The Poverty of Identity Politics

Submitted by link on May 21, 2018

The basic problem with identity politics is that is focuses on identity in the past and now. What exists now is a product of an abusive, divisive alienated society. Certainly it seeks to change things that need changing BUT on what basis and towards what goal? No one knows! We can perhaps identity some characteristics of what equality and non-oppression means but we cannot be precise in this, its only guesswork and everyone is entitled to their own guesses. We cannot say now what should exist in future because no individual has any idea of what a non-alienated cooperative society where people can behave and establish relationships an open and self-identifying manner truly is. This is why the definitions of non-sexist, non-racist, non-oppressive behaviours are the subject of argument and disputes between different factions who seek to represent oppressed minorities. No one knows what is right!!

By basing arguments solely on what individual behaviour has been in the past and in the present, all identity politics is proposing is changes to current behaviour and reforms to society when no change is being threatened to the material conditions that produce those behaviours in the first place.

Today’s so-called anarchists and libertarians have fallen in to this morass of identity politics demonstrating a wishful thinking for revolution. In fact all they do is continue the trend of reformist politician since the middle of the 19th century who maybe correctly identify evils in society but seem to think that fighting them means changing laws and social morality. Today’s identity politics fail to recognise see that it’s the actions of their antecedents that have led to the behaviours they condemn today because they continue the same type of activity as though is progressive!! As a result we see the vicious squabbles between the radical feminists of 1960s/70s with those of today without recognising they are in fact part of the same movement - reformist bourgeois feminism – nor that they actually demonstrate the impossibility of them truly uniting to fight an oppressive system.

What is missing from the discussions about identity and oppression libcom is any awareness of the distinction between bourgeois and working class movements and any application of a class analysis to such movements. Intersectionality as a theory tries it hardest to ignore class and that leads down a reformist path. Accepting leadership from bourgeois feminism, bourgeois anti racism, bourgeois nationalism and any bourgeois movement leads away from revolution. What is really important here is to identify and distinguish between campaigns that are initiated by for example academics, actresses, press, trotskyists and mainstream political parties or those that appear as movements developed genuinely from below by working class and the poor.

The key meaning here is that real change ie revolution, can only come about in the practice of a revolution by a property-less and non-oppressive class. So yes, it is important to understand sexism racism, transphobia and how capitalism oppresses individual groups, but all the movements based on these oppressions have not got rid of capitalism. Only a class war can engage the real enemy and start to make these changes to society as part of a revolution against property money and class power.

Rob Ray

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Intersectionality as a theory tries it hardest to ignore class

It doesn't sound as though you've actually read very much intersectional theory if this is your takeaway. Or even looked at the Wikipedia page, which includes an entire section on intersectional Marxism.

In fact I'll be honest, this post basically seems to be just a bunch of poorly-constructed whinging about liberals who don't add a class dimension to their politics. Which I mean, fine, but what d'you expect from liberals?

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

link

What is missing from the discussions about identity and oppression libcom is any awareness of the distinction between bourgeois and working class movements and any application of a class analysis to such movements.

So here it looks like you're referring to other discussions on the site, but it also looks like you haven't read them. There's a few articles either posted or re-posted that discuss intersectionality vs. class, which you're claiming no-one is doing, including some historical references to past movements:

https://libcom.org/library/intersectionality-identity-politics-class

https://libcom.org/blog/identity-crisis-leftist-anti-wokeness-bullshit-22082017

https://libcom.org/blog/workers-world-unite-some-notes-class-unity-identity-politics-18052012

Also this from viewpoint: https://www.viewpointmag.com/2017/03/16/identity-crisis/

And this old one from Robin Kelley: https://libcom.org/library/identity-politics-class-struggle

Juan Conatz

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

How surprising, nowhere in this rant is there a definition of "identity politics".

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'd recommend link read this as well: http://libcom.org/library/intersectional-identity-path-progress

But tbh, I have to admit that the op gave me such a strong sense of repetition and deja vu that my immediate response was "Same thing day after day - tube - work - dinner - work - tube - armchair - rant about identity politics and intersectionality that never names, cites or quotes anyone specific or gives an actual example of how its targets operate - sleep - tube - work - how much more can you take?"

Juan Conatz

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Serge Forward

Link may find this of interest: With Allies Like These

Didn't Common Cause dissolve because of mass defections related to how it handled numerous sexual assaults?

Serge Forward

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Anything to say about that text besides smearing the writers, Juan?

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There's a long post here, on the Common Cause archive itself, critically discussing how they developed an internal process around handling sexual assault and had to respond to actual cases on several occasions. It was posted next to the piece that Serge posted did on the linchpin archive so probably not that far apart chronologically (but nothing on linchpin.ca has dates on it so it's hard to tell). I don't think it's a smear to refer to things that the organisation itself has partially documented?

I looked for a post-mortem of the dissolution, but couldn't find one yet - it might be useful to refer to if Juan knows of one.

We can compare the two articles though:

With Allies Like These

Call-out culture and the fallacy of community accountability creates a disciplinary atmosphere in which people must adhere to a specific etiquette.

There is no mention of dealing with sexual violence within the organisation here...

Taking Account of our Politics

There have been situations in which our members have been sexually assaulted, situations where members have been aggressors, and situations outside our organization where we have been asked or felt compelled to offer our perspective.
[...]
In Common Cause, we have found that reorienting ourselves away from “community accountability” and toward “political accountability” has been a positive step in addressing sexual violence and sexism more broadly.

But there definitely is in this one...

So in With Allies Like These, 'call out culture' and 'a disciplinary atmosphere' are invoked with no concrete examples of what they mean, and 'community accountability' is dismissed as a fallacy

In Taking Account of our Politics, the concept of 'community accountability' is dealt with critically (with the idea of 'political accountability' having taken its place), and they acknowledge lots of errors made in developing accountability processes, but they also situate this within the context of having to apply these practically to things that happened in the organisation/to its members.

Common Cause published a couple of other pieces which I've not read yet but probably give some more background on how various issues were discussed - it's talking about the growth of MRAs in Canada and similar:

http://linchpin.ca/on-contesting-populism/
http://linchpin.ca/combating-the-reactionary-forces-of-liberalism/
http://linchpin.ca/bourgeois-influences-on-anarchism-redux/

Juan Conatz

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Serge Forward

Anything to say about that text besides smearing the writers, Juan?

It's not a "smear". There's at least one long-time libcom poster who resigned from the group due to, in their words, its "rape culture". While I don't know who wrote the text you linked, at the very least, Common Cause's views on issues of identity should be viewed critically.

Serge Forward

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hmm... thanks for finding that. That seems to be the only mention of common cause in this light. Is there any other info on this?

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

@Serge http://linchpin.ca/taking-account-of-our-politics-an-anarchist-perspective-on-contending-with-sexual-violence/ linked above?

radicalgraffiti

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

i dont know if there is anything more on it than scatted forum posts, but Khawaga made other posts here https://libcom.org/forums/theory/platformist-groups-vs-cadre-groups-vs-cadre-lite-groups-21082014#comment-543280
Khawaga

I wouldn't trust Common Cause at all. They have a serious problem with sexism, rape culture and tend to treat other organizations as competitors, as if the class war is some gang war fighting over turf. Going cadre is only going to make them more insular they they already are; in many ways they refuse to actually engage normal people, but are always looking for people that are exactly like them. They may sound good on paper, but in practice they are an extremely problematic organization.

Ex-member.

and in this thread https://libcom.org/forums/general/ak-press-says-michael-schmidt-fascist-25092015?page=12
Khawaga

4. Movement highly based around dominant male personalities with no culture of dealing with anything. Criticism of concrete political points most often countered by mobbing.

is omnipresent in the US, across tendencies. I'd like to think MS wouldn't have gotten away for it for so long here in the US, but, a lot of dudes do get away with horrendous behavior of one sort or another for long periods of time. This has gotten me wanting to write in general about the adoption of hypermasculinity and gender dynamics in revolutionary organizations; I should start blogging again

Ajjohnstone, is this the dynamic you are trying to point to as an example of TofS? I'd agree. And I've also observed a lot of hypermasculinity in anarchist organizations to the point where even showing emotions were frowned upon (since that's something that gets in the way of the "cadre" doing their very important revolutionary work).

Khawaga

Akai

I think there is a problem with the second trend and this is a much harder issue because you'll find a lot with vanguard attitudes there. ln these sorts of environments, the macho, vanguardist person will be enabled and may actually be able to smuggle across lots of weird ideas without being challenged.

Yes, this did happen with my ex-group (Common Cause). The Toronto branch was pretty much all theory, lots of fantasies about mass revolution etc, very masculine outlook. One dude managed, in a meeting, to argue that women should not be the only ones to decide whether to have an abortion or not because that would be individualistic. Rather it should be up to the community! The only person challenging him? A non-member (room mate of a member) whose apartment the meeting was held.

Khawaga

Wow. That is mind boggling (the abortion position)

Yes it is. And that's just the tip of the ice-berg of a lot of fucking crap like that from the branch, and part of the reason why our branch decided to leave the organization in the end (after trying, but failing to combat such crap for about half year). Even when we told this to the other branches they just didn't seem to care (sadly because there are a lot of great people in those other branches).

What's even worse is that the organization has put out articles about how they account for their actions and all that shit. But they still actively defended their crap against us, and treated a rape survivor like dirt. They don't even realize how fucked up they are.

But I'll end the derail now.

Khawaga

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Common Cause never did any accounting for the fucking shit they did. Sure, normally I'd say you should deal with the arguments of a text, but in this particular case, the text was more or less a cover for their shitty practical politics. The problems in the Toronto branch wasn't just one or two people, but almost the entire branch. That branch also did most of the writing.

And it wasn't just me that left. Our entire branch did, after staying in the org trying to change shit. We left when we realized that CC didn't really care about accountability or dealing with the horrible, near abuse, internal dynamcs in the TO branch (to quote then; if nobody has cried, it's a good meeting).

Serge Forward

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Okay, thanks for the explanations, links and quotes. I'll have a shuftee at the links.

Khawaga

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just to add: as far as I know it wasn't the sexual assualts that led to the dissolution of CC. If that were the case, they would have folded much earlier.

Noah Fence

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Today’s so-called anarchists and libertarians have fallen in to this morass of identity politics demonstrating a wishful thinking for revolution.

Ok, if that is what ‘so called’ anarchists have done, what have actual anarchists done?

Steven.

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

How surprising, nowhere in this rant is there a definition of "identity politics".

Yeah this is exactly what came to my mind.

If you're not going to explain what you think "identity politics" is, then your critique is completely meaningless.

I mean I could start a thread called "The poverty of socialism", then slag off Ed Miliband. That would be as pointless as this thread.

Although I do think it's concerning that despite the OP not even offering any suggestion of what they are referring to that Serge Forward has rushed to defend them.

While I, and the rest of the libcom group, would have a critique of "identity politics" (which I will define below), in my experience, reading hundreds or even thousands of discussions online, most people who start ranting about "identity politics" normally just have a problem with women or people of colour who complain about sexism or racism. At best, they have the view that struggles against racism, sexism, sexual violence, etc are less important than what they see as the (separate) struggle against capitalism. Of course failing to realise that these are all part of the same thing.

What I personally see as "identity politics", in a negative sense, is the general desire/campaign for different oppressed groups to have equal representation within capitalist power structures (e.g. female CEOs, black politicians). However given that so many people misuse the phrase I don't use it, and don't really think anyone else in the libcom group does either.

Finally, this is a point which was first made by someone else who I can't remember, but ironically most such critics of "identity politics" actually support identity politics based on the identity of working class. In that rather than support the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism and the emancipation of the working class, they support the election of "representatives" of the working class into capitalist governments. And they do this without a hint of irony.

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Actual anarchists have brought us to the very cusp of revolution and the only thing standing between them and the final overthrowal of capitalism is identity politics.

link

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Not so many arguments against what I actually said folks - so thank you Steven for attempting to explaining issues. I do agree with the point about the need to define identity politics but its clear that the posters on this thread have a wide variation of definitions themselves – is it really up to an opponent to define it? However I will explain what I am using the term to mean is, albeit loosely, oppression politics, personal politics, politics focussing on identity as determined by social category.

The definition Steven gives is: “I personally see as "identity politics", in a negative sense, is the general desire/campaign for different oppressed groups to have equal representation within capitalist power structures (e.g. female CEOs, black politicians)”.

That sounds like a pretty clear admittance that identity politics is always reformist and a bourgeois movement?? Im quite happy to agree with you there

Fleur on the other hand thinks we are at the point of revolution today (really???? That’s an interesting one. On what basis????) ) and it only needs is a good bit of identity politics to complete the revolution against capitalism!! So IP is explicitly revolutionary in itself!!

Also, Id like to make it clear, that I also argue against giving power to so-called ‘representatives’ of the working class (and I did explicity mention trotskyists and mainstream political parties ie including the Labour Party but I will also include Stalinists Maoist and TU leaders in that if that helps.

Fleur uses the term ‘actual anarchists’ but I think we need a definition there too. Who are actual anarchists nowadays? The identity politics expressed by libcom posters mostly fits in with Steven’s definition of reformist politics trying to influence capitalism and that most clearly has nothing to do with getting rid of the state and creating an anarchistic society.

It seems to me that those arguing against my points need to express clearly what they are trying to achieve, because, as I said, identity politics is a morass, a muddle!

I don’t think class is just another identity. It is the fundamental one in all societies. The relationship between the ruling class and other classes is economic and political and that is the bedrock on which develops the more specific features of how society functions and thinks and behaves in general. When the working class struggles and fights the ruling class in individual strikes and mass strikes and revolution it tends to overcome personal and group anatagonisms to work together to pursue that struggle. Oppressed groups in society have some unifying characteristics its true but ultimately are unable to unite because the individuals within represent different class interests and this tears them apart ultimately. I thank Chris Harman for his reference to A Reed jr, an American left academic who as far as I can see, who was at least able to describe how black freedom movements and black nationalism gets incorporated into the system by social and legal changes and incorporating of black leaders into the democratic state ie a black ruling class

I criticised identity politics as trying to ignore a class analysis because it is not sufficient to write about the working class in one article then focus on social groups in another and think you are still using a class analysis. You cant discuss class struggle in one pigeonhole and then turn to a separate pigeonhole to talk about struggles by oppressed groups using a different method of social analysis.

A class analysis needs to be used to discuss oppressed groups to understanding what is going on and how the ruling class both inside and outside those oppressed groups are controlling and manipulating them.

Steven.

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You still haven't defined what you mean. The definition you gave:

oppression politics, personal politics, politics focussing on identity as determined by social category.

… doesn't make any logical sense. And it could equally include the class politics you supposedly hold, as class is a social category as much as race and gender.

Also you have very much misunderstood my post, and completely misunderstood Fleurs.

If you actually think you have a valid point, please explain what you think "identity politics" is in comprehensible English (if English is not your first language I apologise, let me know and I will try and go through my post to explain what you have misunderstood). Otherwise I don't really think there is anything to engage with here

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I was being sarcastic about your "so called anarchists."

link

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ill keep it simple and accept your definition. "What I personally see as "identity politics", in a negative sense, is the general desire/campaign for different oppressed groups to have equal representation within capitalist power structures (e.g. female CEOs, black politicians). " Ill point out also that I did say that 'class is not just another identity ...... etc'

I hope that helps you 'engage' with the rest of what I have said

radicalgraffiti

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

link

I do agree with the point about the need to define identity politics but its clear that the posters on this thread have a wide variation of definitions themselves – is it really up to an opponent to define it?

"why should i say what it is I actually oppose?"

radicalgraffiti

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

link

Ill keep it simple and accept your definition. "What I personally see as "identity politics", in a negative sense, is the general desire/campaign for different oppressed groups to have equal representation within capitalist power structures (e.g. female CEOs, black politicians). " Ill point out also that I did say that 'class is not just another identity ...... etc'

I hope that helps you 'engage' with the rest of what I have said

so you accuse anarchists/communists of "fallen in to this morass of identity politics" so you must clearly have examples of them campaigning for female ceos and black politicians right?

Black Badger

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/lupus-dragonowl-against-identity-politics

dark_ether

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Identity Politics is an almost useless term.

Sometimes it refers to a genuine critiques of liberal politics. Such as attempting to group people together on the basis of a single identity, and thus encourage cross class alliances (eg 'women should back Hillary' 'black people can all identify with Obama' 'more openly gay MPs will improve things for other gay people in our country' 'we need more women CEOs').

Other times it refers to anyone organising with a focus on a shared oppression other than economic-class, or along side class. For example a group only open to women, or one that focuses on fighting the systemic oppressions its members face due to race.

Yet further definitions seem to incorporate everything from 'privilege theory', 'intersectionality', 'safer spaces', 'accountability processes', or just anything that's been done in an attempt to examine or deal with internal oppression within activist movements, and the contemporary historical lack of appreciation and understanding of struggles alongside the fight against capitalism.

All to often it is used to create a false dichotomy of their being only two types of anarchists. 'proper' class focused anarchists who understand history and economics, but don't know why calling a new member of the group 'darling' may be off putting being the first. With the second being so called anarchists, who are little more than liberals with their focus on personal slights, naval gazing meetings, and oppression Olympics.

I would've hung up my red and black flag a long long time ago were these representative of the anarchists i've actually come across. Not that I haven't met a few folks who could fit fairly neatly into both stereotypes.

If you need to follow a word, with a detailed several paragraph description of what you mean by the word, it's sort of failed in its role as a word. Especially if it only seems to exist to create pointless ruptures in a movement that, at its best, incorporates an understanding of capitalism and the state, with a desire to smash patriarchy, racism, and all other forms of oppression both right now and as the dream of any revolutionary project.

Steven.

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin: discussion about Common Cause split to a new thread here https://libcom.org/forums/organise/issues-common-cause-23052018

Steven.

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

link

Ill keep it simple and accept your definition. "What I personally see as "identity politics", in a negative sense, is the general desire/campaign for different oppressed groups to have equal representation within capitalist power structures (e.g. female CEOs, black politicians). " Ill point out also that I did say that 'class is not just another identity ...... etc'

I hope that helps you 'engage' with the rest of what I have said

well if that is the definition you are adopting, then the whole rest of your OP makes no sense. Like radical graffiti says, if you think you are making a valid point, can you please direct us to where "anarchists and libertarians" have campaigned for female CEOs or black politicians?

You didn't really seem to understand my post or my definition of identity politics, as evidenced by your response which clearly misunderstood it. So it doesn't really seem like that is how you understand what "identity politics" is.

So do you want to have another crack at saying what this "identity politics" is which you think is so terrible? And how about some concrete examples of where "anarchists and libertarians" have shown this serious failing?

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

link

Not so many arguments against what I actually said folks - so thank you Steven for attempting to explaining issues. I do agree with the point about the need to define identity politics but its clear that the posters on this thread have a wide variation of definitions themselves – is it really up to an opponent to define it?


Seriously though, if you're the person who wants to start a conversation, it's up to you to say what you want the conversation to be about. The rest of us don't automatically know.
And as above,

What is missing from the discussions about identity and oppression libcom is any awareness of the distinction between bourgeois and working class movements and any application of a class analysis to such movements.

Where? Which specific discussions were you thinking of? For the record, I think this is pretty much the gold standard in terms of being a great critique of the reactionary elements of what you'd describe as identity politics, although I don't think the authors use that term themselves. But once again, that is a piece that's hosted on libcom, which shows that there is indeed critical discussion and class analysis of this stuff here already.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Another critique of IP dates back to 1987, by Jenny Bourne: 'Homelands of the mind: Jewish feminism and Identity Politics' (Race & Class, July 1987). It opens with the often-cited lines:

Jenny Bourne

Identity Politics is all the rage. Exploitation is out (it is extrinsically determinist). Oppression is in (it is intrinsically personal). What is to be done is replaced by who am I. Political culture has ceded to cultural politics. The material world has passed into the metaphysical. The Blacks, the Women, the Gays have all searched for themselves. and now, combining all their quests, has arrived the quest for Jewish feminist identity.

I mentioned that on this thread (which discussed a similar topic as this one, so let me repeat some other points made there):
https://libcom.org/forums/general/michael-rectenwald-doing-christopher-hitchens-28022017?page=1

"Criticism can be directed even against the best forms of IdPol. And it's not just pointing at its re-integration into the system, but it sabotaging actual resistance or even feeding into rightwing (ethnic/religious) identity politics."

Mike, like Steven here, then asked me "Can you define what this is though and give examples?"

I said:

"By best forms of IdPol, I mean those that acknowledge the reality of class struggle. That's a low bar (French liberal historians discovered it already). Jenny Bourne's article mentioned Bundism, which retro-actively can be classified as a form of IdPol. Even political Zionism had a large socialist current within it (Israel as a safe space)."

See Lenin's (and young Stalin's) writings against the identity politics of the Bund. A more recent example: the LRBW's black nationalism, criticised e.g. here .

(btw, even Hilary Clinton can speak about structural racism, so acknowledgement of material social, as opposed to mere "ideological", causes for oppression of POC etc. is not really revolutionary yet.)

And then I turned the tables on Mike (R Totale et al.):

"Why do you rant about boilerplate critiques of IdPol (as the one by Link in the present thread), when in fact your problem really is with "workerist" social democratic politics and rightwing/mainstream attacks on the lifes of minorities? Isn't it "idealistic" to regard the rightwing assault as based mainly on their having a critique of IdPol and appealing to the (white) working class? That's just a mirror version of the rightwing's story that the mainstream/elite's IdPol ideology is the tool of a leftwing ploy to destroy the country.

When good faith critique of genuine communists "falls far short of the mark", then, if "which is which" is to matter, in your view they must be complicit in "policy/attacks on the lifes of minorities". So why do you rant about those genuine communists' misguided boilerplate critiques of IdPol, if really your concern with them is that they their are complicit in or enabling policy/attacks on the lifes of minorities? "

"I posit that when anyone (in the mainstream/rightwing) rants about IdPol they don't have in mind the people on the street in Baltimore.

I posit that when anyone rants about IdPol they mean the dominant, non-class vulgar form of IdPol."

"When the Right (or anyone) rants about IdPol, I posit they have in mind primarily the non-class, vulgar form of IdPol, symbolic things like speech, cultural appropriation in the media and campus, not black youth on the streets of Baltimore or Ferguson."

"I differentiated the vulgar IdPol from the class-recognising IdPol, and indeed said that even the best form (the latter) can be criticised (for their IdPol). But I'm not oblivious to the fact that there is a difference between vulgar and class-recognising IdPol."

"Of course Reed does criticise even the "left" anti-racism (class-recognising IdPol groups). Perhaps you find some passages where his argument sounds too much like a lazy slippery-slope fallacy. But pointing out similarities doesn't mean to deny there is difference. Lenin dared to equate some Bundist claims to those of outright Zionism, however, that doesn't mean he believed they were literally no better than Zionists. "

But suppose we jettison all critiques of IP as useless, would that advance us closer to revolution?:

"Suppose you're right and everyone who rants about IdPol does have in mind people like the non-activist ordinary Ferguson protestors (i.e. ordinary people with serious grievances; organisers of sweatshop workers, protestors against police violence, fracking, unsafe drinking water, etc.), who are not positively engaged with, their voices not heard, dismissed/ignored/criticised. If it weren't for those ranters against IdPol, would then the local protestors' voices be better heard, would they be more positively engaged? What does that mean concretely?"

To paraphrase Fleur's sarcasm: if it weren't for those old class-struggle IP-critical dinosaurs (like Link), us enlightened modernist activists would have ended capitalism with its racism, sexism, etc. by now.

unironic meme:

In response to the inevitable retort, "ok suppose you class struggle dinosaurs are right about IP" "what should we do then?" i.e. you suggest doing nothing:

"This whole reasoning sounds much like when you criticise the unions or parliamentary parties and people reply; so you want to do nothing? Are you against organising/politics?

Is it really necessary for Reed (or even Spiked), to say that they are fine with ordinary people protesting police violence? Concretely it would not mean much any way, if Reed et al. did, nor does it mean much that you are saying 'let us not neglect the ordinary protestors'. "

and:

"activism, like anyone knows, can take passive forms from writing pamphlets or holding demonstrations to armed insurrection."

--

btw, a more quirky philosophical note, but for a critique of the concept "identity" see Thomas Wallace's 1827 pamphlet: A review of the doctrine of personal identity, in which are considered and compared the opinions of Locke, Butler, Reid, Brown, and Stewart, upon that subject.
https://archive.org/details/areviewdoctrine00wallgoog
or at google:
https://books.google.com/books?id=i4jc-lm-ZkAC

Noah Fence

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fleur on the other hand thinks we are at the point of revolution today (really???? That’s an interesting one. On what basis????) ) and it only needs is a good bit of identity politics to complete the revolution against capitalism!! So IP is explicitly revolutionary in itself!!

Seriously, this is one for the ‘Funniest thing you read today’ thread!

Link, I’m really not trying to be mean here but honestly, if you couldn’t read the outstandingly obvious sarcasm in Fleur’s comment, I just don’t know how you could possibly navigate your way through the conversations on this site.

Spikymike

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just one small point I'd make is to recognise that reference to aiming for equal representation in ''capitalist powers structures'' should not be reduced to the short-hand of ''CEO's and black politicians'' or their equivalent in so far as capitalism is maintained through most everyday political and economic structures. Not just the multi-national, national and local state, but commercial, industrial, NGO and representative working class political and economic organisations. The reformist 'Equal Rights' agenda is essentially a capitalist political agenda and not an anarchist or communist one but in practice we are often complicit in it's maintenance.

Juan Conatz

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Spikymike

Just one small point I'd make is to recognise that reference to aiming for equal representation in ''capitalist powers structures'' should not be reduced to the short-hand of ''CEO's and black politicians'' or their equivalent in so far as capitalism is maintained through most everyday political and economic structures. Not just the multi-national, national and local state, but commercial, industrial, NGO and representative working class political and economic organisations. The reformist 'Equal Rights' agenda is essentially a capitalist political agenda and not an anarchist or communist one but in practice we are often complicit in it's maintenance.

Can you provide some examples of what you're talking about? To me, this is where the anti-identity politics stuff gets dangerously close to becoming the left wing of white supremacy. Based on your post, things like racial disparities in employment, pay, police treatment, incarceration, evictions, foreclosures, etc etc could be written off in favor of some Old Left throwback to a "colorblind" strategy, which I consider misinformed at best, and white supremacist at worse (in the context of the US).

Serge Forward

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan, the spin you put on Spikymike's post and "anti-identity politics" is breathtaking! Left wing of white supremacism indeed.

rat

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Here's one recent definition of identity politics:

We are asking our cis male comrades to join us in these commitments. This isn’t a ‘women’s issue’. This struggle isn’t less important than the class struggle or anti-fascism, it is a part of those struggles as much as they are a part of it. Identity politics are about intersectionality not essentialism, and this benefits you as much as us and trans people.

It's quoted from a statement on Freedom News:

It’s spelt Sisterhood, not Cis-terhood statement

Juan Conatz

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Serge Forward

Juan, the spin you put on Spikymike's post and "anti-identity politics" is breathtaking! Left wing of white supremacism indeed.

Yeah, amazingly reactionary stances and defense of reactionaries can be done by people on the left. The Communist Party USA attacked A. Philip Randolph in their press for daring to march against segregation. Said it divides the class and disrupted the war effort. If I remember correctly, Sam Dolgoff was against federal intervention to desegregate schools in the American South. There's nothing special about the left when its made up of the same people that enact and perpetuate the broader society's inequalities and prejudices.

Agent of the I…

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

link

The identity politics expressed by libcom posters mostly fits in with Steven’s definition of reformist politics trying to influence capitalism and that most clearly has nothing to do with getting rid of the state and creating an anarchistic society.

It's pretty clear that more than 'anarchists and libertarians', you have in mind specific posters in the forums of libcom.org who are guilty of a reformist identity politics. And since you claim to be quite familiar with past discussions surrounding this topic on this site, surely you should be able to provide evidence of such.

So before you type away another one of your long winded speech, take a few minutes to compile your evidence, since they should probably be only a few clicks away.

Serge Forward

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

Yeah, amazingly reactionary stances and defense of reactionaries can be done by people on the left. The Communist Party USA attacked A. Philip Randolph in their press for daring to march against segregation. Said it divides the class and disrupted the war effort. Sam Dolgoff was against federal intervention to desegregate schools in the American South. There's nothing special about the left when its made up of the same people that enact and perpetuate the broader society's inequalities and prejudices.

And suggesting that Spikymike's post is of the same ilk is yet another spin. I see you've been honing your skills as a moderator recently.

doug

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

rat

Here's one recent definition of identity politics:

We are asking our cis male comrades to join us in these commitments. This isn’t a ‘women’s issue’. This struggle isn’t less important than the class struggle or anti-fascism, it is a part of those struggles as much as they are a part of it. Identity politics are about intersectionality not essentialism, and this benefits you as much as us and trans people.

It's quoted from a statement on Freedom News:

It’s spelt Sisterhood, not Cis-terhood statement

I wouldn't call that a full definition of the term, and it's obviously not a defence of liberal 'identity politics'.

But please do elaborate on what you or the ACG think about this statement...

rat

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz, I don't think Spikymike is on the Left.

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Serge Forward

Juan, the spin you put on Spikymike's post and "anti-identity politics" is breathtaking! Left wing of white supremacism indeed.

It's not spin, because as you should well know unions were actively enforcing colour bars in the UK as recently as the '60s, you can describe that as 'the left wing of white supremacism' or you can describe it as 'racist nativist trade unionism', but it's not spin, it's what happened. Asking SpikeyMike for examples is completely reasonable, because given a long and sorry history of this in the workers movement, it's useful to clarify exactly what we're all talking about. I don't think I've ever seen someone quite so resistant to giving examples of things when asking for clarification as Serge in recent months on here.

Black and asian bus drivers in Bristol vs the TGWU:
https://libcom.org/history/racial-discrimination-employment-bristol-bus-boycott-1963

Sikh bus drivers in Wolverhampton: http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/9/newsid_2523000/2523691.stm

Various other disputes where union support was non-existent for black and asian workers, often fighting against having the worst jobs in factories: (although as this article mentions, it's possible union support would have been non-existent even without the racism, but that doesn't mean racist justifications weren't given too): http://www.basepublication.org/?p=665

Mansfield Hosiery is a good example as any where a significant driver to strike action was racial discrimination in the workplace whereby asian women were on different rates, and doing different tasks, to the white women (and the strike improved relations between white and asian women in the plant according to this account):
https://libcom.org/library/women-struggle-mansfield-hosiery-strike

These are defensive struggles in the same way that strikes over wages are defensive, but they are not "essentially a capitalist political agenda". I really recommend that people read some A Sivanandan on this period since it covers a lot of this extremely well. I've also been trying to fill out gaps in the library on these strikes.

If we look at more recent things like 'women in tech' or similar, then there is the Sheryl Sandberg/Lean In "more women CEOs" "more women founding start-ups" "don't take maternity leave" crap, but there is also thousands of women organising against sexual assault and harassment in the workplace. These two things often get conflated, despite that the people organising against sexual assault, for accountability processes in open source software projects etc. are often vehemently against the "more women CEOs" crap. It's that usual practice of attacking people who are organising on material conditions like this, by conflating them with nominally related right wing projects that are at best co-option of those fights if not outright assaults on them.

I'd also add that people organising against discrimination and harassment at work (or for things like longer maternity and paternity leave) - although the result of that might involve some kind of social mobility for some of the people affected, should absolutely be treated as 'class struggle' - discrimination and harassment are mechanisms by which workforces are controlled, divisions are maintained etc. and the vast majority of these gains are not even made at the expense of white/male workers. Also the 'social mobility' is/was often from a shit job to a less shit job, not social mobility into senior management or ownership.

We can say that all of these are for reforms within capitalism, but then so are strikes for higher wages, against pension cuts etc. and there are not 15 concurrent threads on libcom at the moment trying to point out that defensive strikes are a diversion from real class struggle.

Where you could point out limitations would be something like the Brighton Bin Strike where gender pay gap legislation was used to lower the wages of refuse collectors instead of increasing it for mostly-women clerical workers - this is a real problem but it's in the co-option of demands against the workforce as a whole - something not unique to discrimination but which happens for all forms of class struggle within capitalism.

libcom

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin: further off topic comments about Common Cause have been removed. There is a new thread about this, so if you wish to discuss this, discuss it there. People who continue to discuss it here will have posts removed, then will be warned then banned. If you want to complain about a moderation decision, start a new thread in the feedback forum.

Steven.

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Serge Forward, JC hasn't spun or accused anyone of anything. He asked a question of Mike.

FWIW, JC is no longer a member of the admin collective after he stepped down. However I wholeheartedly agree with his above post.

I was also very curious reading Mike's post about what it practical implications were:

Spikymike

Just one small point I'd make is to recognise that reference to aiming for equal representation in ''capitalist powers structures'' should not be reduced to the short-hand of ''CEO's and black politicians'' or their equivalent in so far as capitalism is maintained through most everyday political and economic structures. Not just the multi-national, national and local state, but commercial, industrial, NGO and representative working class political and economic organisations. The reformist 'Equal Rights' agenda is essentially a capitalist political agenda and not an anarchist or communist one but in practice we are often complicit in it's maintenance.

As this is really not how I see things at all. I see movements like Black Lives Matter – which is a call to end the police murdering of young black men – and #metoo – a call to end systematic sexual violence and harassment of women – as being an inherent part of the class struggle.

On one level yes they could be considered part of an "equal rights" agenda, but I don't see how fighting for that is antithetical to communism in any way. Okay they are not revolutionary in themselves, but nor our strikes for pay increases. But communism is the "real movement" which abolishes the present state of things. Fights against discrimination against parts of the working class are as much part of the class struggle as strikes for higher wages.

Myself for example I have been involved in struggles at my work to abolish a pay system which was institutionally racist. And so we managed to leverage concerns over racism to get the abolition of the pay system, which primarily benefited black workers, but also the lowest paid whites. So opposing that sort of discrimination doesn't just benefit the main group who would appear to be victims of it in many circumstances either.

So yeah I don't understand Mike's point, so I would appreciate maybe some practical examples of what sort of thing he is referring to.

Serge Forward

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I would be amazed if Spikymike was suggesting anything remotely related to the examples given by Mike Harmon. I would also be amazed if Juan and Mike Harmon didn't know this too. That makes it manipulative in anyone's money. Juan's question was loaded, Steven, and 'guilt by association' was implicit.

Spikymike

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

OK just for now my previous post was specifically referencing the objective of differently identified. or if you prefer oppressed, groups of people seeking better or equal representation within the institutions of capitalism that I referred to in that non-exclusive list. We may not necessarily be against that but it's not what we are for insofar as we are presumably seeking either the re-purposing or destruction of those institutions. If we reject the social democratic notion of accumulating reforms to the structure of capitalism in such a way as to automatically transition to a socialist or communist future then we should remain critical of the whole reformist equal rights agenda that is part and parcel of the capitalist politics of both left and right. That is not the same as the important task of ensuring that our everyday class struggle is, and our own tiny political groups are, as far as possible non-discriminatory and inclusive of all irrespective of the different levels of oppression suffered by different sectors of the working class. That will have to do for now - too tired.

baboon

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fleur, it's not always clear on here but it might be an idea to preface your sarcastic comments with some form of warning, for example: 'I'm going to engage in the lowest form of wit', and this way we can all clearly see that you are indeed going to make a sarcastic comment. It may also give you pause for a more considered response to a discussion that's been opened in good faith.

I haven't the time to go into a description of identity politics in any depth but I welcome link's attempt to do so. I see these phenomena as in opposition to class struggle in that they are divisive and in themselves against any need for the extension and unification of any struggle and. in themselves, are dead ends. Further, they are easily used by the bourgeoisie and integrated into its democratic framework: I'm sure I've seen by some on here elements of support for parliamentary campaigns and legislation in respect of an element of identity politics. What's that if it's not reformism?

Wholesale discussions around May 68 at the time touched on a range of specifics that were of valid concern to the working class: racism, sexual, gender, generational, etc., but the strength of these elements lay in their integration into the strike and protest movement - which in France and internationally was to be confronted every step of the way by the trade unions. And let's not forget that nationalism, defended by trade unionism everywhere with very minor exceptions, is a prime example of identity politics. But left to themselves these identity issues were easily recuperated by the bourgeoisie and they have continued to use many of them with significant ideological force against the working class to this day. None of that should detract from any struggle of workers fighting for higher wages, against discrimination, cuts, etc., but those struggles are only the basis for the strengthening and extension of the combat - and thus the real possibility of pushing the bourgeoisie back.

The bourgeoisie used and uses "women's equality" as an ideological battering-ram against proletarian consciousness completely overwhelming and integrating the genuine concerns of May 68 and the close years before and after. The British state has subsequently used it to "equalise" the retirement age upwards, immediately losing tens of thousands of working class women thousands of pounds each and, in an ongoing equalisation of misery, further equalising the retirement age upwards which affects and will affect millions and millions of working class women in this country while they wait for their miserable pittance of a state pension - if they live long enough to get it given the additional effects of further increased exploitation.

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Spikymike

OK just for now my previous post was specifically referencing the objective of differently identified. or if you prefer oppressed, groups of people seeking better or equal representation within the institutions of capitalism that I referred to in that non-exclusive list. We may not necessarily be against that but it's not what we are for insofar as we are presumably seeking either the re-purposing or destruction of those institutions. If we reject the social democratic notion of accumulating reforms to the structure of capitalism in such a way as to automatically transition to a socialist or communist future then we should remain critical of the whole reformist equal rights agenda that is part and parcel of the capitalist politics of both left and right. That is not the same as the important task of ensuring that our everyday class struggle is, and our own tiny political groups are, as far as possible non-discriminatory and inclusive of all irrespective of the different levels of oppression suffered by different sectors of the working class. That will have to do for now - too tired.

So this is a much better framing, it still leaves me with questions though and I hope you're able to come back to it when you have more time.

It's definitely worth talking about the difference between defensive struggles and revolutionary ones, I just don't think there is anything unique to what is commonly described as 'identity politics' (in its myriad definitions) that requires singling them out. Especially given that some of the main proponents of that narrative are in fact social democratic reformers. If what is unique about communist analysis is the idea of abolition (of capital and the state, and its various institutions) rather than reform, then we should be able to state that in such a way that it can't be confused with the socdems.

Also while I don't always like Malatesta (although I can't remember why now, it's a while since I read Life and Ideas, ), this passage from 1924 deals with reforms vs. reformism pretty well:

Malatesta

But in any case it is always a question of reforms, and the essential difference lies in the kind of reform one wants and the way one thinks of being able to achieve it. Revolution means, in the historical sense of the word, the radical reform of institutions, achieved rapidly by the violent insurrection of the people against existing power and privileges; and we are revolutionaries and insurrectionists because we do not just want to improve existing institutions but to destroy them completely, abolishing every form of domination by man over man, and every kind of parasitism on human labour; and because we want to achieve this as quickly as possible, and because we believe that institutions born of violence are maintained by violence and will not give way except to an equivalent violence. But the revolution cannot be made just when one likes. Should we remain inactive, waiting for the situation to mature with time?

And even after a successful insurrection, could we overnight realise all our desires and pass from a governmental and capitalist hell to a libertarian-communist heaven which is the complete freedom of man within the wished-for community of interests with all men?

These are illusions which can take root among authoritarians who look upon the masses as the raw material which those who have power can, by decrees, supported by bullets and handcuffs, mould to their will. But these illusions have not taken among anarchists. We need the people's consensus, and therefore we must persuade by means of propaganda and example, we must educate and seek to change the environment in such a way that this education may reach an ever increasing number of people...

We are reformers today in so far as we seek to create the most favourable conditions and as large a body of enlightened militants so that an insurrection by the people would be brought to a satisfactory conclusion. We shall be reformers tomorrow, after a triumphant insurrection, and the achievement of freedom, in that we will seek with all the means that freedom permits, that is by propaganda, example and even violent resistance against anyone who should wish to restrict our freedom in order to win over to our ideas an ever greater number of people.

But we will never recognise the institutions; we will take or win all possible reforms with the same spirit that one tears occupied territory from the enemy's grasp in order to go on advancing, and we will always remain enemies of every government, whether it be that of the monarchy today, or the republican or bolshevik governments of tomorrow.'

https://libcom.org/library/reformism-malatesta

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, which is why it is super easy to spot.

What is the lowest form of discourse? I don't know but perpetually whining that identity politics is getting in the way of real politics, generally trotting out examples of bourgeois IdPol (anyone mentioned bank notes yet? It's always coming up,) and completely ignoring that what are essentially class focused activism, around what people dismiss as identity politics, is pretty damned pedestrian. There's always someone who wants to bitch about feminism, bank notes, women MPs, more women CEOs, yadda yadda yadda, but there is a vast amount of activism/work done around such diverse issues as housing, immigration, policing, prisons, sexual assault, anti-poverty initiatives, homelessness, sex workers rights - idk, so fucking much - which has been informed and inspired by people's feminism, yet mention the F word and it's all Vote for Hillary and fucking banknotes. Way to go to insult your radical comrades. There are some amazing feminist groups in the US working around prison abolition but also doing some serious, really needed practical work with prison support, bail funds, support for prisoners children. Stuff that is really important right now. Maybe one day the world will change and there will be no more prisons but what about maybe laying off the people who work their asses off to improve conditions for people in the here and now. People are going to organize around single issues because they are really pressing. Not everybody can wait for the glorious future. The right are constantly complaining about identity politics, it really sucks when anarchists belittle other anarchists over their identity politics in a prolier than thou way, when people are giving their time, energy and dedication to improving the lives of other working class people for whom waiting for the revolution isn't good enough.

A lot of the things people criticize as identity politics are not what the radicals they seek to admonish are doing anyway. Anybody met an anarchist who gives a fuck about how many women sit on the board of companies? Or electing gay members of legislatures? Or fucking bank notes?

Using identity politics as a catch all criticism is relatively new, although the sentiment has always been there. I spent an inordinate amount of time organizing at a HIV organization in the late 80s, early 90s. I saw a friend die in a godawful way and wanted to do something about it. It took up so much time, there was never enough volunteers or money, and I took some criticism for spending so much time on a single issue. But someone had to do it, it couldn't wait for the end of capitalism, people needed information, support and help right then. A lot of people involved weren't radicals but a lot were and because of those identity politics being practiced all over the country and the world, people got needle exchanges, free condoms, help lines, better medical treatment, lessening of stigma, funds were bullied out of governments for research. I don't know what a real anarchist should have been doing back then but sometimes you have to fight for people right here and right now and when I see fellow anarchists slagging off other anarchists for working to improve conditions that are desperate for improvement right now as identity politics and reformism, then it just pisses me off. We all want to change the world, we need for the world not to destroy us first.

Edited for a typo.

Steven.

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Spikymike

OK just for now my previous post was specifically referencing the objective of differently identified. or if you prefer oppressed, groups of people seeking better or equal representation within the institutions of capitalism that I referred to in that non-exclusive list. We may not necessarily be against that but it's not what we are for insofar as we are presumably seeking either the re-purposing or destruction of those institutions. If we reject the social democratic notion of accumulating reforms to the structure of capitalism in such a way as to automatically transition to a socialist or communist future then we should remain critical of the whole reformist equal rights agenda that is part and parcel of the capitalist politics of both left and right. That is not the same as the important task of ensuring that our everyday class struggle is, and our own tiny political groups are, as far as possible non-discriminatory and inclusive of all irrespective of the different levels of oppression suffered by different sectors of the working class. That will have to do for now - too tired.

okay right, thanks for the clarification. Basically I wasn't sure what you meant about the "equal rights agenda", and if that also applied to things like the Dagenham 68 women's strike for equal pay with men.

But I take it you don't mean things like that, what you mean is the general "agenda" for equality within a capitalist framework right?

In which case I would completely agree with you. As even things like closing the gender pay gap between men and women is completely insufficient, so yes I agree we need to be critical of people who advocate for things say like that, but going no further.

Spikymike

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Another point I wanted to make relates to the context of this and other discussion threads around different interpretations of 'identity politics' - namely that it's not just about matters of gender identity that have taken centre stage just now. There are a whole range of other 'identities' (some real and some manufactured) exhibiting a tendency to endless sub-division, that can and often do become problematic in terms of a unified struggle against capitalism and the potential for a future communism, to the extent that they become means of separation, preservation or prioritisation. Too many to list but they run the whole range of gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, employment categories etc.They do of course 'intersect' in real life but in complex ways (often depending on both time and place) that do not provide any organisational remedies open to the aspiring political leadership of our anarchist and communist groups in advance of mass social struggle.
Also not convinced that the Malatesta quote is overly helpful in utilising an explanation of the meaning of 'reforms' that still fails to distinguish a process of change following a major rupture with the fundamentals of capitalism in terms of the state and economy from concessions extracted from the capitalist state and it's economic structures. There is still in there I suspect some illusions in the possibility of a progressive accumulation of reforms sufficient to 'tip the balance' into revolution. That maybe more relevant to some of the other discussions we have had around the concept of 'communisation' and the nature of the transition from capitalism to communism?
Will give it some more thought.

Serge Forward

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Serge Forward

With Allies Like These

So, on the merits of the text alone, and not the allegations and counter allegations between former members of the group that produced it... this text might be useful.

rat

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Good post Spikymike. Nice one!

link

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hey folks a serious discussion has emerged. Good Stuff.

I think Fleur’s statement is great – I don’t agree with all of it but its genuine and I wish I could write like that. I hope my response can be taken genuinely too.

I see political correctness - as it exists here and now - as a campaign by the ruling class to try to make capitalist exploitation more efficient ie to get rid of the ‘minor’ conflicts that get in the way of control over society. Yes sure, it not campaign with organisers like metoo or black lives matter but nevertheless it is a collection of ideas and behaviours that are now part of the mainstream of capitalist politics and state management of society. I don’t know how permanent or temporary it may be, it may be just a periodic thing that chops and changes like monetarist and keynesianist economic policies but it is a dangerous thing to ignore

These policies are used to batter working class into thinking that this society is good and can be changed and improved. The conservative party spreads these lies, so does the left wing of the ruling class ie the labour party, so do the trotskyists the Stalinists the Maoists and the trade unions. They spread a more radical version of political correctness however and I wrote a criticism of identity politics earlier because I think that too much on here is tailending these campaigns of the left.

I do think it is important to distinguish between reformist and revolutionary activity as the discussion has now raised. Fleur’s passionate defence of grass roots activities is great and I certainly agree that we shouldn’t give a fuck about Hilary Clinton and women on company boards and bank notes etc. So when Fleur says radicals are being criticising for doing this when they are not, I have to say that is really important that those radical make this clear.

What I don’t agree with is that criticising identity politics is being used as a catch-all criticism. On the contrary, Identity politics is being used to contain and criticise radicals – you only have to look at JC’s appalling go (post 34) at Spikeymike to see that works and the typical leftist bile it can generate.

I have no issue with what individuals decide to undertake as a product of their personal concerns about what society is. But lets be clear there is a difference between everyday survival and support for others and revolution. What I want to see is struggle from below by the working class itself not mainstream or left radical or even anarchist politicos creating campaigns and movements to lead the working class and the poor into a better world. If you like , what I want to see is activity more like that undertaken by the organisation around Sylvia Pankhurst (which was fighting for working class women) than that around her mother which was clearly a bourgeois campaign using workers to make better conditions for upper class women. The difference has to be made clear by those involved an identity politics just doesn’t do that.

I want to see mass movements by the class itself and I don’t want to see anarchists and libertarian communists tailending bourgeois campaigns to improve the state.

link

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

By the way, I do agree with Noah Fence that I cant navigate my way through the shit throwing on Libcom. I had and still have no idea how to read Steven’s or Fleur’s original comments even after they explained they were taking the piss and even after you wet yourself over the situation. I’m tempted to list the deliberate miscontructions and distortions, the piss taking, the name calling and the short jibes just trying to put the boot in without any real political contribution in just this short thread.

Given a serious discussion emerged however perhaps I should just suggest that the admins who have moved the discussion of Common Cause and its apparent culture of abuse, should move this one and discuss the level of personal abuse in libcom and how appropriate it is for libertarian communists and anarchists??

Perhaps its time to decide on whether you want to be taken seriously as a discussion site or just as a training school for trolls.

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't really understand what the morass of identity politics which is ruining anarchism is then. If it's not grassroots organizing around issues which are very pressing right now, eg Black Lives Matter, Repeal the 8th, immigration detentions and deportations etc, and it's not the liberal politics of more women CEOs, statues of Emily Pankhurst, more representation in parliament of minorities etc - things anachists are not involved with and are therefore not distracting from the movement - then what are they? Nobody ever seems to be able to give a very clear definition of what they mean by identity politics within this context. The best I ever see I people bringing up liberal campaigns, things that we're not involved with anyway.

My sarcasm comes from this being a really boring conversation at this point. Some people vehemently believe that identity politics is ruining anarchism but not coming up with anywhere near a convincing argument as to how. It always goes back to banknotes.

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

link

So when Fleur says radicals are being criticising for doing this when they are not, I have to say that is really important that those radical make this clear.

Do you think the people doing the criticising should make this more clear or the people being criticised?

For example, should people organising for abortion rights should be more clear that they don't support Sarah Palin being the president of the US because she's a woman? To be clear, Palin would like to ban abortion, including in the case of rape according to wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_positions_of_Sarah_Palin#Abortion.

link

I see political correctness - as it exists here and now - as a campaign by the ruling class to try to make capitalist exploitation more efficient

I would seriously take a look at the history of the term political correctness, the ways that it has been deployed over the past 30+ years, before using it without definition. RationalWiki has a good summary: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Political_correctness

Are unions a campaign by the ruling class to make capitalism more efficient? Or is it more that they have structural limitations? If unions aren't a capitalist conspiracy, why is 'political correctness' treated as one? Also bear in mind the right have their own conspiracy theories about political correctness: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Cultural_Marxism

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Serge Forward

Serge Forward

With Allies Like These

So, on the merits of the text alone, and not the allegations and counter allegations between former members of the group that produced it... this text might be useful.

On the merits of the text alone, my comment from earlier still stands:

Mike Harman

We can compare the two articles though:

With Allies Like These

Call-out culture and the fallacy of community accountability creates a disciplinary atmosphere in which people must adhere to a specific etiquette.

There is no mention of dealing with sexual violence within the organisation here...

Taking Account of our Politics

There have been situations in which our members have been sexually assaulted, situations where members have been aggressors, and situations outside our organization where we have been asked or felt compelled to offer our perspective.
[...]
In Common Cause, we have found that reorienting ourselves away from “community accountability” and toward “political accountability” has been a positive step in addressing sexual violence and sexism more broadly.

But there definitely is in this one...

So in With Allies Like These, 'call out culture' and 'a disciplinary atmosphere' are invoked with no concrete examples of what they mean, and 'community accountability' is dismissed as a fallacy

In Taking Account of our Politics, the concept of 'community accountability' is dealt with critically (with the idea of 'political accountability' having taken its place), and they acknowledge lots of errors made in developing accountability processes, but they also situate this within the context of having to apply these practically to things that happened in the organisation/to its members.

Noah Fence

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Link

I’m sorry if my post upset you in any way but I was slightly irked by your ‘so called’ jibe(at least I interpreted as such) and, after checking your profile and seeing you’ve been around Libcom for seven years, I was genuinely amazed that you took Fleur at her word. I mean sarcasm and other forms of ‘low wit’ abound on this site. Ok, so it’s not always helpful but often it’s a good way of expressing yourself and can be a lot of fun. I guess you just gotta take the rough with the smooth, eh?
As for your problem with IP, well post #49 covers it better than I’m likely too.
I generally find the anti pc rhetoric of many on the left to be at least as infuriating, impractical and just plain silly as the stock of over zealous liberals that heave before me on an almost daily basis. My daughter is absolutely fucking arch in this department - two weeks ago she balled me out for buying a can of pop in a halal general store!

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

In addition, can anyone who so strongly feels that identity politics (ill defined) is simply reformism, which must be opposed, say, hand on heart, that none of the reforms which have happened were worth the effort? Sometimes you have to take reforms with both hands because the alternative is just too awful. The legalization of birth control and abortion, legalization of homosexuality, the ending of legally enforced segregation, the closure of indigenous boarding schools -all of these things have not challenged capitalism in any substantive way but have alleviated conditions for working class people significantly. There is an underlying arrogance assumed that people should have to suffer egregiously under capitalism in order to foment revolutionary thought. It's usually people other than ourselves who have to suffer the most. People who are over burdened with oppression and oppressive structures don't have a lot of fight in them, if they did we would have beaten this system a long time ago. It's not an either/or thing. You can oppose capitalism and fight specific oppressions at the same time, often they are part of the same fight.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fleur

In addition, can anyone who so strongly feels that identity politics (ill defined) is simply reformism, which must be opposed, say, hand on heart, that none of the reforms which have happened were worth the effort?

The "anti-anti-identity politics" corner (with people like Mike), on the other thread I mentioned, basically were arguing that the sole valid critiques of IP are essentially about its reformism, and hence there is no need to single out for specific attack IP, since it is a general problem of leftist organising (e.g. including trade unions, etc.).

Steven mentioned that mere wage disputes also can be considered reformist (but we still support them). Now Fleur expands it to things outside the immediate workplace that improve the lives of workers.

So it seems the critiques of IP, even if just based on its reformism, aren't so valid after all.

But this is still quite limited to only workers (no sarcasm). What about e.g. the Dreyfus affair (he was a captain in the military, son of a wealthy family), should we not oppose the anti-semitism that was involved in his frame-up? This is actually a good historical case to investigate how socialists should respond or how not: https://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1899/11/dreyfus-affair.htm

admin - Assange comments split to https://libcom.org/forums/news/assange-25052018

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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Fall Back

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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Rob Ray

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

anti-anti-identity politics

Next up on Channel 5, When Taxonomy Goes Bad — the terrifying tale of how a nebulous complaint spawned an army of antis, leading to the annihilation of understandable English.

Spikymike

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So thought I'd also mention this earlier blog post and discussion as relevant (also crosses with aspects of the weightier G.M.Tamas text recently highlighted on this site).
https://libcom.org/blog/the-politics-affirmation-or-politics-negation-18112008

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Rob Ray

anti-anti-identity politics

Next up on Channel 5, When Taxonomy Goes Bad — the terrifying tale of how a nebulous complaint spawned an army of antis, leading to the annihilation of understandable English.

But that's what the the position is here of Mike et al.: not an open endorsement of identity politics, just that all criticism of it is basically right-wing.

So then instead of calling for open critique of identity politics, the other side (including me) should perhaps call ourselves anti-anti-anti-identity politics.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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Fall Back

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - Assange comments split to https://libcom.org/forums/news/assange-25052018

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - Assange comments split to https://libcom.org/forums/news/assange-25052018

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - Assange comments split to https://libcom.org/forums/news/assange-25052018

Fall Back

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noa Rodman

But that's what the the position is here of Mike et al.: not an open endorsement of identity politics, just that all criticism of it is basically right-wing.

I can't speak for Mike, but assuming I'm part of the et al, it's more "not an open endorsement of identity politics, just an attempt to get critics of it to define what the phenomena they're trying to criticise actually is", which turns out to be like pulling teeth.

admin - Assange comments split to https://libcom.org/forums/news/assange-25052018

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - Assange comments split to https://libcom.org/forums/news/assange-25052018

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - Assange comments split to https://libcom.org/forums/news/assange-25052018

Black Badger

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Admins: can you make this Assange conversation its own thread? Thx

admin - yes

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think it’s unhelpful to conflate “identity politics” with reformism as such, which seems to be the working definition this thread has ended up with, they’re overlapping but distinct categories. For instance, a lot of your “banknote feminists” are unquestionably reformist but also pretty scathing about identity politics if you have the misfortune of interacting with them on social media, while plenty of people who engage in what I’d call identity politics have nothing but contempt for the banknote feminists.

I tend to think of identity poltics as being politics that primarily analyses through and organises around categories of identity (gender, sexuality, race, class in the sociological sense, etc.). The problem with this isn’t necessarily reformism, since doing this doesn’t actually necessarily imply any particular position on capital and the state but that it’s fundamentally limited as a form of analysis. Focusing on abstractions can lead us into some messy situations, e.g. the unholy row that often results when feminist spaces with a women only policy try to figure out how to account for non-binary folks and trans men. A clearer materialist analysis that focuses on exploitation, oppression and building counter power is needed in those situations but the response from a lot of people in the movement seems to be instead to write off any attempt to really understand how patriarchy, white supremacy, etc. function in wider society and in our movements as identity politics, while conflating identity politics with reformism in a way that is innevitably going to get people’s backs up.

Spikymike

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A good post from Sadie to bring our discussion back on track. Only a sound materialist analysis is often exactly what is missing in much of the everyday practice of identity politics as Sadie describes it above with the result that it is impossible not to see an intimate connection between such politics and reformism. Anarchist and communist politics as a minority swimming against the current have to struggle hard to remain critical of all this and not simply tail-end others campaigns. We might have other disagreements as to the meaning and practice of 'counter power' in terms of a materialist and class analysis don't know.

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Spikymike

A good post from Sadie to bring our discussion back on track. Only a sound materialist analysis is often exactly what is missing in much of the everyday practice of identity politics as Sadie describes it above with the result that it is impossible not to see an intimate connection between such politics and reformism. Anarchist and communist politics as a minority swimming against the current have to struggle hard to remain critical of all this and not simply tail-end others campaigns.

Hmm, there are times when it’s good to engage in campaigns for reform on a critical basis though. E.g. on queer issues, a lot of campaigning is around specific reforms (equal marriage, GRA reform) that are at best kind of limited and not necessarily what anarchist and communist queers would prioritise given the choice, but they’re often what’s immediately winnable. We have to meet the class where it is and push for what we can win while trying to draw out the more radical tendencies and possibilities of any given campaign in the same way that we would for, say, a strike against the imposition of a new contract. Where you draw the line on points of principle or avoiding “tail-ending” is always a bit of a judgement call.

We might have other disagreements as to the meaning and practice of 'counter power' in terms of a materialist and class analysis don't know.

By counter power I mean the organised ability of our class to fight against capital, the state, patriarchy, white supremacy, all of which I’d see as fundamental to the class struggle, that may or may not be an idiosyncratic definition, idk. A “proletarian” movement that neglects the interests and needs of marginalised sections of the class is ultimately going to end up pretty reactionary, but the class basis of it is important.

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah the Repeal the 8th vote today is an example.

Is there a 'direct action' approach to abortion rights? Well the article includes examples of people who illegally imported and distributed abortion medication, self-administered medication at home at risk of 12 years imprisonment, but no-one should have to do that and it's not pre-figurative in any sense.

I read somewhere a while back (can't find the article so the following might have glaring inaccuracies) about someone who managed to run an unofficial (and possibly illegal) PrEP trial in London which saved dozens of people's lives before it started to be available more widely. There are health clinics run for undocumented people in the UK as well due to the hostile environment ID checks and up front charging in the NHS.

Self-organised clinics within capitalism (or even something like MSF) are going to be inferior to what you can get on the NHS, it's not even like growing food on an allotment or something. They're a response to both class weakness (up-front NHS charging for migrants is a precursor to it being rolled out for everyone and other restrictions) and division - a lot of people support in abstract the idea that 'illegal immigrants' shouldn't get expensive NHS treatment, even if highlighted cases around Windrush might have started to poke some very tiny cracks in the idea of what an 'illegal immigrant' actually means).

The referendum campaign is also a symptom of weakness, there's no need to have such a campaign in the UK because abortion is already legal, but this is a bit of a tautology.

The WSM article also mentions how when the Irish Labour Party did badly in elections, they spun it as a defeat for the repeal campaign, but that in fact it's all gone ahead despite a right wing government. That doesn't mean that referendums are 'direct democracy' or anything, but it shows an ability to force reforms without relying on elections as such. There are probably some aspects of the campaign which are extremely NGO-ish, but Strike for Repeal was one of the much better things around the Women's March this year.

Also I doubt anyone is under any illusions that this would be a social democratic step towards communism, it's clearly trying to expand the 'social wage' in terms of health provision, and decriminalise people exercising bodily autonomy. But those will be contingent on funding and provision which aren't a direct result of the repeal (assuming the repeal goes through today).

But, it will definitely help the conditions of a lot of people, and it might increase confidence to take on other fights - which I think goes back to the Malatesta quote - not reforms as an evolution towards communism, but as battles which are either won or lost and which can be won or lost in different ways.

radicalgraffiti

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

a pay rise is a reform, but i dont see people denouncing strikes as reformist

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Another recent practical example: during the last big Labour antisemitism row, Jewdas came out with some very pointed criticism of the Jewish "community leadership" like the Board of Deputies, criticism that, excitingly for those of us who're into class politics, explicitly discussed the BoD's class position and material interests: https://www.jewdas.org/enough-is-enough/

In response, the Board of Deputies president essentially denied their Jewishness and accused them of antisemitism: https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/jonathan-arkush-claims-jewdas-is-a-source-of-virulent-antisemitism-1.461817

Hopefully, we can all agree that the latter is a reactionary appeal to identity and that we should support socialist and anarchist Jews against conservative bourgeois ones. But I don't think it's that helpful to frame our critique in terms of "identity politics", because Jewdas *also* have a politics that's heavily based around their Jewishness, so if our response is just "grrr, bloody identity politics wankers", then it's not immediately obvious whether we're aiming at Jewdas or the Board of Deputies or both.

On the other hand, if we use that situation to talk about why we as anarchists oppose the logic of *representation* (we do all have a critique of representation, that's something we all agree on, right?), then not only is it much clearer which side we're aiming at, but that also serves as a starting point to make a more interesting/radical critique of Jewdas for their softness on the Labour Party, because we can talk about the ways that Corbyn's role as head political representative of the working class actually parallels the BoD's, and how ultimately the working class doesn't need Labour any more than "the Jewish community" need the BoD. I still don't see what talking about "identity politics" offers that discussing communist/anarchist critiques of representation doesn't.

I mean, there might be other problems with some forms of politics that appeal to identity that aren't tied to the logic of representation, like pacifism or whatever, but if so I still think it'd be better and clearer to talk about those specific problems rather than just using a vague catch-all term like idpol.

Spikymike

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Maybe a bit of an aside but I don't think radicalgraffiti's suggestion that pay rises are reforms even though some strikes may be associated with reforms is overly helpful. See for instance my comments in this discussion here:
https://libcom.org/blog/reform-possible-reformism-guaranteed-22122011
Mike Harman seems to be tracking my related posts on other threads - all good, keep it up!

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

SpikyMike from https://libcom.org/blog/reform-possible-reformism-guaranteed-22122011

Clarity would be helped perhaps if we distinguished state legislation, laws, regulations, codes of practice and so on, in which most people understand reforms to be expressed in a practical way, from the everyday class struggle over wages, social benefits and working and living conditions. The two are of course interlinked but calling material improvements such as a wage increase or an increase in unemployment benefit or better working conditions or better living conditions a 'reform' when they may or may not be associated with any state law or regulation seems to muddy the waters.

Yeah I'm not sure there's a clear line. When the state raises the state pension age, that is a 'social wage cut', a lowering of the pension age would be a 'social wage increase'. I think it required an act of parliament to change the state pensions age, (google says the Pensions Act 2011).

Cuts to Education Maintenance Allowance, PIP assessments, Job Seekers Allowance - some of these will require legislation, some will be executive or government departments.

Another example is the public sector pay cap. That's a policy, which translates into a wage cut. There was a 'reform' of this policy which led to the police getting a pay raise and no other public sector workers (something aided by the Labour Party who have been banging on about more police funding): https://www.ft.com/content/c1b7187a-97b4-11e7-a652-cde3f882dd7b

So legislation doesn't seem like a good test for reform or not, whether something requires legislation is largely determined by the government.

Some things don't really cost the state anything to provide (equal marriage, to some extent the GRA both fall into this category) vs. say disability benefits or trans healthcare which would. I think that's a big contributor to the Tories being prepared to grant both ('socially liberal* and fiscally conservative' *with mass deportations).

It would save the state money to close all prisons and detention centres, defund police and ICE, cancel Trident renewal etc. but they're not planning to do that any time soon.

Wage rises from a private company, not sure it is useful to call those 'reforms' but a strike for a straight wage increase is firmly contained within the logic of capital - it's a struggle for concessions not a transformation of social relationships.

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I am actually not being sarcastic here but can anyone actually define the kind of identity politics that has caused such conflict among anarchists? Organizations split, schisms, arguments, etc over what exactly. Absolutely promise no snark here.

I get that the liberal identity politics - banknotes etc- has no place in anarchism but I don't believe that is happening anyway. So, what exactly is the behavior people are referring to, when they complain about identity politics in anarchism? In not too heavily theoretical language if at all possible, I would like a straightforward explanation.

Agent of the I…

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This thread was started by someone claiming anarchism is "descending into this ever more complex morass that is identity politics", including specific posters on libcom.org. Even baboon seems to be in agreement, saying "I'm sure I've seen by some on here". Yet neither of them, nor anyone else for that matter, wants to take the time to provide examples of what they are talking about, or demonstrate how anarchists are "descending" into this "complex morass". So what really is the point of this whole thread?

I'm hoping someone answers Fleur's questions, but I have a feeling that's not going to happen.

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

WSWS batting for Polanski, who pled guilty to statutory rape against a 13 year old, against #metoo now, because some of the women speaking out against rape are rich liberals (as opposed to Polanski who is obviously a pauper):

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/05/21/cann-m21.html

WSWS

To their credit, some participants at the festival in Cannes have spoken out clearly against the Hollywood #MeToo witch hunters.
French-Polish director Roman Polanski, in Cannes with his new film, Based On a True Story, compared the campaign around #MeToo to a form of hypocritical “mass hysteria.” He told Newsweek Polska: “I think this is the kind of mass hysteria that occurs in society from time to time.”
Director Terry Gilliam, whose latest film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote closed the festival in Cannes, recently compared the #MeToo movement to mob rule: “The mob is out there, they are carrying their torches and they are going to burn down Frankenstein’s castle.”

The Cannes experience demonstrates once again there is nothing democratic or progressive about the demand for gender or race quotas. These are maneuvers by already privileged middle class layers looking for more privileges.

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Woah, what possible political capital would anyone expect to to gain from defending a man who drugged and raped a child?

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fleur

Woah, what possible political capital would anyone expect to to gain from defending a man who drugged and raped a child?

They have an entire section on the 'sexual misconduct witch hunt'. I had not seen any of this until today: https://www.wsws.org/en/topics/mediaCategory/sex-witch-hunt/

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jfc. Just waiting for their thinkpiece on the persecution of Comrade Harvey Weinstein.

Also, Terry Gilliam was vocal in support of of Johnny Depp when Amber Heard divorced him for physical abuse.

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Why wait? End of last year they were apparently putting out about one a week:

WSWS

What is involved here? Setting aside the superficiality and frenzy of the media, what is the politics of the Weinstein scandal?
[..]
Of course, boorishness and crudity are not illegal and the allegations of assault and rape remain just allegations at this juncture. Like everyone else, Weinstein has constitutional rights, including due process and the presumption of innocence. If there is evidence of criminality, he should be prosecuted.

However, when a lynch mob begins to gather, it is always wise not to jump in and participate. Everyone deserves a trial in which he or she can mount a self-defense.

On the basis of bitter experience, one certainly has the right, even obligation, to be suspicious of the Times, the New Yorker and the pressure-cooker atmosphere that has been almost instantaneously generated, or summoned up.

There is a lengthy history of sex scandals in America (and Hollywood—Charlie Chaplin and others), none of which has led in a progressive direction. The sex scandal is a mechanism through which other issues are resolved, often to the satisfaction of powerful economic interests and generally with the result that politics is pushed to the right. The Clinton-Lewinsky affair, manipulated by the right wing and a subservient media, took center stage in American political life for nearly two years and almost led, in what was an attempted coup d’état, to the removal of a twice-elected president.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/10/12/wein-o12.html

WSWS

The sexual misconduct campaign began in the Times and New Yorker with the alleged misdeeds of Harvey Weinstein. Everyone could presumably be induced to dislike the fat Hollywood mogul. But this was simply part of the softening-up process, a means of catching people off guard.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/11/28/marc-n28.html

WSWS

Each day, the “Me Too” movement, described by its cheerleaders as a “national reckoning” or “national conversation,” takes a new victim. Transgressions that may have occurred as far back as a half-century ago are being recalled and deemed worthy of brutal punishment. Shameful rituals of allegations and pathetic apologies are being enacted. Long careers are ruined in a matter of minutes. The accused in many cases are men in their mid to late seventies, some of whom have records of decades of distinguished contributions to the arts. They are not even informed of allegations against them until after their dismissal. Asking to substantiate the veracity of an accuser’s claims is proof of “rape apology” or outright guilt.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/12/09/pers-d09.html

Here's what they have to say about identity politics:

WSWS

The Democratic Party, supported by all of the various left-liberal and pseudo-left trends, is particularly aggressive and vociferous on this score. Identity politics, the self-centered, upper-middle-class obsession with race, gender and sexual identity, has become one of that party’s principal pillars.

As opposed to earlier periods, today the question of race is not associated with civil rights, with a major program of social reform, with improvements in the social conditions of the working class as a whole and certainly not with socialism. The debate on race is largely built around demands for the allocation of greater economic resources to sections of the black petty bourgeoisie. There is a marked and noticeable absence of democratic demands and sentiments within the leadership of these upper-middle-class movements.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/08/30/pers-a30.html
The thousands of people getting shot by police or at the border every year, the millions in prison and deported, all must be a conspiracy to benefit the black petty bourgeoisie.

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That's such nonsense. #MeToo was started over a decade ago by a black woman, to reach out to young, working class and especially WOC. BLM as a consequence of Zimmerman's acquittal and cops murdering African American men. Where have these people been?

Noah Fence

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well Weinstein has now been charged.
https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/world-us-canada-44257202

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fleur

I am actually not being sarcastic here but can anyone actually define the kind of identity politics that has caused such conflict among anarchists? Organizations split, schisms, arguments, etc over what exactly. Absolutely promise no snark here.

I get that the liberal identity politics - banknotes etc- has no place in anarchism but I don't believe that is happening anyway. So, what exactly is the behavior people are referring to, when they complain about identity politics in anarchism? In not too heavily theoretical language if at all possible, I would like a straightforward explanation.

I don't think this was really a question about the definition of IP in anarchism , but rather a statement of your view that it is not causing splits, arguments, etc. (among anarchists).

And I don't know why that (splits, arguments, even fist fights etc.) in itself would be bad from your viewpoint. Surely you're not saying that the kind of IP in anarchism was totally accepted by every anarchist from the first day of its mythical birth. And if you consider the IP of the anarchist variety so vital, then surely you would think it is worth to cause splits, etc. in its defence.

btw, small point, but the term "liberal" is not exact to describe the bad kind of IP that you apparently reject. IP can be criticised purely from a liberal/enlightenment point of view.

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

WSWS have a long, long history of taking the worst possible line on these questions -here's their "solidarity with CNN against the ISO" piece on Steubenville from 2013: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/03/20/ohio-m20.html

Michael Jackson in 2005: https://wsws.org/en/articles/2005/06/jack-j15.html

And so on. I don't think the fact that they came out of the WRP is irrelevant here.

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noa Rodman

Fleur

I am actually not being sarcastic here but can anyone actually define the kind of identity politics that has caused such conflict among anarchists? ... So, what exactly is the behavior people are referring to, when they complain about identity politics in anarchism? In not too heavily theoretical language if at all possible, I would like a straightforward explanation.

I don't think this was really a question about the definition of IP in anarchism , but rather a statement of your view that it is not causing splits, arguments, etc. (among anarchists).

Maybe this is just a really wild, out-there, crazy interpretation, but I think if you look at the parts where Fleur says "can anyone actually define the kind of identity politics that has caused such conflict among anarchists?" and "what exactly is the behavior people are referring to, when they complain about identity politics in anarchism?", and "I would like a straightforward explanation", they might possibly be understod as asking a question about the definition of IP in anarchism, and not just making a wild claim that, for instance, the whole controversy about the London Anarchist Bookfair never happened. Perhaps that's too wacky a take, but that's my personal theory about how maybe Fleur's post actually says exactly what it says and not something completely different.

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There’s a surprising degree of resistance to being clear and specific about what is actually being discussed from some quarters here. Doesn’t seem like a good way to have a sensible conversation to me.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sadie

to being clear and specific about what is actually being discussed from some quarters here.

I think you gave a decent working-definition, it's not really a question of analysing the circuits of capital here. We also use catch-all terms like 'liberal', 'reformist' (apparently strikers can be labeled reformists now as well), 'Leninist', 'authoritarian', etc. Even if the origin of the term 'identity politics' were right-wing, or has become used now by the right-wing, that in itself still wouldn't be a reason to reject its use.

R Totale

not just making a wild claim that, for instance, the whole controversy about the London Anarchist Bookfair never happened.

But those who reject identity politics will no longer be considered really as being anarchist, or how can someone whose views you regard as dog-whistle racist/sexist/transphobic still be an anarchist? Or to broaden it to the wider left, e.g. the WSWS, whose articles against #MeToo you linked. Do you still consider them to be on the left then (as opposed to the ISO)? Would you not rather argue for the necessity and justness of a split, banning, a complete no-platforming of them?

If you believe you're right, then I don't see why you should have a problem with creating splits, up to physical altercations.

Spikymike

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

And a bit late but there are a whole lot of problems with pro-revolutionary groups basing their strategy and priorities on ''We have to meet the class where it is....'' when where the class is fluctuates in time and place with some serious defeats and backward shifts taking account also of our desire to be 'internationalists' in our analysis and responses - though on some occasions the class is well in advance of our revolutionary minorities!!
Fleur, I think I was clear about what aspects of 'identity politics' in it's full range was problematical whether you agree with that or not, but then I wasn't claiming as other had that this is specifically a problem for all anarchists.

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Spikymike

And a bit late but there are a whole lot of problems with pro-revolutionary groups basing their strategy and priorities on ''We have to meet the class where it is....'' when where the class is fluctuates in time and place with some serious defeats and backward shifts taking account also of our desire to be 'internationalists' in our analysis and responses - though on some occasions the class is well in advance of our revolutionary minorities!!

It’s not an absolute thing by any means, I’m not arguing, for instance, that we should all join the Labour Party because that’s the in thing right now. I don’t believe there are any solid, clear lines though (with a few obvious exceptions) and we have to be prepared to move with the times and adjust our tactics to the situation we find ourselves in. As said in previous post, it’s a judgement call, we should trust our comrades to know where to draw the line.

It’s a particular bugbear of mine that for a movement that praises spontaneity and critical thinking so much, we are so slow to change with the times. Our methods of propaganda and analysis always seem to be about a decade behind the rest of the world. There’s a kind of small c conservativism that comes with fetishising having the Correct Line on everything and it comes with real costs.

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

No Noa, it was a straight up, good faith question. Some people are always complaining about identity politics in the anarchist movement, I want to know what it actually is this is. I think we've established that liberal identity politics isn't actually going on in anarchism. So define it.

And Noa, do not fucking tell me what I actually mean, presume to speak for me, reframe what it is I said, extrapolate anything from my words which are not there. You don't have an answer to my straightforward question? Stumped? Then a splainy response to it isn't needed tyvm.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fleur

Some people are always complaining about identity politics in the anarchist movement, I want to know what it actually is this is. I think we've established that liberal identity politics isn't actually going on in anarchism. So define it.

Can you admit this possibility: that there are "liberals" who do acknowledge the class factor? Like I said, French liberal historians already had a class analysis of society, prior to Marx. So "liberal" identity politics can make reference to class. Really, even fascists can make reference to class. It's a pretty low bar.

And how do you define "liberal" identity politics? Apparently in a very restrictive sense: people who want more minorities on corporate boards or their face on the banknote. And do you actually oppose that? Why would anyone oppose such harmless stuff in principle? Does it mean then that there is active campaign in the anarchist movement for it? Not that I know. But that's only your very restrictive definition of liberal identity politics.

On the other hand the good kind of "anarchist" identity politics is very broadly defined by you (not just you of course Fleur, don't take it personal). It includes any organising that involves minorities, even if it is just by accident that e.g. a company has a large number of workers that are black, etc. Even it is for health assistance to people who are sick, but also happen to be gay, or suffer mental health problems, etc. We defend all people's right to health care, and this in reality includes also minorities, by definition. I don't think that is what is meant ( at least by me) by identity politics in the anarchist movement. Actually, again, I don't think such organsing (the original street protests against police violence, etc.) is even meant by rightwing/mainstream rants against IP.

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noa Rodman

Fleur

Some people are always complaining about identity politics in the anarchist movement, I want to know what it actually is this is. I think we've established that liberal identity politics isn't actually going on in anarchism. So define it.

On the other hand the good kind of "anarchist" identity politics is very broadly defined by you (not just you of course Fleur, don't take it personal). It includes any organising that involves minorities, even if it is just by accident that e.g. a company has a large number of workers that are black, etc. Even it is for health assistance to people who are sick, but also happen to be gay, or suffer mental health problems, etc. We defend all people's right to health care, and this in reality includes also minorities, by definition. I don't think that is what is meant ( at least by me) by identity politics in the anarchist movement. Actually, again, I don't think such organsing (the original street protests against police violence, etc.) is even meant by rightwing/mainstream rants against IP.

OK, so the thing that is meant by "identity politics in the anarchist movement is"...?

link

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fleur and Sadie nearly got to me. I was about to write in support of the passion that cares about people and improving lives for all. Really good stuff. But then when looking for info about the split between AF and ACG I found this from Fleur: “…I’d be one of the awful bullies chucking these nasty fuckers out. Then they can whine about being silenced, like they always do.”

So that caring has limits then!! You are quite happy to bully and abuse women who don’t agree with you. Presumably you will apply that also to black people too and to disabled and to OAPs if they don’t agree that trans-women are more oppressed let alone black working working class males, working class women and working class OAPs and as for white working class males!!! Who are more oppressed – black people or women, black men or white women, trans black or trans white? Who would you prefer to bully? It goes just on indefinitely. Absurd. The shambles at the bookfair last year is also a very good example of why I call identity politics a morass as the split in AF and JC’s penchant for accusations of fascism as is the very vagueness of ideas about identity politics and its implications that are expressed here.

Identity politics and political correctness had their origins in the slogan ‘the personal is political’ a long time ago and ok it helped me understand that the way we behave is a product of the society we live. Unfortunately it has lead today to individuals attacking other individuals and nobody having the right answer. It encourages attacking each other for using the wrong words and behaviours, it blames individuals not the society those individuals grew up in. Everybody is oppressed by somebody else who in turn is oppressed by others and nobody can ever be right – that is why this is just a ridiculously messy type of politics.

Overall, its pure idealism and individualism to believe that you can simply persuade others to be change behaviour as an intellectual exercise – that is an idea that capitalist system fosters to keep the population under control. ( I wont say libcom posters think you create a revolution that way cos most now seem be accepting that it is a reformist activity)

I read something by an anarchist (not on libcom) recently that talked of a hierarchy of oppressions. He suggests always supporting Palestinians oppressed by Israelis and always support Israelis who are oppressed by British. Nowadays we also see remainers and brexiteers are complaining that the British are oppressed by the USA and by EU respectively. That’s a slippery route to national defence.

How is his approach to nationalities and libcom posters approach to defending oppressed social categories different from the Trots theory of the lesser evil where there is always some bourgeois faction to support who is less damaging to workers. Im struggling to see how identity politics will ever not be a point of contention for anarchists and libertarian communists.

link

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Those arguing in favour of fighting for oppressed groups and nationalities never seems to mention working class movements within these categories and frankly that is essential. By not doing so you just spread the idea that you are supporting middle class and upper class women, blacks, disabled, Palestinians and so forth. If you aren’t then you need to distinguish between wc movements and bourgeois movements.

I keep seeing support given to campaigns and organisations like metoo and black lives matters, repeal the 8th, and so on. I cannot see these types of organisations as independent actions by the working class even if I understand the individual issues; they clearly get taken over by bourgeois liberals even if its not clear they start out so clear. I don’t see most posters criticising them at all and that’s why I used the term so-called anarchists. I don’t see how supporting campaigns to change laws and reform the way capitalism manages itself can be seen as anarchist.

As i said before what I want to see independent working class action that emerges from below and that’s not led from above by politicians and trade unions. There is not a lot to see at the moment agreed, but if its getting rid of capitalism that you want, they you have to ask what leads to a revolution. As one of the texts referenced earlier in the thread says ‘identity criteria does not mean solidarity or political agreement, whereas working class struggle can lead to that. Ok we are not at this stage at present but looking at periods of revolution and mass strikes after WW1 (particularly in Russia and Germany) then the working class set up workers councils, their own organisations, opposed to existing states and created militias to defend oppressed groups against pogroms, they took over what was manufacturing to benefit workers they took over the provision of food, limited rents, created childcare and education systems, took over communication systems This seems to me to be excellent example of why the working class is capable of being revolutionary and creating a new humane society.

Noah Fence

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Apparently in a very restrictive sense: people who want more minorities on corporate boards or their face on the banknote. And do you actually oppose that? Why would anyone oppose such harmless stuff in principle?

I would never support or oppose either of these things in themselves, they’re an irrelevance. It’s like the vegan campaign against the new polymer banknotes - if the worst you can say about money is that there’s a teeny weeny amount of tallow in it then you are so bereft of understanding of the nature of oppression you may as well give up and go do a course in butchery, same for who’s mugshot appears on the filthy stuff or the colour of the face that’s living the highlife off of your hard graft.
However, to call these things ‘harmless’ displays a level of myopia similar to that of those that propose such nonsense. I oppose these type of things as a general overall principle as the belief that voting, ethical shopping, Black faces in high places, women in the boardroom etc are an effective way to end oppression is a huge obstacle in the road that leads to the working class taking action to defend itself and eventually take itself out of existence.
Now I’m not into gang banging posters who’s views don’t fit the generally accepted norms of Libcom, far from it, but you seem to be going out of your way to be contrary. So much so that I’m really starting to wonder if you’re trolling? If so, you’ve been knocking it out of the park mate!

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

OK, so the thing that is meant by "identity politics in the anarchist movement is"...?

identity politics + reference to class/anarchy. But then what is meant by "identity politics" as such, or as Fleur called it the "liberal" identity politics outside of the anarchist (or say the broad "left") movement? A very restrictive answer is: anything that doesn't mention a concern for the working class is "liberal identity politics". My response was that this definition overlooks that a "liberal" can talk about class. Liberals can even organise protests in the streets.

Noah Fence

However, to call these things ‘harmless’ displays a level of myopia similar to that of those that propose such nonsense. I oppose these type of things as a general overall principle as the belief that voting, ethical shopping, Black faces in high places, women in the boardroom etc are an effective way to end oppression is a huge obstacle in the road that leads to the working class taking action to defend itself and eventually take itself out of existence.
Now I’m not into gang banging posters who’s views don’t fit the generally accepted norms of Libcom, far from it, but you seem to be going out of your way to be contrary. So much so that I’m really starting to wonder if you’re trolling? If so, you’ve been knocking it out of the park mate!

I called it 'harmless' because I was in a concessionary, not contrarian, mood. But I agree, it can be opposed, e.g. on the grounds that you mention (rather than say e.g. on the basis of meritocracy).

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noa Rodman

R Totale

OK, so the thing that is meant by "identity politics in the anarchist movement is"...?

identity politics + reference to class/anarchy.

OK, so when people talk about identity politics they're talking about identity politics? Brilliant, I'm glad we've got that one sorted, this whole discussion has been really worthwhile.

But then what is meant by "identity politics" as such, or as Fleur called it the "liberal" identity politics outside of the anarchist (or say the broad "left") movement? A very restrictive answer is: anything that doesn't mention a concern for the working class is "liberal identity politics". My response was that this definition overlooks that a "liberal" can talk about class. Liberals can even organise protests in the streets.

OK, so we've got another inadequate description that doesn't tell us what identity politics is, but if it's not that very restrictive answer, then what is it?

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

link

Fleur and Sadie nearly got to me. I was about to write in support of the passion that cares about people and improving lives for all. Really good stuff. But then when looking for info about the split between AF and ACG I found this from Fleur: “…I’d be one of the awful bullies chucking these nasty fuckers out. Then they can whine about being silenced, like they always do.”

So that caring has limits then!! You are quite happy to bully and abuse women who don’t agree with you.

OK, so Fleur doesn't think that people should be given space to spread shit reactionary politics as part of organised anarchist events, even if they're women. Do you think that people should be given space to spread shit reactionary politics as part of organised anarchist events? Does being a woman trump everything else about them? Obviously we can and should disagree, discuss, etc about what kinds of politics should be welcome and what movements should be excluded, but I think we all actually agree on the basic principle that nasty fuckers spreading bigoted ideas should be shown the door, not welcomed with open arms.

Presumably you will apply that also to black people too and to disabled and to OAPs if they don’t agree that trans-women are more oppressed let alone black working working class males, working class women and working class OAPs and as for white working class males!!! Who are more oppressed – black people or women, black men or white women, trans black or trans white? Who would you prefer to bully? It goes just on indefinitely. Absurd.

That's a lot to extrapolate from the fact that some people take an unwelcoming attitude to reactionary politicians trying to hijack an anarchist event. If you want to defend the content of those leaflets and argue that the politics of trans-exclusionary feminism have something to offer the anarchist movement, then make that argument; if you're not going to make that argument, then why all this fuss?

The shambles at the bookfair last year is also a very good example of why I call identity politics a morass as the split in AF and JC’s penchant for accusations of fascism as is the very vagueness of ideas about identity politics and its implications that are expressed here.

I don't think JC's contributions have been particularly helpful on this subject, but I also don't think he's accused anyone of fascism. As as for the split in the AF, political groups split all the time for all kinds of reasons - look at any of the IWA threads, they've had more splits than I've had hot dinners.

Identity politics and political correctness had their origins in the slogan ‘the personal is political’ a long time ago and ok it helped me understand that the way we behave is a product of the society we live. Unfortunately it has lead today to individuals attacking other individuals and nobody having the right answer. It encourages attacking each other for using the wrong words and behaviours, it blames individuals not the society those individuals grew up in. Everybody is oppressed by somebody else who in turn is oppressed by others and nobody can ever be right – that is why this is just a ridiculously messy type of politics.

Overall, its pure idealism and individualism to believe that you can simply persuade others to be change behaviour as an intellectual exercise – that is an idea that capitalist system fosters to keep the population under control. ( I wont say libcom posters think you create a revolution that way cos most now seem be accepting that it is a reformist activity)

Right, so you're talking about an over-focus on individual behaviour at the expense of systematic analysis. OK, I agree with you that that can be a problem, but I'm interested about where exactly you think it's played out on libcom. And again, that's precisely not what the anarchist bookfair drama was about - it wasn't about like someone calling someone a twat and then getting called sexist or whatever, it was about a conscious, organised intervention by people deliberately acting as representatives of a political campaign and then people reacting to that.

I read something by an anarchist (not on libcom) recently that talked of a hierarchy of oppressions. He suggests always supporting Palestinians oppressed by Israelis and always support Israelis who are oppressed by British. Nowadays we also see remainers and brexiteers are complaining that the British are oppressed by the USA and by EU respectively. That’s a slippery route to national defence.

OK, that sounds dumb as hell if that summary's accurate, but again I don't think there'd be much support for that approach here? Have you got a link to it?

How is his approach to nationalities and libcom posters approach to defending oppressed social categories different from the Trots theory of the lesser evil where there is always some bourgeois faction to support who is less damaging to workers.

Because, unlike the other two you mention, we don't support bourgeois factions?
link

Those arguing in favour of fighting for oppressed groups and nationalities never seems to mention working class movements within these categories and frankly that is essential. By not doing so you just spread the idea that you are supporting middle class and upper class women, blacks, disabled, Palestinians and so forth. If you aren’t then you need to distinguish between wc movements and bourgeois movements.

This is frankly untrue? Like, here's the libcom coverage of repealthe8th - OK, you can call it populist for talking about "people" rather than "working class people", but it's directly attacking bourgeois politicians trying to claim credit for the movement? Can you give me some examples of what you would see as "people arguing in favour of fighting for oppressed groups and nationalities" where class doesn't get mentioned?

I keep seeing support given to campaigns and organisations like metoo and black lives matters, repeal the 8th, and so on. I cannot see these types of organisations as independent actions by the working class even if I understand the individual issues; they clearly get taken over by bourgeois liberals even if its not clear they start out so clear. I don’t see most posters criticising them at all and that’s why I used the term so-called anarchists. I don’t see how supporting campaigns to change laws and reform the way capitalism manages itself can be seen as anarchist.

Just to be clear, would you also be equally opposed to any kind of economic reform/defensive struggle? And as for there not being any criticism of these movements, how about this:

article hosted on libcom

We originally took the name, inspired by a rising movement for Black liberation, manifested through spontaneous actions breaking out after the killings of Mike Brown, Jr., and Trayvon Martin. People chanted “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” and “Black Lives Matter.” This was before any serious national structure and unified platform existed. We felt — in that context — we had the right to try to champion the name and give it the meaning worthy of the people it claims to support and defend.

Internally, we have agreed for some time that it is our duty to represent a different pole of attraction to the strategy and perspectives of BLM in Cincinnati and nationally. We debated, however, how and when to formally break with the name. Because WE (BLMC) have done real work under that name and did not want to surrender it to those we feel cannot and have no interest in building a revolutionary movement for Black liberation.

But we can no longer use or identify with the name Black Lives Matter — a rally cry that still has meaning, even if perverted by those pushing it as a brand. The depth and scope of betrayal of struggles against police brutality and the families fighting for their loved ones is too great. The continuous shift towards electoral and liberal Democratic Party politics and away from revolutionary ideas is too great. The consequences for Black, brown, and poor people are too great. The possibilities to build a truly independent movement on a national scale for Black liberation are too ripe.

BLM did not create or build this new grassroots movement against police brutality and racism; they capitalized off a nameless groundswell of resistance sweeping the nation, branded it as their own, and profited from the deaths of Black men and women around the country without seriously engaging, as a national formation, in getting justice for fighting families. All the while raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars from high-end speaking engagements and donations from foundations that support the Black struggle (or want to co-opt it). They have gained access to high profile associations, including invitations to the White House and celebrity events; have been on magazine covers; are on the way to profiting as authors and subjects of books; and have accepted numerous awards and accolades as so-called founders of the movement — while families struggle, unassisted, to keep their fights going. So many people on the ground have shared a similar experience: when the reporters leave and the bright lights are gone, so are they (BLM).

As i said before what I want to see independent working class action that emerges from below and that’s not led from above by politicians and trade unions. There is not a lot to see at the moment agreed, but if its getting rid of capitalism that you want, they you have to ask what leads to a revolution. As one of the texts referenced earlier in the thread says ‘identity criteria does not mean solidarity or political agreement, whereas working class struggle can lead to that. Ok we are not at this stage at present but looking at periods of revolution and mass strikes after WW1 (particularly in Russia and Germany) then the working class set up workers councils, their own organisations, opposed to existing states and created militias to defend oppressed groups against pogroms, they took over what was manufacturing to benefit workers they took over the provision of food, limited rents, created childcare and education systems, took over communication systems This seems to me to be excellent example of why the working class is capable of being revolutionary and creating a new humane society.

OK, I'd tend to agree with that, the question is then what points in that direction? I always like the old As We See It text here. But to my mind, some of the most exciting developments that could point towards that goal in recent years, at least in the anglosphere, have been the mass uprisings against racist police brutality - if we say we support those, are we then doing identity politics, especially if NGO-type organisations then try to recuperate those uprisings? I mean, it appears that hosting content that explictly attacks those recuperators isn't enough to clear libcom of the charge of supporting them.

By the way, which of these suggestions from earlier in the thread have you read? What did you make of them? I understand there's a lot to take in there, but at the same time you seem to have had time to think about the subject a fair bit already:

Mike Harman

So here it looks like you're referring to other discussions on the site, but it also looks like you haven't read them. There's a few articles either posted or re-posted that discuss intersectionality vs. class, which you're claiming no-one is doing, including some historical references to past movements:

https://libcom.org/library/intersectionality-identity-politics-class

https://libcom.org/blog/identity-crisis-leftist-anti-wokeness-bullshit-22082017

https://libcom.org/blog/workers-world-unite-some-notes-class-unity-identity-politics-18052012

Also this from viewpoint: https://www.viewpointmag.com/2017/03/16/identity-crisis/

And this old one from Robin Kelley: https://libcom.org/library/identity-politics-class-struggle

R Totale

I'd recommend link read this as well: http://libcom.org/library/intersectional-identity-path-progress

R Totale

For the record, I think this is pretty much the gold standard in terms of being a great critique of the reactionary elements of what you'd describe as identity politics, although I don't think the authors use that term themselves.

Lucky Black Cat

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I support identity politics in general, but there've been many times I've seen problems with how identity politics is manifested, both in theory and in practice.

This makes it no different than any other type of politics tho, right? Like environmental politics. There are plenty of dumbass forms of environmental politics out there, but only a dumbass would be against the core goal: protecting the environment.

The core goal of identity politics -- to overcome all forms of identity based oppression -- is a good one that any decent person should support.

To those people who are dissing identity politics: I highly recommend that you put a qualifier word in front of there. So, not identity politics, but bad identity politics, or liberal identity politics, or extremist identity politics, or reactionary identity politics, or naval gazing identity politics.

If you just talk shit against identity politics, in and of itself, it really comes across like you just don't give a damn about racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, or any other identity based oppression. If you have any good critiques they will get lost because people won't want to listen to you or let on that they might agree with a point made by someone who seems like they're one Jordan Peterson lecture away from being a reactionary.

Fleur

I am actually not being sarcastic here but can anyone actually define the kind of identity politics that has caused such conflict among anarchists? Organizations split, schisms, arguments, etc over what exactly. Absolutely promise no snark here.

I get that the liberal identity politics - banknotes etc- has no place in anarchism but I don't believe that is happening anyway. So, what exactly is the behavior people are referring to, when they complain about identity politics in anarchism? In not too heavily theoretical language if at all possible, I would like a straightforward explanation.

I have an anarchist friend who lives in the Bay area of California and they have told me that, over there, most anarchists are into a type of identity politics that makes them excessively focused on the interpersonal. For most of them, their only form of political engagement is to try to get individuals to be more woke. Twitter calls outs and so on. Collective organizing is neglected and ignored.

Another problem: Call out culture can be very toxic, and this view doesn't just come from the outside. There've been many critiques of it put out by identity politics activists.

I've also personally witnessed some bad identity politics in my day, and have even been guilty of it myself, but don't have time to get into all that now. I gave the California example because it's the easiest to explain.

I think maybe the degree to which people have personally witnessed bad identity politics depends on a few things:

> Age: Millennials and Generation Z probably see it more
> Where you live: Perhaps identity politics tend to be better in the UK?
> Where you hang out online: Certain spaces on Tumblr or Twitter, certain FB groups, etc. have a coalescence of bad identity politics

I just want to end by saying that there is also GOOD identity politics out there! I hope we can shift the conversation away from whether identity politics is good or bad in itself, and towards the question of identifying which forms of idpol praxis are good, helpful, effective, etc. and which are shit.

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Presumably you will apply that also to black people too and to disabled and to OAPs if they don’t agree that trans-women are more oppressed let alone black working working class males, working class women and working class OAPs and as for white working class males!!! Who are more oppressed – black people or women, black men or white women, trans black or trans white? Who would you prefer to bully? It goes just on indefinitely. Absurd.

Yes, that would be absurd. Good thing nobody is arguing for this then. It’s irrelevant who is “more oppressed” because oppression isn’t a measurable singular quantity, that doesn’t even make sense as a concept.

The issue at the bookfair wasn’t about who is more or less oppressed but about people handing out reactionary leaflets that dehumanised and lied about a marginalised group as part of an ongoing campaign of organised bigotry (a campaign largely waged via the bourgeois press and with the support of several MPs, while we’re talking about what is or isn’t cross class politics). I’d equally support people challenging, say, a group of people handing out misogynistic materials at an anarchist event regardless of their particular identities or where they might fall in some entirely imaginary hierarchy of oppressions.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Total

OK, so we've got another inadequate description that doesn't tell us what identity politics is, but if it's not that very restrictive answer, then what is it?

I think the original question was what is identity politics within the anarchist movement. Fleur relied on a restrictive definition of liberal identity politics (e.g. tokenist minorities on a banknote) to argue that that didn't exist within anarchism, hence there is no identity politics within the anarchist movement.

I expanded the definition of the 'bad liberal' identity politics to include reference to class and even forms of organising like street protests.

On the other hand, the definition of the 'good' kind of identity politics is so broad that the fight for material conditions of workers who happen to be a minority, women, etc. is already claimed as identity politics, rather than what any class struggle worth its name automatically does. Whence any critique of IP is considered as an attack on the class struggle waged for/by minorities. As if anyone when they rant against IP (even mainstream/rightwing) is arguing against e.g. minority/migrant workers doing serious class organising stuff in the workplace.

So then what is identity politics according to you? Answer: not the bad kind.

fingers malone

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I've definitely had people rant about identity politics when I'm doing serious class organising stuff in the workplace

fingers malone

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

See this is the thing. I've heard a guy (anarchist as well) say 'don't give me that middle class feminist bullshit' as a response to objections to him beating up his girlfriend. People are always saying 'but no one says that' to the points we make. Yeah people do say that, the people arguing that dismissal of 'identity politics' can be used in a reactionary and dangerous way have been in situations where people really are saying this shit.

fingers malone

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A lot of these rows about 'identity politics' and how it's bad focus on things somebody said. But I think if you focus on, in feminism, anti racism and so on, on what people actually do it would be different (and more interesting). But a lot of important stuff people do they don't talk about much.

In this referendum campaign I've met people who have been helping people who need to come to England for an abortion. They put people up overnight and help them in other ways. People don't talk about this work much with good reason. Until after 1992 travelling to England for an abortion wasn't even legal. After that it would still be difficult for a lot of people if their family or neighbours found out about it.
A lot of work in trade union activity involves dealing with sexism, racism and so on. I would not really comment on most of it publicly because you are dealing with real people and they probably don't want their situation written about.
I feel people who don't do this stuff then charge in shouting at me about my middle class feminist bullshit and this is really horrible.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just to return to the demand for a definition, I think people (e.g. R Totale) want to have it both ways: trying to show they/libcom are in fact critical of the stuff designated as identity politics (e.g. R Totale in post #30), whilst demanding others define it. So how you can be critical of identity politics, whilst not knowing the definition?

I can interpret the demand for a definition, as a demand for informed critique. On the Rectenwald-thread someone complained that anti-IP critiques are basically just rabid polemical trolling and I replied: "We all like to see more well-researched, informative, sharp critiques and less low-effort trolling." If that was all the demand was about, then we can agree: there are a lot of uninformed wannabe-edgy rants about it, people should do their research, but it is legitimate to criticise IP.

fingers malone

I've definitely had people rant about identity politics when I'm doing serious class organising stuff in the workplace

If understand you correctly: not just when you're doing it, but because you're doing it? And was that the exact term they used?

I've heard a guy (anarchist as well) say 'don't give me that middle class feminist bullshit' as a response to objections to him beating up his girlfriend. People are always saying 'but no one says that' to the points we make. Yeah people do say that, the people arguing that dismissal of 'identity politics' can be used in a reactionary and dangerous way have been in situations where people really are saying this shit.

I understand "feminist" is used as put-down, but I have some trouble imagining an average bigoted guy in a real-life situation going off about specifically "identity politics".

But even if the target of rants against IP were the kind of serious workplace organising of ordinary people (which I really don't think is the case, it's always targeted against some "liberal elite"), then my response is; how would it matter if we reject the term IP then? Do you believe banning a word will actually change anything materially?

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

fingers malone

But I think if you focus on, in feminism, anti racism and so on, on what people actually do it would be different (and more interesting). But a lot of important stuff people do they don't talk about much.
...
I feel people who don't do this stuff then charge in shouting at me about my middle class feminist bullshit and this is really horrible.

Again (like I said before on the Rectenwald thread), it also depends who the audience is of the rants against IP. The audience is not you with your concrete work or specific activist organisation. The audience is the general public, and the target is the general "liberal media/university".

fingers malone

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

No it was me, mate, it was a man in my union shouting 'women do lie about rape' at me in the street, target was definitely me.

fingers malone

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noa Rodman

fingers malone

I've definitely had people rant about identity politics when I'm doing serious class organising stuff in the workplace

If understand you correctly: not just when you're doing it, but because you're doing it? And was that the exact term they used?

While doing workplace activity, and other activity, housing, anti gentrification, whatever, I've criticised sexist behaviour by people who are also involved, and have been completely dismissed and sometimes people have used the words 'identity politics' although they are more likely to say something about feminism or political correctness. They are angry about being criticised, and perhaps don't feel that I should be walking around acting like I'm some kind of equal human being or something.

fingers malone

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noa Rodman

I understand "feminist" is used as put-down, but I have some trouble imagining an average bigoted guy in a real-life situation going off about specifically "identity politics".

He went off about specifically 'feminism'

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There have always been in general put-downs IRL like "pinko", loony lefty, radical windbag, etc. I hope that's not what's getting under anyone's skin.

fingers malone

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noa Rodman

But even if the target of rants against IP were the kind of serious workplace organising of ordinary people (which I really don't think is the case, it's always targeted against some "liberal elite"), then my response is; how would it matter if we reject the term IP then? Do you believe banning a word will actually change anything materially?

No, I don't want anyone to ban any words, I'm not that bothered about specifically using the words 'identity politics'. I'm talking about a political position, very common, I've been having to deal with it my entire life, which dismisses activity around sexism, racism and so on as 'divisive' 'bourgeois' 'not important' 'not class politics'.

The things I'm talking about: people assuming what you are bringing up is a trivial little thing, often without waiting to find out what is really going on, dismissing fears you have (through experience) as silly, assuming anything to do with feminism is middle class, assuming all feminism is just 'elect Hillary Clinton' also people not really giving you guidance about how to deal with sexism in a campaign or not supporting you when you go to them for help about it, saying it will damage the campaign or you have unrealistic expectations or it's a side issue.

Noah Fence

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There have always been in general put-downs IRL like "pinko", loony lefty, radical windbag, etc. I hope that's not what's getting under anyone's skin.

I really hope you’re not suggesting that descriptions of sexist or anti-feminist assholery by posters on this thread is just them misconstruing what they hear? That is a teeny tiny step away from the old misogynistic wankers classic line “ffs, stop being so sensitive”.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

fingers malone

I'm talking about a political position, very common, I've been having to deal with it my entire life, which dismisses activity around sexism, racism and so on as 'divisive' 'bourgeois' 'not important' 'not class politics

I don't think that is the common position in the past on the left. Contrary to what Juan earlier claimed for example, the US Stalinist CP in the 1930s wasn't "color-blind", but did engage in activity around racism. https://isreview.org/issue/1/communist-party-and-black-liberation-1930s

Paul D'Amato

The CP initiated a multitude of struggles against racism through the Depression decade. CP members led struggles against poor housing and evictions, for unemployment relief, against police terror and lynching. They organized mass campaigns for the defense of victims of racist injustice; they petitioned against segregation in baseball; they organized interracial meetings and dances, demonstrations and social gatherings both in the North and in the South; they initiated campaigns to root out manifestations of racism inside the party. When Communists traveled to Washington to demonstrate on behalf of the Scottsboro Boys, they stopped off on the way to sit down in restaurants that refused to serve Blacks—a tactic adopted by the civil rights movement in the 1960s.14 In these years, the CP was able to challenge traditional Black organizations like the NAACP and the Garveyites.

As a result, the CP’s Black membership grew from 200 members in 1930 (less than 3 percent of the total) to 7,000 in 1938 (over 9 percent). In some cities, the percentage of Black members was considerably higher. In Chicago in 1931, close to one-quarter of the city’s 2,000 members were Black. As Blacks constituted 11 percent of the total U.S. population at the time, these figures represent a small but important step in building a multiracial movement. At a time when segregation was rampant—legally in the South, defacto in the North—the CP was virtually the only integrated organization in the country.

See also: https://johnriddell.wordpress.com/2018/05/08/the-cominterns-1922-initiative-for-global-black-liberation/

And today the average left group or people always gives special attention to racism, sexism, etc. At least I see they devote special articles on it in their papers etc. I'm sure they also take part in activities (SWP particularly anti-racism).

Noah Offense

I really hope you’re not suggesting that descriptions of sexist or anti-feminist assholery by posters on this thread is just them misconstruing what they hear? That is a teeny tiny step away from the old misogynistic wankers classic line “ffs, stop being so sensitive”.

No, I just asked if the person in the incident fingers brought up really used the term 'identity politics'. I fully understand that 'feminist' can and is used as a put-down (by an average bigot).

I don't think anyone would or should be offended to be called a 'feminist' though.That would be a god-gift to the right, like someone getting upset by being called the term 'snowflake'.

fingers malone

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mate he was BEATING UP HIS GIRLFRIEND I'm not being offended about him using feminist as an insult, there was a problem because he was BEATING UP HIS GIRLFRIEND

Rob Ray

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't think that is the common position in the past on the left.

Thanks a lot I think I may have sprained my eyebrow from raising it too hard. The left has always been prone to dismissing issues of race and gender in its campaigning, from the need for Milly Witkop to found a separate women's section in the FAUD to the Mujeres Libres, to the total neglect of black workers by the UK trade union movement [pdf].

And today the average left group or people always gives special attention to racism, sexism, etc.

Do they? Because I'll be honest, I've come across a lot of superficially "woke" groups which are actually more along the lines you seem to want, mouthing a vague commitment to equality but turning a blind eye to sexist bullshit, up to and including actual rape in some cases.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

fingers malone

I'm not being offended about him using feminist as an insult, there was a problem because he was BEATING UP HIS GIRLFRIEND

I didn't say you were offended by it. But when you bring up this story of someone beating up his girlfriend, and you object to that, and they call you a feminist bourgeois, then I understand you're not so subtly implying that critics of IP are enabling/defending woman-beaters.

Rob Ray

Because I'll be honest, I've come across a lot of superficially "woke" groups which are actually more along the lines you seem to want, mouthing a vague commitment to equality but turning a blind eye to sexist bullshit, up to and including actual rape in some cases.

Well yes like Steven said earlier, self-proclaimed male feminists can prove to be quite abusive of women in reality.

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So, nobody has actually given a straightforward definition of what exactly constitutes the kind of identity politics which is ruining anarchism. Sike thinks my position on not being down with a bunch of liberals disrupting anarchist space, spreading misinformation and bigotry is identity politics, even though terfs could be described as the poster children for liberal identity politics. The same group of people who weaponize gender and call anyone who disagrees with them misogynist. Presumably not inviting liberal bigots into anarchist spaces is some kind of identity politics, someone drop Jordan Peterson a line, give him an invite. We wouldn't want to impinge on anyone's free speech.

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Oh and the cherry on the cake, Noa splaining away a woman's experience of sexism. Again.

I wonder why I fall back into sarcasm...

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lucky Black Cat:

Sorry I missed your post, thank you for answering me. However I don't think that very specifial kind of weirdness which happens in SF Bay area is particularly the same as in Doncaster or Ottawa or anywhere else really. That part of California has always been a bit different to everyone else.

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Also, what is this guilt by associate bullshit people are always self-flaggelating about? Get a fucking grip. If someone disagrees with you, it doesn't mean we're calling you fascists or abusers. Bloody martyrs.

fingers malone

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noa Rodman

fingers malone

I'm not being offended about him using feminist as an insult, there was a problem because he was BEATING UP HIS GIRLFRIEND

I didn't say you were offended by it. But when you bring up this story of someone beating up his girlfriend, and you object to that, and they call you a feminist bourgeois, then I understand you're not so subtly implying that critics of IP are enabling/defending woman-beaters.

Hey no sneakiness was intended on my part. I'm trying to say that sometimes badly thought through critiques of idpol can enable or defend woman beaters or other kinds of harmful behaviour yes. Not all idpolcritiquers ok, and often when people do it they don't realise the possible effects because in this society often these kinds of things are really hidden behind closed doors and people say harmful things in ignorance of this context.

Can I just repeat here 'sometimes' and 'badly thought through' not all critiques of idpol do this.

Lucky Black Cat

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

fingers malone

See this is the thing. I've heard a guy (anarchist as well) say 'don't give me that middle class feminist bullshit' as a response to objections to him beating up his girlfriend. People are always saying 'but no one says that' to the points we make. Yeah people do say that, the people arguing that dismissal of 'identity politics' can be used in a reactionary and dangerous way have been in situations where people really are saying this shit.

Noa Rodman

when you bring up this story of someone beating up his girlfriend, and you object to that, and they call you a feminist bourgeois, then I understand you're not so subtly implying that critics of IP are enabling/defending woman-beaters.

Forget subtly implying. I will just come out and say: Trashing identity politics as a whole -- without qualifying that you mean bad versions of identity politics -- does enable woman-beating assholes like the one Fingers Malone mentioned.

I almost don't want to make this post because I don't want to make Noa or anyone else think I'm blaming them for abuse that other people commit. That's not my intention. I also assume you're as disgusted and upset by abusive behavior as me or anyone else here.

But still, the point must be made that there are harmful repercussions of blanket dismissal of identity politics, feminism, etc.

I'll just quote Fingers Malone again:

I've heard a guy (anarchist as well) say 'don't give me that middle class feminist bullshit' as a response to objections to him beating up his girlfriend.

This guy was able to deflect criticisms by calling it "middle class feminist bullshit" only because there are enough people on the left who conflate feminism with middle class bullshit.

Are there types of feminism that are middle class bullshit? Of course. But criticizing a man for abusing his girlfriend is far from that! Obviously. So how could he even say such a thing? He can say it because there are anarchists and other leftists who dismiss ALL feminism as middle class bullshit.

When they do so, they make it that much easier for assholes like this to deflect criticism of their abusive behavior. And to do so in a language that gives their deflection some cover of leftist legitimacy. This is really quite dangerous.

It doesn't always have to be so extreme as a dude beating up his girlfriend. It can be other forms of sexist, racist, etc. behavior. And when people are criticized for it, they can dismiss those criticisms as being "only identity politics" and therefore illegitimate.

When we make identity politics a bad word, this is what can happen.

Again, I do agree there are bad forms of identity politics out there, bad forms of feminism, etc. But we have to be very careful when making these criticisms to be clear and specific that we are not talking about feminism as a whole, or identity politics as a whole. Otherwise, we give abusive and bigoted leftists a handy, powerful tool to deflect well deserved criticism.

fingers malone

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks LBC. And Fleur. And other people. Noa, did you ever think about that this might be quite an upsetting topic for me to talk about?

Steven.

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As Fleur pointed out, it is worth noting that none of these anti-identity politics warriors (including Noa) have pointed out what exactly this "identity politics" is which is ruining anarchism, or given any practical examples.

The only person who has given any sort of practical example is Lucky Black Cat – although in my experience that sort of thing like in the Bay Area happens amongst people who call themselves anarchists but are in fact just angry liberals.

I did attend an anarchist meeting in New York some years ago, where I guess you could say the "bad" end of identity politics (not that I would use this terminology myself though) reared its head, in terms of white male participants apologising for being white and male and things like that. But a much bigger problem was that none of the participants actually had revolutionary politics. When it came to talking about strategic orientation all anyone wanted to do was set up housing co-ops and workers co-ops.

Noah Fence

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This shit really blows my mind, this wilfull, almost obsessional persistence to ignore every word that many people are saying in order to hang on to a position that bears no scrutiny whatsoever. I’ve seen it so many times on here and elsewhere, there are other topics that create similar patterns but none so much as those involving misogyny.

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sovereign Nations was honored to have Dr. Jordan B. Peterson address the thesis “Identity Politics & The Marxist Lie of White Privilege” to guests gathered at the Sovereign Nations Conference at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC.

https://youtu.be/ofmuCXRMoSA

Noah Fence

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mike Harman

Sovereign Nations was honored to have Dr. Jordan B. Peterson address the thesis “Identity Politics & The Marxist Lie of White Privilege” to guests gathered at the Sovereign Nations Conference at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC.

https://youtu.be/ofmuCXRMoSA

There’s nothing I’d like to do more than to get a lesson in idpol from good old Jordan but I’ve got some very important pins I need to stick in my eyes! If I don’t get it done tonight I won’t have time to watch a Joe Rogan vid tomorrow.

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Steven.

As Fleur pointed out, it is worth noting that none of these anti-identity politics warriors (including Noa) have pointed out what exactly this "identity politics" is which is ruining anarchism, or given any practical examples.

Honestly I think that’s a feature rather than a bug for some people. While identity politics is a very real thing (and limited in some fundamental ways that should be criticised, as I said upthread), the way it’s used by some people is as a sneer. It’s a way to dismiss the words and/or actions of marginalised workers when they make the speaker uncomfortable.

I mean in this thread we’ve seen challenging TERFs at an anarchist event used as an example of “identity politics”, when basically the entirety of TERF politics and theory is built around policing the borders of womanhood and defending them from perceived interlopers lest their identities as its true representatives be undermined. It’s also been suggested that challenging the actual Green Party parliamentary candidate who was handing out those leaflets was an example of liberal reformism, so I guess you can put words in whatever fucking order you please if it helps tell the trannies to stop inconveniencing you by being actual human beings.

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

link

So that caring has limits then!! You are quite happy to bully and abuse women who don’t agree with you.

This sentence is a bit telling as well. Two green party members distributing transphobic literature at the bookfair and who gloat about calling the police against anarchists are "women who don't agree with you". Why should their identity as women shield them from being ejected from the bookfair? Perhaps link thinks women cops, Theresa May and others should be welcome at the bookfair just due to their identity, regardless of their politics or actions?

ajjohnstone

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The SPGB Summer School in Birmingham will have as one of its topics for discussion

'Inside the Matrix'

This talk will argue against the premise that oppression is simply the product of class struggle and that feminism can be dismissed as identity politics which distract from the real issue. Feminism and socialism are not either / or, positions. An understanding of class, patriarchy and intersectionality is crucial to the challenge of establishing a world based on socialist principles

.

The subject has already created a bit of stir on our discussion lists.

The SPGB Summer School welcomes day-visitors if anybody is interested in what can be expected to be a very lively exchange.

ticking_fool

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sadie

It’s a way to dismiss the words and/or actions of marginalised workers when they make the speaker uncomfortable.

This, in fact, often a great deal more than this. Let's be honest, the reaction against 'identity politics', broadly defined and used as a smear, within anarchism is part of a broader backlash against Black Lives Matter and associated movements, organising against sexual violence and trans visibility and rights. It's happening now because of what happened over the last ten years in many, many different organisations and communities.

The anarchist scene is not aloof from this stuff and the anti idpol brigade need to look at the alliances they're making. On this thread already we've seen people defending Ciaron O'Reilly and Seamus Colligan, known abusers both, because they waved the right anti idpol cards. We've seen the defence of actual grassing TERFs actively organising against the rights of a minority. We've seen an organisation shattered by a culture of silence around sexual assault praised because it made the right 'SJWs wrecking the anarchies' noises. If you can't make these arguments (when you bother making them at all) without lining up with abusers and reactionaries maybe you should look at them again.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fleur

Oh and the cherry on the cake, Noa splaining away a woman's experience of sexism. Again.

I said I fully believe fingers malone's report on being called a bourgeois feminist when calling out an anarchist who beats his girlfriend. If that's what you're referring to, then you misinterpreted my words. And why do you say "again"? If you're referring to your own experience with sexism, I "again" never doubted your experience when you brought it up in the context of so-called gamergate.

So, nobody has actually given a straightforward definition of what exactly constitutes the kind of identity politics which is ruining anarchism.

Why do you add the "kind" of identity politics which is ruining anarchism here? It sounds like a weasel word, that allows you to shift definitions. We/you (not "you" in particular) more or less understand what identity politics is, since there have been linked various pieces criticising the "bad liberal" identity politics, as evidence that libcom holds and allows for critique of the stuff that is designated as such. Example in action of shifting definition:

Steven

sort of thing like in the Bay Area happens amongst people who call themselves anarchists but are in fact just angry liberals.

So the "bad kind" of IP cannot be held by anarchists, since if they do, they're no longer anarchists, but liberals. (And "liberals" is also poorly defined, apparently liberals can't speak about class).

ticking_fool

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just say it's the trannies and have done with it, FFS. This dance is boring.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

fingers malone

Noa, did you ever think about that this might be quite an upsetting topic for me to talk about?

Of course, which is why I don't force anyone to bring their or others' experiences of abusive, unless they can think it's important and are ready to tell their story.

Fleur

Also, what is this guilt by associate bullshit people are always self-flaggelating about? Get a fucking grip. If someone disagrees with you, it doesn't mean we're calling you fascists or abusers. Bloody martyrs.

No, but you're calling the critics of IP enablers of abusers/fascists. And I'm not whining about, just noting what arguments you take recourse to (in defense of something that you claim to not even know what it is).

Mike Harman

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson address the thesis “Identity Politics & The Marxist Lie of White Privilege”

I think you are the right person to do a debunking of him point by point for a libcom blog piece, if you want to engage with Peterson in such a direct way.

Fall Back

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sadie

Honestly I think that’s a feature rather than a bug for some people. While identity politics is a very real thing (and limited in some fundamental ways that should be criticised, as I said upthread), the way it’s used by some people is as a sneer. It’s a way to dismiss the words and/or actions of marginalised workers when they make the speaker uncomfortable.

Not sure if this is a diversion, but we definitely had something similar in solfed a few years ago.

In the membership downturn after the austerity boom (don't know the exact numbers, but federally i reckon we dropped from 200ish members to 80ish in the space of a couple years) there definitely seem to be a theme of harden class warriors - for want of a better term, old school libcom type anarchos - who suddenly started getting super mad about identity politics.

What definitely seemed to be the case, was that basically when people got over the initial euphoria of "lets organise!", and realised that it was actually hard work and involved more than just saying "organise in your workplaces and communities", so people retreated into a comfort zone of just moaning about identity politics. It was almost entirely bullshit ofc - the locals that did best were the ones that took intersectionality etc into account.

So, aside from all sorts of shitty bigotry behind it, I definitely reckon there's an element of using being made at ID politics as a scapegoat for people's own failings.

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fall Back

So, aside from all sorts of shitty bigotry behind it, I definitely reckon there's an element of using being made at ID politics as a scapegoat for people's own failings.

Yeah that’s absolutely a part of it, which is funny because IME the vast majority of real organising work is not done by white, cishet men. The burden of all the boring admin, emotional labour and practical solidarity always seems to fall on women, queer folks and POC (I mean not me, I’m useless, but in general, you know).

ticking_fool

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sadie

The burden of all the boring admin, emotional labour and practical solidarity always seems to fall on women, queer folks and POC (I mean not me, I’m useless, but in general, you know).

I think it's a bit more complicated than this. What's been happening, particularly through survivor led stuff but also queer stuff, has been all that work being made more visible and the 'organisers' or 'intellectuals' or whatever kind of work is valorised in whatever circle starting to be held to account for the vast amount of energy they suck out of the people around them. So many of these people are experiencing a real threat to their status and are lashing out. Like, it's getting intellectualised as 'dividing the class' here, but it's the same shit behind Peterson's bullshit or TERFs or whatever. This is anarchists participating in a wave of reactionary backlash because they feel their status is threatened. It is fucking shameful and embarrassing.

link

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Contributions in here base themselves on the idea that identity politics is about the workers but It talks about womens oppressions, mens, black disabled, gay and trans oppressions. We are agreed though that we don’t want to support middle class and ruling class, women, men, black, disable gay trans and so forth then what are we left with. If you really mean working class women, men, black, disabled gay and trans etc then what is the common ground??? Working Class!! So support working class struggle and call to unite the working class. Divide the working class and you have no chance of getting rid of capitalism.

Why are TERFs considered reactionary and TIRFs not. I just see it as an argument within radical feminism and that’s all bourgeois and it shows what I mean by a hierarchy of oppressions which is an idea that R Totale and M Harman wanted to disagree with. I want to see arguments in favour of working class feminism.

R Totale was asking for comments on texts which I am happy to do in a bit more detail later but is there something that you think particularly clear that I can respond to and why?

Fall Back

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

link

Why are TERFs considered reactionary and TIRFs not.

Because one is E and the other is I.

I'm sure plenty ppl here have disagreements with non-TERF radical feminists - but the difference between ppl who you just politically disagree with, and bigots actively pushing a toxic ideology that is killing ppl is night and day.

ticking_fool

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Why are TERFs considered reactionary and TIRFs not. I just see it as an argument within radical feminism and that’s all bourgeois and it shows what I mean by a hierarchy of oppressions which is an idea that R Totale and M Harman wanted to disagree with.

TERFs organise directly against trans people through harrassment campaigns, malicious prosecutions, directly sabotaging our healthcare, organising against our basic civil rights, supporting conversion therapy and more. Radical feminists who are trans inclusive don't do this. Pretty simple tbh.

Like if you want to make this some fucking ivory tower thing enjoy yourself, but I'm gonna work to deal with the fuckers who are coming after me and I'm gonna hold comrades who refuse to support me in doing that to account. This might be intellectual to you, this might be about the correct classification of politics and feeling pure or whatever bullshit, but it's my fucking life. Will you support people fighting reactionaries coming for them or will you hem and haw about this not being the kind of fight you prefer? It's really very simple and the number of anarchists choosing to defend organised and active reactionaries because the people they're coming for are inconvenient to them is fucking shameful.

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

link

We are agreed though that we don’t want to support middle class and ruling class, women, men, black, disable gay trans and so forth then what are we left with.

I actually think middle class black people shouldn't be shot in the street by police or arrested for being in their own front gardens, that middle class queer people shouldn't get stabbed after being asked to dance at parties etc. so if these are byproducts of those things not happening to working class people that seems fine?

If you think there are fixed categories of working, middle and ruling class and that the working class needs to unite against the middle and upper class, then you're using a largely sociological definition of class (class as social category) that's closer to a populist than a communist one.

A lot of people will say teachers and university lecturers are 'middle class', but there have just been significant strikes in both the UK and US by workers in those sectors. Should we not 'support' those workers because they are 'middle class'? Wouldn't that be a bit divisive?

I actually think it's fine to talk about stratification in the working class on things like skilled vs. manual labour, income, job security etc. (although I don't think it's very useful to bang on about working class vs. middle class) but to do so you'd also need to be able to discuss gender and race meaningfully instead of ignoring them and hoping they'll go away.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So are you saying "middle class/petty-bourgeois" is largely a sociological category, used by populists, whereas race and gender are somehow more real/essential, properly communist?

Rob Ray

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

the 'organisers' or 'intellectuals' or whatever kind of work is valorised in whatever circle starting to be held to account for the vast amount of energy they suck out of the people around them. So many of these people are experiencing a real threat to their status and are lashing out.

I dunno some of it may be that, but tbh I've not seen armchair pointy-heads being punted out of the movement particularly, if anything they often thrive on being able to talk the right language and can at times take advantage of that to bear down on people who don't know the political equivalent of which fork to use.

Tbh I think a lot of the animosity towards "ID pol" is rather simply explainable as people wanting things to go back to "normal" running so they can get on with what they originally signed up for (ie bashing the rich). The problem with this tendency though of course is that it ends up acting in a way which benefits reactionaries, because "the norm" is pretty shit.

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Okay so in part what Mike Harman said but also there’s an interesting assumption being made about where division in the working class comes from. It’s a very common error to assume that class unity exists ab initio in the class in itself instead of being something we have to work to create by becoming the class for itself.

If we can’t talk about and address:
* How a fuck of a lot of LGBT+ working class youth are homeless because their working class parents kicked them out;
* How many working class women are brutalised and abused by the working class men who claim to love them;
* How working class black folks have historically and to this day been excluded from a lot of workplace and community organising by racism coming from white working class people;
* Etc. Etc. EtFuckingCetera.
Then what we have isn’t unity but willful ignorance of pre-existing division.

radicalgraffiti

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noa Rodman

Fleur

Also, what is this guilt by associate bullshit people are always self-flaggelating about? Get a fucking grip. If someone disagrees with you, it doesn't mean we're calling you fascists or abusers. Bloody martyrs.

No, but you're calling the critics of IP enablers of abusers/fascists. And I'm not whining about, just noting what arguments you take recourse to (in defense of something that you claim to not even know what it is).

its extremely clear that the people whining* about "identity politics" mean attempts to deal with bigotry and oppression, ie anti racism, feminism, any thing around LGBT issues etc, and this is exactly why none of the "critics of identity politics" can define what they mean by identity politics
Link here is the closest we have got to honesty on this https://libcom.org/forums/theory/poverty-identity-politics-21052018?page=4#comment-606393

*its not even in the vicinity of actual criticising

Konsequent

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mike Harman

I read somewhere a while back (can't find the article so the following might have glaring inaccuracies) about someone who managed to run an unofficial (and possibly illegal) PrEP trial in London which saved dozens of people's lives before it started to be available more widely.

Think you're referring to Greg Owen. Buzzfeed interviewed him here https://www.buzzfeed.com/patrickstrudwick/meet-the-man-who-stopped-thousands-of-people-becoming-hiv-po

Edit: Just regarding your account of it, he prevented hundreds (maybe thousands?) of new transmissions of HIV. How many of those might have died of it is speculation. I understand that people who've been diagnosed with HIV in the UK live longer than the rest of the population on average because HIV medication is so good and people living with HIV are screened more regularly for other stuff.

Total derail, just thought you might find it interesting.

Konsequent

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

State of this thread tho.

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noa, I said what kind of identity politics because I want to know exactly what kind of identity politics is ruining anarchism. Pretty simple really. It's clearly not the banknote feminism type, so what is it exactly? Specifically, not some vague catch-all that nobody is very clear about. I can hardly be shifting the definition if nobody has been able to define it. And it's a bit rich to talk about weasel words when you've been weaseling around not answering a straightforward question.

As for guilt by association, it comes up all the time. Point out that that identity politics has been thoroughly adopted by the right and cannot be recuperated (bit like the word libertarian) and it's all complaints of guilt by association don't call me a fascist wah wah. Point out that blanket complaints of identity politics enables abusers and people get defensive, not me, I'm not an abuser. The expression that not everything is about you, comes to mind.

My two cents? I agree with Sadie, people don't like change. People find it hard to accept that theory, praxis, society as a whole changes. Anarchism has to evolve with changes in society, or just die, it's your call. This is not 1918, if it were we would be having the conversation about whether propaganda of the deed is ruining anarchism. (Spoiler alert: it didn't really help.)

Twenty years ago (less even?) people paid lip service to anti-sexism, racism, etc etc but it didn't go much further than that. Non negotiable opinion there, I'm old enough to remember. Things are different now and anyone who isn't a straight, white, cis man expects to have a say too. Some people don't like that. Point out that something is sexist, racist, transphobic etc and there's a total knee jerk reaction. You have people telling other people that their real life concerns isn't actually a problem, people who don't have these issues themselves. I understand, people fall into habits of behaviour but it's not good enough. I'm not even saying that the bulk of the anti-identity politics crew are racist etc, it's just that they have become ossified in their opinions and aren't prepared to listen to other people. It's actually very hard to accept challenge and change. I'm kind of being charitable here. I'm an older person too and I've had to evolve my opinions in response to a wider change.I do however have some very uncharitable opinions about this but I'm not going to voice them right now...

Also, there are some extreme oddball behaviour, largely in pockets of America but as Steven said it's mostly among liberals. But these are then used as an excuse go off on one about identity politics - it's all new, intersectional, American, academic, identity politics bollocks and isn't relevant to working classes. It's a bit like saying that anarchism isn't relevant because some people who call themselves anarchists are primmos and who wants to live in a cave.

So, anybody want to have a go at this one:

What constitutes the actual variety of identity politics which is ruining anarchism? I will accept examples of real life situations in which identity politics was detrimental to anarchism, if an abstract answer is't possible.

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fleur

What constitutes the actual variety of identity politics which is ruining anarchism? I will accept examples of real life situations in which identity politics was detrimental to anarchism, if an abstract answer is't possible.

So far the only concrete answer we’ve had to this is “Trans people not wanting to be around vicious transphobes”. And any movement that can be ruined by that probably deserves to be ruined tbh.

Noah Fence

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I can answer that question - identity politics is ruining anarchism coz instead of getting on with supporting comrades that are subject to real life discrimination and oppression every day based on some arbitrary notion of inferiority relating to their gender, colour, sexual preference or whatever, many ‘so called’ anarchists would rather fetishise an imaginary ideal that can never have any practical place in an anarchist ideology, as that ideology has amongst its core principles the aim of smashing inequality and prejudice and fighting back against those that instigate it.
It’s so fucking simple and leads me to only one seemingly feasible conclusion - that those who get their knickers in such a knot over it would prefer that the inequality, that favours them, remains firmly in place.

jura

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Perhaps the problem in this discussion is that the "anti-idpol" camp wants to criticize certain influences of liberalism on radical politics (including anarchism), while the "pro-idpol" (for the sake of simplicity) camp dismisses that influence – as Mike Harman put it, the Bay Area stuff is just "angry liberals" calling themselves anarchists, not real anarchists. The latter implies that when proper anarchists do "identity politics", they preserve their focus on class, steer clear of reformism etc.

I have to say I'm on the fence here. On the one hand, I fully support the independent organization of women and other sectors of the working class. I believe organizing for reforms involving the interests of these sectors (reproductive rights, freedom of movement, demilitarization of the police etc. etc.) is key to building class unity and hence class power, although as any other struggle for reforms (including strikes for pay) it has its pitfalls and can be recuperated. I also think that perhaps the most difficult struggles to be fought out are not between the class and capital or state, but within the class itself (i.e., against the interests, perceived or real, of the sexist, racist, nationalist, homophobic and transphobic sectors of the class). Communists should obviously be on the side of the oppressed sectors (i.e., women, non-whites, migrants, LGBTI), and not just (perhaps not even primarily) for moral reasons (e.g. "supporting the downtrodden") but for strategic reasons as well (divisions and oppressions inside the class weaken the class as a whole).

...but (here it comes), I'm also wary of the general "retreat from class", the turn towards reformism and professionalized activism centered around grad students and academics (I'm one myself), undue focus on language and discourse (including its strict policing in activist circles and the development of an expert terminology, especially around gender), the uncritical acceptance of "non-Western", "alternative" traditions (such as Islam), the focus on the individual ("check your privilege") and the substitution of "intersectionality" as an empty slogan ("a catalog of oppressions", including "classism" or, even worse, "social inequality") for "intersectionality" as a means of analysing class formation and of looking at how the various power relations in fact support and determine one another.

I can't pin this on any particular anarchist organization. It's more like a "zeitgeist". I've seen quite a few activisty friends end up in single-issue NGOs or doing consulting work as experts for the state. In discussions, I can also see the tiptoeing around incredibly oppressive non-Western traditions, or the heated arguments resulting from someone not using (albeit in good faith) the proper pronoun. So I do think that the liberal version of identity politics does have an influence in radical circles, and it's not a good one.

Noah Fence

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jura, you make fair points but really you’re talking about liberalism creeping into anarchist circles, and though this may well be the case it’s a long way from what others are suggesting which if I analogise it is on about the same level as ‘all drummers are wankers coz Phil Collins’.

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Konsequent

Mike Harman

I read somewhere a while back (can't find the article so the following might have glaring inaccuracies) about someone who managed to run an unofficial (and possibly illegal) PrEP trial in London which saved dozens of people's lives before it started to be available more widely.

Think you're referring to Greg Owen. Buzzfeed interviewed him here https://www.buzzfeed.com/patrickstrudwick/meet-the-man-who-stopped-thousands-of-people-becoming-hiv-po

Edit: Just regarding your account of it, he prevented hundreds (maybe thousands?) of new transmissions of HIV. How many of those might have died of it is speculation. I understand that people who've been diagnosed with HIV in the UK live longer than the rest of the population on average because HIV medication is so good and people living with HIV are screened more regularly for other stuff.

Total derail, just thought you might find it interesting.

Thank you that's the one!

edit - crossposted with the edit

So I'm not sure that's a derail. If we look at recent accounts of "what's wrong with the left" such as Kill All Normies, Nagle doesn't talk about people being HIV positive, but she does talk about 'spoonies' and more generally the tendency of people to talk on social media about invisible, hard to diagnose illnesses.

Angela Nagle

Professor Adolph Reed Jr. has often said liberals don’t believe in actual politics any more, just ‘bearing witness to suffering’. The cult of suffering, weakness and vulnerability has become central to contemporary liberal identity politics, as it is enacted in spaces like Tumblr.
[...]
Some of the disabilities they describe can often be either psychological in origin or are unrecognized by modern medicine. One example of this is found in the ‘spoonies’ identity – an identification and online subculture in which members, typically young women, get spoon jewelry, spoon tattoos and put ‘spoonie’ in their social media biographies to signal their belonging.

HIV is invisible, and anyone with it prior to 1981 would have gone undiagnosed because it wasn't even recognised. There's still stigma attached to it, and at the time Greg Owen was working on this, it wasn't served well preventatively by the NHS.

From that Buzzfeed article, Greg Owen disclosed that he'd become HIV positive online (is this a "cult of suffering, weakness and vulnerability"? If not why is it different to talking about chronic pain online?) was a catalyst in a bunch of sexual health clinics, a few doctors, and Owen himself taking some (mild but effective) direct action to bypass the NHS commissioning process. Seems like the opposite of a 'cult of suffering, vulnerability and weakness' to me but presumably people shouldn't discuss illness online because it's too weird.

fingers malone

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jura, I agree with you that there's a problem of 'retreat from the class' but isn't the best thing to do just .... push for class politics? Promote and support workplace organising and strikes, housing struggles, anti police violence? The 'retreat from the class' is because of class defeats and changes in how society is organised isn't it? Not because of idpol?

[edit] promote these things and do all the essential things we have to do that may be 'anti oppression' or whatever and do them together. Be thoughtful about people's specific needs so abortion support networks bear in mind how to help women who don't have papers and can't travel, in strikes bear in mind how to support people on work visas. In all our activity bear in mind about poverty, homelessness, different educational background, work in an inclusive way, class politics done right shouldn't be in competition with 'anti oppression' politics as the working class is multicultural, gay,

...........fucking hell how many times have I written this, why do I even do this

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fleur

What constitutes the actual variety of identity politics which is ruining anarchism? I will accept examples of real life situations in which identity politics was detrimental to anarchism, if an abstract answer is't possible.

Leaving aside the question whether it is "ruining" anarchism or not, you yourself recognise something, which we for convenience's sake call IP, entered into anarchism over the past decade or so. Fall Back recongnised this influence too:

Fall Back

the locals that did best were the ones that took intersectionality etc into account.

Here again is you Fleur talking about something new that entered into anarchism:

Fleur

people don't like change. People find it hard to accept that theory, praxis, society as a whole changes. Anarchism has to evolve with changes in society, or just die, it's your call.
...
Twenty years ago (less even?) people paid lip service to anti-sexism, racism, etc etc but it didn't go much further than that. [...] Things are different now and anyone who isn't a straight, white, cis man expects to have a say too. Some people don't like that. [...] You have people telling other people that their real life concerns isn't actually a problem, people who don't have these issues themselves. I understand, people fall into habits of behaviour but it's not good enough. I'm not even saying that the bulk of the anti-identity politics crew are racist etc, it's just that they have become ossified in their opinions and aren't prepared to listen to other people. It's actually very hard to accept challenge and change. I'm kind of being charitable here. I'm an older person too and I've had to evolve my opinions in response to a wider change.

So again, you're admitting that something new entered anarchism, and the old anarchism has to change to it. In your opinion that would be for the good.

So how do you define that something new? The point that you seem to stress is that now anarchists have learned to "listen to other people". Whereas in the past they just paid "lip service to anti-sexism, racism, etc". Do you care to elaborate?

Fall Back

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I said the locals who did best were the ones who took such new ideas into account. Fleur said anarchists had to take on new ideas to survive.

I'm not exactly sure how this undermines her point.

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'll elaborate when you actually answer my fucking question Noa. After you.

Yeah,something new has entered anarchism, a lower tolerance for putting up with sexist, racist, transphobic etc bullshit in the name of class politics. If that's what people think is identity politics then I'm not sure that those people have a lot to offer anyway.

jura

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

fingers malone

Jura, I agree with you that there's a problem of 'retreat from the class' but isn't the best thing to do just .... push for class politics? Promote and support workplace organising and strikes, housing struggles, anti police violence? The 'retreat from the class' is because of class defeats and changes in how society is organised isn't it? Not because of idpol?

I agree. But the liberal and reformist varieties of organizing (which, as you say, is originally the manifestation, not the cause of the defeat) also serve as a convenient avenue for those people who simply want to "do something". Sometimes they even provide a veneer of "radicalism" for such efforts. So people, smart and hard-working people, who could otherwise be doing more explicitly anti-statist and anti-capitalist stuff end up as radical academics or spokespersons for the "the black community" or whatever. That way, the defeat perpetuates itself by recuperating genuine concerns and desires and channeling them towards reformism and isolation from wider class issues. (BTW, I guess one that in the postwar period, trade unions played the same role in this respect that NGOs etc. play today.) And I think this is what makes the critics of idpol angry, although it's obviously not a reason to dismiss independent organizing and the other stuff I mentioned in my previous post. It seems to me, though, that it does make pushing for class politics harder.

But I don't even think that the stuff you mention is all that new. It should be taken as a matter of course, as more or less prominent parts of the workers' movement were always doing that. Only it wasn't called "identity politics", either by the proponents or by the critics.

Rob Ray

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

which we for convenience's sake call IP

Yes, a lot of folks do that. In fact this a large part of the problem because "identity politics" seems to at various points encompass basically all political disagreements that go much beyond "we all hate the rich though yeah?" How about rather than clinging onto the term for the sake of convenience you use a bit more precision.

Are you moaning about students' leanings towards essentialism? Middle-class faddism? Academic elitism and obsfucation? Liberal one-upmanship? The descent of small/homogenous groups into weird self-reinforcing ideological blind alleys? All of these can be problems when appended to questions of race, gender and sexuality but are not the same thing as addressing them as living issues in the working class.

fingers malone

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ok I'm gonna keep trying I guess.

The most successful class organising I do is when we put loads of effort into being really holistic. So I'm in a group that is organising with people who are often very poor and going through a lot of shit and we do masses of work making sure that there's childcare, translators, food available. And this group has grown and grown and is really successful with new people coming to every meeting.
So I don't think there's a conflict. Someone mentioned high rates of homelessness among young gay people, which as someone who used to volunteer on a homeless advice line I would say is definitely a serious issue. So we need to make sure we are aware about homeless issues if we organise around gay issues, and aware about gay issues if we organise around homeless issues, not, like probably happens, these young people get ignored because it's difficult, and people make lazy assumptions.

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

For the purpose of clarity, I don't think that identity politics is a particularly useful term. I think it's pretty crappy actually. But it is identity politics which some people blame for whatever woes anarchism has, so I would like to know what they mean by it. I wouldn't describe being trans inclusive as identity politics. I'd describe it as not being a dick.

If you guys can't actually spell out what it is that is making you so pissed off then you are leaving your position open for other people to interpret. You're not doing yourselves any favours with that.

jura

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

fingers malone

class politics done right shouldn't be in competition with 'anti oppression' politics as the working class is multicultural, gay,

BTW, I think I disagree here to some extent. I think that sooner or later, class struggle oriented organizing among migrants, non-whites, women etc. has to confront other varieties of organizing in these sectors, spontaneous or formal, around the same concerns. For example, migrants may form useful networks based on their traditions, religion or national identities. These networks can be helpful, they can provide protection from oppression, self-help or even organize offensive struggles, but they also often involve horrible patriarchal hierarchies or nationalism (and hence stifle class unity etc.). They can sometimes be transformed into something else, but it does involve some effort, or even internal struggle. Similarly with race or gender: facts such as that there simply is no "black community", that Theresa May's interests differ from the interests of the cashier or the nurse, have to be confronted sooner or later by any successful effort at class based intersectional organizing. So I think there we do actually compete with "anti-oppression organizing" in the form of, e.g., the more reformist/pro-Democratic Party wing of BLM (and I think the bougies realize this!).

fingers malone

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

jura

But I don't even think that the stuff you mention is all that new. It should be taken as a matter of course, as more or less prominent parts of the workers' movement were always doing that. Only it wasn't called "identity politics", either by the proponents or by the critics.

I definitely don't think it's new, the best parts of the worker's movement always took on these issues. But it was never a matter of course as far as I know. I'm from a movement family, and these issues were always coming up and were always bitterly argued about. They weren't called identity politics as far as I remember, but women were always furious about sexism and the men were always furious about the women being furious about sexism.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fall Back

I said the locals who did best were the ones who took such new ideas into account. Fleur said anarchists had to take on new ideas to survive.

I'm not exactly sure how this undermines her point.

It doesn't undermine her "point". I'm just establishing that we all apparently recognise that "new ideas/praxis" entered anarchism.

Fleur

I'll elaborate when you actually answer my fucking question Noa. After you.

Yeah,something new has entered anarchism, a lower tolerance for putting up with sexist, racist, transphobic etc bullshit in the name of class politics. If that's what people think is identity politics then I'm not sure that those people have a lot to offer anyway.

So your answer is that the new theory/praxis is "a lower tolerance for putting up with sexist, racist, transphobic etc bullshit in the name of class politics."

So how is this "new idea" that entered anarchism "detrimental" to "anarchism"? You claim that this new theory/praxis was not present in the old anarchism.
Fleur

Anarchism has to evolve with changes in society, or just die, it's your call.

So this new idea/praxis will change the "old anarchism" into a "new anarchism". One could say this change is "detrimental" to the "old anarchism". But then the "old anarchism" hasn't "a lot to offer anyway", so it's for the better if it just dies out.

But for the "new anarchism" I suspect the "new ideas" haven't been detrimental, no.

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Answer my question, Noa.

fingers malone

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

jura

fingers malone

class politics done right shouldn't be in competition with 'anti oppression' politics as the working class is multicultural, gay,

BTW, I think I disagree here to some extent. I think that sooner or later, class struggle oriented organizing among migrants, non-whites, women etc. has to confront other varieties of organizing in these sectors, spontaneous or formal, around the same concerns. For example, migrants may form useful networks based on their traditions, religion or national identities. These networks can be helpful, they can provide protection from oppression, self-help or even organize offensive struggles, but they also often involve horrible patriarchal hierarchies or nationalism (and hence stifle class unity etc.). They can sometimes be transformed into something else, but it does involve some effort, or even internal struggle. Similarly with race or gender: facts such as that there simply is no "black community", that Theresa May's interests differ from the interests of the cashier or the nurse, have to be confronted sooner or later by any successful effort at class based intersectional organizing. So I think there we do actually compete with "anti-oppression organizing" in the form of, e.g., the more reformist/pro-Democratic Party wing of BLM (and I think the bougies realize this!).

I don't disagree with this

Tsanuri

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just to go back a wee bit...

Sadie

Steven.

As Fleur pointed out, it is worth noting that none of these anti-identity politics warriors (including Noa) have pointed out what exactly this "identity politics" is which is ruining anarchism, or given any practical examples.

Honestly I think that’s a feature rather than a bug for some people. While identity politics is a very real thing (and limited in some fundamental ways that should be criticised, as I said upthread), the way it’s used by some people is as a sneer. It’s a way to dismiss the words and/or actions of marginalised workers when they make the speaker uncomfortable.

This isn't just an online phenomenon. I've been sat in a room with Serge and watched him jump through every hoop to avoid actually defining what he meant. At best, after over an hour of discussion about the difference between liberal and anarchist use of terms and a break-out group to try and find points of disagreement, all he could say is that he rejected any notion of intersectuonality as a holistic whole but wouldn't explain what that meant and when asked to finally be clear admitted the didn't have anything to say. I'm expecting an accusation of sounding like a trot will be forthcoming for saying this, but I doubt we will ever get anything more than vaguatity or pointing at liberal goals and pretending they are something anarchists are working towards. All these vague threads and comments on LibCom and elsewhere don't amount to any real analysis or engagement of anarchist communist ideas and practice. To be honest it is just disappointing.

The way in which TERF ideology has spread from being the preserve of a few semi-organised reactionaries in London and a few scattered about here and there to the current state of being where they are making serious attempts towards inroads into daily life is a textbook example of the enforcement of ruling class ideals onto the working classes. We ate taking about a small number of academic elites, folks with media sway, and those hosting organising tools all using their place to shit on trans people because too many of us are radical at this time and they need us put in our place so that liberal voices can be installed to stop any possible struggles that could take place and threaten the current balance of reproductive labour. Now is the time we need help and when solidarity will go a long way. This kind of thing gets talked about in libertarian/anarchist communist texts as a time for our principles to come to the fore, however a bunch of anarchists/communists/leftists seem to all be joining in with the dogpile rather than taking heed and helping fight back. I'd expected it from some, but I have to repeat that from others it has just been a real disappointment.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Rob Ray

How about rather than clinging onto the term for the sake of convenience you use a bit more precision.

We use "class struggle" for convenience's sake, although the word "class" is just a classification/category/type of something. Like a class B model of a car, or class X of chemical, etc.. Or third grade class in a school (whence the room is called class-room). One can just as well speak about the "category struggle" or the "type struggle".

Spikymike

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

jura, makes some sensible clarifications in their last two posts - I would add that the many different 'identities' we assume or are landed with not only 'intersect' but often 'conflict' and can become a barrier to the evolution of a class solidarity unless we can move beyond those identities as our primary focus and integrate them within a practical movement of opposition to the capitalist material conditions that maintain such divisions - no easy matter.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fleur

Answer my question, Noa.

Can you reformulate it? If not, then your repeating it just like the dentist in Marathon Man "is it a safe (space)"?

Rob Ray

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So you're not in fact going to make any effort to be precise about what it is you're critiquing then. What a waste of everyone's fucking time.

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noa Rodman

Rob Ray

How about rather than clinging onto the term for the sake of convenience you use a bit more precision.

We use "class struggle" for convenience's sake, although the word "class" is just a classification/category/type of something. Like a class B model of a car, or class X of chemical, etc.. Or third grade class in a school (whence the room is called class-room). One can just as well speak about the "category struggle" or the "type struggle".

You mean like when people talk about strikes, wildcat strikes, general strikes, mass strikes, industrial unions, trade unions, syndicalist unions, anarcho-syndicalist unions, informal workplace groups, political-economic organisations, specific organisations, the party, rank and filism, riots, rent strikes, blockades, the abolition of work, work refusal, sabotage, value theory of labour/labour theory of value, taylorism, fordism, post-fordism, the social wage, auto-reduction. Yeah people are really pressed when you ask for specific examples of class struggle it's such a problem on this website.

P.S. Answer Fleur's question.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Rob Ray

So you're not in fact going to make any effort to be precise about what it is you're critiquing then.

I understand the demand for precision, and I agree: let's all strive to be as precise as possible. However, I myself am not particularly familiar with the daily life in the anarchist groups. I understand they are relatively small. And like I said, I don't think they are the target of even the rightwing/mainstream rants about IP (since going into such specifics would be uninteresting for the general public).

You mean like when people talk about strikes, wildcat strikes, [...]

One can compose a similar list of rather well-known terms/theories/practices related to identity politics in general (some of which have been mentioned on this thread).

ticking_fool

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So, you haven't the first idea what you're talking about, but decided to sound off anyway?

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

No, it doesn't need to be reformulated, it was very straightforward and simple. Answer my question, Noa.

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

jura

BTW, I think I disagree here to some extent. I think that sooner or later, class struggle oriented organizing among migrants, non-whites, women etc. has to confront other varieties of organizing in these sectors, spontaneous or formal, around the same concerns. For example, migrants may form useful networks based on their traditions, religion or national identities. These networks can be helpful, they can provide protection from oppression, self-help or even organize offensive struggles, but they also often involve horrible patriarchal hierarchies or nationalism (and hence stifle class unity etc.). They can sometimes be transformed into something else, but it does involve some effort, or even internal struggle. Similarly with race or gender: facts such as that there simply is no "black community", that Theresa May's interests differ from the interests of the cashier or the nurse, have to be confronted sooner or later by any successful effort at class based intersectional organizing. So I think there we do actually compete with "anti-oppression organizing" in the form of, e.g., the more reformist/pro-Democratic Party wing of BLM (and I think the bougies realize this!).

I think we're in agreement here (at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I think Who Is Oakland? was a great examination of what those conflicts can look like in practice). But just to add, it's also the case that any effort at class-based organising will also tend, sooner or later, to run into conflicts with class-based organisations like trade unions, social democratic parties, Leninist groups and so on. But no-one would think because of that that they had to announce that they were "against class politics" or whatever. Anyway, thank you for being precise and thoughtful in your posting.

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noa Rodman

I understand the demand for precision, and I agree: let's all strive to be as precise as possible. However, I myself am not particularly familiar with the daily life in the anarchist groups. I understand they are relatively small. And like I said, I don't think they are the target of even the rightwing/mainstream rants about IP (since going into such specifics would be uninteresting for the general public).

In case you missed it, this was the original post that started this discussion, the very conversation that is happening right now:
link

Today’s so-called anarchists and libertarians have fallen in to this morass of identity politics demonstrating a wishful thinking for revolution. In fact all they do is continue the trend of reformist politician since the middle of the 19th century who maybe correctly identify evils in society but seem to think that fighting them means changing laws and social morality. Today’s identity politics fail to recognise see that it’s the actions of their antecedents that have led to the behaviours they condemn today because they continue the same type of activity as though is progressive!! As a result we see the vicious squabbles between the radical feminists of 1960s/70s with those of today without recognising they are in fact part of the same movement - reformist bourgeois feminism – nor that they actually demonstrate the impossibility of them truly uniting to fight an oppressive system.

What is missing from the discussions about identity and oppression libcom is any awareness of the distinction between bourgeois and working class movements and any application of a class analysis to such movements.

I know you have some impressive skills for creative interpretation, but I think that particular post is very clearly talking about anarchists and libertarians.

One can compose a similar list of rather well-known terms/theories/practices related to identity politics in general (some of which have been mentioned on this thread).

That's literally what Fleur - and numerous other people by this point - was asking you to do this entire time. If one can do that, then is one just unwilling to or what?

jura

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

But just to add, it's also the case that any effort at class-based organising will also tend, sooner or later, to run into conflicts with class-based organisations like trade unions, social democratic parties, Leninist groups and so on. But no-one would think because of that that they had to announce that they were "against class politics" or whatever.

That's a great point. I think the analogy between trade unions (as an agent of "class struggle" or organizing in the narrow, economic sense) and some NGOs and various grassroots efforts (as agents of "anti-oppression struggle") is really useful. There is a communist critique of trade unions that does not focus on the personal failings ("betrayals") of their leadership etc., but on their structural role in certain forms of capitalism, their integration into the state and their exclusively economic focus. I think a critique that is parallel to that can (and should) be made of certain kinds of anti-oppression organizing (although I think such organizations are much less powerful and integrated than trade unions). That Oakland piece you mentioned does that pretty well, I think.

Konsequent

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mike Harman

So I'm not sure that's a derail. If we look at recent accounts of "what's wrong with the left" such as Kill All Normies, Nagle doesn't talk about people being HIV positive, but she does talk about 'spoonies' and more generally the tendency of people to talk on social media about invisible, hard to diagnose illnesses.
.....
From that Buzzfeed article, Greg Owen disclosed that he'd becoming HIV positive online (is this a "cult of suffering, weakness and vulnerability"? If not why is it different to talking about chronic pain online?) was a catalyst in a bunch of sexual health clinics, a few doctors, and Owen himself taking some (mild but effective) direct action to bypass the NHS commissioning process. Seems like the opposite of a 'cult of suffering, vulnerability and weakness' to me  but presumably people shouldn't discuss illness online because it's too weird.

I get you, this isn't a bad example after all. My conclusions are different though. Greg Owen hasn't, to my knowledge, referred to himself as a spoonie. It seems to me that he recognises his HIV status as something that's shaped him, but I doesn't seem to have become his identity (in fact the correct way to refer to people who are HIV+ is "people living with HIV" I believe, rather than a term that implies someone living with HIV is a particular category of person). I don't think the term spoonie is useful in this regard. It's origins make it about identifying yourself as someone with limited capacity (as opposed to everyone else, who presumably has unlimited capacity). No matter how debilitated I feel by my illness it's not a term I can see myself using.

Nagle's obviously a dick and I wouldn't be surprised if she considers any discussion of illness at all to be "a cult of suffering, weakness, and vulnerability".

But in this case, as with all other "identity politics", I'd make a distinction between what you experience/do/enjoy/feel/etc and who you are. Approaching politics from the perspective of categorising ourselves and other people into identities first, and expecting commonality of experience to emerge from that, is arse backwards imo.

An example springs to mind as we're talking about HIV, there's a project here (nothing revolutionary or even really political, but I hope you see why I'm using this example) called Mesmac which has the aim of reducing the transmission of STDs amongst men who have sex with men. It's specifically aimed at "men who have sex with men" and not at "gay men", because celibate gay men, for example, aren't their concern, whereas self-identified straight men who have sex with men, for example, are. The organisation is experienced enough and clear enough in their practical aims to know that focusing on identity will be a hindrance to them.

I've made the case for this repeatedly when organising with other sex workers too, that many of our colleagues do sex work but don't identify as sex workers, and that focusing on our working conditions makes more sense than trying to foster "whore pride" (not a term I've just made up, actually a thing).

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Konsequent

I don't think the term spoonie is useful in this regard. It's origins make it about identifying yourself as something with limited capacity (as opposed to everyone else, who presumably has unlimited capacity). No matter how debilitated I feel by my illness it's not a term I can see myself using.

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/

There are two other mentions of disability in KAN:

KAN

The main preoccupation of this new culture (the right named them SJWs and snowflakes, let’s call it Tumblr-liberalism) was gender fluidity and providing a safe space to explore other concerns like mental ill-health, physical disability, race, cultural identity and ‘intersectionality’ – the now standard academic term for recognition of multiple varieties of intersecting marginalizations and oppressions.

And here quoting Gitlin:

KAN

Gitlin’s critique of identity politics emerged when SDS was destroyed through internal divisions over universal goals and identity politics. He argued that the relativism of radicals would bring about the ‘twilight of common dreams’ arguing that: ‘The cant of identity underlies identity politics which proposes to deduce a position, a tradition, a deep truth, or a way of life from a fact of birth, physiognomy, national origin, sex or physical disability.

Unless I missed one, spoonies is the only concrete example given (apart from "able-bodied people who identify as disabled people to such an extent that they seek medical assistance in blinding, amputating or otherwise injuring themselves to become the disabled person they identify as") so I do think it's a stand-in for any discussion/organisation around illness or disability in this case. I don't think there's any link between Owen and spoonies except the 'social media discussion of illness' bit fwiw.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

In case you missed it, this was the original post that started this discussion, the very conversation that is happening right now:
link wrote:
..

I know you have some impressive skills for creative interpretation, but I think that particular post is very clearly talking about anarchists and libertarians.

If you want Link to be more specific, and if Link is really so worried about anarchists (rather than say start some conversation here), perhaps you can invite him to participate in your activities and he can see it up close for himself and decide to criticise it or not. Personally I don't care so much what anarchists do (sorry, not everything is about you), but the general point about identity politics on the left stands.

That's literally what Fleur - and numerous other people by this point - was asking you to do this entire time. If one can do that, then is one just unwilling to or what?

No, it wasn't. She asked specifically about IP that is ruining the anarchist movement.

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

OK Noa, what specifically is it about identity politics which is spoiling the left? Sufficiently reformulated for you?

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Like I said, we went through this routine before with Mike on the Rectenwald thread. When asked, I gave some examples of critique of identity politics (e.g. the 1987 piece by Jenny Bourne). Then there came a whole lot of sophist nonsense from Mike, like that the critique could be also made of trade unions, etc. so it's not really about identity politics, blah blah.
In between, here's another meme:

I don't particularly like the movie (like why did he become schizophrenic?), but let's imagine if it was remade with women instead beating each other up in the fight club? Would it still work, and would watching women beating each other up not be misogynist?

Konsequent

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mike Harman

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".

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 think I sound like a dick. I've definitely felt iller myself by focusing on how ill I was, by which I don't mean "they should just pull themselves together". Just sometimes some online communities end up with people doing each other more harm than good. It might well not be a spoonie thing though. I might have just seen some parts of it that put me off and I wasn't surprised because it's kind of what I expect from language that appears to essentialise experiences.

I really didn't want to be justifying KAN at all. As I say, I think Nagle will see a "cult of suffering, vulnerability and weakness" where ever there's anything she doesn't like, much like when they say "identity politics" some people really just mean "any anti-oppression politics I don't like".

Tbh I was just taking the opportunity to stick the boot in to identity politics, as it looks like a fun sport that everyone here is enjoying. Though I'm trying to be specific about what I'm attacking, a lot of which might be familiar to some as politics of affirmation (as opposed to politics of negation).

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.

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.

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

But Noa, I'm not asking Mike anything. I'm asking you what your problem with identity politics is and not a critique written by someone else 31 years ago.

Fwiw, if Fight Club was a film with women doing the fighting it would still be a crap film.

Cooked

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Many years ago there were long threads on libcom about class. Even that wasn't straightforward to work through. Still there's inconsistent usage of the term with identity and sociological class occasionally being mixed in.

To me it was news when I saw people claiming IP as their politics. I'd only ever heard it as a slur before. Never heard the 'accused' accept it (except the fash). Many above express being hesitant to use the term but still defend it vigorously.

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. In this thread people have insinuated that you are an abuser if you criticise IP. There has been many similar insinuations that you're against minorities organising if you're against IP. This is despite people spelling out plainly that they support it.

Examples like the above are generally part of the stories about IP destroying the world and you can actually find it on libcom. I don't know what this means but it seems like something that comes with the territory. Some of these things look a bit like there could be some reverse triangulation of brexit/alt-right going on. Where language has been appropriated and rejected in response to the enemy and is then used to pin reactionary views on opponents on libcom.

With my understanding of IP Terf ideology is the perfect example. Unfortunately these discussions haven't clarified things to the point where I can say I'm pro IP. I'm still not sure what it means if it not like Terfism. Or are there positive aspects of terf thinking?!

Jura's point about going beyond unions/sectors/race/single issue is good and something probably most agree with? The difference is probably if you think tackling the 'divisions' or doing the 'useful work' is the priority. Examples of good IP has generally been non communist groups that are effective in their communities but not communist.

radicalgraffiti

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cooked

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. In this thread people have insinuated that you are an abuser if you criticise IP. There has been many similar insinuations that you're against minorities organising if you're against IP. This is despite people spelling out plainly that they support it.

then why do they start ranting about identity politics and liberalism anytime the subject of minorities organising comes up?

Cooked

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

radicalgraffiti

Cooked

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. In this thread people have insinuated that you are an abuser if you criticise IP. There has been many similar insinuations that you're against minorities organising if you're against IP. This is despite people spelling out plainly that they support it.

then why do they start ranting about identity politics and liberalism anytime the subject of minorities organising comes up?

Is that what's been happening? I've completely missed that relationship. If that's really the case things make a bit more sense. But has this happened on libcom by the posters we are debating or just a general thing.

Noah Fence

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Post #194 really is shockingly stupid Noa.

Craftwork

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[removed]

Craftwork

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[removed]

Noah Fence

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Involuntarily sprays his tea across the room...

Noah Fence

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Anyways, at least we know what those at the sharp end should do now - keep schtum and allow yourselves to be shat on until the revolution arrives at last.

radicalgraffiti

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cooked

radicalgraffiti

Cooked

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. In this thread people have insinuated that you are an abuser if you criticise IP. There has been many similar insinuations that you're against minorities organising if you're against IP. This is despite people spelling out plainly that they support it.

then why do they start ranting about identity politics and liberalism anytime the subject of minorities organising comes up?

Is that what's been happening? I've completely missed that relationship. If that's really the case things make a bit more sense. But has this happened on libcom by the posters we are debating or just a general thing.

i've seen it in real life, but i'm not sure if i could easily find an example on libcom, often threads about "identity politics" are started without context so its impossible to see what initially set them off, but on this thread link who started the thread complaining that

Today’s so-called anarchists and libertarians have fallen in to this morass of identity politics demonstrating a wishful thinking for revolution.

stats that their issue is that "identity politics" is about " womens oppressions, mens, black disabled, gay and trans oppressions."
and claims this divides the working class so its not much of an extrapolation to say that there op about "identity politics" was directed at politics about "womens oppressions, mens, black disabled, gay and trans oppressions." (why they put men in there i dont know)

https://libcom.org/forums/theory/poverty-identity-politics-21052018?page=4#comment-606393
link

Contributions in here base themselves on the idea that identity politics is about the workers but It talks about womens oppressions, mens, black disabled, gay and trans oppressions. We are agreed though that we don’t want to support middle class and ruling class, women, men, black, disable gay trans and so forth then what are we left with. If you really mean working class women, men, black, disabled gay and trans etc then what is the common ground??? Working Class!! So support working class struggle and call to unite the working class. Divide the working class and you have no chance of getting rid of capitalism.

Fall Back

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Amidst that stunning embarrassing rant, this bit particularly stands out:

The LGBT activists co-operate with the HR department at my workplace to impose queer ideology on all of us.

What does imposing "queer ideology" on you involve?

radicalgraffiti

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Craftwork

The politics of identity are fundamentally statist, reformist, NGO-centred and really quite authoritarian.

Why? Because for the majority of these people, concrete political action takes the form of working with the State, to ensure that their agenda and ideology are enforced over society using state power.

really? that sounds terible! but who are "these people" exactly?

Craftwork

The LGBT activists co-operate with the HR department at my workplace to impose queer ideology on all of us.

Queer ideology! my god

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Craftwork

The LGBT activists co-operate with the HR department at my workplace to impose queer ideology on all of us.

Could you explain what exactly that looks like?

Here's a perfect example - some young fool advocating statist language policing, perhaps the likes of Fleur and Mike Harman can explain how they reconcile their anarchist "principles" with this authoritarian, statist/reformist nonsense.

No offense but I cba spending a quarter of an hour watching a video of some chumps on the television, could you summarise what it is that they're advocating?

radicalgraffiti

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Craftwork

Communism nowadays is polluted by the ideological slurry of the academy - poststructuralism, postcolonialism, feminism, queer theory, etc. These academic-centred, poststructuralist-influenced "queer" or "anti-racist" activists are less concerned with the fight against the real mechanisms of oppression than they are with struggle at the symbolic level, around discourse, language, speech, statues, etc.

would you said it was becoming degenerate?

Craftwork

- 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)?

why would anarchists/communists use common language as if they are people who live in the world?

Craftwork

- Existing categories (race, gender, sexuality, ...) aren’t fixed eternals, they’re historical contingencies, changing in tandem with changes in the social relations (i.e. of how the conditions of life are produced and reproduced). Communism is “a unitary critique of the world” (SI, ‘On the Poverty of Student Life’), it recognises the existence of different forms of oppression, but it knows that these are simply different aspects of a totality. Communist revolution is an attack on the totality of social relations, it therefore engenders an attack on all those relations (i.e. gender, racial, ...) that are constitutive of identity-based oppressions. To speak of the ‘liberation’ of this or that ‘oppressed’ group is to assume that what we are in this society will endure into the next society.

imagine if things didn't magically change on the day of the revolution and not only that it was possible to change things now. how absurd

Craftwork

- The capitalist Left mimics the division of labour found in class society, in the form of a multitude of single-issue campaigns – one group whittles away at gender oppression, the other on race issues, refugees, animals, …, and so on, like elements of a shopping-list to be checked-off, one by one. This is often shrouded in an NGO-style moralist language of popular appeal, rather than the language of class interests and struggle. By diffracting the revolutionary subject (the working-class) into a multitude of identities, it enables the State to micro-manage the grievances of the working-class, to deal with these grievances particularly, separately and incrementally, in a half-hearted and cynical manner, ripe for manipulation. This is the trap of reformism, which “lives off separation by the accumulation of demands in parallel spheres, never calling the spheres themselves into question” (Dauve).

- But oppression is mostly the work of the State – its laws (e.g. regulating gender), its borders, cops and prisons – all these institutions constitute the dominant sources of oppression in society. It follows that if we are interested in combating the real mechanisms of oppression (i.e. beyond symbolic, liberal concerns around statues) then only the revolutionary overthrow of the state will suffice – this is achieved by proletarians self-organising, operating and identifying as the revolutionary class of capitalist society, whose supreme interest is the destruction of the state and capitalist mode of production. Class consciousness must assert itself above the various particular interests on the basis of region, sector or identity, that hamper its maturation.

what if the process of fighting apparently different oppressions could unite people against this common enemy the state, almost like how fighting different bosses can unite the workers again capitalism

Craftwork

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[removed]

Craftwork

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[removed]

Fall Back

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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?

Craftwork

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[removed]

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Konsequent

Mike Harman

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

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

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

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

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).

Fall Back

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

Fall Back

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Craftwork

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

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cooked

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

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Craftwork

- 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

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Craftwork

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

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Craftwork

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

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

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

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

Cooked

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

Craftwork

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[removed]

Steven.

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cooked

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

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

Steven.

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Craftwork

Fall Back

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?

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.

Steven.

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fleur

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

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cooked

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.

jospanner

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[delete me]

jospanner

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Craftwork

Mike Harman

Craftwork

- 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

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

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

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

Steven.

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

craftwork

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

- 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.

fingers malone

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cooked

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

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ticking_fool

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.

jospanner

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Honestly I am sick to death of defending my existence.

This is not something that any person should ever have to go through.

And the worst part is, that finding so much sympathy for transphobia in the left means that we never know if we are safe. It's exhausting. Don't be surprised when we're spiky.

Lucky Black Cat

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cooked

In this thread people have insinuated that you are an abuser if you criticise IP.

Cooked, I'm truly sorry if you or anyone else thinks this is what I was insinuating. I tried to be clear that I wasn't saying this, and I hope you will reread my post http://libcom.org/forums/theory/poverty-identity-politics-21052018?page=4#comment-606358

I will just quote the bit where I tried to make this explicitly clear

Lucky Black Cat

I almost don't want to make this post because I don't want to make Noa or anyone else think I'm blaming them for abuse that other people commit. That's not my intention. I also assume you're as disgusted and upset by abusive behavior as me or anyone else here.

But still, the point must be made that there are harmful repercussions of blanket dismissal of identity politics, feminism, etc.

Honestly, I don't want to accuse anyone of having blood on their hands for abuse, other than the abusers.

I'm also not saying we shouldn't criticize various theories or practices that occur in identity politics. I believe this critique is important, but that we need to be careful to do so in a way that makes it clear that we support oppressed people combating oppression.

Lucky Black Cat

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

p.s. I think Jura's post #162 is a good example of a supportive yet critical position http://libcom.org/forums/theory/poverty-identity-politics-21052018?page=5#comment-606413

There may have been other posts like this on the thread, but I only skimmed a lot of it.

ticking_fool

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I've said it many times. I get more overt and nasty transphobia engaging with anarchists and the left than I do in the streets of a relatively right wing small town. Like, these ridiculous bigots are a long way behind the other mums at the toddler group or the blokes in the local me and afew other trans folk round here go to, but they think they're standing up for the working class or some bullshit. Mate, come round here and say that shit to my face in public and see how long you last.

ticking_fool

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lucky Black Cat

Honestly, I don't want to accuse anyone of having blood on their hands for abuse, other than the abusers.

Like, I get and appreciate you trying to be scrupulously fair here, and it totally makes you a better person than me, but it is also fair to point out how this bullshit enables abuse and emboldens bigots. I think it's important to be very clear that this isn't abstract. In microcosm on this thread, the OP's 'theoretical' position brought out overt transphobia very quickly. Anti identity politics stuff is a giant fucking dog whistle and the handful of people pushing it honestly (most of them are disingenuous bigots but a handful aren't) need to understand and deal with this. They won't, obviously, because the ambiguity serves their needs but they can fuck off with pretending their hands are clean.

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

My favourite part of being trans in the anarchist movement is never knowing whether we’re about to be blamed for the Cultural Revolution or Karen from HR telling some muppet that he has to stop going out of his way to be rude to the one trans woman in the office because it’s making everybody incredibly uncomfortable.

jura

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I can't help being reminded by Craftwork's posts of the "grassroots" opposition to school desegregation in the US, which also had to be enforced against the "conscience" and "common sense" of some people – by the most powerful "HR department" there is, i.e., by the state, which even resorted to physical force to crush that opposition. Yet it clearly was a result of the struggle by the civil rights movement and a victory for the working class as a whole (and some of the first shoots of the greatest cycle of mass struggles in postwar America).

The policies of diversity and tolerance of today are also a result of decades of activism or, alternatively and on a more sombre note, a memorial to the thousands upon thousands of LGBTI people that were discriminated against, attacked or murdered.

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?

AnythingForProximity

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Craftwork

Communism nowadays is polluted by the ideological slurry of the academy - poststructuralism, postcolonialism, feminism, queer theory, etc.

There, someone finally said it.

Craftwork

This is often shrouded in an NGO-style moralist language of popular appeal, rather than the language of class interests and struggle.

Indeed – witness Lucky Black Cat claiming that "the core goal of identity politics" is something "any decent person should support" in this very thread.

It's also funny to read all those sneers and complaints that people opposed to identity politics are not even able to define it. Interesting: Marx dedicated thousands of pages to characterizing and describing capitalism at great length and detail, yet he never provided a simple, formulaic definition of what capitalism is; and while this may be a real problem when it comes to some abstract theoretical questions, it doesn't seem to be stopping anyone here from declaring themselves to be against capitalism, or even from subscribing to Marx's critique and analysis thereof. Similarly, some users here (most notably, Jura) did their best to simultaneously circumscribe and criticize identity politics based on its salient features – inherent reformism, bizarre obsession with language, individualization and atomization of politics, its function as a sort of surrogate radicalism, its potential for preventing class unity from developing or even for actively breaking it down – but for some reason this is never enough, or at least it's not as fun as barking out "answer my question" ad nauseam. The sheer self-righteousness on display here is just staggering.

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

Craftwork

Communism nowadays is polluted by the ideological slurry of the academy - poststructuralism, postcolonialism, feminism, queer theory, etc.

There, someone finally said it.

It's also funny to read all those sneers and complaints that people opposed to identity politics are not even able to define it. Interesting: Marx dedicated thousands of pages to characterizing and describing capitalism at great length and detail, yet he never provided a simple, formulaic definition of what capitalism is; and while this may be a real problem when it comes to some abstract theoretical questions, it doesn't seem to be stopping anyone here from declaring themselves to be against capitalism, or even from subscribing to Marx's critique and analysis thereof. Similarly, some users here (most notably, Jura) did their best to simultaneously circumscribe and criticize identity politics based on its salient features – inherent reformism, bizarre obsession with language, individualization and atomization of politics, its function as a sort of surrogate radicalism, its potential for preventing class unity from developing or even for actively breaking it down – but for some reason this is never enough, or at least it's not as fun as barking out "answer my question" ad nauseam. The sheer self-righteousness on display here is just staggering.

But Jura's critique, which people have engaged with in a reasonable fashion, is clearly very different from, and not at all the same thing as, Craftwork's tantrum about trans people, so without people saying what they mean there's no way of knowing in advance whether they mean what Jura thinks or what Craftwork thinks, any more than it's immediately obvious whether someone just saying "communism" means communization theory or the Soviet Union.

ticking_fool

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There's some pretty high quality self owning going on here, but 'being a decent person is bad' is

Cooked

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Craftwork I have to add my questions to the pile. Are you suggesting consistently calling someone something other than they prefer can be anything other than bullying?

If organising politically around these issues is wrong (for communists) what would you personally do if someone is mislabeled/bullied at work?

Unless you qualify your statements there plenty of room to assume you're just a bigot who read some books.

Those anwering my previous accusation. I'm not saying you're completely out of order. Contrary most of you are my favourite posters atm. Still I find that there are a lot of insinuations even when people are criticising form rather than content. If stuff like craftworks are the norm I have more understanding for the quick draw but its hard to follow arguments and reactions when they are based on other people who have said similar things and turned out to be pieces of shit.

Serge Forward

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

Craftwork

Communism nowadays is polluted by the ideological slurry of the academy - poststructuralism, postcolonialism, feminism, queer theory, etc.

There, someone finally said it.

Craftwork

This is often shrouded in an NGO-style moralist language of popular appeal, rather than the language of class interests and struggle.

Indeed – witness Lucky Black Cat claiming that "the core goal of identity politics" is something "any decent person should support" in this very thread.

It's also funny to read all those sneers and complaints that people opposed to identity politics are not even able to define it. Interesting: Marx dedicated thousands of pages to characterizing and describing capitalism at great length and detail, yet he never provided a simple, formulaic definition of what capitalism is; and while this may be a real problem when it comes to some abstract theoretical questions, it doesn't seem to be stopping anyone here from declaring themselves to be against capitalism, or even from subscribing to Marx's critique and analysis thereof. Similarly, some users here (most notably, Jura) did their best to simultaneously circumscribe and criticize identity politics based on its salient features – inherent reformism, bizarre obsession with language, individualization and atomization of politics, its function as a sort of surrogate radicalism, its potential for preventing class unity from developing or even for actively breaking it down – but for some reason this is never enough, or at least it's not as fun as barking out "answer my question" ad nauseam. The sheer self-righteousness on display here is just staggering.

Nailed it.

It's unfortunate that much of the criticism of identity politics till now has been so poor and with enough reactionary comments thrown in to provoke the usual feeding frenzy from those libcom jackals who mainly seem to post only in threads such as this. I've thought of commenting in this thread but every time I see a 3000 word treatise from Mike Harmon in response to a one sentence comment, I lose the will to post.

ticking_fool

Just say it's the trannies and have done with it, FFS. This dance is boring.

See, it's so easy for you to say that anyone who criticises identity politics is transphobic, racist, misogynist, etc., or compare critics to alt-right wankers (though true some of the critics here have not helped their case). It's not the admin - transphobic slur removed that's the problem. The problem is more often the allies and certain "anarcho trans" who act like nasty pieces of work in the way that many born again religious people can behave with non believers. Trans people have been around for a long time, some of us grew up around them and have respect for them as with any human being until you know otherwise, long before trans became a political fad on the fringes of a tiny insignificant anarchist scene. The ally zealots though can be really grating.

ticking_fool

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

How's the whole 'Helen Steel was unfairly targeted by zealots' thing working out, Serge? You are beyond fucking parody.

Chilli Sauce

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What a f*cking trainwreck of a thread.

Just wanted to jump in quickly to thank people like Konsequent, Fingers, Fleur, and Jura for their thoughtful, considered posts. I also wanted to say that to any non-cisgendered people who may be reading this that I hope it's clear that Craftwork's opinions are (hopefully) not widely shared by most posters on the site.

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The person who was recently raving about how the transes are an MI5 plot is Serge’s friend and comrade, by his own account, guess how many fucks I give for his aggrieved whinging about how nasty people are to him?

Moralism is bad but also boohoo, you’re all so mean. Give me a fucking break.

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

It's also funny to read all those sneers and complaints that people opposed to identity politics are not even able to define it. Interesting: Marx dedicated thousands of pages to characterizing and describing capitalism at great length and detail, yet he never provided a simple, formulaic definition of what capitalism is; and while this may be a real problem when it comes to some abstract theoretical questions, it doesn't seem to be stopping anyone here from declaring themselves to be against capitalism, or even from subscribing to Marx's critique and analysis thereof.

People have mostly asked for examples, not dictionary definitions. Would you defend someone saying they hated communists but who can't tell you whether they're talking about the Khmer Rouge or Dauve?

"Communism is a totalitarian death cult."

"Can you given an example?"

"No"

AnythingForProximity: "Why should he give an example? Marx never gave a simple, formulaic definition of what communism is" (sorry, real movement that abolishes the present state of things doesn't count as simple or formulaic).

I think we could also say that the sort of 'anti-capitalism' that comes out via places like adbusters, without any real critique of capital, has problems beyond abstract theoretical questions. If you define capitalism as corporations, the super rich, you can run into problems pretty fast.

AnythingForProximity

Similarly, some users here (most notably, Jura)

Jura's posts were great, they don't retrospectively make the pages of posts by Noa or link that preceded them good.

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cooked

Still I find that there are a lot of insinuations even when people are criticising form rather than content. If stuff like craftworks are the norm I have more understanding for the quick draw but its hard to follow arguments and reactions when they are based on other people who have said similar things and turned out to be pieces of shit.

Honestly Craftwork is less typical in that he’s being so blatantly transphobic that it’s obviously indefensible and best outright ignored in an online discussion tbh. What happens more often is denial that people like Craftwork exist or that they cause real problems for people, which is what’s meant by enabling a lot of the time. One of the things that pissed me off most about a lot of the internal arguing in the AF in the run up to the split was outright refusal from some quarters to even acknowledge that transphobia can be an issue in anarchist spaces. That kind of thing makes things very difficult because we have to start from proving that we’re not just lying about shit we’ve personally witnessed or experienced for the sake of it and consequently tends to really get people’s backs up.

I mean it says a lot that people who insist they’re totally not like all the really headbanging bigots are approvingly quoting those same bigots while complaining that they keep being mistaken for them.

Edit to add: Also another person here who thinks Jura’s contributions here have been good and really welcome, even where I’ve disagreed with them.

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

It's also funny to read all those sneers and complaints that people opposed to identity politics are not even able to define it. Interesting: Marx dedicated thousands of pages to characterizing and describing capitalism at great length and detail, yet he never provided a simple, formulaic definition of what capitalism is...

I appreciate that this is something of a side issue, and the main point is that it's not that no-one has ever defined idpol but rather that there are many wildly differing definitions, but just on this,
Carly M

M-C-M' is therefore in reality the general formula of capital as it appears prima facie within the sphere of circulation.

You can't really get much more formulaic than that?

Tsanuri

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The claim is that "identity politics", a contentious term with differing meanigs, is being put into place in anarchist activity to the detratlment of the movement for libertarian communism. I can think of some examples of where something like this is happening, but the main peeps pushing the OP (Link, Serge, Noa, etc) have been dancing around this for page after page.

Serge, you say you are losing the will to post. How about before you go you break from the pack and give us one concrete example of activity in Britain that has been undertaken by anarchists that you see as identity politics undermining the struggle towards anarchist communism. Or anyone else. Humour me.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fleur

But Noa, I'm not asking Mike anything. I'm asking you what your problem with identity politics is and not a critique written by someone else 31 years ago.

The claim I made (on the Rectenwald-thread) is that even the best forms of IP can be criticised. A banal statement I would think. Mike then asked me to be more precise and give examples, which I did, but he countered with various (sophist) objections.

Now, you ask me for my critique. I haven't written an article on it, partly because if I would, then I would want it to be as precise/informed as possible. But I have tried to inform myself on identity politics, partly in the course of conversation with you Fleur on the 'talking-about-sex/love-thread'.

And informing myself includes finding literature. It's a common thing to quote references in an article Fleur. I say that, because you seem to reject any 'abstract theoretical' words, and think that 'experience' is all-important. Quite simply you're telling me that everything "I" (even if I'm citing other people) say is wrong, because I don't have the "experience" that you (or oppressed minorities) have. Or you will accuse me of living in the past, because I cite authors from more than 20 years ago. So it's a bit pointless for me to be "precise" in such restricted conditions set by you.

However, (and to reconnect with the thread's turn post-Craftwork) I can at least repeat some very basic info about identity politics. The origin, or the modern introduction, of the terms "identity" and "gender" goes back to John Money. It's not SImone de Beauvoir, and it's not post-structuralism as is commonly claimed. And what is more, the coiner (and his close colleague) of these terms attached no scientific worth to them. (I leave aside the more philosophical critique of 'identity" in past centuries). I thus reject even the use of the very terms 'gender' and 'identity'.

People here say that if you boil it down, the critics of IP ultimately just have a problem with trans people, but theoretically the terms "identity/gender" did come from John Money's research on trans people, so one cannot avoid the topic.

edit: I'll just add a reference to one of John Money's later books Gendermaps: Social Constructionism, Feminism and Sexosophical History. It's only partly on GoogleBooks, so no full pdf AFAIK.

ticking_fool

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

People to read on trans experienc, politics and history - trans people like Bornstein, Serano, Namaste, Page, Spade and so on.

People not to read on trans stuff - a doctor who spent his career pathologising and gate keeping us who was later revealed to be abusing his child patients.

You keep revealing the utter depths of your ignorance with the confidence of a toddler presenting their own shit. Maybe shut up.

radicalgraffiti

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Serge Forward

It's unfortunate that much of the criticism of identity politics till now has been so poor and with enough reactionary comments thrown in to provoke the usual feeding frenzy from those libcom jackals who mainly seem to post only in threads such as this. I've thought of commenting in this thread but every time I see a 3000 word treatise from Mike Harmon in response to a one sentence comment, I lose the will to post.

its funny to see someone who can drag a meeting out for hours calling something liberal based on to be generous nothing but their interpretation of the title, complaining about the length of people replies

Serge Forward

ticking_fool

Just say it's the trannies and have done with it, FFS. This dance is boring.

See, it's so easy for you to say that anyone who criticises identity politics is transphobic, racist, misogynist, etc., or compare critics to alt-right wankers (though true some of the critics here have not helped their case). It's not the trannies that's the problem. The problem is more often the allies and certain "anarcho trans" who act like nasty pieces of work in the way that many born again religious people can behave with non believers. Trans people have been around for a long time, some of us grew up around them and have respect for them as with any human being until you know otherwise, long before trans became a political fad on the fringes of a tiny insignificant anarchist scene. The ally zealots though can be really grating.

well its easy to see that you dont think transphobes are a problem, just the people opposing them. theres a lot of people who thing pointing out transphobia is worse than handing out fascist transphobic leaflets or snitching

radicalgraffiti

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noa Rodman

Fleur

But Noa, I'm not asking Mike anything. I'm asking you what your problem with identity politics is and not a critique written by someone else 31 years ago.

The claim I made (on the Rectenwald-thread) is that even the best forms of IP can be criticised. A banal statement I would think. Mike then asked me to be more precise and give examples, which I did, but he countered with various (sophist) objections.

Now, you ask me for my critique. I haven't written an article on it, partly because if I would, then I would want it to be as precise/informed as possible. But I have tried to inform myself on identity politics, partly in the course of conversation with you Fleur on the 'talking-about-sex/love-thread'.

so what your saying is you dont have a critic of identity politics, or what its doing to anarchism or the left in general, and you dont know what identity politics even is, but for reasons, its vary important to keep insisting that its possible to make one? and then you going to strut around and act like you won something?

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ah Noa, you're back on the guy who mutilated a baby boy (who later committed suicide) to prove his bullshit gender theories, which you seem to have a weird attachment to, even though he tortured a kid and was blatantly lying about the success of his experiments. Nice one.

I was actually asking you for your critique on the subject. I guess you don't have one or you don't have the nerve to spell it out in a public forum.

Which brings me to my next question, you say you're not interested in the effects of identity politics in anarchism, you don't have an opinion of your own on the subject, so what the fuck are you doing in this thread?

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Also, for the love of dog (and I love my dog a lot) nobody asked you to write a thesis paper, or an article, just answer a question. You can waffle on about needing citations but you don't need to cite other people's papers to have a thought of your own.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ticking_fool

People not to read on trans stuff - a doctor who spent his career pathologising and gate keeping us who was later revealed to be abusing his child patients.

Fleur

Ah Noa, you're back on the guy who mutilated a baby boy (who later committed suicide) to prove his bullshit gender theories, which you seem to have a weird attachment to, even though he tortured a kid and was blatantly lying about the success of his experiments. Nice one.

If you want to dispute "my" point, then trace the origin of the terms gender/identity to someone else than John Money and explain what is their scientific worth, if any. I'm aware of Money's abuse, that's in fact used as an argument by some "TERFs" against the whole notion of gender identity. However, I don't rely on such easy reasoning.

radicalgraffiti

so what your saying is you dont have a critic of identity politics, or what its doing to anarchism or the left in general, and you dont know what identity politics even is, but for reasons, its vary important to keep insisting that its possible to make one? and then you going to strut around and act like you won something?

If the coiner (or his close colleague) of the fundamental term of "identity" himself admits that it has no scientific worth and doesn't insist on its use, I'm not sure it's necessary I add more.

Fleur

I was actually asking you for your critique on the subject. I guess you don't have one or you don't have the nerve to spell it out in a public forum.

Which brings me to my next question, you say you're not interested in the effects of identity politics in anarchism, you don't have an opinion of your own on the subject, so what the fuck are you doing in this thread?

Jumping through your hoops, staying one step ahead of your "gotcha".

radicalgraffiti

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noa Rodman

ticking_fool

People not to read on trans stuff - a doctor who spent his career pathologising and gate keeping us who was later revealed to be abusing his child patients.

Fleur

Ah Noa, you're back on the guy who mutilated a baby boy (who later committed suicide) to prove his bullshit gender theories, which you seem to have a weird attachment to, even though he tortured a kid and was blatantly lying about the success of his experiments. Nice one.

If you want to dispute "my" point, then trace the origin of the terms gender/identity to someone else than John Money and explain what is their scientific worth, if any. I'm aware of Money's abuse, that's in fact used as an argument by some "TERFs" against the whole notion of gender identity. However, I don't rely on such easy reasoning.

or any reasoning at all

Noa Rodman

radicalgraffiti

so what your saying is you dont have a critic of identity politics, or what its doing to anarchism or the left in general, and you dont know what identity politics even is, but for reasons, its vary important to keep insisting that its possible to make one? and then you going to strut around and act like you won something?

If the coiner (or his close colleague) of the fundamental term of "identity" himself admits that it has no scientific worth and doesn't insist on its use, I'm not sure it's necessary I add more.

nice means stupid, gay means happy, girl means child of either sex, yes this is how we understand words

edit look Pokemon means stupid or clumsy thats clearly all we need to know right https://kotaku.com/the-strange-history-of-the-word-pokemon-1706350547

jospanner

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Serge Forward

It's not the trannies that's the problem.

Question: Are you trans?

Serge Forward

The problem is more often the allies and certain "anarcho trans" who act like nasty pieces of work in the way that many born again religious people can behave with non believers. Trans people have been around for a long time, some of us grew up around them and have respect for them as with any human being until you know otherwise, long before trans became a political fad on the fringes of a tiny insignificant anarchist scene. The ally zealots though can be really grating.

"Get back in your box" is fewer words. Save your energy.
We've always been here as activists, and we're not merely a small peripheral of the anarchist scene. We threw the first brick at Stonewall. We have been in support of LGB and women's liberation all through this time. But no, apparently we're insignificant because Some Dude On The Internet says so.

By the way, what type of biscuit do you want for "having respect" for the timid trans people who've not challenged you, that you've known? Is chocolate chip OK, or would you prefer something more savoury?

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As I see it, an empirical claim has been made, from the OP:

Today’s so-called anarchists and libertarians have fallen in to this morass of identity politics

It’s on the people who agree with this claim to demonstrate that it’s true, which is going to be difficult if they all keep refusing to explain what the morass of identity politics is or what anarchists falling into it actually looks like. Everything else is just fluff, really.

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Like there are valid criticisms to be made of identity politics, I think I’ve made some earlier in this thread in fact. The issue isn’t actually identity politics so much as the use of “identity politics” as a catch all thought terminating cliche.

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - split to https://libcom.org/forums/theory/john-money-29052018

Konsequent

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mike Harman

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).

Well yeah, support groups don't really count as politics. I have encountered enough people ("liberals", not communists or anarchists) who seem to think they do though, which gives them the ability to take the place of politics. Similarly, for example, I don't really have a problem with people setting up co-ops, it's when you go to an anarchist meeting, as someone earlier in the thread had, and it's on the agenda, that I think something's gone wrong.

I've seen this with queer groups. Admittedly in Leeds the death of Queer Mutiny (a group which initially put on queer squat parties, got gradually more political and outwardlooking over time, but then folded in a wave of white guilt over "taking up space") preceded the increasing number of support groups catering to every subsection of queer identity. So I can't blame the lack of political engagement amongst self-identified radical queers on the fact that the support groups exist, but socially these groups do seem to have filled the vacuum left by something which for all its faults was at least a political organisation (in the sense that it did actions, took positions, engaged with political questions).

Might be obvious to us that support groups aren't politics, but a lot of the left, including a lot of anarchists, seem quite focused on "creating spaces", often ones that are exclusively for a particular identity, and are therefore called "safe". I'm willing to believe that a safer spaces policy, ie a list of what isn't acceptable behaviour and a plan for what to do about it, can make a space safer for what that's worth. However the belief that allowing only people of a particular identity into a space will make it safer is a myth pushed by abusers of that identity.

For a while I thought that these places could at least be somewhere to agitate, like maybe in the same way as you'd talk to people at your workplace about your shared grievances at work, talk to people in your block about shared grievances with the landlord, the support group could be a place where you encounter other people who experience the same oppression as you with a view to moving the conversation on to what can be done about it collectively. I'm less and less convinced of this for a number of reasons.

Partly because the groups are rarely "people who experience x oppression" but usually "people who identify as x" and as oppressions don't map neatly onto identities it doesn't really work as a starting point. Partly because support groups (as well as support-group-ish "movements") more often consider the creation of a "safe" supportive space to be an end in itself. But mostly because I'm less and less convinced that even organising around a shared oppression is a useful starting point.

Like, if my boss is being homophobic to me then I need to look to my coworkers for support, if my landlord is being homophobic it makes more sense to look to my neighbours for support, because though they might not experience homophobia our boss/landlord is our common enemy. Meeting up with other people who experience homophobia from a variety of people and saying "what are we going to do about it collectively" doesn't work that well.

I think we can learn a lot about the intersections between gender and race and sexuality and how they impact the way that we experience capitalism. These should be considerations when thinking about how we go about class struggle, rather than creating groups based around the categories we've been shored up into.

Mike Harman

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.

Yeah I was thinking about that blog when I wrote that bit. Tbh until this chat here with you, I haven't thought very much about how my thoughts on identity apply to disability. It's clear to me that I wouldn't be queer if it wasn't for heteronormativity, so I'm not looking to be affirmed in my identity, I just want it to be a non-issue which means an end to the social constructs that other me. In terms of strategy for, say, getting a ramp, I'm generally under the impression that finding out who you're making your demand of, finding other people who also have demands to make of them, and making the demands together/backing each others demands is a good way to go, rather than trying to find enough other people who want a ramp for example.

Mike Harman

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).

Quite right, and I think you're doing better than me on that.

Konsequent

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Craftwork

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

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.

I'm going to add more questions, I know you already have a lot but I'd like to know... If you're boss is misgendering your coworker, do you stand by your coworker or by your boss?

Also, does your answer depend on your coworkers genitals? Say your coworker is a man, with a penis, and your boss thinks that he's so effeminate that it's funny to call him a woman to insult him, is your reaction different to if your coworker is trans and your boss refers to them as their originally assigned gender? Does it matter how your boss is making your coworker feel uncomfortable?

Craftwork

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.

The arrogance of people who are sure they know what other people genitals look like. Consider the possibility that there are trans men that you've mistaken for cis men, and trans women that you've mistaken for cis women, and that those you've clocked as trans aren't proof that you can clock every trans person.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - split to https://libcom.org/forums/theory/john-money-29052018

jospanner

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - split to https://libcom.org/forums/theory/john-money-29052018

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - split to https://libcom.org/forums/theory/john-money-29052018

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - split to https://libcom.org/forums/theory/john-money-29052018

jospanner

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - split to https://libcom.org/forums/theory/john-money-29052018

Agent of the I…

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Link and baboon has had a lot to say on identity politics, anarchism and libcom over the last couple of months or so on the ICC discussion forum. But unfortunately they aren't brave enough to argue their case on here, simply because they don't have any.

Rather than proving the "poverty of identity politics", the leninists and leftcoms have exposed just how impoverished and ludicrous their notion of "historical materialism" they adhere to, and ultimately how pathetic and useless they are to the proletarian cause they claim to champion.

radicalgraffiti

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - split to https://libcom.org/forums/theory/john-money-29052018

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - split to https://libcom.org/forums/theory/john-money-29052018

jospanner

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noa Rodman

The scientific bankruptcy of the definition of one of the key concepts of "identity politics" (there are whole departments on "gender" studies are there not?) is quite relevant I would say. I don't want to hound you with questions, particularly from TERFs, but can you define what gender is without relying on stereotypes?

Genders are the sets of expressions of human behaviour and appearance that we use for shorthand in grouping and identifying people. As a social phenomenon, gendered oppression is a serious problem that faces many of us. The rigid definition of "man" and "woman" as defined by genitalia has resulted in many people being placed in social categories that are extremely uncomfortable to the point of self-harm and suicide.

The bioessentialist nature of these sets is largely unknown, being part of the emergent complexity of neurons and chemicals, but there is some evidence to suggest that, although a social expression of human motivations, it may not be entirely socially constructed. This is not to say that our biology necessarily predetermines who we are, but can possibly influence it, at least in some portion of the human population.

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Can you answer my question first, you know, posit an opinion? Go on, go out on a limb, you've been dancing around this thread without committing yourself, be bold! Explain what you mean by identity politics. You can do it! I believe in you! *

*Actually, I don't but let's suspend disbelief for a moment.

jospanner

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - split to https://libcom.org/forums/theory/john-money-29052018

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - split to https://libcom.org/forums/theory/john-money-29052018

jospanner

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hmm. Sounds TERFy.

radicalgraffiti

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fleur

I admire your effort, jospanner but you're wasting your time here. Noa doesn't actually believe that gender is even a thing and he thinks that being trans is a sexual preference, no relation to gender identity. He did a whole fucking thread on it *eyeroll emoji*

Note to Admin, during the site redesign please bring the smilies back. Ta.

oh yes it was quite incredible https://libcom.org/forums/general/talking-about-lovesex-forums-15112017

edit oh apparently emojis dont work at all here? i guess Unicode is not supported

comradeEmma

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Rather than proving the "poverty of identity politics", the leninists and leftcoms have exposed just how impoverished and ludicrous their notion of "historical materialism" they adhere to, and ultimately how pathetic and useless they are to the proletarian cause they claim to champion.

I don't know why this is being pinned on just leninists and left-communists... Serge Forward is as far as I know a "libertarian communist" and they are throwing around the t-word very liberally. I would wager that this is very much more a problem with anglo-leftism than specific groups within the left.

And its honestly jarring to see how split the vote is on craftworks first comments.

jospanner

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - split to https://libcom.org/forums/theory/john-money-29052018

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - split to https://libcom.org/forums/theory/john-money-29052018

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - split to https://libcom.org/forums/theory/john-money-29052018

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - split to https://libcom.org/forums/theory/john-money-29052018

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fleur

Can you answer my question first, you know, posit an opinion? Go on, go out on a limb, you've been dancing around this thread without committing yourself, be bold! Explain what you mean by identity politics. You can do it! I believe in you! *

*Actually, I don't but let's suspend disbelief for a moment.

Did I claim to have "my own" opinion? I don't care if "I" don't have one.

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If you don't have an opinion, why are you taking up so much space in a conversation? I cba to count how many posts you've made, you started a whole damned thread on Michael Rectenhold and identity politics. This is pretty fucking weird behavior for someone with no opinion on the subject.

You are obviously just being a massive troll and a bore but I don't believe that you have no opinion on a subject you have been talking about for days, you just refuse to express it, for whatever reason.

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Konsequent

co-ops

I won't have a go at someone who starts or works in a co-op (unless they become an employer...), but I will criticise it when it's put forward as a general strategy. It's not a bad analogy for support groups.

Konsequent

For a while I thought that these places could at least be somewhere to agitate, like maybe in the same way as you'd talk to people at your workplace about your shared grievances at work, talk to people in your block about shared grievances with the landlord, the support group could be a place where you encounter other people who experience the same oppression as you with a view to moving the conversation on to what can be done about it collectively. I'm less and less convinced of this for a number of reasons.

Right I think something like online whisper networks around sexual harassment comes under this category, in that they will mostly exist at the level of an industry / employer / cluster of employers involving people who work together to some extent. The linked article literally says "They alleviate an untenable condition; they do not actually address it." (i.e. by providing people involved a list of people to avoid, not actually removing those people from anything), and they grow out of necessity rather than design. However I think we can say in these cases that they do sometimes lead to action like the Jacob Appelbaum site where testimonials were collected: http://jacobappelbaum.net/. Also these are groups based on trust, and not necessarily identity. Of course what is essentially informal workplace organising around sexual harassment then being attacked by WSWS as ruling class women jockeying for power is even more disappointing (see links upthread somewhere).

Konsequent

Partly because the groups are rarely "people who experience x oppression" but usually "people who identify as x" and as oppressions don't map neatly onto identities it doesn't really work as a starting point.

I mean we see this with local BLM/adjacent groups in the US, when photos get posted of demos or meetings, it's clear most are multiracial activist organisations against police violence, not remotely 'black identity' groups. However the amount of effort that goes into characterising them as 'black identity groups' is quite a lot. Also even if an org does consist entirely of black people, doesn't make it a black identity group either.

Konsequent

Like, if my boss is being homophobic to me then I need to look to my coworkers for support, if my landlord is being homophobic it makes more sense to look to my neighbours for support, because though they might not experience homophobia our boss/landlord is our common enemy. Meeting up with other people who experience homophobia from a variety of people and saying "what are we going to do about it collectively" doesn't work that well.

This feels like the difference between DPAC/Sisters Uncut who organise around service provision, compared to something like Pride. People protesting police/MI5/UKIP presence (as invited participants in the marches, in case anyone's not caught up) on pride marches is good, but ffs how do you even get to that point.

Konsequent

I think we can learn a lot about the intersections between gender and race and sexuality and how they impact the way that we experience capitalism. These should be considerations when thinking about how we go about class struggle, rather than creating groups based around the categories we've been shored up into.

And apart from that, if people put a bit more effort into these things, there would be less need (perceived or real) for identity-based organising due to chauvinism/disinterest in existing orgs.

dark_ether

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I've noticed attacks on 'identity politics', more from the stalinist left in terms of groups and social media pages.

I think however this is because those groups associate 'indentity politics' (and safer spaces etc) with anarchism (for arguments about how right that is, and if its a good or bad thing, skip back to page 1 of this thread).

So like, maybe the authoritarians don't have more 'serges per capita', they just see it as a useful way of attacking the anarchists, and persuading people to come over to their 'serious' groups. Hence are more open about it in public facing stuff.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - split to https://libcom.org/forums/theory/john-money-29052018

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fleur

I don't believe that you have no opinion on a subject you have been talking about for days, you just refuse to express it, for whatever reason.

I said I don't have "my own" opinion. I can have others' opinions, but you are not interested in hearing the opinion of others.

edit: which btw is clearly why you're the one who is trolling me.

dark_ether

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

radicalgraffiti

Fleur

I admire your effort, jospanner but you're wasting your time here. Noa doesn't actually believe that gender is even a thing and he thinks that being trans is a sexual preference, no relation to gender identity. He did a whole fucking thread on it *eyeroll emoji*

Note to Admin, during the site redesign please bring the smilies back. Ta.

oh yes it was quite incredible https://libcom.org/forums/general/talking-about-lovesex-forums-15112017

edit oh apparently emojis dont work at all here? i guess Unicode is not supported

☠ Full Unicode Support Or Death ☠

edit: Hey wait.. the emojis seem to work AOK.
edit again: ok, just the skull and crossbones seems to work for me. better than nothing tho!

Anti-identiy politics = [sadly these emojis do not display on the libcom forums]

jura

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Agent of the International

Rather than proving the "poverty of identity politics", the leninists and leftcoms have exposed just how impoverished and ludicrous their notion of "historical materialism" they adhere to, and ultimately how pathetic and useless they are to the proletarian cause they claim to champion.

Like LeninistGirl, I don't find this very useful. Some of the most important proponents of women's/black/gay/etc. liberation and organizing, e.g. in the US, were directly inspired by Leninism and identified as Leninists or followers of Lenin, for better or for worse (i.e., including the nationalist/separatist forms of "identity politics" that I think are totally inimical to working class emancipation). The "anti-idpol" camp on here quite obviously includes anarchists. And for what it's worth, my own political positions are very much indebted to the ultra-left tradition. There just doesn't seem to be a clear line from one's positions on the party, state or trade unions to one's positions on trans issues or autonomous organizing of various sectors of the class. And decent people with terrible politics can be good trans allies, while trans people can have terrible politics, too.

admin - rest of post split to https://libcom.org/forums/theory/john-money-29052018