Socialists on Social Media Platforms and Imagining Platform Socialism
Bertolt Brecht, in the 1932 essay “The Radio as an Apparatus of Communication,” made a “positive suggestion” to transform radio into a dialogical medium for many-to-many communications. “Radio is one-sided … Watch video »
Bertolt Brecht, in the 1932 essay “The Radio as an Apparatus of Communication,” made a “positive suggestion” to transform radio into a dialogical medium for many-to-many communications. “Radio is one-sided when it should be two” said Brecht. Brecht saw the state as the only entity capable of remaking radio in this way, but because radio’s “proper application” might make it a “revolutionary” medium, Brecht concluded the bourgeois state would have “no interest in sponsoring such exercises.”
Brecht’s “positive suggestion” for a many-to-many communications system seems to have come to fruition with the internet, and more recently, with the spread of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Socialists around the world are now using these platforms to produce, distribute, exhibit, and consume socialist media and cultural works, and they are openly building events, movements, and organizations within digital capitalism, to go beyond it. That said, the internet and social media platforms are surrounded by all kinds of deterministic, optimistic, and pessimistic rhetorics that cloud a clear view of what they give to and take from socialist communicators, especially as compared to the twentieth century’s mass media industries, whose state and corporate owners tended to filter out and vilify socialist ideas.
Presentations by Tanner Mirrlees and Derek Hrynyshyn for the Marxist Education Project (MEP), based on chapters for Socialist Register 21: Beyond Digital Capitalism.
Introduction by Michael Lardner. Presentations by:
- Tanner Mirrlees (Communication and Digital Media Studies, Ontario Tech university): “Socialists on Social Media Platforms: Communicating within and Against Digital Capitalism.”
- Derek Hrynyshyn (Communication Studies, York University): “Imagining Platform Socialism.”
MEP SR21 Beyond Digital Capitalism Series. Video recorded online, February 23, 2021. Edited by Tanner Mirrlees.