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hasbrochem wrote

These are thoughts from a former “Relationship Anarchist” (and political anarchist) towards a conversation concerning a communist retrospective

not a good start as those who are "former anarchists" tend to think they can give a more valid criticism since they "used to be one"

Relationship anarchists share values with communist goals and communists in general

well no shit, ever hear of anarcho-communists? fucking marxists thinking they invented communism and own the label and strain of thought. speaking of lacking perspective...

As communists, we want better intuitions about how the world works

implying that anarchists do not, due to how the rest of the paragraph is framed (this is just one of the first paragraph, this is going to be fun--by fun I mean painful)

Those of us who practice non-monogamy frequently hear stories of the rhetoric of relationship anarchism and polyamory used to justify abuse, gaslighting, or evasion of interpersonal responsibilities

thank god marx that only those who are truly "communists" have ever claimed that label before, otherwise, you know, this same thing can be said of marxists. holy shit this is just fucking polemics.

What would it really mean to make revolutionary struggle the goal of a personal relationship? Not just to assert or believe this, but to truly ground one’s practices in this goal and make it a driving force? Not to reduce oneself to a liberal lifestyle-ism, but to let this goal change your life and relationship to the world?

and there it is, the "anarchism == liberalism"

Nope, I'm done. I'm not wasting my time on this kind of shit. There are valid criticisms of those that mask their abuse in the cloak of any kind of leftist thought/ideology. This doesn't appear to be one of them sadly (maybe it gets better later, I'm just not willing to wade through the shit to get to it).


ziq wrote (edited )

Damn I'm sick of smug workerists. Thx 4 reading it so I don't have to.


hasbrochem wrote

exactly, I was really disappointed too as I was hoping for something at least interesting


celebratedrecluse wrote

Interesting article. Others have already raised the fundamental critiques I have of it & the author's positionality, so here are some of my favorite parts, the ones that I think are most thought-provoking & useful:

How do we pedagogically orient ourselves towards struggles of the future? What kinds of bonds between comrades best sustain our political engagement? RA is unfit to even ask any of these questions. Indeed, while I have found RA principles tactically useful in navigating interpersonal conflict and maintaining consensual conversations about individual relationships, I have found it to be totally lacking in strategic resources about more profound change, particularly in thinking about domestic arrangements and cohabitation, group living and sharing of economic resources, child rearing and pedagogy, issues that strike me as central to a sustained proletarian movement.

Consider a relationship with someone who is impoverished, and who is socially isolated. This person could be queer or trans and cut off from familial systems of support. Lacking such support and networks of concern, this person will have tremendous needs and yet a very narrow venue for meeting those needs. According to RA, I can still ethically maintain this relationship by establishing emotional boundaries and being explicit about my own needs and the limits of my abilities to care for that person. But this quickly becomes impossible.

Hegemonic monogamy fails because it constrains support, care, emotional labor, and reproductive labor (including domestic labor, housework, cleaning, and sexual labor) to a single relationship. This requires an overwhelming level of accountability to a single person’s needs. Relationship anarchy similarly fails because it does not attend to the need of the individual for a community, a distributed network of support. No one can be everything to someone else.

I'd like to add to this last point that while Relationship anarchists might argue that each connection that an individual has is just part of their broader network, this doesn't address two things. First, relationship anarchism usually results in an uneven distribution of love/care/affection between the network, with certain nodes being saturated with social energy and others being deprived. Such is the nature of non-monogamy, there is greater freedom than monogamy, but this doesn't solve the problems of alienation which are borne from the structure. So some of the nodes are going to be unsatisfied with the arrangement, even if they dont vocalize that.

Second, relationship anarchism is basically being conceptualized as a series of individual connections, which is why it doesnt have a discourse about the fundamental human need for more than just one-on-one sociality. This is important, beause when relationships are all isolated from each other, there is a very real potential for abuse to develop more quickly than if there is a functioning multipolar community where the members are open about their relationships and are attentive to watch out for signs of abuse.

Of course, just because someone is part of a community, doesnt mean that community wont hurt them. However, I think it is a very helpful, maybe even necessary thing to have such community structures as a support to the pursuit of non-hierarchical relationships between individuals. I do not think one can exist without relying in part on the other.

I will say that this tankie is on one though, their prose is very condescending and relies on a lot of platitudes. They need a better editor...maybe then they would have been able to communicate better, in a way that self-identified anarchists would actually respond well to.