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gender policing lgbt TERFs transmisogyny transphobia

Some “Gender Critical” feminists want to remove more than the “T” from LGBT

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By David Futrelle

So-called “Gender Critical” feminists — that is, the artists transphobes formerly known as TERFs — like to fantasize about removing the “T” from LGBT, severing trans people from the solidarity and support of the broader community of which they now are a central part.

But some in the GC crowd want to go much further, effectively removing all the letters except for the L for Lesbian. Consider this highly upvoted comment from the Gender Critical subreddit painting gay men as slavering predators who’ve supposedly ruined the movement with their sexual obsession.

“The worst mistake lesbian women made was allying themselves with the gay male movement,” GCMAdamXX begins.

“Gay liberation” was only ever about unfettered male sexual desire. The first riots were about the police raiding sex clubs (where prostitution was common). Stonewall itself was a known hangout for underage boys to sell sex to closeted businessmen. Sylvia Rivera himself was only 17. His lover Marsha Johnson was 26.

FWIW, every source I found online that refers to the two trans activists describes them as “friends,” not lovers, but why let the mere facts dissuade you when you’re trying to portray female trans activists as gay male pedophiles?

Within a year of the first AIDS cases the cause and the vectors were understood, and yet gay men fought to keep the sex clubs open and resisted using condoms. So AIDS kept spreading. Because men refused to give up their sexual “liberation”.

It took a lot longer than a year for people to understand what was going on with AIDS.

Now we have drag queen story time peddling this shit to children.

Apparently reading stories to kids while dressed in drag is equivalent in GCMadamXX’s mind with pedophilia and knowingly spreading AIDS.

Gay liberation has always been about male lust. Trans is just an extension of that into ever creepier realms. Including pedophilic realms.

Bullshit.

Lesbianism is about liberation FROM male lust. It’s time the L split from the G as well.

Presumably bi men — and possibly bi women? — would be excluded as well due to all the “male lust” involved in bisexuality.

A quick tour of GCMadamXX recent comment history on Reddit reveals that she has similarly strong feelings on a number of topics.

She’s really, really into women making babies.

The acme of HUMAN experience is the creation of another human. That is correct. Every other thing humans have ever achieved has been driven by the desire to reproduce or improve the odds of survival for offspring or relatives. …

Until we recognize our power and learn to wield it we will never be free.

In another thread she waxes poetic about women and their wombs:

Literally what matters in this world more than the creation of life? Everything you believe about being a woman is a lie told to try to control us. We are the goddesses of this world. Not only can we create life we can create more goddesses. We are eternal and powerful.

As much as she loves the baby making thing she’s not so thrilled that men are a part of it, and would seemingly prefer it if the world were free of most men beyond a few sperm donors. She sounds more than a little like a MGTOW dreaming of a world in which flesh-and-blood women are replaced by compliant lady sexbots.

Males are dispensable and most are superfluous to the continuation of the species. Females are not.

She doesn’t think men should be watching porn:

Combine a dating app with a porn blocker. For every month a guy doesn’t watch porn he gets to contact one woman. If he stays off porn for a year he unlocks the whole site. Women would pay for this.

But she herself sometimes indulges in a little porn-watching — and her favored genre of the stuff is a little surprising:

I try not to watch porn at all but when I occasionally slip, I watch gay porn. You’re so much less likely to find someone being horribly abused in the m/m scene.

edit: I’m not a gay male LOL

No, we didn’t think you were. And she’s not a lesbian either. Despite her strong opinions on LGBTQ politics, and her general low opinion of men, she’s evidently a straight (or possibly bi?) woman with a husband and kids 

Regardless of her furtive interest in m/m porn (which she nonetheless thinks should be eliminated from the face of the earth) , it’s doubtful she’s be a good fanfic author as she is probably the least erotic sex-describer I’ve ever run across, at one point describing the penis as “something through which small gametes are excreted.”

HAWT (NAWT).

Oh, and she’s a fan of JK Rowling with has very definite opinions about the proper management of wizard schools:

Trans kids WOULDN’T be allowed at Hogwarts. The stairs to the girls’ dorms turn into slides if boys try to use them.

Wait, what? So she’s assuming that the stairs are making their decisions after scanning the students’ genitalia and not, say, by looking at how they present themselves to the world? That’s more than a little creey.

The inside of the Gender Critical mind is a deeply weird place and I’ve had enough of it for the day.

H/T — Thanks to Zinnia Jones, who reposted the “drop the t” comment to Twitter.

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weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

I didn’t think stating that men consciously uphold patriarchy would be some kind of controversial statement here of all places.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@WWTH

I’m not stupid. I’m well aware that people reinforce bias unconsciously. But I’m not going to pretend like men don’t consciously do things to keep it in place.

It men who mainly are responsible for it.

I know they do, and I’m not trying to argue otherwise. I was mainly pointing out, for the benefit of rv97 and potentially lurkers, that even people who don’t think they’re reinforcing it can be reinforcing it unintentionally. I’m sorry if what I said seemed to take blame away from the men in power who are creating and reinforcing it. I merely meant to point out that they’re doing it with help from the masses.
My apologies if what I said seemed to be contradictory or otherwise problematic.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

As a result I feel like I’m a badly imperfect, defective or even a fake leftist in what seems to me over here is like a forum of perfect leftists

No one here is perfect, and you don’t need to meet some arbitrary “you must be this Woke to enter”, to participate in the community. We just ask that people act in good faith and in accordance with the comments policy.

This community probably maybe isn’t the best place to go if you want basic 101 tutorials on progressive stances, and the members will push back against regressive viewpoints if they are expressed here, but it’s important to remember that there is a distinction between “hey, that’s a shitty thing to say” and “you are an irredeemably shitty person”. If you find out that a belief that you hold is problematic, then that’s good! You’re learning! You have the opportunity to be better. It doesn’t mean that you’re fake or defective, just that you have improvements to make, same as the rest of us. You can’t fix something if you don’t notice that it’s broken.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Naglfar,

It’s all right. It’s just frustrating because hate – of all kinds, certainly not just misogyny – is becoming more and more openly expressed. There’s barely even dog whistling anymore. It’s just becoming increasingly difficult for me to accept that any kind of injustices are being perpetuated because people just have unexamined biases preventing them from being part of the solution instead of part of the problem. I’m just not buying that people don’t know what they’re doing when they reinforce patriarchy, racism or anything else. Not when the rapist of a 9 year old girl has been pardoned because her hymen is intact, not when impeachment is being called a Jew coup, not when babies are being snatched from migrant women immediately after they give birth. I’m just kind of finished seeing oppression as something that ever happens accidentally.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@WWTH
I understand your frustration, and I’m very frustrated with the situation myself. I agree that bigotry is rarely an accident. I guess what I was trying to say was that we should examine our own actions in relation to the patriarchy/white supremacy/etc in order to effectively fight it, but phrased my message very poorly.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

No worries, I know what you mean now.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
1 year ago

I didn’t meant to say that all thoses biases and effects are unconscious. They relatively rarely are directly enforced as a way to enforce patriarchy ; rather, it’s quite often mediocres people fearing being replaced, entitled people wanting nothing to change, etc. They, however, rarely even are unconscious. I don’t think when we offer a dinner set to little girl and a truck to little boy that it’s unconscious !

Also, with exceptions, they tend to be individually small, with very large total effects. Similar to how one lonely people saying “so gay !” isn’t much, but a thousand of them is devastating.

Paireon
Paireon
1 year ago

Huh. Not an expert, but seems to me like a horseshoe effect kinda thing. Though I do wonder if she ever expressed to “hubby” her ideas on superfluous males. “Honey, I love you, but while you’re a top-shelf sperm donor to have babies with, most of your friends are dispensable and superfluous, so they gotta go.”

And I wouldn’t be surprised if Hogwarts really was that way, since the wizarding world clearly has problems being an overly calcified, conservative and exclusionary society, so their ideas on non-heteronormative gender concepts are probably very much ass-backwards (Dumbledore’s orientation notwithstanding), and I wouldn’t even be surprised if nobody in it hadn’t even thought of a gender reassignment spell that would change the recipient on a genetic (or genetic-equivalent) level that would solve a lot of the related problems (certainly not all, of course, but it’d likely be a good start).

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@Paireon

And I wouldn’t be surprised if Hogwarts really was that way, since the wizarding world clearly has problems being an overly calcified, conservative and exclusionary society, so their ideas on non-heteronormative gender concepts are probably very much ass-backwards (Dumbledore’s orientation notwithstanding).

In most ways, I think the way she showed Dumbledore’s orientation was carefully meted to pander to conservatives. She didn’t out him until after she was done writing the series and it had made her a fortune, and it was only after fans had been saying it for a long time. As we discussed earlier, she’s also extremely transphobic, so that would suggest that Hogwarts is similarly transphobic.

Crip Dyke
1 year ago

since the wizarding world clearly has problems being an overly calcified, conservative and exclusionary society, so their ideas on non-heteronormative gender concepts are probably very much ass-backwards

When I first read HP oh-so-long-ago, I’d missed the first one and the second until just before the 3rd was published. A friend who teaches young kids was telling me I should read those before the 3rd came out. So I rushed through them, just enjoying them as mindless quick reads.

Even then, I was struck that polyjuice potion could turn Hermione half-cat, but HG, HP, and Ron were worried about making sure that they polyjuiced into someone of their own gender.

The HP universe: You can swap species, sure, but don’t swap sex or gender.

Of course, at the time I took it as simply yet another brutal failure of imagination that plagues pretty much every writer of modern novels (modern meaning post-Sir Walter Scott). Go back to Homer and you see Athena swapping sex anytime she feels like it just to take on whatever traits will help her do her task. (She wants Telemachus to listen to her? She turns into an older man. At other times she adopts the form of a mortal woman to gain the trust of someone else. She wants to avoid Zeus’ punishments for interfering with mortals? She transforms into a young girl, playing on Zeus’ bias against taking girls seriously to remain unobserved. It’s all about what works and fuck your gender limitations)

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
1 year ago

@Paireon : in my experience, the horseshoe theory is mostly bunk, and come from the fact that a lot of political movements, like stalinists and maoists, loudly say they are on the left wing while actually being far right.

Rowling never striked me as particulary leftist either. Her novels aren’t particulary progressive (but aren’t visibly ultra conservative to me). What personally struck me is how the fact some peoples are wizards and some aren’t is accepted by everyone, and there isn’t any attempt to see why it’s so or if one could not make everyone a wizard.

Crip Dyke
1 year ago

What personally struck me is how the fact some peoples are wizards and some aren’t is accepted by everyone, and there isn’t any attempt to see why it’s so or if one could not make everyone a wizard.

Rowling actually does address one aspect of this: it turns out that there’s a cottage industry that exists to make money off of squibs desperate to work magic.

Presumably if any of their teaching/development strategies worked, Argus Filch would have managed magic at some point.

I’m not saying that that relieves Rowling of any of the implications of her world building that places you in unalterable, undefiable categories by miracle of birth, but just noting that she does, actually consider that some people would NOT accept the neat division and would work to resist it – and overcome it, if possible.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@Ohlmann

in my experience, the horseshoe theory is mostly bunk, and come from the fact that a lot of political movements, like stalinists and maoists, loudly say they are on the left wing while actually being far right.

The horseshoe theory also gets used by various conservatives as a way to argue “both sides.” When I point out that there’s white nationalist terrorists doing mass shootings, they shoot back by claiming that there’s equally bad people on the left because horseshoe theory.

Paireon
Paireon
1 year ago

@Naglfar – Yeah I remember some of those discussions a few weeks back, I think. And the “Dumbledore’s orientation notwithstanding” was more to showcase it as an aberration in the otherwise very heteronormative wizarding world than to excuse said heteronormativity through tokenism.

@Crip Dyke – Yeah, the polyjuice potion was what came to mind too. Personally I like how that Athena example you gave still shows that despite her gender-changing antics, it still shows how deeply misogynistic and patriarchal ancient Greek society was (otherwise at least half those antics would have been unnecessary).

Crip Dyke
1 year ago

Personally I like how that Athena example you gave still shows that despite her gender-changing antics, it still shows how deeply misogynistic and patriarchal ancient Greek society was (otherwise at least half those antics would have been unnecessary).

Yes, I like that too. One of the things that I loved about Athena when I was reading her stories as a tiny trans tot* was how even though the people around her clearly weren’t over gender, even though certain other gods clearly weren’t over gender, Athena’s attitude towards gender was completely punk rock.

===========================

*OT: When I first was at someone’s house who was playing the “Tiny Toon Adventures” show in the 90s, the song (which was done rather quickly and in a cartoonishly altered voice, big surprise) sounded to me like it was saying, “Tiny Tuna Fencers”.

This misheard lyric has been a staple of jokes between myself and my friends for all the years since.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@Crip Dyke

When I first was at someone’s house who was playing the “Tiny Toon Adventures” show in the 90s, the song (which was done rather quickly and in a cartoonishly altered voice, big surprise) sounded to me like it was saying, “Tiny Tuna Fencers”.

Tiny Tuna Fencers sounds like a much more entertaining show.

Paireon
Paireon
1 year ago

RE: Horseshoe theory: Like I said, not an expert. Although I’d really like to read about how Stalinism and Maoism are actually right-wing (especially since I’ve actually known people who were or still are apologists for one or both, and so far they’ve all been pretty left-wing otherwise to my knowledge). So links or references would be welcome.

As for both sides having bad people in it, I’d say it’s pretty much a fact, although both numbers of assholes, how much of an asshole you have to be to be part of a side in the first place, and what the assholes of a side are ready to do/condone in their side’s name are very much important in determining the worse side. And since I’ve seen very few leftists commit murder, arson, rape and terrorism lately, or condone it, I think I know who’s the bigger assholes.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@Paireon

As for both sides having bad people in it, I’d say it’s pretty much a fact, although both numbers of assholes, how much of an asshole you have to be to be part of a side in the first place, and what the assholes of a side are ready to do/condone in their side’s name are very much important in determining the worse side. And since I’ve seen very few leftists commit murder, arson, rape and terrorism lately, or condone it, I think I know who’s the bigger assholes.

Well of course there are some people who are bad in any group. What I meant was that conservatives like to argue that the left is doing just as many bad things as them, which is false. The left is not motivating white nationalist shooters, putting children in concentration camps, or repealing decades of environmental protect regulations. The left and right are not doing equal amounts of bad stuff, so yes, the right are bigger assholes.

Paireon
Paireon
1 year ago

@Naglfar – That’s pretty much what I’d understood from your earlier post, I’m just a sucker for clarifying myself LOL.

And to put it through the warped mirror of “bad things the Left supposedly does or is planning (according to Alex Jones anyway)”, you should say that the Left is not motivating islamicist terrorists, putting WASPs in FEMA camps, or strengthening environmental regulations to the point of deliberately engineering a human (read: white) population decrease. Because the wingnuts and Right-wing conspiracy loonies very commonly accuses the Left of that bullshit.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
1 year ago

@Paireon : stalinists and maoists are deeply nationalistict authoritarians who want to use force to enforce a specific society structure. If you have the impression I have just described fascism, there’s a reason. They are other similarity, like hostility toward intellectuals, a mindset of being sieged by the “hostile foreign powers”, and of course the xenophobia. (including antisemitism for stalinism).

Ah, and they are named after bloodthirsty dictators who are about as despicable as Hitler.

Pretty much the only point of difference with far right is that they aren’t conservative. (and successors to Mao are super-duper conservative)

While I am somewhat skeptikal of communism in general, thoses two examples really are communism in name only. Their origins each time is claiming to need extraordinary measure temporarily, and both kept thoses powers for undue amount of time.

Also, maybe it’s a french phenomen, but there’s a LOT of ex-maoist who are far right or ultra-liberal (or both). It’s not exactly a coincidence.

Two other notions that are relevant right now :

* projection : people who are ready to do X think everyone is ready for that. Explain why far righter think the other parties are trigger happy about putting opponents in camps or think about an ethnic genocide.

* private communism (translated from french, so maybe the actual english name is different ?) : the final stage of ultra-liberal capitalism is to have a small number, perhaps a single, firm that do everything and is undistinguishable from a communism monopoly apart from the fact it’s privately owned. Think Amazon.

Cyborgette
Cyborgette
1 year ago

@Ohlmann

I mean you can make good arguments that Stalinism is “far-right”, but at the end of they day I think this sort of “no true leftist” thinking mostly just contributes to lack of self awareness, perpetuation of evil power structures, and far too many atrocities.

Stalinism might be “far-right nationalism” but it emerged from a bona fide leftist revolution. Lenin was much more clearly a leftist, and committed war crimes regardless. Male socialists and anarchists have been brutally misogynistic, white feminists have been brutally racist, etc.

IMO the modern left needs to be willing to grapple with this directly, or the same awful shit will keep happening.

But TBH I don’t expect much grappling. I expect a bloodbath in the US, and if the left prevails – and I don’t think we will – I expect genocide, oppression of women, and murder of disabled people to happen anyway, all in the name of “revolution” and “the proletariat” and “the white working class” etc. etc. And if the left does not prevail, I expect white, Christian, abled leftists to gladly throw people like me under the bus first.

TL;DR I expect myself and most of my friends to die in the next decade or so, because white goyim collectively don’t want to ask themselves how Stalinism grew out of their precious leftist doctrine. So forgive me for being somewhat bitter about all this.

An Impish Pepper
An Impish Pepper
1 year ago

Whether you consider Stalin or modern China “communist” or “state capitalist” seems to depend on who on the left you ask. I think it’s just semantics, really. In my view, I agree with Cyborgette in that the effect of the “state capitalist” phrasing seems to be a minimization of leftists’ culpability in perpetuating the colonialist bigotry that in theory is supposed to be an invention of capitalism. On the other hand, that also seems to happen with the “communist” phrasing. I’m sure a lot of others here have had similar experiences with far-left communities, but I’ve actually seen authoritarian-leaning communists arguing with other leftists about whether the Soviet Union really did anything wrong, whether North Korea is secretly a well-run country, and whether the concept of totalitarianism has had an unfair reputation. And then they got into scandals involving harassment and/or letting their open-source projects get run over by right-wingers, so. (I do think a lot of people have exaggerated impressions of some of the things done by communist states, and I think there’s an argument that capitalist countries haven’t been faring much better on quality of life than communist ones, but I’m talking more about seemingly pushing back against every criticism of communist countries here.)

One time I met someone who works with various organizations for anti-racism training, who observed that banks were better about it than non-profits. That’s not to say that banks are good and blameless, but I just think the typical narrative by (white) leftists is simplistic and reductionist to the movement’s peril.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

In the US, there seems to be this prevailing attitude on the left that Medicare for all will solve racism, homophobia, transphobia and abelism. Last week, Elizabeth Warren – who makes it a point to acknowledge by name black trans women who are murdered – said that she would make a speech in rose garden every year and say the names of black trans woman murder victims. Bernie bros mocked this because what’s really important for combating hatred against black trans women is Medicare.

It was just so fucking gross. I’m not saying Warren is 100% perfect on either race or trans issues, but at least she’s acknowledging that the intersection of racism, misogyny and transphobia results in horrific violence and is a problem worth addressing for its own sake. Medicare for all (which Warren is actually for anyway) is necessary, but it’s hardly the cure for all social ills and I refuse to accept this notion that we can’t talk about any “ism” other than classist.

Sorry to drag presidential politics into it, but I’ve been kind of seething about it for days and wanted to grab an opening to vent about it.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
1 year ago

it’s hardly the cure for all social ills

We have universal free health care here; and I think there’s still the occasional bit of racism, homophobia, misogyny etc. That’s what I’ve heard anyway.

Crip Dyke
1 year ago

Bernie bros mocked this because what’s really important for combating hatred against black trans women is Medicare.

Not that Bernie is personally responsible for the behavior of these fuckups, but Grilled Cheezus if that kind of thing happens, the right thing to do if you’re Bernie is come right out and say that he would do the same thing.

I remember that there was an election for student association president at a traditionally-women-only college (I think it was Smith, but it might not have been) where one of the main candidates was an FtM trans person. There was some noise about refusing to vote for him because of supporting the college as a place that emphasizes boosting up women as leaders.

The other (or at least another) main candidate immediately put out a statement that said if you’re thinking about voting against Candidate1 solely because Candidate1 is trans, then she didn’t want your vote either.

I hope that if/when this shit comes to Bernie’s attention, he can respond with as much grace and moral clarity.

BTW: Sources would be excellent if you can link them.

mcbender
1 year ago

@Crip Dyke:
I tended to interpret the scam “course” Filch was taking as yet another narrative excuse to treat him as a pathetic laughingstock. I think it tends to come across more as “pity him, he doesn’t even know his place” than anything to the contrary. Filch deserved better; I always thought his resentment of the students at least somewhat justified, considering how they seem to take for granted (and blow off learning about, etc) those same abilities he’s been arbitrarily denied.

On another note, I should say: it occurs to me that there was a certain gender-essentialist core to the series from the beginning, what with all of the mother worship. Given that, this latest turn should probably have been even less of a surprise.

@others:
On the subject of “horseshoe theory”, I think it’s mostly bullshit except insofar as authoritarianism can be a separate axis from economic policy. It’s not completely unrelated, as authoritarianism is often a core element of what we think of as the right, but there are definitely people with authoritarian tendencies who crop up in any group and seem to want to take it over. As such, I’m not inclined to blame “the left” or communism for things like the atrocities of Stalin, Mao, et al – I know it veers dangerously close to “no true Scotsman”, but I certainly also won’t say to ignore them, because it’s a good reminder to be vigilant about tamping down authoritarianism in our own movements.

I wish I knew what to do about the “Bernie bro” problem (and frankly it’s not entirely isolated to just his supporters, I’ve seen similar behaviours in “support” of other candidates), but if I did I wouldn’t be here talking about it. I’m so fucking sick of them.

Crip Dyke
1 year ago

I think it tends to come across more as “pity him, he doesn’t even know his place” than anything to the contrary.

Interesting. It reminded me of how people tried to scam my grandfather. Fortunately his eldest daughter (my mother) was a CPA and knew enough to put his money in a trust so that it couldn’t be touched for non-approved purposes.

So… “pity him” but the pity having nothing to do with him knowing or not knowing “his place”.

I’m not saying I’m right and you’re wrong, just explaining where I was coming from with my reading of it.

there was a certain gender-essentialist core to the series from the beginning, what with all of the mother worship

I suppose. I felt similarly about gender essentialism being present early, but for me it didn’t reach full flower until she gets a little more into the family dynamics of the Weasleys in book 2.

Of course, I’m hyper sensitive to gender essentialism, so I’m just talking about when it seemed to become more gender essentialist than the average novel… and that’s a bar that can take some effort to clear, given how much gender essentialist water your average Homo ichthyes swims in. FFS, William Gibson was gender essentialist AF when writing AIs. That makes it hard for me to predict who is going to go down a road similar to Rowling, since there’s plenty of evidence that literally almost anyone who has published is gender essentialist. Even if they have challenged and do challenge gender essentialism in every day life, so many of our familiar metaphors and cultural touchstones are steeped in gender essentialism that it takes real struggle to write fiction that doesn’t express that bullshit.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@WWTH

Bernie bros mocked this because what’s really important for combating hatred against black trans women is Medicare.

Bernie bros are so obnoxious. I know people who think it’s all about class and that Medicare for all will end all bigotry. These are generally people who don’t know what they are talking about in the least, and I’ve only ever heard this viewpoint from privileged cishet white men (and maybe a few women). I support the idea of universal health care, but I harbor no delusions that it’s a panacea.

@Crip Dyke

I hope that if/when this shit comes to Bernie’s attention, he can respond with as much grace and moral clarity.

That seems unlikely. He wouldn’t want to alienate his core fanbase of misogynistic bros.

@mcbender

and frankly it’s not entirely isolated to just his supporters, I’ve seen similar behaviours in “support” of other candidates

I’ve seen pretty similar behaviors among the Yang Gang. Both Yang and Sanders are similar in that they are magnets for young white men who are too misogynistic to vote for a woman and don’t care about social issues that don’t affect them. The difference is that Bernie attracts men who are left wing economically while Yang attracts the libertarians.

Allandrel
Allandrel
1 year ago

It seems to me that a defining aspect of radicalism is the idea that there is a single Axis Of Oppression that all problems stem from, and thus a One True Solution that will eliminate the Axis of Oppression and thus ends all problems. There’s no need for more than a hammer because Everything Is A Nail, and thus those foolish people trying to develop screwdrivers and socket wrenches and drills must be shown the One True Solution so that they will stop wasting time.

Crip Dyke
1 year ago

I support the idea of universal health care, but I harbor no delusions that it’s a panacea.

I’m not mocking you, but the meaning of “panacea” is literally “cure all”. It’s just funny to my idiosyncratic brain that in this instance curing all is not a cure all.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@Crip Dyke

I’m not mocking you, but the meaning of “panacea” is literally “cure all”. It’s just funny to my idiosyncratic brain that in this instance curing all is not a cure all.

Oh, I know. I used that word on purpose to do that.

Upon further reflection, I think I understand part of why Bernie Bros and similar are so obsessed with class and nothing else. If they keep the conversation centered on class, class, class they can keep talking about cishet white men like themselves without acknowledging their own privilege. It’s a more woke way to pull a “but what about teh menz?”. As seen with Dengler in the other thread, they can repeat that white people are the majority in poverty in America (not sure if that’s true by pure numbers but if it is it would be because there are more white people, not because white people as a group have higher percentages in poverty) and refuse to acknowledge privilege or that there are other axes of discrimination. Because to acknowledge other axes of discrimination would mean having to let PoC, women, and LGBTQIPA+ folks talk about their experiences with oppression. It would mean that they (the bros) would have to listen sometimes.
If this was obvious, I’m sorry for restating the obvious, but this is what I think they’re thinking.

rv97
rv97
1 year ago

@Catalpa

Thanks, although I could benefit from a 101-style sort of thing. I do feel like some of the things I’ve learned from here don’t align to my feelings about certain things and that I feel like an overall problematic person. As you have stated, I have rather problematic views regarding gender and religion but I would also like to point out possibly race too, as someone who doesn’t seem to care much about it, with warped beauty standards (probably linking with gender too) and well, I wanted to be white on a few occasions as a person of color.

As an immigrant of the UK for over 16 years as of writing, I felt like that people of my own ethnic community were very conforming compared to the dominant white people of the UK. Some people of my community, like my parents and those who agree with them, derided white people as being lazy and selfish (sometimes not unfounded regarding anti-immigrant rhetoric in relation to the job market, and sometimes as a result of the more family oriented and studious ideals of various ethnic communities, the studiousness I think as a response to having to prove oneself of their worth in a racist environment).

I felt like that white people seemed freer to be who they wanted to be, while people of color seemed to be more bound to strict gender roles and religious and/or philosophical teachings – I reckon it’s deemed easier to generalize people of color, e.g. “all Filipinos are Christians or Muslims”, and people of color may internalize such generalizations possibly for the convenience of white people or some other reason like considering themselves to be morally superior to white people for holding more repressive beliefs, I’m not entirely sure.

I’m not sure, but it might be nice if my therapist were able to sort this out (they were generous enough to me in being able to deal with more than one issue besides the one I was directly seeing them for, by referring me to a counsellor to discuss gender issues). I don’t feel like I can fix them or want to fix them enough, although I totally despise what the manosphere stands for, as someone who grew up with something that can be described as vaguely supportive of it.

I want to try and be more progressive even though I feel like sometimes I’m too awfully content with my beliefs, since I feel like even a few aspects of the alternatives are not something I want to be part of. Those alternatives to me seem to be having to tolerate fundamentalist religious beliefs, gender roles and capitalism, and to me, it can happen even when I’m not around white people.

I’m a bit worried that the three issues I am largely concerned about (religion, capitalism, gender) might be compromised – atheists around the world can be or are treated like second-class citizens save for a few certain places, capitalism is still held with authority to the point it commodifies culture and basic necessities and comes at the expense of human rights, and gender roles are pretty much in full force around the world too (e.g. female genital mutilation, forced marriages, domestic abuse, sex-selective abortions, private and government measures to promote gender conformity etc.). It appears to me this steady march for progress is one delicate balancing act that I worry can be easily broken – TERFs and transphobes, for instance, seem to have become rather high-profile and somewhat successful especially here in the UK in the course of less than a decade or two, in the turn of improved transgender rights.

I may refrain from commenting if it’s clear I’m not welcome on this site – I’m mostly on here for the time being at least, since I’ve deliberately isolated myself from many other online communities I used to be part of for personal reasons. I do love that this website exists anyway, as something people can learn from and hope to use to change the world, and I do love too that people are continually trying to challenge repressive beliefs here and elsewhere.

Crip Dyke
1 year ago

Oh, I know. I used that word on purpose to do that.

Then mountains of credit to you. It was very well played.

Paireon
Paireon
1 year ago

Huh, nice to see I’ve sparked some interesting discourse RE: the nature of stalinism, maoism, and their position (and that of repressive ideologies in general) on the socio-politico-economic axes. Nice food for thoughts there.

Also, RE: healthcare and Bernie bros: Well, shit, didn’t expect that there were such a group of myopic asshats in the Sanders camp; my inherent cynicism means that I’m not actually surprised though. And as a resident of the Great White North AKA Soviet Canuckistan AKA America’s Hat, I can definitely confirm that class, race, gender and sexual orientation-based discrimination still exist here. And while AFAIK it’s not as bad as in the US, I’m pretty sure there’s quite a bit more to that lesser degree of shittiness than just free healthcare.

Dalillama
Dalillama
1 year ago

Thing about Stalinism and Maoism is that totalitarian cults of personality always end up functionally indistinguishable one from another, and it doesn’t matter in the least what motivated anyone involved at the beginning (also worth noting that it wasn’t the idealistic faction that put Stalin into power, they made the mistake of allying with his faction, which proceeded to put him into power and shoot anyone who argued). Leninism is shite because vanguardism is an inevitable recipe for totalitarianism.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
1 year ago

@cyborgette : point taken about the no true scotman part. I tend to believe actual far left is more akin to the Resistance Commitee in France (immediatly after the WW2, a partly-communist inspired bunch of people who graced us with universal healthcare, universal retirement and a bunch of other stuff) ; I think communism itself start from good intentions but just don’t work with actual, flawed humans, hence why the USSR and China and North Korea turned out like they did.

And why the bigger progress historically have not been made by communists but by reformists, socialists, and other activists that make a society move instead of trying to replace it by a better one.

Also, I get you for the pessimism. Currently there is a big strike in France against a new retirement system ; while I support financially the strikers, I am not on strike because realistically in 40 years I will be dead and even if I am not, the country will have imploded.

@Dalillama : good summary.

Cyborgette
Cyborgette
1 year ago

@Ohlmann

Aye. I mean, I do think that communism can work in practice TBH; I just don’t think it can be anything safe or desirable without a whole lot of self awareness, active antiracism/antisexism/etc., and unending opposition to concentration of power.

@Dalillama

Agree, with the caveat that literally any movement, group, etc. can become an authoritarian personality cult via implicit power structures. I don’t trust e.g. various forms of anarchism a whole lot extra on this. (In fact, having met a lot of highly charismatic anarchists, I sometimes trust it less.)

@Naglfar, @WWTH, @Crip Dyke

Just want to say I’m thankful to not be the only person here with deep misgivings towards Bernie and his fans.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@Cyborgette

I don’t trust e.g. various forms of anarchism a whole lot extra on this. (In fact, having met a lot of highly charismatic anarchists, I sometimes trust it less.)

I’ve known several self-identified anarcho-communists over the years, and all of them were people who failed (possibly deliberately) to take into account this idea. Like you said, they were all convinced that with “ideological purity” nothing bad would happen, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the pursuit ideological purity motivated the Purge.

Cyborgette
Cyborgette
1 year ago

@Naglfar

Yeah. Some systems are better than others, but I don’t think any can survive too much bad faith, personality cultism, or bigotry. I’m not e.g. a social democrat (like, at all), but I’d trust social democracy with a strong culture of anti-bigotry and anti-abuse much more than I’d trust anarcho-communism the way white Christians do it.

In particular I think a lot of political safety grows out of a strong anti-abuse culture. A culture that tolerates interpersonal abusers will also tolerate despots.

Crip Dyke
1 year ago

The tendency of anarchist groups to become personality cults is a known problem.

In short, the anarchic ethos prevents buildings institutions stronger and more enduring than the people or personalities involved in the group. Meanwhile, the most effective counter to a cult of personality is a set of strong institutions and norms.

By intent, then, anarchists refuse to build the things that best protect a group from takeover by a personality cult.

Now, if the individuals are educated and aware of personality cults and their dangers, the group may still successfully avoid falling into cult-dynamics, but without institutions or norms, how do you pass on that education and awareness to the next generation… I mean, reliably?

BTW: this certainly isn’t to say there’s nothing appealing in anarchic philosophy or that a focus on freedom isn’t good. it’s also not to say that anarchists are somehow bad or even somehow worse than other groups.

I find the rise of Trump very instructive here. In the USA the Republicans deliberately destroyed norms and institutions. Since Barry Goldwater won the presidential nomination in the mid-60s, the Republicans have been highly vulnerable to the message that government itself is the problem. Sometime between when Reagan left office in January 1989 and the rise of Newt Gingrich to the Speakership of the House of Representatives six years later in January 1995, this became not a message to which Republicans were vulnerable, but a core tenet of Republican philosophy.

If the government itself is the problem, then corruption of government is not a problem. Even if one were to pervert government to, say, enrich oneself or retaliate against one’s enemies, this can’t be worse than what the government would do in the normal course of its business – according to Republican philosophy. Since corrupted government acts can’t be worse and may very well be better than normal government acts, why shouldn’t Republicans plunder government for private gain. Heck, maybe they’ll even do some good accidentally! After all, private enterprise is good, so stealing money from the government and spending it on your personal yacht has the benefit of rewarding private enterprise (the yacht builders). Why not go for it?

Beyond the immediate problem that corruption is bad, however, the looming threat is that by destroying those institutions and norms, you destroy any ability of the government to resist becoming a cult of personality…

…and once you install a personality cult, who knows what the leader might do?

This is the situation in which we find ourselves now. The Republicans can’t bring themselves to side with the democratic institutions they’ve been telling themselves for two generations are the problem and not the solution. Yet, Trump has proven immensely unstable. They don’t even have the predictability of a Stalin or a Mao to guide them in making decisions so as to avoid running afoul of the dictator’s wrath. in truth, it is a combination (in which amounts only insiders will ever know) of Trump’s millisecond-scale attention span with the cajoling and misdirection of Trump’s personal staff that spare Republicans from his wrath (to the extent that they are spared at all).

Trump simply doesn’t have the intellectual curiosity to look farther than Fox News for information, so even when Republicans work to undermine him, he doesn’t notice and won’t notice til the betrayal is broadcast on Fox & Friends.

The institution that is saving Republicans, then, is the non-governmental institution of Fox News. And the norm that is saving them is Reagan’s commandment not to speak ill of another Republican…any other Republican.

But these boundaries, too, are breaking down. I want Trump gone immediately because I care about the United States and have a lot of people I love living there. But if Trump wins another term, the collapse of Republican internal norms will catch up to them and the catastrophic damage done to the United States and its people will – mark my words – be exceeded by the damage done to the Republican party.

it’s cold comfort. In fact, it’s no comfort at all, but the Republicans have made themselves into an organization more vulnerable to destruction by a cult of personality than any local group of anarchists. I desperately hope that they don’t bring down the United States with them as they fall.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
1 year ago

For anarchism, there’s also a notion of scale. I think that anarchists community can work if they are small enough. But at the scale of a country, well the system break down almost instantly. That’s what annoy me with a lot of anarchists, they are too idealistic and don’t see that working to integrate correctly anarchists subcommunity into a greater country would be more useful than trying to bring down the system.

For the fall of America, well. At that point, I just hope it won’t involve nuclear bombing of the whole world. Or that the climate apocalypse will kill all humans before they destroy themselves.

I would also add that a lot of country are on the brink. China is alway shown as the great ennemy, but they aren’t exactly super stable, and their governement dance between serving their own interest and keeping the country together. Russia is more tightly controlled by its governement, but are much worse economically speaking and could collapse that way. The EU tend to be ever so slightly more stable, but only by comparison.

I don’t know who will fall first, and I don’t know if that will topple the other country in their fall, or open opportunities to have another one basically govern the world. The only thing I am sure of is that it will gonna suck.

Cyborgette
Cyborgette
1 year ago

@Crip Dyke

That was extremely enlightening; thank you.

It also aligns quite horrifyingly with what I remember of “The Origins of Totalitarianism”.

rv97
rv97
1 year ago

I still find myself enamored by anarchism at the very least because I think intellectual property laws are too restrictive, and serve only to ensure culture exists if it can make money. I would prefer it because the fact that there would be no large and centralized institution to control the access and ownership of our culture means that culture will cease to be simply just a “business idea”.

I am speaking as someone who feels like they can’t create anything that would be better than other intellectual property that exists.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@Ohlmann

That’s what annoy me with a lot of anarchists, they are too idealistic and don’t see that working to integrate correctly anarchists subcommunity into a greater country would be more useful than trying to bring down the system.

That’s the problem with the ancoms that I know. They have an “everything or nothing” mentality where they think that either they’ll have their revolution and things will supposedly go perfect (spoiler alert: they won’t), or they won’t even bother trying to fix things. These are the same people who say they’ll vote for Bernie or won’t vote, because they are so wedded to that one candidate. They’d prefer literal Nazis like Trump over a Democratic candidate other than their favorite. This is a privileged stance.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

@rv97
I’m done trying to engage in a discussion with you, but if you want a 101 resource, try everyday feminism

Paireon
Paireon
1 year ago

@Naglfar – To be fair to Trump (ha, ha, please kill me), if he’s a literal Nazi he’s one of the careerist ones rather than an ideologue, who don’t give two shits about the ideology but will tout it loudly to serve their own interests.

Not that it’s any better in practice, mind you. They’ll still send people on trains to Auschwitz without a care if, again, they benefit.

Allandrel
Allandrel
1 year ago

@Ohlmann

For anarchism, there’s also a notion of scale. I think that anarchists community can work if they are small enough. But at the scale of a country, well the system break down almost instantly. That’s what annoy me with a lot of anarchists, they are too idealistic and don’t see that working to integrate correctly anarchists subcommunity into a greater country would be more useful than trying to bring down the system.

My usual question whenever someone starts talking about an anarchist society of small, self-sufficient communities is “How will I get dialysis?”

(I don’t ask this of the anarcho-primitivists, of course, because I know the answer is that they don’t give a crap.)

@Paireon

Fred Clark of Slacktivist wrote an excellent piece on how while Trump claims to be a white nationalist to gain their support, there’s no way that he is. Not because is isn’t a racist POS, but because nationalism is dependent on viewing the In-Group as the most important thing in the world, and Trump is psychologically incapable of conceiving that anything might be more important than himself.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@Allandrel

My usual question whenever someone starts talking about an anarchist society of small, self-sufficient communities is “How will I get dialysis?”

For all its claims of equality, anarchism is ableist AF. Underneath it all, even left-wing anarchists seem to have a “might is right” mindset or equivalent.

Dalillama
Dalillama
1 year ago

@Allandrel

My usual question whenever someone starts talking about an anarchist society of small, self-sufficient communities is “How will I get dialysis?”

The short answer is either “via a machine” or “in a clinic and/or your home”, depending on your value of ‘how’. The medium long answer, in which I will try not to digress too much about Marx and his biggest fuckups, starts with your correct observation that most ancoms have no idea what they’re talking about (to be fair, neither have most supporters of any other political-economic setup). Basically, the idea of ‘small, self-sufficient communities’ as a way to maintain a high tech society is patently absurd when taken at face value. Unpacking it into something coherent (and understanding that there are other tendencies who have different models to mine): Small is of course a relative term, and has to be connected to communities to make sense, so we’ll skip it for now and move on to ‘self-sufficient’. Microchips want serious factories, so you can’t just make those any old where, and you need certain materials that are only found certain places. Probably it would be better to put the factories and mines in the same place to minimize the number of pollution control areas to deal with. Naturally, mines and factories are both worker cooperatives. Then there’s infrastructure: moving people and goods, healthcare, education, pensions*, connectivity, electric systems and all that type of thing. So all the co-ops kick into a common pot for those things. Past that, food, clothes, household goods, and the like can all be mostly locally produced pretty well these days, so there’s your self-sufficiency only not really. Honestly, I’m unpacking this here but aiming for ‘self-sufficient’ communities in any meaningful sense is a really, really terrible basis for an anarchist system, and “A network of variously-sized consciously interdependent communities” is a better case. So I’m going to skip small and move right into community. What’s a community? That’s a complex question with a lot of answers. Concretely, there’s where you live. So, is your small community the other residents of your building or sewershed where you live? Well, it’s one of them, you’ll be part of a Resident Association that makes decisions about the building or other shared amenities. You’ll also be part of a Town Resident’s Association or Neighborhood Association depending on where you live, and the Neighborhood Association will send a delegate to the Executive Committee (the Town Association probably has its own Executive Committee, being smaller scale). If** you work° with others, you’ll be part of your workplace Co-op, and most single-person occupations will have some kind of professional association for finding collaborators on big projects, technical assistance and professional development, and all that kinda jazz. Then we get into social organizations of various kinds, including but not limited to this one, but I’m getting tired of typing and still need to do the footnotes.

*For these purposes, ‘pension’ means ‘scheme to ensure that everyone is decently housed and fed’. Exactly what role currency as such should play is a matter of hot debate

**No moral value should be attached to the conditional, it is present as a logic gate

°Work meaning any kind of productive°° activities.
°°in the broadest possible sense of the word.

Paireon
Paireon
1 year ago

@Allandrel – Hard agree on that; Trump is blatantly, malignantly narcissistic. Anyone who thinks he actually fights for them is the kind of fool I should probably work on selling the Grand Canyon to, or perhaps Olympus Mons on Mars.