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my first year as an active activist who activisms actively: reflections 

- You need to find the kind of resistance that you can see yourself doing all the time, then do it all the time. suppose right now we urgently need baddass antifa soldiers, much more than programmers, and you're a programmer. we still need ~some~ programmers. you'll help more as a badass programmer who put up a website to recruit enthusiastic antifa soldiers, than as a reluctant, half-assed antifa soldier.

- Security is a set of tradeoffs; different people have different needs.
- There is a place for the old invisible uncles who never leave a trace, and there is a place for the twitch streamers.
- Sadly, your personal security approach affects your comrades too. I don't know how to navigate this.

- cruelty is the point. the State _will_ do egregious, baffling, illegal, forms of repression. on purpose, to stifle rebellious sentiment through uncertainty, trauma, terror.
- so must have means to deal with trauma and terror.
- look up on counter-insurgency manuals. a lot of that fear will transmute to anger.
- but what you really need is a life outside activism + a healthy support system. this is as important to keep going as raising funds and oiling guns.
- public callouts is a tool of the past. calling out a politician as genocidal doesn't work when they tweet about genociding and get votes. less callouts, more mask ups.

- The Left still has a lot of patriarchy to untangle, and doesn't recognise carework as political work.
- Carework is crucial right now.

- Making nazis afraid again: simple, effective, high-impact, fun. Very recommended praxis, both engaging and rewarding.

- Euro anarchists have dour meetings. Kurdish and Mexican revolutionaries have fun meetings that feel like parties. The latter 2 are mourning war losses, battling fascists, and indefatigably standing up to stiff govt repression. Euro anarchists will be dealing with that kinda stuff too (some already are), and if we don't learn to have meetings that feel good and fun and healing, we will all burn out before it starts.

- Trying to convince libs is not worth it.
- The top 2 liberal myths: non-State societies have only existed / must always be small-scale; indigenous societies are primitive. these are prejudices and so impossible to be argued with.
- Doing things for the general community is always worth it, even if you can't reach them ideologically. Like respond to the call for volunteers to pack food for refugees. Wear an anarchist patch. Don't initiate political discussions, just be nice and shape their views of what anarchists are like.

- just in general, propaganda of the deed does a lot more outreach than words. one of the best things that Euro anarchists do: remembering the affected when no one else does. while the libs are decrying Ella for the dangers of vigilantism, Jewish elders pass along copies of Antifa-Infoblätter while remembering the Shoa, with a lilt in their voices, "look at what the young people are doing". the media has let go of the NSU coverup and has forgotten about Hanau, but when we invite the families of the Hanau victims to speak, year after year, the Muslim immigrants in the streets and shisha bars stop to watch us. They will remember.

- you need meds or drugs off the system, who do you think of? you need to sneak in a relative, you need an emergency place to crash, you need an illegal abortion, you need protection and can't trust the cops, you feel like the State is violating your bodily autonomy, you feel lonely and empty in the rat race and like there's no community for you, you are just done with the system and ready to fuck stuff up, who do you think of? right now for a lot of people the first image that pops to mind is "the fash".

- I've met people who wanted to resist, but felt too disabled or scared and that it would never be for them. in cases like this I reassure them, and I mean it, that not everybody has to be on the streets shouting or dismantling ecocidal machinery, that just by caring and being nice to people they're already doing a lot, and other truths. then, not even thinking of politics, I listen to their personal stories, I cook for them or let them cook for me, I tell them, sincerely, that it must have been terrible to go through that, that I can understand how they feel, I validate their identities and their sense of injustice. then before I know it they're out in demos with me shouting at the face of cops. now look I"m not a cure for mh- or disability and I'm not doing this on purpose to gather soldiers, my point here is only one: That somebody who is broken, alone and hurt needs healing, love and care, not preaching.
- *definitely* not guilt-tripping to burn themselves in activism like a second job.

- Not just global warming but systemic ecological crisis in all spheres, not caused by the Anthropocene, but by the Colonialismocene.

on dealing with abuse, war mention, this one will get #bothSides to cancel me, yay I'm the enlightened centrism now 

in any group there will be harmful behaviour, from hurtful words to sexual harassment and worse. currently leftists deal with this in one of 2 ways, 1) becoming the cop or 2) pretending it doesn't matter. neither will build community. ostracism is a lot harsher punishment than people seem to think. if we don't learn to genuinely address harm in ways that keep us together, we'll stay dependent on the State to do the dirty part, forever.

and I don't care if the anti-idpol scumbag-left cancels me, I don't even know if those dudes are still a thing and I don't want to. but I think it's absolutely taboo right now for me to state that abusers shouldn't have their beating hearts torn out before the Sun God on first offense. I don't know how to convey this to the Euro scene in a productive manner.

maybe try this: suddenly a military occupation explodes and you scramble to download all those Tacticool Girlfriend videos you didn't watch and learn to protect your friends, cos it's either that or die (1). you're sheltering in a war zone now, going out together under the buzzing drones to get food, trying to connect to allies and survive. now a fuckboy at your group who had always been kinda annoying but never downright abusive one day does a sexual harassment. what do you, collectively, do?

banish him from the group? that means kicking him out into the war. now he dies. yes no I don't support sexual abuse, but I don't support death penalty as the punishment for sexual abuse either. or else he manages to survive, someone validates his sense of unfairness and he joins the nazis. is this a good result for the girl, yay I don't have to look at my abuser again, he's safely out there getting into Evola? I don't care what abusers do, say, to other girls, as long as I kicked them far enough that I don't have to think about it?

or do you tell the girl that I'm sorry, that was terrible but it's a war right now and we need all shooters, we can deal with rape culture after world peace is achieved just let it go for now, and from day #2 we all just pretend everything is normal? what will that do to the bonds of trust when it keeps happening, under pressure?

"but we are not in a war zone" homer simpson meme, we are not in a war zone ✨yet✨. but ok, current status here in the increasingly-surreal "irl" of the privileged: if you kick people out of the communities they're in and put them on permanent, irreversible outcast status, they don't get killed or even arrested. all that happens is that they're out there in bitter solitude, then they start Patreons and Netflix specials. this is working great to stop abuse?

I'm not writing this hot take academically, I have lived through issues like this in about every Euro political group I've been to—nothing as bad as sexual abuse, fortunately, but decidly bad behaviour that shouldn't be left un-addressed, but then it was definitely addressed in ways that rely on the existence of a State outside the doors to kick the bad elements onto, safely out of our pretty prefigurative bubbles.

yes restorative justice, transformative, all that is great we stan, but in practice is your group prepared to actually do it? everybody is so focused on rooting out sexual predators and problematic prejudices that it honestly feels to me like liberals dealing with crime, "to catch a predator: anarchist assembly edition". if not incarceration or ostracism, what is the accountability that we're striving _for_ ? can we talk about measures that could be taken to prevent and remedy internal harm, before the internal harm happens, preferably before the external harm comes for us? cos like the external harm feels like kinda close these days??

1: "The events of the Maidan were like a situation in which the special forces break into your house and you need to take decisive actions, but your arsenal consists only of punk lyrics, veganism, 100-year-old books, and at best, the experience of participating in street anti-fascism and local social conflicts. Consequently, there was a lot of confusion, as people attempted to understand what was happening."
de.crimethinc.com/2022/02/15/w

on dealing with abuse, war mention, this one will get #bothSides to cancel me, yay I'm the enlightened centrism now 

@elilla Think you need to consider if you want the victims of sexual harassment in your group too. Because if you (collectively) don’t take action to make sure they feel safe and stay that way, they’ll be forced out. And all the arguments about the importance of community for survival and the cruelty of permanent outcast status apply to them too

on dealing with abuse, war mention, this one will get #bothSides to cancel me, yay I'm the enlightened centrism now 

@elilla I’m agreeing with you, of course - yes, we need ways to prevent harm from happening in the first place, yes, we need transformative justice, all that. But it’s so so rare to hear these eloquent appeals against the terrible effects of ostracism even mention the people harmed, and it makes me suspicious of the whole approach

on dealing with abuse, war mention, this one will get #bothSides to cancel me, yay I'm the enlightened centrism now 

@elilla So. On a practical level what can/do you do? Get the structures in place - the codes of conduct, the processes, and (importantly) the people to accept responsibility - in advance. Before something bad happens. Otherwise you’ll be making excuses for sexual predators while you scramble to deal with the fallout

re: on dealing with abuse, war mention, this one will get #bothSides to cancel me, yay I'm the enlightened centrism now 

@ghost_bird

I'm experiencing the exact opposite here; I find it very rare to find these call outs for the blood of abusers to ever listen to the harmed. usually what I see is a poor twitter user going like "folks what he did was horrible but it doesn't warrant this harassment, I want him to be accountable not to lose his job, what the *heck* are you doing with his dad stop"—but no one is paying attention anymore.

here's a lightweight personal case involving me, I don't think it's too revealing: a guy was an asshole and shouted over me in a meeting, undoubtedly moved by misogynistic feelings. he gets called out, turns out to be tankeish and anti-idpol, tons of Discourse happen on the secret group, he stops coming to meetings, I can't deal with the whole thing cos I have too much other things going on, I burn out too, the group was like less than a dozen people and dies with this.

I never wanted any of this, I wanted my turn to speak yes and ideally I would like this dude to reflect on his misogyny but putting labels of wrongdoer on him won't make him reflect, they will harden his opinions. it felt nice to have people say "hey you're being an asshole right now" and call me a super-woman who does so much; that was _enough_, I didn't want it to become the Calvary for days on end. I tried to be conciliatory, people just kept adding to the fire. the _callouts_ hurt _me_ more than the original thing; it was the the former that burnt me out, not the latter.

now as it happens me and this guy, we're both immigrants under rising fascism, we both live in areas blooming with skinhead groups that literally actually want to literally kill us, and tell us that to our faces. this guy has wrong opinions but I wanted that group to work out, and hey if he's up to go to the streets with me I would happily have his bow and his axe. I still in fact see him on counterdemos sometimes; he pretends not to know me. this is suboptimal.

re: on dealing with abuse, war mention, this one will get #bothSides to cancel me, yay I'm the enlightened centrism now 

@elilla It’s suboptimal, but you weren’t the only person in the group either, and it’s not just your call. And this is the real point - centring perpetrators is a way to avoid having to think about safety as a collective responsibility. Which is why it’s popular, of course.

re: on dealing with abuse, war mention, this one will get #bothSides to cancel me, yay I'm the enlightened centrism now 

@elilla (And if I seem cross then it’s not really your fault. I’ve just seen too many disingenuous appeals to the terrible terrible effects of ostracism or the urgency of the fight from which this is a distraction when someone popular turns out to be a bully or a sexual predator)

re: on dealing with abuse, war mention, this one will get #bothSides to cancel me, yay I'm the enlightened centrism now 

@ghost_bird
ok so look I'm not writing this cool-headed and I will probably regret it later. but as of now you've been presented with 2 cases where group avengers took upon themselves to punish and ban the evildoers on behalf of the victims, against the will of the victims, and you've decided that this is bad because it's being too kind to the evildoers.

what I permanently seem to fail to impress on Euro folk is the perspective (and it's why it's so refreshing to be among the Kurds, who cannot but be acutely aware, at all times, of who is the fascist). like let's take your argument, that this guy shouting at me hurts everyone, and so it's not up to me to decide when I've been avenged enough. did any of the 2~3 people doing the avenging ran a show of hands to know how the rest of the group feel about it? did you consider if they did that? do you actually ask the harmed and the communities about their needs, or do you just project their needs?

and what did the extended crucification of this one immigrant who can be assholeish to women do, for the women of the group? our group was disbanded. now we're left with extended activist burnout, and the need to organise all over again to protect ourselves. and this is what I seem to permanently fail to impress on Euro folk, that there are. fucking. nazis. goddamn actual nazis. not guy who has unexamined male privilege, people who go on rallies, in my town, blasting racist rock, making jokes about gassing me. that the street attacks are increasing. that I'm finding neonazi territory stickers left and right. that my folk arrive at my place shaking from some news or another. that I was taking a Jewish minor to a memorial museum 2 days ago and a guy with an SS tattoo and a Sonnerad in full view sat right in front of us, and my Jewish friend was pale and crying and I had to comfort them the rest of the day. and all this in a context where antifastic resistance is being criminalised, where I know of several immigrants who have been deported for doing the same kind of tame-ass legal activism I do, without any kind of process due or undue. where I know people whose friends have been deported to warzones for having anti-State political beliefs, preventively.

now the group in question was formed to self-defense against that kinda stuff. all this consideration that Euro activists put on white girls being sexually abused, where is the same worry when it's about immigrants being deported? cos like I would rather be sexually abused than deported or murdered. how did you know, without asking anybody, what do the people in that group would rather have, one more guy who has to be told to stop shouting every so often, or one less mate on your crew when you return from demos at night? why do you feel this need to assume the needs of the harmed?

I will die on this hill here: Euro activists assume that if you humanise the people who do harm, if you think about their feelings or needs, if you even think about them too much, you're enabling abuse. they assume this as a truth axiom, without any argument. like libs assume, without argument, that harsher punishment will stop crime, white activists assume, without argument, that if you humanise only the victim and ban all abusers, that will stop abuse. it is a very easy will of thinking when the abuser in question isn't your kid, or a Muslim immigrant, or someone else you actually care about and don't want to see literally die even if you acknowledge they did something fucked up.

but like the military cops in my country, the dehumanisation of offenders has not only completely failed to stop abuse even a little bit, it has not only targeted, inevitably, miniorites and marginalised abusers first, but it has also dehumanised the harmed right along with it. punitive justice as a framework is all-encompassing, you can't be transformative and communal for one side only, because the social factors that cause the situation to happen are acting on both.

if you want to stop abuse you need to work at the systemic, community level, yes, but to do that you _have_ to acknowledge that people do monstrous things without being monsters. you have to think of what endstate you want to reach, and then take steps towards that endstate. banishing Muslim sexual abusers back to Syria only ensures that they'll abuse Syrian women rather than white ones; that's what passes for justice in right-wing circles. if you run a parallel power community abuse is going to happen because we live in patriarchy, what purpose does it serve the cultivation of emotional affect towards fuckboys that reproduces exactly the ways that nazis think of Muslim offenders?

I reject the notion that thinking of the needs of an abuser enables more abuse, not only because it's not panning out, but because it's leaving me alone with actual fucking nazis.

re: on dealing with abuse, war mention, this one will get #bothSides to cancel me, yay I'm the enlightened centrism now 

@ghost_bird

that's definitely the case. if anything the needs of the harmed take precedence in a situation like this.

is the needs of the harmed to ban the abuser from all comunities forever? does that make the abuse stop, or the pain to abate?

like I'm not the one who created all of this, loads of African societies have been working out methodologies to deal with this since forever and it's where we got all that modern transformative stuff from. but my experience with Euro leftists is that they vaguely read about this stuff in abstract, quote it to criticise cops, then sheriff their own communities. you rarely even see someone actually talking to the harmed and giving them community support in the African manner; rather it is assumed beforehand that any instances of abuse automatically mean that the person who did the monstruous thing is a monster by nature, and that surely what the harmed person wants is that person to wear a forehead tattoo that says "abuser" for life. oh wait we have those, they're called sex offender registries.

I can think of a few precious instances where there was an actual process, like the handling of the warren ellis case comes to mind, but then again that was something bravely led forward by the harmed themselves, without support from their communities—the community in question was either for crucifying ellis as a creep for life, or blaming the groomed because they wanted it; judging by the comments on news threads, that's still how people act, retributive culture leftists are now accusing **the harmed** of being too soft on crime and whitewashing abusers.

re: on dealing with abuse, war mention, this one will get #bothSides to cancel me, yay I'm the enlightened centrism now 

@elilla I still don’t like this focus on the people who do the harm, though. It erases the harm that was done and the people who were harmed. What if we said “this focus on identifying abusers is bad because we shouldn’t be centring them; we should be thinking about how people get hurt and how to prevent that”?

re: on dealing with abuse, war mention, this one will get #bothSides to cancel me, yay I'm the enlightened centrism now 

@ghost_bird @elilla yes, but that should include better ways to handle abusers.
If you don't burn the abusers but catch them as they are supposedly doing that because of $other-issue you have someone "new" in your society who can help too.

I don't have numbers at hand but afair the Swedish? have "luxurious" jails and also much less crime from people

re: on dealing with abuse, war mention, this one will get #bothSides to cancel me, yay I'm the enlightened centrism now 

@ghost_bird @elilla who already were in jail once.

I think this goes in the same direction as I'd like to have a basic income and some people not providing anything to society instead of constant harassment and some big ass bureaucracy machine.

@elilla re becoming the enlightened centrists our parentswe warned us about:

It seems to me that where "enlightened centrism"[/sarc] is excessive friendliness towards reasonable-sounding-but-actually-still-bad positions that are somewhere between an actually-okay position and one that shouldn't be allowed in the room much less on the table...

...it might be okay sometimes to find a position that is nominally somewhere between a reasonable-sounding-but-still-unacceptable position and an actually-good position...

...especially if we don't treat "position" as a one-dimensional value and free of context. Real-world ethics isn't a series of trolley-problems; the map isn't the territory.

(I'd offer examples, but my lack of real-world experience in successful group organizing starts to show at this point.)

my first year as an active activist who activisms actively: reflections 

@elilla thank you for this write-up 💚 I have burned out on activism in the last few years and am struggling to get into it. But this is really good!

my first year as an active activist who activisms actively: reflections 

@elilla on the "your security is also the security of your peers" and how to handle that: i think it's quite easy, you just talk about it, and see if you can find consensus?

if i send someone a nude via signal with disappearing messages turned on, i might still want to know if they leave their phone laying around without a pin, and if the account is connected to signal desktop, and how those computers are set up and maintained 🤷‍♀️

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