Submitted by nbdy in AskRaddle (edited )

After reading Settlers on the Red Road I had a conversation with someone close to me about heritage and family history. They expressed a strong sense of connection to their lineage while I have almost no interest in my own. Which of course got me thinking about anarchist relations to family. I think it would be easy to quickly dismiss family as the ultimate spook and be done with it, but some people clearly see some (or quite often an immense) value in the stories, relations, and histories of the people of their blood who came before.
So raddle, how do you relate to your family's history?

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Ennui wrote

I had parents—never a family. There is no history. Just shared dna.

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groovygardener42069 wrote

Only in the sense of knowing that my parents' various addictions are ingrained in my own neural pathways to some extent, and using that as part of my navigation kit for the world around me

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lautreamont wrote (edited )

Family history is interconnected with history, for the better or worse. To be alienating ourselves completely from it seems to me like rather obtuse at best just the byproduct of a society of uprooted people in constant mobility.

To be glorifying the stupidity of lineage and family "coz you gotta" is one thing, but to avoid looking at where you're from is another.

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metocin wrote

I agree, I think it's interesting to know where you came from. I have always had an interest in history so genealogy followed from that. I don't even know or care about most of my extended family though, it's more so just a way for me to understand how I got here I guess.

As a settler from two pretty poor families in a rural area, there is very little oral or even written history about where our families came from, how they spread and survived here, etc. I am jealous of people from cultures with a strong oral history, and knowledge of their ancestors and their migration patterns and such. I think that the way one's self-image is affected by this is immense. As in, look at the way so many whites in the New World have a complete crisis of identity and look for self-identification in all sorts of subcultures and movements.

The proverb "Blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb" echoes the sentiments in this thread nicely.

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Tequila_Wolf wrote (edited )

For me, my kin are those I am in affinity with and those I take responsibility for, and they exist through all history; the anarchists, the zeks, and those I come to love despite our differences. Close biological relations means nothing, and really it's very off-putting to me when people value that in itself.
(Its one reason I generally find it terrible when people don't adopt and rather birth a child if they realistically have the option)

But my genetic heritage and the history of those people are essential context for my appropriately responding to my positionality, so I think it's very useful to learn whatever I can there.

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moonlune wrote (edited )

I'm from an ethnic minority so our family has always been very important in our culture. Our branch is mixed-blooded and mostly white by now thought (my grandma married a white man, my father & his siblings got taught both cultures but ended up marrying out again). My cousins and I still have very strong family bonds with each other, which is imo a remanent of our family history. (that and a few words & expressions, are the only things left thought lol).

I consider myself white.

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Bezotcovschina wrote (edited )

Honestly, somewhat important. I'm of a native siberian descent and my family tracks their ancestry to a mildly famous and important person for our people. It's silly, I know, and I'm trying to distant myself from this, but still, it's there

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lautreamont wrote

Who dat?

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Bezotcovschina wrote (edited )

Nothing big, just some native dude from XIX century who become relatively famous ethnologist. "Our first scientist". Told you, it's silly.

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ruin wrote

Not at all. My partner and our kids are the only family I have and genealogy and family history is of zero interest to me.

To be fair, my extended family has been dispersed so far afield for generations that there’s I can’t imagined much shared value to speak of at this point. Add to the fact that I’ve made long distance moves upwards of 30 times in my life and we’re full on nomad status at this point.

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lastfutures wrote

Not important at all. I've been on the abolish family shit since 10 years old so I've never even thought about it.

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Highway wrote

This is in tension with any sort of anticiv or indigenous anarchist way of organising, which has always required strong kin/tribal structures.

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lastfutures wrote

I mean nuclear family. I didn't grow up in a tribe.

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Highway wrote

I've never heard someone talk about the heritage of just a nuclear family.

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lastfutures wrote

Well if you are raised in a miserable nuclear family you hate, and only see extended family once or twice a year, I don't know why you'd give a fuck about heritage. Has nothing in common with band society or whatever.

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metocin wrote

Tribe doesn't have to mean blood relations. Tribes could just be likeminded people with a nonpermanent agreement to protect and provide for each other.

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nbdy OP wrote

I had that moment quite young also!

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Syzygy wrote

Not very. I've asked my mother about what she knows and have some knowledge about what led to the place I was born, where others came from etc. but I don't really feel any connection with those places or people (living or deceased). It's just an amusing story I was told once and that will conclude with me.

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Quicksilver wrote

While I do appreciate and like learning about my family history, it's not something I put a lot of stock in. I feel close to my immediate family (siblings, parents, grandparents), but not so much my extended, either due to them being a continent away most of my life (dad's side) or there being some family drama and them cutting us out a lot (mom's side). And I understand that what's more important is those I've developed close relationships with irrespective of blood.

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_caspar_ wrote

my sister and I are the only ones of any blood relations (I know of) that share similar sensibilities about the world. my grandfather seemed to take a slightly deeper interest in why the world is what it is. he died when I was young, so I can only hazard a guess as to how he might answer my questions.

when I was younger, I traveled to germany where some distant family still lives to meet them and make sense of the place back when these questions of lineage interested me in a much different way. I found pleasant and welcoming strangers, but would they have been had I a different name? the experience made me wonder what life wouldve been like had my ancestors stayed in the same small town like theirs had, and how I would view family differently had I a large number of blood relatives around me growing up with many to potentially learn interesting ideas and skills, or learn to despise and want to flee from.

Ive experienced this with past partners and friends: many generations in small-ish towns, most having spent their whole lives there, but I was always on the outside looking in for a short while. I can see the benefits and drawbacks, but of course it all depends on who those people are, and how they understand themselves and the world. its a roll of the dice where and with whom Ive been thrown into life, and the only way Ill ever know anything different is to seek time spent with those also looking for something else, and willing to share experiences for however long they last.

it is strange that I live in a context in which I can relate more with, and have more detailed access to, the stories of people in far flung places and distant times much more so than the lives of even fairly close blood relatives who lived nearby. if all I can ever know of people who have lived (if Ive not spent face to face time with them) is their stories, then I have the choice of seeking and appreciating stories of other folks whom I can potentially learn much more from than say great grandparents who all anyone really knows is they lived on a ranch, had 9 kids who also ranched, and so on. I think place is important and greatly changes the understanding, so perhaps seeking out stories of those who lived nearby where Ive spent time is worthwhile.

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aaaaargZombies wrote

I haven't read the linked text but it looks really interesting, perhaps I'll come back and update my thoughts if I get a chance to read it properly.

My grandad was a german jewish refugee, this isn't really something that I lean into, I don't like the idea of making statements as a jewish person. But, it has had huge impact on my view of the world. Particularly with relation to Nationalism / Israel / Indigeneity / Whiteness / identity politics. Perhaps the way I feel is better understood, not as my personal identity, but the available context with which I have to make sense of the world.

It's interesting that you bring up the notion of spooks as being counterposed to valuing family history. For me, the experience of feeling both white and jewish and also not white and not jewish meant that when I encountered Stirner's ideas it felt not like they were revealing some hidden truth but articulating something that had been obvious my whole life.

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Basil wrote

I think that it's interesting to know and in some cases could be useful medically in that people from certain areas are more vulnerable to certain things, but I don't attach any importance to it. If it's a good story it's a good story, but it doesn't really change if the characters are people I'm not related to.

The only thing in my family history I'm even kinda proud of is that my Grandfather fought against the Nazis, but his accomplishments aren't mine so it's not that important to me.

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