"Comrade" Vs. "Compernro"

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Libertaria
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Apr 28 2010 21:14
"Comrade" Vs. "Compernro"

I am an anarchist. I don't care for the growth of the use of the term "comrade" to refer to other anarchists. I would rather use the term "Compernro" or "Companion".

"Comrade" comes from "camarada", Spanish for a group of soldiers billeted together, via French, and literally means "barrack mate", hence, "fellow soldier". Its use among Communists and other revolutionaries is by analogy to the military usage.

"companion", which apparently was the term of address preferred by European Anarchists in the 19th and early 20th Centuries (and maybe to this day, for all I know), and appears to have been used by them expressly in contradistinction from the Communist "comrade". Someone told me that they remember reading a letter from Marx in which he speaks of "the companions", referring to Bakunin's Anarchists.

Deezer
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Apr 28 2010 21:18

Do you mean compañero/a?

martinh
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Apr 28 2010 21:31

I just think of travelling music hall troupes when I hear the word companion.

It sounds awfully twee in English English usage. The Wobbly term "fellow worker" is better if you want to avoid "comrade".

And TBH I don't think the etymology of comrade is from Spanish originally, but Latin, ultimately meaning room-mate. Companion means "one you share bread with"

Regards,

Martin

Deezer
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Apr 28 2010 21:36

Are we not meant to keep saying it in Spanish though martinh?

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oisleep
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Apr 28 2010 21:50
Libertaria wrote:
I am an anarchist. I don't care for the growth of the use of the term "comrade" to refer to other anarchists. I would rather use the term "Compernro" or "Companion".

"Comrade" comes from "camarada", Spanish for a group of soldiers billeted together, via French, and literally means "barrack mate", hence, "fellow soldier". Its use among Communists and other revolutionaries is by analogy to the military usage.

"companion", which apparently was the term of address preferred by European Anarchists in the 19th and early 20th Centuries (and maybe to this day, for all I know), and appears to have been used by them expressly in contradistinction from the Communist "comrade". Someone told me that they remember reading a letter from Marx in which he speaks of "the companions", referring to Bakunin's Anarchists.

probably one of the most pressing issues of our day

Boris Badenov
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Apr 28 2010 22:08

'companion' does sound a bit off in English, and 'comrade' sounds quaint even when sincerely meant imo.

oisleep wrote:
probably one of the most pressing issues of our day

well, fuck, how will I know what to call you when the anarchy comes?

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Apr 28 2010 22:53

I have to say that I think "comrade", "companero/a", "fellow worker" etc all make you sound like you're part of some nutty Scientologist splinter cult.. whenever I hear people say it (or even write it in emails) it embarasses the shite out of me.. embarrassed

martinh
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Apr 28 2010 23:01

how do you put it then, Ed?

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Apr 28 2010 23:14

Put what? 'Comrade'? Depends on context but I do find it strange when people address a meeting/email list with "comrades". We don't use it to address groups of people generally in our lives so clearly there are alternatives, I don't understand why being in a political meeting makes people change the words they use..

Caiman del Barrio
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Apr 28 2010 23:18
Ed wrote:
I have to say that I think "comrade", "companero/a", "fellow worker" etc all make you sound like you're part of some nutty Scientologist splinter cult.. whenever I hear people say it (or even write it in emails) it embarasses the shite out of me.. embarrassed

In Mexico, both were pretty common parlance actually.

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Ed
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Apr 28 2010 23:25

Cool, I guess for there it's fine then.. I've never been to Mexico though, have you? wink

Caiman del Barrio
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Apr 28 2010 23:30

No, been to Thailand though. wink

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Apr 28 2010 23:37

Same thing then?

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Libertaria
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Apr 29 2010 02:39
oisleep wrote:
probably one of the most pressing issues of our day

I was thinking of the history of source of the terms and it's usage. No problem in exploring these things from a historical perspective, eh?

In reality, it's really weird when anyone calls someone "comrade" or "fellow worker" or anything like that IRL. Just don't call me late for dinner and I'll be fine tongue

thomas.mas
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Apr 29 2010 02:55

I usually post on ABCat... and this is a pretty silly topic to have my first post (under my new username... I used to post here under a different username years ago before all the conflict and exodus... nice to see how the boards have changed over hear by the way). But I think this is a good piece of writing on the meaning of comrade from folks of the general libertarian communist orientation, whether folks want to use the term or not:

Definitions of a Comrade
http://anarkismo.net/article/13386

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Apr 29 2010 03:02

Well, that's the other reason why I had an interest in the difference between comrade and companero/a: it seems to be that the neo-platformists use that term to refer to each other....

Black Badger
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Apr 29 2010 03:16

I use "compa" to refer to my allies. I use "the comrades" when referring to Leninists.

thomas.mas
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Apr 29 2010 03:40

Oh, I didn't know you were talking about us "neo-platformists"...

It's because of our stated...

And -widely-known-but-still-closeted...

...obsession with all things that are or sound Russian.

At least that's the current line as passed down by Comrade Dundee through the secret WSM/ L&S Central Commitee.

gypsy
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Apr 29 2010 06:17

In Spanish using companero sounds fine. In english it sounds stupid. Comrade is fine.

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Apr 29 2010 07:38

Tbh, I think both terms are pretty outdated and I'd definitely be a little weirded out if someone used it in front of me. They have too many connotations towards military or cold-war terminology.

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Apr 29 2010 08:20

Dunno, generally among friends some people have regularly used comrade in a largely tongue in cheek fashion, did that a fair bit in the past. Don;t think its really a big issue, never heard anyone use at a public event tbh. Its a nice enough word to use as long as you have a sense of humour about it.

I've never used companera and 'fellow space worker', they always sounded awful, fellow worker sounds like you love working or some mental flatcap wearing crap and companera sounds like its only two steps away from all that 'anti-capitalista' bollocks.

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Apr 29 2010 08:37
Vlad336 wrote:
well, fuck, how will I know what to call you when the anarchy comes?

number six

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Apr 29 2010 10:36
Denna wrote:
Tbh, I think both terms are pretty outdated and I'd definitely be a little weirded out if someone used it in front of me. They have too many connotations towards military or cold-war terminology.

Ditto for me..

thomas.mas wrote:
At least that's the current line as passed down by Comrade Dundee through the secret WSM/ L&S Central Commitee.

Cheers for the info t-man, your libcom-snitch cheque is in the post by the way.. wink

Caiman del Barrio
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Apr 29 2010 21:21

So...which former Libcom poster is Thomas Mas?

As regards the OP, I'm trying out some new revolutionary shit called first names.

radicalgraffiti
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Apr 29 2010 21:39

Don't see whats wrong with using comrades to refer to people who you agree with political, it would sound weird to greet some on as comrade though.

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Apr 30 2010 00:11

I think comrades just sounds quaint and archaic, I've used it before, but I try to avoid it. Companero/a I've only used a couple times.

I really dislike 'fellow worker' and, after it being pointed out by someone, I don't like it's constant usage in the IWW's paper.

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Apr 30 2010 02:10

The one way "comrade" is used that I think actually works is in written form when one is dealing with a point of contention. Using "comrade" in that context works as a sign of respectful disagreement. But yeah, I can't imagine ever using either word IRL.

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Apr 30 2010 02:17

In Brasil, we usually call ourselves "compa", short for compañera/o, which is mostly used in unions (the capitalist left stole it from anarchosyndicalists). The neoplatformists use it too. I didn't now about that millitary stuff with camarada, I'll drop it for good!

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Apr 30 2010 05:25

I think it's funny to see people be like "comrade and fellow worker are offputting!" in a thread that begins with the words "I am an anarchist" on a website whose name is an abbreviation for "libertarian communist." I don't know if you've heard but there are, like, once in a great while, some people who have hang ups about each of those three words too. (I also heard that this one time "marxist" caused a bit of confusion too.)

I get that there's no universally comfortable term for all contexts, but that's what words are like. They fit well for some people in some places, not for all people in all places. Rather than particular terms being right or wrong it seems to me the real issue is having a sense of who you're talking with and be deliberate about how you talk. Where I live it'd be weird for anglophone people to use "compañero" a lot, it'd come off like fetishizing latinos or something. Especially if spelled/pronounced wrong ("compernro") and wrong in a way that is really clearly not a spanish speaker's mistake.

That said I think "compañero" is cool in bilingual contexts, I like that it shortens to "compa." I remember some comrades - oops, make that "brothers and sisters" - from Spain and Argentina saying "compañer@" and "comp@" a lot on email a few years ago. I always liked that.

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Apr 30 2010 07:19
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
I'm trying out some new revolutionary shit called first names.

it'll never catch on

Deezer
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Apr 30 2010 10:01

I'm with Nate on this (as in I agree with his first paragraph) - comrade has been used more in the past on the left, including anarchists, and some union members also used it in the past (much preferable to 'brother' with 'sisters' tagged on once in a while) but with low levels of class struggle that left has ben vastly reduced in size and influence so use of the word comrade has lessened and hey presto people now see it as weird. Its all a bit circular really - if people used it more it wouldn't sound 'weird'.

Comrade isn't the best example but we can keep on dropping weird sounding (which usually means unfamiliar) words until we end up with a very limited vocabulary with which to actually describe our politics. God, we should stop saying anarchist cos, like its weird (and some anarchists are weird), we should stop using libertarian cos like there are libertarian capitalists, we should stop saying communist cos people think of the USSR (the argument for this is currently out of vogue but was still strong in the 80s and early 90s), we should find a word that isn't worker(s) cos there are unemployed people and students we don't want to exclude, we shouldn't use the word union because it means reformist trades union, we shouldn't use the word syndicalist cos only a small amount of people know what it means ad in fucking finitum.

And Nate is also correct in pointing out that the answer is not for English speaking anarchists to all start speaking Spanish - that is really fucking weird.