The Brilliant on exclusion

  • Posted on: 3 November 2017
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

From The Brilliant

We present to you a series of four conversations on anarchist exclusion and how the most complex and compelling anarchists (IMO) are also ones who have been excluded from anarchist social cliques. Here is an except from my workshop on this topic from the 2017 BASTARD conference.

This is a basic conversation that, if successful, will question a basic anarchist principle and point a way torward thinking about how to form pods of human activity in a possible, viable future. We will discuss what is social, society, and at what numerical breaks are different kinds of organizations possible and impossible. Mostly we’d like to talk about exclusion as a consequence of how this society is ordered but also how utopia planning is largely a reactionary and conservative process. We are against it.

Exclusion I - Episode 55 a discussion with Ben. Primarily about Occupy.
Exclusion II - Episode 56 a discussion with Soren and Dominique. This episode is primarily about the Oakland group house scene.
Exclusion III - Episode 57 a discussion with Mitchell Halberstadt a local anarchist pariah. This is largely a conversation about aging gay and anarchist in NYC and the Bay
Exclusion IV - Episode 58 a discussion with Andy Robinson. This is a theoretical conversation about the origins of exclusion and questions about what it means to be an anarchist, all the way down.

The third part of this project (workshop and discussions being part one and two) is building some sort of textual engagement with this issue. The first part of this will be a version of my workshop in the upcoming BASTARD Chronicles but my question to you would be what would be a useful way to expand this conversation. How do the excluded organize? Insofar as some anarchists believe that our project is to free the human race, what does that look like when we largely experience ourselves to be unfree even amongst our own? What should we say about anarchists that exclude?



but episode 56 is so much more than "the oakland house scene"! it's a real life snap shot of some crazy identity stuff playing out in fascinating (terrefying?) ways.

Call it self-exclusion if you will but this episode sums up why I'm currently not in any anarchist group. Anarchists are the new cops

you show your belly fast, chicken-shit. Fucking bail on Anarchy because its current weakness is a reflection of larger neoliberalism? Good luck finding a pristine, sanitized, always-already perfect ideology to crown your precious self. EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE IS A LEARNED, DYNAMIC SKILL. NOT AN OBJECT.

Just the pathetic elective proposing groups that are not punching above their weight right now. Anarchism right now is where classical anarchism was at going into WW2 and the people who bailed back then did the right thing. Now is the time to sell stock(when it's at its lowest and getting lower), get out and help be and build a bridge to a new epoch of anarchy.

edit ideology to groups*

screaming "emotional avoidance is fear!" into a computer screen... jesus.

With so many Individualists using odd readings of Sterner to validate insecurities... "I'm so unique that any ideas or opinions about personal or social behavior patterns are spooks and will be automatically reduced to "spook" in my big pile of "spook." Look at my big pile of "spooks." No one can hurt me. I won't feel pain because social-dynamics are spooks are abstractions."

Perfectionism is a fear of not being good enough. That no one will love you if you make a mistake.

Viscous cycle, all things considered.

Also, I think there's a valid and throbbing portion of the anarchist population that is especially afraid of working on "emotional skill-sets." As children, this valid and throbbing population was unfairly not given enough tools from society for building strong, solid, well-thought-out psychic infrastructure for the protection of the community. That really sucks. I hope that this population sticks around and helps build protection. It wasn't fair that they weren't taught how to use these tools, but this valid and desired population seems to figure things out pretty quickly. Also, new tools come out all the time, so everyone will be learning brand new things soon.


Seems like you need some throbbing love and emotion eh?

oh my god yes

Hahaha , viscous cycle, clever pun concerning masturbation, hahaha, or you're semi-literate

>emotional skill-sets

Shove your neoliberalism Taylorism-of-the-soul up your ass.

Grammer mistake. lol.

But magic? too soon?

One of the issues with these 4 episodes is there doesn't appear to be a single definition of exclusion.
Being a precarious worker or part of surplus populations is one type of exclusion, but it is vis a vis the state or capitalism.
Exclusion from more formal organizations or school/university is another type.
Being excluded from informal groups because you don't pull your weight or are generally emotionally stunted and refuse to take responsibility for that is yet another form.

While there may be interrelations between all these, it does no good to lump them together as if they are the same.

Exclusion is a pretty general topic and happens in all aspects of life but some people are excluded from almost everything. Maybe this is a reaction to trying to be overly inclusive at some point and having suffered from it and discovering exclusivity as a newfound defense mechanism? I know I was naive and overly generous when I was younger but I don't really regret it because you can't keep it if you don't give it away.

To add to the kinds of exclusions that people experience, I want to add the exclusion that does not have an easy "cause." I experienced an exclusion unexpectedly because "I didn't do anything fucked-up" but I was "stressing-out" the Big Person by complicating their social-life. I think money, power, and "emotional-scarcity issues" were more the actors than we were. Other days, I wonder if Big Person is a complete fucking sociopath / narcissist.

BUT I actually hate those terms. I hate all of that. I think "pathologizing" a person is disgusting, and that the weapon "pathologizing" could kill me one day.


Read "The Art of War" and learn how to make Big Person totally stressed tearing hair out of head by merely keeping your calm and systematically in a droning voice like the monks in a temple chant in and with a deadpan yet tranquil semi-smiling countenance go back over what they have told you throwing in all the positive hyperthetical outcomes of said Big Person sugestion and they get a lateral thinking short circuit panic attack.

I reckon this "type" are actually quite common in anarchist scenes, and tend to rise to the top of informal hierarchies. They're also the source/target of a lot of the implosions around abuse.

It makes sense that they'd be drawn to anarchy because they dislike being controlled, have conflicts with authority, and high-risk direct action appeals to their impulsiveness and desire to be admired. They aren't necessarily "evil", because they're also fearless and can do a great deal of good for others if there's something in it for them. But, we need to find ways to recognise and "manage" them so to speak - to not be exploited and dominated. I think at root, they're playing a game of "abuse or be abused" which is hard to get them out of, especially once they have power.

In the above posts talking about "types" the reference is to types of exclusion, not types of people who are or *should be* excluded.

There are all types of people in our scenes. The point at which a person becomes an issue enough to consider excluding is less about the type of person (if we can even *type* people at all) but about have they worked on their shit enough to be able to get along in a particular space. Or, likewise, have they worked on their shit enough to recognize incompatibility.

Patholoigizing individuals for their wounds is hardly ever a constructive exercise. But noticing a lack of responsibility taken for wound care can be.

First off, nobody said "let's identify and exclude psychopathic types". In my view, we need to tolerate these "types" while also limiting the damage they can do. Though, I do have serious worries about how these "types" rise to the top in informal hierarchies. But really, to be honest, I'm more worried with the way callout culture and expectations of compulsory "healing", etiquette, and mandatory concern for others' feelings impact on psychological difference across a broader range. Losing psychopaths wouldn't be a great loss, but we're also losing a lot of the schizo, bipolar, autistic, impulsive, and generally the more disinhibited, free-thinking end of the counterculture (in fact we're actually driving some of these people to the alt-right, and others to suicide).

Second off, by definition a psychopathic type will not "work on their shit". And this is also true of other personality-types. Discriminating against someone for the ways their traits manifest is not really any different from discriminating against someone for the traits themselves. So, your reply is really a bit like saying "we don't discriminate against blind people, but you have to read the signs to come in". It's like having a non-discrimination policy between monkeys and horses, but only if the horses learn to climb trees. Fake inclusion on the ingroup's terms, or sanitised exclusion as part of a society-wide regime of democide of nonconformists.

It's a facet of the idpol confusion of self with category that there's such a taboo on the use of potentially derogatory categories ("OMG I might erase someone's subjectivity and genocide them!") yet so little concern for *real* exclusions based on "behavioral" and characterological attributes. It's imitation of Third Way greenwash and it's pretty much useless for people who are actually excluded. If you're being cut off from community or denied services for displays of emotional instability, it doesn't much matter whether they're also calling you a "hysterical bitch" or dressing the whole thing up behind a cloak of impartial conduct codes and euphemisms. In fact, the politeness just allows oppressors to appease their own guilt while further insulting the oppressed person by suggesting they fall short of "humanity" and that they're to blame for their problems and incapacities (even when they're socially caused). It's a notable feature of idpol ideology that it seeks to avoid the slightest suggestion of shaming or pathologising, while at the same time enacting "behavioral" and self-change practices which *in fact* discriminate against vast layers of people - exactly like neoliberal "meritocracy" does. I guess this is the cost of imagining that oppression is entirely linguistic, rather than material.

Third off, this basically moralistic, authoritarian way of dealing with the problem (i.e. deviance is tolerated or not tolerated based on whether a person makes a display of "healing" and "dealing with their shit" through self-crit or therapy or ritualised self-abasement - much as a penitent must deal with their "sin") is extremely exclusionary against a whole range of "types" - not only the ones with an external locus of control or problem displacement, but also those who react against being socially controlled or are hostile to social demands (i.e. the core constituency of punk anarchism in the past). It's an updated version of Talcott Parson's "sick role": you're allowed to deviate from norms on the basis of being "sick", only if you're prepared to undergo abuse and humiliation and submit to whatever measures are necessary to make you conformist, or (failing that) to give the impression that you're doing your utmost to try to become conformist. It's also very similar to neoliberal discourses of workfare, benefit conditionality and the "deserving poor" - what matters is not that you have a job, but that you're making a display of trying. This entire ritual imposes stigma and humiliation on the alleged deviant, and excludes as a matter of course the types of people who take stands on principle and reject being dominated by others and conforming to others' norms.

Anarchy is necessarily a refusal of any socially-imposed obligation to "heal" - or to normalise in any other way.

And it will usually be contested whether something is "your shit" or whether it's someone else being intolerant and judgemental about your oppressed status ("don't tone police me", for example). Because ultimately, most of it is "society's shit" which happens to be localised in them.

I don't know what the answer is - whether it's more like NVC, or more like code duello - but call-out culture and "deal with your shit" and the mother-devourer demand to "heal" is authoritarian and has to go. It may be that having psychopathic people around is a necessary cost of having non-authoritarian spaces. It may be that there's conditions under which they self-exclude, or ways to engage with them which minimise the harm they do. But we absolutely, utterly need to get rid of this behaviorist crap. It's based on an authoritarian, control-freak model of psychology and it's absolutely continuous with the neoliberal commodification of the soul. Whoever tells you "heal or else" is your enemy.

You're putting almost all the tools for dealing with conflict out of play and calling it anti-authoritarian. That will not end well.

>tools for dealing with conflict
>tools for idpols to dominate spaces

Today's version of the old chestnut "if you don't have police everyone will murder each other herp derp".

Check the conflict entries on this site. The shit that for you is "almost all the tools" are either not used or only used as a last resort, in most of the groups.

Conflict resolution as a specialization is inherently dangerous, I agree. Of course, until every last member of a community is fully capable of defending themselves, some people will need to rely on the skill sets of others.

You're absolutely right that anything more "heavy handed" is only used as a last resort and I would hope that my being an anarchist allows us to skip over the obvious shit.

But I don't agree that it's always "authoritarian" to use the last resorts and this rhetoric is almost always deployed by people when they get cornered after behaving in extremely shitty ways. Context is everything, as always.

The best solution I've found is to bring a strong antiauthoritarian analysis to every conflict and not mistake the necessary ugliness of conflict for authoritarianism.

Big Person categorizes and stereotypes clients within its corporate parameters of behavioral methodology, which assumes everyone is flawed and so if someone who hasn't #fucked up# comes along, they, mostly from unimaginative tunnel vision, are unable to deal with this, yet categorize and process without empathy.

He sees the similarity to 80 years ago just before WW2 like I do. My conclusion is ditch this age of anarchism and treat it as the soon to be extinct historical current that it is. We are indeed entering into an epoch of energy substitutionism and regardless of whether a decentralized 'dark age' comes or whether there will be another force multiplying energy source that brings us to Mars and beyond, anarchists and anarchs should try to be and build a bridge to a new epoch of anarchism/anarchy. One scenario makes Bolo Bolo bioregionalism more then just an analogous backyard project the other will have you thinking who will be the revolutionary/insurgent successor to the post ww2 groups(women, colours, queers post-secondary students ect)will be(perhaps adolescents among others) and what forms anarchism/anarchy will take in an age of new found energy access. Either way, it will not involve the 20th century specters and structure of Marx, Turd world Maoism and the derived group behaviors along with the other associated spooks. These things can't be flushed away soon enough. It's all a write-off after WW1.

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Enter the code without spaces.