“What if now were the time for a new self-publishing here at home — a new samizdat? The time to create a new, parallel communications network and a fresh system for information sharing? A parallel network and a fresh system owned not by commercial interests — so Twitter, Facebook, Medium, and other seemingly “self-publishing” platforms can’t factor in here — nor by the state or the government, but by the very people who create and maintain them, part of a widening nonprofit, non-commercial ecosystem. Václav Havel spoke of the battle of first and second cultures as an epic contest between “an anonymous, soulless, immobilizing (‘entropic’) power,” on the one hand, and “life, humanity, being, and its mystery,” on the other.  Fellow dissidents spoke of samizdat’s second culture as “the only meaningful construction” people could create if they did not want “to remain passive appendices of the political and social structures created by the ruling power.”  They signaled each other as they wrote, distributed, and published — from the smallest codes, of the kinds that the Encyclopédistes used, to the largest and, also like the Encyclopédie, most earth-shattering.  Solzhenitsyn spoke of the mystical wisdom of a process in which information that is urgent somehow rises to the top. Samizdat, Solzhenitsyn wrote, “knows what is what.” -Peter B. Kaufman, “Freethinkers Versus the Monsterverse: An Excerpt from ‘The New Enlightenment.'” Los Angeles Review of Books. February 23, 2021
This is one of the motivations behind my use of a blog and stripping out advertising. But, this points to a much fuller conception. Should I be making ‘zines, podcasts, create a video channel? It all sounds very exhausting. But, at minimum, I’m not going to spend my time helping the feudal Internet hit their revenue targets with what passes as my commentary.