Saturday, January 31, 2009

A virtuous "virtual community"?

I have just started using facebook (or is it using me!) and I admit it is quite addictive - though I wouldn't go so far as to say it is actually a digital or virtual "community". During the recent Israeli attack on Gaza I have started seeing what a powerful campaigning tool it can be. In this respect those of us who tried to campaign against Israeli war crimes on line were almost killed in the rush by thousands of zionist bloggers. Every comment spot was mobbed by hundreds of their volunteers coordinated by GIYUS (Give Israel Your Uncritical Support) a website that directs volunteer bloggers (and it is rumoured) some paid staff towards any Robert Fisk article, Guardian comment spot, independent blog site, BBC discussion forum etc. They organise mass complaints about particular TV or radio programme where any hint of unsupportive coverage raises its head. It is worth going to some of their websites to see how amazingly well organised they are. One of the delights of facebook is that although it is quite open and transparent it is possible to use it to bring together like minded people away from the zionist mob to share views and campaigning news and contacts quickly. The newly launched Friends of Jews for Justice for Palestinians could become a really useful tool if more of us use it regularly. Spiderednews has made key campaign materials available at the touch of a button including unbelievable video coverage of a pro-Israeli demonstration in New York at which zionist demonstrators were calling for Palestinians and other arabs to be wiped out - the zionist final solution to the Palestinian problem. On line petitions and appeals always feel abit irrelevant compared to more active involvement but in fact they are a vital way of starting to mobilise and change opinion. The zionists take them extremely seriously and we must ensure that they don't continue to completely dominate this terrain.

Lets share ideas, views and tactics as to how we can even now start to progress in the vital cyberwars for popular opinion.

Friday, January 2, 2009

In brief then, the problem with the term "community" as it is often used, is that people appeal to it as an absolute, as an end in itself, as a final justification or an answer to the question "why am I doing this?" or "why should I do this?" (answer :"for the community"). It is this totalising and final sense of the term community that is so dangerous as it allows us to avoid confronting the real struggles that go on in communities and lulls us into a false sense of security - a sense in which we feel we have actually answered a question by using the term rather than merely posed one. Communities can be bad as well as good. They are often non-existent: a "gated community", "the host community", " the ethnic minority community" are good examples of the oxymoronic use of the term.

We need to do some elementary house keeping on our use of such language in this area otherwise we will be beguiled by the dubious ideologies that lie behind many uses of the term - instead of being in charge of and responsible for what we actually mean we will actually mean nothing at all.