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What is the ideology of victimization and what are the anarchists (especially post left) criticisms of it?

+4 votes
asked 2 years ago by anonymous
I don't have what amounts to a full answer to your question, but here is some stuff that could help you with this one...

A link to one critique of the ideology of victimization: http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/feral-faun-essays#toc10

Here is a response to that: http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/lilith-gender-disobedience-antifeminism-and-insurrectionist-non-dialogue

Another article that might be of interest: http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/rita-katrina-andrews-only-a-tsunami-will-do-for-a-post-feminist-anarchy

All of this stuff is coming from folks who were generally situated within the anti-civ milieu.
2 years ago by ingrate (15,370 points)

1 Answer

+2 votes
The ideology of victimization is generally held to be the idea of engaging in dialogue regarding conflict on the terms laid out by society and the "dominators", seeing those in power as actors/subjects as those who act upon others/objects, inevitably removing agency and subjectivity from those others.  An example of this (though there is no shortage of them) would be if we would be to view ourselves as "victims" of police violence.  In framing the situation this way, it says nothing about our choice to engage with and come into conflict with the police in our own ways, it is a necessarily defensive position that when spoken of in these terms affirms our powerlessness and lack of subjectivity, and in some ways lends itself to the conception of ourselves as abstractions i.e. the masses, either acted upon or led.  It is really just a specific way of framing and conceiving of the ways we act in the world and the ways we come to engage in conflict.  I think the criticisms of this should be obvious, but if not i can elaborate
answered 2 years ago by jingles (2,520 points)
further reading: http://antiracistaction.org/?q=april-15-2011-melee-NJ
2 years ago by jingles (2,520 points)
I understand those critics (of "victimization") but most of the time it makes me feel very inconfortable as it's often diverted as a method and a trick to negate the very existence of "victims" and "perpetuators/dominators/etc" as "imaginary categories". Saying craps like "like in a war, there is no winners", etc.

The problem of the critique of "victimization" is that it's not revolutionnary or anarchist at all at the first place. It have been very much developed in liberal and even reactionnary and fascist circles, in a perspective of falsification on the one hand (negationnists use this concept of "victimization" a lot), and a way to more generaly negate and deny the violences or oppressions by people who perputuate it on the other side.

For exemple, some white people (even they don't consider themselves racists) often accuse non-white people who denounce racism systematically to "victimize" themselves. Antisemitic people always accuses jews to "victimize" themselves, etc.

The point of this argument is to pretend that "victims" or oppressed people (always entertaining a fog on the realm of victimhood or oppression) are "using" their claim so as to "gain power" or even "oppress" other people.

The problem of these considerations, both the speeches only focalised on the question of victims/survivors and (especially) those that pretend to criticize it, is that they tend to depoliticize these questions by adressing it out of their specifical contexts with the pression to be on one side or the other. And of course it's often very necessary to take side, but not only on this kind of dichotomy (I guess).

The ones seeing everything in terms of "victims" and the others by saying it's a only a "category" and not "something real" (which also happen to be incidentaly a very vicious kind of sophism).

I think I remember of Hannah Arrendt talking about the fact that their is no "eternal victims" in history (concerning the jews, I suppose), but only oppressions and oppressed people who are victims of it in their specifical historical contexts.

I think it's a good start, as I think there is no ideological answer to such question as it strongly depends on what we are talking about.
1 week ago by okapy (2,360 points)

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