/leftypol/ is a great place, full of fun and ‘interesting’ people. They recently this year collectively sponsored Richard D. Wolff’s monthly economic update, and lots of normies were made of aware of this titan leftist board on the internet. A fortress of leftist freedom on a Mongolian picture site, surrounded by degenerate weirdos below it and the alt-right empire, /pol/, above it. Leftypol is full of wonderful threads, replete with theoretical knowledge, drunk on virtuous free speech, pumping out wholesome leftist memes, and standing in true solidarity with the working class oppressed of all walks of life.
When you first stride into this bastion light of the future theoreticians and leaders of action, you will be welcomed with the traditional greeting, “Hey faggot, make yourself comfy and take all these memes.” You will find yourself freed from the scourge of Trotskyist sectarianism, of arbitrary Anarkiddie trashcan toppling, of oppressive and dogmatic SJW id-pol transplaining, etc.
/leftypol/ knows what other leftists don’t: id-pol is le cancer, and it comes in many surprising flavors. Feminism? Id-pol. Racism? Id-pol. Class? Not id-pol. Traps? Not gay. Transexuals? Id-pol unless they pass, then it’s a trap. And… that’s about all /leftypol/ seems to agree on for the most part. Besides the constant train of 2d Leftist waifus and e-celeb hate/love train, there is very little that goes on in /leftypol/ which is of genuine Left interest.
Now, what’s the deal with this particular Mongolian picture site? Well, as far as Leftist internet presence, besides being the largest Left board of its kind, it seems to be a prime producer of Left memes—some of them are even funny. That said, it’s trash in theory and practice. They’ll tell you they’re a site for kicking back and shooting the shit and not to learn anything, but considering the way they speak of other Leftists you would think they would be very theoretically astute even if not active in the practical world. Unfortunately, when it comes to their “ideological” standpoint, they are often trash cans blazing brightly into the void that is the internet. Now, why is that? What is it that makes /leftypol/ such a dumpster of Left ideologies?
First, let’s be real: most of its user base are edgy teens and tweens who straddle the strange spectrum of Left political opinion with otherwise seemingly apolitical socially deviant tastes. This is a bit strange, but not that surprising, on the chan boards, which have from their inception been dominated by highly questionable content around the virtues of absolute anonymity and freedom, a culmination of pure individuality with empty universality. What matters on chan boards is not the form—that’s what they claim anyway—but the content. This might be fine if /leftypol/ had good content, but it doesn’t.
The chan sites have always been bourgeois in nature because of this anonymous feature in which a flat universal identity is thought to be a stopper against universal and—especially—individual identity notions. Since everyone is detached from any identity, an equally amorphous fluctuating ‘anonymous #’, it is expected that this frees the individual as individual to truly manifest their individual essence since there is no possibility of backlash for stating an honest opinion, no matter how inflammatory. When I can hide in the universality, it seems that only then may I show my individuality as pure content without contamination by association, for I cannot be targeted for what I do and say. This attitude carries over into /leftypol/, and its results are very telling: lax moderation out of fear of ‘controlling free speech’; the continuation and further intensification of the capitalist plague of short attention span which reduces the formation and intake of knowledge to stupid images and snippets of text—memes; and finally, the rather quick decline the board took towards mass shitposting as the major content filling the site.
The problem of /leftypol/ is above all that it carries on chan culture, and chan culture is above all geared against specifically controlled, directed, and long term sustained group action. It’s not the case that image boards as a medium are not usable for good discussion, it’s just an alternate version of forums after all, but the culture that has built up around this board style is not something that is going to be run away from since, let’s face it, the only people interested in these kinds of boards are the channers who feel the need for a board and moderation more fit to their special needs. /leftypol/ has a lot going against it: a theoretically uninformed and disinterested populace; a terrible moderation team; an overwhelming urge to take the bait from run-of-the-mill /pol/ shitposters.
However, if /leftypol/ were actually a functional space for Left discussion and actual unity it just wouldn’t be /leftypol/. The board serves a purpose: to shitpost and lay back with no consequences since there is nothing of general purpose to be done. The same questions come up, the same uninspired meme responses are made, the same copypasta theory is posted. Every once in a while you get a glimmer of some theoretical discussion happening between two or three people filling an entire thread, but if that’s what one wants, then certain subs (specifically users) of Reddit/Libcom/blogs have a far more constant level of such theoretical discussion, often on far deeper levels, and with quite a lot less animosity—unless on Reddit one is dealing directly with political things on the wrong sub (r/socialism and r/communism), then things get even nastier than chans (they’ll dox you far more easily). /leftypol/ may yet grow, but without significant structural changes to content and moderation it won’t be turning into any significant place to get Left news, discuss theory, or organize.
That said, I’d like to repeat my usually ignored message to /leftypol/’s user base in hope that some may one day learn: