Monday, April 09, 2012

Checkmate

I hate doing this. I really do.

Unless you have had the experiences which constitute my life, you cannot understand how much I despise human conflict. I live with the wounds on a daily basis, both physical and mental.

I try to control them, both physical and mental. I am successful most of the time. To control the physical I have people who know and care. To control the mental, or if you wish, the psychological, I have the world outside the nightmares that are the reality of what I will always be.

I do not expect you to understand. In fact, I do not want you to. As ugly as it can become, the horrors that occured in my life are my world, and, strange as it may sound to you, I will not let you pretend to share them. You can't. You're not me.

The Galloping Beaver was my creation. I have no idea why I felt the need to create it. It just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. It was a "moment". If you fly or sail commercially, that is a concept you completely understand. If not, accept that a "moment" is a critical point in which the stability of your situation can change. Failure to acknowledge the existence of a "moment" can change everything. Regardless, The Galloping Beaver was an incarnation designed to give me a necessary vent.

I was never prepared for a relative level of popularity. That was another of those "moments".

In the life of The Galloping Beaver many things have happened but beyond the shadow of any doubt was that "moment" when other writers and philosophers became not just a part, but the breath of this journal. I planted a seed; they became the flowers which propogated a plethora of thought and ideas I could have only wished for.

The Inked Stained Wretches who have toiled to provide what we see as the truth are (in order of when they agreed to participate):

Laura, a Ph.D economist;
Cheryl, an accountant and the love of my life who is now a research source for African studies;
Dana, a performing artist and political academic;
Alison, a writer, artist, a worker beyond comprehension and smarter than any of us;
Boris, a proud soldier and now with a Masters in a social science;
West End Bob, an exceptionally wonderful person who came here from the States and gives us a good shake when we need it;
Rev.Paperboy, a professional journalist who gave us a view from Japan until he returned to his roots in this great country;
Edstock, who scans the world for the things you would never know about otherwise;
Noni Mausa, perhaps the the one professional journalist to whom we owe everything;
Lindsay, an exceptional performing artist who writes as well as he can sing;
LuLu. who writes complex defence contracts when she isn't putting a shine on the dirty parts of our lives.
Me, an old combat sailor/marine with an attitude, a Masters in oceanography, a pride in having served and a love for those who continue to do so.

You can't tell from that list who is heterosexual, who is gay, who has had an abortion, who uses birth control, who doesn't. That's because it's none of your concern nor mine. Their strength is expressed in the way they present their points. And that never involves denying anyone their rights as established under hundreds of years of common law.

If there is one thing we at The Galloping Beaver all agree upon it is the singular point that all rights we possess are secure and we will work to advance the rights of others. That is a pretty goddamned comfortable position to be in compared to the rest of the world. We cherish that luxury.

That's not so hard, is it?

It means that the rights, earned through so much agony, are now secure. They are not up for debate. The mere suggestion that they are means that the fight is not over. And that means that when any of us fear for our personal security the rest of us rush to the ramparts to offer our contribution to their ensure protection.

You don't get to allow a debate on the rights of any citizen in the land I fought for without a further fight.

It's not the subject. It's the idea that you think the subject is still debatable. When it isn't.

I don't expect anybody to kick anybody out of anything. Hell, I have been issued stern warnings in my life. I deserved them all. They were learning experiences.

That would have solved it all. A stern warning.

But Progressive Bloggers took the weak route. They tore up the complainant for the tone of the complaint.

But the complainants have a solid foundation for their complaint and their tone. They're scared.

Hell, who wouldn't be? The parliament of this country wants to debate their rights and Progressive Bloggers thinks that's alright.

I won't be a party to that. The active members of this blog won't be a party to that. We believe that the inalienable rights of people are not the subject of debate. Ever.

I despise human conflict but that doesn't mean I won't put myself on the line to preserve the rights of those who should not have to suffer an assault on their human rights.

This is notice.

The moderators of Progressive Bloggers have 48 hours to respond. They do it only in the comments section of this post where it is clearly public. They will censure those who believe a "debate" on the rights of women is acceptable and they will do it on the front page of Progressive Bloggers.

This is not a negotiation. This is a "moment".

I will exercise the options my co-bloggers have agreed to depending entirely on how and where you respond.

The clock starts, now.

32 comments:

Scott @ Prog Blog said...

I'm the Site Administrator of Progressive Bloggers, and all final decisions come from me. so I'm the one to respond to this.

From my standpoint, the issue has already been decided by us, and you have a moderator response at the front page of the site from Paladiea, who didn't need to, but chose to. Scared? No one is scared at all. If I lose 10% of my blog membership at Prog Blog because of this decision, it doesn't change my mind the right decision was made.

As I've said to others, if you don't like the decision, nothing prevents you from leaving. If you can't abide the decision, give me notice, and I'll remove you from the aggregator.

Regards
Scott

Paladiea said...

No one attacked anyone for the tone of the complaint, it was the complaint itself that was ridiculous. Yes I understand that abortion is being threatened and is a very serious issue, but alienating anyone who doesn't 100% agree with you is counterproductive.

thebanana said...

"Yes I understand that abortion is being threatened and is a very serious issue, but alienating anyone who doesn't 100% agree with you is counterproductive."
---------------------------

Well, there you have it. Weak tea, indeed.

Way Way Up said...

"alienating anyone who doesn't 100% agree with you is counterproductive."

And, re-opening a debate that was decided long ago is productive exactly how?

fern hill said...

Dave and Wretches: It's so sad to read this. I'm sorry for my part in grief caused.

I've been gobsmacked by the all hoo-ha, including this inscrutableness.

Although I gotta laugh when those people say we are over-reacting.

Paladiea said...

First of all, no one is saying you shouldn't kick up a fuss about this. Call them out! I applaud you. What we're addressing is calls for us to censor views that you don't agree with. No one is reopening the debate on Progressive Bloggers. I can fairly certainly say that a very slim minority (if any) are anti-choice. Again, good on you for calling them out. What I have the problem with is trying to force us to use the banhammer for something that has reasonable doubt written all over it.

Dave said...

Scott - I did not suggest that you were scared. Get that thought out of your mind.

I am, however, quite adamant.

Paladiea - Where is the line? If it's acceptable to allow contributors to cheerlead for a debate over the rights of people, just where, exactly, is the line?

Orwell's Bastard said...

Tells you all you need to know, doesn't it.

People who call themselves 'progressive' are prepared, under the guise of being 'reasonable' and 'accommodating,' to allow the question to be re-opened. So after decades of blood, struggle, legal and physical shitstorms were spent to establish that reproductive freedom isn't negotiable, these folks are saying "hmm ... let's just think about this some more."

Fuck that. Let them have their little debate, but they're no longer "progressive" as far as I'm concerned. Progressive citizens don't debate over the rights of their fellow citizens to be treated like human beings. That's a first principle, not a debating point.

Paladiea said...

The line is the difference between a point and a trend. People do mess up occasionally. I know many non-bigoted people that have said some racist/homophobic crap and I have called them on it. What I didn't do was tell them they were no good racists/homophobes and refused to talk to them ever again. Gordie Canuck even says in his post he's pro-choice (except for late-term, which is stupid and he should be called out on it). So I fail to see where all this vitriol is coming from, especially since it is the truth that Canada doesn't have any laws on the books concerning abortion (as it should be).

Do any of you have evidence that the two bloggers in question have sustained anti-woman posts?

Dave said...

Fern Hill - You didn't cause the grief. As for Kinsella, ignore him. He can't sue you for that.

bcwaterboy said...

I've watched this fairly close from the sidelines and can't help but wonder how "we" collectively, can get over this kind of in-fighting. We're a reflection of the reality that the left cannot get its act together in the way that the right has; we have absolutely no hope of defeating the neocons. We don't. We're stuck with harper for at least another couple of election cycles, unless we can get our act together. As an avid reader of these blogs the rule #1 that I take away is that any human right that is solid in common law, is not up for "debate" ....period. This includes the two hot buttons of abortion and marriage equality for LGBT citizens (as we can see south of the border, these two issues trump a sick and dying economy). Now, Scott, please re-add Fern Hill and show that we can unite. Let's get on with the business of being a united force in this anonymous reflection of reality.

Edstock said...

Scott forgets one very simple thing: he does not possess a uterus.

The consideration of abortion is for those who possess such an organ.

EVERYBODY else is irrelevant. THAT has been settled, and thus the abortion "issue" is settled, except in Scott's mind. Stupid git.

Dave said...

Paladiea, those two are buying into the Woodworth meme that a debate is just harmless discussion.

If it was about when to plant broccoli it would be meaningless.

It's not meaningless though. It's about the rights of people.

If they were doing it from the other side of the fence I could take any number of actions to defend against it.

When they're standing on "friendly" ground however, I expect them to rein in. Coming up with "I'm pro-choice ... sort of" cuts no ice with me. I expect that if the wedge goes in any further, both of those individuals will follow it.

At some point someone is going to scream STOP, before it's too late.

My position is not to allow it to start.

Lining up behind Woodworth is providing a level of momentum which one would only expect from the Blogging Tories - not from contributors to Progressive Bloggers.

But if you think it's reasonable to have your rights and freedoms debated by some religio-fascist in the name of that person's freedom to get away with it, well, you're on your own.

Paladiea said...

Dave, great we completely agree. However what we disagree on is tactics. Do you think that it would be productive to not correct someone taking that position and instead boot them out of the aggregate? Wouldn't that just entrench their views? Why not just continue to do what we're doing now and call them out on their behaviour?

Dave said...

Paladiea, you let your own troops get shot at without providing cover. Not a good tactic.

I don't think there was a need to boot them on the grounds of one instance. However, they should have heard from the moderators that they had stepped over the line. Immediately. We would all have had the advantage of increased vigilance.

So, no. We do not completely agree. As to the entrenchment of their views, I have little doubt that what we've seen is a mild exposure of a defilade position.

Boris said...

My tuppence: Rights are zero-sum. If they're quantifiable, they're privileges and not rights. You don't have 90% or 30% of a right to something. Men are not "shareholders" in their female partner's reproductive biology; they are shareholders in her well-being and health, even if they don't like what that means for them: It's not their bodies. What they have done, by engaging in sex, is give their partner power of attorney as it were over the results. There is no debate beyond the point of copulation. If people want to engage in a debate, they can centre it on full consent and communication with their partners about sex and what this implies for anything that might happen as a result.

Opening abortion to "debate" is essentially suggesting that women might be subordinate to men on the most basic and intimate of levels. You might as well have a debate on every other aspect of gender-based equality. Reframed: Are men and women equals, yes or no? Discuss please. You have a right to your body but your womb is asterisked by society and men. There's nothing progressive about any conversation that opens up sanctioning the involuntary violation of a human body to debate and I won't be party to any venue that facilitates this.

Paladiea said...

I wasn't aware that it was the job of the moderators to protect people from views they find offensive. If that is the case then I demand a wage as that is full time work.

How exactly would we tell them they stepped over the line? Should we do that every time a blogger says something potentially offensive? I shudder to think of doing that with the Israel/Palestine debate, but according to you I must.

I think that letting the bloggers sort it out themselves except in clearcut cases is the best option.

Dave said...

Paladiea, so be it.

There being no further point to this discussion I will lay out this single salient fact:

Progressive Bloggers harbours those who would remove the rights of individuals. When presented this information, a group of 7 people did nothing.

I will advise Scott, since the aggregator is clearly his toy, as to our disposition with respect to Progressive Bloggers in due course.

Sol said...

Peladiea, I don't believe anyone's asking you or Scott for protection from offensive viewpoints. We're all adults here.

I think you can, however, make it clear as a matter of first principle, that individual freedom, bodily autonomy and freedom of reproductive choice are a fundamental to any aggregator or organization purporting to represent itself as progressive. It's not negotiable. It's not a matter for debate. It's just a matter of planting the goalposts and being vigilant about resisting any attempt to move them.

That's not demanding that you and Scott bring out the banhammer. It's asking you to be assertive about what it means to be progressive.

Holly Stick said...

An alternative would be to make the blog's name more accurate, as in "Progressive if Necessary but Not Necessarily Progressive Bloggers."

Paladiea said...

Sol,

What does it mean to be progressive? Who dictates what and how progressiveness is defined? If someone steps out of line must the full force of the administration be used every time?

I personally believe that no progressive should be against environmental protection as it threatens the very existence of humanity, and yet I would never consider anyone who said otherwise to be "not progressive".

Fundamental rights are fundamental rights, I agree, which is what this argument should have been about in the first place, not coming to us to tell us that we should be policing the views of bloggers.

WILLY said...

I rarely post but when I do 70% of the visits come from the Beaver. Add me to your Blog LIst before you go:)....

Willy.

Dana said...

Perhaps "progressive" means nothing.

Perhaps it's just a habitual catchall label used by wishy washy people who don't really know if they stand for anything but they do know for sure that they don't like what certain other people stand for.

Perhaps what it really means is that progressives have no absolute real world positions. Everything is only theoretical and relative and everything is always up for debate. Anyone at all could find themselves a target for speculative disenfranchisement.
Perhaps to be a true progressive you have to be prepared to treat everyone around you as mere theoretical constructs.

There is probably nothing progressives would identify as a principle or position for which they would be willing to fight and/or die.

Perhaps progressives are the useful idiots that are a necessary pre-condition for the arrival of a fascist state. Think pre-Nazi Germany.

All just speculation of course. By way of trying to start a dialogue, a debate, you understand.

Saskboy said...

"Perhaps progressives are the useful idiots that are a necessary pre-condition for the arrival of a fascist state. "

Sounds just like the climate change denier that won't leave my blog.

I think this whole thing has been blown out of proportion, somewhat maliciously, by people holding grudges against Scott (and even me) for years. They've convinced a lot of people that they have to quit Progressive Bloggers or else they can't be feminists, their friends, or be doing everything they can to stop Woodworth.

If me and Scott quitting Progblogs was possible, and would stop people from trying to blow it up, I would (but that's not possible because Scott owns the site and pays the bills). It also wouldn't help a damn thing, because whoever takes charge next would face the same ridiculous infighting, Vic Toews style ultimatums, and self righteousness that got us to this place to begin with.

Your friends should not base their friendship on whether or not you'll quit a blog aggregator that doesn't even define you if you're a member or not. It's possible to tell them that they've gone too far, they are right about the issue, but wrong in their method.

I don't expect many reading this here to agree with me, that's fine, I've taken my lumps, and then some, most of them unfairly. I just want it known that I hope when the dust settles there is no debate on abortion in Parliament, there is one in public with progressives setting the tone for why there shouldn't be a question raised in Parliament to limit womens' rights, and those who want to work together to further equality will be able to do so without the threat of moderators telling them they "can't say that".

Pale said...

Hey Dave.

I think that the mods at PB do stick together on things. They are all unfailingly fucking "reasonable". Those of us who have actual passion and ideals and who are willing to stand up for them and maybe SWEAR...OMG!!! are deemed as radicals. (Yes. I can locate where Tribe stated that many of us feminists are too radical for our own good. Male privlege is showing....)

It is a reasonable thing to ask for the mods to at least post that the two male bloggers, one who says this shit ENTIRELY ON PURPOSE, AGAIN....and the other one who seems naive beyond beleif are on their own with this and choice is a PROGRESSIVE value with no qualifications. And tweedle dee and tweedle dum are on thier own with this one.
That may help. But as for the sticky post at PB right now, that is far too vague. And just more clique clique.

Sometimes ya gotta take a stand.

As for Tribe telling people they are free to leave if they don't like stuff?
Ya. Free to say what ya want, if they say so? Otherwise you get told to leave....LOL.
Screw that. I won't be Shutting the fuck up.

I would think he would know better. But. It's politics as usual over there.

Sol said...

Peladiea:

I'm not trying to dictate what it means to be progressive, nor am I suggesting anyone else is. Nor am I arguing that every transgression requires the full force of the administration, as you put it, or that you should be "policing" the views of bloggers. I'd respectfully submit, however, that there are bottom lines upon which we all agree, and one of those is that you don't put people's basic human rights in issue.

It's in light of that that your last paragraph is particularly troubling. Fundamental rights are fundamental rights, yes, but I don't agree that that's what the argument should have been about in the first place. Simply put, there is nothing to argue about and nothing to discuss. Perhaps a more incremental approach might have worked, one whereby you don't ban immediately — and I don't think anyone is seriously calling for that — but simply reiterate that this is a fundamental point of agreement, applicable to every member, and that those who can't observe it are free to blog elsewhere.

Reproductive freedom and women's right to autonomy with regard to their own bodies haven't been easily achieved, as I'm sure we all know. It's bad enough that they're under such sustained attack elsewhere, but when we can't provide a place of safety here, that's even worse. And make no mistake: opening those issues up for "debate" is just such an attack. A community calling itself progressive shouldn't be the place for that.

Ultimately, of course, it's your site, and it's up to you, Scott and the other mods to run it as you see fit.

Dave said...

I think this whole thing has been blown out of proportion, somewhat maliciously, by people holding grudges against Scott (and even me) for years. They've convinced a lot of people that they have to quit Progressive Bloggers or else they can't be feminists, their friends, or be doing everything they can to stop Woodworth.

Do NOT let that shark bite you. I bear no grudge against anyone. Not one.

So, get over it. It's not about you. Not personally, in any case.

Not a soul has suggested that we take any course of action whatsoever. There has never been a condition associated with my friendship and support, nor has any such condition been imposed on us. So, you are free to apologize for that remark.

Or not. I don't care.

Everything planned is up to the contributors on this blog. We work by consensus.

Dave said...

Willy, you've been on the blogroll for a long time. Not to worry, you're staying there.

Pale, thanks. In truth, I don't care how it runs, what they do, nor even if they do nothing. (Which some would call action).

Politics, meh. I haven't been affected by most of what happens and my year out of country inured me to a lot of it anyway.

I just believe that facilitating the existence of a debate on limiting peoples' rights puts them in a position of being labeled because of the actions of two ignorant (and I believe, cloaked) posters.

Let's face it, The Blogging Tories carries a huge stigma even for those who aren't low information. (Perhaps that was not a good example).

Cheers

Scotian said...

Dave:

I'm with you, as I have been since the start of this. Whatever you decide I'm still sticking with you.

Saskboy:

Personally, I care nothing for you or anyone at ProgBlogs and it has nothing to do with my reactions to this matter. Also I've never been a member of any aggregator because I didn't want to have to worry about this sort of thing even back when I was a regular blogger and people kept trying to get me to join this or that aggregator. However, when your title is Progressive Bloggers that explicitly states a premise that this is an aggregator for bloggers that believe in progressive values, and as others have already pointed out basic human rights are about as basic a progressive value set you can have, and if you refuse to see that as a bright line and instead see nothing wrong with "debating" such things then it really becomes difficult to see where the "progressive" values really are.

Look, I am not one who defines themselves as progressive, and I suspect for many that do in some respects I am too centrist/conservative (in the proper sense) for them. However, I understood immediately where Fern Hill and DJ were coming from and I agreed with them, and have said so at several blogs since this first erupted including at this one. Perhaps that might underscore just how big a blunder you and yours have made here. I do not know if I would have agreed with immediate banning, but I would have at the minimum made clear at and on PB that those two bloggers spoke for themselves, that this issue was not reflective of what you and yours understood progressive values to be, and if you weren't going to block their blogs on this topic then at the minimum you should have made it very clear that they were on their own without the cover being a PB gave them via the association where that issue was concerned.

Bottom line as Dave might put it Fern Hill and company felt like they were being fragged, first by the two bloggers and then by the "meh" reaction and dismissal of their concerns they got from PB. A lot of other bloggers apparently agreed with them, including some fairly prominent and respected ones like the folks here, and instead of taking that reaction into consideration you all appear to have decided to forge ahead regardless. Well, all things have consequences, and it looks like this one may have larger ones than you may have originally expected when this issue first came up.

Odd thing though, I seem to remember this happening at PB before where the idea to "debate" this issue came up (indeed I think one of the two bloggers in question was involved the last time) some time back. So it is not like this is a first time there either.

Saskboy said...

Dave, if that observation doesn't apply to you, it wasn't intended for you. No offense intended, really. The people it applies to, know who they are.

Scotian, this dispute, and the moderators reaction to it is based not solely on this latest complaint by Fern Hill and company, and that's why it's perplexing to those who don't know more of the history of PB. Moderators have inelegantly quit. A charter for the site was debated and eventually dropped as it's about as easy to define "progressive" as it is to define the meaning of life, or why there should/n't be Greens, NDP, and Liberals, and others participating on the same website in some common purpose. Like any community, there are power struggles, and disagreements. When the only way most of us interact is through our online personas (which I dare say are almost certainly all a little more aggressive toward each other than we'd be in person), there's bound to be some heavy duty debates.

I'll miss seeing Galloping Beaver, RossK, and even Dammit Janet in the Progressive Bloggers feed, because I know it means I'll be seeing much less of them. I understand their respective reasons for making this choice, and it was theirs to make.

Dr.Dawg said...

I'm late to this party. But thank you for throwing it.

The tipping-point for me happened yesterday. When Paladeia put up her patronizing little piece, one stuck to the top of the page and where comments were not allowed, I found myself over at Gritchik's place (by link).

Tribe came over and averred that the whole matter was "trivial." The colossal arrogance, smugness and ignorance of this assertion--that human rights are trivial--has really decided me, and I shall be posting in a bit on the subject. I'm still collecting my thoughts.

But let me get this out of the way first. Nobody called for a ban. We aren't Babblers, we're grownups. What we wanted was for the "moderators" to take a damn stand.

Well, they did.

And now it's time for individual and group bloggers to take theirs. And I shall.

Dana said...

Are there certain blogs being removed from blogrolls as well?