Privilege (for the benefit of the privileged), identity and the Class War. By Mal Content.

“We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone.

… From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes.”

– Aldous Huxley: ‘The Doors of Perception’.

This was always going to be a personal account, anarchism is after all an extrapolation of the particular to the general. The author is an able-bodied (at time of writing), cis-male, heterosexual*, Working Class anarchist of North European heritage, self-educated with a few engineering and craft skills, living in the South of England, I don’t need a university lecturer to tell me that’s a position of considerable privilege in the modern world, and a potentially reactionary one, yet I’ve honestly never wanted anything from this society but to witness its demise. I’m also big, ugly, and in my fifties which helps when dealing with management and cops.

* I seldom use the word ‘straight’, it implies bias, and I’m not claiming my relatively banal proclivities as a badge of community with anyone.

Early on I questioned whether I was writing primarily for people more or less like myself, and dismissed the idea. Obviously it has its limitations, it wouldn’t be of much use to someone whose interest was, for example, the development of anarchism within Chinese culture. It is intended for people new to anarchist ideas, and privilege is a concept many find utterly baffling. Like reification* it’s a hard one to get your head around because it’s woven into the fabric of perceived reality, it’s largely invisible, especially if your contacts are all drawn from a narrow social base.

* Of course, privilege is a form of reification.

Privilege in this context is an absence or mitigation of oppression, seen from the point of view of the oppressed. At first sight it’s counter-intuitive, because no one ever feels privileged,* and the colloquial use of the word is a benefit of some kind, usually earned. It sounds dangerously close to the bosses’ view that we ought to be grateful for access to work, housing, health and education. It’s a demonstrable fact that the presence of any super-exploited group, migrant labour for example, depresses pay and conditions for all workers, so how does it work? How is it a privilege not to be excluded, underpaid, sexually abused, targeted by cops or attacked by bigots?

* There’s a lesson there; not even the ruling elite feel privileged, because they’re conditioned from birth to believe they deserve a bigger slice of the pie.

The liberal would claim these as basic human rights, but they have it backwards, society is oppressive by its nature, its institutions were specifically devised to divide and exploit us, so we each become acclimatised to the level of oppression we experience, and only when these lines are crossed protest that our rights have been violated. This is the liberal trap – it’s the oppression that’s normal, not the absence of it. For many these experiences are routine, and they may indeed consider it a privilege to walk home without being harassed, to apply for a vacancy and be offered an interview, or to attend and not hear that it has just been filled.

If X walks a steeper road than Y, all things being equal, Y will make more progress in a given time for the same effort. Capitalism requires us to compete by excluding others*, so as Y is ahead of X they will have the first choice of whatever they need for the next leg of the journey, and set off feeling positive and refreshed. So on through life; Y will always be where X isn’t, and X will have to work harder than Y just to avoid being left by the wayside. Y’s setbacks will be easier to overcome and of shorter duration. Believing in equality of opportunity, Y may conclude the demoralised and resentful X isn’t trying, or they may congratulate themselves on their own industry and cunning. Meritocracy is a nasty bourgeois trap, like justice, it’s a logical fallacy.

* Housing gentrification and social cleansing is a good example of this.

Read the rest of it.

Wessex stall at Increase The Peace Community Festival, Sunday 29th August.

Wessex Solidarity will have a literature stall at Increase The Peace Community Festival in Bournemouth this Sunday. Our first outing for a while with lots of new pamphlets. Freedom Press are there also.

At Oakmedian club house, Meyric Park, Bournemouth BH2 6LJ

Free Entry from 1 p.m. till midnight, with Live music, food and other attractions.

Supporting International Care Network and Hope For Food.

facebook event

Zapatista delegation to meet with women, trans, inter and non-binary people at The ZAD in France

Voices in Movement
June 23, 2021. Written by Ñaní Pinto at Avispa Midia, translated by Shantal Montserrat Lopez Victoria.

The “Squadron 421”, the maritime brigade of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), composed of four women, two men and a non-binary person, left Isla Mujeres, Mexico on May 3 in an old sailboat named “La Montaña”. At 6:10 p.m. (European time) on June 22, they landed in Vigo, one of the main ports of Galicia.

The delegation from La Montaña were greeted by representatives of the so-called “Xira pola Vida” (Tour for Life), made up of several groups from Spain and other delegations from Italy, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Portugal, Euskalerria, Catalonia, Andalusia, France, Belgium and Mexico.

A welcoming ceremony was held, which included a collective greeting to the rhythm of traditional Galician music. At this event, Marijose, the non-binary member of this brigade, renamed Europe. “On behalf of the women, children, men, elders and, of course, other Zapatistas, I declare that the name of this land, which its natives now call “Europe”, will henceforth be called: SLUMIL K’AJXEMK’OP”, said Marijose, which means, “Tierra Insumisa”, or “Insubordinate Lands” or “Land that does not surrender or falter. ”

The delegation tried to disembark on the Galician coast last Sunday,

Read More

World Report 2019: Breaking the Buzzword Fighting the “Gender Ideology” Myth

Love it or hate it, ‘gender identity’ is now at the front line of Class War, along with prisons, homelessness and mental health. In former times it was antisemitism, witch-hunting, slavery or land enclosure. We don’t always choose where we fight, only how hard.

-ed

Human Rights Watch

This month we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To mark the occasion, we have asked Human Rights Watch experts to reflect on some of the key human rights challenges in their area of specialty.

Like its buzzword brother “fake news,” “gender ideology” hasn’t taken long crossing borders into nationalist lexicons. The vacuous but dangerous term was adopted  by the Holy See decades ago to refer to a supposed gay and feminist-led movement to subvert traditional families and social values, a reaction against the rights of women and expanding protections for sexual and gender minorities.

Since then, it has developed into a catch-all phrase and short-hand for various anxieties about social change—a Hydra-like global conspiracy myth that, despite being mildly ridiculous and readily exposed, has significant traction.

In recent years, “gender ideology” has been used as a secular rallying cry against same-sex marriage in France, an alliance-building initiative between nationalists and religious conservatives in Poland, a boost to anti-Muslim groups in Austria, a popularity enhancer for Costa Rican presidential hopeful Fabricio Alvarado, and a mobilizing tool against the recent peace accord in Colombia.

Which is a lot. How can one concept have so many purposes?

In France, anti-gender activists tried

Read More

France: Everyone in solidarity with the Black Feather

Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement

La Plume Noire, a UCL bookstore in Lyon, was attacked on Saturday March 20 by a fascist commando. It is an attack against the entire UCL, but, beyond that, against all the forces of progress and against our social camp. An attack that takes place in a nauseating climate where racist controversies are linked in the media, driven by the highest summit of the State.

The UCL took the initiative of a national appeal for support, broad and united, which received numerous signatures from unions, political organizations and parties, associations and collectives. A national event is planned in Lyon on Saturday April 3.

On Saturday March 20 at 2 p.m., the La Plume Noire bookstore located at 8 rue Diderot on the slopes of Croix-Rousse, was attacked by around fifty

More

Collectives prepare for historical visit of Zapatista movement in Madrid

Voices in Movement

Written by Miguel Muñoz on February 1, 2021, translated by Shantal Montserrat Lopez Victoria.

On February 2, 2001, a march called La Marcha del Color de la Tierra set out from Chiapas, Mexico. On March 11 after thousands of kilometers it arrived to the capital Mexico City. The mobilization of the  Zapatista delegation proved symbolic and had a strong resonance with a whole generation of social movements throughout Europe. After two decades, another historic event will take place. Several Zapatista delegations will visit the European continent in July, August and September. In Madrid and other territories, different social movements are already preparing for the meeting.

“We have decided: That it is time for hearts to dance again, and that neither their song nor their steps should be those of lamentation or resignation. Diverse Zapatista delegations, men, women and other colored people of our land, shall go out to travel the world, we shall walk or sail to remote lands, seas and skies, seeking not the differences, nor superiority, nor offense, much less apologies and pity”. This is one of the paragraphs from  A Mountain on the High Seas communique announced last October by the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN-Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional) and endorsed by its current spokesperson, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

“After 20 years we set sail and march to tell the planet that, in the world that we perceive within our collective hearts, there is room for all of us, everyone, all of them. Simply and sincerely because this world is only attainable if all of us, all women and men, all together, fight to build it”, says another part of the text.

As a result of this declaration, the entire movement began organizing to receive the Zapatista delegation, which will not only be made up of the EZLN but also members of the National Indigenous Council and the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land (Consejo Nacional Indígena o y del Frente de los Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra) . This past week the first assembly was held among the collectives that will be participating in the preparations.

“There have been collectives supporting Zapatismo all over Europe for years,” Danaé, a member of the Y Retiemble collective, created in 2017, tells Cuartopoder. In addition, coordination and networks have taken place all over Europe. “People in Madrid were already getting organized through a network called Europa Zapatista in order to join together and connect with Mexico,” he adds.

A member of Y Retiembre explains that one of the messages that has been very clear from the Zapatista movement is that they have to “mobilize and organize”. The first date for activities are August 13, with a gathering in Madrid for the anniversary of the arrival of Hernán Cortés to Tenochtitlán. This is a proposal of the Zapatista community itself. Next, the “Meeting of Struggles for Life” (Encuentro de Luchas por la Vida) is scheduled for September 6-19.

“It is a meeting in the traditional Zapatista style. We are using the term meeting in the context used by the Zapatistas. It’s not the usual forum type format but rather a meeting about all the struggles that are going on. To meet each other as people,” explains Danaé.

To achieve this, a framework of 7 main themes of struggles has been devised: social rights, feminist and gender identities; anti-racist struggles, internationalist and decolonial struggles; defense of  land and territory; historical memory and freedom of expression; work and migration; art, culture and media. In addition, more activities will be held between now and September to the extent it is possible due to the health situation.

“The Zapatistas come to listen to us and narrate their struggles,” explains Danaé. For that reason, it is also intended that through specific visits, they get to know different collectives and specific struggles in the city of Madrid. From now on, groups will be created by topic and planned activities will be announced. Some initiatives are already underway, such as the distribution of a board game on Zapatismo, which can be purchased online. The collected funds will be used to finance activities. More than 2,000 copies have already been sold. For support groups this is a “historic meeting”. “Normally the Zapatistas have received many people in Mexico, but a tour at this level has never happened before,” says Danaé.

However, there is a gap in the memory of a whole generation within the Zapatista movement. For many years the main figure of the EZLN was Subcomandante Marcos who was very present in the social and political struggles of our country. “There is a generation that is very aware of what Zapatismo is. That is exactly why we are having this meeting. The goal is to organize here, we want to say that we are fighting for life.  We are setting up this meeting hoping to restore these messages because we are aware many people don’t know about the Zapatista proposal. It is very important that these messages resonate with the struggles here because there are many things that coincide”, concludes Danaé.

Dear Arthur – A Message to the Gender Police

The background to this is an exchange between some wobblies and a character called Arthur Brick in comments under Martin’s New year video, it can be found here: https://youtu.be/irNeK4DIgyg – ed.

A couple of months ago – Long enough for me to have already forgotten about it, I lightheartedly posted a simple phrase “If I can’t dance and be non-binary it ‘aint my revolution”. That’s it. I then forgot all about it. I think Emma wouldn’t mind after all she wanted nice things for everyone and sure embracing yourself for who you want to be is a nice thing.

I was reminded of my post this morning by a person by the name of Arthur, Arthur Brick bless you my dear you clearly feel threatened by the thought of me. I say the thought because you don’t know me and I don’t know you. Arthur wrote under my post “Non-binary? Fucking hilarious” (thanks for that Arthur, I actually think I am sometimes).

Don’t worry Arthur I’m not upset or hurt, my fragile masculinity has taken a lot of knocks over the years from people I actually love and care about, so it’s toughened me up 😊

What I found interesting about it though is that Arthur clearly is so threatened by the fact that I don’t fit into their view of what’s right and wrong in the patriarchy, that Arthur has decided to take it upon themself to police my gender. To be clear Arthur has never met me so that makes it a bit easier, Arthur has a picture in their minds eye already about who I am and wants to belittle me and make sure that I am aware that I’m not as good as Arthur. Arthur is a better revolutionary than me.

What I find disturbing about this little banging of heads is how easy it is to attack a person you don’t know. Am I to presume by this that Arthur would not want me to fight on their barricade, after all if they can’t control my behaviour with their simple gender stereotypes they may find they are no longer the boss. What next? Will Arthur be refusing to fight alongside women, gays, blacks? This is how the class is kept divided and this is why we are in the mess we are in today. The people of my class hail from all corners of the rainbow. We are all different but our strength lies in those differences being united against the ruling class. Those who wish to sow division are doing the class war no favours. Of course the sad thing is that Arthur will probably scream and shout that it is I who wants to divide the class by not pretending to be the person that Arthur says I should be. 😊

Bless you Arthur I’m sorry I had to pick on you there are lots of Arthur Bricks who feel they are the boss of my class war.

– Peregrin

Red and Black Telly roundup.








Delayed puberty for trans kids – part two – by Mal Content

Response to critics of my last, and the one by our correspondent Jack Collins, here’s another from gal-dem.*

* be careful to reject the trackers on this, unless you know who all those “partners” are and what they’re up to.

My disdain for law is not up for grabs. Most of the postulates in answer to this point have been facile and unworthy – of course we must agree codes of conduct to live by. I think it inarguable that autonomous communities would have injunctions against rape and murder, but I doubt they’d want to get involved in endocrinology. Medicine is a sphere of trust between patient and practitioner, and such a relationship can only be entered into freely. Similarly I think the suggestion that children at Tavistock were being experimented on by mad scientists belongs in the tinfoil hat section.

There’s always a whiff of metaphysics in the ‘appeals to nature’ from the other side. Children should undergo puberty when their bodies are ready, really? Puberty, like arthritis, comes along whether you’re ready for it or not. I’ve heard of girls having menses at nine years of age. A woman I knew well had her first period at nineteen; both are within the natural range. There are other factors that can delay puberty, starvation being the most common, and this is often resorted to by youngsters desperate to avoid the development of secondary sexual characteristics and the social pressures that attend them.

I’ve written about Stefan Kiszko, who suffered a spectrum of health problems including a rare intersex condition (XYY). He went through a medically induced puberty in his twenties and that was only the start of his problems. Was he ready? We’ll never know, as he was then maliciously prosecuted and convicted of a crime he was physically incapable of committing.

The argument has been made that physical and emotional maturity can, and should go hand in hand. This flies in the face of everyday experience. Children in their teens hold families together in war zones, balancing work and school. Here they often care for younger siblings and sick parents, while adults have children ‘by accident’ and walk away. We’ve got forty-year olds who fight at football matches! In fact, the infantilisation of the citizen by government and law makes it virtually impossible for some people ever to grow up, which as a minimum requires thinking for yourself and taking responsibility for your actions.

What is sexual maturity? Respect for personal boundaries, not spreading disease or unwanted pregnancy, a bit of care for others’ emotions. None of these things comes bundled with breasts or facial hair. Is it so terrible that the intellect might develop ahead of the body? I don’t think so, that nineteen-year-old was a highly intelligent woman who knew her own mind, when last I saw her she was an optometrist.

You can join the army at sixteen and leave your private parts overseas; that’s one way of doing it.

Last of all was the outrageous suggestion that children should be left to fuck up their own future – isn’t that their parents’ job? We’ve all been doing that for millennia. Adults who blew their own chances live vicariously through their offspring, and the habit of gender stereotyping, plus the grand separation of productive from reproductive labour narrows the field. You can join the army at sixteen and leave your private parts overseas; that’s one way of doing it. I set a trap when I referred to all the living Jan Morris had done before her transition. If you read her book you’ll see she made up her mind at four years of age.

The one point not in dispute is that this judgement will lead to an excess of suicide, and children being torn away from their families because they refuse to eat, or otherwise harm themselves, more fodder for your justice system.

Thoughts on the Divisional Court ruling preventing the prescription of puberty-blocking medication to transgender children – by Mal Content.

Now I’m not in the least interested in the law, being simply the manifestation of the state’s monopoly on violence. I don’t believe it actually serves anyone, least of all those who only ever butt up against it in times of personal crisis.

Many of my ilk think that a Working Class anarchist militant should not concern themselves with such matters as “identity”, “gender” or “gender identity”. Nevertheless, as a fifty-plus male of simple tastes and relatively mundane proclivities I find this goes to the heart of my anarchy, and what makes me an anarchist, so I’m moved to comment yet again.

Why, they ask, did we pick this hill to die on? Keeping the military analogy, you don’t always decide where the front line is! Sometimes it’s where the enemy puts it and you either stand or fall. If transgender people were foxes or badgers, we wouldn’t even be having these conversations. Sure enough our enemies are ranged against us: the tabloids, tories, Bolshevik-apologists and god-botherers, who use the coercive state as a stick to beat their chosen scapegoats. This court case is the outcome of a long-running battle between these people and the Tavistock Hospital.

Many people spend their lives seeking an identity they are comfortable with; I congratulate anyone who finds it. Some of us just give up and amuse ourselves by alternately playing up to other people’s impressions, and confounding them. I learned early in life that your acquaintances ‘tie’ you with their thoughts. If you usually act in a particular way their own cognitive dissonance will pounce on any deviation causing them to flap like wet chickens, so it’s less hassle to give them what they expect. This is especially true if like me you are borderline autistic and easily slip into a rut.

When I was a kid I read an excerpt from Welsh journalist and historian Jan Morris’ book ‘Conundrum’ concerning her transition. I believe it was in the Sunday Times, in the era when the same publication’s scientific supplements listed ‘transvestism’ and ‘homosexuality’ alongside bestiality and necrophilia as sexual deviations, among the mental illnesses. I didn’t understand it, but it seemed reasonable to accept the conscious, informed decision of someone who had already climbed Everest, reported from war zones and the trials of Eichmann and Powers, interviewed Che Guevara and had five kids. I was already on my way to being an anarchist.

My conversations with transgender adults and the parents of trans and gender-curious children have led me to the conclusion that no one would go through these tribulations unless it was mandatory. It isn’t necessary for an anarchist to understand why an individual follows a given path, or maybe selects it as their least worst option, only to accept it as an exercise of free will. I read of Sarah Jane Baker who removed her own testicles in prison, because no-one was listening.

In this case inaction is action and I’m in no doubt that a decision not to delay puberty can be life-threatening and as potentially life-changing as the alternative. Add in the confusion that comes with the spectrum of intersex conditions, which are a lot more common than you might imagine. Thank Durruti I shall never have to make such decisions on my own, or anyone else’s behalf.

I had a fair childhood myself, I wasn’t abused, never went hungry nor feared for my life, but my one lasting impression was hatred of adult ‘authority’, those who knew better than I what was good for me. They turned out to be the same folk who were busy wrecking the planet, poisoning the air, water and soil, and plotting the annihilation of half the human race in defence of their moral superiority. I liked Crowley’s “Do what thou wilt”, even after I learned he was no more than a high class con-artist. He took pains to point out he wasn’t saying do what you like, but be true to yourself – without that you are nothing.

So if a thirteen year old decides to delay puberty, is that any crazier than delaying hair loss or dementia – or death itself? If further down the line they find out they’ve got it all wrong and fucked it up, at least they will have the satisfaction of knowing they fucked it up themselves.