My friend Ellee Spawn shared on her Facebook group (Organizing The National Progressive Party) the news that our new social network, focused exclusively on Progressives, has just emerged. Instead of asking what it is about, what benefits it provides to progressives in the US and the world or questioning the usefulness of its tools, a member of the group (and a good progressive if you check her profile) decided just to smear the name of Neo Citizens because it reminded her of the Neo-Nazis and she was about to have a heart attack.
Another distinguished member of the group also didn’t bother asking about the possible benefits of this new network (if it has any), let alone, of course, the efforts of a team that has been working almost day and night with almost no resources for more than a year to offer progressives something different from the corporate censorship and the banality of a Facebook full of trolls and cyber bots, and she decided to make fun of it…because that is something we progressive do very well: we complain about things or we make fun of things… we DO NOT change things. And furthermore, a third distinguished member delighted us with a loud laugh, which is all that this enormous effort seems to deserve.
I do not complain. I’m not angry. I don’t even bother, because that’s what we’ve always done, that’s what the powerful ones have trained us for. And in part my friends here are right. “Neo-Nazis“, “Neo-Liberals“, “Neo-Cons” stole our term. However, “Neo” not only means “new” but also means “advanced“, something of a superior quality to the one that precedes it. So, in those three sad examples, they stole a word, a term that belongs to us who fight for progress, and we have every right to bring it back, to rescue it. Of course, it is easier to attack a term, make fun of something, than think constructively about how much it has of beneficial and how much of wrong.
Arguing on terms is always difficult. Hitler’s party was the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, but that does not prevent us from having the term “National” involved in the creation of this new great US party that we are supporting here, because the Nazis did not buy the word “national” just as they did not buy the word “neo“.
The Progressive Movement is so diverse that we tried to find a word, a term that could encompass everyone, and from ancient times, the word “citizens” came to us. However, we did not want to use it in the sense of ancient Greece, but to give it a new connotation, not only as something new, but as something more advanced, a different type of citizen … so here you have NEO CITIZENS, a network that is not focused on making profits for its investors (because it has none), but on putting useful tools in the hands of progressives in a safe and secure environment. That’s really what some people could have asked my friend Ellee, but they didn’t, because we are better trained to destroy than to build, to make fun of something rather than to focus constructively on how to improve it.
Either way, I am ready to join those dear friends (and I really hope we can become friends after this sweet encounter) in a fierce discussion of the term. And I am ready to LOSE. First, because of the term: the name is not the most important thing here. The ESSENCE is. And second, because English is not my mother language and my command of the language would not be enough to sustain a verbal fight with native English speakers. So, “a priori“, I surrender and declare myself defeated.
But while I see you enjoying the honey of your fast and easy victory, I will humbly ask you to forget the term, to forget the vain discussions, and to help us GROW that network. To help us, progressives of the world, to begin talking to each other, to come closer and also share experiences, initiatives, and perhaps resources. I will humbly ask you to continue making fun of things because humor is also part of our fight, but at the same time, I will ask you to get involved in changing things. We are not in this to “challenge” the status quo. We are in this to “change” the status quo, to grow, -without bureaucracy, without leaders and without bosses-, a virtual coalition of progressives on such a global and strong scale, that no government, no force, no conservative and retrograde entity can stop.
And then, the day we finally will be able to change things, the day we finally win, then we will discuss again the validity of a term. And then, no longer having to worry about beating those who harm the planet and trample on our rights, perhaps I will set aside the necessary time to engage in a discussion on terms and words. I promise that that day, once we have won the main fight, I will also be willing to be a worthy opponent and to fight hard on words. Until then, I invite you to fight on actions.