Sep 8, 2015

Things That Anarchists Say to Me in Private But Never Repeat Publicly

By Anonymous Anarchist / anarchistnews.org
Things That Anarchists Say to Me in Private But Never Repeat Publicly

1) “Call-out culture was developed to allow activist groups to confront leaders who abused their privilege, but now it is being used to settle petty scores on the level of interpersonal politics. I now have a hard time believing some people when they make call-outs because I have seen too many that were based on nothing. Call-outs have become a way to acceptably inflict social violence and rarely are followed up in any way resembling transformative justice because people are not interested in doing the hard work of working with those who are called out.”

2) “As a white person, if I don't automatically agree with whichever person of color is directly in front of me, I run the risk of being labelled a racist. This is a result of good intentions where we want to center people of color and their experiences, but it makes no sense because people of color are not a monolithic block who all agree or share the same experiences. I am basically forced to perform a kind of double-think where I am expected to be able to agree with multiple conflicting viewpoints at the same time – or at least pretend to.”

3) “The line, 'it's not my responsibility to educate you, educate yourself' is being used too frequently. People should only say this when it would be seriously difficult to help educate someone. Otherwise as an anarchist it is your responsibility to help educate people who want to learn, or to help find someone who is willing to do it. Furthermore, refusing to explain yourself contributes to a form of classism in which people with less formal education and access to information are marginalized within anarchist communities. As well, this line assumes that there are 'correct' resources to be reading that are available, and that the person in question will be able to find them among thousands of conflicting resources.”

4) “Excluding straight/cis/male people makes sense in queer/trans/women's spaces, but often these people are informally excluded in anarchist spaces that are not any of these things. This hurts our ability to cultivate meaningful popular social power. It's also related to a dynamic where men of color, native men, immigrant men and other groups of marginalized men are severely underrepresented in anarchist spaces. It also assumes that straight/cis presenting people have the option of being 'more queer' or 'more trans', which is often not the case depending on their circumstances.”

5) “Calling people out for using the wrong language, for example saying 'biological female' instead of 'person assigned female at birth', is harmful and makes no sense because not everyone has access to the same information, they'll never learn if they're excluded, and the 'correct' languages changes every couple of years anyway. People don't want to be associated with us because they see how punishing we are to each other and it turns them off.”

6) “People use 'unsafe' when they mean 'uncomfortable' way too often and it diminishes the meaning of the word 'unsafe' to the point where it's not very meaningful anymore.”

7) “People's obsession with identity politics means the only people who can say stuff like this out loud have to be able to identify themselves as multiply marginalized, and then everyone immediately agrees about how problematic it all is.”

8) “Who cares about who you personally fuck when we're talking about a broad political movement? Get off the ego trip. What we want is health care, affordable housing, jobs, prison abolition, immigration rights, sex workers rights, and the end of capitalism. 'Queer' has become so fashionable that it's being confused with 'radical'.”

9) “People have no interest in actually changing things anymore. Talking about class and economics isn't fashionable, and in some cases it's downright dismissed and labelled as racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic. Anarchists don't want to build coalitions with working-class people because they don't want to be 'triggered' by having to explain their politics to people who disagree with them.”

10) “We've completely failed to build frameworks for accountability and transformative justice, and instead rely on callouts and social exclusion that replicate the prison system without the benefit of having trials.”

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