overground scene

A brief rant about social media “activism”
December 6, 2015, 7:49 pm
Filed under: people, social theory | Tags: ,

I am responsible for the bombings in Syria as well as the suffering of people experienced here and in other parts of the world, and so are you. Please accept my apologies if you spend your disposable income (minus what you spend on basic needs such as food, clothes and shelter – that does not include conspicuous consumption) on helping out people who cannot satisfy those basic needs. I certainly don’t. I do work hard in order to be able to afford a flat, and I also go out for drinks, coffee, and I buy records. I don’t feel bad that I do all those things. But from now on, I will not act as if I am contributing in making this world a better place, because I am not. Instead, I choose to enjoy my life rather than making my life a bit shittier in order to make someone else’s life a bit less shitty. Capitalism is a zero-sum game. And if I behave like I am making the world a better place by opposing the Syrian bombings on Facebook, or by writing a post on my blog, I am a hypocrite. And I could shout out a dozen social theories to absolve myself of the real responsibility of making the world a better place ’till I’m blue in the face, but this does not matter anymore. I could talk about the fluid channels of new communication technologies and how power flows through them rather than concentrate on traditional centres of power, and I could talk about discursive power and that every little thing we do to challenge hegemonic discourses matters, but I won’t, because all these things mean shit if when I leave my keyboard I continue living my hegemonic lifestyle. Thinking that I am resisting because I use social media to criticise authorities (and coincidentally show off what an awesome activist I am) is insulting. If I did anything to pose an actual threat to the system I would be in prison. And the way social media work to absolve us of our real responsibilities is sickening. This is exemplified in crap like #notinmyname. I hate to burst your bubble but it is in your and in my name. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t suggest that laughable acts of resistance are worthless. On the contrary, their disappearance would mean unconditional surrender. What I do say is that, from now on, I would like to be a bit less insulting towards all those generations of people whose utter misery makes my life a little bit nicer (and no doubt some other people’s life a lot nicer). A different approach to social media “activism”, such as pointing out how our everyday practices enable the perpetuation of oppression and suffering in the world, would be much more honest and respectful.


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