Topic of the Week: The Politics of Personal Responsibility and Anarchism

  • Posted on: 25 July 2016
  • By: thecollective

The politics of personal responsibility has been around for a few decades now. What first was a tense term, mostly used as an insult by the right, of politically correct has morphed into a mainstream popular culture game of privilege-checking, call-out culture, and the more nuanced calling-in.

The topic of this week is NOT whether or not these phenomenon are right or your political cup-of-tea. The topic this week assumes that the way most self-described radicals consider their political practice to include PPR. Whether right or wrong most discussions each of us are going to have about political topics is going to include a major theme of PPR. Examples abound.

What does this mean for anarchist discourse generally? Have you experienced examples of anti-authoritarian PPR? Is part of the reason (if you accept this as true) that anarchism has become less popular as the politics of the young because anarchism hasn't found a way to express PPR better than the liberals, wanna-be-in-chargeists, or meaningful and naive people who have made PPR the mode and expression of left-of-left politics?



This seems like a pretty convoluted TOTW.

Earth First! is experimenting with anti-authoritarian PPR. Here is an example:

Young people are really getting into the Maoist hazing via Tumblr and Earth First! is trying to play catch up as a recruiting method.

Better than the Green Scare. Presenting the Survivor Olympic Games 2016!

More Spanish Inquisition by moral hypocrite victorian chicks. More "we will not be silenced in the face...". Especially more hate and ad hominems against past, present and would-be insurgents. Democrat Party CIA counterinsurgency at its best!

The Irish Workers' Solidarity Movement, Anarchist Federation UK, and J. Rogue all wrote essays outlining ways in which intersectionality could be used in an anarchist way and against the liberal conceptions of it.

I think much of the left (including the alter-left, which means anarchists) isn't really willing to accept that what we're seeing right now is this generation's version of the 1960s counterculture. I know it may not look like it, given that the counterculture was all about social freedom while this generation is all about social justice, but that's largely because of what each period of radicals were reacting to.

The 60s radicals emphasised freedom because they were rebelling against the stodgy conformism of the post-war compromise.

The 2010s radical emphasise justice because they're rebelling against the rugged individualism of the neoliberal consensus.

Freedom was the negation of fake justice.
Justice feels like the negation of fake freedom.

Post-war society was a REGIME, not a compromise, you dumb fuck.

There's no "rugged individualism" representing a neoliberal consensus in the 2010s. On the contrary. individualism is being mercilessly crushed under the rug by a supermassive, overwhelming consumerist MASS CULTURE, which IS the pure expression of what you call "neoliberalism", that is the system they've set up after the Second World War. Fedbook and Pokemon Go have got NOTHING to do with individualism, but rather with this collectivist mass culture.

Here's a reason why post-90s anarchism has been dragging for so long, because it gets messed with shitty deluded Leftist analysis, that is in itself playing a support role to the current totalitarian capitalist regime, as a prefab false critique produced by neoliberals from bs activist corporations like ATTAC and Dissent.

Put this shit in the trash, please, and read some better authors from before the '60s.



Is it okay for you to not lump me into any shitty wings? Of what imaginary bird do they belong to? Are the squirrels in my backyard leftists or right wing? The air?

Plus, we weren't alive during the french revolution, sitting along the right or left sides of parliament.

So tired of the need to categorize

The air if communist. Most birds are liberal Left I think... except predatory ones which are an-caps.

Snakes and cats are pretty much black anarchists.

Also the whole planet is an elizabethan parliament. Coz democracy and stuff.

Also the current counter culture is reactionary and right wing. The leftoids you see today represent more of a ruling power continuum. Anarchism needs to leave the left behind once an for all and find its true post IP form in the 21st century.

Second what?

do you have links to the essays you mention? and/or can you say what the ways were that they expressed?

organizing can be relational balance-and-harmony orienting as in an ecosystem, or newtonian-determinism driven.

if the 'rallying energy' of a group derives from a common effort to deterministically bring about a desired future state, the politics of personal responsibility [politically correct behaviour] is imperative.

if the 'rallying energy' of a group derives from a common effort to sustain balance and harmony within an interdependent relational matrix, political correctness is disruptive since it increases granularity when it is increased fluidity that serves the sustaining of balance and harmony.

As John and Yoko (and then again, Miguel Cervantes) said;

"When we dream alone, it is only a dream, but when we dream together, it is reality".

and as Edward Sapir similarly observed;

“The fact of the matter is that the ‘real world’ is to a large extent unconsciously built up on the language habits of the group . . . We see and hear and otherwise experience very largely as we do because the language habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation.” – Edward Sapir

'organizing' has been steadily shifting from the ethic of cultivating balance and harmony within a highly fluid, interdependent relational matrix, ... to 'dreaming together' and using noun-and-verb language to get on common 'bandwagons' aimed at bringing about [by newtonian determinism] a commonly desired future state, whereupon 'personal political responsibility' raises its ugly head. the common dream is shared within a noun-and-verb-language-and-grammar based 'semantic reality' which is radically unlike the physical reality of our actual experience.

instead of fluidity, the dynamic organizing of a relational collective coagulates into mechanical lumps called 'organizations', first on the granularity of tribes, then on the granularity of kingdoms and nations and from there on to the scale of global world order cooperatively policed using moral judgement based retributive justice. this 'moral judgement' is applied to the absolutist/dualist notion of individual or national behaviour. and, of course, in a group using a common dream of bringing about a desired future state as the organizing principle [as shared within a 'semantic reality'], personal political responsibility or 'politically correct and incorrect behaviours' are an automatic imperative.

indigenous anarchism is based on keeping the organizing dynamic 'fluid' [cultivating relational balance and harmony in the continuing 'now'] rather than using a common dream of a desired future state to coagulate into 'organizations' which stand or fall on the 'personal political responsibility' of the members to ensure their behaviour supports the construction of the desired future state. there is no room, within such organizations, to tend directly to those marginalized, suffocated, deprived of a life, enslaved, impoverished, disopportunized etc. since all these issues are resolved in the desired future state; i.e. achieving the desired future state is the politically correct path to resolving present imperfections. putting the priority on politically correct behaviours oriented to achieving a desired future state [in which marginalization will be resolved] is preferred by those 'at the top' who are currently benefiting from 'have' - 'have-not' imbalances.

semantic bewitchment keeps such dysfunctional organization intact;

"ask not what your country [organization] can do for you, ask what you can do for your country [organization]."-- JFK

the dualist paradox of whether to put the individual in priority over the organization or the organization into priority over the individual is resolved, as Nietzsche points out, non-dualistically, by not reducing the verb 'organizing' [as is natural in a relational dynamic] to a noun, 'organization'. ecosystemic 'organizing' is where sustaining relational balance and harmony is in a natural precedence over deliberately determined organizational structure.

With all of what's going on in the world and in the United States I definitely think we should spend more time talking about ourselves -- if we don't, who will? Nobody seems to notice how compelling we and our personal concerns are...

The less people talk about themselves the better, especially with the level of stupidity and boorish preoccupations and hobbies that people into identity affirmation complexes get involved in, like world records and eating the most hotdogs, Olympics up my ass with all this petty privileged affluent surplus, there's nothing creative about it except glory and prestigious vanity FUCK IT!!!!!
We existentialist-nihilists know the futility of ego-inflation, we don't even rant anymore, we are superior to the ignorant peasants!!!

the 'big sagacity Self' [Nietzsche] is the self of our unique situational fetalization wherein we are a vent that taps epigenetic influences from the relational dynamics we are uniquely, situationally included in, while the 'little sagacity ego-self' is the self that gives itself meaning by its loaded program/knowledge-driven and directed assertive doer-deed goals and achievements.

the former (non-dualist) Self is journey-oriented, amor-fati conditioned and cultivates balance and harmony in the continuing 'now'. the latter (dualist) ego-self is destination-oriented, knowledge-directed and works purposefully to achieve a desired future state.

the former (non-dualist) Self understands the natural precedence of relations over 'what we do' [our inherently subjective and incomplete logical propositions aka 'semantic realities'], while the latter (dualist) ego-self believes that the future is causally determined by 'what we do' [believes in our inherently subjective and incomplete logical propositions aka 'semantic realities'].

which of these selfs do we want to give precedence to?

No,,,no,,,,no! Don't you mean "Which ME do we talk about?" the big sagacity of ME and my unique fetal position in the womb of my basement, tapping into the,,,,internet forums which feature radical philosophizing over identity politics? Hahahahaaaa The non -subject-object duality of unborn propositions locating themselves within a semantic reality, my impoverished epigenetic experiences wither in the dry wind of wisdom,,,,,,,,

Identitarian Politics have morphed into a large set of reasons for middle class young people to avoid personal responsibility. We are in an era of rapid change, worldwide. It shouldn't surprise anyone that middle class youth having been forced to confront "politics" for the first time on a broad scale ever look for ways to save face and avoid it as long as possible. Specially white people. But not all the time

All creed, class and colour.

ugh, you know what I mean don't be as bad as the identity politicians you hate. Does social conflict fit in your appropriate vocabulary? Put that in there instead

I DONT think the problem with @ism isn't that it's not on the cool bandwagon. I don't know how people have forgotten already that as usual anarchists are against the curve and this type of fighting really started up before occupy.

Young people are growing up with social media that materially implements the individual identity model at the heart of neoliberalism. Tolerant radical democracy that fails to challenge capitalism on any level.

*ahead of the curve, rather.

young people are growing up with science, if not religion, and it is Western science and Western religion that persuades young people (many of whom retain this belief through their entire lives) that they are independently-existing local material systems-in-themselves. this mechanical model is the basis for belief in the existence of the 'independent nation', another 'spook' depiction of relational forms in the transforming relational continuum.

the social media is simply gilding this lily of a lie. political correctness does not allow us to criticize it. Western justice is also based on this lie, guaranteeing that the long abused black slave or indian slave, when he rebels violently, is, as an independent being, fully and solely responsible for his violent actions.

science as we know it [mainstream, newtonian science] stands or falls on the belief in the independent existence of local material entities [objects, organisms, systems].

to be scientific is to be an identity politician.

Rare classic emile commentary, with brevity, simple and explanatory, your popularity should grow.

You think most young people base their lives on science and religion? What planet do you live on?

Music and fashion is science and religion, any obsession related to conforming to identity types is religiosity, and music is primitive audio maths

Planet Western Civilization, commonly referred to as global consumer mud-ball from Sol.

Philip Dick already owns that.

"to be scientific is to be an identity politician."

that's a fucking stretch. i mean, i despise both, but that doesn't make them equivalent. jeez, your multileveled abstractionary word games really start to get annoying sometimes, professor robot.

it's not really a 'stretch', as you contend. science is a way of arranging our observations. mainstream newtonian science is 'dualist' [splits apart matter and space] puts 'material dynamics' as if in empty euclidian space, into an unnatural precedence over 'relational transformation' aka 'field dynamics'.

in a world given only once [as a transforming relational continuum], a local, visible, material form is NOT an independent thing-in-itself as in the thought-economical short-cut of science, but a nexus of relations gathering within the transforming relational continuum, ... as in the case of a storm-cell in the atmosphere.

science builds on 'language convention' [Poincaré] that uses subject-verb-predicate logic to intellectually invent and imposes a notional 'independent thing-in-itself existence' as a thought-economical substitute for visible, tangible 'relational forms in the transforming relational plenum' (the bewitching power of language). 'Katrina' becomes the spook-like 'cover' for a dimple in the atmospheric flow-plenum, and subject-verb-predicate constructs take over to make her a star in a semantic reality that is in terms of 'independent things' and 'what independent things do' as if their development and behaviour is internal process driven and directed.

so, to understand relational forms as things-in-themselves with persisting identities [rather than as dimples in a transforming relational flow], science uses the logical tactic of 'categorization'. this is where the identity politics comes in because categorizing goes from the general to the particular, and involves 'circular reasoning' [Poincaré].

here's the steps in creating a category; first, assume the category exists; e.g. female [this bypasses the physical reality wherein male and female are reciprocally complementary relational forms in a transforming relational continuum]. now that one has intellectually created the category 'female', select some candidates that one had in mind and compile a list of 'common properties' that is sufficient to distinguish the members of the category from members of other categories [e.g. male]. the logical error [petitio principii or circular reasoning] is that one had to assume the existence of the category in order to gather exemplars and use them to compile the 'common properties' and thus the qualifications for membership in the category. this 'set theory' is described by Poincaré as "a disease that mathematics will have to recover from". nevertheless, it is a 'short-cut' [to avoid relational complexities] built into scientific thinking. it does not exist in relational languages such as those of indigenous aboriginals (anarchists), where 'who a person is' is seen to derive from their 'cosmic fetalization' [as gives rise to storm-cells in the atmospheric flow or whorls in fluid flow, everyone of which is situationally unique. and, sure, the form that arises from a situationally unique cosmic fetalization has a local, visible, material aspect to which we can bring our measuring devices and timing clocks to compile a list of 'common properties' and if we do this to a 'storm-cell', those common properties (spatial extent, internal wind velocities, central pressure etc.), we are capturing only the local, visible, material aspect or 'genetic expression' which is the child of the epigenetic inductive influence of the transforming relational plenum, ... the material object minus its 'spirit'. this scientific categorizing of local, visible, material 'appearances' is the basis of 'identity politics'.

in the relational language of indigenous aboriginals and pre-literate people, the transforming relational continuum is called 'the great spirit' that is the Creator of forms that are continually gathering and being regathered within it. in this view, that which is local, visible and tangible is not 'independent' of the inductive (inspirational, spiritual) field.

science manufactures its semantic realities by imposed 'independent being' on the those aspects of relational forms that it can see and touch, imputing dualist 'thing-in-itself' status on the basis of 'appearances', and obscuring the inhabitant-habitat NON-DUALITY of relational forms in a transforming relational continuum. 'categorization' is an artefact of science's reductionist, materialist, thought-economical approach to organizing observations.

the science-based 'belief in the existence of categories' that is used to determine 'what forms are' combines with the assigning of relative value to its 'common properties' and thus to a relative value ranking on the basis of category. thus, the convenient, economy-of-thought-delivering idealization of relational forms as categories of independent things-in-themselves, becomes the orchestrator of relational social dynamics which selectively opportunize and marginalize relational forms on the basis of their 'common properties' [an assessment that is inherently subjective and incomplete] that purport to 'define and impute relative value' to inhabitants seen as being 'independent' of one another and of the common habitat in which they are, in physical reality, gathering forms.

to be scientific is to be an identity politician

btw. this comment involves deconstruction of simple words and phrases that have become habitual for us, as in our habitual acceptance of 'categories', therefore it requires more words to deconstruct the over-simplistic thought-economical words that cultures pass on through generations. keeping comments short depends on the reader being able to flesh out simple words and phrases with his own dictionary of definitions, which may block his reception where revisions to orthodox definitions are involved.

your mile of post-structuralist, abstractionist jargon does not get any closer to making that statement any clearer or truer. nor does restating it verbatim.

big yaaawwwnnnn

Welcome to Emile's Wonderland! Riddled with 19th century authoritarian dwarves, genetics scientists, and especially derelict linguistics text-generating programs cobbled up together. Signs of life: unknown.

western civilization equips its young with noise-rejection filters. as poincaré has demonstrated the concept of 'noise rejection' depends on the advance knowledge of 'what signal is' so as to be able to differentiate between signal and noise and reject noise. 'what signal is', is passed on from parents to children. that is why christians tend to raise christians, jews tend to raise jews, muslims tend to raise muslims, americans tend to raise americans and Western civilizeds tend to raise Western civilizeds.

children do not abandon their natural innocence and inquisitive curiousity easily, it takes parental love to get them to do that, plus the recognition and respect of entire civilizations and their iconic celebrities.

self-colonizing 'civilizeds' may never allow themselves to 'hear' what indigenous aboriginals [and/or blacks] are actually saying, but they can proudly affirm "what was good enough for my gramps is good enough for me", and that sort of loyalty is admirable,... isn't it? ... even if gramps did own a slave [who had a grandson who is now saying; "what was good enough for my gramps is not good enough for me"].


Anyone who disses or bitches after a bunch of anarchos who got Darth Maul as their mascot must eat shit certainly!

Ekscews speling I from the Ukraine immgrent I leeve comradsckis an cum to thes cuntry an thes yanki frends I mayk thay anarchistos an ther tel me yu yankis yu can do this citzen arrest an I laff I sayd no way in mi cuntry no fascista poots hand on any persin no way not alloud

PPR = ?
TOTW = ?
IP = ?
MAFW = ?

PPR = Politics of Personal Responsibility, as in the title
TOTW = Topic of the Week
IP = Identity Politics
MAFW = Your guess is as good as mine. Morris Area Freewheelers?

MAFW is a neighborhood in Tempe Arizona. I am not the one who made the comment. But it is in relation to some Identity Politicians who got angry that people suggested getting some beers after a protest against police violence. Which may sound silly but also displays a clear divide both locally and nationally.

Then again the people who were complaining were like 18 year old communists and an italian dude who claims to be nonwhite so take that as you will.

Italian commies are the worse Leftists, on top with the Kanadian RC(M)P.

Personal responsibility is an effect of an idealist view of human agency. It assumes the Cartesian self as actor. Instead, we need a materialist psychology. We need to assume that actions come from unconscious motivations which people often do not understand.

The approach of Nietzsche, Stirner, the Situationists and their inheritors is basically right. Reject responsibility. Refuse to feel guilty. Do exactly what you feel like. We are all expressions of life, living itself, burning itself up in its own living. Responsibility is a cop-in-the-head.

Instead of responsibility, we need to cultivate affinity and compassion for *real* others, which is an extension, not a repression, of our own desires.


Abusers are real. Authoritarians, narcissistic abusers, sexual predators, psychopaths, and sadists exist. They are spook-possessed. Their own desires are corrupted into violence against others. They are an effect of social violence. Ideally they need help. But they are still real. Just like crocodiles will eat you. The best way to fight them is to learn to recognise them, to learn to fight back or flee if they try anything. No need for big authoritarian banning processes. Informal sanctions work fine for indigenous groups. Ostracise them, yell at them, hit them if they go too far. Don't work with them in small groups, warn others not to work with them. Treat them as spook-possessed people, akin to cops, fundamentalists or politicians. Their ego is their spook, and they subordinate themselves and others to it, the same way a statist subordinates self and other to the state.

On the other hand, remember that not everyone who commits any single act is an "abuser" in any of these senses. Learn discernment. An abuser who seeks to reduce your autonomy is looking for coercive control. Learn to tell the person who shouts when they're enraged from the person who shouts to instil fear. Learn to tell the person who hits someone when they have a breakdown from the person who hits someone to enforce fear. Learn to tell the person who makes suggestive comments as a joke from the person who is building up to a rape attempt. Your inner self knows the difference. Learn to recognise a free desiring being and you will also be able to recognise a spook-possessed being. You don't need to throw away your own and everyone else's freedom, building fortresses against the spook-possessed. Discernment is enough.

i both love and hate that comment!

who are you!? Write more! You have a fresh and unique and easy to comprehend style (at least to me). I will be looking for essay length opinions by "liberator".

Don't drag me down with the responsibility of having to write you essays in my unique and fresh style which a moron can even comprehend please!

First part was interesting.

Then you backpedal right back into binaries.

It takes a whole community to raise an abusive person.

Otherizing isn't going after the causes. Change the context of the second part to news reports coming from france regarding terrorism, and the post is almost a duplicate of the dominant narrative. Watch out for and hunt after the terrorist/abuser.

But that's supposing the community/'france' is innocent and plays no part in giving rise to the underlying tensions that give vent as abuser/terrorist. I'm sure 28,000 bombs on syria (the country being a european colonial invention to start) in the last 1.5 years alone contributed nothing to 'terrorism', since it came from the non-terrorists/non-abuser innocents, right? Probably that decade long torture and rendition program (with insects being used as torture devices for children) did nothing. It's still all on the absuser/terrorist for their actions. Their actions are somehow Other (to this living space we all share!) to the community. Probably that decades long War on Inanimate Objects (Terror) did nothing either. Certainly not shrinking someone else's living space in a belief in endless growth of their own living space, which always never arrives (which shrinks the interior living space of everyone), whether through colonization, proxy wars...

Likewise, we are all forced to pay to live. This causes great underlying tensions. We live and work at a pace not of our own, most likely encased in an artificial environment of concrete. Maybe how abuse vented through that one person, stems from a long line of factory workers that coped with the repetition (and associated use and stress syndroms) through drinking alcohol. (For which, should we also go after the Addicts as well --- even calling to kill them like in the so-called Philippines?). What sorts of 'normal' could a child who grows up to be labeled 'abuser' been exposed to? (Fuck, in our context it wasn't THAT long ago people here held slaves and that was 'normal'---that With our faces buried in screens, projecting (also a response to underlying tensions), i would venture to guess more abusive behavior will spring forth as a result. Maybe in the form of neglect. )People around me are all talking about how they're scared to go outside. I'm not. If i get shot or throat slit. Fine. Live a little people. Take a chance.)

No one's ever allowed to rebalance relations. No restorative justice. Just abstract labels (which shows me the level of remove from face to face community), and cages. The community never confronts raising a murderer, etc...

Sure but here I feel you're doing a severe amalgam between "responsibility" and one form or another of engagement. There's that socialist, communitarian engagement which is aweful shit, but it's got nothing to do with honoring your word towards someone, or backing a friend or accomplice.

You understand that this disdain for responsibility can reach some dangerous territory quickly, where it can damage mutual trust (or potential to create it) or cause this very nice social context where everybody is suspicious of each other...

Though having been myself blasted by several people in a well-known anarchist ghetto over the publication of a text, I'm completely with you on the idea that any grand principle of accountability towards others should not be let in the way of action, when we are certain it's a beneficial or necessary thing to do so. "Communities" too deserve to be challenged put to the test.

Fuck any supremacy of the "comminity" -or what else- over an individual.

there is an innate precedence [supremacy] of habitat over inhabitant, within a non-dual context, as with the precedence of the flow over the relational features that gather within the flow.

individuals are not islands unto themselves. the rebellious slave aka the terrorist is not an island unto himself. he is a vent that transmits influences from the oppressive, relationally tensioned social dynamics he is situationally included in.

the Western religious and scientific portrait of an 'individual' as an independently existing material system with its own internal process driven and directed behaviour that is the full and sole author/source of his own behaviour is a load of semantic crap [a logical falsehood built into subject-verb-predicate grammar e.g."the slave terrorized the peace-loving slave-owner community"].

don't let your logic-based ego hijack your experience-based intuition. you are NOT the full and sole author of your own individual behaviour. you are a vent that transmits influences from the relational social dynamics you are situationally included in. don't believe for a moment that a rebelling slave or rebelling colonized person that is the apparent source of terrorist behaviour, is the possessed-by-evil jumpstart source of his violent action. such an idea is the political propaganda of the in-no-way-innocent 'victims of rebellion/terrorism' that collaborate in the continuing colonization of their brothers that their colonizing tactics disempower. terrorism is the pushback for colonizer sourced humiliation and life-suffocating disempowerment of the colonized. terrorists are vents for violence deriving from the colonizing collective aka 'Western democracies' (aka 'Western powers'), not jumpstart authors of terrorism.

so yes, it takes a whole international community of democratic colonizer nations to raise an ISIS.

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.