Sep 13, 2023·edited Sep 13, 2023

Hi Nora, thank you for writing this, it puts a lot into perspective for me. It's important that we understand the structure of our latent communities so that we can engage and organize within them. I think that even though before 15 years ago the latent community may have been based less on the virtual world, the layer underneath (which is still present, and can take over in the event of the virtual vanishing) is made up of cultural conservatism (e.g., stranger danger), racism, and classism. I think the virtual world magnifies and reifies a lot of the problems that existed before. The problems that arose from activist "communities" in the past were all symptoms of the latent communities of all the activists.

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as always which really just seems hard to say is anything but undeniably human behaviour is that strong charismatic leadership is required, there is no way around this. as fake as fuck and ephemeral that can be the "founding" of community needs a single mindedness at some point to create that initial force of inertia, that get's the first 10 people, from which 'the leader' 'for now arrives' and so on, it really takes one fckers gumption i think...

i don't think it just grows out of wood like moss, or august flowers in the cracks of the sidewalks... i really think ya need that one person with gumption... where has that personality tyope gone? did neoliberalism breed it out of us culturally?

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I think that even in this perpetually online world, we can still build relationships by seeing other participants in that world as latent community members. Just like connecting with your neighbour or grocery cashier is an intentional recognition of latent community, seeing and interacting with your Instacart shopper or Uber Eats driver as human beings rather than faceless parts of a corporate machine builds a sense of community by engaging with it rather than passively using it.

We can actively fight the dehumanization imposed by capitalism by deliberately humanizing people we interact with. This may not achieve the goal of building political communities, but I believe it builds class solidarity, which is an important precursor to political community building.

It’s also much more achievable for the average person to humanize interactions that capitalist systems have designed to be dehumanizing, than it is to become a full on political activist.

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I enjoyed your article and I find it very interesting that I read it at the exact same time I'm reading a book called "Loger à la même adresse. Conjuguer nos forces face à la crise du logement, l'isolement et la pauvreté" by Gabrielle Anctil (XYZ).

She writes about her experience (and many others) of living in an "intentional community", outside of "normal" structures of nuclear family and single-family household.

I highly recommend it, it helps to see the light in such a rapidly darkening future.

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Organizing our human scale neighbourhoods is what we are about here in Edmonton AB Canada. We have 100 year old roots in the Social Center Movement. We call the organizing catalyst The Community League and each neighbourhood in Edmonton has one. As an example: https://www.ritchie-league.com/ . For more info howard.lawrence@edmonton.ca

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Interesting article. I have often wondered just what left liberal types are wingeing about when they talk of “community” and “Building community”. To me it would be fairly obvious that community is not something you build or choose. It is what you exist in.

I am puzzled as to why these people think technology and internet and so on is the cause of all the current ennui in the western world. There are plenty of countries which have become highly technological but which are not suffering this demoralization. Going techno Luddite is for sure not going to solve anything.

It seems to me that what leads to happiness is living in a well ordered society where human needs have priority.

Here is the problem in much of the west. This ennui problem is mostly confined to the west. I mean western civilization, the Atlantic world.

A deliberate effort is going on to break down and demoralize society. It is working very well. Describing it and what to do about is worth many blogs. Not doing it tonight, for sure.

But for starters, I will drop link to my own thing, just lately about the problem with the internet and what kind of net we really need. Goodnight.


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I fully agree that we need a public Internet. But I don't think that this will defeat Western capitalism. This is the primary problem and therefore becomes the key question: how do we defeat capitalism? And I don't see digital tools as they are as being capable of doing this. Instead, they're rewiring our brains to become passive observers of life and breaking that is extremely difficult.

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Oh, no! I meant that a public internet is what we get after we defeat capitalism. I will keep elaborating on that theme. As for wiring people's brains to be passive observers, it seems to be a problem in western countries. It is something to do with the political culture, not with internet as such.

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“Sandy and I were searching for a word to describe the state of being where one’s real-life connections are obliterated, only to be replaced by for-profit, commidified (and often fake) online relations. That does a number on our brains, our senses of being and social solidarity. We failed to come up with a word though so if you have any ideas, let me know.” One is “capitalized”.

Great article, I will be thinking about this for some time. Thanks.

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