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When personal relationships and politics clash

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Samotnaf
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Aug 18 2011 04:29

Re door stop's post with my name on it:

Quote:
Samotnaf & door stop wrote:
The limitation we want to live in determines the goal and the alternative successive synthesis from which the context of a lasting world receives the absolute condition of our liberation, however, bearing in mind that these are also the exploitation of situation presages the irreconcilable individual.

What I wrote was just a re-mix of something incomprehensible that doorstop posted and which Steven found incomprehensible because it was: I re-mixed the words as a joke, as a bit of self-entertainment.; I'd guess that either doorstop wants to somehow get at me for the wind-up or he genuinely thought i was trying to say something. I prefer to think the former, because if it's the latter, doorstop, I'm afraid you've gone mad and you should seriously try to make yourself sane again. I'm not saying this as a malicious wind-up. IF (and it's a big IF) you seriously believe that what you wrote or what I re-mixed of what you wrote, is something that communicates something, then you are living in a world of your own.

spikeymike: it's self-evident that separations can't be overcome on your own - it's almost a definition of the idea of overcoming separations (how can you overcome separations if you remain separate?). You're right though that my post was a response to the first 2 posts, the later ones being far more nuanced. I'd agree with almost all of what piter has said here.

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Devrim
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Aug 18 2011 08:06
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Just to say, there is a big difference between being (1) apathetic, (2) a business owner, and (3) a fascist. If they are bonefide fascist, that changes things.

The guy said he was apathetic/fascist, which I imagine means just somebody with far right opinions, not an active fascist militant.

For me, it is being a pawnbroker, which would be the big problem. It is a particularly scumy line of work. I work with people who vote fascist (including one guy who is a social democrat voter, who voted for them tactically!), and get on with some of them. I can't imagine getting on with a pawnbroker.

Devrim

duskflesh
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Aug 18 2011 08:24

I have news for people who look at ideology/politics to make their personal lives better. I'm sorry but the revolution is not going to happen anytime soon. But I think it is natural to persue politics as a human being, we can't help but be concerned with the greater world. When we suffer from communal isolation and a shirty environment, it is not only natural but an obligation for us to struggle to end such phenomena.

I think when a person mixes up personal growth and political struggle they act very neuroticly. They are the people who throw bombs.

I will make friends with capitalist if I connect with them as human beings. I will try to improve my life. I don't need to completely dedicate my life to a political ideal. Nor do I think it is hypocritical to my political beliefs to have all kinds of human relations to people who are my “political enemies”. I might add that it dose not help the casue of my politics what so ever when I do isolate these people. Actually if we have such narratives/attitudes, comrades that do move of to different part of society will be less inclined to hold on to radical beliefs when the it starts tearing them apart. It will be hurting the numbers of the movement in the long run. If we want people to stay anarchist after their 20's, we need to be more understanding of the needs of trying to live in our society. People will grow older, and they will have to make certain choices or suffer. And idealism will not fix a mid life crisis. Anarchism should not get in the way of personal growth.

i think some of the more militant attitudes i have seen on this thread are dangerous

i might also add that if i found out that someone i knew is a fascist/nazi, i would reconsider my relationships with them

I might add that regardless of that economic system we live in, a real friendship will be hard to find. And if you are waiting for communism so arrive so you can have good friendships, you might wanna rethink your relationship to politics.

piter
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Aug 18 2011 08:58
Quote:
duskflesh wrote :
I think when a person mixes up personal growth and political struggle they act very neuroticly. They are the people who throw bombs.

people who throw bombs tend to be the ones that think politics is about who's in power.
if you see that it's about human relationship it's easy to see that in that regards throwing bombs won't achieve a lot because revolution is about replacing authoritarian /alienated relationships by relationships based on free relations between individuals.

I'm a bit sorry for you because if you think communism is not a personnal matter you've missed the point entirely about what it is.
I think you should reconsider your "politics" if you don't see the link between how people lives and politics...and it's not about "dedicating one's life to an ideal" that would be religious bullshit, nothing to do with communism which has nothing to do with sacrifice nor with something "ideal".

and nobody talked about "waiting" for communism to have good relationship. "building" communism is building better relationships. the progress of communism as a real, historic, movement (and not a messianic fairytale) goes with people replacing capitalist relations by overcomming the different kind of separations going with it and connecting in ways that go towards a social organisation without capital, commodity, state, etc...

but if for you political struggle is mostly about defending the party line/building the party or things like that, then I agree that it's not gonna do any good for you...

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Auld-bod
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Aug 18 2011 15:41

I have never known any pawnbrokers personally, though I bought my first camera from one, presumably it was an unredeemed pledge. For many years my dad used to redeem his suit on a Friday night (as did several of his brothers), and my granny would return them the following Monday morning. This was how they got by, constantly juggling their finances.

The real question regarding pawnbrokers is not are they nice people, but why in the 21st century are they still providing a necessary service? Where I live it is the provy woman who is getting good business, doing her Friday evening round of neighbours with her tally book. ‘Christmas loan all paid off? Need a sub to get the kids kitted out for the new school term?’

I would suggest a method of maintaining a relationship with people you care about, and who care for you, is to try and establish mutual respect based on agreeing to differ. All ideas and opinions are provisional to the extent that they can usually be subject to modification (unless they are a zealot). A friendship which lasts, is usually when you can ask, or be asked, to stop being a plonker (or words to that effect).

duskflesh
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Aug 18 2011 19:01

Pitter I think it is a bit unfair labeling me with a party

I just don't think there is a relationship between communism and my personal life. All communism is to me is a vision for the future and a conviction. I am starting to think that you think anarchism is just a lifestyle.(tongue)

At best I can see people with the same political vision coming together to try to escape some of the alienation. Which can function as a method of attracting more people in to our communities and ideology. But even that has its limitation simply because we live in this system.

piter
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Aug 18 2011 19:32
Quote:
Pitter I think it is a bit unfair labeling me with a party

well, it was just a way of saying that yes a kind of politics, done by party activits, has nothing to do with human relationship (or more exactly with better human relationship). I didn't meant to label you nor associate you with it.
I just wanted to say that linking the way we lives (and relate to each other) with politics can (happily!) mean something else than dedicating to an organisation and having your views and relations shaped by it.
and separating one's life and politics is not a really good way the escape the worst aspect of politics, in fact it is reproducing it in a way, indeed isn't the problem with politics the fact that it is separated?

also, I don't behave with and relate to people in the way I do because I am a libertarian pro-revolutionnary. it just goes the other way round, I went to these "political" views because of how I felt relationships should be, people relating to each other without alienating mediations, with the maximum freedom.

if I don't go well with capitalist is not because I'm communist, it is because I feel exploitation and hierarchy are unnecessary and "bad", and because I feel that I became a communist.

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Malva
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Aug 18 2011 20:02
Quote:
if I don't go well with capitalist is not because I'm communist, it is because I feel exploitation and hierarchy are unnecessary and "bad", and because I feel that I became a communist.

Yes. I agree with Piter. You can create spaces and relationships with other human beings that transcend the logic of capitalism. Otherwise you are positing that capitalism is a complete totality out of which no subjectivity capable of thinking or acting against it can originate (in which case how can libcom.org exist?). Or that politics is some distinct separate sphere of life like economics and sociology and art, all of which are purely formal and thoroughly bourgeois separations. As Vaneigem says "those who speak of revolution and class struggle without referring explicitly to everyday life, without understanding what is subversive about love and what is positive in the refusal of constraints, such people have a corpse in their mouth." People develop ostensibly 'political' convictions because of their subjective experiences not by sitting outside time and space like a god. In turn we ought to be shaping our subjective experiences as a society as much as possible; not be tools of a process overwhich we have no control. On the one hand you can say that this opens the danger for lifestylism but on the other is the danger of calling yourself a communist 'politically' but in practice being a capitalist douchebag who know that his actions are exploiting people (emotionally/monetarily) but doing it anyway.

batswill
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Aug 19 2011 09:03

The sheer naivety of this topic astounds me, nags at me! I will not mince words, but personal relationships are social relationships are political relationships, and even with close relatives or partners , (why the hell would one cohabitate with a fascist unless one was a masochist?!), I would give them a piece of my mind and tell them to not bother making contact with me until they understood something about the fundamental social forces and the mechanisms and institutions, (including the family), that are accomplices in the oppression of the biospheric totality. Or else!

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Auld-bod
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Aug 19 2011 13:23

I am amazed at the self-assurance of contributors regarding their personal relationships. Some believe they can synthesise their politics and feelings, or conversely they can be compartmentalised. I’d like to think my politics are rational though I know my feelings are not always so.

It is impossible to enter your own field of vision, however after some time and reflection, I know I’ve said and done things based almost entirely on my emotions. I don’t have a problem in admitting this, as I feel the real problem would be in denying it has happened. I suspect I’m not too unusual in this respect.

I once read a transcription of a speech by Hienrich Himmler where he implores the SS to remain resolute in their arduous task, and overcome their ‘natural feelings’ in carrying out their historic mission. I’d say that whatever advice that Nazi handed out we should do the opposite.

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Croy
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Aug 24 2011 23:11

Right, I cant be bothered to quote people because there's a lot of posts and Id be picking and choosing too much, so I might be repeating some points but here it goes.

Most importantly, I think as much as your political views are a part of who you are, particularly where you are radical, politically active, and passionate about them, you should not let that get in the way of GOOD friendships in MOST CASES. The other cases would be like, as people have already talked about, if I knew some one who was consciously, actively, and totally fascist I would probably avoid befriending them to say the least. Also people have talked about knowing pawnbrokers, admittedly, I don't know how it works at all but have an idea from what you guys have said that it involves getting poor people into even more debt. As morally bad as it is from our, and indeed most peoples, perspective, we have to accept that people have got to do what they have got to do to make a living. Its almost a bit silly to start saying stuff like "I would be friends with a person in X profession, but not in Y profession, and maybe Z profession depending on how they were as a person". This is because, essentially, they are all making money, therefore capitalist in most basic terms. And of course, not being friends with some because their capitalist, or a consumer, is just ridiculous, as everyone is. I cant stand people who think if we truly believe what we believe we should all just go do subsistence farming in some place far away (I know some that has said this to me perfectly seriously)

Back to what I was saying in the beginning, in most cases, people with radical views like anarchists etc, have just got to accept that we cant try to only have anarchist friends (agreeing with every one you know/are friends with would be fucking boring?. The more radical you get, the more likely it is you are going to disagree hugely with most of the people you meet. Because of the size of the likelihood, it makes sense to either be clear with people that you believe what you believe but you are willing to put political disagreements aside for the sake of maintaining a friendship, if you feel its worth protecting, which a good friendship should always be. If you are un willing to do this, you are only going to further alienate yourself from the people that surround you, friends, family etc. If your friends are un willing to do this, then they are not really friends, and frankly, you should tell them to fuck off. I posted more than a couple of status' during the riots on facebook that contained an anarchist, or just left wing, perspective etc. Some people that I know used this as an excuse to suddenly speak to me, after having not done for ages, call me names etc and bring up other irrelevant personal grievances against me. These are the people that I think should fuck off.

Finally, there have been talking about how separate personal relationships and politics are. I was happy with defining politics as the distribution of power, and still am, because that definition does not deny its about human interaction at all. You cant negotiate and/or distribute power and status without human interaction. I'm sure some one can take me apart on this, but arguing about the definition of politics is a Pandora's box, that doesn't really need to be opened in this thread, or indeed any, because it is so hard its basically pointless.

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Devrim
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Aug 25 2011 00:35
the croydonian anarchist wrote:
Also people have talked about knowing pawnbrokers, admittedly, I don't know how it works at all but have an idea from what you guys have said that it involves getting poor people into even more debt. As morally bad as it is from our, and indeed most peoples, perspective, we have to accept that people have got to do what they have got to do to make a living.

Do you think that there are any limits to this? What about slave trader for example? Would you really sit around with them smiling and having a drink ignoring what they 'had to do to make a living'?

Devrim

wojtek
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Aug 25 2011 02:05

I've only ever really had one tense encounter with very reactionary people. I went to the pub once with my (Labour) mate and a few of his friends from his university course (they all study military history and so are naturally reactionary). Well anyway, they all started talking politics and me really not being in the mood, I didn't get involved and started chatting with a girl. My mate then told his Irish loyalist mate (who politics aside was annoying) that I was an anarchist and it got a little nervy, but we laughed it off with a merry drink.

On the way home, another friend of his who was a bit stocky was promoting the EDL and saying shit about muslims. I had the bright idea to retort that I supported a group called Antifa who beat up his ideological peeps and stab up Russian nazis. That didn't go down twell at all and he nearly had me, but I managed to persuade him otherwise saying it would be a bit pathetic and immature (he was ten years older than me roll eyes ). Once we moved away from politics though, he was ok and I could act civil towards him, but being friends would very likely be too hard and he'd probably pummel me sooner rather than later.

I'd imagine that these people's politics makes most of them idiots personality-wise.

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Croy
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Aug 25 2011 12:53
Devrim wrote:
the croydonian anarchist wrote:
Also people have talked about knowing pawnbrokers, admittedly, I don't know how it works at all but have an idea from what you guys have said that it involves getting poor people into even more debt. As morally bad as it is from our, and indeed most peoples, perspective, we have to accept that people have got to do what they have got to do to make a living.

Do you think that there are any limits to this? What about slave trader for example? Would you really sit around with them smiling and having a drink ignoring what they 'had to do to make a living'?

Devrim

Of course there are limits, frankly I find it a bit disappointing you would think I would support murder as just "doing what you have to do". If it ever got to the point that that was a not secretive business, I, and many others like me, would not be trying to get a job. We would be rebelling and taking it down.

Manic
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Aug 25 2011 16:26

I talk politics all the time with my friends, I challenge them to think about things which they otherwise wouldn't think about. I give alternative opinions about current events and try to counter the propaganda which we are bombarded with daily from all mainstream news sources. Especially now in the wake of the riots and the reactionary foaming at the mouth we have seen from class unconscious workers. This is not being a "lifestylist" but I for one won't bite my tongue and live like a trappist monk just because my politics don't conform to the expected norm. I also won't tolerate racist or queerphobic remarks, I never catch any of my friends saying anything racist but I did once french kiss a guy in the pub when he wouldn't shut up about bisexuals and transgender people, just to prove a point like grin.
As for being friends with a pawn broker, I would treat them as I would any other member of the petit bourgeois. I would recognize that their class interests run contrary to to revolutionary politics and not even attempt to engage with them on any meaningful level but if they're already your mates then I wouldn't stop seeing them just because of their job.

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Devrim
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Aug 25 2011 17:37
the croydonian anarchist wrote:
Devrim wrote:
Do you think that there are any limits to this? What about slave trader for example? Would you really sit around with them smiling and having a drink ignoring what they 'had to do to make a living'?

Of course there are limits,

Yes, there are of course limits, and for me a pawn broker is beyond mine.

Devrim

mons
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Aug 25 2011 20:08
Quote:
This is because, essentially, they are all making money, therefore capitalist in most basic terms. And of course, not being friends with some because their capitalist, or a consumer, is just ridiculous, as everyone is.

Not everyone is a capitalist. I know what you're saying though - that everyone has to use money, try and get a job, and take part in the capitalist system. But a capitalist is someone who actually owns capital, and makes money off other people's work. Only a really small minority of people are actual capitalists, so it wouldn't be too ridiculous to not to be friends with any of them.

I think I could probably stay friends with someone who became a capitalist, but if I met someone who was already a capitalist I wouldn't be able to. Obviously being friends or not with people of different politics/class positions to you makes no difference, so it's just a matter of what you don't mind putting up with.
It's difficult; the vast majority of people (that I've met anyway) are sexist, and many are homophobic and racist. A decent proportion of people I've met I wouldn't be able to be friends with because of that, when I'm around people like that I just spend the whole time pissed off at them so I couldn't be friends with them. The idea that class struggle anarchists are just 'ordinary people' isn't quite right, just by virtue of trying to not be sexist, etc. it makes you stand out a bit and limits who it's easy to be friends with.

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Croy
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Aug 26 2011 18:48
mons wrote:
Quote:
This is because, essentially, they are all making money, therefore capitalist in most basic terms. And of course, not being friends with some because their capitalist, or a consumer, is just ridiculous, as everyone is.

Not everyone is a capitalist. I know what you're saying though - that everyone has to use money, try and get a job, and take part in the capitalist system. But a capitalist is someone who actually owns capital, and makes money off other people's work. Only a really small minority of people are actual capitalists, so it wouldn't be too ridiculous to not to be friends with any of them.

Yeah, this is indeed what I meant smile