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October 19, 2009


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I've read him going on and on about 'trolls' now for a while and it sounds like he had some really bad experience/s (trying to nicely deal with some troll/s) and is now just going overboard in the opposite direction.

Quite simply being a 'good' person, or IMO holding the ideals that make one part of the left, mean being put in a position where you're more likely to be taken advantage of. More likely to get mired down dealing with 'trolls', etc.

k-punk is perhaps just partially abandoning the left as he finds easy solutions to dealing with such things. Deciding any person is a 'troll' for example, deciding anyone means harm, when actually they don't, is a huge part of the suspicion and worst assumptions that make people rightwingers/captialists, etc.


That's ludicrous. The implication is that any decision to delete a remark or stop a conversation is by definition right-wing. The repercussion is that all left wing people include every voice in every conversation all the time--the recipe for never getting anything done and perpetually fighting the same battles. Enough is enough. If one doesn't want to be dismissed as a troll one shouldn't act like one.


"the right uses democratic openness to advance clear, divisive positions; the left appeals to the openness first, so that it becomes identified with openness as such rather than a set of determinate policies. "

This sounds just one step from Rorty's criticism of the Left in "Achieving Our Country," when he writes that while Universities since the 1960s have made great strides on cultural matters (racisim, sexism), the real culprit and the real focus of the Left's attention ought to be on class.

Jodi, do you accept this distinction between cultural domination/freedom on the one hand, and economic domination/freedom on the other?

I can get down with a critique of economic inequality, but why can't the Left preach BOTH an openness at the procedural level/political level AND certain very specific ends.

I am thinking of the Nicaraguan revolution, where so-called liberation did not mean liberation for women nor for the darker-skinned natives. There, certain fights were put on the backburner, supposedly to be addressed later, because, so the argument went, political economy and land-redistribution were the most important, and the other struggles were, at the moment, distractions.


The US now is a different setting from Nicaragua. Setting matters. More strides can't be made with respect to racism and sexism as long as economic inequality persists. The result is the illusion of capitalism with a human face--as if economic inequality, neoliberalization, and financialization were not the dominant factor of contemporary life, the determining condition of everything else that is going on politically in the US. One shouldn't pretend that it's 1968--the Right uses identity politics today.

Derrin Zikks

K-Punk doesn't do comments, etc., because he's incapable of rational argument and generally pretty ignorant.

"Capitalism's agents were a revolutionary class which had to dismantle feudalism, undermine the authority of the Church, and challenge pratically every vested interest before they could succeed."

This is an absurd and non-Marxist presentation of history as conspiracy.

"what the left needs now is the confidence and courage to plan, to impose a new orthodoxy in the way that the right did."

I suppose we should be glad that K-Punk restricts his activities to bad film criticism and blogging. If he got involved in politics he'd... well, flop, but if by accident he attained power – yikes.

It's amazing that he speaks as if he were part of the left: what does he actually do?


It doesn't strike me that planning and organization are a bad idea. On the contrary, assuming that somehow left ends will be the immanent result of historical unfolding is ludicrously determinist. The saddest part is having to rehearse 100 year old debates.


the zombies are revolting...crash the banks!!!



The whole K-Punk-V-Trolls debate has been dragging on for months at this point. Where K-Punk lost a lot of people (myself included) is when Ads Without Products first asked for clarification between these amoebic "grey vampires" and plain ol' "haters", and second asked exactly what was the power, the potential, and the political fabric of this "militant dysphoria" K-Punk & Co. have been hawking recently. When AWP was barely afforded backhanded dismissal, let alone a proper response, I certainly decided that K-Punk's definition of "troll" had expanded to include anyone who didn't agree lock-stock with him.

I'm frustrated that he's misappropriated your ideas about communicative capitalism to insulate himself from even constructive criticism. Planning and organization is something the left desperately needs, but being banished for demanding a platform as opposed to Morrisseyan sloganeering is bullshit.


Morrisseyan sloganeering is a great term; I haven't followed the recent troll debates, so I can't say anything on that one.


"That's ludicrous. The implication is that any decision to delete a remark or stop a conversation is by definition right-wing."

I'm not remotely trying to state it in such black and white terms as that. Just trying to point out that as we give people less and less benefit of doubt, we generally move to the right.

It is what it is. One can't be perfectly idealistic. There really are trolls out there. But as one is quicker to dismiss more and more people as such, one might want to be aware of what it means they're doing. I have a blog with comments absolutely closed myself.

"The repercussion is that all left wing people include every voice in every conversation all the time--the recipe for never getting anything done and perpetually fighting the same battles. Enough is enough."

Yes, I agree. There is only so much you can do. I'm not stating it like that. Just pointing out it means being less idealistic. And a bit less left. And I'm not coming from the point of view that one has to be all the way on the far left in order to be right.

One shouldn't act like a troll? I've see people get unfairly demonized all the time. From 'welfare queens' to people who aren't 'considerate' enough to conceal their unhappiness in life to people who are simply misunderstood. It takes a strong person to be good. It means sometimes giving people the benefit of doubt who will burn you. Yet it is understandable that some people just aren't as strong as others. Or as good at discernment.


is there a difference between troll baiting and trolling itself ?...we have our limits. you trip trap over someones bridge often enough and you'll surely bring out the troll.

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