For those of you who don’t follow Canadian blogging drama, ProgressiveBloggers.ca, a blog which, as the name implies, bills itself as “progressive” has recently expelled a good progressive comrade, Joanne from Marginal Notes for making sense and not being pliable enough for chief moderator/El Presidente Scott Tribe.
Now, far more eloquent discussions of the problems with ProgressiveBloggers.ca in general and Scott Tribe specifically have been made by other bloggers, so I will not attempt to re-invent the wheel too much here. Specifically, I recommend Joanne’s (the person at the centre of the controversy) posts on the subject here and here as well as Scott Neigh’s post available here.
Rather, what I would like to talk about here is what I see as the problem with ProgressiveBloggers.ca.
First, unfortunately the bulk of El Presidente Tribe et al.’s authoritarianism cannot be illustrated as it occurred in the private moderator’s section of the web page (which itself is authoritarian…. ironic that authoritarianism breeds authoritarianism isn’t it?). However you can get a taste of what I’m talking about in Joanne’s two posts above as well in this public thread in which true progressives are threatened by El Presidente Tribe’s apologists Saskboy and Steve V (click here) — the former of whom actually attempts to pull a Hulk-esque “you’re making me angry” line so that a person he disagrees with wouldn’t test his patience.
Second, in addition to the aforementioned authoritarianism, it’s obvious to anybody who reads history that, by definition, liberalism has not been ‘progressive’ since the victory of liberal capitalism over feudalism (most notably following the French Revolution). Thus, the brand of liberalism practised by the bulk of the moderators (and since the moderators are the ones who admit affiliates, many of the affiliates also unsurprisingly practice this same insipid brand of liberalism) does not, by definition, seek to progress beyond liberal capitalism. Therefore, I’d say the second problem with ProgressiveBloggers.ca is that it’s a misnomer.
But, that said, just because the name is a misnomer does not mean that we should throw the baby out with the bath water. As Scott Neigh eloquently put it, irrespective of whether ProgressiveBloggers.ca is or is not progressive, “a community like PB is useful because it allows me to easily encounter material that I would not otherwise search out and it allows people who would not search out my kind of stuff to see what I’m up to.” I couldn’t agree more with Scott Neigh on this front and I think that therein lies the real redeeming quality of PB.
So, it seems to me like there’s little way to solve the second problem with ProgressiveBloggers.ca. PB is what it is and it seems that there’s little that can be done within the community on this front as Joanne is by far not the first person to try and to have received a black eye for her efforts. That said, this is where my idea for a true progressive aggrigator (discussed in length here) for fellow progressive comrades to use in addition to Progressive Bloggers, can actually help and I hope to be working on this project more over the course of the summer.
However, there are two things which can be done within the community to solve the first problem. First, abolish the authoritarian secrecy of the site. Second, Scott Tribe, for the good of the ‘progressive’ community, should resign his post.