Tuesday, March 29, 2011


We Will Know It

In 2003, there was a flurry of new voices online exchanging ideas on blogs. Initially a response to the new war in Central Asia, it quickly evolved into informal political science seminars that went on intensively through 2006. I haven't seen anything like it since.

What these discussions accomplished through the newly-discovered medium of weblogs, was elevate the level of analysis to an academic standard, while simultaneously maintaining its popular accessibility. No mean feat, given the total absence of resources for our efforts.

The significance of these uncensored conversations was twofold: a new milieu of intellectuals -- many self-educated -- established a network for sharing information and analysis, and those who engaged intentionally leveraged themselves into positions on a conceptual plateau where they could more easily observe social change, as well as more effectively intervene in social conflict. Others created niches for themselves where they could contribute their technical or imaginative skills to the rapidly-evolving humanitarian movement.

Conversations like those are difficult to sustain without time to reflect, and I suspect that is what some have been up to in the meantime. Meanwhile, new media like Real News and GRIT TV has catapulted some of these new voices into international venues, where they can bring their ideas to bear on such things as sovereignty and solidarity.

While it may seem to many that they exist in isolation -- especially as social safety nets unravel -- the new milieus we so carefully created during the first decade of this millenium are ready and willing to organize community actions. What they lack is leadership, and that is not something we can predict or determine. When it emerges, we will know it.


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