The Poverty of Identity Politics

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Steven.
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Jun 19 2018 21:04
Serge Forward wrote:
Steven. wrote:
Serge Forward wrote:
And round and around it goes, with added made up allegations...

Yet another sign of the times.

Serge, what "allegations" are you claiming I have "made up"?

I have just asked you a simple question to try to understand your perspective, which is why did you defend the comments of someone you say you disagree with, from people you say you do disagree with?

If you think you're in the right and we are just lying and making things up then you should be able to defend your position.

Not you Steven. I don't think you've made anything up and you always argue in good faith. Some of the others on here however... they know who they are.

Okay right thanks, appreciate the clarification. I think this is a problem with online discussion positions get hardened on either side.

I think this is one of the reasons it's a shame that the bookfair crew wouldn't meet with me to discuss what happened, ditto Past Tense.

Like Cooked says, perhaps there is some sort of communication issue behind some of this problem, which does appear to be generational, with pretty much all of us under 40 (apart from Craftwork it seems) on one side of the debate and most people 50 and up on the other?

So to understand where you are coming from I would appreciate if you could explain why you defended Craftwork's comments from people who on the surface have the same view as you? If you don't want to discuss in public happy to chat over a private message instead, and will keep the discussion confidential so feel free to send me a PM. All the best

Mike Harman
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Jun 19 2018 21:09
Cooked wrote:
There are clearly still a lot of external discussions influencing how things are interpreted and these discussions are not accessible as position texts or the like. If you weren't there on all those social media arguments you can't decode these things anymore. Various fash, alt-right etc people are also there in ghost form shaping how things are interpreted....These jumps look very odd when you don't share that frame of reference. Could this be the age issue Steven perceives? Unless it's only the old bigot friend bookfair issue.

I think this is probably right. Since about 2014/15-ish I've spent a lot of time looking at recent alt-right, MRA/rape-apologism, neo-reactionary, evopsych, and TERF arguments and counter-arguments (and some of their predecessors), a lot of this discovered/highlighted via social media. Without having done this, certain references would definitely go over my head.

Which brings us to this:

Cooked wrote:
Perhaps I've missed it but I couldn't actually find any anti trans arguments by craftwork. There are arguments against some forms of activism. I doubt we'll get him back on thread to honestly explain if he's against trans people but I'd like to hear.

You didn't mention these comments, I'm not sure if that's because you missed them in what is a long thread, or that you read them and didn't read them as transphobic. I'm going to quote as minimally as possible (apologies to people who would prefer not to read these again), and link so you can see the full context.

1. "Of course, one would think that, as libertarians, you would support the freedom of conscience of a staff member to refuse [the imposition of] queer ideology that [gender is a choice].

https://libcom.org/forums/theory/poverty-identity-politics-21052018?page=7#comment-606486

2.

craftwork wrote:
There is no prima facie way to identify trans people - therefore your stupid, hyperbolic comparison with racism or misogyny don't work, and if you think there is, then you're the dumb transphobe.

https://libcom.org/forums/theory/poverty-identity-politics-21052018?page=7#comment-606489

vs.

craftwork wrote:
It's obvious who's a man and who's a woman - there are clear differences in physiology (it's called sexual dimorphism). Only a very small portion of the population are intersex

3.

craftwork wrote:
If a coworker sees a male-bodied person in a skirt who identifies as woman, they have to recognise them as a woman, even if they subscribe to beliefs that man/woman is not a matter of self-definition, if not they face the threat of being subject to disciplinary action on the basis of a complaint - as far as I'm concerned, that clearly is an ideological imposition, expecting people to alter their fundamental conceptions of gender to suit HR or others.
What's at stake here is individual conscience vs. authoritarian imposition of power by HR and others.

4.

craftwork wrote:
Of course, many here raise the comparison with racism or misogyny, but this is a unique case because it is based on constructed identities, not unchangeable, biological aspects of a person.

https://libcom.org/forums/theory/poverty-identity-politics-21052018?page=7#comment-606505

I can explain why I think these are transphobic if it helps, but interested in how Cooked reads these.

jaycee
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Jun 19 2018 21:14

I think the way Craftwork has been treated on this thread has been pretty much emblematic of everything that is wrong with the 'milieu' around 'identity politics' (a term that is as vague in definition as it is as a philosophy). His actual arguments were completely ignored and turned into anti-trans hate speech, ridiculed etc. his actual point was perfectly legitimate even if the choice of terms was problematic (although I might be wrong but is this not a legitimate terms for a certain branch in academia?

Either way I just thought that point should be made.

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Jun 19 2018 21:55

Mike I did miss them and as R Totale pointed out they are much more clearly problematic.

1. I'm not sure how to read it but a reaction: I don't think ideas or even discussions around wether gender is a choice should be illegal or even direct action opposed by communists. I do however strongly support direct action opposition to bullying and purposeful mislabeling of people. I also would support workplace rules against this form of harassment. Personally the question if gender is a choice isn't so interesting. I wouldn't question someones gender self identification, it makes no sense to me to do so.

2. I agree with his point that you can't immediately know someones gender but this applies to some cis people as well. It makes no sense except to deny trans people.

Edit: got i wrong with the numbers!

3. Bollocks

4. I'd say they are all different. On the individual level there is generally a difference as some people transition later in life. This 'choice' to transition makes it different. But I don't see the relevance of the rest of the stuff.

Mike Harman
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Jun 19 2018 21:46
Steven. wrote:

Like Cooked says, perhaps there is some sort of communication issue behind some of this problem, which does appear to be generational, with pretty much all of us under 40 (apart from Craftwork it seems) on one side of the debate and most people 50 and up on the other?

Well I'll be honest I think this is an over-simplification. Apologies if I'm mis-representing people's arguments/positions here, but even if specific people on this thread don't fit into the following two categories, I've definitely seen this more broadly:

Craftwork is clearly familiar to at least some extent with contemporary arguments around gender, and afaict explicitly rejects the right (did I say right???) of people to self-identify, not by throwing out slurs but cloaked in arguments about authoritarianism, sexual di-morphism or whatever.

Several other people appear not to be familiar with all those arguments of the past few years and longer, and therefore see this as a heated debate, on which perhaps they don't want to firmly take a side and don't feel 100% comfortable in their own position. And they'd also rather talk about something else, like strikes. So they personally would want to be accommodating to someone's self-identification, but have trouble balancing that with the ability of people to 'discuss issues openly without being attacked' and similar and the general way that discussions play out.

A lot of people end up in that second category on all kinds of issues, and it usually takes quite a lot of effort to get to the point where you can adequately address the first category. You first need to get comfortable with the substance/history of the argument and the ways its expressed.

At least for me figuring things out like "trans ideology is against biology" was a load of crap took a bit of time to sort through:

Year 8 biology (at least how I was taught) doesn't accommodate the existence of either trans or intersex people, but the endocrine society does https://www.endocrine.org/advocacy/priorities-and-positions/transgender-health. I don't feel like I have any kind of solid grasp on endocrinology, but I can read that statement and see "it's complicated, and no-one fully understands how this all works yet", then compare that to "bodies are sexually dimorphic" and see that the latter is a crude scientism/'common sense' which doesn't match reality and relies on a false biological essentialism.

Also I don't feel very confident on gender abolitionist type arguments particularly, I found https://wearetherabl.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/falling-star-countering-gender-essentialism-with-sex-essentialism/ useful, and also found both 'gender nihilism' and a couple of critiques of it useful (the author has done a follow-up, although that seemed to have its own problems too). The main thing with that is understanding that there are several different and sometimes conflicting approaches, some are compatible, some aren't. But also that none of those conflcting approaches involve refusing to use preferred pronouns or harassing people when they go to the toilet.

But then 15 years ago I would not remotely have understood https://libcom.org/library/companion-david-harveys-companion-marxs-capital-chapter-1-critisticuffs either, and might have wondered why people were coming down so hard on the reading guide dude. Now I know David Harvey is fucking terrible and I'm incredibly happy they wrote that critique.

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Jun 19 2018 22:05

Mike we went to different schools it seems smile I was taught with lots of human and animal examples just how much of a greyscale sex is. How the visible organs develop from tissue. How some people change etc.

Mike Harman
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Jun 19 2018 22:21
Cooked wrote:
Mike I did miss them and as R Totale pointed out they are much more clearly problematic.

So I think this is an example of how in one comment someone can just present themselves as "I'm a communist opposed to neoliberal identity politics" and then hours later be openly transphobic and effectively support workplace harassment. This does not mean that everyone in the former category is also in the latter, but I would really hope that people see this, and think about how they might be able to be a bit clearer next time this comes up - when a lot of people in the latter category know they can hide behind 'a critique of identity politics' and will get a lot of support for it still.

Cooked wrote:
1. I'm not sure how to read it but a reaction: I don't think ideas or even discussions around wether gender is a choice should be illegal or even direct action opposed by communists.

I think I'd agree with this, however in general discussions are not actually about this at all, it's used as a proxy for far more material issues.

Cooked wrote:
I do however strongly support direct action opposition to bullying and purposeful mislabeling of people. I also would support workplace rules against this form of harassment. Personally the question if gender is a choice isn't so interesting. I wouldn't question someones gender self identification, it makes no sense to me to do so.

On this last one, it means things like being able to use the toilet of your choice without facing harassment, or being able to talk at a womens' event without harassment (Munroe Bergdorf this week, ignoring that people invited Bernie Sanders to give a Womens March speech and many other examples). The 'gender is not a choice' argument often boils down to this when it comes down to it. Again, this took me some time to figure out what the fuck was going on.

Cooked wrote:
2. I agree with his point that you can't immediately know someones gender but this applies to some cis people as well. It makes no sense except to deny trans people.

Yes I read it as "you can't know anyone's gender, but you can know their sex, and the two are always equivalent".

Cooked wrote:
I'd say they are all different. On the individual level there is generally a difference as some people transition later in life. This 'choice' to transition makes it different. But I don't see the relevance of the rest of the stuff.

I don't know about this, the concept of 'passing' has existed for a long time especially in the US and people (but only the subset for who this was a possibility) would make some kind of choice whether to pass or not. There's been some recent discussion about how Lucy Parsons both self-identified and was identified by the capitalist press, for example here: https://www.aaihs.org/searching-for-lucy-parsons-a-racial-riddle/. So saying that race is an inherent biological characteristic is just wrong - not just in the sense of race being socially constructed but also that mixed race people were considered black in the US via the one drop rule. Intersex people don't get a choice when they're assigned at birth either. I agree that gender vs. race comparisons are generally bad though.

Mike Harman
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Jun 19 2018 22:33
jaycee wrote:
His actual arguments were completely ignored and turned into anti-trans hate speech, ridiculed etc. his actual point was perfectly legitimate

I agree it's terrible when people's actual arguments are ignored and are mis-represented or ridiculed instead, but you've picked an interesting example to defend from this.

Sadie
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Jun 19 2018 22:47

It’s quite straightforward, pointing out that claiming that HR equality bullshit is equivalent to radical queer politics is wild homophobic and transphobic nonsense is meany abuse, whereas insinuating that your critics want to fuck cats is rational comminist discourse.

I mean, obviously.

Sadie
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Jun 20 2018 08:49

It’s almost like all this wailing and gnashing of teeth about how nasty all these idpol people are is really just a bunch of misogynists and transphobes losing their shit because they might be pulled up on their misogyny and transphobia or something.

Edit to add: downvoters, tell me why I’m wrong you cowards smile

sawa
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Jun 20 2018 07:27
jaycee wrote:
I think the way Craftwork has been treated on this thread has been pretty much emblematic of everything that is wrong with the 'milieu' around 'identity politics' (a term that is as vague in definition as it is as a philosophy). His actual arguments were completely ignored and turned into anti-trans hate speech, ridiculed etc. his actual point was perfectly legitimate even if the choice of terms was problematic (although I might be wrong but is this not a legitimate terms for a certain branch in academia?

Either way I just thought that point should be made.

Well when folk say anti trans hate speech they are the ones making it harder to have meaningful discussion.
Oddly enough as a trans person getting misgendered all the time, getting denied access to essential healthcare, getting harassed in public and when using bathrooms changing rooms etc and the fear of such happening mskes it much harder to engage in "pure class struggle". Nevermind that a study yesterday suggested that nearly half of employers in the UK are unsure if they would hire a trans person. So hard to do workplace organising when its even harder to get a job...
And god would be fab if more employers had trans equality policies which currently very very few do. Frankly the more influence Queer ideology has on hr the better. Such may be reforms but such gained by opressed folk from below is important in building the power and unity of the class.

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Jun 20 2018 08:19

Extremely well said Sawa.

Sadie
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Jun 20 2018 09:21
sawa wrote:
Well when folk say anti trans hate speech they are the ones making it harder to have meaningful discussion.
Oddly enough as a trans person getting misgendered all the time, getting denied access to essential healthcare, getting harassed in public and when using bathrooms changing rooms etc and the fear of such happening mskes it much harder to engage in "pure class struggle". Nevermind that a study yesterday suggested that nearly half of employers in the UK are unsure if they would hire a trans person. So hard to do workplace organising when its even harder to get a job...
And god would be fab if more employers had trans equality policies which currently very very few do. Frankly the more influence Queer ideology has on hr the better. Such may be reforms but such gained by opressed folk from below is important in building the power and unity of the class.

Very much this and I feel like it ties back into a really excellent post by Jura back on page 9 of this thread (#248), especially this bit:

jura wrote:
BTW, when I look at this from Eastern Europe, I can see how this campaigning has had global repercussions. Homophobia, transphobia and racism (especially of the anti-Roma variety) are a very real problem in employment here, not just in traditionally working class jobs, but also in office work and in the public sector (including academia). There was never a mass LGBTI or anti-racist movement here. And it's the Western companies (like IBM, Dell or Accenture) with their diversity policies who are miles ahead of the local employers and the state, because they were forced to adopt these policies by activism in their native countries.

I have a trans man friend and a gay friend who both work in IT, one as a programmer and the other as a consultant. They've both experienced their share of verbal abuse, the "Don't call us, we'll call you" business (this especially the trans guy) and "practical jokes" by their co-workers. They were both so relieved to finally land a job at one of these huge Western firms. They know that they can confront any abuse, any offhand remark or joke about faggots or trannies, and the HR department, as well as many colleagues, will support them. Especially for the trans friend, his work environment is literally a "safe space" in contrast to the outside world.

One result of this is that they are very loyal to these companies, they really value that. Of course, the employer knows that ultimately, this is for the better, because it makes the management of a diverse, multinational workforce much easier, and it instills this sense of loyalty. Of course, the diversity policies don't do away with exploitation. But I'd rather be exploited and not abused at work than exploited and abused. Similarly, I'd rather be exploited for a decent wage than for the minimum wage. Companies such as these send their own "contingents" to the yearly Pride march. Of course this is the commercialization/corporatization of LGBTI activism. But what other victories for the working class within capitalism are there that don't end up in capital adapting and recuperating them to some extent?

If trans people (or women or PoC or disabled people or etc. etc.) are consistently pushed out and rejected by our “comrades” in the workers movement, then it really shouldn’t surprise anybody that the result is many turning away from what should be their natural home in the workers movement and relying on the limited measure of protection offered by HR policies. I’m not saying this is a good thing by any means, but it is a consequence of hostility within the movement. It’s the anti-idpol people who are “dividing the class” a lot of the time and perhaps they should reflect on that instead of doubling down.

birdtiem
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Jun 20 2018 19:46

Is British anarchism in 2018 really "the workers movement" anyway? Is there actually a workers movement to speak of?

In any case, it seems like there is all this finger-pointing about which subsection of the working class is the one *really* "dividing the class", and which divisions are just a "natural consequence" of that, but what difference does it make? The working class is divided into a million pieces. The way forward from that seems to be to learn how to engage people with shitty-but-common ideas rather than pointing fingers and throwing your (generic "your"; not you specifically) hands up in the air.

birdtiem
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Jun 20 2018 19:46

double post

Sadie
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Jun 20 2018 19:59
birdtiem wrote:
Is British anarchism in 2018 really "the workers movement" anyway? Is there actually a workers movement to speak of?

Eh, there are some positive examples to point to in terms of workplace activity, a lot of which are pretty closely documented on the news section of this site, and the bits of anarchism that are worth paying attention to are largely part of that to some extent. Really it’s a bit of a semantic sideline though, since my main point is that I’m not willing to put up with being shit on by my supposed comrades.

Quote:
In any case, it seems like there is all this finger-pointing about which subsection of the working class is the one *really* "dividing the class", and which divisions are just a "natural consequence" of that, but what difference does it make? The working class is divided into a million pieces. The way forward from that seems to be to learn how to engage people with shitty-but-common ideas rather than pointing fingers and throwing your (generic "your"; not you specifically) hands up in the air.

I think there’s a distinction to be made between having some bad ideas or using some outdated language when it comes to gender and/or sexuality and, say, accusing LGBTQ+ folks of collaborating with HR to make you sad or distributing leaflets at anarchist events claiming that trans people generally are out to get lesbians. Like believe it or not, most of us exist in the same world as everybody else and manage to get through the day without throttling every person who says something ignorant or offensive, few trans people would be found outside of the prison system otherwise.

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Nov 30 2018 19:39

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Mike Harman
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Jun 20 2018 22:45
Craftwork wrote:
It seems mentioning sexual dimorphism (or any biological aspects of being) is taboo among the anglo-american social justice milieu

You didn't just mention sexual dimorphism, you invoked it to assert this:

craftwork wrote:
It's obvious who's a man and who's a woman - there are clear differences in physiology (it's called sexual dimorphism). Only a very small portion of the population are intersex

However physiological aspects of dimorphism in humans (upper body strength, height, voice pitch etc.) are on a spectrum. Men are on average taller than women, but there are 5'3" men and 6'2" women. Similarly with singing voice, contralto and counter-tenor are about the same range.

craftwork wrote:
, but then what's the point of hormone replacement therapy or sex-reassignment surgery?

These both relate to aspects of physiology which you can't see in a workplace so have nothing to do with your original point?

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Nov 30 2018 19:41

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radicalgraffiti
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Jun 20 2018 23:10
Mike Harman wrote:
Craftwork wrote:
It seems mentioning sexual dimorphism (or any biological aspects of being) is taboo among the anglo-american social justice milieu

You didn't just mention sexual dimorphism, you invoked it to assert this:

craftwork wrote:
It's obvious who's a man and who's a woman - there are clear differences in physiology (it's called sexual dimorphism). Only a very small portion of the population are intersex

However physiological aspects of dimorphism in humans (upper body strength, height, voice pitch etc.) are on a spectrum. Men are on average taller than women, but there are 5'3" men and 6'2" women. Similarly with singing voice, contralto and counter-tenor are about the same range.

to add to this

Quote:
The graph shows two distributions, one for men and one for women (each roughly following the classic bell-curve shape of a statistical normal distribution). At a little before 5′ 7″ (169.5 cm), they cross—anyone taller than that appears to be statistically more likely to be a man, and anyone shorter is more likely to be a woman. It might seem that we could use this value as a threshold between “female” heights and “male” heights. But there are a lot of people “on the wrong side” of the cut off point. More than 1 in 9 women (11.6%) are taller than 169.5 cm (the shaded pink section of the graph), putting them on the side we might have described as “more likely to be male”, but there are even more men who have “girly” heights: almost exactly one third of men (33.4%) are shorter than 169.5 cm.

the entire blog post is worth reading https://sugarandslugs.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/sex-differences/

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Jun 20 2018 23:15

Craftwork, appreciate your coming back to the thread to expand on your comments.

Craftwork wrote:
Steven. wrote:
Craftwork wrote:
Fall Back wrote:
where it is likely to come up is if someone is denying someone elses gender identity. In that case, then I've got no sympathy - at that point it's not just an opinion. Any more than, eg James Damore circulating a paper on why women are inferior was just an opinion, or someone telling a gay colleage they are revolting is. Going to HR isn't going to be my go to strategy, but if you think libertarian praxis is defending the fucker pushing this crap, then yr absolutely fucked.

Yeah, we get it. You "anarchists" prefer HR departments over workers with the "wrong" views(!)

Serious question: if a colleague of yours got disciplined for homophobic abuse of a colleague, would you support them?

Actual abuse? No

Okay so if we relate this more specifically to your original comment, what about workers deliberately mis-gendering colleagues? (As in my view this is clearly a form of verbal abuse)

If you wouldn't support colleagues doing that who then got disciplined, doesn't that mean you're in the same boat as us? As in, according to your logic, you are supporting HR departments over workers with the "wrong" views?

NB none of us are talking about thought crime. I would be surprised if there were any incidences of workers being disciplined simply for holding bigoted views, whereas I'm aware of huge numbers of incidences of racist/sexist workers/managers etc abusing and harassing women, workers of colour, LGBT+ workers etc and not having any consequences at all.

Mike Harman
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Jun 20 2018 23:19
Craftwork wrote:

Sexual dimorphism broadly holds true, there are obviously some exceptions.

If you were to take a random sample of people, what proportion would you be able to identify as male or female, solely based on appearance? I suspect it would be greater than 90%.

So not 'obvious', then. More of a heuristic that works most of the time.

Given trans people are estimated at ~1% of the population, and intersex people are also estimated at ~1% of the population, that is a significantly narrower percentage of the population than your 90% estimate.

craftwork wrote:
HRT actually can lead to changes in appearance.

So that would affect perceptions then, and your estimated 90+% success rate might be lower for trans people on HRT. Again since you can't know if someone is on HRT, you don't know whether their appearance is affected by it or not (and it goes without saying, there are cis women on HRT too).

Mike Harman
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Jun 20 2018 23:25
radicalgraffiti wrote:

the entire blog post is worth reading https://sugarandslugs.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/sex-differences/

From that link:

Quote:
To try to answer that question, let’s arbitrarily pick someone from the US population who is 5′ 6.5″ (169 cm) tall, making them 3 inches taller than the median for women, and two inches shorter than the median for men. Naïvely, you might expect that this individual is more likely to be a man than a woman; after all, the person’s height is closer to the male median than the female one. But you’d be wrong. In fact, statistically, it is slightly more likely that the person we have picked is a woman.

edited to add: on this point:

craftwork wrote:
Only a very small portion of the population are intersex.

This is traditionally under-reported though and still not particularly well understood:

The belief that Homo sapiens is absolutely dimorphic with the respect to sex chromosome composition, gonadal structure, hormone levels, and the structure of the internal genital duct systems and external genitalia, derives from the platonic ideal that for each sex there is a single, universally correct developmental pathway and outcome. We surveyed the medical literature from 1955 to the present for studies of the frequency of deviation from the ideal male or female. We conclude that this frequency may be as high as 2% of live births. The frequency of individuals receiving “corrective” genital surgery, however, probably runs between 1 and 2 per 1,000 live births (0.1–0.2%).

From the abstract for this study.

So more than has been recognised until quite recently, with many people not being identified at birth.

And this is where we get back to ridiculous statements like this:

craftwork wrote:
It seems mentioning sexual dimorphism (or any biological aspects of being) is taboo among the anglo-american social justice milieu

People don't object to discussing biology, they object to this crude school-debate-club throwing out statements like 'humans are sexually dimorphic' to justify the idea that non-binary gender is 'against biology' in order to exclude trans women from womanhood. Then on top of this, dragging things into a discussion on biological justifications for binary gender distracts from issues like offering solidarity to trans women facing abuse at work, and takes a massive amount of effort to debunk. It really reminds me of all the 'race realists' and evolutionary psychologists banging on about hereditable IQ, with the same deflection of criticism that 'the left can't deal with science lol'.

Either way there's a good piece here on the relationships between the issues that intersex and trans people face (written by an intersex person) and how 'gender critical feminism' is not helpful for either group, despite the fact that they may be 'critical of gender'.

I don't think people need to be interested in this stuff to 'not be transphobic', but reading up on it a bit has helped me to understand how contemporary anti-trans arguments are deployed.

Spikymike
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Jun 21 2018 10:22

Steven's question to Craftwork in #443 seems reasonable on the face of it but.... as soon as you get into this kind of detail without any actual personal example of it happening and any of the other real time background in an actual workplace involving a mix of people with varying degrees of views and day to day relationships it gets tricky. I only mention this because of Steven's NB comment at the end. Why? because I have personal experience in the past as a junior manager in a local authority of the active monitoring of workers personal use of the works E-mail system to discipline a whole group of workers for 'inappropriate' use of language in the course of what would otherwise pass as mostly inoffensive joking. That disciplinary process that I refused to take part in could have resulted in sacking of some and did result in the downgrading of some individuals. Now I wouldn't have liked some of the 'joking' and might have contested some of it but we are talking here about workers who mostly got on well with each other without any individual being 'abused'. Invoking this level of discipline by the employer and their willing agents was way over the top. There are matters of degree in all these issues in practice and they are not always easily answered on some abstract basis of ones political principles, not to mention the employers abuse of a whole range of disciplinary codes to just offload troublesome individuals. Relying on employers 'Human?' Resources departments in real time situations with real humans is not recommended.

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Jun 21 2018 14:20
Spikymike wrote:
Steven's question to Craftwork in #443 seems reasonable on the face of it but.... as soon as you get into this kind of detail without any actual personal example of it happening

That's kind of my point. I don't like speaking in purely abstract concepts. To get what someone actually means I think you need to bring it into real-world practical examples.

So in terms of this "imposition of queer ideology" on workers, there are real-world examples of academics being fired for deliberately mis-gendering their students. And I do not think those academics are worthy of support, so I don't care if HR "impose queer ideology" by sacking these bigots.

Quote:
because I have personal experience in the past as a junior manager in a local authority of the active monitoring of workers personal use of the works E-mail system to discipline a whole group of workers for 'inappropriate' use of language in the course of what would otherwise pass as mostly inoffensive joking. That disciplinary process that I refused to take part in could have resulted in sacking of some and did result in the downgrading of some individuals. Now I wouldn't have liked some of the 'joking' and might have contested some of it but we are talking here about workers who mostly got on well with each other without any individual being 'abused'

I wouldn't disagree with you here. I personally have represented my fellow workers who have made "inappropriate" comments or emails, and often management go over the top in disciplining people about a number of issues, especially if they don't like someone. However the only practical example of the sort of thing Craftwork is referring to that I'm aware of, in the real world, are about people deliberately mis-gendering colleagues or service users. And I think doing this to someone is specific and bigoted personal abuse. Someone who does this I don't care what happens to them.

Taking another real-world example, Helen Steel clearly has bigoted views about trans people and deliberately misgenders them on her social media accounts and in public appearances. But she hasn't been fired from her public sector job. However if she started abusing a trans colleague or service user and mis-gendering them then she probably would get disciplined or fired, and I wouldn't try to organise strike action to defend her (unless she apologised and completely renounced the bigoted behaviour, because I do think people can change and deserve 2nd chances).

Mike Harman
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Jun 21 2018 15:00
Steven. wrote:
Spikymike wrote:
Steven's question to Craftwork in #443 seems reasonable on the face of it but.... as soon as you get into this kind of detail without any actual personal example of it happening

That's kind of my point. I don't like speaking in purely abstract concepts. To get what someone actually means I think you need to bring it into real-world practical examples.

So in terms of this "imposition of queer ideology" on workers, there are real-world examples of academics being fired for deliberately mis-gendering their students. And I do not think those academics are worthy of support, so I don't care if HR "impose queer ideology" by sacking these bigots.

Here's a specific example, from this week:

Christian teacher refused to use preferred first names of trans kids (which were on all school documentation etc. and required both parental consent and a doctors letter) or their correct pronouns, was threatened with the sack, tendered resignation (iirc as some kind of bluff) then his resignation was accepted: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2018/06/11/a-teacher-refused-to-use-transgender-students-names-his-resignation-was-just-approved/

You can look at this as being the school board vs. the teacher, but you could also (correctly) look at it as being the teacher vs. the kids and their parents. Looks like he made a deal with the school where he could use the kid's last names, which was not popular with the kids.

Again the question is not "do you report the teacher to HR", it is "do you support the teacher against both HR and their trans students" - since if they get reinstated without being required to treat their students properly it's back to misgendering or weird workarounds again.

And I've linked to it before on these threads, but the NRV strike where Target employees went out on strike to try to get a store manager removed - amongst the complaints were sexual harassment and misgendering. I'm sure he was removed by 'HR' but he would also probably had hire and fire power within the store.

Mike Harman
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Jun 21 2018 16:32
Craftwork wrote:
James Damore - who cares tbh? It was a non-event. He became a martyr and Google's liberal cred was given a nice boost. PC liberals with power (Google execs) are more dangerous than a single, reactionary, white crank.

Again, this doesn't really stand-up to basic scrutiny.

Employees trying to talk about racial and gender issues at Google talked about an organised group of employees directing harassment against them: https://www.wired.com/story/the-dirty-war-over-diversity-inside-google/ including doxing via far-right sites like Breitbart and Vox day:

Wired wrote:
In interviews with WIRED, 15 current Google employees accuse coworkers of inciting outsiders to harass rank-and-file employees who are minority advocates, including queer and transgender employees. Since August, screenshots from Google’s internal discussion forums, including personal information, have been displayed on sites including Breitbart and Vox Popoli, a blog run by alt-right author Theodore Beale, who goes by the name Vox Day.

...

On forums like 4chan, members linked advocates’ names with their social-media accounts. At least three employees had their phone numbers, addresses, and deadnames (a transgender person’s name prior to transitioning) exposed. Google site reliability engineer Liz Fong-Jones, a trans woman, says she was the target of harassment, including violent threats and degrading slurs based on gender identity, race, and sexual orientation. More than a dozen pages of personal information about another employee were posted to Kiwi Farms, which New York has called “the web’s biggest community of stalkers.”

Separately, Google employees have recently been refusing to work on military contracts for 'PC liberals with power (Google execs)'and succeeded in getting a government defence contract cancelled.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-21/google-engineers-refused-to-build-security-tool-to-win-military-contracts

Bloomberg wrote:
Earlier this year, a group of influential software engineers in Google’s cloud division surprised their superiors by refusing to work on a cutting-edge security feature. Known as “air gap,” the technology would have helped Google win sensitive military contracts. The coders weren’t persuaded their employer should be using its technological might to help the government wage war, according to four current and former employees. After hearing the engineers’ objections, Urs Hölzle, Google’s top technical executive, said the air gap feature would be postponed, one of the people said. Another person familiar with the situation said the group was able to reduce the scope of the feature.

The act of rebellion ricocheted around the company, fueling a growing resistance among employees with a dim view of Google’s yen for multi-million-dollar government contracts. The engineers became known as the “Group of Nine” and were lionized by like-minded staff. The current and former employees say the engineers’ work boycott was a catalyst for larger protests that convulsed the company’s Mountain View, California, campus and ultimately forced executives to let a lucrative Pentagon contract called Project Maven expire without renewal. They declined to name the engineers and requested anonymity to discuss a private matter.

But it's all about PC liberal Google execs vs. lone crank James Damore eh?

Spikymike
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Jun 21 2018 16:45

So just to be clear I am not defending Craftwork's earlier reference to ''imposition of queer ideology'' in the context of problems in our dealing with 'Human resources' departments at work. I am simply pointing out that the real world of real people is more complex in practice than might appear on the surface. I suggest that quoting second-hand 'examples' and expecting 'yes' and 'no' answers from individuals who are not privy to all the material conditions behind those examples is no way to conduct an online discussion here. Beyond that I am trying to make people understand that a fixation on ''mis-gendering' is just part of a much much wider and more complex problem when it comes down to how we as workers deal with each other and develop practical collective solidarity against the power of employers and their agents that does not compromise those same principles.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
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Jun 21 2018 18:38
Spikymike wrote:
So just to be clear I am not defending Craftwork's earlier reference to ''imposition of queer ideology'' in the context of problems in our dealing with 'Human resources' departments at work. I am simply pointing out that the real world of real people is more complex in practice than might appear on the surface. I suggest that quoting second-hand 'examples' and expecting 'yes' and 'no' answers from individuals who are not privy to all the material conditions behind those examples is no way to conduct an online discussion here. Beyond that I am trying to make people understand that a fixation on ''mis-gendering' is just part of a much much wider and more complex problem when it comes down to how we as workers deal with each other and develop practical collective solidarity against the power of employers and their agents that does not compromise those same principles.

Just to be clear I'm only talking about "mis-gendering" because that is the specific example Craftwork gave.

Although I think there is a more general issue, that many anarchists/revolutionaries view transphobia in a way which is qualitatively different from how they view other types of discrimination like homophobia or racism, in that some either support it (à la Helen Steel), some tolerate it within their ranks (à la bookfair collective), and some have written material which suggests that they believe that people who criticise it are a bigger problem than those who are subjected to (à la ACG/ICC).