TOTW: labels adopted, assumed, invoked, avoided

Rehashing an old topic, still trying to come at it from a different direction, or multiple different directions.

What are labels that you find useful for yourself? Here on anews there's a lot of talk about the normal labels and how limited and limiting they are, but obviously those labels and the people who use them (or at least use them easily) are compelling because there is something about them that continues to work. What are times in your life when you've used a label, either one given by other people, or one you claimed for yourself, in a way that worked for you? When did it stop working? How did you notice that it had stopped working?

Here's an example, though not a perfect one.
I used to know someone who was paraplegic and really smart. She would get around rules all the time because a) the rules weren't made for people like her (people mostly assume full use of limbs when making rules for customers, citizens, etc), and b) people felt bad for her. Also, people probably underestimated her intelligence, as she spoke slowly, etc. She did this entirely consciously and with some amount of glee, as seemed quite appropriate to me. In what might or might not have been connected (though obviously I'm connecting it now), she was invasive with me, and wouldn't take no for an answer. So let's say for the sake of argument that that characteristic in her was part of her assessment that she could ignore/get around rules by playing the crip card, as she put it.

I'm really interested in labels that people adopt for themselves, semi-regardless of whether other people recognize those labels or not. Like, one of my labels is that I'm a bitch. That is something I've been called (usually not in so many words, but whatevs) and that I have accepted, at least some of the time, and accepting it means that I'm outside of some social expectations, and also don't get to have some relationships that might be fun or interesting.

Anyway, like that. Now it's your turn.

There are 57 Comments

i get what you mean.
i've been called weird a lot throughout my life.
in many occasions it's not something said to me, but the implicit understanding between people who are talking to me or dealing with me, you can see it when they both react to something i say or do which seems completely normal to me, then they meet eyes and smile and i ask "what?".
it's mostly harmless, a lot of times i'm oblivious to it. sometimes i find it funny as well, sometimes it kind of hurts.
i don't get it, sometimes i brush it off as people being ridiculous, being to accustomed to a certain type of people, then know they meet a different kind of person which they are not yet familiar with, but which is not uncommon in itself.
but sometimes it's like "god damn it, why can't i just be like everyone else?"

that's also why i hate the "coward" or "pussy" label, i always see it as a carte blanche method to get someone else to do something that they just won't do themselves. And yeah A.C.A.B. is a moralistic appeal to the brainwashed, even though you should never trust someone who is so dedicated to their job that they will use threats in order to maintain their position and ability to eat. My impression of cops from my experience with them is they are some combination of moralists and sadists, and yes you should fucking use them to your advantage after thinking it over and learning about what the cops do, and by that i also imply that you should learn about the legal system as well before trying to use it.

As far as the topic of the week goes, i have never found anything effective or useful about giving myself a label, it's always some loaded characterization about some mistake i made or some sick fucking human's prejudice.

you mean like "police collaborator"? there's a mistake, the vast majority of the time

or just lie to the police that you will be a rat and take their wire with you RUNNING VERY FAR AWAY. I was very happy about the person i mentioned realizing that being a correctional officer is a joke if you look at it as having moral value. It does have a little bit of a mafioso-in-the-burbs-respect type of thing going for it but heh, how good can you be at being an authority figure, hypocrite, and cynic at the same time? It's a WONDERFUL career for sadists. My guess is that a serious anarchist cop would just remain dedicated to just helping people, and would laugh about the hierarchy in at the station in private....maybe playing the confused and incompetent servant role??? I've fucking done the latter a lot in different situations...

the very same few good people in every single authoritarian institution since the dawn of times who actively are giving the institution a good name, unwillingly for the most part. Where for five bad cops you'll need one good cop to give the local PD some credibility.

What's a good cop? Besides a dead cop... A cop who's being a cop. Doing a good performance of showing people around what this job is about (not saving lives, but breaking/threatening them).

I think there might be kinda jobs out there that do actual good to people, like being a nurse or child educator or paramedic. But these never get the money/conditions they're worth of. Then you get notaries doing 200 grands an hour for mere paperwork and performative bullshit, or construction workers 60$ an hour for building horrible plastic suburban houses or turning (intentionally) burned down residential buildings for the poor into upscale condos. IN my town some division of the cops are paid 48$/hr just for surveying the numbers of cars at intersections. Yah, that shit's all very real.

Society does that.

it's no secret that money in fact has an inherent anti-empathy effect: the more useful you are to other people, the less you get payed. In society's eyes, everything that's natural, human, complicated and emotionally volatile enough to scare a business owner, is CRIMINAL, neo-liberalism is the idea that the cudgel can be replaced by the camera with a net benefit to the human racket. Cowardly? Yes. Stupid? Well, the only logical reaction to a stupid world is stupidity....

labels like “senile”, “old”, and “troll” can sometimes point to endearing lovable friend

but also sometimes to cantankerous quarrelsome ancom

fair enough!

I spent half my life in the military (do the math) and was labelled with ever increasingly sophisticated titles. Twenty years of label seeking and collecting culminated with the label, Chief. This label granted me nearly uncompromised power over the underling, acolyte, and initiate. I used this label's power to enforce what I thought/believed was the correct way of doing things. I refused to acknowledge, and sometimes even punished ignorance, naivete, failure, and actions, deeds, and speech I (I myself) found unacceptable and disregarding of my power.
Contrary to the "evil" I witnessed my early "chief" self do, I used the label to perform more "good" than evil in my later years. I assumed the role the label granted me; leader, teacher, teammate, fellow individual. I owned the label and gave more thought to it's power.
I don't have the label anymore and I can clearly see there was a perceived power in it, a social perception.? I venture a guess the same is true of all labels; bitch, slut, reverend, senator, anarchist.
Own that shit and you might get to choose the definition of the label.

same here, after so many years in the army, and then serving as a police officer, i find it disrespectful when i’m called a “right wing troll” when i comment on an anarchist site. a job is a job. are you saying a correctional officer can’t be an anarchist? are you saying that a tax paying, voting Republican, NRA member can’t be an anarchist?
if so, your definition and expectations for anarchist are too restrictive, and you’re abusing label use.

however, there are some that are just so silly that they would just make me laugh if i heard someone using them. If someone said "I'm a republican anarchist", well, why would someone who was really serious about that label be attached to a political party? Sure, registering under a party to vote to promote something that you think is good makes sense, but i would think that an anarchist would have some hostility or feelings of disrespect towards political parties in general.

I've always been curious about how and why anarchist type organizations start up in various places. Theoretically, the political demographic of an area shouldn't matter, but they always seem to pop up in places that are more liberal and gentrified, I've thought about using the anarchist label for some organization but the problem is that if i wanted to start doing some sort of project, the label might also get in the way of its goals more than it helps to accomplish them. The united states is very interesting in the sense that right-wing politicians have very successfully used anarchist ideas to advance business interests.

I also try to be very careful about insulting other people, because i personally don't like it, and now a days when there's such a dramatic inflation of labels and words, insults and labels are basically the same thing for a lot of people.

I often find that anarchists use the "no aid or comfort for the enemy" type of thinking a little bit too sloppily and dramatically, but there is still something to be learned from military think...fully commit to whatever bullshit you do...Arjuna!

I hate being labelled "troll" also, not because I am one, but because people who aren't trolls who call others troll are lapsing into that boring binary methodology when critiquing intellectual outcry vs mockary. Why are there no "positive creative trolls" . Why are labels always negative judgements. I equally loath labels like "hero" "winner" "leader" !

Chief here. I mean anonymous. I mean anonymous chief. My label is my name is my label.
We label everything. We are pattern seeking. (A lot if not most creatures are. Cows react differently to a cowboy on a horse than a cowboy walking a horse.) I think the labels help us recognize or form a pattern(s). When we label something, maybe it's like categorizing a thing into a set (pattern) we recognize. i.e. that person has the same traits as someone else I know, therefore, bitch; or you're wearing a cowboy hat, therefore, republican. Or even, you're wearing a dress, therefore, girl. Whether a label is viewed as positive or negative would seem to be personal bias or experience with the label.
I used to label army as simple, marines as robots, air force as lazy, etc. (Other people created the labels and I carried on the labels) and I think I was comparing them to me (navy) to place myself in a different category, separate and above the others.
Or maybe labelling is a way to identify a thing and move on. i.e. that fireman ran into that building and saved that dog, therefore, hero; or, that person just farted in the elevator as they got off, therefore troll.
Labels are tools, useful for fixing or breaking things.

non-troll, a non-troll as someone who actually likes stirnerism and a bizarre eclectic spirituality, a troll in the sense that the posts are often outlandish and silly, AND someone who frequently elicits snarkiness and outrage from people on here.

I never call someone a troll because I assume that they are normally partially serious, especially when they fart in elevators. I have called out comments on here as "trolling" as a way of saying "you can't seriously be saying something that fucking stupid", but hey, I'm rarely impressed or surprised by the things people say, so IDK either.

The human facade, the outside superficial appearance, the label attached to someone based on a surface appearance, actions, speach or body language is not a true picture or analysis of the inner essential beingness of that person. The human dasein is blocked and camouflaged by social ritual and çustoms, only instincts go beyond the labels and morals of label culture. Like those all walking in a mall, everyone has a sticky piece of paper with their label written on it, they all have a price tag printed oñ their ass and if you get them in a small alcove and speak up close to them, they will tell you their price, how much their label is worth. These are the materialistic commodified folk of the West.
If you go to those who preceded the colonialists, they don't have any price, they may point at a tree or a mountain, there are no labels in this region, their is just the real world.
This will be deleted as usual because of stuff,,,,,

Who are we? Aren’t we all Le Way? Who is Le Way?
Do you know the way to San José? Point me to the mountain. Take me to my resting place.

all a little troll and some non-troll too, at the same time? I can see that. Maybe we choose the trollish qualities in a situation, measure against previous trollish qualities, and label appropriately.
Do you think we try to be labelled with a specific label? "I'm a troll and I going to live up to troll qualities" if so, would it sometimes be helpful to label ourselves as troll from the get-go so we can find other trolls (free association)
Do we always know when we're trolling? Is it always a choice?

I'm a gay black vegan supremacist. We should hang out.

Service member, there's a label. I learned from that label.

I had to think about what you're saying. I agree immediately that anyone can be an anarchist. We all should be.
Anarchy to me is, me and everyone else working together towards our own personal liberties collectively, watching each others backs, and not expecting reward or seeking fame but for everyone. No singular authority. I'm my own boss and I share my take, for when times are hard I might need a hand.
In a nutshell.

Labels. Lots of opinions here if you're interested. If not, label yourself an individual.

Can a correctional officer be an anarchist? I think so because we don't live in anarchy and a person might have those skills but I can only guess that it's difficult to reconcile an anarchist feeling when the officer has all the power over the prisoners.
Can a taxpayer be an anarchist? Yes. I pay taxes but I don't choose where the money is spent and I only pay for fear of imprisonment.
Can a voting republican be an anarchist? Very tricky. A person can label themselves whatever they want but the US's political parties are part of a representative democracy. In an anarchy, there are no representatives. There are individuals. Delegates maybe. (Propotkin)
Can an NRA member be an anarchist? Yes. Free association. But if you pay...

I'm a "dog owner", a "bus driver", and a "land owner".
I'm also an "anarchist", a "deviant", and an "operative".
Is this possible?

it's a little strange to both be a cop, correctional officer, or have any role in the legal system and be an anarchist (especially being a judge and anarchist, lol) but I think if the person used their authority in a very careful way and at least tried to be beneficial to other people, then it would be admirable, even though they would without a doubt be at a disadvantage and would subjected to bullying and/or contempt by their cohorts.

my friend's brother was a correctional officer for a short period of time. I remember we were hanging out and he told us and i talked a little bit what i don't like about cops and the prison system. About 6 months later when we were hanging out again he said that he quite because the gaurds at the jail were beating the shit out of the prisoners...that's ideal in my opinion because it's just smart to remove yourself from really shitty environments. Of course every jail/prison is different, the one in my hometown is particularly bad because it's kinda rough area and is actually one of the highest drug use, poverty and depression centers of the country.

fallowed by an adjective, to imply that i may (reference to myself here, because everything i say is based on emotion in one way or another) find it weird and suspicious to find an actual cop with anarchist points of view, but i wouldn't completely rule out that they're an alright person who i try to feel compassion and understanding for until they piss me off. In face, thanks to the republicans/libertarians/capitalists, i almost expect to find a real life anarcho-cop before i die!

If(when) this anarchy thing pans out, we will need cops. it's a necessary job. who's gonna respond to accidents, and help the trippy kids down from trees. and they would obviously have no license to kill. they'd be under everyones jurisdiction not just the property owners et al.
am i wrong?

certifications either, hopefully. I already took care of a few transhumanists, let's see if TK's marxist bitch ass will fallow my lead

Not in the organized institutionalized sense. Rather, the individual or a group of allies will act as defender, judge and jury concerning their own living spaces. In a anarchy scenario, communication will act as the most effective deterent, and the natural humanity of ppl will have bystanders at hand volunteering in response to accidents.

the process of being turned in to a mercenary goon is transformative! damage is permanent, ask me how I know?!

but yes, I also firmly believe that any social group of a certain size will find it inevitably needs some sort of "conflict specialists", including but certainly not limited to the use of physical force. as far as identity goes, at least this is one you can hold your nose and choose for your own reasons?

I worked in the UK's civil service. The only reason for doing so was because of having an unusual skill set which narrows my employability, plus being completely strapped for cash. My time there was useful in testing the veracity of our anarchist ideologies and looking at power in terms of Foucault, etc. It also made me a more committed anarchist.

For the most part I find acknowledged thoughts of quantification and usefulness abhorrent, but for this TOTW I will scold my elbow. Purely for me, and explicit to anarchy, labels seem to have become less the trial-and-error and more the intentional projectuality as time has passed. To differentiate, there are the labels I ascribe myself to necessitate relationships with others, and those that are more mantra necessitating my relationship to myself.

Not really being part of an anarchist milieu, more a pond of preppers, accelerationists, artisans, bohemians, witches, white-knights, socialists, and communists, I don't really get the opportunity to use much nuance/jargon that'd be understood. Generally, I find stating early I'm anarchist invokes some kind of spiritual divorce from the hackneyed traditions, conventions, and institutions that the person I'm interacting with might lazily rely upon for their interactions.

I see this as a compassionate act for all involved, as opposed to just being an arsehole. I also find solace in the conceit that this might act as a propagandic spur. Once they have come to terms with that and still desire of my company they will have to contend at some point with the iconoclast and nihilist; though by that time they have probably experienced me to a greater extent and drawn their own conclusions to occasional surprise.

As for those sticky notes of the relationship of me to myself, I remind in simple terms that I care, I dream, I love, and I can climb that wall. Then there are the more sophisticated, or convoluted I am not disingenuous, just open to a different way, my cruelty is to the contrivance, not the individual, this story is everything, let's make it enjoyable and I'll bite your nose, rip your ears, and gouge your eyes if you fuck with me.

"For the most part I find acknowledged thoughts of quantification and usefulness abhorrent..." what do you mean by "acknowledged", i know what you mean without that work, quantification and usefulness feels so damn typical and capitalist. With the former, using it is a total matter of necessity, the later is ironically just too useful not to use.

also, how did you get it to do bold? I've tried using the HTML to do italics on here because i like them, but it just disappeared when it was posted. If you click on "more info about text formats" it shows the standard ways of doing it, which is what i used but i thought it was strange that it didn't work.

By "acknowledged" I merely mean a fore-thought awareness; that is "Bollocks! I'm counting fucking beans." You wasn't far off with your "so damn typical and capitalist", though for me there's a whole genealogy of scarcity predicated on "I'm counting beans." I reserve venom for that shit.

As for html tags, the only thing I can think I may be doing that you are not is previewing the post before saving.

**surround it with 2 asterisks like this**

this is one of those moments that my lack of programming skills makes me feel lightly ashamed! Dot is an anarcho-cop who has taught me a lot and fucked with me from a distance...perhaps un-intentionally...

race is a funny one in cases when siblings differ a lot in appearance from each other or from their parents. you can have the race that’s pinned to their appearance, and the race they identify their family as. if they mark their race as the one they look like, they can be accused of being in denial of their race, if they mark the other one they can be accused of not being truthful. tale as old as time. traits, punett squares and SOCIETY.

labels definitely have their use. i personally hate them for the most part, and try to avoid using them as much as possible. the generalizations that they presume to encapsulate are too often the kind of generalizations that lead to/from groupthink.

if everyone saw themselves and others as individuals, the only labels would be actual names and purely (and hopefully often humorously) descriptive terms. even if someone was offended, they wouldn't so easily jump directly to: "oh, so you hate ALL big-nosed people from the middle east!" no, dipshit, i'm talking about YOU.

thanks, a more extreme nihilist/fuck-you/anarchist version of the onion.

I agree with you wholeheartedly. Labels are necessary to communicate and should be used to describe not label.
Double entendre?

i gently trained a group of mice to invent a magic SSRI to teach me that labels are more flattening, and descriptions are the poetic act of literally seeing beauty in everything...including the dumb dumbs. If you get a group of 5 million mice together and use a pleasant series, they create a hive mind smarter than twenty septillion ultra badass super computers.

It's fucking REAL. Check me out, glits and glammar and egotistical woo-woo all packaged into american macho-nihilists slave testicles.

Anarchistnews should discuss more exciting things ITS REALLY fascist or just misanthropic? Or....when should anarchists start physically confronting communists the same way they fight fascists...etc. Yeah. Make this site really pop. Make more anarchy.

that no one has forgotten about us yet!

Eco extremism is FASHISTIC, they "are not fascists". We are misogynistic in the sense that we don't cross the womyn off the list.

incredible how a brain can withstand so much garbage within it

We our above our own minds,
but not very mindful.

We do what needs to get done,
smirking and shitting along the way!

Rise ye stirnerian nights of old,
those that have long ago traded
their fair ladies for whisky and barley.

Rise ye id-pols that have weaponized
your tears for the greater good!

Rise ye nihilists from your desks and

Rise ye corporate situationists from your
picasso and $10k paintings!

The world is forever mine...beware of the SPOOKS!

I hate to bring to you guys attention but you people are aino's and rlino's

I'll come to language inamo, but I wanna address first of all the implicit issue in the TOTW description: the issue of how to handle/resist abuse or interpersonal demands without violating autonomy or falling back on normative superego controls or “zero tolerance”. This is a difficult issue for anarchism in particular (and not for other belief-systems) because the conventional approach is to use morality and law to handle interpersonal harm and distress. But this involves the development of authoritarian bioenergetic dynamics. As shown in Nietzsche, Stirner, Deleuze and Reich, morality is an artificial emotional effect of self-hatred and sadism, arising from the blockage or inhibition of basic bioenergetic forces. It involves the formation of a superego – a part of the ego which splits off from the ego itself, so as to exercise domination over the ego (and the id/desire) – generally an internalisation of social power (a cop in the head, an internalised parent). This seems to happen through a three-stage process of “active desire” turning “reactive” - first desire is simply frustrated in the world, leading to negative emotions like anger, fear, and frustration; then desire turns against itself, with part of it coming to hate both the frustrated desire and the frustrating agent; finally, desire reroutes through or around this inner blockage, taking new forms which are complicit with repression. Anarchism is in large part about refusing this logic of blockage and distortion and creating autonomous spaces/relations where it doesn't apply.

In egoist anarchism, actions stem from desire. Whatever principles people might have are ultimately rooted in their desires, and there is no pretence otherwise (Nietzsche calls this an ethos – something like a way of being, a way of life – as opposed to a morality). This means that moral agency is never “outsourced” to spooks or social aggregates. There are no general morals, rules, or natural rights distinct from the will of particular actors. This means that we can't go round banning, excluding, stigmatising, etc based on violation of social-scale norms or rules. Anyone telling an egoist anarchist what counts as “acceptable behaviour” will rightly be told to fuck off. The problem, then, is that this “rule against rules” also applies to prohibiting things which are authoritarian, or which go against one's own desires in a fundamental way.

Is there a solution? I think Stirner and Nietzsche are some of the way to formulating one. We're allowed to have a personal sense of good/bad which is defined by each of our unique desires and existential orientations (Nietzsche: from a sheep's point of view, wolves are evil). Because it stems from desire, this type of reaction isn't a spook. It's just a kind of personal incompatibility. (I sometimes use the analogy of dangerous wild animals: I don't think bears or crocodiles are “evil”, I don't want to wipe them out or lock them up, but I also don't want one in my living room). Stirner's “rule”: there's no criminals, only enemies (someone can't be beyond the pale because they break some moral rule against abuse or whatever; but someone who violates one's or one's affines' autonomy might be, situationally, an “enemy”... bearing in mind this is not a lasting label, is purely relative to one's internal locus of good/bad, and its exercise can't itself go against the desire/will to which it is in service). Enmity is always in situ, it relates to a particular situation, it doesn't define the essence of the antagonists (who are both unique-ones). It's a variant on schiz-flux which goes with the schiz rather than the flux.

If we're living among anarchists, or people with anti-authoritarian personalities, then most people will do and say what they feel like, most of the time. Superego inhibitions will be a lot weaker or nonexistent. (In practice, anarchic spaces are PARTIALLY like this – because there are also a lot of anarchists with strong superegos). This is, of course, going to mean that people distress each other sometimes. And there's a whole problem with weak-willed people being pressured by stronger-willed people, leading to hierarchies. (The example discussed in the TOTW involves someone using a social label in order to gain greater tolerance for living more anarchically). One response to this, is to default back to ethical constraints and labels – certain people are “abusers” and need to be shunned, certain “behaviours” are un-anarchist and not to be tolerated, etc. In my view, this response lets superego in the back door and abandons all the gains provided by autonomous spaces. So we need to resist this response. Instead, we need to be prepared to say “no” or tell people to fuck off, and also to fight back if necessary. In the TOTW case: isn't it pretty easy to say “no” or “fuck off” to someone who's presumably wheelchair-bound and can't use much physical force? (BTW: the ability to use disability labels to get out of conforming to norms has been massively corroded lately – by right-wing bigots, cybernetic managerialism, and idpol alike. The result is that people who can't or won't inhibit or conform in the socially-demanded ways are either criminalised, or pushed out of social life. This should be irrelevant in anarchist spaces, because anarchist spaces shouldn't be expecting people to conform to norms to begin with – whether they're disabled or not. Thanks for ruining this, idpols – I'll remember it next time I hear idpols pretending to speak for people with disabilities).

This doesn't mean any of us have to have equal affinity for everyone else... but it places limits on the “moves” available to deal with people we don't have affinity with (no superego-type responses). This is a bit anomalous because I'm effectively using an internal inhibition on superego to create conditions for disinhibition. Not a perfect solution, but the best I've come up with.

OK, so language. There are different kinds of words, which “do” different things – and their usefulness as labels is different.

Referential words: most words are ways of dividing up reality. They put things in boxes which don't necessarily have moral significance, but which have descriptive and practical significance (chairs are for sitting on, dogs can bite, etc). Now, there are people – poststructuralists like Derrida for instance, and also Zerzan – who think that even this kind of language is dangerously “labelling”. And there's a sense in which this is true. Not wanting to get all Emile on you... but reality is a continuum, individual entities within it are both interconnected and unique, and the categories into which people divide it up are thus in a certain sense arbitrary. There's a danger in assuming that a dog is JUST a dog, a chair is JUST a chair, a paraplegic is JUST a paraplegic, an anarchist is JUST an anarchist. There's always individual uniqueness, and situational relations which are not captured by the label. And there's plenty of evidence that people DO overidentify with labels, and thus reduce their individuality to categories (“spooks”); and that people do this to other people, and it provides a self-fulfilling prophecy (see Labelling Theory/Deviance Amplification; Fanon on black identity; and material dealing with feminist CR). I'd say it's COMPARATIVELY harmless to use and identify with referential categories in spite of these problems, as long as we're aware of its limits. In Stirner's terms: each person is a unique-one, and the labels are each attributes which are their “possessions” (partial aspects not essences).

Boo/hurrah-words or snarl/purr words: pretty much mean nothing, besides expressing an emotional or moral reaction. Hayakawa (of the General Semantics group) says they're equivalent to an animal snarling/purring. You'll find these a LOT in political rhetoric, especially populist rhetoric (e.g. alt-right, Third Way, idpol). Examples: “cuck”, “asshole”, “woke”, “based”. Words with definite meanings can also be made vague enough to be brought into this category. Idpols disguised as anarchists tend to turn “anarchist” into a purr-word, along with “radical”, “progressive”, “ethical”, etc. We need to watch out for these, and not identify with them too strongly. Uninhibited humans may well snarl and purr a lot, but it's important to differentiate this from conceptual language.

Loaded language: this is the trickiest to deal with, because it combines a referential content with a boo/hurrah/snarl/purr. For example, a racial slur combines a descriptive designation with an expression of contempt. Similarly, calling someone a “criminal” is both descriptive (they engage in such-and-such illegal action) and moral/emotional. So how to handle these? Identify with them and flip the emotional meaning? Try to turn them into simple descriptive terms? Replace them with other terms which don't have the same loading? … Take the example of the word “primitive”. It's a loaded descriptor which means both (descriptively) “person/society/group of a low-tech type” (or with other particular features – localised, stateless, animist, without money or cities or formal writing, etc) and morally-loaded “inferior, more basic, less advanced”, sometimes with overtones of “brutal/violent”, “animal/ape-like” or “unevolved, out-of-date, historical relic”. An anarchist might want to talk about social groups of this descriptive set, without the moral loading. The primitivists keep the word, but flip the emotional meaning. Whereas idpols and pomos effectively ban the word, and replace it with “Indigenous” as an identity-designator (often capitalised, because they think identities are definitive). Personally I tend to avoid words which carry a type of politics/judgement I don't like. But I also tend to avoid vague words if I can. And I'm also very aware of the “euphemism treadmill” and the exclusionary effects of “PC” language-policing. I usually use “indigenous” (without the capital, because I'm referring to a descriptive type of social group and not an identity), and use it interchangeably with “primitive” when dealing with older or primitivist works. I also use loaded words (like “pig”), but I try to avoid using ones which don't accord with my ethos.

I was around for the Anarchy Bang podcast this week and I rather like the idea of separating objective and subjective aspects of language.

words, yo

Stay tuned for more Anarch-Egoist-Anarchy.

Pip pip cheerio!

Some of what you're saying in the big 2nd last paragraph jives with my idea of acute awareness of linguistic conceptual vectors that directly or indirectly feed an enemy discourse. Indigenous is a word that I consider suspect at this point. You're common letter differentiation is certainly better played. Decolonization is a word that I absolutely will NOT use at this point considering how neutral colonization is as a concept when used in other discourses and disciplines. I see it as a vector towards potential structural Maoist infection as I've said before. It's a conceptual extension of colonialism(which is itself a branch of capital and state) which is made to sound more radical then it actually is and allow structural and acute maoists and other marxists to mask their would be greater statism with a phony radical term. They're not interested in a word like Leviathan or, of course, concrete anti-state and capital discourse because they are those things to be against. Sadly many anarchists fall for these conceptual linguistic vectors and suffer structural maoist and other infections into their discourse which ends up serving a non anarchist/anarch alien 3rd world building emergent state projects(remember the Quilombo affair).

Controlling for these vectors would lead to a lot of complications and divorces in the anarchist radical activist scene and I understand why some who have built up relationships over the years don't want to do what CLEARLY has to be done for the betterment of anarchism and anarchy. 'Gotta be done though.

minding your conceptual linguistic vectors vs maoist guerilla tactics


speaking of descriptive words, the word you're looking for is jibe, which means to be in accord; jive is a colloquialism signifying falsehood. the meanings couldn't be further apart.

Thhhanks for the clarification.

Yeah 'decolonise/decolonised' has become meaningless nowadays... I saw a headline yesterday, "anti-vaxxers are colonising civil rights rhetoric", it's awful that anyone thinks that statement makes any sense (they mean "steal" or "copy" or "misuse" I guess). Worryingly, it's often used in place of words like 'revolution', 'democratise', "rewild", 'autonomous', "insurrection", "revolt". I honestly don't know what someone means when they say they want to "decolonise the university", "decolonise the media" and shit like this. Do they mean they want the content changed, they want a black CEO in charge, or they want the whole thing reorganised on some other model - and if so, what? There's very important differences... for example, does someone believe in deschooling, child-centred schooling, some kind of radical learning model, or just a change in course content... these are completely different things. Ditto autononomous media, revolutionary media, worker-controlled media... different concepts. Honestly, they don't even tell us what they're fighting for most of the time.

A few more I usually avoid (outside of inverted commas) and why:

Privilege: misreads external social inequalities as internal attributes, and mixes up socioeconomic and discursive inequalities

Safe(r) space: pretty much an idpol brand-name; and usually confuses comfort with safety. Also, control is not safety

Social justice: buzzword, no clear meaning; idea of justice has statist, sadistic, and society-as-balance connotations

Acceptable: this one projects an internal emotional state (refusal to accept) onto the object of the emotional reaction; it also implies that reality should be governed by moral reactions

Development, developed, underdeveloped, advanced (countries), less developed, developing: all imply a hierarchy of improvement with industrial society at the top. I'll use core/periphery, North/South, or inverted commas "developed" etc

Responsibility: can be innocuous if used in an existentialist sense, but is usually plugged into imposed moral hierarchies and inequality (X is responsible to Y)

Radicalisation: closely tied-in to conveyor-belt COIN theory which is discredited

Extremism: implies the existence of a moderate centre which other positions are at varying degrees of distance from; mostly used as boo-word. I'll use "mainstream" for the dominant position

Terrorism: similar to the above two; only differentiated from "war" or "war crime" by moral judgements about the legitimacy of perpetrators

Crime: this one's hard to do without, but it has three problems - it's defined in reference to statist norms, it's heavily loaded, and it's a very broad category of actions which have nothing substantive in common. I'll make descriptive exceptions when talking about (say) illicit economies, repression risks, or criminalisation discourses.

Behaviour: implies people are unitary self-controlled responsible subjects, which quite often they aren't.

I think there's tendencies for the dominant ways people live day-to-day to inflect the root-metaphors they use in everyday language. For example, a hunter-gatherer band usually uses a lot of nature and nurturing metaphors, herders will use herding metaphors (God-as-shepherd, society-as-flock...), Fordist industrial societies use a lot of industrial metaphors (social engineering, thermodynamic models of the psyche, etc). There is also a tendency that dominant groups' ways of seeing get diffused downwards in language and metaphors - so there's a lot more management metaphors (say) in everyday use than workplace metaphors. We shouldn't *always* avoid these as some are good metaphors (e.g. maybe the psyche DOES function dynamically), but we need to be aware of where they come from, and avoid those which embed false assumptions.

Some to watch out for are

* mainstream psych-speak (emotional intelligence, emotional safety, cognitive patterns, everything-as-healing...), which comes with a cybernetic psychological model attached,

* cybernetic-speak; humans as computers (hard-wired, brain circuitry, feedback loops, nudging, salience/relevance, etc), which extrapolates from (depthless) machines, algorithms, genes to (depth-possessing) humans

* pig-speak (restore order, disperse, contain, reasonable/excessive force, secure a perimeter, etc), which carry a pig way of seeing (there's a danger here, even with words like "riot" and "violence", as well as with legal-inflected words like "assault", "harass", etc)

* pig-dysphemisms (people trafficking, money laundering, illegal immigration, terrorism, violent extremism, troublemakers, hooligans, tiny minority...) - generally loaded language with a strong "boo" component; only really useful if reclaimed

* edu-fix speak (everything-as-learning, everything-as-literacy, everything-as-intelligence... e.g. critical literacy, political literacy, emotional literacy, activism-as-learning, political intelligence...) - generally embeds assumptions of malleability and of solubility by means of packaged education

* management-speak (everything-as-management, e.g. emotional management, child management, animal management; human/social capital, investments, prioritising, branding, strategy, challenges instead of barriers, etc) - often embeds power-hierarchies (manager vs managed), instrumental reason, a particular authoritative moral economy, and usually a false optimism

I also try to use more exact ideological designators than "left", "right", "liberal", "radical", "socialist", "democratic", etc. Anarcho-communist =/= Stalinist =/= social-democrat; neoliberal =/= right-libertarian =/= social liberal; neocon =/= ancap =/= Nazi. Knowing your enemies and temporary allies, and how their ideological "machines" function, is important.

I am a vegan feminist black.supremacist syndicalist, with union and social-Darwinist tendencies, who leans towards a utilitarian Utopian totalitarian Amazonian confederacy with mono-gender council representation. ;)

no. winky face forbidden unless for gratuitous lustful and playful flirting.
confound you cursed troll!

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