The quiet of the Capitol at night
by Aaron Klemz
Mar 31, 2013, 9:21 PM

Ch-ch-ch-changes Part Two

Hi LeftMN Readers:

Tomorrow, I start a new job that will take me away from writing here at LeftMN – Tony announced this a couple of weeks ago. I want to thank a few important people and tell you some of the things I’ve learned in the last year from working with the folks here at LeftMN.

First, thank you readers and listeners. I recognize that Minnesota-focused, left-leaning political talk and writing is a niche market, and I value everybody who’s part of this little community of political geeks.

Thank you, Steve. One of the coolest things about life is meeting people who share your passions and interests and want to work with you. I started writing for the late Cucking Stool when Steve asked me to join, something I was honored to do. As you know, Steve has a gift for writing, and that’s what attracted me to joining forces with him. One of my favorite things is reading his posts, and occasionally getting a glimpse of his correspondence.

A special thank you for Tony. Tony’s one of the smartest people I know, and has a gift for analysis and making sense of data that are really unparalleled in Minnesota right now. He was a rock for the radio show, there every week without fail. If it wasn’t for Tony, there would be no LeftMN, radio or website.

Thank you, Jesse Ross. He built a beautiful site that was the vanguard of a number of tile-based site designs in Minnesota. It’s just a shame I won’t be able to see my stuff on it anymore. He listened, made changes, and led a design process that made the initial ideas of the group even better.

In sum, it’s a talented, fun, and amazing crew. And I hear they are looking for help – so you should run, not walk if you’ve ever wanted to write for a left-leaning website.

Finally, a word on what I’ve learned over the last couple of years doing independent media work.

One of my favorite theorists is Michel de Certau. Permit me the luxury of posting an extended quote that I think captures the spirit and potential of this kind of work:

A tactic is a calculated action determined by the absence of a proper locus . . . The space of a tactic is the space of the other. Thus, it must play on and with a terrain imposed on it and organized by the law of a foreign power . . . It is a manuever “within the enemy’s field of vision”  . . . and within enemy territory. It does not, therefore, have the options of planning general strategy and viewing the adversary as a whole within a distinct, visible, and objectifiable space. It operates in isolated actions, blow by blow. It takes advantage of “opportunities” and depends on them . . . [It] must accept the chance offerings of the moment, and seize on the wing the possibilities that offer themselves at any given moment. It must vigilantly make use of the cracks that particular conjunctions open in the surveillance of the proprietary powers. It poaches in them. It creates surprises in them. It can be where it is least expected. . . . In short, a tactic is an art of the weak . . . The weak must continually turn to their own ends forces alien to them. (de Certau, 1988 – quoted in Kevin M. DeLuca, Image Politics, 1999, p. 74)

To be clear, when de Certau speaks of the “weak,” he’s talking about people outside of the power structure. Certainly, progressive activists fit the bill. Think about the most effective advocacy moments in the last election cycle for progressives. They came from opportunities presented by the other side, seized on the wing, turning the strategy of the powers that be against themselves.

Take advantage of the opportunities to advance a more just, progressive world. Work in the cracks, be where you are least expected, and accept the offerings of the moment.

Put another way, this philosophy could also be summarized by a quote from the movie The Last Starfighter:

“Yes, one gunstar against the Armada. I’ve always wanted to fight a desperate battle against incredible odds.”

Anyway, keep fighting the good fight, keep an eye open for the opportunities that present themselves. I’ll be there, just in a different context.



Thanks for your feedback. If we like what you have to say, it may appear in a future post of reader reactions.