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The Millennial Left as a Moment in Internet History

The Millennial Left as a Moment in Internet History

ft. Benjamin Studebaker

This week, Gio and I are joined by Benjamin Studebaker, a writer, political theorist, leftist, and former co-host of the infamous podcast “What’s Left?” to discuss the Millennial Left.

One question I wish we had asked, and I invite our audience to leave their thoughts about, is whether there is/was a meaningful difference between the Millennial Left and the Tumblr Left. Was the latter a subset of the former, or did it have its own unique character?

In the future, I’d like to explore the contours of the political communities on SomethingAwful, Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook Groups. How were they different? Where was there overlap? As always, if you’d like to share your experience from the Left or Right, please drop us a line.

From Benjamin’s blog post, “The Millennial Left as a Moment in Internet History,” which you can read in full here:

To find a new politics, we have to abandon our old politics. But we cannot abandon our old politics if our old politics still pays our bills. The millennial left is a declining business model rather than a political movement. It was a fluke of a particular moment in the political economy of the internet. That moment has ended. No one in their right mind would try to start a new left media enterprise in 2024. But those that still exist will carry on until they run out of money. This zombie millennial left will be with us for years to come, compelled by the business model to pretend it is still engaged in political activity. But it has been years since this activity could even plausibly appear meaningfully political. The appearance died with the form of internet that generated it.

All told, the millennial left existed in a plausibly political form for just five years. It began in 2015 and it ended in 2020. It peaked the year it was born, and it declined continuously throughout its lifespan, becoming less and less plausible every year. Death finally came for it over the span of four months, in the form of Jeremy Corbyn’s defeat in December of 2019 and Bernie Sanders’ defeat on Super Tuesday in March of 2020. Consign it to the abyss.

The Computer Room
A show about our lives online.