A Few Games

Feb. 18th, 2017 09:12 am
selki: (games)
[personal profile] selki
I am a little concerned that my last post,

Movies

where I talked about *Arrival* and related media, and asked for links to folks' commentary which I'd skipped at the time (avoiding spoilers), and
*Hidden Figures*, did not show up on LiveJournal. Is something going wrong with cross-posting? I re-set my password in the cross-posting settings, though it hasn't changed for months (I should change my passwords) so I should probably have let it alone. We'll see if this gets through.

Anyway,
Games

I have played a few games the past couple of months, some new.
  1. Ticket to Ride, an oldie but goodie.  Introduced a couple of friends to it who had never played it before.  One of them loved it to pieces (even though she lost), bought it, and has gotten her family to play it and they like it too.  *warm glow of accomplishment*  This was New Year's weekend at Asylum House in Philadelphia.
  2. Dragon and Flagon:  bar brawl tabletop game with sort of Robo Rally mechanics.  I hear some people find this way too slow, waiting for one's turn to come around.  We prevented such sadness by a) only having 4 players b) each player doubled up with two characters c) those of us who caught on varied our characters' actions so that some played actions that took only one or two rounds to complete, and some played actions that took several rounds to complete.  I would happily play this again.  Learned it at Rev. Karl's Brunswick Games Day (he rents a community center and lots come to play).
  3. Patchwork: quilting tabletop game for 2 players.  Each person tries to build a quilt by "buying" irregular shapes from a common pool of "fabric scraps" (think Blokus but each has their own quilt, not competing for space with each other).  Soothing, pretty, some strategy, but a little difficult to follow the "track" due to the prettyness.  I learned this at my church's Syrian Refugees fundraiser (games night run by the church teenagers).
  4. Pairs.  I love this push-your-luck card game with beautiful decks -- 2-player that night, takes up to 7 pretty well.  The basic rules are fine for me, but some get into the variants.   This was at a friend's party.
  5. Spaceteam:  repair your spaceship in a hurry cooperative card game.  I didn't have all the energy for shouting frantic help requests
    ​ and throwing cards​
    at each other, but it was interesting to watch.  Fun art, what I saw of it. 
  6. Tenra:  RPG hosted at my house, GM'd by badmagic.  I enjoyed playing an anneledist who saw worms on that world as a source of wonder, not disgust.  Some combat, some intrigue.  We had a good time, but I ran out of steam by the 4th act. 


kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
My sleep debt is uncountable so this is not particularly coherent.

SPOILERS )

Three Lovely Things

Feb. 17th, 2017 06:05 pm
jesse_the_k: White woman with glasses laughing under large straw hat (JK 52 happy hat)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k

Very silly joke collection on Metafilter https://www.metafilter.com/145070/JokeFilter

Want to know all the shows coming to Hulu in a month? See their press releases here:

https://www.hulu.com/press/posts/hulu-what-s-coming-and-going-in-march

A beautiful comic that meditates on cultural artifacts and a hyphenated Japanese-American identity:

http://jemyoshioka.tumblr.com/post/157138759636/home-home-the-final-comic-in-my-series-about-my

Dreamwidth news: 15 February 2017

Feb. 15th, 2017 05:35 am
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_news
Hello, Dreamwidth! And thank you to everyone who wished me and my wife a happy vacation -- it was an excellent one. (Rumors that it was to help distract me from a significant birthday starting with 4 and ending with 0 are totally unfounded. Really.) It was also awesome to come back and see all of the new activity going on! I hope that everyone who's joined us in the last month or two has been settling in nicely.

Behind the cut, a tour of some of the new stuff we've done in the last few months, plus a look at some older changes that could use more love:

* Image Hosting Frontend
* HTTPS Beta
* Create Entries Beta: progress report
* Selective comment screening
* Other alphabets in site search: fixed!
* Icon file size limit increased
* Dreamwidth: Did You Know?
* Team Dreamwidth

DW News, 15 Feb 2017 )

*

That's it from us for another update! As always, if you're having problems with Dreamwidth, Support can help you; for notices of site problems and downtime, check the Twitter status page.

Comment notifications may be delayed for an hour or two, due to the high volume of notifications generated after an update is posted to [site community profile] dw_news. This was posted at 5:35AM EST (see in your time zone). Please don't worry about delayed notifications until at least two hours after that.

Why CBT Is Bad

Feb. 14th, 2017 09:02 am
tim: text: "I'm not offended, I'm defiant" (defiant)
[personal profile] tim
Cognitive-behavioral therapy often gets pushed, to the exclusion of all other therapy modalities, for a range of mental health issues: depression, anxiety, insomnia, phobias, addiction.

I can't speak to how well it works for all of those issues, but one of the things wrong with it -- not with it, rather, but with the privileged place it's been given in the current medical model of mental health issues -- is that it's close to useless for people with a trauma history, and trauma is the underlying cause of all five issues I mentioned for many people. (I could write a separate post on why it's been given that privileged place, but I'll leave that to your imagination for now.) I am not a medical or mental health professional, just someone with a lifetime of personal experience.

[personal profile] azurelunatic's post about being prescribed a CBT workshop for insomnia is a great example. When I read it, I thought about my own sleep issues and how useless every behavioral approach -- both CBT-type approaches, and "sleep hygiene"-style approaches -- have been for it.

I have obstructive sleep apnea, so no behavioral approach can address the fact that untreated, I wake up more tired than I was when I went to bed, because I wake up many times an hour unable to breathe. But the main issue is that my body learned when I was a child that sleep was dangerous, and neither cognitive nor behavioral approaches can make my body unlearn that -- it's something I learned before I was developmentally able to use cognition or to reflect on my behavior.

As a child, I had an abusive parent who would force me to go to bed hours before I was actually ready to go to sleep, because she thought it was good for children to be on a regular sleep schedule. (Or because she wanted to control somebody and doing things to children that are generally believed to be for their own good is a socially acceptable way to do it. I don't really know.) So I learned that sleep meant lying in bed for hours, awake and intensely bored but not allowed to get up and do anything. When I got a little older I would get up and night and go into a walk-in closet in our apartment and read for as long as I could get away with it. When my mother figured out I was doing this, she unscrewed the light bulb. I learned to associate sleep, as well as going to bed early, both with an abusive parent who I knew was incapable of knowing what was good for me, and with hours of boredom and anxiety.

Therapists (and others) who apply CBT simplistically would tell me that the lasting, physical residue of these years are "cognitive distortions" that I need to reason my way out of. They would be wrong, because there's nothing distorted about mechanisms I learned in order to keep myself safe. Being awake is safer than being asleep in an environment that is dangerous for you, and for a child, there's nothing more dangerous than an environment that contains an alternately intrusive and inattentive caregiver and nobody else.

It's safe for me to relax now, and has been for the past twenty years, but because trauma changes your body in chemical and physical ways, just telling myself that won't make me go to sleep. I use chemical solutions to a chemical problem: medication. Maybe someday, I'll have had enough trauma therapy that I won't need it as often. But in the meantime, I'll be able to get enough rest and avoid some of the constant physical stress that arises from inadequate sleep.

CBT is politically attractive because it individualizes responsibility . Better to blame people's suffering on their own cognitive distortions, and teach them that they need to do work to overcome them (under capitalism, any solution that gives already-overworked people more work to do gets conferred with near-religious levels of praise), than to recognize that abuse culture harms people in long-lasting ways. If we recognized that many parenting practices widely considered to be non-abusive, or even helpful, in this culture are actually traumatic, we'd have to rethink a lot. Better to avoid confronting that by privatizing trauma and recasting it as individual pathology, ignoring the patterns in front of us.

Mental health is (I suspect) not the default state of human existence in the first place -- our brains are complicated and have too many failure modes for that. But in a society that depends on denial -- of the lasting effects of slavery (denial of the effects on white people, mostly), of the violence done by income inequality, and of the corrosiveness of toxic masculinity -- self-awareness is rebellion, and thus it's not surprising that to find therapies that foster it rather than providing a few tools to be economically productive while hurting inside, we often have to look outside the mainstream.

Sleep class!

Feb. 14th, 2017 12:45 am
azurelunatic: A pajama-clad small child uses a rainbow-striped cruciform parachute. From illustration of "Go the Fuck to Sleep". (insomnia)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
So because not only do I have insomnia, I also suffer from it, the most-recent in the chain of moderately alarmed sleep-adjacent professionals (the neurologist at Deer Creek) referred me to the Improve Your Sleep! class, which has been eating my Monday evenings over the last month.

The main feature of this class, in the eyes of the neurologist and my counselor, has been the CBT aspect of it. Apparently the number one thing that cures insomnia is CBT. So everyone was hopeful. (I had specified to the neurologist that I would in fact be running anything suggested in the CBT past my Supervisor and my therapist. Which was a good call to have made.)

It turns out that when Guide Dog Aunt loaned me a book on sleep a few years ago, the one that pointed out that there was not in fact any moral value to any specific sleep schedule, and that instead of saying stuff like "I'm lazy because I sleep until noon", one should look at it in terms of "My most productive hours are in the evening, and I schedule my life in a way that suits my sleep schedule" -- that general tool of re-framing the guilt and fear around sleep is in fact the very CBT that this class relies on. So, unfortunately, the CBT that I had hoped would be new information was not, in fact, new information at all. The book specifically addressed Negative Sleep Thoughts. The class then expanded the concepts of re-framing runaway negative thought chains in a better light, which is also a Fishmum trick that I've been teaching my little fishies and my partner...

The other main leg of this class is meditation and the relaxation response. I believe that I can trace my habit of meditative breathing in particular to the summer when I read ... some Heinlein book or other ... and thought that taking up meditation would be a grand idea. The latest that could have been was 1996. Then I formally took up meditation (and learned all of the techniques discussed in the meditation unit of this class) in 2001-ish, when I went to DeVry to get a degree in Holistic Massage join a coven. So depending how you slice it, I've been familiar with, and practicing, meditation for anywhere from fifteen to twenty years.

The main new information I got out of the class, in fact, was that sleep-maintenance insomnia was recently discovered to be associated with a sleep-time body temperature that has not dropped as it ought to for that part of the night. And I do, in fact, routinely overheat while attempting to sleep. Which means that if I'm in bed and even slightly think that I might not get to sleep soonish, I should immediately go and get the ice pack, and not try to be a hero.

Also, low doses of sedating antidepressants are also used as sleep medications. The instructor was down on this practice, because antidepressants are only good for people with depression. FUNNY THING, THAT.

Pretty much all the rest of the class was review, and (due to my internets research) I was often in possession of more detailed information than the instructor. I came to feel that I could probably have taught the class myself, given the curriculum.

The first class was pleasant enough. I think there were about ten of us. One woman came in late, and borrowed a pen from me. We had a pleasant chat while she was waiting for her husband to pick her up. She's sleep-deprived to the point that she can't safely drive, and caretaking for her autistic son has done a number on her sleep schedule and ability to stay asleep.

I reviewed the materials in the packets for the four weeks. The second week, the cognitive re-framing, was going to be hard, since the materials blithely suggested that "most people" could get away with abbreviated amounts of sleep with nothing more terrible than a loss of creativity and a bad mood. Pro tip: when your patient reports very bad effects ) tied to as little as one night of abbreviated sleep while under stressful circumstances (and the current Republican administration is nothing if not stressful circumstances) telling the patient that everything is probably going to be okay if they blow sunshine up their own ass is life-threateningly bad advice. So I realized that I had better sit next to the door in case I had to step out of the room.

During the second class, the instructor was trying to impress upon us the way that a poorly timed nap can fuck up your sleep schedule pretty badly. My friend said that this was going to be a problem for her: you put her in the car (as a passenger) and she passes out pretty much instantly.

"It should be easy to stay awake in the car!" said the instructor.

"It's hard."

"Well, life is hard."

At this juncture, I decided that the most constructive action I could take was going to be going and sitting in the hall for a bit (and angrily texting my partner). I came back in after about five minutes.

Later in the evening, the instructor planned to lead us through more meditation/relaxation, to include the rest of the class period. I abruptly realized that I did not actually feel that making myself vulnerable to and in front of this instructor was a good idea, and grabbed my stuff and left the building.

In the third class, I sat by the door. (My friend did not show up for this class, or the following week.) When the meditation/relaxation section arrived, I popped both headphones in and proceeded to listen to podcasts, and only emerged when that bit was done. At the end of class, I asked the instructor about the bits in the next one, saying without explanation that I would not be taking part in the relaxation exercise, and would likely leave the room. He said when the long one would be, and there would be another short one later.

In the fourth class (tonight), I sat by the door, and took a chair with me when I popped out for the duration of the exercise. The instructor came and fetched me when it was done. And I did other things for the short one.

I did ask, this time, what he recommended to keep you awake when the sleep pressure is high but it's a bad time for a nap. And if there were resources on being a millennial and not having a whole house to work with in terms of keeping stress out of your bedroom. (Do something loud. And, probably, somewhere.) I asked about next steps. He recommended the meditation class, or the anxiety class. "That really doesn't seem to be a recommendation geared for someone who has been practicing meditation for fifteen years," I said, smiling aggressively.

He recommended tai chi.

"That's really rather along the same lines," I said, still smiling.

There was a class evaluation form, which asked about how much we learned from the class, and how helpful it was. It was ... not.

So I'll be asking my GP, my counselor, and my psychiatrist about next steps, then. Now that I've taken this miserable class so they'll take me seriously.

Movies

Feb. 13th, 2017 12:05 am
selki: (silverfish)
[personal profile] selki
It had been some time since I saw any movies (about a year ago, I broke up with the guy with whom I used to enjoy action flicks) but I did finally get around to two while they were in the theaters.  No spoilers below:

*Arrival*, Christmas week, long after most had seen it and posted their thoughts -- which I'd scrolled by at the time so as not to spoil for myself.  Feel free to link me to any you wrote or thought were particularly good!  I went on to read *Stories of Your Life and Others" by Ted Chiang (the anthology containing the story this was based on).  I liked the movie a lot, as a standalone, and the short story both for itself and some illumination of a sort on the movie.  Somewhat related articles/podcasts:*Hidden Figures*, mid-January, I really liked how it had three different women's stories woven together, with their friendship as a rich part of the movie -- it helped it not just fall into stereotypical-inspirational territory.  Funnier and more romantic (in parts) than I'd expected.

Code push imminent!

Feb. 12th, 2017 11:07 pm
karzilla: a green fist above the word SMASH! (Default)
[staff profile] karzilla posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
We're about to pull the lever on tonight's code push! I'll update this post when it's finished. For a reminder of what to expect, check the previous post for the list of changes.

Update: All done! Comment here if you notice any issues that need our attention.

The LEGO Batman Movie

Feb. 11th, 2017 10:05 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
This was enjoyed by all members of Chateau Steelypips; it was amusingly self-aware and meta in ways that don't detract from kidly enjoyment of the slapstick. (I mean, it opens with Batman in voice-over saying something like, "BLACK. All serious movies start with a black screen.")

I have not seen all of The LEGO Movie, but the bits I did, didn't impress me: oh look, it's the one cool girl, again, and also daddy issues, whee. This movie is still dude-heavy, with just one of the four central hero characters being female, but at least the Mayor is also a woman? And I love that Barbara Gordon is Commissioner here, with Jim Gordon retiring and very emphatically shuffled off-screen, also that she is firmly on the side of Batman working with the police, not as a vigilante.

Here are some extremely mild spoilers, because this is not the kind of movie where the plot is a surprise:

spoilers )

Trailers:

* Power Rangers: is "gritty" really the appropriate aesthetic?

* The Boss Baby: please no.

* Cars 3 teaser: [personal profile] mariness had said that it reduced a theater of kids to tears, so when I realized what it had to be I warned the kids, and they were fine.

* Some live-action thing that looked earnest and kind of too adult and that entirely failed to make an impression on me, even after I looked through the forthcoming list at IMDB.
karzilla: a green fist above the word SMASH! (Default)
[staff profile] karzilla posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
We are planning to do a code push late this weekend, at approximately 9pm PST / 12am EST / 5am UTC on either Sunday, Feb 12 or Monday, Feb 13, depending on whether you live east or west of midnight. (Time is an illusion anyway, right?)

Here's a partial list of changes that will go live with this push, apart from the usual minor tweaks and bugfixes:

  • HTTPS Everywhere beta! Users can opt-in to have all Dreamwidth content automatically served over HTTPS. We'll post the instructions for this after the feature goes live.

  • New and improved design for the file management pages, which we were hiding from you because we were so embarrassed about them before. Thanks to [personal profile] momijizukamori for making them prettier and more functional!

  • Backend fixes to resolve problems using the aforementioned file management pages. (Did I already mention the embarrassment?)

  • At long last, international character support for journal search! Our systems guru [personal profile] alierak finally cracked this long-standing bug.

  • Support index page converted to Foundation styling, for your mobile viewing pleasure.

  • For users of the Practicality style: color properties now sort properly in the customization wizard.

  • For users of the Drifting style: the QuickReply box will now appear in the appropriate location, instead of wandering off somewhere unexpected.

  • Improved handling of word break (<wbr>) elements in user entries.

  • Allow embeds from: Facebook, CNN, 4shared.com, playmoss.com, onedrive.com, jsfiddle.net, scratch.mit.edu


We'll update again to let you know when the code push is in progress!

Travelers TV Series 4 out of 5

Feb. 9th, 2017 06:09 pm
jesse_the_k: amazed Alanna (hero of Staples/Vaughn SAGA comic) (alanna is amazed)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k
We streamed the first 12 episodes on HULU [eta: Netflix], and they've ordered another season. This is a Canadian SF series about time travel, created by the indefatigable Brad Wright (3 Stargates, Continuum)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5651844/

While it doesn't avoid all time travel theme clichés, this mashup of Varley's Millennium and Quantum Leap provides some unique thrills. The team traveling back from a terrible future sends their souls into bodies seconds away from their recorded death. Unusually, the team members still have to cope with the lives they've overtaken.

Five members in the team )

The see-saw between the terrifying events they seek to short-circuit through super-hero methods and the mundanities of baby-sitting and football practice deflates the pomposity attendant on most SF tv.

azurelunatic: (Queer as a) $3 bill in pink/purple/blue rainbow.  (queer as a three dollar bill)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Quoted with permission. The writer is non-binary gendered, AFAB, and has recently had top surgery.

One of the best things about [top surgery] is how quickly my dysphoria has eased. One of the things I worried about was whether I actually had dysphoria - after all, I was managing to hold down at least one job, go out, have a relationship and so on. I was pretty functional, right? Now I've actually had surgery, I realise how bad it was: all the things I avoided because it meant putting a binder on, all the ways it impacted my relationship and friendships, the way it affected about how I felt about my body, the constant buzzing low level awareness that couldn't be switched off. And now it's gone, and its absence is so noticeable.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
As I said on Con or Bust's site:
In March, Con or Bust’s Board of Directors will be electing up to four members to the Board, for terms of up to three years. Anyone can be a candidate; if you are interested, or if you want to encourage someone else to run, please read on for more information.
Please see the link for more details and spread the word!

Proving that love is real.

Feb. 7th, 2017 12:10 pm
azurelunatic: A green-blue-and-purple gemstone heart, made of alexandrite (alexandrite)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Love is real.

Everyone is worthy of love. (Without, I may add, an obligation for any one person to provide that love, nor should this be any excuse to not behave like an ethical sentient being. And no particular reason that any given person's love should look the way any other person would expect it to be.)

My partner and I have been proving to each other that love is real, repeatedly and continuously. Little messages of support. Reminders to put things in the calendar. Kisses. Skype calls that start just before bedtime and either disconnect quietly in the middle of the night, or are still running in the morning when Antisocial Cat begins to demand breakfast. Consideration and care. Not going too fast. Making checklists so that if we break up, we can break up safely, swiftly, and completely. Admitting when we can't even anymore, and sending the other in the direction of another friend for support. Poking each other when we've seen that another friend is having a bad day and could use a kind word. Decisions about lunch. Saying hello to the cat. Bad puns. Saucy selfies. Poetry. Determination. Resistance. Solidarity. Community.

Survival is resistance.

Thriving is resistance.

Art is resistance.

Love is resistance.

Love is real.
tim: text: "I'm not offended, I'm defiant" (defiant)
[personal profile] tim
I used to be a pacifist. It's easy to be one when you aren't being attacked.

Large-scale violence always starts with ideas and rhetoric, because rhetoric eases organizing and large-scale violence requires the consent and participation of many people. How do you let people know you don't take their ideas seriously? How do you defend yourself against ideas that can only cause harm to you? Communicating that you will refuse to listen is one way, but it doesn't scale. No-platforming powerful fascists does scale. So does punching one on camera.

Here's a FAQ list of things people have asked me -- or, in some cases, things they would have asked me if they had thought to ask rather than assuming an answer -- about why I think fascism must be stopped by any means necessary.


  1. When you say "fascist", are you just talking about anybody you disagree with?

    No. I'm using the word in its accepted meaning. As with any other word in any language spoken by humans, there is no "objective" meaning. Like any other word, "fascism" is meaningless except in the presence of a particular shared understanding between speakers. I expect that people listening to me will have a bit of basic historical knowledge, and understand the meaning of "fascist" by example, the way we understand most concepts: the Nazis during World War II are the best-known example, but the past 100-odd years in Europe and North America have seen a number of others. In ordinary conversation, I don't stop to elaborate all that -- it would be hard to talk about fascism without having to explain a great deal of denotative and connotative meaning every time, since after all, words are useful because they mean things. But since this is an FAQ, I'll quote Emily Gorcenski; her definition of "fascism" coincides with mine.

    There is a tendency, built from 40 years of online debates, to call anything you disagree with "fascist."

    Likewise, anything authoritarian gets called fascist, too, as if people assume that only fascists can be dictators.

    Fascism is a political theory that jelled in the early 1900s and found particular traction in Central Europe.

    The word comes from an old latin term, where leaders carried rods, or fasces, tied together to symbolize strength.

    The core belief of fascism is strength through unity. That the state is stronger if all parties are unified.

    The politic also suggested that fragmented liberalist parties needed to be subjugated and could be ruled by a minority fascist party.

    Given the timing of the rise of fascism, technology was critical in the theory. To fascists, the purpose of tech was to strengthen the state

    Dissent by other parties was weakness, only the party could determine its own fate.


    I'm quoting this entire thread because to have a conversation, it's important to agree on shared vocabulary. Of course, you are free to define "fascism" to mean anything you disagree with, but that's not how I define it, and if you're committed to a different definition, then it's unlikely that reading this FAQ will help you much.

  2. Okay, sure, I accept that definition of "fascism". But Trump isn't a fascist, is he?

    Yes, he is -- not because I disagree with Trump (I'm not sure Trump has a coherent enough ideology for the word "disagree" to denote much, though Steve Bannon certainly does), but because he fits the definition of "fascist." Quoting Emily Gorcenski again:


    So let's look at how we're using the term today. Is the modern GOP a fascist party? Is Trump? His supporters?

    Trump won with the minority popular vote. So there's that. He's controlling narratives away from negative views of his party.

    His policies involve cutting off resources for marginalized communities. His supporters call anyone not a white man a "snowflake."

    His rise to power was strongly aided by technology. He wants to march tanks through DC in a show of military might.

    He has a singular focus on restoring manufacturing jobs to the US at the expense of other services.

    And he and his team regularly harp about "unity" and patriotism.

    So yes, Trump is a fascist and his team promotes fascism.

    Not because I disagree with them, but because actions align with fascist policy.

    If you talk like a fascist and you act like a fascist and you govern like a fascist, you're probably a fascist.

    [...]
    TLDR: fascism requires mandatory unity for strengthening the state and isn't about dismissing speech or dissent.


  3. Well, okay, maybe he's a fascist, but the people elected him, so don't you have to accept him as our leader?

    No. Donald Trump exploited a loophole in the Constitution in order to take over the government. Voting in the US is based on the electoral college because the founders foresaw that the popular vote might result in the election of an incompetent leader. They thought that the job of president was too important to entrust directly to the majority. They wrote the electoral college into the Constitution to provide an additional layer of oversight, so that electors -- who were supposed to be trusted representatives of the people in their home state -- could use their discretion and use their vote in the best interests of their constituents, which meant usually but not necessarily voting the way the numerical majority did.

    In 2016, the electors failed to do their job by keeping Trump -- deemed incompetent by both Democrats and Republicans with any degree of governance experience -- out of the White House. The system does not do in practice what the Constitution intended it to do, and the fact remains that Hillary Rodham Clinton won the popular vote by 2.86 million votes. We are experiencing minority rule.

    In addition, a fascist cannot legitimately lead a representative democracy, because fascism is incompatible with democracy; a two-party (or more-party) state where both parties have meaningful influence is not a fascist state.

  4. Doesn't it undermine democracy to deny that the current government is "legitimate"?

    No, the fascist currently controlling the regime is who's undermining democracy, as well as the Nazis he has appointed as strategists. To accept a fascist government as a legitimate one means it's legitimate for a democracy to operate not based on the consent of the governed, but based on the will of the minority, backed up by a monopoly on violence. When you decide that the opposite of democracy can be democracy, you undermine democracy.

  5. So why are fascists so bad? Aren't they entitled to their own opinions? What effect do fascists really have on people's lives? Sure, I get that the ones in Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy were bad, but that was a long time ago. Are the ones now really so bad? They have nice haircuts and dress nicely, after all, they don't look like a bunch of thugs.

    Zoë Quinn is a video game developer who was targeted by the GamerGate coordinated harassment campaign starting in 2014. GamerGate began with an aggrieved, abusive ex-boyfriend determined to ruin Zoë's life, and quickly evolved into a campaign to purge women from the video game industry. Somewhere along the line, fascists recognized that GamerGaters were their fellow travelers and co-opted the movement into a much broader coalition of angry young white men who helped get Trump elected. I know it sounds weird. But there are people who wrote it all down. They also warned you at the time that GamerGaters were dangerous, but most people just dismissed them as basement trolls.

    Like many of us, Zoë was glad to see a certain neo-Nazi shithead get punched in the face, and wrote this to contextualize why:


    Reminder: before you msg me about my joy in that "alt right" shithead punched, remember that the movement has tried to kill me for years.

    I don't talk about it much anymore because I don't want it to be The Only Thing About Me, but they've literally tried to kill me. A lot.

    at the height of it, a lot of people just watched. People did the two sides shit then too. People said it was too messy and looked away.

    People thought the people trying to kill me were too ridiculous to take seriously. Or that they were just having an opinion.

    While the Discourse did its thing, they tried to kill me. Literally, actually kill me, beyond the damage they actually succeeded in.

    So if you were around for that, and were silent then yet defending nazis now, you need to take a really hard look in the mirror.

    Cause I'm just *one* of the people they personally singled out and targeted.

    i can tell you right now after years of work, advocacy, and protecting and hiding their other targets and asking for help, it's not enough

    So maybe I just don't need to hear another uninformed take on how we just need to try more discourse to solve the problem, like I haven't.

    [...]

    They celebrate people they hate scorning them. You can't shame people who are proud of the horrible shit they do.

    So yeah, I'm gonna enjoy watching a video of the self proclaimed leader of a movement that tries to kill me getting socked in the head.

    the only good thing about these little shits stalking me years after the fact is that I can fill my timeline with videos of it that they see

    I hope it makes their ideology feel unwelcomed and unaccepted, because all the Discourse has failed and people in power failed to help too."


    Listen to Zoë. She has the authority that comes from the lived experience of being targeted by fascists just because they need a target to hurt in order to prove that they're strong. They didn't succeed in killing her, which is why her Twitter handle is "UnburntWitch". But this is what fascists do to people. The only difference between GamerGate/Trump-style fascism and Nazi Germany is that Trump is just getting started.

  6. Why is fascism different from other political ideologies? Would you say that any Republican political leader was illegitimate just because they were a Republican?

    No. Fascism is different from other political positions because, by definition, what defines a democracy is intolerance of fascism. Democracies are not democratic unless it's accepted as a basic principle that every adult human (the definition of "adult" doesn't matter as long as there's a consistent and widely accepted one, which is not to discount the injustice of laws that strip voting rights from disabled people and convicted felons) is a person who deserves to have a say, and that no single individual's voice matters either more or less than any oher. When we start questioning that, when we start saying that some lives matter more than others and one person's vote should mean more than a different person's vote does, then we are no longer a democracy.

    Of course, democracy has always been aspirational. The founding fathers owned slaves. However, reverting what progress we've made does not bring us closer to the democratic aspiration.

  7. Can't we defeat fascism using the marketplace of ideas?

    No, because fascism operates outside the rules of any marketplace of ideas, using violence, not rational discourse or persuasion. Free markets (of any kind) can't exist without regulation, because a game with no enforcement of rules is a game at which people will cheat. When it comes to protecting what we value, few people take a laissez-faire approach: the only places where people don't lock their doors tend to be ones where everybody trusts our neighbors. We cannot trust fascists and thus cannot leave the gates of our marketplace of ideas open to anybody who wants to come in and flip all the pushcarts.

  8. No, but really, if we just explain to the fascists why they're wrong, won't they change their minds?

    There's no historical precedent suggesting that has ever been effective. It's certainly true that individuals who hold horrible sets of beliefs, like Derek Black can, over time, with exposure to a variety of perspectives, change their mind. However, if we wait for every fascist to attend college and hope that they will expand their minds to see that reason is a better way to make decisions than coercion, a lot of people will be dead before they graduate. It's nice when horrible violent people decide to stop being horrible and violent, but nicer still when my friends and I can be alive because fascists haven't been allowed to murder us, regardless of whatever intellectual journey those fascists might be in the middle of.

    As [twitter.com profile] meakoopa eloquently explained, to allow open debate on whether genocide is good or not is to allow genocide to happen:


    "every liberal democracy realizes early on there are some positions which must prima facie be aggressively excluded from public discourse

    u can't even articulate WHY they are unreasonable bc to articulate WHY they are unreasonable is to itself open the possibility of reason.

    this is why u can't allow "just hypothetical" questions abt whether Jews or blacks, as Spencer posits, are innately inferior/destroyable.

    Nazi theorists like Carl Schmitt VERY QUICKLY diagnosed this weakness in

    U can collapse a democracy by insisting the democracy had a right to end itself: Hindenburg to Hitler, "the peaceful transition of power."

    Intolerance cannot be tolerated, bc this corrosive effect means the law can be co-opted by, and so protective of, fascism.

    Fascism wriggles into democracies by insisting on right to be heard, achieves critical mass, then dissolves the organs that installed it.

    WHICH MEANS the stronger it becomes, it cannot be sufficiently combatted with reason. Bc "reason" becomes the state's tool to enforce.

    [...]

    some positions must be excluded from discourse. Some positions you do not listen to - u can only punch.

    A society that begins to entertain why some members of its polis might not belong invites catastrophic decay. Those voices must be excluded.

    [...]

    All of American history is an exercise in one debate: "who is the 'we' who are the people?"

    [...]

    hello! unexpectedly a lot of responses to this thread. almost all vector around "does this mean I can exclude [group/race I hate]?"

    This question vexes the Frankfurt school. But democracy is only form that can even DIAGNOSE the problem.

    "you haven't solved the problem." no; the problem is self-replicating and -perpetuating. The point is u must articulate problem AS problem.

    You cannot take as given that allowing free and open debate about genocide will stop fascism. Because it never, ever has.


    Emphasis added.

  9. Fine, there might be a few bad guys we can't convince, but surely the majority will see they're wrong.

    History suggests otherwise. As Rachel Stark points out (read the whole thread), no-platforming is the only effective defense against fascists because the wrongness of their position is not obvious -- over time, fascists have adapted and found ways to re-brand themselves that bypass people's defenses, much like pop-up ads that make it past your ad blocker. Ideally no-platforming would be done peacefully, and it usually is, but sometimes peaceful methods fail, and punching a Nazi if it prevents genocide is a moral imperative.


    So I am 100% pro punching Nazis & tired of hearing this debated, but I wonder if folks realize WHY anti-fascists punched that Nazi.

    We don't punch Nazis out of anger (though we are mad), or to change their minds (they don't want to change)...

    We don't even punch Nazis because it feels good (though it feels SO good).

    A central Antifa (anti-fascist) principle is that fascists CANNOT be allowed to have a platform.


  10. I thought you were against the violence committed by the military and police. What's the difference between that, and the violence that self-appointed anti-fascist activists sometimes commit?

    The military and police defend the state and protect wealth; anti-fascist activists defend justice. Under a trustworthy government, the military would do the job of protecting that government from corruption by anti-democratic forces, and the police would do the job of protecting individuals from each other. In reality, the military and police both protect the wealth of the few and nothing else. Thus, as citizens, our interests are not and cannot be aligned with the state, and the military and police act against us, not with us. They started the war; anti-fascism is us fighting back. (I am not an anarchist, but I am one in circumstances like right now, where the government does not have the legitimacy that arises from the consent of the governed. A government elected by a small minority of the people, which -- more importantly -- is driven by a political philosophy that explicitly disregards the consent of the governed -- is not legitimate.)

  11. Violence makes me feel bad. Can't we just have peaceful debate?

    Violence makes me feel bad, but genocide makes me feel worse. I can't honestly say that seeing one advocate of ethnic cleansing get punched feels worse to me than witnessing a genocide would feel.

    As [twitter.com profile] AmyDentata put it:

    "If you want peaceful debate then don't advocate dehumanization and genocide. Otherwise get punched

    The liberal nonviolence purity test exists because the state needs you to be ineffective against its own violence. This enables fascists"


    You have a choice between violence against fascists to protect democracy, and violence against democracy to protect fascists. As long as you're comfortable with it, I can't tell you which one to pick.

  12. But I don't like punching people. I'm small and I'm afraid I would just get stomped.

    You don't have to. Even if it's not safe for you to risk jail time or a beating, you can still refuse to listen to fascists and to people floating the "but you have to tolerate different opinions" sealioning that I talked about. Anyone can refuse to listen! Also, you can make friends with people who do punch fascists and bake them a nice loaf of vegan banana bread.

  13. Can't we use, idk, the rule of law, or democracy, somehow, to stop fascists?

    No. Fascists operate outside the rule of law and therefore, the rule of law cannot stop them from destroying democracy.

  14. Isn't democracy strong enough to survive anything?

    How would you prove that claim? Democracy is a fairly new idea and arguably has still never been fully implemented. The democratic aspiration is not so strong as to be able to survive a persistent, sustained, organized effort to kill it, because aside from the inevitability of death, there's very little that is. So the idea that democracy isn't under an existential threat from fascism seems like magical thinking to me. If fascism doesn't pose an existential threat to democracy, what does?

  15. But my free speech?

    If you're not a fascist, you have nothing to worry about with respect to your free speech. "Human beings are good with slippery slopes: we build stairs."

    Alisha Rai quoted two different tweets from the same fascist, Dan Adamini, who on one occasion wrote:

    "Violent protestors who shut down free speech? Time for another Kent State perhaps. One bullet stops a lot of thuggery."

    and two days later wrote:

    "About to go on the air, lots of hate coming from the tolerant left."

    "You're so tolerant" is the kind of contemptuous sarcasm whose intent is pretty clear: to manipulate, to shame through an attack on your self-image as tolerant, an attempt to make you disintegrate in the face of the supposed disconnect between your self-image and yourself. Feigned concern over free speech from those who want the monopoly on free speech does the same work. By saying "but free speech!" you tell people like Adamini that you're easy to manipulate.

  16. But like, don't Milo and all those people have some valid points? I mean, don't some people get awfully mad about people like Milo hurting their feelings? Isn't it fair to call those people special snowflakes who need to be in safe spaces all the time?

    If you don't like safe spaces, start by refusing to make any space you're in a safe space for fascists. The idea that fascists only "hurt feelings" is useful to them: we know we're in a culture that devalues emotions and, indeed, anything culturally coded as feminine. If you can get people to disconnect their rational minds from their emotional selves, you can cut of their innate sense of right and wrong and get them to carry out an evil agenda for you. So feelings matter. Yours might well be trying to scream at you that you do not need to sacrifice yourself for fascists' supposed free speech rights, and you ignore them at your peril.

    Even more so, fascists don't hurt feelings for its own sake. They hurt feelings in order to see what else they can get away with. Attempts to shock and offend with words alone are boundary-testing. They want to see if they can get away with using their power to make you feel horrible, small, disgusted, less than human, silenced, invisible, or any number of other things. If they observe that they have the power to make you feel something (which they do, because you're human and living humans have feelings as a result of things other people do, at least occasionally), they'll get a sense of how much power they have to do more than that to you.

  17. What if someone thinks I'm a fascist and tries to silence me?

    Then prove them wrong. The fact that sometimes people are wrong about things does not need to be a reason never to take action.

  18. But what if they punch me accidentally?

    Apologies in advance. Get an ice pack and reflect on what you just sacrificed for freedom.

  19. Okay, fine, I see now that fascism and democracy are incompatible. So what do we do about it?

    You should listen to the people who have been fighting fascism for decades and use that knowledge to inform your action: the most comprehensive guide is M. Testa's Militant Anti-Fascism: A Hundred Years of Resistance.

  20. Somebody told me that discriminating against them for their political views was exactly the same as racism.

    It's okay to treat someone harshly because they want to kill you. They can and should stop trying to kill you, but a Black person can't stop being Black.

  21. Okay, but didn't you say before that I also shouldn't discriminate against queer people who chose to be queer?

    Note the words "and should" in that sentence.

  22. Who are you to tell people they shouldn't be trying to commit genocide?

    Who am I, indeed? The question is: do you think you should tell people they shouldn't be trying to commit genocide?

  23. Somebody told me that it's wrong for me to fight fascists, because they just disagree with me and I have to accept anybody who disagrees with me.

    That's straight out of the Nazi playbook. Ask them why they're using the Nazi playbook if they're not a Nazi. I am being very literal here. There is a Nazi playbook, and seeding doubt this way is in it.

  24. What about Godwin's Law?

    Godwin's Law was repealed on November 8, 2016.

  25. Somebody asked me for an objective definition of fascism.

    Ask them for an objective definition of "objective."

  26. Somebody told me that I was intolerant of differences of opinion because I said genocide is bad.

    The last couple of things are all examples of sealioning, defined by Erica Friedman as "a specific, pervasive form of aggressive cluelessness, that masquerades as a sincere desire to understand." Fascists understand that if they front-load their preoccupations with gaining power through violence and with ethnic cleansing and racial purity, they will meet resistance. So they test people's boundaries and defenses by sealioning: asking people to justify democracy starting from zero axioms. But logically, you can't prove anything if you don't start from axioms. The value of democracy is self-evident and an argument with a person who does not accept it is a waste of time, because arguments are only useful between people who are willing to listen to each other. People who are prepared to destroy you don't need to listen to you. The purpose of these questions is to make you doubt; fascism itself admits no doubt.

    Punching a Nazi is one way to say "I do not believe this kind of discourse should be treated in any other way than with a swift kick you-now-where. It is not worth the breath that it would take for me to explain why this discourse is wrong." There are other ways. If it's your co-worker talking fascism at lunch, then words are an appropriate way to shut them down (if they escalate, one can consider other remedies). If it's Richard Spencer giving an interview to the news media that could make fascism look appealing to thousands or millions of people at once, then someone showing up to interrupt him doesn't make for a good story, but punching him does.

  27. Why are you talking about Nazis, anyway? I thought we beat the Nazis in 1945 and they're gone now.

    While Nazism in Germany (and beyond) was a specific historical phenomenon, neo-Nazi movements have flourished everywhere that doesn't explicitly try to stamp them out (e.g. Germany) since the end of World War II. Nazis are a specific kind of fascist, but the advantage of talking about "Nazis" is that the word is recognized, whereas many people think "fascist" is just a generic insult that means you don't like somebody's views. On the other hand, we all know Nazis are bad. At least, I thought we all knew that until the past couple months. It's also really not a stretch: just read Steve Bannon's CV and find out what he thinks about Jews.

  28. I get all that, but still, isn't there some non-violent way to stop Nazis or fascists? Isn't violence bad?

    Again, listen to the people who actually have relatively-recent experience defending their spaces against Nazis: here, [twitter.com profile] puckett101 shares their experience in the punk/hardcore music scene, which -- like 4chan-ish messageboards later on, has long been a recruiting ground for Nazis because it's a good place to find and corrupt alienated young white people. What both groups have in common is a strong commitment to shocking their parents, and when that involves dyeing your hair pink and having gay sex, that's good, but when Nazis figure out that you can talk kids into being Nazis by telling them it will shock their parents, that's bad.


    ...There was a good chunk of my life when I think everyone I knew had put hands on a Nazi.

    And here's why - it was never "just one" Nazi skin. One became six became 20.

    Nazi skins showed up, pushed people around, took over the venue and turned everything to shit with bullying, abuse and their Sieg Heiling.

    [...]

    In the punk and hardcore scenes I was part of, discourse led to more Nazis showing up and more problems.

    The only reaction that prevented Nazis from becoming a problem was not letting them in. AT ALL. EVER.

    And if they somehow got in? Or wouldn't go away? We had no choice but to defend ourselves.

    [...]

    So no, I don't feel bad that a white supremacist got punched in the face. I don't think dialogue is the solution.

    And I think those things because I and people I know dealt with actual Nazis for years.

    If you want to clutch your pearls, fine. If you want to understand the flip side, talk to some folks from the ARA or a SHARP.

    Because old punks are some of the only folks in America to have dealt with actual Nazis on a regular basis.

    [...]

    tl;dr Nazis are like vampires - if you let them in, they'll just start sucking and the only way to get rid of them is a right/left cross.


  29. I think I can figure out a way to stop Nazis without punching. Should I try to come up with one?

    You can if you want to. While you're thinking about it, I'm going to be over here supporting the people who are actually stopping Nazis and fascists in the only way we know how. This is a classic "the perfect is the enemy of the good" situation. Personally, I won't let your unfinished project to come up with a perfect solution to the attraction many people have to fascism stop me from supporting those using the good solution, and punching Nazis is good.

  30. I feel uncomfortable. Doesn't that mean you're saying something bad?

    No. Sit with that discomfort and learn from it. Also, read these words from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail":

    I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

    I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with.


    Whether or not you're white (and most of the people who ask these questions are white, because having to struggle to survive as a member of a subjugated minority group makes it hard to forget that subjugators cannot be controlled by being nice to them -- but not all are), ask yourself whether you recognize yourself in MLK's description of "the white moderate". Do you, too, value the absence of tension more than the presence of justice? Consider the possibility that what is making you uncomfortable is not injustice, unfairness, or immorality, but rather, the presence of tension -- which you can learn to be comfortable with if you realize that it is a necessary part of pushing ourselves collectively closer to justice.

  31. Okay, fine, we should stop Nazis. But I don't know any, so what am I supposed to do?

    If you work at a big enough company, you work with Nazis. If you're a white person living in a white-dominated area, then you probably don't live too far from Nazis. Nazis keep their views hidden when it's not safe to express them, so do your best to make it unsafe to be a Nazi and they won't be able to organize themselves well enough to build concentration camps.

    A lot of us nerds on the Internet spent time on 4chan (I didn't, but that doesn't make me a better person -- I did spend time on Reddit, after all) and [profile] spnbmb described in detail the ways in which 4chan and 8chan denizens make no secret of their fascist views when they believe no one's watching (while engaging in more socially-acceptable behaviors, like sealioning and decrying anti-fascist violence, in public). Contextualizing Richard Spencer (that guy with the punchable face) and who he is, [twitter.com profile] spnbmb wrote:


    If you think Spencer's views are somehow outside the norm for his political peer group, I have news for you: he is toning it down a LOT.

    I spent most of 2016 monitoring various /pol/ and /k/ boards on a daily basis. What Spencer says in public is just the tip of the iceberg.

    "Right wing death squads" is a popular phrase & aspiration. Are many of them basement-dwelling LARPers? Sure. But look at Dylann Roof.

    I witnessed firsthand the percolation of memes & talking points from imageboards to social media to "alternative" news to mainstream.

    [...]

    Meme magic is indeed real, in a way. If you don't understand imageboard culture, you won't understand what's happening now.

    GETs and blessings of Kek are a new spin on Nazi esotericism. Memes are the new propaganda ministry. Digging/doxing is the new SS.

    All of these things are now amorphous & crowdsourced. You have a highly tech-literate group of angry disenfranchised men with a goal.

    The most important thing about this situation is that the movement is self-directed and *self-motivating*. They do it all for free.

    Nazis got uniforms & paychecks & met in buildings with a Reichsadler above the door. Today, they are all around you. How many have you met?

    Not everyone will be as obvious as Spencer, with his (hip) Nazi youth haircut and Pepe pin and openness about his views. He is a rarity.

    [...]

    I actually agree with Spencer — many /pol/acks do indeed hate him. They hate him because he is labeling the movement and attaching his name.

    [...]

    Trump's campaign absolutely monitored and took direction from /pol/, and vice versa. Do you think Trump's pepe tweet was an accident?

    That's why Trump was indeed memed into presidency. Trump's campaign is absolutely connected to /pol/. Why aren't you connected too?

    [...]

    antifa: your enemies have been absolutely salivating for 'the day of the rope' & say trump will allow it. they're preparing for it. are you?

    [...]

    the line between 'ironic' fascism and actual fascism has always been paper thin


    If you're a tech worker, you know people who don't think 4chan is so bad. Which means you probably know Nazis.

  32. Why are you quoting tweets? Don't you have more reliable sources to quote?

    I could quote Hannah Arendt, but then you would just tell me that -- in the words of Ann Reed -- "history is in the past, it's not like it is real."

  33. I know you're talking about current events, but still, why aren't you quoting the New York Times or the Washington Post?

    Good question. Why do you have to go on Twitter to see these critical perspectives; why are you not finding them in major, respected, liberal publications? Sit with that question.

  34. But a lot of people support Trump, so don't I have to treat that as a normal political point of view that I have to respect?

    Who told you that you have to respect all points of view? It wasn't me.

  35. No, really, a lot of people support him, so we can't just reject him out of hand.

    If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you take time to rationally deliberate over whether you should jump off a cliff too?

  36. I like to be polite. Isn't it rude to tell somebody their ideas aren't worth listening to?

    Maybe, but I don't want to ask anybody to die so someone else can practice good etiquette. When somebody is lying, you are not obligated to keep talking to them as if the lies are true. In fact, to talk to them at all is to cede ground: you admit that their lies could be true. Walking away may be rude, but I think letting your friends die is also pretty rude.

  37. I'm a Republican and I feel bad. Doesn't that mean you must have said something wrong?

    No, other people aren't obligated to refrain from saying anything that makes you feel bad.

  38. No, but really, I'm a Republican and I don't support Trump. Aren't you wrong for stereotyping me?

    In a word, no. If your Republican representatives in the House and Senate wanted to show they're not like Trump, rather than just telling us, they could always refuse to vote for Trump's cabinet nominees, which so far almost none of them have done. I don't really care whether your Republican representatives disagree with Trump and are too afraid to stand up to him, or genuinely agree. A genocide that people went along with because they were scared kills people just as dead as a genocide that people went along with whole-heartedly.

  39. Well, I'm a Republican and I don't agree with what my congresspeople and senators are doing, either.

    At least so far, it's still legal to leave a political party that doesn't represent your views.

  40. But I'm a Republican, I just don't agree with anything the Republican Party is currently doing.

    I thought Republicans didn't like identity politics.

  41. You can't hate me for who I am.

    I don't hate who you are -- I'm a die-hard optimist, so I think there's a good person hiding somewhere inside you, even if that good person is scared of the fascist who also lives inside you. But I hate what you're doing to me. If you choose to ally yourself with the Republican Party in 2017, fascism is what you're telling the world you stand for and we are not going to let you forget it. Words have meaning: if you say you're a Republican, then it's not a personal attack for me to tell you that you're a Republican, because you just told me that. You are free to value your party loyalty, but I am also free to draw conclusions based on who you do and don't stand in solidarity with. That's kind of how this whole "freedom of opinion" thing works. Also, we warned you this would happen.

    If you say "I'm a fascist" and I say "so you're a fascist" and then you say "You're hurting my feelings!", you're lying about either one or both of those things.

  42. What about unity and acceptance? Aren't those values important?

    Hey, Republicans, it's never too late to change your mind. But as long as you say you are standing with fascists, I will believe you. Do you really want me to not believe what you say? Words matter. If you say "I choose to align myself with a party that's been taken over by white supremacists, but don't call me a white supremacist", I'm not going to automatically defer just because you said that. It's time for you to make choices. Which side are you on? (Your options are "The Nazis" and "Everyone Who's Not a Nazi.")

    Also see what [personal profile] solarbird addressed to self-identified anti-fascist conservatives.

  43. Was that exhausting to write?

    Yes, but less so than having to explain it from first principles every time someone pipes up with "if you fight fascists, doesn't that make you as bad as fascists?" Now I can just paste a link.

  44. Why do I have to think about this? I found life easier when I could play music or mess around with computers and know that democracy was a given.

    You and me both, friendo.




"Maybe you missed this, but you’re not in a dialogue. Your views are beside the point. Argue all you want—your adversaries are glad to see you waste your breath....

This is not a dialogue. How could you be so naïve? A dialogue—from which some of the participants can be deported at any time? A dialogue—in which one side keeps shooting and incarcerating the other side? A dialogue—in which a few people own all the networks and radio stations and printing presses, while the rest have to make do with markers and cardboard signs? A dialogue, really?"
-- "This Is Not a Dialogue: Not Just Free Speech, But Freedom Itself", CrimethInc

"The only slippery slope we have to worry about is from tolerance of Nazis to governance by them. The tipping point is RIGHT IN FRONT OF US.
Do not engage.
********Debating a Nazi is conceding the point that some people might be inhuman.*********
Do not acknowledge they have a "side." There is some speech that does not deserve "free expression" or "equal protection," and genocidal speech is at the head of the line." -- Tarin Towers

"The essence of fascism, as historians like Robert Paxton never fail to remind us, is not in ideas but in emotions. Robbing fascism of its virility and hyper masculine pretence is to rob it of its primary capacity to grow and survive. We have to confront the crucial question: are we more interested in upholding the slogan “Don’t Be Evil” or in making sure that no evil occurs? Is instilling fear in the hearts of fascists or fascist-curious individuals, even at the cost of isolated violence preferable to allowing fascists to consolidate power and therefore commit greater atrocities?" -- anas el hawat, "In Defense of Assaulting Fascists"

Further reading

I'll continue to add to this section as I find new articles.

  • "Free Speech and the Paradox of Tolerance", Julia Serano: "I think that “freedom of speech” is a lovely aphorism. And aphorisms are useful. But I am not gullible enough to believe that “free speech” (as free speech absolutists envision it) actually exists, or that it is something that I have ever truly possessed. The truth of the matter is that there are two types of speech or expression: those that we (either as individuals, or as a society) are willing to tolerate, and those that we do not. (This is explained compellingly here.) You may cherish a particular word, idea, expression, or identity. But if enough people collectively refuse to tolerate it, well . . . you can shout “free speech!” at the top of your lungs all you want, but it isn’t going to protect you.

    Believing that freedom of speech is generally a good thing — an ideal worth striving for — but also knowing that speech can be (and often is) used to suppress other people’s freedom of expression, the question becomes: How do we best strike a balance between these two competing forces?"
  • "but we are seeing now that if we fight, if we put on pressure, if we make our voices heard, we no longer have to go by those old rules" -- [twitter.com profile] spacetwinks
  • "Nazis, No Platforming, and the Failure of Free Speech", Stephanie Zvan: "The assertion that instead of punching, we should be engaging Nazis on their arguments is pure free speech fetishism. It’s assigning power to argument that hasn’t been demonstrated. The idea that we’ll convince anyone that all human life is deserving of protection through the exchange and support of logic propositions is ridiculous. That’s a value proposition. Those aren’t instilled through debate. They’re instilled and maintained through socialization.... Still, though, most free-speech advocates do nothing to ensure good speech beats bad speech. They treat it like a true fetish. Or worse, they prioritize promoting the bad speech."
  • 'I love it when they mock our tolerance as though it should be endless and apply to everything when they "tolerate" fucking nothing.' -- [twitter.com profile] Charlotte_Stein
  • "Because Ignoring It Worked So Well", by Stephanie Zvan: "A problem we don’t or won’t know about is a problem we can’t fix. If only 1 of 10 people have heard what Yiannopolous has to say and half those people find it disgusting, then yes, calling lots of attention to him might double his audience. But if 4 of 10 people now know what he has to say, there are now six times as many people who may be ready to do something about him.

    That is actual progress. Pretending he doesn’t exist is not."
  • "Drop Apocalyptic Thinking and Get in the Streets: On White/Male Voices Stifling Resistance", by Real Talk WOC and Allies: "People of color never had the luxury of trusting institutions."
  • "Why Punching Nazis Is Not Only Ethical, But Imperative", by Katherine Cross: "The vulnerability of Nazis cannot be revealed through debate — many thinkers who lived through the Second World War, from Karl Popper, to Hannah Arendt, to Jean Paul Sartre, have been quite clear about why dispassionate discourse with men like Richard Spencer is not only pointless, but actively dangerous.

    The use of force, by contrast, does reveal the shared humanity that Nazis deny. Our vulnerability is one of the things that links us all, seven billion strong, in a humane fragility. These are essential aspects of our humanity that both Nazi mythology and channer troll culture deny. Punching a Nazi, by contrast, reveals it. It reveals they are no masters, but quite eminently capable of fear, of pain, of vulnerability. And that takes the shine off; it eliminates their mystique, and it puts the lie to the idea that their ideology is an armor against the pains of modernity.
    That alone justifies Richard Spencer being punched in the face on camera."
  • "True cruelty is allowing a bully to demean his own humanity through harming others. Stopping the bully is an act of love." -- [twitter.com profile] AmyDentata
  • "Everybody Hates the Berkeley College Republicans", anonymous: "In the aftermath of the Berkeley College Republicans’ defeat, we’ve seen an increase of interest in radical anti-fascist politics taking hold throughout the campus. Students saw a stark contrast between the out of touch administration at UC Berkeley, which sought to protect Milo as he planned to out undocumented students, and the black bloc that helped shut the event down and kick far-Right scum off the streets. We think it is important to discuss what else has happened in the week following that demo because it is relevant to discussions about the role and efficacy of militant anti-fascism in the context of a growing far-Right movement that is itching to get off the internet and into the real world."

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