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Talking about some serious shit 

I've seen people receive aggressive backlash for saying something like "this could have been me" about abusers, nazis and the like, and whenever that thought occurs to me I instinctively shut it down and I don't think that's always a good thing. Saying "this could have been me" does not excuse the behaviour, it does the very opposite. Because it affirms my freedom, it confirms that *I made a choice* not to become that person.

Talking about some serious shit 

In fact, the only way that you could say that not being a nazi is something you chose to do, is if it was possible for you to have been a nazi.

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Talking about some serious shit 

The left uses dehumanisation A LOT. We do, we shouldn't be shy about it. ACAB is exactly that, it's dehumanising. And that dehumanisation has its political uses, it's an extremely valuable tool. And if we want to live up to our ideals, we have to know when to turn it on and off. Because in order to understand how people come to do bad things, we have to see them as what they truly are: people, who choose to do what they do.

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Talking about some serious shit 

A lot of people here and a lot of comrades in general have been very close to bad scenes and played with bad ideologies in the past, and I don't think that these histories are things we should shame our comrades into hiding. They are worth discussing, because they help us understand how the evil ideologies that permeate every aspect of our lives influence our behaviours and beliefs. And it's by understanding our enemy that we can destroy it.

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Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald you know, this is a good take

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald Another reason it is important to understand the sentiment of "that could have been me" is that it will be impossible to end the existence of bad people without ending the systems that create them
For example, it is important to recognize the systems that turn men into abusers so that we can dismantle them
I don't know if anyone is immune to these systems, you're just lucky if you weren't overtaken by them

Talking about some serious shit 

@nuttgodd @garfiald @SouthernGothHick

I think it’s important to recognize the agency that we have as individuals though. Becoming an abuser isn’t just something that happens to you. It’s the result of a series of choices that you made.

Talking about some serious shit 

@AudreyJune @garfiald @SouthernGothHick indeed! There is a great deal of personal agency along with societal influence at play, particularly influence from others' choices

Talking about some serious shit, hazing mention 

@nuttgodd @AudreyJune @garfiald I would point at fraternities and institutional hazing as an example of this.

It's both individual choices on behalf of the members to be abusive to new members, it's a structural issue perpetuated by club structures, and these both feed and exasperate each other.

Folks are taught how to abuse through these systems, and these systems become abusive bc of abusers.

Talking about some serious shit, hazing mention 

@SouthernGothHick @nuttgodd @garfiald

Well said. That’s a really good example of an institution that is so corrupt it should be burned to the ground.

Another thing to remember though is that while there are pressures on young men to join these institutions (peers, parents), it is ultimately a choice they make and some of the worst impulses of these structures are well known.

See also: the military, a structure i narrowly avoided joining.

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald fuck yes

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald I think it’s also useful because one of the reasons I see my students slide into alt-right/fash ideology is that they don’t think they’ll ever be acceptable to what they see as perpetually-offended SJWs who are only interested in scoring points. Now, there’s some of my guys who I don’t think will ever get better, but a measure of understanding in this regard might help some others realize that they don’t *have* to be fascists for the rest of their lives.

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald i almost want to call it, like Wokeness Calvinism, where people who are good were always predestined to be good and people who are bad were always predestined to be bad

Talking about some serious shit 

@hierarchon @garfiald this is the first time I am hearing this terminology and I love it

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald I’m not like some kind of diehard Liam Nelson fan, nor likely to describe him as an obvious comrade, but the recent debacle with him came to mind as I read this. People lost their shit about something gross he almost did in the past... that he raised as an example of what he now understands was wrong? I was definitely rather “uh, wow dude, that’s fucked up” but I never understood how anyone went from that point A to the point Z of “he actively must still think of committing a hate crime now/how dare he admit to this”

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald i spent my 20s as a pretty hardcore libertarian (shocking right) and honestly was like a proto redpill/incel in my late teens. I could have turned out worse.

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald oh wow this hit a nerve and I agree 100%.

Still wish that some people (mostly but not entirely cishet dudes) would learn to read the room first though, when it comes to opening up with "I was almost an inc*l" and stuff like that.

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald
You’ve absolutely nailed it here. Thank you for saying this.

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald this in a big way. the balance point is we have to be able to shut down the shit-liberal whining about civility and fash collaborators Just Doing their Jobs, and recognizing when someone's sincerely curious/willing to change their mind.

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald The key for me has been to look at a person's overall trajectory. People can't help where they start, but they can choose to move towards or away from pro-social ideologies. In the U.S. the majority of people are socialized to start as classist, ableist, transphobic capitalist racists. Getting better involves moving through the entire spectrum of belief starting from "horribly unacceptable."

The problem is that even when someone is on the path to having progressive ideology, their worldview can still be incredibly toxic. We have to figure out how to hold people who are already hard-left, people who have PTSD from suffering from abusive systems, and people who haven't fully found their way out of condoning those systems (but who will eventually and are on their way).

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald The answer definitely isn't respectability politics or "being polite to nazis" because that has been tried many times over unsuccessfully, but I'm sure it's a solvable problem.

general politics, dehumanisation 

@garfiald
I appreciate you saying this. I understand it can be a useful tool, even if my own goal is to try to deeply understand people as people, but so often i feel like leftist ppl dehumanise others... just, excessively and unnecessarily, i think.

I've never been brave enough to say anything, because i believe I'd likely be accused of being on the side of the oppressor. Possibly jokingly, but i can't tell, or respond, and it's way stressful.

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald i was a nazi because i was born into a nazi family and we isolated ourselves from (or just disregarded as sheeple) people who weren't nazis

i had to choose not being a nazi, which involved affirming that almost everyone i ever had any emotional connection to, was full of shit

i still wonder what i'd be like had i not been exposed to the particular things that made me think, and what it means for dealing with people stuck in far-right ideologies

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald there’s an alternate future where i didn’t make the decision to cut a bunch if stuff i felt was toxic out of my life and i don’t wanna know about the kind of person i would be in that world

Talking about some serious shit; rape/sa 

@CyclopsCaveman @garfiald i used to watch the amazing atheist and told my feminist sister that sexual assault and rape were the fault of both the abuser and the victim; if i hadn't found out about the time he threatened a rape victim with rape online as early as i did i would've shrugged it off and continued on to paul joseph watson

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald there was some point on the path i was on where i would have had to consciously make the decision to align with far right wing groups, even nazis, and if had been in that culture for long enough i wonder if its possible i would have. i chose to stop engaging with spaces like 4chan, 8chan, and twitter specifically because i didn’t like their moods and political tones, and more vaguely because the more i thought about what they were talking about the less it seemed like it fit with my core belief of treating others the way i’d want to be treated

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald @CyclopsCaveman

I had a lot of truama that had reinforced and cemented a bunch of weird transphobic ideas in my head. If I'd never been able to heal and move past that, I'd be in grave with my deadname on it.

I couldn't keep beleiving that stuff and trying to be okay with my assigned gender. Came down to a coinflip between suicide and transitioning (which at the time, I though of as suicide, but slower)

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald @CyclopsCaveman

Needless to say, Transitioning worked out really fucking well and I finally feel like... I'm living my life. Sometimes it sucks ass, but it sucks ass on my terms and it's incredible.

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald @CyclopsCaveman @Aleums

Honestly being able to talk about it feels amazing.

Talking about some serious shit 

@Roxxie_Riot @garfiald @Aleums i’m really glad mastodon has evolved into a space where people can feel safe talking about their past without feeling like it could end them

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald There is this cultural thing where people are like "that is a good relvalation to have in private" but I sort of think that most private revalations are good to publicize if you feel comfortable doing so because then you can show everyone else that they arent alone in having made these bad choices but then making good choices and becoming a different sort of person. So yes, I think this is a good thing to say. Also for the reasons you said too.

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald I agreed. I have also seen a lot of powerful stories from men in my life who have talked about absorbing toxic masculinity and all the isms and phobias that go with it, and unlearning it, and the process of it...which is good. It demonstrates to me an emotional awareness, and a wanting to share how unlearning works. That level of honesty when it isnt a 'look how good I am' brings people closer in my experience.

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald i think it also helps to show that there are people out there who stand at a crossroads of who they could be, and there are outside influences that and push you one way or the other. when someone says 'it could have been me' it shows that there are ways of preventing it

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald my father could have been a righwinger but he had the experiences and openness to see. we should accept people and encourage them towards justice and a better world. a lot of times the converts will have more understanding and strength (just look at Paul)

Talking about some serious shit 

@garfiald

In my opinion virtue depends on choice. If you don't have the choice to be good or bad, then being being good does not really count as much for character compared to someone who was free to choose what they are.

And since large parts of the culture I grew up in both subtly and overtly endorse racism, classicism, and patriarchy choosing to not go with the flow and going against the wind is a choice that has more meaning rather than just accepting it.

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