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+2 votes
edited by

1 Answer

+5 votes
a) anarchism can arguably cover a huge amount of territory, from the pro-organizational platformists (see NEFAC) to the egoists (see stirner) to consensus-loving activists (see the multitudes) to people who want a label for their desire to do their own thing.
b) fighting with each other hones skills for fighting with the state
c) fighting with each other is easier than fighting with the state
d) people always fight with their families (well, the people i know, anyway)
e) anarchists fight with everyone

and of course,
f) all of the above
by (53.1k points)
yep. for those of us who have been fighting with our families and peers since before we were anarchists, it's not just a habit, but part of our self-identity to fight. if you always hurt the one you love, then it makes perfect sense to fight with those you're close to (both philosophically and spatially).
I agree with you to a certain extent Lawrence. I came from a violent family background, and I think this translated into my love of punk music (a love that has since died out) and a move toward radical politics. But I have problems with assuming that this is has anything to do with infighting -- I'm sure it does, but I think that there is another intervening variable that we are forgetting to mention (i.e., we live in a fucked up world to begin with -- if my parents weren't dirt poor, working 48 hours a week cleaning shit off of toilets and comforting the clinically insane, perhaps we would have had a better family life). I try not to blame the individual, its a losing battle. As C. Wright Mills put it, we need to tie the personal to the political -- realize that our personal troubles and biographies are intimately connected to the social order (feminists called this 'the personal is political').

Also, I don't think we should preemptively devalue infighting/sectarianism. Strategically speaking, these can be very productive to building well integrated radical communties. I think we need better research and less whimsical rejections of sectarianism/infighting -- perhaps the first place to start is to take the position NOBODY takes and suggest that infighting and sectarianism might be beneficial.
if you know my political trajectory, the projects i'm involved in, and my specific socio-political theories, you'll know that i do not reject infighting. i find it a valuable tool for honing my outlook; forcing me to rethink/rearticulate particular positions. making distinctions where distinctions belong is the best result of what others derisively label infighting.

the issue of sectarianism is more tricky. if you reread my editorial in ajoda #66 ("on sectarianism") you'll see how i make a distinction between being partisan and being sectarian. but then, you didn't like it when you first read it, so i guess it won't matter much more today.

by having arguments and discussions (heated or calm) we discover our actual affinities and distinctions, and such a process can only help us find allies, quasi-allies, competitors, rivals, and actual enemies (although that's rare -- i would still defend some of the NEFAC and/or AK Press folks if they were facing something nasty at the hands of the state).

i'm willing to go so far as to say that infighting is beneficial.
Thanks for that comment Lawrence, nothing more to add here. I enjoyed reading it..
I'll second that thanks lawrence. This gets at the crux of the difficulty that I have with the left that craves pacifism. I have long felt that argument, with some self-imposed ethical bounds, is or can be a display of respect. That I am giving the other the attention to what they are saying or doing. Too often we are simply ignored entirely and to me an argument is refreshing. Also, to that end I am enjoying this forum.

I too came from an argumentative and violent family. It has been through finding things that are worthwhile to argue and care about that I have been able to manage the frustrations in my life. My family's anger and violence was mostly really displaced and not about things that really mattered. I have learned that I cannot simply quash my tensions, but manage them by trying to direct them appropriately. Sometimes I fail though.

Infighting is beneficial. If a group can't handle it, then it will disband appropriately.