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anarchist_critic OP wrote

There's another reason for the no-exclusion thing in my analysis. In general, an anarchist world is a world in which one logic (Deleuze's rhizome, Kropotkin's social principle, Negri's constituent power) has primacy over another logic (Deleuze's arborescence, Kropotkin's political principle, Negri's constituted power). These two types of power are not absolutes. They can exist in absolute forms, but they usually appear in hybrid combinations. Social formations can have more or less of the good (anarchist) principle and the bad (hierarchical) principle. In general, in a society where the principles are mixed, increasing things like freedom, rights, autonomy, affinity, (unconditional) mutual aid, increases the quantity of the anarchist principle. Increasing things like securitisation, censorship, social control, normativity, zero tolerance, conditionality and exclusion, punishment, increases the quantity of the hierarchical principle. Stirnerian theory stricto sensu does not allow for rights (because they have to be rights of a category, a spook) and encourages affiliation based solely on resonance and affinity. And so, you could make an argument that this excuse you use - “I'm not punishing, I'm just refusing to associate with people I don't resonate with” - in Stirnerian terms. But I don't think Stirner deals with the hybrid situations at all. I believe in general we have a better social world – better, in particular, for the worst-off and most marginalised – the more the social world is governed by the social principle not the political principle. An anarchist group should be governed entirely by the social principle, and anarchist interventions in/against the “wider” society should increase the percentage of the social over the political principle. Generally (although not always), rights and unconditional services and open (rather than “safe”) spaces are to the benefit of the social principle. Hence my ranking of social systems: egoism > communism > social democracy > liberalism > communitarianism/behaviorism/totalitarianism. Relative balance of social and political principle. Liberal rights give a bit of wiggle room for Unique Ones to at least gather, associate freely, speak and publish. It's (say) 95% political principle but at least we have that 5% leeway. A welfare state makes it easier to also drop out of work and have access to healthcare and so on. Now maybe we're at 90% political, 10% social. Workers' control takes this further because now you can work together as a union of egoists. Maybe now we're at 50/50. Egoism (or bolo'bolo) is the highest form because the political principle is completely eclipsed. 90 or 99 or 100% social principle.

Idpol does the opposite of this. Firstly it imports the political principle into anarchist spaces through securitisation (“safe spaces”), zero tolerance, strict normativity, formal structures, guilt. Secondly it often pushes in the “wider” society for more political principle and less social principle. Opposing rights as “abstract”, calling for tighter laws and so on. Thirdly it seems to have no sense of the social and political principles. Instead it has a sense of good and bad sides (black vs white, women vs men) and a desire to increase the power of one side at the expense of the other. Even though in reality strengthening the political principle strengthens the privileged group – idpols fight to redirect the political principle (behaviorism, communitarianism, securitisation...) to the benefit of their group. That's why I put it in the bottom group. It doesn't even allow that minimal 5% social principle liberalism allows. It's 100% political principle, about everything, all the time. You're out of step with the latest rules on microaggression? Bam – no bolo, no place in the co-op, no welfare rights, no free speech or civil rights. 0% social principle.

no idea how rape culture works

I know what the theory of rape culture is, I also believe it is false. Can you get your head around the possibility that both of these statements might be true? If not, re-read the stuff above on labelling theory, reactance theory, Stirner, and psychoanalysis which I've so patiently “mansplained” to you.

How did Trump get elected president even though he's a sexual predator? Partly because idpols trolled white men so hard that they backlashed, partly because Trump appealed to authoritarianism which is ingrained in many Americans, partly because Clinton's neoliberalism had nothing to offer to the rustbelt working-class. Partly because half the country thought Hillary Clinton was running a pedo racket (and that was made-up, but she did in fact successfully defend rapists in court using victim-blaming). Partly because some people would vote Republican even if Satan was the candidate, same way they'd support the Steelers even if Satan was the star player. How did Weinstein “happen”? He's a boss at the top of a huge corporate system, of course he can do what he likes; and what he likes, in part, is to do all the things he's not allowed to do (reactance theory). Probably he also enjoys dominating others. And of course the most ruthless, the most sadistic and psychopathic people rise to the top in a hierarchical system because it's dog-eat-dog. That's how authoritarianism works. It doesn't need any bizarre explanations based on invisible “cultures” which are the opposite of what people actually think. More political principle means more domination and abuse, if it isn't rape then it's gulags or slavery or sweatshops or impaling your enemies on stakes.

You seem to believe in behaviorist psychology. You apply categories and strategies based on behaviorist psychology. Actions should have consequences. Creating less acceptance of something makes it less prevalent. From my point of view, behaviorist psychology is pig thinking. It brings the state into yourself and into your movement. Behaviorism is superego, guilt, control. You may not identify as a behaviorist (or a totalitarian, a communitarian, a securitiser...) but there's a structure there. You're reproducing beliefs from a particular structure. You must believe that people can hold unconsciously oppressive beliefs to buy into any of the idpol stuff (toxic masculinity, implicit racism etc). So you can't deny that there might be a structure of behaviorist ideology which you've unconsciously inculcated and which is actually part of social oppression.

I believe that labelling theory, reactance theory, and psychoanalysis prove that behaviorism is bullshit. So, I don't believe that a strategy for fighting X based on behaviorist techniques is effective or justifiable. Doesn't matter if X is rape, theft, terrorism, gang crime, or suicide. Doesn't matter how much I care about rape or terrorism or whatever. The fact that idpol is sacrificing basic anarchist principles to the war on rape only deepens the problem.

and the eye is clearly on the practical effect of our actions on power relations

That's the biggest difference between us. I see anarchist groups as nascent societies in their own right and emphasise prefiguration of a liberated future. An anarchist group should be structured like a stateless society to the maximum extent that it can be. Someone comes in from the “wider” society and leaves this society at the door – whether for an hour, a week, or a lifetime. The wider society is now your enemy, or something you've dropped out of (even if only for an hour). People may well bring in “socialisation” from the “wider” society which makes the process imperfect but this should absolutely not be focused on because it undermines building an alternative society. These problems will disappear when we aren't just a small group meeting for an hour but an entire society. Because it's not OUR group structure that's causing them. Only if they actually start to make the political principle predominate in our micro-society do they need to be seriously challenged. If you can't imagine how this is possible without being able to make a clean break with capitalist society then I'd suggest you read three authors: James Scott, Colin Ward, and Hakim Bey. It's very much possible to have local nodes of statelessness right under the noses of statist societies, even amongst people who are also enmeshed in statist societies to one extent or another. Every historically oppressed group – slaves, peasants – had something like this. The group starts small, stays hidden, but it becomes the basis for insurrection when the opportunity (or necessity) arises. It's a line of flight as Deleuze would say. Something which leads out of hierarchical society, even if it isn't entirely out yet.

On the contrary, you seem to see anarchist groups as part of capitalist society and emphasise how your group impacts on power relations within this society. This means you are reformist and liberal as I'd understand these terms. Focusing on the things brought in from capitalist society, and the impacts a group has on capitalist society, drags people back inside capitalist society and thereby helps to sustain it. Strengthens the spooks. Blocks the lines of flight. I don't see how it can ever lead out of hierarchy. I haven't even seen it being very effective in winning small reforms. If you want reforms then you're better going the Sanders route, or at least toning down your rhetoric.

The fundamental integrating force of autonomous anarchist groups (as of stateless societies) is the strength of active desire, of life-force, joy, affinity. Sartre's “group-in-fusion”. The fundamental integrating force of idpol groups is superego or guilt, and the fear each member has of exclusion by the others. Sartre's “pledged group”. This is a very serious difference in terms of who can be part of the group, and how they relate to one another.


Dumai wrote (edited )

  1. this absolutely not how labelling theory works, or at least it isn't if you're reading any source on labelling aside from wikipedia. what concerns labelling theory is the social signification of criminality; what behaviours are likely to be labelled criminal or deviant and under what circumstances, and this how signification reproduces deviance. the exact same act can be labelled differently depending on who is committing it and where and why it is happening. it does not mean any response to abusive behaviour is likely to encourage reoffense. you're severely underestimating the role positionality plays in labelling theory if you seriously think a small radical community is likely to stigmatise middle class abusive white men on a societal scale anyway! most rape cases don't even go to trial. think about why that might be!

and the point isn't to convince the criminal justice system to take rape more seriously -- i don't know to what degree these technologies of punishment would even be capable of that, because that is absolutely not their function. obviously. the purpose restorative justice plays in combating systemic abuse is addressing the needs and safety of the victim and challenging the dominant narratives and systems that perpetuate abuse. call me crazy but i don't believe welcoming unrepentant rapists into spaces focused on gender liberation, against the will of their own victims, is going to accomplish that? especially in those cases where that means upholding their position within a scene that they may have used for the purpose of abuse? that's why i mean by "making rape less permissible". i mean it's obvious to anybody that the idea of rape is already highly stigmatised. in fact one thing that makes rapists so easily excusable is that this stigmatisation is attached to criminological stereotypes that rapists generally do not conform to! "this is not what a rapist looks like", etc. so it should be fucking obvious that's not what i'm trying to do.

i mean i thought you were bastardising labelling theory by framing the use of any label beyond those created in the process of self-identification as an act of violence on the "unique one" (it's not the 19th fucking century anymore by the way) but actually it turned out you just don't know what "stigmatisation" really is. shame on me for interpreting your bullshit incorrectly i guess but it's a little hard when your standard of argumentation is "YOU DON'T SEE A UNIQUE EGO YOU JUST SEE A RAPIST" and "FASCISM IS A SPOOKED IDENTITY"

  1. if i'm apparently a psychological behaviourist then why do you seem to think i have such an interest in the unconscious mind over externally measurable behaviour? those things would seem to be diametrically opposed? if you don't believe in rape culture then how did hillary clinton successfully defend rapists in court by victim blaming? what the hell do you think victim blaming is if not a component of rape culture??? do you even know what any of these words you're throwing around mean??? how did victim blaming work unless people were more willing to sympathise with an accused rapist over their accuser? do you if you accept that people willingly excused donald trump's admission of sexual assault because they happened to like him or agree with his politics then where's the disagreement? if people can do that with trump then what's to stop them from doing it with anyone? why do you think that's so predominant?

  2. it's funny to be called a liberal by somebody who places so much value on freedom of speech and individual rights above meaningful structural change but acknowledging that completely non-hierarchical relations can't be willed into existence or isolated as a social ideal within state society doesn't make me a reformist? nor does acknowledging that revolutionary action involves combating capitalism directly ("the effect of our actions on power relations")? or else malatesta and bakunin weren't anarchists either? i mean i agree that contemporary anarchist communities should be as horizontally organised as possible but acknowledging we act within state society doesn't mean we're indebted to employ the constructs of the state for the purposes of political change.

anyway i realise i've said this before but i don't think i'm going to change my mind no matter how many dead white philosophers you can fit into your reductive analysis so you can have the last word if you like


anarchist_critic OP wrote

See, that's loading the terms of the argument again. You believe abuse/rape are effects of a particular culture. You treat the culture in behaviorist terms. This is an empirical claim. I don't believe it is a true empirical claim.

needs and safety of the victim against the will of their own victims upholding their position within a scene that they may have used for the purpose of abuse

Again you're hiding your real claim behind rhetoric. What you seem to be claiming, is that open public anarchist spaces which use an anarchist model of social organisation (e.g. an open free festival, an anarchist bookfair, a free concert, a FNB distro), which do not have any kind of policing of who gets to attend, should not be allowed to exist. The reasons for this are that 1. victims should have a veto on the presence of abusers in spaces, and 2. safety is compromised by not having zero tolerance exclusion policies (because the victim's safety is not prioritised and/or because someone might exploit their position in the space to abuse again). I believe this argument is wrong because 1. is creating a relationship of authority in which the victim has authority over the abuser and has authority over other individuals in terms of how they treat the abuser, and 2. is putting security before the existence of open spaces and also exaggerating the real (as opposed to emotional) danger posed by an abuser in public spaces – as well as positing a “responsibility to prevent” which is part and parcel of neoliberal ideology. It's also unclear whether the danger you're referring to is real (i.e. only applies if a perpetrator is likely to attack a victim) or whether it encompasses emotional distress (it is, of course, distressing to run into someone who's mistreated you or you've had a fight with at events... this isn't by any means limited to gendered abuse), and you don't seem to consider how there might be other ways to mitigate danger (if a person is serially dating within a scene then it's quite possible to warn the people concerned... this is not possible if you drive the “abuser” out and they start over somewhere else). I believe there are very good reasons why public anarchist spaces run on public anarchist models should exist, and that neither the nonexistent authority of “victims” (who you're empowering as the spook “victim”, not as real people), nor the equally nonexistent duty to prevent, can trump these reasons. You're killing anarchism in the zeal of your war on rapists, just as neocons kill anarchism in the zeal of their war on terror.

I'd add, there are certainly occasions in the past where I've supported exclusion of unrepentant rapists. And if your ilk had restrained your claims over time to instances of unrepentant perpetrators of serious abuse (such as rape and battery) who refuse all kinds of education, therapy or compensation (indicating some kind of existential commitment to domination), I would probably support you. But this has got so out of control, I now know the rape issue is just a wedge in the door. You have revealed in previous posts that you do not restrict this to unrepentant rapists, you do not restrict it to rape (it could also apply to a single incident of hitting someone, or to other unspecified “abuse”), you also believe it is fair enough to ban someone because they drew a swastika in an artwork even if there was no far-right ideology involved. You haven't explicitly said whether you also believe that people who break the blockade on a particular person by maintaining contact on both sides should also be banned, but this is pretty common practice in this type of anti-abuse extremism. It's also pretty common that it extends to un-PC speech, unintended “microaggressions”, unwanted touching even if it's completely non-sexual, any kind of violence and sometimes even verbal expressions of anger, etc. The culture created by this regulatory, punitive approach to space is so damaging that it's clearly far greater than whatever small benefit supposedly accrues (and as I've said before – this entire fad for purges and horizontal policing does not seem to have done the slightest to reduce instances of rape and abuse among anarchists).

you just don't know what "stigmatisation" really is

“Really is”

Positivist spotted.

if i'm apparently a psychological behaviourist then why do you seem to think i have such an interest in the unconscious mind over externally measurable behaviour? those things would seem to be diametrically opposed?

When did I say you had an interest in the unconscious mind?

You infer unconscious motives in the sense that you permit claims of the kind “Jon hit Becky because of masculinity, even if Jon didn't believe he was doing it because of masculinity”. You root these kinds of claims in concepts of “culture” (e.g. “rape culture”) and “structure” (e.g. “patriarchy is structural”). You thus imply that individuals can act as vectors for forces of which they are unaware.

You don't seem able or willing to tell me what you take the ontological status or operative mechanisms of these “structures” and “cultures” to be.

From studying leading idpol writers such as Judith Butler, and observing how idpols use these words in practice, I've reached the conclusion that idpols treat structures and cultures as clusters of beliefs and behaviors. The beliefs may be preconscious rather than conscious (they are not unconscious in the psychoanalytic sense), for instance threat-perceptions. The behaviors may be habits which are not directly intended. The idpol methodology attempts to apply incentives, deterrents, disruptions, and variations in opportunity-structures so as to coerce or nudge changes in beliefs and behaviors. It is implicitly assumed that such coercion/nudging will change the “culture” and “structure” and thus eliminate the social problem.

This is an absolutely mainstream cognitive-behaviorist way of thinking about “culture” and “structure” which was invented by the Third Way in the 1990s/early 2000s. It is premised on the elimination of the Freudian view of unconscious motives, the Marxian view of material structures, and the Nietzschean view of social control, which were the normal ways of thinking about “culture” and “structure” in radical movements and in academia up to the 1990s. You're using the post-purge behaviorist model of culture and structure which appears to be an unconscious belief in your case. And you can't see its contentiousness and historicity. Nobody thought about either “culture” or “structure” in those terms before the 1990s. You don't realise – and don't want to admit when I call you out on it – that the terms in which you're framing issues are absolutely mainstream. That you're complicit in the erasure of the entire radical heritage underpinning social movements from the 60s to the 90s – including feminist, gay, black, and anti-colonial movements.

And actually, it doesn't explain anything. Because you're effectively saying “men commit rape because they can get away with it”. But, men can also get away with walking through Alaska butt-naked except for a thong, or sitting on their garage roof playing the trombone. It doesn't mean they do it.


anarchist_critic OP wrote

if you don't believe in rape culture then how did hillary clinton successfully defend rapists in court by victim blaming

OK, here's a little primer in epistemology. Observed facts are like stars in the sky. Humans create meaning by joining together stars into constellations. The lines which join the constellations don't really exist, we have to create them to make meaning. The stars could also be arranged in different constellations, even though as observed facts, they're still the exact same stars in the exact same place.

Idpol plugs certain observed facts (“rape is relatively common”, “most rapists are men”, “most rapists are never convicted”, “people don't automatically believe rape survivors”, “lawyers try to get rapists off by saying the victim consented”, “people vote for Trump even though he's a rapist”) and join them together into a constellation. There's a simplistic idpol constellation which joins things in very particular ways. It also joins in the imaginary lines between the stars, which are, “culture and structure are sets of beliefs and behaviors”, “culture and structure can be shifted by tweaking incentives, deterrents and opportunity structures”, “patriarchy is a structure and rape culture is a culture in this particular sense”. Using these lines to join up the facts, you arrive at the “obvious” conclusion that people vote for Trump or lawyers get rapists off because of pervasive beliefs, which are part of patriarchy as a structure, which can be destroyed by altering incentive-structures and opportunity-structures.

But the same stars (facts) can also be joined up by different imaginary lines, sometimes to other stars, sometimes to the same stars in different ways. For instance, one can join together “lawyers try to get rapists off by saying the victim consented” with “lawyers try to get anarchists off riot charges by saying they were just peacefully protesting” or “lawyers try to get murderers off by saying they acted in self-defence”. All a lawyer has to do is to create a sufficiently convincing counternarrative that the judge or jury isn't sure “beyond reasonable doubt” that the person is guilty (they don't have to “sympathise with” or even believe the rapist, they just have to be minimally unsure whether he did it). One can join together “people voted for Trump even though he's a rapist” with “people voted for Trump even though he's not a competent politician” and “people voted for Trump even though he's going to cut their healthcare”. People vote for politicians for stupid reasons. Or take the statement “patriarchy is a structure”. This is more abstract than the others, but in a sense it's an observable fact. But it doesn't have to be joined to the behaviorist/Third Way view of structure. Marxist-feminists believe patriarchy is a system, but it's a system at an economic and socioeconomic level, it's not determined by culture or behavior. For example, the fact that women are paid less and there's no state-provided childcare means that women stay in relationships even if they're abused. No change in beliefs or individual behaviors is going to alter that – only a change in economic system, or at least in government policies. The material difference in economic power causes the cultural difference in status and the direction of abuse. Same stars, different lines.

Actually I wonder how far you'd push the Trump thing. I don't know if you're an “anarchists never vote” type or an “everyone has to vote for Hillary else they're racist” type. If the latter, then what happens if there's a “complex intersectional” situation where a sexual predator with good politics is running against a non-predator whose policies will directly harm women or other oppressed groups So for example, suppose it's 1996 and Bill Clinton's running against George Bush senior. You know Clinton has better politics but you also know he's a sexual predator. Would you actually be prepared to vote for Bush? What if Trump had been assassinated, and Hillary Clinton (who defended rapists in court, is married to and supports the career of a sexual predator, and who you might also have decided by believe-the-victim rules is running a pedo racket) is running against Mike Pence? You know Pence is an utter misogynist but he's probably not a sexual predator because he won't even be alone in a room with a woman (I kid you not). Or, what if it was JFK against Barry Goldwater? It's come out that JFK has “seduced” numerous women, would you be prepared to vote for the guy who's going to nuke Vietnam?

revolutionary action involves combating capitalism directly

Again the trouble is, you're probably not using “combating”, “capitalism”, or “directly” in the sense Bakunin or Malatesta was, or in the sense that I would. I don't believe capitalism is a structure in the sense of beliefs and behaviors. I believe capitalism is a socioeconomic structure in the external sense. We resist this structure to the extent that we disrupt it, and/or live otherwise. It isn't present everywhere and it isn't all-powerful. We fight capitalism by physically defending the ZAD, shutting down the stock exchange, defending squats, occupying factories, reclaiming the streets, providing goods free of charge, seizing land, dumpster diving, pirating software, organising base unions (among other things). I've never seen an idpol fight capitalism (some of them say they do but that's empty rhetoric). But if idpols fight capitalism the way they fight patriarchy and white supremacy, it would look something like this. First one identifies a “capitalist culture” composed of beliefs, assumptions, habits and behaviors which “sustain capitalism”. These might extend from big ones (like running a multinational company) to tiny ones (like buying a loaf of bread). Second one attaches moral opprobrium to these beliefs/behaviors and “calls out” or sanctions people who engage in them. Someone caught buying a loaf of bread gets expelled from the scene because they're importing capitalist culture and therefore are unsafe to be around. One might take a term like “commodity fetishism” and turn it into a swearword. “You just committed Commodity Fetishism by spending money and thus behaving as if money has value and you are therefore complicit in and responsible for all the harms caused by capitalism through history!!!” You'd start identifying the most militant advocates of capitalism – say, ancaps – and trying to shut down their events. You'd dogpile people on Twitter for showing off their wealth. And then you expect that by calling-out enough people, and famous enough people, and doing all this belief/behavior change crap over and over, that the belief in commodities will corrode and suddenly we'll wake up in a non-capitalist society. This is literally how idpols handle patriarchy and white supremacy. Now, I've nothing against people trying to live without money, but I don't think that kind of call-out strategy would bring down capitalism. I expect you can see that it's ridiculous. But if it's ridiculous in the case of capitalism, why isn't it ridiculous in the other cases too?


Dumai wrote (edited )

for somebody who claims not to know the "ontological basis" of my argument you seem to be making a lot of assumptions about what that "ontological basis" is

From studying leading idpol writers such as Judith Butler, and observing how idpols use these words in practice, I've reached the conclusion that idpols treat structures and cultures as clusters of beliefs and behaviors.

hello, i don't know what semiotics is. discourse analysis? what's that? butler believes in "clusters of beliefs and behaviours" that are both unconscious and not really unconscious, rather preconscious, at the same time. oops, i forgot using the word "really" makes you a positivist apparently. anyway, don't expect me to qualify what "beliefs and behaviours" means. just allow me to paint this scholar's entire body of work with this one brush without citing anything. this is how debate works. i am the best anarchist. force? authority? what is the difference?

i mean you don't seem to understand how fucking stupid it is to accuse anybody of psychological behaviourism if you think their beliefs don't work without modelling the unconscious and/or preconscious minds, whether those models are drawn intentionally or not. especially if you're dealing with judith butler, who has written actual books in favour of psychoanalysis that i assume you must be aware of if you're claiming to have read her


anarchist_critic OP wrote

OK then smart-alec, explain to me what the "unconscious" means to you, and what you mean by "structure" (as in "patriarchy is a structure") and "culture" (as in "rape culture exists").

I'm particularly interested in why you think your preferred tactical repertoire (accountability, exclusion, non-tolerance) will have the desired effect on "structure", "culture" and the "unconscious".


anarchist_critic OP wrote

Whatsamatter? Cat got your tongue?

For someone who's so ready to bash other people's points of view, and whine about being misrepresented, you're pretty shy about setting out your own views.