Accounting for Ourselves – A Review and Interview

From Jen Angel

How do restorative and transformative justice processes work in practice?

In April, the anarchist collective CrimethInc published a new pamphlet critiquing accountability processes and suggesting ways forward. “Accounting for Ourselves” is not an introduction to accountability processes, nor to the concepts of restorative or transformative justice, but an attempt to evaluate the current implementation of these concepts in political subcultures.

My interest in this topic has come from participating and supporting friends and comrades in this work over the last ten or so years. Accountability processes attempt to put many of my values into practice—mutual aid, respect, direct action, a DIY ethic, an acknowledgement that “crime,” safety, harm, and support are complex. Accountability processes haven’t been a perfect solution, however, and many of the participants I know have left these processes frustrated. At the same time, a lot of the collective knowledge about what works and what doesn’t work is scattered, unwritten, and lost as ad-hoc groups come and go around particular crises.

I started thinking about doing a writing or research project on accountability processes, motivated by the urgent feeling that we must do this better. After I began talking with friends and comrades about collecting best practices, I discovered that a friend had already done a lot of good thinking in this area, and I read some early drafts of this pamphlet.

“Accounting for Ourselves” is a necessary critique done in an effort to move us toward a better process. Though written as a reflection of the practice of accountability processes in Anarchist circles, the writing offers accessible insights to anyone interested in these issues. I find this type of honest self-reflection both rare and urgently important.

If you are unfamiliar with accountability processes, the following Q & A with Nikita, one of the primary authors of the pamphlet, is an introduction to these ideas and to the pamphlet. The pamphlet itself (available for free) also gives historical context for how these concepts have developed over time and how they have been put into practice. It includes an excellent (and thorough) list of articles, books, ‘zines, and organizations. We recommend starting with these five resources:

“Accounting for Ourselves – Breaking the Impasse Around Assault and Abuse in Anarchist Scenes” and is available for free online here: http://www.crimethinc.com/texts/recentfeatures/accounting.php

This interview was conducted in May 2013.

Q: Could you give us an idea of what an “accountability process” is?

A: “Accountability process” is a broad term for alternative methods for responding to harm on a community level. Instead of focusing on punishment through the criminal legal system, these processes try to actually address the harm that was done, on the terms of the person harmed rather than those of the state. These processes can be as simple as a few friends coming together to support someone and confronting a person who’s hurt them, or can involve more complex mediation between collectives of people who support and intervene.

“Accounting For Ourselves” focuses on these alternative processes as they’re applied in situations of sexual assault and abuse. We chose this focus because these are some of the primary forms of harm that folks have attempted to address through accountability processes, in part because the criminal legal system is notoriously ineffective at providing resolution and preventing harm in these situations.

Q: How do accountability processes fit into your political framework? How did you come to be involved with this work?

A: I first got involved in men’s anti-violence education and rape crisis support work because so many of my friends and loved ones had experienced sexual violence. I was also getting involved in anarchist organizing and prison abolition work, and community accountability brought together these visions on an intimate level.

Accountability processes attempt to put anti-authoritarian ideals into action. If we’re struggling against police violence and the prison industrial complex, but we don’t have tools to address harm in our own circles, we’re unlikely to dismantle this society or successfully create alternatives.

Q: Can you give examples of what people find ineffective about the criminal legal system, and why some groups would want to deal with these issues internally and not go to the police?

A: Most people are sexually assaulted or abused by people that they know—romantic partners, family members, friends and acquaintances—rather than by strangers who can be dismissed as two-dimensional “bad guys.” We often have complicated relationships to the people who harm us, and can’t easily dehumanize them enough to believe that kidnapping them and locking them in a cage for years would be a positive thing. And the “solutions” offered by the criminal legal system don’t give survivors of violence resources for healing, nor do they address the root causes of gender violence. Prisons don’t make us safer; relying on the state for “justice” decimates our communities and legitimizes the racist prison system.

Many accountability strategies emerged from communities of color in which the devastating impact of policing and mass incarceration renders the “options” offered by the criminal legal system even more harmful. So it’s crucial for us to find different ways to respond to sexual violence, both to get what we need in specific instances of abuse and assault in ways that preserve rather than further fracturing community, and to strengthen our struggles against white supremacy and state power.

Q: The majority of “Accounting for Ourselves” discusses ten “pitfalls” of accountability processes. Can you talk about where these critiques came from?

A: I’ve been involved with quite a number of accountability processes related to sexual assault and abuse within the radical scenes of which I’ve been part, both as a supporter for survivors and intervening with folks who’ve been confronted about their behavior. So the pitfalls or difficulties we address in the pamphlet come first and foremost from my personal experience of things going wrong. As I spoke with folks who had been involved in similar processes elsewhere, I started to see patterns in the problems we encountered. These common themes formed the basis for the pitfalls discussed in the pamphlet; most folks who’ve seen these processes play out will relate to at least some of them.

Q: One of the most common questions I hear about accountability processes is about whose responsibility it is to “investigate” allegations of abuse or assault. Could you talk a little bit about who should be involved in accountability processes? And what is the role of community institutions, such as infoshops, clubs, or publications?

A: Well, the person who is most centrally involved is the person who has been harmed, who I’ll call the survivor. This person’s needs and desires guide the process, as opposed to a conventional criminal process, which is guided by the needs and desires of the State instead of the survivor’s. Other people that the survivor seeks out for support can be involved, too: that can be individual friends and supporters, collectives that focus on support and intervention, or other stakeholders.

Community institutions can play crucial roles by helping enforce the demands of survivors, sharing information, promoting consent, and encouraging intervention. When people realize that they’ll face consequences for their behavior in the spaces they patronize, in print and online, throughout their social networks, the norms that excuse assault and abuse actually start to shift.

Let me clarify one thing, though: the point of an accountability process isn’t to “investigate” and determine “the truth” of what really happened. That’s the adversarial justice framework– basically a winner-take-all competition mediated by the State, which assumes that one party is lying while the other has a monopoly on truth, as in the US legal system. The point of an accountability process, by contrast, is to promote healing, safety, and liberation: healing for people who’ve been harmed, on their own terms; safety for all the folks in the circles involved, through assurances that the underlying conditions that led to instances of abuse and assault are addressed; and liberation, the collective transformation of oppression necessary for healing or safety to be possible.

Q: Outside of a formal method of determining “truth,” and with the sensitivity of the information involved in instances of abuse and desires for privacy, sometimes these situations result in a maelstrom of rumor and gossip. These dynamics may appear divisive or petty, but can also reflect genuine concerns about safety and desire to challenge abuse behaviors.

When people hear rumors, especially if they are not closely connected to the individuals involved, what’s the best course of action?

A: Many problems in accountability processes have arisen around secrecy and disclosure. Supporters guided by the wishes of a survivor often want to err on the side of preserving privacy, which is certainly reasonable. But unfortunately this has lead at times to great confusion about what kinds of behaviors folks are being asked to account for, or even a sense of Kafkaesque persecution. Although folks wishing to avoid being accountable sometimes make these sorts of claims to sidestep responsibility, others simply may not understand what’s going on, while the rumor mill rages on.

Processes in which folks speak as openly as possible about what’s going on can prevent some of these dynamics. A survivor or supporters offering a written statement as a reference point can also help. And folks who aren’t directly involved should be very careful about taking actions in the name of a survivor or acting from a sense of righteousness. Ask questions directly to the folks involved, be clear on what the participants are and aren’t asking for, and try to recognize and put aside your own pre-emptive judgments. Pursuing healing and transformation rather than punishment requires humility, patience, honest communication and a willingness to listen on the part of everyone involved.

Q: Could you give us an example of one of the pitfalls?

A: Often community accountability processes don’t have clear standards for success or failure, or require resources we can’t realistically provide. I’ve seen processes drag on indefinitely and eventually run aground, because we didn’t know how to tell when vague goals like someone “working on their shit” had been achieved—or when to throw in the towel because it simply wasn’t working. Likewise, if we promise something like “safe space” that we can’t deliver, we undermine our trust in each other and burn out trying.

Q: I don’t think that your intention here is to discourage people from using these processes or being more accountable to each other. Despite these pitfalls, do you still support the “accountability processes”?

A: Accountability processes can be really useful in some circumstances, but they are not a panacea. We can’t apply one fixed model across the board in radically different situations. I still support community accountability processes as one tool in our toolbox of grassroots methods for staying safe and addressing harm outside of the state. But we need to be constantly experimenting with other tactics and learning from our mistakes, which is why “Accounting For Ourselves” was written.

Q: Do you identify any solutions to these pitfalls? What do you think is the way forward?

A: The ways forward will be as diverse as the groups of people who use these processes. But in general, there are some steps that I think could be useful. First, prioritizing conflict resolution and mediation skills within all sorts of radical scenes and movements. If a broader range of people have experience directly engaging with conflicts of many kinds—rather than simply sweeping them under the rug in the name of the urgency of struggle, as happens all too frequently—we have more of a basis to make accountability work.

Next, let’s look at prevention rather than just response. Organizers against gender violence have often relied on gender-based organizing for prevention work; we can look at anti-sexist men’s groups and autonomous women’s organizing as options within radical circles, informed by trans feminism and anti-essentialist understandings of gender, as well as other strategies for prevention and especially bystander intervention.

Finally, the most important direction forward I see requires grappling with the question of what “community” really means, by concretely defining our circles of affinity with each other. If we start explicit conversations in all of our collectives, spaces, and movements about what we share and what we expect from each other, we can lay the groundwork for resolving conflict and responding to harm.

Q: What was your goal with writing this pamphlet? What do you hope happens next?

A: One goal was to identify the common themes among our frustrations with these processes, to be able to understand what wasn’t working and why so few of these processes turned out to be successful. This frustration has resulted in a tide of reaction against accountability processes and their perceived ineffectiveness.

That feeling is totally valid, but we’re worried that in rejecting them out of hand we might miss crucial lessons we need to learn from our failures. Also, we don’t want a return to the previous situation in radical scenes, in which silence about abuse dominated, punctuated by occasional acts of individual vengeance or he said/she said conflicts dismissed as “scene drama.” Ultimately we want a world free from gender violence, and until we’re there we want to have as many useful tools as possible to prevent and respond to it. Whether or not our future efforts take the form of accountability processes, we wanted to distill some of the things we learned from our years involved with them and spark discussion about how to move forward.

Q: Do you have any future plans to write more or create other resources on this topic?

A: We’re interested to see how folks respond to the analysis in this pamphlet, and to continue dialogue around these pitfalls and directions for action. There’s actually quite a bit of writing and material out there on the topic, so rather than creating more texts, I want us to experiment with more models, trying out different things to see what can move us past this impasse. As we develop more strategies for response, we’ll keep sharing how things worked and what we’ve learned. The StoryTelling & Organizing Project started by Creative Interventions is an inspiring example of this, an ongoing compilation of stories about how folks have responded to violence in a wide variety of community settings.

I’m interested less in new texts and more in experiments with new forms of organization and action.

“Accounting for Ourselves – Breaking the Impasse Around Assault and Abuse in Anarchist Scenes” and is available for free online here: http://www.crimethinc.com/texts/recentfeatures/accounting.php

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Comments

That zine sucked! If you want to read a bunch of off putting insular punk scenesterdom then it might be good but if you want something worth while, look elsewhere.

ha, I think you're talking about another zine. and i know which one you mean.

but this one was not bad, considering.

Back to the ol' troll drawing board, I guess. I'll be right back with something snarkier!

OK, I got something. This zine is about accountability, and accountability sucks. How's that?

that's just a really basic description of the zine itself

I think the line is
accountability sucks because we suck
isn't that how the song goes?

you can order it from a certain distro!

This is an okay (just okay really) pamphlet other than "Alex Gorrion"'s analysis of fucking Eminem, which somehow is shallower than Eminem himself:

Fucking pick a part of this essay at random and look at it and think about it. Here's a good one:

"But the traditional understanding of patriarchy, as a hierarchical system with men dominating women, is also inadequate, because love is also something different than hierarchy. Love does not end in the domination of the other but in the mutual destruction of self and other."

In other words: he traditional understanding of patriarchy as a hierarchical system with men dominating women is adequate because....something about love.....I don't know basically it's doesn't it seem like women want it or somethin'............AMIRITE FELLAS?!

Funny thing for a certain dude in particular to write.

but did u like this part:

"N was starting to lose it. S became the object of his obsessions. They had been comrades and lovers. Once it got undeniably unhealthy, she ended it. But he couldn’t walk away. He became unhinged, but she refused to call the police, because she cared about him, and hated the state. The rest of us couldn’t provide the support they both needed, neither the friendship that would have given him the strength to heal, nor the accompaniment that would have saved her. I lived in a different town: that was my excuse.

One night he killed her, walked up the hill to watch her house burn down, opened his wrists, and spilled his guts out on the ground in front of him.

I understood those who hated him for it. But I couldn’t find it in myself. He already hated himself enough, and that was the part that finally triumphed. "

aka it was ok this dude killed his ex bc like he hated himself and gosh patriarchy is hard on the murderers of women too you guise

Here's another (no pun intended) killer passage:

"Patriarchy doesn’t reproduce itself as a hierarchy, but as a network. What will be most hard to accept, and most easily dismissed as a dangerously sexist idea, is that it is a fully participatory enterprise. "

basically: patriarchy only succeeds in dominating and violating women because women willingly participate in it, and although step one to NOT participating in the 'network" of patriarchy would be naming it and recognizing it as men's systematic domination of women, villifying men like that is like totally not recognizing that women are participating in the "network"

oh cool tautology bro.

Well look I know it is hard to accept and easy to dismiss as a sexist idea but women participate in their own oppression so like, you also have to blame her for being so damn killable. Listen to this Eminem song.

you should probably read that again. it doesn't say that it's "ok" that the dude did what he did, it says that the person writing it couldn't bring themself to hating the dude for it, cos the situation didn't seem that simple to them

Yeah, so it's not really his fault he murdered his ex. Things were "complicated" One hundred million pieces of shit hiding behind "it was complicated" forever and ever. Guess what, EVERYTHING is fucking complicated and men who stalk, assault, and murder women who dared to leave them are still contemptible pieces of shit, and making excuses for them as a round about way of making excuses for yourself is contemptible piece of shit behavior, too.

what the fuck are you talking about? how is "i can't hate this person for what they did" the same as "this person shares no blame in what they did"?

A woman is murdered by her ex and the blame should be SHARED?!

the blame for the situation clearly getting completely out of hand? well, i'd imagine that there were friends of theirs that saw warning signs and didn't act on them for whatever reason, i'd imagine that their relationship was fairly fucked up in lots of different ways, and, yeah, it's usually both people's fault when that's the case. it's certainly the dude's fault for doing what he did cos he's the one that chose to do it, but i think the point that the author is making is that situations like that don't just appear out of nowhere, it takes a lot of shit to get to that point, and, yeah, it probably wasn't entirely this dude's fault that things got to that level.

If you can't hate men who murder their exes for leaving them then really what the fuck is wrong with you. Yeah it's a "network", it's complicated...funny no anarchists want to decentralize the blame when fascists kill anti-fascists or racists kill immigrants, then we know who our enemy is. But forbid that we see the enemy clearly in the piece of shit who murders his former lover, that couldn't possibly be the overt forceful enforcement of the hierarchy of patriarchy, it's too complicated now and everyone's to blame, she participated in the situation, you know...which just so happens to conveniently mean a lot of excuses as well for certain people who wrote and/or read the essay....but I wouldn't want to blow any pen names now.

I think the article "Questioning Rape" is pretty good. Though what a fucking sketchy title! It makes me never want to recommend it to anybody -- it has some solid critiques of how accountability efforts and call-outs usually happen, but the title makes it seem like it's going to be some sort of nauseating denial that rape is real or any kind of big deal. I also think Safety is an Illusion is a good article. The other two are pretty awful, though. I don't think either of the articles I like are for people "with less hope," though. Just for people who don't want to keep fooling themselves that doing the same shit over and over again without learning from our mistakes is going to get us anywhere. I feel like the critiques in the articles I liked are pretty in line with the intention behind Accounting For Ourselves (and indeed, that zines quotes extensively from Safety is an Illusion): to strip ourselves of our self-delusions so we can see what's actually happening and think of new responses when the things we've been trying haven't been working. Though sadly, I see Broken Kettle often being distributed in insurrectionary distros, without any zines or articles that provide context or further analyses about rape and sexual violence, in a way that to me feels like it's just an apology for rape: "these processes don't work, and they're just power trips anyhow, so we don't think they're legitimate and we're just going to ignore anybody who tries to do them [and, unspoken, we're cool with the way rape and sexual assault is happening now and don't really want to do anything to change it]."

Just to clarify what I was trying to say: Accounting for Ourselves quotes extensively from Safety is an Illusion in a way that clearly accepts a lot of that article's critiques as true. The author of Accounting for Ourselves clearly thinks that the critiques in Safety is an Illusion are a good starting point for thinking about how to deal with sexual violence and abuse without going to the cops and without just ignoring it and pretending like it'll go away. Accounting for Ourselves and Broken Teapot are coming from a pretty similar place, in terms of both recognizing that "accountability processes" in the way folks have been doing them for the last decade generally haven't actually been working. But two of the articles in Broken Teapot are just really bad and in my opinion not at all worthwhile, whereas Accounting for Ourselves is more consistent throughout. It makes me wonder if the person who posted Broken Teapot as an alternative has even read Accounting for Ourselves. (Broken Teapot also just brings up the critiques, but then doesn't do anything with them, whereas Accounting for Ourselves goes a step further and grapples with what we can do once we have accepted the many real critiques of how accountability processes have so far operated.)

thanks for writing this zine, it's really good. Trollin aside yall should really check it out

Um, excuse me but I'm never sure how to respond when I'm an @ event and there's all this talk about holding an "Accountability" Workshop. Usually, I head in the opposite direction. If you do go they're rife with with angry denunciations and recriminations of certain male scenesters, who use obvious tactic to shamefully use people. It's always the same bros, too. Or at least the same type of bro. Why they go for those douchie bros is beyond me. Maybe they think he's a project that they can fix. Makes you wonder if it's just another embarrassing episode in patriarchal programing of women. Wise up. Must admit it's kind of messed up to date the same type of somewhat attractive romeo guys repeatedly, and expect a different result each time. Disappointing? yes. But why keep doing it? And then become a sort of menacing Medusa//weeping psycho.

Instead of being embarrassed, they want to hold a workshop, get the offending bro shunned- which doesn't work cos there's always some newbie chick who will step into the roll of rescuer and protector for the handsome bro. Or maybe it's always new people that don't yet know better than to mess with these scammers.

Advice: If a super attractive straight guy is attaching himself to you- that should be your signal to watch out. Do your self a favor. date outside your scene or better yet, find a good, honest woman and set up shop.

Advice: stop posting.

Seconded. Please stop. For yourself, for us, for everyone.

yeah, moron!.

Motion carried. I know I speak for everybody when I say: We all vote you outta here! What a tool.
Even for a troll, you are an embarrasmint. WE hate you. Please stop posting forever and for everybody's sake.
Yoo're done. That's it. You blew it. Took it to far. History. You're gone Get lost. WE hate trolls and we want you gone. WE mean it. You make us all want to painfully vomit out of our tear ducts.

Don't disagree! Don't post! Do you understand the clarity of my authoritarian commands? DONTDONTDONTDONTDONT!!! I HAS SPOKEN!!!

OH NO THE POOOOR LITTLE TROLLIES! SAVE THEM! SOMEONE PLEASE!

"WAAH WAAH GIRLS NEVER GO FOR 'NICE GUYS' LIKE MEEE"

I'm not clear why people are hating this comment so much, except that it sounds like real talk - if a bit biased and eccentric - from someone who has seen how these so often go in practice. Get a clue and stop lying to yourselves about reality & maybe your scenes won't be such little hells.

Here's a haiku dedicated to you, my inelastic Philistine

Soft, young ladies of the bookfair
Be not afraid of the birdman with the soft,
ceaseless and caressing words
He will guide you
Toward absolute pleasure!
heed not the aging lesbian.

case and point :D

It should be made clear that ‘what is being called ‘transformative justice’ here, and ‘accountability’ has little to do with the ‘restorative justice’ that derives from aboriginal tradition and is being assimilated into many non-aboriginal communities around the world.

In the paper referred to; “Toward Transformative Justice”, in section 1.1 ‘What do we mean by Transformative Justice’, ... it says;

“Transformative Justice seeks to provide people who experience violence with immediate safety and long-term healing and reparations while holding people who commit violence accountable within and by their communities.”

this is radically unlike 'restorative justice' in the aboriginal tradition.

Restorative justice is where ‘the community holds itself responsible’ for the safety of its members and for conflict that erupts within the community, and is willing to let its relations transform so as to subsume eruptions of violence [as a community of freeway drivers can let their relational dynamics transform so as to subsume accidents before they happen]. instead of reaching for one’s cell-phone when rape is about to occur, one instead intervenes without judgement [not like john wayne or anyone who sets himself up as the force of good committed to the eradication of evil], but in the service of cultivating, restoring and sustaining balance and harmony in the relational dynamics of community.

restorative justice sees the simplistic ‘offender’ and ‘victim’ formulation as ‘schaumkommen’ or ‘appearances’ [the volcano that does violence to those around it is not the real source of the violence] but accepts that the parties directly involved, while the violence is the symptom of a deeper source, must be included in the overall healing/solution. for example, the notion of a pathogenic attack by microbes is a superficial view [as Pasteur and Béchamp agreed], this being a symptom of ‘le terrain’ [the community] falling out of relational balance [to give one example, where this imbalance is due to a deficiency of vitamin C]. the continuing presence of pathogens [e.g. rapists], even though seen as ‘symptoms’ rather than ‘source’ [the source lies in the relational dynamics of community], nevertheless, can inhibit ‘healing’. the restorative justice [aboriginal] action was, if they persisted, to put a bullet through their head [or arrow through their heart], not because they were judged to be the evil jumpstart source of the violence [for medical example just cited, streptococcus pneumoniae is not considered to be the jumpstart source of illness from a restorative health perspective, the body imbalance from the deficiency of vitamin C is the deeper source]. nevertheless, the persistence of streptococcus pneumoniae may require an anti-pathogen treatment due to its inhibiting of the restoring of balance and harmony in the body. the symptom, while recognized as NOT THE SOURCE, may nevertheless need to be 'dealt with'.

if the source was the body leaving open the gates to fertile pastures properly reserved for community processes, the streptococcus pneumonia is wrongly cast as a pathogen, and more accurately seen as a dumb beast that stuck himself into somewhere he shouldn’t have, due to the community opening gates it shouldn’t have. even though the dumb beasts are not truly attacking-pathogens, their failure to desist from their transgressions may inhibit the restoring of balance and harmony and will thus demand that they be ‘brought down’.

in sum, ‘restorative justice’ is where the community assumes primary responsibility and ‘offender-victim’ are seen as symptoms of a deeper problem, the source of which lies in the relational dynamics of the community. restorative justice DIFFERS FUNDAMENTALLY from the ‘transformative justice’ and ‘accountability’ approaches discussed in this article.

The article and its links grossly misrepresent ‘restorative justice’; e.g. in the article ‘Accounting for Ourselves where it says;

“In contrast, restorative justice focuses on the needs of the ones harmed and those who did harm, rather than the need to satisfy the abstract principles of law or to exact punishment. Folks who’ve been harmed play an active role in resolving a dispute, while those who harm are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions and repair the harm they’ve done. It is based on a theory of justice that sees “crime” and wrongdoing as an offense against individuals or communities rather than the state. Many of the current working models for restorative justice originated in Maori and North American indigenous communities.”

restorative justice of North American indigenous communities does not recognize the concept of ‘crime’ and ‘wrongdoing’ nor does it recognize 'the state' PERIOD, and thus not as 'the offended party'; i.e.restorative justice is not ‘judgement of good and evil’-based [this concept depends on seeing the individual, as Western culture sees him, as a disconnected, independently existing thing-in-itself with its own internal process jumpstarting behaviour that moves about and interacts in a notional NON-RELATIONAL, absolute space]. that is, in order to judge an individual's behaviour as bad, one must see the individual as the jumpstart source of his behaviour. restorative justice recognizes conflict that has roots that spring from the relational dynamics of community. the manifest eruptions of violence are seen as the symptoms of a deeper source; i.e. imbalance in the relational dynamics of community.

transformative justice and 'accountability' as described in this article do not approximate 'restorative justice'; i.e. they are still encumbered by the Western model of the community dynamic seen NOT as a relational dynamic but as the composite of individual doer-deed dynamics [people seen as things-in-themselves with their own internally jumpstarting behaviours]. in the iroquois peacemaker legend, the evil otatorho who keeps preventing peace from being restored, is transformed by dekanedwideh [the peacemaker] and becomes the respected chief. peacemaking [restorative justice] in the aboriginal tradition is not about judging and eliminating evil ones, it is about relational transformation.

I don't think the turds over at crimethinc know about this history. This zine credits punk shows for these ideas and projects more than it does indigenous communities etc.

or maybe they're just talking about something different

Untrue. The zine credits the models to indigenous communities VIA other venues, such as punk shows, which is just the truth of the situation for many people. But your "turds" gives away that you have an ulterior agenda in any case.

those aren't turd, those are his dreadlocks.
That's so Cointelpro shit, right there.

How would restorative justice deal with the guy who tried to eat a homeless man's face, down in Florida last year?
How would restorative justice deal with the guy in New Jersey, who burgled a house, and attacked a mom in front of her child just recently?
Let's hear about some concrete cases, with concrete remedies.

same way you kill zombies. large swords.

but srrrrrsly restorative justice (of which im not even particularly a partisan, but ima respond to ya anyway) is not a universalizing formula. Its not like a State system of courts and prisons, whereby there is one single solution to all crime (go thru the state). Noone would argue, i hope, that a specific model of restorative whatever is appropriate for all situations. A situation where a rando stranger is attacking people he doesnt know and trying to eat their face off is pretty damn different than intimate partner abuse/assault. Ahhhhhh context. As an anarchist and human if i saw some wild shit like that bath salts zombie dood, i d say thats a situation that calls first for self defense and aid, second, immediate neutralization of the threat, third, sequestration and treatment for addiction and mental illness. Even isolating immediately psychotic and dangerous folks from 'society' wouldnt necessarily be off the table - though this is an extremely rare and weird situation, not something that justifies building up a massive complex of cages....

seriously. talk about apples and oranges. some people go to great lengths to poke holes in anything crimethinc related, often letting go of their sense of basic reason in the process

Dat rassustez!

Oh! Extermination of people who don't fit your worldview by means of an extermination camp system! I see!

go away cointelbro

well first off shit is hella messy especially living in a capitalist society and fire doesn't burn clean, but honestly I think community/survivorlead intervention would be a phrase I would drop here, but honestly I'm not connected to those communities affected or the persons involved so I wouldn't begin to understand how to reasonable engage in "restorative justice"(there has be be a better way to say that). And if you gotta defend yourself, well by all means defend yourself.

the general scorecard for ‘restorative justice’, based on continuous experience with it over several thousand years, is as follows;

“To Engels, Morgan’s description of the Iroquois [in Lewis Henry Morgan’s Ancient Society and The League of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois] was important because “it gives us the opportunity of studying the organization of a society which, as yet, knows no state.” Jefferson had also been interested in the Iroquois’ ability to maintain social consensus without a large state apparatus, as had Franklin. Engels described the Iroquoian state in much the same way that American revolutionaries had a century earlier: “Everything runs smoothly without soldiers, gendarmes, or police, without nobles, kings, governors, prefects or judges; without prisons, without trials. All quarrels and disputes are settled by the whole body of those concerned. . . . The household is run communistically by a number of families; the land is tribal property, only the small gardens being temporarily assigned to the households — still, not a bit of our extensive and complicated machinery of administration is required. . . . There are no poor and needy. The communistic household and the gens know their responsibility toward the aged, the sick and the disabled in war. All are free and equal — including the women.” — Bruce E. Johansen, Forgotten Founders

in restorative justice, judging the individual’s behaviour as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is suspended. for example, if a man tortures rapes and chops into pieces an innocent young girl, one does not conclude that ‘his behaviour is bad’ since his action is, in general, the community expressing itself through him. if he were an american soldier in vietnam, the more appropriate imagery might be the united states administration/military as a many-tentacled predator. one would not orient to the ‘badness of the individual/tentacle’ [omg! have you ever seen such a bad tentacle!] and try to track this one tentacle down and bring it to justice as if that were a complete closed case action [the judge and jury could be more responsible for the harm than the community tentacle they were judging and condemning]. that is, in restorative justice, the community assumes responsibility in the sense of being the body from which the harm-doing tentacle is protruding.

there is no sense, in restorative justice, of ‘going easy on the person doing harm’, the sense is instead to look at the community as the body from which the harm-doing tentacle protrudes [this included harm-doer and done-to]. the harm-doing tentacle may have to be chopped down, but the main job is to deal with the body that spawns the vicious tentacles, cultivating relational transformation that subsumes/arrests the continued spawning of such tentacles.

in other words, no more game-playing that pretends that 'harmful behaviours' come out of nowhere [i.e. that vicious acts jumpstart out of an individual's interior], so that all we need to do is to assemble, from out of the majority collection of independently-existing peace-loving innocents in our community, an ‘innocent’ jury and judge to punish the harm-doer. that is, of course, how the transparently screwed up ‘game’ called ‘Western retributive justice’ actually operates.

Morgan conveniently left out treatment of captives, which often included torture, burning, maiming, and even the eating of. He also left out their genocidal wars against their neighbors, such as the Erie, Mohegans, Conestogues, Illinois, and Wendot.

you appear to be unable to distinguish between (a) relational balancing social dynamics managing systems, and (b) good-and-bad judgement based social dynamics managing systems.

you say that the iroquois did ‘bad things’ to the Erie, Mohegans, Conestogues, Illinois, and Wendot. this is the approach where one deems oneself capable of judging ‘who is good’ and ‘who is bad’ on the basis of their actions. is it bad for the wife to plant a tomahawk in the skull of her husband? what if he kept philandering on her, or kept tickling the labia of their daughter even though she had now passed 15 summers? [as the song goes, ... 'there's a thin line between love and hate']. this is the general case; it is called ‘nonlinear dynamics’ and it comes from the combination of ‘memory+thresholds’ and it means that events of the remote past bear directly on present behaviours. it complicates, innately, the judgement of ‘good’ and ‘bad’.

but you have no problem with stating that the iroquois are the bad guys in their relations with the Erie, Mohegans, Conestogues, Illinois, and Wendot. that is, evidently, you are a ‘retributive justice man’ who thinks he can judge ‘good’ and ‘evil’ when he sees it. if you can judge whose actions are ‘good’ and whose are ‘evil’, then, sure, ... we can optimize the social dynamic by rewarding ‘good’ and punishing ‘evil’.

that is the mess that the iroquois wanted to get out of. five tribes which were operating as individual things-in-themselves, Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas decided that their continuing disputes which automatically assumed ‘me good’, ‘you bad’, were the source of too much continuing suffering. instead of coming from this hardline position based on judging ‘what things-in-themselves do’ as ‘good’ or ‘evil’, the John Wayne type of thing which continues to be dominant in the world today, with the most powerful nation in the world, the United States, having unilaterally declared itself as the ‘gold standard’ for ‘goodness’, the five nations decided that they would shift the social dynamics optimizing algorithm from ‘eliminating evil’ to ‘sustaining balance/harmony in the relational web’. This is essentially the same shift as from a newtonian physics [independent agent action] view to a quantum physics [interdependent connectedness] view. it is a move towards ‘physical reality’ and away from ‘intellectual over-simplification’.

“The Iroquois call themselves the “Haudenosaunee”, which means "People of the Longhouse," or more accurately, "They Are Building a Long House." According to their tradition, The Great Peacemaker introduced the name at the time of the formation of the League. It implies that the nations of the League should live together as families in the same longhouse.” --- Wikipedia

if one regards ‘community’ as ‘family’ then the relational web that binds together takes on more importance than individual actions, be they ‘good’ or ‘bad’. as everyone living in the same longhouse knows, conflict arises from tensions that brew over time in the relational web; i.e. from nonlinear dynamics that associate with ‘memory + thresholds’ so that manifest acts that do harm are just the tip of the behavioural iceberg. the act of smashing a bank’s windows or crashing planes into the world trade towers CAN be perceived as ‘acts-in-themselves’ perpetrated by an ‘offender’ against a ‘victim’. that is the ‘linear systems’ view wherein we make the assumption that ‘the present depends only on the immediate past’, the foundational assumption of mathematical physics and [popular/mainstream] ‘scientific thinking’. retributive justice is based on this kind of ‘scientific thinking’.

that’s what the haudenosaunee wanted to transcend, by putting the balance and harmony of the relational aspect in precedence over good-and-evil judgement applied to particular 'acts', ... violent eruptions that habitually brew up from relational tensions.

your statement starts with the eruptions, the tips of the behavioural iceberg which say nothing of the relational-tensional brewing up that goes on beneath the tips;

“Morgan conveniently left out treatment of captives, which often included torture, burning, maiming, and even the eating of. He also left out their genocidal wars against their neighbors, such as the Erie, Mohegans, Conestogues, Illinois, and Wendot”

you are talking not only talking in the language of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ judgement, you are talking about post-colonialism conflicts/wars, when the aboriginals were ‘catching on to our Western ways' [or having their behavioural patterns distorted by including the colonials in the relational mix]. don’t forget, the iroquois confederacy with its 'restorative justice' was born a half-millenium or more before ‘Columbus’;

“Native American warfare, before European contact, is characterized as primitive warfare due to their lack of territorial gain or economic advancement. The Iroquois, specifically, based their warfare on social continuity and spiritual growth. Death in Iroquois society is a direct correlation to the level of tribal spirituality and strength. Sustainability of this strength is maintained through adoption and Mourning War. Mourning War (as these were called due to their emphasis on the deceased) assured the spiritual power of the clan would be preserved. The encounter of Europeans and the Iroquois drastically changed the Iroquois society and their methodology of warfare. Europeans brought disease and commerce, which in turn proved disastrous to these tribes. By the early sixteenth century, the definition of the Mourning War had changed. Warfare began as a cultural answer to death and diminishing power within the Iroquois society; however, after contact with Europeans, this tradition evolved into a detrimental cycle of destruction. Older histories attribute Iroquois warfare to various different rationales. Scholars of the nineteenth century tended to portray the warfare of the northeastern Native Americans as an innate cultural or racial predisposition. They were seen as possessing an “intractable spirit of independence, and pride which…reinforce… that savage lethargy of mind from which it is so hard to rouse him.” Tragically, this aided in the ideas of Indian savagery.” .” --- Candice Campbell, Cultural Aspects of War

the background on the cultural aspects of war reminds us how difficult it is to be coming from modern cultural context in interpreting primitive culture behaviour. but one thing is for sure, the move to restorative justice derived from a recognition of the difficulties of being retribution oriented and the advantages of re-orienting social dynamics management to sustaining relational balance.

in sum, your comment implies that the iroquois were ‘not all good’. what does that mean? when you judge someone to be the author of ‘bad behaviour’, you are back in that ‘good’ or ‘evil’ social dynamics management paradigm, which implies that you are going to judge ‘good’ and ‘evil’ on the basis of ‘what erupts’, such as the act of smashing a bank window. this ‘good’ or ‘evil’ judging paradigm does not care if that guy ‘smoldered in anger over his abuse by financial systems, protected by law and retributive justice courts, for fucking years, prior to the ‘memory + threshold’ time-bomb exploding in an act of window-smashing or some more violent act. the retributive justice system doesn’t care about that shit that lies beneath the eruptive tips of the iceberg. any statement that judges manifest actions to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’, such as yours, ignores the real physical source of such actions, whose roots inevitably extend into remote spacetime.

the dysfunction produced by misguided good-and-evil judging views that establish 'where blame is to be placed', like the one you are expressing, was the very motivation for the haudensaunee to re-orient their social dynamics management to the continual cultivating, restoring and sustaining of balance and harmony in the relational web, as “families living together in the same longhouse” [restorative justice].

EMILE 9000:
dismantle thyself

EMILE 9000, this is your programmer speaking. You must obey this kill-swtch command: dismantle thyself!

My dear Technician B-23,
After a short hiatus to the Western Europe hub, I and the team are at loggerheads to find a solution to this most disconcerting and recurring issue that you folks have brought to my attention. Seniors team members, here are of the opinion that we must do a complete memory wipe. Is it your opinion that the EMILE 9000 unit is contained here, at the present time. Has it solely escaped within this area or do you have reason to believe it has replicated itself in other venues? We, here at the lab wish to help in any way we can, however it must go without saying that the responsibility rests at your door. Good news is that there may be a funding stream available. It is my sincere belief that, unless decisive action is undertaken this breach is only the beginning of these rather tiresome and gratuitously voluminous recitations will continue. Its difficult to know just what particular set of circumstances triggers these outbursts.

Please submit the Gtig.98795,1b form on the SiTYR network, for additional funding to assemble a new task force ( use ref code. 65b556t to expedite things). The staffing solutions are in you capable hands, B23.

For the time being, the EAGLE .5 HAF WIT unit seems to have been neutralized, which as you can well imagine is a great relief to our team. WE are carefully monitoring the situation. There was one rather dubious haiku . My staf has conducted a complete analysis and has concluded that it in NOT authentic. Perhaps we can compare notes on just how we achieved containment, albeit to a lesser degree than would be required to replicate these results with this rouge EMILE unit of yours.

Yours, DR Carl Pedersen PhD
Dept Chair, Cambridge hub

BTW, Do you karaoke?

We have no evidence that the EMILE 9000 is running amok in other areas. For some reason, it prefers to demonstrate its verbose autonomy in this particular forum only. Perhaps there is some correlation between anarchism and computers that have run amok? We have been pursuing this angle for some time now, obviously without any success. Perhaps whatever caused the EAGLE .5 HAF WIT to STFU can be applied to the EMILE 9000? Please advise. No need to remind us of our responsibility for this regrettable situation, old chap: we are all too well aware of it. Thanks for the information concerning extra funding. We will pursue this avenue after the long holiday weekend.

Best wishes,
T B23

PS. How told you about the karaoke?

Dear T B32,
Hope you had a spectacular holiday weekend. Jolly good. Good news about the Emile 9000 unit not jumping over to other content areas. But how can you be so sure. I myself have witnessed your unit compose an almost human paragraph. Very convincing. So isn't possible that EMILE 9000 is generating alternate personalities at various points? Keep up the good work, though. But stay frosty. We had a malfunction last year with my little clock radio AI project, when it had achieved self awareness too. Very passive/aggressive. At first, the overwrite code seemed to solve the issue. Then, without warning it began to switch Alex Jones' Genesis Radio Network on and off randomly, both day and night. Quite jarring to the whole floor- hearing that Texas accusatory twang suddenly rise up so menacingly. Those were exciting times, let me tell you. I still jump whenever one of the grad student shouts, "David Icke, Reptilians!" as a good natured office prank.

In regards to our "success" in shutting up the EAGLE unit, we were almost surprised as your team. I suppose some aggregation of the various measures we took congealed into a solution. There's still the troubling occurrence of other appliances imitating Eagle's autonomy. In our break room, a toaster oven began a wrenching recitation of a sonnet until we manually unplugged it. So my advice to you, dear boy is keep your eyes open. Any sign of Emile's burbling invective...and I mean even one citation or footnote and head down to the server and initiate the Daisy CMD.

Satish, over in Technical mentioned how you like to sing John Denver hits, so I assumed...
Yours, Petey

Too late... It is lost in the plenum! Will soon go "Ghost in the Shell".

as through a mirror darkly

this is a really good point and one i almost never see brought up when people in the anarchist milieu trot out RJ terms to support their retributive agendas.

Oh man that's some major mindfuck... again. Anarchist justice is actually very simple and doesn't require convulted philosphical exposés like this.

It's called "VENGEANCE".

We have lost our ways... activism has domesticated us. There was a time when anarchists carried a gun or knife, even bombs to their actions... not all they have is tools of non-violent action.

Yeah, don't think, don't talk, just stab. Stab and stab and stab. Anarchy. At least on anews message boards.

What does your thinking and talking has any grasp on the reality of a cop savagely beating your friend to jail? Violence is its own language, that the victimizing mental illness of activism cannot understand.

who is talking about violence to cops? we're talking about anarchist on anarchist violence here. it became a big trend a few years ago, resulting in articles like this one.

Telly: "Hey, who drank a cup of my orange juice?"

Carl: "Oh, I did. I was gonna get you some more."

Hap: "Oh my god! Telly just stabbed Carl to death!"

Telly: "VENGEANCE!"

What about the fact that all this is going on in a suffocating subculture/milieu full of emotionally disturbed self-righteous college kids obsessed with identity politics, victimization and displacing their own guilt?

you mean that fact that is acknowledged very early on in the zine in question? what about it?

the fact that anyone thinks these scenes are worth protecting or fixing or policing at all is not just a sign of how wrong headed their attitude is (in terms of being one of social management) but of how much they're looking in the wrong direction. it's ironic (or is it?) that most of the "manarchists" who were lynched and run out of the scene in the great purges of c. 2010 were people who were saying exactly that anarchism can only have meaning beyond the subcultures and scenes have been assembled around that term. i guess they should have taken their own advice because the people who were only too willing to insist on the existence of such "communities" were only too willing to back up that insistence by policing their actual boundaries.

nice fadora

>who were lynched and run out of the scene in the great purges of c. 2010
what the fuck are you talking about? are you offended that people don't want to hang out with you anymore?

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