Topic of the Week: If not identity...?

  • Posted on: 13 December 2015
  • By: thecollective

Identity has become a code word for most anarchists. For those who reject it, it connotes people who embrace their victimization. For those who embrace it (or who at least don't reject it), it means the ways that groups of people are linked in how they suffer in this world (and implies solutions to that suffering, as well). The criticisms of identity, like those of the term "p.c.", have also been jumped on by right-wing folks, looking to negate the idea that there is more structural unfairness aimed at some than at others... which puts non-right-wing criticizers of identity in a position where shorthand and jargon do them a disservice.

Aside from avoiding talking about this stuff online, where there will always be someone who is eager to misunderstand or ignore nuance, how can we talk about these topics in interesting and helpful ways? If it's not possible to use this term (and some others along the same lines) in public without being misunderstood (intentionally or not), then are there other words that are still useful? For those who criticize identity, what is a better model to address unfair or inappropriate treatment in this world? Is there a critical, anarchist position beyond or different from Stirner?

Readers be warned: this topic will probably be revisited, since there is so much drama about it, and so many directions to come at it from (what is worth talking about online? what solutions have not yet been tried and why haven't they? how can we have good conversations with people we disagree with? and so much more).



It seems uncontroversial that the identity of ' working-class' or 'proletarian' be resolutely rejected by all anarchists. Also " class war' unless its specified the war is in favor of the underclass overthrowing a Marxist dictatorship somewhere.
Like it or not some ' brand differentiation' is required to distinguish us anarchists from Marxists.

That's so ridiculous, I'm almost sure you're trolling but of course there's plenty of ways to distinguish anarchists from marxists without rejecting a working-class identity. Marx contributed a few tools of economic analysis where as anarchism covers a much wider range of issues and in some cases, is the keystone of an entire worldview. Also, does anyone self-identify as a marxist anymore or is it only used as a pejorative?

Insisting on equating the use of a working class identity exclusively with Marxism, or for the sake of argument literally anything political or intellectual at large, merely shows how out of touch this critique is.

but "proletarian" is fun. I love using this word in ways that are definitely not quite correspondent to how any species of more-or-less orthodox Marxist would use this word. I have been known to claim a proletarian identity, too. In some ways, it's accurate, in some ways not.

There's a basic tension between using "identity words" as descriptors and using them as ornamentation. I have been known to prefer the way the word "communist" hangs on the ephemeral concept of my selfhood more than "anarchist" does, at least in certain company. But if you actually look at how I live my life, what I think, what sites I read and choose to write dumb comments on, the word "anarchist" is probably a better description.

Leaving asides criticisms of Marx himself, MarxISTS and MarxISM have created an essentialist and totalizing identity politics that relies on a pure proletarian/working-class identity that, generally speaking, tends to be conceived of in chauvinistic and/or nationalistic terms. Kind of like how folks have a racialized image of Jesus that looks like themselves, not how Jesus probably actually looked. Certainly in North America, white Marxists (and plenty of anarchists who hold to class struggle ideas) have had a tendency to conceptualize "the worker" as white, male, heterosexual, family-oriented, exhibiting specific cultural signifiers that read "working-class" (dive bars! pickup trucks! racist humor! religious belief!), so on and so forth. Obviously plenty of workers are NOT these things, and yet these are assumed to be default, normative characteristics.

This does not, for me, invalidate possible uses of "class analysis" or "social science". But it makes me question the ability of people, in general, to do such analysis in a manner that avoids confirmation bias or satisfies certain psychological needs (especially for those who have felt themselves to have been victimized or whatevs). It also makes me want to use the word "proletarian" in a way that has NOTHING to do with a person's position in an economy (boring science Marx) and more to do with their spirit, wherein they understand that self-liberation will require self-destruction, "the proletariat seeks to abolish itself as such", etc. etc. (funner romantic Marx).

Disability politics is an under-examined subset of identity, IMHO you can view this distinction (between whining and legitimately critiquing power and privilege) more clearly because there's less baggage that comes along with disability. Gender and Race basically guarantee a hostile dialogue but it's a little harder to dismiss the visibly disabled as whiners and passive-aggressive authoritarians … all the same problems are still there, don't get me wrong, but I think the odds of a positive use of identity politics improve slightly and validate at least some use of identity in general.

Disability is a real characteristic of an existent. Race and gender are spooks.

There are degrees of disability, though, and I still oppose creating identity groups for the concept.

"Jeff felt disabled when he tried to climb the tree" feels like a more useful use of the concept than generic groupings that border on essentialism.

So like I say … a lot of douchebags on the internet all try to dismiss identity entirely and they struggle a bit more to do it with disability. That's why I think it's an interesting direction to take that dialogue, this specimen here makes my case quite perfectly. See how he struggles, then hardens his reductive position and says "No dammit! I almost started thinking there and I hated the feeling so I'm going to double-down in my insistence on being an asshole!"

I'm disabled since birth you jackass, want to see my doctor's note? Oh wait, nobody owes you anything. Maybe your imaginary friend Jeff can find a clue for you up in that tree?

I really don't understand your point. That somehow disability is more real than race or gender? Disability is just as relative as it compares one to an arbitrarily defined ability. Identity should be dismissed entirely. It is at the root of prejudice, not the solution. Acknowledging difference and acting in consideration and compassion accordingly seem like a surer path to dismantling power than attempting to integrate ones difference into the homogeneity of society. I for one would much rather be seen as the unique and irreducible being I am than some generic identity of disabled. Politics is the activity of the reduced.

Clearly you don't, not my point at all. My point was more about the mental gymnastics and aggressive stupidity required to insist on your position that identity plays no meaningful role in our experiences with the external world. Of course it does … of course identity is real.

I have little patience for this particular argument but I was pointing out how those who try to dismiss identity should reframe some of their thinking USING disability as the model because my theory is that it's harder for them (you) to play your tricks of rhetoric.

"Unique and irreducible being" though you may be … identity is as real as your inability to control how other people perceive you. I'm not "disabled" .. I'm me. But to the vast majority of other people, I'm "disabled", therefore it's as real as their ability to influence my life is. Think things like being hired for a job, sexual relationships, first impressions when you meet someone, etc.

The sum-total of which can sometimes be described as "structural oppression" … whether I like it or not, whether I choose this identity or not.

"To say of two things that they are identical is nonsense, and to say of one thing that it is identical with itself is to say nothing." -Wittgenstein

ish like some folks see a world of lines and grids and its like a little graph of privilege but there ish other folks and they are swimmin around with other stuff that kind of child chemistry food coloring in the water smear around and are a little useless but colors blend and so what.

so those line folks think inishal conditions make deterministic life and the other folks like chaos and inishal conditions can have small variations that butterflies flap wings and hurricanes in Rochester. and some anarchist bro don't like chaos and there ishnt anything that can be done about people that just see lines all over the place. so let them be like a food coloring bubble in the water but one with some lines and shit. they will zig-zag and we can telewarp through the breakdown of chemistry invisibility and pop up anywhere kids

IO ytoytally fiucklin aghree diuder!1!,.,.8bal;l,,..,

Lupus Dragonowl's Against Identity Politics in AJODA #76 is one of the most useful things I've read on the subject.

A gem of an essay! When was this written, curious?

ding ding ding

"Is there a critical, anarchist position beyond or different from Stirner?"

Stirner wasn't an anarchist. So any position that came from an actual anarchist really.

What is an "actual anarchist" The term itself must be warily used so as not to slump into the binary social equation of us/them. Stirner may have been an anarchist before there existed a lexicon for revolutionary terminology describing a specific individual sovereignty and its pursuit of harnessing its singular creative inherent power and dissolving the State's control. Is Thomas Pynchon an anarchist? No, however his novels express some of the most anti-authoritarian and satirical views on the modern Western condition.

I'm in the middle of preparing a longer form piece on this very question, but basically it boils down to a total rejection of the concept of identity as an approach that actually serves everybody the best.

If no one recognises identity of any kind, no one can exclude or dominate anyone on that basis.

"if no one treats anyone badly, then we can all live in peace." kik

the question was, *if not identity, than what?*

relatively inclusive co-operation, answer inferred by dialectic

Exactly. Let's not talk about identity, or unicorns, or djinns, or the mass awakening of 'mankind'

Let's talk about the most important practical matters that immediately warrant our attention

1. Who are our allies?
2. What are our core values that we will not compromise on even one iota?
3. What are our goals?
4. What small steps can we take towards our goals?

Notice that these questions will produce different answers for different people, and several sub-groups are likely to form.

This means a mass-abandoning of the meaningless label of the a-word, which is currently keeping everyone who uses it in a big tent of nothing that provides no serious answers to the four questions. There are many individuals who have been trying to make things work inside the tent that have very good contributions to make to these four questions and IMO they ought to extricate their selves from the throng in order to pursue their goals.

The other option is endless and boundless antagonism between different factions of 'anarchism', including identity politics

yeah … it's the "throng in the tent" that's holding you back … sure dude.

I'm more into psychology although semantics is there, Nietzsche redefined Freud's ID into evolving/tranforming instinctual drives, the subsequent behavior fits into common actions, which are pretty basic hah in the human, sex, aggression, hunger, joy, you know, a master of ceremonies could have the whole planet feeding from his/her hand if it was taken that far, which it has unfortunately by global capitalism. I agree the word/concept "identity" is describing the end product which is inevitable and predictable, and not the conditioning cultural structure's psychological Pavlovian system which creates 'it'.

as dragonowl said in his essay, we are 'beyond representation'.

so, if we know who we are and what we stand for, we take ourselves out of the real world of relational forms in a transforming relational continuum.

we are always situated in the gap between the situational and the intentional or as nietzsche puts it, the unhistorical and the historical, and thus we have to manage our forgetting.

"The unhistorical and the historical are necessary in equal measure for the health of an individual, of a people and of a culture" -- Nietzsche

as vygotsky would put it, our spontaneous concept formation and our structured/scientific concept forming are conjugate aspects of one intuitive situational learning dynamic. implicit in this is a management of forgetting.

group identity is troubled by not enough forgetting and also by loyalty or do i repeat myself.

epigenesis and genesis are conjugates of one evolutionary dynamic wherein epigenesis is in a natural precedence over genesis.

the AGW climate crew have an identity based on putting genesis into an unnatural precedence over epigenesis. hitler was the last to try out this identity on a global scale.

refers to the middle of a plane of immanence where we have the potential to create various and different ways of
exploring our be-comings ; in carved-out-curved space-time of our bio-regional habitats. we are informed by this, our situation, and re-spond
not with a Representational System of identical or near-identical, simulacrum-like Forms. Instead a swirl of counter-intuitive assemblages coming together, dissembling a-part. There is no" good" way other than ways that work toward respect for both the peoples-to be
and the worlds-to come. the flow of living our lives; the eternal return of the next act in the play, with players not playing "for keeps", but instead for the "time-of -lives". now, this entails beautiful and wondrous things. So…as to that gap:
let-it happen; bring > it> on!

So you want a magic wand that cancels out the entire influence of society on individuals .. me too dude. Benett has such great ideas everyone!!! LETS TRY JUST -NOT- VIEWING PEOPLE AS WHAT THEY APEAR TO BE! I'm sure everyone else will immediately get with the program too! Then immediately, puppies, kittens, unicorns, rainbows … all thanks to you Benett!

No, lets try and view people as they are, not what they appear to be, nor as a hastily defined mass. Those that refuse to see us as we are, that refuse our existence and agency, our individuality in the face of both common and divergent contexts, we resist. This is how we deal with the influence of society. As a collective of the unique, not a mass of identity. We don't need identity to fight racists or sexists or able-ists. We don't even need identity to recognize race or sex or ability. Society does that for us all the time. What we should be doing is resisting this categorization not solidifying it. Because identity is the foundation of authoritarian society. I am not what I appear to be, I am exactly what I am and nothing else. I find solidarity with those that likewise reject the position society determines for me.

This is completely different than the argument that identities don't exist and all we need is to recognize this and magically racism will disappear. We need to recognize the emptiness of identity and then make moves against all those that try and confine us in their delusions. Obviously these maneuvers should be different towards those that use identity defensively and those that wield it as a power, but they both are on the field I want to exit as soon as possible.

So towards the end of this post, you demonstrate that you almost understand all this crap anyway but you insist on making it about semantics … which is incredibly stupid. You spent all this time arguing that identity is "confining us" when the reality is you just wasted a bunch of time arguing about semantics while most of us are talking about oppression in the external world.

Of course identity is "empty" … it's about as meaningful as fashion except you can't take the clothes off. That's not the point at all.

They're not really cops they just dress like them.

right. they are people doing a job. out of uniform they might be some kind of liberal with a capacity for fairness, which is why we anarchists treat them differently than we do other legal properties. and even a nazi person has the potential to change their mind, given some encouragement, perhaps.

human optimism is at least a pragmatic praxis, in contrast, dogmatic scenester-isolationism is ultimately inconsequential in the context of totality. every body needs a chance, to thrive integrated. let's come full-circle, y'all.

Fuck off with this hippy-dip relativism … seriously. You think you're offering up insight when all you're doing is stating the obvious as a spectator to those who are already fighting.

so, which are those who are actually already fighting what for? don't get me wrong though, i hate police, and have only to fight. but COP isn't an adequate identifier for navigating an interactional praxis. it doesn't tell me the whole story. death to the state and all, ACAB, snitches get stitches. but radicalism is about the biggest picture.

But its a hard thing to work around. I'm scared were too tribal and if it seems to petty to congregate together around ideas or interests then we end up finding common victimhood. I see identity as both necessary and damning.

In my opinion it would be useful to just not be dicks to each other. But to also stand up for ourselves.

Yeah I dunno....

I identify as a living thing, and a human so...that's who I prefer to show my solidarity. Anarchism for me meant getting rid of all that cubicle worldview of relations and disagreeing not with a system of control or victimization but with systems in general.

and yet surely you don't have solidarity with every living thing, or even every human - or else the word is completely meaningless.

I do show solidarity with every living thing and person. I see systems of domination and control as the reason for my disagreement with ideas or opinions of individuals, but my solidarity is with there existence and there personal power, its only ideas I disagree with not someone ability to disagree. My common interest with every living thing is that of survival and liberation. And that's all solidarity is isn't it a common interest or goal shared by individuals? It's natural to want life and joy. And I stand for both of those things.

aragorn found that amongst indigenous anarchists, there were almost without exception only 'indigenous people'.

this is because people view their relationship with self and other in two different ways (1.) anthropocentric/independent and (2.) ecosystemic/connected.

the type (1.) group believes in their own 'independent being', 'free will' and 'mastery over one's acts'. this belief is built into both Western monotheism and Western science. science is based on secularized theological concepts such as 'independent being' of material objects and organisms.

the type (2.) group believes that 'we are all connected' as affirmed by modern physics and that there is no such thing as 'independent being', other than as an artefact of intellectual idealization. the (2.) group believes that whatever we do to the common living space, we do to ourselves;

"The dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat at the same time time as the dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants" -- Mach's principle

for, example, the 'independent' mexican citizen brothers to the north of Chiapas harvest hydro-electric and other resources from Chiapas while the Chiapecos starve in the dark and have no dibs on the fruits of the lands they have lived on for millennia.

so, the notion of 'independence' of an individual, corporation, or 'state' is a dream, and when people dream together it is reality [an operative reality]. these people, in forming groups, believe in 'their own productive powers'. they could be designated as follows;

1. Who are our allies?
2. What are our core values that we will not compromise on even one iota?
3. What are our goals?
4. What small steps can we take towards our goals?

there is no acknowledging here in these 4 steps that we are all connected through the fact that we are all inhabitants in a common space and whatever we do to the common space, we do to one another. yet many people advocate such notionally 'independent' grouping; e.g; the earlier commenter, benett;

"There are many individuals who have been trying to make things work inside the tent that have very good contributions to make to these four questions and IMO they ought to extricate their selves from the throng in order to pursue their goals."

The EZLN is a type (2.) group that understands that organization must acknowledge inclusion in a common space. i suppose that they could be described by the four points, but most of the groups forming around the four points are type (1.) groups.

i would call anarchists, as exemplified by 'indigenous anarchists', type (2.) groups and the pool of people ready to set up type (2.) groups as 'anarchists'. they are distinct and different from type (1.) groups and/or those pooling in anticipation of joining a type (1.) group.

type 1. groups, because they believe they are 'independent', believe they are the full and sole authors of their 'own' productive achievements, therefore, they turn a blind eye to how they suck the nutrients dry from the common space and pollute the common space so that others sharing that space are starving and forced to drink the sewage of the monopolizers of the wealth of the common space, who live high on the hill.

there is one other possible category and that is the liberal altruist of the type (1.) who, while she fails to see that her monopoly practices are suffocating and humiliating others and thus sees them as helpless incompetents, has empathy for them out of a feeling of altruistic benevolence.

so, "if not identity", ... how about an awareness of these two (or three) different types of worldview and how they shape organization and organized actions.

That's it... I'm putting this site in the trash. See you back in a few months where useless and useful idiots alike are still discussing with cognitive infiltrators and po-mo text generators that are still both being given a tribune by the mods... for some reason. Probably because this site is indeed run by an hostile agency after all.

Taw taw!

of all kinds are deserving of our consideration. they are the spice of life. many of us on this site attempt to articulate a type 2
sensibility. not all of the time, but enough of the time. and that's a good thing. the impacts of the collaborations
here are impossible to qualify, let alone quantify. temperance compliments exuberance. rational intersperse with the intuitive. theory with praxis, the beautiful and the damned. the sacred and the profane.
one thing ,for sure: not EITHER-OR, more like both, and , and and on and on and on…

i don't know about you but i accept the world as it is. that's not saying i like everything in it and everybody in it, but my definition of the world is with everyone included in it, ... everyone being heard, ... kind of like a circle that passes the talking piece, ... where evolution is by relational transformation rather than by moralist purification that progresses to the point that there is finally only you and me, ... then just me.

but i've noticed that not everyone is tolerant like that. some people want to limit the DNA that incubates anarchism, kind of like 'genetic engineering'. for them, the ur-stoff of embryo community should be carefully selected prior to incubation. anarchist sperm banks may be their answer. we know what sort of 'direct action' appeals to those wankers.

Was that a joke about masturbation?

They lie! you do have a sense of humor.

is of course a "state of affairs" that we all must "reckon' with.
as creative beings we also have the potential to access the virtual
realm of time retrieved from lost time, elucidating our singularity, indicating a be-coming-together and a be-coming- smooth-together,
on a plane of immanence , as we engage each-other in con-structing planes of consistency.
Here we elaborate new-worlds-to-be. this process includes new-peoples- to -come as well as new
habitatat -to- dwell-in, "lightly", nomadically, but with variable velocity and differential intensity. this proto-new- world-symphony
is an "abstract machine": of carving out zones of autonomous moments of space- time, temporary or eternal ; where we can re-claim and redeem our existential essences with a praxis-of : beauty, artistry. and hope; in the uni-vocal enunciation of:
yes-we-can!…and here-we-are!.. there-we -go!
Rojava , Chiapas, black-lives-matter, occupy. Stonewall, Earth First!, ELF,ALF, and more.. and…
> "that's what it's all about".For-ever; Where-ever.

Let me forget for a second that they're categories and that they're dualistic...

1. Independent/anthropocentric?

Really? You don't think anyone can suggest a non-societal methodology while also seeing their self as connected to a kinship group?

Can we at least establish the FACT that for a very long time, people did not live in groupings much bigger than a football team?

If we go from there, and realise that these people survived, and thrived, then how is it helpful to say that if we don't want to fix society that we have some kind of personality type that means we don't want to be connected?

The major problem with the EZLN is that they are violent commie statists. If they were a grouping of a sustainable size with sustainable goals and means to achieve them, I would probably not just applaud them but maybe find out if I could help them.

But they want to establish control over a territorial and human polity. How is that somehow evidence of connectedness and ecosystemic thinking? The EZLN are pro-technology, and pro-work. They are, in other words, destructive of ecosystems. I want to live in a small bioregion, live in balance with it, and help enrich it. And I happen to think that this can only be done in a band, long term.

Questions for the collectivists who support smile's argument?

1. Where does 'the common space' begin and end?
2. How would I be sucking nutrients from that space or polluting it, by living in a tipi in the foothills of the Andes?
3. How will the people who think that everything is connected avoid the obvious pitfalls of universalism that tend towards a globalist totalitarian view?

Hmm, are you a bit Rand/Jones influenced?

"Questions for the collectivists who support smile's argument?

1. Where does 'the common space' begin and end?
2. How would I be sucking nutrients from that space or polluting it, by living in a tipi in the foothills of the Andes?
3. How will the people who think that everything is connected avoid the obvious pitfalls of universalism that tend towards a globalist totalitarian view?"


I don't understand how collectivism applies when we're already situationally included on a planet. That has nothing to do with the belief that humans should group together based on a single rational mode of thought (that also must be constantly boundary policed). That's what we have now. I don't know how you could have 'globalist totalitarianism' if you're not placing humans in precedence over all other life forms that they share air, land, water (etc...) with. Even at my (modern, propertied notion) of house, so many other life forms are included in that space, from birds, to squirrels (currently chilling high up trees around me in nests), plants, insects, moles that pass through, and many others that have left, have gone dormant---what have you transformations---for the season.

"I see systems of domination and control as the reason for my disagreement with ideas or opinions of individuals,"

really? so, without systems of domination, you would have no disagreements with individuals? how utterly boring and homogenous your world would be to me.

I didn't say that I wouldn't have disagreements with individuals without systems of domination. Just that I see systems of domination and control as being the reason for most of my, for all intensive purposes, philosophical opinions. You could still take a shit on my bed and I'd disagree with it, even doing away with all those systems of still be pissed.
Maybe you get bored to easily.

so what philosophical opinion is it that would be the reason for you to disagree with taking a shit on your bed?

interesting. so, you would have no philosophical opinions without systems of domination?

I dont kno..? Maybe, lets get rid of all systems of dominatiin and find out.
I just know I don't like telling people what to do or being told what to do. And I don't use identity as a marker for much. Identity politics is based on a good idea, that we need to reshape the way our communities and relationships are effected by a consistently divisive world, so we decided to change language but failed to change many other aspects of our oppressive culture. I see most of my opinions as taking place, even philosophically, solely because of systems of domination. I am only philosophizing about ideas and systems of domination because they're so present everywhere.

Otherwise I'd just be twiddling my thumbs or scratching myself...

but, i do, too, surely.
for instance; i, along with all other life, have something to give, and have need to receive something.
we are unified by the situation which-in turn-is shaped by our each intention, respectively.
let us give meaning to the word!!!

if you read my comments, they speak about the bewitching of understanding by language.

therefore to comment on my views without addressing the ambiguities in language is obfuscation.

for example, if we speak of a 'band' or 'group', as you do re your own worldview;

"I want to live in a small bioregion, live in balance with it, and help enrich it. And I happen to think that this can only be done in a band, long term"

it is important to deconstruct the word 'band'.

there are 7 billion people here right now. that is a reality. perhaps they could all be split up in to small bands of people living in tipis in the foothills of the andes or rockies or himalyas but there are a few questions about how we get from 'here' to 'there', and the core question is, what is their organizing principle.

from the point of view of organizing principles, there are two possible views of a 'band', and they correspond to the difference between Darwinism [intentionality, competition] and Lamarckism [relationality, dynamic balance wherein situationism orchestrates intentionism]

organizing principle is paramount because, whether the world's population is organized by small bands or large collectives, they are interfering with each other through the common mediating medium aka natural habitat;

"the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat at the same time as the dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants" -- Mach's principle

As I said, 'categories' are not 'real', they are an imperfect linguistic device for organizing our observations and sharing ideas and they can be based on 'associations' or 'common properties'. We can use them as Wittgenstein ladders to put the reader in position to tap his own experience as to the understanding we are trying to share. for example, if we speak of the category of storm cells and the various different instances of same, while we capture them linguistically as subjects that seem to make them into the authors of their own development and behaviour, the reader may also understand that we are 'really' talking about relational features within a transforming relational continuum; i.e. they are not 'really' independent things that are the authors of their own development and behaviour.

it happens that there are two ways of viewing this question, one viewing is 'realist' where we actually believe in the reality of the subject storm, and the other viewing is 'pragmatist-idealist' where we accept this as a useful wittgenstein ladder, but acknowledge it is intellectual idealization rather than the physical reality of our natural experience.

in other words, some people are 'realists' about 'categories', ... while others, and i include myself here, ... are 'pragmatist idealists' re 'categories'. that is, any of us can take the realist view or the pragmatist idealist view re categories.

what has been just said about storm-cells can be said about 'members of your band' and 'groups of bands' and maybe 'groups of groups of bands'. there should be plenty of ways to connect the dots with 7 billion dots to draw on.

the default Western organizing principle is based on the notion of the individual or group as 'independently-existing and master over his acts [intention-driven] this comes from 'ego' as nietzsche reminds us and it leads to nationalism and competition or 'bandism' or 'groupism'. in this view, the band sees its members as independent beings that are the basis of relational activity that produces desired results. when the interference between these groups becomes manifest; e.g. at the common well, fishing hole, or in hot pursuit of a game animal, hard-nosed, group-based competition [survival of the fittest] is likely to ensue.

the default organizing principle for indigenous anarchists, is one wherein situational possibility orchestrates the actualizing of actualizable potentials. using alternative words, 'epigenesis' and 'genesis' are in conjugate relation, as in Lamarckism. in modern society, while this is exceptional, when individual teams 'bump into each other' in a relational confluence, instead of SOLELY competing, they let their identities 'float' so that their actualizable potentials can be re-actualized in the field of situational possibility arising from the relational confluence. this is Lamarckian evolutionary mode. it is where epigenetic influence orchestrates and shapes the actualizing of actualizable potentials. we as individuals and by groups have actualizable potentials that are not pre-determined but which can instead be 'incubated' by the inductive field of relational-situational possibility.

your model of a small band does not specify whether its organizing principle is Darwinian or Lamarckian, and the world of many bands will be very different depending on which type of organizing principle is predominantly embraced.

which one are you proposing?

"whether its organizing principle is Darwinian or Lamarckian"

a false dichotomy? where's your balance and relationalismysticism, old buddy?

"the default organizing principle for indigenous anarchists, is one wherein situational possibility orchestrates the actualizing of actualizable potentials."

wow. you have out-emiled yourself, emile.

do you really believe that any physical form, human or otherwise, possesses its own persisting thing-in-itself identity? i mean 'physically' and not as in 'the word katrina refers to that form that just popped into existence and is continually changing and whoops, it just popped out of existence?'

or do you acknowledge that all forms in nature are equilibrium systems [as relativity demands] in which case they are features in the transforming energy-charged relational continuum, ... and persist as a 'coincidence of opposites' of outside-inwards accommodating influence or 'fielding' [epigenetic influence] and inside-outward asserting influence or 'hitting' [genetic influence].

or do you really believe that by intellectually imposing an absolute space and absolute time reference/measurement frame over the form, we can magically give it 'absolute identity-in-itself and attribute its development and behaviour, fully and solely to processes within it? i guess we can, notionally, by way of intellectual idealization, but i am talking 'physically' as in the physical reality of our natural experience.

when we depict our self to our self in this 'independent being' way, it is 'ego', right? this idea that comes from noun-and-verb language and grammar that we are 'independent beings' with 'free will' who are 'master over our acts' which is a Western religious notion which has been secularized by Western science.

so, how would you describe forms in real physical world terms without the imposing of absolute frames?

how about 'forms' arising in the nexus of situational possibility and actualizable potentials?

can you understand your self in this way? or are you hung up on ego where you prefer to believe that you are an 'independent being with free will that is master over his acts'?

does each form 'exist on its own', as it is depicted, for convenience, in science, by way of, as Poincare points out, 'conventions of language'.

"In its origin language belongs in the age of the most rudimentary form of psychology. We enter a realm of crude fetishism when we summon before consciousness the basic presuppositions of the metaphysics of language, in plain talk, the presuppositions of reason. Everywhere it sees a doer and doing; it believes in will as the cause; it believes in the ego, in the ego as being, in the ego as substance, and it projects this faith in the ego-substance upon all things — only thereby does it first create the concept of “thing.” Everywhere “being” is projected by thought, pushed underneath, as the cause; the concept of being follows, and is a derivative of, the concept of ego. In the beginning there is that great calamity of an error that the will is something which is effective, that will is a faculty. Today we know that it is only a word.” – Nietzsche, ‘Twilight of the Idols’

those who persist in believing in absolute forms are those who give persisting support to authoritarian control and social darwinism aka capitalist economy.

is Idealism at its worst,
caving in to the lowest common denominator, Representation.
turning the flow of life into an Ego-maniacal Signification of
the Tyranny of the Same.
>follow-me here: a "different" approach to our be-ing-the-world.
1.a "will to power" is not Being( born of Absolute Identity). it is ,rather be-comings, 1.b It is elaborated as the "in-itself "of difference .
1.c. it refers our" dis-solved, open and ex-posed selves .1.d its expression is one of intensity and movement, not qualities or
quantifiable extensions. 1.e it is the (latent) subject's ability to express one's "singularity" thereby able to be effected and affected by
creatively composed "events", with others, wrested by our individuated be-ings, collaborating together.

Now, the "eternal return" is , in contrast to the will-to-power: 2.a the Being Said or articulation of becoming.
2.b it is the affirmation, re-production, and repetition or return of difference. 2.c the thought of a fractured "I",
as to the creation of interesting, important, and re-markable concepts. 2.d virtuality, memory, and the retrieval of lost time. .
2.e thought ,without regard to time( beginning and end), as emerging from "the middle".
all of which is to say that Identity Formation is the inverse of this process of the forces that move us and the expression of
our opportunity >> to get out of our Selves , so as to collude ; to thereby invent a usable practice, ( may I venture to say) and
fabricate a sensual , sentient and geo-philosophical praxis based on new worlds-to-be, and new earths to co-habit -with.
P.S. I am heavily indebted to Deleuze's "What is Philosophy".

a 'false dichotomy' critiques a proposition that delivers two mutually exclusive options.

darwinism and lamarckism are not 'mutually exclusive', they are 'mutually inclusive' and require 'both/and logic' (logic of the included third).

darwinism assumes that the authoring influence in physical dynamics is 'all-hitting, no-fielding' as we see it when we frame the action in absolute space and absolute time.

larmarckism assumes that the authoring influence in physical dynamics is 'fielding-hitting', wherein the fielding inductively orchestrates and shapes the hitting action. [acknowledges relativity].

example: two people observe 9/11 and give their impressions;

the darwinist will say; 'the terrorist attack was caused by muslim extremists'

the lamarckian will say; 'you are framing the action in absolute space and absolute time', which over-simplifies the physical reality of our natural experience. we all know that the U.S. through their aggression in the Middle East, together with France and Britain and colonial power alliance, has induced this 'push-back' . do you need Russell Means and Ward Churchill to spell it out for you? We live in a relational world where epigenetic influence induces genetic action.

you don't expect us to swallow this simplified view in which it appears as if 'genesis is all there is'. Tis the result of ignoring the ongoing relational dynamic, this action as a turbulence/eruption within the transforming relational continuum, ... when it is the result of imposing an absolute space and absolute time reference frame to simplify the view of what is 'really' going on.

“Euclidean geometry is, and will remain, the most convenient: 1st, because it is the simplest, and it is not so only because of our mental habits or because of the kind of direct intuition that we have of Euclidean space; it is the simplest in itself, just as a polynomial of the first degree is simpler than a polynomial of the second degree; 2nd, because it sufficiently agrees with the properties of natural solids, those bodies which we can compare and measure by means of our senses.” – Henri Poincaré, ‘Science and Hypothesis’

if we go with a relational space viewing, we can see that 9/11 was induced by the overall, ongoing relational social dynamic (the progressive development of the overall phenomenon).

the darwinian view and the lamarckian view are not mutually exclusive, therefore the concept of 'false dichotomy' does not apply.

both observers can see that 'participants in the ongoing colonization-stirred conflict in the middle east attacked and destroyed the World Trade Center towers', so the two views are not 'mutually exclusive'.

the darwinist uses a euclidian framing to simplify things by reducing the action to one-sided genetic assertion.

the lamarckian uses a relational (non-euclidian) representation that acknowledges the event as a relational feature in the ongoing progression of the transforming relational continuum. in this view, epigenetic influence induced the genetic action.

both the darwinist and the lamarckian agree that the people in question attacked and destroyed the WTC towers, the difference is that the Darwinist imposes a euclidian frame in which case the driving influence of the action can only come from the interior of the attackers because the space inside the frame, apart from the identified doers-of-the-deed, is empty.

in the Lamarckian 'relational space' view, it is obvious that the authoring source of the action comes from the US and the colonizing powers, as Russell Means and Ward Churchill spell it out.

the choice between the Darwinian and the Lamarckian views [on organization] are not mutually exclusive, therefore the 'false dichotomy' does not apply.

when the child-soldier slaughters the school children, the Lamarckian will see the operative organization in terms of 'it takes a whole community to raise a child-soldier' and the Darwinian will see it in terms of 'bad genes' and nothing to do with the 'normals' in the community.

i think you will agree that these are two choices here as to organizing principles.

the darwinist will shoot the child-soldier and say; 'i hope there's not going to be much more of this bad seed cropping up, ... now let's get back to work and hope all will be well.'

the lamarckist will shoot the child-soldier and say; 'we'd better transform our community relations so as to subsume the conflict tensions that guy became the channel for' we had to shoot him but he took the hit for all of us. let's not just scapegoat him and pretend that everyone but him is innocent, like the darwinists do.'

when these little bands bump into each other in the forest and there are sparks, is it a darwinist survival of the fittest competition that will naturally sort it out, ... or is lamarck correct in that the conflict in nature does not necessarily jumpstart from the genes of the individual, but derives more importantly, at the same time, from the inductive influence of the relational social dynamic. in which case organizing would not be by way of 'purifying the gene pool' but by way of allowing the transforming of relations in such a manner as to subsume the tensions breeding the conflict.

I do not think that you will ever understand anything if you divide everything into neat little binary categories. My proposition is for each band to determine its own organising principles. Beyond that, I have nothing to answer for. I've written enough on and other places for people to get a sense of what I'm looking for in my own band, and finding a few more like-minded individuals is my sole purpose of using the internet, at root. If I had already found them, I'd be able to progress to stage 2: reconnaissance. I'm certainly no Darwinian, but then, you can read Darwin in different ways anyway.

Interestingly, what Darwin and Lamarck are remembered for is, to me, the least relevant part of their work. What they had to say about 'speciation', and how it's come to be represented, are quite different, IMO. For one thing, liberal humanism has distorted science, philosophy, linguistics and especially politics, beyond all meaning.

Anyway, I've nothing really to add at this point, because I don't think your long response had anything new to add about identity either. You agree with me that such categories are not real. I just don't want to choose between two dead zoologists to define my very specific outlook.

What principle do like-minded bees need to organize?

If the principle (rational line of thought) comes before relations, what happens when relations change over time?

I used to come together with a band of like minded bmx dirt jumpers, with the principle of trying to build as many jumps in as many places as we could. At different points someone got a dirtbike, someone started fucking around with drugs, someone's parents got tired of their backyard being covered in dirt mounds and the liability of us middle schoolers, someone else yet got injured and too spooked to pick a bike back up. Do you think that even though we were like-minded we kept relating the same way toward the same principle? After all of those events happened most of us stopped riding, stopped hanging out until every last one of us hung up a bmx bike for good. To this day I know of no instance where any of us talks to each other.

Is is that people change over time? Sure. But the BMX thing is taken from your childhood. And you grew up in a paradigm that encouraged a million different consumer distractions. You're also mistaking hobbies like biking for fundamental values. It is the latter that I assert need to be shared for people to live meaningfully and sustainably together.

If you don't believe that a consentient community of like-minded individuals is a good or necessary thing, then don't pursue it, but you're left with the corresponding question as to how else you might enjoy relations that are free of domination.

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