Albert is back; finding fault I am afraid with our efforts to achieve comity in Congress. The healing of our nation is my top priority. Your efforts to open old wounds, Albert, merely slows that process. Now, if you will forgive me, I must be about our Nation's Business.
I would like to begin by thanking all of you for my recent re-election to the United States Senate. I pledge to protect your paycheck, gas prices at the pump and your personal safety and that of our family to the best of my abilities, so help me, whatever God you personally worship, or none. While the expansion of warrantless wiretaps of Terrorists is necessary, let us proceed more slowly with these controversial measures. There is good and bad on all sides. Let us meet in the middle. I call for a new era of bipartisan comity. Let us work together for a better Wealth Bondage for all. Thank you. Thank you. More anon. Must scoot.
More than just satire and carnival are the invisible networks of
actions, small gifts and exchanges that cannot be stopped by the
control paradigm. All they can do is drive the network underground.
Satire and comedy can be powerful tools when the control freaks put the
hammer down because they allow for hiding in plain sight, they are the
communication channels of the invisible networks.
That about sums up the effort here, here and here, under the influence of this and this. And not far removed from this and this. Whether we work with givers, union organizers, activists, poets, open-source geeks, or we are all trying to confirm pathways for the gifts to go round and round confirming that the links are unbroken. The gift received obliges us to "pass it on." The gift from above requires gratitude, because it cannot otherwise be reciprocated, but the gift among peers confirms community as it comes round again and again, like the sacramental Thunderbird, blackening one tongue after another, untill someone passes the hat for another bottle. Such is the Feast.
My thesis is that the network undermines productive forms of sociality
by over-privileging the node. It might be difficult to see this because
nodes are not anti-social (they thrive by forming links to other
nodes), nor are they anti-local (they link to nodes in their immediate
surrounding just as easily as they link to other nodes). But what I am
trying to say is that to the extent that the network is composed of
nodes and connections between nodes, it discriminates against the space between the nodes,
it turns this space into a black box, a blind spot. In other words,
networks promote nodocentrism. In this reconfiguration of distance, new
'nears' become available, but the 'far' becomes the space between
nodes. To ignore this dark matter is to ignore the very stuff on which the network is suspended, much like the fish ignoring the water around it.
Sitting in our chairs, or half-attentive on cell phones, always in two places at once, on-line and in the here and now, exchanging links and glances and half-considered sentences, is this a society? A tribe? A Tong? Or a wandering horde of nomads foraging together? Can lore, symbolism, a mythos other than the market, truly spring from an analysis that starts from the corporation, and finds its "other" in rational actors, assembling for economic purposes, and doing them "better" through a lattice of horizontal connections? Can you dwell on line? Raise children there?
Part of what attracts me is the wildness, the madness, of the net, the Moondogs you meet there, not unlike Gay wandering around London, immersed in the voices, smells, and sounds a city so vast in comparison to his country home town. WB shows, I think, that if you keep at it long enough with the right people, it is possible to fill in the dark matter of the Dumpster with art-like substance, or myth, not for its own sake only, but to go forth and make Carnival, if only once a year, like Mardi Gras, with Candidia as big as Snoopy in the Macy's Day Parade. It takes a long time to build a single Float, much less organize a whole Parade.
Call them Tongs, or nodes on a network, or a wirearchy, but we create tight little hubs, and then the hubs connect: gifthub, the world we want, greenmedia toolshed, and funder networks like Tides, Momentum, Threshold, Foundation Exchange, Omidyar.net, and leftist political thought around the elusive Mr. Scruggs. Today few people span these Tongs, and they do not always make easy mutual company, since they are strangers to one another. But little by little the Tongs are touching and coalescing into what may be a new species of progressivism. Marty Kearns has spoken on social networks to the funders around Tides. Tracy Gary has spoken highly of him. He had planned to attend our Open Space for Giving Conference a few years ago. Valdis Kebs, who is in Tom Munnecke's network, and Jean Russell's (Jean being a friend of mine and Tracy Gary) could diagram this as a time lapse photo. Valdis blogs here. Most of this networking is invisible to the larger world. This is our sojourn in the wilderness. We are not asking what will play well in Peoria, or how to frame sound-bites to sway the multitudes. In these networks we are honestly lost and just trying to think things through for our own consumption. That is actually a more productive way to think than waiting for the blastfax talking points from Headquarters. The right is drawing now on it's own maverick thinkers from a generation ago. And already what had once been a living body of ideas has become a dead ideology enforced literally at the point of a gun, the threat of a dungeon, and - in reality - torture. A little independent thought would be in order, even if we have to withdraw a few hundred yards from the loudspeakers blaring "Freedom - Keep moving and no one will get hurt." We can hide out in the Tongs until our views are refined and validated by other people speaking to us as thoughtful human beings, rather than corporate factotums and political operatives. (Present company excepted, Smoky Joe.)
The challenge today for progressives is to build the capacity to manage ad hoc coalitions. The challenge is actually to establish many bonds to the movement that ARE NOT message or policy specific but more personal, social and experiential.... Our goal is to establish an enduring progressive movement which is bigger, more vibrant and more effective in shaping America.... We want to foster a new merged network model of organizing adapted to the age of connectivity....We are suggesting an evolution or mutation of the community today into a new species.... We must change. In any competition, strategic advantage is derived from doing something your opponents can not do. As long as the struggle for control of America’s future is about convincing people to aggregate money in order to counterbalance the influence of the wealthiest special interest and multi-national corporations, we are doomed to fail. If the competition is about our staff skills vs. what the opposition’s, we are doomed. We must shift the basic ways to aggregate and exercise influence. We must avoid wrestling on their turf, debating and measuring on their terms, lobbying and campaigning with the same strategy. We must not be dependent on feeding their media and advertising for distribution our message. They are better funded, better staffed and very disciplined and controlled. We are many.
Years ago, Rageboy, who essentially invented Blog-Carnival, cited Bakhtin.
In fact, carnival does not know footlights, in the sense that it does
not acknowledge any distinction between actors and spectators.
Footlights would destroy a carnival, as the absence of footlights
would destroy a theatrical performance. Carnival is not a spectacle
seen by the people; they live in it, and everyone participates because
its very idea embraces all people. While carnival lasts, there is no
other life outside it.
Wealth Bondage is a work of art in the Carnivalesque tradition; that is a play without footlights, and as long as it lasts, there is no outside of Wealth Bondage. Perhaps this is why "identity" is such a hard issue here. What is Rageboy's "propria persona"? Or Candidia's, when the whole point is to make Carnival?
During carnival time life is subject only to its own laws, that is, the laws of its own freedom.
By contrast, the tyranny of middle-class good manners, or corporate protocol, is Wealth Bondage per se. So, in the eternal refrain of Rabelais, "Come! Let us drink." That is The World We Want.