2010 in review/ Happy Chaotic New Year!

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2010. That’s about 7 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 62 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 215 posts. There were 79 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 49mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was February 11th with 49 views. The most popular post that day was Nozez & Teh Funny.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Nozez & Teh Funny December 2007

2

The Wire: s5e8 **Possible Spoiler Alert** February 2008
5 comments

3

Its an ocean slug…. June 2008
1 comment

4

Anita Blake Quotes November 2009

5

Networking Mamma December 2007

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It’s a healthy New Year here with chaos being, by all means, NOrmAL!

I’m taking these words from The Nation to heart:

I suggest three steps for progressives to recover an influential role in politics. First, develop a guerrilla sensibility that recognizes the weakness of the left. There’s no need to resign from electoral politics, but dedicated lefties should stake out a role of principled resistance. In the 1960s uncompromising right-wingers became known as “ankle biters” in Republican ranks, insisting on what were considered impossible goals and opposing moderate and liberal party leaders, sometimes with hopeless candidates. They spent twenty years in the wilderness but built a cadre of activists whose convictions eventually gained power.

Where are the left-wing ankle biters who might change the Democratic Party? It takes a bit of arrogance to imagine that your activities can change the country, but, paradoxically, it also requires a sense of humility. Above all, it forces people to ask themselves what they truly believe the country needs—and then stand up for those convictions any way they can. Concretely, that may lead someone to run for city council or US senator. Or field principled opponents to challenge feckless Democrats in primaries (that’s what the Tea Party did to Republicans, with impressive results). Or activist agitators may simply reach out to young people and recruit kindred spirits for righteous work that requires long-term commitment.

Second, people of liberal persuasion should “go back to school” and learn the new economic realities. In my experience, many on the left do not really understand the internal dynamics of capitalism—why it is productive, why it does so much damage (many assumed government and politicians would do the hard thinking for them). We need a fundamental re-examination of capitalism and the relationship between the state and the private sphere. This will not be done by business-financed think tanks. We have to do it for ourselves.

A century ago the populist rebellion organized farmer cooperatives, started dozens of newspapers and sent out lecturers to spread the word. Socialists and the labor movement did much the same. Modern Americans cannot depend on the Democratic Party or philanthropy to sponsor small-d democracy. We have to do it. But we have resources and modern tools—including the Internet—those earlier insurgents lacked.

The New Deal order broke down for good reasons—the economic system changed, and government did not adjust to new realities or challenge the counterattack from the right in the 1970s. The structure of economic life has changed again—most dramatically by globalization—yet the government and political parties are largely clueless about how to deal with the destruction of manufacturing and the loss of millions of jobs. Government itself has been weakened in the process, but politicians are too intimidated to talk about restoring its powers. The public expresses another broad consensus on the need to confront “free trade” and change it in the national interest—another instance of public opinion not seeming to count, since it opposes the corporate agenda.

Reformers today face conditions similar to what the Populists and Progressives faced: monopoly capitalism, a labor movement suppressed with government’s direct assistance, Wall Street’s “money trust” on top, the corporate state feeding off government while ignoring immoral social conditions. The working class, meanwhile, is regaining its identity, as millions are being dispossessed of middle-class status while millions of others struggle at the bottom. Working people are poised to become the new center of a reinvigorated democracy, though it is not clear at this stage whether they will side with the left or the right. Understanding all these forces can lead to the new governing agenda society desperately needs.

Finally, left-liberals need to start listening and learning—talking up close to ordinary Americans, including people who are not obvious allies. We should look for viable connections with those who are alienated and unorganized, maybe even ideologically hostile. The Tea Party crowd got one big thing right: the political divide is not Republicans against Democrats but governing elites against the people. A similar division exists within business and banking, where the real hostages are the smaller, community-scale firms imperiled by the big boys getting the gravy from Washington. We have more in common with small-business owners and Tea Party insurgents than the top-down commentary suggests.

Somewhere in all these activities, people can find fulfilling purpose again and gradually build a new politics. Don’t wait for Barack Obama to send instructions.

And don’t count on necessarily making much difference, at least not right away. The music in democracy starts with people who take themselves seriously. They first discover they have changed themselves, then decide they can change others.

This last part I’ve put in italics has always been my creed.  Hopefully some of my former students remember me fondly. I remember *some* of you fondly!

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