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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
Memo to the Left

Stop Crying About Facebook

by ERIC PATTON

The left loves to cry over shit it can’t do anything about, and one of the favorite objects of its whining is Facebook.

If you believe in capitalism — if you believe that an economy should be organized along the lines of private ownership of the means of production and market-based allocation — then you shouldn’t really give a shit how Zuckerberg runs his business.

Facebook isn’t introducing anything into the food supply.  It’s not putting anything into the air.  It has no animals it keeps in cages.  It does employ wage slaves, but every business in America does that, and as far as I can tell the left is totally fine with that.

Facebook is a social networking site.  So why does the left care what it does?  Well, because the decisions Zuckerberg makes potentially impact the ability of the small-to-medium-sized businesses that make up the left to make money.

That is, Zuckerberg can impact the left’s bottom line.

That’s really why every time Zuckerberg changes his socks, the left has a cow.  Left-wing businesses are worried about their income stream, so said businesses have to whip their readerships up into a frenzy against Facebook.

I don’t want to hear about privacy issues.  As long as the left is getting paid, it doesn’t really give a shit about that.

And look, if you really hate Facebook that much, why not use ZNet’s ZSocial networking service?  I personally have no interest in ZSocial and no intention of ever using it.  But all the things the left cries about are nonexistent on ZSocial.

Except one, of course — all the people are on Facebook.  So if you’re trying to raise money, that’s where you go.  Plus, since the left hates — no, loathes and despises — participatory economics, ZSocial can be given no love.

As I say over and over again, the left really doesn’t give a shit about the people it claims to be trying to liberate.  The left is a string of small businesses, playing to a demographic of people who really do want shit to change.  And the people who start those business may really want change, but once you start that business, you’re locked into running the business, not winning social change.

The left really needs to have a conversation about how to transcend this.  You can’t change society without institutions to fight for gains and then consolidate those gains once won.  But if your institutions aren’t fundamentally that different from the institutions in the society you’re trying to change, there’s a fundamental contradiction that I don’t see can be overcome.

But if nothing else, please just stop bitching about Facebook.

Eric Patton lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Hate mail can be directed to him at ebpatton@yahoo.com.