progressive blog post-mortem

Ian Welsh on the failure of the progressive blogosphere. A couple of stalwarts who folded their blogging tents in the early Obama years, Matt Stoller and Jerome Armstrong, add their thoughts in the comments.


The reason is simple: we could not elect enough of our people. We could not instill sufficient fear. We could not defeat incumbents. We did not produce juice. Clark and Dean didn’t win the 2004 Presidential nomination. Dean was taken out in a particularly nasty fashion (via the manufactured Dean Scream.)


But, I view the clincher happening a bit later, with Bill Halter’s loss in the 2010 Democratic primary in Arkansas. That is when it really ended. The whole Labor-Netroots coalition, Accountability Now, the blogs went all-in big (still barely united) and MoveOn and PCCC. Over $10 million to defeat a BlueDog that gave us this crappy corporate ACA debacle. But Obama did all he could behind to the scenes to defeat Halter.


After Lieberman won, and I remember that moment very well, it was all downhill. Clinton and Obama realized they didn’t need the netroots, and openly smacked us around with the retroactive immunity policy lie.

Facebook also happened around the tail end of the Bush years, siphoning a lot of audience share from the blogosphere's "sidebar network" of indie publishers. Initially Facebook was seen as a place to organize politically but that became a joke when all the privacy stuff started to come out. Now you can't even run pictures of an anti-GMO protest.

entrepreneurs are the new labor, boo hoo

Regarding class issues and the new dotcom era discussed in previous posts, here is a depressing chart from Forbes depicting the current state of things, at least in the tech sector:


The article's thesis is "entrepreneurs are the new labor" and while we needn't shed a tear for the fallen strivers who will never be the bad bosses of tomorrow, it helps to have a diagram.
Re: the New Museum's plunge into incubation madness, one might ask: where does an art museum fit in this scheme? And do artists count as "true hustlers"? OK, let's not go there.

dot com two, part two

An earlier post on the return of the dotcom era was light on specifics; some have been added in the form of links. (See also below.) And the conclusion was fortified:

Dot Com Two is happening at the same moment as austerity and widespread social misery post-financial-crash. To paper or pixel over the disparity between VC-funded haves and non-VC-funded have nots, you have Silicon Valley types claiming that "apps" will take the place of basic governmental functions to ameliorate social conditions. Naivete the first time around is now just cynicism.

What remains is the harder work of walking the reader through some of the latest mobile-and-Facebook-based ventures in search of useful life experience. This will not be pleasant so it's being put off. You can check the links yourselves: please shoot me an email if, overall, you think you think the latest dotcom boomlet represents a positive social development.

In the meantime, here is a startups guide, a NYC startups guide (if they get the page working will read it in Firefox eventually), and a post about NYC startup fun.
The New Museum is catching the fever with some kind of incubator cube farm for artistes in what is surely the last "rambling, rough-hewn" space on Bowery (hat tip Ryz). And the line about apps taking the place of governmental functions is from a craptastic New Yorker story about Bay Area whizkids (via saranrapjs): "We now expect social entrepreneurs to solve problems that government used to solve."