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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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80 Responses

  1. EG
    EG December 27, 2011 at 3:11 pm |

    I think my father was that guy (“I know you’re oppressed, but it’s by capitalism, not by something called ‘patriarchy.'”).

  2. Johnny Heartbeat
    Johnny Heartbeat December 27, 2011 at 3:24 pm |

    Let’s just stipulate that if I looked like Ryan Gosling, I could get away with Manarchy all day long.

    C’mon, ladies.

    Admit it.

    You know it’s true.

    (the preceding was 75% parody.)

  3. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 27, 2011 at 4:18 pm |

    A little too close for comfort.

  4. Kathleen
    Kathleen December 27, 2011 at 4:18 pm |

    in progressive politics — or grad school.

  5. Jo
    Jo December 27, 2011 at 6:06 pm |

    Particularly like the one where he says “You sound hot when you chant ‘anti-capitalisma’ just not when you chant shit about rape.”

    So true. Personally I hate it when people make stupid arguments like “she’s hot when she’s angry” because it’s so completely making her be all about the hotness for men and discrediting her actual anger.

  6. Jadey
    Jadey December 27, 2011 at 6:18 pm |

    Reminds me of this, re: skeptic/atheist communities. (Mind the comments – it goes downhill quickly.)

  7. ellid
    ellid December 27, 2011 at 7:08 pm |

    I had someone actually pull something like that on me at the Unitarian church where I’ve worshiped for twenty years, to the point where he actually called me “too emotional” when I tried to explain just why I was so angry about what was going on in Wisconsin last spring. Another man tried to intervene, and I basically told him to shut up, that I was not interested in making nice with the original guy and was not going to apologize for getting angry at being condescended to.

    I think I’ve been back about three times since then. Really sad, but seriously, WTF?

  8. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 27, 2011 at 7:13 pm |

    Is Ryan Gosling the worst? I tried googling “Does Ryan Gosling suck” but I’m the worst at google :(

  9. sasha
    sasha December 27, 2011 at 7:26 pm |

    @PrettyAmiable
    there have just been a ton of Ryan Gosling memes going around lately.
    here’s a round up of some of them: http://slacktory.com/2011/12/gosblr-ryan-gosling-tumblr/
    none of them have anything to do with ryan gosling’s own words or opinions.

  10. Bronstein
    Bronstein December 27, 2011 at 7:52 pm |

    I don’t get why they’re using Ryan Gosling for this. Most of the stuff I’ve heard from him has been pretty cool and feminist. Is there something I don’t know about?

  11. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie December 27, 2011 at 8:13 pm |

    Gosh, the funniest part is blaming radfems for most of the quotes! Horrible man-hating bitches. Taking all the fun out of high heels and make-up.

  12. Kathleen
    Kathleen December 27, 2011 at 9:40 pm |

    Ryan Gosling is like the lolcat or I haz a bukit walrus of dude internet memes. just as it’s not meant to impugn the spelling and grammar of cats or walruses, so it goes for RG.

  13. Dane
    Dane December 27, 2011 at 10:53 pm |

    I have an ex boyfriend who has said pretty much exactly the same things to me at some point or other. Which is why he’s an EX boyfriend. These are very funny in a rage-inducing way.

  14. Dane
    Dane December 27, 2011 at 10:53 pm |

    I have an ex boyfriend who has said pretty much exactly the same things to me at some point or other. Which is why he’s an EX boyfriend. These are very funny in a rage-inducing way.

  15. Jess
    Jess December 28, 2011 at 1:59 am |

    Except capitalism is actually the root of the patriarchy, so, y’know. There’s that.

  16. thinksnake
    thinksnake December 28, 2011 at 2:04 am |

    Jess 12.28.2011 at 1:59 am

    Except capitalism is actually the root of the patriarchy, so, y’know. There’s that.

    Um. I don’t know we need a massive derail about this? Who can really say for sure?

  17. EG
    EG December 28, 2011 at 2:07 am |

    Except capitalism is actually the root of the patriarchy, so, y’know. There’s that.

    So true. That’s why there was so much less patriarchy in Europe when feudalism was the reigning economic system.

  18. Jess
    Jess December 28, 2011 at 2:28 am |

    And what is feudalism, except capitalism concentrated in the hands of a very small number of people? We are already living in a feudal society and we just won’t face it.

  19. Jadey
    Jadey December 28, 2011 at 2:33 am |

    I don’t get why they’re using Ryan Gosling for this. Most of the stuff I’ve heard from him has been pretty cool and feminist. Is there something I don’t know about?

    Just to check, but you aren’t basing that off the original feminist RG meme that helped spawned all these ones, right? Because the originator of that tumblr has stated that she picked Gosling for that because it was funny, and not because she had any inkling of his political/philosophical views. (see her FAQ

    I do wonder, given the prominence of these memes, if people are going to start confusing what RG actually has said with the meme texts. It’s highly probable, actually. Might have some weird fallout for him. Huh. Oh, the postmodern world we live in.

  20. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 28, 2011 at 2:44 am |

    Jess 12.28.2011 at 2:28 am

    And what is feudalism, except capitalism concentrated in the hands of a very small number of people? We are already living in a feudal society and we just won’t face it.

    I’d just like to congratulate you on this not-at-all-derail on this lighthearted post about a new Ryan Gosling meme. I’m glad we’re staying on topic on this.

  21. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 28, 2011 at 2:45 am |

    I miss the old comment button thing.

    [Moderator note: there are quicktags for text formatting just above the commenting box - I just used them to format the text that you were quoting in your previous comment]

  22. EG
    EG December 28, 2011 at 2:46 am |

    And what is feudalism, except capitalism concentrated in the hands of a very small number of people?

    You’re kidding, right?

    You’re not?

    Under feudalism, wealth is measured in land and production of non-food goods is on an individual level, usually in the hands of individual artisans. Food production and distribution was arranged not by the free market, but by set tithes from serfs, allowed to work the land, to landowners. Capitalism, on the other hand, is an economic system in which wealth is based on, well, capital. Land is no longer the marker of economic power, and wealth can be generated by investment; wealth is liquid. Labor is no longer about the work of individual artisans or mutual, though massively unequal and exploitative, obligations between serf locked to land owned by noble. Instead, the majority of labor is performed for wages (Marx would say that labor itself becomes a commodity). Mass production of all goods rapidly becomes the dominant mode.

    I…don’t even know what you mean by claiming that feudalism is just capitalism concentrated in the hands of the few. Capitalism concentrated in the hands of the few is…capitalism. That’s a feature of the system.

  23. Jadey
    Jadey December 28, 2011 at 2:54 am |

    +100 to EG @ 22, also. Feudalism is radically different from capitalism, psychologically, sociologically, politically, philosophically. It goes to show how deeply invested we are in the capitalist mindset that it’s difficult to even imagine an alternative economic system without trying to translate it into our current one, but capitalism is definitely a new, different beast.

  24. Natalia
    Natalia December 28, 2011 at 3:27 am |

    So true. That’s why there was so much less patriarchy in Europe when feudalism was the reigning economic system

    I lol’d.

  25. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 28, 2011 at 3:47 am |

    [Moderator note: there are quicktags for text formatting just above the commenting box - I just used them to format the text that you were quoting in your previous comment]

    Thanks!

  26. Glass
    Glass December 28, 2011 at 7:58 am |

    Can we use someone other than RG for this meme if he hasn’t actually done or said anything like this? Because I had to dig just to make sure he hadn’t douched out on us.

    There has to be some other star who’s earned this kind of meme for douchey behavior. It just seems unfair and bordering on slanderous to attach RG’s image to behavior he hasn’t engaged in.

    That said if he has engaged in douchetastic behavior I say have at it.

    [Hope that made sense because it's 5am where I'm at and I'm still half asleep.]

  27. Caperton
    Caperton December 28, 2011 at 10:57 am | *

    REJECTED. Everyone knows Ryan Gosling is a feminist. And has stellar abs. But mostly the feminism.

  28. Vigée
    Vigée December 28, 2011 at 11:15 am |

    I think this one is flying right over my head. I mean, I get the text, but I don’t really understand what it has to do with RG. The interwebs are too hard for me!

  29. Marlene
    Marlene December 28, 2011 at 11:28 am |

    REJECTED. Everyone knows Ryan Gosling is a feminist. And has stellar abs. But mostly the feminism.

    Nope.

    You just thought he was this guy when you first met him, but he turned out to be this guy after a couple of dates.

    Isn’t that how it always happens?

  30. Kyra
    Kyra December 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm |

    I think my father was that guy (“I know you’re oppressed, but it’s by capitalism, not by something called ‘patriarchy.’”).

    So when we take a look at what oppresses us, and name it Patriarchy, that means it ceases to be what oppresses us? (Misogynist ‘logic.’ So amusing. Except not.)

    I’d love (not really, just implying insufficient thought went into that statement) to hear his dissertation on how rape is a factor of capitalism.

  31. Xeginy
    Xeginy December 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm |

    Why is everyone in love with Ryan Gosling? I think the RG Love train must have passed me by…

  32. Drew
    Drew December 28, 2011 at 2:39 pm |

    Possible derail warning.

    But does it matter if “what’s oppressing women” is more patriarchy or more capitalism? If its a 50/50 split, or 70/30, or 6/94? If patriarchy is oppressing women (and hurting men in the process), it’s bad. We should be against it.

    If capitalism is oppressing women (and hurting men in the process), it’s bad. We should be against it.

    If anything is oppressing anyone, it’s bad. We should be against it.

    There will always be a lot of factors involved in oppression – it just pisses me off how, if you talk about one, some asshole will inevitably come in and say “Well, what about the other one? Since you didn’t mention ALL the things, you’re clearly implying that the one you did mention is the only thing. And since its not the only thing, your implication is wrong and I have grounds to completely dismiss any points you make.”

    Yes, patriarchy hurts men too. Yes, its okay to talk about patriarchy oppressing women without mentioning that it hurts men, too. Yes, it’s okay to talk about patriarchy hurting men without mentioning that it oppresses women too. Both of those approaches to the effects of patriarchy are good reason to conclude “Patriarchy is bad and we should all be against it.”

  33. Jadey
    Jadey December 28, 2011 at 2:47 pm |

    Why is everyone in love with Ryan Gosling? I think the RG Love train must have passed me by…

    There’s just something about a guy who goes to school on a cruise ship…

  34. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm |

    There’s just something about a guy who goes to school on a cruise ship…

    My retirement plan used to involve M and I teaching on a cruise ship. Will teach for balcony suite! Alas no dogs, so our hopes have been dashed.

  35. Andie
    Andie December 28, 2011 at 3:04 pm |

    Jadey: There’s just something about a guy who goes to school on a cruise ship…

    Oh heck yes. Zack and Cody? Those two can suck it. Breaker High was the shit.

  36. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho December 28, 2011 at 3:07 pm |

    Xeginy 12.28.2011 at 1:51 pm
    Why is everyone in love with Ryan Gosling? I think the RG Love train must have passed me by…

    I’m still holding out for some Shemar Moore memes.

  37. Debbie
    Debbie December 28, 2011 at 3:21 pm |

    @EG: your comments warmed my feminist political economist heart!

  38. armillaria
    armillaria December 28, 2011 at 6:01 pm |

    Drew and EG are correct.

  39. April
    April December 28, 2011 at 9:33 pm |

    Except capitalism is actually the root of the patriarchy, so, y’know. There’s that.

    Well, she does have a point when it comes to overlooking the economic roots of current issues surrounding many of the systemic oppressions we face. There is that whole “divide and conquer” thing, encouraging racism in poor whites against black slaves for the benefit of the wealthy, white elites (a minority, numbers-wise) in the American South during the times of slavery, for example. As far as how this relates to sexism, though, I’m not so sure. Gender-based oppression is kind of a different beast than many other factors. Not more oppressive than anything else (not playing Oppression Olympics here), but simply different. As EG said, patriarchy certainly existed under other economic systems. But capitalism, obviously, not only perpetuates inequality and oppression, but is entirely dependent upon it for survival. Radically altering our economic system would, at this point in time, fundamentally alter the ways in which we relate to one another, at the very least drastically reducing the racism, sexism, and other bigotry and oppression we are taught from birth.

    That said, I wish we could just admit that, sometimes, the favorite Bingo spot “it’s not x-ism, it’s classism!” wasn’t so frequently blown off. It is oftentimes quite true, and it’s continued to be true because we, in Western culture, continue to let ourselves believe the propaganda that says capitalism is the best and only way to ensure a free society.

  40. EG
    EG December 28, 2011 at 11:04 pm |

    Personally, I’ve never gotten the Ryan Gosling love, either. He looks…completely bland and boring to me.

    Debbie:

    @EG: your comments warmed my feminist political economist heart!

    Ah, well, there’s nothing like being brought up by Marxists to ingrain a basic grounding in this sort of thing in your very soul!

    April:

    But capitalism, obviously, not only perpetuates inequality and oppression, but is entirely dependent upon it for survival.

    So do other economic systems, such as, for example, feudalism. There is no way to construct and perpetuate a feudal society based on principles of equality and freedom. Capitalism is hardly unique in being inherently hierarchical and oppressive.

    Radically altering our economic system would, at this point in time, fundamentally alter the ways in which we relate to one another, at the very least drastically reducing the racism, sexism, and other bigotry and oppression we are taught from birth.

    I fundamentally disagree. Feminist progress will not occur as a by-product of socialist or anarchist revolution and restructuring. Feminist progress will occur if and only if feminism is an integral part of the restructuring program, both in goals and in process, and only if the restructurers are repeatedly called to account by the feminists within and outside of their ranks. The same can be said for anti-racism and homophobia. There is a long history in the US and other countries of radical left movements and revolutions that told the women in their ranks that their problems would evaporate after the revolution, and which subsequently either sold the women out, refused to address the misogyny that magically persisted after the revolution, or kept promising them some mythic utopia that was just around the corner, and they just need to wait until then.

    That said, I wish we could just admit that, sometimes, the favorite Bingo spot “it’s not x-ism, it’s classism!” wasn’t so frequently blown off.

    Marxists and other leftists have a lot of work to do if they want to regain my trust. There have been far too many accusations of “false consciousness” for me to give them the benefit of the doubt. Poor whites did benefit from racism and slavery, insofar as it reduced the competition for the already low-paying jobs they needed to survive, for instance.

    I will stop blowing off that particular statement if Marxists would stop whipping it out every. single. time. they don’t want to deal with the fact their ideology doesn’t have the answer for everything.

  41. Jadey
    Jadey December 28, 2011 at 11:41 pm |

    That said, I wish we could just admit that, sometimes, the favorite Bingo spot “it’s not x-ism, it’s classism!” wasn’t so frequently blown off. It is oftentimes quite true, and it’s continued to be true because we, in Western culture, continue to let ourselves believe the propaganda that says capitalism is the best and only way to ensure a free society.

    I think it’s interesting that you appear to be conflating classism with capitalism. Class and caste-based social inequalities *definitely* pre-date capitalism and can and do manifest independently of it.

    I’m not as embittered regarding socialism and Marxism as EG, but I’m not going to be moved by overly simplistic arguments from anyone with any ideological perspective.

  42. EG
    EG December 28, 2011 at 11:53 pm |

    Oh, I’m definitely not embittered about socialism; if push came to shove, my views would probably be socialist feminist views, though I prefer the company of anarchists. I wouldn’t even say I’m embittered about Marxism…more that I’m…cynical. Very cynical. Cynical to the point of not having any faith in Marxist movements whatsoever. Hmm. Maybe I am embittered…

  43. Jadey
    Jadey December 29, 2011 at 12:17 am |

    @ EG

    Well, I didn’t intend to make it sound like a slur, so cynical might have been a better choice of words! But I think when one has been bombarded with a particular view too many times, a little bit of justifiable bitterness can accrue, like plaque on a tooth.

  44. outofnowhere
    outofnowhere December 29, 2011 at 2:54 am |

    @Drew

    does it matter if “what’s oppressing women” is more patriarchy or more capitalism?

    As I think you’ve nicely demonstrated, it usually doesn’t. But for some, or at a certain point, it might. In theory, two people who want the same thing could have vastly different ways of going about achieving that thing. Of the top of my head, this is the quick route to protests of over-representation and under-representation of related, passionate, niche efforts, and ensuing conflict.

    If we’re talking about the factors of patriarchy and capitalism specifically, you might have conflict between people who believe one factor is the root of the other.

  45. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 29, 2011 at 3:44 am |

    I still remember a conversation I had with a black guy in college where I tried to explain to him how slavery in the American South had been caused by classism, not racism. I was very intent in getting him to understand that as completely non-racist of a white person as I was, it was wrong for him to be focusing on racism as a problem. Couldn’t he tell that classism was the deeper issue, the fundamental force undergirding everything? In fact, he was using the same faulty race conscious rhetoric that the capitalist oppressors were using to divide and conquer us all!!!

    Wow. Certainly makes me shudder that I ever even thought such things, much less that I delighted in patronizingly expounding upon them to others. I don’t have a specific memory of dismissing patriarchy to someone in similar way, but I’m sure I did it. It still sorta amazes me the extent of the unacknowledged sexism and racism so many people on the Left have. I mean, it’s so obvious to people on the receiving end of it, but people seem to think (as I did), “well since I’m not INTENDING to be racist or sexist, that means I’m NOT racist or sexist,” as if the only real racists in the world are the KKK, and the only real sexist is, I don’t know, Adam Corolla or something.

    Racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, classism, transphobia, homophobia–and many other forms of oppression I’m not mentioning–they’re all equally problematic, and though overlapping, they each have distinct causes and consequences. Intersectionality is all the rage now, but I still wish more people would really understand and live this on a deep level, including myself. The world isn’t black and white, and one idea about it will never explain everything.

  46. Josh
    Josh December 29, 2011 at 6:51 pm |

    And this is why the theory of kyriarchy is useful, yes!

    And instead of:

    Except capitalism is actually the root of the patriarchy, so, y’know. There’s that.

    How about: “the patriarchy is actually the root of capitalism”? Makes a bit more sense, I think.

    And since we’re already far down this derail:

    Feminist progress will not occur as a by-product of socialist or anarchist revolution and restructuring.

    Except that for it to be anarchistic in a meaningful sense (taking into account there are many definitions of anarchism), anarchism must:

    Make feminism

    an integral part of the restructuring program, both in goals and in process, and only if the restructurers are repeatedly called to account by the feminists within and outside of their ranks

    .

  47. EG
    EG December 29, 2011 at 9:29 pm |

    Ideally, Josh, I agree. But history suggests that the men who rise to power in leftist movements are willing to pay only the slightest lip service to that idea, and to dismiss their ideologies and actions as not “really” anarchism or communism or leftism is just to play the no true Scotsman game. Leftist ideology is what it is on the ground in reality, and that includes the unsavory bits as well.

  48. Josh
    Josh December 30, 2011 at 12:37 am |

    No “really” about it, I’m not talking about communism or leftism, but specifically anarchism. I can’t speak to leftism because that’s a fairly indefinite term and I can’t speak to communism because I don’t know a whole lot about it.

    Seeing as anarchism is premised on being anti-hierarchical, to fail to integrate feminism (and intersectional theory, for that matter) is to be an anarchist in name only. It’s not about something subjective which is what the fallacy you refer to is about, afaik, but a contradiction to an inherent part of the ideology, which is something objective. If people who call themselves anarchists are only paying lip-service to a basic tenet of anarchism, then they are a) improperly educated at best, b) but more likely just narcissists getting off on the attention, c) or active infiltrators.

    Saying that they’re anarchists be like saying that Ron Paul is a progressive because he’s supported by people who have some progressive ideals and/or is opposed to war/for marijuana legalization. I’m not sure your assertion that ideology is defined by practice makes much sense.

  49. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 30, 2011 at 1:05 am |

    Josh. . .anarchism is not just a theoretical ideology, it’s also a collection of real world social movements that have existed throughout history. And many of the movements that have been called “anarchist,” both by their participants and outside observers, have also been quite patriarchal. Take, for example, the anarcho-syndicalist movement in early 20th century Spain, probably the most famous anarchists in history. During the Spanish Civil War, male anarchists tried to shift their female comrades to the sidelines, assigning them to stereotypical jobs like being cooks, even when the front lines desperately needed soldiers. There’s a good Spanish film called Libertarias that portrays some of this. This is just one example. Anarchists are as prone to the broader social forces in their time and place as anyone else is. And just because one is opposed to hierarchy in the workplace, or in the church, or in the legislature, doesn’t automatically one will oppose gender hierachy as well. Real intersectionality takes continuous bold struggle by the subordinate group and continuous diligent introspection by the dominant group, and it doesn’t come easily in an hierarchical society, for anarchists or for anyone.

  50. EG
    EG December 30, 2011 at 1:11 am |

    Wow, I was going to type out a long reply, but Ben said it all and said it eloquently. I will only add that you can read Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia to note how in the absence of absolute imminent threat, female fighters were mocked by their male comrades. That doesn’t mean I admire the anarchists who resisted both Franco and the USSR any the less; it doesn’t mean that they’re improperly educated or narcissists or active infiltrators. It just means that they’re imperfect human beings who have been socialized into patriarchy. I have the highest respect and admiration for most anarchists; they have long been reminding other factions of the left that you cannot create a healthy, happy society while denying people freedom. But that doesn’t make them all perfect exemplars of intersectionality or feminist consciousness either.

  51. EG
    EG December 30, 2011 at 1:13 am |

    I’m not sure your assertion that ideology is defined by practice makes much sense.

    It is the only way of assessing the humanity and morality of any ideology. Everything works in theory.

  52. Josh
    Josh December 30, 2011 at 5:35 am |

    Alright, the Spaniards are a great point in favor of your viewpoint. However, I’d still say they fail at anarchism, that their movement failed at being anarchism, and that it failed to succeed overall (maybe their fault, maybe not – though reassigning women to non-combatant roles is stupid, not just sexist, especially when one major contemporary military force was making good use of them to fight fascists). And yes, I’m sure they (and others) would be pissed that I say that, but it doesn’t make it less so. I think it would be fair to call the proto-anarchists, though. I would also point out that while they’re referred to as anarchists, they’re also referred to as anarcho-syndicalists, which share some tenets with anarchists, but are not exactly the same.

    And many of the movements that have been called “anarchist,” both by their participants and outside observers, have also been quite patriarchal.

    And people can call Hugo Schwyzer a feminist, he can call himself a feminist, but does that make him a feminist? It depends on how you define your feminism, no? Or for an example that may be slightly less offensive, it’s like calling Obama a socialist. People can call him that, but it hardly means he’s anything other than a capitalist.

    And just because one is opposed to hierarchy in the workplace, or in the church, or in the legislature, doesn’t automatically one will oppose gender hierachy as well.

    Just because one is opposed to any of those things, doesn’t make them an anarchist, though. If you base anarchism on merely opposing the state, that makes sense. However, that form of anarchism is antiquated and basically an ideology that only works in theory.

    Being socialized into the patriarchy is a fairly improper education in and of itself. However if one is to call themselves an anarchist as opposed to just being opposed to the state, then an actual understanding of how that ideology applies is necessary. And if one is calling themselves an anarchist, then being aware of contemporary intersectional ideas (Emma Goldman for example, in the era of the Spanish Civil War, was an anarchist who did espouse feminist ideas).

    But that doesn’t make them all perfect exemplars of intersectionality or feminist consciousness either.

    Nor does feminism, does it? Just the same, people should be trying to understand and apply intersectionality the various associated consciousnesses if they’re going to call themselves either anarchists of feminists.

    It is the only way of assessing the humanity and morality of any ideology. Everything works in theory.

    Not everything works in theory, nor is practice the only way of assessing those thing, nor does practice always succeed in assessing those things. That said, ideology is defined by ideas, refined by ideas, and is tested both in practice and in theory.

    If we’re going to excuse people in history, that still doesn’t excuse the people of today. As a result of sexism in anarchist movements, anarcha-feminism was born, right? Feminism and intersectional theory is not exactly new anymore. So anyone who calls themselves an anarchist now has little-to-no excuse not to embrace those highly relevant concepts if they want to keep calling themselves anarchists. And still, at least in my book, it’s necessary to embrace those theories at any point in time to meaningfully be called an anarchist – because if you don’t you’re embracing the same kind of thinking that the kyriarchy/hierarchies/patriarchy/state does.

    This reminds me that anarchism can be both a category and a specific set of beliefs, though. A lot of not-purely-anarchist thought falls into the category (such as anarcho-primitivism), but is contradictory to specific anarchism.

  53. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 30, 2011 at 3:06 pm |

    Josh, I’m an anarchist, too, and I think we’re basically on the same page. It’s really cool that you are so committed to feminism and intersectionality. If you forgive me to lecture a moment: hopefully this doesn’t come across as didactic or condescending. I do judge that you a bit naive in the difficulty that exists in transfering even a “perfect” ideology into good results. And I’m sure we’d both agree that the results, the real benefit to people’s lives who are suffering and oppressed–that’s what matters.

    So anywayz. Let me step back a bit. I guess when I look at aspects of a person’s identity, my basic standard is their self-identification. In other words, if someone says they are a woman: they are a woman. If someone says they are a Christian: they are a Christian. If someone says they are a feminist: they are a feminist. And if someone says they are a anarchist, they are an anarchist. I do this because it minimizes endless parsing of terms and definitions as to who is really a feminist or really an anarchist. Also, I believe it respects a person’s right to self-definition, and I don’t particularly like other people stepping in and telling someone else who and what they are.

    And now, even as I identify as an anarchist and agree with intersectionality theory–at the same time, I have TONS of residual sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism, transphobia, classism, etc. floating around in my head. And at times that has caused me to behave oppressively toward others. And most other self-identified anarchists are in the same boat, as far as I can tell. Plus there’s STILL plenty of anarchists who don’t even accept intersectionality. Are they anarchist in your opinion? Probably not. But in their mind they are.

    My main point is just that the is no magic bullet that makes sexism go away. There is no perfect ideology. A person can believe the “core tenants” of anachism and intersectionality all they want, but the only way they’ll begin transcending their sexism is if they are called out on it by others, and if they are willing to do the scary work of introspection and emotional risk-taking that it takes to change.

    Anyway, you seem to be coming along fine. Keep up the good work comrade.

  54. EG
    EG December 30, 2011 at 7:17 pm |

    (Emma Goldman for example, in the era of the Spanish Civil War, was an anarchist who did espouse feminist ideas).

    No shit. And as a hat tip to whom else do you think the initials of my screen name are meant? I’ll see your Emma Goldman and raise you a Voltairine de Cleyre.

    The very fact that women created a branch of anarchism with the specific term of “anarcha-feminism” is fairly strong evidence that anarchists and anarchism are not necessarily inherently feminist. Otherwise, they would have just called themselves, well, anarchists.

    Really, you sound like a lot of Marxist-Leninists I have known who argue that if only Trotsky had taken power after Lenin’s death, the Soviet Union would have been just fine and a true workers’ state, rather than the oppressive, degenerate workers’ state it was. I have no interest whatsoever in hypothetical questions. The fact is that anarchists are no more immune to the unconscious internalization of misogyny than anybody else. And when they manifest it, you can say “that’s not real anarchism, that’s primitive proto-anarchism,” or whatever, but the Spanish anarchists were good enough for Emma Goldman, and they’re certainly good enough for my undying admiration. Nonetheless, I’m not going to trust any representative of any left movement to incorporate feminism unless they actively specify that they will, and demonstrate it by making feminist thought one of their main talking points.

    What you’re doing is the equivalent of telling black women or transwomen who have been put off by mainstream feminism’s history of racism and transphobia and so do not automatically trust “feminism” to include their interests that hey, all that bad stuff that can show up? That’s not real feminism. True feminism would automatically and implicitly prioritize the issues and perspectives black women bring to the table and accept transwomen as full women in their own right. Those are nice ideals, and they certainly characterize the kind of feminist movement I would like best to be part of, but what that is automatically doing is saying “Oh, this time, you can trust me.” Well, um, no. This time I’ll be checking you every step of the way, and don’t for a moment think of telling me “Oh, we’ll take care of that after the revolution, and by the way, I’ve put you down for kitchen duty next week.”

  55. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 30, 2011 at 7:50 pm |

    Wow, EG stands for Emma Goldman. I’m impressed!

  56. EG
    EG December 30, 2011 at 7:56 pm |

    Well, let’s not go that far–I’m not so arrogant as to think that I can do her justice! Just arrogant enough to want to salute her, and hope she would not have just rolled her eyes at me, bourgeois parasite that I am…

  57. Donna L
    Donna L December 30, 2011 at 8:02 pm |

    There is a long history in the US and other countries of radical left movements and revolutions that told the women in their ranks that their problems would evaporate after the revolution, and which subsequently either sold the women out, refused to address the misogyny that magically persisted after the revolution, or kept promising them some mythic utopia that was just around the corner, and they just need to wait until then.

    Well, I’m sure you know what Stokely Carmichael said about the position of women in SNCC.

    And according to my mother, most of the Communist Party members she used to associate with were *extremely* misogynistic, and every bit as likely to sexually harass her as the famous law professor, Karl Llewellyn, who attacked her in the kitchen while his wife was in the living room. (She left the Party by the time she got married; all that remain of those days are a few old Leninist pamphlets I have in a box somewhere.)

    There’s always something more important to be done in the movement than to deal with misogyny, right?

    I’m not planning to get into a big argument with anybody, but (just as my mother ended up being) I’m even more cynical about theoretical political and economic systems than EG, I’m afraid, and tend to take somewhat seriously the old Soviet joke that “capitalism is the exploitation of man by man and communism is the exact opposite.” (Modernize the word “man” as you wish.) I don’t accept the excuses about so-called communist countries not being truly communist in practice any more than I accept the excuse of Christians that all the crimes committed in Jesus’s name don’t represent true Christianity.

    Regarding Lenin: just as Grossman’s Everything Flows has an amazing portrayal of the Ukrainian famine, it also has a 40 or 50 page essay about the roots of Stalinism lying directly in Lenin’s beliefs and policies — including his belief in mass terror and his utter contempt for the Russian peasantry — which I think is quite convincing. (For anyone interested, Grossman lived through all of it, knew most of the people purged in 1937, and was not only the most prominent Soviet journalist of World War II — directly involved in everything from Stalingrad through Kursk and ending in Hitler’s office in Berlin, and probably the first to write about the Holocaust by bullets in the Ukraine [his mother was murdered in Berdichev], the Holocaust by gas in Treblinka, and the Gulag — but wrote Life and Fate, generally considered the greatest 20th century Russian novel. As well as many wonderful short stories including “The Road,” available online, about the Battle of Stalingrad through the eyes of an Italian army mule.)

  58. EG
    EG December 30, 2011 at 8:09 pm |

    it also has a 40 or 50 page essay about the roots of Stalinism lying directly in Lenin’s beliefs and policies — including his belief in mass terror and his utter contempt for the Russian peasantry — which I think is quite convincing.

    The section of Goldman’s autobiography dealing with her experiences in the USSR after being deported from the US, and what happened to the anarchists who had fought side-by-side with the Bolsheviks as well as to apolitical academics is similarly instructive.

  59. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 30, 2011 at 8:10 pm |

    Well my name is just based off the fact that my first name is Ben, and that I think lotus flowers are cool, and I’m certain they don’t return the warm regard as they lack a central nervous system. You’re entitled to your arrogant salute. I read her collected essays a while back and really liked them; you aren’t doing yourself justice if you think you’re nothing like her.

  60. EG
    EG December 30, 2011 at 8:11 pm |

    There’s always something more important to be done in the movement than to deal with misogyny, right?

    Hey, if we spend all our time arguing about personal relationships, we’ll never be able to make progress. And have you completed your tasks yet? I mean, that coffee isn’t going to make itself, you know.

  61. EG
    EG December 30, 2011 at 8:14 pm |

    I read her collected essays a while back and really liked them; you aren’t doing yourself justice if you think you’re nothing like her.

    That may be the most wonderful compliment anybody has ever given me. And I’m not even being a little bit sarcastic. I am completely sincere about that.

  62. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 30, 2011 at 8:30 pm |

    That may be the most wonderful compliment anybody has ever given me. And I’m not even being a little bit sarcastic. I am completely sincere about that.

    Well, that’s cool! I have to resist my knee-jerk reaction to read “I’m not even being a little bit sarcastic. I am completely sincere about that” as “I’m being very sarcastic. I am not at all sincere about that.” Ah, the wonder of the internet destroying contextual cues mixed with social paranoia. But, I’m glad I could be complementary. And I meant it. I see in your statements a similiar mix of anger, compassion, and detailed factual argument as I read in her.

    Shifting topics, I completely agree with you Donna about Marxist-Leninism. Every place those fuckers took over thousands and thousands of innocent people got killed. It happened in Ukraine, it happened in China, it happened in Ethiopia, it happened pretty much everywhere. All their leaders were fanatical, power-hungry, and bloodthirsty.

  63. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 30, 2011 at 8:41 pm |

    Ryan Gosling brings people togetherrr.

    <3

  64. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 30, 2011 at 8:43 pm |

    LOL. For shiz.

  65. Donna L
    Donna L December 30, 2011 at 8:52 pm |

    The section of Goldman’s autobiography dealing with her experiences in the USSR after being deported from the US, and what happened to the anarchists who had fought side-by-side with the Bolsheviks as well as to apolitical academics is similarly instructive.

    I was just looking through her book about her experiences in Russia, and think it’s awfully impressive that she came to the following conclusion about 15 years before a whole lot of other leftists who continued to defend the Soviet government until the show trials (some of them, of course, continued forever):

    During the past several months I had seen and heard enough to become somewhat conversant with the Communist psychology, as well as with the theories and methods of the Bolsheviki. I was no longer surprised at the story of their double-dealing with Makhno, the brutalities practiced by the Tcheka, the lies of Zorin. I had come to realize that the Communists believed implicitly in the Jesuitic formula that the end justifies all means. In fact, they gloried in that formula. Any suggestion of the value of human life, quality of character, the importance of revolutionary integrity as the basis of a new social order, was repudiated as “bourgeois sentimentality,” which had no place in the revolutionary scheme of things. For the Bolsheviki the end to be achieved was the Communist State, or the so-called Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Everything which advanced that end was justifiable and revolutionary. The Lenins, Radeks, and Zorins were therefore quite consistent. Obsessed by the infallibility of their creed, giving of themselves to the fullest, they could be both heroic and despicable at the same time. They could work twenty hours a day, live on herring and tea, and order the slaughter of innocent men and women. Occasionally they sought to mask their killings by pretending a ” misunderstanding,” for doesn’t the end justify all means? They could employ torture and deny the inquisition they could lie and defame, and call themse idealists. In short, they could make themselves and others believe that everything was legitimate and right from the revolutionary viewpoint; any other policy was weak, sentimental, or a betrayal of the Revolution.

    Grossman’s essay makes a similar point about the complete irrelevance of Lenin’s humble personal life, his living on tea, and so on, to his actual public deeds.

  66. Andie
    Andie December 30, 2011 at 10:10 pm |

    So… When can we start talking about Ryan gosling again?

  67. Josh
    Josh December 30, 2011 at 10:29 pm |

    In other words, if someone says they are a woman: they are a woman. If someone says they are a Christian: they are a Christian. If someone says they are a feminist: they are a feminist. And if someone says they are a anarchist, they are an anarchist. I do this because it minimizes endless parsing of terms and definitions as to who is really a feminist or really an anarchist. Also, I believe it respects a person’s right to self-definition, and I don’t particularly like other people stepping in and telling someone else who and what they are.

    See, I take issue with this in that as a POC, I’ve seen a fair bit of identity appropriation and of exploitation of identity. Being a woman is not based on an ideology, being a Christian so messy that it’d be hard to deny Christianity because of a lack of discrete ideology (which is why the aforementioned No True Scotsman fallacy is applicable in calling out fundies as still being Christian.

    What you’re doing is the equivalent of telling black women or transwomen who have been put off by mainstream feminism’s history of racism and transphobia and so do not automatically trust “feminism” to include their interests that hey, all that bad stuff that can show up? That’s not real feminism. True feminism would automatically and implicitly prioritize the issues and perspectives black women bring to the table and accept transwomen as full women in their own right. Those are nice ideals, and they certainly characterize the kind of feminist movement I would like best to be part of, but what that is automatically doing is saying “Oh, this time, you can trust me.” Well, um, no. This time I’ll be checking you every step of the way, and don’t for a moment think of telling me “Oh, we’ll take care of that after the revolution, and by the way, I’ve put you down for kitchen duty next week.”

    Not so. I’m saying the basic concept of intentionality and the respect for agency is something that needs to be inherent in anarchist thought, even if it’s not stated as such. And that as such, practicing that as opposed to assuming it’s already perfectly integrated implies that one has to accept criticism and take action on it, else one gets caught up in hierarchical thinking.

    Anyway, it seems the conversation has continued past anarchism in the meantime. If you want to keep this discussion up, I’m all for it, if you want me to drop it and simply disagree, that’s understandable too.

  68. Josh
    Josh December 30, 2011 at 10:44 pm |

    So… When can we start talking about Ryan gosling again?

    By all means I’ll STFU, sorry adding steam to this whole derail. Gosling away.

  69. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 30, 2011 at 10:49 pm |

    See, I take issue with this in that as a POC, I’ve seen a fair bit of identity appropriation and of exploitation of identity. Being a woman is not based on an ideology, being a Christian so messy that it’d be hard to deny Christianity because of a lack of discrete ideology (which is why the aforementioned No True Scotsman fallacy is applicable in calling out fundies as still being Christian.

    I’m intrigued by this, but I don’t fully understand it. I’m saying I prefer to accept however people idenitfy themselves. In what instances do you think this is problematic, and why?

  70. Andie
    Andie December 30, 2011 at 10:52 pm |

    Josh

    I’m just joking around, as y’all were.

  71. Josh
    Josh December 30, 2011 at 11:47 pm |

    Fair enough, Andie

    LotusBen – To give you a specific answer (the one most relevant to me), often people appropriate the Native American identity. On the one hand, it’s nice to be able to self-identify, but on the other hand it can be a sign of privilege when you have the freedom to adopt an identity, but retain the privilege to act outside that identity. When pseudo-shamans take rituals and sell them out, they’re appropriating that identity. When companies manufacture tchotchkes based off of traditional designs, they’re appropriating that identity. When people with no investment in the social identity and culture of being Native American claim some nebulous association with a tribe (probably Cherokee, this is so widespread it’s cliche), they’re appropriating it.

    How this is problematic is when it dilutes the purpose of identity for those that have that identity and in essence, erases them. It’s in the corollary of the aforementioned fallacy – simply put the aforementioned fallacy is based on excluding people based on irrelevant subjective qualities. The corollary is based on not only including people with certain objective qualities. You could say that this is essentialist. However, essentialism is not inherently fallacious – in the aforementioned case, if someone is born or adopted into a tribe and respects that then they probably have the basic qualities required to be a member of the tribe.

    I don’t know how useful of an answer that is.

  72. EG
    EG December 31, 2011 at 12:01 am |

    I understand that, Josh. But i really don’t think that the situation of anarchists whose practice of their ideology falls short of the ideal is at all analogous to the appropriation of Native American cultures by new agey white people claiming that their great-great-great grandmother was a Cherokee princess (it’s always princess, too. No white people seem to be descended from Cherokee commoners.). The situations aren’t even similar.

  73. Josh
    Josh December 31, 2011 at 12:22 am |

    EG, I’d agree it’s hardly the same thing – Anarchism is a voluntary identity, after all. However, that’s an example that I find personally relevant. I do think it’s similar, though in the sense that something is being appropriated, even if in one case it’s an entire identity and in the other it’s one of several possible ideas that define an ideology.

    In regards to anarchism, I don’t think it really has need to respect manarchism. It’s one thing to allow for people whose application of ideology is not ideal, it’s another to allow for those who fail to apply at all – I feel that taking the non-hierarchical ideal of anarchism without taking into account intersectionality is simply a way of furthering one’s own privilege at the expense of others – which is not what anarchism is about (at least to me, perhaps my definition is just far too narrow, that may very well be).

    Not to derail further, but this discussion has led me to believe that to be more inclusive of earlier forms of anarchism (which is why I employed the term proto-anarchism), it may very well be necessary to view anarchism in waves as feminism is. On the other hand, it may be useful to distinguish between anarchistic movements (such as the various hyphenated terms, like anarcho-syndiclism) and anarchism as a discrete belief.

    (and yes, it is almost always a princess, which is funny because there’s no such thing)

  74. EG
    EG December 31, 2011 at 12:46 am |

    it may very well be necessary to view anarchism in waves as feminism is. On the other hand, it may be useful to distinguish between anarchistic movements (such as the various hyphenated terms, like anarcho-syndiclism) and anarchism as a discrete belief.

    That actually sounds like a very useful distinction to make. For my taste, though, the way feminist movements in the US have been divided into waves has been problematic–it often results in a flattening out of the great variation of theory and practice found at any historical moment, and reifies a lack of continuity among feminist generations. I think anarchism may be less prone to those pitfalls, though, because younger anarchists I have known still seem to be very up on the writings of earlier anarchists and the history of anarchist movements, and rather than defining themselves in contrast to them, seem to emphasize the continuity. It’s one of the things I like about the anarchists I’ve met–they all seem very well-read.

    And the princess thing…it’s a bit like how when people look into their past lives, they almost never find out that they were, oh, some poor kid in Victorian England who worked at a factory from the time she was six until her death five years later from TB. Everyone was too busy being Cleopatra.

  75. Josh
    Josh December 31, 2011 at 1:27 am |

    I thought that the waves might be problematic – in the history of anarchism there are a lot of interpretations that are chronologically contemporary, but some are more well-thought-out/anarchistic/whatever. Which is why I would suggest making the distinction I make, which is probably not an original idea, but simply an observation of an already existing tendency. There is a long traditional of ideological infighting in anarchist thought (though this is something that isn’t unique to anarchist though, but something that exists any time there’s some kind of ideology), which is perhaps exacerbated by the individualistic focus of anarchism.

    I’m not sure it’s less prone to a lack of continuity, though – just that it may be a lack of contemporary continuity as opposed to historical continuity. I think in some senses many anarchists are so well-read historically because the see a need to use the historical development of ideology to establish a dialectic of some type. That is, anarchists love to argue (who would have guessed) in my experience.

    I think that reading contemporary writing in addition to historical writing is necessary, else you end up with less-than relevant analysis. I think anarchism can exist without historical or contemporary theory if it’s treated as a first principle and applied critically. However, I’m hardly the most well-read or very well-read at all, so maybe that’s a defense via ignorance.

    In regards to the princess thing I’m in agreement, I think this expands on that further (the first google result for “cherokee princess”).

  76. Josh
    Josh December 31, 2011 at 1:30 am |

    I’d also be interested to see what you think of Refusing to Wait: Anarchism
    and Intersectionality

  77. DonnaL
    DonnaL December 31, 2011 at 3:01 am |

    And the princess thing…it’s a bit like how when people look into their past lives, they almost never find out that they were, oh, some poor kid in Victorian England who worked at a factory from the time she was six until her death five years later from TB. Everyone was too busy being Cleopatra.

    That’s exactly the analogy that occurred to me — I’ve always thought it’s hilarious that nobody was ever a match girl or a goose girl or a poor Jewish widow in a sztetl in Ruthenia or Galicia with 13 children ; it’s always a lady’s maid, if not a lady.

  78. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 31, 2011 at 6:15 am |

    OK Josh. . .I see what you’re saying about the appropriation of Native American identity. Thanks for elaborating.

  79. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho December 31, 2011 at 9:00 pm |

    great-great-great grandmother was a Cherokee princess (it’s always princess, too. No white people seem to be descended from Cherokee commoners.).

    My great-grandmother was a bastard of an unknown tribe. True story.

  80. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho January 2, 2012 at 11:25 pm |

    Okay, so I went out on a date with a guy the other night who I suspect was a manarchist. It inspired my new tumbler Because I’m a Capitalist

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