Yesterday, Kos responded to the pro-Clinton strikers. His post argues the following:
- The site has never claimed to include everyone on the left or all Democrats.
- The site has embraced a particular vision of political mobilization and the transformation of the Democratic Party (50 state strategy; grassroots oriented; change the DLC; reject consultants; no PAC money, etc.). Hillary Clinton actively opposes that vision.
- Clinton is not winning the primaries and cannot win without dividing the party and staging a coup against the popular vote via superdelegates.
- Clinton’s response has been to foment “civil war” within the party and for that she deserves whatever the blogosphere, Keith Olbermann, and others can throw at her.
The long quote below sums it all up nicely. The bold text was in the original:
To reiterate, [Clinton] cannot win without overturning the will of the national Democratic electorate and fomenting civil war, and she doesn’t care.
That’s why she has earned my enmity and that of so many others. That’s why she is bleeding super delegates. That’s why she’s even bleeding her own caucus delegates (remember, she lost a delegate in Iowa on Saturday). That’s why Keith Olbermann finally broke his neutrality. That’s why Nancy Pelosi essentially cast her lot with Obama. That’s why Democrats outside of the Beltway are hoping for the unifying Obama at the top of the ticket, and not a Clinton so divisive, she is actually working to split her own party.
Meanwhile, Clinton and her shrinking band of paranoid holdouts wail and scream about all those evil people who have “turned” on Clinton and are no longer “honest power brokers” or “respectable voices” or whatnot, wearing blinders to reality, talking about silly little “strikes” when in reality, Clinton is planning a far more drastic, destructive and dehabilitating civil war.
People like me have two choices — look the other way while Clinton attempts to ignite her civil war, or fight back now, before we cross that dangerous line. Honestly, it wasn’t a difficult choice. And it’s clear, looking at where the super delegates, most bloggers, and people like Olbermann are lining up, that the mainstream of the progressive movement is making the same choice.
And the more super delegates see what is happening, and what Clinton has in store, the more imperative it is that they line up behind Obama and put an end to it before it’s too late.
I agree with Kos’ assessment of the primary situation and the problems with the Clinton campaign’s reprehensible actions. I also agree that the pro-Clinton “strike” on the site is a violation of the norms established many years ago. This was clear from Allegre’s diary entry announcing the strike, in which s/he argues for a strange vision of Democratic unity in which party members don’t criticize each other (in a really bizarre twist, Allegre then mis-attributes that idea of unity to Barack Obama…this is polemical bunk). The Daily Kos leadership and community have never embraced that kind of vision. From a strategic perspective, I agree that they never should.
Kos’ post interests me for other reasons then. In it, he re-iterates the norms governing the community through a reference to the founding ideals of the site and an extension of those ideals to the current primary election situation. The preservation of the site’s original ideals depends on such occasional interventions from the community leader. In turn, the ideals and norms maintain the basis for large-scale collaboration and conversation.
But if that’s the case, does it negate what I wrote earlier about the significance of defection from large-scale collaborative communities? I don’t think so. Highly symbolic defections like this one still matter even if they are not grounded in an accurate interpretation of community norms. This skirmish, no matter how mundane or over-blown it has been, is part of the ongoing process of managing discursive production on the site.
February 28, 2008
A series of questions I’m working on at the moment and some of the resources I’ve found:
- How do ideas move through the political blogosphere?
- What role does the political blogosphere play in “agenda setting” within the mainstream media (msm), political party elites, and networks of expertise (think tanks, consultants, etc.)?
- Do these roles vary for blogs on the right versus blogs on the left
- Also, how does blog governance operate across the political spectrum? Is there a predominant model of community organization that has emerged? Are there patterns that correspond to whether the blogs come from right or left?
- How do large, collaborative blogs produce stable community and governance structures? To what degree are they self-organizing and to what degree do they rely on various “levers” to reproduce stable patterns of collaboration and sufficiently low rates of defection?
Some interesting tools that should help me approach these problems include the following:
- Chapter 7 of Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks
- Existing tools that measure blog influence such as Blog Pulse from Nielsen and an interesting looking French project called blogopole
- Several papers and reports such as: “The Emergence of the Progressive Blogosphere” (which incidentally, seems to answer a few of those questions about the differences between right and left – at least, as of 2006); the work of Lara Adamic (I think she designed some of the blog tools like Blog Pulse); Matthew Hindman’s research on stuff like “googlearchy”; and whatever it is Ed Chi and the folks working on “Augmented Social Cognition” are up to at PARC in Palo Alto..
There are others (and I’ll try to keep adding them as I dig them up), but this is a good start. The big questions that I can try to answer here really have to do with the way this architecture (in the sense that a community design is often unplanned) relates to the “culture” of the political blogosphere. How does citizenship – or something like it – emerge in the blogosphere and other social spaces of the collaborative web? Why are the power-sellers uniting and what are they going to do?