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Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

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+6 votes
how have anarchists successfully addressed people who do messed up things? (or have they?)
does it (should it) matter if the messed up behavior comes from another anarchist or someone of another persuasion? where would the differences lie?
by (53.1k points)
edited by
I personally think Bill Brown should have to bring Tiqqunista coffee for three weeks.
this is a replacement question for a deleted one that was focused on a personality.

what our responses should be to people who mess up is a common common issue in our lives, as well as one we get asked by non-anarchists all the time (usually in some kind of prison/cop terminology).
This is a pretty basic question of which many of the other questions on this site are extensions. Upvoted!

2 Answers

+2 votes
a) we don't have enough thinking on this topic.
b) the ways that anarchists tend to respond reflect both an overestimation of authority (or ability), and a lack of sensitivity about context (like the rest of the world, unfortunately).

the most common actual response by anarchists to something really problematic is to ostracize. this is certainly a solid response theoretically (the ability to associate with who one chooses is pretty basic for anarchists), but it is also quite consistent with a tendency in today's culture to cut off relationships as the only way to deal with conflict.
anarchists do agree that whatever consequences result from messed up behavior, we don't want to mirror this culture's models: police, prisons, judges, lawyers. among other reasons, because these components are based on concepts of morality, and are prone to throwing people away and denying our commonalities.
but rejecting what we don't like doesn't mean that we know what to do instead, or that we are capable of changing our behavior in practice even when we identify a better way.
by (53.1k points)
honestly i think what happens a lot is that beyond simple ostracism, people do mirror those things while telling themselves (and everyone else) that they're not...
0 votes
The first goal in any messed up situation is to get the intensity level down so you can talk it out the stronger your connection with the "aggressor" the easier it is but even with a perfect stranger its still possible just talk in a calm voice and don't show any fear until they calm down then without judging them just explain why the situation is messed up and ask for their reasons make it clear that you won't judge them. People are all the same even with all their differences no matter your political disposition your still a human being.
by (160 points)
i'm upvoting you because this is a common perspective (one that is, if anything, over-represented).
i will point out however, that you're addressing a single specific type of conflict, and that you're relying on the strengths of verbal communication, which i happen to think are vastly over-rated. talking is good for some things, in some situations, but it gets promoted as the only and best way for everything.