@rechelon: Welp. Yall ready for a big ol ...

@rechelon

Welp. Yall ready for a big ol thread on Peter Gederloos' attacks on Lee?

I know, right, but he won't stop going after her with wacky claims so here we are.


x.com/PeterGelderloo…


A while ago Peter out of the blue quote tweeted and spewed a long rambling hostile and insulting rant against a solid thread from Lee where she pointed out the fact that therapy rarely stops abusers because it's not effective at changing core values and ideology.


Peter implied that Lee said therapy can NEVER work, which she never did.

Other people have implied that Peter is always against deplatforming and violent action re abusers, which he denies.

Let's see if we can narrow down some object-level disagreement.


Now the *social context* level conflict is crystal clear.

Peter explicitly calls Lee a "cult leader", an ignorant uneducated rando outside respectable insurrecto circles who's invaded anarchism to build an influencer brand and power off spreading "rumors" and "harassment."


In turn, the anarcha-feminist circles in question see Peter as a laughably ignorant and lazy bargain bin abuse apologist who is all frantic hit-dog hollering and patronizing hate with zero content while hiding behind unsubstantiated invocations of "oppressed groups agree with me"


Both sides see the other as representing liberal infections in the anarchist movement. Peter sees himself as representing long-term circles of serious anarchist struggle and Lee as the online-only piranahs who can't grasp that callout culture shit is "cop work."


Whereas the anarcha-feminists see Peter as echoing the same tired deflections spewed by "manarchists" ignorant of real anarchism for decades to try to insulate their abuser buds from real pushback and isolate militant survivors, echoed by nonprofit abolitionist libs too.


These anarcha-feminist circles are, contrary to Peter's beliefs or insinuations, filled with long-term anarchists, many of whom were doing quite serious antifa or animal lib or earth defense work long before he got involved in the School of the Americas lib protests.


These are the folks, after all, who have facilitated the whisper networks, callouts, girl gangs, and support groups in insurgent conflict against many "elders" of our movement for decades, and in the process enabled the movement to survive and not hemorrhage everyone.


But there is a very real sense in which those long-term circles of feminists bitter about scene patriarchs are anonymous, while Peter is closer to more public publishing houses and writers who often echo-chamber and write off everyone else as newbs, rabble, entryists, etc.


At stake behind everything are two very different sides of the anarchist movement who have seperately reaffirmed internal norms and consensus analysis/narratives for decades. Both see the other as a calamitous corruption to be expelled.


Now personally I think the objective facts here are that Peter's being a cry-bully who dished ghastly unprovoked and unjustified nastiness to Lee but can't take the blowback. Who feels entitled to respect while demonstrating ignorance and laughable deflections.


I mean, so it goes, no one's perfect. Anyone can be an asshole sometimes, I'm often one. But Peter feels obliged to imperiously and frantically relitigate his spat with Lee rather than just taking the L, blushing, and moving on until we all forget. So here we are.


I've criticized Peter's takes in print before but I've ALSO showered love upon his books in print. I've sung his praise and printed hundreds of copies of How Nonviolence Protects The State and mass distributed them at infoshops and summits throughout the 00s.


Peter has me blocked, along with pretty much every single anarcha-feminist on twitter, which is funny in conjunction with his exhortation to "engage", but I'm not without some sympathy to Peter so I'm going to do him the service of fisking his shit tweet by tweet.


I doubt he'll do much more than insult me in response, but Peter has long been a plumbline representative of a certain current in our generation and their narratives, and I want there to be clarity for many of my friends in those circles, so let's break down his thread:


Just as Peter previously reached for "black women agree with me" in a gross tokenizing and flattening way devoid of particulars in his recent thread he desperately grabs for identity politics in some hamfisted and desperate ways.


"referring to trans and cis women who were critical of them as “manarchists”"

his only screen is that Lee used the venerable term to characterize many of his defenders as such, which is certainly a fair characterization. Peter gives no more specific example.

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"silencing survivors of abuse who were sharing different experiences on how to respond to abuse"

We as a culture really need to have a conversation about what constitutes "silencing" because responding angrily to people with bad opinions isn't gagging them.


(There was one long-time anarchist and DV support worker on here who was actually silenced and got their whole profile taken away thanks to Peter's defenders aggressively reporting it to the authorities. btw Peter and that anarchist used to be in the same town, actually.)


But let's also pause for a second and note the appeal to "survivors" as some kind of identity class. Most of us are survivors, it doesn't magically grant folks insight in general terms, and doesn't warrant privileges beyond things re your abuser.


"This has included bullying,"

Oh definitely. Please report it to the teacher.

More seriously, while I disagree with those anarchists who think "cruelty" and ganging up and mocking someone is prefigurative of anarchy, they're right that it is a venerable means of resistance.


Being really mean can be bad but it isn't "abuse."

Peter has written passionately about how respect for knowledge holders turning into a priestly class is a site of state-formation. Surely his status as a movement writer and semi-academic shouldn't oblige deference.


"They have also invented positions I have never expressed"

This is a fair complaint. And in private I endlessly urge people, as I always do, to be *exact* about charges and critiques. Some tweets did leap to assumptions, warranted or not. But if Peter supports KYLR, that's cool.


Just as it's unfair that Peter directly misrepresented Lee, when Lee mocked him those parodies did not represent his positions with high fidelity. That is the nature of parody, but I do think it's fair to complain when people take untrue implications from parody.


Still I think many of the screens he shared as supposed outrages do fucking hit. He was absolutely wildly paternalistic and insulting towards Lee.

And it's entirely fair to characterize his outraged thread as water-muddying in defense of abuse in an anti-nuance way.

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"to conflate transformative justice and restorative justice, which are nearly polar opposites. This is either ignorance or intentional manipulation"

lmao, use of the "RJ/TJ" conjunction is widespread by countless writers including the very sharp Estelle of Abolish Time


Restorative and transformative justice are not really "polar opposites" and they're often invoked in exactly the same ways, for example, often privileging "community healing" over individual autonomy. It's been common FOR DECADES for anarchists to attack them as one.


Yes, they're distinct concepts, but they're also functionally very close to one another. Both are regularly used to reject "retribution" (which is most definitely not the same thing as carcerality... note Peter sneering that Lee is only "supposedly" abolitionist).


Finally we get to something like a substantive engagement!

Peter screenshots a very basic and good article from Lee that endorses using antifascist tactics in resistance against abusers and he calls it "the same superficial method...festering in white subcultural spaces"

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(We can ignore the desperate "white" dig, since the same sort of antifascist insurgent resistance tactics have been used in other spaces, and indeed a number of Peter's critics on twitter have been black women, who are not a monolith.)


I would LOVE to see Peter be more specific about what he rejects re antifa. He keeps saying that he's okay with survivor violence, but it's hard to read this as anything other than rejection of survivor led whisper networks, callouts, and direct physical confrontation.


What are Peter's objections? [It] can facilitate power plays and can be used by the state.

lmao, the same tired abuse apologist line we were already exhausted constantly demolishing in arguments with boomer hippies screaming about COINTELPRO two decades ago.


Yes, those suck and can happen, but in n-iterated games false-accusations are strongly suppressed for basic game theoretical reasons.

And we've re-run the experiment endlessly: rejecting whisper networks, callouts, and violence leads to WORSE net impact.


For decades the battle lines have been clear: if you think the (real but relatively small) damage caused by false accusations from cops and power-mongers eclipses the damage from not responding using antifascist tools, you're an abuse apologist, the textbook definition of such.


Plenty of people fall into being abuse apologists for perfectly sympathetic confusions or concerns. Being an abuse apologist is not a fundamental unchangeable condition. But it is really fucking annoying and antiquated thinking that facilitates abuse and folks are sick of.


"if abuse is ideologically defined, anyone who rejects their ideology can be accused of apologia for abuse"

This is a complete non sequitur. Analyzing abuse as stemming from *an ideology* of patriarchy is a standard feminist position.


Abuse isn't "any harm" and is usually directly driven by an ideology that is reinforced by the structural context of patriarchy, but it is a *value system* and such are not magically changed by different social conditions like a loving community.


Now we get to another trace element of a critique: "Stop acting like cops. Stop spreading false rumors."

lmao. Come the fuck on. Aggressively defending feminist/anarchist norms and hating on folks who violate them isn't being a violent enforcer of a centralized apparatus.


Folks have endlessly critiqued this "acting like cops" absolute nonsense.

When folks attack a pipeline are they "acting like cops"?

When folks band together and kill the village chieftain for gaining too much charismatic power are they "acting like cops?"


As to the "false rumors" I'm sure it's hard for some bystanders to know what Peter's talking about. Again, maybe he could be more explicit.

It's so frustrating trying to engage with someone who won't even put what they're talking about into print.


Now there's a wider context here where a lot of people in at least some of Peter's circles have long HATED antifa and have a number of festering critiques of it they stopped airing publicly after 2017. I've repeatedly talked about and critiqued those critiques elsewhere.


I am pro open source insurgency and part of that means not consigning conflicts or disagreements to fester in backroom sneers, but where possible (around survivor needs and security concerns) being direct, clear and public about disagreements. That's better security culture.


Specific to Peter, I've critiqued how he seems to functionally reject Three Way Fight, writing off the threat of insurgent antistate reactionaries in comparison to the threat of the state.

The way people treat ecofash and abusers as not The Real Enemy have resonances.


Again I've been begging to have a direct fucking debate over those critiques of antifascism (specifically the idea that crushing fascist creep outside of power distracts from or undermines our fight with the state) for years but few have the stomach to just accept being unpopular


This is particularly relevant because a number of fash-apologists make the same move that antifascist practices only promote power plays, police-spread mistrust, "acting like a cop", and provide means to harass victims.

It's all the same defenses.


(I do want to pause however and say compassionately to Peter re "someone this crowd promotes who was sexually harassing me online": I doubt you'll trust me to relay who this is or the details of it, but when/if you go live I'll nevertheless have your back on this!)


But back to the thread. Peter accuses someone (Lee? feminists? the consensus of activists in DV?) of an "arbitrary' definition of abuse, allegedly "tainted" by the state but he fails entirely to actually provide this definition or critique it. Would be interesting!


But frustratingly Peter has never engaged with the writing of those anarcha-feminists he calls a cult. Would be interesting to see a textual engagement with the full breadth of Lee or Riotlinguist's essays, but instead he chooses tantrums, acting like they've been debunked.


Peter lists a giant heap of things that Lee and literally everyone dunking on him have all embraced and says these are "NOT mutually exclusive strategies."

No one said they were. Speaking of wild misrepresentations.

Also yeah, the "cult" represent that collective strategy.

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He then (finally!) does some token references to some standard poc writers on transformative justice, but with no specifics to where exactly he thinks Lee et al are deviating or why one specific author is authoritative. It's all vibes based, the *impression* of a citation.


Peter is betting everything that he can leverage a perception that he's more venerable than Lee and the anarcha-feminists who agree with her in this fight (despite many of them being older and with FAR more experience than him) or else he somehow actually thinks that?!


Abruptly at the end of his thread, Peter reference Lundy Bancroft, a wildly influential theorist of abuse and DV who has long been the plumbline reference by feminists and radical activists with experience handling domestic violence. It's true that Bancroft personally sucks!


Lundy's a TERF and a SWERF and that does create horrific blinders of gender-essentialism in his work.

My wildly abusive second wave mother used to bible-thump Bancroft while constantly physically attacking her children; I agree Bancroft can facilitate bad analyses.


But Bancroft was also one of the earliest and most comprehensive writers on domestic violence and abuse. As an early writer he got to codify many consensus analyses that have been built across the world by feminist activists building on decades of experience.


Lee has aggressively and repeatedly denounced Bancroft the person and has repeatedly talked about how she's writing a book to purge his legacy while keeping the plumbline feminist insights widely shared but that folks often turn to his book for reference.


Peter might have some sympathetic understanding of this sort of situation as in the early 00s the go-to text to critique Nonviolence was Ward's Pacifism As Pathology, which folks needed a replacement for re some deeply problematic veins in Ward and his book.


Peter replicated many of Ward's legitimate critiques while integrating other insights (as Lee has done) and I'm sure he would feel it unfair if people critiqued or rejected Peter's stances on Nonviolence on the grounds that the very thing he worked to replace was problematic.


I will reiterate that I find Peter's fire and fury against Lee's project to formalize much plumbline anarcha-feminism vapid. He speaks in broad terms but consistently fails to engage except in exactly the same kind of sweeping denouncements (cops!) he whines about.


He treats Lee and co as simultaneously not knowing anything about activism and radical movements, while then accusing them of being the same ol militant anarcha-feminism that has always been in anarchist spaces. All that's consistent is that he's an expert by divine edict.


> I've seen people like this crowd... then go against the express wishes of survivors

"LIKE this crowd"

Okay, so this is all vibes based

One of the most notorious stalkers in anarchism hates this specific circle for icing her out for being more aggro than a survivor wished

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Peter says he agrees with X Y Z as available tactics, Lee has always said the same. Literally none of his critiques of Lee have landed. Since Peter refuses to get to brass tacks about what other positions he feels are at stake he's left with vibes-based demonization.


Peter has characterized everyone criticizing him as a "cult" and framed Lee as a cult leader. What he's trying to suggest is that some rando has become an online demagogue, when in reality there's rich networks throughout the movement of elder feminists holding fast.


This repeated denouncement of Lee as a grifter or a cultist is completely batshit. His original thread had no actual critiques of Lee and yet he acted like he couldn't hold back his hatred of her any more. Why? Negative vibes I guess.

Let me be clear that I know Lee.


Lee and I are casual IRL friends, when she lived here she came over to my house and our dogs would play, but note that her account doesn't follow me, in part because *we disagree* on tons of fiercely contentious topics, from atheism to mutual abuse to TERF misandry.


This fierce hatred of Lee for taking a militant survivor autonomy position? For being popular online? Is silly.

As Peter has been forced to refocus on how other people (in addition to Lee laughing and being unbothered) have meanly dunked on him, let's look at HIS defenders.


When it comes to misrepresentations, there's certainly been no shortage of absurdities from people in Peter's circles. See this exemplar. Not a single person has ever said anyone who does "harm" is irredeemable. Not a single one. We all do "harm" constantly.

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The reduction of the vast analytical distinctions of "abuse" to "harm" is absurd. But of course neither Lee nor I nor anyone I know of think all abusers are irredeemable.

*Some* functionally are, of course.

Not every Guantanamo torturer is reachable, so it goes.


See also the otherwise lovely FTPdistro defending Peter on "elder" grounds, when come the fuck on. Tons of us on here are the same generation. Some of the fiercest fucking critics of Peter on here were helping survivors in radical scenes in the 90s.


This defense of Peter "because good writer we've long kown" is very much akin to the knee-jerk defenses of Kristian Williams during Patriarchy and the Movement a decade ago. It was deeply embarrassing and detrimental to "the movement" back then, and it's not any better today.


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