Cancellations

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
Do you think breaking new ground is the only way out of here?
I was more just disputing that it was a "good response"

but if one thinks there's a need to reconcile TERF and non-TERF feminism, then yes, very likely

I don't think there is that need - for me the TERF line is the rearguard action of a fight that they've already lost

there is no "wrong side of history" in a general sense, but there is on specific issues in specific contexts

and trans-exclusionary feminists are on the wrong side of history here

mainstream trans visibility and acceptance, and understanding of gender as construct etc, are still extremely new

going forward kids will grow up with a default acceptance of different gender identities. they already are.

not uniformly - no change is ever uniform - but enough that in 20 years this won't be a serious argument
 
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Butler comes across well there I think. good at deconstructing the assumptions in questions. the interviewer a bit annoying in bringing up jk Rowling repeatedly. This framing was good

: My point in the recent book is to suggest that we rethink equality in terms of interdependency. We tend to say that one person should be treated the same as another, and we measure whether or not equality has been achieved by comparing individual cases. But what if the individual – and individualism – is part of the problem? It makes a difference to understand ourselves as living in a world in which we are fundamentally dependent on others, on institutions, on the Earth, and to see that this life depends on a sustaining organisation for various forms of life. If no one escapes that interdependency, then we are equal in a different sense. We are equally dependent, that is, equally social and ecological, and that means we cease to understand ourselves only as demarcated individuals. If trans-exclusionary radical feminists understood themselves as sharing a world with trans people, in a common struggle for equality, freedom from violence, and for social recognition, there would be no more trans-exclusionary radical feminists. But feminism would surely survive as a coalitional practice and vision of solidarity.
 

chava

Well-known member
I dunno, it seems a fairly measured and sensible response to me.
If she is in disagreement with the statement, why don't she just say it. Whoever the other signatories are doesn't matter. She only thinks of her reputation. Puritanism at its worst.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
actual integration of different races from childhood seems to be the best way to undermine racist attitudes in society. The arguments aren't useless but it's better if you just grow up with friends who don't look like you.
I can only agree with you, but I didn't have that experience growing up. What are you gonna do about it - forcibly resettle a load of black families from Newham to the Isle of Wight?

Also, that seems to work if there is some cultural basis in common, which is all well and good when you're talking about a multicultural area of London. It's easier to get along with people who don't look like you when they nonetheless think and talk and behave more or less like you do. There are schools in the north where the white kids and the Asian kids are essentially segregated. Culture can be a much bigger problem than "race" per se.
 
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chava

Well-known member
actual integration of different races from childhood seems to be the best way to undermine racist attitudes in society. The arguments aren't useless but it's better if you just grow up with friends who don't look like you.
The exposure/immunization theory, I guess. And how will that happen when people self-segregate anyways?

Still believe the main key to avoiding racism is global eradication of infectious diseases. It's a crazy theory, but no more crazy than Butlers post structuralisms
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
no one on the left "inspires me". I like David Graeber, I guess, if he's included in "left". he's an anthropologist. people like that.
finally getting around to watching Graeber lectures and despite being predisposed to not like him (lots of postmortem hype in the New York left atm) I really do
 

john eden

male pale and stale
I can only agree with you, but I didn't have that experience growing up. What are you gonna do about it - forcibly resettle a load of black families from Newham to the Isle of Wight?

Also, that seems to work if there is some cultural basis in common, which is all well and good when you're talking about a multicultural area of London. It's easier to get along with people who don't look like you when they nonetheless think and talk and behave more or less like you do. There are schools in the north where the white kids and the Asian kids are essentially segregated. Culture can be a much bigger problem than "race" per se.
My impression is that the segregation in the North is based on a few things from which lessons can be learned, although not necessarily easy ones. The first one is that although the kids do go to the same schools, a lot of the housing is racially segregated in a way that doesn't happen in London.

The other is that the British Asian identity has become a lot more religious since the late 1990s and I'm not completely sure why that is although things like the Gulf War and Islamophobia haven't helped. Or certain sections of the left pandering to religious "community leaders" rather than engaging directly with communities.

There ARE common cultural activities that the kids are into, especially football.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
There ARE common cultural activities that the kids are into, especially football.
Oh of course - I wasn't suggesting the gap was unbridgeable.

I think you're right that the obsession with "community leaders", which no doubt seemed very groovy and multicultural at the time, was in some ways a retrograde step. And not just on the left per se, as it was Blair who ushered in the creation of the MCB and was the big enthusiast for faith schools (perhaps connected to his own adopted Catholicism?).

Something I read years ago, which stuck with me, was that "white people don't have 'community leaders' - they have councillors and MPs".
 

john eden

male pale and stale
Oh of course - I wasn't suggesting the gap was unbridgeable.

I think you're right that the obsession with "community leaders", which no doubt seemed very groovy and multicultural at the time, was in some ways a retrograde step. And not just on the left per se, as it was Blair who ushered in the creation of the MCB and was the big enthusiast for faith schools (perhaps connected to his own adopted Catholicism?).

Something I read years ago, which stuck with me, was that "white people don't have 'community leaders' - they have councillors and MPs".
Good point about Blair - New Labour also ushered in a certain amount of segregted schooling by pushing faith schools...
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
"white people don't have 'community leaders' - they have councillors and MPs"
I'm pretty sure you could still find them in white working-class urban enclaves, especially ones that have retained a hyphenated ethnic identity

"community leaders" seems like it basically has to do with a community being disenfranchised from official channels of power in some way or ways

as @john eden says the issue is taking "community leaders" to speak for the community rather than engaging the community directly

which is obviously much easier to do, reduce complex communities and issues to "who's your spokesperson"
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
finally getting around to watching Graeber lectures and despite being predisposed to not like him (lots of postmortem hype in the New York left atm) I really do
yeah he was pretty great

a rare combination of rigorous scientific (well, social science) background with common sense, or just praxis I guess

and the rare academic not afraid to jeopardize his academic career in pursuit of his beliefs

not that I want to make a saint out of the guy (or out of anybody ever) and I'm sure we would've disagreed on some things

but, a true inspiration
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
That's all fair, and yes, it's the way unelected people - almost invariably men, very often religious leaders and probably quite socially conservative - may be assumed to speak for a whole group of people.

Obviously elected leaders don't speak for everyone either, but they do speak for at least a plurality of people who voted in the last election cycle.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
What're some of his points? Any lectures to recommend?
A friend of mine who followed him quite closely and seemed to be quite gutted by his recent death often posted pieces of Graeber's about the phenomenon of "bullshit jobs". I'm sure there's more to him than that, but it seems a good starting point.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
I should read some more of him, because I think a deep anthropological look at work, how it relates to society and economies, and how it's become so dysfunctional, is exactly what we need right now. Or one of the things, anyway. And an approach that, while not ignoring economics, puts it at secondary importance to the anthropological aspect, seems especially worthwhile.
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
What're some of his points? Any lectures to recommend?
His Talk at Google is good, but I can give you the gist

The idea that debt = morality goes way back: In Aramaic, the word for "debt" and "sin" are the same. Much of the moral language of the bible is built off debt/financial language. The Lord's Prayer ("forgive us our trespasses") originally uses the Aramaic for debt (See Etymology). Perhaps the earliest known word for freedom means freedom from debt.

Debt permeates ancient society and its thought. Plato's Republic opens with Kefalos suggesting morality is equivalent to paying your debts and not lying. The "standard" economic story, originating with Adam Smith, is that barter is inconvenient and replaced by money. This story seems false based on our anthropological study of surviving hunter-and-gatherer societies. Instead, ancestral communities used credit systems of gift-giving, mutual indebtedness, with informal and approximately quantified tallies.

Debt forgiveness, especially, crops up a lot in world history and governance—see the Biblical Jubilee, or Mesopotamian traditions. Too much debt makes society fragile, and this leads the ruling class to forgive. This segways into Graeber's prescription: we need widespread debt forgiveness, both of the Global South and of everyday American citizens. That this seems strange or immoral or "unfair" reflects a misunderstanding of what debt, fundamentally or historically, is: a negotiable contract, not something written in stone, that can and must be forgiven.

If democracy is to mean anything now it means that everybody gets to weigh in on what kind of promises are made, what kind of promises are kept, and when circumstances change, what sort are renegotiated. I think that's the political moment that we're in right now.
Part of this is that, while debt makes sense between equals (e.g. two companies in the open market), Graeber argues it takes on a very different meaning when it occurs between asymmetrically powerful parties (e.g. large, wealthy institutions lending to less-wealthy individuals), which he calls "structural coercion." And this is the deal he think has been struck between large institutions and everyday Americans, or between first world nations and the Global South.

Moreover, debt is in a sense normal, healthy, and socially stimulating. It provides a basis for interaction. In ancestral communities, debt is a perpetual ongoing mutual indebtedness of each villager to the other, structured by ongoing favors and repayments that bind the community together while also enabling a better standard of living for all those involved (they can live beyond their strict means; they can insure their standard of living; they can smooth out instability).

He tells an interesting story about a New Zealander named Te Ringa that reminded me of the opening scene of The Wire:

Graeber said:
In many human societies it is the case that if you praise somebody else's possession it's almost impossible not to give it to the person who praises it. This is another one of those things which has a very strange moral power, so much so that you really can't break out of it. There's a great story I always tell from New Zealand, a guy named Te Ringa who was a notorious glutton. He rarely did much fishing himself, everybody else in the neighborhood was a fisherman, and he would walk up and down the beach looking for people coming back from fishing and check out their catch and say, Oh look, squid, that's my favorite, or Wow, that's a beautiful fish. Okay, here's your fish, here's your squid. You just have to give it to him. After about two years people got fed up so they formed a war party and they killed him... Such is the moral power of some customs.
And The Wire scene:

The Wire S1E1

Man On Stoop: I’m sayin’, every Friday night in an alley behind the Cut Rate, we rollin’ bones, you know? I mean all them boys, we roll til late.

McNulty: Alley crap game, right?

Man On Stoop: Like every time, Snot, he’d fade a few shooters, play it out til the pot’s deep. Snatch and run.

McNulty: What, every time?

Man On Stoop: Couldn’t help hisself.

McNulty: Let me understand. Every Friday night, you and your boys are shooting craps, right? And every Friday night, your pal Snot Boogie… he’d wait til there’s cash on the ground and he’d grab it and run away? You let him do that?

Man On Stoop: We’d catch him and beat his ass but ain’t nobody ever go past that.

McNulty: I gotta ask ya: If every time Snotboogie would grab the money and run away, why’d you even let him in the game?

Man On Stoop: What?

McNulty: If Snotboogie always stole the money, why’d you let him play?

Man On Stoop: Got to. This America, man.
Anyway, Graeber goes on to give a history of the world through the perspective of debt.

Graeber said:
The vast majority of rebellions, revolutions, insurrections, peasant revolts that you see... they're not about caste systems, they're not about serfdom, absolute declared systems of inequality. They're always about debt. Moses Finley, the great classicist, once said there was basically one revolutionary program throughout antiquity: cancel the debts and redistribute the land, in that order. When peasants take over a town, the first thing they do is find the debt recrods and burn them. After that they find the land records and tax documents. [John Adams] says Well, we can't have majority vote, we have two million people with property and nine million without it, what's gonna happen? The moment we allow everybody to vote they'll cancl the debts, after that they'll redistribute the lands. It's just common sense.
 
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