You must log in or register to comment.

[deleted] wrote


ziq wrote (edited )

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


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.