News - sub-editing and tagging

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Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
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Jan 13 2007 09:33

yeah great stuff Ret! i've just edited a couple of typos (man i love firefox 2), and changed the last sentence from 'proletariat' to 'workers' as well.

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Jan 14 2007 01:25

OK, contentious subject, and at the risk of being accused of being 'precious' over an itself over-precious approach to language; 1)You may have noticed I changed back the title from 'Analysis of...' to it's original 'On the...'. That's cos it's not anywhere near an analysis, but only some facts with some speculation thrown in. Scarcity of information makes analysis pretty impossible at the moment. So it makes me look a bit of a dick to claim such a thing an 'Analysis'. Edit when you're sober. And maybe consult the writer.

2) And so we have a list of proscribed words now?
As for 'bourgeois' and 'prole' - I know you have a thing about language, John, and some odd ideas about class, wink but how far should they determine content of others' articles? As far as I'm concerned there is most certainly a ruling class, bourgeoisie is one way of referring to them. You want to call them Capital? - IMO inaccurate and misleading. I don't think you can 'sneak' sometimes complex concepts into people's heads by dumbing down/over simplifying them. It's not as if it's not obvious by reading the (fairly clearly written) article which social groups I'm referring to. In my experience the ones 'put of'f' by a couple of words are either populist politicos who think they know what's best for the workers or those who don't want to learn anything new or have their thinking stretched just a little. I read stuff often that has a few unfamiliar words - I don't give up reading just cos of that.

JK, you're involved with Aufheben, I know they wouldn't entertain such notions for a second. (It's also an inconsistent policy being applied, as my Nepal article was titled 'A Long March Towards Bourgeois Democracy?' - and that passed the censors.) You're fetishing style over content, for all your dissing of CW's crudities.

As for proletarians, it's simply wrong to equate that term with workers - I'm not some crude left-communist/workerist. The proletariat encompasses young, old, sick, working, unemployed, urban & rural exploited etc. The reason I specifically used it is cos that has been the composition of the struggles in Bangladesh. Even the garment workers revolt spilled over into the general population of their slum areas. The Phulbari anti-mining revolt was composed of workers, indigenous peoples, kids, rural poor etc. The generalisation of revolt can't be reduced to 'workers' - and to anyone who knows about Bangladesh, changing 'proletariat' to 'workers' in the last sentence make me look like I don't know what I'm talking about and also contradicts what I've previously written on the subject.

The presence of your woefully inadequate 'definitions' of class on the site only makes it more necessary for writers to be particular and precise in their use of words on the subject. It's not a matter of being scared of knee jerk reactions to less-used words but of intended meanings - there's a difference.
I wrote this as a reply to CW in the 1990s;

Quote:
Of course we should try to express ourselves as clearly as possible. But there is a contradiction that has to be dealt with - much of what is known as 'common sense' is the medium or currency for the circulation and expression of the taken-for-granted dominant values of this society. To express the subversive thru language it is sometimes necessary to use words that have retained a clearer meaning thru less use. Everyday language is a terrain largely occupied by the enemy: we tend to speak the language of our masters. (A beautiful example of a counter-tendency to this occurred in the 1992 LA Riot when the rioters coined the phrase 'image looters' to describe the media: a neat reversal of perspective.)

In a world where appearances and the truth of things almost never coincide, theory is necessary to penetrate the lies. This society encourages a fragmented consciousness that craves only immediacy in its consumption (e.g. tabloidism). But a partially understood text that resists complete immediate understanding may not be just unnecessarily dense and wordy. It may be that it has a depth, subtlety and value worth pursuing. And it may grasp and reflect more accurately the real complexities of class society. "I assume of course they will be readers who want to learn something new, who will be prepared to think while they are reading." - Marx on Capital.

Should we stop using 'class struggle'? I never hear people use that in the everyday - it's more obscure than your proscribes - but I do hear people sometimes jokingly refer to 'proles', 'the proletariat' a la Wolfie Smith (I heard it used recently by an archetypal militant worker in Tommy Steele's 60s film musical 'Half a Sixpence' tongue), someone being 'bolshie' etc. It's a lame argument, but all populist- based ones are when looking for justification from the mythical 'wo/man in the street'.

The Bangladesh articles are some of the most-read articles on here - this one's had 270+ in 24 hrs, another one is in the libcom all-time popular content top 7 (3700+) - do you really think that will stop because of the occasional presence of a couple of less familiar words? An alternative view might be that this is one means of making more familiar somewhat complex but useful categories. You want theory? Then it aint always gonna be simple/simplistic.

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Steven.
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Jan 14 2007 02:03
Ret Marut wrote:
OK, contentious subject, and at the risk of being accused of being 'precious' over an itself over-precious approach to language; 1)You may have noticed I changed back the title from 'Analysis of...' to it's original 'On the...'. That's cos it's not anywhere near an analysis, but only some facts with some speculation thrown in. Scarcity of information makes analysis pretty impossible at the moment. So it makes me look a bit of a dick to claim such a thing an 'Analysis'. Edit when you're sober. And maybe consult the writer.

I didn't change the headline... sorry. Of course it's fine for you to take issue with editorial decisions, we know we're very far from perfect.

Quote:
2) And so we have a list of proscribed words now?

Basically yes, as detailed in our style guide:
http://libcom.org/notes/style-guide

Quote:
As for 'bourgeois' and 'prole' - I know you have a thing about language, John, and some odd ideas about class, wink but how far should they determine content of others' articles?

That's obviously always up for discussion.

Quote:
As far as I'm concerned there is most certainly a ruling class, bourgeoisie is one way of referring to them. You want to call them Capital? - IMO inaccurate and misleading. I don't think you can 'sneak' sometimes complex concepts into people's heads by dumbing down/over simplifying them.

If anything I think talking more about capital as an institution is not dumbing down, it's more complex a concept than the idea of a conspiratorial group of people who are just horrible, the kind of top hat and cigar types the SWP use in their prop or what have you. But your uses of bourgeois were left in weren't they? I think sometimes it can be useful, though I think capitalist class sound like a more contemporary way of saying it. That can be useful because obviously often parts of the capitalist class do not act in the long-term interests of capital.

Quote:
It's not as if it's not obvious by reading the (fairly clearly written) article which social groups I'm referring to. In my experience the ones 'put of'f' by a couple of words are either populist politicos who think they know what's best for the workers or those who don't want to learn anything new or have their thinking stretched just a little. I read stuff often that has a few unfamiliar words - I don't give up reading just cos of that.

I don't think we're particularly populist, but lots of people do have certain words which they find offputting. IMO a lot of people - including myself until recently - were immediately put off by seeing things peppered with bourgeoisie and proletarian because it just looks really antiquated and distant from normal language. When there are normal english equivalents like working class or capitalist/boss class I think we should use them instead. If I'm talking to co-workers about politics I don't talk about the proletariat because that would be weird, I generally talk about working people or something.

Quote:
JK, you're involved with Aufheben, I know they wouldn't entertain such notions for a second. (It's also an inconsistent policy being applied, as my Nepal article was titled 'A Long March Towards Bourgeois Democracy?' - and that passed the censors.) You're fetishing style over content, for all your dissing of CW's crudities.

I don't think it's fetishising. I think most of us would like to see politicos talk more in propaganda in the same way as we would in conversations with our coworkers.

I remember that nepal piece; i didn't really like the title. but i hate editing stuff, because writers always get pissed off (understandably of course). doing Freedom was a real bugger for that; here i can edit a lot less due to infinite space, which is nice. And it was one of your first articles you submitted to us wasn't it? so i was being gentle wink

Quote:
As for proletarians, it's simply wrong to equate that term with workers - I'm not some crude left-communist/workerist. The proletariat encompasses young, old, sick, working, unemployed, urban & rural exploited etc.

I know - we define worker like this in our glossary, which explains how we use language on the site:
http://libcom.org/notes/glossary/w

I remember the last proletariat now, i would've preferred it changed to "working class" rather than worker for clarity.

Quote:
The presence of your woefully inadequate 'definitions' of class on the site only makes it more necessary for writers to be particular and precise in their use of words on the subject. It's not a matter of being scared of knee jerk reactions to less-used words but of intended meanings - there's a difference.

ok maybe we've been over-zealous here,

Quote:
Should we stop using 'class struggle'? I never hear people use that in the everyday - it's more obscure than your proscribes - but I do hear people sometimes jokingly refer to 'proles', 'the proletariat' a la Wolfie Smith (I heard it used recently by an archetypal militant worker in Tommy Steele's 60s film musical 'Half a Sixpence' tongue), someone being 'bolshie' etc. It's a lame argument, but all populist- based ones are when looking for justification from the mythical 'wo/man in the street'.

as i said before, I think we should try to talk in the same language we would use with our coworkers or whatever.

Quote:
The Bangladesh articles are some of the most-read articles on here - this one's had 270+ in 24 hrs, another one is in the libcom all-time popular content top 7 (3700+) - do you really think that will stop because of the occasional presence of a couple of less familiar words? An alternative view might be that this is one means of making more familiar somewhat complex but useful categories. You want theory? Then it aint always gonna be simple/simplistic.

yeah and we're very grateful for the articles. we know it won't be simplistic, but as the concepts are alien to a lot of people I think it's best to use language that's now. words like capitalists, bosses, working class, working people, etc. i think can often be used to substitute for more archaic ones without losing meaning.

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 14 2007 10:30

Ret, i changed the title to 'Analysis ...' with little thought, I apologise.

Ret Marut wrote:
JK, you're involved with Aufheben, I know they wouldn't entertain such notions for a second.

True, but Aufheben has a pretty small, specialist readership of already-militant workers and academics, who have usually read their Marx and are up on the jargon. As John. says, it's not about libcom pandering to a mythical 'man on the street', but as much as possible using the same language we would when talking to people at work etc. I mean afaik this isn't set in stone, but it is the current policy as per the style guide, and i support it. But i'd second John. that we're very grateful for your articles, which are about the only decent look at the Bangladesh situation i've seen.

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Jan 14 2007 12:07

i edited the last sentence back; i would've wanted to put working class but did proletariat.

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Mar 12 2007 15:08

Ret, nice china article, i just fixed the image (uploaded it to libcom rather than linked to an external site, which fixes the formatting) and did the quote slightly differently (html blockquote not bbcode quote).

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Mar 15 2007 23:55

Cheers, JK.

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Mar 20 2007 19:02

jef, in your india strike piece i changed 'large numbers of women and children were injured' to 'many children were injured' - because it was there to refute the police claim the injured were 'combatants' and there's nothing stopping women fighting, which is less true of kids. plus i personally hate the phrase "women and children" wink

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Mar 21 2007 18:45

No problem JK, I was being a patriarchal bastard again smile
Would it be ok for me to ask Alternative Libertaire if I could translate some of their articles and put them up on libcom? There's a good one and I feel a little guilty just stealing it from them. I was planning to offer them copies of the translations and of course to credit them and put in weblinks in the article.
They've got a good article on the sorting workers night shift strikes (The one I've been trying to get decent info on for at least a month) that I might just cannibalise for today. I love posties.

edit: I tried to find a link for a previous story on libcom which mentioned special economic zones, am I imagining things? Either way I've definitely read articles on this before.

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Mar 21 2007 18:59

i'd say go for it - and if you want to ask them that's your call, i'm sure they'd appreciate a wider audience and a copy of the translations so yeah sounds good. you patriarchal bastard.

Mike Harman
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Mar 21 2007 19:08
jef costello wrote:
edit: I tried to find a link for a previous story on libcom which mentioned special economic zones, am I imagining things? Either way I've definitely read articles on this before.

I reckon there'll definitely be stuff about them in Vietnam articles, we don't have a special tag though.

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Mar 21 2007 19:08
Joseph K. wrote:
i'd say go for it - and if you want to ask them that's your call, i'm sure they'd appreciate a wider audience and a copy of the translations so yeah sounds good.

I'll do the posties one and try to go to the office next week sometime, althugh their office hours are when I teach I think sad have to ring them or something.

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you patriarchal bastard.

I heard you called a woman love once. You normative patriarchal bastard.

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Mar 22 2007 13:02
Mike Harman wrote:
jef costello wrote:
edit: I tried to find a link for a previous story on libcom which mentioned special economic zones, am I imagining things? Either way I've definitely read articles on this before.

I reckon there'll definitely be stuff about them in Vietnam articles, we don't have a special tag though.

yeah best keep it that way i think. just tag by country. it'd be too much work to find all old SEZ articles and tag them too.

AL should be fine with it, there's translations of their shit in history already.

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Mar 22 2007 13:45

Sorry I missed this one. I wasn't goign to create a tag, just stick in a link.