On recent attacks on the ICC on libcom

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Anyone having problems

Anyone having problems accessing the libcom site? I can't get it at all with my server saying it's blocked because their security certificate run out yesterday.


baboon wrote:

Anyone having problems accessing the libcom site? I can't get it at all with my server saying it's blocked because their security certificate run out yesterday.


how about now?

They're up and running - they

They're up and running - they must have put some coins in the meter. A distinct lack of discussion on the "gilets jaunes" movement.

I'm not arguing that we

I'm not arguing that we shouldn't debate about State policies, I'm arguing that we have nothing to propose to the State. It's not the same to debate the origin and meaning of State policies and leftist ideologies than to try to determine how to "improve" them.

I agree that it's not a very good point the number of people it affects or not.

I agree as well that hotly debated topics, as you put it, have an effect on revolutionaries. But we have to keep in mind that, even if the debate stems from the insistence of some leftist movements, most workers don't think about them in the same terms of the identitarian leftists.

My point about the right was probably poorly explained. What I'm trying to say is that leftist identitarian ideologies are as reactionary as the alt-right and similar rightist ideologies. One danger of leftism, however, is that it gives the impression of being somehow "preferable" or "closer". They aren't.

As a purely anecdotal fact, I've had quite more respectful and productive debates with rightists than with leftists, to the date. Just an anecdote though, it proves nothing.

Comunero wrote:

Comunero wrote:

I'm not arguing that we shouldn't debate about State policies, I'm arguing that we have nothing to propose to the State. It's not the same to debate the origin and meaning of State policies and leftist ideologies than to try to determine how to "improve" them.

It is on this general level about reformism that baboon too tried to locate the problem with the libcom-crowd as concerns idpol. But then the retort of the libcom-crowd was that our critique of idpol is thus not specific about idpol, but is just the general critique of reformism everyone shares (on libcom and in the ICC) with regard to Social-Democrats, the Greens, etc., so does not provide any specific new insight, and by singling out for critique "idpol" as especially bad, is giving cover to the "normal" reformism of Social-Democratcs, etc., and is non-constructive on how to tackle problems faced by identity groups in a revolutionary way (translation: critics of "idpol" are de facto racist, misogynist, etc.).

The distinction of analysing State policy vs. favouring/advocating State policy, would grant us permission for intervention in debate on the usual topics of idpolists. That would be already a big step, for it would show that we do have something intelligent, a communist perspective, to say on these topics (of trans-identity, prostitution, etc.), besides the lip-service of condemning right-wing attacks on minority groups.

But we are told further that we need "to do something about it". Taking the radical position that even activism without direct involvement in the election and legislative process, still involves application of pressure and appeals to the State to change its policy, so though this be dressed up as "challenging" the state, it is still reformist –  is again a critique that applies to all activism. Suppose though that idpols do reject traditional leftist activism as being insufficiently radical/efficient on these issues (they're loathe to recognise the significance of the traditional socialist movement, which did "do something" in fighting against black segregation, for women's maternity pay, decriminalisation of homosexuality, etc. ), and that they genuinely abstain from any hope on changing state policy, then they arrive not at the conventional reformist politics, but something closer to ultra-radical terrorist tactists or the often-invoked Maoist "struggle sessions" (or that of Christian fundamentalist who does not just enforce correct action/behaviour, but also correct belief). So it is not accurate enough to condemn idpol for its alleged State reformism. Perpaps idpols have not merely an "ultra-radical" wing, but their specific problem lies in their "ultra-radicalism".

Btw, I tried to comment on

Btw, I tried to comment on the Charnel-house blog (the post where the author criticises himself, I commented on it here before), but couldn't (I hope it's just due to spam filter, not censorship). In the comments section the ex-leftcom (renegade) professor Rectenwald denounced the blogger, along with all Marxists, as groveling before the idpol crowd. I wanted to say that there are in my opinion still a few Marxists who don't buy into idpol (and specifically claims on transitioning), while at the same time I wanted to locate our objection to Rectenwald in the general question of appearances in bourgeous media (namely he appeared on Fox). I argued that in the socialist tradition it was not-done for socialists to give interviews in the bourgeois press.


I must say though there are few Marxists who oppose the claims around trans people. Take for example the Alliance for Workers' Liberty, which in May 2018 published a discussion document which sets out their consensus view, Gender: the right to chose. Like the ICC, it nominally rejects identity politics, it duly denounces the vitriol "of both sides" in the debate, and rejects the non-platforming tactic. But on the scientific question of the possibility of changing sex the  AWL buys into the side of the trans advocates, I quote a section:

"The central right that trans people want is to be accepted in their chosen gender.

Transitioning is difficult. But for the individuals concerned, it is worth it, because at least they are now living as the person they are.

If society or individuals then say that these people are not who they say they are, that they are not women or men or neither, then the one thing that means the most to them is denied. The gender they have struggled so hard to reject and leave behind is pinned back on them. To do this is nasty and unempathetic.

The argument that a person’s sex is a biological reality that cannot change may sound logical, but it comes up against the reality that trans people exist. Trans-hostile attitudes usually insist that changing, for example from a man into a woman, is not possible. They insist that the science of biological sex trumps the significance of people’s feelings about their gender. However, this does not stand up to scientific scrutiny. Firstly, science is increasingly recognising biological sex as more complex than previously thought (including male and female chromosomes, hormones, external genitals and internal reproductive organs, which in an individual usually align with each other but in some individuals may not). Secondly, some aspects of biological sex can be changed, for example the balance of male and female hormones in the body. And thirdly, feelings of gender identity are real: they are socio-psychological orientations; although they are analysed differently from physical characteristics, they are not scientifically irrelevant.

Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Non-binary people are non-binary."


Let me also quote this passage, which I had to read twice to understand:

"If we oppose self-declaration and insist that people are sent to the prison according to their legal gender under the current system, then trans men without a GRC [Gender recognition certificate] will be admitted to women’s prisons. So there is as much danger of men being admitted to women’s prisons under the present law as under the proposed changes. It is interesting to note that many criticisms of the GRA changes (and of trans rights more generally) disproportionately discuss trans women, sometimes not mentioning or considering trans men at all."


I want to know if the ICC agrees with these arguments (ie scientific claim about possibility to change sex), because it's better to know in advance, than to learn afterwards that it has already become gospel.


This week news headlines mentioned the case of a white woman Martina Big that claimed to be black. She spent thousands of dollars on surgeries in an attempt to become a Black woman.

“I have great news. I had done the next step in my transformation to a black woman. Yesterday I was with an African hairdresser and got a hair extension with curly, African hair. To become more and more a black woman, that is such a wonderful feeling. I’m so happy. Next, I’ll have consultations for the butt enlargement and for the African facial features,” Martina Big wrote on her Facebook page.


The "race-transitioning" is an already well-known comparison to transgender people (eg Adolph Reed and the WSWS made it). But they do not mean it as a trans-hostile argument. The point is that anyone who genuinely feels sympathetic to black people is free to identity as a black person. Moreover here there is really no scientific basis for race, unlike with sex.



They still would be reformist

You say that if the idpol movement attempted more violent actions, they couldn't be called reformists. I disagree. They would still be fighting for a more humane/open/whatever bourgeois State, a reformed capitalist State. Not social democratic reformism, but still reformism.

I dealt with that point

I dealt with that point already, and it's true that there are apolegtics for reformism on libcom (they also make fun of the expression "smashing the state"): if I recall in the idpol-thread it came notably from Fleur, who perhaps significantly, is a bit older leftist generation (1980s). Like I said, though, idpols tend to "reject traditional leftist activism as being insufficiently radical/efficient on these issues – they're loathe to recognise the significance of the traditional socialist movement". We cannot simply lump together the reformism of Bernstein with the millenial social justice warriors. Again, take into account that some of them (given the anarchist tendency among them) "genuinely abstain from any hope on changing state policy, then they arrive not at the conventional reformist politics". They're called radical liberals (radlibs) after all (I don't think you'll find eg Anarchist Federation's program for state policy reforms).

The idpols' ultra-radical tactists, or call it fascist/thuggish intimidation tactics, are not reforming/damaging the state/capitalists. We can understand the reformist charge in the opposite sense, namely that the radlibs are an (unconscious) tool of the state/capitalists to damage workers' struggle. So yes there is reformism, but it's the states/capitalists who are reforming/damaging the workers' struggle.


Looks like this libcom thread on sex and gender is set to be another libcom episode of uninteresting moronic takes about the trans issue (it's a shame really, because there are so many interesting things that could be said about it). For example, what is the point (by Mike Harman) about bringing up intersex people, ie saying that sex is a spectrum? Let us entertain this thought for a moment, given the argumentative laziness of its proponents. Its suggested implication apparently is that there are no "100%" women (or "100%" men): we're all on a spectrum. But the slogan is that "transwomen are women", ie the demand for recognition of being "100%" women – it is not about being recognised as some (non-binary) dot on a spectrum. Or is the suggsted implication of the existence of a spectrum that it allows a person to transfer/transition from one dot on the spectrum to another dot on the spectrum? Fine, but then the person will still never arrive at "100%" definitely women/men. So all that a spectrum would suggest is that a person can move along the female/male spectrum, like in a bad infinity. On the other hand, suppose there are no actual inter-sex people, that is people capable of producing both an egg and sperm (which AFAIK is the truth). What is the feared implication? Apparently the most dire: that trans-people don't exist, have no right to call themselves the other sex. So everything for the trans advocates hinges apparently on the claim of the existence of intersex people/a sex spectrum. Why put all your eggs in one basket like that? And if they say their position doesn't solely depend on the existence of sex-spectrum, then there's no political point to argue about it.

To bring up again the comparison to "race-transitioning": here it can be accepted with less controversy that there are "inter-race" people. Incidentally the remaining controversy is that for racists (principally in America) a person even with just 1% black ancestry is considered black (just as conversely IIRC in Haiti some black politician once said that anyone with a tiny amount of white ancestry in their country is considered white, cf. Noel Ignatiev example). Whereas at least for me it would be normal to consider a Meghan Markle or Obama not as "black", but mixed. Anyway, the existence of a "race-spectrum" then should mean that a white person can identify themselves as "black" (or "Afro-") without any qualifier, and without any uproar. Again, the point here is to say that anyone should be free to identify themselves as black. But that is not accepted as of yet by society or by radical circles, whereas for sex such reasoning is accepted.


d-man wrote:

To bring up again the comparison to "race-transitioning": here it can be accepted with less controversy that there are "inter-race" people. Incidentally the remaining controversy is that for racists (principally in America) a person even with just 1% black ancestry is considered black (just as conversely IIRC in Haiti some black politician once said that anyone with a tiny amount of white ancestry in their country is considered white, cf. Noel Ignatiev example). Whereas at least for me it would be normal to consider a Meghan Markle or Obama not as "black", but mixed. Anyway, the existence of a "race-spectrum" then should mean that a white person can identify themselves as "black" (or "Afro-") without any qualifier, and without any uproar. Again, the point here is to say that anyone should be free to identify themselves as black. But that is not accepted as of yet by society or by radical circles, whereas for sex such reasoning is accepted.

Perhaps the contradictions and inconsistencies in the approach to these different identity categories reveal something about what it is going on. It is less about being methodologically coherent and making consistent claims and more about maintaining a police power function so as to be able to punish and control transgressors. It is less about getting to the bottom of these issues and more about keeping them alive as weapons to wield against those outside the expressive communities who are defined by the very controversies around their identities.

In the case of transgender/intersex, the identities in question are defined by their claiming a biological identity that fits the suppsoed inner truth of their essential self, while in the case of race its about defending the ascriptive boundaries of a group defined by its historical oppression. One is a claim of self-expression about an hitherto hidden inner self, the other a kind of reactive response to historical victimization based on visible pheotypical characteristics and policing the boundaries of who gets to claim victim status.

In the US, they have now invented a new catgeory for this that goes beyond biology or appearing to be "black" in public: ADOS (American Descendants of Slaves). It is now not enough to simply be black in some publicly visible way, one must now be able to trace one's ancestry back to someone held in slavery in order to have the full moral authority and qualify for anticipated reparations, etc. And so the solidarity of the previously hegemonic identity category "People of Color," cracks under the weight of even more specific criteria. Part of this seems like it is a response to immigration, which has seen specifically African American claims against society diluted by those of other subaltern groups, including ostensibly black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean (including Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, but also Obama), who did not experience the destabilzing effects of slavery and therefore cannot be situated very neatly in the racial disparity statistics that drive official social justice policy.

I comment here on jef

I comment here on jef costello's post on that thread (since I still am banned from libcom). He quoted birdtiem as saying:

"What I'm talking about specifically is the conception of sex as an immutable biological characteristic. I don't see how this particular piece of information is not - in and of itself - accurate. It is a distinction between gametes that is applicable to the vast overwhelming majority of sexually reproducing organisms."

Jef's response:

"It is, to an extent, accurate, but it is in that sense meaningless as well. If you strip out everything apart from the simple biology then this is correct, as long as you ignore all the biological variations. I don't see why the biological aspect (especially as it doesn't support a deterministic binary) has much relevance unless it is being used to make a deterministic argument.

It would be like arguing that there are no differences between white and black people's experience of society because both groups can have blue eyes.

I don't know what it is that makes a person trans, I don't think I really need to know. Someone is trans, that's it really. "


Jef, in his typical fashion, sits on the fence: in a single sentence he grants that sex "in simple biology" is binary (the "distinction between gametes"), but adds that this ignores "all the biological variations".

Next he says the biological aspect is irrelevant (which btw also would directly run counter to Mike Harman's line of argument about the biological existence of inter-sex people). The only relevance he sees for it is in case it makes a "deterministic argument", apparently meaning that recognition of binary sex inevitably entails that people will/must "behave" according to the rules imposed by society on their sex. This is indeed the line of argument of reactionaries, which jef apparently finds irrefutable (so the only way to refute them for him is by denying the existence of binary sex, their premise).

Btw, jef is right in saying that he doesn't know what makes a person "trans" (notice he doesn't even dare to say "woman/man"), ie there is no biological aspect to it. Here he is more advanced than Mike Harman's inter-sex line.

One remark from jef is worth trying to unpack:

"It would be like arguing that there are no differences between white and black people's experience of society because both groups can have blue eyes."

Jef is assuming here that skin colour is a more fundamental fact (ie "simple biology") to race, than other "biological variations", like eye colour, are. But jef feels uncomfortable saying that, so he shoehorns in the term "experience" of black/white people in society. That experience is something different, which can't be bridged by biological variations (he should have said: even by "simple biology"). His analogy here is of racial experience to "gender" (and not to sex). He hints at "gender"/race oppression, but stops short and merely uses the neutral-sounding "experience of society", because the desire of trans-people is to identify with a "gender", as a positive experience of woman/man, but not subscribe to a form of oppression. At first you would think that jef wants to say that the existence of a racial experience/gender identity (which again, is not something oppressive here) is not determlned by biology, but what jef implies is that it is not negated by biology. Gender identity (or racial experience) is something valid/real/essential, regardless of any biology. It could sound as if "racial experience", like gender identity, can be experienced by people if they so declare to experience/identify as that race/gender. This would be the race-transitioning argument I mentioned above. But i don't think jef is saying that. I think his point is that gender/"racial experience" is something that we must affirm/accept as essential (more essential than earthly biology). 


d-man wrote:

d-man wrote:

Jef is assuming here that skin colour is a more fundamental fact (ie "simple biology") to race, than other "biological variations", like eye colour, are. But jef feels uncomfortable saying that, so he shoehorns in the term "experience" of black/white people in society. That experience is something different, which can't be bridged by biological variations (he should have said: even by "simple biology"). His analogy here is of racial experience to "gender" (and not to sex). He hints at "gender"/race oppression, but stops short and merely uses the neutral-sounding "experience of society", because the desire of trans-people is to identify with a "gender", as a positive experience of woman/man, but not subscribe to a form of oppression. At first you would think that jef wants to say that the existence of a racial experience/gender identity (which again, is not something oppressive here) is not determlned by biology, but what jef implies is that it is not negated by biology. Gender identity (or racial experience) is something valid/real/essential, regardless of any biology. It could sound as if "racial experience", like gender identity, can be experienced by people if they so declare to experience/identify as that race/gender. This would be the race-transitioning argument I mentioned above. But i don't think jef is saying that. I think his point is that gender/"racial experience" is something that we must affirm/accept as essential (more essential than earthly biology).

There was a time on the left when sexual orientation might be considered an expressive choice, a kind of libertarian (or is it libertine?) experience of the world based on one's exploration (or lack thereof) of multifarious forms of desire. That seemed to change around the time the debates over gay marriage became mainstream in the mid-2000s. All of a sudden, sexual orientiation became a function of one's biology, a hardwired fact of one's being that could not really be changed. Things like conversion therapy became taboo and popular culture began to explain "coming out " stories in terms of people coming to know their true essential selves. Anyone who questioned this narrative was denoucned as denying the science demonstrating the biological basis of sexual orientation. Whatever the truth of this, there was a clear strategic thinking going on here: in order to win "rights," like the right to marry, it was deemed necessary to situate minorities defined by their sexual orientation on the same terms as racial groups, who were obviously defined by their biology and therefore "could not help but be the way they were," making it more difficult for the state and civilized, right minded people to deny them their rights. Sexual orientation became less a "behavior" and more a function of brain chemistry. It does seem that today's debates over trans rights complicate that narrative however, as it is not always clear whether  the claims for trans rights are made in the name of some kind of bio-medically defined group, or one based more on expressive choice and self-fashioned identity. Of course, its not entirely clear why it would make a huge difference.

That is until the question is comapred to race. Here there are also competing claims: "race is a social construct," yet "there is no such thing as racial choice." While those who "sex-transition" are getting in touch with their essential selves, those who attempt to "race transition," are committing various sins: either passing as a dominant group and therefore betraying their essential racial self or they are appropriating the experience of otherness and victimization in a way that can only harm the offended group. If race is a social construct, racial oppression is based on phenotypical characteristics that are supposedly immutable and therefore cannot be changed. Of course, in the end this also becomes an argument about experience: White people, regardless of their good intentions, simply cannot experience the world any other way than as a member of a dominant group. Attempts to race transition become a kind of "victimhood chic."

We are already seeing the pendulumn on this swing back towards "experience" as the defining variable in surprising ways today that reveal the limits of so-called "intersectionality." In the US, while there is a kind of centripetal political force around the Democratic Party pulling various identity claims together into a kind of hegemomic bloc: "People of Color," there is also a competing centrifugal force pushing the various group claims apart. While African and Caribbean immigrants may experience anti-black racism in the US today, they did not experience the horrors, historical disposession of slavery and its legacy that continue to define the experience of ADOS today. Of course, it also seems clear that the increasing assertiveness of African-American identity claims (around police brutality, claims for reparations, demands to address various aspects of America's historical legacy that specifically affected ADOS, taking down Confederate statutes, etc.) is driven in part by a rising fear of their claims being crowded out by others: either the nosie and furor over sexual identity claims or fears about the increasing demographic weight of Latinos, whose claims against society are for the moment mostly related to immigrant rights, but who may start to bring their own redistributionist claims that would render ADOS claims for reparations only one among several competing group interests.

jk1921 wrote:

jk1921 wrote:

There was a time on the left when sexual orientation might be considered an expressive choice, a kind of libertarian (or is it libertine?) experience of the world based on one's exploration (or lack thereof) of multifarious forms of desire. That seemed to change around the time the debates over gay marriage became mainstream in the mid-2000s.

This change started earlier, in the 80s, when a new lesbian faction attacked "political lesbians" like Sheila Jeffreys (or anyone who had previously been in a heterosexual relation) for not being real lesbians. But as my designation ("political lesbians") suggests, the latter were not just some hippy libertarians.

jk1921 wrote:
there was a clear strategic thinking going on here: in order to win "rights," like the right to marry, it was deemed necessary to situate minorities defined by their sexual orientation on the same terms as racial groups, who were obviously defined by their biology and therefore "could not help but be the way they were," making it more difficult for the state and civilized, right minded people to deny them their rights.

I doubt if it was part of a real strategy (like winning the right to marry). In any case homosexual orientation was depoliticized, or its radical "maximalist" goals curtailed.

jk1921 wrote:
it is not always clear whether  the claims for trans rights are made in the name of some kind of bio-medically defined group, or one based more on expressive choice and self-fashioned identity. Of course, its not entirely clear why it would make a huge difference.

It's rarely in the name of expressive choice (today perhaps only Andrea Chu), more in the name of bio-medicine (witness the inter-sex argument), and perhaps mostly a third reason: in the name of mental/psychiatric healing. It was after all a psychologist who introduced the term "gender identity" (John Money, as already discussed in Raymond's The Transsexual Empire). True, a certain part of trans-activists have little respect for the psychologist establishment (=charlatans or authoritarian gatekeepers), perhaps just relying on the psychiatric reason as the only available path, but I think it's nevertheless presented as the most sincere/serious reason: mental illness should not be a stigma. So "trigger warnings" or "safe spaces" can also be justified for people with PTSD, etc.

This brings me back to Libcom's outrage over ICC's quotations around "transphobia". This term implies anti-trans bigots suffer from a psychological/mental fear of trans-people, which as the all-too-woke ICC said, stigmatizes/associates people suffering genuine mental illnesses with political right-wing bigotry. On the other hand terms like "Islamophobia" also depolitcize/downplay right-wing bigots by casting them as mere mental patients. This psychologization is raised also by liberals/lawyers whenever some right-winger commits an atrocity (he was just a "single nutjob"), and features in politics, as with the possible invocation of the 25th amendment against Trump (or conversely for his opponents, Trump Derangement Syndrome). Libcom didn't get the ICC's woke quotations in this case, but generally they are quite supportive of psychiatric/mental care (against the usual anti-psychiatry sentiments you'd except for political radicals).

I seem to remember that you, jk1921, said something about that, perhaps referring to the use of psychiatry against dissidents in the USSR. As an aside, I want to touch upon that, because it seems to be still one of the biggest talking points against socialism, or at least it was the biggest critique rasied against the particular post-Stalin USSR era, that is, the human rights campaign of Carter (Solzhenitsyn even claiming that Soviet psychiatry was worse than the Nazi death camps). In a 2002 article, Alan A. Stone ('Psychiatrists on the side of the angels', Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law) wrote (see page 110 and following):

"I  am  well  aware  of  the  many  publications  that claim to have documented the widespread political abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union and that I am a voice of dissent. But in the 30 years that have passed, it seems to me increasingly clear that much of the empirical evidence was exaggerated, much of the motivation was based on our (I am myself Jewish) concern about Soviet Jewry, and much of the criticism of Soviet psychiatry was ideological rather than scientific.  Today,  Western  psychiatry  has  accepted many of the psychiatric premises for which the Soviets were condemned."

In Russian there is also the 2006 book by Valery Gindin, Psychiatry: myth and reality (Психиатрия: мифы и реальность) that likewise questions aspects of the dominant Western story about Soviet psychiatry.

jk1921 wrote:
While those who "sex-transition" are getting in touch with their essential selves, those who attempt to "race transition," are committing various sins ... appropriating the experience of otherness and victimization in a way that can only harm the offended group. ... White people, regardless of their good intentions, simply cannot experience the world any other way than as a member of a dominant group. Attempts to race transition become a kind of "victimhood chic."

That's an objection against today's trans-"gender" people raised by gender critical (GC) feminists. But even for the more realistic (older) transsexuals or playful transvestites (who don't claim to be the opposite sex), some feminists took offense, comparing this to black minstrels. Perhaps today it would be like a white dude insisting to be addressed (by black people) by the pronoun 'nigga', see:

Semantic Bleaching and the Emergence of New Pronouns in AAVE (African-American Vernacular English), 2015 by Taylor W. Jones, Christopher S. Hall


AAVE is developing new pronouns, facilitated by the semantic bleaching of the word ‘nigga.’ We show ‘nigga’ is not specified for race, gender, or humanness (although default is [+human] and [+male]). Using 20,000 tweets and field notes from NYC and Philadelphia, we demonstrate that there are new first person pronouns in AAVE based on ‘nigga’ (e.g. 1sg “a nigga”) – moreover, we demonstrate they pattern with true pronouns and not imposters (Collins & Postal, 2010) with respect to binding and verbal agreement. We discuss the origin of these new pronouns, related grammatical forms (including vocatives and honorifics), and rate of adoption and current rates of use.


Darren P made the comparison to categorisation of species:

"But then there's no single physiological or biological marker that will categorize an individual organism as belonging to a particular species either."

(Btw, Darren P further made a comparion to cars, asking if he takes out the engine of his car, would it still be considered a car? But he could perhaps better have asked: if he takes out the engine of his Volkswagen Beetle, does it turn his car into an Enzo Ferrari?)

Mike replying:

"But when people say 'sex is a spectrum' they're not saying that male and female are useless categories, they're saying that there are grey areas between categories or whatever and that the way we determine those categories changes over time. Your example of species is a good one, because really what makes two closely related species, or genus or watever, different is socially constructed/a spectrum too"

Mike loves Darren P's comparision to species, after all, witness how "socially constructed" the distinction between a raven and a crow is. But whatever difficulty in classifying animals, the majority have two sexes/a sexual division. Sex is a much more fundamental/universal distinction, than eg between a wolf and a dog. Mike's use of the qualifier "closely related" for the groups, means that they are placed within some broader/higher category: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxonomic_rank That is, Mike distinguishes between closely and not-closely related groups of animals. He does not want to say out loud that for example a rat and an elephant are on a spectrum, that their difference is "social-constructed", two categories changing with the course of advancing scientific progress, or that between a rat and an elephant there are "grey areas". If he were confident enough in his own reasoning, he would have not have used a qualifier. Let's help Mike: an elephant is a category on a spectrum alongside rats, homo sapiens, horses, crocodiles, birds, butterflies and jellyfish. What conclusion follows from this, what is even Mike's argument? I think it only would establish that the difference between men and women is just as "grey" as between a horse and a bird. Therefore I think Darren P also felt no need to engage any further with Mike. At a time when everybody knows Greer's quip ("I’ve asked my doctor to give me long ears and liver spots and I’m going to wear a brown coat but that doesn’t turn me into a f***ing cocker spaniel"), it is a bit surprising that Mike blithely argues for an inter-species spectrum.


d-man wrote:

d-man wrote:

(Btw, Darren P further made a comparion to cars, asking if he takes out the engine of his car, would it still be considered a car? But he could perhaps better have asked: if he takes out the engine of his Volkswagen Beetle, does it turn his car into an Enzo Ferrari?)

Funny, I once had to have the oil drain plug on a VW replaced. The mechanic could only find one from a Porsche, but it fit nonetheless. He said, "You now have Porsche parts on your car." I replied, "Will that make it any faster?" No, it is still the same slow as molasses piece of junk.

baboon's position?

This car comparison, by coincidence, was also just made by Linda Blade in an interview (on feministcurrents) on sex-segregated sport (allowing F-1 cars in a Nascar race).

I wonder if Baboon would dare to give his position on women-only spaces, as regards sport: is the "terf"-response overblown in his opinion here as well? I believe he has downplayed the topic of trans which was the explicit basis of Libcom's attacks. Baboon wrote:

"I'm not entirely sure that the over-the-top reaction from some of the Libcom administration was totally down to the "terf" question, though that was certainly involved. I think that the short mention in Alf's original post, which I think was a fundamentally important marxism v anarchism contribution, of libcom's links to the police and their defence of them, also contributed to their response to the piece"

And the attack on Lenin and the Bolsheviks arose from the attempt by Libcom (which is basically now just Mike Harman's personal site) to paint critics of identity politics as bigots against prostitutes. And "sex-work" is the other wedge-issue (also connected to trans people), which Baboon downplays. In fact, like I said before, I even believe libcom's attacks on the Bolsheviks was a happy distraction: On Libcom people can debate anarchism vs. Marxism on threads for years long to their hearth's contents (as I did) – there is nothing risky about it. But lo if people wade into the wedge issues of "gender" and prostitution. Baboon's own comportment is testament to this truth; he has failed even to maintain neutrality, but sided with the gender-identity/trans advocates and called himself a "sex-worker" in the past. And even when species, biology and evolution, which we know are topics close to Baboon's interests, are brought up in the debate, he has kept his silence. But the diplomacy will not save you or the ICC. The mere existence of this thread on the ICC forum, or by allowing me to post on it without challenging my views, the ICC will be regarded as "complicit", and be further attacked anyway.



Explicit better than implicit

Maybe, instead of wondering, you could just ask, d-man. Perhaps it's because my English is getting worse, but I really don't get where your last post is going.

I already have experience

I already have experience with Baboon ignoring my posts, and anyway it is not a question directed solely at him, but at the ICC in general and other forum posters. Whereas you Comunero have already stated your preference is to stay out of the topic. This is your disagreement with me, not a lack in understanding of English.

Well, I surely know what my

Well, I surely know what my preferences are. I'm just saying that saying what you mean explicitly it's quite more positive and makes it easier for everyone than stating what others have done, said and think, and suggesting ideas without directly making any affirmation (e.g. "diplomacy"). Don't get me wrong, obviously you will write as you prefer, but a direct question is far more likely to elicit an answer than speaking about someone in the hopes he will react. Plus, it's friendlier and easier to understand. Very often, I don't understand half of your posts because of this style of implying things. Of course, the problem of not understanding lies on my side, just don't be surprised if people don't answer when not addressed.

I don't want to derail the thread or starting a discussion on this, only wanted to say that maybe you aren't being ignored and it's just that people won't necessarily reply to posts that just state in third person what they supposedly mean, think and want.

Comunero wrote:

Comunero wrote:

Well, I surely know what my preferences are.

Yes, so do I, since you let me know them earlier on the thread, i.e. you prefer that we as leftcoms/marxists avoid discussing wedge issues like trans activisim or prostitution. I bring up this preference of yours, because I "imply" (if you wish) that this motivates your latest intervention, and not any alledged concern about wishing to see me succeed in getting a response from Baboon. To you use your terms, I think your "explicit" aim doesn't align with your implicit aim. It often happens that when people can't win an argument, they start taking recourse to complaints about the style or tone of people. You even view talk about Baboon in the "third person" as unfriendly. I don't go so far to declare pronouns themselves to be impolite.

That's not my view, but ok. I

That's not my view, but ok. I didn't say it's unfriendly, either. I have zero interest in "winning" any debate here, both because the idea of winning debates is quite ridiculous and because I don't get what you are saying. Although now I'm getting it better, it seems you're just beating strawmen (at least now regarding me). As I said, I don't want to derail the thread (or to get between you and "victory"), and now I have nothing else to say. Good luck.

Comunero wrote:

Comunero wrote:

That's not my view, but ok.

What is not your view? Earlier in the thread you opposed discussing the issues of trans ideology etc. If you don't oppose it, but are willing to debate them, then I'd be happy to learn of this.

I didn't say it's unfriendly, either.

You wrote: "Plus, it's friendlier"

So technically, you didn't say my post was unfriendly, but you did say it could be friendlier. I agree, we can all be more friendly to each other.

I have zero interest in "winning" any debate here, both because the idea of winning debates is quite ridiculous

I knew you would jump on the word "win", and thereby avoid the point: which is that your latest posts are vacuous meta-commentary, instead of engaging in our disagreement, ie have a debate in the first place. I consider "winning a debate" to be the convincing of someone else of your position: there's nothing ridiculous about this. Except perhaps for someone who has no convictions.

and because I don't get what you are saying.

No, you're disagreeing with what I'm saying (ie the unavoidable need for communists to take a position on issues like transactivism etc). It's a strange thing I notice, that some people are afraid or unwilling to acknowledge even the existence of a disagreement.

Although now I'm getting it better, it seems you're just beating strawmen (at least now regarding me). As I said, I don't want to derail the thread (or to get between you and "victory"), and now I have nothing else to say. Good luck.

I don't care to beat strawman, so your "good luck" wishes are misplaced.

To restate the situation:

To restate the situation: Baboon (and the ICC in general) downplay or misrecognise the ongoing wedge issues on the 'left', namely the trans ideology and prostitution debate. It's not a question of anarchism vs. Marxism – after all, the Anarcho-Communist Group split from Anarchist Federation, and nobody will suspect ACG of fostering Bolshevik sympathies. (Nor even a question of state reformism vs. Marxism).

I have documented on this thread that various Marxists have de facto, willy nilly, already plunged into the debate (and if we regard Libcom as good class-struggle anarchists, so have the international anarchists); Alliance for Workers' Liberty; Ross Wolfe (once one of the most voracious critics of identity politics); Historical Materialism (incident at Conference in Sydney); Louis Proyect et al., Libcom (me getting banned) have taken the side of trans ideology and "sex-work" (and even the sub-reddit Stupidpol is split on it). Marxists on the opposing side can be counted on one hand; Cockshott; a few Kiwis (Redline blog). The fact is that the ICC has already involuntarily been caught up by Libcom into the controversy, or worse, has taken a side without wanting to admit or realise it (Baboon). Therefore, all I'm saying is, you should recognise the reality and openly formulate a position now, because like everyone, ICC members are being exposed to the general influence of society and so probably do have a position; in time one side might suddenly, without debate, rule it is dogma, ie not up for debate. isn't this pretty much what happened with AF?

I wonder if there's not some truth to the notion that for (us here as mostly heterosexual) men, the issues are not of personal concern to us, more precisely that is we have no stake in the debate, which gets generalised and projected into the idea that the working class has no stake into debate. The only possible selfish worry for us would be that more and more trans-identifying women are destroying their breasts (by breast-binding and operations). We hardly worry about being outcompeted in sports by women, etc.

On Libcom a text was recently

On Libcom a text was recently added to the library ("'Deficient' Womanhood: Girldick and Transmisogyny as Debilitation/Capacity"), which elicited nothing but some jibes from (idpol-critical) commentators at the text's apparent silliness. There was evidently no serious discussion possible on Libcom (once again). But the text is very serious (and well-referenced). Btw, the user who posted it seems to be Marxist.


Here's an article on women's day by a leftcom group in Oceania (on the ICT's site: https://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2019-03-07/the-origins-and-capture-of-international-working-women-s-day). The comrades are generally critical of identity politics. However, like the others I listed before in this thread, when they incidentally touch on one of the prominent issues of idpol in the last years, they write (quote, my emphasis):

"Radical Feminist and even much of “Marxist” Feminist theory both place women as being a class based on their assigned sex/gender at birth. Not only do we oppose this theory due to its exclusion of our sister workers who are transgender, but also due to the simple fact that neither are genuinely reflective of Marxism even though they both claim to have their roots in such. Interclassist schools of thought such as these mentioned here do little more than cause division and confusion among the proletariat, while putting the emphasis on “patriarchy” being our main opposition, rather than the unity of workers, regardless of their gender, needing to unite in order to abolish global capital and class society itself in order to emancipate women and humanity as whole."

Elsewhere the article speaks of "the gender antagonisms present in class society", mentioning (domestic-)violence against women and children, inter-male violence and male suicide (btw, I don't understand why the last two are relevant).

Although this is just a passing remark (written by educated comrades), I think it does reflect on the ICT's own position or direction. Anyone who is critical of trans/"gender" (as ideology or a concept) is basically denounced as Terf. Yet there is no indication that this question was ever debated on inside the ICT.

So again, I worry that the ICC is heading in the same direction, despite its (professed) attempt to stay neutral. Besides, I think it's safe to say that young smart leftcom sympathisers number a significant amount of trans-identifying people, so just from an outreach standpoint, it's inevitable that the ICC will be asked to formulate a position, and it's in its interest to engage this topic for open discussion.




Here is an example of a gender-critical intervention by a communist organisation (CPGB-PCC) into the "controversy" on the issue of trans/gender: https://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1247/decoupled-from-reality/

The author is a woman, the silence of the men in the CPGB hitherto presumably indicating that they *tried* to remain neutral on the topic...

The left’s response has not been to stand for the rights of lesbians and other women and girls, but, along with every mainstream political party, to suppress debate and to brand anyone who raises concerns or even asks questions with accusations of transphobia, bigotry and, bizarrely, fascism. There is ‘no debate’: trans women are women, trans men are men, non-binary genders are real and valid. To even question these statements, it is claimed, is to threaten the very existence of transgender people.

It criticises the claim that sex is a spectrum, which, as we know, is a position upheld by our dear Libcommers (specifically by its main admin, Mike Harman).


By contrast, and as another example of how the ideology of gender spreads through the apparent innocent use of the term, take this article by the ICT on the woman question: https://www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2019-04-08/a-class-perspective-on-the-women-question

It consistently speaks only of gender, never of sex (even in the original Italian, it writes genere, and not sesso). This equates sex to gender, and since we presume to agree with feminists that gender is a social construct, then, well, so must be sex. The Italian comrades promise another forthcoming article on radical feminism, so we'll see if they say anything directly on the trans/gender issue.


developed argument for non-binary sex

Queer theorists claimed that sex is non-binary or socially-constructed, and recently scientists took to newspaper columns to defend this idea, so to repeat, this isn't just some fringe political dispute of trans advocates vs. gender-critical feminists (or whatever you call the sides), and not just some "legal" state reformist distraction.

An extensive defense of this non-binary sex idea can be found in the 2010 dissertation (side-note: funded by the Rosa Luxemburg foundation) by a German biologist and adherent of intersectionality (+400 pages, online in German here). (not that it matters, but afaik the author is openly male homosexual). At the time it was praised by some radical Marxist review, and now it is marked as "internationally significant" (ie a candidate for translation into English). So far in English there is only the introduction.

On Libcom (over a year ago, since my ban) I pointed to the existence of an argument (that I came across on twitter) made by a trans-person, who defines "transgender" as "beyond gender", and so I took the position that I too then was "transgender", because I'm beyond the concept of gender, for which I was roundly mocked by the Libcom crew. Now I quote a passage from the introduction to this 2010 book, in which the author calls for the abandonment of the concept of gender:

Queer theory holds that characteristics take shape according to each individual and are polymorphic compared among several individuals. In other words, while `difference ́ is significant, it develops individually and with much variance and therefore defies simple grouping like in the dichotomous gender classification. At the same time, the `sameness ́ of human beings is referred to as a connecting common humanity, and queer theory demands the same, non-discriminating treatment for all people.

The references to what is connecting human beings and to their commonalities, as well as to individuality and variance, render invalid any general definition of the term `gender ́. With the focus on `equality ́, there is no more need to name it. If individuality and variance become the focus, the concept `gender ́ is also basically `empty ́ at first and can be filled by every individual. Here, too, the concept `gender ́ is superfluous without such individual filling.

This constructivist and queer theoretical approach is relevant for the observations of biological-medical theories pertaining to sex development which I will give in chapter three. Because, if `gender ́ turns out to be individual rather than different in a dichotomous way - i. e., female or male - from a biological-medical perspective based on current theories of sex development, then this perspective demands either a precise, individual naming of different characteristics or to leave `empty ́ and eventually drop the concept `gender. ́

This was published in 2010, so probably before the notion of "non-binary" gender arose, with the 56 variants or whatever, and before the upsurge in adoption of the word "gender" into regulations (and even one the site of leftcom groups like the ICT). That is, before the massive affirmation of the concept of gender, about which the "gender-critical" feminists complain.

But as my quote shows, even from a "pro-trans", intersectional, queer-theoretical standpoint, consistent logic should lead to a rejection of the concept of gender. This would seem to be the same position as the "gender-critical feminists"; Of course the "tiny disagreement" is that the latter still insist on the notion of sex (as binary, as a class in a biological sense). I don't see why the ICC should make virtue of maintaining neutrality in such basic questions of science.


We briefly touched on the

We briefly touched on the question of reformism here on this thread before, so to give an example that I think does fall within that field (with regard to decriminalisation of "sex work"): https://libcom.org/forums/organise/how-do-people-get-governments-do-thin...

I do not want to shit on the original poster for the naive question. It's just that the responses were underwhelming (to put it politely), and unsurprisingely the thread soon died:

Jef wrote:
In short I have no idea what you can do. I have no idea what anyone can do, I am feeling completely disillusioned with radical politics and obviously I don't believe in electoral politics.

Spikymike wrote:
Being in favour or against some particular reforms doesn't of course involve arguing for a programme of reforms to change capitalism or 'abolish' it.

If I correctly understand Spikymike here, his point (if there's any) is, that being in favour of a "particular" reform doesn't equal to being in favour of a "programme of reforms". I think that's true. But then why is it (in Spikymike's view) preferrable to be in favour of a "particular" reform, and not to be in favour of a "programme of reforms"? The focus on just a single/particular reform would seem to me to be even less radical (or systematical), than fighting for an entire "programme of reforms".


A recent (February 2019) project by "Anarcho Agony Aunts", just involving two women talking about issues relating to love and sex, appeared in the libcom library. Back in late 2017 I actually made a thread raising the question whether or not forums should give space for such discussion (the thread generally got negative responses, and was since deleted). Now there was also intitial negative response by two regular libcom posters:


Noah fence wrote:
Ready to stand corrected on account of the fact that I’m 53 years old and have been with my partner since I was 17, and so I’m clearly long past the dating game, in fact I was never really in it, but is this really serious advice? I’m pretty sure it’s for real, yet it seems impossible! I live in hope that this channel is just a big fat fucking troll. That said, I have a horrible suspicion that younger people won’t be in the least bit incredulous and that I’m publicly displaying what an outdated old fart I am.

Jef wrote:
I have no idea who this is supposed to help, apart from its producers. It doesn't seem to be anarchist, it doesn't seem to be anything really apart from very banal "believe in yourself" with occasional "don't be a dick" thrown in.

In response to Jef's complaint about a technical matter, a libcom admin (Jim) came to the defence of the "Anarcho Agony Aunty", but just for posting it – there hasn't been actual engagement with it. So, I repeat it remains (or has become) very much taboo to discuss actual love/sex, whereas "sex work", and sexual-natured abuse feature quite prominently (the latter in the form of exposés).


identity politics

A few days ago the creator of last year's lenghty libcom-thread 'The poverty of identity politics' (my participation in which lead to my wholly unjustified permanent ban from libcom), Link, returned to post one more comment (which received no reply as of yet):

Link wrote:

... aims to present a political argument based on an analysis of reality. Few of the proponents of identity politics on here do that, far too many posts rely on simply dismissal if not outright abuse and bullying. Even bourgeois anti-bullying campaigns in schools do more to stop bullying than what is achieved here.

Yes I understand we all want to see a society that is equal and where this is equality and respect for all individuals whatever they are and whatever they do. However, the current social compaigns by the ruling class that are generally labelled political correctness are clearly a product of the assimilation of radical political approaches of the 60s and 70s towards feminism, anti-racism and libertarianism. Many libcomers fail to take an analytical approach to these developments and their politics remain completely at an emotive level

I doubt the "bullying" is in reference to my ban in particular, or at least I don't remember to have complained about being bullied on the thread. However, there is a tactic called "sea-lioning":

Sealioning (also spelled sea-lioning and sea lioning) is a type of trolling or harassment which consists of pursuing people with persistent requests for evidence or repeated questions, while maintaining a pretense of civility.

I do think the course of the debate on that libcom-thread manifested something of this sort of sealioning: a concerted and persistent demand by most of the libcom-crowd on the critics of IP (such as Link, or such as myself) for a definition of identity politics or, alternatively, examples of it among "anarchists" (my quotes). Any posts that didn't first answer their questions was labelled as "derailment" (in my case), or, in general, a sign of unwillingness to engage in sincere debate.


I gave an example of a critic of identity polticis (Jenny Bourne) already dated from the 1980s, who couldn't be dismissed as some kind of a prejudiced reformist (or crypto-fascist). Here's another: a couple of short 1991 pieces (pp 49–52) by the Maoist International Movement:  'Substituting identity for analysis' and 'Politically correct language'.

The irony is that the MIM themselves use words such as 'wimmin' or 'persyn', and they were also early on board with the new 'gender' concept, in some instances driving it to its absurd conclusion:

Thus, a woman is not someone with female biological characteristics. Women are people with a certain social role. Prisoners who are forced into sexual availability are women, whether or not they are biologically men. Defining women by their biological characteristics has little use to MacKinnon, or MIM. (from a 1991 text: https://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/bookstore/books/gender/m... )

(reviewing Elizabeth Spelman's Inessential Woman: Problems of Exclusion in Feminist Thought, 1988)

...and concludes as does MIM that there must be many genders.(p. 175) For MIM, oppressor genders include the traditional patriarchs and also the gender bureaucracy and gender aristocracy. The oppressed gender we call "wimmin" except when we say "wimmin" as a concession to popular usage in reference to adult female biology.


Readers will have to pardon us theorists, because we have so many problems to take care of and a language that does not necessarily come pre-used for revolution. We have two problems. One is to distinguish biology from gender. Just as Plato had the concept of masculine soul, the imperialist country masses also have this concept when they talk of "tom-boys." Secondly, even within biology we have to distinguish between developed bodies and child bodies. Even saying "female" or "female biology" hides the central problem of gender oppression in the imperialist countries, because it is children both male and female that really have the most oppressive sexual conditions. The adult female is not the same thing as the child female at all. The very concept of consent with children is in dispute; although MIM names it as adult consent at age 13.


Because of the burden of history, the oppressed gender is called "wimmin," but in the imperialist countries the majority of gender oppressed people are boys and girls. Even if our readers recall that they too talk about "tom-boys," it is not likely most will forgive us both for distinguishing biology from social role and adult biology and child biology. https://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/bookstore/books/gender/s...

And yet at the same time they (these hardcore Maoists) still also were able to criticize 'political correctness' or what is loosely called identity politics, unlike, apparently, the new libcom-line.



The strange thing is that Libcom actually has quite a strong set of guidelines about behaviour in posting on Libcom, stronger than the ICCs in fact yet their practice is appalling whilst the ICCs discussion threads are very good with very little personalisation of issues or insulting behaviour. Its focusses really well on serious discussion. On libcom are a bunch of hypocritical people who justify the call out culture to attack and abuse individuals with the self-same bullying approach they condemn as discriminatory and derogatory when used about minority groups in general.

I dont particularly mind the humorous threads or the social bits but their use of abusive language is quite incredible. That and the  personalised replies , the pisstaking, the use of in jokes at the expense of posters,  the avoidance of  political responses and sealioning (new term to me but clearly takes place on the threads) must all be counted as bullying dman let alone the banning.   I am told there are good people that post there and it is nice to think that some will listen to the serious points mad but im afraid you do have to be prepared to accept an awful lot of crap and just ignore it basically and focus on the political points that need to be made.

I'm surprised they haven't

I'm surprised they haven't locked your thread yet (I was banned at page 11, now, over a year later, it's at 23) – but clearly they resented that you even started a thread on such a topic as identity politics, with Harman-the-admin exasperatingly sighing it was a 'waste of time'. I think it is a timely hot topic, for somewhere since the 2016 US election campaign (and then the defeat of Mrs Clinton), apparently a memo was handed down from above so that a predominant share of the 'radical left' came to view criticism of identity politics as not (or no longer) interesting, or worse, as playing into the hands of the rightwing resurgence in the 'culture wars'. So I knew it had become almost impossible to debate this particular subject on libcom, and I only dared to still intervene on the thread because you, a longtime communist and critical of IdPol, were its creator, and so I thought there was less opportunity for the admins to find an excuse to ban me, as obviously you haven't complained about my posts supposedly derailing your thread, but on the contrary agreed that it was the libcom 'idpol' faction trying to shut down the debate.

Precisely the accusation of bullying (and crying about it or taking offense, ie victim ideology) features a lot in the culture wars, and I wish that could also have been reflected on in your thread (even though, a "theory of bullying", perhaps like a theory of parasitism or a theory of clanism, which identities especially online are said to promote, may be too general, however interesting it could be), but instead, when I found myself banned, I'm afraid to complain about it, for that can be construed as also a form of bullying. Even on the present thread, it was jk1921 IIRC, who tried to paint my motive for postings here as an 'attack' on (or bully-tactic against) libcom. That's parly the reason why I didn't appeal to anyone to stick their necks out, ie to protest libcom's ban me, for that would have been interpreted as an attack on libcom (me sending 'minions' to do my bidding).

Similarly, the ICC's complaint about Libcom's "attacks" on it, could probably be interpreted as a mere exercise in victimology, while the ICC's original article was deemed to offend or "bully" trans-people (again, for putting quotes around the word 'transphobia' – they did not understand that the ICC was trying to be super-woke, as the word 'phobia' suggests a medical condition, so one shouldn't lump persons suffering phobias with actual bigots).

So I think this framework of 'culture of debate', guidelines, civility, etc. (against trolling, and concern-trolling, etc.) is not substantial enough by itself to transcend the deadlock. Like I said before, if we take the IdPols (even the recent converts, who always shout the loudest) as sincere, then from their standpoint (of combatting racism etc.) they feel justified to non-platform/ban those not toeing their line enough.

As for non-platforming, this perhaps will be a returning issue in the future also for non-anarchists (eg leftcoms), since after the original event (commented on by the ICC in this thread's article), ie the clash at the Anarchist Bookfair in London, an 'IdPol faction' (supported by the AF and the libcom new-liners) seems to plan a 2020 Bookfair under their control, so should leftcoms still visit it, and in that sense legitimise the IdPol faction's past action (of deplatforming gender-critical feminists), or in their way 'deplatform' the bookfair by a boycott.

toilet socialism

I don't know whether Craftwork's posts (which were critical of gender ideology) on the libcom thread were deleted by himself or by the admins. In any case, I don't see him being active on the libcom site since. Let me briefly return to one specific attack (I don't recall by whom – it doesn't matter) on Craftwork on that thread that stuck with me, namely something about him probably watching transsexual porn. Which is a strange attack coming from this quarter of otherwise libertarian defenders of porn and "abnormal" sex (such as BDSM etc.). The attack reminds me of that ol' chestnut about homophobes being secretly gay. The analogy itself would relegate trans-people to a sexual orientation (meanwhile I was attacked for the mere suggestion that "transitioning" has a sexual component to it). The secretly-gay-retort is no longer used that often in woke-circles. But why did this line of attack fall out of use? We recognise that heterosexual men can hate and abuse women. That is, sexual attraction (towards a person) doesn't preclude (an ideological framework of) hatred of that person's sex. Likewise it could seem perhaps even more absurd in case of homosexual orientation, that when abusive relations occur with one's specific love-interests, that this is because you hate your partner's sex, which is the same as your own, or hate your partner's sexual orientation (which is again the same as your own). But actually there's the phrase "internalised homophobia" (that is, remainders of self-hatred on the part of otherwise self-conscious homosexual people). And to return to misogynist men, there's the suggestion that these misogynist men secretely want to be women themselves (maybe like antisemites supposedly secretely envy and want to be like Jews etc.). Until recently I think such "psychological" reasoning was still quite permissible. Now imagine to combine such an "explanation" for male misogyny with support for transgender MTFs (ie men who want to be woman). The "psychological" explanation is that hatred of the Other is really hatred of oneself; but what is hatred of oneself, except hatred of the Other? It seems to me that self-hatred-as-such is now often rejected as a concept (eg leftist Jews, in the face of rightwing critics, often simply dismiss the possibility of self-hating Jews existing). Yet those trans-identiying people who don't buy into the whole gender ideology package often get accused of being "truescum", ie internalizing transphobia, ie they are accused of self-hatred. This polemical accusation of self-hatred is perhaps wielded like a bully slapping their victim with their (the victim's) own hand, saying 'stop hitting yourself'.

Or the attack on Craftwork that he secretly watches trans porn could be just that it is hypocritical: to publicly oppose the political goals of trans people, whilst enjoying their existence in private. But then if that is consisdered hypocrisy, why did the libcom-crowd oppose even merely the possibility of allowing sexually-themed discussion on the libcom forum (as I merely raised as an idea on a since banned thread)? If you openly support trans people's poltical rights, then isn't it equally "hypocritical" to ban even mere discussion of their sexuality (including how others may view them, which perhaps can even be negatively, which is just as free a sexual preference to have as an "over-enthusiastic" liking)? If this is not hypocritical on libcom's part, then neither is Craftwork's refusal to disclose his own sexual proclivities.


I know there's still a feeling by many that the topics (on "gender" etc.) are deemed a distraction or banal: like the access of MTF transpeople to female toilets, prisons, women's sports, etc. It was Morris Hillquit I recall who in the early 20th century disparingly spoke of "sewer socialism", ie excessive focus by some comrades on municipal questions, like the reformist campaign for a proper sewage system, unlike the lofty goal of socialism. But having a proper sewage system is important, and the fight for it can become a generalised political movement, if not anti-capitalist. I realize there's a lot of "radlibs" criticize that Sanders campaign' focus on healthcare is just a mild reformism, without revolutionary potential. But help me understand how can the issues of eg trans access to toilets, etc. have more potential to develop into a movement with an anti-capitalist direction?




more on toilets

I forgot to say that toilets are a serious problem also for street protests and ongoing mass action. For example during Occupy Wall Street there was a segment of the Daily Show dedicated to this problem of how the camp occupiers did their duty in the toilets of neighbouring shops, causing some inconvenience. But if you have maybe even hundreds of thousands people mobilised in the street for days, then the toilets have to be self-organised (like at a big music festival). Just on a personal note, I (as a straight man) do get the feeling of unsafety or disgust of going to public toilets, and avoiding going to the toilet when you need to is quite a discomfort (I would do it as a child at school, because there was always the implicit threat of bigger kids harassing smaller ones). So I think women's concerns about mixed toilets are perfectly understandable and should be taken serious, even if they do not lead to the overthrow of capitalism.

I still think Baboon and

I still think Baboon and others have not openly addressed the concrete issues of debate. At this moment it's not tenable to uphold that this was just an episode in the anarchist milieu, or driven by Libcom's adaption of identity politics in the abstract, or even anarchist hostility toward the Marxist ICC, or toward a "culture of debate" in the abstract.

I will say though, that the intimidation on this issue is similar to the hostility/disdain expressed toward the ICC on libcom forums (when they were active, in the past) and which still reigns now I think among the far left online. I'm ashamed to admit that I too sometimes fell to this group pressure to distance yourself from the 'uncool' ICC, or even join in the mockery. In that sense, it's similar to how anyone not following the trans/sex-worker/etc.-ideologist line is now treated. And so perhaps I understand that, already facing so much hostility, the ICC or others don't wish to wade into this debate and risk even more of a pariah status. I have previously mentioned also other reasons (eg: not to reward giving attention to destructive/silly behaviour). But I reiterate that, probably there do exist opinions among ICC members and sympathisers, and I guess more likely among younger generation, and so given the ICC's open culture of debate, inevitably the ICC would probably give a platform (on its site) to these views, and then probably it would post a response by somebody else (maybe me?) holding a contrary position, or maybe post its own statement, pretty vague probably, that will not settle/close the issue, but meant to just show the ICC's tolerance for and involvement in the debate. In this way, an identity politics "deviation" can set its foot in the door and eventually it can become dominant (again, probably with the younger generation). i don't know exactly how it went with the AF, but the founding members basically lost control and had to start anew from scratch.

Note that this thread is not

Note that this thread is not dedicated to Libcom-drama (about which nobody cares), but tries to look at arguments about the issues (if an admin feels it necessary, the thread-title could be renamed to better reflect this). Everyone can feel free to post their random thoughts on the subjects, unrelated to preceding drama. Here's another ramble of mine;

In Spring 2016 Zizek entered the discussion ('The Sexual is Political') and was roundly criticized for his take on transgender ideology etc. I first thought one of his comments, about the broading concept of marriage up to potentially include marriage to animals, was a cheap rightwing talking point, but subsequently iirc I did ran across a site supporting such idea (by a group around the time defending Ronell, so it's possibly that Zizek had this group in mind). And Zizek wasn't opposed to the idea of marriage to animals. As a nihilist radical gesture, I wouldn't rule out he could even support it, as some way to undermine the very concept of marriage. I'm not defending Zizek's philosophy or anything, and it seems he rather folded and paid lip-service to the trans ideolgy (obviously without gaining any trust from that).


Before the big media attention to the bathroom issue, there were already arguments about it, eg several essays in Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing (2010 NYU Press), which I don't claim to have read.

One argument is that the enforcement of separate bathrooms can lead to hardship, or impose a limitation, also for people who are not trans, moreover, in particular for people whose appearance does not conform to their sex's stereotype (eg a masculine-looking woman is mistaken for a man and so barred from the women's toilet), and therefore such a policy would even reinforce sexist stereotypes. It's an argument in a smart direction, appealing as it does to the interests of people beyond one's particular group. As a matter of caution (to avoid putting all one's eggs in one basket) it's perhaps best to see this merely as an additional argument (for allowing trans people access to the opposite sex's toilets), but not an argument enough by itself, let alone the main argument (to abolish sex segregation), so if this argument doesn't hold, it doesn't mean the policy position has been defeated. Those against sex-segregated toilet policy still can regard this policy as an essential, even main, expression/enforcement of sexist stereotypes, and abolishing this policy as a huge step forward in smashing the binary, but it's just that "smashing the binary" would not need to be a concrete or most pressing argument in case of the toilet question. I don't wish to put words in the other side's mouth (though no else is active on this thread...), but eg an argument could simply be that trans-identifying people should be allowed to use the toilet only they feel most comfortable in, and that's a good enough argument by itself. This has I think at least the benefit of being a simpler argument, than the whole above reasoning. And I don't think the above reasoning is convincing:

In the envisioned scenario, other bathroom-goers or an authority-figure bar eg a masculine-looking woman from her own sex's toilet. It is implied that somehow an injustice occurs here, but let's find out in what the harm precisely consists. If she is, "in honest fashion", mistakingly regarded as male (and not just bullied, for which any excuse will do), why then doen't she simply go to the male bathroom if there is no danger to her there? Why should she insist on using her rightful sex's toilet, except as an obsolete adherence to the binary (that women must use the women's toilet)? If we hold that in general women don't care about the presence of female-identifying men in their toilet (and even if they did, their present attitude in itself could be irrelevant), ie that most women would be open-minded about such things, then why should they care about sometimes having to use the men's toilet (instead of the women's)? They aren't forced to change their appearance, and they know for themselves that they are female, so who cares if others sometimes assign them to the male bathroom?

I realize the asymmetry, but take the reverse: an effiminate-looking man (or perhaps a man who due to a disease lost his penis) is honestly mistaken for a woman and in this circumstance forced to use the female bathroom. On what grounds would the man object to this as an injustice, if he's an open-minded person, who, for his part, has no problem with a (potential policy of) allowing women (who identify as men) into his male bathroom?

In these cases of mistaken enforcement of sex-separated bathrooms, there is, even though inadvertently, a mixing up of the sexes. And why is that an injustice or enforced limitation? I don't see the seriousness, as if this was a big drama of sex stereotype enforcement. It seems rather a funny situation, and the joke is on those who wrongfully sent someone to the opposite sex's bathroom, which they avowedly sought to prevent. I think that's a general point beyond the bathroom debate: whether in sports, or even in fashion shows, beauty competition, etc., if there is mistaken classification, then, if we treat the sexes with equal fairness, what's the harm done to the person in question? So I don't buy this particular argument.

It will be said that there are "dishonest mistakes" about a person's sex, where the malign intent is to mock and signal adherence to sexist standards. So there was a rightwing youtuber who alleged to discover the hidden masculine nature of female celebrities, by pointing out androgynous looks (eg narrow hips, too broad shoulders, etc.). Those celebrities were all women, known as top models, beautiful actresses etc., but no doubt this youtuber labeled them all as men. His particular standards of female beauty were so high that probably the majority of women would not classify as women in his opinion. If such an extreme application of sexist stereotypes would have material effect (and perhaps it does), even perfectly normal female-looking women would not escape it: they would all be assigned to the male bathroom. According to the above argument, this would, if it somehow came to pass, constitute a dramatic injustice, since it would effect such big number of people (even those who conform to normal sexist stereotypes, but not quite the perfect stereotype). Again, if such a scenario happened, it would not only be self-defeating, but even just funny. The "more strictly" (read: mistakingly) enforced sex-segregated bathrooms would be, the more actual mixing of sexes would occur, and why would anyone care about that? Therefore sex-segregated bathroom policy is good.


Lockdown toilet

A main objection to a law excluding trans-people from their preferred bathroom, is simply that it is authoritarian/fascist (etc.). It appeals to an almost pre-political, widespread cultural anti-authoritarian stance, which is taken not only by anarchists (as one would expect), but also by older Marxists, Trotskyists (Gery Downing, WSWS) and Maoists (eg RedKahina) alike. Here's an example of discourse from an older anarchist-type guy in Britain:

The impact of such legislation would reach far beyond trans people, not least placing additional strain on low paid front line workers who will be expected to guess what genitals someone was born with under the threat of their employers being prosecuted. In practice, most businesses would be likely to remove toilets and changing rooms altogether if they are not legally obliged to provide them rather than risk being prosecuted because someone managed to get into the wrong toilet. It is astonishingly authoritarian and it would not just harm the lives of trans women, but gender non conforming and ambiguous people, Intersex people and of course trans men – quite possibly most of all.


To enforce this policy FPFW suggest that shop assistants and others may sometimes have to query someone’s gender and demand to see a birth certificates before providing entry into female changing rooms.  If they are not able to provide one then FPFW recommend they should be excluded from the space. The implications are horrifying for all gender non-conforming people who would be expected to produce their papers on demand should any shop worker, security guard or cop insist on them. The potential for homophobic, lesbophobic, misogynist and indeed transphobic harassment is chilling.  And a society which demands those who are gender non-conforming should face on the spot ID checks is unlikely to stop there as history all too ominously warns us.


  And whether you regard the group’s rhetoric as transphobic or not, it is surely not unreasonable to question whether those fighting for authoritarian policies that would make the most conservative bible belt Republicans blush have any real place in the Labour Party.

Notice the concern about threat of litigation to employers.

Anti-authoritarian sentiment is directed not only against your typical boss-state-father figure, but also against one's co-workers, one's peers, or social group/mob.

Critics of trans-activism/ideology too lay claim to the principle of anti-authoritarianism: eg, they don't want to be forced (by trans ideology) to announce (at the beginning of a meeting each time, or just a semester) what their preferred pronouns are. Even trans activists disagree among themselves, with some considering it an inconvenience to have to state their pronouns, eg since that could imply that they don't "pass". Perhaps it is a silly inconvenience, perhaps a small matter of courtesy, or perhaps again it is a micro-aggression. It may all sound very banal, like having to show an ID to verify your age in a liquor store, or heck, being expected to wash your hands after taking a shit. In any case, Libertarian rightwingers, religious conservaties, and leftwingers/anarchists make a lot of noise about various issues in terms of liberty vs. authority.

A law bans things, but a law also permits things. Authority seeks to prevent things, but it also does not seek to prevent things. The things a law seeks to prevent could unlikely ever occur in reality. The things a law permits could in reality occur always, regardless of the law's permission.

A "trans-inclusive" bathroom policy permits trans-persons to use the bathroom of their adopted sex, and prevents cis-persons to use the bathroom of the opposite sex. A trans-inclusive law can ban trans-persons from using the bathroom of their birth sex, and so "force" them to use the bathroom of their adopted sex. Of course this event seems unlikely to ever occur, since the trans-person freely decides not to use their own birth sex's toilet. But it's not 100% outside the realm of possibility (eg perhaps they are drunk or simply misread the sign), so the law could be so applied (to "force" trans people to use the bathroom of their adopted sex), and then it could, just objectively, be regarded as authoritarian (towards trans people), although it is at the same time also permissive, in that it "allows" them to use their adopted sex's bathroom. We may likewise posit that cis-persons, even if gender non-conforming, in reality almost never use the bathroom of the opposite sex. And neverthelss, though it seems a rare phenomenon, the law forbids cis-persons to use the opposite sex's bathroom.

A bathroom monitor, under a trans-inclusive policy, would still be vested with authority. For instance if random customers/people prevent a trans-person from using the bathroom, then the trans person can appeal to the monitor to enforce the law. If a store does not follow this bathroom policy, then perhaps the trans person can sue in court. I think on the Libcom-thread Jura has stated that if trans-inclusive policy is more common in big international companies, then this is a support trans persons better have, than lack, whereas I think Craftwork pointed to the double-edge sword of reliance on the policy of HR departments. Obviously these are 2 learned Marxist comrades, and it seems the difference, only at the most general level I realise, could stem from their position toward the question of authority.

In my previous post I downplayed the alleged drama of cases of mistaken sex identity due to "trans-exclusive" sex segregation policy. But let's grant for a moment that it is a dramatically authoritarian policy (for non-trans people). I don't think adopting a trans-inclusive policy will avoid the problem. When eg an masculine-looking (gender non-conforming) but cis-woman wants to enter the female bathroom, then the bathroom monitor could still honestly mistake this woman for a man, and since cis-men are not allowed in the female bathroom, the monitor still has the right to address the person. The woman could, in quickest fashion, respond by falsely claiming that even though she is a man, she identifies as a woman, and under trans-inclusive policy the monitor will be satisfied with this verbal assurance. However, the woman does not identify as a trans-woman, but as a cis-woman, yet the monitor cannot be convinced of this by mere appearance, despite the trans-inclusive policy. So the problem of mistaken sex identity can still occur, and the quickest way to avoid being barred from the female toilet for the masculine-looking woman was to falsely pretend to be a trans-woman in front of the bathroom monitor. The monitor still thinks the gender non-conforming woman is really a man, and still bothered her with asking about her sex, but now does permit her into the female bathroom just on her word, a false claim to be trans (without showing ID papers). Perhaps it will be argued that the monitor, who honestly mistakes a woman for a man, should automatically switch to the assumption that it is a trans-woman (for it is rare that a cis-man would randomly enter into a female bathroom) and so not bother with even a mere verbal assurance at all. Thereby we avoid that the masculine-looking woman would have to lie to the monitor, but the law of separated bathrooms (for cis-people) would be unenforcable. The question then isn't about abolishing trans-exclusivity, but of de facto abolishing any (ie also of cis) sex segregated toilets (and in general all spaces). That is a "terf" concern with the ultimate consequence of trans-actvist logic.

for argument sake

Here's a 2018 article by David Faes (in the Platypus Review), whose main criticism of trans-activism was precisely its relation (namely integration in) to the State.


Just as Scheidemann and Ebert rendered the workers’ councils impotent by incorporating them into the state through the Workmen’s Councils Legislation in order to preserve the Reich state under new management, Hirschfeld relegated the sexual and gender identities of sexual variants to the realm of state management.

By contrast, in the October Revolution, when the soviets conquered power from the provisional government, they abrogated the tsarist legal codes, thereby abolishing the penalization of sodomy and cross-dressing. This opened up the potential for various lifestyles to develop in private, just as they had in the 17th and 18th centuries, without the guardianship of the state. Because there were no official state positions concerning issues of homosexuality, transvestitism, or transsexualism, medical and juridical experts would weigh in with their professional opinions if and when political problems concerning sexuality and gender emerged at the level of the soviets.

A response to that article cited Lenin's Left-Wing Communism, and plead:

In some cases, in order to prevent the literal deaths of actual human people, compromises on purity and principles must be made. One such example is that socialists sometimes have to make use of electoral politics in order to alleviate material suffering.

So in the trans debate, like we already saw months ago on this thread, people try to grapple with broader questions, of reformism vs. revolutionary politics, and specifically frame it in terms of our relation toward the state/authority.

A January 2017 article in the Telegraph (Transgender ‘bathroom bills’ are a Kafkaesque state intrusion – and Republicans should oppose them), by what I'd call a liberal feminist, pro-trans, explicitly appealed to anti-authority/anti-State sentiment on the Right (libertarianism), even engaging in a bit of Red-baiting:

But even if you believe other things are more important, you should be outraged that politicians who claim to be pro-freedom think the state should regulate gender identity in this way. It is a strange ambition for people who say they believe in small government to subject citizens who only want to go about their ordinary lives in peace to such quasi-Soviet rigmarole.

The author claims that sex-segregated bathroom policy doesn't even de facto protect women (against assault from men), which, even if it were true, I find an unconvincing/unrprincpled mode of argument ultimately.

So bathroom bills offer no discernible benefits. Yet the harm they cause, both to transgender people and to anyone who values personal autonomy and freedom of expression, is significant.  Think for a moment about what it means for the state to attempt to regulate this area of life. Gender expression – how we dress, act, and ask others to treat us – is a deeply personal thing, and gender identity – how we feel about and define ourselves – even more so. If we fear state interference in the way we do our jobs and raise our children, how much worse is the intrusive regulation over such a life-changing decision?

Indeed, transgender people who try to comply with bathroom bills must enter a bureaucratic minefield. In order to change the legal gender on a birth certificate in Texas, you must obtain a court order, which necessitates a letter from a doctor.

She is not even opposing some law/policy that on principle excludes all trans-people. Instead, she is opposing merely a law/policy that is inclusive and allows trans-people to use their preferred bathroom, but not unconditionally: the condition is that trans-people would have to follow a procedure, to change their birth certificate, etc.

... it is standard practice for doctors to mandate that a patient to live as the gender they wish to transition to for at least a year before recommending treatment such as gender reassignment surgery. During that time, transgender people will be presenting according to their preferred gender but will be unable to legally change their gender on their birth certificate. ...

These are not trivial regulations to comply with if you want a government-stamped piece of paper allowing you to define how you want.

All of those hoops inevitably mean the Texas Privacy Act will impose people who look like men in women’s bathrooms, and people who look like women in men’s bathrooms. Somehow, this is meant to keep women feeling safer than they do under the current system, in which individuals quietly choose the bathrooms appropriate to them without government interference.

This latter point btw seems to opportunistically appeal to gender prejudice.

Again, her opposition against "authoritarian State-intrusion" in the bathroom question is not really about trans-exclusion as such, since if trans people undergo a one-time "bureaucratic" procedure, they would be allowed into their preferred bathroom. The more fundamental objection seems to be, that this "bureaucratic" procedure constitutes a state intrusion (into people's deeply personal "gender expression"), and that basically aligns her (the pro-trans liberal feminist) standpoint with David Faes (the Marxist revolutionary).


But to expand on her brief opportunistic appeal to gender prejudice, let me add that I know another, perhaps also not so explicity-stated, but equally opportunistic, appeal to existing prejudice, namely homohobia: that somehow we must assert that transwomen are women, or otherwise the men who sleep/go out with them will feel or fear being perceived as being gay (and in a homophobic panic, lash out/murder the trans-person).

I think I read such a sentiment once from Mike Harman, or whoever was running the Libcom twitter-account. Defenders of the slogan (ie that transwomen are women) make various ad hoc arguments in its favour, but this one really shifts the responsibility entirely away from themselves, so that I suspect that in the future they could even abandon the slogan, claiming: 'well, we always knew the slogan was false, but we only defended it because of homophobic prejudice'. Perhaps this argument applies merely in indvidual cases, like "outing" a particular person as trans (as being really eg a man) could endanger this person's life, but even then, this is just covers up entirely the trans-person's existence. That is, it is not even an attempt to explain that, yes, this person is trans, but don't worry, trans-women are really women, so you were not gay for feeling an attraction.

Btw, if we were allowed to invoke existing prejudice in order to lazily defend our positions, then I can create one even to oppose trans rights. Suppose we ourselves are perfectly open-minded about trans-people, not opposed to eg men dressing as women, etc. We acknowledge trans people experience a lot of oppression in society, and so have trauma, psychological triggers, which deserve our special sympathy, but they also develop coping-mechanisms, that sometimes go beyond their control and harm others. Therefore we should be especially "concerned" (in a negative sense, of distrust) about them (like we would about ex-soldiers with PTSD), and not allow them to do or access whatever they demand is their right. You see, such an argument could rely on the very existence of transphobia in society, in order to oppose the trans rights movement.


Let me conclude on a more general note, about "gender oppression" in law. I'm not sure there were specific laws against "cross-dressing" (this English term surprisingly is only of 20th-century origin). But there were laws against disguises and impersonations. I think there still are such laws, and perhaps they are even becoming more severe (against wearing masks at protests, etc.).

Let me be perhaps controversial and admit that there is something scary about masks, even about excessive make-up. I can imagine as a child, I would perhaps have been afraid of "drag-queens" (also a quite recent word: "drag" was [originally 19th-century British theatrical slang, perhaps in reference to the full, trailing skirts characteristic of feminine dress at the time.] ), just as one can be rightfully afraid of clowns (coulrophobia).

The disguise here is not necessarily of one's true sex, but of one's facial expressions (and so true emotions). People can feel betrayed when they find out an emotion (eg a burst of laughter or smile) is false. Clothing is also a symbolic thing, expressing personal "identity". We do commonly form impressions based on clothing, so if that clothing is a disguise then we can feel deceived. And if that clothing is "strange", then we get the impression that the person wearing those clothes is "strange". In some instances the person can seem "unhinged". I would say that "gender prejudice" cannot be neatly separated from our general feeling of unease or betrayal by deceptive or strange appearances.



how many to switch on a lightbulb?

Just for nostalagia, on a 2010 Libcom-thread there were criticis like revol68 (banned, so his posts are gone, except via Wayback-machine) and eg Lumpen and Boris Badenov, of a 2010 Pride speech by an AF-member, also available in  Libcom library, with a title derived from this line:

Society is organised into men and women and I don't fit into either. ... There is now (since 2004) a Gender Recognition Certificate so that I can be recognised as either a Man or a Woman by the state.  But I am not a Man or a Woman, I am a transexual (sic! - not to be spelling Nazi).

Btw, with the shift in discourse after 2010, some part of the speech itself would be considered transphobic now (namely, the word "tranny"):

I'm a lucky tranny. First of all because I'm alive. And secondly because I have a family who loves me.

But I want to comment on the word "trans". There now probably exists the (mistaken) assumption that the term "trans"(-gender, etc.) derives from an activity, namely the verb "to transition" (or the process of "transitioning", and how this is experienced, interpreted, prevented or facilitated). It is reasonable assumption to make though, for what else could "trans" derive from?

In 1910 Hirschfeld gave it the peculiar meaning, as a prefix, of "opposite" (eg to dress as the "opposite" sex). I say peculiar, since it technically was incorrect to begin with, because "trans" in Latin does not mean "opposite" (but instead; "over", "beyond"). Alright, so by what name, if any, did Hirschfeld refer to the activity or desire of being the opposite sex? Although he chose not to adopt Krafft-Ebing's earlier term metamorphosis sexualis paranoica, Hirschfeld did not reject this idea itself of "Sexualmetamorphismus", using the German "Verwandlung" (eg Geschlechtsverwandlungstrieb), that is, Hirschfeld spoke of "transformation" ('transition' would have been "Übergang").

It seems in general the word "transitioning" (as a verb, in present continuous) is of quite recent date (last decades) in English, while "transforming" had been common for ages. Given that these words (transitioning and transforming) have become practically interchangeable, I don't discern a real objection not to speak/think (also) of "gender transformation", which indeed gives more Google-hits than "gender transition", although my sense is that "transform" is less used (so I rarely hear phrases like: "my transformation was difficult", "I'm still transforming", "I wish I could start my transformation", "please help fund my transformation", "yeah, I'm a transformer", "I detransformed").

However, Andrew Kliman (in a different context in 2013: 'The Incoherence of “Transitional Society”) tries to distinguish "transition" and "transformation":


Marx does refer to a transition, but not to a transitional society. There is the revolutionary transformation of capitalist society into communist society, and a corresponding political transition period. The myth that he was a proponent of a transitional society is based on confusing “transformation” and “transition.” This confusion may have started with Lenin....

But “transformation” and “transition” are different concepts. A transformation is a radical change. One thing becomes another thing. That is all. How that change occurs is not part of the concept of transformation itself. And the change doesn’t necessarily take place by means of a transition. If I flip the light switch, I transform a light room into a dark room. In any case, I don’t think the idea of a transitional society—an intermediate society in between capitalism and  socialism—makes any sense within the context of Marx’s thought. ...

But what transformation of the capitalist mode of production into the socialist mode of production could produce a transition from the capitalist mode of production into the socialist mode of production? The question simply makes no sense. ...

What about the third, distinct kind of society that supposedly lies in between them?  Is it governed by these specifically capitalist laws and imperatives, or is it not? If the answer is that the transitional society is partly governed by them, let me ask: is a woman carrying a small fetus only partly pregnant? The logic of capital is totalizing. The failures of state capitalism and the welfare states have shown that they they cannot control this logic. It batters down all Chinese walls, creates a world in its own image. So I can certainly imagine an unstable state of flux in the process of transforming capitalism into socialism, a state of flux in which capitalism’s economic laws and imperatives haven’t yet been fully dismantled. But I cannot imagine a third kind of society—as distinct from an unstable state of flux—in which capitalism’s economic laws and imperatives both do and do not operate.

I am not arguing that everything has to change all at once. I am not denying that some changes must be gradual.  My point is rather that “transitional society” is incoherent as a Marxian concept. It does not help, but hurts, efforts to understand and return to the perspective of the revolutionary transformation of society that Marx projected.


^ Let me dodge the question of the accuracy of Kliman's criticism directed at Lenin (and Preobrazhensky), which in any case I'm sure the professional Lenin-bashers over at Libcommers would be welcome of.

If I understood Kliman's points correctly, a transformation is possible without transition (eg flipping a light switch: instantaneous, radical, revolutionary), or it is also possible with transition (I suppose in the example of light this would eg by manually creating a fire, which is gradual). A lighted room (or a pregnant woman) is a condition which either exists or doesn't. This does not preclude, that in turn fire may become slowly extinguished, or a fetus show troubling symptoms before dying, but as long as this condition is there/operative (in whatever diminishing capacity), it cannot be said at the same time to be "also not there" (or not operative). And that a transformation occurs between two conditions, does not imply the existence of a third/intermediate kind of condition. Let's apply Kliman's reasoning to the trans question:

Let me adopt the assumption that "trans" refers to a verb, like "to transform" (instead of the idiosyncratic Hirschfeldian prefix: "opposite"), then, hearing a person is transgender would not reveal the sort of transition of that person (or whether there was any transition). Even though we sometimes hear that trans people "want to transition", more precisely what is demanded is not really even (the quickest/easiest/best) transition, since even such a transition would be still merely a pathway or obstacle, and not be the goal itself. If we follow Kliman's distinction, ideally there could be a trans-person without (any) transition, that instantly transformed into their opposite "gender", just like flipping the switch of a light. This we have to call a gender transformation, not a gender transition. In general when you experienced some radical life-altering change, the common phrase is that now "you're a transformed person" (not eg: "he survived a car accident, dude's never been the same since, he's a transitioned man"). Kliman's distinction would not rule out that some persons' transformation (into the opposite "gender") entails (gradual) transitioning, perhaps even that is the most common case, but being in a transition process would not constitute a "third/intermediate" gender.


Marx is quoted by Jean-François Lyotard (in a section on "difference and opposition", Discourse 2011, pp. 132 ff) as saying, that the real extremes are not between male and female sex, but rather between the (or a) human sex and the "nonhuman" (inhuman) sex. Lyotard apparently read German. Marx does seem to give such an example. I quote Marx (brackets are my insertions):

... Actual extremes cannot be mediated with each other precisely because they are actual extremes. But neither are they in need of mediation, because they are opposed in essence (Wesens). They have nothing in common with one another; they neither need nor complement one another. The one does not carry in its womb the yearning, the need, the anticipation of the other. ... This appears to be in opposition to the principle: Les extrêmes se touchent. The North and South Poles attract each other; the female and male sexes also attract each other, and only through the union of their extreme differences does man(kind) [Mensch] result. ...

both North and South Poles are poles; their essence (Wesen) is identical. In the same way both female and male gender (Gechlecht: sex) are of one species (Gattung), one nature, i.e., human nature (Wesen). North and South Poles are opposed determinations of one essence, the variation of one essence brought to its highest degree of development. They are the differentiated essence. They are what they are only as differentiated determinations; that is, each is this differentiated determination of the one same essence. Truly in real extremes would be Pole and non-Pole, human and non-human gender [seems a poor translation of unmenschliches Geschlecht, when Marx likely was invoking the term Menschengeschlecht: and so better: non-human kind/species/nature]. Difference here (eg between female and male sex, etc) is one of existence (Existenz), whereas there [i.e., in the case of human and non-human] difference is one of essence, i.e., the difference between two essences. 

... (Marx further points out an interesting three-fold error in Hegel, before concluding:) "There is no actual duality of essence."

^ Again, Lyotard is wrong to translate/interpret Marx here as speaking of a nonhuman "sex". To me it is clear that Marx just meant non-human "species". I have no idea what that is (or what a "non-Pole" is) – perhaps it is even a precursor to the later notion of a "nonexistent object" (cf. Robert Nola's critical remarks)?

It's quite a difficult passage, but as to Marx's claim, that the sexes are not actual extremes in essence (or between two essences), but are (merely) differences in existence, that is, that men and women are opposed determinations of one essence (ie mankind), I think this can hardly be taken as a ringing endorsement of modern ideological claims about transgender people. Marx would rather stand accused of binary heteronormativity (for saying things like: "the female and male sexes also attract each other", and that opposed determinations are the "highest degree of development" of one essence). His example of sexes is just that, an illustration of an exposition in logic, thus of something more interesting, namely the category of "extremes" (or "opposites") and mediation.

the right to ban/exclude/discriminate

Above I gave an example of how gender-activism presents its struggle in terms of "freedom of expression" and personal autonomy, against intrusive/authoritarian state regulations, which is a framing that can also be used by the rightwing (libertarians). Exclusion tends to be seen as necessarily authoritarian and a measure imposed only by the state. But in the US (and I presume elsewhere too) there is the right to discriminate, and this is a right reserved precisely for private entities, eg:


The legality of membership discrimination by private clubs is found in several places.

First, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 contains an exemption for private clubs in their membership activities. Specifically, the Act “shall not apply to a private club or other establishment not in fact open to the public, except to the extent that the facilities of such establishment are made available to the customers or patrons of an establishment…” This language means that private clubs can’t discriminate against customers but can discriminate against prospective members.

Second, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects private clubs. The First Amendment is often cited in the context of free speech, particularly with respect to an individual person’s right to say what he or she would like and not fear government persecution. The First Amendment has also been interpreted by the courts to safeguard the right of private clubs to engage in “expressive association.”

In the context of private associations, “expressive association” (also called “expressive activity”) refers to entities that organize for the purpose of attracting members who share certain viewpoints, interests, values or abilities and who make clear that they are not open to the public. Correspondingly, expressive association protects the right of members to associate and to set applicable terms for membership. Such terms can include procedures and practices that deny others the right to join on account of lacking certain qualities for membership.

The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld private associations’ right to expressive association, even in cases when relevant fact-patterns feature explicit discrimination.

Most prominently, in 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Boy Scouts of America’s ability to exclude gay men from the rank of assistant scoutmaster.

Membership discrimination is legal, and this discrimination can thus even happen on the basis of sex, religion, etc. Given that it is a right for (private) individuals/clubs to exclude/ban certain groups of people, the issue becomes: what is private, or how is a club, eg an activist organisation, different from eg a commercial gym?

The article, from which I quoted, does not help with criteria to distinguish public from private organisations:

... the (1964) Act does not exclusively regulate public entities. It also governs private businesses and, when those businesses are places of “public accommodation,” how those private businesses serve customers. A business is considered a place of public accommodation when it is generally open to the public. Examples include sports arenas, movie theaters, restaurants, day care facilities, gyms, gas stations and banks. Other federal laws, including Title IX in 1972, prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in education and related fields.

These federal laws do not, however, regulate private membership clubs with respect to their membership policies. A private membership club, as it is sometimes called, is one that is explicitly not open to the public. This type of club also determines—and is expected to provide clear notice of—specific criteria for membership. Such criteria must be ostensibly relevant to the club’s purpose.

When a club requires members to pay fees, and gives its members access to some service (perhaps a very vague one: eg "life consultancy" or social therapy), then how is it really different from a regular business? On the other hand, when a club doesn't demand fees, but is just a service-provider (taken, again, in a vague sense, eg: a building where people can meet each other), then that would make it resemble, although not business, but like a public facility. The difference is merely that the owner of eg a large garden, is a private person, whereas in case of a public park, the owner is the government.

On eg Patreon, which Libcom (and its project "Working Class History") has an account on (btw, launched a few months before I was banned from their site), creators can block (ie exclude) certain people from becoming patrons (ie subscribing and so enjoying content). This is justified on the basis of preventing harassment. But a customer can be easily considered annoying (recall the Bagel-guy's outburst, or now the "Karen"-stereotype, wishing to speak to the store manager), which potentially could also be invoked as an excuse to discriminate "pushy" ethnic minorities, or ban "annoying" people with a disability (or eg short people).

The Libcom-site itself requires no fees, but it still offers a service (the ability to post/edit articles in an online library and participate on its forum). Its right to ban, ie exclude anyone, is for any reason it sees fit (ICC was often accused of spamming links). Although the use of that right is usually portrayed as an act of defense (eg protection against bigots), the right is not derived from this justification. This same right allows a fascist forum to ban people based on their skin colour.

Would a commercial business, eg a big video-uploading site, have this right to ban people too (eg based on their skin colour)? Leaving aside the question whether such a site (or Twitter) due to its near monopoly-size constitutes a public space, I don't immediately see how it differs from a private membership club (eg a forum), and so I'd guess it has the right to exclude persons for any reason (eg using the wrong pronoun, or being a "pushy" person).

At this point hypocrisy is called ("I don't like when exclusion happens to me, but I demand the right to exclude others") or the need is stressed to have a consistent long-term view of implications. For example, if the Libcom-account on Twitter gets banned, and the Libcommers were to take Twitter to court, then, I'd think, in turn, also a person banned from Libcom could take Libcom to court – which is luckily not a situation we are in yet I think.

This right of exclusion is of course also relevant to the issue of sex-separated spaces. I may not like women-only membership clubs, but as long as they're private, it's their right to exclude people based on sex.

So the question was: what criteria make something a private entity, not only as opposed to a public/government space, but also as opposed to a commercial business (which is "open to the general public")? If you were to narrow the definition of what a (private) club/space is, then you broaden the scope for lawsuits against discrimination based on sex, etc. (ie you have better legal ground to defend minorities, etc.), but at the same time you therewith limit the right of private persons to exclude harassers, bigots, hostile political forces, etc. from their own spaces.

Well, one criteria perhaps could be the nature of their service: While housing/renting, job application, etc. are considered "essential" things where discrimination (the right to exclude) is not allowed, perhaps the services of private clubs are considered to be merely optional (recreative, therapeutic relief, domestic, humanitarian mission). In any case surely a lot of commercial businesses cater to mere optional needs as well, so the nature of the service can't be the criteria.

AFAIK what makes a member of a private club different from a customer, is the exclusivity itself that such a person enjoys.

The right to exclue is also an aspect in the question of love and prostitution, where AFAIK from a technical aspect the only thing that makes love different from prostitution, is that it is something exclusive (a very exclusive escort, limited to one client, would in effect become a concubine, no different than a girlfriend who is showered with presents). No wonder that the "couple-form" would be denounced as exclusionary.

Curb Your Enthusiasm's last

Curb Your Enthusiasm's last season btw had as its topic the exclusion of its main character (Larry David) from a coffee shop, because Larry was being annoying (complaining about the poor quality service). In response Larry then opened a "spite-store" next door. I don't know how conscious it was, but this is the story (before the 1970s) of discrimination against Jews in country club membership and hiring to hospitals, so that Jews in response founded their own separate country clubs and hospitals. In the end Larry's spite-store burns down, because his own particular preferences (according to which he arranged his store) are not logically safe.

This has some resemblance to political splits, not only in AF, or in ICC, but most prominently now within the LGBT "community" – or "estate" as I will jokingly call them (and as a heterosexual, I'll call myself a member of the "H-estate"), so that those feeling or being excluded found their own separate organisations. We may find this an unproductive situation, but it would be silly to complain that those who create separatist (minority) organisations are behaving "exclusionary" (by setting up their own selective criteria for membership).

transwomen are not trans, checkmate

Btw, Craftwork's post vanished (comments 33 and 34 indicate that he posted a comment on this thread), which I'd guess he deleted. That seems strange just technically (if you could somehow delete your entire profile, I doubt your posts would all disappear). Wherefore art thou, Craftwork?


Another thought on my part, about the ambiguity of the phrase "trans rights" (as eg in "trans rights activism"), since it can mean specific rights, or merely a consistent application of the already existing general rights to transgender people (ie the right to protection against assault, the right to housing, etc.).

Do we speak eg of specific "Muslim rights", or specific "black rights"? Me thinks not, or at least I don't know what such specific rights would be. For women it could seem there are specific rights related to their biology, eg free acess to menstrual pads, or the right to abortion, but the latter is not really a right in the sense of a special gain or advantage (women, by using the right to abortion, don't gain anything, except perhaps relief from a burden). As to disabled people, their "rights" are merely to compensate, not even overcome, the obstacles they face in access to the standard things (eg if someone due to an accident can no longer be employed, they'd have the right to a basic amount of money, or enough care to survive), so again, that's not really a specific right in the sense of a gain or advantage, even though the compensation might be highly tailored to the particular individual. Actually, this reminds me, the closest thing to specific "black rights" would be reparation payments (for slavery in the US), but even that is merely a compensation (to a specific injustice or inflicted damage), not a reward, nor is it a specific "black right", since as its advocates point out, government compensation was paid to eg the white slave-holders for their material loss (ie the principle of compensation would not be unique to black people, inherently as black people). 

The ambiguity of "trans rights" plays out in such a way, that its activists can appear merely to fight for the general rights which everybody else already enjoys (thus an agenda to which nobody can object, since it's almost a banality), but then there are also apparently the more controversial specific "trans rights", such as the right to be allowed (in case of minors), or be reimbursed for, hormone treatment and surgery, or to be correctly "gendered". Let's back up and consider the potential retort, according to which these are not specific trans rights, ie, anybody could have them.

So eg a cis-woman can insist she be referred to as "she/her", which wouldn't be a specific "trans right" (or sign of support for trans rights), but merely the right for everyone (ie also cis-people) to be named by whatever word they wish. I don't think such a right exists at the moment (or if it does, I just simply don't know how this right is called - maybe Mike Macnair could help us here? - perhaps a judge can insist to be adressed as "your honour", a monarch as "your majesty", but I really doubt even this right exists.). It seems such a right would first have to be created, and if it was, then, yes, I suppose it would not be a specific "trans right", since everyone could use it. However, if such a general right needs to be created from scratch, then it is nevertheless specific, in the sense that it is new, and specifically advocated by trans-people.

Let's turn to surgery/hormones. It could be maintained that medical treatments are not a specific trans right on the grounds, that they do not confer an advantage/gain compared to "normal" cis-people, and merely "compensate" for being "born in the wrong body", and so merely "affirm the gender identity", that cis-people already enjoy, and moreover, intersex-people, or eg women with hormone imbalance, also use medical treatment, which relates to affirmation of their gender identity, and so it wouldn't be a specific "trans right". Let's distinguish "right to access" and "right to free provision". Aesthetic-cosmetic operations (eg on the nose, or hormone treatment, eg steroids for bodybuilding men) purportedly alleviate mental distress, although they are not necessary from a medical viewpoint (even can be harmful). These (potentially limitless kinds of) interventions are AFAIK not reimbursed, but they are "free to access" if you have enough money to pay for them. My understanding is that the "trans right" usually advocated is not merely "free, ie easy, access", but "free provision", and then it is a specific "trans right" in the sense that, at the moment cis-people don't have such a right to free provision for medically unnecessary treatments, and on the other hand, if such a general right would be created from scratch, it would be new and primarily advocated by trans people, and so, again specific. If they were smart in organizing the largest support (and to avoid the impression of asking for special privilege), they would try to form an alliance with cis-people who feel insecure about their body appearance, but can't affored to pay for an operation (ie advocate it not as a specific "trans right").

It's a paradoxical point I guess, to argue against trans-activists, but I do think "trans rights" are still specific (even when they come about under newly created general rights). Again, by advocating in terms of general application of existing rights, activists give the impression of a "no-brainer", can appeal to the interests of wider, non-trans groups, and obscure the (open to more controversy) newly-created specific rights (though these would be of general application). In trying to dilute their own specificity, to the point that there are no specific "trans rights", they appear more mainstream, less interesting, harmless normies, accepted (I won't cite Groucho Marx's famous line). You could be tempted to agree with them, in that there are no specific "trans rights", just like there are no specific "black rights", "Muslim rights", etc. But I maintain that there are specific "trans rights", and this is what makes trans-activism quite different from other (previous) right-movements. It would be more honest on their part to recognise this.


A last point about "rights". Rights need to be coherent and general. Whereas "guidelines" can be arbitrary and selective. I don't think trans-activists want rights. "Trans rights" would give the public the ability to check when those rights are violated, that is, not just wrongful application of general law, but violation of "specific rights" of transgender people. That would give on the one hand, the defendant a clarrity on how to prove their innocence, and on the other, place a burden of evidence (on the trans/victim) to prove a violation. Precisely those who feel wrongly called transphobes should be most interested in "trans rights" (as opposed to vague "guidelines"), for that would at least give them legal certainty.

Often people are puzzled

Often people are puzzled about the ascent, apparently out of nowhere, of gender ideology (that I date to about 2012), given that there are so many fallacies in it, but perhaps the success comes precisely from it being *too* wrong: this leads to underestimation, ie one assumes it will collapse by itself and requires no refutation (it's a too easy target to dunk on), or that it can't even be a real belief system; one doesn't know about or bother with sincere flat-earth theorists; though odious ideologies are acknowledged as being odious, they aren't refuted (or precisely defined); finally, if one buys into the belief it's not on a conscious level (typical for an ideology is that it can't acknowledge itself), so there is nothing (a set of of beliefs) to even be debated (belief in eg the "existence of God" can't even be wrong, because the statement is so vague to the point of nonsensical). – This is either a patronising attitude, or basically the feeling that "you can't argue with crazy". By contrast, I continue to maintain that we can't avert our eyes, and so perhaps with pinched nose (and at the risk of damaging our reputation and wasting our time), we do have to address it head on, even though it cannot take place in peer-reviewed journals, and there is no recognised official spokesperson for, or consensus/coherent stated set of principles of, "gender ideology". By the way, a lot of communists take the lazy position that it's beneath them to actually criticise also religion. Those who do call for criticism of religion get accused of being argumentative dickheads, vulgar nihilists, of entrenching Western racism, or, they're even told that religion is a crutch for the oppressed, and that there a lot of righteous people/movements of faith in the world (while in the RSDLP there even were "God-building" communists)...


So let me address for example the notion, that one can be assigned the "wrong"  gender identity (also in quotes) at birth, and try to imagine one possible argument for it, which needless to say, sounds far-fetched. An (implied) argument could be, that there are rare cases of genuine (unintended) mistakes of sex, ie, for example a born-female is treated as male, and when it's discovered later to be a mistake, she comes to live as a woman and society admits it previously treated her as a man by mistake (I don't go into the scenario where society knowingly assigns someone the wrong sex, though such evil might exist). The suggestion would be, that this case is like the case of a transwoman.

Ok, so as a mere preliminary, I could ask : is this (mistakingly assigned male at birth) woman then in the full sense a transwoman (despite being really born female) , or is she now still not a full cis-woman. Let's look closer though at such (almost hypothetical) case : 1) if the woman did not sense/know/discover herself that she was born a woman, then the decision now to treat her no longer as a man and let her go through life as a woman (which she really was all the time), lies entirely outside of her own choice. This scenario still also could define a transwoman, on condition that the transwoman's own choice is totally denied (this condition might seem implausible, since transwomen like to stress that they knew or wanted to be women from an early age, but society wouldn't let them – I'll come back to this). 2) If the woman did discover herself that she is really a woman and by her own effort convinced society of this, this leaves out the way that the woman convinced society, namely by presenting new information (about her female body, which she noticed), and not by merely 'self-declaring' to be a woman. 3) If she had merely 'self-declared' to be a woman and society 'accepted' it, then I'd be willing to define this rare case as similar to that of a transwoman.

The next implication would be, that since some female-born women go through the same process as transwomen this lends legitimacy to the process (or definition of trans), namely it already is an existing practice for non-trans people (and so trans people are merely demanding the same existing right). Or a different implication might be, that cases exist where a born woman, but assigned as man, can't convince society that she is really a born woman by mere 'self-declaration', and that this consitutes an outrageous injustice, since she was in fact really born a woman, hence to combat such injustices, we need to invent/adopt the right of self-declaration. The fact, that a born woman finds it impossible (by mere self-declaration) to force society to correct its unintentional mistake, can be called an "injustice" only from the perspective of an all-knowing observer however (ie neither society nor she herself has information about her body to know that it's a mistake). Even in the case of actual mistaken sex, I think 'self-declaration' shouldn't be accepted, again, even though the claim is objectively true (ie even though it is not an "abuse" or false declaration). Permit me a comparison: suppose, without having any symptoms, you don't want to go work (a "just" feeling!). Without diagnosis the institutions accept you as sick. Unbeknown to everyone you truely have a serious illness. That illness requires diagnosis and specific treatment. Athough asking and getting sick leave was unwittingly correct (and "just"), it does not change the reality that you do suffer in fact from an illness.


I mentioned that in gender ideology the own will or choice of trans-persons is stressed. However, being 'trans' is not (merely) an act of self-identification/coming-out/self-declaration. A transwoman is somebody who was previously treated/seen as a man, so when that person is still being treated/recognised as a man by society, they "are" not trans (as it is dramatically put: their very 'existence is erased'). The criteria is not that a transwoman is treated as a woman (since also a cis-woman is treated as a woman), but rather that society admits to having previously-treated this person as the 'opposite' sex of what they now claim to be. The word 'trans' is voided of its Hirshfeldian meaning (as 'opposite') otherwise. The only meaning, if it has to have any (though frankly I prefer not to use it at all), of the word 'trans' today, is performative (and 'performative' is not just individual, but also social). So eg transwoman means = a (previously-treated/recognised-as-opposite-of-woman)-woman. Btw, 'trans' is of course not an adjective (like; 'black', 'tall', etc.), nor are 'trans' and 'cis' subcategories of one group (just as it would be nonsense to say that the regions Cisjordan and Transjordan are subcategories of Jordan rivers).

I think trans-activists themselves should have no insistence on the word 'trans', would be willing to drop the word, and it's even the only way if they are consistent about their goal (indeed the reason why 'cis' is used is because the word 'trans' sounded dehumanizing/marginalizing/Othering or whatever). The existence of 'trans' can be erased or created only in performative (social) manner. The erasure is often considered unjust because it's done by society, not by the self; but, the creation too is done by society, not by the self (what trans-activists usually demand is mere 'acceptance' by society, though it's not 'acceptance' of being eg a woman, but the 'creation' itself of 'transwoman', ie admitting treatment as man had existed in the past and henceforth ceases).

The responsibility for the act of 'self-declaration' is not even taken upon the self, ie it's not presented as a 'free choice' of the trans-person, but allegedly merely obeys a compulsion that is in-born/subconscious/intuitive/destiny. This is btw the philosophical sense in which Zizek (re-)interprets/accepts transgender ideology.

So, paradoxical as it may sound, here the critical points are that gender ideologists should acknowledge the social aspect in the very definition of "trans", and acknowledge there is a conscious own choice of these people. As a mere figure of speech eg an artist may say that already when they were a child they "felt/knew" destined to be an artist, however, of course that doesn't mean that they didn't make a conscious decision/effort to be an artist (ie there is no such thing as a "born artist").

repeat call for debate

I again call for discussion related to the "trans"/gender identity topic. As I wrote last year:

Note that this thread is not dedicated to Libcom-drama (about which nobody cares)

If anyone needs inspiration, I refer again to a long-running thread, where I posted/collected various literature: https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/redmarx/recommended-reading-t1133-s100.html

Contrary to some who argue that masochism (and its derivatives; simping, cuckoldry, being friendzoned, etc) is benign and a mere form of love (bondage = just needing a hug), perhaps even of communst giving/community service, I take masochism as self-destructive, as a simple reflection of the basis of any ideology, ie justification of submission. One's "deepest"/authentic/closeted desires can be entirely socially conditioned.

Moreover, the ruling class, as experienced perverts, is consciously aware of the mechanism of masochism (on the linked thread, I mentioned iirc the creator of Wonder Woman, which served as propaganda for WWII). But I don't want to play a conspiracy theorist (or simple rightwing alarmism). Rather, I'm still raising the question: what the communist response should be?