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Building for interactivity II

It is not recognized much at all that the core task of generating and sustaining a left regroupment project is finding ways to relate to those who sign on to it.

It is not an exercise in formatting things " just so " and hoping that will suffice.

Running campaigns and especially running campaigns in organisations that are on the 'broad' side as is the Socialist Alliance -- is always a challenge of finding ways to engage people, both members and periphery, in the tasks that need doing -- while drawing on that pool for input in way of suggestions and advice.

So the Socialist Alliance has just launched, Socialist Alliance Active as a way to see how we can utilize web platforms to do that. SA Active is a series of forums engineered to engage comrades in, for the moment, our federal election campaign.

To relate to SA Active is easy as we are calling on all those who support our project to add their voice to improving what we do day to day. Yep, we're after ideas, suggestions, know how....

So that's our stepping off point, that's the rationale.

Hereon in it's a learning curve as I don't think political parties do this sort of thing as a norm. They tend not to be so open to input and suggestion. But then we're not like these others at all. Ours is a very different enterprise.

While I have written before that the web's utility for political organizing is still an open question, here in Australia we are so hampered by the tyranny of distance that we have to find ways around this massive geographical spread because, aside from some extremely important issues of democracy and accountability, doing it other ways costs so much friggin money.

SA Active Forums Screenshot
Lenin, in his early discourses on the party principle wasn't idly advocating an "all Russia newspaper" for the sake of a good idea at the time. These things matter a lot politically because in the sort of sharing, dialogue and "community" -- Lenin fostered with his hard copy newspaper projects like Pravda and Iskra*--can be enriched by such tools that the web now avails us of in way of interactivity.

Thats' my belief anyway. I don't think these instruments displace hard copy publishing in the way the WSWS has done -- but they have a significant role to play. How significant is still an open question.

I don't want to be proscriptive at all on this topic as it concerns me greatly. I do know that we haven't as yet reached the sort of threshold we could attain because we are still constrained by so much tech phobia on the left--such that there are two political communities: one on and another one off the web in that there's this layer that hasn't as yet mastered or graduated from email.

But what the web can give us is talk -- bandwidths galore of the stuff. Text dialogues. Audio dialogues. Video dialogues.Phone chats.Message boards...the planet is on line 24 hours per day gabbling on like there's no tomorrow.

And I can relate to the technophobes or web denigrators who point to all that chatter and say that the real work is offline and talk, after all, is cheap. And it is too.

But the use of language via any medium has to be part of the doing and the challenge for a platform like Socialist Alliance Active is to move beyond talk into the core business of doing.That's its main measure, I think. Transcending passivity in the environment, such as the web, that feeds containment.

So lets' see what happens, shall we? And if you are an SAer, would like to be one, or you just want to lend a hand in this enterprise of ours -- get yourself over to SA Active for your share of action.

There's no show without Punch.

* And Karl Marx did with Rheinische Zeitung

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