It has been a year since I wrote a piece about why we, as mass leaders, should be wary of how we present ourselves in public through the social media, through Facebook, for instance. In this essay, I said:
“I believe that we can effectively reach out to our mass base if we become more considerate of their thoughts and feelings. Putting forward our decadent and bourgeois tendencies through and at social media, whether intentionally or not, would result to reactions that could only be inimical to our socialist interests. Moreover, being more careful with how the masses perceive us could actually aid us in the process of transforming ourselves—our thoughts, tendencies, and lifestyle—from bourgeois to proletarian. Why don't we try doing that by presenting a humble yet meaningful image of ourselves, by being true examples of simple, collective, and proletarian living, both offline and online?” (Juan, December 2012)
I thought that through Facebook, a powerful cultural and economic apparatus, a person could mold, invent even, his/her preferred identity. But of course, people naturally acting based on their material conditions, would make their Facebook profile according to what they think they like, or what they think they know about themselves. So for example, an activist who introduced himself as national-democratic, would still think and act according to his class origin. If he comes from the petit-bourgeois class, he will still think and act and present himself as a petit-bourgeois individual with petit-bourgeois tendencies, unless he makes a conscious, gradual, and systematic effort to peel off every remnant of his class of origin, and try to live a simple and proletarian life—a life in which the person is no longer absorbed by his false consciousness, but guided by the “Fundamental Proletarian Perspective of and Principles on the Revolution.”
Undergoing such transformation is an incredibly difficult task even for activists who have long been involved in the national-democratic movement, most especially because the monocapitalist system is in its ripest. A comrade told me, “I wear branded shirts and shoes, use the latest gadgets, and eat food whose names I cannot even pronounce, but that has never hindered me from diligently fulfilling my tasks as a mass organizer.” Who wouldn't agree? But it should be clear that wearing branded shirts, using the most high-tech gizmos, and dining at the most gentrified restaurants are nothing compared to actually documenting, publishing, and broadcasting the act of consuming capital. For now, we continue to consume capital while we lambaste the capitalist. It cannot be avoided because as aforementioned, the monocapitalist system is on its peak. But posting photos of yourself and of the brands you adore on the internet, on Facebook, for example, would only reinforce the same neoliberal values that we aim to eliminate.
I, of course, expected my comrade to get my point but that didn't happen and after a year, I now feel completely ostracized by my own class of origin and by my own middle-class propensities. Nonetheless, I am and will always be prepared to criticize and challenge myself and the petit-bourgeoisie (within and outside the movement) until with the leadership of the proletariat, we fully realize a socialist alternative.