Facing the "anti-civ / post-civ is transphobic" strawman

Submitted by feralive in Anarchism

I think the argument that our rejection of civilization would be terrible for trans people is based in colonial and (ironically) very transphobic attitudes. Indigenous and so-called “primitive” cultures around the world have always had gender-variant people and non-binary gender categories. (I don’t refer to them as trans because they were simply considered to be their gender, without any modifier.) To imply that trans people would suffer without western-style civilization and tech devalues those lived experiences.

Further, the notion that trans people need medicine or surgery to transition or to pass or for whatever reason is very alienating to a lot of trans people.

35

You must log in or register to comment.

kore wrote

initially i think everyone in a neoliberal society is afraid of having their identity + place in it compromised by anarchy... it takes a lot of personal work to understand how trans is a socially constructed category inextricable from the neoliberal concepts of heterosexuality + Gender.

As far as comparison to other conceptions of so-called "gender", I have never read a historical analysis of them like we see for gender in the West, so I have tended to withhold judgement and conclusions about them because i simply don't understand it well enough. I think that the "non-Western-Neoliberal=good" argument is too general.

9

feralive OP wrote

Yes! They work so very hard to establish their identity early in life, and then spend the rest of their life working even harder to fight off anything that would disrupt it by closing their mind and lashing out.

5

PerfectSociety wrote

This is very interesting. Do you have any reading material regarding the experiences of trans people in such cultures around the world?

8

feralive OP wrote (edited )

In pre-industrial cultures? Sure!

Firsthand accounts from European explorers detail not only homosexuality among the Native Americans, but transsexuality, as well. Transsexuals in the Americas were known as "two-spirits," the idea being that they had a spirit within them for each gender. Two-spirits not only faced no discrimination in the New World but were treated with a form of respect that is somewhat rare even today: They were fully considered to be the gender they self-identified as, and not their biological sex. Even spiritual and political leaders could be transgendered, and their people wouldn't bat an eye: Leaders like We'wah, a cultural ambassador to Washington for the Zuni Nation.

https://web.archive.org/web/20130626055424/https://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/article/momentum-mounts-to-again-embrace-two-spirits-35837

http://library.transgenderzone.com/?page_id=1176

http://bilerico.lgbtqnation.com/2008/02/transgender_history_trans_expression_in.php

https://web.archive.org/web/20070127074550/http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/berdache.html

10

PrettyPrincessPoints wrote

there have been eunuchs and men who lived as women and vice versa since before writing existed. it's easy as fuck to cut the testicles off compared to even dental work. frankly this is a better argument for trans existence than the horrible "trans is ok kuz of sigh-antz" (science) "duh psycho-atric community sez we aren't crazy anymore there4 I'm rite ur rong" im sorry that this is problematic to say and I won't make a habit out of it but I seriously am so disturbed by the people who insist that the Mfing AMERICKAN MEDICAL ASSOC (or whatever) is moral authority they would jump to to defend their entire existence. people, just a decade ago they said we were a disease! but I digress...

I am trans and this question has been humming around in my mind for the last two years.

not so much the idea of a "nothing but flowers" vegan anarchist new world but I fear being pogromed or lynched by a violent mob in the case of something like a civil war.

or in the case of a realistic scenario that I would personally hope for, the fall of the government. so I literally somewhat fear a situation that I hope for.

I'm not trying to throw anyone under the bus but I'm seemingly 'tough' and resourceful compared to a lot of my trans family.

I think my people, trans people, and the trans community are being sold and forced into this fake, robotic, toolish, neoliberalism serving stereotype. we are basically portrayed as and subliminally encouraged to be "the ultimate lazy millennial". take that expression and try and see what I'm saying.
we're not fucking fake toolish slaves. I'm less easily 'triggered' than the average person.

I don't know the details yet of the OP drama in question but if there was a fair allocation of resources I would certainly be synthesizing some estrogen (or using the new backyard gene editing tech to make my own estrogen yeast) and teaching others/organizing a 'company' so we could help each other and make large batches.

let's be honest, we all know the government has basically prohibited science. posission of a vacuum distillation setup and some basic reagents of organic chemistry while in the possession of some of my favorite drugs would get me put into prison either as a drug smuggler or a terrorist. without the government and without capitalist exploitation it would probably be easier to get estrogen.

then there is the gardening of milk thistle and that other herb that I can't remember atm.

mainly I think that the essence of the OP post is a sentiment I've wanted to address for so long now. I feel like young trans people are practically being preyed on by what you could call the typical DNC neoliberal mind control system. the rainbow flag sponsored by fucking Toyotiburton and the Clinton campaign.

Im really really sorry if this comes off as like a leftist copypasta. it's not.

idk exactly how to describe how I feel that the community is being sanitized. the life that is portrayed as normal to any kid but especially a trans kid is so far off of what real life is like. I hate how we are encouraged to basically become insular and kind of encouraged to be freaks? freaks who are also fake and psychopathic. I'm not saying it's bad to be a freak but it took me way too long growing up to realize that I'm actually pretty normal and that I deserve to be among the regular people and not just this rose cheeked maiden far far away from the homophobic commoners.

does *anyone * feel me?

I haven't even read the OP post but this is exactly what I've been screaming about in my head as I walk around old riprose city. I'm not a slave. I'm not a tool. and we need to stand up if we can and be strong for our people. because being trans is not about being fake in a different way.

8

Tequila_Wolf wrote

I wish I had more time to contribute to this right now! Thanks for getting a chat started :)

7

Tequila_Wolf wrote

The multigenerational task of destroying the binary would go hand in hand with the coming into being of wholly different relationships to dysphoria, dysphorias which would likely diminish hugely as our ideas of what constitutes either of the binary positions becomes less rigid and particular.

I suspect that unmaking the binary will amount to unmaking dysphoria. People may still have body image issues insofar as any culture values any body shapes, but they no longer need be mediated by ideas of man and woman.

I say this based on my theoretical positions but also in that I have a rumbling underlying dysphoria that weighs down my every day, and doing the work of undoing and attacking my ideas around gender has probably more than anything given me relief.

I think I'm genderfluid in a few ways, one being that my ideas around ontology and metaphysics affect how I locate myself in terms of gender. And so, depending on my metaphysical positions (which are political), I tend to develop and explore certain elements of gender more, and critique and attack others. And so there's a co-constituting relationship between my understanding of how gender works and my gender. Which makes me think I could have been practically binary trans (though genderfluid), if I hadn't come across the various critiques and positions that I had.

So that's a weird thing to think about sometimes.

9

kore wrote

And so there's a co-constituting relationship between my understanding of how gender works and my gender.

aaaand this is how I got into gender nihilism, folks

7

[deleted] wrote

7

feralive OP wrote (edited )

The only difference between this and the way conservatives think is: replace lily white children with trans people.

Who will think of the children trans people???

2

[deleted] 0 wrote

2

feralive OP wrote

You're passive-aggressively implying transhumanists don't appropriate trans lives in order to promote an ideological agenda and attack people / cultures they see as being "primitive" because we don't embrace technological supremacy and the alienating homogenization that comes with it?

You're making a dishonest appeal to emotion by lowkey accusing me and anyone that is critical of civilization of not caring about trans lives.

If you're not a transhumanist like the people I was talking about and if you don't use trans people as pawns to achieve ideological victory - then I don't get why you're being defensive as if I equated you personally with conservatives?

Actually - You're being really defensive whenever I say anything critical of transhumanism while claiming to not be transhumanist, and not to be upset, and I think it's intellectually dishonest because it makes it impossible to engage with someone who won't own their arguments.

−3

[deleted] 0 wrote

2

feralive OP wrote

I wouldn't have to assume if you'd engage honestly rather than flinging snarky putdowns at me every time I speak - which are clearly designed to mock me and inflict emotional damage.

−1

[deleted] 0 wrote

3

feralive OP wrote

I wouldn't be an anarchist if I weren't sensitive - and that sensitivity is what allows me to see right through you.

−1

[deleted] 0 wrote

1

feralive OP wrote (edited )

Your only purpose in this thread was to dismiss anti-civs as "fuckboys" who are "appropriating tribal masculinity" (anticiv isn't a tribe and I'm sure as hell not masculine) and backhandedly accuse me of not caring about trans lives because I stated that transhumanists often appropriate the trans struggle as a weapon to attack anti-civs.

You're not the eloquent master-debater you imagine, in fact you're the embodiment of the strawman-dissemination the title of this post refers to. And your refusal to own your deliberately non-committal passive-aggressive arguments makes it even more frustrating.

0

I_Knot_Pork wrote

Okay, so I've neither an extensive education in gender theory or anti/post-civ/anprim theory, but can someone give me a good reason that the idea of a world bereft of the medical technology that we have today would be (overwhelmingly) positive? I need glass/plastics/metallurgy/surgical technology so I can see. While it's not an equivalent to gender, it sure as hell affects my day to day life, and this is a totally subjective experience( as in, varying levels of vision needed for different labor roles and proclivities). I might not need optimal vision, but I'm blind as hell without glasses/contacts/corrective surgery. It's easy to say that I would just be another person in my community, but having the technology that enables me to interact with all of you here over the internet enhances (and enriches) my life. Why is a post-civilization society without all these things any better? I think there's a delineation between criticism of civilization and its products; though Dick Cheney exists without a heartbeat( through an artificial heart), it also enables people with genuine value to society to live with that technology. Yes, saying anti-civ ideas are transphobic is genuinely reductive to those ideas, but in a wider context, the toothpaste is out of the tube. While many primitive societies were egalitarian, they also had people with low vision, they had deaf people, they had people with developmental or genetic differences that seriously disabled them in the context of that society. Is that primitive society somehow better without aids to those people? Does being born atypical to everyone else in those societies somehow lead to a typical outcome?

6

feralive OP wrote

can someone give me a good reason that the idea of a world bereft of the medical technology that we have today would be (overwhelmingly) positive?

Anti and post-civ theorists don't really make that claim so I'm not sure how to engage you here. Anarcho-primitivists might to a certain extent, but I'm not an anarcho-primitivist so I'm not the best person to present their arguments.

While many primitive societies were egalitarian, they also had people with low vision, they had deaf people, they had people with developmental or genetic differences that seriously disabled them in the context of that society. Is that primitive society somehow better without aids to those people? Does being born atypical to everyone else in those societies somehow lead to a typical outcome?

I'd argue that being disabled in an egalitarian society that actually takes care of its members and doesn't view them as a burden would be a much better experience than being disabled in our isolating authoritarian industrial society ("civilization"), where everyone is measured by their ability to earn money, yes.

4

this_one wrote

I'd argue that being disabled in an egalitarian society that actually takes care of its members and doesn't view them as a burden would be a much better experience than being disabled in our isolating authoritarian industrial society ("civilization"), where everyone is measured by their ability to earn money, yes.

Surely those are not the only two exact possibilities, though? For example, what if you could be blind, but with glasses in an egalitarian society that actually takes care of its members and doesn't view them as a burden. Isn't that better than being blind with glasses in our isolating authoritarian industrial society where everyone is measured by their ability to earn money?

I know your first answer said you're not into 'un-inventing' glasses or whatever, but I think your answer to I_Knot_Pork's second question (at least, in the way I'm reading it) is kind of ignoring what you said in that first answer.

3

feralive OP wrote

Since I'm anti-civ, I see civilization as being inherently violent, structural, totalitarian, alienating and hierarchy-forming - so an egalitarian industrial civilization isn't something I take seriously as a real possibility.

But the question was whether pre-industrial people were better off than industrial people - which they clearly were - since their environment wasn't on the verge of annihilation.

It's not a conflict to my mind - because being anti-civ in this dying world isn't the same as being a "primitive" person in the pre-industrial past. I can talk about (pre) history without confusing it for our current situation - a situation for which I would prescribe anti-civ theory - not primitivism.

I also know most sicknesses like myopia are caused by civilization - so trying to argue that we need more civilization to cure the very ills that civilization itself causes isn't something I can wrap my brain around.

2

this_one wrote

I'm sorry, it might be partly that I'm in a bit of a bad mood or something for whatever reason, but I don't know how to read that last paragraph except as:

most of the time, civilisation causes these problems, so I can ignore them, even though they'd still sometimes come up, and even though the specific example was just that - an example.

Unless by "most sicknesses like myopia are caused by civilisation" you mean "most sicknesses that civilisation has answers for" or even "most sicknesses", but I feel like if you're going to make one of those claims, you're probably going to want to back it up.

I also have a question which is probably born of both me misunderstanding and you not communicating perfectly (which, to be fair, can't be expected from anyone :P). If something like glasses is "civilisation" (as your last paragraph says), it seems like that label should extend to other parts of medical technology. If that's true, why aren't you against medical technology (which you said a couple comments up the chain)?

3

ziq wrote

Most of the people claiming that any critique of civilization is transphobic are cis af tech-fetishists who are weaponizing transness to attack their opponents.

5

[deleted] 0 wrote

7

[deleted] wrote

11

[deleted] 0 wrote

7

Tequila_Wolf wrote

I'm glad we don't have those people where I am. I feel like I get to build anti-civ anarchy from scratch here. Which has its own problems.

7

[deleted] wrote

5

PrettyPrincessPoints wrote

hahaha Larping is such a perfect description of people who don't free their mind but fetishize living free.

1

feralive OP wrote

Same thing can be said for the "public face" of transhumanism. Detached, lonely white boys that want to take fucking their computers to the next level (and worse, want the computers to run everyone's lives). These people aren't actually critiquing anything, they're political roleplayers that only exist in the virtual world. Anarchism is just a useful label to manifest their sexual fantasies.

4

[deleted] 0 wrote

5

feralive OP wrote

I'm saying that anticiv has a gender problem

In what way? Because some of the people identifying as anticiv are ignorant assholes? A certain proportion of any population (most usually the majority, I'd say) are ignorant assholes. That's like hating all socialists because of Stalinists.

1

kore wrote

it also asks you to deconstruct your wants

5

feralive OP wrote

What exactly is your issue with anticiv critiques of civilization? How do anticivs pose a threat to trans women by critiquing some of the constructs that help create gender dysphoria and facilitate violent oppression of non-conformative outgroups?

I want to understand where you're coming from so I can address your concerns more directly.

4

[deleted] 0 wrote

7

feralive OP wrote (edited )

how I as an individual would go about pursuing that

What answers are you getting from transhumanism that you feel anticiv doesn't address?

it just waffles around the idea of gender without actually addressing what that deconstruction would look like

Do you mean Baedan? I have a completely different interpretation after reading it. I found it to be freeing.

"yeah you're fucked but the people of the future will thank you"

But transhumanism asks you to wait for the future - for future theoretical technologies, in order to achieve your liberation. Anticiv / gender nihilist theory is mainly focused on the here and now, on freeing your mind from domestication. It's the last politic that would ask you to suffer in silence and wait for the future generations to be liberated. It's about creating a living anarchy, both within yourself and externally to your wider environment.

1

[deleted] 0 wrote

4

feralive OP wrote

I didn't see those comments yet because I was replying to this one. Chill.

0

[deleted] 0 wrote

−3

crabbity wrote

"For the umpteenth fucking time. I'm. Not. A. Transhumanist."

Of course. You sound very reasonable and calm.

−4

GaldraChevaliere wrote

You sound very reasonable and not at all like a weasel who thinks arguments are won by pissing off your opposition.

5

feralive OP wrote

Reason is an invention of the patriarchy.

−1

[deleted] 0 wrote

1

Tequila_Wolf wrote

Baedan is four journals so far I think. It also draws from some good stuff.

4

[deleted] wrote

5

[deleted] 0 wrote

6

feralive OP wrote (edited )

Anticiv doesn't try to prophesize the future though - I actually think transhumanism does that more than any politic.. Making promises for a glorious future in the cloud the way Christians promise a heavenly afterlife to anyone who signs up.

Fantastic prophecies of world peace under cybernated systems are just empty promises that lead to burn out. With anticiv there's no promised end goal, just a call for analysis and awareness and deconstruction. This is what anarchism is - a permanent war with our minds and the domination placed on them by external and internal forces.

10

[deleted] wrote (edited )

5

feralive OP wrote (edited )

I'm sorry but I have to disagree with you, as I feel you're misrepresenting what transhumanism is.

Being transgender isn't the same as transhumanism - and that's actually the fallacious argument that creates the "anticiv is transphobic" slander because it allows the cult to present any argument against civilization as an argument against being trans.

Transhumanism ultimately isn’t about augmenting humanity - That's just entry level - The literature overwhelmingly promotes creating a new species that transcends humanity - in order to replace it. Discarding our humanity in favor of digital immortality has nothing to do with being trans.

We don't need transhumanism to tell us to alter our bodies, we've been doing it forever and transhumanism can't claim ownership over body modification. Anticivs are fully in support of body modification and most primitive tribes practiced it long before civilization existed.

3

[deleted] wrote (edited )

3

feralive OP wrote (edited )

All of them - It's a basic tenant of their ideology - It's even spelled out multiple times in their manifesto:

Transhumanists hope that by responsible use of science, technology, and other rational means we shall eventually manage to become posthuman, beings with vastly greater capacities than present human beings have.

They always refute any concerns about the inevitable hierarchy that post-humans will bring simply by insisting "this time it'll be different because we're anarchists", which is an incredible lapse in logic which assumes they'll somehow control the progression of planet-altering technology:

The anxiety about tyranny and domination of the post/transhuman over the human is grounded in a perception of life and society in terms of power, dominance, and hierarchical relations, which is exactly what Anarchism wants to abolish.

So "tyranny and hierarchy won't be a problem because we like anarchism, we swear, even though we don't make up even 1% of the transhumanist movement".

You can't honestly expect to abolish the system's violence by advocating for tools that would give the system even more power to do violence.

the question is whether anticiv people support drugs & surgeries or not.

Anticivs are anarchists so we don't tell people what to do with their bodies or make up moral rules for what is and isn't kosher. Anarcho-Transhumanism isn't about subverting gender - it's about subverting life itself - that's where it shows how incompatible it is with anarchism. Wanting to live forever because you fear death - that is a profoundly destructive basis for a political movement in a world that's dying because of the staggering destruction civilized humans do.

The convergence of Anarchism and Socialism with Cosmism and Futurism that took place in the years leading up to the Russian Revolution remains a profound source of inspiration for the modern movements combining Anarchism and Transhumanism. [...] The radical extension of human life, the conquest of immortality through scientific means, the merging of human and machine.

1

[deleted] wrote

0

feralive OP wrote

"Life itself" is nature fallacy bullshit. Spooky af. Death to Nature!

If replacing life with silicon and circuits is nature fallacy bullshit, then I have no qualms accepting that label and will wear it proudly. We've replaced much of the life that was on the planet with our petrochemical-machinations already, and being cognizant to the dangers of further environmental destruction in the name of human "progress" isn't something to shame, imo.

is literally the entire anarchist project

I disagree. Anarchists will always fail when appropriating inherently hierarchical tools and institutions and attempting to "de-hierarchy" them.

I don't see anything fantastical in what you just quoted

"Posthumans could be completely synthetic artificial intelligences, or a symbiosis of human and artificial intelligence, or uploaded consciousnesses, or the result of making many smaller but cumulatively profound technological augmentations to a biological human, i.e. a cyborg. Some examples of the latter are redesigning the human organism using advanced nanotechnology or radical enhancement using some combination of technologies such as genetic engineering, psychopharmacology, life extension therapies, neural interfaces, advanced information management tools, memory enhancing drugs, wearable or implanted computers, and cognitive techniques."

Fantastical or not, this is not a world I want to live in. I feel enough alienation as it is.

2

PrettyPrincessPoints wrote

transhumanism does that more than any politic.. Making promises for a glorious future the way Christians promise a heavenly afterlife

I agree with this so much. transhumanism seems to be such science fiction. if a small amount of people want to change their body then they will but there's no reason to think a ton of people are going to do it in a wave as though buying an iphone

3

feralive OP wrote

The main issue I have with it is it makes false promises by claiming everyone in the world will have free and equal access to technology and that somehow no hierarchy will be created between the people who "choose" to augment / genetically engineer themselves / their children and the people who don't "choose" to.

It ignores the undeniable fact that resources are limited and rapidly declining - That it would require immense energy to keep people alive in the cloud forever.

Post-scarcity is industrialist propaganda - a dangerous lie that we can just consume as much as we want forever and everything will be fine as long as we say we're left-wing.

And it likewise ignores the glaring reality that creating a "superior" race of humans that live forever and have incredible abilities won't create a brutal hierarchy.

2

RedEmmaSpeaks wrote

It's why I like the ideas behind Solarpunk so much better. Too often we wind up in debates about technology, and it always seems to get reduced to a simplistic dichotomy where we can either have our amazing tech and all it brings or go back to living like caveman. The idea is ludicrous on the surface. It assumes that we have an all-or-nothing choice in all this.

But there is no reason it has to be like that, no reason we can't take the old and marry it with the new. Hold onto what works, but jettison what doesn't. Clinging to traditions without thought is stupid, but completely throwing all ideas out the window without bothering to study them is stupid as well.

For example, when it comes to medicine, we can hold onto what we've learned regarding germ theory and antibiotics, but try to figure out how to implement them in a way that demands fewer nonrenewable resources. Germ theory is easy enough; just wash your hands frequently and throw your tools into boiling hot water.

So much of our problems and our discussions center around how we can't have that or we must have that, but that's sloppy thinking. A smarter approach would be, "Okay, how can we use this more efficiently?" Like rather than constantly produce new gadgets, we can accept that we've produced a shitton of them and rather than do all the work involved to make more slightly upgraded models, why not cannibalize old versions for parts, see if we can figure out how to make it work for a newer model?

3

GaldraChevaliere wrote

I have that same feeling about transhumanism. Those technologies existing have no assurance of actually being available to me or any other poor as shit trans woman. I'm not going to put my faith in something that will potentially ruin everything for everyone but a select few elite if I'm not even sure to get something out of the bargain.

6