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Transgender Day of Visibility March 31, 2017

Posted by Summerspeaker in Queer politics, Transhumanism.
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Here’s to the struggle against gender norms and for universal morphological freedom. Despite what some radfems claim, we ain’t even near peak trans. The future promises to be weirder than any of us can imagine.

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Milo Yiannopoulos Manages to Be a Dangerous Faggot After All February 21, 2017

Posted by Summerspeaker in Ageism, Anarchism, Feminism, Queer politics.
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In fact, it turned out that there was nothing ‘dangerous’ at all in picking on women and refugees. People will pay you good money for that. The dangerous ideas are the ones they don’t pay you for, the ones that don’t get you on HBO. You’re actually dangerous when you do what Yiannopoulos did in the ‘pedophile’ tapes: defend society’s most hated outcasts, and tell the truth about the complexities of gay men’s sexuality. You’re dangerous when you stick up for those on the fringes rather than kicking them. There’s nothing courageous or edgy in bullying the despised and excluded. But it might be dangerous if you dared to empathize with them.

To all the anarchists, radicals, leftists, and so on jumping on the Milo’s-an-evil-pedophile bandwagon, I urge you to reconsider. While understandable and presumably effective in the short term, Shaun King’s the-pervert-are-power line has pernicious implications for queer revolution. Many, including anticapitalist radicals, thought the perverts were in power back at the turn of the twentieth century. They understood queerness as a bourgeois degeneracy. We don’t need to revive that discourse. Yiannopoulos’s comments about intergenerational sexual encounters are problematic, as the whole subject is, but not nearly as oppressive as countless other things ey’s said. It’s utterly telling that it’s the pedophile charge that has finally damaged Yiannopoulos’s brand. (Well, for the moment. The long-term effects remain uncertain.)

Caution about the discourse of perversity and perverts matters especially for us transhumanists. Queers whose form of queerness has become at least more or less normalized in social-justice circles might perceive no need to worry about the whole pedophilia narrative and its use here. That’s the situation I occupy; despite the “your a fucking pedo” allegation from /r/Anarchism, I’ve no direct personal stake in the matter. I vividly recall the subordination of childhood and youth, but it’s been well over a decade since I’ve experienced it.

But queerness ain’t static. As Gloria Anzaldúa indicated, the demonized groups have shifted with time and will continue to. If technological innovation continues as expected and hoped, we can bet on future moral panics over bodily modification, intimate relations, and so on. Human sexual experiences with robots immediately jumps to mind, for example. We transhumanists have to rigorously attend to the process of queering and othering if we want to figure out ethical arrangement for coming technological realities. Merely accepting dominant lefty norms about who’s the real pervert won’t cut it.

Youth Liberation and Pedophilia February 20, 2017

Posted by Summerspeaker in Ageism, Anarchism, Queer politics, Science Fiction, Technology, Transhumanism.
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So for some reason, leftists have recently decided to highlight Milo Yiannopoulos’s supposed support of pedophilia as part of the case against em. The key piece of evidence comes from an interview in which Yiannopoulos refused to categorize eir own teenage sexual experiences with older folks as abuse. If we denounce people who define their own experiences against the dominate narrative as evil pedophiles, we’re foreclosing discussion on a complicated topic and engaging in exactly the sort of witch-hunt mentality Yiannopoulos and others right-wing notables (hypocritically) decry.

Under the current ageist regime that treats younger folks as subhuman, young-older sexual encounters involve unequal power dynamics and tend strongly toward abuse that leaves enduring psychic scars. I don’t dispute that. However, at the same time, erasing the agency of folks who’ve experienced young-older sexual encounters supports the dehumanization of younger people. It implies that folks below a certain age don’t know what’s good for them, that we older folks should control them by force.

I hold firm to the notion that younger folks are people, not subhumans. I remember being in that situation. I hated such subordination and will never consider it just. You can fight abusive young-old sexual relationships without supporting ageism. Addressing the matter of pedophilia becomes more challenging when you recognize the humanity of younger folks, but that doesn’t mean we should shy away from this recognition.

Ultimately, it’s possible that smashing ageism and the nuclear family would render young-older sexual relationships unremarkable. That’s the ambitious and disturbing future vision Shulamith Firestone presented in The Dialectic of Sex. I don’t know that that’s correct, but it’s worth contemplating without knee-jerk allegations of pedophilia.

While youth liberation has limited presence at the moment, I suspect technological developments will increasingly prompt challenges to the ageist status quo. For example, what happens when genetic and/or cybernetic enhancement leads to more and more young people (teens, preteens, etc.) demonstrating greater conformity to the norms of maturity and rationality than much older folks? I suspect they’ll demand respect. I hope society gives it to them when the time comes.

(For how this topic relates to queerness and antiqueerness broadly, I recommend Gayle Rubin’s now classic piece. I don’t necessarily agree with all of it, but the essay remains provocative and insightful.)

Update: And once again I’m banned from /r/Anarchism. Ageism is apparently official sub policy. Argue for youth liberation, get banned.

Second Update: Yiannopoulos is now stressing eir anti-pedophile credentials and taking the stance that humor is the way ey copes with what ey describe as victimization (apparently from the priest). Yiannopoulos at same time speaks positively a ten-year relationship ey began at age seventeen with a twenty-nine-year-old. For a thoughtful treatment of the overall issue, I recommend this exchange between Samuel Delany and Will Shetterly.

Third Update: The moral panic over Yiannopoulos’s supposed support for pedophilia got eir book cancelled. Left and sundry are unsurprisingly celebrating this. It figures that Simon & Schuster have no problem publishing somebody who cheerleads  for Donald Trump and for deporting every last undocumented immigrant, but gay pedophilia allegations force a cancellations. Why is it so often only the sex scandals that matter?

Anarchist Super Bowl Ad February 5, 2017

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism.
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Anarchist Groupthink: Yours Truly Banned from /r/Anarchism February 5, 2017

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism.
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So now I’m banned from the whole /r/Anarchism subreddit, of course without explanation.

They can’t justify it, so they don’t even try.

That’s what happens when you ask questions about violence, challenge bodyshaming, and criticize groupthink. That’s what happens when you add “queer loser | expropriate social capital” to your flair. /r/Anarchism, as many anarchists groups, exists as a club for cool kids, a popularity contest. The moderators zealously guard their social capital.

It’s good example of how anarchist unity ain’t a thing and probably shouldn’t ever become a thing, barring some hivemind.

Edit: And now I’m unbanned. Maybe it was all just a mistake. Curious.

The Time Is Ripe for Rebellion February 3, 2017

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism.
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professional-anarchists

Some day—and I greatly fear that day is not very far distant—some professional anarchist (for there are professional anarchists as well as professional thieves) will consider that the time is ripe for rebellion, and, raising the fraudulent cry of “Labor against Capital,” instead of his legitimate cry, which is “Rapine, Murder, Booty!” will lead this army of degenerates, composed of anarchists, socialists, nihilists, sexual perverts, and congenital criminals, against society.

James Weir, Jr., 1894

Complete Anarchy January 23, 2017

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism.
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“They’re smashing the Starbucks windows! They are smashing the Starbucks windows right now! This is complete anarchy.”

Does Truth Matter When Fighting Evil? January 22, 2017

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Transhumanism.
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spencer-liddell-confusion

So this image has been making the rounds on social media. It attributes a Colin Liddell quotation apparently advocating black genocide to Richard Spencer. That’s sloppy but arguably fair enough because Spencer was editing the site where Liddell’s piece appeared. However, Colin Liddell claims eir critics are misreading the piece, that ey used the figure of black genocide to highlight genocidal language supposedly used against white South Africans. I’m certainly not suggesting any of this is remotely acceptable or that it negates the case for punching Spencer, but accuracy still matters in times of war. Justifying physical violence against the outgroup via misattribution of a quotation taken out of context isn’t okay.

Antifascists: Be Careful Not to Slip January 22, 2017

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism.
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bash-the-outgroup

with-us-or

In case there’s any question: I’m not a good soldier in the anarchist, antifascist, antiracist, or any other cause. If that’s what you’re looking for, bookmark me as inevitable traitor. I know I expect personal, political, and intellectual betrayal from other humans as a matter of course.

As you’ve probably seen, the anarchist and broader antiracist scene has exploded with glee about Richard Spencer getting punched. There are strong arguments for the merits of this action. Assuming that the U.S. and world system of white supremacy constitutes structural violence, physically attacking a white nationalist functions as justified counterviolence, as self-defense. Assuming punching Spencer emboldens antiracists and/or suppresses white nationalists via terror, it potentially does far more good than harm and thus meets with utilitarian approval. Etc. While I doubt attacking Spencer was the absolutely optimal play, I can’t much complain about the punch itself.

Here I just encourage the antifascists who believe in beating, torturing, and killing fascists to recognize the marvelously slippery slope they’re standing on. You’re not the same as the fascists; you fight, I hope, for lofty ideals. Their dreams are nightmares. However, that difference doesn’t protect you from falling into similar traps of self-righteousness and insularity. If you make anyone who disagrees or who questions you into your enemy, you’ll descend into authoritarianism.

Keep your focus on those you can identify as fascists with high confidence.

blackblocg20_black_bloc_by_emerica84

On the Utility of Shooting Informants (Rogue One Spoilers) January 22, 2017

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Epistemology, Science Fiction, Technology, Transhumanism.
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Che was a devout Marxist-Leninist who believed that capitalism was doomed and that inevitably socialism, then communism, would take its place. He also possessed an unshakable faith that the entire process could be hurried along at the point of a gun. According to Alberto Granado, who as a young medical student had accompanied Che on his motorcycle journey through South America, when Che looked through a sniper scope at a soldier and pulled the trigger, he fully believed that he was helping reduce repression by ‘saving 30,000 future children from lives of hunger.’ When Granado looked through a sniper scope, by contrast, he saw only a man with a wife and children. The difference between them, Granado said, was that Che felt certain he was ushering in a new world order.

In Rogue One, rebel stalwart Cassian shoots a disabled informant in eir first appearance on screen. Cassian does this presumably to facilitate eir own escape and to prevent the informant from talking under interrogation. The film presents this action as unpleasant but morally justified as long as the fight against the Empire succeeds. A prominent anarchist has present Cassian’s act as obviously correct because utilitarianism.

I’m skeptical.

Guerrilla warfare historically involves lots of shooting and/or torturing a variety of types of informants. Guevara, for example, shot supposed enemy informants, most or all of whom were in the class position Guevara nominally fought for. While Cassian shot a friendly informant, the logic of elimination to deny the enemy information is similar. This sordid record ain’t anything to celebrate.

While there may conceivably be situations in which murder to control knowledge flows constitutes the optimal option, I doubt this happens often in our world. (It may not happen at all.) I suspect the trope/model of inflicting physical damage to feeling beings for the greater good causes more harm than it prevents.

Based on my experience and understanding of the world, humans don’t need any prodding from utilitarians to commit horrors in the name of God/nation/liberation/revolution/etc. I want to challenge this pattern of thought, not encourage it.

Sure, social regeneration though violence makes sense within its own terms. If defeating the allegedly evil enemy via pain and terror is the sole path to freedom and prosperity, it’s hard to argue against the approach. The trick is predicting the effect of hurting people with any confidence and of ruling out alternative options.

Humans in the cultures I’m familiar with default to violence as means for making the world a better place. We’re programmed by World War II, the atomic bombings of Japan, popular media, the police, the military, and so on to accept that narrative. Anarchist utilitarians who feed this discourse cheerlead for the status quo.

When you contemplate the revolutionary utility of murdering folks, I recommend reviewing the messy real-world history of insurgency rather than simplified fictional stories. Perhaps this will be your best option at some point in the coming years or decades. If so, weigh the odds and uncertainties carefully beforehand. Afterward, file a mental note to improve yourself and the resistance as a whole so you can do better in the future.

As transhumanists, we have to hold fast to the goal of engineering our way out of these ethical dilemmas. There’s always or almost always a superior course of action. What we can imagine, we’ll make. As Salvor Hardin said, “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”