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@Alanna

I'm having a really hard time today after an exchange with Michel Bauwens. I'm afraid he might be having some kind of mental health breakdown or neurological issue as he gets older. Many here are admirers of his work with the #p2p Foundation, as I was, and some have worked with him, so I'm hoping to get more context.

In the middle of last year, he came out in support of Joran Peterson in the main P2P Facebook group, and of course there was a massive backlash. But it seems that he didn't learn anything because he was back to posting pro-Peterson links in the group yesterday. I responded with some awful sexist quotes by JP and said it was very sad to see Michel supporting him. He banned me from the group and sent me a super angry "I'm never speaking to you again" email, calling my comments "racist and sexist" because I referred to him as a "white man".

I don't care about being in the Facebook group, but we used to be friends and I this is all so crazy. I organized a speaking tour for him in New Zealand and hooked him up with my networks. We spent time together in Thailand and Europe, and he's supported my work. I'm genuinely worried about him.

Normally if someone came out in support of this kind of ideology, I'd take it upon myself to contact conferences and institutions giving them a platform and let them know they need to reassess, but I just can't believe this is actually happening.

How can someone who has spent so many years furthering commons and P2P causes not understand social justice? How can someone who is such a student of history not understand what Jordan Peterson stands for at a time of rising fascism?

I feel so sad, and literally nauseous.

@dan hassan android

am around if you wanna call or debreif alanna.

@Gordon
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@Gordon
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@Rich

@Alanna I have a zillion thoughts and feels. Do you know what you need?

@Zenna
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@Zenna

Don't know what to say more concretely but I feel with you. It can be heart-wrenching to split from a person one identified with ideologically and/or respected. Here's some flowers:

:hibiscus: :blossom: :cherry_blossom: :rose: :tulip:

@bobhaugen

@Alanna we are friends with Michel on some level and have watched him lose it in response to a lot of changes in the world about what he calls "identity politics" that have occasionally have brought him a lot of criticism for remarks that would have been ok a few years ago.

Happens to all us older men. I don't do FB but will send him an email, not to intercede for you, but to try to talk from one old fart to another about the world changing around us in ways that are actually positive.

@Fabián Heredia Montiel
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@SpencerHadley
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@xj9

just speaking for myself. my interest in #p2p has nothing to do with social justice. i don't consider myself aligned with social justice either, but i don't have any problem with cooperation between people with common interests. i can see why social justice-aligned folks would be interested in #p2p, but i don't think one necessarily leads to the other or vice-versa.

personally, i try to keep my political and technical discussions in separate channels.

@mix
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@mix
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@Romário
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@Alanna

Thanks for offering support @Rich @dan hassan @bobhaugen @Zenna

I'm not sure what I need... I guess just to debrief and process a little.

I have been recently added to a Facebook group where people who can no longer stand with Michel as he supports these abhorrent ideas have been gathering. I posted in there and have got several heartbroken sounding replies from others in disbelief and disillusionment, who also have worked with him and been his friend. There's a general sense of "we have to do something," but it's not clear what.

I feel better knowing I'm not alone in my concern and disorientation. I knew this rift between him and the community had been growing, but I hadn't realised it had gotten this bad. When serious drama went down mid-2018 due to this issue, I was focused on having a new baby and not involved. I guess the naive part of me just assumed he would have learned something from so many expressing such strong pushback, including many I know he respected and was close to. I guess not.

The main questions I'm left with are about what to do. Apparently, many people have tried very hard to reach him and help him understand, but he doubles down instead. He's such a visible spokesperson for the wider P2P movement and it's very troubling to think these ideas will be associated. And I don't feel OK not taking some action, because otherwise someone far more vulnerable will end up taking the brunt instead.

@mix

Yeah this is a bummer to hear about. Seems like a massive blind spot has.

I don't know if this is the appropriate thread to ask in, but I'd like to read some of what he's been posting to familiarise myself with what he's saying so that I can better respond and be in a better position to share any action if it's needed or useful.

@dan
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@Rich

Friends, if this comment triggers you, please let me know and we can talk together privately. I know I am in risky territory so I'm trying to write with great care.

Michel is one of an increasing number of men who feel aggressively censored by the growing discourse about gender and oppression. I know other respected men with significantly higher profile than him who have privately disclosed that sentiment to me.

Most of them have learned to keep their mouths shut in public and explore their controversial thoughts in private spaces, but some fraction of them are somehow fueled by the negative response they get and just keep getting louder, more incensed, and more alienated, further beyond the reach of rational engagement.

Speaking as someone who has been brutally slandered on Facebook and blogs for expressing myself honestly about my own experience of being a person living with patriarchal gender roles, I would offer: I believe in accountability as a mutual aid extended between loving peers. When I get a wave of challenging comments, it's really hard to know which strangers I should filter out and who I should listen to. So now I only really listen to critical feedback from people that have demonstrated some sustained investment in my wellbeing.

I'm essentially guided by feminist scholarship. Where my thoughts on gender and patriarchy deviate from (what I perceive to be) the "party line", I almost never share them in public, even though they are being developed in private with queer anarchafeminist women of colour.

In one sense, that sucks, it hurts, I wish it weren't that way. On the other hand, it seems like a pretty small injustice in the scheme of things, and an opportunity for me to empathise with others who face infinitely worse censorship and much much worse sanctions beyond that.

Every minute I spend not writing controversial public comments about patriarchy is another minute I can spend in private reflection, grief, and psychological reconditioning, or another minute I can spend rejecting the gender roles imposed on me, or another minute I can spend lifting up the voices of marginalised people. But it takes a lot of mindfulness and community support for me to remember that.

@Rich

I will also offer: I've been reframing "toxic masculinity" as "weaponised shame", which leads me to a lot of new insights on how to address it. I.e. any reaction that intensifies the shame is going to increase the toxicity of the behaviour. In some respects, this is pretty awful because it often amounts to asking the victim to extend compassion to their aggressor. But from a behaviour change perspective, I don't know of a more effective approach than compassion.

Also @Alanna tell me to shut up if you don't want the thread to go in this direction.

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@hng
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@mix
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@Alanna

Every minute I spend not writing controversial public comments about patriarchy is another minute I can spend in private reflection, grief, and psychological reconditioning, or another minute I can spend rejecting the gender roles imposed on me, or another minute I can spend lifting up the voices of marginalised people. But it takes a lot of mindfulness and community support for me to remember that.

Thanks for sharing that @Rich - that last part was especially moving. This work is not easy.

I think you're right about what's happening for an increasing number of men. It really doesn't sound easy to go through but.... honestly I'm OK with it. I have compassion for them on some level, but I don't wish it wasn't happening. Deep change calls for sometimes painful transformation. Men get to choose whether they want to go on that journey and grow, or whether they will "just keep getting louder, more incensed, and more alienated, further beyond the reach of rational engagement." I'm glad there are men like you carving some paths through some thickets for those who want to get through them. Jordan Peterson is not one of those men.

I definitely agree with you when it comes to what is effective for reaching an individual. All the research backs that up (that change comes from empathetic connection not fact checking, myth busting, or shaming). I've been doing some really cool work with ActionStation on that topic, which would be cool to chat about some time.

However, that's not the only level of communication in a public online forum. In that context, I'm thinking about all the people reading and what they will understand about the culture of the group, and perhaps of society at large, if serious bullshit goes unchallenged. There are 100 people reading for every comment.

So often, reasonable people see a toxic post and understandably go "I'm not touching that with a 10 foot pole". But what about the rape survivor who comes along interested in learning about P2P and sees the leader of the group posting supportive comments of the guy who says the solution to violent young men in society is "enforced monogamy" so they aren't deprived of sex?

I care waaaaay more about that woman seeing that no, not everyone is going to just let that stand, patting him on the back and saying "Oh well there are two sides to every issue!". Way more than I care about hurting or not hurting Michel's feelings, or even changing his mind or behavior. And if all the comments like that are deleted, as mine was, then I think that woman should have the chance to know the group is not a place that cares about people like her, and decide accordingly whether she wants to hang out there. I am certainly going to put my energy elsewhere.

So, yeah, I knew when I posted that I wasn't going to change Michel's mind by what I was saying, and was probably going to aggravate him. I posted it anyway. Today after reaching out about this experience, I've heard from a bunch of people (women mostly) who have done all the empathetic compassionate reaching out to him they could possibly do, and it had no effect. He just keeps doubling down.

When I get a wave of challenging comments, it's really hard to know which strangers I should filter out and who I should listen to. So now I only really listen to critical feedback from people that have demonstrated some sustained investment in my wellbeing.

This makes sense. I think why I'm taking this particular situation a bit hard is that in the last year Michel has rejected so many people who had this kind of ongoing supportive relationship with him, digging deeper and deeper and alienating people. It's just so sad to see someone on the path to isolating themselves, and sad to lose some leadership I thought the movement had.

@mix
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@mycognosist
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@SoapDog

@Alanna here are some fruits to help your spirit :pear: :grapes: :melon:

I've seen similar stories happening in many similar groups, not just the p2p space. People who've been there and are influential, behaving toxically about topics that for many others are just common sense or at least desirable goals. It is very hard to reconcile our mental images of people we admire with the harsh reality of them being just flawed human beings like the rest of us. In my own path, I used to admire a very influential developer a lot, he helped build many things that are now part of internet culture and helped shaped my understanding of what a global digital sphere could be and yet, he blocked me after I spoke that I thought journalism was fundamental to democracy as a method of keep government in check. It sounded both obvious, and desirable for me, how could you not want that? And yet, I was blocked too.

That made me revise some of my role models and perceive them with the flaws they have. Still, I was not as close to that person, I spoke to him only a couple times. Your experience is waaaaay worse and more real than mine. All I can offer (besides those delicious and invigorating fruits above) is the hopeful benefit of uncalculated statistic predictions in which it seems that the amount people who are behaving like that men you spoke about though very vocal and damaging are diminishing over time as the new generations are growing with a different set of values. All these types of weaponised shame (thanks @Richard D. Bartlett
for the new lingo) actions are reactionary to the positive changes that engulfing the world thanks to people like you :smile_cat: nice people win at the end, always. Love is a very powerful force.

@dan
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@dan
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@Nicolas Stampf (phone)

@Alanna: What is that other p2p Facebook group you're talking about?

@dan
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@mix
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@pospi

Yeah, wow. There's a lot to process in here and like some of you have mentioned and many men reading have probably silently thought, touching the argument with a pole of any length is a dicey move. To avoid miscommunication, I'll try to keep this short and centered around my own experiences.

I do feel overlap here with what some of us were talking about last week regarding tribalism. I don't know the details of the situation, but I do know Michel and consider him a friend, and I suspect a desire to avoid fracturing the P2P movement into small isolated groups is at the core of his objections and comments about "identity politics". It's just a guess, though.

In my personal perspective and with prior background as a privacy activist, I actually do feel that the P2P movement and social justice are quite intertwined. IMO these movements are all connected and different facets of a collective mission to emancipate people from all the things that oppress us. I'm quite the opposite to @xj9 - I often try to bring political discussion & technological discussion into the same conversations as I believe they are inextricably linked. But does the P2P foundation ever write anything about gender? I didn't think so. Perhaps that minimises the harm a little- in that such sexism then only affects the community internally rather than spilling over into the material they produce for the wider world. Is that an ignorant thing to say? I suppose it would be subtly reflected in the writing.

[censorship] seems like a pretty small injustice in the scheme of things, and an opportunity for me to empathise with others who face infinitely worse censorship and much much worse sanctions beyond that.

I love this, it's super important. As much as it sucks, it's a great way to be grown.

In saying that, I do somewhat understand the position of defensiveness around being called out for being a white guy. (It doesn't sound to me as though that's what happened, but if he's already sensitive to it then it's easy for those words to become a hair-trigger.) I have had my own round of abuse and racism directed at me publicly, something which I eventually thought it was important to write about in the open. I'm still unsure whether I actually was being an asshole in this situation - if you'd like to educate me, please do - but as yet nobody other than the person attacking me has checked me on my privilege. The sad reality I've experienced is, it's just kinda trendy to shit on white guys these days... and if you want to discredit someone and shut them out of a conversation then inciting a hate mob to attack them for their ethnic background is a pretty effective way of doing it. I certainly (fairly often, actually) shit on "white people" as a collective noun myself- but not individuals. My ancestors fucked the planet, and it took me some years to overcome my white guilt just for having being born the way I am. But I can't change it, so... what am I going to do with the lucky straw I've been drawn and the uniquely privileged position I hold in history? Maslow's hierarchy has been met for me. So my answer is "change the playing field, I hope".

Anyway, I don't know if that helps to make his side of this situation any more relateable. To some extent I am playing devil's advocate and trying to assume the best & meet his perspective from that place. It's a pretty awful situation to suddenly be in and I'm sorry it's how things have worked out @Alanna :(

@Alanna

Thanks @Pospi.

a desire to avoid fracturing the P2P movement into small isolated groups is at the core of his objections and comments about "identity politics"

Unfortunately his actions have done exactly the opposite. There was a huge outcry when he started posting in support of Jordan Peterson last August, and it lead to a schism in the whole group. He continues to push this even further despite the pain he is causing being made extremely clear to him by many people he previously had close relationships with and claimed to respect.

I actually do feel that the P2P movement and social justice are quite intertwined

Well, it seems Michel does not. For me it's like, is this even a question?

I appreciate everyone's responses. I feel much better after the chance to do some processing. Personally, I'm just going to withdraw support from Michel and the P2P Foundation until they get some better leadership.

@SpencerHadley

Hi, I'm mostly just reading this thread but I want to add a tiny point. And support you in your point...

My ancestors fucked the planet, and it took me some years to overcome my white guilt just for having being born the way I am. But I can't change it, so... what am I going to do with the lucky straw I've been drawn and the uniquely privileged position I hold in history? Maslow's hierarchy has been met for me. So my answer is "change the playing field, I hope".

I've been there and the way that I've changed that for myself is to take it on as a positive responsibility and recognize that I shouldn't get any praise for doing the right thing. I think I've inherited my position, with it's advantages and disadvantages. I could ramble on here for a long time but instead just say that thinking globally and acting locally can and will have broader effects than we can see, so we can invest our good intentions into our immediate surroundings and have faith that that is how all good things have come to pass. I just believe in letting go of defeatist attitudes so that we have more energy to put into pushing Sisyphus's rock.

@pospi
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@runKleisli

@bobhaugen Along those lines, I would want to know if this person's hangups are intellectual or emotional, because as long as there's a clear criteria for what the motivations for it would be, having a dialogue with gender and sex-nonconforming people or engaging over videos of theirs about gender and why Jordan Peterson is felt as a hostile, hate-spreading person would likely be enough. The problem is, people don't look towards #LGBT+ voices when gender & sex issues come up, the group they're in looks to cishet normative voices, and actively erase LGBT+ voices. The filter bubbling on YouTube has a real impact on people's politics, here, but so does a basic, socially cultivated blindness to those voices.

@bobhaugen

@runKleisli thanks. I am still dithering about what to say to Michel, where, and when. I've been following the messages in some of the P2P mailing lists and it's probably all been said, without effect on Michel as far as I can see. I'm an old man, as is Michel, but not as old as me, so I might have an angle. But you may be right, that gender-sex-nonconforming people might do better.

@hng
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@Angelica
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@Mathijs

:open_mouth: ... like doesn't apply here.

@mikey
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@bobhaugen

I'm forking from these threads:

I'm trying out an argument. Feedback appreciated.

I think Michel Bauwens is wrong about "identitarians", and agree with @Alanna that if he was trying to avoid fractures, his actions backfired.

I'm following bell hooks about interlocking systems of oppression that involve axes of domination and subordination focused on at least class, gender, and what you might call race (for want of a better word that would communicate clearly).

The people on the subordinate poles of those axes are resisting and rebelling against the dominant aspects (male chauvinism, white chauvinism, and capitalist exploitation). Those rebellions are driving human cultural evolution right now, and are necessary and positive. You can oppose them at the peril of your own irrelevance.

I think that activists in different positions on those polarities have different responsibilities. I know there is a famous quote about this topic, but a search failed to find. It says something like, if you are a member of a dominant group (male, wealthy, or white), your responsibility is to oppose the oppression of the subordinate group, but if you are a member of a subordinate group, your responsibility is to uphold the unity of the struggles of all of the interlocked subordinate groups.

So for example Adolph Reed can criticize black identity politics and uphold working class unity, but I don't have such a platform. Neither do I have a platform to criticize feminist identity politics. Those are the internal dynamics of ideological forms that I do not belong to.

But Adolph Reed (and bell hooks) are correct that those axes are interlocking. Doesn't do much good for our overall progression as a species to overturn one of those axes at the expense of the others. As in capitalist exploitation by black gay women. That's not likely on any large scale, but that also points out the interlocking nature of those systems of oppression.

And that is not to ignore the oppression of black gay women on those other axes. And of course people will try to exploit any aspect of identity for personal or political gain. We're trained by capitalism to be exploitative.

And as Lynn pointed out a couple of days ago, it would be easy to split a movement by inserting some identify arguments, and it looks like that has already been done more than once.

This stuff is hard. Can't ignore any of it. And the movements will need to learn how to navigate, which will not be easy.

What I want is the end of relationships of domination and subordination altogether.

Re Jordan Peterson: male chauvinism expresses itself as personal superiority, which can be physical or intellectual. Jordan Peterson smells to me like an intellectual male chauvinist. And as somebody said in that other thread, he seems to be upholding either the status quo or some mythical better state in the past.

I just subjected myself to this: https://jordanbpeterson.com/transcripts/biblical-series-iii/

He's displaying his erudition but clearly loves dominance hierarchies. The episode with his wife was chilling to me.

That's as far as I can go in checking him out. I fear brain damage otherwise.

@runKleisli

@bobhaugen Hope it goes well~! They (their prefered pronouns are he?) do self-select in a way they may not understand, so that's the convo you're going into in my XP.

Jordan Petersons fanbase is built a lot on public discussion about the #wage-gap, so I'll mention this right away
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi%E2%80%93Pasta%E2%80%93Ulam%E2%80%93Tsingou_problem#Name_change

On Patchwork, we can be having a discussion about #mens-issues, #mens-fragility, #cis-fragility, and #gender-ontology. Highly relevant to the political atmosphere on YouTube & Reddit!

In anglo-american society our gender ontology contains masculine, feminine, and nonbinary gendered people. Nonbinary encompasses neutral gender in a masculine-feminine-neutral ontology. That facilitates us speaking of men, women, and nonbinary people or enbys.

Some of these women & enbys may have been #muxe a little further #South, with or without their #medicine, feminizing #HRT hormone replacement therapy.

In a finer ontology we have #XX-women, such as cisgendered women and women with #XX-male-syndrome, who generally transition with hormone replacement therapy.

#Women also include women with #XY-gonadal-dysgenesis (#Swyer-syndrome)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XY_gonadal_dysgenesis

who can give birth under doctor supervision after surgical feminization treatment.

Because this person is an #XY-woman, the Trump administration's supreme court memo describes a plan to legally gender them as men by their XY chromosomes, defining gender for the first time legally in the U.S. in doing so.

So when I say someone's self-identifying as a man, woman, or enby is what gives them their gender, I'm saying this is how Jordan Peterson's rhetoric on men being men being men,,, has to do with what his hardline stances on gender roles are reinforcing about gender discrimination, is he's coming from a preconception that people being gendered by others as men are necessarily driven to fulfill the obligations of a mens #gender-role as Jordan Peterson invisions it.

@Jen
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@Alanna

I've just heard from a trans friend who stayed in the P2P group to give Michel the benefit of the doubt that he's now posting TERF content. :disappointed:

This just keeps getting worse and worse. Michel is now on the track to at best alienate a large number of people who used to respect him, and at worse faces a public effort to deplatform him.

Personally, I'm not sure I have the energy to take this situation on at all. But I know that if I just withdraw and pretend Michel doesn't exist (like I want to), the damage will only hit marginalized people harder.

@runKleisli

What am I gonna call a police officer when they call me Miss?
Sir! Miss! Per! Whichever is appropriate.

What am I gonna call them when they shout Sir at me?
Not sir. Not that one.

I have been molested by a police officer. I'm also one of the many people who was molested as a child by TSA officers when the TSA was established. It's the disrespect for human autonomy in society that shows these people they dont have to be ashamed. It's been more violent towards me since Trump won the GOP primary. A lot worse, and when I tell people over the phone who have my govt records that it's Miss, nor Mr, they refuse, and I repeat it each time they say Sir or Mr. I say Per to them, and they ignore me. I say Sir or Mr to those women from then on instead. Then they pass the phone on to someone else who calls me Miss based on how my voice sounds. I have been called Miss by adults since I was a child, and people haven't stopped as I've gotten older. I just started taking estrogen and walking without scrunching my body up or rocking my cock out stiffly when I walk and ppl start calling me SIR SIR SIR

Very militaristic disrespect

@Emmi Bevensee
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@Emmi Bevensee

thoughts in response to @Richard D. Bartlett and @Alanna

I mean, it sounds bad but what do we do with a malicious node in a p2p network? Route around it. If it's sabotaging and harming the connections around it and not showing any likelihood of improvement, gotta keep the network healthy. And I certainly distinguish between disagreement which is dope and people who are actively promoting harm against minorities like JP and TERFs.

The thing about JP is that he's a pseudo-intellectual who appeals to the struggles that white-straight-cis-men face. I think the Lefts complete refusal to acknowledge the pain and trauma of people who are privileged on one or several axes is a failure mode bc it makes their descent into reactionary politics surprising. As Wash said in Firefly, "Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!" I think the problem is one of perspective though. It's easy to worship at the altar of your own pain if through lack of empathy or exposure if you haven't really come to know and internalize the struggles of people different than you. Especially if there's some ideologue who is convincing you that you are Special and Important. Simultaneously a Repressed Victim and the Rightful Heir to Power. Mmm yes. That subtle proto-fascist potion. It gets the people going!

I was in a class once that was majority women, PoC, and queer folks including the teachers who were both PoC women one of whom was queer. One of my classmates was a white,straight,cis dude and we had been talking about identity politics a bunch and I think a lot of it was very new to him. People were sharing some personal experiences with marginalization and such. He spoke up to say, "Well I feel like in this space there's not a lot of room for my experience because I'm in the minority." And bless his heart, he was really struggling it was clear. My teacher was pitch-perfect. She looked at him and said, "Honey, I hear that and I feel it. It's real and hard. But I need you to understand that what you're experiencing is how I feel all the time. It's just shocking to you because it's new." And I think that really penetrated. His eyes got all big like he was tripping and had a brain-blast epiphany.

I think people well positioned who have the energy and investment to invest in key figures who stray too far towards the dark side (not just questioning norms and establishing complexity but actively embracing proto-fascist politics) are doing the Good Work. More extreme cases like Derek Black ( https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/the-white-flight-of-derek-black/2016/10/15/ed5f906a-8f3b-11e6-a6a3-d50061aa9fae_story.html?utm_term=.90300f368b0a ) make it clear that a well positioned stream of compassionate kindness can in certain cases have a monumental effect. And no doubt, this is the society we want. Where we believe in each other and work for transformative justice. But we don't live in a perfect world with abundance. Emotional investment and time are scarce. Sure the "emotional labor" debate can go off the rails at times but the heart of it is absolutely true. It takes time and energy to help expose people to the painful and complex realities that are beyond their entire paradigm of existence. In certain cases a bigger reality can even destabilize people if they're relying on their "True Victim who deserves Power" narrative to cope at a basic level. Their resistance to narratives outside of their own is rooted in some deep reality that they actually can't handle the truth.

So while I want the best for people and I believe in our common, cooperative evolution, rare is it that you see me talking nazis off the ledge (although I dabble with some mixed and minor success). I'd rather be supporting my networks who both deserve and reciprocate the effort. Building up our resilience to constant attacks. Cultivating our joy and hoping that our love is too infectious for certain reactionaries to resist flipping and beating back the ones we can't flip so that we can claim our space to thrive.

He, as a person, I'm sure deserves love and access to complicated truths in a language that his probably traumatized brain can understand. But we don't always have the resources to do it, and that's assuming it's even possible. In many cases, we invest a ton of emotional and physical resources into people who have no intention of growth and they just take us for all we're worth when we could have spent those ganas on people who would have paid them forward. It's a sad reality. I hope something disproves it for me someday because I don't enjoy giving up on people.

It's hard to lose friends tho. And finding out the worst of people you've respected, supported, trusted, or learned from can be a special kind of pain. After years of reading Adrienne Rich's poetry and being deeply changed by it I learned of her collaboration on a critical piece of TERF history. Her books are still on my shelf, but her failure to ever apologize or acknowledge it before her death ruined my perception of her. And it's not like I ever even met her or hosted her events or anything.

I think it's fine for you to engage in the way that you are able. Don't feel guilty for not burning yourself out. If you have energy to devote and you do, good on you. The dividing of communities can be extremely healthy. The unearthing of internal divides can be the beginning of a more stable and self-actualized community. Everyone who knows better is already planting the seeds of new resilient communities. Those stuck in a stunted reality will eventually be eaten by their failure to accurately model and thus predict the changes in their environment.

I'm not saying any of this as a lecture or advice. I trust your process and intentions. Just sharing it as my perspective.

@Rich

Aaah I love this little essay @Emmi Bevensee. Maybe this will be a balm for @haileycoop who has been investing tonnes of compassionate energy into tryna deliver complicated truths to Michel.

@Rich

There's the general problem of "how to productively engage with people when they're exploring dangerous ideas and edging towards censorship paranoia." I.e. telling a censorphobic person to shut up doesn't help.

In this case there's a more specific problem of "how to hold an unelected leader accountable". I think the answer is "you can't really", so the job is to build a more effective and more accountable counterpower, move folks over there, and deplatform the leader.

Michel as unelected leader of the P2P "community" (it's mostly not a community, it's people paying attention to the same hashtag) has disproportionate access to financial and social capital for any activities near the P2P umbrella. There are really great people in his orbit, so deplatforming him risks the livelihood of good people with precarious income.

When the rift started to open a few months ago, people split off the main P2P Facebook group and started the P2P Left group, which is like the original but with a long Code of Conduct including a commitment to intersectional feminism. At the risk of backseat-driving here, my prediction is that response is going to be basically ineffective. It hasn't addressed the general problem, or the specific problem, or taken material steps towards removing Michel's power.

The new group is not oriented to action, so there's no effective way to gain status, apart from maybe being a good discussion participant or host. And even if you could legitimately grow useful status in that group, there's no accountability structure yet to govern it. It's still a Facebook group, so there's no decision making methods, and there still an enormous supercomputer AI pointed at your brain trying to hijack your attention and your outrage every second you participate.

The only real improvement is a specific code of conduct which tells you exactly where the line of censorship will be drawn. Unfortunately that line is going to be in the wrong place for the next crisis.

@Alanna

Thanks @Emmi Bevensee , you put into words a lot of what I'm feeling and I agree with your assessment of the potential actions from here :green_heart:

@mu
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@Emmi Bevensee

@Richard D. Bartlett fwiw I think we all need a place to process our icky thoughts. Censoring our own minds is dangerous. Repressing a thought just multiplies its power. But it's like, you can just feel the difference between someone who wants to inflict their process on you and someone who is trying to engage with accountability and consent in a process of epistemological rationality. I have fascist and just generally gross thoughts. It comes with the territory of the work that I do. For us though we build in "accountability buddies" and make friends who are specifically open to hearing these kinds of things. Accountability buddies are good for reminding you to take a break and find your core again.

When I have gross in-group censored thoughts I try not to ignore them. I try to think them through to the bottom. But it's a lot of work so it takes help (at times professional help bc my brain is kinda broke). The bad part is if you get too much of the poison at once you might not be able to process it all and some of it sticks and crops up later in a weird form where it can be harder to work through. But it's worth it bc also, of course, in-group orthodoxy is often wrong. At times disastrously so! So I'm broadly pro free speech but you can tell that there are different intentions behind many in the free-speech bleachers. Some of us want discourse and to struggle towards ground-truth and some of us just want weapons to bash enemies and silence minority insight... which of course resembles free-speech only in buzzword not in form.

Also I'm embarrassed to have written so much but i guess i had some thought-feels on the matter.

@mycognosist
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@jv

Michel reached out to me through email and asked me to post his response here. I've spent the last few hours reading, researching and contemplating and have decided to do as he asks.

I can understand how your experience was hurtful @Alanna and I can imagine how that exchange would have stung. I can also imagine how you are feeling torn between just walking away and doing what you can to protect vulnerable voices.

My sense is that hurt feelings and misunderstandings have been exploding like fireworks in the p2p community for the past six months and that Michel has developed a trigger from perceived attacks, while also causing his own share of hurt feelings in the process.

I suspect our digital tools are making it easy to misunderstand people from a distance, while tragically also making it easier to cause hurt and distress. In reading Michel's letter I can see how his words have been shaped by hurt and I can also see how they have the potential to cause more hurt.

Along with the letter he also sent a link to this video and this article which might be useful for folks who want to understand where he is coming from.

Here is the Letter from Michel

@hng
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@hailey

@joshuavial both of my browsers seem unable to serve the letter. Safari says "blocked plugin". Is there another option to share?

@rsolva

As an outsider that has read this whole thread with great interest, I have to say I found Michel's letter both reasonable and well argued and not the words of a madman. To label him mentally ill seems unreasonable, and I agree with his principled stance on being able to explore and discuss any topic – no matter how controversial.

I say this as someone without any prior knowledge about what Michel has written in the p2p facebook group. If he indeed has been mean to others on a personal level, that is not acceptable and warrants a reaction from the community.

@Alanna

This is not about being "mean on a personal level" or "hurt feelings". It's about someone with unaccountable leadership and profile using his platform to spread reprehensible ideology. To him it might just be an academic debate, but to women and trans people and all kinds of marginalized folks, it's their lives.

If Michel wants his message to be posted on SSB, why doesn't he come on here and speak for himself? I have been inviting him and offering to onboard him for more than a year. How ironic that the scion of P2P won't bother to come on a P2P network to speak directly with his peers.

I'm not going to read his letter at this time. I've already wasted too much emotional energy on this.

@Alanna

Another irony: Michel sent me a nasty email explicitly saying he was blocking me and would not read any replies. Then he engages a flying money to deliver his rebuttal. All I get from that is ego and a desperate attempt to protect his reputation from his own misguided actions. If he's worried about his reputation, perhaps he should stop spreading content from Jordan Peterson and TERFs.

@Alanna

@joshuavial the flying monkey thing isn't a comment on you; it's just describing the dynamic of sending a message through others instead of delivering it yourself because you're not brave enough to engage directly.

@kaffie

At this point whenever I hear someone talk about trans stuff I just assume they're going to be horribly horribly wrong about it. There's so much misinfo, both by transphobes and by "allies" and mainstream party positions. It's to the point where I can't speak publicly about being trans without getting harassed, either by transphobes, or the people calling me transphobic (despite talking about my own disorder!). Got a 7 day suspension for twitter for detailing my medical treatments (how long I've been on them, what I've been getting) and about my disorder (symptoms, diagnostic criteria, etc). Apparently that's "hate speech"? It's a sad world when transsexuals are getting censored for being transphobic simply for describing their own existence.

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@rsolva

I agree that it would be better if Michel engaged with you all here on SSB, @Alanna. I also agree that he overstepped if he initiated these kind of controversial debates in the P2P group and shared unrelated content that was upsetting to other members. This is something he should reserve for his private profile, a space that people can choose to engage with or not – which is not the case when he, as a de facto leader, starts these off-topic debates in a group with another focus entirely.

@aramiscd@t530

both reasonable and well argued

It starts out with a comparison to the soviet regime and mentions totalitarianism repeatedly. It contains lots of insults and accusations (intellectually lazy, opposed to debating, lacking veracity, identitarian extremism, ideologically possessed, beyond reason and rational debate) while portraying himself as a principled defender of open debate.

@rsolva

Disclaimer: I don't know anything about the context other than what has been written in this thread, and my comments should be read with that in mind. I find this debate to be very interesting though, as it reflects on the conflicting world views in our contemporary culture.

How this conflict was sparked matters. If Michel, as the a leader of this group, used his position and authority to initiate this off-topic debate in the P2P-group, he overstepped and misused his position. If he brought up and debated these ideas on his own profile / wall or in other forums, I would consider this appropriate and well within his right to explore ideas; challenge and be challenged.

If the former is the case, the right thing to do would be to apologize and pledge to keep these debates out of the common space of this group where they clearly don't belong. No one should be forced to participate in a dividing discourse unrelated to the topic at hand.

If the later is the case, I think it is an overreaction to question his sanity for exploring these contemporary ideas that is debated heavily in our society today. His remark about soviet methods is not incorrect, as it was not unusual to question someones mental health if they had opinions that deviated from the party line. This is an intellectually lazy approach and sidesteps healthy debate and exacerbates ideological tribalism.

The question is if @Alanna engaged in this debate voluntary on Michel's profile / wall, or if these ideas where pushed onto the members of a forum that was unrelated to the debate in question.

Again; feel free to discard my comments as I probably know to little about this specific conflict to have an opinion :grin:

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@Alanna

Disclaimer: I don't know anything about the context

@rsolva maybe don't make assumptions then?

If Michel, as the a leader of this group, used his position and authority to initiate this off-topic debate in the P2P-group, he overstepped and misused his position.

Yes this is what happened.

If the former is the case, the right thing to do would be to apologize and pledge to keep these debates out of the common space of this group where they clearly don't belong.

No shit. This is what people have been saying for 6 months but he just keeps digging himself deeper and posting more support of Jordan Peterson and TERFs.

feel free to discard my comments as I probably know to little about this specific conflict

OK, done.

@Alanna

I think it's hilarious someone is in here mansplaining someone else's mansplaining to me :joy:

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@dan

I'd like to register that Michel is wrong about the claim

(the so-called trans-pronouns issue, which is also opposed by UK feminists)

I'm from the UK. My partner is trans. Anyone involved in social movements will understand the danger and inaccuracy of generalisations. The UK feminism scene is as wide as the P2P scene is and I can say from experience that TERFS make up a minority of feminists in the networks of which I am part.

In my opinion where someone has resources and power there should be a corresponding level of transparency and accountability. That Michel would have someone deliver a letter for him is something which I can't get behind and displays neither a spirit of transparency nor accountability.

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@dan

Alanna, thank you standing ground on this. It's important.

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@runKleisli

@pospi

if you'd like to educate me, please do - but as yet nobody other than the person attacking me has checked me on my privilege. The sad reality I've experienced is, it's just kinda trendy to shit on white guys these days...

TRIGGER WARNING Death & racism & gender violence

The reason white ppl come under fire in these situations is,
in the 1780s they invented #Caucasians & #The-3-Races, the first #racial-system to really blow up in European academia #scientific-racism #racism & white ppl STILL REFUSE to commit to the idea that this ideology promoted #slavery, & that it still affects our lives 2dei

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caucasian_race

The Three Races:

  • Caucasian
  • Negroid
  • Mongoloid

U.S. society later transitioned to a race system where a #white-race adopted the social role of the former #Caucasian-race.

Similarly, men often refuse to acknowledge the role #misogyny and racism play in #gender-violence! #WontBeErased

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Laude

Moreover, we have #homeless in conditions from which they can't recover, effectively leaving people who enter that economic class punitively restrained there, no one socializing with them & them becoming untouchable. They don't have places to socialize with non-homeless people, so they don't have access to opportunities in common with the homed class.

That's why this woman, Chloe Sagal, killed herself.
https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2018/06/woman_who_set_self_on_fire_in.html

@rsolva

The details you provide makes the situation much more clear and I understand why you feel you need to take action. Thanks for providing context and I'm sorry if it was out of place for me to participate in this rather internal this discussion :blush:

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@jv

Copy that @haileycoop - I initially went to post it in plain text but hit ssb's character limit. Did the link from @acduran work for you? http://hashstore.aramis.auriga.uberspace.de/b218b3765e478d675b29c9cf43975255.pdf

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@SomeRandomUser

@Alanna, I was not aware P2P tech was strictly for SJWs! I have been heavily involved in P2P tech for a long time and I happen to think SJW and radical feminist ideologies to be abhorrent. But just because I dont like those ideas doesn't mean I want try to shutdown their events.

Take a moment to consider how authoritarian and tyrannical it is to actively shut down other peoples events because you disagree with them.

Jordan Peterson basically campaigns for one thing, for people to take responsibility for their own lives.

The fact that you referred to Michel as a white man certainly sounds like you may be racist, that would certainly go along with the SJW ideology.

The only worrying fascism around right now is coming from those on the far left.

Take a moment to consider maybe you are the one having a mental health breakdown.

@runKleisli

Correction: The memo is from the Department of Health & Human Services,
& reads
"The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence."
http://www.dazeddigital.com/politics/article/41910/1/five-things-you-can-do-to-oppose-the-trump-administration-s-transphobia

I probably can't afford to get this genetic evidence! If it even exists for all ppl who transition. The same for neurological evidence. Psychological screenings & evaluation have been enormously discriminatory, obstructive, & expensive to countless people, and it's important to support clinics/practices with an Informed Consent model.

@Emmi Bevensee

@SomeRandomUser lol what a dweeb u r. I hope you enjoy the 1950s on repeat for the rest of your sad Status Quo Warrior life. You all holler like this only because you feel the tide coming out from under you. You're aware you've already lost. The Cultural Marxist Agenda has prevailed! Now you must develop nuance and sensitivity in order to garner social support in the world instead of just relying on vapid entitlement. Muahahah. Taking responsibility for your life means making the brave and honest admission that you are indelibly connected to others and that there are patterns of structural and interpersonal phenomena that inequitably distribute not ends as you all fear, but means: namely opportunity and access. Scary to imagine that you may have been awarded a head-start and it still wasn't enough to win against the minorities who've had to learn to fight and struggle their whole life. God forbid they're given an equal footing. This path of personal responsibility is far more brave than anything JP and his ilk could stir up in their pseudo-science cultish brains. Also thanks for "the real nazis are the ones who don't like nazis" it always feels like a strawman until you encounter it in the wild. But I guess some people are destined to be strawmen.

@Emmi Bevensee

@SomeRandomUser also just fyi you probably won't like it here. SSB is a super SJW space. There are mandatory feelings circles where we socialize our feminism and multiply our genders. It's pretty intense stuff. Also we don't shave or wear bras and all the men have to cross-dress. You're welcome to hang out though if you're into that kind of thing.

@mycognosist
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@Lando

@Emmi Bevensee

@SomeRandomUser also just fyi you probably won't like it here. SSB is a super SJW space. There are mandatory feelings circles where we socialize our feminism and multiply our genders. It's pretty intense stuff. Also we don't shave or wear bras and all the men have to cross-dress. You're welcome to hang out though if you're into that kind of thing.

can confirm.

its delightful, also can confirm

@Zach
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@Zach

also just fyi you probably won't like it here. SSB is a super SJW space. There are mandatory feelings circles where we socialize our feminism and multiply our genders.

<3 <3 <3. Decentralize gender.

@Emmi Bevensee

@Zach! <3 The first time my gender decentralized it was jarring but eventually you get the hang of it and develop a synchronous orbit of tiny genders dancing together towards the horizon.

I'm sorry for derailing a very important thread. This was just a delightful side scamper in a discussion partially about boring (but sad) dinosaur politics like TERF that occupy an extremely marginal position in modern feminist discourse despite their loud hollering. Agreed re @dan hassan. They're loud cuz they're losing. Unfortunately tho their ideas are very pervasive in capital-L Lesbian communities still even if not consciously/explicitly. Their are some funny "Bootleggers and Baptists" type situations in the discourse. Like of course the alt-right would start citing feminism as a reason to support anti-trans policy despite being "proud misogynists" and anti-feminists. New developments in horseshoe theory. The weirdness singularity ratchets ever closer. etc. etc.

(article about Bootleggers and Baptists wrt TERFs https://c4ss.org/content/51306 )

#feminism #queer

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@Emmi Bevensee

The first time my gender decentralized it was jarring but eventually you get the hang of it and develop a synchronous orbit of tiny genders dancing together towards the horizon.

Can you either get them to stop winking like that, or let us know which horizon and when? We're trying to have a dark-sky experience over here.
Thanks.
Bideford Bob

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@SomeRandomUser

@Emmi Bevensee I didnt call the far left Nazis, I called them Fascists.

Interesting that you admit Cultural Marxism has been successful in your view. Dont get me wrong I think it's a set of terrible ideas, but I dont give the theory as much water as others. I think there are other easier explanations for the mess we're in.

Sure I'm down for hairy armpits, no bras and cross dressing, sounds fun. Just dont bring up the Cultural Marxism and the 100's of millions of people dead, it's a real turn off.

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