Anarchist Controversies

Controversies have been a part of the anarchist scene for a long time now. I recall being a brand-new, freshly-minted, teenage anarchist in the ‘90’s, looking around to see what anarchist projects existed out there. I came across the Love & Rage Anarchist Federation, I was intrigued by what I saw in a newspaper that they produced so I looked into what they were up to currently. What I came across was a huge passionate controversy going on full-force, people publicly flipping out, angry accusations being traded around, the whole works. “Well, I didn’t really want to join them anyway”, I thought to myself, and I didn’t look into them again.

Anarchists have a history with this kind of thing, going right back to the beginning. One could say that the very thing that first differentiated anarchism from Marxism, ideologies aside, was a big dramatic public controversy. Two charismatic alpha-males, named Mikhail Bakunin and Karl Marx, had it in for each-other, people took sides, and eventually Bakunin and his people got kicked out of the group. “Fine, we’ll create our own damn organization!”, Bakunin and his people said, and the rest is history.

As the years have gone by I have seen many countless different controversies come and go within the anarchist scene. I have actively participated in some, I have silently observed others, and I have seen friends of mine get burned-out by them and then leave the scene altogether as a result. I myself once took a couple years break from the anarchist scene after one such controversy - the whole experience was just so very disheartening and emotionally draining for me that I wanted nothing to do with anarchists anymore. Time and again I have heard people say things along the lines of “with comrades like this, who needs government agents?”

What has kept me with the anarchist scene all these years was not the people, but the idea and ideals behind it all. If I was to be into anarchism because of anarchists, I would have left the whole thing long ago. Say what you will about anarchists in general, it’s the whole big controversy thing that comes up again and again from time to time that is something that I believe really self-sabotages the whole “movement”. It is almost as if there exists within anarchists some kind of inherent genetic programming that periodically gets activated, to help to thin the ranks, to keep the whole scene from getting too big or too vibrant.

Right now a big controversy is taking place in Minneapolis, among the anarchist scene, and it looks like the San Francisco Bay Area recently had one as well. I am not really all that concerned by any of these controversies – they come and they go, and people come and go, and projects come and go as well, I understand all of that. What concerns me is that the whole thing is so damn repetitive, all the recurring patterns and predictable behaviors, it’s redundant. And worst of all the social atmosphere within the anarchist scene in general does not seem to demonstrate that people have learned anything from all of these countless controversies. All this blood, sweat and tears, to no avail.

One of the things that I believe is underlying this whole phenomena is that anarchists in general are a very ideal-based, principle-minded people. Such-and-such a position is defended, on principle, and that very same stance is also attacked by others who see it as violating some other principle. Compromise can be seen as violating principles and so can talking to “other side” or having them be a part of one’s group. The underlying assumption seems to be that by taking a firm, consistent, unyielding and principled stance, step by step, step by step, every step of the way, eventually the beautiful new world that one is yearning for will come to be. Given that the very nature of an anarchist vision is so very radical, fundamentally different from and at odds with the world that we all inhabit today, I can see why one would take this kind of strong principled approach.

At the same time, the people behind and surrounding the principles are not seen. In other words, real-life human beings both cause and are affected by these principles, and this results in real feelings and real lives being impacted. Principles are important, I would say vital, in that they can serve as guiding forces in an often-times savage and confusing world. And I want to ask – how are these principle-based actions affecting the real-life people in front of you?

What I am proposing here is not the abandonment of one’s principles, but the addition of new principles to one’s repertoire. In particular, there is empathy. By seeing the world through the other person’s eyes, by walking in their shoes, a whole world opens up. In the heat of the moment, flared tempers, passionate calls to action, the world narrows down, and people are not seen. Empathy, then, is intentionally taking the time to see things from the other perspective.

Another principle is that of assuming good intentions. I am struck by how people, again and again, go from seeing someone as being a comrade, someone with shared values who’ve they’ve known for x amount of time to then seeing that same person as… being a total scoundrel, with nothing but a desire to cause harm, and that they have never been up to any good. Remembering someone’s basic humanity means keeping in mind that we are not surrounded by demonic beings, but real-life human beings with values and needs similar to our own.

A final principle here is that of talking with each-other. This ought to be a no-brainer, but I see it pop up again and again that in a controversy people actually talking with each-other, face to face talking that is, quickly goes out the window. In place of face to face conversations are face to face shouting matches and face to face hand gestures. But more likely than that, even, is not being in the same room at all, but instead talking only with people whom one already agrees with, or communicating over the internet, which in itself usually has a very distancing kind of effect. Just getting together, in person, and talking – no special kind of talking, no fancy mediation set-up of some sort – just talking. This in itself often has a very positive effect, and it is also one of the first things to go when things get rough. This does not have to be the case.

But as far as talking goes, there is a kind of talking that I generally find to be very unhelpful, and that is arguing and debating. I remember once being at the (in)famous anarchist study group of Berkeley, California, and somebody posed a question to the group: “Has anybody here ever been convinced of something through an argument or a debate?” Everybody responded “no”. That incident really struck me, because with all of the time and energy that goes into arguing and debating, it all really does not change people – except to make them either want to start throwing punches or to walk out the door. This is not the kind of “talking” that I would like to see more of.

The kind of talking that I find to be really helpful is where people are being really real with each-other, where they are being open and they do not have their defenses up, and where people are really listening to what everybody has to say. When one speaks one does so to really express where one is at personally and where one is coming from, not speaking to try to prove to others how “right” one is. And when one listens one does so with the intent of really trying to understand the other person, what it all means to them, not “listening” so that one can find fault with something they said so that one can then trash them for it later. This is a whole different quality of dialogue that I am talking about here.

There is a lot that I can say about this kind of conversation, I can go into a whole rant about Nonviolent Communication and shit, but now is not the time for that. The point that I am wanting to make is that different kinds of approaches to big controversies can be taken. There are alternatives out there and they can be implemented. It is simply a matter of making a conscious decision to want to respond to these things in a different way and then making the effort to follow through with that. It is not necessarily easy, but it can be done. And it is worth the effort too, for the sake of more solidarity, more community, and all that good stuff.

I would like to conclude this by offering my services to anarchists anywhere who would like some more support in implementing the kind of things that I am talking about here. I am not saying that I am a bad-ass mediator that can solve everyone’s problems, or that I can say a few magic words and everyone will start loving each other again. But I can offer empathic listening and some coaching that can be supportive in difficult situations. And when times are tough, everyone can use some more empathy and support.

From Parenthesis Eye

Category: 

Comments

sounds liberal; didn't read

On the one hand, "conflict resolution" tends to privilege cis white hetero people. On the other hand, it's obvious that groups who cohere because of ideology are bound to split. The entire point of an ideology is that it is different from other ideologies and can only fully express itself in a split. "We can only know each other by our enemies" and our practices, perhaps.

one liner

igtt 10/10

Conflict resolution privileges white cis males may be the funniest thing I've heard in awhile.

everything privileges white cis males. thats why they must be rounded up and destroyed.

"On the one hand, "conflict resolution" tends to privilege cis white hetero people."

Oh jesus fucking christ.

I forgot to mention, this article was originally posted here: http://parenthesiseye.blogspot.com/2013/03/anarchist-controversies.html

Some good ideas expressed here, even if maybe there's too much of an assumption that we all would prefer to get along with people we clearly have important differences with. I especially liked the part about bad faith reactions, where we suddenly identify others as 'pure evil' once they do something like hold a convergence in a poor neighborhood or something. I've learned a lot from arguments and debates though.
For practice let me try to implement some of this empathetic listening stuff.
Dear Anonymous commenter, what exactly did you mean by :

"On the one hand, "conflict resolution" tends to privilege cis white hetero people"

I await your response in good faith without lobbying any preliminary insults

In my experience, this has generally been the case. First, the judicial system tends to favor cis white hetero males and this can be corroborated simply by looking at frequencies. How often does x, y, or z occur in each particular instance. In more informal cases, such as accountability processes and conflict resolutions outside the immediate purview of law, you still see the typical patterns of privilege, at times maybe occluded by ever more sophisticated forms of tokenism, although in essence, things could likely be corroborated as easily as constructing the ambiguity of red and yellow as orange, in other words, still chauvinist. In all these instances, the aforementioned category tend to prevail in some form of another. The constant is not if cis white hetero male is always privileged, rather, always within privilege, one finds cis, white, hetero and/or male. Although, to be fair, this accounting of privilege as a self correcting mechanism that incorporates the oppressive logic as itself oppressed by its own constructions is the way out, to win the straight flush of oppression, or rather, the queer, color, gay or bi woman as the reification of ethical mass power. Reactionarism could never truly justify itself as the complete subjugation of the defeated petite bourgeoisie as prole. It must spin it as liberatory for him.

Where the fuck did those last two sentences come from, tho?

Uhh...the poster you're actually responding to:

What I meant by "On the one hand, "conflict resolution" tends to privilege cis white hetero people" was that this idea of "conflict resolution" tends to uphold a myth about "the community" or "the milieu" or "the scene" which serves as a bargaining tool to achieve false unity thus silencing invisible positions and singularities.

Sometimes you gotta fight shit out. By allowing a conflict to occur at the level of bodies, we can sometimes avoid the Social resserting itself in all of the terrible ways we are used to already.

True that, but the operative word is "sometimes."

http://patriarchyandthemovement.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/statement-on-th...

Some pple just want to pick a fight.

Sometimes even

Man this shit is so ridiculous. I wouldn't touch any of these groups with a ten foot pole, which is of no loss since they don't seem to do anything but talk anyway. The whole fucking scene is worthless.

I agree. I didn't mean to respond for you. I just had my own opinions on the issue. No need to get irritated. Unless you want some, we seem to be overproducing here.

It's often because individual conflicts are communally highjacked and instantly framed into the who is the abused and who is the abuser narrative, namely so that all can take sides in a conflict that has nothing to do with them. Add the fact that because of the internet every @community is somehow the same international community, you then get drama on steroids that plagues everyone. Take for instance my trolling of the SF book fair and the shit going on in Minneapolis, I have so much shit to say despite not having been in either city in the last decade (nor want to).

i disagree with the easy "nothing to do with them" dismissal, even while i agree that when friends get involved that involvement frequently looks like the flattening and simplification of the conflict. we *are* involved in each others' conflicts, on the one hand.
my friends fighting with each other can have a huge impact on my life. acting like relationships are discrete, with no repercussions outside of the (for example) the couple most immediately involved, is not how people work, as far as i can tell.
as for the rest of your post, yes indeed. carry on.

Naw I feel what you're saying and on second thought I mostly agree. The problem remains though in they way people talk about it and to how many people they talk about it to. We all should know our or the conflictees inner circle of friends and barring anything serious or destructive, they are the only ones who really need to know. Anything is not only going to exasperate the pettiest of shit to epic proportions, but its really bad security culture as well.

On top of that, we have to realize that in NA most @ communities (if not all) have no roots. They're entirely transient even with in a singular city, thus petty shit is never allowed to slide, peeps are eternally condemned before they are allowed to grow, and allowing time to heal bruised egos and broken hearts rarely ever occurs before the purge.
Every real community has the same issues as us but more often than not, a lot worst. Every community is filled with a crazy array of differing opinions and ideologies and no body cares because in growing up together, they have a shared history and a shared culture that binds them.

NA @'s are predominately from the burbs, which is a culturally void wasteland and it makes complete sense why people wish to escape it. The problem is then that we are left to discover/make a new one that everyone tends to approach in one of two ways, either we must all think the same, get along and be a 100% inclusive all the fucking time, and the other is the cliquish bullshit that fosters and breeds drama, making it akin to Jr. fucking high all over again.

This is some condescending ass shit. What makes you think those people would want you with that condescending smarmy attitude. Insplaining, as in, I am thoroughly embedded in the scene and have to condescendingly explain things to people on the margins. Go fuck yourself.

Or even want to hear what you have to say, you know? Why would anyone want to hear this bullshit. I had to reread it like seven times before I got through the whole thing, simply because of the smarm and condescension that burns as acidic moral posturing. puke.

While these "controversies" seem to appear over and over again, so too do these rants imploring people to get along, to have empathy, etc. Most often they lack substance (like this one) and just have a lot of vague words and cliches, none of which help anyone who is involved in such "controversies."

Do we really all need to get along? Why is that so often presented as the default position? Anarchy has always been a multi-faceted collection of different ideas and views, many of which are at odds with each other. I'm not sure that arguing for the sake of arguing (if anyone actually does that) is worth it, but I'm not convinced getting along for the sake of getting along (which is what calls like this always seem to advocate) gets us anywhere either. Also, many of the "controversies" that pop up in the anarchist space aren't due to ideological disagreements or debates over principle, they tend to be due to people doing really terrible things (rape, oppressive behavior, etc). Even labeling things as "controversies" or "drama" (this article doesn't do that, but many people often label disagreements and rough situations as that) reduces the seriousness of what's at hand.

First, I wanna say that the author of this piece is a straight up legit person and has been forever. Thanks for keeping going when it was rough, I know the Pittsburgh/NYC incidents around that time almost stopped me from coming back and being active again.

Second, I still think the "conflict resolution is better for white males" person is a troll. If not, some anon on here keeps making these arguments which are at best liberal/embarassing and at worst straight up racist. People who are not white and male, believe it or not have an ability to participate in civil discourse. AND more importantly should be treated that way. Fuck.

Lastly, I agree with your sentiment but I don't necessarily think the conflict is what is preventing things from catching on. In fact, I feel somewhat opposite whereas once anti-authoritarian ideas DO catch on the people in it for the scene and cultural will straight up fade away. Conflict means a lot in a group of 10-500 people but when you have 100k people in one city it doesn't mean so much. I was so excited for Occupy because I knew it would test this idea out and damn if I wasn't pretty right on. Where were those assholes that propagated all the crap over the past decade? Where did they go? The people who are in it for the scene exist and that is fine but those are the people who actually don't give a fuck about our ideals. People like Leah Lynn Plante who fucked up, left anarchy, blamed it on sexism in order to deflect her own screw up.

The answer is to keep fighting and fuck the haters. If it seems stupid it IS stupid.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuPPCbT-_y0

Anarchism is 100% haters. Their so called non-hierarchy is simply a very strict heteronormative, capitalist hierarchy enforced informally through either the lets all get along line or why can't we just speak our minds.

It goes like this (I think your point about the ubiquity of the problem outside of just anarchist cliques is right on though):
Anarchists confronted with issue.
Issue must be discussed and all voiced heard.
Al voices bring an element of truth and an element of confusion.
Anarchists tend to lack the ability to put the truths together and let the bullshit go.
Because of this nothing gets resolved since every person is lacking a vital piece of the puzzle to see the big picture and know what to do.
The ability to do the above is called organizing.
The problem with organizing is that it is only capable of dealing with the problems it was organized to resolve.

The above analysis employs the assumptions that:
Not all marginalized voices and ideas are worthy of close examination, although generally it's a good idea to be aware of them.
Not all dominant ideas are always correct in every context, although it's generally a good idea to have some focus.
Not all individuals speak/act in good faith, although well constructed lies rely on an element of truth.
Not all individuals who speak/act in good faith have accurate information, although "good faith" and "trust" is priceless.
Some people act in good faith but act conversely, conversely, some people act in good faith but talk a bunch of bullshit.

one liner

for folks who think that anarchist scene drama is in some way unique to anarchists, i guess i just have to ask how many other subcultures you've been involved in? from my experience, every subculture includes a certain number of assholes and a certain amount of drama and disagreement. the idea that it is worse with anarchists i think is simply not true. perhaps it *seems* worse, because that's what you're paying attention to, or perhaps it's because often (not always) the dramas and disagreements in the anarchist subculture have much larger real-world effects than those in other subcultures. for example, i'm sure one could delve into the tolkien-fan community and find deep resentments between members based on different interpretations of this or that passage in the book of unfinished tales or some such, but that is qualitatively different than a disagreement about whether or not the police should have been called in a given situation, or whether someone who has been accused of sexual assault multiple times should get the shit beat out of them or made to go through an accountability process or whatever.

also, i really can't stand it when people suggest non-violent communication or mediation as a way to resolve conflict. in my experience, these are nothing more than ways to *avoid* conflict and just try to focus on something else. sometimes people just need to yell at each other and then go their separate ways.

true dat. Let the "movement leaders" yell at the peons then tell them to fuck off and never come back. That's totally going to challenge patriarchy, capitalism and the state! Can't wait to try that with my anarchist "subculture."

this is a stupid comment and you don't understand how human interaction works.

yes, this is typical of subcultures. But anarchists aspire to do more than develop a subculture. One hopes anyway.

Hi everyone - a few thoughts: my experience suggests the weakness of character of the general @ scene is due to what a commenter abuv said:
"NA @'s are predominately from the burbs, which is a culturally void wasteland and it makes complete sense why people wish to escape it. The problem is then that we are left to discover/make a new one that everyone tends to approach in one of two ways, either we must all think the same, get along and be a 100% inclusive all the fucking time, and the other is the cliquish bullshit that fosters and breeds drama, making it akin to Jr. fucking high all over again."
I am sure about the disconnect of the middle class @s from the US population which is why you address yourselves to the PC college educated not the rebellius ppl whor more likely to believe in the illuminati than be reading chomsky. your culture is sickly and favors wat you consider Weak, Disgusting, Victim etc like the leftist slave morality, if you got serious and started respecting yourselfs not dressing like tramps & eating out of bins cos your from well off backgrounds, taking fights out of "meetings" or the internet into the street, not taking this collectivist PC bullshit, than you might boost your moral character (before sum cunt jumps in, yes i know the egoist critique of "morality", i use the term to means "values") and discourage the SNITCH COWARDLY VICTIM limp wristed behaviour now associated with your lot. its a responsibility to the older to teach the younger, joining the @s should mean learning values like pride dignity walking wat your talking, having each others backs, not lying and cheating (or snitching!!) on your ppl, etc. you wonder why your white & middle class based but your cultural values, attitude and intellectual reference mark you out as that, ive gon in @ spaces before with my crew and we're getting looked at like criminal or distrustful and getting talked down to. your cut off as fuck. (in general). controversies = cat fights, if your serious about fighting the system and creating the new world thru the fabric of our new values and our social selforganization, than sort out your house. maybe its time to tie than black band on your arm like in Saloniki and clear up @ kick out the parasite scenester politically correct idiots.
p.s. saw a copy of "slingshot" the other week, thats exactly wat im on about, fucking idiots like that are creating and perpetuating the inferior culture im on about. if anybody wants to go slap those dickheads up you got my thumbs up!!

Anarchism would be a lot better off without most anarchists. Authentic and serious anarchists need to start acting outside of traditional anarchist spaces and groupings, challenging this academic identity politics bullshit with broad based organizing aimed at getting people into the streets and challenging the existing order in a real material way, not just intellectually through countless essays, statements, books, seminars, workshops blah blah fucking blah. Less talk, more walk!

^FUCK YOU!

NO FUCK YOU ASSHOLE! That person is not alone in how they feel about all the endless essays and boring books and workshops that do a whole lot of nothing to attack the system but waste fucking time when we should be setting up workshops for nothing but molotovs, sledge hammers and wooden poles. FUCK ALL THIS BULLSHIT! BURN EVERYTHING!

Yes exactly take it to the streets and allow off this attitude where intelectual castles in the air comes first, you can have a intellectual critique of intellectualism, ideology, etc and not be getting in the real dirty contradictions of real life where your true comrades and down heads are going to be less than perfect like anybody else and where things dont sometimes make neat sense. Theory is one thing but what shit actually means at the end of the day is another, like i respect islamic kiddies in Gaza firing rockets at the zionist scum more than some dipshit in skinnyjeans whos got their insurrectionary rhetoric and anarcho theory down but are fake as fuck.

these kinds of controversies tend to happen when there is no effective organizing going on. the gaze turns inward. no?

one liner

When the revolution is defeated on just about every level, it begins to attack it self because it wants to lash out at somebody but is too afraid to lash out at the real enemy of us all. Like a woman who loses respect for a man that no longer sticks up for her, she lashes out at him and he lashes out at her in response. Same thing applies to friendship. Same thing applies to the movement. Basic human psychology.

Organizing would be much easier if we weren't anarchists. I mean. Not that anarchists are against organizing. Anarchists love organizing in places like Europe and Latin America and Canada. It appears to be only a North American problem. I've heard of anarchists turning inward before but no where in the world to this degree of total disrespect and disunity. People have more pride and respect for each other elsewhere and work together more logically. where as America, everyone is just eager to dis one another and prove how much better they are because of their education or their willingness to fight cops and break shit. People don't boast about their education and brag about how tough they are online. They just organize and attack like their supposed to. Not very much solidarity exists here. It's more like a competitive sport where no one likes each other. America is lame full of lame people. And there are very few honest people who respect one another and still belief in organizing for the struggle. Pity.

Anarchism in North America has reduced it self to nothing but a online spelling b where intellectuals unite in a penis measuring contest of how big is your brain and how dumb are you all day long all night long rather than working together like real radicals worldwide to fight agents of the state and institutions of centralized power. Rather than doing that we just embrace the system everyday by attacking each other and attacking anyone trying to interrupt all the infighting so we can fight the real oppressors. We get called all sorts of names for it, like "manarchists" just because we want to take the real fight to the enemy and stop the infighting that never ends. How dumb do you have to be to not see that fighting one another is playing into the hands of centralized power systems? Who needs to divide and conquer us when we do it to each other? We must make the government proud while the elites laugh in their dark cigar smoke filled rooms. I feel stupid for even trying to help. Nobody listens to logic anymore. No one in this country is rational or dealing with a full deck it seems. Yall are a bunch of doomed mindless zombies.

this website is not reflective of most of the interesting challenges to society in the US, it shouldn't be viewed as such. see the @ milleu as more than this site, and you'll feel better. once these posting become mostly irrelevent to your political life- you'll have found friends worth fighting with. not to write off all these endeavors- most are worth supporting but the comments section doesn't really represent anything but the lowest muck-rackers and nay-sayers. good luck.

Please bare with me a little but what challenges do anarchists bring to society in the US when nobody believes in organization on online which is reflected in the streets right now with nothing but business as usual everyday with out huge interruptions from us? It doesn't look like we're challenging anything but each other. Speaking of friends worth fighting with against oppressors, where is all this being done? Where is the struggle manifesting it self and where is all the organizing taking place for this manifestation? I don't hear about organizing and I see large actions manifesting. I see cafe's book fairs and little flash mobs but really is that the struggle? You say the comments don't reflect the mood in this country with in the anarchist milieu? Well then how come nothing is happening. Why is everything so calm all the time and why is nobody organizing to fight the system? I having a hard time understanding why anyone should be interested in being an anarchist right now if nobody in the scene is turned on to the big struggle like anarchists everywhere else in the world. Do you understand where I'm coming from? There is something terribly wrong with the anarchist movement in North America and and I just want it to see I self so that it has a chance to come correct and fix it self so the struggle can actually broaden beyond silly book fairs and anarchist cafes.

The reason why nothing is happening and their is no real organizing (in all its different forms) is because most @'s posture as being too ideologically pure to do the nitty gritty work that gets condemned as reformist/unprincipled, which essentially is anything to do with work concerning community, prisons, migrant issues, gangs...ect. ect. Pretty much anything other than holding a "SMASH IT ALL" banner at a poorly attended protest, which ultimately only leaves a couple random broken window and a newspaper box in the street. Even then, hardly anyone comes out to confront pigs, as was evident at the Oakland ftp action, despite the large concentration of @'s in the bay for the book fair.

As for the pretentious academic turd floating in the pool of anarchy, namely those who think they deserve an academic critique of "intellectualism"....fuck off. In writing and in practice, the worst thing to happen to anarchism was its co-option by so called higher learning and whose disciple try to monopolize the discourse of anarchism and resign its relevancy to the pages of history.

Whether freedom being sought through power of the people our the power of a signal individual, either one nor the mere notion of freedom, in anyway jives well with a hierarchical that seek to further the goals of capitalism and the state.
Now as I finish my morning coffee, I finish my rant.

Sorry for my terrible typing skills. But really. We can do better to broaden the struggle in North America. The system doesn't deserve the peace that we give them everyday. This has to end and we websites should be used to encourage everyone to organize events for the struggle and not to be so antagonistic and counter revolutionary to one another.

Ah shit... now it looks like you're apologizing for my typing, which I never do because spellcheck is for the bourgeoisie

one liner

I just wanna bring it back around to the statement about "conflict resolution" and privilege, because that's pretty relevant. Privileged and powerful people LOVE cuddly, hippy-dippy notions of conflict resolution because it means they don't have to worry about challenges to their position or interruptions in the status quo. It solves the immediate problem (upset people) without requiring any serious changes to the social structure. This usually includes some imagined equivalency between "both sides" and a drive to find "compromise", which might work well for two similar and evenly-matched opponents (bloods/crips), but is a pretty useless way to judge those who aren't (cops/ghetto residents, rapists/survivors).

Conflict is a means of mediating power dynamics, and sometimes that gets unpleasant. Sometimes it needs to get unpleasant. As much as many of these controversies have been annoying as all hell, most needed to happen and did end up contributing in some meaningful way to anarchist practice later on.

Touche... I'll shut up now.

This article assumes there is enough commonality between anarchists that "controversies" can be avoided. This assumption is absolutely false. Some of us have more in common with ultraleft communists than primitivists, platformists, apolitical syndicalists and insurrectionaries. And these currents sometimes have more in common with liberalism, fascism, Leninism and American individualism than with each other.

With the abscense of any meaningful anarchist movement, most people will find us through individual study and internet surfing, not through collective struggle or agitation against the state and capital. Until this changes, the commonalities people recognize in order to avoid needless controversies will not be within our grasp.

Also, sometimes these controversies are needed. Someone needed to write something scathing against that union busting document written by anarchists in the Twin Cities. There needed to be ruthless in response to that open letter a few years back around the student movement in NY. etc

I'm curious. What 'anarchist current', acording to you, has more in common with fascism than with other 'currents'?

"most people will find us through individual study and internet surfing, not through collective struggle or agitation against the state and capital. Until this changes, the commonalities people recognize in order to avoid needless controversies will not be within our grasp."

That's why it's not worth risking anything anymore. Less and less people are taking action and are going all reformist or selling out all together. That's what happens when you neglect the opportunity to organize a resistance movement parallel to a populist movement like OWS. It was a perfect opportunity to build something more radical. People can only hang around waiting for something to happen until inactivity forces everyone to forget, lose interest or move on to other things outside of politics. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. Toodles.

Less and less? Compared to when? The height of OWS and the Arab Spring? Or any time in the decade before that?

You're new aren't you?

Anarchy is 'the fabric of reality'

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