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Macho Posting on Libcom and SolFed

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smidge
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Sep 13 2011 12:19
Macho Posting on Libcom and SolFed

I'm a member of SL SolFed, and on Saturday attended our North and South London wide discussion of the national gender imbalance, which currently is heavily male dominated (in locals ranging from 100-75% men to women members). (13 members attended, 6 of whom were women - nearly all women members of those locals, in comparison to about a quarter of men members I think).

One of the repeated points of discussion was the macho culture of Libcom forums which members felt is translated into attitudes between members and those outside of SolFed. What I mean by that is that a prevailing need to assert one's own intelligence, authority and immoveable rightness in discussion forums. This attitude, which is part of masculinity but obviously is not confined to men, is also played out in meeting and social situations, where those who do not know particular things are patronised, and/or excluded from being able to integrate more fully into the group or discussions. Libcom was also described as anti-feminist.

What was also raised on Saturday was the need to address our relationships to one another - not only along sex or gender lines, but also as comrades and friends who can teach and learn from each other mutually in an encouraging, supportive environment. This obviously cannot happen if macho behavious is the norm.

What do you think? As posters on Libcom how do you feel about this one-up-man-ship culture? Do you think it encourages macho, competitive relationship with your comrades and friends, especially when concerning libertarian communist politics but not exclusively? And Libcom as anti-feminist - what the fuck is that about? How could it possibly be? It surely would be either libertarian or communist within a ongoing, discursive and vehment criticism of patriarchy as a hegemonic power structure which limits some and allows others gain.

I posting this because so hopefully SolFed posters can respond, and so those outside of SolFed are reminded that the organisation isn't what's happening on Libcom, but what we do together.

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Sep 13 2011 12:54

Just on the 'anti-feminism', I think it is effectively a semantic thing - no regular poster on libcom (to my knowledge!) is hostile to 'women's liberation' and no one on here (apart from that ASN headcase) thinks that 'women's issues' are anything but a vital component of the class struggle and not something that "can wait until after the revolution".

However, some/several/many (not sure the prevalence tbh) think that feminism is a specific ideology that does not promote these ends, and that it's unhelpful to redefine feminism as just meaning 'women should be equal'. As such, libcom would only be "anti-feminism" to that extent. Certainly if you are defining feminism as "the radical idea that men and women should be entirely equal" (or whatever that exact quote is!), then no one is anti it.

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Sep 13 2011 12:58

On the other stuff - I'm immediately hostile and strongly disagree with a lot of what you said and want to tell you why you're wrong - but that may well prove to the exact point you're making. So I'm going to go off and have a think about it before immediately jumping in with a response!

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Sep 13 2011 13:09
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Do you think it encourages macho, competitive relationship with your comrades and friends, especially when concerning libertarian communist politics but not exclusively?

Certainly it can do, and has been a significant problem on the forums - though admins have in recent years made an effort to change the culture. In terms of how it is today, I'll have to have a think about how things have changed and what might still be problematic - but I think asking the question is actually quite a good test to see how far libcom's progressed!

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Sep 13 2011 13:41

I think a certain amount of one-up man ship is present in most left/anarchist circles. Performative contradiction I know, but it happens. I don't think libcom is any more or less responsible for that than any other online forum. In fact, because the admins are quite hot on flaming, I think it is actually better than some forums because you get a reasoned response rather than 'teh n00b fuck off'. Unless your talking about Derrick Jensen...

As for being 'anti-feminist', I wouldn't say the boards are explicitly, though I do think there is a tendency in some quarters to play the class trumps everything card, which is a bit frustrating sometimes I agree...

As for SolFed stuff I can't comment because I'm not a member....

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Sep 13 2011 13:45

One thing to note Arbeiten is that your experience of libcom is largely post most of the big flame wars of a few years ago, many of which got pretty nasty and the culture of which was responsible for a pretty terrible reputation circulating in the wider UK movement.

wojtek
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Sep 13 2011 14:45

To be honest, I think some of the malicious name-calling and shit (excluding the libcommunity section) is unnecessary and counter-productive towards a good debate. Having said that I've found myself indulging in it also. I don't know about other people, but it's dissuaded me from posting/contributing on occassions.

Caiman del Barrio
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Sep 13 2011 15:17
smidge wrote:
One of the repeated points of discussion was the macho culture of Libcom forums which members felt is translated into attitudes between members and those outside of SolFed. What I mean by that is that a prevailing need to assert one's own intelligence, authority and immoveable rightness in discussion forums. This attitude, which is part of masculinity but obviously is not confined to men, is also played out in meeting and social situations, where those who do not know particular things are patronised, and/or excluded from being able to integrate more fully into the group or discussions.

I largely agree, although I'm unsure how to fully extract myself from it. I think what you're describing sounds like the Libcom (anti-)activist clique, which may consider itself to have evolved different (large P) Politics from the London anarchist mainstream, but largely maintains the social/cultural behaviorial norms of elitist activism.

There's definitely an oftentimes conscious project to exclude folk outside of their clique, which is patently obvious to pretty much absolutely everyone. I've lost count of the amount of people who've commented on how excluded they've felt.

Good to see some stuff emerging from the discussion btw. Rather ironically, I was in an evangelical church while it was happening...

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Sep 13 2011 15:57

With regards to libcom, the forum culture isn't great, but i think it's improved a lot and is miles better than most places on the internet, and (sadly) no worse than SF internal lists where the odd sniping/pissing contest isn't unheard of. The problem with culture is it's self-perpetuating and often a subconscious reproduction of prevailing norms - which makes it quite resistant to change.

In terms of how this is gendered, i think the conception of politics as something you 'have' as opposed to something collectively developed through dialogue and practice is very much a masculine construction; competitive dick-waving who's read the most theory or 'has' the 'right' critique learned by rote etc. Again, libcom say, 4 years ago was much worse but it's still very much in evidence (it's always easier to see the error of your former ways, so to speak).

In terms of this playing out in real-life meetings, i'm not sure it does, in Brighton at least. Now maybe i'm blind to it as a long-standing male member, but generally our meetings are pretty dialogical and cooperative, and i can't off the top of my head think of any competitive behaviour in the group. I know i'm often talked round or outvoted, which as the longest-standing member of the Local makes me think any tendency towards informal hierarchy is being effectively checked by meeting culture and democratic structures. I know some people in London have this weird 'ironic' North/South rivalry thing though. Maybe we have that to look forward to if we set up a Falmer Local.

Boris Badenov
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Sep 13 2011 16:23

Strictly forum-wise, this need for rhetorical niceties even when someone is obviously being an opinionated haughty dickhead is nothing but conversational liberalism and should be entirely disregarded. This is why I prefer the so-called "culture" of libcom (as crass and childish as it can sometimes get) to the condescending "comradely dialogue" of humourless good-two-shoes leftists.
Real life-wise, it is entirely possible, nay likely, that libcom members are twats and should be made to feel the full extent of revolutionary justice.

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Sep 13 2011 16:41

Interesting stuff. TBH, being relatively new to libcom, this is the first time time the subject has popped up for me - not that I wasn't aware of it - and I wondered how long it would be before I heard someone bring it up. I agree with the general point that smidge is making, perhaps not point by point. But to be fair, I think most people are spot on, but criticisms might include occasional laddish assumptions, forceful lingo, point scoring. But there's a lot of tolerance too - too much sometimes!

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Sep 13 2011 17:53

Boris -

This is in relation to SFs functioning though. It's one thing to have humorous put downs on libcom, but it doesn't honestly achieve much except a deep sense of superiority and self satisfaction on the part of the insulter. Which isn't always bad.
But in terms of how a real life revolutionary union initiative functions, it's inhibiting when this "culture" (for want of a better word) pervades. It's completely destructive. It means people get put down for their real, practical efforts, for example, and dismissed because they haven't got all the answers in the world. I don't think this is remotely as bad within SF as it is on libcom, but there's a definite tendency which is evident on email lists at times.

JK -

I think there is a certain amount of informal hierarchy, both in London and nationally. I'm not sure what it's like in Brighton (though my impressions are that you have some sort of supreme leader in 'Captain Anarchy'..?).
At the top of that hierarchy tend to be older males, who are rightly well respected for all the shit they do for the organisation, but we need to be careful not to put experienced, articulate members on pedestals at the expense of other members.

mons
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Sep 13 2011 19:19
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However, some/several/many (not sure the prevalence tbh) think that feminism is a specific ideology that does not promote these ends, and that it's unhelpful to redefine feminism as just meaning 'women should be equal'. As such, libcom would only be "anti-feminism" to that extent. Certainly if you are defining feminism as "the radical idea that men and women should be entirely equal" (or whatever that exact quote is!), then no one is anti it.

I think a dismissal of feminism from that point of view isn't that sensible - if you say to most people you're anti-feminist that suggests you're hostile to the struggle against patriarchy. In fact, if you said that to me, a libcom, that's what I'd have thought as well. I haven't been involved with politics for long, but I've never once heard the argument (although I'd be interested to hear it) that "feminism is a specific ideology that does not promote these ends" been put forward (which raises another interesting point, why not?).
Also, feminism isn't a specific ideology, it's got loads of variants. I see it more as an equivalent to the labour movement; although we're critical of lots of the politics and strategy of much of it, we're still a part of it.
This is semantics and less important maybe than the other points raised, but given a lot of politically conscious/active women are going to be feminists it might well be pretty putting off.

mons
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Sep 13 2011 19:37
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Strictly forum-wise, this need for rhetorical niceties even when someone is obviously being an opinionated haughty dickhead is nothing but conversational liberalism and should be entirely disregarded. This is why I prefer the so-called "culture" of libcom (as crass and childish as it can sometimes get) to the condescending "comradely dialogue" of humourless good-two-shoes leftists.

What's "conversational liberalism"?

I really disagree. You can be respectful without being humourless. When I used to read libcom but not post at all, it was because I was too intimidated to post (and I'm a fairly culturally middle-class, white male who's decently confident in my intelligence). I was new to the politics, and thought I'd say something wrong and be put down horribly. I know that I am pretty sensitive and lots of people wouldn't react the same, but libcom isn't just for fun and is also kind of a public resource for people of libcom politics and those interested in them. I imagine if I did get slagged off and objected, I'd be told to get a 'thick skin' or something (which is just a PC version of man up). Given patriarchal society, that's most likely going to affect women most.

Having said that, even in the year or two I've posted I've noticed it getting better - but that might be me just being desensitised to it, or being more confident myself and beginning to replicate it.

SF (nationally) can be intimidating too from my very limited experience, but that comes more from how intelligent everyone is, and how it seems that that level of knowledge and intelligence is the expected norm. People don't seem to put others down and pounce on their mistakes. That might be because it's in real life, because it's an organisation, or because theoretical unity is much higher within SF.

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Sep 13 2011 20:44
smidge wrote:
One of the repeated points of discussion was the macho culture of Libcom forums which members felt is translated into attitudes between members and those outside of SolFed. What I mean by that is that a prevailing need to assert one's own intelligence, authority and immoveable rightness in discussion forums. This attitude, which is part of masculinity but obviously is not confined to men,

Can you explain to me how this behavior is inherently masculine ?I don't think it is, neither do I think its inherently feminine. Its just a general thing, which should obviously be fought against.

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Sep 13 2011 20:59

I agree with the posters above who say that things have improved over the last few years, it was a lot worse before.

I think one of the key points is the impersonal nature of the internet, as opposed to meeting people face to face and seeing their reactions to what you say (and how you say it). It's very easy to bang off abuse on the internet and not really worry what effect it has on the intended recipient and / or how it comes across to others reading it.

The second point I'd make is to also agree that it depends who is posting, not just what is being said. A discussion is inhibited by someone refraining from agreeing (or disagreeing) with another because of who they are, or real (or imagined) political dis / agreements.

mons
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Sep 13 2011 21:26
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Can you explain to me how this behavior is inherently masculine ?I don't think it is, neither do I think its inherently feminine. Its just a general thing, which should obviously be fought against.

I don't think Smidge said it was "inherently masculine", there's just a tendency for men to behave like that in our society and so it can be called masculine.

Masculinity and femininity are both social constructs - the sum of the all the influences we have socialises us to behave in certain ways. Men and women are socialised to behave differently to one another. The "need to assert one's own intelligence, authority and immoveable rightness" is part of masculinity - in popular culture, and also in the way men as a whole act in our conditioned society, men have a general tendency to behave like this. That doesn't mean, as Smidge said, all men and no women behave like that. It also doesn't mean that there's anything inherent in the make-up of men that makes them behave like that. This paragraph was probably totally unnecessary..

One thing I've noticed about libcom is the big lack of articles and, especially, discussion about gender, sexism and patriarchy. That's true in comparison to left groups as well. There might be a load I'm forgetting though, cos my memory is pretty fucked, sorry if so.

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Sep 13 2011 21:39
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Before our rapid growth we had only had one female member and she left, I think this was down to us being a bit of a boys club and always meeting in pubs as well as political differences

Jim, just to clarify, this is about SLSF, not the nat'l organisation?

Sir Arthur Stre...
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Sep 14 2011 08:39
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Masculinity and femininity are both social constructs - the sum of the all the influences we have socialises us to behave in certain ways. Men and women are socialised to behave differently to one another. The "need to assert one's own intelligence, authority and immoveable rightness" is part of masculinity - in popular culture, and also in the way men as a whole act in our conditioned society, men have a general tendency to behave like this. That doesn't mean, as Smidge said, all men and no women behave like that. It also doesn't mean that there's anything inherent in the make-up of men that makes them behave like that.

not having a go or anything but.....
I agree with what you say, but unfortunately these kind of analyses are often at odds with our own behaviour. There is a tendency to think that because we have identified problems within our society as a whole that therefore they won't exist at a smaller level, especially between people who understand these problems.
So in our example of SF and gender, perhaps the problem is that male members are so sure of their gender analyses and think that this is enough.
Afterall how could an organisation that believes in gender equality ever have a problem in this regard?
If the female membership has a problem then there clearly is a problem and men should listen to them first, rather than pontificate on their own behaviour.

tastybrain
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Sep 14 2011 04:50

As someone living on the other side of the Atlantic I can't comment on SolFed's internal culture.

However, I do think there are real problems with this on Libcom, even if things have improved. This is not due to malice so much as a commendable seriousness about our ideas. We all want to refine and improve the ideas of our movement and this obviously leads to critique.

Critique is not a bad thing and the critiques of others have improved my own politics immeasurably. We just have to be careful in how we critique others. This is not just a matter of being a "goodie two shoes" but also one of simple effectiveness. A critique made in good faith and in a polite tone will be listened to. An angry, belligerent one is more likely to be dismissed. I am probably one of the worst offenders on this point (more in real life than on these forums) and I'm trying to change! There is nothing wrong with confidence in one's ideas, but there is a world of difference between confidence and dogmatism. I also agree with Mons' point - branding ourselves "anti-feminist" without including A LOT of qualification is not a good idea, and we can (and should) critique bourgeois feminists without standing in opposition to the entire movement or seeming to.

I also think it's very, very worthwhile to point out that confidence, aggressiveness, and intellectualism are traits that are inculcated in white, 'middle-class' males and if we maintain such a culture those are the only type of people who will be attracted. Not that we should not be confident or intellectual. However, we must always try to make it as easy as possible for people without a great deal of confidence or theoretical background to engage in the movement. We can do this by trying to produce outward-looking material accessible to those without a lot of experience in our politics (something which Libcom has made good attempts at doing but which might be pursued further) and by making critiques, when they do occur, as polite as possible. Politeness, of course, does not preclude intellectual forcefulness, and can often facilitate it.

It is also simply a good idea to be open to what others are saying and not have overly hardened/dogmatic positions. I have been wrong about many things and I appreciate it when people point it out to me. The less defensive. aggressive we are in response to differing opinions the more likely we are to learn something.

(two notes: what I am saying about 'politeness' only applies to conversations within our movement/general milieu/class. I have no problem with directing angry rhetoric towards capitalists. Another point is that by saying 'confidence, aggressiveness, and intellectualism' are inculcated in white, 'middle-class' males, I am not saying this is an essential trait of white males. I'm just saying, as others have said, that society tends to set it up this way and teach non-whites/women/poorer or uneducated people to be less confidence; obviously this is not inherent.)

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Sep 14 2011 08:27
mons wrote:
The "need to assert one's own intelligence, authority and immoveable rightness" is part of masculinity - in popular culture, and also in the way men as a whole act in our conditioned society, men have a general tendency to behave like this.

How is a part of masculinity is what I'm asking ? I just don't know how this need can identify itself with either masculinity and femininity. Whilst it is obviously a bad thing, It has nothing to do with masculinity and femininity in my opinion. Also, are we taking macho to be a synonym of masculine or a synonym for behavior of exclusively men, because they are not different things. Masculinity does not mean being a man.

slothjabber
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Sep 14 2011 08:41

At the risk of coming across as didactic and over-assertive...

It's associated with 'masculinity' because 'masculinity' as a concept is one which stresses social dominance or control, as opposed to a concept of 'femininity' which, when it's active at all, is more nurturing/facilitative. Therefore, attempts to assert control through 'being more right' (eg in an argument on the internet) are seen as 'masculine'.

Compare and contrast (as a thought experiment): "that's a very interesting point of view, I've never thought of it like that" and "you sound like a typical Trotskyist, why are you even on this board?". Either of them could be responses to someone saying, for instance, 'what we need to do is organise a vanguard party...'. But one would be seen as a more 'masculine' response and the other more 'feminine'. Basically it comes down to how we see dominance and aggression.

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Sep 14 2011 08:46
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How is a part of masculinity is what I'm asking ? I just don't know how this need can identify itself with either masculinity and femininity. Whilst it is obviously a bad thing, It has nothing to do with masculinity and femininity in my opinion. Also, are we taking macho to be a synonym of masculine or a synonym for behavior of exclusively men, because they are not different things. Masculinity does not mean being a man.

I don't think anyone is saying that there is such a thing as a male 'essence', that having a penis or a y chromosome will mean you are likely to become a macho bully in any give society. I think the idea of 'masculine' and 'feminine' in this context is more about how certain behaviours that capitalism relies upon have traditionally been inculcated into men in order to perpetuate it. Plus the history of patriarchy in general. It doesn't mean that men = bad, women = good. It does mean oppressive dehumanising behaviours = bad. Those behaviours have been given the label 'masculine' because historically it is mostly men who have perpetuated and embodied them. (But also women, Thatcher being a prime example).

On some level I think it is a bit 'masculine' in itself to have associated all of these behaviours with a term that generally designates something to do with a y chromosome as well but these are just the terms we have.

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Sep 14 2011 11:28
smidge wrote:
One of the repeated points of discussion was the macho culture of Libcom forums which members felt is translated into attitudes between members and those outside of SolFed.

I think that this has lost a bit of a sense of proportion. Could the 'culture' of the Libcom boards be responsible for the sex ratio on the Libcom boards? Yes, it could be one of the factors. Could it be responsible for the gender ration is SolFed? I would say it is unlikely.

How many people from SolFed post here as a percentage of the organisation? I am sure it is a minority. I would imagine that it is far from the main cause.

smidge wrote:
What do you think? As posters on Libcom how do you feel about this one-up-man-ship culture?
Rob Ray wrote:
One thing to note Arbeiten is that your experience of libcom is largely post most of the big flame wars of a few years ago, many of which got pretty nasty and the culture of which was responsible for a pretty terrible reputation circulating in the wider UK movement.

I think I may be in a very small minority here, but I don't think that the so-called 'flame wars' of a few years ago were that negative. Yes, there was a lot of abuse, but it was still very political. I think that it helped define the general politics of these boards, and helped the people who post here to define their own politics.

wojtek wrote:
To be honest, I think some of the malicious name-calling and shit (excluding the libcommunity section) is unnecessary and counter-productive towards a good debate. Having said that I've found myself indulging in it also. I don't know about other people, but it's dissuaded me from posting/contributing on occassions.

Don't do it then. I don't think that I have ever sworn at anybody on here. I may well have been rude at times, but I try not to be. I think that that is the important thing. I don't think that throwing abuse gets your ideas across any better. In fact I think it directly hinders it.

When I was in the ICC, there was one person in the Turkish section who occasionally abused people on these boards, and he was told, when it happened, that it wasn't acceptable.

People 'represent' their organisations whether you like it or not. Throwing abuse at people isn't the way I would like to represent an organisation I was in.

Rob Ray wrote:
Certainly it can do, and has been a significant problem on the forums - though admins have in recent years made an effort to change the culture. In terms of how it is today, I'll have to have a think about how things have changed and what might still be problematic - but I think asking the question is actually quite a good test to see how far libcom's progressed!

I think on the whole the admins on Libcom have been pretty good. There are some things I have disagreed with, but generally it is handled well, and they have made a real effort to move it in a positive direction. A look at RevLeft would show people how bad it could be.

Joseph Kay wrote:
With regards to libcom, the forum culture isn't great, but i think it's improved a lot and is miles better than most places on the internet, and (sadly) no worse than SF internal lists where the odd sniping/pissing contest isn't unheard of. The problem with culture is it's self-perpetuating and often a subconscious reproduction of prevailing norms - which makes it quite resistant to change.

I think Joseph is very right here. It is self perpetuating, and ca^'t be changed by the admins alone. People need to consciously try to be 'more polite'.

miles wrote:
I think one of the key points is the impersonal nature of the internet, as opposed to meeting people face to face and seeing their reactions to what you say (and how you say it). It's very easy to bang off abuse on the internet and not really worry what effect it has on the intended recipient and / or how it comes across to others reading it.

Which is in fact the most important thing to think of.

Devrim

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Sep 14 2011 11:45
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A look at RevLeft would show people how bad it could be.

laugh out loud This is what I was hinting at in my earlier post, thought I better not name names, but there it is....

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Sep 14 2011 13:44

smidge, and others on this thread less versed in libcom, I'd suggest ignoring ASN's post. He's an oddball with a long standing obsessive beef with both the IWA and anything to do with 'women's issues'. He represents nothing, and will soon go away if ignored, so please don't be put off engaging with people who actually have contributions of value.

bastarx
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Sep 14 2011 14:32

I'm surprised it took ASN 30 posts before he cut and pasted one of his decades old rants about his favourite bug bear, feminism.

Anyway, ignore him, everyone in Australia does.

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Joseph Kay
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Sep 14 2011 15:08

I've unpublished asn's post for several breaches of forum rules (be civil, no trolling).

freemind
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Sep 14 2011 16:38

I couldn't agree more!I feel some of the replies to various blogs on Libcom are ill mannered,ignorant and devoid of comradely spirit.People should respect each other online and stop being dismissive.When i post a blog it's because i want to forward the debate and learn from other likeminded individuals and not to be patronised and alienated by "comrades".

freemind
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Sep 14 2011 16:39

I couldn't agree more!I feel some of the replies to various blogs on Libcom are ill mannered,ignorant and devoid of comradely spirit.People should respect each other online and stop being dismissive.When i post a blog it's because i want to forward the debate and learn from other likeminded individuals and not to be patronised and alienated by "comrades".

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Sep 14 2011 19:33
smidge wrote:
I'm a member of SL SolFed, and on Saturday attended our North and South London wide discussion of the national gender imbalance, which currently is heavily male dominated (in locals ranging from 100-75% men to women members). (13 members attended, 6 of whom were women - nearly all women members of those locals, in comparison to about a quarter of men members I think).

One of the repeated points of discussion was the macho culture of Libcom forums which members felt is translated into attitudes between members and those outside of SolFed. What I mean by that is that a prevailing need to assert one's own intelligence, authority and immoveable rightness in discussion forums. This attitude, which is part of masculinity but obviously is not confined to men, is also played out in meeting and social situations, where those who do not know particular things are patronised, and/or excluded from being able to integrate more fully into the group or discussions. Libcom was also described as anti-feminist.

What was also raised on Saturday was the need to address our relationships to one another - not only along sex or gender lines, but also as comrades and friends who can teach and learn from each other mutually in an encouraging, supportive environment. This obviously cannot happen if macho behavious is the norm.

What do you think? As posters on Libcom how do you feel about this one-up-man-ship culture? Do you think it encourages macho, competitive relationship with your comrades and friends, especially when concerning libertarian communist politics but not exclusively? And Libcom as anti-feminist - what the fuck is that about? How could it possibly be? It surely would be either libertarian or communist within a ongoing, discursive and vehment criticism of patriarchy as a hegemonic power structure which limits some and allows others gain.

I posting this because so hopefully SolFed posters can respond, and so those outside of SolFed are reminded that the organisation isn't what's happening on Libcom, but what we do together.

I think libcom has a rather poor level of discussion of gender questions.
I would say this stems from two reasons, 1) the posters are mostly male and 2) it was formed out of a rejection of a ''lifetstylist''(for want ofabetter word) politics more prevalent among anarchists a few years back. On the second part i think taht unfortunately there was a lot of throwing the baby out with the bath water on a wide range of issues.

In short i think the unfortunate aspects you describe, like much of the minutae of anarchism were in part a product of an inward looking attitude, and slowly developed few years back as an unfortunate response to anarchism not having much traction in society, not that they were excusable at the time of course, but now with crisis and a rising interest in radical ideas, their is even less excuse for them. I think its a really good thing that we are being much more self critical in our activity, and thought that was a really good meeting the other week with a lotof positive things that could come out of it. Have the action points gone up on the list yet btw?

There is one point i'd disagree with though,and thats on the subject of competition. In my opinion theres nothing wrong, or inherently macho about competition. In sport, games and learning, as with many aspects of life, striving for self betterment is a good thing. I think the point is that with structures and collective goals, this competition just reflects the competition inherent in our societies, indeed i think libcom forums are a good example of this the worst aspects happened when the adminning policy was too loose,libcom as a forum is more a collection of indivuals posting rather than an organisation with clear goals.