I’m just doing a little housekeeping, updating the local blogroll due to some recent changes in the Bermudian blogosphere.
Firstly, the blog formerly known as ‘A Radical in Bermuda’ has decided to change its official name to ‘By Any Means Necessary’ and provides his reasonings for doing so here. In accordance with this decision I have changed the name of his blog on my blogroll. His other post ‘Bermudian Politics and this Blog’ raises some interesting questions though about the level of discourse and the importance of the new technologies, that blogs are one representation of, in the shaping of political discourse and thought.
In his post he writes about his disgust with the ‘…absolute pettiness of Bermudian politics and the general inability (with the exception of a few people) to see beyond the imposed artificial dichotomy of green & white and green, gold & blue.’
There is alot of truth to this statement. Anyone who has ever bothered to attend a sitting of the House of Assembly would be aware of some of the truly schoolboy antics that pass for our representatives allegedly attending to ‘the people’s business.’ It truly is beyond banal at times. And the level of discourse is often dragged down by the most vulgar of comments and arguments that seem to distract from any serious thorough-going analysis and argument. Perhaps this isn’t too suprising, after all, its always fun to have a good passionate row even if its over something totally irrelevant.
All the same I remain committed to the idea that with patience and persistence it is possible to advance political discourse and develop class consciousness. There will always be those who will seek to divert such attempts, be it because they simply enjoy wreaking havoc or because they are afraid of the consequences of such discussion. Often times I feel the diversions stem more from miscommunications and different life experiences and approaches than any committment to distraction. In these cases it is important for both sides to do their best to understand where the other is coming from and not react to percieved attacks.
It is my firm belief that more people are willing to engage in rational discussion than there are those who would seek to prevent doing so. It’s hard, and I know many get frustrated dealing with the pettiness, but I believe it is worthwhile.
There are also issues with anomynity. I generally have a greater respect for someone and their argument if they are willing to sign their real name to it, to have the courage of their convictions. But one cannot simply dismiss an argument because the presenter chooses to use a false name. It may reduce the credibility, but one must still deal with the argument presented all the same. There are many reasons why people choose to use these false names. For some it is simply a fun alias, and these people are not afraid to sign their real names also, and most people familiar with Bermudian blogging know who these people are already.
Others choose to use these false names out of fear of reprisals. On a small island such as our own it is a very real potential to be ostracised or otherwise harrassed if you choose to stand up for what you believe in, especially when this conflicts with the status quo or established power and tradition. Our history is full of examples of such reprisals, be it from the mutinies and strikes that accompanied the wreck of the Sea Venture, the slave rebellions, or more recent threats to oligarchic hegemony (from Monk to Mazumbo and beyond). As such these false names, and the features of the blogs, are important in that they allow discourse that would otherwise be silenced, either by fact or by perception of repercussions.
The problem with them is that it is very easy to abuse the sense of liberation that they provide. I call this a ‘Lord of the Flies’ phenomenon, where the ‘hunters’ hidden behind the mask of their warpaint are liberated from the social conventions they normally would have been bound by. Some users of false names exploit their ‘warpaint’ to launch unnecessary personal attacks on others, detracting from discourse. Others use multiple aliases to manipulate or derail discussion. Others are just generally annoying, revelling in the distractions they can make hidden behind their aliases.
I am not opposed to people using their aliases, as I feel the benefits of allowing discussion that may not occur due to real or percieved repercussions should their identities be known far outwieghs the cons that are the flies in our midst. I expect that posters will do their utmost to avoid being distracted or reacting to the antics of those who would exploit the liberatory powers that aliases and blogs provide.
With that said, I look forward to continuing discourse on this site and working to develop revolutionary consciousness by any means necessary, this site being one of those means.