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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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+5 votes
What have you seen work? What have you seen not work? What are experiments that we could try? How is the topic different for anarchists than for non-anarchists (or is it)?
by (53.1k points)
there is an over the top (in terms of how much it would demand from us) pamphlet called thoughts on community responses to intimate violence. i appreciate it because it tries to take a different tack on the question/possible responses.
i am frustrated by the most common anarchist response to abuse/accusations of abuse, because they are SO bureaucratic, and bureaucracy as a solution has never worked for me. i recognize that it works for other people sometimes. it would be interesting to understand when it is a helpful option, but i think it's essential to have other things in our repertoire.
so here is a place to go wild! shout out crazy ideas! or, you know, whatever. ;)
Is there any place on the internet I could find that pamphlet you mention?
What about "Wild Justice" by Bob Black ? I call it "Bob Blacking" when someone pulls off a little Wild Justice.
How do we define abuse? It seems obvious that the typical male desires power/control because he is bad and woman is a traumatized victim framework isn't gonna fly here. What qualifies as abusive behavior?
yes, absolutely s.h.
since different groups define abuse so wildly differently, there can't be a single definition, which is only one of the many issues with how abuse is handled generally. this is complicated of course by many people who are being treated in ways that they don't like, but that they don't recognize as being change-able. defining "abuse" is sometimes helpful for those people to take a step back and look at what is happening to them.
other times, it serves as a standardizing tactic.


1 Answer

+3 votes
here are some...

a) giving the supposed abuser a companion, who sticks with them all the time or at least when they're anywhere near the survivor.

b) accountability process: usually these suck and are exercises in self-righteousness on the part of the process members, but sometimes they're not. and sometimes, even if they are, the recipient of the process can respond in good faith anyway.

c) vigilante action: nothing necessarily wrong with this, and since i firmly believe that talking is not the solution to all problems, this can make sense. obviously not all the time, and it supposes (as with many approaches to solutions to this issue) that there is clarity about who is at fault for the situation. (most situations, as i have already mentioned, are not clear.)

d) support groups for for either or both or all members of the conflict (not in the same group, which i hope is obvious). if the other members of the support group are relevant to the attendees, this can work really well, but it's most common that the recipients of the process (especially the one accused of violence) are flakey. it can also be hard to find enough people to have a group. but the process of on-going groups explicitly structured around at least a few people sharing intimate information about their lives and relationships can be really helpful. groups that are of all strangers might be ok too, but that's a different kind of crapshoot.

e) sometimes individual therapy can work.

f) if we had (intentional) hypnotists in our mix, we could try that. i guess that's my crazy thought.

g) putting the word out about someone to strategic people in the mix, people who will follow it up appropriately. someone moved to town and wanted to join a fight club and the main guy (who'd heard about the conflict from friends out of town) said that he'd have to go to therapy for a year (or something) before he joined the club. the guy didn't do it, but also i didn't hear anything more about him acting inappropriately with women. but who knows how bad the situation was in the first place... anyway. that might have worked. obviously just spreading the word to random people is what normally happens and that just makes people take accusations less seriously.

edit: oh - i guess i think that the topic is different superficially for anarchists than for a lot of the straight world because there's a willingness to talk about these things (in some cases an insistence on talking about them)--at least on a theoretical level (which doesn't seem to translate to talking about specifics or actual problem-solving). we're like the left in that way.
but on a deeper level, we're not different at all, because most of our theory/talk is still based on an understanding of women being weak and needing protecting, a perspective on women that is inherent in the society we live in (at least in the parts of the u.s. that i have been in).
by (53.1k points)
edited by
ugh. i realize that i transitioned thoughtlessly from talking about abuse in general to talking about abuse against women.
one demerit for me.
i think what i said to some extent still translates, and that victims/survivors are gendered (by most of the people who hear about the situation) as women regardless of their sex, at least for the scenarios that reference the abuse, but obviously that gets into a much more complicated conversation.

edited for more caveating.