The Poverty of Identity Politics

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Fall Back's picture
Fall Back
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May 28 2018 21:10

And how is this imposed on you? How do they weed out this thought crime?

Or is it that you just can't be a transphobic scrote in the workplace?

I don't, as a libertarian, defend people's rights to view women or POC as inherently inferior. I don't defense peoples rights to view same gender relationships as an abomination. And yet you're accusing other people of being liberals?

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Nov 30 2018 19:32

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Mike Harman
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May 28 2018 21:16
Konsequent wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
So I'm not exactly familiar with what spoonie discourse actually looks like, but how would you apply this to Disabled People Against Cuts? https://dpac.uk.net/

DPAC seem to do cool stuff. I believe they also use a social model of disability, in that they focus on the hurdles created by a society that doesn't account for variance, and work on collectively overcoming those hurdles with direct action. As such "disabled people" means "people disabled by society" not "people who are inherently less able".

So agreed they look good from what I've seen, their about statement doesn't make a firm distinction between a social model vs. non-social model of disability though:

DPAC wrote:
DPAC is for everyone who believes that disabled people should have full human rights and equality. It is for everyone that refuses to accept that any country can destroy the lives of people just because they are or become disabled or have chronic health issues. It is for everyone against government austerity measures which target the poor while leaving the wealthy unscathed. It is for everyone who refuses to stay silent about the injustices delivered by wealthy politicians on ordinary people and their lives.

Konsequent wrote:
Spoonie discourse, from what I've seen, seems to be more support-group-ish at best, and rather being-supportive-by-making-excuses-for-each-other at worst.

I have a similar impression to you. If we're right and spoonie is 'support-group-ish' then not sure it necessarily counts as 'politics' though, any more than a parenting support group counts as 'politics' in itself (there could obviously be the full gamut of good to shit advice and political views expressed through those groups).

konsequent wrote:
I think there's more than a coincidental correlation between organisations/campaigns who's language and analysis seem to have an identity as their starting point and activities that do little of practical use, as well as between those that have a particular grievance or oppression as their starting point, and activities that improve the lives of working class people.

So that seems like a useful distinction but I'm not sure the affirmation vs. negation dichotomy (not sure if you're specifically thinking of the old Joseph Kay blog or in general here) covers getting a ramp installed somewhere or the right sort of hoist purchased at a school. Is it negation because it removes the specific barrier to access in that case? But then would removing any kind of institutional discrimination be negation? Doesn't feel like the latter is the case. Are accessibility improvements often fought via rights discourse? Definitely they are.

Konsequent wrote:
But I've made hasty judgements before and assumed that some group was going to be a waste of time because on first appearances they seemed to fall into the former category, when looking at what they did it was actually really useful. I think this was very much in spite of their essentialism though.

Yeah I used to do that all the time, then I saw it happening over and over with things either being misrepresented or written off entirely despite some limitations, and have tried to go a bit easier with stuff I don't know anything about (which is why I don't really have an opinion on spoonie-ism except that I don't think it should be used as a single example to represent all political activity around disability or illness).

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May 28 2018 21:21

I'm not sure the relevance is of telling whether someone is or isn't trans is? Your employer isn't forcing people to take an exam on gender theory. When is thinking whether gender is "simply a choice" (a formulation I very much for your roller is using, but that's by the by) going to be policed?

They're not going to peer into your brain and prove you have heretical views - but 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.

And what does the "intentionally derogatory" shit even mean? If you're mouth off that trans ppl aren't the gender they identify with, then it's shitty whether they knew someone was trans or not.

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Fall Back
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May 28 2018 21:26

Anyway, pls answer the question, how does your employer impose the belief that gender is a choice?

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May 28 2018 21:27
Craftwork wrote:
How do you tell who is/isn't trans?

This isn't about being intentionally derogatory. 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.

How do you tell who is/isn't gay or Jewish? And if there is no prima facie way to identify gay or Jewish people, then does that mean that discrimination against them isn't a proper problem either?

Mike Harman
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May 28 2018 21:34
Cooked wrote:
Just from the discussions on libcom IP does draw out a lot of very extreme extrapolations. Alf (ICC) was accused of being transphobic for using the wrong terminology when there was no doubt he made a language mistake.

See the problem here is your account of that exchange is wrong in the first place - as so many examples of people getting criticised often are.

Here's the original discussion you're referring to.

So:

1. The ICC wrote a statement on their website about the AF split.
2. The political statement, published by a political organisation on their website, got some simple terminology wrong (i.e. it wasn't just Alf in a comment using the wrong word for something).
3. Steven. did not say Alf was transphobic, he said "I'm assuming the person who wrote it has pretty much zero understanding of trans issues." then later "Now this is another sentence which shows the authors haven't got a clue what they are talking about. Either that, or they are out and out transphobes."
4. Alf then replied, ignoring most of the comment, cherry-picked the 'out and out transphobes' from Steven. as an accusation. In a follow-comment said language around gender was 'byzantine' - great form from the defenders of decadence theory, the ICC later corrected some of the post, although not without writing a separate statement on how a handful of comments on their under-informed post was an attack on the ICC

So the primary assumption was that the ICC had written a statement about the AF split, without having any background knowledge or doing any proper research around the issues behind the bookfair incident. With a secondary possibility that someone who did know lots about trans issues got the terminology that badly wrong, which would have been intentionally transphobic. This gets spun out into an attack on the ICC as transphobes, and Cooked just reproduced the ICC's account of events here (in fact slightly different to their account, getting Alf and the ICC website author mixed up and not mentioning it was a statement - was this misremembering or did you hear it recounted elsewhere?).

So what is the real problem in this case? Is it that Steven. has turned into an identity-obsessed censor baselessly accusing the ICC of transphobia? Or is it that the ICC put out a poorly researched statement on a split in another organisation with some basic terminological errors in it, got very defensive when this was pointed out, doubled down on this with a follow-up post about them getting attacked, quietly fixed some of the original errors they made, and that this has become an apocryphal tale of the problems of identity politics on libcom. You tell me?

Mike Harman
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May 28 2018 21:43
Craftwork wrote:
- Why should anarchists/communists, whose goal is the revolutionary overthrow of the state and capitalism, speak of ‘rights’ or 'reforms' (which are elements of the state)?

Yeah I remember those fuckers campaigning for the 8 hour day in Chicago, fucking statist liberals.

Mike Harman
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May 28 2018 21:49
Craftwork wrote:

All the major identity-focused organisations - Stonewall, Hope Not Hate, the various Feminist organisations like Women's Equality Party, etc. These are the main Identity-Political organisations in society today, not your numerically irrelevant, anarcha-feminist/queer sects.

Fucking hell wait until Craftwork hears about the Labour Party and the TUC.

Fleur
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May 28 2018 21:54

I would also like to know how queer ideology is enforced in Craft work's workplace. I'm all agog.

Mike Harman
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May 28 2018 21:56
Craftwork wrote:
How do you tell who is/isn't trans?

This isn't about being intentionally derogatory. 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.

There's no prima facie way to tell whether someone is definitely male or female either. Do you want work to let you look in people's pants?

Craftwork wrote:
Of course, one would think that, as libertarians, you would support the freedom of conscience of a staff member to refuse this without fear of repercussions,

On the one hand, this sounds like Jordan Peterson and C-16.

"so now I look at the derivation of the terminology, I say 'ooh, that's terminology generated by the postmodern neo-marxists, I think those people are reprehensibly murderous, I'm not going to say their words, because I know what they're like, I know where that leads'". (direct quote).

Craftwork wrote:
This isn't about being intentionally derogatory.

Is freedom of conscience to misgender people intentionally due to post-modern neo-marxism being unintentionally derogatory or are you talking about something else?

Sadie
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May 28 2018 22:01
Quote:
the various Feminist organisations like Women's Equality Party

Ah yes, the famously pro-queer theory WEP, who don’t have a policy on trans inclusion because so many of their members fucking hate trans people that it’s basically impossible to come up with one without splitting the organisation.

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May 28 2018 22:11

I had no idea it became a thing, nor am I accusing steven of being an identity obsessed censor. I do remember him posting the comment. I share your assessment of the text thats not the issue.

"Either that, or they are out and out transphobes"

The above stood out as odd, unneccesary and smear-light. There were other criticisms to be made.

If you mean to say that your assessment is that people arent doing what i suggested say so. Referenced info is great but youre avoiding the argument by wall of text unless you state your view in addition to picking at details. Your assertion that the quote above is perfectly normal and just following some completely benign logic of argument is weak. But youre not really making that argument either.

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Nov 30 2018 19:33

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May 28 2018 22:35
Cooked wrote:
I had no idea it became a thing, nor am I accusing steven of being an identity obsessed censor. I do remember him posting the comment. I share your assessment of the text thats not the issue.

"Either that, or they are out and out transphobes"

The above stood out as odd, unneccesary and smear-light. There were other criticisms to be made.

I didn't know it was Alf who wrote that article.

Anyway I stand by my comments. The article misgendered trans people. Now before October last year I would assume that a revolutionary who did that just did it by accident as they weren't aware of the correct terminology. However with the bookfair incident it showed that vast swathes of the anarchist movement (particularly amongst the over 50s) were transphobic. I never would have thought that Helen Steele and Past Tense, and the bookfair collective were transphobic, but turns out they were (not to mention people who are friends with them and who refuse to acknowledge the problem with their friends). Therefore without asking Alf I had no way of knowing which of the two options was correct. Given that the whole thrust of the article was factually wrong and very much biased in favour of the transphobes, I thought that the author being transphobic was unfortunately the most likely outcome.

Like other people I would be curious to know exactly what Craftwork's employer imposing "queer ideology" on you means in practice.

Fleur
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May 28 2018 22:39

Oh I get it. You're not allowed to be a transphobic piece of shit in your workplace. That's that cleared up then.

Sadie
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May 28 2018 22:40

This is starting to remind me of that time I was discriminated against in work for my opinion that the kettle is a perfectly valid place to urinate, those oppressive bourgois free speech haters were so offended by that opinion I had that they totally scabbed on me by complaining to HR.

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May 28 2018 22:41
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?

Quote:

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.

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.

Another serious question: if someone sincerely believes that gay relationships are morally wrong, would you support them refusing to compromise their principles, say by refusing to marry a gay couple, or make a gay wedding cake or what have you?

If not, what's the difference?

On a related note, it is not always possible to tell what gender someone is. I have seen transphobic feminists, for example, heaping abuse on cis-women claiming that they were actually men, because they had a square jaw or some other typically masculine feature.

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May 28 2018 22:44
Fleur wrote:
Oh I get it. You're not allowed to be a transphobic piece of shit in your workplace. That's that cleared up then.

basically. And the only way I can see that would actually manifest itself is what pronoun you refer to somebody as.

Really "queer ideology" has nothing to do with this. This is something I really don't get about transphobes, basically I just think it's a matter of common decency. It is no skin off your nose refer to someone in a pronoun of their choosing.

To show it is nothing to do with management imposing "queer ideology", if a woman at your workplace got divorced and changed her name back to her maiden name, and some bloke decided to refuse to acknowledge her new name and make a point of referring to her only by the old name, and refused verbal requests and then management instructions to do so, then he would probably get disciplined just for being a dick.

Fleur
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May 28 2018 22:46

On my phone and tbqh I can't be arsed to scroll back through this thread to quote but whoever said that the actual issue that all these identity politics tantrum havers are melting down over is trans people - spot on. They may waffle on about other shit but that's the big one.

Mike Harman
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May 28 2018 22:47
Cooked wrote:
The above stood out as odd, unneccesary and smear-light. There were other criticisms to be made.

If you mean to say that your assessment is that people arent doing what i suggested say so. Referenced info is great but youre avoiding the argument by wall of text unless you state your view in addition to picking at details.

There is currently a three page discussion on this site under the programme of the CNT: https://libcom.org/library/10-point-program-catalan-cnt - mostly focusing on its use of the words 'Catalan people' and 'self-determination' in the statement.

The CNT are described as 'populist', 'nationalist', 'leftist', supporting 'national state-building as a transitional demand' (or at least pandering to those things) in one comment by Red Marriott. No-one flipped out about this as a sign of the decline of libcom, Red Marriott wasn't accused of smearing the CNT, it's seen as political critique. I agree with the critique, it's a weak statement that makes a number of concessions to Catalan nationalism (ideologically, not just supporting people fighting the police and similar), but it's not getting brought up elsewhere as a sign of the toxic atmosphere on libcom or anything presumably because people agree with the criticisms made even if they're made quite strongly.

Point out a statement from the ICC is either unintentionally or intentionally transphobic though and whew boy 'solidarity in the face of this attack'.

So no, I think it's quite reasonable to point out that a statement is transphobic if it is, especially giving the benefit of the doubt, as Steven did, edit apparently more in what he wrote than what he thought that it was probably clueless rather than malicious.

For another example, I wrote this the other month: https://libcom.org/blog/post-war-strike-wave-sub-saharan-africa-02032018

The original title was "The post-war strike wave in sub-saharan Africa'. Someone on twitter pointed out sub-saharan Africa is racist. I'd never heard that before (it seemed straightforward for south of the desert), but did a quick google and found https://www.pambazuka.org/governance/what-exactly-does-‘sub-sahara-africa’-mean explaining some of the history of the term.

For example several countries which include large areas of the sahara have always been 'sub-saharan', South Africa wasn't until the end of apartheid, then started getting included. It makes the argument that it was informed by colonial relationships and geopolitics, which is a fair enough argument I think.

I could have argued that the terminology was byzantine and they were trying to smear me as a racist, but instead I thought about a couple of different titles, suggested them, made the change and the person who pointed it out was happy to see it addressed (and as you can see from above I didn't bother to change the URL). It's not that fucking hard.

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May 29 2018 04:35

[delete me]

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May 28 2018 22:51

I love how this discussion here went from a JAQ to literally wittering about dimorphism in, what an hour?

Your sort are astonishing in their regularity.

This not merely a case of siding with HR, but a case of basic human decency. We do not accept your abuse of us. Our allies do not accept your abuse of us. Society as a whole, outside of the radical left, do not accept your abuse of us. Sort it out.

Mike Harman
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May 28 2018 22:54
Craftwork wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
Craftwork wrote:
- Why should anarchists/communists, whose goal is the revolutionary overthrow of the state and capitalism, speak of ‘rights’ or 'reforms' (which are elements of the state)?

Yeah I remember those fuckers campaigning for the 8 hour day in Chicago, fucking statist liberals.

The capitalism of today is qualitatively different from that of the 19th century. If there were a mass movement for limiting the working-day, it would simply be dominated by Labour and the unions.

That wasn't your argument.

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.

See imagine you went to a party and some dude pestered you for a dance for hours, then you finally said yes and had a dance, then he left, then his friends told him you were a boy, then he came back and stabbed you. That'd be a bit shit and it happened to someone this weekend.

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.

So the only time someone's gender at work comes into daily conversation is if you have to refer to them in the third person or third person possessive. You really are complaining about pronouns of all things.

Fleur
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May 28 2018 23:04

Even supposing that biological essentialism you rattled off was true (and it absolutely is not) what fucking skin off your nose would it be to call someone by their preferred pronouns? Instead you would deliberately want to demean someone. That's not just being ill informed of the issues, that's being a nasty little shit too.

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May 28 2018 23:32

On a related note, I think it's worth mentioning this as well. Employers for decades were very happy to allow black, female and gay workers to be abused by straight, white male colleagues.

It is the struggles of workers of colour, and women workers over time which has basically forced the situation to change, so now most employers need to at least pay lip service to "equal opportunities".

Mike Harman
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May 29 2018 00:03
craftwork wrote:
You want to live in a fluffy society, in which no one is offended and no one has the right to offend , despite it meaning that you yourself loses the ability to offend or challenge people's long-held beliefs

craftwork wrote:
- Why should anarchists/communists, whose goal is the revolutionary overthrow of the state and capitalism, speak of ‘rights’ or 'reforms' (which are elements of the state)?

I think you're onto something, no anarchist/communist should ever discuss 'rights', except the right to offend - the most important right of all and central to the abolition of capital and the state. Massive fucking liberal.

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May 29 2018 00:26
Cooked wrote:
In this thread people have insinuated that you are an abuser if you criticise IP.

I was not insinuating that. I was trying to say that sometimes bad critiques of idpol can be used as cover by abusers. I also said that the people making bad critiques often don't understand this context because abuse is often very hidden.

Mescaline
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May 29 2018 02:09

Since this discussion has somehow ended up talking about sexual dimorphism, someone might as well say something about this. I think when there is discussion about what gender someone is biology is not even relevant at all. Still I think it's worth pointing out that even what the science says around biology and sex isn't very clear at all. What doctors and biologists use to determine sex is a wide range of factors including genitals, gonads, karyotype, hormones/biochemistry, secondary sexual traits and gametes etc. This is why more people or moving towards viewing sex as a spectrum instead. Again this dosen't have anything to with being trans, it's just that when transphobes are being challenged like this they often like to point to things like genitalia to support their view, but it might also be important to remember that their views about this are actually pseudoscientific.

ticking_fool
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May 29 2018 04:20
ticking_fool wrote:
Just say it's the trannies and have done with it, FFS. This dance is boring.

I love being right. I mean, yeah, it's really shitty that huge chunks of a movement I've devoted an unreasonable amount of my life to fucking hate the fact I exist and repeatedly side with bigots because they think my existence is absurd, but hey, at least I was fucking right.

I'd like to think that the more reasonable people swimming in this fucking swamp would take a look at what they're lining up with but I know that won't happen. Thankyou to not shit comrades on here for not being shit.