Hi. Welcome to the site. Please check out the About Us, and if you have a question about crime and/or punishment, perhaps look at some previous questions along those lines first.
Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

"Why does the anarchist notion of accountability further subjectivize (and in some cases, manipulate) the definition

+5 votes
of consent, while also failing to prevent sexual violence?"


Not a question originally from myself and frankly, having no experience with the anarchist milieu that would lend me knowledge on the subject, I can't elaborate on the question itself; but I am still curious as to what the answers may be.


edited to fix tag
asked May 25, 2010 by madlib (2,730 points)
edited Jul 13, 2014 by dot

1 Answer

+7 votes
in my experience, accountability is pretty much an updated word for blame, an attempt to change our paradigms away from the judicial guilty/innocent prisoner/cop concepts. this is worth doing, but (as with "survivor") it's almost always left at a simple word change, rather than getting at the actual thinking behind the words. it's jargon. and it's not anarchist jargon, although it has been used by left-leaning anarchists.
"accountability" as a term used in feminist circles (which sometimes also call themselves anarchist) is about making people who have done something bad, make amends. there's nothing wrong with that. the problem, per usual, is all the assumptions that go unchallenged.

because the shocking information that some of us (not enough, probably) learn about abuse and violence against women has been taken to be the same in all cases, because people haven't learned how to deal with context, the response is still to act like all violent relationships are the same. the survivor is always the ultimate authority, the accused is always the problem. [this starts to break down when the survivor/perpetrator roles are not properly attached to genders - ie the survivor is supposed to be a woman and the perp is supposed to be a man. but unfortunately the break down is not a good one. it just means that people are even less likely to deal with the situation at all.]

so to the extent that the OP's point is well-taken, it's because a) people changing terminology is a smokescreen to hide unchanging paradigms and behaviors. and b) because accountability processes have been too influenced by people who are identity politicos, who find power in carving out a niche for themselves where they get to be the authority (i'm a woman, so you have to listen to me), and so use the concept of consent as one more way to work the gender divide.

the serious drag, of course, is that abuse, rape, violence, questions of consent, are real and huge. so it's not like there's a simple line to find between people of good faith and leftist politicians. jargon can be used by everyone. determining where someone is coming from and what their goals and practice really are, requires actually knowing (having a history with) folks.
answered May 29, 2010 by dot (50,780 points)
edited May 29, 2010 by dot
you made me look up aporic. :)
This is the greatest romance I've ever read.
is frankenstein a romance? could be, i guess...
O Sweet Derision! She remembers me! Some might construe her obtuse wit as trite, but I know she is sharper than paper, to see that I had been reading Shelley. But Frankenstein was written by his wife. No matter, dear, as long as you still waste your clearly quite important time on me. sigh.
i am flat paper for your spiky art.
fwiw, i now agree that your initial response was an answer. i was wrong. (i think i needed the practice in reading you.)
...