A Facebook radical?

There is no such thing as a Facebook radical. To be radical means to be involved in organising a radical movement. So let’s start by saying that I and many others like me are not radical, for “there is nothing radical in opposing stupidity”, it’s only wiser-than-stupid to do so. On Facebook, I think we are only trying to do, in our own ways, what I think every journalist employed in ‘mainstream media’ should be doing on their own on ‘social media’, each in her own way.

“Radical simply means grasping things at the root,” said Angela Davis. You can grasp any issue at the root by analysing it without prejudice while keeping the most oppressed at the centre (because it is they who need and crave for fundamental changes in the world the most), and if you allow your passion for changing the world to drive how you think.
Once you do that, you know the radical position on the issue. But that alone does not make you a radical. You are radical not because of how and what you think, but because of what your thinking makes you do. [pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]I am no radical, not even from 500 miles away. That is why I and others like me speak on behalf of none but ourselves. We represent no one except ourselves.[/pullquote]
Your Facebook posts and comments would be radical if you are capable of both reasoning and empathy. But that alone won’t make you radical. You should anyway be stating what you can understand as the correct position on things that matter.[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]radical positions alone do not make you radical[/pullquote]
But just because what you understand coincides with the positions taken by one or the other radical movement or organisation does not make you radical. It is only your position or view or analysis that is radical. And to put it across to the world in the best way you can is simply your responsibility as a thinking citizen who has the privilege of access to the media, ‘mainstream’ or ‘social’. It should come as naturally as you breathe.

In fact, it probably takes more effort not to say what you think, or to modify it for ulterior reasons.

But radical positions alone do not make you radical. They only show that you understand what the correct position is. You become radical only when you follow up on what you understand and, therefore, get involved in some way in organising people for a radical movement on the ground.

So, to reiterate the obvious: I am no radical, not even from 500 miles away. That is why I and others like me speak on behalf of none but ourselves. We represent no one except ourselves. We are nobody, therefore, to preach from the cyber-pulpit to the people who are part of the resistance on the ground. Our solidarity towards them only means we agree with them that they are the ones who are oppressed and their adversary is the oppressor. Solidarity is necessarily a function of the feeling heart, not the analytical mind. What such solidarity between equals brings to us, through the shared experiences of being on the same side of the barricades, might open up the critical faculties of our mind to the means and ends of resistance. Only then can criticism from those in solidarity make sense from the perspective of those who are resisting oppression.


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Satyadeep Written by:

Satyadeep is a copy editor with Tehelka. The views expressed are personal

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