If you're one of the unfortunate souls who follows me on twitter and instagram, you know that I have been very salty about the Force the Vote debate. In case you don't already know, I am 100% against Force the Vote.
I will not repeat myself here nor regurgitate what has already been said a million times on twitter by people a million times more eloquent than me.
However my biggest take away from this debate I think is best explained by fellow online Leftist Aaron Thorpe, to win the fight for Medicare for All the left needs to log off more.
I have been trying to do this since September, and I will be honest the Force the Vote debate has given me more incentive to stay offline because the asinine responses by some of the people in favor of Force the Vote are draining. It's not a big deal to disagree about Force the Vote but it is a big deal when leftists attack other leftists for not agreeing with one strategy.
I also think that one of the reasons some leftists think Force the Vote will work is because they indeed spend too much time only talking to other leftists, and that's because even the online left is not immune to the bubbles that social media algorithms create. Remember, the same algorithms that warped our parents (yours not mine) into voting for Trump are being used to keep the left splintered in their own echo chamber bubble.
No one outside of the already radicalized left knows what Force the Vote is, so this debate is nothing more than an internal strategy issue, and what is annoying is that the people who push it the most are more interested in chasing online clout rather than putting in the labor to win for working class politics.
So, as the debate rages on I asked myself, "Am I chasing clout to? Should I quit writing about politics? Am I nothing but a grifter to?"
Eventually, I decided, "No." And here is why, I write about politics for three reasons: to express myself, to give my patrons something for the money they give me which keeps my poetry free for the public, and most importantly I do it to spread the word about leftism and socialist politics. There is nothing wrong with producing left content, but the content should always be about advancing the movement, not building a following. Unlike the Jimmy Dore's and Ryan Knights of the online left, I have no interest in building my following around my politics. I'm a poet with strong political opinions, not a pundit.
I also found that when I did try to be a left youtuber that a person can create quality podcasts and streams, or they can have the time to volunteer for the cause, but rarely can a person do both. (My compliments to the ClassTime podcast w/Kenzo Shibata for being able to find the balance!) I tried to do the streaming left YouTube thing when I first joined DSA, but eventually I realized that I could not produce quality videos I wanted and do the work to get Medicare for All at the same time.
Now that I retired from DSA leadership and have the freedom to write my little heart out I will do so, but I know I cannot go back to brunch. I know that the left still has a lot of work to do, which has been made even clearer by this tedious Force the Vote debate.
This debate is not relevant to anyone outside of the left and it will become irrelevant as soon as the speakership vote passes, (in less than two weeks) because AOC has made it clear that neither she nor the progressives will be using this tactic. Yet still Jimmy Dore, and his merry pranksters of enablers, insist that we should put our time and energy into this idea and that anyone who challenges it is a sellout.
But I implore the Jimmy Dore and Ryan Knight fans to log off for a day and ask the average voter if they think Forcing a Vote on Medicare for All is a good idea, I guarantee that the only thing that will happen is you will confuse the person and they will wonder how the speakership vote has anything to do with healthcare. If you also ask them about their congressperson's voting record, you will find they don't even know you can track that, because the media they follow doesn't cover failed votes!
That is why the left needs to log off, no one outside of the left knows what the hell the Force the Vote is. No one will know about the vote, if it happens at all, except the already online left. We have to log off at talk to people outside of our leftist algorithm bubbles if we ever want to win. A socialist majority and a leftist mass movement doesn't magically happen when leftists talk to other leftists, it happens when leftists talk to people who don't know they are socialists yet.
That is why we need to log off, that is where we need to be. Talking to people, humanizing our ideas instead of yelling amongst ourselves. Let's face it, AOC makes socialism more attractive to people than anything Jimmy Dore or Ryan Knight has done.
So then, if we need to log off, why am I still online? Why do I still write about politics?
In a way, me writing about politics is my way of logging off. I am doing my best to keep my politics here on patreon from now on and to make the rest of my social media a lighter and breezier place. To be honest I dream of the day when my following is strong enough that I can delete all social media from my life, because my addiction to social media and the amount of anger that I have vented into the online void has robbed me of the privilege of maintaining an air of mystery to my life.
I like to keep people guessing, it's kinda my schtick.
But it is the 21st century, and I still need to build my following, and I still need to give my patrons something for what they give me. I can't just expect people to patronize my poetry out of the goodness of their hearts. I owe patrons something, and at bare minimum I owe them some content that challenges the rest of the toxic content they may fall prey to.
So I must compartmentalize. The politics are for the patrons, the poetry is for the public. It feels weird to organize my blog that way, especially as I post tangent after tangent about the need to log off and reject left grifters, but I also remember that participation in a system for survival is not an endorsement of that system.
I'm a poet in the 21st century, I need to use 21st century means to survive.
Of course I'm also not some greedy monster, of course some of these posts will be public to, including this one. I do not think I am owed a dollar for every opinion I have. No, this blog, these political takes, these are my gift to my patrons, and they are a means of self-expression. I have no interest in online clout, i just want to write some poetry.
And unlike the streamers and pundits of the left, I charge much more reasonable rates. A buck fifty a month for at least 4 posts a month is like a Black Friday for left content year round.
So I will continue to write about politics, but remember the politics isn't what you're paying for my dear patrons, your paying for the poetry.
So yes, we must log off, and I intend to do so now. But be sure to join the patreon first.