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southerntofu wrote

Is the "justified hierarchies" concept defending authority over eg. practical experience? Or is it just acknowledging a justifiable power (not authority) imbalance, which should be accounted for (can be useful in situations requiring expertise), and eventually rid of? I understand the latter but i understand you understand the former.

Also i don't understand why you highlighted the critique of post-leftism? Sounds to me criticism is most times a healthy thing, especially when it comes to a thought branch which can be very disconnected from reality and can completely ignore materials conditions of oppression in the name of an absurdist aesthetic. Maybe i'm missing something?

Sorry i don't have the whole US cultural context of opposition between different anarchist branches. I mean here in France i would argue the division is mostly between platformists/syndicalists (eg. Anarchist Federation, CNT) and autonomous anarchists. Division not on ideas (anarcho-communism) but practices (central platform/union vs decentralized affinity/neighborhood collectives). Nihilists and post-leftists are to my knowledge not really a thing here (met a few of those on ZADs but they're a tiny minority within our minority).

So what's your take on the discussion there? How is a federation of communes incompatible with free, voluntary association? (they are in my view and in my daily practice the exact same thing) How do we organize within the communes who are not entirely affinity groups (mutual aid networks, squats, ZADs)? What is the decision making process and how do we make it fair/accessible for everyone (informal decision making is fine for affinity groups, but is a tyranny for those outside the group)? Heard you had some stuff going on on a wiki let me know if there's a specific page i should checkout ;)

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ziq OP wrote (edited )

why you highlighted the critique of post-leftism? 

Because they're trying to convince everyone that being against hierarchy is a post-left thing rather than an anarchist thing, that post-leftists (by which they mean anarchists) are autocratic tyrants who put themselves above others and don't believe in accountability, and that real anarchists (federationists) are all about building hierarchy to save society from reactionaries. They're even trying to tarnish autonomous zones, communes, squats as being post-leftist (by which they mean reactionary). And all the while they're wildly projecting by accusing "posties" of being elitists.

They're trying to redefine anarchy by casting anti-hierarchy as a solely post-left (reactionary / autocrat / lifestylist / individuality complex / etc) idea and "federationism" (something they likely invented) as the only virtuous, grownup, serious, scientific school of thought. I'm taking this from all their comments in that post, not just this screenshot.

They're smearing, strawmanning and vilifying anarchists (who they've dismissed / badjacketed as "posties" and "hyper individualists") while claiming they're being victimized by anyone who objects to their attacks or to their spreading of disinformation.

I'm not an American so I can't answer your other question.

https://raddle.me/wiki/ziq_essays#anarchy-vs-archy-no-justified-authority

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southerntofu wrote

being against hierarchy is a post-left

haha.

autocratic tyrants who put themselves above others and don't believe in accountability

I have witnessed some cases like that, but in my experience it's disconnected from one's political affiliation. For some people i've met, though usually not the most active in social struggles, anarchy means the absolute reign of one's own desires whatever everyone else thinks

They're even trying to tarnish autonomous zones, communes, squats as being post-leftist

Yeah what's up with that? I mean some of those can be lifestyle-individualist communities (like some hippies communes) but most communes develop some forms or other of collective organizing and collectivization.

anti-hierarchy

I agree fighting hierarchy is one of the core ideas of anarchism. However, can we agree a modern, intersectional interpretation of it means anti-domination of all forms? anti-kyriarchy if you like (though i dislike the word because most people will justifiably stare at you for using it :D)

Sorry for assuming you're an american, i'll give your essay a read

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ziq OP wrote

anti-domination

sure, I don't even like to use the word hierarchy

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CaptainACAB wrote

Is the "justified hierarchies" concept defending authority over eg. practical experience? Or is it just acknowledging a justifiable power (not authority) imbalance, which should be accounted for (can be useful in situations requiring expertise), and eventually rid of?

It's a semantic rage-fest from both sides because one side conflates hierarchy with expertise and the other side scoffs at this conflation (justified by whom?! Every hierarchy has been justified by someone!). The pro-"justified" hierarchy side seems to assume some sort of tangible, objective good in their anarchist-democratic values because a huge portion of their ideology is about how "good" their values are for everyone.

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ziq OP wrote

Nah they actually do believe their auth is justified. Read their lit. They outline how their prisons will be run.

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Lilly_May_Throwaway wrote

Hi, it's me the author of that lit (if you choose to believe it or not). Figured I'd make a poor choice and for some reason respond to this months old post because I'm in a weird mood.

I'd like to say that yeah my old writings were not great and that I abandoned them because I realized I didn't believe in it anymore and that I despite my best efforts really got lost in the sunk cost fallacy.

But I would like to state it for the record that I never did think there was such a thing as justified hierarchy. My larger point was basically that it is impossible to instantly remove all hierarchy, and as such any revolution will be forced to go through a process by which there is still some amount of hierarchy. And my whole thing about prisons was basically that I expected that they would be one such hierarchy by which it was unlikely to instantly remove from society due to the likely existence of reactionaries in the aftermath of a hypothetical revolution.

This is ironically more closely following the definition of anarchism used by post-leftists, specifically the one coined by Bob Black that anarchism is not a clearly defined ideology but a larger movement that works towards abolishing hierarchy over time. The intended point was basically me saying "hey this is what I think would be a reasonable compromise to take since we probably can't immediately remove the hierarchy of prisons instantaneously, and it will take time before we can remove it entirely, but I'm open to other suggestions"

Yeah, it was extremely poorly conveyed, and the argument in the screen shot was basically me in the middle of my mental health spiraling down the drain while just lashing out at people who didn't like what I wrote. Hence the whole eventually doing the smart thing and just abandoning the project and deleting it from as many places it had been published as possible and then leaving social media. (Unfortunately I can't just delete it from the anarchist library to my knowledge)

But I would like you to know that yeah, I am well aware quite a few things I said were either cringe worthy, extremely poorly communicated, or both. And that now I basically reject concrete labels, and think that the whole social vs individual dichotomy is divisive bullshit made up by Bookchin whose behavior and attitudes were very bad choices to emulate. And that my opinion on the post-left is that their concerns are valid, but I disagree with their particular proposals as the best solution to those concerns.

So yeah, take this however you will. Though I think the main point of contention in mindsets is basically some anarchists think the justified part refers to that certain situations temporarily justify not being able to remove all hierarchy all at once, and others think that it refers to thinking that the authority itself is justified. And basically everyone is talking past each other, and unwilling to assume anyone on the other side of the interpretation is acting in good faith. Despite the fact that if you had everyone explain their position on it without using loaded terms that most everyone would more or less agree.

Pulling the plug on the "federationism" project and taking time to think things over for myself without getting sucked into social media discourse, was defiantly the best thing I could have done for my politics. It's just everyone arguing semantics and not realizing that they do actually agree on most things including these sorts of discussions of it taking time to dismantle hierarchies, and that nobody is actually out here trying to be a secret authoritarian. Labels are dumb, I was dumb for trying to make up my own to get attention on the internet. And we should all be organizing in our communities rather than going for each other's throats on the internet as if it ever helps anyone or changes any minds.

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ziq OP wrote (edited )

hi, thanks for your detailed and honest reply.

sunk cost fallacy

what's that?

any revolution will be forced to go through a process by which there is still some amount of hierarchy

that's why any half decent anarchist doesn''t believe in revolution. revolution IS hierarchy. every Marxist and fascist revolution in history has immediately resulted in mass murder of anarchists

And my whole thing about prisons was basically that I expected that they would be one such hierarchy by which it was unlikely to instantly remove from society due to the likely existence of reactionaries in the aftermath of a hypothetical revolution

well that's what MLs believe. a socialist state, socialist prisons, socialist cops, and then one day it somehow all fades away. what sets anarchists apart from marxists is we don't want 'temporary' authority, we reject all authority. it doesn't mean we're being unrealistic, it just means we don't desire a social system to govern people with, we reject outright all the systems that govern us. it's not unrealistic to do that, i'm doing it right now. i don't need to make a state and a prison and a police force and mass society before my anarchy is realized, it's already realized.

This is ironically more closely following the definition of anarchism used by post-leftists, specifically the one coined by Bob Black that anarchism is not a clearly defined ideology but a larger movement that works towards abolishing hierarchy over time.

post-leftists aren't looking to build a society, so you're misunderstanding that. anarchists reject all hierarchy, we don't accept less hierarchy or legitimate hierarchy or justified hierarchy and we don't negotiate with hierarchy or those who enforce it

Unfortunately I can't just delete it from the anarchist library to my knowledge)

sure you can, just ask u/subrosa or one of the other librarians to do it

and think that the whole social vs individual dichotomy is divisive bullshit made up by Bookchin whose behavior and attitudes were very bad choices to emulate.

yes

And that my opinion on the post-left is that their concerns are valid, but I disagree with their particular proposals as the best solution to those concerns.

i don't think they make proposals for solutions, post-left in my mind is about accepting that there is no blueprint to govern people with, or to 'solve' society with

some anarchists think the justified part refers to that certain situations temporarily justify not being able to remove all hierarchy all at once

hierarchy will never be removed. not all at once, not little by little, never. hierarchy doesn't go away, it needs to be constantly burned down

w/what_anarchy_means

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Lilly_May_Throwaway wrote

The sunk cost fallacy is basically that you remain invested in something that you shouldn't be because you've already invested into it. In my case I clung on to my writings and the not so great ideas in them for a lot longer than I should have because I had invested a lot of time and energy into writing them. It's a common fallacy that people see sinking more investment into something bad as a better alternative to giving up on it, because then "I'll have wasted all the time and resources I've already invested" when in reality it's already been wasted and you just don't want to see it that way.

And while I very much am much more on board with the insurrectionist view of social change as constant struggle that just differs in intensity and scope over time, I still use terms like "the revolution" as short hand. Point being that after a very intense and large scope struggle that results in a physical victory over reactionaries it's going to have a lot of clean up that's a lot more gradual by comparison. Though I do think that the scope of what can be changed immediately is a lot greater than I initially thought when I was writing that stuff.

And I'll just say that I have differing views and uses of terminology than post-leftists. I think that obviously the point is to constantly fight against hierarchy, but I also see value in thinking about what realistic outcomes are in advance. Not because I think that the remaining hierarchy is good, but because I prefer to know what is likely going to be the case so that we can then also preconfigure a temporary solution that makes future dismantling of that hierarchy easier. In my mind it's not settling for hierarchy it's recognizing the realistic extent of our ability to quickly dismantle hierarchy in that situation, and making due with the best we can in the meantime while we have to take on more gradual approaches to removing hierarchy. Basically I never actually wanted my proposals on how to handle prisons to be the last step, that was me basically saying "this is what I think is realistically achievable in the immediate aftermath of a physical warfare victory, while making it easier to continue to dismantle that hierarchy further at a more gradual pace relative to what is feasible". My point was never to say "let's make anarcho-prisons", if that makes sense. You may very well disagree about what is realistically possible in that situation, and all the power to you, I can't say who is right though I definitely would hope that I'm wrong even now about how quickly we can remove hierarchy. My point has always been to think about if we fall short for whatever reason, and having a backup plan for if we get caught in a less than ideal situation and are forced to make hard decisions, it's just how I'm wired to think as a deeply anxious person.

And yeah, I very much agree that it is a constant process that will never be finished.

Again to my point that I'm not a post-leftist even though I now have a greater appreciation for that set of theory and praxis, I define society in a different way than y'all do. It's not that we necessarily have huge disagreements on what we want things to look like in an ideal world, I just have a different set of ways to articulate that as well as differ in opinion on what tactics I think are most effective based on my personal experience. But yeah, I've very much given up on the idea that I can or should prescribe how things ought to look in the future, that's up to each community to decide on their own as part of a great patchwork of voluntarily interconnected communities that are constantly working towards the shared goals of removing all forms are hierarchy and oppression wherever they exist or whenever they crop up again.

Basically if I had to condense and sum up my views I'd say to read the pamphlet "Let us go to the people" by Malatesta. Basically that the only way we are going to make progress is if we understand what the current situation is, and work with people where they are at rather than where we wish they were. And that inevitably means that we will be forced to work in and around systems that have hierarchy, because that will be the only way to remove that hierarchy in the future. Not to advocate for reformism or electoralism or anything like that, but like if you want to make more people anarchist you'll have a much easier time by meeting them and working with them within their non-anarchist framework and then over time convincing them to remove hierarchy from their lives and ways of organizing, versus trying to convince them all in one go to change from a hierarchical mindset to an anarchist mindset. You can't convince people to change their minds if they view you as rigid and unwilling to consider their point of view or way of doing things, again sunk cost fallacy. People have sunk a LOT of time and resources into hierarchical thinking, so you have to meet them where they are at physically and mentally if you want them to let go of that kind of thinking and grow the movement to remove hierarchy.

I can't stress enough that our views are very near identical and that it's dumb to emphasize the differences when we have much bigger fish to fry. It's why I left social media, too much fixating on our small differences and making them out to be fundamental oppositions when they really aren't. Like idk, it's like getting mad at the EZLN for not adhering to western labels, as if their difference of labels or disagreements over how to proceed invalidates the work they are doing to remove hierarchy and oppression from their communities. Action speaks far louder than any amount of splitting hairs over approaches to hypothetical situations ever could. The whole point is our work is never finished so we shouldn't treat people who have not already fully unlearned hierarchical ways of thinking as them being actively malicious or duplicitous. None of us are perfect, and I'd rather have a conversation with someone about why they believe something and get them to start questioning why they think that hierarchy is necessary, rather than telling them they're dumb for thinking that way as if I never thought that way myself because of how we were all indoctrinated growing up.

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ziq OP wrote (edited )

sunk cost fallacy is basically that you remain invested in something that you shouldn't be because you've already invested into it

Story of my life.

I'm not a post-leftist

The problem with post-leftists is they assist in associating the left wing with anarchy when they're two different things. you can't base your identity on overcoming something that was never real to begin with

social change as constant struggle

That sounds like a waste of a life.

if you want to make more people anarchist

See my previous reply. Complete and total waste of a incredibly brief and beautiful and sorrowful existence

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Exlurker wrote

You said that authority had to be 'constantly burned down' so why are you against 'social change as constant struggle'?

Besides, my attitude's always been if it's not technically impossible it's just improbable.

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ziq OP wrote (edited )

social struggle is activism, it's protest, it's ritual, it's imposing sanctimonious moral values on others, it's collectivizing people into in-groups and out-groups so they can do war with each other, it's entrenched in dogmatic ideology and personality cults, it's self-aggrandizing and endlessly congratulatory, it's a constant push and pull between the system and those who struggle to seize control of it to reboot it in their own image

tearing authority apart needn't be any of those things

destroying authority where you see it isn't a struggle for revolution, it doesn't need to be done in pursuit of anything bigger than a simple personal desire to watch tangible implements of authority burn right in front of you and thus no longer blight your senses

the actions anarchists take don't need to be in pursuit of an imagined utopian society or an imagined epic battle between good and evil where we cast ourselves as the heroic protagonists in a social war of our own imagining

our actions don't need to be connected to anything beyond what we see and feel right in front of us, in our immediate vicinity. they don't need to be presented as part of some grand galaxy-brain plan to build a new, 'better' society or government that will solve all of humanity's problems

i can paint over a billboard or spike a tree or tear up a road or spread dandelion seeds or stab a dictator without it being a struggle to upend society to conform to my values

i can do those things just because i want to, without ever thinking anything I do will lead to a social revolution to remake the world in my image

Or in Aragorn!'s words:

(Strugglismo is) a critique of boring, stale, ineffective, ritualized activity and, recently, has given birth to a bunch of stale, boring, sanctimonious projects.

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Kinshavo wrote

I was thinking in a reply to this bc your take is what I try to convey in my irl discussions with left activists.

Besides my lack of oratory skills, trying to navigate between different understandings and different ideologies is hard. Whenever I try to bring anything remotely anarchist people shut down or assume the Anarchism™ is that of Ocalan, the anarchy without chaos, or the libertarian-socialism.

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ziq OP wrote

someone needs to write an essay embracing anarchy as chaos. the whole 'anarchy is order' thing makes me queasy

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Kinshavo wrote

You probably will write at some point your own version of it. I think there are some texts that deal with this at a superficial level, I am trying to recall a specific author, bit probably it will be a more poetic approach or full of spooks and very niche like

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Exlurker wrote

I really don't get it and probably never will, I get your idea about social struggle not being the same as tearing down authority but the rest just doesn't follow.

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Kinshavo wrote

Nice response if you are the real Lily May, very sober and unexpected.

Don't bother too much with social media. In no way it represents the world, it's all about the bubble.

And if I am not mistaken you can email the Anarchist Library to remove your text if you want to.

Taking care of oneself and oneself mental health is more important than any internet discussion.

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Lilly_May_Throwaway wrote

I promise I am, for whatever that's worth lol.

And yeah quitting social media was the smartest thing I ever did for myself on many different levels, I just happened to be in a really weird mood and googled myself to see what I'd find.

And cool, I'll definitely see about emailing them, because yeah, I don't think anyone should be subjected to someone who was in college at the time and biting off way more than she can chew trying to clumsily reinvent the wheel in the middle of still going through major changes in understanding politics and anarchism.

I hope that I'll write stuff again some day, but that's definitely quite a ways off now that I've actually taken the time to humble myself and challenge my perspectives and beliefs, and now actually getting involved in irl local organizing.

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existential1 wrote

This entire argument gets thrown out if you defy the hierarchy of labels and identities. What's the point of arguing if someone is or isn't anarchist if you shed the need to protect a label?

That being said, this is one of the most tired of arguments of folks who do grasp onto labels in "anarchist" spaces. Some external observer could write this script its so common.

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