The chat category of this blog is an experiment for me. It is a place where I throw up my embryonic inner thoughts on a subject and see what flies. In doing so I realise I’m inviting people to comment upon my thoughts and turn the monologue into a dialogue. However I have to admit that I was naïve about how this process would work in practice, especially when I throw up something with some lazy thinking or when a privileged position I have goes unchecked. Both of these issues cropped up in my last post.
What I didn’t properly think on is that once something goes online it won’t just be part of a small conversation that would normally take place when I air my brain-farts where friendly comments on the smell get me to open the window (although that has happened). The forum I’ve opened my thoughts to is more public, and as such the feedback will come from people I know less well or not at all. This is a something I should be aware can lead to the reflexive defensiveness to criticism I’ve picked up and try to avoid as best I can. I’m hoping I kept things together and didn’t that at any point, but bruised egos are the strangest things and the through crossed my mind to just crawl away from this blog and just use it for the article content I want to put up.
However there the lessons of this criticism is one of the things I can take out of this blog. Thinking more on this I have gained a lot more respect for those people who regularly post as I’m starting to grasp that it isn’t just their own speed at putting up thoughts, but also in the editing in advance and the speed of blogging corrective points that is to be commended.
So, I’m going to take the advice that I would give someone else and comment on where the problems with my last post lay, think on why they appeared, and suggest structures I can put in place to try and avoid things like this happening again. At the same time I’m throwing this thinking open to others for comments, ideas and criticism in the hope this catches anything that hasn’t been mentioned.
The Main Problems
- Problem? Ablest language in assuming that lots of people were able to take similar action to myself or others.
- Why it occurred? I have the privileged position of being physically normative. The norms of this behaviour also leads me to ascribe a stable and able state of body and mind to others I read as being able to take action at Faslane who might not have been in a position to do so. This is hugely problematic because many issues cannot be judged by just looking at someone. This is something I should have taken into account not only in my writing but on the day itself.
- What to do about this? In actions I guess I should find an affinity group with whom to set our level of action and work out a common leaving point would be (both physically and psychologically). In my writing I should focus on expressing myself and be specific in my critique of the general use of tactics which I have problems with rather than the participants engagement, or by focussing on the contradictions between the means employed and the ends an action hopes to achieve.
- Problem? Lazy shorthand when describing other left groups leading to presenting different tenancies as being the same.
- Why it occurred? When I’m writing chat pieces on this blog they have been mainly thoughts from my head and in the same way I criticise others for lumping a whole bunch of schools of anarchist thought together I am guilty of throwing a whole bunch of schools of left politics together with the term “authoritarian left”. While this can be useful in some instances it was unclear what I meant in my blog on the recent Faslane blockade.
- What can I do about this? Try and take some more time to review whether a broad-sweep term is appropriate, or whether I need to drill down into more details about which aspects of hierarchical left structures led to my concerns. Also if I’m comparing two distinct groups then I should definitely stare what aspects they share from my perspective so as to avoid presenting them as if I think they are identical in all ways.
A silver lining doesn’t mean you can forget it rained
Well, there are also a few other things I’m going to do in addition to the above to try tighten up the quality of my thought and writing: Not worrying about a deadline to post on a topic that doesn’t exist and making sure I’m not doing a hundred other things while writing a post spring to mind as good additions. Though my last blog was flawed I’ve shifted my thoughts based on the conversations I’ve had. My earliest memory is on a CND march and so I have been challenged to critically re-evaluate a lot of points I hadn’t even noticed I was taking for granted. I also have a far better understanding of the structure of and (IMO) problems with the ISG than I did before.
Ultimately the ablest outlook was the most worrying to have fallen into and will be the part I hope to not fall into again; because if nothing else I’ll be sorely disappointed in myself.