Obscure Political Discourse

Submitted by A_Lane in Anarchism

The success of the Situationist International in their partial orchestration of the events in France in May of 1968 was a historical anomaly. Because Intelligence specializes in cryptography, there is no reason for an Anarchist to attempt to outclass them in their forte, being recondite information. The usage of obscure political discourse indicates at best that a person has a losing political strategy and at worst that they just simply can not be trusted. As Anarchism is an attempt to bring about utopian society, Anarchists can generally be considered to be trustworthy. A person has nothing to hide while advancing the cause of Anarchism. It is best to be clear when making a political argument. If a person is incapable of being clear, then, they must not really know what it is that they are on about. While revolutionary idiosyncrasies can be quite charming, there is no reason to celebrate indiscretion. If a person has a good political argument to make, then, they ought to be clear and understandable to nearly everyone.

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dice wrote

If a person is incapable of being clear, then, they must not really know what it is that they are on about.

i've always disliked this statement. i value clarity and shared understanding too, but sometimes our environments shape the way we think, the way we understand certain words and concepts, etc. within any one language, there are multiple ways of concept building. e.g. people can understand a concept using academic language and then be confronted with the need to translate it into other words. just because they cannot do so quickly does not mean they are a fraud or whatever. (not to say that academic posturing doesn't exist, because it does obviously.) just... yeah. i guess it bugs me more as someone with social anxiety that uses more obscure words/concepts internally to understand things. i can't just rephrase things on the fly

bit of a tangent, but that's bugged me for a while

i pretty much agree with your take, OP. whether proselytizing should be a priority is another argument, though! renzo novatore comes to mind as someone who might find your post silly

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A_Lane OP wrote

I have trouble communicating as well and so it is a bit strange for me to make such an argument. I like a lot of what comes out of academia, and, don't really have any prejudice against florid speech. I just think that it's a losing strategy. I guess to convince another to one's point isn't the sole reason for having a discussion. I'll have to read some of Novatore's work. I've heard of the concept of the creative nothing, but, have only discovered Novatore as of just now.

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dice wrote (edited )

yeah you're definitely not wrong in asserting "trying to convince people of something in a language they don't understand is not going to work." but yeah, more questions arise from there. should i be trying to convince people to do anarchy? if so, how? with words? action? prefiguration? if not, where is my energy better spent?

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A_Lane OP wrote

The dissemination of information through speech and writing is kind of boring, but, I think that it is ultimately more effective than most Anarchists give it credit for. Actions propel situations and so can be seen as being more effective, but, I see no real reason to be fixated upon action. I like prefigurative politics, but, wonder if they assume that revolution is inevitible which I don't necessarily agree with.

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dice wrote

dont skip over considering if proselytizing in any form is not worth your energy! desiring and seeking freedom does not necessarily entail spreading the good word

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A_Lane OP wrote

I don't know that I would agree. Without some sort of statement as to what they are for, I think that a lot of acts could come off as being what can be described as being nihilistic. I'm not sure that pure action will effect positive change as the many janissaries of the fabled propaganda of the deed believe it will.

Liberation should, of course, not be missionary work, but, I do think that the rather prosaic advocation of the philosophy of Anarchism does more good than a lot of Anarchists give it credit for.

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dice wrote

you're in for a treat. check him out on the anarchist library. there's some good old discussion about his work here on raddle that i've stumbled across before... no time to search right now but shouldn't be hard to find with the blessed new search feature

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A_Lane OP wrote

The Anarchist Library is down or something. I can't get on it at least. I will check him out eventually, though.

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Tequila_Wolf wrote

A person has nothing to hide while advancing the cause of Anarchism.

Well, turns out a handful of anarchists are chilled with pedophilia, so I'm skeptical of that.

That aside, anarchists are killed and tortured for being anarchists often, so there is a lot of reason to be careful about how you present yourself.

It is best to be clear when making a political argument.

I think this is incredibly hard if your anarchism is based in a metaphysics of difference, or accounts for unconscious drives. Trying to make something clear without the prerequisite perspectival shift is tough, and in my experience, there's a huge perspectival shift that comes with anarchism. In the beginning (like many of us) I listened to people like Chomsky make clear kinds of arguments and say straightforward things. Understanding Deleuze took months and years of piecing things together because it is in a sense unclear.

Finally, a point on irony. There are good uses for irony; those statements that have an ostensible meaning but come with reason for you to not accept that meaning. Where this irony sets you in motion to seek out the 'real meaning' of the statement, you are given the opportunity to arrive at new information on your own, instead of simply being given the information, which you may not have been ready for that way.

And fiction, and literary/dramatic techniques in general. They are forms that make up the content of any work.

Theatre of the oppressed, for example, just gives you a bunch of scenarios to act out, then asks you to piece together its meaning, from the positionalities you've been asked to act out. This is a really great way of expressing ideas across in a non-authoritarian way - simply allowing a person to arrive at whatever conclusion they arrive at.

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A_Lane OP wrote

I meant that the political position ought to be fairly cogent as it appeals to more or less everyone and not that Anarchists are somehow absolved of being able to be considered disreputable.

I rather enjoy the quest of discovering what theory reveals about the world. I'm not a philistine. I just wonder if the praxis of semiotext(e) and the like isn't self-defeating.

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Splinglebot wrote

If a person is incapable of being clear, then, they must not really know what it is that they are on about.

As someone on the autistic spectrum I can assure you that this is not the case. I frequently find myself unable to articulate things that I otherwise had a decent understanding of, or at least unable to immediately. I can usually be clear but it often takes a while for me to do so

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A_Lane OP wrote (edited )

I didn't really mean that in that sense. I hope that this isn't marginalizing. I moreso meant that I think that a lot of philosophy is fairly opaque because of the plain, pure, and, simple fact that a lot of philosophers just simply don't really have clear axioms with which the wage their arguments.

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tpedes wrote

Because Intelligence specializes in cryptography, there is no reason for an Anarchist to attempt to outclass them in their forte, being recondite information.

This really is a non sequitur. Cryptography and unclear, jargon-filled writing are two different things.

I'm not sure why you're writing this. Are you trying to have a conversation, or are you trying to draft a communique? If it's the first of those, then you may want to do a whole lot less of telling anarchists what they "should" do.

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A_Lane OP wrote

My point is that they do understand the jargon. I just don't think that it gets lost on them.

I am just trying to have a conversation. I did present an argument, but, I don't think that I've been domineering. I haven't meant to be at least and do apologize if this comes off that way.

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Factualist wrote

Everyone has different definitions of what's clear and understandable though. Words that some people might not know, through no fault of their own, make it much easier to explain complex concepts and ideas that would otherwise be cumbersome to elucidate. You can make the argument that there's no reason to use words like "elucidate" and that's perhaps true but at the same time that's just how I talk and I can't really control that without actively trying to. I mean I recognize that, at least in part, my education plays a huge role in how I understand the world and communicate with others and the quality of that education comes from the (moderately) privileged upbringing that I had.

That being said, I don't think I'm being elitist when I object to the notion that you don't know what you're talking about if you can't be "clear" because that's entirely subjective. It's impossible to be "clear" to everyone because that means different things to different people and every individual has a different understanding of the world based on their unique experiences.

While I think it's important to try and reach the widest audience possible, I don't think that should necessarily be the primary focus in discourse. In my opinion, it's more important to be precise and descriptive.

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A_Lane OP wrote

I suppose that that's a better way of putting it. I don't know if I really agree with what I stated, I'm moreso trying to get at something that's been bothering me about academia for a while. I don't understand why academics don't learn to speak in a language that people will understand. I don't want to come off as being anti-intellectual; I just wonder if there really are concepts that couldn't be explained in such a manner that nearly everyone would understand them. I wonder if a lot of academia is just simply arcane so that, wittingly or not, a status quo can be maintained. I don't think that it'd be reasonable to demand that all speech or writing be presented in such a manner to where it could be understood by any person who is capable of reading a newspaper, but, I do kind of suspect that the preponderate usage of esoteric language has something to do with the more totalitarian aspects of Empire.

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Factualist wrote

I actually understand where your coming from, because I legitimately do speak completely differently around my friends from college who I mostly know through doing drugs and partying than I do around my newer friends who I met in places like bookstores and obscure internet forums, but I never really talked much about politics or philosophy with the former group of people. We just got high and talked about very superficial shit, they were all at least radlibs so we could just have conversations like "Trump is bad, that's my take" and "You should probably not say ableist slurs or call things gay even though everyone does".

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A_Lane OP wrote

I kind of miss the friends that I had in college before I became an Anarchist. I feel like I could still hold a decent conversation with them even though we don't really share the same interests anymore.

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rot wrote

I agree in a general sense. being overly academic cant help but hurt the cause, don't really see this from anarchists much. more of an issue with marxists and other leftists with an academic background.

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A_Lane OP wrote (edited )

I guess that that is the case. A lot of the writings on Communization, which I rather like, are fairly opaque, but, Endnotes, who is relatively clear, is the only one of those parties who I can think of that is associated with Anarchism.

I wonder why that is. I feel like it stems from the Situationist International, but, SI seems to also have been satirizing that sort of thing.

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