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.

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noa if you continue to derail threads it's going to be time for a temp ban, I've wasted too much time the past week or so cleaning up after you.

commieprincess

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just wanted to say massive solidarity to trans comrades who have smashed the shit out of all the nonsense on this embarrassing thread <3

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin - split to https://libcom.org/forums/feedback-content/noa-derailing-29052018

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Side note, it’s a huuuge fucking bugbear of mine that intersectionality and idpol keep being conflated as if they’re the same thing in so many of these interminable conversations. They’re really not.

ZJW

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Here's a link to the 'strir' mentioned by ajohnstone in #141 : https://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/forum/world-socialist-movement/summer-school-0?page=1

AnythingForProximity

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ticking_fool

'being a decent person is bad'

If that's your takeaway from my post, I can only assume that Libcom has become a safe space for people with severe reading comprehension problems. But yeah, being a 'decent person' can be good or bad depending on who gets to define 'decency', which is itself a political question. (There is an Eastern European far-right grouplet whose name literally translates to 'Decent People'.) The only thing that's for sure is that a replacement of class analysis with whiny individualized moralizing along the lines of "be the change you want to see in the world" is bound to be idiotic no matter what.

LeninistGirl

And its honestly jarring to see how split the vote is on craftworks first comments.

I find that encouraging, as it goes to show that there still is a substantial minority of people who can tell genuine communist politics from liberal bullshit with pretensions to radicalism.

R Totale

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?

Well, since the thread has been declared a trainwreck anyway (a diagnosis I agree with, albeit for reasons that are probably the polar opposite of Chilli Sauce's), let's dive into the side issue.

The quotation you give is certainly formulaic, but I don't think it qualifies as a definition of capitalism. In the paragraph that immediately precedes it, Marx notes that the M-C-M' formula is also applicable (even particularly well applicable) to merchant capital, whose origin predates the capitalist mode of production. Moreover, in this sentence, Marx explicitly limits himself to the sphere of circulation, while he emphasizes in Volume 3 that capitalism can only be understood as the unity of the processes of production and circulation. There is no reference in the sentence to a number of other characteristics of capitalism that are often considered to be its defining features, such as wage labor (and consequently the existence of a class of wage laborers that is distinct from the ruling class) or the equalization of different rates of profit through the competition of individual capitals. One of the "abstract theoretical questions" I had in mind was actually the question of which of these moments of capitalism constitute its sine qua non presuppositions, and which are merely contingencies that can be (under certain conditions) dispensed with. This comes up a lot in discussions about the nature of the USSR, for example.

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

But yeah, being a 'decent person' can be good or bad depending on who gets to define 'decency', which is itself a political question.

Ability of mediocre people to present statements of the mind numbingly obvious as if they’re news to anybody is always interesting to witness.

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

I find that encouraging, as it goes to show that there still is a substantial minority of people who can tell genuine communist politics from liberal bullshit with pretensions to radicalism.

See, this is kind of hilarious to me, seeing as how much of Craftwork's comments drew on like "individual conscience" and "the right to offend". Real hardcore communist shit right there. And just to clarify, are you aligning yourself with all the nonsense Craftwork spewed on this thread, or trying to set up some kind of false division between "the young Craftwork" and "later Craftwork"?

One of the "abstract theoretical questions" I had in mind was actually the question of which of these moments of capitalism constitute its sine qua non presuppositions, and which are merely contingencies that can be (under certain conditions) dispensed with. This comes up a lot in discussions about the nature of the USSR, for example.

Happy to concede defeat on the side issue, the real issue on this thread is which moments of "identity politics", and of "anti-identity politics" are core propositions and which are merely contingencies that can be dispensed with.

Noah Fence

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AFP, a question for you - is supporting a trans co-worker when they are being discriminated against “liberal bullshit with pretensions to radicalism”?

Here’s another - is transphobia a bullshit liberal notion?

One more, and if you answer this honestly it may get us to the nub - do you think that transitioning is a bullshit lifestylist personal choice?

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sadie

Side note, it’s a huuuge fucking bugbear of mine that intersectionality and idpol keep being conflated as if they’re the same thing in so many of these interminable conversations. They’re really not.

So is idpol according to you (or anyone who cares to answer) even a real thing; should people know idpol is different from intersectionality (and thus know what idpol is); and should it be necessary to criticise idpol? To quote you: "Thinking about how a proper intersectional analysis should probably be anti-identity politics, properly considered"

It sounds like what jura and Lucky Black Cat said. But to me it just seems to be holding up your intersectionality card to be allowed to believe much the same things like the idpol critics, but without being attacked for being a enabler of racism etc.

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noa Rodman

So is idpol according to you (or anyone who cares to answer) even a real thing; should people know idpol is different from intersectionality (and thus know what idpol is); and should it be necessary to criticise idpol?

I, six fucking pages of this absurd thread ago,

While identity politics is a very real thing (and limited in some fundamental ways that should be criticised, as I said upthread)

I can see how my posts have been very confusing for you because they involved criticising what identity politics actually is instead of screaming vague bullshit about irrelevant 1950s psychiatrists into the void, so I apologise for any ambiguity you might have struggled with.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sadie

my posts have been very confusing for you because they involved criticising what identity politics actually is

So you know what idpol is?

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noa Rodman

Sadie

my posts have been very confusing for you because they involved criticising what identity politics actually is

So you know what idpol is?

I know that it’s used in many different senses, some of which describe real phenomena and some of which are nonsense smears against queer folks and/or feminism. I also know that you should answer Fleur’s question.

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

The only thing that's for sure is that a replacement of class analysis with whiny individualized moralizing along the lines of "be the change you want to see in the world" is bound to be idiotic no matter what.

LeninistGirl

And its honestly jarring to see how split the vote is on craftworks first comments.

I find that encouraging, as it goes to show that there still is a substantial minority of people who can tell genuine communist politics from liberal bullshit with pretensions to radicalism.

Imagine, just for a moment, that it was possible to have genuine communist politics while also not spewing paranoid shite about 'queer ideology' being imposed on workers by the ruling class. That you could have a critical approach to 'rights' discourse without moments later lamenting the decline of the 'right to offend'. Or that when lamenting how much bollocks from academia has 'infected' anarchism you might also remember the complete substitution of communist analysis for faux-radical social democracy that Marxist academic wankers like David Harvey get up to. Or for that matter that people could talk about class in terms of its composition/formation without being caricatured as 'be the change you want to see in the world'.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sadie

I know that it’s used in many different senses, some of which describe real phenomena and some of which are nonsense smears against queer folks and/or feminism.

Right, but those different senses, and some of them being nonsense smears, didn't stop you from taking up a position against identity politics.

I also know that you should answer Fleur’s question.

If it's not just simple point-scoring or trolling against me in particular, then Fleur's "question" can be asked of anyone who takes up a position against identity politics (even if they wave an intersectionality card).

admin - Noa was warned about derailing and ignored it, three contentless posts in a row is enough, banned

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sadie

Side note, it’s a huuuge fucking bugbear of mine that intersectionality and idpol keep being conflated as if they’re the same thing in so many of these interminable conversations. They’re really not.

So I think there are two parts to this:

1. There's a lot of people who claim to be using 'intersectionality' but are not, sometimes these are opportunistic liberals, sometimes they're people just unknowingly/carelessly using the word.

jura described some of this here a couple of pages back:

jura

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.

(Although I'd add to this, that for example racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism manifest differently, so while rattling off lists is not necessarily great, you do often need to treat them as distinct things, and this can involve listing them).

2. But then, instead of emphasising class formation and the way that 'various power relations in fact support and determine one another' against liberal versions, it gets written off as a buzzword/liberalism. Including when people who obviously both have a communist understanding of class but also give a shit about class formation get lumped in as 'liberal faux-radicals'.

The massive increase of radical social democrats and tankies over the past 5-10 years doesn't get nearly this much attention though.

The people who are anti-idpol/anti-intersectionality probably could, if they tried really really hard, to talk about class formation instead. I'm skeptical about a fair bit Viewpoint's output, but I would put them in this category (there are several other pieces along similar lines). Instead, they're posting on fucking threads like this.

People who are arguing against this blanket anti-idpol straw manning, could probably also talk about class formation more, but instead we're posting on fucking threads like this.

Noa Rodman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mike Harman

People who are arguing against this blanket anti-idpol straw manning, could probably also talk about class formation more, but instead we're posting on fucking threads like this.

And the people who are complaining about rightwing anti-IP discourse could actually counter that (if they really think it is such a threat), instead of throwing IP-critical communists under the bus.

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mike Harman

Sadie

Side note, it’s a huuuge fucking bugbear of mine that intersectionality and idpol keep being conflated as if they’re the same thing in so many of these interminable conversations. They’re really not.

So I think there are two parts to this:

1. There's a lot of people who claim to be using 'intersectionality' but are not, sometimes these are opportunistic liberals, sometimes they're people just unknowingly/carelessly using the word.

jura described some of this here a couple of pages back:

jura

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.

(Although I'd add to this, that for example racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism manifest differently, so while rattling off lists is not necessarily great, you do often need to treat them as distinct things, and this can involve listing them).

Yeah, misuse comes from people who think they’re doing intersectionality just as often as from people who attempt to criticise it in bad ways. I do think that there are times when lists are useful, e.g. there was a quote from Sisters Uncut you posted in another thread which listed a bunch of different factors which can effect experience of DV, I think that’s reasonable as it’s literally true that these are all things that will colour ones experience. Issue is when this goes unexamined and is never elaborated on, so we end up with analyses that try to treat, say, homophobia as like racism but for teh gays.

2. But then, instead of emphasising class formation and the way that 'various power relations in fact support and determine one another' against liberal versions, it gets written off as a buzzword/liberalism. Including when people who obviously both have a communist understanding of class but also give a shit about class formation get lumped in as 'liberal faux-radicals'.

The massive increase of radical social democrats and tankies over the past 5-10 years doesn't get nearly this much attention though.

I think there’s a massive amount of bad faith involved to be honest. People who are capable of understanding that there are differing communist and liberal understandings of class or socialism often seem to struggle a suspicious amount with the notion that other communists might be using “intersectionality” differently to the #StillWithHer crowd.

The people who are anti-idpol/anti-intersectionality probably could, if they tried really really hard, to talk about class formation instead. I'm skeptical about a fair bit Viewpoint's output, but I would put them in this category (there are several other pieces along similar lines). Instead, they're posting on fucking threads like this.

People who are arguing against this blanket anti-idpol straw manning, could probably also talk about class formation more, but instead we're posting on fucking threads like this.

Indeed. It’s draining to be constantly having these 101 level conversations.

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Also, like I know that four Yorkshiremen-type prolier-than-thouness is pretty useless as an impulse and probably just reinforces the race to the bottom if anything, but god I wonder if Craftwork has any idea how soft and cushy their workplace sounds to those of us with experience of the kind of workplaces (probably the majority?) where HR are more likely to break equalities legislation rather than punish people for breaching it - not saying they can't do both at once, of course.
Like I just wish there was some way we could change places and I could be oppressed by the iron heel of queer ideology in return for not having to listen to the endless stream of shit sexist/homophobic/occasionally transphobic/pretty much always unfunny "banter" that managers at my place tend to come out with? Sorry if that's like a really petty and unhelpful contribution, but you try spending a few hours within earshot of these arseholes and not thinking some really petty and unhelpful thoughts. [/rant]

Burgers

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just wow and I'll leave it at that, walk away and do something different.

Reddebrek

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So this thread sure turned out to be something. I've been trying to catch up but with 272 new replies some of them very long or very well emotionally charged.

So apologies if this has been covered already.

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.

Over the past couple of years, I've noticed this argument becoming more common from certain quarters, like Theorie Communiste's essay "We aren't anti anything" and it always confuses the hell out of me. Since 1917 the majority of people calling themselves communists have -and before that a large minority- actively taken political action via the state in one form or another and have gone to great lengths to justify those actions as part of their communistic worldview and praxis.

So if the criticism of Idpol or anti-X politics is genuinely justified on these grounds then the groups and individuals in question must also reject communism as a statist, reformist etc ideology. But curiously communism or rather the Revolution(tm) appears to be the exception that proves the rule....

comradeEmma

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I can do nothing but agree with R Totale, and I'll even say that I'm gladly more of a prolier-than-thou. Currently I'm working a "blue-collar" night job and it's a constant struggle both with my self and dysphoria, but it is also a struggle every day because it is very male dominated and they are all very dudebro-y. Constantly having bigoted "banter" and throwing slurs all over the place(but as we've learned from this thread, slurs are thrown about on leftist forums as well).

Before I started this job I never really understood the connection fully between work and social issues but now that I've thrown myself head first into it I almost get a big irritated when no mention is made of the oppression of women, non-white people, trans people and so on during things like first of may speeches. Even worse when I face transphobia directly in so-called socialist spaces, like I didn't run around carrying shit and working at machines destroying my back for eight hours to come and home and be called a t-word who supports evil queer ideology by some pencil pusher like Craftwork.

Noah Fence

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

On the one hand we have the description of daily experience in LGs comment above, on the other we have...

Marching up and down with an expression of religious ecstasy carved on manly features hollering REAL COMMUNISM!!! at the top of its voice, only to have it's fervour dashed by those pesky bourgeois anarcho-statists and their poncey idpol liberalism.
In the light of this I’d like to know what the fuck LG is complaining about?

comradeEmma

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

In the light of this I’d like to know what the fuck LG is complaining about?

At this point I'm just frustrated that really no space is safe and that it is allowed to turn into such a debate. Like why is people using the t-word(especially in a negative way) and making up conspiracy theories about queer ideology turning into a such a big debate instead of just being cleaned up? And who are the people up-voting it? It's like nobody seems to get how serious it is to just casually use the word t-word. Does the admin team have any trans representation?

Noah Fence

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I hope you realise I’m on your side here? I guess my post may be pretty dumb though? I’m extremely frustrated and disappointed by the vile BS on here, fuck knows how it feels when you’re somebody directly affected by these issues. On top of the daily shit you have supposed comrades that essentially are saying you’re just making it all up. It’s just ridiculous.

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

LeninistGirl

I can do nothing but agree with R Totale, and I'll even say that I'm gladly more of a prolier-than-thou. Currently I'm working a "blue-collar" night job and it's a constant struggle both with my self and dysphoria, but it is also a struggle every day because it is very male dominated and they are all very dudebro-y. Constantly having bigoted "banter" and throwing slurs all over the place(but as we've learned from this thread, slurs are thrown about on leftist forums as well).

Before I started this job I never really understood the connection fully between work and social issues but now that I've thrown myself head first into it I almost get a big irritated when no mention is made of the oppression of women, non-white people, trans people and so on during things like first of may speeches. Even worse when I face transphobia directly in so-called socialist spaces, like I didn't run around carrying shit and working at machines destroying my back for eight hours to come and home and be called a t-word who supports evil queer ideology by some pencil pusher like Craftwork.

Sorry to hear that, and wishing you good luck with keeping your head up and getting thru it.

dark_ether

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

BOOM!.

This video.

Seriously.

It's like someone took a bunch of the good things people have been saying in this thread (and in many other conversations) and smushed them together into an eloquent take down of liberal-IDpol* and lefty-classreductionism.

Intersectional Class Struggle FTW

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0GHBrEK3sE

*no one on this thread has been speaking in favour of liberal IDpol, just to clarify, I don't want anyone to think i think that.

Noah Fence

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noah Fence

AFP, a question for you - is supporting a trans co-worker when they are being discriminated against “liberal bullshit with pretensions to radicalism”?

Here’s another - is transphobia a bullshit liberal notion?

One more, and if you answer this honestly it may get us to the nub - do you think that transitioning is a bullshit lifestylist personal choice?

Is it too early to take the silence as three resounding yes’s

birdtiem

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Man, I very rarely check the libcom forums. I am American, and the political orientations expressed on this forum may as well exist in a completely different dimension...

I am also a woman, and a lesbian, and I live in an environment where it is a constant struggle.

And one thing I notice whenever I read these discussions is how unbelievably abusive the poster Fleur is. And it is always mind-boggling, because she seems to be exactly the sort of person who I would imagine I’d be able to relate to. But instead, she treats anyone who disagrees with her like a piece of trash, in the most sanctimonious way possible, and I don’t believe that behavior would be tolerated by any other poster.

I don’t even have anything more to add here beyond pointing out how to depressing and miserable the current state of the world is, and wonder whether people like you ever engage in any introspection at all, or maybe that quick hit of dopamine you get from being self-righteous on the internet is a lot more important than helping other young women with radical inclinations clarify their ideas.

Lucky Black Cat

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

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.

I can accept your critique about using the language of popular appeal. But you should have included my full quote:

Lucky Black Cat

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

I think we can agree that this core goal is one that any decent communist or working class person should support.

The point I was trying to make is that if we're going to critique identity politics (and I believe this critique is very important) we need to make it crystal clear that we support the goal of overcoming oppression. Because far too often, critiques of idpol are used as a cover for indifference to these struggles.

If we don't make ourselves clear, there are two negative outcomes:

1. It poisons the discussion. People who might have listened to you will become hostile because they think you don't give a shit.

2. It gives validation to the people who really are indifferent to these struggles (and validation to actual bigots). They mistakenly think, "Hey, this person doesn't give a shit either!"

Lucky Black Cat

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ticking_fool

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

I really doubt that!

radicalgraffiti

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

birdtiem

And one thing I notice whenever I read these discussions is how unbelievably abusive the poster Fleur is. And it is always mind-boggling, because she seems to be exactly the sort of person who I would imagine I’d be able to relate to. But instead, she treats anyone who disagrees with her like a piece of trash, in the most sanctimonious way possible, and I don’t believe that behavior would be tolerated by any other poster.

out of all the people one the thread Fleur is the one you complain about? did you read any of the other posts at all?

Noah Fence

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Birdtiem
Is this aimed at Fleur in particular or Libcom posters in general...

I don’t even have anything more to add here beyond pointing out how to depressing and miserable the current state of the world is, and wonder whether people like you ever engage in any introspection at all, or maybe that quick hit of dopamine you get from being self-righteous on the internet is a lot more important than helping other young women with radical inclinations clarify their ideas.

ticking_fool

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

radicalgraffiti

out of all the people one the thread Fleur is the one you complain about? did you read any of the other posts at all?

Prob worth pointing out to people that aren't in the know on these things that birdtiem's post was one long TERF dogwhistle. (Raising lesbian for no real reason, posing transphobia as a disagreement, singling out people calling out transphobia as abusive.) It's a problem with these conversations that people who are familiar with TERF discourse can spot them a mile off, but it's only when they become actively abusive that other people see them. This is what happened with Helen Steel, trans people and cis folk who know how it works knew she'd go over the edge long before the bookfair because we could see the swamp she was wading into. The grassing and abuse was a shock to others because they bought the 'disagreement' line. Like, it'd be nice if those with genuine problems with their idpol bogeyman (not the bigots using it for cover) would acknowledge that they're getting expertly played by reactionaries and be careful in their criticisms and attentive to marginalised folks. It won't happen, but it's how you avoid ending up supporting conspiracy mongering trashfires.

birdtiem

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Are you serious? I actually think my only exposure to TERF is through stuff on this forum, and my impression of it is not remotely favorable (e.g.. opposing legal protections for trans people, I think I remember a thread about someone outing trans people?). I mean, my first impulse is to defend myself by explaining how I support trans self-identification blah blah but actually I’m not gonna bother; the word of a rando with a drinking problem on the internet means nothing lol (not that it should be otherwise, but). You’re gonna assume what you want, I’m not gonna go on the defensive. It’s just very weird.

I’ll say that I have never quite been able to make heads or tails of the discussion about gender, though. I feel like my identity as a woman doesn’t have any other basis than the fact that I was born biologically female and socialized accordingly, and I can’t relate – on a level of personal experience – to feeling innate identification as a particular gender. What’s clear though is that a lot of (seemingly most) people do have such an identification and in cases where a deep identification with a particular gender is present but is not congruent with the gender that is assigned, people feel like they are hiding and it causes a lot of distress, so of course I support the right of people to revise their assigned gender to match their identity. I can’t think of anything remotely objectionable about that and the opposition to it seems to come mostly from people making arguments reminiscent of late 20th century homophobia, where trans people are implicitly painted as sexual predators.

I also kind of want to not even go here, but I have to ask because I’m at a complete loss how my sexual orientation factors into the assumption about my political views? I brought up that I was a lesbian because it seemed like important context to provide to preempt any response that my problem with people being abusive in these discussions was based on not having firsthand experience of the frustration of dealing with oppressive shit in my own life. I guess the advice about "being attentive to marginalized folks" only applies when those views agree with your own? Of course, "marginalized folks" run the whole gambit of political opinion like every other subset of the population, which to me just underlines the importance of not devolving into spewing abuse every time somebody expresses a backwards view about something. But I don't primarily conduct my existence in a self-reinforcing political bubble, so I think we just dont even exist in the same universe and that's the problem

Fleur

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think birdtiem needs to be a little more specific here because I've been a right nasty bitch in these forums, so I don't know which occasions particularly stick out for her. I don't really see posting on libcom as a valuable use of my time and for the last couple of years I've only really inserted myself into a discussion when someone has said something especially bigoted, so I have to say, with my hand on my heart, when I've been a meanie to the transphobes and racists, I don't give an actual solitary fuck about hurting their feelings. Boo hoo, go get better feelings.

I don't understand why she should thinks I ought to be ought moulding the opinions of young women, like they need to sit at the feet of an older women and get guidance. To be quite honest the young women I know are not only pretty awesome but they are completely capable of thinking for themselves and don't need me or anyone else to tell them what to think. On the other hand, the people I have tangled with here are usually grown assed men who are old enough to have better educated themselves and middle age Terfs, who most likely will never relinquish their bigoted, dangerous and out of date ideology.

I don't get a hit of dopamine posting here, fwiw. It's more like a blast of despair that people who consider themselves radicals are happy to hold onto bigoted opinions. I have always held anarchists to a higher standard than the general public and I've come to a sad realization that this is a misplaced faith.

Bobbi-Jo

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Man, class anarchists with "safe space" policy on forums and events... This is totally crazy. You should limit yourselves to OCRing articles, close these forums and also stop writing.

Uncreative

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Bobbi-Jo

Man, class anarchists with "safe space" policy on forums and events... This is totally crazy. You should limit yourselves to OCRing articles, close these forums and also stop writing.

Thanks for sharing. I'm sure your opinion will be given the consideration it deserves, random person off the internet.

Bobbi-Jo

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A simple question. You talk about "non-liberal identity politics". What that exactly means? It sounds pretty confusing, like saying "hey, I'm a Democrat. A non-liberal Democrat, you know"

Also, one suggestion. Stop a random person on the street. Tell him about your political views, issues you care (LGBT, "trans issues", TERFs, "working class struggles", "intersectionality" and so on and so on) and ask him to guess what your political orientation is. He'll say you're a liberal. Is that right?

comradeEmma

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I like how you put "trans issues", "intersectionality" as well as "working class struggles" in quotation marks. Did we lose working class struggles to the liberals as well? What is liberal is basing your entire politics on what a random hypothetical guy of the street might hypothetically guess that you are.

Uncreative

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Bobbi-Jo

A simple question. You talk about "non-liberal identity politics". What that exactly means? It sounds pretty confusing, like saying "hey, I'm a Democrat. A non-liberal Democrat, you know"

Don't think ive said that, so i cant answer that. Generally though, if im confused by the terminology someone else is using i try to understand what the other person means, rather than thinking "i dont understand, therefore you are an idiot". Maybe you should try it some time?

Bobbi-Jo

Also, one suggestion. Stop a random person on the street. Tell him about your political views, issues you care (LGBT, "trans issues", TERFs, "working class struggles", "intersectionality" and so on and so on) and ask him to guess what your political orientation is. He'll say you're a liberal. Is that right?

Nope, they'd probably say I'm "a lefty" or "a socialist", or possibly "a communist/anarchist", because I'm in the UK (as i think are most of the posters on the site) and people dont use the term liberal here like they do over in the US. Although actually, theyd most likely just be weirded out that some random guy had stopped them in the street and started listing "causes" (or "issues" or whatever you're calling them) at them, and make their excuses and leave.

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

birdtiem

Are you serious?

Going to try to answer this one, bear with me because it's not that long since I've become conversant with the dogwhistles.

birdtiem

I actually think my only exposure to TERF is through stuff on this forum, and my impression of it is not remotely favorable (e.g.. opposing legal protections for trans people, I think I remember a thread about someone outing trans people?).

You might be right that this is a UK/US thing. While there is right wing christian 'trans panic' bathroom laws and similar in the US, I'm not sure there's the same mainstreaming of actual TERFs that there is in the UK, which is all over the national press and TV seemingly daily. 'Left' publications like the Guardian, New Statesman, as well as the Stalinist Morning Star all regularly give platforms to TERFs.

birdtiem

I also kind of want to not even go here, but I have to ask because I’m at a complete loss how my sexual orientation factors into the assumption about my political views?

An example would be the constant assertion in this article about Linda Bellos that she's a lesbian. Or this article in Feminist Current that insists people are trying to force lesbians to have sex with trans women and calling them bigots if they won't. ( Of course what's actually bigoted is constantly writing articles about this of course, not who they personally choose to have sex with, which most people don't feel it necessary to write thinkpieces about).

So lesbian identity is often weaponised to suggest that trans women are a project of infiltration of women's spaces by men.

Burgers

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I should lock myself away in a cupboard and throw away the key for throwing this into the melting pot. But the whole gay marriage thing, I always found really disappointing. Both leftist and anarchists seemed to welcome it, all be it begrudgingly. I find the whole notion of marriage, a totally reactionary idea that should be opposed on all front and not equalised.

Noah Fence

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Burgers

I should lock myself away in a cupboard and throw away the key for throwing this into the melting pot. But the whole gay marriage thing, I always found really disappointing. Both leftist and anarchists seemed to welcome it, all be it begrudgingly. I find the whole notion of marriage, a totally reactionary idea that should be opposed on all front and not equalised.

Burgers, I am with you 100%. I stand with you in solidarity in preparation for you getting ripped a new one, as happened with me when I expressed the same view several years ago!

Joseph Kay

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Burgers

I should lock myself away in a cupboard and throw away the key for throwing this into the melting pot. But the whole gay marriage thing, I always found really disappointing. Both leftist and anarchists seemed to welcome it, all be it begrudgingly. I find the whole notion of marriage, a totally reactionary idea that should be opposed on all front and not equalised.

I never knew you were into queer theory, Burgers.

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Bobbi-Jo

Also, one suggestion. Stop a random person on the street. Tell him about your political views, issues you care (LGBT, "trans issues", TERFs, "working class struggles", "intersectionality" and so on and so on) and ask him to guess what your political orientation is. He'll say you're a liberal. Is that right?

As it happens, I'm on a train right now, sharing a table with two complete strangers, but I've got to spend the next two hours here, so I reckon I might not get the guy next to me to pull his headphones out so I can greet him with "alright mate, I'm a fucking idiot who gets overexcited about class struggle and thinks workers' autonomy is crucial, what do you make of that?", if that's alright with you.

So, has anyone read any of those historical materialism articles?

Reddebrek

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Burgers

I should lock myself away in a cupboard and throw away the key for throwing this into the melting pot. But the whole gay marriage thing, I always found really disappointing. Both leftist and anarchists seemed to welcome it, all be it begrudgingly. I find the whole notion of marriage, a totally reactionary idea that should be opposed on all front and not equalised.

The "Gay Marriage thing" was a product of the AIDs fallout, we live in societies were only certain relationships are recognised as legitimate and that recognition is based on certain qualifications and comes with many material effects. Like for example a significant other not being allowed to visit a dying loved one because the family of the stricken can have them blocked from seeing them. There's also issues of cohabitation, adoption, taxation rates and work place benefits.

Yeah marriage is reactionary and better of got rid of, but the movement to abolish all marriage is dead, and even if it wasn't opposing the moves to equalise it is just as daft as a work abolitionist finding it really disappointing the Unions and employers lost control of the colour bars and had to hire ethnic minorities, and thus expose more people to the reactionary nature of wage labour and commodity production.

Besides apart from the UK several countries have as a consequence of the push for marriage equalisation also recognised partnerships between consenting adults without the requirement of a formal marriage, and in some have expanded the grounds for divorce and seperation. Also currently many former gay marriage campaigners in the UK have been trying to turn the UK's Civil Union status into a similar relationship open to all adults.

Burgers

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't think it had anything to do with HIV/AIDS and more to do with capitalism, the pink pound etc, but I'll have to leave it, as not around for the next 3 weeks.

Burgers

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph Kay

Burgers

I should lock myself away in a cupboard and throw away the key for throwing this into the melting pot. But the whole gay marriage thing, I always found really disappointing. Both leftist and anarchists seemed to welcome it, all be it begrudgingly. I find the whole notion of marriage, a totally reactionary idea that should be opposed on all front and not equalised.

I never knew you were into queer theory, Burgers.

Guess I'm a trend setter, as I was arguing it well before someone came out with a theory.

Reddebrek

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It seems other titans of communist discourse have been weighing in on the issue too.

Sadie

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Burgers

I should lock myself away in a cupboard and throw away the key for throwing this into the melting pot. But the whole gay marriage thing, I always found really disappointing. Both leftist and anarchists seemed to welcome it, all be it begrudgingly. I find the whole notion of marriage, a totally reactionary idea that should be opposed on all front and not equalised.

I’ve never been convinced by the left arguments against marriage equality, but I wouldn’t say that it’s homophobic to make them. Esp given that literally everybody I’ve seen do so is pretty gay.

I can’t remember if you were a member when we put out What’s Wrong With Angry, but that included an article making pretty much the exact argument you are making and was pretty heavily criticised on these forums as a result. Alongside some pretty vicious transphobia, of course.

Burgers

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I wasn't a member then, though I did read it and will look at the criticisms on here when I get back from Ireland, Thanks.

Sadie

Burgers

I should lock myself away in a cupboard and throw away the key for throwing this into the melting pot. But the whole gay marriage thing, I always found really disappointing. Both leftist and anarchists seemed to welcome it, all be it begrudgingly. I find the whole notion of marriage, a totally reactionary idea that should be opposed on all front and not equalised.

I’ve never been convinced by the left arguments against marriage equality, but I wouldn’t say that it’s homophobic to make them. Esp given that literally everybody I’ve seen do so is pretty gay.

I can’t remember if you were a member when we put out What’s Wrong With Angry, but that included an article making pretty much the exact argument you are making and was pretty heavily criticised on these forums as a result. Alongside some pretty vicious transphobia, of course.

Reddebrek

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Burgers

I don't think it had anything to do with HIV/AIDS and more to do with capitalism,the pink pound etc, but I'll have to leave it, as not around for the next 3 weeks.

The Pink Pound is a myth thrown around to allege that homosexuals are effete rich people out of touch with the common people, you really shouldn't use it. Rates of poverty are generally much higher amongst queer people than on average.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2001/jun/05/marketingandpr

https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/LGB-Poverty-Update-Jun-2013.pdf

It was also based largely on the assumption that same sex couples don't have children so have more disposable income, and since a consequence of this push for relationship acceptance has been an increase in adoptions, surrogacy and fostering that would pretty much kill it of if it were real. So no I don't think it has much to do at all with this. In fact quite a few of the genuinely rich homosexuals have openly spoken against marriage equalisation like https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/dolce-and-gabbana-hit-out-same-sex-families-‘-only-family-traditional-one’140315/#gs.vXTxo44

So no I don't think a myth has much to do with it, especially given that the campaigns came out of the push to get recognition and acceptance out of the AIDs crisis. Remember that good victims and bad victims nonsense?

Burgers

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The Pink Pound is a myth thrown around to allege that homosexuals are effete rich people out of touch with the common people, you really shouldn't use it.

LOL, I shall beat myself daily for being such a bad homophobe. Seriously though, their was a huge change between the late 80's and the 2000's and much of that change involved companies and money, the pink pound, or you could call it capitalism realising the potential for making profit.
Same could be said today of the vegan pound, which is total blasphemy on my part for comparing the two.

Reddebrek

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Burgers

LOL, I shall beat myself daily for being such a bad homophobe. Seriously though, their was a huge change between the late 80's and the 2000's and much of that change involved companies and money, the pink pound, or you could call it capitalism realising the potential for making profit.
Same today could be said today of the vegan pound, which is total blasphemy on my part for comparing the two.

I wasn't calling you a homophobe I was explaining that using a myth in analysis is a really bad idea. Perhaps you should chill out if you're taking criticism so personally.

I'm well aware of the changes between the 80's and the 2000's, more so than you apparently since the role of companies catering to a small number of wealthy queers and liberal types doesn't have any real connection to grass roots queer activism at all.

Like most material concessions liberal types and corporation didn't come on board until after it became clear it was now safe to do so. That's why so many liberal politicians in the late 200's announced they had "evolved" on the issue, once the grass roots type had gotten some successes and the poll numbers started trending in favour.

This is also why companies are only pro LGBT (superficially anyway) in certain areas where there's already a high level of acceptance and not in areas we're its still contested. like say Zambia https://youtu.be/CS3Lin3YHZE?t=42m34s

What your doing here is confusing an effect for a cause. To go back to desegregation -which also included scrapping anti miscegenation marriage laws- didn't happen because liberals in the Democrats and corporate America suddenly realised it could sell more crap domestically, it happened after parts had already been forced to desegregate, the numbers were now more favourable to it, and the costs seemed less than putting up with more desegregation campaigns and struggles.

Burgers

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

No that is your assertion, you can't just go around claiming the pink pound was a myth so it fits in with your pro-marriage theory.

Reddebrek

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Burgers

No that is your assertion, you can't just go around claiming the pink pound was a myth so it fits in with your pro-marriage theory.

??? Sure if you ignore all the data I provided I guess its just my assertion. Could you actually do me the same courtesy and back up any of your assertions with evidence?

Burgers

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

An article from the wet Guardian doesn't amount to proof or fact and no I can't, as I'm way to busy doing something far more interesting. What I will say though, I was there and saw the changes, I don't need the Guardian to tell me.

link

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Much earlier on, MHarman and R Totale asked what I thought about some of the texts on Identity politics and intersectionality that had been posted on this thread. Its taken me a while to respond im afraid but I just wanted to make a few overall comments about them.

The texts I have looked at are
Eleanor Robertson: Intersectional Identity and the Path to Progress
http://libcom.org/library/intersectional-identity-path-progress
Identity and Identity Politics, Marie Moran
http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/articles/identity-and-identity-politics
Intersectionality and Marxism, AJ Bohrer
http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/articles/intersectionality-and-marxism
Refusing to Wait, Shannon and Rogue
http://libcom.org/library/refusing-wait-anarchism-intersectionality
http://libcom.org/library/intersectionality-identity-politics-class

The first point I want to make is how noticeable it is that are the texts are by academics. This is despite when identity politics and intersectionality have been criticised, the standard reaction on libcom has been to suggest that the criticisms are of liberal proponents and not radicals like libcomers. I’m quite happy that you should want to dismiss ideas and opinions from labour party hacks, left liberals and so forth but then how can you use liberals to define your politics. Very contradictory

My second concern is how none of the authors provide any significant evidence as to how fighting against all oppressions (whether equally or not) leads to revolution. The only evidence provided is based on how oppressions function in bourgeois society (and significantly on how past movements based on identity politics get incorporated into bourgeois society) but not of how the proposals for struggles based on intersectionality can get rid of capitalism. Even where there is an explanation that these are reformist actions there remains a belief that capitalism is as dependent on a range of oppressions as it is on class structure - so fight them all with equal intensity and we should get a revolution!! Frankly so much of what is said about changing society is more assertion and wishful thinking than a clear analysis of society functions under capitalism.

Robertson’s text says that identity politics came out of the working class but then identifies the originator of theories of intersectionality as another american academic. (http://www.aapf.org/our-team/). More surprisingly Robertson viewpoint is purely trotskyist ie “There is nothing to be gained from throwing the identity-politics baby out with the neoliberal bathwater, especially considering how easy it is to show that the vibrant, radical potential of ideas such as intersectionality can never be realised under capitalism.” This also seems to imply a continuity between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ identity politics as ive seen it called on this thread. Robertson’s text was suggested to me remember!

Admittedly the clearest text is one I found in the Libcom library by Shannon and Rogue who again are professional academics but do self-identity as anarchists (im not sure what sort tho) . It does provide an interesting history on the development of intersectionality out of the ‘personal is political’ ideas of the 60s but it still offers no answer to distinguishing between reformist activity that sounds like a good idea and activity that can lead to revolution.

I am not saying that recognising oppression is not constructive and that you/we should not be helping oppressed individuals and groups but I do think it important to ask where is the evidence that a revolution against capitalism can come out of it.

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

One more to add to the reading list, just found it today and it's useful: https://libcom.org/library/rethinking-class-recomposition-counterpower

The mentions of 'privilege' and 'intersectionality' are quite superficial (doesn't address the history and differing usages of the terms, you can see this as a reflection of superficial usage by proponents or not).

The discussion about class is a lot more in-depth, class composition/decomposition/recomposition, class as process vs. category, as well as the definition of class struggle. Author appears to be a WSM member. Takes a similar approach to some of the Viewpoint articles on this, but written in 2013.

Rob Ray

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Even where there is an explanation that these are reformist actions there remains a belief that capitalism is as dependent on a range of oppressions as it is on class structure - so fight them all with equal intensity and we should get a revolution!!

I dunno if that's asserted in the texts you've read, but is it here?

Surely the point made by most libertarian communists would be that interlocking oppressions and socially-imposed hierarchies are used to divide the working class and therefore the task of achieving a unified class struggle intrinsically requires that they be expunged as part of the process — ie. it's all part of the same struggle, rather than being, as implied in your post, separate but equally important/separate and one is less important.

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

link

Much earlier on, MHarman and R Totale asked what I thought about some of the texts on Identity politics and intersectionality that had been posted on this thread. Its taken me a while to respond im afraid but I just wanted to make a few overall comments about them.

Thanks for taking the time to read and respond!

The first point I want to make is how noticeable it is that are the texts are by academics. This is despite when identity politics and intersectionality have been criticised, the standard reaction on libcom has been to suggest that the criticisms are of liberal proponents and not radicals like libcomers. I’m quite happy that you should want to dismiss ideas and opinions from labour party hacks, left liberals and so forth but then how can you use liberals to define your politics. Very contradictory

Eh, not read the middle two, and been ages since I read the Rogue/Shannon one, but I really don't think the Robertson one was particularly academic, and she's definitely not actually an academic. Also, are you working off the assumption that academics = liberals? Like, it's good to have a critique of the academic role and everything, but I don't think I would describe EP Thompson as a liberal, for instance.

My second concern is how none of the authors provide any significant evidence as to how fighting against all oppressions (whether equally or not) leads to revolution. The only evidence provided is based on how oppressions function in bourgeois society (and significantly on how past movements based on identity politics get incorporated into bourgeois society) but not of how the proposals for struggles based on intersectionality can get rid of capitalism. Even where there is an explanation that these are reformist actions there remains a belief that capitalism is as dependent on a range of oppressions as it is on class structure - so fight them all with equal intensity and we should get a revolution!! Frankly so much of what is said about changing society is more assertion and wishful thinking than a clear analysis of society functions under capitalism.

The short answer to that would surely be that as long as the working class is divided, revolution is unlikely, so fighting against divisions in the working class is a vital precondition for revolution?
I mean, do you disagree with this:
"The task at hand is to extend, deepen and radicalise people’s expressed dissatisfactions with life under capitalism in a way that shows the universal character of particularist grievances without falling into historical re-enactment. This requires listening carefully to what people are saying about their lives and experiences."

Robertson’s text says that identity politics came out of the working class but then identifies the originator of theories of intersectionality as another american academic. (http://www.aapf.org/our-team/).

Eh, isn't that just the standard thing where theorists come up with the theoretical vocabulary to define struggles and movements that already exist? Like, I don't think it's contradictory to say that communism/anarchism came out of the working class, but Marx, Engels, Bakunin, Kropotkin and other poshoes defined a lot of communist and anarchist theory.

More surprisingly Robertson viewpoint is purely trotskyist ie “There is nothing to be gained from throwing the identity-politics baby out with the neoliberal bathwater, especially considering how easy it is to show that the vibrant, radical potential of ideas such as intersectionality can never be realised under capitalism.” This also seems to imply a continuity between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ identity politics as ive seen it called on this thread. Robertson’s text was suggested to me remember!

To me, that's talking about the importance of distinguishing between "good" and "bad" identity politics.

Admittedly the clearest text is one I found in the Libcom library by Shannon and Rogue who again are professional academics but do self-identity as anarchists (im not sure what sort tho) .

Shannon appears to be an academic, but are you sure about Rogue? This article seems to suggest they went from supermarket work to getting a job in a call centre. Oh, and they did this interview about their work with Black Rose Federation, if you want to know more about their politics.

It does provide an interesting history on the development of intersectionality out of the ‘personal is political’ ideas of the 60s but it still offers no answer to distinguishing between reformist activity that sounds like a good idea and activity that can lead to revolution.

I am not saying that recognising oppression is not constructive and that you/we should not be helping oppressed individuals and groups but I do think it important to ask where is the evidence that a revolution against capitalism can come out of it.

I mean, I don't think any of us can claim to have the Definitive Answer about where revolution can actually come from - I haven't overthrown capitalism and neither have you, so none of us have that much cause to be cocky. But like, surely a revolutionary movement that is relevant to more people will be more likely to succeed than one that's relevant to less people? I guess I'm struggling to see where the point of disagreement is here. Let's go back to that famous bit from As We See It:
Meaningful action, for revolutionaries, is whatever increases the confidence, the autonomy, the initiative, the participation, the solidarity, the equalitarian tendencies and the self -activity of the masses and whatever assists in their demystification. Sterile and harmful action is whatever reinforces the passivity of the masses, their apathy, their cynicism, their differentiation through hierarchy, their alienation, their reliance on others to do things for them and the degree to which they can therefore be manipulated by others - even by those allegedly acting on their behalf.

Would you agree with that? IMO, some activities, some of the time, that get described as identity politics, intersectionality or whatever, fall into the "meaningful action" category, and not all of them are in the "sterile action" category. Do you agree there? And if so, then where exactly is the beef?

Noah Fence

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Nobody is suggesting that a revolution can come out of it although a revolution would not be very desirable if it didn’t address all hierarchies and all forms of oppression.

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

link

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

The first point I want to make is how noticeable it is that are the texts are by academics.

This one isn't by an academic, their twitter profile describes them as an 'electronica producer' and it looks like they might be a WSM member.

fwiw this is one of the only texts you mentioned I've read in the past year or so, but it does look given R Totale addressed the other two, like you've listed 5 articles, two of which are on historical materialism and by academics, and the other three probably aren't by academics, and said they're all by academics?

jef costello

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains. You will have to ignore the everyday oppression many of you face until after the chains have gone. I'm not sure if that means your chains come off later or if you have extras, but either way we are not interested in doing anything about it or even hearing about it. Common front!

Does it matter about pink pound? It just proves that you don't exist until you are a market. Also for a pink pound to exist there has to have been enough militant work to make homosexuality legal and homosexuals visible enough to target. So it could be a term of denigration or it could be capital now trying to sell shit to people it was crushing not so long before. Personally it just sounds like another crappy buzzword from marketing literature or that pads out newspaper articles. I remember as a kid it was supposed to be about equality, but again was posited on the idea that gay men would form couples and not have kids and then buy shit.

I thought the question of gay marriage had been solved.If you are against marriage in general then campaign against marriage, not gay marriage. Otherwise if straight people have a right then gay people should have it. As should trans people. I don't think anyone should be working in telesales as it is pointless and soul-destroying, but if a telesales company was discriminating against gays then I would be on the side of the people suffering the discrimination. If it's something that you are morally against, for example joining the military then you can leave it to someone else to do that fight. I am anti-military and anti-police so while I would support the right of gay people to not be discriminated against when joining or being in those institutions I wouldn't be fighting for it, I'd much rather see those institutions gone.

All property is theft, but anarchists didn't ignore laws preventing women from owning it. There was a direct need for economic and social liberation. Marriage might be a dead-end institution but it does have advantages, such as being next of kin if you loved one is hurt, or keeping the tenancy where you live, or claiming their pension if they die.

Spikymike

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Of course anarchists and communists don't have to be actively against everything that we criticise but neither do we have to be at the forefront of reform campaigns who's practical result, and for some at least purpose, is the modernisation and stabilisation of capitalism. The accumulation of supposedly 'progressive' reforms is never guaranteed and provides no automatic transition to a full and free human community. Never give up on the necessity of ruthless criticism.

AndrewF

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mike Harman

This one isn't by an academic, their twitter profile describes them as an 'electronica producer' and it looks like they might be a WSM member.

No longer a member but not an academic unless dropping out of 1st year college damns you forever to that label. And Rogue also isn't a college professor.

TBH in these debates the label 'academic' often gets applied to people on one side of it because they were spotted reading a book once while the other side get to be authentic working class because they watch football even though they are tenured faculty and hang out with government ministers.

Mike Harman

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Spikymike

Of course anarchists and communists don't have to be actively against everything that we criticise but neither do we have to be at the forefront of reform campaigns who's practical result, and for some at least purpose, is the modernisation and stabilisation of capitalism. The accumulation of supposedly 'progressive' reforms is never guaranteed and provides no automatic transition to a full and free human community. Never give up on the necessity of ruthless criticism.

I'd absolutely agree with that, but it needs to be ruthless criticism, not contemptuous dismissal and lazy repetition of social democrat (or worse) narratives, and there is far too much of the latter.

A lot of the push back against this very superficial 'anti-idpol critique' rather than being taken as critique in itself, is further dismissed as liberal/reformist, which is extremely disingenuous, especially when it comes from people who will happily cite reformist academics like Adolph Reed to prove how communist/class struggle they are.

birdtiem

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Not sure why my last post didn't go through

Admin edit: it did, but unpublished now since it's a duplicate

birdtiem

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Going to try this again!

Mike Harman

Going to try to answer this one, bear with me because it's not that long since I've become conversant with the dogwhistles.

You might be right that this is a UK/US thing. While there is right wing christian 'trans panic' bathroom laws and similar in the US, I'm not sure there's the same mainstreaming of actual TERFs that there is in the UK, which is all over the national press and TV seemingly daily. 'Left' publications like the Guardian, New Statesman, as well as the Stalinist Morning Star all regularly give platforms to TERFs.

birdtiem

I also kind of want to not even go here, but I have to ask because I’m at a complete loss how my sexual orientation factors into the assumption about my political views?

An example would be the constant assertion in this article about Linda Bellos that she's a lesbian. Or this article in Feminist Current that insists people are trying to force lesbians to have sex with trans women and calling them bigots if they won't. ( Of course what's actually bigoted is constantly writing articles about this of course, not who they personally choose to have sex with, which most people don't feel it necessary to write thinkpieces about).

So lesbian identity is often weaponised to suggest that trans women are a project of infiltration of women's spaces by men.

Yeah, it seems to be a discourse that is pretty geographically and ‘sociologically’ limited. I’ve tried to do a bit of reading on the internet about it since I drunkenly (with genuine intention, but very, very, very drunkenly) waded into this thread, and – rather than clarifying anything – it has made the whole issue even more impenetrable for me than it was previously, which is really saying something.

In any case, considering that this is an internet discussion forum open to people beyond the seemingly narrow scope of the TERF discourse, it would seem wise to take people in good faith, at least initially, rather than talking about “dog whistles” and slinging accusations that someone must be an undercover TERF on the basis that they’ve expressed objections to this sort of abusive, shouty, self-righteous way of arguing that just makes the entire issue even more opaque and inaccessible than it already is, never mind the insanity of openly treating as suspect that someone would mention being a lesbian in a discussion about identity politics. Maybe you should pause for a second and consider how shocking that is.

The only valuable kernel I can really gather from trying to parse this stuff is that there are different conceptions of what gender is and how it functions, and frankly, I think – in and of itself – this is important and should be discussed openly. I don’t have a hard-and-fast view on this, but I have always tended to understand gender as largely structural and a social imposition limiting what forms of expression and behavior (etc.) are acceptable on the basis of biological sex. ‘Gender identity’ adds another element to this that I am trying to make sense of, but it seems like it should be possible to account for both (all?) of these different manifestations of ‘gender’ without it being either/or, yet all of the discussion I have seen around TERF/anti-TERF whatever seems to present the understanding of gender through the lens of imposed socialization on one hand, and a focus on gender more through the lens of individual identity on the other hand, as mutually exclusive ways of understanding what gender is and how it works. And again, I don’t understand why that should be the case.

sawa

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If you dont want to be accused of being a TERF sympathiser perhaps don't tone police trans people's responses to opression...

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Birdtiem: you might find this useful as a short introduction to how some trans people's sense of gender fits with a broader critique of gender as a social structure: https://caringlabor.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/jamrat-mason-hackney-pride-speech/amp/

In general, I suppose that most people's consciousness is characterised by some level of acceptance of liberal capitalist commonsense, and I suppose that's probably true for most trans people as well, but certainly in my experience the majority of anarchist/communist trans or genderqueer people are deeply critical of gender as a social structure. This is one of the reasons the term "gender critical feminist" as a polite way of saying "trans exclusionary" does my head in, because my experience politically radical trans and non-binary people are among the most gender critical people you could ever hope to meet.

Anyway, it's not a perfect analogy, because comparisons are always tricky, but one comparison might be the way that wage labour is both the system of exploitation where capital sucks the life out of us *and* the thing that allows most of us to survive. The relevance here is that no-one, even the most laughably crude caricature of a communist, would respond to workers trying to keep their jobs and avoid redundancies by saying "you brainwashed slaves of capitalism, why are you fighting to keep being exploited, don't you know work is bad?" But that seems to be about the level that a lot of "gender critical feminist" commentary on trans people and gender is at - except it's worse than that, because cis men and cis women performing the gender roles that they feel most comfortable with don't tend to attract the same kind of criticism for "upholding sexist stereotypes" and so on.
Anyway, that's my garbled thoughts on the subject, hope they're of some help.

birdtiem

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

Birdtiem: you might find this useful as a short introduction to how some trans people's sense of gender fits with a broader critique of gender as a social structure: https://caringlabor.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/jamrat-mason-hackney-pride-speech/amp/

This is good, but isn't anything that I hadn't already heard and nothing for the most part, that I can't get behind (although I do think the need to describe the oppression that trans people as a whole face as 'exactly like the sexism that cis-women face, but a hundred times worse' (paraphrasing) is not necessarily accurate or helpful). It doesn't really clarify anything about the TERF/anti-TERF stuff and the violence that seems to be going on on both sides (which, for the record, I am not at all opposed to class violence, but this seems very much like subcultural politico violence, because the working class is just not even remotely mobilized in that way at this time) Still, it is a good piece and will probably be useful to others.

R Totale

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

britneye16aw

admin: abusive comment removed. This is a warning to that poster

What an odd comment. Is your hobby just going through the internet looking for any discussion where anyone uses any specialist language so you can post that?

birdtiem

This is good, but isn't anything that I hadn't already heard and nothing for the most part, that I can't get behind (although I do think the need to describe the oppression that trans people as a whole face as 'exactly like the sexism that cis-women face, but a hundred times worse' (paraphrasing) is not necessarily accurate or helpful). It doesn't really clarify anything about the TERF/anti-TERF stuff and the violence that seems to be going on on both sides (which, for the record, I am not at all opposed to class violence, but this seems very much like subcultural politico violence, because the working class is just not even remotely mobilized in that way at this time) Still, it is a good piece and will probably be useful to others.

I was offering it specifically as a response to you saying "I have always tended to understand gender as largely structural and a social imposition limiting what forms of expression and behavior (etc.) are acceptable on the basis of biological sex. ‘Gender identity’ adds another element to this that I am trying to make sense of, but it seems like it should be possible to account for both (all?) of these different manifestations of ‘gender’ without it being either/or, yet all of the discussion I have seen around TERF/anti-TERF whatever seems to present the understanding of gender through the lens of imposed socialization on one hand, and a focus on gender more through the lens of individual identity on the other hand, as mutually exclusive ways of understanding what gender is and how it works."
So, off the top of my head, that was the first piece I could think of that talks about gender as an oppressive social structure in a way that fits it into a trans framework/from a trans perspective. I have to admit that I've never actually read Gender Nihilism, but I get the impression that it does some of the same stuff. So I was mainly offering it as a way of pointing out that I don't think the distinction between understanding as gender as a social structure vs individual identity is where the conflict is coming from, and that pieces like that one can, in my opinion, do what you asked for in terms of "accounting for different manifestations of gender without being either/or".
I agree that it absolutely doesn't say much about current TERF/anti-TERF stuff, not least because it's nearly a decade old by now so can't be expected to say that much about current controversies. When you say "I am not at all opposed to class violence, but this seems very much like subcultural politico violence" - well, yeah, exactly, if you're looking for someone to say it's exactly like Cable Street or whatever I don't think you'll find many takers. As far as I can tell, it seems to be mostly a situation where some subcultural politicos make a habit of going to politico events and offering positions that are antagonistic to trans people and then get a hostile response, I don't know how much else there is to say about that. What I would absolutely disagree with is the attempts of some on the TERF side to present it as a situation where there are, like, rampaging mobs of trans people trying to shut down anyone who dares to ask questions about gender.

Uncreative

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

britneye16aw

R Totale

In general, I suppose that most people's consciousness is characterised by some level of acceptance of liberal capitalist commonsense, and I suppose that's probably true for most trans people as well, but certainly in my experience the majority of anarchist/communist trans or genderqueer people are deeply critical of gender as a social structure. This is one of the reasons the term "gender critical feminist" as a polite way of saying "trans exclusionary" does my head in, because my experience politically radical trans and non-binary people are among the most gender critical people you could ever hope to meet.

What a bunch of gibberish. What kind of language is this? Do you talk like this to your friends at school?

The first sentence says that most peoples thoughts on a subject are shaped by the "common sense" consensus on that subject. This includes the subject of gender. While some anarchists who are trans or genderqueer will still have ideas about gender that conform to the "common sense" understanding of gender, the majority of them have developed ideas that are different from the "common sense" ideas, and so could be said to be "critical".

The second sentence says that this is one reason why the poster doesn't think the term "gender critical feminst" makes sense to describe anti-trans feminists.

According to this site, thats roughly halved the "reading grade" from 23 to 12, which equates to 17/18 years old. Hopefully you find it easier to understand now and can fully contribute to the discussion. If you've any more questions, please don't hesitate to ask/angrily accuse everyone of talking gibberish and being in school.

Lucky Black Cat

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

The relevance here is that no-one, even the most laughably crude caricature of a communist, would respond to workers trying to keep their jobs and avoid redundancies by saying "you brainwashed slaves of capitalism, why are you fighting to keep being exploited, don't you know work is bad?"

You obviously haven't met some of the crude caricature communists that I have.

Lucky Black Cat

4 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Uncreative, I once read a post by you where you said you're not funny. Clearly you have a problem with reality perception, Please get that checked out.

Jason Cortez

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Is Craft Work the Jordan Peterson of communism?? Can we expect a book any day now called '12 Rules For A Worker' and a pronucement about how they would rather get the sack than be civil?
highlights including 'tidy up your desk' and 'make friends with people who hate the same people as you'

birdtiem

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

So, off the top of my head, that was the first piece I could think of that talks about gender as an oppressive social structure in a way that fits it into a trans framework/from a trans perspective. I have to admit that I've never actually read Gender Nihilism, but I get the impression that it does some of the same stuff. So I was mainly offering it as a way of pointing out that I don't think the distinction between understanding as gender as a social structure vs individual identity is where the conflict is coming from, and that pieces like that one can, in my opinion, do what you asked for in terms of "accounting for different manifestations of gender without being either/or"

Thanks for the clarification (I think I initially misunderstood which part of my post that link was meant to address).

Spikymike

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jason pops in to garner 11 up votes from all the other 'liberal reformists' - I mean you have to laugh at that one! Has this huge supposedly 'discussion' thread run it's tired course now - time for the admins to lock it up with the others?

Serge Forward

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sign of the times, innit. Disagree with an aspect of the lately dominant anti oppression politics and you suddenly get likened to some alt right bell end or even a white supremacist.

Reddebrek

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Serge Forward

Sign of the times, innit. Disagree with an aspect of the lately dominant anti oppression politics and you suddenly get likened to some alt right bell end or even a white supremacist.

??????????? Craftwork's comments in this thread were based largely on language and concepts popularised by right wing theorists and reactionary ideologues. But hey why bother acknowledging that when we can play wounded martyrs by downplaying all that.

Fall Back

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

State of the modern anarchist movement, can't even go on a hysterical rant about queer ideology being imposed on you bc you were asked to respect pronouns, without people liking a comment likening you to someone who became famous for the same.

Fleur

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jordan Peterson was catapulted to international fame by his vocal objection to identity politics in the form of refusing to refer to a trans person by their preferred pronouns, in the work place. And Craftwork? You can't really complain about your opinion on something being unjustly compared to that of right wingers when it's actually identical.

There's a difference between "You are a fascist!"
and "You're opinion on this is shared by right wingers." However it seems that there are some people who like to interpret the latter as the first. This makes it actually impossible to have a conversation, what with all the martyrdom of being unjustly called a fascist wafting around. Apparently you can't actually bring up prevailing ideologies of the far right which have permuated mainstream popular opinion, and by extrapolation some areas of anarchism, because to some people that's just unacceptable. Bad form Jason, pointing out that Craftwork's position on identity politics and trans rights in the work place is identical to Jordan Peterson's. It might make someone feel uncomfortable.

Edit:cross posted with R & FB.

Serge Forward

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

And round we go again.

radicalgraffiti

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

have you tried just not saying exactly the same stuff as fascists? i general find that reduces people the amount of people pointing out i'm saying the same things as fascists

Steven.

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Pretty sure we are just going to lock this thread, however I do really want to know what the actual views of Serge and Craftwork are. As Serge is happy to make snarky comments but actually not say what he really thinks, and Craftwork made his initial post, then refused to reply to any questions from multiple users, including myself, about it.
Serge Forward

And round we go again.

So Serge, two very straightforward yes or no questions here: do you think that people should refer to trans people in the pronouns that they prefer?

And do you think that it should be allowed for trans people to be discriminated against at work?

Juan Conatz

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I know this thread is more about the variations of TERF reaction on the far left in the UK but..

1) There's absolutely nothing inherently wrong with identity politics. It's required for minority groups to gain rights, equality and address historical and contemporary wrongs either in society or within organizations. This shouldn't be that difficult to understand. Anarchists have written about the tyranny of the majority and stuff like that for ages. I doubt many people, other than conservative apologists, would say that things like segregation, suffrage and various other necessary civil rights could have been done by just waiting on the dominant group to change their mind voluntarily and without outside influence.

2) Any complaining about identity politics (within at least a US context) that doesn't immediately and primarily acknowledge white, heterosexual cismale identity politics is suspicious to me. That is the dominant form and the kind that historically and currently is one of the primary obstacles to class politics. Not even acknowledging it as a form is parroting and strengthening that form of identity politics, as well as right-wing talking points. The more I see this kind of thing done, the more I view the Anglo far left as having not much to offer me at best, and at worst on the same spectrum as the Anglo far right.

3) It might be worth trying to seperate 'identity politics' from 'Identitarianism'. I recently saw someone advance this separation and I thought it was worth thinking about more.

Spikymike

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Given Jason'e profile identity as 'liberal reformist' I thought I was making a jovial reference to their belated attempt to revitalise this overlong threadbare discussion with their reference to some libcom favourite hate figures - my failure it seems, so please refer all your complaints to the libcom human resources department who have the authority to remove individuals that complainants find irritating.

Serge Forward

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Steven.

Pretty sure we are just going to lock this thread, however I do really want to know what the actual views of Serge and Craftwork are. As Serge is happy to make snarky comments but actually not say what he really thinks, and Craftwork made his initial post, then refused to reply to any questions from multiple users, including myself, about it.
Serge Forward

And round we go again.

So Serge, two very straightforward yes or no questions here: do you think that people should refer to trans people in the pronouns that they prefer?

And do you think that it should be allowed for trans people to be discriminated against at work?

Steven. Q1: Yes. Q2: No.

It's another sign of the times that people on here would actually think I'd answer the above two questions any differently, for fuck sake.

Auld-bod

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Steven, I think the real question should be:
“Do you agree with Jura’s post #163?”

You appear to think that anyone who disagrees with your point of view is prejudiced or a bigot.
I think Jura’s opinion is as close to mine as makes no difference.

Meanwhile the world turns, class struggle goes on totally indifferent to a few anarchists smelling their own farts thinking they’re in a rose garden.

Fall Back

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jura's post was fine, and you'll notice that no one had a go at him for it.

Craftwork on the other hand, literally decried queer ideology being pushed on him, because his workplace bans bullying trans people.

Like, we're not talking about an interpretation here, or a nuanced reading - he literally got mad that his HR department say he can't deliberately misgender people. We're not talking about an edge case here, or someone not getting the precise nuances of trans politics - it's a literal, crystal clear case of bigotry.

Sorry, but at this point it's not even about debating identity politics - this is someone saying they should have the right to bully someone at work because they don't agree with "queer ideology". It's a load of absolute shit - this isn't communism or 'class politics', it's using shitty half digested, rote learned leftcom ideology to justify pre-existing bigotry.

Spikymike

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Auld-bod, Maybe you mean their post #162 all good!

Sadie

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Serge Forward

It's another sign of the times that people on here would actually think I'd answer the above two questions any differently, for fuck sake.

The thing is that there are quite clearly people who would answer differently, for instance Craftwork, who you’ve approvingly quoted and gone out of your way to defend without once criticising.

Steven.

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Serge Forward

Steven.

Pretty sure we are just going to lock this thread, however I do really want to know what the actual views of Serge and Craftwork are. As Serge is happy to make snarky comments but actually not say what he really thinks, and Craftwork made his initial post, then refused to reply to any questions from multiple users, including myself, about it.
Serge Forward

And round we go again.

So Serge, two very straightforward yes or no questions here: do you think that people should refer to trans people in the pronouns that they prefer?

And do you think that it should be allowed for trans people to be discriminated against at work?

Steven. Q1: Yes. Q2: No.

It's another sign of the times that people on here would actually think I'd answer the above two questions any differently, for fuck sake.

Serge, thanks very much for answering the question.

Unfortunately yes it is very much a sign of the times. Before October last year, I didn't think that any self-declared anarchist would answer those questions any differently, because I didn't know that Helen Steel and half of her mates were bigots, and that half of the anarchist movement (basically, the older half for the most part – although not exclusively so this is meant to offend anyone) liked Helen so much that they would make excuses for her bigotry.

But now that you have answered it, that is the same perspective that the libcom group and most people on this thread have. However on this thread it seems that you have been disagreeing with us, and defending Craftwork. Even though Craftwork specifically contributed to this thread trying to argue that the views that you and we have (i.e. that trans people should be referred to as they like, and that they should not be discriminated against at work) mean that we are supporting HR departments imposing "queer ideology" on workers.

So I don't really understand where you're coming from. Why would you defend the views of someone you disagree with, from people you agree with?

(Edited to add: Rereading that last sentence I realise it might come off a bit snarky, but it's really not meant to. I really don't understand your perspective, and from having always appreciated your posts over the last decade or so – with the exception of the last few months – I am genuinely trying to get to grips with what your point is)

Steven.

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Auld-bod

Steven, I think the real question should be:
“Do you agree with Jura’s post #163?”

You appear to think that anyone you disagrees with your point of view is prejudiced or a bigot.
I think Jura’s opinion is as close to mine as makes no difference.

That's a different question. But I'm happy to answer it. Yes, I pretty much agree with their view. Although Jura specifically states that they support trans people against discrimination. Which puts them at odds with some of the anarchist movement. And yes, I think that people who support discrimination against trans people are prejudiced and bigoted. Do you not?

Out of interest, are you now part of the ACG?

doug

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It's easy enough for someone to say they're in favour of the most basic recognition of trans people's right not to be discriminated - after being pressed repeatedly to confirm that - but what does that mean? They won't then go back to what-aboutery, sarcastic comments, and siding with those who openly argue against 'queer ideology'?

Do they plan on showing solidarity with trans people IRL? Like, for a start, retracting and apologising for statements written endorsing TERFs?

Serge Forward

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

And round and around it goes, with added made up allegations...

Yet another sign of the times.

doug

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You're quite happy with the ACG's statement, then, and see no contradiction between its content and explicitly standing against the discrimination of trans people?

Spikymike

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

OK. Firstly I have my own disagreements with some of of Craftworks comments on this thread but they do raise some genuine issues if not always very well. So to take the most contentious point about 'Human Resources' departments (Personnel Departments as was). My experience in the UK public sector was that alongside some beneficial policy changes that made it much easier for LGBTQ people to be employed and avoid discriminatory practices there was the detrimental result of these being part of a wider and bureaucratically enforced code that took little regard for the realities of our daily life in the workplace. The same policies which most of us broadly welcomed were part of a system of regulations that sat side by side with others that were not respected but which HR departments sought to enforce equally. There was a tendency for people to comply as a necessity even where they didn't agree with some of the policies and for others to rely on that rather than confront issues that arose independently as part of our collective life in the workplace. The trade unions also approached this in much the same way. There is always a problem for anarchists and communists in any area of life trying to advance their social aspirations through national and local state policies and then relying on them or their agents to enforce such policies.

Mike Harman

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Serge Forward

Steven.

Pretty sure we are just going to lock this thread, however I do really want to know what the actual views of Serge and Craftwork are. As Serge is happy to make snarky comments but actually not say what he really thinks, and Craftwork made his initial post, then refused to reply to any questions from multiple users, including myself, about it.
Serge Forward

And round we go again.

So Serge, two very straightforward yes or no questions here: do you think that people should refer to trans people in the pronouns that they prefer?

And do you think that it should be allowed for trans people to be discriminated against at work?

Steven. Q1: Yes. Q2: No.

It's another sign of the times that people on here would actually think I'd answer the above two questions any differently, for fuck sake.

Except that craftwork, who you're defending, said this earlier in the thread:

craftwork

Now everyone is expected to accept that gender is simply a choice.
The problem I have isn't so much the ideas, but the fact that it is just imposed on everyone.
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

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.

Since there are only a couple of ways to refer to someone's gender (refer to them by pronouns, or more rarely as a man/woman/lady/gentleman etc.) we can only assume that craftwork does not think that trans people should be referred to by their proposed pronouns - putting him at odds with you. Yet when anyone asks for clarification it's some kind of Stalinist witch hunt.

Sadie

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry, what was made up exactly? Are you saying that:

[*]Craftwork wasnt beng repeatedly and blatantly transphobic and insisting on his right to misgender trans people in the workplace as a matter of “individual conscience”?
[*]That you didn’t approvingly quote his nonsense?
[*]That you didn’t pop back up to defend him as “disagree[ing] with an aspect of the lately dominant identity politcs” long after he fucked off without ever criticising any of the shitty things he said?

Or something else?

Steven.

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Serge Forward

And round and around it goes, with added made up allegations...

Yet another sign of the times.

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

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

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

Steven.

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sadie

Sorry, what was made up exactly? Are you saying that:

[*]Craftwork wasnt beng repeatedly and blatantly transphobic and insisting on his right to misgender trans people in the workplace as a matter of “individual conscience”?
[*]That you didn’t approvingly quote his nonsense?
[*]That you didn’t pop back up to defend him as “disagree[ing] with an aspect of the lately dominant identity politcs” long after he fucked off without ever criticising any of the shitty things he said?

Or something else?

That is an excellent summary. Although I think it is probably worth adding that craftwork also said

[*] that it was completely wrong for communists to speak in terms of "rights" (when it came to people's rights not to be discriminated against), however it was important to defend people's "right" to misgender and offend trans people

Spikymike

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So maybe the libcom admins really will lock this thread but only after they have had a good go at it!!

Mike Harman

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Spikymike

OK. Firstly I have my own disagreements with some of of Craftworks comments on this thread but they do raise some genuine issues if not always very well. So to take the most contentious point about 'Human Resources' departments (Personnel Departments as was). My experience in the UK public sector was that alongside some beneficial policy changes that made it much easier for LGBTQ people to be employed and avoid discriminatory practices there was the detrimental result of these being part of a wider and bureaucratically enforced code that took little regard for the realities of our daily life in the workplace. The same policies which most of us broadly welcomed were part of a system of regulations that sat side by side with others that were not respected but which HR departments sought to enforce equally. There was a tendency for people to comply as a necessity even where they didn't agree with some of the policies and for others to rely on that rather than confront issues that arose independently as part of our collective life in the workplace. The trade unions also approached this in much the same way. There is always a problem for anarchists and communists in any area of life trying to advance their social aspirations through national and local state policies and then relying on them or their agents to enforce such policies.

This is the difference between saying people should get sacked by the boss if they use racial slurs at the workplace, vs. say rounded on by their colleagues, isolated socially, punched in the face on their way home, or other forms of direct action. I think most people would prefer a situation where someone who is racist, transphobic or homophobic at work is corrected by their workmates rather than the boss. This is very different from taking the side of that worker, their 'right to offend' against their fellow worker etc. though because them being an arsehole is some matter of personal conscience. And it's this that turns an argument about methods into an excuse for bigotry.

Noah Fence

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I’m not sure if this thread will ever satisfactorily clarify the position of some of its participants but I really hope it doesn’t get locked. In fact, I can think of few circumstances in which threads should be locked at all.
I've been traveling through hundreds of old threads over the last year and there were plenty that could have been fruitfully bumped but had been locked. Shame.

Steven.

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mike Harman

This is the difference between saying people should get sacked by the boss if they use racial slurs at the workplace, vs. say rounded on by their colleagues, isolated socially, punched in the face on their way home, or other forms of direct action. I think most people would prefer a situation where someone who is racist, transphobic or homophobic at work is corrected by their workmates rather than the boss. This is very different from taking the side of that worker, their 'right to offend' against their fellow worker etc. though because them being an arsehole is some matter of personal conscience. And it's this that turns an argument about methods into an excuse for bigotry.

Exactly. The same thing applies for male workers who sexually harass and assault female colleagues. Of course we don't want to support management but there is no place for violence or sexual harassment against women in the workplace, and we should have no truck with it in the workers' movement either.

Also of course as touched on by someone else above, I really think Craftwork and his ill have this whole issue the wrong way round.

Antidiscrimination policies in the workplace are a victory for the working class, and particular sections of it (especially women, people of colour, LGBTQ people, disabled people, older people etc). The problem is not that these policies exist and that they are enforced, but that in nearly all circumstances even where these policies do exist they are not enforced at all, because actually employers don't care about their workers (especially women, people of colour, trans people etc). So rather than fight against imposition of one of these policies to defend a transphobe or a sexual harasser, the task of us as militants in the workplace is normally to try to get management to actually abide by their own policies and deal with discriminatory and bullying behaviour by their own managers and employees.

In my time as a union rep dealing with literally hundreds of cases (and being aware of many hundreds more) I have never once come across any incident of an employee being persecuted for breaching some anti-discrimination policy. And TBH even when people do breach them by saying something racist or sexist generally nothing happens to them. The idea of HR departments going round and actually forcing equality on people is largely a myth dreamed up by the tabloid press and people like Spiked. HR departments exist to ensure that management get to do what they want without getting sued, or at least losing court battles when they do. They do not care about any working class people, be they trans or female or black or whatever.

Spikymike

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mike Harman - Have you ever attended one of those public sector 'Human Resources' training days or seminars? Perhaps anarchists are running them these days!

Mike Harman

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noah Fence

I’m not sure if this thread will ever satisfactorily clarify the position of some of its participants but I really hope it doesn’t get locked. In fact, I can think of few circumstances in which threads should be locked at all.
I've been traveling through hundreds of old threads over the last year and there were plenty that could have been fruitfully bumped but had been locked. Shame.

If you find threads like that, it's fine to open a new thread referencing the old thread - can quote the bits and link the old one.

Mike Harman

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Spikymike

Mike Harman - Have you ever attended one of those public sector 'Human Resources' training days or seminars? Perhaps anarchists are running them these days!

Yes I've attended several, and I didn't like them much. However when my manager was talking about things like 'celebrating diversity' I mostly thought of that as a liberal cover for not addressing actual issues of racism (for example, a school putting black students on an admissions leaflet, but treating the actual black students in the school very badly.) I didn't turn around and go "anti-racism is neo-liberal! this is postmodern ideology being imposed on me!".

Also one time I was talking about how much I hated HR 'diversity' stuff to someone who didn't know me well at all, or my politics, and the person I was talking to said something like "Yeah you've got to be careful what you say these days", and I realised that without giving any context, I'd just sounded like a racist complaining about political correctness and that it would have helped to have been more precise about what I was criticising.

Serge Forward

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Steven.

Serge Forward

And round and around it goes, with added made up allegations...

Yet another sign of the times.

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

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

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

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

Auld-bod

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Steven #398
‘I think that people who support discrimination against trans people are prejudiced and bigoted. Do you not?
Out of interest, are you now part of the ACG?’

To answer your last question first, no I’m not a member of ACG, though I am in general agreement with the principal of not treating all issues relating to capitalism as equally important. As Marx wrote, "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles."

What fuels this history is economic, social, and political inequalities, or as I put it once in a post, ‘the haves and the have nots’. To finally eradicate these inequalities capitalism must be superseded and a classless society established. This has never in the past meant not fighting the class war on all fronts, only that the key struggle is economic.

Your second question suggests to me - can I read the minds of people with whom I profoundly disagree? In the case of trans people, I do not know anyone who thinks like that. I suspect most people could be called ‘prejudiced and bigoted’ by those who hold opposite views.

I think it was Jason Cortez who posted that he did not feel that his support of trans people was a question he was prepared to debate (I paraphrase). I agree with this and could add several other similar topics, racism, etc. Some people may say I’m principled others prejudiced. In the sense of having ‘pre-judged’ the matter they would be correct I am prejudiced. Feeling this to be the case, I tend to avoid using the words prejudice and bigoted.

Judging this thread, and using my ‘Concise Oxford Dictionary’, there has been enough intolerance displayed to qualify as ‘bigotry’.

Sadie

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

“But what about diversity of ideas?”

Mike Harman

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Steven.

Antidiscrimination policies in the workplace are a victory for the working class, and particular sections of it (especially women, people of colour, LGBTQ people, disabled people, older people etc). The problem is not that these policies exist and that they are enforced, but that in nearly all circumstances even where these policies do exist they are not enforced at all, because actually employers don't care about their workers (especially women, people of colour, trans people etc).

For this reason I'm not sure they're a victory as such, same as not everything about the welfare state is an unqualified victory. Sivanandan's discussion of the 1968 Race Relations Act being directly linked to the 1968 immigration act is a good example of this. As you pointed out nt out actual cases of enforcement are extremely rare, while they can give cover for other bad behaviour.

Jordan Peterson got famous not because he lost his job and went to prison, but because he whipped up a panic about the possibility of this happening to him based largely on fabrications.

Or James Damore suing Google for workplace discrimination against white male conservatives when they actually did try to enforce a workplace anti-discrimination policy after he was sending manifesto around quoting bad evopsych and Charles Murray.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jan/08/james-damore-sues-google-discrimination-white-male-conservatives

Cooked

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This discussion continues to assume a shared frame of reference and vocabulary. A lot of the strongest reactions appear to be due to mismatches of the above. There are clearly still a lot of external discussions influencing how things are interpreted and these discussions are not accessible as position texts or the like. If you weren't there on all those social media arguments you can't decode these things anymore. Various fash, alt-right etc people are also there in ghost form shaping how things are interpreted.

The immense cross referencing also means a lot more that usual of the 'you are arguing like $ENEMY' do you believe $OTHER_OUTRAGEOUS_THING $ENEMY believes. These jumps look very odd when you don't share that frame of reference. Could this be the age issue Steven perceives? Unless it's only the old bigot friend bookfair issue.

I felt the need to go back to the posts being referred to and re quote some of it. As I've mentioned before my opinion is that purposefully mislabeling someone is bullying. (This thread is messy so I feel the need to clarify that)

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.

So this is the definition of identity politics craftwork is using and he explains why he's critical of it. This does not seem to be the definition everyone is using. My own understanding was similar with the addition that it actively reinforces capitalist identities. The New Labour form of "multiculturalism" would perhaps be a good example of identity politics. Ie the way the state used non elected "representatives" to manage minorities and speak on their behalf.

craftwork

The LGBT activists co-operate with the HR department at my workplace to impose queer ideology on all of us. Likewise, in the name of this very same "tolerance", "diversity" and "respect", according to the external speaker policy of the college, we aren't allowed to invite anyone who criticises religion! At an educational establishment of all places!

The infamous 'impose queer ideology'. I find his arguments dodgy but when taken in context with the before and after a *very* generous reading would be that the queer ideology bit is an example of how also queer issues can be co opted by ngo'ing hr-collaborating, statists.

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

Then there's the clear political divide on what communists should do. The arguments against IP are generally against communist organisations doing IP (what ever that means). That doesn't mean all IP activism is bad just that it shouldn't be done by communist groups under that banner. Should there be a difference between an NGO or religious group and a communist one beyond how they organise?

For a long time on libcom there was a prevailing anti activism. The idea that doing good stuff and helping a lot of people shouldn't be the goal of communist organisations. Which isn't the same as saying it should never happen.

R Totale

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Oops, double post, I think

R Totale

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cooked

I felt the need to go back to the posts being referred to and re quote some of it. As I've mentioned before my opinion is that purposefully mislabeling someone is bullying. (This thread is messy so I feel the need to clarify that)
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.

So this is the definition of identity politics craftwork is using and he explains why he's critical of it. This does not seem to be the definition everyone is using. My own understanding was similar with the addition that it actively reinforces capitalist identities. The New Labour form of "multiculturalism" would perhaps be a good example of identity politics. Ie the way the state used non elected "representatives" to manage minorities and speak on their behalf.

craftwork

The LGBT activists co-operate with the HR department at my workplace to impose queer ideology on all of us. Likewise, in the name of this very same "tolerance", "diversity" and "respect", according to the external speaker policy of the college, we aren't allowed to invite anyone who criticises religion! At an educational establishment of all places!

The infamous 'impose queer ideology'. I find his arguments dodgy but when taken in context with the before and after a *very* generous reading would be that the queer ideology bit is an example of how also queer issues can be co opted by ngo'ing hr-collaborating, statists.

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

I'm not really convinced "what's going on inside craftwork's head" is the most interesting direction that this thread could go in, but for the record, I think post 225 is pretty indefensible:
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(!)

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.

...

Mike Harman

There's no prima facie way to tell whether someone is definitely male or female without looking at genitalia, so unless you're complaining that your workplace won't let you look in people's pants (how authoritarian), what exactly is it that you're complaining about?

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.

Fleur

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

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.

Also, fwiw:
cooked

Then there's the clear political divide on what communists should do. The arguments against IP are generally against communist organisations doing IP (what ever that means). That doesn't mean all IP activism is bad just that it shouldn't be done by communist groups under that banner. Should there be a difference between an NGO or religious group and a communist one beyond how they organise?

I'm not so sure that there is a clear political divide on what communists should do, just because there's so little clarity about what identity politics means. Say we all decide today that communist orgs shouldn't do IP - what does that actually mean that they should stop doing?

Cooked

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

I'm not so sure that there is a clear political divide on what communists should do, just because there's so little clarity about what identity politics means.

Perhaps not clear but I read it between the lines. The lack of clarity about the term certainly doesn't help.

R Totale

Say we all decide today that communist orgs shouldn't do IP - what does that actually mean that they should stop doing?

That would be an interesting discussion. I guess the term IP would have to be abandoned first though we seem to be going nowhere with it.

Steven.

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Serge Forward

Steven.

Serge Forward

And round and around it goes, with added made up allegations...

Yet another sign of the times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike Harman

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cooked

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

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

Which brings us to this:

Cooked

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

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

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

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

2. craftwork

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

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

vs.

craftwork

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

3. craftwork

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

4.
craftwork

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

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

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

jaycee

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

Either way I just thought that point should be made.

Cooked

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

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

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

Edit: got i wrong with the numbers!

3. Bollocks

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

Mike Harman

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Steven.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cooked

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

Mike Harman

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cooked

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

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

Cooked

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

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

Cooked

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

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

Cooked

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

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

Cooked

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

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

Mike Harman

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

jaycee

His actual arguments were completely ignored and turned into anti-trans hate speech, ridiculed etc. his actual point was perfectly legitimate

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

Sadie

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

I mean, obviously.

Sadie

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

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

sawa

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

jaycee

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

Either way I just thought that point should be made.

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

Noah Fence

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Extremely well said Sawa.

Sadie

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

sawa

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

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

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

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

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

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

birdtiem

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

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

birdtiem

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

double post

Sadie

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

birdtiem

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

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

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

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

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]

Mike Harman

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Craftwork

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

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

craftwork

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

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

craftwork

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

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

Craftwork

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[removed]

radicalgraffiti

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mike Harman

Craftwork

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

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

craftwork

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

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

to add to this

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

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

Steven.

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

Steven.

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?

Actual abuse? No

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

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

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

Mike Harman

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Craftwork

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

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

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

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

craftwork

HRT actually can lead to changes in appearance.

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

Mike Harman

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

radicalgraffiti

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

From that link:

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

edited to add: on this point:

craftwork

Only a very small portion of the population are intersex.

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

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

From the abstract for this study.

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

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

craftwork

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

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

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

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

Spikymike

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

Steven.

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Spikymike

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike Harman

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Steven.

Spikymike

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

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

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

Here's a specific example, from this week:

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

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

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

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

Mike Harman

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Craftwork

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

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

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

Wired

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

...

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

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

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

Bloomberg

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

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

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

Spikymike

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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

Steven.

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Spikymike

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

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

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

jef costello

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If a colleague appeared white and described themselves as such, would you insist on referring to them as black if you found out that they had a black parent?

If you found a colleague was gay would you refer to him using feminine pronouns?

If you found out a colleague was born with a different gender would you use those pronouns?

If a colleague prefers that people use their middle name rather than their first name would you use it anyway?

At its best referring to someone by a different pronoun is being gratuitously unpleasant. If you feel you are striking a blow for some kind of truth then perhaps you need to think about what it is you think that you are defending and against whom. And if you are thinking "well what's to stop someone deciding that they are a smurf/attack helicopter etc?" then maybe you need to think about how much respect you are giving to a trans person if that is your first thought about what is not an easy decision

I remember at school a friend and I met our new form tutor, he introduced himself using his full name, I used the shortened verion of my name. So the teacher used my full name and shortened my friend's name. We didn't feel oppressed but we did immediately think that he was a dick. It was completely unnecessary and I can't imagine having to put up with that on a regular basis and it isn't half as difficult as it is for a trans person.

Now I am concerned about surgery and I do wonder if it is always a good idea due to issues like body dysmorphia and further things that quite frankly I don't know enough about to really question but make me feel uncomfortable, but I think that that is a very separate issue. Ultimately if someone wants a different, name, pronoun or identity then I don't feel there is a good reason to try to upset them about that choice by refusing to accept it.

ticking_fool

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ok, dysphoria and dysmorphia are actually very different things and the conflation of the two, particularly in relation to eating disorders, is such a common anti trans trope that it sometimes passes for common sense in people who don't know the issues.

Trans people don't have a distorted sense of our bodies, we're very, very aware of what they look like and what is incongruent with our sense of self. We're dysphoric about our gender (experiencing distress because of the incongruity) not dysmorphic about our bodies in the way many people with ed (eating disorders) might be. This why the treatment is different - people with ed need to learn to perceive their body as it is. They will often respond well to psychiatric drugs and therapy in getting to this point. Neither of these will help a dysphoric trans person. Only addressing the incongruity does that because we don't have a problem with our perception, we have a gender identity that does not match our assigned gender. That is irreducible to something else.

birdtiem

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I wasn’t going to bring this up, particularly since the response to my first post in this discussion was already hostile, but since this thread is going in a million different directions and mostly just seems like people talking past each other, I’m not sure chipping in at this point is going to make things worse. And if there is some way to come to a different understanding of this and resolve some of my confusion, that would be awesome.

First, let me just restate the following: I agree that deliberately mis-gendering someone when you know they are trans is a form of bullying, trans people should be recognized as the gender they identify with and have access to the corresponding services/facilities, etc. I think my issue here is more in the ‘theoretical’ realm.

I’m really struggling with accepting the concept of gender identity as I have seen it presented. All my efforts to understand what is actually meant by this concept have just ended up solidifying my discomfort with it, or – I guess more specifically – the way that it is universalized, i.e., “cis-people have a gender identity that is congruent with their sex”.

I mentioned this in an earlier post, but I don’t feel any…idk, “organic” (?) identification with some kind of feminine gender. I mean, my adult personality has been irreversibly shaped (I kind of want to say “warped”) by a process of gendered socialization that began as soon as I was born, and where sexualized bullying and really devastating kinds of shaming were employed in response to behavior that was seen as being outside the bounds of prescribed “femininity”, so that fitting in with gendered expectations was literally a question of survival. Unfortunately, those experiences were formative in my psychological development – with the consequence that many aspects of my adult personality can be traced directly back to those experiences (e.g., putting the needs of others ahead of my own, constantly feeling like I need to apologize for myself, the sense that my value as a person is inextricably linked to how other people perceive my physical appearance, the inability to be assertive without feeling guilty… I could actually write a novel, but I will spare you).

So again, I’m not denying that trans people have a distinct gender identity that is separate from gendered socialization and biological sex (obviously they do). But I’m questioning the notion that having this kind of 'gender identity' is universal, or near-universal, among people in general (with the implicit difference just being that, for most people, it is 'congruent' w/ whatever). Like, I don't understand why this seems to be accepted so uncritically, because - to my mind - that conception has a lot of really questionable implications.

And I feel like the response to this is just going to be something like “wah wah, cis-privilege”, but being female in a sexist society is not my idea of a privilege.... At any rate, I’m genuinely interested in peoples’ thoughts, hopefully without vitriol or assumptions that I’m operating out of some nefarious motive; I'm not.

Auld-bod

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

birdtiem #454

It would be surprising to me if any two people agreed exactly on any theoretical concept (despite the appearance that they often do). We usually agree when there are enough points of similarity, or we feel trust in someone else’s judgement.

I find it hard enough to understand my friends’ points of view never mind people of different sex or sexual inclinations. Working class feminism I’ve supported though think ‘helpful’ men can be undermining. Some years ago I refused to represent my year group, who were overwhelmingly women. It made no difference, as the only other male in the year became the rep. He was a Leninist (no surprise there). Sometimes I just accept the things people say on trust.

Our social conditioning runs very deep. We generally wish to co-operate, be part of a group, and when in doubt will often follow the crowd. Witness libcom’s occasional mobbing of unpopular posts.

Sorry this is not very helpful though knowing there are shared experiences/perceptions is better than a carefully constructed little ideological bubble to slip into and feel safe - until ‘reality’ uses us like a football.

Mike Harman

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

birdtiem

I think my issue here is more in the ‘theoretical’ realm.

I’m really struggling with accepting the concept of gender identity as I have seen it presented. All my efforts to understand what is actually meant by this concept have just ended up solidifying my discomfort with it, or – I guess more specifically – the way that it is universalized, i.e., “cis-people have a gender identity that is congruent with their sex”.

I mentioned this in an earlier post, but I don’t feel any…idk, “organic” (?) identification with some kind of feminine gender. I mean, my adult personality has been irreversibly shaped (I kind of want to say “warped”) by a process of gendered socialization that began as soon as I was born, and where sexualized bullying and really devastating kinds of shaming were employed in response to behavior that was seen as being outside the bounds of prescribed “femininity”, so that fitting in with gendered expectations was literally a question of survival. ..

So again, I’m not denying that trans people have a distinct gender identity that is separate from gendered socialization and biological sex (obviously they do). But I’m questioning the notion that having this kind of 'gender identity' is universal, or near-universal, among people in general (with the implicit difference just being that, for most people, it is 'congruent' w/ whatever). Like, I don't understand why this seems to be accepted so uncritically, because - to my mind - that conception has a lot of really questionable implications.

Trying to answer this not because I'm confident on this point, but because I struggle on this stuff as well and it helps to clarify.

First of all what you've described here is very similar to how I've seen some people describe non-binary gender identity:

From this post:

Suzannah Weiss

That definition’s pretty broad because being non-binary means different things to different people. To me, it means that I reject the whole concept of gender. Growing up, I never felt people were wrong when they called me a woman, but it felt like a label imposed on me rather than one that fit.
...
I personally identify as a non-binary woman because, to me, this identity acknowledges both that I don’t have an innate identification with any gender and that I’ve been socialized as a woman.

The other way I've seen this discussed is through pre-colonial ideas of gender - since various societies had concepts for third or fourth genders, and strict binary gender was often an imposition of colonialism (alongside laws banning homosexuality):

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/hide-and-seek/201707/gender-variation-and-same-sex-relations-in-precolonial-times

So strict 'binary' gender is not universal nor innate, but it does shape experiences and some people feel more or less comfortable with the assignation, and not all of the people who don't feel comfortable with it are trans.

Unfortunately a lot of discussion of non-binary gender identity is reduced by people like Angela Nagle to "tumblr liberalism's ever exploding lists of hundreds of genders" or comparisons to otherkin, whereas it has a pretty firm historical basis.

Then, 'gender critical' feminists will say similar to that first post about rejecting the concept of gender, but reject the idea of both trans and non-binary identities, because they say that gendered oppression is actually based on sex and that claiming a gender which doesn't reflect natal sex assignment is in fact reinforcing the idea of gender itself.

On the surface I can be like "yeah let's abolish gender" but then society does have gender expectations and does not treat people well who don't conform to them, and then we get back to the practical implications of this (toilets, prisons etc.). So for me non-binary and trans gender identities really are in practice attacking the gender binary, while various survival mechanisms like 'passing' might appear to reinforce it, but... survival mechanisms are really not what causes all the other shit.

For a bad analogy, we want to abolish wage labour, but we don't attack people who individually work for wages. We want to abolish gender, but we don't attack individual gender expression. Some of the activities we undertake alienated as wage labour now we'd continue to do more or less as 'productive human activity' in a communist society - but they wouldn't be work. Similarly ways that gender is expressed now (various feminine or masculine behaviours) would continue to exist, but without the gender binary to restrict who they're available to.

Which comes to this:

RABL

Feminist transphobes attempt to deny the reality of how patriarchy operates by dismissing misogyny experienced by trans women and transfeminine people as not actually misogyny, as they only define this oppression as misogyny when it’s experienced by cis women. Seemingly irrespective of how similar the roles are that we inhabit, it is only a feminist issue when it’s experienced by these feminists narrow definition of a “real” woman. Similarly, when some advocates of a certain trans politics put misogyny experienced by afab trans people under the heading of “misgendering” without noting the additional misogyny, this dismisses the patriarchy’s inherent cissexism, and ignores the structures that build our identities in reality.

https://wearetherabl.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/falling-star-countering-gender-essentialism-with-sex-essentialism/

Sisters Uncut's approach to their gender inclusion policy, which essentially includes anyone who might experience misogynistic violence regardless of their actual gender identity (i.e. including cis women, trans women, trans men, non-binary people, but not cis men) takes a similar approach on the practical implications of how misogyny operates.

birdtiem

And I feel like the response to this is just going to be something like “wah wah, cis-privilege”, but being female in a sexist society is not my idea of a privilege.....

The article about intersex people vs. TERFs was helpful for me understand what this means and what it doesn't. I think privilege is terrible word for this, it usually means in these contexts 'having a reasonable expectation that a certain set of things won't happen to you', not that you are literally privileged. Took me a while to figure out, but as discussed way back in the thread there is a theoretical basis to 'privilege' discourse which is not just oppression olympics stuff, so you have to read past 'privilege' to what people are actually saying - and when it's sensible, it's usually talking about the reality of how systems of race and gender are enforced.

Trans Advocate

For example, one article mentioned by an intersex friend critiqued the term “cis privilege” by caricaturing it as meaning “having a female body is a privilege.” Clearly this is false: because of patriarchy, female bodies are sexualized, framed as weak, and subjected to surveillance. Lots of nonintersex cis women dislike getting periods or feeling constantly at risk of an unwanted pregnancy. Having a female body is not a privilege–but it is also not how trans advocates define cis privilege at all. Trans people actually define cis privilege as “the benefits one derives from being seen as a ‘real’ and ‘natural’ member of one’s identified sex” (lack of public scrutiny of one’s primary and secondary sex characteristics, being able to use a public bathroom with relative ease, having ID that matches one’s identity, etc.). Nor do trans people deny, as the linked article claims, that cis people also suffer from gender policing. Someone who identifies as a woman yet who is very butch in her gender expression can suffer from bathroom panic, and a male-identified person who is quite feminine may well face a great deal of street harassment.

http://transadvocate.com/an-intersex-perspective-on-the-trans-intersex-and-terf-communities_n_14539.htm

Spikymike

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Looking back over this thread (and some others) and it's subsequent fixation with gender, thought I'd say that the problem with (mainstream?) 'identity politics' is that in so far as they involve the interrelated range of identities beyond that of gender to include at least 'nationality', 'ethnicity', 'religion' and of course 'class' that there are both 'left' and 'right' wing (rather than 'good' or 'bad') political versions that from a communist perspective maintain some underlying similarities and overlaps such that they can be perceived to reflect other antagonisms between the Left and Right of capitalism rather than a distinctive opposition to the fundamental basis of capitalism as a system of value production, class exploitation and competition. Still leaves open many of the other detailed points in dispute but does reflect the very different starting points of some contributors. OK carry on 457 and counting down!

sawa

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I dunno if its good or bad but got gendered correctly a lot more on strike today than I do at work. =P

Ivysyn

4 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The general problem with discourse about "identity politics" is that it's usually used to mean "things I (the speaker) think are wrong", or simply addressing non-class oppressions such as racism, patriarchy, and queerphobia in general. If you set up "identity politics" to mean "things which are bad and don't work" then obviously you come out with the result of "identity politics is bad". The op sets up "identity politics" as "ignoring the class dimension of social struggles". In the definition of what they are criticizing the op implants an error, meaning that the op has defined "identity politics" from the outset as being an wrong. This isn't an analysis, it's just mongering a bias definition. For example, as a radical I oppose liberalism. I could give this definition of liberalism; a political philosophy that supports the exploitation of the working class by the capitalist class. I could then point out that the exploitation of the working class is bad and since liberalism by definition is for such exploitation it is bad. I haven't actually analyzed, or refuted anything by doing this. I have just constructed a definition that makes my argument for me.

ZJW

4 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

In the current issue of Brooklyn Rail (Field Notes): 'The Aggressiveness of Vulnerability' by Pavlos Roufos: https://brooklynrail.org/2018/07/field-notes/The-Aggressiveness-of-Vulnerability .
(Libcom controversy mentioned.)

R Totale

4 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Will probably try and give this a more through reading-through and responding to later, but on first glance it feels very appropriate that this piece a) does a bit of a shoddy job with citations (just give me a link directly to the article you're discussing, don't just say it's on libcom somewhere ffs), and b) more seriously, uses an invented quote to distort the argument it's meant to be representing - I expect stuff in quote marks to be a direct quotation, use multiple quotes or ellipses if necessary, but I'm not convinced that you can put "leftist laundering of sexual assault" as a quote when the article actually wrote "rather than critique this fabricated moral panic, KAN’s dubiously sourced analysis gives it a leftist laundering" - so, accusing her of giving the laundering to the rightwing moral panic over free speech, which is not the same thing at all.

Spikymike

4 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The 'brooklynrail' article linked in post #460 by ZJW is certainly worth a read. Haven't read Angela Nagle's book or taken much notice of the libcom criticism of it so cannot comment on that, but it reminded me in part of some earlier criticism by the former 'Nihilist Communists' in arguments regarding the role of academics and professionals in radical social movements and seemed to reflect some of the discussion in this earlier piece here: https://libcom.org/blog/the-politics-affirmation-or-politics-negation-18112008, whilst acknowledging the failure of mainstream Social Democratic 'class reductionism' and the 'vanguardist' politics of their left supporters. Probably reflects experience in the USA more than here but still relevant to the discussion on libcom.
Edit: It appears to have struck a raw nerve with the libcom admins one of whom has taken to responding on the other longer Nagle thread to some perceived inconsistencies in the article by in part digging back into the history of the USA socialist movement of 1904. I suppose this is best left there for those still interested.

R Totale

4 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Anyway, on the subject of critiques of stuff that can be called "identity politics" if you want, has anyone read this critique of afro-pessimism? Got around to it recently, I have to admit I've not read enough Wilderson or Sexton to know if it misrepresents them at all, but thought it did a good job of criticising the specific approach that prioritises stressing the differences between different identity positions/forms of oppression over looking at ways to potentially build solidarity (sorry if that's not hugely coherent but I'm tired). I'd argue that that criticism is best understood as going along with a critique of the political logic of the representative/managerial role, but that's just me.

Mike Harman

4 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I did read it. I haven't directly read any Wilderson though. He's briefly cited in Cedric Robinson's Black Marxism (which I'm in the middle of reading) on some of the origins of racism (Wilderson's big argument is that anti-blackness preceded the transatlantic slave trade iirc and therefore because it preceded capitalism it could also outlast it). And I've seen him cited by others here and there.

With that limitation, it looks pretty spot on to me. Wilderson says himself his theory has literally no practical application - i.e. he's not positing a problem with a solution but more an unbridgeable chasm, which I guess is at least honest but then you're left with nowhere to go.

I think this is important:

Annie Olaloku-Teriba

Seemingly without an economic base, racism has increasingly been treated as a purely social relation; distinct and extricable from class. Consequently, Marxist scholars have instead typically approached the question of ‘race’ through resistance, emphasising solidarity as instances in which the barrier of ‘race’ has been overcome to achieve working-class unity. This has meant that an interrogation of the crises to which racialisation responds has been largely left by the wayside. It is into this conceptual space that Afro-pessimist literature inserts itself.

Also the way she brings up Fanon and Biko. i.e. the growth in popularity of afro-pessimism is nurtured partly via the weaknesses of a lot of writing on race and class (for example crass comparisons between chattel slavery and wage slavery as opposed to a proper interrogation of their relationship and other forced labour systems). Those weaknesses are then used to strengthen the hypothesis that 'communism' or whatever is unable to extricate itself from 'anti-blackness'.

So, one way to inoculate against those things is to work back to Fanon, Biko, Sivanandan who had useful analysis of race, colonialism (and with Sivanandan post-colonial migration flows) in order to try to close the gap which afro-pessimism fills, and by doing so you end up with a strengthened understanding of class and race and one which lends itself to practical application.

The discussion here is relevant: https://libcom.org/library/when-race-burns-class-settlers-revisited-interview-j-sakai Sakai is another person who steps into the historical and conceptual gaps left by a lot of history and theory of the US workers movement - by focusing on racism in the Flint Sit Down strike which is not often discussed, or something like the East St Louis riot which was really a massacre and part of a massive outbreak of racial violence right at the same time of the revolutionary wave, not sure there is any communist treatment/analysis of that event at all. Although Sakai's conclusion is the near-impossibility of solidarity from white americans, as opposed to Wilderson which is everyone on the planet who isn't black, makes Sakai look optimistic...

So the HM piece for me is taking the right approach for critiquing this stuff (i.e. trying to put forward a better analysis of racism and its relationship to class, as opposed to decrying that racism is being discussed at all).

Bit weird seeing the defence of Rania Khalek in there, I've mainly heard of her via having bad opinions on Syria.

edit:

Just to add. 'anti-blackness' or 'anti-black racism' while it might be closely linked to afro-pessimism doesn't necessarily imply the same ontological standpoint. There are specificities, particularly in the US but also the colonisation of Africa where racism against black people has taken a particular character, which is different in form to racism against south Asians, east Asians, and anti-Semitism. Huge difference between pointing out some differences, and making those difference the centre of an analysis.

R Totale

4 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mike Harman

Bit weird seeing the defence of Rania Khalek in there, I've mainly heard of her via having bad opinions on Syria.

edit:

Just to add. 'anti-blackness' or 'anti-black racism' while it might be closely linked to afro-pessimism doesn't necessarily imply the same ontological standpoint. There are specificities, particularly in the US but also the colonisation of Africa where racism against black people has taken a particular character, which is different in form to racism against south Asians, east Asians, and anti-Semitism. Huge difference between pointing out some differences, and making those difference the centre of an analysis.

Yeah, the Khalek bit stood out to me as well, although I guess you can still no-platform an obnoxious person for all the wrong reasons, And generally I'd have reservations about the way she seems to set "anti-racism" (bad) against "anti-imperialism" (good).
Also I'd think that trying to apply "anti-blackness" in Africa would run into serious limitations very quickly - just like how xenophobia against "white" EU migrants is a massive issue here, I get the impression that anti-migrant sentiment is a big issue in South Africa (see here for instance), and a conceptual framework derived from the very particular circumstances of the US seems pretty useless for trying to navigate that.
Anyway, what I was trying to get at with the point about representative/managerial logic is that I suspect one of the big political uses of this kind of idea is that it's one more way that aspiring representatives/leaders/managers of struggle can discredit critiques or opposing ideas by presenting them as the work of outside agitators - in situations where you can't shut your critics up by dismissing them as white anarchists, white vegans or whatever, it must be handy to have the additional option of being able to say that your nonblack POC rivals just don't and can't get it. That's my fairly cynical take on it. FWIW, I can't remember if I ever managed to read it all the way through, but I remember No Selves to Abolish doing the rounds a while back as a very ultra-left/insurrecto-influenced take on afro-pessimism, no idea if it's any good though.

Mike Harman

4 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

[And generally I'd have reservations about the way she seems to set "anti-racism" (bad) against "anti-imperialism" (good).

Yes this seems a bit odd, especially given South Africa's independence from the UK by the time Steve Biko was active. There was decades between South African independence from the UK and the end of apartheid, and a century and a half between US independence from the US and the civil rights act. You can describe both as settler-colonial states but they weren't colonies when these struggles were going on.

R Totale

Also I'd think that trying to apply "anti-blackness" in Africa would run into serious limitations very quickly - just like how xenophobia against "white" EU migrants is a massive issue here, I get the impression that anti-migrant sentiment is a big issue in South Africa

Yes and also tribal divisions within post-colonial states, which itself came out of colonial regimes of management- like the repression of Luo-majority regions in Kenya by both Jomo and Uhuru Kenyatta https://libcom.org/library/reflections-kisumu-massacre-1969 (and reading about those, I wonder how much the post-1970 framework of race relations was modelled on those colonial management structures too).

R Totale

Anyway, what I was trying to get at with the point about representative/managerial logic is that I suspect one of the big political uses of this kind of idea is that it's one more way that aspiring representatives/leaders/managers of struggle can discredit critiques or opposing ideas by presenting them as the work of outside agitators - in situations where you can't shut your critics up by dismissing them as white anarchists, white vegans or whatever, it must be handy to have the additional option of being able to say that your nonblack POC rivals just don't and can't get it. That's my fairly cynical take on it.

Yes I don't have examples of Wilderson doing this at all, but I'm sure people invoke him to do this regularly, and given he claims his theory doesn't have any practical use, maybe this is hiding a particular practical use of it which is a lot less radical than the theory tries to be.

R Totale

FWIW, I can't remember if I ever managed to read it all the way through, but I remember No Selves to Abolish doing the rounds a while back as a very ultra-left/insurrecto-influenced take on afro-pessimism, no idea if it's any good though.

Haven't read it but will try to take a look. I think it brings up a tension between 'X oppression could theoretically be abolished but you'd still be exploited by capitalism' vs. 'X oppression cannot be solved without the abolition of capitalism' which you sometimes see people making both arguments at the same time.

PoppySellyOak

4 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hmmm sth that just came across my mind. There probably are some gay/lesbian youths at council estates, right? Do they make "safe spaces" for themselves, avoid people that use offensive language and insist on "not being offended"? Or maybe these gay people have totally different ways by whom they deal with "homophobia" - they have their own ways, and middle class people have their own ways of dealing with it too.

If you tried to hold speeches about various "phobias" (like you do here) in slums, how would you end, what do you think? On the other hand, you would probably be just fine if you would do that on some college campus. Hmm, maybe that has something to do with social class?

Also, maybe, just maybe, "transphobia", "homophobia", phobia this or that - is language used by certain sort of people, maybe certain social layer of people? Just thinking..

R Totale

4 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thinking about it, I wonder if it's possible/worthwhile to tease out a tendency towards solidarity-building approaches to different identity positions/instances of oppression vs one that approaches those differences in an atomising and essentialist way. So, you can set up "political blackness", inter communalism and Fred Hampton's rainbow coalition v afro-pessimism/the specificity of anti-blackness, but then also:
-The Asian Youth Movement's use of "Asian" as a non-religiously-aligned, international term vs the race relations/top-down multiculturalism tendency to stress "the Muslim community", "the Pakistani community" and so on (wish I could remember exactly where I got this point from, could be Kenan Malik, could be that one Aufheben article, might have been someone around the IWCA);
- Trans inclusive feminist organising like Sisters Uncut/the Irish abortion referendum vs approaches that, to put it mildly, focus on the specificities of cis women's experiences and deny the possibility that there might be any overlap with trans women's;
- could also contrast "queer" as a term that, for all its problems, I think can be used to do some of the same work as "political blackness" vs the LGBTQIA/QUILTBAG/MOGAI approach of listing different identities that are understood as separate, and so potentially antagonistic - not that I think that anyone who prefers saying LGBT to queer is necessarily a reactionary or anything, but I do think that one framing is more potentially vulnerable to stunts like "get the L out".

Dunno if that makes any sense, or if someone else has theorised this already, but I think there might be a common thread there that could be of use.

Mike Harman

4 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

FWIW, I can't remember if I ever managed to read it all the way through, but I remember No Selves to Abolish doing the rounds a while back as a very ultra-left/insurrecto-influenced take on afro-pessimism, no idea if it's any good though.

It's at least useful to see a take from someone who's familiar with both communisation stuff and afro-pessimism talk about both, for example:

No Selves to Abolish

Put differently, when read through an afropessimist logic (as I understand it), what is vital in the queer, anarchist or communist tendencies toward self-abolition is generally not their theorisation of race, which often remains unsatisfactory, [19] but their tendency to locate the means and aims of revolutionary struggle in the immediate self-abolition of and by their respectively oppressed group per se.

So if communism is proletarian self-abolition (i.e. abolishing both capital and the working class, not raising the status of the working class), then because it is a process of abolition then it is more compatible with the abolition of other oppressions. http://libcom.org/library/communization-abolition-gender is one that talks about this from the gender standpoint.

Where a lot of people run into problems, is that they don't see communism as proletarian self-abolition (but as some variation on really existing socialism) and theorise tensions between class/identity on that basis. On the 'class' side this is what pisses me off the most about Adolph Reed, but it's equally applicable to writing on gender and race which assumes the continued existence of capitalism. And there's a third difference between a 'pro-revolutionary' discussion of current movements and organisations against capitalism (something which tends to be excised from a lot of communisation stuff), vs. one which has reforming capitalism as its goal.

Have also seen Ta Nehisi Coates described as an afro-pessimist (not sure how true this is though, is he just pessimistic?), and he's got a massive readership. Haven't read these responses but https://libcom.org/library/birthmark-damnation-ta-nehisi-coates-black-body for one. But Coates as a liberal fave seems like an easier target than Wilderson.

Mike Harman

4 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

Thinking about it, I wonder if it's possible/worthwhile to tease out a tendency towards solidarity-building approaches to different identity positions/instances of oppression vs one that approaches those differences in an atomising and essentialist way. So, you can set up "political blackness", inter communalism and Fred Hampton's rainbow coalition v afro-pessimism/the specificity of anti-blackness, but then also:
-The Asian Youth Movement's use of "Asian" as a non-religiously-aligned, international term vs the race relations/top-down multiculturalism tendency to stress "the Muslim community", "the Pakistani community" and so on (wish I could remember exactly where I got this point from, could be Kenan Malik, could be that one Aufheben article, might have been someone around the IWCA);.

This does make sense and the best person I've seen talk about it is Sivanandan. There is this: https://libcom.org/library/all-melts-air-solid-sivanandan mostly aimed at Stuart Hall but his earlier work critiquing race relations etc. is really helpful in seeing how the two have been pitted against each other historically. There was a decent article summarising this posted just recently, will post if I can remember where it was.

Steven.

4 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

PoppySellyOak

Hmmm sth that just came across my mind. There probably are some gay/lesbian youths at council estates, right? Do they make "safe spaces" for themselves, avoid people that use offensive language and insist on "not being offended"? Or maybe these gay people have totally different ways by whom they deal with "homophobia" - they have their own ways, and middle class people have their own ways of dealing with it too.

Yeah if you don't actually know any LGBTQ people and have to just ask hypothetical questions about gay people who maybe live on council estates, then that's probably a good sign that you haven't got a clue what you're talking about, and take a lead from LGBTQ people themselves.

Mike Harman

4 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

Thinking about it, I wonder if it's possible/worthwhile to tease out a tendency towards solidarity-building approaches to different identity positions/instances of oppression vs one that approaches those differences in an atomising and essentialist way.

Dunno if that makes any sense, or if someone else has theorised this already, but I think there might be a common thread there that could be of use.

Found the article I was thinking of.

The Siva quote in here:

Sivanandan

The ensuing scramble for government favours and government grants (channelled through local authorities) on the basis of specific ethnic needs and problems served, on the one hand, to deepen ethnic differences and foster ethnic rivalry and, on the other, to widen the definition of ethnicity to include a variety of national and religious groups - Chinese, Cypriots, Greeks, Turks, Irish, Italians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs - till the term itself became meaningless (except as a means of getting funds). This ‘vertical mosaic’ of ethnic groups, so distanced from the horizontal of class politics, then became even more removed by the policies of ‘left’ Labour councils who, lacking the race-class perspective which would have allowed them to dismantle the institutional racism of their own structures, institutionalised ethnicity instead. And it was left to a handful of genuinely anti-racist programmes and/or campaigns, such as those against deportation, police harassment and racial violence… to carry on the dwindling battle for community and class.

And from the article itself:

Jules Joanne Gleeson

In their emphasis on the separation of groups (lesbians and trans women, with no overlap permitted), these groups are framing themselves as against the grain of the current order, while in fact working toward contemporary capitalism’s tendency to drive apart and ‘domesticate’ political struggles. There is nothing new, in other words, in the desire for a specific identification, with a view towards ensuring greater favour from the state, and clarity for the purposes of securing institutionalisation, and funding. We should not see transphobic political lesbianism as simply a throwback, but as an outgrowth of conditions where political horizons have become limited to collaboration with the state.

https://newsocialist.org.uk/lesbians-going-their-own-way/

Reddebrek

4 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

PoppySellyOak

Hmmm sth that just came across my mind. There probably are some gay/lesbian youths at council estates, right? Do they make "safe spaces" for themselves, avoid people that use offensive language and insist on "not being offended"? Or maybe these gay people have totally different ways by whom they deal with "homophobia" - they have their own ways, and middle class people have their own ways of dealing with it too.

Well speaking from personal experience most of the openly Gay kids in my age group from the estate ended up leaving my town to get lost in the big cities on account of the abuse they received. I flew under the radar and tried something similar but had to come back when it didn't work out.

Thankfully the younger generation have built a sort of support group to deal with any abuse they get so they're staying put or leaving for other reasons. That and a few fitters and electricians on the docks and refineries coming out forced the area to come to some sort of terms with it.

I also don't know why you think working class queers or anyone really is ok with associating with bigots who don't like or respect them? Do you just tag a long with people you don't like and who don't like you?

R Totale

4 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Not read it all yet cos it's long, but this from Wessex Solidarity looks good:
All right let’s have it then! (That debate about gender)
Also everything I see about Asad Haider's book makes it look pretty thoughtful, for instance this and this. It'll probably be years before I get around to actually reading the thing itself, though.

sawa

4 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

Not read it all yet cos it's long, but this from Wessex Solidarity looks good:
All right let’s have it then! (That debate about gender)
Also everything I see about Asad Haider's book makes it look pretty thoughtful, for instance this and this. It'll probably be years before I get around to actually reading the thing itself, though.

Also haven't read it all as it is long and I am tired. But this part just seems inaccurate and romanticises strikes.

While we’re on the subject of class.

Taking a principled and reasoned position doesn’t oblige me to endorse the actions of any individual or group. Working Class people have been shutting down meetings of bigots and authoritarians for over a century but gate-crashing a picket by workers in dispute is out of order. This is because industrial disputes are the only weapon our class has against the bosses. Picket lines are an expression of Working Class strength and solidarity, so the only valid reason for approaching one is to support the workers in struggle – regardless of the politics of individuals. Anything else is scabbing. In the IWW we say “no politics in the Union”, we fight for all workers and we’ve picketed for the right of trans workers to choose which bog they use. The lesson of the Miners’ Strike is the necessity of total class solidarity in the face of a concerted attack, it doesn’t even matter what the fight appears to be about; the ruling class are hardly going to let you in on their long term plans. You will gain nothing by cross-class alliances because the bourgeoisie don’t care about you. They will be happy to sell you for a little more than they paid, which in this case is fuck all.

Industrial action is not the only weapon we have . It is an important and strategic weapon we have to increase class power but the content does matter. Historically there have certainly been several incidences of racist strikes for racist demands. For example say dockers striking in support of Enoch Powell in 1968. And yellow unions exist and syndicalism was coopted by fascists in Italy and Mussolini.
It does matter what a strike is about and we should be taking a lead from the opressed group involved where relevant.
If there was an anti migrant strike then we should be taking a leed from migrants and POC.
If there was a strike or action short of a strike say against trans workers using the toilets we are most comfortable using or against transgender service users acessing services then I would likewise hope folk would listen to trans workers and /or service users and certainly not support such action let alone uncritically.
Nor does being on strike mean an individual or group is immune from criticism if they are acting in a bigoted and oppressive manner.
God I wouldn't even want to be immune from criticism if I am on strike again as that would be ridiculous.
Whether it is strategically useful to confront a bigot such as a TERF on a picket line is a different question and depends on context. But why would you make a rule never to confront a TERF on a picket line. How many trans folk are made to feel unsafe and literal security or even our jobs could be under threat if active TERFs are standing on picket lines. How is a trans worker supposed to organise then?

meerov21

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

+100 This is my text about it
https://libcom.org/forums/history/two-main-currents-anarchism-02092017

Edward Ludd

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah in history there have been anti-working class strikes and pickets and hypothetically anything could happen in the future but that isn't the issue here.

The picket referred to was the picturehouse dispute, a genuine class conflict most of us supported. Regarding the individual targeted, I've heard variously that she is not a TERF but attended a meeting of TERFs at the request of her branch, or that she put some TERFy things on the internet. No matter, there are plenty of times and places to criticise an individual trade unionist's politics and the picket line is not it. The only winner here is the boss - who may be a TERF for all you know.

It's hard enough getting people out on strike, they aren't all anarchists, but they are workers acting in common cause, if we lose that, what are you going to replace it with?

Whether it was strategically useful to interfere in this way is a question you'd need to put to the workers in this dispute.

Mike Harman

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Edward Ludd

Regarding the individual targeted, I've heard variously that she is not a TERF but attended a meeting of TERFs at the request of her branch, or that she put some TERFy things on the internet.

I've also heard she isn't a Picturehouse worker but instead a trade union officer. Whether it's the right situation to confront someone like that is one thing, but trade union officers making a visit to a picket line aren't the workers on strike either.

Fleur

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

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.

I'm pretty sure that no movement has ever got rid of capitalism yet, trying it out with a movement which is inclusive might be worth giving a try :)

sawa

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

And if a union branch is requesting members of officals attend transphobic meetings by terfs then that is all the more worrying and probably or should be against the unions rules. Again how will trans workers be able to organise in our workplaces if officials are transphobic. How are we supposed to stand up to transphobic bosses and transphobic employer's policies?

Mike Harman

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Edward Ludd

Mike Harman, how did you manage to quote me when the post failed? I don't get this at all

1. Because I'm an admin
2. Because I didn't realise the post had been marked as spam and that no-one else could see it.

Mike Harman

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Edward Ludd

It's hard enough getting people out on strike, they aren't all anarchists, but they are workers acting in common cause, if we lose that, what are you going to replace it with?

So I agree that the hypothetical of a reactionary picket line is a bad hypothetical to discuss this real issue.

The impression I've got (nothing quotable though) is that the person confronted was 1. Not a picture house worker but a minor trade union official 2. Is an actual TERF.

Given there is not a proper public accounting of the facts of this case, let's try to break down the possibilities:

1. Picturehouse worker somehow known to have shared some transphobic stuff, not an organised TERF
2. Picturehouse worker who's an organised TERF
3. Trade union official known to have shared some transphobic stuff, not an organised TERF.
4. Trade union official who's an organised TERF

I think it's fair enough to challenge person #4. #2 might be tricky (if they've doxxed people who went to support the picket or attempted to get them fired from their jobs? You couldn't exactly hang out with them as if nothing's happened so you'd either have to turn around or challenge their presence I'd think), #1 and #3 should be challenged but would agree a picket is not a good place to do it.

Taking person #4, we don't know who this person is, but I can think of another trade union official who I'd personally find it hard to avoid giving a mouthful to if I saw them in person regardless of circumstances: Paul Embery of the FBU, who also campaigns very publicly for stricter immigration controls:

Writes for Spiked Online: http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/author/Paul%20Embery and speaks at their events https://www.battleofideas.org.uk/speaker/paul-embery/

Writes for the Sun about 'liberal elites' shafting the workers and this is why they vote for the BNP because there's too much immigration:

Paul Embery

But then there are those places outside the bubble. On the one hand the grittier, traditional working-class areas — the Canning Towns and Bermondseys — populated by those steamrollered by globalisation, for whom austerity and mass immigration have exacerbated the problems of low wages, poor housing and under-pressure public services.
..
born out of resentment at having to watch their old-fashioned, socially conservative — what some describe as “faith, family and flag” — views shunned and disparaged by the liberal elite.

...

What was genuine bewilderment and disorientation on the part of local citizens was, inexcusably, dismissed as casual racism and bigotry.

Yet it wasn’t their sense of race that had been violated by the sudden upheaval in their community. It was their sense of order.

So, in 2006, locals took the only route of protest they thought left available to them and returned 12 British National Party councillors at the local elections.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6206841/london-brexit-immigration-working-class-multiculturalism/

Lots of anti-immigration posts for Huffington Post: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/author/paul-embery/

Member of Blue Labour, campaigned for Leave.

Supporter of 'The Full Brexit': https://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2018/06/23/the-full-brexit-alliance-of-labour-patriots-spiked-on-line-immigration-obsessives-left-sovereigntists-and-other-oddballs/

And here:
Embery

…..try discussing with these people – the self-appointed guardians of enlightened society – the idea that immigration levels are too high and should be reduced. You’re a xenophobe. Try saying that kids are better served being raised by two parents, one of each sex. You’re a homophobic bigot. Don’t believe someone with the anatomy of a man can suddenly become a woman just because he says he is? Transphobe.

https://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2018/06/23/the-full-brexit-alliance-of-labour-patriots-spiked-on-line-immigration-obsessives-left-sovereigntists-and-other-oddballs/

And head of Trade Unionists Against the EU which is an RMT/Arron Banks mash-up:
https://www.theredroar.com/2018/04/rmt-teamed-up-with-ukip-donor-arron-banks-to-fund-trade-union-brexit-campaign/

Embery is giving trade unionist cover for wide ranging attacks on the working class, from massive, well funded right-wing national platforms. He's like the modern equivalent of Havelock Wilson except fortunately not an MP and the head of the union.

So on-principle if Embery turns up should you keep quiet?

meerov21

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Why do I partially agree with the content of this article?

Many years ago I had illusions about the US and Europe, I thought, that kind of councilist tradition (like "Socialism and barbarism") and anarchist tradition of class struggle based on the principles of direct action and direct democracy there remained alive.

Unfortunately, the supporters of the Workers ' Councils are grouped into small sects (with all my respect to them), and so-called syndicalist-anarchists turned out to be in most cases (though not always) ordinary peaceful trade unionists who collude with bosses and appeal to state courts during labor conflicts.

But even this was not the main disappointment.

It turned out that most of the Western anarchism is not a class struggle at all, but some discussions on the topic of homosexuality, transsexuality etc: I'm sorry, maybe I don't know enough of that terminology, I studied Freud's classical psychoanalysis a bit, but I think even he would be surprised by such discoveries. But the most important thing is that I do not understand what the hell all this has to do with anarchism and the power of the workers' assemblies?!

Of course, anarchists protect free relations, so any person has the right to sleep with anyone, he can also consider himself anyone. But that incredibly active discussion around these things is some kind of painful phenomenon of degradation. I would understand if, as a result of all this, millions of gay and lesbian people joined the ranks of anarchists, but I am not watching anything like this. Some marginalized groups are discussing forms of human sexuality. But why? What do we care about that? If a person is an worker, engineer, teacher, nurse, doctor, etc., he's interesting to us as, and I don't care who he sleeps with. If he is a bourgeois, he is our enemy, and I, especially, do not care about his sexual partner...

Identity politics should be left to liberal human rights defenders. If they want to give someone humanitarian aid within the bourgeois society, let them do it.

Sexuality or orientation has nothing to do with revolution. Millions of homosexuals (or haw do you call them todey? queer? I don't understand your Newspeak) make excellent careers under capitalism and they don't care about us, and anarchists shouldn't care about them. Class relations of hierarchy and the struggle of self-organized labor or territorial communities became the historical cause of social revolutions from the Commune of Paris to the workers 'Councils of Budapest, from the Councils of workers' deputies in Sulaymaniyah to the people's Assembly in the Korean city of Gwangju. Everything else has nothing to do with the social revolution. There are NO other examples of revolutions.

https://libcom.org/forums/theory/it-somewhat-gives-me-vision-what-ongoing-anarchist-communist-society-would-look-16

P.S. No censorship will shut the mouth of anarchists and supporters of the councils, who are fed up with all this endless and senseless fuss around bourgeois identity policy.

Uncreative

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

meerov21

If he is a bourgeois, he is our enemy, and I, especially, do not care about his sexual partner...

Hi, can you find me a single example of an anarchist organisation saying that the no.1 concern of anarchists in the UK/US/etc should be defending the sexual choices of the rich? Shouldn't be hard if thats the primary activity of anarchists over here. Thanks.

meerov21

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Uncreative I don't know whether the anarchists are defending the sexual orientation of the bourgeoisie. I meant something else. I don't understand why do some people attach so much importance to this issue of sexuality or sexual orientation. I do not see what we benefit from the constant exploitation of this topic. The social revolution has grown always and everywhere absolutely other roots.

Uncreative

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

meerov21

I meant something else. I don't understand why do some people attach so much importance to this issue of sexuality or sexual orientation. I do not see what we benefit from the constant exploitation of this topic. The social revolution has grown always and everywhere absolutely other roots.

The section of the working class that is trans has become more vocal and visible in recent years, and consequently the reaction of bigots towards them has got more visible (to people who wouldnt themselves be victims of it, i mean). When a section of the working class is under attack and sticking up for themselves, anarchists often have something to say about that.

Bit of an aside, but when people are talking about trans and class and how ne'er the two shall meet, or about how all trans people are kaitlyn jenner and we should only care about working class people, im reminded of a film i saw ten years or so ago, not too long after i moved away from my small home town and started (knowingly) meeting my first trans people. It was called Cruel and Unusual (made in 2006), primarily about trans womens experience in the US prison system - I dont remember it as well as id like, but some of it stuck with me and hopefully im remembering it correctly. When one trans woman who worked on oil rigs came out at work, she got sacked, because it was totally legal to sack workers explicitly for being trans. She couldnt find more work on the oil rigs, her life falls apart, she cant even get housed in homeless shelters, she has to steal to survive and i think works as a sex worker, the only job she can now get (though the sex work might be one of the other women). Eventually she gets arrested, and gets stuck in a mens prison (i think with long periods in solitary, "for her safety") and denied absurdly cheap medical care. It continues to get grimmer after that point. As i recall, none of the other trans women in the film are members of the bourgoisie, and have somewhat similar stories (if perhaps less super-proley than oil rig workers - though, i think one robs banks?). Having seen that, hearing people remark that they dont get all this trans stuff and how they only care about the issues of the working class seems bizarre to me... I mean, also for a bunch of other reasons, but when it gets to the point of denying that oil rig workers being sacked and, having no other means to survive, turning to criminal activity, being locked up and enduring the worst of the prison system is nothing to do with the working class, im just baffled. There arent class issues over here, and trans issues over there.

sawa

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You dont understand lesbian, gay and bi people and trans people maybe you should actually listen to us. Why do we go on about such because these things that shouldn't matter mean we are denied healthcare, refused jobs and denied basic respect and dignity and yes this includes from our bosses and at work and when we are on strike.
We aren't going to get any revolution whilst folk are still being opressed. It is opression what divides the class not acknowledging such opression or fighting against it.
Call it bourgoise identity politics all you want but it is the everyday experiences of working class people. It is you that belong in the dustbin of history.
You who doesn't know how to improve the daily reality for working class people. You may as well be the bourgeoisie state if you only care about workers councils of cis het men.
Being trans or gay or bi are not complicated concepts if you actually listen to and respect folk.
Trans issues are working class issues. And we are fucking dying whilst you romaticise hypothetical and historic workers councils. To build class power you have to organise against all opressions whether that is in our communities or on our picket lines.

AnythingForProximity

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

sawa

Trans issues are working class issues.

No, they are inter-class issues, since there are trans people both within the working class and within the bourgeoisie – exactly as meerov21 said. Organizing around them means class collaboration – exactly as meerov21 said.

Let history decide on who belongs in the dustbin thereof.

R Totale

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mike Harman

Edward Ludd

It's hard enough getting people out on strike, they aren't all anarchists, but they are workers acting in common cause, if we lose that, what are you going to replace it with?

So I agree that the hypothetical of a reactionary picket line is a bad hypothetical to discuss this real issue.

The impression I've got (nothing quotable though) is that the person confronted was 1. Not a picture house worker but a minor trade union official 2. Is an actual TERF.

Given there is not a proper public accounting of the facts of this case, let's try to break down the possibilities:

1. Picturehouse worker somehow known to have shared some transphobic stuff, not an organised TERF
2. Picturehouse worker who's an organised TERF
3. Trade union official known to have shared some transphobic stuff, not an organised TERF.
4. Trade union official who's an organised TERF

I think it's fair enough to challenge person #4. #2 might be tricky (if they've doxxed people who went to support the picket or attempted to get them fired from their jobs? You couldn't exactly hang out with them as if nothing's happened so you'd either have to turn around or challenge their presence I'd think), #1 and #3 should be challenged but would agree a picket is not a good place to do it.

Taking person #4, we don't know who this person is, but I can think of another trade union official who I'd personally find it hard to avoid giving a mouthful to if I saw them in person regardless of circumstances...

So on-principle if Embery turns up should you keep quiet?

Maybe this is just me, but my reading of the situation would be that, if for instance, you saw Embery on an FBU picket, your response should be heavily informed by what the workers whose actual picket line it was thought and wanted you to do. Like, the ideal situation would be that you have a good relationship and mutual trust with them and they take your side, anything short of that and you'd want to tread very carefully indeed, if only to avoid the massive tactical/strategic own goal of creating a situation that can then be spun as "outsiders attack picket line".

Uncreative

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

sawa

Trans issues are working class issues.

No, they are inter-class issues, since there are trans people both within the working class and within the bourgeoisie – exactly as meerov21 said. Organizing around them means class collaboration – exactly as meerov21 said.

Let history decide on who belongs in the dustbin thereof.

So, that trans woman who worked on the oil rig i mentioned above, her getting sacked, unable to find work, homeless, turned away from shelters, then locked up and denied medical care, those are all inter-class issues? Man, the bourgeoisie have it rough. Its tough at the top.

AnythingForProximity

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Uncreative

So, that trans woman who worked on the oil rig i mentioned above, her getting sacked, unable to find work, homeless, turned away from shelters, then locked up and denied medical care, those are all inter-class issues?

No, they are working-class issues, and would remain such if the person getting sacked, unable to find work, homeless, turned away from shelters, then locked up and denied medical care were not trans.

radicalgraffiti

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

but those issues wouldn't have occurred if they where not trans

AnythingForProximity

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

radicalgraffiti

but those issues wouldn't have occurred if they where not trans

No non-trans people ever got sacked? No non-trans people were ever unable to find work? No non-trans people ever became homeless? No non-trans people were ever turned away from shelters? No non-trans people were ever locked up? No non-trans people were ever denied medical care while in prison?

(By the way, just so that people will have to get a bit more creative when trying to distort what I wrote, absolutely nothing changes if you replace the word "trans" in the paragraph above with "gay", "woman", "Black", "Latinx", etc. All flavors of identity politics are perfectly interchangeable in this regard.)

Reddebrek

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

No, they are inter-class issues, since there are trans people both within the working class and within the bourgeoisie – exactly as meerov21 said. Organizing around them means class collaboration – exactly as meerov21 said.

Let history decide on who belongs in the dustbin thereof.

Well, sure if you throw out material based analysis in favour of an idealised Identity based one that would be the case.

Fleur

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

No non-trans person has ever been sacked for being trans. No non-trans person has ever been able to not find work for being trans. No non-trans person has ever been turned away from shelters because these shelters are trans exclusionary. You're missing the point.

Also, no cis het white man has ever been discriminated against for being a black, gay, trans Latinx either.

Uncreative

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

Uncreative

So, that trans woman who worked on the oil rig i mentioned above, her getting sacked, unable to find work, homeless, turned away from shelters, then locked up and denied medical care, those are all inter-class issues?

No, they are working-class issues, and would remain such if the person getting sacked, unable to find work, homeless, turned away from shelters, then locked up and denied medical care were not trans.

So... a trans woman sacked for being trans, explicitly for that, was not experiencing something related to being trans, in your view? Thats an... interesting viewpoint.

Mike Harman

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

radicalgraffiti

but those issues wouldn't have occurred if they where not trans

No non-trans people ever got sacked? No non-trans people were ever unable to find work? No non-trans people ever became homeless? No non-trans people were ever turned away from shelters? No non-trans people were ever locked up? No non-trans people were ever denied medical care while in prison?

In the 1960s British trade unions were still organising to keep Black and Asian workers out of certain jobs via colour bars. Please explain how a colour bar is a 'cross class issue'.

link

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I am interesting to see that the discussion has reemerged as it seems an important one in society today. I am also glad that to see that Sawa has been brave enough to raise the issue of historial experience and that Fleur has been honest enough to admit that there is no historical experience and justification to think that struggles of the oppressed (Fleur actually said a movement that is inclusive but a take that to mean much the same thing in idpol terms) can lead to a revolution!! In post 492, Sawa abuses those arguing for a radical working class politics in favour of politics of the oppressed and seems therefore to be stressing the importance of reforms so that “ you (who is this you – the leaders of the working class????) can improve the daily reality for working class people” That is not radical politics it is bourgeous reformism.

What Fleur is admitting is that identity politics and intersectionality is purely wishing thinking and idealism. There is no more basis in reality for thinking that Tirfs or trans are revolutionary than there is for thinking that if the west gives all its money to Africa as recompense for the slave trade can create communism or even for asking Israelis as an oppressed group to join up with oppressed Palestinians to form a communism society. Its all just a good idea though isn’t it!

Historical experience is important because we can learn lessons from it to inform future calls to actions. Ok, there is no experience of a successful revolution against capitalism, true, as capitalism still exists. But there is no experience of any genuine revolt against capitalism by oppressed groups and certainly no experience of oppressed groups getting together to revolt against capitalism.

All there is, is a lot of experience of struggles by oppressed groups being co-opted by capitalism and incorporated into social change within capitalism whether that is the suffrage movement, civil liberty movement in America, second wave feminism, student revolts and the hippies around the 60s and 70s, the national liberation movements of the 50s onwards and more recently black live matter and metoo just as examples.

Neither will the conflict between terfs and tirfs wont lead to revolution. It will only be incorporated into capitalist society and, at some point in future when new issues emerge, future radical reformist will despise you just like some of libcom now despise the 2nd wave feminists for, as it think it was said, being so weak as to not really being feminists at all!! That is just how not to learn from history.

Now its quite true that workers are not always correct and sometime struggle for the wrong goals but what can be learnt from history is that workers when they struggle even at a low level can overcome personal divisions (as even Sawa did admit to getting less incorrectly pronounced during a strike) and organise themselves independently by mass meetings. At higher level of political struggles with capitali, then these assemblies get more organised into strike committees and workers councils that interact across workplaces and where that conflict becomes revolutionary, workers start to organise workers council networks across cities and regions that become an alternative centres of power challenging capitalism authority.

As meerov correctly suggests, look at the Paris Commune, the 1905 revolt in Russia, 1917 in Russia, the German Revolution, and his other examples which I know little about, for historical experience to justify focusing on workers struggles and workers councils. And ignore Sawas easy dismissal of workers councils and workers struggle in favour of the unity of struggles of the oppressed as pure idealist nonsense.

So call for workers to ignore or eject trade union officials and labour party hacks from pickets please. Call for the self organisation and unity of workers in struggle because only that strengthens workers struggles and also unifies those oppressed groups amongst the working class. Don’t let petty argument between terfs and tirfs weaken the unity of workers in struggle.

Fleur

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What Fleur is admitting is that identity politics and intersectionality is purely wishing thinking and idealism.

Wtf you talking about? I'm not "admitting" to any such thing. Try paying attention to what people are actually saying. Come to think of it, people refusing to listen to what other people, who actually know what they are talking about, are saying is the whole crux of the problem.

AnythingForProximity

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A trans woman gets sacked for being trans.

Perhaps you find this unacceptable because no one should ever lose their access to healthcare, worry about having a place to live, go hungry, or even have their family go hungry for not being able to sell their labor power. If so, you have a critique of capitalism in general; a critique that may (or may not) develop into a communist one.

On the other hand, maybe you find this unacceptable because it happened due to her being trains. 'Cause look, there's nothing wrong with sacking people as such, you gotta do what you gotta do to increase that sweet, sweet profit margin – just make sure you don't sack 'em for the wrong reason! If you follow that line of reasoning, you have what is at best an identitarian critique of the really existing capitalism. To be honest, that's not a bad position to find oneself in; for one thing, you can sleep soundly knowing that everyone, from grassroots liberal campaigns to big corporations' HR departments, is hard at work making the world a better place as we speak.

Fleur

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

In addition, I was making a comment into meerov's comment that no movement of marginalized people have got rid of capitalism. No shit, it's still here. As good as the Paris Commune was, it was 147 years ago and it failed, as did the German revolution and the Russian revolution.The organizational methods of 100+ years ago didn't work then, what makes anyone think that they're workable in the 21st century. Apart from nostalgia and wallowing in the glow of the glory years.

Something about brick walls and flogging dead horses.

Reddebrek

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fleur

In addition, I was making a comment into meerov's comment that no movement of marginalized people have got rid of capitalism. No shit, it's still here. As good as the Paris Commune was, it was 147 years ago and it failed, as did the German revolution and the Russian revolution.The organizational methods of 100+ years ago didn't work then, what makes anyone think that they're workable in the 21st century. Apart from nostalgia and wallowing in the glow of the glory years.

Something about brick walls and flogging dead horses.

Its worth keeping in mind that while the Commune was mainly focused on military matters and economic issues, it wouldn't have gotten nearly as much done without for example women getting active and organising their own vigilance committee's, taking over their workplaces and with Louise Michel organising ambulance and medical services and at least one detachment of fighters.

There was an offer by Parisian sex workers to form an armed group to support the defence, but that was turned down by the respectable communards. It seemed to have been a small number so I don't think it would of turned the tide, but a few extra willing riflers wouldn't have hurt when the gates were being breached.

Looking back, I become more sympathetic to the opinion that there are no pure "classical Classist" revolts, they all seem to involve the actions of "identity politics" to some degree, like the society of Republican women in France, its just that these movements are usually obscured or directly suppressed by the more dominant tendencies within, like with the Republican women's societies in revolutionary France again.

AnythingForProximity

On the other hand, maybe you find this unacceptable because it happened due to her being trains. 'Cause look, there's nothing wrong in sacking people as such, you gotta do what you gotta do to increase that sweet, sweet profit margin – just make sure you don't sack 'em for the wrong reason! If you follow that line of reasoning, you have what is at best an identitarian critique of the really existing capitalism. To be honest, that's not a bad position to find oneself in; for one thing, you can sleep soundly knowing that everyone, from grassroots liberal campaigns to big corporations' HR departments, is working hard at making the world a better place as we speak.

Hmmm, in any other thread this would easily be the worst reply within it. So its in the top five for this one.

Mike Harman

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Reddebrek

There was an offer by Parisian sex workers to form an armed group to support the defence, but that was turned down by the respectable communards. It seemed to have been a small number so I don't think it would of turned the tide, but a few extra willing riflers wouldn't have hurt when the gates were being breached.

Let's note things got worse in Russia 1917:

Lenin

I have heard strange things about that from Russian and German comrades. I must tell you what I mean. I understand that in Hamburg a gifted Communist woman is bringing out a newspaper for prostitutes, and is trying to organize them for the revolutionary struggle. Now Rosa a true Communist, felt and acted like a human being when she wrote an article in defense of prostitutes who have landed in jail for violating a police regulation concerning their sad trade. They are unfortunate double victims of bourgeois society. Victims, first, of its accursed system of property and, secondly, of its accursed moral hypocrisy. There is no doubt about this. Only a coarse-grained and short-sighted person could forget this. To understand this is one thing, but it is quite another thing how shall I put it? To organize the prostitutes as a special revolutionary guild contingent and publish a trade union paper for them. Are there really no industrial working women left in Germany who need organizing, who need a newspaper, who should be enlisted in your struggle?

Lenin, 1920: sex workers, pah! can't you find any women factory workers?

Kollontai

And what, after all, is the professional prostitute? She is a person whose energy is not used for the collective; a person who lives off others, by taking from the rations of others. Can this sort of thing be allowed in a workers’ republic? No, it cannot. It cannot be allowed, because it reduces the reserves of energy and the number of working hands that are creating the national wealth and the general welfare, from the point of view of the national economy the professional prostitute is a labour deserter.
...
We, therefore, hunt down the speculators, the traders and the hoarders who all live off unearned income. We must fight prostitution as another form of labour desertion.

Kollontai, 1921: sex workers are parasites and labour deserters.

I'm sure the Bolsheviks sending sex workers to forced labour camps and comparing them 'speculators', 'traders', and 'hoarders', is 'cross class issue' too.

Konsequent

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

No, they are inter-class issues, since there are trans people both within the working class and within the bourgeoisie – exactly as meerov21 said.

I'd probably agree with this, in the sense that discrimination on the basis of being trans/transphobia, can be experienced by any trans person, whatever their class position. But people who don't have bodyguards, can't afford taxis or chauffeurs, etc are more likely to have to deal with the worst discrimination face to face. And people who own companies and houses don't need to worry about getting fired of evicted, or getting refused housing or jobs because they're LGBT. So apart from the fact that I really don't give a shit what happens to ruling class LGBT people, I also think their class position protects them from the worst of it.

AnythingForProximity

Organizing around them means class collaboration – exactly as meerov21 said.

Totally disagree. Organising around class issues that are affecting people because they're trans doesn't need to involve any class collaboration.

If we see aspects of our lives that are typically classed as issues of "identity", not as fundamentally different to any other things about our lives, but just things about us that mediate our class relationships, then I think they make more sense and these calls to completely dismiss them look completely ludicrous. If you and everyone in your workplace are being put on a worse contract, or your landlord is putting up everyone's rent, it makes sense to see this as a class issue affecting specifically your workplace/fellow tentants in that moment. Sure, other renters *could* get a rent hike, but there's good reasons to make connections to other people experiencing the same thing for the same reasons. The class issues we experience are mediated through other aspects of our lives, for example what company and industry we work in, whether we're temps or permanent, what country and city and neighbourhood and housing situation we live in, and so on. Sometimes our actions are more effective if we focus on organising with people who we have these things in common with. We can still look to other members of the working class, who aren't directly affected by the immediate problem we're trying to solve, for help, for example for solidarity strikes etc. I don't see gender, race, migration status, etc as fundamentally different to these things. It's as nonsensical to me to see these aspects of our lives as special as it is to see them as irrelevant.

 

Konsequent

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

link

But there is no experience of any genuine revolt against capitalism by oppressed groups and certainly no experience of oppressed groups getting together to revolt against capitalism. 
 

I don't know what you mean by a "revolt against capitalism" but it isn't uncommon for oppressed groups to be in conflict with the ruling class. It isn't uncommon for demands to be made of the ruling class and forced through direct action. It's not uncommon for conflict to break out between working class people of a particular "identity" and the government, or bosses, or the police. I wouldn't expect a revolution of any sort from working class people of a particular identity, any more than I would expect all the workers in a particular industry to start a revolution without the workers in other industries. But the state often attacks particular sections of the working class separately and often that section can see where that attack is coming from and aims the resistance to it accordingly.

link

All there is,  is a lot of experience of struggles by oppressed groups being co-opted by capitalism and incorporated into social change within capitalism

I see "class struggle" being co-opted all the time! All over the place I see how housing and workplace struggles are incorporated into capitalism. There is nothing particularly different about "identity" aspects of our lives that make co-option an inevitability, as far as I can see. 

In my view lot of these discussions come back to the more general questions about how to defend struggles against co-option, which I think is extremely important. I don't think it's helpful to imply that this is only something that oppressed groups need to worry about.

If your point was "never strike for reforms like wage increases, hold back on striking at all until it's a global general strike to end capitalism" then you'd be consistent, but my impression is often that people making your arguments think that everyone should be allowed reforms that make their lives more comfortable, apart from if their discomfort is related to gender, race, sexual orientation, and so on, then they need to just put up with it.

sawa

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Konsequent

link

But there is no experience of any genuine revolt against capitalism by oppressed groups and certainly no experience of oppressed groups getting together to revolt against capitalism. 
 

I don't know what you mean by a "revolt against capitalism" but it isn't uncommon for oppressed groups to be in conflict with the ruling class. It isn't uncommon for demands to be made of the ruling class and forced through direct action. It's not uncommon for conflict to break out between working class people of a particular "identity" and the government, or bosses, or the police. I wouldn't expect a revolution of any sort from working class people of a particular identity, any more than I would expect all the workers in a particular industry to start a revolution without the workers in other industries. But the state often attacks particular sections of the working class separately and often that section can see where that attack is coming from and aims the resistance to it accordingly.

link

All there is,  is a lot of experience of struggles by oppressed groups being co-opted by capitalism and incorporated into social change within capitalism

I see "class struggle" being co-opted all the time! All over the place I see how housing and workplace struggles are incorporated into capitalism. There is nothing particularly different about "identity" aspects of our lives that make co-option an inevitability, as far as I can see. 

In my view lot of these discussions come back to the more general questions about how to defend struggles against co-option, which I think is extremely important. I don't think it's helpful to imply that this is only something that oppressed groups need to worry about.

If your point was "never strike for reforms like wage increases, hold back on striking at all until it's a global general strike to end capitalism" then you'd be consistent, but my impression is often that people making your arguments think that everyone should be allowed reforms that make their lives more comfortable, apart from if their discomfort is related to gender, race, sexual orientation, and so on, then they need to just put up with it.

Precisely there are tonnes of examples of working class struggle being coopted by capitalism and bourgeoisie interests. As a syndicalist personally I gave an example of syndicalism specifically being coopted by literal fascists in early 20th centuary Italy.
By gaining reforms that improve or defend the conditions for working class people, working class people gain confidence and exert our collective power. Revolutions don't come from nowhere. Historic examples have loads of build up of "reformist" gains and organisation building. Revolutions don't arise perfectly formed.
And when I was on strike a couple months ago this was in defense to employers attacks on our terms and conditions and redundancy terms. So reformist by some folk on this threads standards. But if they had suceeded in cutting our annual leave and overtime pay (which actually we have had a partial victory so far in defeating) then this would have had a significent negative impact on our everyday lives. If you are not organising against worse or for better conditions for working class people then you are irrelevant. Anarchism and syndicalism are about workers self interests and collective power which awareness of such come through what you may call reformist struggle.
And yes I got gendered correctly more on picket lines but this happens through trans people and other opressed groups engaging in struggle. And this requires we are not excluded from class struggle and like any working class people that this struggle improves our daily reality. And thst we are not left alone to deal with transphobia and other opressions.

Cooked

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm reading this thread and again I feel you are reading past each other. I think the discussion is interesting because to me the positions and differences are slowly becoming more clear. Not there yet though.

The pure class people have clearly stated that most of the material issues facing trans people are class issues. I'm surprised by some of the arguments by Konsequent and others that appear to define class issues only as those that affect everyone (of the class). There has never been one working class, people have always had diverging grievances. The idea of class solidarity has to my mind always been about supporting each other across those differences. The concept has no meaning otherwise. Again I find it very odd to bring out examples of class struggle, by women or otherwise as examples of identity politics. As if it becomes identity politics as soon as non white male people do anything!

What is the purpose of separating out struggles when done by people who aren't white male and calling it something else?

Pure class people clearly underestimate the problems facing various people. Problems with culture inside political organisations and problems caused by capitalism. The idea that the problems go away by just claiming that sexuality, gender etc is not an issue in communist orgs doesn't cut it based on what the affected are saying.

I'm not sure if the framing matters. I feel slightly though that some of the id pol language and focus might put emphasis on difference in a way that is negative. I know the problems with the assumption of being colourblind but I also fear the consequences of completely giving up on it.

Race discussions from the states freak me the fuck out including lefty ones. I'd hate to see everyone ending up there. It's just such a complete capitulation to racism. I understand that it corresponds to how things are there but I don't feel things are as bad in europe.

meerov21

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Link: So call for workers to ignore or eject trade union officials and labour party hacks from pickets please. Call for the self organisation and unity of workers in struggle because only that strengthens workers struggles and also unifies those oppressed groups amongst the working class. Don’t let petty argument between terfs and tirfs weaken the unity of workers in struggle.

I generally agree with Link.

Of course, the Paris Commune was based on class ideas, as well as the Russian or German revolutions of the councils, this is the obvious thing. They all used class socialist ideas. Another thing that was important was also the resistance of the local community against the despotism of the state bureaucracy and oligarchy.

I deliberately gave modern examples of revolts-Tehran 1979, Poland 1980, Sulaymaniyah 1991. All these events are not so far away from us and the participants of these events are our contemporaries. All these movements expressed the anger of the grass-roots population, workers and the local community against the exploitation and despotism of bosses and the state. These are the main motives.

https://libcom.org/forums/theory/it-somewhat-gives-me-vision-what-ongoing-anarchist-communist-society-would-look-16

Various minorities participated in these movements, for example, jews and poles took an active part in the Russian revolution, the Kurds actively participated in the uprising against Saddam Hussein in 1991 in Iraq. National oppression influenced it. But anyway, all these uprisings were based on the class struggle and the anger of the local community against the bureaucrats. All these uprisings were caused by huge social problems of grass-roots population.

Yes, so far no social revolution has won. However, all the major revolutionary uprisings were class and social movements. There's no such thing as the gay and trance revolution. Therefore, these things do not play a big role for us.

There are, of course, nationalist bourgeois revolts, headed by party bosses from national parties and / or the national bourgeoisie. But we don't need it and for our purposes these moves are useless or harmful.

***

In Russia some most active radical feminist group are TERF. I do not agree with these people, and I do not like them, but they also have the right to Express their opinion. Or they don't have he right for opinion?

I don't really understand the difference between Tirf and Terf, probably these are some groups of feminists who believe or don't believe that trances are women, but generally I don't really understand why it might be interesting to discuss. Do Someone physically attacks TRANS-people? If so, it may be dangerous. But if not, I don't understand what are you talking about, any woman has the right to consider or do not consider trance a woman. We're for free speech, aren't we? Or trances are saints who cannot be criticized?

link

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From Sawa’s post no 511: “And yes I got gendered correctly more on picket lines but this happens through trans people and other opressed groups engaging in struggle. And this requires we are not excluded from class struggle and like any working class people that this struggle improves our daily reality. And thst we are not left alone to deal with transphobia and other opressions.”

I am totally in sympathy with this last paragraph although just for clarity’s sake I would add in 2 words: “.. and other oppressed groups engaging in working class struggle”. I think that is what Sawa meant anyway and this is precisely what I am trying to argue. Members of the working class from all oppressed groups taking part equally as workers in working class struggle.

Cooked makes an excellent contribution and I am sure is correct in many ways about his assessment of the discussion. I have tried before to make it clear that I am arguing for working class as the potential revolutionary force not as purely white males but as comprising all workers who are members of all oppressed groups . What I do argue against is the continuing suggestions that oppressed groups as a whole ie working class, middle class, ruling class are revolutionary forces. Maybe this could be vague use of language but I see identity politics as a politic approach that I disagree with. I don’t give a shit about ruling class women, trans, blacks etc whether they housewives and family members or politicians or business owners/managers, they protect the status quo within capitalism or at best they protect themselves and reform the status quo and thereby protect capitalism. That’s what their campaigns must do that are not about equality of the oppressed

I therefore do not agree it is ok to argue for struggles of the oppressed as though it includes all classes which is precisely what the campaigns such as radical feminism black liberation and national liberation struggles become.

Working class is the common factor and wc struggle is the basis for unification. Let me add here that I absolutely agree that a successful working class revolution must understand and be able to address the issues of oppressed groups in order to build a new society , otherwise that society will fail. As Cooked says we cannot ignore the problems caused by capitalism because those problems wont just go away by themselves. We cant say they are not issues but I don’t believe that saying working class struggle is the way forward does that. I see that as the best way to tackle these ‘problems’

Fleur

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There's no such thing as the gay and trance revolution.

I don't know, some of the clubs I used to go to in the 90s could have been described as just that.

Fleur

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

meerov

Do Someone physically attacks TRANS-people? If so, it may be dangerous. But if not, I don't understand what are you talking about

If you even have to ask that question then you clearly have levels of ignorance on the subject which disqualify you from having any kind of place in a discussion on this subject. You have absolutely no fucking clue. There have been ample attempts to explain the reality of the situation to you, however you have preferred to fall back on your own ignorance and throw in a bit of confirmation bias from some pond life journalism.

To even ask that question means that you have not even bothered reading anything people have been saying in these threads, or anywhere this is discussed.

Fwiw, the Iranian Revolution, which also did not get rid of capitalism, is also totally fucking irrelevant to the subject of identity politics in 21st century w
estern anarchism and applying it as an example to refute an arguments on a subject you absolutely know nothing about is just some kind of tedious exercise in mental masturbation.

Mike Harman

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

No, they are inter-class issues, since there are trans people both within the working class and within the bourgeoisie – exactly as meerov21 said.

No, they are inter-class issues, since there are renters both within the working class and the bourgeoisie

AnythingForProximity

Organizing around them means class collaboration – exactly as meerov21 said.

This can be seen most clearly in the works of Henry George who advocated a land value tax to benefit both working class renters and industrialists who would be free of parasitic landlords and land speculators. Therefore rent strikes and eviction resistance are in fact class collaboration.

Also btw any organising against being laid off is class collaboration too because it also happens to CEOs.

Glad we got that all cleared up.

Mike Harman

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

meerov

Do Someone physically attacks TRANS-people? If so, it may be dangerous. But if not, I don't understand what are you talking about

Just this week this news story cam through - an 11 year old trans girl was bullied for months at school, including a boy bringing in a bb (pellet/ball bearing) gun to school and shooting her - missed her face and hit her shoulder. https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/boy-who-shot-transgender-girl-12602131

AnythingForProximity

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Glad to learn there is a thing called "western anarchism" now; it's so rich in implications. You people do what you want in the [barbaric] East, but over here in the West we're woke and intersectional, so you better play along.

Fleur

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It's meerov who keeps banging on about "Western anarchism" and all it's turpitudes, not my argument. Having got his opinions from a geezer who was once at Occupy Wall Street and some reactionary journalism, he's a fucking expert on everything which is wrong with anarchism in North America and Europe. It's meerov who makes the distinction between the western anarchism and the people who are doing it right (him, I suppose.)

Mike Harman

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

meerov21

I deliberately gave modern examples of revolts-Tehran 1979, Poland 1980, Sulaymaniyah 1991.

All these movements expressed the anger of the grass-roots population, workers and the local community against the exploitation and despotism of bosses and the state. These are the main motives.

Wikipedia

While working at the Lenin Shipyard (now Gdańsk Shipyard), Wałęsa, an electrician, became a trade-union activist, for which he was persecuted by the Communist authorities, placed under surveillance, fired in 1976, and arrested several times. In August 1980 he was instrumental in political negotiations that led to the ground-breaking Gdańsk Agreement between striking workers and the government. He co-founded the Solidarity trade-union movement.

After martial law was imposed in Poland and Solidarity was outlawed, Wałęsa was again arrested. Released from custody, he continued his activism and was prominent in the establishment of the 1989 Round Table Agreement that led to semi-free parliamentary elections in June 1989 and to a Solidarity-led government.

In the Polish general election of 1990, Wałęsa successfully ran for the newly re-established office of President of Poland.

Now I actually agree Poland 80/81 was a significant working class revolt, but it also catapulted trade union leader Lech Welesa to prominence and eventually president of Poland.

Reddebrek

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cooked

Again I find it very odd to bring out examples of class struggle, by women or otherwise as examples of identity politics. As if it becomes identity politics as soon as non white male people do anything!

What is the purpose of separating out struggles when done by people who aren't white male and calling it something else?

If this is addressed at me then I'm afraid you've missed my point, they aren't identity politics but do fall under that label if you take the more extreme class reductionist standpoints. Both Meerov and Prox among others in this thread have declared that all other social constructs are cross class because you find them in both ruling and labouring classes*.

If you take this to its logical conclusion then all attempts at organising or solidarity with a group that isn't on the basis on a monolithic class base, then it is a form of cross class identity politics. So the experience of women in the Commune for an example would under this argument be a form of Idpol, because their are Bourgeois women who may have indirectly benefited from the women of the Communes efforts.

*Which again isn't how materialist analysis is supposed to work. There have been numerous proletarians in government and they stop being workers the second they get access to power, or so I thought. But if we were to take the same criteria and apply it to working class people like some do with women and ethnic minorities, then the working class became another cross class identity as far back as 1848 when the French Republic gave Albert the worker a job on its executive.

R Totale

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cooked - have you read any of the Asad Haider stuff? I feel like you might find it interesting/useful. As for the rest of this thread - jesus, awfully naive of me to post up some articles I liked and assume that people would either just ignore them or else discuss those articles, rather than using it as a jumping-off point to totally re-enact the first ten pages of this thread.

Uncreative

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cooked

I find it very odd to bring out examples of class struggle, by women or otherwise as examples of identity politics. As if it becomes identity politics as soon as non white male people do anything!

What is the purpose of separating out struggles when done by people who aren't white male and calling it something else?

Certainly for me, as i mentioned above, the point isnt to decide what is or isnt the class politics and what is or isnt the identity politics, dividing them into two nice, neat, separate piles. Its not that when someone gets sacked etc for being trans, this is a trans issue separate from class, whereas when some cis white etc etc person gets sacked (for union organising/slacking/"business reasons"/thumping their manager/whatevs), thats a class issue. Meerov and that have come with a ready made distinction, "theres the class politics here, and the trans politics there, note the clear dividing line, all the western anarchists care about is trans stuff and not class stuff, but thats not revolutionary, see X past events." Whereas id reject that and say, and i feel like others are saying, that the sorts of "trans stuff" that western anarchists talk about is also at the same time "class stuff", eg the discrimination, refusal of healthcare, etc faced by eg the lass on the oil rigs. I feel its absurd to argue, as AnythingForProximity has, that a trans person being sacked for being trans is nothing to do with being trans and is 100% class and nothing else, but obviously its "a class issue too". And thats because these two things are not really separate things.

Anyway, in terms of "what western anarchists talk about", if you start talking about trans people and anarchism, dont be surprised if you then get lots of anarchists responding to you talking about trans people. We could be talking about anything else right now, but we're responding to what someone has said about anarchists and trans people because they started a conversation about it. I mean, if youre tired of hearing people say things about trans people, stop starting conversations about them, perhaps?

Also - forgive me Comrade-Father for i have sinned, it has been 2 weeks since my last confession. I helped a disabled worker win a bunch of cash off his employer for discrimination on disability grounds, which is a cross class issue because some rich people have disabilities too, i guess.

Konsequent

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cooked

The pure class people have clearly stated that most of the material issues facing trans people are class issues. I'm surprised by some of the arguments by Konsequent and others that appear to define class issues only as those that affect everyone (of the class).
 

I guess I would define class issues as when there's a class relationship involved. So someone losing their job because they're trans is a class issue (as well as a trans one) whereas people saying mean things about Caitlyn Jenner is only a trans issue (I mean of course class plays a role everywhere, but I wouldn't say "saying mean things about trans people is a class issue"). Of course individually it's nice to be nice but I think a movement that's working towards changing how society is organised should focus on class issues and not just everything that's bad. I don't call every nice thing I do in a day political activity, neither would I distract my comrades by putting suggestions for all the nice things we could do on an agenda at, say, an anarchist meeting.

I don't think these things are always so clear though. Whereas most of the time obvious class issues are things that are done to you by your class enemies, if the vast majority of, for example, cases of a certain disease are as a result of working in a certain industry, and it doesn't happen to bosses, then I'd say that disease is a class issue. Under other circumstances the same disease could be not a class issue. And just because not all working class people experience it doesn't make it not a class issue imo.

Cooked

There has never been one working class, people have always had diverging grievances. The idea of class solidarity has to my mind always been about supporting each other across those differences. The concept has no meaning otherwise. Again I find it very odd to bring out examples of class struggle, by women or otherwise as examples of identity politics. As if it becomes identity politics as soon as non white male people do anything!

What is the purpose of separating out struggles when done by people who aren't white male and calling it something else?

Absolutely! But who are you telling this? When I see class struggle done by people who aren't white men I see white men dismiss those struggles as "identity politics". Of course this results in people defending "identity politics".

Konsequent

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

meerov21

But anyway, all these uprisings were based on the class struggle and the anger of the local community against the bureaucrats. All these uprisings were caused by huge social problems of grass-roots population.

Yes, so far no social revolution has won. However, all the major revolutionary uprisings were class and social movements. There's no such thing as the gay and trance revolution. Therefore, these things do not play a big role for us.

What do you think is going on here? Who do you think you're arguing with? I can't imagine anyone on this thread would dispute that the uprisings we want to work towards are based on the class struggle. I am sure no one in this thread imagines that gay people are, on our own, going to create a major revolutionary uprising. Your post is the equivalent of turning up to a meeting where deliveroo riders are unionising and saying "But there's no such thing as a deliveroo rider revolution!" Of course there isn't. No one thinks there is. The deliveroo company plays a big role for the deliveroo riders. People unite against the ruling class by realising what their problems have in common, but it seems like you want to push some people away and say that their problems aren't related to yours, when they are.

Konsequent

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

link

What I do argue against is the continuing suggestions that oppressed groups as a whole ie working class, middle class, ruling class are revolutionary forces.
 

Has anyone here claimed this? I think it's pretty rare and definitely not something I've seen here. People into any kind of revolutionary politics are generally talking about the overthrow of capitalism ie class.

 link

I don’t give a shit about ruling class women, trans, blacks etc whether they housewives and family members or politicians or business owners/managers, they protect the status quo within capitalism or at best they protect themselves and reform the status quo and  thereby protect capitalism. 
...
I therefore do not agree it is ok to argue for struggles of the oppressed as though it includes all classes
....
Working class is the common factor and wc struggle is the basis for unification.  Let me add here that I absolutely agree that a successful working class revolution must understand and be able to address the issues of oppressed groups in order to build a new society , otherwise that society will fail.  As Cooked says we cannot ignore the problems caused by capitalism  because those problems wont just go away by themselves.

So you don't disagree with anyone here? The unity of working class struggles is also the unity of and solidarity between various working class struggles. No one here is arguing for cross class alliances.

Noah Fence

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well, it’s nice to listen to pure bigotry expressed within a load of workerist droning in the evening, after listening to it all day in its more honest and straightforward form on the building site. Spice of life! Well done gents.

Cooked

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As usual I agree with pretty much everything you say Konsequent. This thread is made more complicated by posters trying to articulate other peoples views. Makes it harder to interpret what is actually being said.

Sorry to say Reddebrek that I can't quite untangle your post, you are extrapolating a bit to hard for me to get the jist.

R Totale I might have skimmed something but isn't he a bit to anti idpol? Any particular text you recommend?

Real deja vu here but non the less.

Noah I think post 525 and the second half of Konsequents first paragraph is where much of the questions lie. Where to draw the line for anarchist/commie orgs and what language to use. At least in this second iteration (was mistaken last time) everyone seems to agree on treating people decently regardless of background as well as fighting for all working class people. I dont thing discussing 'strategy' or politics in this ways amounts to bigotry. This one is particularly long but we've had these kinds of discussions on all sorts of topics before.

Noah Fence

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Maybe you’re right Cooked, maybe I’m too cynical? Maybe not though, I think not, there is at best a tangible dismissiveness and a seemingly deliberately fuckwitted misunderstanding of the issues that those who face oppression specifically because of their identity have to deal with.
As for ‘collaborationist’, words fail me.

AnythingForProximity

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Uncreative

I feel its absurd to argue, as AnythingForProximity has, that a trans person being sacked for being trans is nothing to do with being trans

Getting sacked for being trans by definition has everything to do with being trans – that's a perfect tautology if I ever saw one. To put it bluntly, though, why should that matter to communists? It sure matters a great deal to bourgeois reformists, who only care that people aren't fired for the wrong reasons; a position which necessarily entails that you can also fire people for the right reasons. As pointed out by Walter Benn Michaels, making these distinctions represents rational class interest on the part of the bourgeoisie. The most direct interest is economical: if you are willing to fire people merely for being trans, you run the risk that whatever replacement you can find for them will be less competent at their job than they were, which is an annoying obstacle that gets in the way of the valorization of capital. On top of that, ensuring some sort of 'fair representation' works wonders when it comes to legitimizing the whole system. And of course, identitarian campaigns are not solely implemented from above, they are also made available for broad participation: in this way, especially if furnished with radical-sounding slogans ("Smash [fill in the appropriate oppression]!"), they represent a useful outlet for forces which might otherwise be channeled in directions far more harmful to the bourgeoisie – a surrogate radicalism of sorts.

Communists, on the other hand, have nothing to gain from making these distinctions. That's because unlike the reformists, they see in workers' struggles for better material conditions neither an existential danger to their interest as a class nor an opportunity to modernize capitalism and make it more efficient or frictionless. Rather, they support them as something that helps the working class realize its own position in capitalist society, its inevitably antagonistic relationship to both the ruling class and capital itself (obviously, this should not be misinterpreted as suggesting that the act of going on strike or resisting an eviction will allow one to see through all the mystifications of commodity and money fetishism in one fell swoop all by itself), and perhaps – to borrow a phrase from Spanish anarchists – as a sort of "revolutionary gymnasium", a useful preparation for the bigger struggles to come.

Some people in this thread have tried to show that identitarian issues are class issues, and should be supported as such, using various analogies. The most thoughtful attempt came from Konsequent, who made an analogy between Deliveroo riders and trans workers as two specific subsets of the working class whose struggles are necessarily limited in scope but nevertheless having a clear class basis. Just like the former group's relationship to capitalism at large is mediated by working specifically for Deliveroo and not for some other employer, trans people's relationship to capitalism is mediated by their identity. In both cases, it makes perfect sense for them to organize alongside the people whose conditions or 'mode of mediation' are most similar to their own.

Unfortunately, that analogy is completely self-defeating. Working-class issues do not magically become 'trans issues' when it's trans people who raise them. The struggles of the Deliveroo riders are not worthy of support because they happen to work for Deliveroo; they would be no less worthy of it if they worked for Uber Eats, or indeed any other employer. Your decision not to cross the picket line, distribute leaflets, go on a solidarity strike etc. will not be determined by the fact that the workers affected work for Deliveroo rather than Uber Eats. Conversely, it's only fair to say that there is nothing special about Deliveroo in this regard; the fact that it's the Deliveroo workers who are striking doesn't force you to alter your theory or practice one least bit.

Noah Fence

Well, it’s nice to listen to pure bigotry

Yup, that's totally the only reason anyone has ever had for critiquing identity politics: pure bigotry.

Sorry 'bout the workerism by the way, we workers sometimes get uppity about protecting our class interest from the incursions of bourgeois ideology. I'm sure landlords find it hard to relate.

Mike Harman

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cooked

R Totale I might have skimmed something but isn't he a bit to anti idpol? Any particular text you recommend?

I haven't read his book, but in articles/interviews about it he seems to hinge a lot of arguments on "Yeah campus politics is fucking wild but there's all this other stuff out there" (like blaming a meeting taking eight hours to decide on a name for a campus occupation on identity politics) while being a lecturer. To me that seems to focus the framing back on US campus politics far too much, rather than investigate how the moral panic has been created in the first place.

Noah Fence

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yup, that's totally the only reason anyone has ever had for critiquing identity politics: pure bigotry.

The reason I call it bigotry is because it’s bigotry when you stoop to conflating solidarity with working class victims of prejudice with daft liberal PC nonsense as a means of propping up your claim on victim status.

Sorry 'bout the workerism by the way, we workers sometimes get uppity about protecting our class interest from the incursions of bourgeois ideology. I'm sure landlords find it hard to relate.

Now that is actually pretty good! Apart from the appalling implication that equality is a bourgeois notion, it’s actually pretty funny, good research too - I always find ad hominems a useful tool when my position is weak as fuck. I mean, when you’re needing to resort to the hilarious argument that capitalism is far too rational for someone to be sacked on grounds of prejudice you’ve really got to hunt down straws to grasp at with all the energy you have at your disposal.

Anyways, you swerved this much earlier in the thread, so I’ll try again...

AFP, a question for you - is supporting a trans co-worker when they are being discriminated against “liberal bullshit with pretensions to radicalism”?

Here’s another - is transphobia a bullshit liberal notion?

One more, and if you answer this honestly it may get us to the nub - do you think that transitioning is a bullshit lifestylist personal choice?

Come on AFP, if you think that transgender is just a bourgeois construct let’s just get it out in the open.

Uncreative

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

blah blah patronising blah

Maybe you could illuminate your argument by telling us what you think "trans issues" are, ie a specific example, since its not being sacked for being trans, being denied healthcare related to being trans, etc. It would really help if you could give an example of some anarchist org doing this too, since apparently this is rife. Or are you just blinded by fury over a terminological dispute, "dont call it that, call it this!!!!!!!!!"?

R Totale

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cooked

R Totale I might have skimmed something but isn't he a bit to anti idpol? Any particular text you recommend?

I think Haider's critical of something he calls idpol, but he's clear about defining what he means, and... well, there's this from a recent interview with him:
"It depends on how you understand the term. Some people ask me why I framed my argument as a critique of identity politics instead of as reclaiming its radical potential. It’s a particular strategic and critical decision that I made, because the term has become so unstable that we can’t just reassert its origins. I do want to bring attention to its origins to show people that a different kind of politics is possible, and that the people who put forth this term made a very valuable revolutionary contribution to American politics.

The way that it’s used now is not anchored in that original usage, and there’s something that’s happening now that we have to criticize. If we’re going to criticize it, this is fundamental: it must be done from a perspective that is antiracist and feminist, and it must be done from the perspective of asking what the most useful way of thinking—and of acting—is, to oppose racism and sexism. Is identity politics, in the way that it currently exists and the way people use the term, actually useful for those goals?

In terms of its current usage, it is not. That’s why I choose to criticize it. If someone criticizes it because they think, on some abstract level, that class matters more than race or that we have to prioritize sameness over difference or something like that, then there’s a strong likelihood that the critique will be racist and sexist. But if the critique starts from the perspective that we need an adequate language for opposing racism and sexism and asking if this is an adequate language, that can be a constructive and valuable critique, which I hope I have been able to approximate.[/quote]
Like, that's the kind of critique that I think is worth engaging with, imo. I was specifically recommending him because you seemed to be saying "I'm pretty sympathetic to what people are saying but the way some American leftists talk about race is a bit yikes" (sorry for the bad paraphrase), which seems close to Haider's position. I haven't actually read his book but would like to get around to it one day, I think this was a really good article though.

AnythingForProximity

Some people in this thread have tried to show that identitarian issues are class issues, and should be supported as such, using various analogies. The most thoughtful attempt came from Konsequent, who made an analogy between Deliveroo riders and trans workers as two specific subsets of the working class whose struggles are necessarily limited in scope but nevertheless having a clear class basis. Just like the former group's relationship to capitalism at large is mediated by working specifically for Deliveroo and not for some other employer, trans people's relationship to capitalism is mediated by their identity. In both cases, it makes perfect sense for them to organize alongside the people whose conditions or 'mode of mediation' are most similar to their own.

Unfortunately, that analogy is completely self-defeating. Working-class issues do not magically become 'trans issues' when it's trans people who raise them. The struggles of the Deliveroo riders are not worthy of support because they happen to work for Deliveroo; they would be no less worthy of it if they worked for Uber Eats, or indeed any other employer. Your decision not to cross the picket line, distribute leaflets, go on a solidarity strike etc. will not be determined by the fact that the workers affected work for Deliveroo rather than Uber Eats. Conversely, it's only fair to say that there is nothing special about Deliveroo in this regard; the fact that it's the Deliveroo workers who are striking doesn't force you to alter your theory or practice one least bit.

First of all, I think this is factually wrong, in that the Deliveroo disputes have been the product of a very specific and distinctively new kind of workplace set-up - the whole app model effectively represents an attempt to automate away managerial/supervisory positions, and I think the wave of militancy ongoing in that sector shows the limitations of capital's offensive there because it turns out that an app can't effectively replicate the chilling presence of having a human boss in the room, so those of us who're interested in capitalist development and how workers respond against it should probably be paying close attention to these struggles and how they go, with a view to making sure our theory and practice are adequate for current conditions.

But that's a side point, the real issue here is that when people, say, campaign in support of cleaners' struggles using the slogan "justice for cleaners", you don't pop up and say "ah, so you think only cleaners should be treated fairly and everyone else should be mistreated, is that it?" I mean, I guess that you could do that if you really wanted to, but do you really have to do that?

AnythingForProximity

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

But that's a side point, the real issue here is that when people, say, campaign in support of cleaners' struggles using the slogan "justice for cleaners", you don't pop up and say "ah, so you think only cleaners should be treated fairly and everyone else should be mistreated, is that it?" I mean, I guess that you could do that if you really wanted to, but do you really have to do that?

Again, the difference is that "cleaners" are not a cross-class grouping, and "justice for cleaners" is not a rallying cry for class collaboration. Although maybe Mike Harman will show me I'm wrong because some CEOs occasionally dust their desks or something.

Cooked

I think post 525 and the second half of Konsequents first paragraph is where much of the questions lie.

Agreed.

Chilli Sauce

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

Again, the difference is that "cleaners" are not a cross-class grouping, and "justice for cleaners" is not a rallying cry for class collaboration. Although maybe Mike Harman will show me I'm wrong because some CEOs occasionally dust their desks or something.

This really has just broken down into semantics, but I'll point out two things:

1) Most cleaners are indeed wage workers. And while some may be misclassified as self-employed independent contractors, many cleaners are petit-bourgeois in a very real sense: buying their own tools, organizing their own work, setting their own prices, etc. There's nothing inherent to the "justice for cleaners" slogan that excludes these petit-bourgeois elements.

2) Trans-issues are not a "rallying cry for class collaboration". The vast majority of problems faced by trans people are firmly rooted in the issues they face as working class people.

Certainly when the folks on libcom talk about trans-issues, it should be taken for fucking granted that they're not here to defend the business interests of Caitlyn Jenner or whatever. To suggest otherwise smacks of bad faith and says a lot more about the people throwing around those red herrings than it does anything else.

jef costello

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fleur

There's no such thing as the gay and trance revolution.

I don't know, some of the clubs I used to go to in the 90s could have been described as just that.

I was thinking along the same lines :) Although techno group was my line, I was a bit young for clubbing for most of the 90s.

AnythingForProximity

Getting sacked for being trans by definition has everything to do with being trans – that's a perfect tautology if I ever saw one. To put it bluntly, though, why should that matter to communists? It sure matters a great deal to bourgeois reformists, who only care that people aren't fired for the wrong reasons; a position which necessary entails that you can also fire people for the right reasons.

Not at all. Defending people who have been sacked for being trans means defending people who have been sacked for being trans. It means exactly what it means and, deliberately or not, you are adding an element that was not there to make defending trans people anti-working class. If defending the rights of workers who were sacked for striking had been said instead would you have assumed that we weren't defending workers who had tried to organise representation, demand safety equipment, better wages etc.

I think one of the reasons why trans issues take up as much time as they do here is the endless number of people who feel the need to complain about how much time is being spent on them. Is it just about trans people or are they just the only minority you feel that you can have a go at?

If a worker is being attacked then we defend them. So if it is anti-trans discrimination, forced overtime, layoffs or whatever, then we defend the working class. An injury to one is an in jury to all. Also divide and rule/conquer and scapegoating are two strategies that have been used for longer than capitalism has existed, so when they discriminate against one worker it doesn't matter what the reason is, it is part of the general, permanent attack on the working class. It might be a trans person today, a person of colour the next day and so on. It doesn't mattter what reason, it doesn't even matter if they are genuinely bigoted or not (they usually are both bigoted and aware of the strategy).

meerov21

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

No I did not urge anyone to throw out.

I said that there is a root of problems from which all large social-revolutionary revolts of Councils of deputies and communes grow. These are class contradictions, socio-economic crises and resistance of the local community to the dictatorship of the centralized bureaucracy. All this we can see and observe, including the modern world, at least on the example of the events that took place a few decades ago in Tehran, Sulaymaniyah, Gdansk and a number of other regions where the grass-roots population created Worker's Councils and Autonomous local councils and fought with the government (peacefully or with arms occupying factories).

Of course, so far no social revolution in history has won and all these movements have been integrated and destroyed by the state and capital and reformist unions (so why i am against unions). However, there were no other examples of large anti-capitalist self-organized uprisings. So, we are interested in the history of these practices - the practice of class struggle and the struggle of the local community.

Further, it can be seen that all kinds of workers are involved in this struggle: representatives of many different nationalities, men and women, and finally people with different sexual preferences. It means that we can act as anarcho-communists of Bialystok in 1905 - 1907, when a hundred thousand city was from time to time in the hands of workers, dominated by the influence of anarchists and maximalists. Most of the anarchists were Jews, like most of the city's inhabitants. So they created a special group to work with Christian workers (Poles, Lithuanians, Russians). But 90% of their energy was spent on campaigning for the social revolution, strikes, the proletarian uprising and the creation of an analogue of the Commune of Paris in Bialystok. So, everything has its place and time.

***

meerov21

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I said: Do Someone like Terf physically attacks TRANS-people? If so, it may be dangerous. But if not, I don't understand what are you talking about.
I also said that the Terf group is very active in Russia in Moscow. I absolutely disagree with them for many reasons, but I believe that these people have the right to have opinion, and I have never heard they physically attack someone. Here is what I heard in the answer

Fleur
If you even have to ask that question then you clearly have levels of ignorance on the subject which disqualify you from having any kind of place in a discussion on this subject. You have absolutely no fucking clue.

Already some people paid attention to rough and nervous behavior of this person. I do not consider it is necessary to comment on this as I'm not a psychoanalyst, but I would like to note that such people constantly interfere with any constructive discussions.

But I hope that there are some adequate people who are able to explain what is so dangerous about Terf or give me relevant references.

R Totale

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

meerov21

Already some people paid attention to rough and nervous behavior of this person.

Rough and Nervous Behaviour would be a great name for a punk band, maybe Gay and Trance Revolution could do the afterparty after Rough and Nervous Behaviour play?

But I hope that there are some adequate people who are able to explain what is so dangerous about Terf or give me relevant references.

Well, posting this didn't seem to do so well last time, but I did think that the Wessex Solidarity article was a good overview of these issues from a materialist class struggle anarchist perspective. On the specific danger of terfs, there's the fact that they're the junior partners in a political coalition doing the legwork for an agenda that's been set by the religious far-right - is that enough of an issue for you? I think the whole issue of "have they been involved in direct physical attacks" is a bit misleading - I don't think Enoch Powell, Richard Spencer, or Ed Miliband for that matter ever directly physically attacked any migrants themselves, the point is that stuff like the rivers of blood speech or the racist mug help to foster an environment when attacks are normalised and encouraged.

meerov21

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale Already some people paid attention to rough and nervous behavior of this person.
Rough and Nervous Behaviour would be a great name for a punk band, maybe Gay and Trance Revolution could do the afterparty after Rough and Nervous Behaviour play?

You may be right, and in General I tend to think that everything that you called very organically combined. But I hate punk, I prefer Thomas Tallis. I also think that people should protect their nerves, and the high social activity is possible only when they are able to calmly control their forces and expend energy where and when they need. So I don't think psychopaths can succeed in something as social revolution. So I think peace is also necessary for gays and transsexuals as for everyone before they do anything.

Thanks for the links.

Mike Harman

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

Again, the difference is that "cleaners" are not a cross-class grouping, and "justice for cleaners" is not a rallying cry for class collaboration. Although maybe Mike Harman will show me I'm wrong because some CEOs occasionally dust their desks or something.

Me: capitalists very often pay rent, both for residential and commercial premises, there have been entire books written arguing for cross-class movements of the working class and industrialists against landlords.

AnythingForProximity: this is the same as saying cleaners' strikes are cross-class collaboration because capitalists sometimes clean their own desks.

Could you maybe respond to the argument that was actually made or are we just making stuff up at this point?

Mike Harman

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

To put it bluntly, though, why should that matter to communists? It sure matters a great deal to bourgeois reformists, who only care that people aren't fired for the wrong reasons; a position which necessarily entails that you can also fire people for the right reasons. As pointed out by Walter Benn Michaels, making these distinctions represents rational class interest on the part of the bourgeoisie.

This comes up again and again, and to be honest it still surprises me.

Walter Benn Michaels is not a communist, at best he's a social democrat of some description.

From your link:

Walter Benn Michaels

It should, in other words, be more interested in turning bad jobs into good jobs than in trying to make sure that the bad jobs go to people who our educational system says deserve them.

'turning bad jobs into good jobs'.

Walter Benn Michaels

it’s just to say that it’s capitalism not racism or sexism that has created these jobs and that if we’re not opposing capitalism—if we’re not trying to minimize the difference between the care aides who make $21k, the nurses who make $68k, the doctors who make $300k and the Health Care executives who make $3 million

'opposing capitalism' is minimizing wage differentials.

Walter Benn Michaels

Because insofar as economic inequality is the problem, redistribution, not proportional representation, is the solution.

'economic inequality', 'redistribution'.

Walter Benn Michaels

If what we want is a more economically equal society

And he's talking about winning elections and policy proposals:

Walter Benn Michaels

Whether that turned out to be true is an interesting question but for my purposes here the difference between these two ways of thinking about inequality are relevant not because they help us understand the election but because they entail two very different ways of describing our problem and therefore two very different solutions.

This is fundamentally not a communist understanding of class, but a social democratic one - in this case mostly talking about income differences and 'bad jobs'. WB Michaels then is thinking about policy changes like raising the minimum wage, probably improving state benefits, maybe single payer, maybe state investment in the 'productive' economy to create better jobs outside the low-paid service sector - the sorts of things that Sanders and Corbyn and people around them talk about (whether or not it happens).

Whereas for communists discussing 'identity' these are questions of class composition, support for defensive struggles, an understanding that class organisations sometimes/often reproduce issues of composition that exist in society at large. It's not trying to come up with a policy proposal for social democratic electoralism.

Or in other words, just because Walter Benn Michaels really wants to talk about class, doesn't mean his class analysis means shit.

DevastateTheAvenues

3 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I just don't get the argument put put by Proximity et al. It sounds bonkers to say that there are trans issues here and working class issues there when we all know there are working class trans people. Saying that they are mutually exclusive seems like a category error.

I'm willing to give weight to the idea that liberal idpol is just an egalitarian-sounding gloss on the economic interests, submerged or direct, of a section of the capitalist class. Everything that is holy is profaned and all that. It doesn't then follow that communists should run in the complete opposite direction, though, as if our politics is just a metaphysical, Manichean struggle between the forces of Capital and Labor, and thus everything they want we should not. As communists, we should not be interested in this dogmatic, doctrinaire claptrap, but should instead be engaged in the critical analysis of politics. A vulgar economistic methodology not only leads to bad analysis ("don't you see that it's all about the money?!"), it leads to bad politics ("this identity stuff is all there just to distract us so we should just plug our ears to the political struggles happening around us while we wait for the Real Working Class struggle that is free of this identity taint").

This kind of methodology leaves us totally unequipped to analyze the mystical consciousness around these questions of identity that pervades reactionary thought, liberal or otherwise, and its relation to capitalism. It can't even tell us why certain sections of the capitalist class are heavily invested in, say, anti-trans politics when, under the vulgar economistic methodology, it should be the case that all the capitalists are for it (unless we will elide the issue by appealing to "capitalist false consciousness" or something). And if it can't help us explain this split in the capitalists, then it can't do it for the split in the workers.

And if it can't explain even that, it certainly can't help us to analyze identity politics itself. Why are all of these disparate things like race, sex, sexuality, so on and so forth being collapsed into this transcendental category of "identity"? Does liberal idpol take on the premises of liberal capitalism by appealing to an understanding of "identity" that is ahistoric and pre-political, mirroring ideology that naturalizes and eternalizes capitalism, rather than as historically contingent political conditions that people are subjected to? Does this help legitimate capitalism, because an ahistoric and pre-political understanding of "identity" obscures the ways in which capitalism inflicts those political conditions?

Well, since we communists supposedly have nothing to gain from doing this kind of analysis, we cannot answer, or at least not intelligently. While we might be able to observe, say, how these issues get used as a wedge to split parts of the working class against itself, we won't be able to do a thing about it because we will have precisely zero useful theory to draw from. In fact, I would say that, by using this vulgar economistic methodology to look at identity politics, you throw out the still-useful communist tools of the analysis of social relations. Then you miss your mark. Now, you not only use a bad heuristic (capitalists can make money off of it, therefore it's bad); you also remain at the level of mere appearances, criticizing only some of the surface manifestations (liberal idpol), rather than really dig into the ruthless criticism of the underlying social relations.

I'm making the good faith assumption here, though, that we all understand that it's the reactionary politics regarding these issues (via both outright bigotry as well as the liberal idpol that supposedly stands against it), and not the people whom the issues are about, that divide up the working class. So someone who disagrees already on that basic assumption will not find this argument very worthwhile.

comradeEmma

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It sure matters a great deal to bourgeois reformists, who only care that people aren't fired for the wrong reasons

Since I am scared about losing my job after coming out as trans I am a *check notes* bourgeois reformist.

Cooked

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

LeninistGirl

It sure matters a great deal to bourgeois reformists, who only care that people aren't fired for the wrong reasons

Since I am scared about losing my job after coming out as trans I am a *check notes* bourgeois reformist.

I *think* you are misreading the current anti's. An attempt at rephrasing your comment, hope you think this is ok.

Since I am scared about losing my job after coming out as trans I am a worker who should receive support and solidarity in the clarse struggle.

Personally I'm inclined to think the word game above doesn't matter much. I do however feel that identity as it appear in our culture is a prison for all and largely a result or capitalism. I'm not against trans people, contrarily I think there should be a lot more transitioning going on in all sorts of ways.

A lot of mainstream people believe, mostly due to fabricated moral panics, but also because of the language and publications of the 'left' that 'we' have abandoned class and seek to cement and build a world based on separated capitalist identities. This is unfortunate because it's (mostly) not true.

comradeEmma

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I honestly think that the thinking of the person I quoted comes from 1) not understanding the experiences and struggles of other people and 2) a fundamental millenarianism. Not every action communists have taken historically have been aimed at the instant destruction of capitalism, on the contrary a big focus of Marx and Engels was on the rights of workers, both in terms of work-safety and in democratic rights. While the minimum-program no longer makes sense for a vehicle organisation there is still value in leading struggles to ensure that people of oppressed groups have more protection in their political and economic life. There is a reason that a lot of communist groups end up being just white cis men...

sawa

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Haha I bet if cis people got called it at work and got asked about their genitalia it would be a working class issue.
And it isnt just a class isdue it is a trans issue as such does not happen to cis people. And again in this thread trans folk dont get listened to.
If you have a problem with our identities and think division in the left is our fault you are a bigot as are any working class people who refuse to treat us with respect

sawa

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Also how about paying trans folk for the work and emotional labour involved in having to argue why we deserve basic respect and arent enemies of class power and revolution. Oh wait opressed folk never/rarely get paid for such as like our lives, our labour and what we say is devalued and ignored.

Mike Harman

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

The struggles of the Deliveroo riders are not worthy of support because they happen to work for Deliveroo; they would be no less worthy of it if they worked for Uber Eats, or indeed any other employer.

This again seems like completely pointless flattening of struggles. The majority of communists don't support strikes by police or ICE officers for higher wages and this extends to some left liberals. Right now the Labour Party keeps running ads saying that police, firefighters and nurses all need a pay rise etc. trying to tie the wages of those groups together as 'public sector workers'. A year or two ago the Tories broke the public sector pay freeze but just for the police. If you actually do differentiate solidarity based on which employers people work for and the function of their jobs, then why pretend you don't to make a bad rhetorical point?

Martin Glaberman even pointed out there are huge differences in industrial strength between a factory in the middle of a tight supply chain in the car industry, and one of fifteen factories making interchangeable things - the first can bring the entire supply chain to a halt in multiple cities, the second can be on strike for six months without making a dent. This doesn't mean putting people in the tight supply chains on a pedestal but recognising how their position in the supply chain affects things. Transport and logistics strikes are similar compared to say coffee shop workers. Recognising structural position in the economy doesn't necessarily lead to focusing efforts on any particular kind of workers, although clearly lots of people also have done that over the decades.

Or this person who nearly got sacked after a street attack by a racist resulted in a run-in with the police and in turn reported to their employer. In this case they weren't suspended because the council they worked for was racist necessarily, but they were a victim of racist street violence and hostile policing, which in turn affected their employment. If you don't give a shit about why people get sacked, but only the condition of wage labour which forces people to work for a living in the first place, then what does this mean. Do you ignore defensive struggles like getting a workmate reinstated because after all the employer might hire someone less efficient next time? Or conversely would you offer the same solidarity with racist street attackers if they get sacked because they're proletarians after all.

Cooked

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sawa I'm not sure if you are responding to my comments but here goes.
sawa

Haha I bet if cis people got called it at work and got asked about their genitalia it would be a working class issue.

I was trying to show how any employed persons issues at work and in relation to landlords, police etc are working class issues. So both your issues and cis man's issues. You clearly don't want your issues subsumed into the class struggle term even when they are in relation to work/state. I don't think it makes any sense to call working class racism and bigotry class struggle issues but that's something else and I think that distinction is important. Are we facing inwards or outward towards the enemy, sometimes this isn't clear but both are required in their different ways.

sawa

And it isnt just a class isdue it is a trans issue as such does not happen to cis people.

I'm completely against the idea that the working class necessarily has anything in common except wage labour. The idea that it does is terribly poisonous and has produced some convoluted theorizing. The idea probably only exists because of the propaganda needs of statists. I think the notion of class that knows we have only one thing in common is powerful and obviously the basis of communist though.

sawa

If you have a problem with our identities and think division in the left is our fault you are a bigot as are any working class people who refuse to treat us with respect

I don't have a any specific problem with your identities. I have a problem with mine, the coming indentity prisons of my children and those of people around me.

Edit:
If anyone on libcom, lurker or otherwise, thinks that fighting for people suffering at work or in relation to the state because of race, gender or sexuality isn't class struggle I'd like to know. To me that doesnt make any sense for someone calling themself libertarian communist (those refusing the libertarian are even included)

Konsequent

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cooked

Noah I think post 525 and the second half of Konsequents first paragraph is where much of the questions lie.

The posts are renumbered I think. I'm guessing you're referring to this:

Konsequent

Of course individually it's nice to be nice but I think a movement that's working towards changing how society is organised should focus on class issues and not just everything that's bad. I don't call every nice thing I do in a day political activity, neither would I distract my comrades by putting suggestions for all the nice things we could do on an agenda at, say, an anarchist meeting.

Not that I meant to underestimate the importance of being nice to people you want to form alliances with (I would say "potential allies" as short for "people you want to form alliances with", but of course the word "allies" has been irreparably ruined).

Konsequent

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

Getting sacked for being trans by definition has everything to do with being trans

...however...

AnythingForProximity

Working-class issues do not magically become 'trans issues' when it's trans people who raise them.

So getting sacked for being trans has everything to do with being trans, but it's not a "trans issue"? I'd like to refer you back to Uncreative's question about what you think a trans issue is tbh, because it's not clear at all.

AnythingForProximity

The struggles of the Deliveroo riders are not worthy of support because they happen to work for Deliveroo; they would be no less worthy of it if they worked for Uber Eats, or indeed any other employer.

Obviously. That's why I made the comparison between trans people and Deliveroo riders in the first place.

As R Totale pointed out, there are reasons why Deliveroo riders (and Uber Eats riders) are of interest to us currently, in comparison to other employers. Not in the sense that we only care about them organising, and wouldn't support anyone else, but because it's useful to look at how industries are developing and what it means for organising.

Looking at what it means to be a woman, particularly in an economic sense, the way that men are the bosses of women in the domestic sphere and so on, is important for understanding how working class women can organise in their collective interests. Trans people disrupt this and I'm not surprised that currently a lot of energy is being expended on trying to understand it.

Feminism is not only concerning itself with the rather abstract question of whether trans women are women, but with that with the more concrete question of whether trans women should be included in feminist organising, what kind of solidarity the feminist movement is obliged to extend, etc. I don't think a lot of this concerns us as communists considering that the line for us regarding solidarity is the class line, but we shouldn't be surprised when some of these arguments spill over and should have a little more to say about it than just "This isn't important", because surely we do support working class people organising collectively with other working class people on issues that affect them.

Konsequent

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

Again, the difference is that "cleaners" are not a cross-class grouping, and "justice for cleaners" is not a rallying cry for class collaboration. Although maybe Mike Harman will show me I'm wrong because some CEOs occasionally dust their desks or something.

What is the difference though considering we only care about working class trans people, which *as communists* we obviously do. None of us here care about ruling class trans people, so what is your point? If you want to convince liberals that class issues are what's important, then what are you doing on libcom?
As communists we don't care about bosses who rent, CEOs who dust their desks, or ruling class trans people.

A more important question is how do we relate to and approach groups and individuals that don't have any sort of class analysis. A trans person approached our union when they lost their job for using the "wrong" toilet, because they had a good understanding of their class interests, saw it as a class issue, and understood why to go to their union for support. But if I'm talking to a trans person who has lost their job in similar circumstances but doesn't see it as a class issue, how do I bring them round? Surely not by trying to convince them that it isn't a trans issue. Surely just by offering solidarity and clarifying why I'm doing so. And I would definitely encourage communists in any oppressed demographics to engage with groups that focus on their oppression, because that's where they can make the case for a class perspective on the issues discussed. What is obviously not helpful is for cis people to just keep insisting "No trans issues! Only class issues!" because you know what that sounds like. It sounds like "I think of the working class as being made up only of cis straight white men, and those are the only people I care about". No matter how wrong that interpretation might be it's not unsurprising that that's what people hear, and so you need another tactic.

Konsequent

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

sawa

Also how about paying trans folk for the work and emotional labour involved in having to argue why we deserve basic respect and arent enemies of class power and revolution. Oh wait opressed folk never/rarely get paid for such as like our lives, our labour and what we say is devalued and ignored.

Is this a serious proposition? Are you suggesting that people who disagree with you pay you to argue with them?

AnythingForProximity

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mike Harman

Me: capitalists very often pay rent, both for residential and commercial premises, there have been entire books written arguing for cross-class movements of the working class and industrialists against landlords.

AnythingForProximity: this is the same as saying cleaners' strikes are cross-class collaboration because capitalists sometimes clean their own desks.

Could you maybe respond to the argument that was actually made or are we just making stuff up at this point?

I was referencing the more flippant second part of your original post ("look, layoffs happen to CEOs too!"), but you're right that I shouldn't have left the substance of your argument without response: as an honest attempt to expose a flaw in the underlying logic, it's the best argument your (i.e., pro-idpol) side of the debate has come up with so far.

Which isn't saying much, because the analogy sucks. There is no existing movement that has taken up some amorphous "renters' rights" as its slogan and now enjoys the support of a significant portion of the ruling class while also finding sympathies among large swaths of radicals who understand themselves to defend the interests of the workers. Georgism is dead, and unlike idpol, it never managed to fool actual revolutionaries into supporting it. If it had, then yes – the movement would have to be rejected as an inter-class one and the slogan as a deceitful attempt to lure the proletariat into class collaboration, precisely on the grounds that there are renters both within the working class and the bourgeoisie. The role of communists would consist in exposing the lie behind the slogan (namely, that preventing an even greater portion of the total social product from passing into the hands of capitalists in the form of rent is in any way the same issue as the mere redistribution of this portion within the capitalist class between industrialists and landowners), appealing to the workers' class autonomy, and pushing them to struggle – to use the ICC's favorite cliché – on their own class terrain by means of actions like rent strikes and eviction resistance.

Chilli Sauce

Certainly when the folks on libcom talk about trans-issues, it should be taken for fucking granted that they're not here to defend the business interests of Caitlyn Jenner or whatever. To suggest otherwise smacks of bad faith

Cry me a river. It's a bit rich for your ilk to lecture others on what should be taken for granted when anything less than unconditional acceptance of identity politics is met with baseless accusations of bigotry around here.

Mike Harman

Walter Benn Michaels is not a communist, at best he's a social democrat of some description.

For sure. That alone, though, is not a sufficient reason to reject his analysis of identitarianism. It could be rejected if you could show, for example, that replacing his liberal misunderstanding of class as essentially an income bracket with the Marxist definition based on the relationship to the means of production invalidates his further conclusions, but that's not the case. Even people with shitty politics can occasionally make astute insights; examples abound: Chomsky, I. I. Rubin, Bordiga... Human beings are contradictory like that.

DevastateTheAvenues

I'm willing to give weight to the idea that liberal idpol is just an egalitarian-sounding gloss on the economic interests, submerged or direct, of a section of the capitalist class.

This distinction between the 'bad' liberal idpol and the 'good' class-struggle one has always struck me as a dishonest cop-out. First, I have yet to see an example of the latter; something that's fundamentally different from the liberal version both in theory and in practice. Time after time, what we get instead is just some half-hearted attempt to give the whole thing a Marxist gloss by smuggling in a few mentions of the working class. The laziest way to do this is to juxtapose some well-established branch of liberal idpol with the rest and proclaim it to be the real deal. We've seen it before on this very thread with the attempts to oppose identity politics to intersectionality – a "theory" lifted wholesale from US academia (Combahee River, Crenshaw), that famous vanguard of the revolution. Just slightly less tragicomic are the efforts to uncover the nonexistent "radical roots" of idpol by going back to its origins, which usually means ending up at Ignatiev and the assorted Maoists, or at best at Du Bois.

Second, the people who make the distinction usually immediately follow it with exasperated grunts of "but obviously here on Libcom we all subscribe to the real thing, not to the liberal nonsense, why would you even bring that up, that's just bad faith". I'm not so sure; in fact, I'd say that the nearly universal acceptance of idpol rhetorics on this site masks some very real differences in the underlying politics. One example of these differences resurfacing were the debates about cultural appropriation, a totally idiotic concept inherently rooted in the inviolability of private property that should presumably constitute a fairly uncontroversial example of what the 'bad' liberal identity politics looks like. And yet, while Devrim treated the notion with the mockery it deserved, Fleur defended it ("private property is nice when it's indigenous people who have it!").

Third, while the 'bad', liberal idpol is sometimes dismissed as "daft" or "nonsense", very little is said about what makes it nonsensical, and there is a curious general unwillingness to cite examples of it or explicitly contrast it with its 'good' communist-friendly counterpart. (I guess I should thank Chilli Sauce for providing a rare exception by affirming that "defend[ing] the business interests of Caitlyn Jenner" would indeed be something that only liberals would do, but as a frivolous exaggeration, that doesn't get us very far.) This is closely linked to another problem, namely that even the criticism of the more ridiculous manifestations of idpol coming from liberals and campus politics is interpreted simply as a dog-whistle for bigotry by the very people who supposedly also reject them in favor of a more sophisticated version grounded in class politics. Any attack on the liberal nonsense is perceived as an attack on the real thing as well. Unsurprisingly, this leads people to conclude that there is no actual difference – that there is no 'real thing' hidden beneath the liberal nonsense.

DevastateTheAvenues

("this identity stuff is all there just to distract us so we should just plug our ears to the political struggles happening around us while we wait for the Real Working Class struggle that is free of this identity taint").

That's one danger. The other and opposite danger is the pure opportunism of assuming that we must be where the action is and piggyback on anything that's making waves at the moment (tout ce qui bouge est rouge !), even if it means throwing all of our principles out the window – be it rebranded warmed-over reformism (DSA, Momentum), 'progressive' nationalism (Rojava, Catalonia – a new one pops up every few years), or idpol. Both dangers are equally real, but that doesn't mean they are equally important.

LeninistGirl

Since I am scared about losing my job after coming out as trans I am a *check notes* bourgeois reformist.

Nope. It would, however, be an apt description of the woke, progressive ally of a boss who would never fire you for being trans – the idea wouldn't even cross their mind – but would do so without the slightest hesitation for reasons of redundancy, to punish you for attempting to unionize your workplace, etc.

LeninistGirl

Not every action communists have taken historically have been aimed at the instant destruction of capitalism, on the contrary a big focus of Marx and Engels was on the rights of workers, both in terms of work-safety and in democratic rights.

And what has that gotten us? Safer wage labor and a more democratic capitalism. Better than the alternative? Sure. What we wanted? No. I'm not a millenarian or a romantic who believes that the only struggle worth participating in is some sort of spontaneous worldwide riot that will one day end it all (which is my impression of what some communization theory people actually believe); I'm just pointing out that the argument is more double-edged than you might realize.

Mike Harman

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

Which isn't saying much, because the analogy sucks. There is no existing movement that has taken up some amorphous "renters' rights" as its slogan and now enjoys the support of a significant portion of the ruling class while also finding sympathies among large swaths of radicals who understand themselves to defend the interests of the workers.

Come on, can't you think of anything?

Mr. Churchill's Declaration of Policy to the Electors, 1945

So long as there is a serious shortage of houses, rent control must continue on houses controlled at present. The establishment of Tribunals throughout the country to fix fair rents as between landlord and tenant (as recommended by the Ridley Committee) seems to provide the best solution of a long-standing problem.

(http://www.politicsresources.net/area/uk/man/con45.htm)

Guardian, 2017

Jeremy Corbyn is right: we need rent controls, and we need them now

London Renters Union

Rent controls
Rents that take account of local incomes, decided by democratic bodies

https://londonrentersunion.org/2018/deciding-our-demands/

Ash Sarkar

The demand for adequate social housing provision is something that transcends race, religion and settled status. The London Renters’ Union aims to bring together tenants from all walks of life to collectively agitate against extortionate rents and rogue landlords.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/21/anti-fascist-movement-far-right

ITV

High street rents 'killing more and more retailers' says Debenhams chairman
..
In an interview with ITV News, Sir Ian Cheshire urged landlords to wake-up to the changes in shopping habits and, where appropriate, renegotiate leases which he compared to a “straight jacket...killing more and more retailers”.

http://www.itv.com/news/2018-05-09/high-street-rents-killing-more-and-more-retailers-says-debenhams-chairman/

The Rent is Too Damn High

Ny Daily News

Rent Is Too Damn High Party founder Jimmy McMillan endorses Donald Trump for president

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/rent-damn-high-founder-endorses-trump-president-article-1.2514218

LA Tenants Union

We demand safe, affordable housing and universal rent control. We organize against landlord harassment, mass evictions, and displacement. We mobilize for the repeal of the Ellis Act and Costa-Hawkins Act.

https://latenantsunion.org/en/

Bernie Sanders

“I don’t think that it’s too much to ask that in the richest country in the history of the world, all of our children, all of our people, have safe and affordable housing in which to live. I don’t think that is a radical demand,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders .

The 2016 presidential candidate recalled his own childhood growing up in a rent-controlled apartment in New York City, which “meant that my family, which did not have a lot of money, did not have to spend 50 or 60 percent of its limited income on housing.”

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/12/08/we-have-housing-emergency-heres-how-we-face-it

Konsequent

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mike Harman

Yet more facts. Arguments backed up by sources.

AnythingForProximity, link, and meerov21

Sweeping unsupported claims. Not even a single anecdotal example of what they're complaining about

Steven.

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Anything For Proximity, I'm having a lot of difficulty understanding what your substantial point is. So to try to understand it, here are a couple of questions for you:

1. What is your definition of "identity politics"?
2. Should communists oppose racism?
3. Do you support civil rights struggles like against segregation in the US, or against apartheid in South Africa?
4. Do you support struggles like the CPE fight in France, defending workers' rights laws?

Noah Fence

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Good luck getting straight questions answered Steven, I’ve asked mine twice and have heard not a peep.

Mike Harman

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm still waiting for an answer to this one too:

Mike Harman

AnythingForProximity

radicalgraffiti

but those issues wouldn't have occurred if they where not trans

No non-trans people ever got sacked? No non-trans people were ever unable to find work? No non-trans people ever became homeless? No non-trans people were ever turned away from shelters? No non-trans people were ever locked up? No non-trans people were ever denied medical care while in prison?

In the 1960s British trade unions were still organising to keep Black and Asian workers out of certain jobs via colour bars. Please explain how a colour bar is a 'cross class issue'.

ZJW

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Letter signed by 'libcom' to the Mattick Jr edited Field Notes section of the September issue of Brooklyn Rail, followed by reply by Pavlos Roufus:
https://brooklynrail.org/2018/09/field-notes/Quotation-Paraphrase-and-Plagiarism-An-Exchange .

'libcom' refers to ... a single administrator? The entire administratariat? If not the latter, it ought to have been signed with greater precision.

Mike Harman

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

We collectively agreed to write it (to Paul Mattick jr, not specifically for publication), before R Totale (who is not a libcom admin) posted his blog here: https://libcom.org/blog/who-s-got-bad-faith-reply-pavlos-roufos-moral-panics-power-relationships-sodding-book-02082

Paul Mattick jr. then asked if he could publish it with a response from Roufos and we said yes.

I'd personally like to see Roufos respond to R Totale's blog, which is not in any way addressed by his response to our quick e-mail: https://libcom.org/blog/who-s-got-bad-faith-reply-pavlos-roufos-moral-panics-power-relationships-sodding-book-02082

R Totale

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm amazed by how much energy he puts into fighting that plagiarism point, which is pretty much one step removed from just saying "how come when Guy Debord wrote a book, libcom said it was good, but then Angela Nagle wrote a book and libcom said it was bad, eh?"

Noah Fence

3 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://youtu.be/WkHppiuT1-M

ZJW

3 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The CWO reviews Haider: 'Mistaken Identity: Race and Class in the Age of Trump':

http://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2018-10-26/mistaken-identity-review

(The impatient might begin from the paragraph starting 'Despite seemingly setting out to criticise identity politics [...]' )

Spikymike

3 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ZJW, Yes also on this site here;
https://libcom.org/blog/mistaken-identity-review so open for discussion in it's own right.

birdtiem

3 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Wow! The CWO's politics sure have changed?? lol what a sorry spectacle all of this is, Jesus. "Now that we are talkin' their language, perhaps the youngins will listen!"

birdtiem

3 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'd say it's useful, when your position changes on something, to say so. Rather than pretending you've always had a particularly nuanced analysis or whatever.

R Totale

3 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

birdtiem

Wow! The CWO's politics sure have changed?? lol what a sorry spectacle all of this is, Jesus. "Now that we are talkin' their language, perhaps the youngins will listen!"

Eh?

CWO

In other words, the position of the communist left is that of opposition to every form of oppression, but also inherently against separatism whether based on gender, race or nationality, and against cross-class alliances. This position has not changed with the advent of identity politics. As one of our documents put it,

“Action without compromise against all racist shenanigans, discrimination, exceptional laws and administrative practices is an essential basic condition for the production of class unity.”8...

Especially at a time when the ruling class lacks an economic solution to the capitalist crisis, it instead looks for political manoeuvrers to artificially extend the life of the system. Identity politics, socialism, nationalism – all of these ideologies of the left and the right can (and will be) used to rally the working class around the state, no matter their origin...

In the end, identity politics (both its pro and anti wings) is just the latest trend in bourgeois discourse. Dodgy ideologies are being smuggled under both wings

What do you see as being the massive changes in the CWO's approach?

birdtiem

3 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

CBA, at all. Sry.

R Totale

3 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Interesting critique of socialism-as-socially-conservative-electoral-strategy from a pro-working-class direct action standpoint here: http://www.redwedgemagazine.com/online-issue/normie-socialism-or-communist-transgression-red-wedge-interviews-kate-doyle-griffiths

Juan Conatz

3 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

Interesting critique of socialism-as-socially-conservative-electoral-strategy from a pro-working-class direct action standpoint here: http://www.redwedgemagazine.com/online-issue/normie-socialism-or-communist-transgression-red-wedge-interviews-kate-doyle-griffiths

What did you get out of this? I tried reading this and it seemed like just a rambling wall of text and mushmouth academic buzzwords, although I'm out of practice in reading left stuff admittedly.

R Totale

3 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Did you get onto the bit about West Virginia/other public sector strikes and unions? That's probably the most practically interesting bit, although admittedly it is a long way into a pretty lengthy article.

WokeAnarchists

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

We have written a text on the concerns around identity politics in the UK anarchist scene to challenge more openly the appalling liberal and capitalist politics that is destroying all our spaces one by one. There needs to be a movement that stands up and starts to say no, demand actual anarchist critique and that we take a truly inclusive approach, not one built on counter-anarchist divisiveness.

wokeanarchists.wordpress.com
@WAnarchists

Rob Ray

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fuck me that piece is all over the shop. I don't think I've seen a better example of the incoherence of most "anti-IDPol" arguments, right down to the bit where you decide - about halfway through suggesting that we cease engaging with "Identity politics" - to segue into defending "radical feminism" against aggressive trans people. Thus taking an overt partisan position on the single biggest moan about "IDPol" arguments to have emerged in the last few years*. For goodness' sake this is your opening manifesto and you can't even stick to your one and only major demand!

------------------
*A position which requires you to totally ignore the utter bullshit which "gender critical" activists have repeatedly tried on against trans people, not to mention the anti-semitism, homphobia, and anti-class approaches taken by some of their most prominent members. When you're uncritically siding with or ignoring "George Soros is paying trans activists" and "it's a Big Pharma conspiracy" merchants who routinely smear trans people as paedophiles and rapists you should take a long hard look at yourself, imo.

comradeEmma

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The text seems to have a very odd view of the idea of exclusivity, it seems to go beyond academia and focuses instead on the mere idea that we would care about a group that faces a very specific form of oppression not faced by "white cis men". Should we abandon the theoretical and practical gains of people like Selma James or Mariosa Della Costa who further understood the way women are exploited under capitalism and therefore make up a class because that is to exclusive?

I also love that this texts mentions absolutely zero actual people or organizations, it comes of as a typical polemic against ghosts. Whatever a "Unquestionably Oppressed" is I don't think it exists because if there is something I've learned about the UK leftism is that it loves to question that status of oppressed people while stile garnering support, see the mayday group that crashed the london anarchist bookfair, or even how the CPGB-ML is going further into anti-LGBT thinking and tries to desperately keep up the dead facade of a culturally unified British working-class.

I am genuinely perplexed by the anglo political discourse, it just seems to devoid of reality, there is no doubt in my mind that Engels take on the fact that the british labor movement was crushed through the gains of colonialism and imperialism, "and the workers gaily share the feast of England's monopoly of the world market and the colonies". Any anglo communist organisation that don't maintain an anti-imperialist line will remain as inbred and conservative as the politics of Angela Nagle.

The first sentence is the most correct one, but they are throwing rocks in glasshouses,

Anarchism in the UK is a joke

R Totale

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

WokeAnarchists

Come back when you have something genuinely meaningful, subversive and dangerous to the status quo.

Mmmhmm, I was just thinking something very similar.
WokeAnarchists

So, it is ironic that we have allowed groups with little or no radical politics to enter our spaces...

Well, I'm glad we're agreed about the need to prevent weird transphobic liberals from being able to distribute stuff in anarchist spaces, anyway.
Bonus: just looked at the pdf and spotted that it starts with "Cops on Pride is collaboration." What's your opinion of the Glasgow folk who mobilised to challenge cops at Pride there?

Fleur

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Are the Woke Anarchists African American? Woke is a specific term from AAVE, meaning a person who has become aware of the structures and mechanisms if white supremacy. Personally I find people using it out if that context a bit tone deaf and politically and historically illiterate. Of course it has been co-opted by the right to belittle anyone with slightly leftist opinions but I can only assume that the writers of this piece are not deliberately using it in such a racist way.

Rob Ray

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Identity politics is not liberatory, but reformist. It is nothing but a breeding ground for aspiring middle class identity politicians. Their long-term vision is the full incorporation of traditionally oppressed groups into the hierarchical, competitive social system that is capitalism, rather than the destruction of that system.

Through the entire essay (manifesto?) you don't actually come up with a coherent working definition of ID politics. There's a few repeat signifiers of what you seem to think ID Pol comprises but for the most part these appear to be just groups or attitudes you dislike, rather than a recognisible whole. Here for example you take issue with ID-Pol as a middle class phenomenon. I'd actually agree that middle class people sometimes use "wokeness" as a way to attack working class people they don't like, but If "ID Pol is middle class" what does that make working class people who agree with an intersectional analysis of social hierarchies within working class politics? Dunces? Dupes? What analytical tools and political proposals specifically you disagree with? Not who, but what.

A good example is ‘queer theory’ and how it has sold out to corporate masters .. little in the way of class critique

Of course queer theory had to be relevant in the first place to have been sold out. Again though, I agree that it (clearly) has been, London Pride is a celebration mainly of the power of the pink pound these days. But what you're talking about here is the process of capitalist co-option of social change and the rush of the bourgeois to embrace safe consumption of the ticklish edges of propriety once a former Out group has been brought In, it's got absolutely fuck all to do with anarchist "ID-Pol" and I doubt the vast majority of people exploiting it could even tell you what anarchism is. In fact quite the contrary, much of what little resistance has been rallied against that process has come from anarchist queers.

We don’t want hear about the next DIY event, queer night or squatter fest that excludes all but those who have the right language, dress code, or social circles.

Lifestylism. You're talking about lifestylism. Murray Bookchin was going on about this decades before ID-pol was coined as a term, except he wasn't conflating it with a hodge-podge of other phenomena. If you want to complain about lifestylism then cool, I'm down with that. Bloody hippy students amirite? We should definitely all be wearing jeans and a T-shirt to Appeal to the Masses, because nothing says unity like uniformity, and no-one ever got recruited to the cause through enjoying a subculture before learning to be less of a d-bag about it later.

While claiming to be about inclusivity, it is highly exclusionary, dividing the world into two broad groupings: the Unquestionably Oppressed and the Innately Privileged. There are few grey areas allowed in practice and conflict is continually stoked between these two groups.

You say, dividing the political world into a stark line of Real Anarchists and ID-Pol Dilettantes. Have you considered that maybe your homogenous "ID-pol" shibboleth may in fact consist of a broad spectrum of people and viewpoints ranging all the way from wanky privileged types pissing about before they join the Tories through to practical class strugglists who have incorporated elements of intersectional thinking into their praxis? No? Just going with the Us inclusivists vs Them exclusionary types? Righto.

Identity politics is a tool of the middle classes. It is flagrantly used and abused by articulate, well-educated group representatives to entrench and maintain their own power through politicking, dogma and bullying.

Elements of the current political discussion around "identity" and socio-economic oppression are vulnerable to hijack by people with fundamentally reactionary politics, often from privileged backgrounds. I don't think anyone would dispute that. But those qualifiers are important, and nuance is important. This thing of just hefting anything you don't like into the ID-pol pit and playing as though it's all part of a middle class student destruction of pure anarchist politics is just sloppy.

We see this in the ease with these individuals ‘call out’ other people at the slightest deviation from the code of practice ... Thus ignoring the reality of daily class struggle.

Yup, see it all the time. Often from working class anarchists who are telling me that if I'm not crusty and vegan I'm not doing it right. EF! and the squatting scene has had it for time - as someone who usually dresses like a "normal" cis white guy in jeans and a muted shirt I often find both scenes alienating and sometimes downright unwelcoming.

Oh sorry that's lifestylism again. Seriously though, what you're describing here is simple boundary policing of social cultures. And it's fine to talk about and encourage people to think about the ways in which they interact with folks who are outside their zone of social comfort, but this isn't particular to "identity politics" as a concept, it's how groups of people habitually interact. It's also much more noticeable online, where you've got a global reinforcement system rather than a local one and it's absurdly easy to exclude people who don't fit. That's a useful discussion to be having about our collective behaviour btw, both online and off.

many in the Unquestionably Oppressed espouse liberal values rooted in capitalist ideology

Yes. Liberals. We all hate liberals. And?

use of loaded terms intended to provoke an emotional response (‘triggering’, ‘feeling unsafe’, ‘Terf’, ‘fascist’);

OMG people play victim or call each other names online in arguments to try and provoke? Hold the presses! C'mon guys complaining about this is like complaining about the bloody weather. Yes it'd be lovely if we didn't have to deal with manipulative or trolling arseholes online. But we live in the really real world and people don't like to lose arguments, particularly ones which they think actually matter. You'll get headbangers doing this on both sides of any argument - and if you think you're immune to a bit of victim-playing or hyperbole I suggest you read back your own text. Carefully.

those who aren’t members of specific groups being denied an opinion on the wider politics of these groups; the idea that members of the group should under no circumstances have to do any ‘labour’ of explaining their politics

This is a whole other conversation tbh, but the thing about it is that these phenomena are complex. Yes there are some groups which culturally exclude "non-members" from joining in with their opinions, but if some moron shows up on libcom talking about how great capitalism is what do you think happens to them in short order? Being excluded from a space is not going to kill you, and in terms of say, a space which involves black people talking about their experience of oppression it's really not that much of an imposition to ask that white people be quiet sometimes. It's not like we have no other places to talk about this stuff. If such a space has no class dimension to it then yes, of course it's going to be a reactionary one. But approach it on that level, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

On the "labour" of explaining politics, sometimes I get fucking tired just explaining anarchism over and over again to the sort of ignorant fuck who thinks antifa is a fascist group. I can't even imagine how tiring it must be to have to explain both that and how your experience of lifelong oppression impacts on your revolutionary praxis to people who are often wilfully trying to ignore you and sometimes are just outright bigots doing that "reasonable questions" bollocks. Yes of course explaining your case is important but give the poor bastards a break, if they lose their temper it's not the end of anarchism as we know it.

it is used to disenfranchise rather than actually empower, as is claimed. It reinforces the idea that people are fragile victims rather than agents of change, and therefore need to accept leaders.

I'm all in favour of changing narratives to end the victimhood perspective wherever possible. I like switching from "X" victim to "X" survivor, for example, it's a useful change of emphasis. But how people en masse view what has happened/is happening to them is not up to me. And it's not up to you.

we have allowed groups with little or no radical politics to enter our spaces and shut down debate, and claim that anything that disagrees with their viewpoint must be fascist.

If you have specific complaints and evidence to back your claims then name names. What groups? What actions have they undertaken? What politics have they shown? If you want something beyond just moaning to happen this technique of vague allusion is totally pointless.

It is an embarrassment the way so much of what passes for anarchism in the UK today acts as apologists for those who want to avoid any challenge to their own sexism and patriarchy or even continue their oppressive religions, simply because reactionary conservatives treat them as scapegoats.

Wtf are you talking about? Anarchism has involved religious allies and members for as long as it's existed - Quakers, primitive Methodism, liberation theologists etc, hell the Anabaptists are sometimes pointed to as the first major libertarian break with the status quo to have taken place in Europe. SolFed, as a class-specific organisation founded well before IDPol became a term, has a specific clause that *priests* (or Imams, I suppose, as that seems to be what you're driving at with the "reactionary conservatives" bit) can't be members, but that's based on not allowing power holders, not because it blanket refuses to allow religious people to be involved.

Anarchism is not just another identity as some like to claim.

Who has claimed this? Can you append it to any specific group or is this just another "argument I got into on Facebook" thing?

Unlike the inherent, exclusive characteristics of identity politics with its in-groups and out-groups, anarchism is for us a set of ethics that guide how we understand and react to the world.

What modern golden age of anarchist purity are you describing here? Lifestyle anarchism has been around since at least the '60s, and people have been complaining about its subcultural aspects ever since. It's the same bullshit there's always been around young people getting tribal with their attitudes. And I should say, I think lifestyle anarchism is bollocks. But it's bollocks because it's lifestyle-centric tribalism, not inherently because people are fetishising identity more or less.

One doesn’t need to know the word anarchy to feel it.

Speaking of which... anarchy is not a "feeling" at all. It's a set of principles based on a robust understanding of how class and society interact to create inequality. Part of gathering that understanding means getting your head out of your arse and listening to people when they say you're doing things wrong. You don't have to always agree, but dismissing everything you don't like under the banner of "ID-Pol" is as bad as that insufferable Oxbridge twonk who thinks oppression can be lessened by putting Hilary Clinton in the White House because "she".

middle class identity politicians are doing an excellent job of alienating already disenfranchised cis white people

Of course they are, they're an annoying subset of middle class people telling working class people they're "privileged". A subset which, incidentally, we physically can't shut up because they're all online - though do please feel free to try. But the issue there is CLASS, not the gigantic umbrella you've constructed which seems to include anything and everything smacking of intersectional theory (which is at root a class theory). The existence of middle class liberals is not a catch-all excuse for silencing bits of reality which are messy and difficult to deal with, it's simply a reason to make class analysis a non-negotiable part of organising.

AnythingForProximity

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Good critique overall; the parts about the goal of identity politics actually being a more efficient, more 'frictionless' capitalism, and about the similarity between identity politics and nationalism are particularly strong. In some places, though, the article doesn't go far enough and makes too many concessions to the very ideology it set out to criticize:

Woke Anarchists

A good example is ‘queer theory’ and how it has sold out to corporate masters. The concept of queer was not long ago something subversive [...]

How was it "subversive"? How can any sort of sexuality, no matter how undefinable, help subvert the capitalist mode of production and the State? It cannot, and it is a sad sign of the times that something so utterly obvious needs to be spelled out. Far from having been "sold out", by becoming commodified and fully incorporated into the prevailing bourgeois orthodoxy, the concept simply completed its natural life cycle. There was no alternative path to take by somehow injecting "class critique" into it, contrary to what the article seems to imply.

Rob Ray also makes a good point about the inherent weirdness of defending "radical feminists" against "trans rights activists" in what is ostensibly an anti-idpol polemic. The ICC had a much sounder analysis of the issue when they identified both groups simply as representatives of two different brands of identity politics, and concluded that one should not take sides when they clash but rather reject them both.

LeninistGirl

I also love that this texts mentions absolutely zero actual people or organizations, it comes of as a typical polemic against ghosts.

Judging from how defensive you got, it's probably safe to assume that you can indeed consider yourself one of the actual people they are polemicizing against.

Fleur

Are the Woke Anarchists African American? Woke is a specific term from AAVE, meaning a person who has become aware of the structures and mechanisms if white supremacy. Personally I find people using it out if that context a bit tone deaf and politically and historically illiterate. Of course it has been co-opted by the right to belittle anyone with slightly leftist opinions but I can only assume that the writers of this piece are not deliberately using it in such a racist way.

Yeah, right. Fuck the abolition of private property, that's so 19th century and out of touch with contemporary realities (as you once so eloquently declaimed, "Fuck Bakunin") – what we really need to do is extend private property to language itself, so that oppressed minorities can acquire exclusive ownership rights to the words they came up with. I would take it a bit further and suggest that in order not to be tone deaf, politically and historically illiterate and (of course) racist, the Woke Anarchists should be made to pay some sort of licensing fee for the word. That way everyone wins – as they always do in the realm of freedom, equality, property and Bentham.

comradeEmma

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Judging from how defensive you got, it's probably safe to assume that you can indeed consider yourself one of the actual people they are polemicizing against.

I'm neither an anarchist nor from the UK, I don't take part in any type of "anarchist" partying or DIY events, so I can probably walk free, but it it is still a very weird and British text. I can even agree on some parts on the over usage of the term "TERF" but this text is not really close to any type of feminist understanding anyway.

The ICC is also very British, no where else in the world would a communist organisation dedicate organisational labor to address debates on some internet forum to pwn the identity politics. You can all go off about how you are the ones who actually care about the interests of the class but you seem to have made your own sub-culture around attacking whatever "idpol" is, detached from any actual practice.

Fleur

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Man AFP, your memory for something I said more than a year ago on a forum is pretty impressive. I was simply snarking on a group of people ( a person?) picking a word to describe themselves, while simultaneously shitting on the political school from whence it came. That's either ignorance of what it actually means or deliberate attempt to discredit a long tradition of anti-racist theory and praxis. Either way it doesn't really matter because that article is pretty much a mess of rants we've heard before.

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

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Are you fucking serious right now?

Rob Ray

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

He mostly seems to think he's being clever by pointing out that women can also be ruling-class reactionaries, which is about as mind-blowing a revelation on libcom as that time a bear shit in the woods.

Noah Fence

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Still, could be fun placing them in order of how much you hate them? Then again maybe not - Hilary absolutely smashes it, I’m indifferent to the rest of em.

Mike Harman

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Here are some examples of exploited members of the working class.

jura

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

To my recollection Dalla Costa et al. never claimed that women were a separate class. They simply argued that struggles of non-waged proletarian women at the time are part and parcel of the broader class struggle (which I find hard to disagree with to be honest). They thought that because of the inner conflicts in the working class, it would be appropriate to organize autonomously, i.e., independently of the male-dominated workers organizations (who often had zero respect for those struggles). But they also put forward a demand (wages for housework) around which (they thought) women's struggles could unite as well as link up with struggles of waged workers. Whether this was/is a good strategy should be evaluated both in its historical context and with respect to the present (I don't think the two are necessarily the same). But the underlying analysis has nothing to do with the idea that women are a class.

AnythingForProximity

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I love it when Mike Harman tries to prove to other people how wrong they are by the use of analogy. The combination of the eager, almost Pavlovian desire to set 'em right and his own total inability to construct a logical argument is just too funny.

As an example, let us examine post #585: what profound truth was he trying to convey in it? It seems reasonable to assume that he wanted his post to parallel Craftwork's, i.e., that he sees a parallel between Craftwork's argumentation and his own. Going off of that, there are two possible conclusions to draw. Perhaps he believes that the people in his photos really are members of the working class, and that it therefore really is possible for members of the working class not to be exploited. Under the Marxist definition of the working class, that's a contradiction in terms, so we are left to conclude that he has some other definition (1) which includes the people in the pictures he posted and (2) which he prefers over the Marxist one. Care to enlighten us, Mike?

The other option, of course, is that just like he doesn't actually consider the people in his pictures to be members of the working class... he doesn't consider Thatcher, Clinton, the Queen, May, and Merkel to be women. Strong stuff.

Mike Harman

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The existence of ruling class women doesn't disprove that gender has been a mechanism of working class stratification for a very long time (although this isn't the same as saying 'women are a class', but as jura points out that's not really Dalla Costa or Selma James' contention anyway). Similarly, class mobility doesn't disprove class in general at all.

Craftwork has long form for definitions so restrictive they don't even cover the things he's trying to restrict them to, such as this classic: https://libcom.org/forums/news/brazils-elections-current-political-situation-08102018?page=1#comment-609999 - and these kinds of hit and run responses where his obvious bullshitting is pointed out and he never corrects it, popping up on another thread elsewhere to make an equally pointless comment.

AnythingForProximity

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mike Harman

The existence of ruling class women doesn't disprove that gender has been a mechanism of working class stratification

No, but it does a great job of disproving that women are a class. Which is, you know, the only claim that Craftwork was actually addressing. How can I be so sure? See, he left us this cryptic hint in the form of the four-word plain-English sentence "Women aren't a class".

Normally, I would consider an attempt to twist someone's words into something you feel more comfortable arguing against to be dishonest and malicious. You do it so clumsily, though, that it's mostly just weird. Like, is it even deliberate, or is your reading comprehension really that bad?

Mike Harman

(although this isn't the same as saying 'women are a class', but as jura points out that's not really Dalla Costa or Selma James' contention anyway)

Perhaps, but that was the contention LeninistGirl was making – you know, the person that Craftwork actually quoted and directed his reply to.

Mike Harman

Similarly, class mobility doesn't disprove class in general at all.

Oh, so you never even attempted to make any sort of logical connection in the first place. You just really felt like saying some other, completely unrelated thing which is painfully obvious to absolutely everyone and which neither Craftwork nor anyone else on this thread has ever denied, but which seems kinda-sorta similar to you. Gotcha.

Mike Harman

and these kinds of hit and run responses where his obvious bullshitting is pointed out and he never corrects it, popping up on another thread elsewhere to make an equally pointless comment

Projecting much? You just had your own bullshit "logic" pointed out to you, and you responded by... quickly trying to divert attention to something someone else said some time ago on another thread about a completely different topic.

Still, I guess all of this is better than the response I was expecting, which was "Did you just assume my gender?!"

Noah Fence

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Those fucking feminists ruining anarchism again...
https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.thesun.co.uk/news/7844205/claus-parade-snowflake-inclusivity/amp/

It’s political correctness gone mad I tell you!

Mike Harman

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AnythingForProximity

Mike Harman

The existence of ruling class women doesn't disprove that gender has been a mechanism of working class stratification

No, but it does a great job of disproving that women are a class. Which is, you know, the only claim that Craftwork was actually addressing. How can I be so sure? See, he left us this cryptic hint in the form of the four-word plain-English sentence "Women aren't a class".

Until 1870, after Marx had written Capital, married women had no right to own property in their own right in the UK. The fact that there was Queen Victoria and many upper class women does not counteract that women were excluded from large swathes of the ruling class and property relationships, or even wages for wage labour, which automatically became property of their husbands. Similarly that Thatcher and Clinton exist does not counteract the predominance of women in care work and other low status/paid jobs now.

So if we were to understand capitalism properly, then we'd take a serious look at how both gender and race have been used to structure labour within countries and internationally, something which Dalla Costa and Selma James have done. However craftwork says we should reject their work because of Hillary Clinton (or LeninistGirl's summary of it, or both), not critique it, just reject it out of hand.

AnythingForProximity

Still, I guess all of this is better than the response I was expecting, which was "Did you just assume my gender?!"

That's a 4chan alt-right meme, why are you expecting that response from a cis communist, unless you've actually taken that transphobic meme at its word and think it's what trans people do during normal conversation?

Noah Fence

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The thing is Mike, that from his general comments earlier in the thread where he talks about bullshit lifestyle choices and his refusal to answer my asking if he included transitioning as one of those bullshit choices, I think it’s safe to assume AFP has some sort of anti-trans agenda or at least that he rejects trans issues as being legitimate.
It seems to naturally follow that he probably considers feminism to be bullshit too, so from my perspective his recent posts come as no surprise, in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if he believes that women aren’t oppressed at all.

Now if he wants to answer my previous question I’m all ears and I truly hope that I’ve made wrong assumptions. Anyways, I spell it out one final time...

AFP, do you believe that transitioning is a bullshit lifestyle choice?
And while your at it, do you believe the oppression of women in particular has any relevance in class relations? Indeed, do you believe that women are oppressed in any way differently to men?

comradeEmma

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

To expand on the marxism-feminism thing though. My understanding is that the focal point of marxism-feminism was to understand how working women were also exploited in a different way then men are, not just oppressed. I.e the relation between reproductive labor such as house-work and production of surplus-value, reproduction of labor-power, etc.

Still, I guess all of this is better than the response I was expecting, which was "Did you just assume my gender?!"

I love how powerful this forum is, the real anarchism is when you make off-hand alt-right jokes.

Juan Conatz

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I can't believe this thread is still going. There is no working definition for 'identity politics' here because it's not meant to be a specific thing one can hold up to analyze. It's entire utility as a phrase depends on it being a vague pejorative. It's 'stuff I don't like on the left' or 'stuff that upsets me about the online left'. There are definitely things to be said about the interplay of issues of identity and class and how they determine society and movements, etc., but I've seen little evidence that this conversation can happen constructively here.

Mike Harman

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

I can't believe this thread is still going. .... There are definitely things to be said about the interplay of issues of identity and class and how they determine society and movements, etc., but I've seen little evidence that this conversation can happen constructively here.

Well one useful function it has is showing who's actually talking about/learning from/engaging in class struggle in its various forms, as opposed to those who are only talking about talking about class struggle. A few years ago I did not really understand or appreciate that distinction, but 2013 or so until now it's very stark.

Serge Forward

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What does that actually mean, Mike, aside from you thinking those you disagree with are merely "talking about talking". Good grief, your pomposity knows no bounds.

Mike Harman

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

@Serge so one example not on this thread would be social democrats who constantly bang on about 'class', while trying to get career politicians elected, like Adolph Reed. Surely you've seen this phenomenon before? https://libcom.org/blog/identity-crisis-leftist-anti-wokeness-bullshit-22082017

Serge Forward

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Why should anyone care about social democrats banging on about 'class' and what does it have to do with anything? Are you somehow trying to compare people posting on this thread you disagree with with social democrats on some other thread for goodness sake? Still, at least nobody is pulling the "that's the same as what the alt right say" nonsense with people they disagree with... oh hang on a minute.

Serge Forward

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Double post.

Mike Harman

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Serge. Please read some history (of 2016 to 2018) before being so outraged about quite a straightforward observation. https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/did-you-just-assume-my-gender

Serge Forward

3 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Who said I'm outraged? There you go again. I do wish you'd stop falsely ascribing feelings or ideas to people. It's piss poor.