What are some examples of misguided activism
PS - Political writing Notes on the literature business
Activism is a lifelong learning process that requires specific know-how in order to stay on the pulse of the current positions of the respective political bubbles and to know what one has to be against. For those at the beginning of their activism careers, it seems almost impossible to ever acquire the same knowledge as the veterans1
At this point a modest attempt should be made to formulate some important principles of action from my previous political experience, which can serve as orientation for both the inexperienced entry-level activist and the more mature activist.
1. The politicization of the inexperienced entry-level activist
If you meet someone who has just appeared in your political scene, is interested in politics and activism, but somehow does not quite understand what is happening here: Show solidarity! Be careful to reprimand the person in a disciplined and disempathic manner. If that person is not phrasing something the way they should, avoid explaining what is problematic about what they are saying. It is important that the person is shaken. If necessary, underline the unsustainability of what is being said by demonstratively turning away.
2. The art of reducing complexity - the attractiveness of Manichean explanations of the world
Many topics that you come across in the course of your activism career seem complex and confused at first. But appearances are deceptive! Do not be tempted to deal with different topics in a differentiated way. Rather, subordinate yourself to one of the existing camps. In German-speaking countries, the most common reason for division in left-wing contexts is the Middle East conflict, which carefully separates the left into “anti-imps” and “anti-Germans”. Here it is important to decide where your solidarity lies. Choose wisely. Depending on the situation, you will be neatly put into a ready-made category, alliances and divisions, friendships and enmities will result. Actually, there is always only one correct position on each topic. And this is good. All other positions are wrong and evil, and their supporters need to be fought.
3. The “right” analysis - a plea for dogmatism
If you have made a decision that will influence your further life, you have to keep it up at all costs. Do not engage in potentially constructive discussions with people who disagree. Because they don't know what they're talking about. After all, they do not represent your position and are therefore attached to a "wrong" analysis. At this point two options open up to you: One is to quietly and secretly regret these misguided, problematic people for their inability; However, the preferred way of dealing with activists is to confront these people of different faiths - either face to face, or rather on the Internet.2In both direct and indirect confrontation, it is important to make any potential for a constructive conversation impossible, to throw around terms that are as difficult to connotate as possible and to indulge in polemics.3
4. Postmodern emptying of meaning (s) - from intersectionality to oppression Olympcis
Don't worry, when we're talking about the Olympics, nothing sport-related is meant in the bourgeois understanding of the majority society. As you have probably already learned, sport is neoliberal and can be attributed to self-optimization for better usability in capitalism - and therefore to be avoided whenever possible. Point 4 applies to you especially if you are traveling in political bubbles that are committed to postmodern thought traditions.4Whereby Judith's criticism of identity-political sectarianism somehow didn't quite get across. Can happen. The result is a scene that splits from the marginalized to the marginalized in the marginalized (etc.) and withdraws into small groups that are understood as homogeneous. So far, so understandable.
That means: If you are affected by something, it is good form to be convinced to identify with this position of concern that shitty society assigns you. At the same time, it gives you your position in post-modern political contexts. The motto is: The more shitty you have (actually / supposed / theoretical / ...) due to your (actual / supposed / theoretical / ...) experiences of discrimination and violence in the majority society, the more you are worthy of protection. What you actually experience is irrelevant or what your life reality looks like. Structurally existing social relationships are transferred one-to-one to individuals. Points are then awarded for each affected person. I know you can't see through anymore. So here is a breakdown:
0 points: Since the point is not that everyone is well, but that everyone suffers equally, you should first of all be ashamed of yourself. Structurally, you correspond to the normative ideas of society. Of course, that means you've always had an awesome life. What kind of problems could you have? Shut up, stop fooling around and do your homework! The music band “Doctors” says: “It's not your fault that the world is the way it is. It's only your fault if it stays that way. ”A classic example of the worldview of privileged white dudes. The opposite is the case. It is the fault of your direct ancestors that the world is the way it is and such things are inherited. Actually, there is no longer any help to you. Here's your whip, potato! Get lost!
1 point: Congratulations, you are strange in the eyes of majority society! But that doesn't really impress anyone. Just don't imagine that you are better now just because you get treated like shit every now and then. Others are much worse off. Your presence is graciously tolerated.
2 points: Well, there is still something here! You have successfully broken with the majority society. You wear your victim point ID visibly in front of other activists. Activists with 0-1 points look up to you with respect.
3 points: Your position is secured. Because you belong to structurally oppressed groups, you have expert status and are able to speak for everyone who is structurally just as oppressed as you are. Now and then you dissolve activists with 0 points because you feel powerless and don't know what to do with all the anger in this shitty society. If your counterpart dares to start a discussion about what you have said, you throw him_your [insert random -ism], tone policing, silencing, gaslighting or similar anglicisms around the ears. Round this off with the award of the title White Feminist. If you really want to treat yourself to it, remove the title feminist from him / her right away.
> 4 points: You are the star. You are an accumulation of different concerns. Intersectionality is your middle name. You demand repairs from the 0-1 point activists and promise them absolution for their problematic existence. You are flexible with the compensation offers. Your rent is paid, you have already got a pole dance course and with a hint of a finger a mob of unconditional solidarity 0-1 point allies rushes at those who do not bow to your authority as you imagine. You have a clear view of theory and practice. You can't go wrong at all. And to be honest - if you screw up, it's only because you are so oppressed and especially 0-1 activists screw up your pure, safe spaces.
5. Representation as an end in itself
The question of representation is one of paramount importance. Here the claim to feminist activism is particularly strict. The lesson drawn from intersectionality for political practice is that all oppressed persons (groups) must always (!) Be represented. This means that you will only earn the title of feminist if, for example, you list ALL suppressions in your event invitation text. Make sure that the conditions of oppression are carefully hierarchized according to current political events and that the most marginalized of the marginalized groups are clearly identified. Make a pseudo-mention of those who aren't that bad anyway. It is not about making political demands the starting point of the revolution, but about certain people (groups) who have the hardest! If you don't do that, you needn't be surprised if your title feminist is publicly revoked again. If that hurts you extremely - that's good! Please reflect and don't forget: Nobody cares about your privileged tears!
6. Language is everything - Educate yourself!
Don't you get what all these words, phrases and anglicisms mean? Congratulations, we are living in the 21st century and you have the privilege of being called Google. In addition to being forced to do wage labor, cleaning the litter box and other obligations, if we are honest, you have plenty of time to always be up to date on feminist and left-wing discourse shifts. If you are not, then there is obviously something wrong with you. It's really not that difficult. Asterisk or underscore, SWERF, TERF, White Feminism, Nationalism, Capitalism ... if you only really want to, you can find out what all this is all about. And please, don't just ask. Other activists are not your dictionaries. If, according to other activists, you are not able or willing to express yourself always and on every topic as it should be in the respective scenes, you need not be surprised if someone throws the stamp “problematic” in your face. When the time comes, and there is a solidarity “calling-out”, then keep quiet, just listen and adopt the external image of your person 1: 1.
7. Dealing with subjects or groups exposed as problematic - keep your own ranks pure!
If you or your political environment unmask an individual as problematic and oppressive, it is important to act quickly! There are a few things to consider. First: be dogmatic! You are not interested in how and why a person said or behaved in the respective context. You also don't care what the person has to say about it in retrospect. The fact is that the person behaved problematically, which allows conclusions to be drawn about the whole being of the person. Yes, you got it right! “Mistakes” and the like don't just happen. They are to be located in the essence of the respective person. The second step is to use the so-called “calling-out” method. This means identifying the person as deeply problematic in front of as many activists as possible and publicly demanding consequences.
If the person is organized in political groups, these must be made aware of what kind of person is in their ranks. At the same time, they are asked to throw this person out of the group and to explain themselves publicly. If the respective group refuses, it is an accomplice and has to break off any further political cooperation with it. Whoever enters into cooperation is no better than the problematic group that protects the problematic person.
You know what - it's all too complicated and stressful! The best thing to do is stay with your own kind and organize regular radical self-care evenings that you spend with Netflix and emancipatory esotericism. Or you just stay at home alone, because retreating into private life is empowering and resistant in this broken neoliberal performance society! In the end, everyone but you will be problematic sooner or later anyway.
8. Dealing with criticism in solidarity - reflection through pleasurable self-flagellation
It happened. Someone says you screwed up, behaved problematically, or reproduced [insert random –ism]. No stress, happens to the best. But be careful: the presumption of innocence does not apply here.
Once you become suspicious, you are under strict surveillance. Every further offense is added up and before you know it, the adjective "problematic" describes you in its entirety. Friendships are being terminated, room bans are hailing, and it would actually be best if you put down your activism career. The most obvious solution is: just parrot whatever is being parroted to you. If you have a penchant for independent thinking and critical questioning, my condolences. You brought this onto yourself.
9. General suspicion of white feminism - or: take a position!
The private is political. It is essential to take this into account in activist contexts! Immediately after the pronoun round there should be a positioning round - then everyone knows right away who has to report what and who has nothing relevant to contribute. So if someone asks you to position yourself, be sure to obey! Unpack everything that you would otherwise only talk about with close friends! The plenum is a safe space as long as you stick to the rules of the game and know where you are. If there is a conflict, forget everything you have heard so far about de-escalation and constructive solutions: It depends solely on your points of suppression. If you have less, just shut up and listen. Do you have more - congratulations! The round goes to you! If your counterpart refuses to enter into these identity-political games, then just shout your dismay into the room until it has finally arrived. Then throw the person out of the structure.
If you are organizing an event, each person in the organization must post at least a few sentences about themselves and their family history on the Internet so that it is very clear who is organizing here. It is advisable to combine this written position with a real name, home address and photo ID. This also makes research easier for misguided men's rights activists and Nazis. A win-win situation!
1 It was no different for me then. At some point I understood that it is not important to know everything, but to cleverly integrate the right keywords into sentences at the right time. But that also requires practice and should not be underestimated!
2 Caution! If you choose the online variant of the confrontation, it may well happen that it can drag on for several hours or even days! So estimate to what extent your resources are available for this.
3 Pro tip: Take screenshots and send them to all your friends outraged. Use this strategically in further confrontations. Screenshots do not expire and can later be used effectively to expose those activists who simply do not want to understand it.
4 In the 90s Judith Butler raised the question of what is common to all women and called for identities to be the outcome of political struggles. Judith, you tried.
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