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Welcome to the Crommunist Manifesto

Hello everyone. Words really cannot express how flattered and excited I am to be included with some of my favourite bloggers here at FreeThoughtBlogs. This is a problem, because as a blogger, it’s sort of my job to express things in words. Despite this disappointing shortcoming on my part, I am overwhelmingly grateful to have you cast your eyes on this humble page. You probably have questions, and I will do my best to anticipate and answer them.

Who the hell are you?

I go by the handle ‘Crommunist’, not as a poorly-veiled allusion to any particular political philosophy (besides the one of my own devising), but because my last name (Cromwell) was shorted in youth to ‘Crommie’. When a friend astutely pointed out how this made me sound like ‘Commie’, I seized upon the opportunity to re-brand myself online as Crommunist. I am a health services researcher living and working in Vancouver, Canada. When I am not working, I am also a part-time musician and member of the Vancouver branch of the Centre for Inquiry.

What makes you think you deserve to be here?

I’ve been blogging steadily since March, 2010, but my intermittant blog career stretches back nearly a decade. The Manifesto originally began as an opportunity to clarify some thoughts and ongoing questions that I’d been having with issues I felt were important, and quickly morphed into a platform for me to discuss issues of race, religion, politics, law, sex, and a whole host of other topics. Since my humble beginnings, I’ve had my skeptical activity and arguments featured on Pharyngula, been a guest feature on Friendly Atheist and Skeptic Money, as well as anti-racist blog Racialicious. I’m also a regular author on Canadian Atheist.

The FTB powers that be first extended me an invitation back in July to contribute here. I have been a fly on the wall of many of the blogs here at the FTB collective both before and after launch, but I strongly suspect that I had a patron who lobbied for my inclusion. I will not name who I suspect this party to be, but I will say that I will make it my business not to disappoint her/him.

Why should I read/what are your qualifications?

I have been derided on the occasions where my work has been featured outside of my personal site as an ‘unqualified blogger’. I will be the first to admit (in fact, I had admitted long before I received any such attention) that my academic qualifications are modest and ancillary to most of my blog topics. I am aware that this makes my work completely unpalatable to the upper crust of those who read blogs. If you are one of those, I apologize for being a person who has ideas without the credentials to back up such conceit. If you are someone who is able to evaluate ideas based on their content and not their speaker, then I invite your critical eye.

As for why you should read this blog, the main bread and butter of the Crommunist Manifesto has to do with race, racism, and race issues. While I cannot claim a degree in these topics, I have spent a lifetime agonizing over these realities and what they’ve meant for me personally. I would never dream of claiming that my personal experience can be abstracted to every black person on the planet (in fact it’s probably fairly atypical). However, while there are lots of blogs about race, and lots of blogs about skepticism, I seem to have tapped in to a small niche crossover market where there isn’t a lot of representation. If you are interested in discussions of how race, like religion, shapes the world in which we live – often in ways we don’t discern right away – this might be a place worth spending some time.

Why is race worth talking about? Isn’t it all socially constructed anyway?

If theology has taught us anything (and that’s a big ‘if’), it’s that something does not have to be real (in an empirical sense) to exert major influence, or do major harm. However, a few people simply embracing the fact that the emperor is naked does not negate the thousands more that gape at his resplendent finery. I want us, as a community of freethinkers, as a society, as a species, to apply the principles of skepticism to the topic of race. We should note the effect it has, while pointing out as loudly and often as possible that we are labouring under a falsehood – that people can be meaningfully sorted by superficial physical characteristics. Waiting for racism to go away on its own is not an option. Well, not a good one, anyway.

One thing that I’ve learned from reading Blag Hag is that there is a world of similarities between feminist thought and anti-racist thought. Many of the issues are transferrable, and align quite well with the humanist principles that most freethinkers espouse. If you think that feminism and the treatment of women are within the scope and compass of FreeThoughtBlogs, then I’m sure you’ll have no trouble accepting the need for discussing anti-racism. If you don’t think these issues are important, then please stick around and allow me to try and change your mind.

Why not blog about your scientific background?

I do occasionally dip my pen in the ink of the stuff of my day job. I try to do this sparingly, mostly because I would like to do my best to stave off the equation of my online persona with my professional identity. I do not work as a professional blogger, I do not blog at work, and my opinions as expressed here are in no way affiliated with my employer. However, I chose to devote my time to studying the equitable and affordable delivery of health care for a reason – and it sure weren’t the big paycheque. I am passionately interested in health care, so I will occasionally discuss those issues if I feel they’re relevant.

I am sure there are more questions, and I am happy to answer as many of them as I can (although many of them may be answered in my helpful FAQ). Please feel free to drop a comment on this, or any other post. Until then, I bid you welcome, and hope that you will keep on reading.

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Comments

  1. MadScutter says

    Glad to see you here! Your inclusion at FTB means that all but two of my favorites (Friendly Atheist & Skepchick) are now conveniently collocated.

  2. Dhorvath, OM says

    Very excited to see you here, welcome and don’t worry about credentials, many of us aren’t so wound up in what you may have done in the past, preferring what you are doing now.

  3. Pareidolius says

    Glad to have you and your perspective aboard. I look forward to your posts as i have really had my eyes opened to the powerful effects of privilege by the many brilliant women of ScienceBlogs and now FTB. As a poster over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars once said “being privileged doesn’t make you a bad person, but being aware of it might make you a better one.”

  4. martha says

    Hi, welcome.

    About race & feminism then- recently I brought my kids to a university science festival, happily observed my daughters interacting with the many women researchers and grad students behind the tables, and had the sad thought, “Wow, I bet that would have mattered to me when I was their age,” which would have been circa 1974. Came home, wrote a congratualtory email to the fair organizers and that instant realized that while I had seen African American school children going in and out, I didn’t remember seeing a single African American face behind the tables. So.. I wrote another email.

    Recently also, I went on a little internet binge and read a lot of the stuff about Elevator Gate and had a little bit of the same feeling I had watching my daughters at the science festival. When I was college age, I learned to expect a sort of Dawkins-type response, even from men I liked and respected, to complaints about things that made women feel uncomfortable or degraded. So it’s interesting to me that women complain AND there are men like PZ who get it and take their side. It matters. All this stuff matters. You all are fighting the good fight. Keep it up!

  5. Enkidum says

    Welcome! I’ve just been perusing your back issues, and you seem like someone who’s got his head on the right way. It’ll be cool to see where you take this from here!

  6. says

    Yes, “race” (as generally thought of) does not exist. Which is exactly why it is so insidious a concept.

    Anyway, welcome to FTB.com. I look forward to many uncomfortable discussion.

  7. Gnumann says

    Welcome to FtB – this start of yours is very promising and I’ll try to remember to see what comes next :)

  8. Dean Buchanan says

    I very much look forward to reading your writings.

    Oh, and I might as well get this out of the way.

    <Cromwell the Cromulent Crommunist>

    I couldn’t resist…

  9. Happy Camper says

    Welcome, Welcome, Welcome:

    From a semi-dedicated lurker I am glad to see you here. I have visited your former blog from time to time and though I didn’t always agree 100% with some of the posts you always give me something to think about. I wish you many hits on your blog here and much success in getting your ideas out into the blogosphere.

  10. Retired Prodigy Bill says

    Congrats on the move. I’m glad to finally notice that many of my favorite bloggers are at the same umbrella sight.

  11. barbrykost says

    Welcome and I look forward to reading your blog. I have felt for a long time that racism was the most serious prolem in America, and have only recently realized the dangers of religion.
    This should be fun.

  12. theBeav says

    Oh look a fellow Vancouverite!
    I’ll be keeping an eye on your blog for sure.

    By the way your band link is broken, i think the “.crom” might be the problem.
    I found your profile on radio 3 without it. i’ll have to catch a show sometime.

    Good to see you on FTB and have a good one.

  13. Crommunist says

    A good catch. Thanks – fixed.

    Yeah we play every Friday. Come down and make yourself known – I’ll buy you a drink.

  14. Crommunist says

    Hahaha – I don’t know how much you think blogging pays, but if I make enough to buy two beers, we can each have one.

  15. Crommunist says

    That’s a most unusual speech impediment you’ve got there. You have my deepest sympathies.

  16. says

    Found my way here from Greta Christina’s post this morning. I very much look forward to your contributions to my daily blogroll!

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