The Broken Teapot- a critical analysis of current "accountability" models

<table><tr><td><em>This is the first essay in the new anthology "The Broken Teapot" a critical analysis of current accountability models. </em>

The Broken Teapot- Anonymous

We all start life with our teapot intact and at some point a little crack starts and slowly grows, or maybe one day we slip and the whole thing just crashes to the floor. Those with intact teapots, they don't know what its like to try and make tea with all the water leaking out. You can't do it.

The play of power that is accountability and how it currently (mal)functions in the anarchist 'community' has become a great fissure in my teapot. Its a big crack because I used to be very invested in it but it isn't working anymore. When tea is made now, because of this crack and, of course a few others, all that happens is that steam comes out and people get burned.

Ever notice the way that trauma can build up in your system gradually? You come to expect a certain amount of loss and you stop noticing how much it affects you until one day something really small makes you cry (you usually don't) and then you realize how toxic you have become. Then you really appreciate how grief accumulates. Everything feels like mourning, even things that usually make you happy.</td><td><img title="It's a cruel thing, you'll never know all the ways I tried It's a hard thing faking a smile when I feel like I'm falling apart inside
And now you're gone, there's like an echo in my head And I remember every word you said" src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2012/broken_teapot.jpg"></td></t...
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The idea that we could somehow help each other through the pain of resistance, love and loss used to help me hold my shit together. Support was the counter balance to each instance of abuse, queer bashing, eviction, suicide, murder, and rape. If sometimes life hurt, if it hurt in ways that threatened to drive one to madness, at least there was the understanding and compassion of friends to get one through.

Lately, however, I have found that a funny thing has happened, at least with the anarchists. We've become afraid to hold one another up in a real honest way. The language of accountability has made support a weird community currency, more important in appearance than deed. It has become something which must be unquestioningly offered that functions in rigid and essentialist ways. There is an algorithm for support now and if you don't engage with the algorithm in the correct manner you find yourself out in the cold or, even worse, hunted.

Last year when I left my partner, they totally lost their shit, became obsessed, fixated and eventually began stalking me. I received some support from close friends and family, but the general anarchist community, usually vocal to a fault, said nothing. Some said nothing because they did not know the extent of the escalation and some said nothing out of fear, a desire to avoid conflict. I hold no malice towards any of those people. Others said nothing because I would not begin an accountability process. It is these people, who could not have known at the time how they were breaking me, that hurt me in ways that are hard to express.

I did not want an accountability process and all the exposure and tendrils that came with it. I wanted to be left alone. I would not identify myself as a victim because I was not solely 'a victim'. Is anyone? In their saner moments neither was my ex solely 'a perp', in fact they considered themselves to be a victim of my manipulations and omissions. Somewhere far away from those flat unforgiving categories we might have found some gracious out but with the language available to us it was a mess. In order to pull support I was expected to mediate this Kafkaesque dis-juncture by branding them an abuser. I would not do that because abuse dynamics aren't so simple. I participated in a co-dependent relationship and at the end I lied like all hell to get out.

My ex started to use their need 'to address our issues' as a reason to continue to be in my life. When I would not give in to their demands, and understanding well how power works, they threatened to start an 'accountability process' against me. It was a bleak affirmation of my worst suspicions to watch them use these 'community' norms, so well-intentioned in their inception, in a manner befitting a very large stick. In the end wary, no doubt, of not winning a showdown at the larger 'community' level they never made good on that threat.

I had moved out of our collective house to get away but, not anticipating an escalation of hostilities, I made the tactical error of moving into a place alone. They started coming over unannounced. As their behavior became more and more erratic my fear of them grew. People expressed concern for me but no intervention was made to them. Consent culture precluded anyone telling my ex to leave me the fuck alone without some rubber stamp of approval. I needed someone else to say something totally independent of any request on my part because in ex's head I deserved to be punished, no reasonable discussion, amount of screaming or pleading from me made any difference.

I left town. They found reasons to be in each subsequent city I traveled to. At some point the categories of abuse flipped in their head. This did not actually help much, they continued contacting me, this time in order to be 'accountable' to me. I told them to fuck off and to leave me alone. From when I left them to when they finally left me alone was about 6 months.

After the therapist at the walk-in clinic told me if I didn't move far away without telling anyone, stop being a part of our shared radical 'community' and get a restraining order I was 'participating in my own stalking' I went to the park and cried long and hard in exhaustion and desperation. Eventually I pulled myself together and made a few phone calls to see who might be able to help. I begged a mutual friend to encourage my ex to leave me alone. They basically told me 'without an accountability process, they didn't feel comfortable intervening'. I wanted out of our terrible relationship not to be pressured into continuing it in the name of 'healing'. The tears I shed then were angry and bitter.

This is but one vignette in a thousand of the ways these processes have failed us. If not getting support unless you agree to the 'correct' process is one failure, then being unfairly damned and righteously condemned is another. I have seen people pulled into these processes through gray area mis-communications of consent. There have been people falsely accused, a verbal yes in the moment became a retroactive no later. We have hurt and branded people through our practicing of unquestioning belief and our sloppy use of really broad categories.

I have witnessed these processes become tribunals which continue co-dependency and become about revenge. It is hard to say if this is intentional or not but as they say, 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions'. These processes were born out of trauma, hope and all the best of our desires for solidarity and healing. I know that to be true, but it's not working out that way. We wanted to free ourselves from patriarchy except we just created a new kind of 'justice', and it is damning us! It is making us act more and more like our enemies. Through much soul searching, I have concluded that I was wrong to believe in, participate in and perpetuate accountability processes. This anthology is part of my amends.

Since this break point I have started to try and challenge accountability processes but even at a theoretical level, this gets falsely categorized as 'blaming the victim'. To question accountability is to question the sex positive culture of consent we have all worked so hard to create. When did these things get so tangled together? There is a 'can't win for losing' mentality to these discussion. If you don't believe anymore, you don't care about violence, assault or abuse. To question is to betray.

Instead of embracing honest conflict we hide our true feeling under so many layers of mental gymnastics and double speak. If these algorithms also feel wrong to you trust those feelings and say something! We are all so afraid to speak our minds least we be judged to be on the wrong side of the 'fucked up' 'not fucked up' dichotomy. Adjudication requires such stark differentiation. There is always a price when you are asked to sit in judgment, be sure you are willing to pay it. It usually comes later in the form of futile prayers that no one will ever discover or prosecute your own faults. Regardless of how others feel, I know the jury is already in.

I know myself to sometimes be 'fucked up'. Its taken a long long time but I am finally comfortable with my contradictions and the slow progress to be made in changing them. I want friends and lovers who are also comfortable with those dis-junctures. I do not want comrades who either pretend such imperfections don't exist or condemn me for them.

What we do now is back people up against an ideological brick wall in an attempt to control them. In comparison beatings look straight forward- even merciful. At least those end and can be healed from on a physiological time frame. The message they provide is clear! That kind of hate is transparent and sometimes appropriate and necessary.

Perhaps that kind of violence makes you wary, that's good! Embrace those small nagging feelings of doubt. Wielding power should always make one a little disquieted. After reading and considering these essays, I hope accountability processes will make you feel at least as uncomfortable. I regret now that we've spent the last few years feeling so damn sure of ourselves.

I offer this anthology up to you out of deep pain, not hope for something better. I don't have anything better. This isn't about offering an alternative model. If any words here are taken out of context and somehow become a new orthodoxy we will have failed. This is about pointing out some of the more egregious missteps we have made and encouraging people to think and act contextually.

In parting I offer up only one concrete plea. Stop using the algorithm. It is hurting us.
The teapot may be nothing but jagged pieces, but we don't have to slit our wrists with them.

in love, despair, anger and contradiction.
Anonymous

PS-

Please forgive any repetition herein. It seemed more important to present pieces in long form and allow each author space to fully express their points than to edit for redundancy.

To those who contributed it is no small act of bravery to speak so bluntly against stacked ideological odds. This kind of discourse and debate is well past due. Thanks for being a catalyst.

To all of my friends who didn't shrink from conflict, understood the contradictions and supported me anyway... you've helped keep me sane during a long period of darkness. I love you.

(Spring 2012)

Other essays in the anthology include "Safety is an Illusion" "Love You Too Much" and "Questioning Rape".

To order the full zine, which includes 3 other essays go to http://littleblackcart.com/The-Broken-Teapot.html
For bulk orders for info shops/social spaces contact thebrokenteapot@riseup.net

Comments

RAPE APOLOGISTS

Lol

BRING ON THE SHITSTORM!

first, we MUST out this person's name. "anonymous" is not acceptable or accountable to our COMMUNITY.

second, this whole lack of black and white understandings of reality is dangerous for any anarchist to question. it is a threat to our COMMUNITY. another reason to out this victim delegitimizer.

third, this person obviously cheated on their crazy ex and now feels bad about it. obviously this is ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR for our COMMUNITY.

BRING ON THE RAPE-POCALYSE!

Im getting the above comment as a full back tattoo.

truth will out

I have experienced trauma from sexual assault as a child, but the viciousness and poisonous oversimplification of the "accountability" culture pervading the current "radical" milieu has actually ruined significant parts of my life more than the trauma ever could have.

When I know more people hurt MORE by "accountability" oriented approaches than people hurt by assault, the situation is bleak and dire.

I can't even being to articulate my appreciation for the sentiments in this article without it turning in to something of similar length.

I hope these criticisms and awareness of these experiences are eventually formidable enough to engage and be engaged by the "accountability culture" in a way that produces more favorable currents, and a more compassionate and nuanced understanding of experiencing these dynamics together.

Thank you for writing this.

>>When I know more people hurt MORE by "accountability" oriented approaches than people hurt by assault, the situation is bleak and dire.

Unless you just don't know any women this can't possibly be true.

Three things:

(1) I meant "as perpetrated by and/or within the radical community." That is an important clarification.

(2) However, if I were to make an apologetic attempt for why that clarification was initially absent: Among those who have been hurt by assault and those who have not alike, elements of the accountability oriented approaches hurt and effect people across the spectrum. If a numbered illustration helps: If 7 out of 20 people that I know (that's the "1 in 3 women experience sexual assault ratio") are hurt by assault, it is not unheard of in my experience of living, traveling, working with, and associating with groups of considerable numbers (including while "knowing women", you dolt) for more than 7 out of 20 to be seriously affected and hurt by "accountability" approaches. Also, a female-bodied person who I am currently sitting next to clarified that even her peripheral dealings with such things were *worse* for stronger triggering, stronger resurfacing, and trudging up her violent assault experiences than anything else in recent time. That's another thing to consider, which the article touches on in other ways as well.

(3) Therefor, to make an addendum based on your response: When I know more people hurt MORE by "accountability" oriented approaches than people hurt by assault *particularly within and perpetrated by the radical community*, and someone hears that sentiment and the only thing they can conceptualize for understanding the sentiment is that I MUST NOT KNOW ANY WOMEN FOR IT TO BE TRUE, the situation is bleak and dire.

I'm not the person you are responding to and this is off topic, but please stop saying "female bodied person." People usually say this because they think it is somehow more inclusive than "woman," but the opposite is true. You are grounding femininity precisely in some classification of one's body. This is disrespectful of trans people. Is a trans-man "female bodied?" Is a trans-woman "female bodied"? What exactly makes a body female, who decides, and what do you know about that body you are labeling?

"female socialized" then- there still needs to be a way to talk about social perception and ones imposed gender because these things affect us. And I'm not the person who initially posted but trans identity is just as much a construction. What exactly makes a body trans, who decides, and what do you know about that body you are labeling? Trans is a new identity category relatively speaking. Before the rise of queer theory trans was a bunch of other things.

"female socialized" or "female assigned" or "female assigned at birth" are all better than "female bodied." Those are the terms I would use to refer to societal designation. In my last post I proposed "woman" as self-identification, so trans-women are included in that category. If you needed to be more specific you could specify trans-women.

personally i also prefer modifiers like "trans" to be treated as separate adjectives, rather than as part of a noun:

a "trans woman" is just a woman who is trans.

a "trans-woman" or "transwoman" reads like a different kind of person altogether.

Fair enough, I hadn't thought about that before.

"Please stop"

What a polite way to tell someone what to do, Captain "Respect."

I suggest finding ways to address your thoughts with someone without initiating based on a command, especially one that attempts to first demonstrate a contingency upon cessation of particular linguistic/speech devices as opposed to the substance at the roots of these matters.

You say "stop saying that," but clearly what you desire is either "stop thinking things that saying this implies." It's too fucking easy to say "stop saying that."

If I say "please," will you move on from touting this righteous and superfluous drivel in the name of "respect?"

No, I won't, because I don't agree with you and I like asking for what I want directly--and what I want is for people to stop saying "female bodied" and no I don't really care what they think. I am as free to tell someone what not to do as they are to listen to me or not. As for saying "please," I can't think of a more insignificant point to nitpick. I choose to speak respectfully and disrespectfully when I want as a reflection of how I feel about the person I am talking to. For example, to you I say: eat shit and die, troll. (Yes, I am telling you want to do, how un-anarchistic of me! Here's hoping you are impressionable.)

You don't care what people think, you do care what they "say."

... as if I needed evidence to know your concerns are as shallow as the initial demand implied.

If the initial response to you saying "please stop saying that" had been, "I choose to speak respectfully and disrespectfully when I want as a reflection of how I feel," what would your reaction have been?

Perhaps the original poster simply doesn't take care to ensure that every delineation of theirs is "precisely" considerate of everyone all at once.

"I am as free to tell someone what not to do as they are to listen to me or not. "

Oh, I agree with you. I just think the way you bandy about with barking commands is superficial and remedial. This is indicated by your quickness to declare matters of what you are "FREEEEE to DO!!!" when someone is being suggestive and didn't even say "don't tell people what to do," but simply pointed out that you did, and even had the *explicit* clarifier of "INITIATING" based on command, not an entire avoidance. For a stickler on language, you sure have your sights narrowed. What a sad specialization.

I want to be clear I am getting an accurate impression of your standards, here, so let's itemize:

From the camp touting "respectful language":

- eat shit and die
- i am free to tell someone what not to do
- here's hoping you are impressionable
- i don't really care what people think
- you sound weak

From the camp being addressed:

- female bodied person
- I suggest finding ways to address your thoughts with someone without initiating based on a command
- will you move on from touting this righteous and superfluous drivel in the name of "respect?"
- Captain "Respect."

Don't bother pardoning me for retorting that your spaztic, reactionary vitriol (not to mention the particularly favored topic of sensitivity to identification) has it difficult for me to reconcile your penchant for berating and presuming weakness with the fact that it is clearly a tragic predisposition of yours.

Considering my initial response in a different way might help you with your issues.

Jesus Christ, look at you go. It's all much simpler than that: I'm sick of hearing the dumb phrase "female bodied" and so, because I don't want to hear it, when I hear it, I tell people to stop saying it. I didn't say it's not "respectful," that's your terminology, and I'm not asking people to live up to standards of respect. If anything it's embarrassing to see people try so hard to be respectful with such a weird, contorted phrase when they could just say "woman," anyway. You're the one who bristled at the audacity of *gasp* someone telling someone else to stop something! Ha ha and you call me "reactionary."

"Let's itemize." I'm actually not a "stickler" for language but even for an amateur like me I know phrases like this indicate you are a capital D Douchebag!

"Don't bother pardoning me for retorting that your spaztic, reactionary vitriol (not to mention the particularly favored topic of sensitivity to identification) has it difficult for me to reconcile your penchant for berating and presuming weakness with the fact that it is clearly a tragic predisposition of yours." Translate: "You sound weak." "Nuh uh, YOU DO!"

"I didn't say it's not "respectful," that's your terminology, and I'm not asking people to live up to standards of respect."

"This is disrespectful of trans people."

K?

"If anything it's embarrassing to see people try so hard to be respectful with such a weird, contorted phrase when they could just say "woman," anyway."

I actually agree with you, here. That's why I haven't argued the point that I should have said it the way I said it.

"You're the one who bristled at the audacity of gasp someone telling someone else to stop something! Ha ha and you call me "reactionary.""

You're having trouble reading. I'll help. Actually, I "bristled" at its veil of politeness with "please," if you recall. Then then I followed up by specifying about *initiation* based on commands, and *then* followed that with the *particular* context intended to accompany. (Just in case you're still having trouble, that context was: "especially one that attempts to first demonstrate a contingency upon cessation of particular linguistic/speech devices as opposed to the substance at the roots of these matters").

This is why I'm calling you "reactionary." Because you are being reactionary. You're barely even responding to what I'm actually saying, yet flagrantly and enthusiastically engaging as if you're easily grasping the whole picture while you're hardly even appearing to be reading what I'm writing. This is also why I have said "shallow," and why my initial comments we regarding moving beyond linguistic fixation.

" but even for an amateur like me I know phrases like this indicate you are a capital D Douchebag!"

Well, I was being sarcastic, so "douchebag" could be said of what I was saying, yes. However, were you oblivious to the sarcasm the same as you missed almost every other specific contexts?

"Translate: "You sound weak." "Nuh uh, YOU DO!"

... yeah. At least you didn't try to defend yourself. Woulda been embarrassing.

Peanut gallery says the commenter able to let this tift go and Stop Commenting wins... but thanks for providing an instructive example of the kinds of rabbit holes one can fall into when people are trying hard to be offended/right instead of talking with one another. What post about rethinking accountability would bet complete without some linguistic nitpicking and callling out?

Oh, ha, I did say that. To clarify, I said it was "disrespectful" to trans people because, for someone to bother with the bizarre "female bodied" phrasing, I guessed that the individual cared and was trying to be respectful. I was pointing out that exactly in going out of their way to be respectful they were accomplishing the opposite. I wouldn't have cared to comment at all if they had said something widely regarded as disrespectful and probably intentionally disrespectful, like "tranny", because the issue to me wasn't respect, it was dislike for the dumb phrase.

Anyway, if I haven't "defended" myself it's because your criticism doesn't contain any substantial attack on me. Do me a favor and make a snazzy itemization of the names we have called each other. You will see: I win!

And you have in fact embarrassed me...although not for the reasons you think...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukwEy7blgi8

Also replacing a direct request with "I suggest," as you do, is being passive, dressing up your command as a request, for the effect of politeness. You sound weak.

Speaking of respect I think offense over language when it comes to queer, genderqueer, trans etc bodies comes from feeling disrespected by the people generally/ your whole life. But at the end of the day intonation and intention are way more important than language. Us "bent" folks tend to confuse people, my litmus for cutting people slack, or reaming them is based on if they are trying to be assholes or not. Its not about being hip enough to have the "right" language. And the initial poster wasn't being disrespectful when they said female-bodies, they were being respectful. Let's be real that we're making this shit up as we go along.

Thank you.

I'm not "dressing up" anything, it was honestly a suggestion and not a directive.

How interesting that "dressing things up as what they 'arent'" comes up from you in this sense...

"How interesting that "dressing things up as what they 'arent'" comes up from you in this sense..."

Transphobic.

*was implying that if the person who used that phrase applied it universally, they are undermining and showing a frailty in their own ability to be "inclusive" and "respectful". this is why "aren't" was put in critical-quotation-marks.

You were obviously making a joke about trans people being dressed up as something that they aren't. Don't try to backpeddle now.

nope, wasn't

It's not beyond me, though... I'd just say so if it was... but it wasn't.

"There have been people falsely accused, a verbal yes in the moment became a retroactive no later. We have hurt and branded people through our practicing of unquestioning belief and our sloppy use of really broad categories."

I haven't held a single slimmer of positive outlook regarding my chances of meeting a new "radical" person (let alone several) who won't eventually disassociate from myself (named: rape sympathizer, and punched in the face over it for verbally defending a friend being confronted by strangers who had gotten an email, while in actuality treating severe ptsd for an actual rape outside of the community) or from my close friends because of something they have heard that was created and perpetuated out of the nightmare outlined here. I have witnessed a some of the best people I have ever met, who have helped me through my own past trauma be told that they were a "threat" and tossed out of a radical because someone email named called someone else a name (a year prior) that was not sexist/homophobic/racist/classist/abelist/makingsense/actuallyinsulting in nature. I have also shared in/seen very serious attempts to destroy the lives of MANY of my very close friends because of this sort of psychosis/witch trial mind set.

SO FUCK. THANK YOU. This was the FIRST HONEST self critique from someone that has participated in perpetuating this that I personally have ever read. And, fuck maybe sometime in the future I can go to a radical space without the feeling of dread that has replaced excitement. Regardless, this is fucking at least a little encouraging, excited to read the other essays.

Dang I just bought this from Tue @ bookfair. Now its free!? Lame

"Wallet raped."

Let the witch trial begin...

The final essay in the zine is previously unpublished and is not currently available online.

Someone put those four pages up so I can save my four bux

More like so I can skip the article and read the comments

I prefer not to abjure anyone. It is the go-to for our internal storms.

Thank you for this comment. I'm not the writer of this essay, just someone who empathizes and has experienced some similar frustrating dynamics and felt really isolated by them.

I think any radical circles that attempt to address institutional oppression NEED to look at the kinds of oppressive interpersonal dynamics that manifest within their own circles, dynamics that can't always be easily categorized into white supremacist or (cis-)sexist or homophobic or ableist packages. Otherwise, one person -- especially if this person expresses that they are being oppressed in a categorizable/nameable way -- can warp the dynamics of an entire "community" in a way that's really authoritarian and at times (depending) passive-aggressive. One person's emotions become the only emotions that are privileged/respected for a body of sympathetic people, and they accrue all kinds of power due to their "being in the know" about oppression, due to their (sometimes implicit) claims to being "the most oppressed."

I experienced some traumatic isolation and alienation due to dynamics just like this my last year of college. Not because my queer ass was homophobic, or racist, or transphobic, or rape-apologist, or anything like that, at least not by anyone else's measure. But because I questioned, and because at times I tried to express sympathy with people who were hurt by this person's steamroller of emotional blackmail. I was isolated from my main friend group (who were also my coworkers) at the time, and shit sucked. I lost a lot of sleep that year, and years of experiences and processing later I know it wasn't because I "didn't get it," but because the way that one person (and their followers) thought they "got it" was so fucked.

I don't know how to consistently prevent these things from happening. I guess "listening" to people and creating spaces in which people can express even/especially negative things (or use the "wrong" vocabularies, etc.) and know they will be "listened" to, but that means very different things for different people. I would like to see what support looks like when people who need to experience being listened to can be listened to and respected, but not exclusively.

In a world full of lies, telling the truth becomes criminal.

Yeah, the accountability process is broken. Sucks that, in addressing that, we'll have a bunch of rapists clamoring to exonerate themselves.

"Exonerate?" Like, of their charges? Like, from their probation? Like, their criminal records can be cleared?

FROM THE PIECE:

"But if what we are setting up is not a courthouse but a commune, a conspiracy among friends, the embodiment of our dreams, we have to permit ourselves to talk about things that could never be said in a society in which "everything you say will be used against you." "

The "process" isn't broken, WE are too broken for it, as indicated explicitly by your response.

Or perhaps neither functioned properly to begin with. Whether the broken process can be separated from the broken people is a chicken and egg type type enigma.

That could be... I thin where I'm coming from has to do with finding *many aspects* of accountability approaches to be viable and redeemable in and of themselves. I'm not in disagreement with your assessment, but I think I'm more of the mind where a theory (or tenets of a process?) cannot itself be held responsible for abuses/misapplications/whatev/etc that arise in its company.

Are you the same person who posted the original comment?

Who's asking?

No I am not.

Didn't think so, thanks.

To be slightly smart ass and still provide an answer... the egg came first, dinosaurs supposedly (with evidence) reproduced using the "egg method". After some time evolution brought about the chicken, but the process of laying eggs was in all probability carried over from the predecessor of the chicken. The system is just a carry over from predecessors, while we the chickens still have to shit the eggs out, or quit laying them.

Thank you for answering this question, now I can die.

You'll die regardless, just glad you have some answers before you go. You're welcome.

>>Like, of their charges? Like, from their probation? Like, their criminal records can be cleared?

Nah. "1. to clear, as of an accusation; free from guilt or blame; exculpate." Sorry. Should have said exculpate.

>>I think where I'm coming from has to do with finding many aspects of accountability approaches to be viable and redeemable in and of themselves.

I agree with this.

>>I'm more of the mind where a theory (or tenets of a process?) cannot itself be held responsible for abuses/misapplications/whatev/etc that arise in its company.

I don't agree with this at all. Lots of well-intentioned theories lend themselves to misapplication. I think the accountability model definitely does this. But, like most people, I feel conflicted about it because I've also seen it keep really dangerous (if not necessarily "bad") people from being able hurt others.

You clarifications were helpful and insightful.

I've seen it work without most of the negatives being outlined as well... but there is an air of the negatives predominating social circles at least enough to where I'm glad people are talking in a way that might encourage us to "keep moving" despite, as the article suggests, not having "something better" or some particular vision/ideology in mind.

The idea of a process that is good but humans too broken for it is an odd one.

processes are designed by humans for use by humans. humans are broke, all of them. If the process doesn't work for us, then the process is broken.

I think I mean it a bit more simply. A few clarifiers:

(1) A process can work well "in theory," and have great results in many ways, but MOSTLY fail. A few successes, not always, but *can* be indicative of a process being composed effectively. I er cautiously because of that possibility, while still trying not to make that an "exception based rule" either.

(2) "Humanity" spans an immeasurable amount of cultural, physical, and psychological differences. A process can "work for us, here" without "working for them, there." That is counter to "if the process doesn't work for us, the process is broken." Process is contingent upon more context (time, place, type of group, random chance factors, mistakes, etc.) than "human," and I would actually extend that to *any group* within humanity as well.

Another response to, "The idea of a process that is good but humans too broken for it is an odd one." is that it should be fairly easy to think of a few examples of a social process working fine for a while, but some social shift occurring where that process no longer works... It doesn't mean the "process was/is broken," groups/contexts change, and this is not an indicator of a fault of a process. How can something that remains the same "become broken?" Certainly, it is us who "outgrow"/transcend/move beyond/move past a process in that sense. I hate analogy, but: A parent remains a parent though their child is an adult and not in need of parenting. Parents remain parents even when their children become parents as well, this doesn't denote a "breaking" of "parenting", it illustrates movement, context, change, contingency.

So, when I say "The "process" isn't broken, WE are too broken for it, as indicated explicitly by your response."

I'm speaking to the effect that perhaps, as indicated by some successes attributable to the process in question, there are times and places and cultural currents where the process is viable or even preferable, but that holistically, "we" are not "there," potentially could be, and others might be... but more importantly, it doesn't mean the entire process is broken.

Processes of experimentation in particle physics don't work for carpentry experiments, that doesn't mean the process is broken. The underlying functional "process" in that two-element example is *experimentation* itself, and perhaps the cross-application and commonality of more nuanced, underlying concepts/approaches like that bears some insight on how to continue moving along as the conversations having to do with this article develop.

(I should definitely also add that I'm not even very comfortable with the language of "broken" at all as it is.... so... my engagement along those lines is already conceptually begging, if that explains anything...)

Disagree. Actions take conviction. Shit ain't easy kid. Especially something this heavy, the guilt the shame.

I'm not. I actually recently went back and asked two former partners whom I had been drunk with and really not remembered our experiences together. Neither of them admitted to me violating a boundary. I do feel that one of the people isn't being a hundred percent true. And then the other person used a former claim on me while we were dating and stopped having sex to elicit physical sympathy. Interesting that that's the third time I've been accused, second time it was nothing more than a manipulation ( first I was 18 and it was a wakeup call) and both bullshit claims came from anarcho-feminist. If you can't take this seriously...fuck it. All you'll do is create a climate of entitlement, to use and manipulate. Its tragic in its own right. My heart goes out to real victims who are still waiting for some bit of closure.

<3

"Real" careful. This kind of language shuts people down to your perspective really quickly. Life sexuality and conflict are fucking subjective. Saying something is manipulative or acontexually misrepresented or just fucking feels different to two different participants, yup hard difficult specifics, better than "real" and "unreal"

True, but still, be honest with yourself and each other. That's all I've learned over the years.

this article is awesome. thank you.
unfortunately many of these things will not be solved by zines, but by life experience. Of course a bunch of 22 year olds fresh out of college(or fresh out of dropping out) are going to mindlessly perpetuate dramatic and divisive responses. if they weren't exiling each other over sexual conflicts it would be over who is a "liberal" etc. Unless people stick around and stay engaged, and voice politics that are tempered, not by inflammatory literature but by long held experience of trying to change the world, then we will experience this. we can't cede social power to loud-mouths and shit-stirrers. As long as social points are awarded to those who make false accusations, then false accusations will be made, and real abuse will be ignored. In some ways I blame the WTO protesters of the 90s and the EF! old guard, where are these people now? Raising kids in humboldt county and not talking to us I guess.

> Of course a bunch of 22 year olds fresh out of college(or fresh out of dropping out) are going to mindlessly perpetuate dramatic and divisive responses.

That's a pretty good point, and makes me think we need a lot more inter-generational anarchist interaction. Not just for issues of harm reduction and internal justice, but for, like everything. My impression is that in other countries generational isolation among radicals isn't quite so bad as it is here. But, okay, we're here.

Man, the latest 'anarchist resurgence' is like 15 years old at this point, there are people at least in their 30s and 40s who are part of 'our' community, like you say, "In some ways I blame the WTO protesters of the 90s and the EF! old guard, where are these people now." That's a really good question, and I don't think the 'fault' such as it is lies entirely with those people. Some of them have dropped out and are raising kids in humboldt county (is having kids incompatible with radical engagement? Could the anarchist community make it easier for them to stick around?) -- some haven't dropped out at all and are still politically active, but generally are not engaging with the 'youth', because, well, the youth are hard to deal with, as you note. But they're around -- if you aren't seeing them, are you looking in the right places?

"Could the anarchist community make it easier for them to stick around?"

Yes.

I'm still stuck on the "22 year olds fresh out of college" part where do people get non-associate/technical degrees in only 4 years?

Wait, really? ...associate/technical degrees take 2 years, normal B.A. or B.S. or BFA programs take 4. Also, who the fuck cares? It's all gross.

Geez. Ageism. You're assuming a "22 year ol fresh out of college (or whatever the hell life experience)" is automatically worse at this shit than someone else, regardless of their respective life experiences.

Not that we should really engage with them anyway, since youth are so hard to deal with.

It took me till 26 to admit I still had left over unhealthy attitudes from my childhood. There's a difference between ageism and life experience. We can figure this out on our own, but there is a concept of "growing up" and sexual health is deeply intertwined with it.

No, i'm saying everyone should engage with everyone, and a multi-generational revolutionary movement will be a hell of a long stronger.

All 22 year olds aren't automatically and universally worse than all older people at dealing with inter-personal conflict, but, well, yeah, experience really does matter. There are other things that younger people tend to be better at, but that ain't one of them. It's hard to see that when you are 22, but when you get older you're like "Wow, I was 22."

But you're also assuming one given 22 year old has had comparable experiences to another 22 year old. That's the issue.

shut up kid

Having children is not an oppression, it's a choice. I support comrades with kids because I want to and love them, not because it is my responsibility.

having kids is a choice, but given the bleak availability of abortions and the culture around "women's"/womb heath it is sometimes a coerced one. and if one is interested in growing a militant movement in the states that looks like levels of resistance other places in the world then it is your responsibility. intergenerational struggle isn't about accommodating some pc guilt trip- it is strategic. anyone wanting to expand explicit struggle will understand the necessity of accommodating the needs of parents because only in the weird under 25 mostly white anarchist scene are kids so fucking absent. organize or work with ANY other group of people in resistance and kids are a part of the equation.

My issue is not with supporting parents and kids, but with the "pc guilt trip" you mentioned. Too often the onus is put on people without kids to cater to the needs of parents and children.

It is more important for parents to ask for help or self-organize the things they need. I will sometimes ask if parents need help or offer free childcare, but it is not because I feel a duty to do it but because I enjoy spending time with kids. I also value intergenerational struggle, but my stomach turns when I hear or read this "mamas and papas" crap that makes it seem like parents are heroes for pro-creating. That is the big thing for me.

You're right that parenthood is sometimes coerced... I didn't feel like putting a bunch of caveats in my initial comment. But with having kids, it seems especially important to actually make a choice, whatever that takes.

Right its a silly privilege to treat parenthood as a special category, only in "radical" circles can I think of more people without kids than with. Mostly its just something that comes with getting older, and in as much as resistance is survival we should focus on supporting parents for our own reasons. Cause struggle needs to be expanded and being supportive of families is a way to get out of our political ghettos. The US "movement" is really stratified by age. Maybe those 'hero' parents are just trying to get the forward momentum they need to break out of that instead of fade away. Read as much tiqqin as you want but if you don't have childcare at your meetings or any cross generational friendships where you sometimes watch your friends kids then the "drop out" culture is being perpetuated and you maybe not get to hear about the last 15 years of struggle first hand. That's why you should care, cause everyone needs mentors, in the life experience=insight kind of way...

http://soundcloud.com/jessie-williams-music/cycles

We are both victims and perpetrators/you can't pick a side when you are lending both favors/and it's so much deeper than what's black and white/that lately it seems like a big waste of time/I don't blame you for the cycles that bind us because honestly all of them exist inside us/I'd rather just be a friend and try to understand you/Our social circles flood with rumors far-fetched/and the damage is done before there’s time to reflect/ it's always fine until someone gets upset/and our enemies start to resemble our friends/I don't blame you for the cycles that bind us because honestly all of them exist inside us/I'd rather just be a friend and help you understand me/You've been conditioned and I've been conditioned/a part of the system apart from the system/we hate the privilege but we've been born with it/just trying to work with the nerve we've been given/If this is not your struggle then stop being spokesmen/because when people want to level that’s when things get broken/a white savior, well cultured, cradled yet complaining/doesn’t see how he's a form of colonization don’t blame you for the whiteness that binds us because honestly all of it exists inside us/I’d rather just not pretend that I can understand

This Rules.

this is a good collection. the previously unpublished piece could use some editing, but the content is good. unfortunately it is usually the case that the people who could most use exposure to these ideas are the least likely to read this.

Hiya. Im involved in a few comm acc and transformative justice groups, and I think I see where you are coming from, in the sense that the vocabulary and paradigms from comm acc being exported to other situations can get dangerous, or when original aims of support or well-being of individuals involved are put aside in the interest of blame, revenge, demonisation or victim mentality.

BUT I think its incredibly problematic to imply that comm acc processes are `wrong` or in themselves a fallacy. I think this can really be detrimental to any survivors in trauma that may hear this kind of thing. I think comm acc groups and networks are an incredible and valuable resource for supporting people, who otherwise might feel atomised, isolated, depressed or anxious. I believe that comm acc can and have been successful, when everyone gets support, individual and separate support. Perhaps reframe how you think about comm acc, perhaps take your criticisms to fix the things that are not successful, instead of condemning them overall. For example, if there are certain elements of the algorithm (which is...?) that you are critical of, please discuss this openly and present new alternatives. I would like to see more specific, constructive offers instead of general comments that dont illustrate much in terms of real-life practical application. Because my concern is that the complete dismissal of comm acc processes could also be used as fodder for rape apologists, or for perpetuators themselves, to get out of taking responsibility for hurtful or violent behaviour..

but let's not make a god out of the process in the process.

Why don't you read the entire zine first, there will probably still be discord there... it is an anthology.

This site always boils things down the lowest common denominator rethinking accountability processes doesn't automatically create a consequence free zone. There were responses to assault before the ascention of this paradigm and there will be once its gone out of favor.

Lowest common denominator? I'm reading people with genuine scars from its failures. I agree with the sentiment about consequences, but honestly, this does deserve real conversation, because I can come up with one person who has something resembling a success story. Non violent confrontation, admittence of wrong doing etc. But this is the 400 pound gorilla in the room always. Its failure also again is what justifies its use as a weapon for personal gain. Failure of character on some of our parts justifies corruption in others while real victims become marginilized. Fucking tragic really. This shouldn't resemble an American high school.

This comment was a response to

"I would like to see more specific, constructive offers instead of general comments that dont illustrate much in terms of real-life practical application. Because my concern is that the complete dismissal of comm acc processes could also be used as fodder for rape apologists, or for perpetuators themselves, to get out of taking responsibility for hurtful or violent behaviour.."

ie- abandoning a uniform approach doesn't have to mean that there will be no consequences.

I whole heartedly agree but it doesn't change the problems that having zero accountability whether its personal, comes from someone you've wronged, or is community wide produce. A community that can't take sexuality seriously is absolutely doomed.

Yeah, well good thing no one is suggesting that.

propaganda

A million years of survival evolution makes the sperm attack the egg. FUCKING ACT LIKE IT!!!

whuuut

how about this: both the process AND the 'community' are broken. that anyone could see this as brave or surprising is only a sign of how delusional/in denial people seem to be about the rise of the pc violence crews and its effects. what i think we really ought to see is 'accountability' for the people who've been responsible for terrorizing and ostracizing others on shady/bullshit grounds, but i'm sure that's never going to happen.

the anarchist scene is a subculture as mired in the social sewers of capitalism as any other, let it die.

This is the only comment here that makes sense.

Consider my mind blown, by all of this, and not in a good way.

Someone with a lot of power within the community has hacked into my email, broken into my house, followed me around my neighborhood, and encouraged other people to harass me. There is no accountability and no community.

Can I ask you a question, is it known this person is doing this to you?

I don't feel comfortable talking about it in any detail here.

This zine makes me want to grab the teapot and cut my wrists. Just kidding! Who doesn’t already know that people in the anarchist "community" rather get fucked up on drugs and alcohol and masturbate to theory then help out someone that got fucking raped by someone.

But for reals what shotty analysis of abuse.

If we can't create an environment that's safe than fuck it. What do I care about class exploitation when the same doushe bag is next to me, imaged out in patches or not. I'm assuming most Anarchists aren't rapists, and most people I know take this pretty seriously, but I'm sorry, I come from the land of strippers and blow and this weak kneed shit would never fly. If a bunch of shanty Irish crooks from the South Side of ........have you beat in the compassion department than we have 100 problems. And again, if real cases of abuse and infinging on boundaries were dealt with in a serious manner it would help to clear away most of the misdirected bullshit. Autonomy fer mom's sake? Sorry. Autonomy fer me (k)id. I'll say this though, if anyone has anything resembling a success story in this department run a group. Run 10. Guilt people into going. Jesus. This is the bare minimum for creating a better world, or whatever. Bare fucking minimum.

Bare fucking minimum, indeed. This is my first glimpse at an anarchy website and wow... abuse? stalking? group control? wtf???? has absolutely everyone forgotten how to live sanely??? ...values are needed here, people. not more knowing, more ethics. here's a few value sets:

The Golden Rule: Treat others like you want to be treated.

Gandhi's Seven Deadly Sins
Wealth without Work
Pleasure without Conscience
Science without Humanity
Knowledge without Character*
Politics without Principle
Commerce without Morality
Worship without Sacrifice

The Rules for being Human

When you were born, you didn't come with an owner's manual; these guidelines make life work better.
1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it's the only thing you are sure to keep for the rest of your life.

2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called "Life on Planet Earth". Every person or incident is the Universal Teacher.

3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of experimentation. "Failures" are as much a part of the process as "success."

4. A lesson is repeated until learned. It is presented to you in various forms until you learn it -- then you can go on to the next lesson.

5. If you don't learn easy lessons, they get harder. External problems are a precise reflection of your internal state. When you clear inner obstructions, your outside world changes. Pain is how the universe gets your attention.

6. You will know you've learned a lesson when your actions change. Wisdom is practice. A little of something is better than a lot of nothing.

7. "There" is no better than "here". When your "there" becomes a "here" you will simply obtain another "there" that again looks better than "here."

8. Others are only mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another unless it reflects something you love or hate in yourself.

9. Your life is up to you. Life provides the canvas; you do the painting. Take charge of your life -- or someone else will.

10. You always get what you want. Your subconscious rightfully determines what energies, experiences, and people you attract -- therefore, the only foolproof way to know what you want is to see what you have. There are no victims, only students.

11. There is no right or wrong, but there are consequences. Moralizing doesn't help. Judgments only hold the patterns in place. Just do your best.*

12. Your answers lie inside you. Children need guidance from others; as we mature, we trust our hearts, where the Laws of Spirit are written. You know more than you have heard or read or been told. All you need to do is to look, listen, and trust.

13. You will forget all this.

14. You can remember any time you wish.

(From the book "If Life is a Game, These are the Rules" by Cherie Carter-Scott)

... and basic compassion IS the bare minimum for creating a better world. Being "right" is highly over-rated.
Love and Peace to All.

most people that i know who were raped love drugs, alcohol and "masturbating" to theory. how does that fit in to your picture?

Thanks for this. My experience has been that too many "anarchists" are ready to police and judge each other, use oversimplified black and white logic, and enjoy bullying and witch hunts. Let's face it, a lot of people become radicals to feel better about themselves, superior to others, and want to flaunt their righteousness. Identity politics often provides them with a neat ideological cover for their personal grudges and resentments.

Unfortunately, there are also scum in the milieu who deserve to be beaten and driven out. But I think as anarchists we should always look at accusations twice and really try to consider all the facts before taking measures against a comrade.

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