A post with a salty flava – maybe not so strange that the same substance borne in tears can sear a wound clean.
I have respect and interest for many aspects of this site and its forum discussions. However if some asks me if I would recommend the site all I can say is that its good to make use of and add to the library, check out the news sometimes but avoid the forums unless you’v got the energy to sift though lots of crap.
Recently I asked 5 friends if they would be interested in helping with the libcom reading guides. I gave my main reasons for contributing as being the amount of traffic the site gets, the fact that people who are newly drawn to anarchism seem to be using it as point of exploration and the quality of the library. In one of the emails back one mate mate said “also for the email re: libcom, it's true, i think i always kind of had that feeling that libcom was sort of a place for the sexist/macho strain of workerist-marxist-anarchists and that's probably why i usually only lurk around there... but it would be great to have more of a feminist/queer/anti-colonial/anti-racist presence there, for sure.”.
When I first contributed to the forums in the Macho Posting on Libcom and SolFed discussion the responses I got back from the admins seemed relatively ok. Now looking back they seem a bit disingenuous as they never acknowledged how central the admins themselves were to contributing to at times pretty toxic atmosphere on the forums.
My initial feeling on reading the 'PC gone mad' rant and transphobia threads was that I was done with libcom. Certainly I remain clear that (on the basis of reading those x 2 threads) JK and choccy would not be welcome in our home. However as with many public writings I guess some of the people who post here are kind of doing their growing up in public..? The fact that the thread was only 3 years ago doesn’t inspire much trust. However I find other things JK has said insightful and how he conducts himself online nowadays respectful. Life would be pretty bleak if we didn’t give each other room to change and grow.
I don’t think the mentioning of either thread was raised n a constructive way. I also found the generalised response to them dispiriting. Personally I found both of them upsetting to read and they have sat in my thoughts in an ill way since I read them.
I remember at school often being subjected to hearing the ‘wisdom’ of people’s dads. My dad says: ‘skodas are shit’ ‘he should be shot’ ‘she did very well for a girl who grew up in a council house’ and jokes about how maybe ‘black one legged lesbians’ were going to be taken into account. Years later I read an article about how the percentage of civilian casualties in wars kept on increasing and how the amount of amputees keeps on increasing globally due to the changing nature of weaponry. Knowing that the majority of those casualties are people of colour and taking that statistic of 1 in 10 people identifying as being gay at temporary face value I thought again of the proverbial one-legged black lesbian. There must be hundreds of thousands of people who fall into that category. I remember the crouched feeling I had inside whenever someone talked about homosexuality at our school. I remember how all the pupils in my year who were people of colour moved to other schools because of bullying. Those posts give me the same feeling of just wanting to get the fuck away. It also really made me feel again the truth in the slogan transphobia = death.
Sometimes it feels like white guys ‘own’ and control the beautiful, practical ideas of anarchism/libertarian communism, even although I know that isn’t true.
Right now the forums are like bluebeard’s castle – but you don’t know which is the door you don’t want to open. It’s a funny sort of ‘bin’; more like all the rubbish is lying around on the floor. You click on what might be an interesting thread and it turns out to be a load of racist, boys club bullshit.
I think the opinions in the other thread on this subject are misplaced when they focus on condemning particular individuals. I think the responsibility fro the crap aspects of libcom ‘forum culture’ is more widely spread than that. None of us are perfect. The point is to improve ourselves, generate radical movement etc. life online is limited – I question whether I’m just pissing away my time (which id v limited just now) even writing this. But then I am pissed off!
Anyway my current thoughts are to not erase history but to put all those shitty stupid threads into one place called libcoms dodgy past. Have it inaccessible to non- members, buried quite deep in the site and make it so it doesn’t come up in the related posts at the bottom of the page.
Then the ambivalent present can continue.