For those new to the Moose you might not know but, in the three years it’s been on four legs, we’ve developed a set of self-moderating guidelines that mean we generally forebear talking at length about other progressive blogs, and I don’t think there has been one diary on them.
There’s are several good reasons for this: it’s generally bad to talk behind other people’s backs, and also dangerous, as slagging off someone here can come back and bite you at other places. Generally meta discussions are also tediously dull to the uninitiated, the blog equivalent of psephology. At worst, meta is like gerrymandering, changing the rules or the boundaries in order to game a result. At best, it is like talking about electoral mechanisms and voting machines. Dull, dull, dull and usually irrelevant.
I say ‘usually’ because of course gerrymandering districts is a huge slow problem in US politics, leading to the polarisation we see now, and electoral voting mechanisms were rather important in Florida in 2000.
In terms of the left blogosphere, I think the story below is important, and can’t really be ignored. But I’m open to being convinced otherwise, and will delete this diary if it causes too much offence. I’ve stripped out the links in my diary too, for obvious reasons if you read the piece, though I have left one in which precipitated this boycott. If you agree with the boycott, please try not to log in when you read the link.
I don’t know how this will resolve itself. The worst thing that can happen (for you guys) is that I’ll devote all my blogging energies to the Moose from now on. Whatever happens, last night, as dozens of diaries were published with the ‘boycott’ tag and hundreds of previously silent commenters came forward to voice support, was a tremendous moment for me of the power of solidarity. You don’t feel scared that you’ll be punished for speaking out with so many others there to support you. You also don’t care if you will be banished, because all the other great people seem to have down tools too.
So have at it. Please feel free to ignore this diary and its contents. I won’t make a comment if no-one else does. I definitely won’t FP this either.
UPDATE TODAY: Bkos diary is up for 15 minutes before deletion. It consists of this
And then in the comments this statement
As the Black Kos managing editor, I have decided to support this boycott. I felt it was important and necessary to state why we are doing so, in my own words. During the past several months the atmosphere at Daily Kos has become poisoned to the point where there is no longer any meaningful discourse occurring. What was needed was for cooler heads to prevail, and for a more civil tone to be established. Instead, the poisonous atmosphere was allowed to fester and grow until I saw a number of tough sanctions handed out. In my opinion the distribution of these sanctions were neither fair nor even handed. It had a disproportionate effect on members of this community. This unfair distribution is what lead to the calls for the boycott that we support. Justice requires fairness and equity. My criticism of Markos’ decision is based on his tardiness in stepping up and dealing with this situation, until he was forced to use a crude instrument, rather than any personal animosity, ill will, or accusations against him. Waiting as long as he did allowed the rhetoric to get overheated. But when finally responding in anger, Markos labeled many of these people with personal epithets that are close to slander. Daily Kos is his blog in more ways than one.
Black Kos has always strived to be an area for civil discourse on issues that not only directly affect race, but also on its intersections. The intersections of race and gender, of race and sexuality, and yes- race and politics. We have also strived to be Black Kos and not Obama Kos. For example, during the long drawn out Democratic primary we didn’t endorse then Senator Obama until nearly the end, and welcomed Hillary supporters, but we also recognized the historic nature of his run. But history and the Democratic Party also carries a number of heavy ugly stains. Race has divided this party and it’s allies. Race has in the past divided labor movements. Race has divided elections. Race has divided each feminist wave. And yes folks race has divided this blog.
We hope that in our absence people will take time to do some self examination and ask “why are we all here?” I’m here to build a movement. But any movement large enough to be capable of making changes in a country as large and diverse as ours requires being in a coalition that makes you uncomfortable. But your willingness to be able to learn to navigate in a group large enough to make you uncomfortable, is directly related to your commitment to that coalition.
State your case and opinions with passion, express your frustrations with vigor, but always do so with respect. The internet is a medium for communication, but the greatest fallacy in any communication is that communication has in fact occurred. We hope that our in our absence folks ponder that fact.
David aka dopper0189, Black Kos Managing Editor
Why I support the BKos/Sistahspeak Boycott UPDATED
There are various reasons why the issue of racism and race has trumped my other philosophical beliefs throughout my life. In my 20s I thought myself a Marxist, in my 30s a socialist, in my 40s a social democrat, and now… don’t ask… I feel the last 30 years of Reagan Thatcherism has made most people debt slaves.
But for all that, racism is what led to my political awakening. It happened to myself as a child (I was called Jewboy Jukes) and then, when my adopted kid brother joined the family in 1970 and we moved to the countryside, I got in endless fights because of the horrific names he was called – names I won’t repeat now. Two aesthetics and histories underpinned my literary and historic awakening in my teens and twenties: Gospel, Jazz, Soul, Reggae and the works of Langston Hughes, Richard Wright (Lorca on New York), combined with a terrible fear and compulsion to understand the holocaust, as my mother (who’s grandfather had fled the Armenian Genocide) was adopted by a man who also looked after Jewish refugees from Nazi Europe.
Actually, on second thoughts, it’s no surprise the issue of racism trumps all others in my mind. I see the catastrophic genocidal history of Europe, from the Armenian Genocide to the Bosnian War, as vitiated by racism and nationalism even more than the Marxist categories of class. I could go on more here… But it’s late in Poland and my personal history is not the point.
I’ve been a member of DKos since the elections of 2004. I’ve liked my time here, but the vitriol is sometimes hard to stomach, and I’ve always been wary. I know I’m now known, apart from my diaries about Murdoch, Libya or Islamophobia, as something of a flame wars meta fighter. I’m sorry if I got too involved in that, at my expense or anyone elses. But this only happened at the beginning of the year.
Prior to that, I’ve really doubted people’s expressions of the racism they found on Dkos. I thought this might just be warring egos, or a way of neutralising attacks on the President (I have criticisms especially on economics but I rate his foreign policy). It was only when I got down in the weeds, saw the racial games played by Rainbowgirl (aka Linfar), the horrible racially violent undertones in posts by the like of Arthur Poet, and then the sustained trolling of BKos and its editors, especially Denise Oliver Velez, who I knew from MYDD days, that I got a small clue what it was like to be a black commenter here.
Not only were you patronised, told to stop whining, trolled and had your career demeaned or your background insulted: time and time again, bringing up any issue of racism provoked the classic guilty response: Are you calling me a racist? You’re a reverse ra
cist…. You’re just trying to silence me by talking about race.
Now I know most the people who made the latter comments aren’t racist. Indeed, I think racist comments can be made, exposed, atoned for and learned from, in a way dyed in the wool racists could never expose themselves too. I trust most Kossacks are not any more racist than they are homophobic or sexist. But…
The things I’ve heard said to AAs on this site: for some reason, some intranecine fight that seems to be between right and left, and the presence of the first ever Black President, this age old epithets of ‘Uncle Tom’, and even more group bullying and baiting, has been tolerated against Black Kossacks more than any other group.
I really regret MB’s departure. I was in the thread when an argument erupted between him and various other Kossacks because he seemed to be calling racism a ‘factional issue’. It’s not a factional issue. You can’t take two sides on racism on a progressive site, and the issue is too huge in a national which still remembers segregation, to put racism aside this way. Rereading the thread I realised MB was talking about divulging personal information as a ‘factional issue’ and stepped in to try to explain.
Time and time again that argument has been used against me and Black Kossacks: that they were calling MB racist, or at least enabling it. They were right about the bigger issue: race isn’t a factional thing. But I’m really sorry MB felt he was attacked.
However, the greater issue is racism. Now that, with MB gone, the current round of moderation has literally decimated BKos, removed privileges from most its senior members, and had two important black diarists (and they were important even if you loathed what they said) banned from this site, I can’t carry on here without protest
The stark fact is this:
Black folks at DKos, 3% of the site users, about 30% of the banned and rating pulled users.
So I’m joining the boycott suggested by Robinswing – I’m calling it the Bkos/Sistahspeak Boycott but will happily edit the title when it’s given a proper name. I hope the unbalanced bannings and egregiously race orientated punishments are rectified soon, and that I can continue to update you on the evolving Murdoch story (if not you can find me at the site on my sig). In many ways I love this place, and have made many many friends
I don’t for one moment believe Kos deliberately targeted Black Kossacks, but the net effect is still there. I think he caught out dozens of people who were acting in self defense, but the timing (and lack of knowledge) made them look more like aggressors and bullies. It can happen. No side is free in a factional war from bad behaviour.
But the issue of race is beyond a factional war. It lies at the heart of the problems of my continent, and probably yours. I have to follow my instinct here, and support the cause I hold most dear when I see other Kossacks responding to the call.
And if I can’t keep off this site because of the issue closest to my heart, then I don’t deserve to be here anyway.
Peace. And I hope I don’t provoke too many flames.
I hope sanity and balance will return here, and I can see you soon
UPDATE ONE: the stats on BKos bannings and privilege removal are not easy to calculate. Srebrel has had a bash
Others have calculated thirty percent of BKos based on last Fridays Black Kos diary
UPDATE TWO: I mean no disrespect or lack of compassion to other communities who suffer real life harassment both here and in the wider world, but in this particular purge of the last few days, I’ve not seen any other community so targeted as AAs. Forgive me if I’ve got that wrong.
UPDATE THREE: Before I log off for the week, do rec and rate some other amazing ‘boycott diaries’. Some are already on the rec list. Sorry if I don’t have time to link to them all, but check for the boycott tag
Hamden Rice http://www.dailykos.com/…
Mr Jaytee http://www.dailykos.com/…
Chicago Minx http://www.dailykos.com/…
Empty Vessel http://www.dailykos.com/…
And many more names signing up in Mets102 original diary
5:21 PM PT: Also Bubbanomics
Julie Gulden http://www.dailykos.com/…
Actually, I’m proud to be on the same list as these people
6:02 PM PT: I really must go to bed. But more boycott diaries
Lisa Lockwood http://www.dailykos.com/…
Citizen K http://www.dailykos.com/…
And an URGENT MESSAGE from SBEREL
Please do not post new diaries from now, 8:45 PM through 10 PM eastern time. This is for IGTNT, which is posting at 9 PM.
6:07 PM PT: Also pager http://www.dailykos.com/…
6:20 PM PT: Also Brubs http://www.dailykos.com/…
And a heartfelt frontline experience from Mally
6:26 PM PT: earicle http://www.dailykos.com/…
Really have to go to bed now. 3.30 polish time. I’m sure more diaries will come in overnight. Obviously I can include now I’m logging off for a while. But good luck. I hope our voice is hear. Kos is a progressive, and a reasonable man: I’m sure we’ll find a way through
ORIGINALLY POSTED TO BRIT ON SUN SEP 11, 2011 AT 02:57 PM PDT.
ALSO REPUBLISHED BY THE YES WE CAN PRAGMATISTS AND MOOSE ON THE LOOSE.