathering really does occupy a modest position on the evidence ladder;
http://www.shef.ac.uk/scharr/ir/units/systrev/hierarchy.htm

“Most British people (57%) think that the problems associated with free market capitalism can be addressed through regulation and reform”

So only 43% to convince then. You’ll find that 100% of economists think that such problems can be fixed through regulation and reform. The difficulty comes in getting agreement upon which reform.

Just to give you two examples: intellectual property. We all know these are public goods, non rivalrous and non excludable. We all know that public goods will be underprovided in a pure free market system. So we’ve intervened in that free market by assigning property rights….patents and copyrights. You may think this is the right regulation and reform, you might think it the wrong one, but it is indede a regulation/reform to address one of the problems associated with free market capitalism.

Secondly, externalities. The literature (heck, it gets as far down the scale as the A level syllabus) is full of opondering about them. That they exist, theat they’re not included in the price system and that this causes problems. And different ways of dealing with them….pigou taxes, cap and trade, direct regulation of emissions, tort law, contracts….there have been Nobels awarded or work here (Coase for example, Olstrom more recently).

But leaving all of that aside and back to my original point: the question of whether the UK is a “liberal” society or not. More specifically, my assertion that it ain’t a social democratic one. Now we can all differ as to what the definition of one of those is and mine is one where people trust the powers that be to be able to sort things out. And I don’t think we (and I mean the English more than the Celts) really do.

The man from hte council with a clipboard is a figure of fun in our popular culture, not someone with hte respect of the community as he is in many other societies. We’re suspicious of the guy who says “I’m from the government and I’m here to help” in a way that many other societies are not.

14
Nope, I meant what I said, but thank-you for taking the trouble to interpret my post in a way that corresponds to your own beliefs!

13
Yes that is what I meant, the trouble with the welfare state is that it is just another attempt to tinker with capitalism. As a past member of a union, which was considered to be the most radical, all we ever got, for the most, was another small sop to keep us quiet. The irony is that we got more under a conservative government than we did under Labour, but we always believed that Labour represented the many, of coure, the only symbol of our asperations was clause 4, the rest, they say, is history.

16 – http://liberalconspiracy.org/2009/11/12/reform-regulate-redistribute/

they were linked to in the original piece.

Tim W, is it fair to say that economic liberals think that the state should do less to redistribute wealth and favour less government regulation of business, and social democrats favour more redistribution by the state and more regulation of business?

On these questions, 67% side with the social democrats to 10% with the liberals on redistribution, and 56% to 16% on regulation. That’s why many of your ideological fellow travellers spend time whining on their blogs about how the people are “sheep”.

“Tim W, is it fair to say that economic liberals think that the state should do less to redistribute wealth and favour less government regulation of business, and social democrats favour more redistribution by the state and more regulation of business?”

That’s not the point I’m trying to emphasise. Liberals tend to think that the people doing it for themselves do it better (whether solo, voluntarily collectively etc) than when the State tells them what to do. Social democrats rather the other way around.

In this sense I don’t think England is a naturally social democratic country.

Roberto: Good stuff Sunny. Given that we are about to shift into a conservative government, what do you think the role of blogs like Liberal Conspiracy should be?

Excellent question, and one I’ll address in my next post more formally. Though I think I’ve partly answered it already – we need to start organising and building an infrastructure in order to get ready for the Tories.

I think a key part of the future of the left will be ensuring that Labour, when it next enters government, is centre-left rather than centrist. How can LC contribute to that?

Also a very important question. I think we can do that by contributing, supporting and actively cheering on more centre-left candidates than centre-right ones like Tom Harris (and Frank Field, on social issues). We have to vociferously make the arguments and try and get people to take action (in different ways) on the campaigns.

All this is very vague right now, but I can’t say until the issue comes up.

Mike:
However if you and I can agree about that I don’t understand why we contiune to be seduced by electoral politics – isn’t the logic that we should both sugar off into some far left groupuscule?

Huh? I said I’m anti-establishment but not anti-parliamentary democracy. The system needs a lot of change and we should continue pushing for that – but moving away from electoral politics entirely means you’re limited in what can be achieved.

Donpaskini: So it is not just a matter of building infrastructure from scratch, but helping to review, renew and build on what is already there.

I agree – though many of those movements need updating I think. But generally, yes. I think once the Tories get in abortion will become a live issue again, and I plan to start preparing for that.

pagar: I don’t know how faux Liddle’s apparent connection to the working class via the Millwall website was but at least he has a claim to a connection. What’s yours?

Are you playing the class card here? You want me to start being authentic? Anyway – the Indy campaign may not have been for the working classes directly – but the Indy is a liberal-left newspaper and part of the conspiracy is to ensure we maintain our infrastructure.

Jonn – all that is spot on.

So the question for us then, is, how the hell do we empower the Left and make them believe in their own values? How do we stop making them worried and take confidence in the idea that their inherent values chime with that of the country – though they might need retuning in how they’re presented.

steve: Hate to sound negative, but I don’t think it ’s quite the right time for the left

It’s always the right time for the Left. We have to create the conditions for it, not wait for others.

Sunny,

This is a friendly comment, as I still like your aims here (albeit a more positive spin would be nice). However, you want to build your infrastructure in preparation for facing a right-wing government. Fair enough, but this strikes me as being like a general at the end of an inconclusive war, wanting to rebuild the army. Generals do not just repeat the last war, and do adapt to new technology. But I’ve yet to see an army accurately predict the war they will fight next, and their infrastructure is never the one required.

The great problem with socialism (and with communism as practiced so far) has always seemed to be its reliance on institutions and its subsequent failure to change in response to circumstances. I see no reason why the good ideals behind left-wing philosophies require this – rather it seems to be people mistake the maintainance of the infrastructure for the maintainance of the ideal.

Would it not be better to develop infrastructure as needed in response to issues, to save resources. The Independent campaign could be seen as an end in itself (defeating the suggested appointment of a man whose views are anathema to most left wingers) although I would wait to see who is appointed editor before proclaiming victory on this front. A ‘meta-structure’; a network that can be used to rapidly produce the necessary infrastructure might be a better way to think – how can the site and its attached movement produce the required message and get it out; what can make your citizen-journalists into citizen-activists at the right moment. Don’t prepare to fight the next war; prepare yourself to fight any war, any enemy, any time.

Watchman – I think that’s the first comment I’ve completely agreed with of yours.

I do want to lay out some ideas too on how the left needs to adapt. It’ll come eventually..

26. Mike Killingworth

[23]

Mike:
However if you and I can agree about that I don’t understand why we contiune to be seduced by electoral politics – isn’t the logic that we should both sugar off into some far left groupuscule?

Huh? I said I’m anti-establishment but not anti-parliamentary democracy. The system needs a lot of change and we should continue pushing for that – but moving away from electoral politics entirely means you’re limited in what can be achieved.

OK, Sunny, I’m going to be devil’s advocate here for a mo. What do you think the Green movement has achieved by setting up its own political party that it couldn’t have done through organised lobbying groups within the Labour, LibDem and mainland nationalist parties?

“its subsequent failure to change in response to circumstances. ”

“I do want to lay out some ideas too on how the left needs to adapt. It’ll come eventually..”

I’d say the biggest problem has been with what has been the main piece of left wing infrastructure – trade unions. And specifically their failure to adapt to changing circumstances.

These days, few people stick at the same job for 40 years, mass monopsony employers only exist in the public sector, and technology really does make some industries obsolete. Instead of fighting business models trying to keep members employed in dying industries, they should instead recognise when an industry (or business model – in the case of BA) is dying and can’t realistically be saved. When these situations occur, the trade union movement is better off ensuring its members can be retrained in other jobs (and in a wider sense, ensuring the state provision of adult education/retraining is good and the benefits system is generous to enable this to occur). The role of a trade union thus shouldn’t simply be to represent the interests of the industry (albeit workforce rather than management), but the interests of their members.

Furthermore, for all the media interest in strikes, I think they’ve been remarkably ineffective at protecting workers from bad management, using strikes they can’t win rather than strategies that could win. Imagine if trade unions, rather than say to employers “we want x% pay rise or we go on strike” – turned around and rather than threaten a strike said “treat your workers fairly, or you’ll face a boycott from all our members”. Indeed, they could use the collective power of a consumer boycott to gain improvments in places where management didn’t recognise them. A small firm can generally get away with not recognising a union and not involving them in pay negotiations, they probably couldn’t get away with being placed on a boycott list that was effective. To give a recent example; lets say instead of calling another strike which won’t achieve anything except piss off the public- the union that represents BA cabin crew turned around and publicly stated that as a result of management’s ill treatment of workers the trade union movement was going to boycott BA and use the alternatives.

Perhaps I’m being overly stereotypical here of unions here…….

Planeshift – I’d certainly endorse some of those concerns, though I think trade unions do focus a lot on retraining too. But how can they given their lack of resources?

Mike:
What do you think the Green movement has achieved by setting up its own political party that it couldn’t have done through organised lobbying groups within the Labour, LibDem and mainland nationalist parties?

Well, it firstly adds pressure from the outside, by way of strong candidates outside those party voicing various concerns. So for example, Caroline Lucas could potentially win a seat and raise her profile and continue to push the govt for not doing enough.

In London – the two Green AMs were actually crucial for Ken to pass the budget – so he had to offer concessions to get their support. Ken claims to be a greenie but actually most of his green policies were pushed through via the Greens.

Across Europe – the Greens have become a very strong electoral machine. My problem with the Greens here is that they’re not aggressive enough and don’t take an anti-establishment approach. They’re behaving like they’re already near power.

27
The problem, as I see it. is that trade unions haven’t really embraced socialism, most relied on the Labour party in the guise of clause 4 (sorry to keep banging on about it) to eventually deliver the means of production to the many. Now that seems like some ridiculous dream, sadly it was the so-called socialist institutions which brought about the demise of socialism being regarded as an alternative to the existing economic base.
As you have observed, striking never really gained anything in the long-term, simply because it never challenged or seeked to remove the thing that created the grief. Moreover, the strikes tended to alienate non TU members because they were always reported in the right-wing media. Remember Orgreave, the BBC (supposedly left-wing) changed the course of events to suggest that the violence was the fault of the striking miners.
IMHO, the future of socialism does not lay in the hands of the TUs

I appreciate that this thread is not and should not be a postmortem for post 1997 New Labour governance. It has to be said, however, that they failed because they were authoritarian and managerialist rather than having bad intentions. New Labour governments have looked for big centralist fixes and have demonstrated little faith in people. Future solutions have to be about what people want, not managers.

Is it bad the LibDems are looking at libertarian right policies? Assuming that the LibDems would only be the minor partner in a coalition or prop-up relationship, I don’t find the concept to be scary. Nutty proposals would be watered down, so pressure on government would be more Jo Grimond than Austrian economist.

@9 Don Paskini: “2. Four in ten (40%) believe that the government should play more of an active role in owning or controlling major industries, 31 per cent believe that the government should play a less active role, and 23 per cent believe that it should continue to play the same role it does now.”

If somebody asked me that question, I wouldn’t have a clue about how to answer it. I think that the government is too active on some occasions, inert on others. I can’t sum the two and give an answer. All I know is that I want government to act differently.

Would it not be better to develop infrastructure as needed in response to issues, to save resources. The Independent campaign could be seen as an end in itself (defeating the suggested appointment of a man whose views are anathema to most left wingers) although I would wait to see who is appointed editor before proclaiming victory on this front. A ‘meta-structure’; a network that can be used to rapidly produce the necessary infrastructure might be a better way to think – how can the site and its attached movement produce the required message and get it out; what can make your citizen-journalists into citizen-activists at the right moment. Don’t prepare to fight the next war; prepare yourself to fight any war, any enemy, any time.

A very good point. Different issues may require a different response so having this kind of ‘meta-structure’ in place which can then adapt to the requirements of the situation sounds like a good idea. I guess one question is what appetite people have for changing from citizen-journalists to citizen-activists and whether you can build a network of a sufficient size.

I hate to do this, knowing that it will aid mine enemies. But something you really ought to be trying to do.

Capture the email addys of those who join in these various campaigns. Thus you can alert them to new ones as and when they occur. This is part of the lesson of the American “insurgencies” of both right and left.

If you’ve got someone foolish enough to join in one screaming hate fest (Rod Liddle for example) then perhaps they’ll be dumb enough to join you in your next protest about how we should all stop being beastly to Cuba. They’ve got free health care you know.

But you do want to have that list of idiots you can mobilise.

33. Mike Killingworth

You love us really, don’t you, Tim?

It’s just that abusive relationships are the only ones you know…

How would Tim know what “we” think? He hasn’t lived here for well over a decade.

Capture the email addys of those who join in these various campaigns.

The innovative Internet guru speaks!


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    LC Mission Series: part 2 – An insurgency at the gates http://bit.ly/9uQQmY

  2. sunny hundal

    I continue the LibCon Mission Series with part 2: An insurgency at the gates http://bit.ly/9mYLiB

  3. Dave Harris

    Very thoughtful piece on progressivism/ conservatism RT @libcon LC Mission Series: part 2 – An insurgency at the gates http://bit.ly/9uQQmY

  4. George Allwell

    RT @libcon: LC Mission Series: part 2 – An insurgency at the gates http://bit.ly/cPMxjl

  5. Political division and the future of the British Left | www.the-vibe.co.uk

    […] to preclude this, what does the future hold for the Leftist project? The notion of “insurgency” campaigning has value here: recognition that the system is stacked against progressive ends, […]





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.