ms_prue: (taking notes)
[personal profile] ms_prue
"It's an ugly world to look out on just now, and I don't think I'd be happy if you and I were away from it somewhere together. The most heartening thing that can happen now is for anyone to do progressive, constructive work in this chaos."
-- Nettie Palmer to her husband Vance, early 1919

This week I had to look up the rules of the internet because reading Exiles At Home made me think of that rule that if you could imagine it, it existed (on the internet), only it turned out on revisiting the rules that the rule I was thinking of actually applied to porn and not the existence of Australian women writers of the interwar period tackling themes of antifascism, communism and free love.

I don't think I've actually read the rules of the internet before, only seen selected rules quoted, so I was saddened to realise how shit the other 98 rules I've not seen quoted before are. The women writers of the interwar period, on the other hand, are amazing and inspirational. Nettie Palmer in particular was basically a one-woman online writers' group. And I learned about how the Australian left tried to organise against the fascist movement in the 1930s. It will surprise exactly zero people that organising a group of people who oppose fascism to all get together as a group to say that they oppose fascism is very difficult even though they all think fascism is awful. Lucky we have the internet now and all the hard work of uniting and defeating fascism has already been done! Oh, wait, no, sorry, it's not 2001 anymore, is it.

A friend posted their thoughts on this article from the Guardian and I've been thinking about it all day now, and making connections with some of the other things I've stumbled across lately, including the women writers (note to self - track down that diary of the Aussie lady who followed her lover to Russia during the Stalin years despite having zero interest in Communism). Like, for example, another friend recently tried to post a link to the Penis Mom article on the same social media site that reminded her in her timeline that X years ago she posted this link to her timeline and encouraged her to share it. Only the site wouldn't let her share the link again, because when she tried to post it, it failed to show up. All her other posts went through just fine. And, six months after it was news, I learned from someone else that the same site has been deleting meme pages. This is, like, the exact opposite of the internet that we were told we had in 2001. Really I suppose it's not actually surprising - press freedom (I'm going to run with the disingenuous analogy of internet = press, ok?) is a thing that requires effort on the part of a citizenry to achieve and maintain. It was not a magic gift enshrined in the very being of these cat-filled tubes. 

I am also very aware that I personally have done almost nothing in the service of press freedom for at least the last half a decade, and now the fascists are back, and yes, thank you for asking, I am very sorry. Probably not as sorry as you, but I'm also sorry about that too. Hence this year my resolution is to ease my way back into participating in the world like the internet citizen I think I should be.

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Prudence Hellcat

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