27 June 2008

Chanology: The Evolution of a Movement

A recent drama-bomb dropped on enturbulation.org (ably summarised for the confused here) proves the aphorism that a "leaderless group" in fact means "a group where leadership is secret or not acknowledged". However, this isn't in the crude manner that the OSA goons seem to believe - they would go from this to believing that all you would have to do is destroy #marblecake and the whole thing collapses. On the contrary, that would just mean a new leadership or wannabe-leadership-faction would grow. Best to see #marblecake as a "political party" or "faction" within Chanology. It's a good thing, by the way, that Anonymous has grown its own leadership groups, rather than continuing to take the advice of the "Old Guard" (who, in general, are a little bit off the pace of what constitutes vibrant cultural activism in the 21st century).

Actually, Chanology is having to deal with the question which plagues every movement which goes on long enough to be somewhat institutionalised and have to work out a long term strategy - factions will always exist. The question is how to deal with factions - the belief in the "self-regulating hivemind" is revealed as the utopian/anarchoid dreaming it always was, which did nothing but simply encourage #marblecake and the various other factions which no doubt exist to be in private. The traditional solution in the Leninist tradition is to allow factions (or at least platforms), but to restrict their activities to "internal consumption". But that simply won't work in a totally decentralised movement like Chanology.

Seriously, this flap is not really going to derail the movement. One or two talented individuals and/or groups thereof may be lost to the movement, temporarily or permanently, but it has shown its ability to continually replace them.

To sum up our lesson here: every mass movement must have leadership otherwise nothing will ever happen. But the movement creates the leadership, not the other way around.