Join the Leftypedia Discord server for information, discussion, and updates!


From Leftypedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This page outlines the current objectives of Leftypedia and contains guidelines for writing content.

Purposes of Leftypedia

To provide accessible introductions to topics in leftist theory.

People who are unfamiliar with the left should be able to come to this site and freely explore the richness of our theory. It should be easy for them to get a handle on any of the ideas that are presented, while also naturally being led to connected concepts and analyses, and feeling unafraid to go interact with primary texts. We believe leftist theory fundamentally makes sense and is accessible to anyone.

To dispel popular misconceptions about the far-left.

Wikipedia, like most encyclopedic sources, cares little for the plausibility of the theories it presents, and only tries to document the established academic understanding of some subject. For this reason, it may end up giving undue credence to popular interpretations that are nonetheless incorrect. In contrast, Leftypedia is confident in the relevance of its primary content, and will go out of its way to defend it against simple-minded objections.

To document the views of different Marxist and other far-left tendencies in one place.

Browsing through this site should expose you to a diverse range of authentic left-wing positions, and enable you to consider all of them on your own terms. You should be pulled into the internal debates and made to appreciate the difficulties of them.

To let authors speak for themselves.

Articles on this site make preferential use of primary sources, and are heavier on direct quotes than Wikipedia is. When it comes to leftist thinkers, we don't state scholarly consensus as authoritative truth, but demonstrate the accuracy of our claims through textual analysis. This allows readers to get a sense of where they come from, and avoids the mindless repetition of popular dogma, which may even persist in academic literature. Wikipedia intends to be a compendium of just this kind of secondary literature, and therefore runs the risk of perpetuating misunderstandings of Marxist theory. Despite our focus on primary sources, it is always better to include both a direct citation and an authoritative secondary source verifying the provided interpretation.

To promote left-unity without forcing it.

By allowing a broad left-wing base of authors, and giving fair treatment to all leftist tendencies, we foster mutual understanding among leftist with different beliefs. Rather than simply document disagreements and leave it at that, we aspire to go just a little bit deeper, and demonstrate the value in different treatments.

To carry out original discourse.

Contrary to Wikipedia, Leftypedia allows some original research and even polemical writing.

The wiki format is a great means to foster massive free conversation on leftist theory and praxis, and we don't want this potential to get lost. Being on the political left, it would be improper to make academic credentials a prerequisite to get your ideas out there. New thought should be considered regardless of where it comes from.

However, this is only proper within certain contexts, and should always remain clearly separated from more encyclopedic work. Ideally they should be contained within a hot takes template

Where original discourse is generally allowed:

  • Pages about mainstream popular culture. (e.g. memes, Facebook, Reddit, flat earth...) Since we expect that users will be more familiar with these topics than any specialised literature, they are allowed to speak on them more freely.
  • Pages about leftist popular culture. (e.g. porky, catgirls, milkshakes, Leftypol, BreadTube...) Leftist popular culture should be made to represent itself. This is the only way to build a leftist worldview that's both scientific and popular.
  • Pages analysing contemporary political conversation. (e.g. dog-whistling, political correctness, the anti-SJW movement, incels...) These articles should be written by and for people who are actually having these conversations.
  • Pages about specialist topics of which there is little established left-wing analysis. (e.g. category theory, functional programming...) It's great to see people try to demonstrate the potential importance of niche subjects to leftist struggle. Marxism is a general scientific worldview, as are other leftist ideologies. We want to see how scientific developments can be integrated into these systems.
  • Pages about anti-leftist propagandists. (e.g. Dave Rubin, Carl Benjamin...) Feel free to ridicule them to your heart's content.
  • Pages and sections specifically dedicated to original discourse. (e.g. Hot takes on surplus value, Essay: Marxism and Identity Politics...) You are free to create new pages and hot takes sections to get your thoughts out there, as long as it's immediately clear that this is the purpose of these pages. Be reasonable though, Leftypedia is not your personal blog. We expect entries to be relevant to the general purpose of the Wiki.
  • Your personal user subspace.

Where original discourse is generally not allowed:

What Leftypedia isn't

It isn't a general alternative to Wikipedia.

This site was created with the aim of fulfilling needs Wikipedia cannot. We do not aspire to do what Wikipedia already does a fine job at.

It isn't a place to impose your own tendency on other people.

We aim to make an encyclopedia which is representative of left-wing anti-capitalism in general. That means, we welcome the views of all stripes of leftists, and we want articles to be written in a way that represents this plurality of viewpoints, rather than a single and unbending doctrine.

It isn't politically correct.

This site does not uphold the very strict "safe space" policies used by various online left-wing communities to combat hate speech. Present and historic viewpoints that challenge aspects of social justice politics will be included on the site, and be elaborated on their own terms. What is wrong with these takes can be written out separately.

With the aim of promoting social justice, the goal here is to document the left. To exclude viewpoints in the movement is to erase them, and thereby to fail to hold ourselves up to scrutiny. The best way to avoid this is to allow discourse to take place out in the open.

With the aim of left-unity, the goal here is to allow leftists to work together on topics they do agree on. If we exclude potentially problematic sections within the left from the wiki, we prevent it from being the broad leftist knowledge base it could be. It should be accessible to and representative of leftists from all countries and social strata, even if they harbour attitudes that highly-educated western leftists believe to be backwards.

It isn't politically incorrect.

The focus of the wiki is documenting dominant leftist theory, and as such there will be a bias in favour of social justice movements.

When you write something "politically incorrect," people who take issue with it are encouraged to ruthlessly scrutinise it within the same page. This will enable readers to more fairly assess the content.

Further, there are limits to the "free speech" allowed on this site. If you want to criticise something you perceive as politically correct dogma, always do so in a respectful way. If you do not, your contributions will be reverted, and if it happens persistently you will be sanctioned. Blatantly reactionary viewpoints stated without proper contextualisation may result in an immediate ban.

A basic example of this principle: You are allowed to present an argument against transgender theory on this wiki, but in doing so you cannot ignore basic etiquette, including referring to a person using their preferred pronouns. State your beliefs outright, don't make sly stabs at other leftists.

Note that this goes both ways. Contributors who take issue with "politically correct" content are allowed to voice their objections, and those who have objections to politically incorrect content must always voice theirs respectfully. Personal accusations of bigotry should be avoided.

It isn't your personal blog.

While we allow original discourse, we uphold a high standard. Chosen topics should be relevant to leftist theory and praxis.