Special Issue: Communicative Socialism/Digital Socialism

A Special Edition Journal by Christian Fuchs, published by Triple-C

This special issue of Triple-C edited by Christian Fuchs, explores Communicative Socialism/Digital Socialism presenting 15 contributions that explore perspectives on digital and communicative socialism in respect to theory, dialectics, history, internationalism, praxis, and class struggles.

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Democratic Socialists on Social Media: Cohesion, Fragmentation, and Normative Strategies
Christopher C. Barnes analyses how socialists use social media. He presents results from an analysis of interviews conducted with members of the Democratic Socialists of America. The DSA has supported Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaigns. Socialist senator Alexandria Orcasio-Cortez is a member of this political organisation. Barnes shows how socialists use social media to advance political stories, humour as politics, and media criticism, but also that they find aspects of social media use frustrating and alienating.
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Theory, Reality, and Possibilities for a Digital/Communicative Socialist Society
Dimitris Boucas analyses the theory, reality, and possibilities of digital and commu-nicative socialism. He gives special attention to the theorisation of post-industrial so-cialism and the scientific and technological revolution in the works of André Gorz and Radovan Richta. The paper reports empirical results of research on how Internet alter-natives could look like and discusses these results in the context of digital socialism.

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Rising With the Robots: Towards a Human-Machine Autonomy for Digital Socialism
Christopher M. Cox engages with the concept of fully automated communism/so-cialism that has become popular in recent times. The author stresses the importance of autonomy in the context of automation and reminds us that one needs to talk about both autonomous technology and autonomous humans.

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Spaces of Struggle: Socialism and Neoliberalism With a Human Face Among Digital Parties and Online Movements in Europe
Emiliana De Blasio and Michele Sorice analyse the role of digital technologies in the policies of contemporary socialist parties and movements. The analysis focuses on France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and the USA. They show that work remains to be done in the establishment of a framework of practices that go beyond digital capitalism.

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Digital Socialism Beyond the Digital Social: Confronting Communicative Capitalism with Ethics of Care
Donatella Della Ratta analyses the status of the social in and beyond communicative capitalism. She argues that user-generated spectacles, free labour, and capitalist re-alism on the Internet have brought about new forms of alienation and exploitation. She criticises the understandings of digital socialism advanced by Kevin Kelly, Daniel Sa-ros, and Evgeny Morozov as ideological and suggests basing digital socialism on the ethics of care.

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Left Populism and Platform Capitalism
Nick Dyer-Witheford analyses left-wing responses to platform capitalism and in this context utilises Chantalle Mouffe’s notion of left populism. He focuses specifically on left populism with respect to five topics: Internet speech and surveillance; the concen-tration of ownership of digital platforms; the regulation of working conditions in the gig economy; alternative models for the ownership of digital resources and platforms; and digital postcapitalism.

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Digital Workerism: Technology, Platforms, and the Circulation of Workers’ Struggles
Sai Englert, Jamie Woodcock, and Callum Cant discuss aspects of what they call a digital Workerism. Inspired by Marx’s and Italian Autonomist Marxism’s method of the workers’ inquiry, they ask how we can practice a similar method that fuses critical research and social struggles in the age of digital technologies.

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The Utopian Internet, Computing, Communication, and Concrete Utopias: Reading William Morris, Peter Kropotkin, Ursula K. Le Guin, and P.M. in the Light of Digital Socialism
Christian Fuchs discusses computing, communication, and communist utopias in the context of digital socialism in utopian literature, namely in William Morris’ News From Nowhere, Peter Kroptokin’s The Conquest of Bread, Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed, and P.M.’s bolo’bolo and Kartoffeln und Computer (Potatoes and Com-puters). The paper contributes to discussions about hi-tech communism and how to create a utopian, socialist Internet.

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A Global Revolutionary Class Will Ride the Tiger of Alienation
Hardy Hanappi argues that we live in the age of alienation. He outlines the devel-opment and consequences of the capitalist algorithm and how this algorithm has deep-ened the gap between the working class in and of itself to the point of the emergence of new forms of fascism and a Third World War. In this context, the contribution dis-cusses the role of organic intellectuals for the development of socialist counterpower.

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YouTube as Praxis? On BreadTube and the Digital Propagation of Socialist Thought
Dmitry Kuznetsov and Milan Ismangil analyse the socialist YouTube-based video com-munity Breadtube and discuss its political potentials for challenging right-wing ideology and capitalism. The analysis is focused on four major left-wing YouTube content crea-tors – Contrapoints, Philosophy Tube, Shaun, and Hbomberguy.

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Brazilian Blogosfera Progressista: Digital Vanguards in Dark Times
Eleonora de Magalhães Carvalho, Afonso de Albuquerque, and Marcelo Alves dos Santos Jr analyse Brazil’s socialist blogosphere in the dark times of Bolsonaro. Blog-osfera Progressista (Progressive Blogosphere, hereafter BP) is a leftist political com-munication initiative. It aims at bringing together an institutional form of organisation with networked forms of politics, doing so at the time of, and opposed to, the far-right Bolsonaro regime.

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Towards a Marxist Theory of Mediation: Contributions from Ibero-America to the Study of Digital Communication
Joan Pedro-Carañana analyses mediation in the works of the three Ibero-American critical theorists Jesús Martín-Barbero, Manuel Martín-Serrano, and Luis Martín-San-tos in terms of contributions to the critique of digital capitalism and foundations of digital socialism.

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Slow Down! Digital Deceleration Towards A Socialist Social Media
Jamie Ranger discusses how we can slow down/decelerate social media as a con-stitutive aspect of digital socialism. He draws on and extends Hartmut Rosa’s theory of speed and the notions of deceleration, acceleration, and hypermodulation, as well as critical theories of digital capitalism.

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Communicating Communism: Social Spaces and the Creation of a “Progressive” Public Sphere in Kerala, India
S. Harikrishnan analyses how the experience of the communist governance of the Indian state of Kerala has inspired and enabled the communication of communism. The focus is on the analysis of spaces (such as public spaces, libraries, reading rooms, tea-shops, cultural associations, forums, etc.) in the communication of communism, a development that the author analyses based on Lefebvre’s critical theory of space.

Christian Fuchs

About

Christian Fuchs is Professor at, and the Director of, the Communication and Media Research Institute. He is also Director of the Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies.

His fields of expertise are critical digital & social media studies, Internet & society, political economy of media and communication, information society theory, social theory and critical theory.

Details

Date
26th January 2020
Published By
Triple-C
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