slowpoke well

route 33 to the future

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Akzeptanz statt Toleranz

Wir kennen die Situation vermutlich alle. Irgendwer faselt rechtes oder sonstwie problematisches Zeug, ihr weisst darauf hin, und schon geht es los:

“Etwas mehr Toleranz bitte!”

Ja, wie konntet ihr es nur wagen, rechtes Gedankengut als solches zu bezeichnen. Wollt ihr die Person etwa ausgrenzen? Ihr seid die wahren Bösen und sowieso schlimmer als Hitler. Der hat wenigstens Autobahnen gebaut!

Machen wir es kurz: ich halte nichts von Toleranz. Es ist ein kaputtes Konzept. Toleranz fordern meistens diejenigen, die gesellschaftlich keine Ausgrenzung zu befürchten haben, weil sie irgendwelchen strukturell enforcierten Normvorstellungen entsprechen – zB weiss, heterosexuell, cisgender, neurotypisch, ablebodied, christlich und/oder männlich – und von diesem gesellschaftlichen Status Quo durch die daraus resultierenden Privilegien profitieren.

Toleranz impliziert ein Konzept von “Normalität”, und das Abweichungen davon – zB eine nicht-heterosexuelle Orientierung – schlecht sind, aber “toleriert” werden müssen – oder mit anderen Worten, dass die Existenz von Menschen, die nicht dieser “Norm” entsprechen, ein Problem darstellen, und es eigentlich viel einfacher für die “normalen” Menschen wäre, wenn “andere” Menschen nicht existieren würden. Eine gleichberechtigte Existenz wird somit ausgeschlossen, es wird den von der “Norm” abweichenden Menschen gerade mal so ein Recht auf Existenz eingeräumt – aber bitte sonst nicht stören!

Wenn marginalisierte Menschen – also solche, die in irgendeiner Form nicht diesen gesellschaftlichen Normvorstellungen entsprechen – tatsächliche soziale Gleichberechtigung und Gerechtigkeit fordern, dann hört es mit der Toleranz der Toleranten ganz schnell auf. Dann schreien sie plötzlich von der bösen “Political Correctness”, vom “Genderwahn”, von den “linksgrünen Gutmenschen”, von der “virulenten Homolobby”, der “zionistischen Weltverschwörung”, oder beliebigen anderen Feindbildern. Da sehen wir auch schon das zweite grosse Problem an diesem Konzept: Toleranz geht immer nur in eine Richtung – die der ohnehin schon Privilegierten.

Viele von uns, die für tatsächliche Gleichberechtigung und soziale Gerechtigkeit einstehen und kämpfen, wollen keine Toleranz. Wir wollen Akzeptanz  – das radikale Konzept, dass es keine “normalen” Menschen gibt, sondern dass alle Menschen divers und vielfältig sind, und wir uns deshalb gegenseitig als das akzeptieren sollten, was wir sind. Akzeptanz bedeutet die totale Ablehnung gesellschaftlicher Normvorstellungen, die absolute Verneinung der Normativität, die unbarmherzige Kampfansage gegen die verkrusteten Strukturen in unseren Köpfen, die kompromisslose Bekenntnis zur gleichberechtigten Menschlichkeit und somit zur menschlichen Gleichberechtigung.

Die wichtige Betonung liegt hierbei auf “gegenseitig” – Akzeptanz ist ein fundamental reziprokes Konzept, und kann nur funktionieren, wenn alle Beteiligten gleichermassen teilnehmen, und dabei kritisch mit den eigenen Privilegien umgehen. Nur so können diese Privilegien sowie die gesellschaftlichen Strukturen und Normvorstellungen, die sie erzeugen und erhalten, graduell abgebaut werden. Ideologien und Weltbilder, die diesem grundlegenden Wertekonsens zugegen laufen, können das nicht, und Menschen, die diese vertreten, müssen deswegen weder akzeptiert noch toleriert werden.

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there are still no good cops

Over the course of the past months, I’ve gotten into extended “arguments” multiple times over the issue of cops, or specifically, people taking offense (sometimes intensely personal for some reason) in the stance that there are no good cops – expressed in various forms, but often as the well known acronym ACAB – All Cops Are Bastards.

Now, of course ACAB is an argumentative shortcut just as much as it is an expression of contempt, but behind it stands a substantial amount of structural criticism of the police as an institution of oppression. Many people have written about this before me – most of them probably better than me – but this is an attempt to collect the most commonly used “arguments” against the usage of ACAB or similar expressions (such as the equally well-known “Fuck The Police!”), show why they are bullshit, and simultaneously argue why there are no good cops.

This post is, by all means, a work in progress. I will probably add more if I think of anything else or get into more arguments with police apologists.

Disclaimer: I try to write this in a manner that is globally applicable, since the way the police works is, on an abstract level, roughly the same no matter where you go on this planet. My arguments, however, should be understood to come from a context that’s roughly equal parts German and American.

But not all cops!

This usually comes in the form of “but I know a cop who’s nice” or “a cop helped me once”, and is often used even by people who would agree that police violence is a problem to some degree. It misses the point because ACAB is not an insult of specific, individual cops, but an expression of disrespect and contempt for the police as a whole. We’re not talking about the cop who helped you find the next Starbucks last weekend or your relative who works for the police – we’re talking about all of them, as a whole.

The problem here is that a structural argument against the whole of the police as an institution (along with all of its agents and collaborators) is confused with an insult against a specific individual.

But here’s the thing: if there would actually be any “good cops”, why are they not fighting the bad cops? Why is there no bigger movement within the police to get rid of the “bad apples”? Why is there no public show of solidarity for the victims of those bad cops by those mysterious “good cops”? Why do the “good cops” not out the bad cops and bring them to justice? Where are all those “good cops”?

The answer is pretty simple, they don’t exist, because the way the police – an institution of oppression – works is that any such “good cops” would immediately be made an outsider, demoted, punished, and probably even fired & prosecuted, not to mention that they’d probably be subject to harassment by their (former) colleagues for the rest of their lives.

ACAB is not a constructive argument!

Yes, it isn’t. Neither are water cannons, pepper spray, tear gas, batons, and guns – you know, the things the police uses on a daily basis to attack unarmed civilians, protesters and activists. We’re talking about an institution that claims a monopoly on violence, which it uses, every day, to attack the weak and the marginalized, as well as those who try to fight with them. An institution which ignores (or even prosecutes) victims of sexual violence, protects racists & fascists, harasses the homeless, and always sides with those already in power.

We’re not required to respect such an institution, and neither are you. Asserting that we should respect the police merely for the sake of a “constructive argument” not just spits into the face of all the victims of police violence, it also asserts that there is an equal distribution of power – which is demonstrably false. It ignores the existence of marginalized or otherwise disenfranchised people, or worse, places the blame on them for being subject to police harassment.

As I’ve stated in the introduction, ACAB is a shortcut for saying all of the above (and more). It’s not meant to be a constructive argument on its own, nor does it have to be. And yes, it’s also meant as a way to show disrespect of the police, because the police has given us no reason to respect them.

One day, you will need the police yourself!

I can only remember one case where this was thrown at me personally, but I’ve seen it used quite a few times anyway. It comes in various forms, but most can be broken down to what I chose as the heading for this section. It’s the assertion that everyone will need the police at some point in their life, and then they will be glad they exist. There are a lot of things wrong with this assertion.

First of all, many of the people who reject the necessity of police do so from socio-progressive or even utopian perspectives (such as most anarchists, including yours truly), in which many of the reasons why you would need an institution like the police would simply disappear. Many crimes result from the fact that we live in a capitalist society where social injustice reigns, a system that creates and fosters greed, egoism, and repression. The fact, then, that we might one day be (or already have been) in a situation where we “need” the police is not a refutation of our argument, quite the contrary: it affirms the social criticism that (also) stands behind the phrase ACAB.

Secondly, even if we ignore the mentioned perspectives from which many of us argue, the necessity for something to exist in a given context does not invalidate criticism against it, no matter how these criticisms are expressed. Essentially, this “argument” is a silencing tactic, because it asserts that since, potentially, anyone could be in a situation where they needed the police, it is illegitimate to reject the institution or its legitimacy.

Lastly, it forgets that many people who would actually need the police to help or protect them are those who have instead the most to fear from them. In fact, I’ve only seen extremely privileged people (white, mostly male, all of them cisgender & in economically comfortable positions) make the assertion we’re discussing here. Many people who lack these privileges – people of color, trans persons, sexual or religious minorities, mentally ill folks, or homeless people – are regularly harassed or even killed by the police, in the overwhelming majority of cases without any sort of repercussions against the involved officers. Again, this “argument” is a punch in the face of those who need protection the most.

i don’t know what I’m doing, yet I do

People say that you to become a writer, you should write. And writing – like any other skill – is something you must train. To become good at writing, they say, you should write every day, if at all possible. So instead of just thinking about this, I decided to do it. Problem being, I don’t know what to write about, so here I am sitting in in a tram on the way to university, writing about the fact that I can’t write. Gotta start somewhere, I guess?

One of my most profound problems is that I often cannot order my whirling thoughts. My mind is full of ideas, of worlds, stories, characters – in fact, I spend a better part of my life lost in thought, wandering through worlds I discover within my head. And I have often thought that I should chronicle these journeys, but I have never been able to. Like dreams, most of them run through my fingers, escape me as soon as my mind drifts back into this world, often because someone or something forcefully pulls me back – like having to exit the tram at the final station.

And don’t forget the joker

Today is the 8th of May.

It is an important day for various reasons. Perhaps most prominently, it is the Victory in Europe Day – today, seventy years ago, World War II had ended in Europe with the unconditional surrender of the Third Reich to the Allied Forces. Seventy years ago, millions of people all over the world came together to celebrate the victory over the Nazis, a victory that had been bought with untold amounts of bloodshed.

That is, however, not what I want to talk about here. This is a very personal post, and one that I had deliberated to make since a while, but never saw the right opportunity to do – until today. Because today is also a day to make
visible a sexual minority that most people don’t even realize exists. A minority whose existence is denied or ridiculed by even folks who should really know better.

Today is Asexual Visibility Day.

And today, I proudly raise the Ace of Spades, because I no longer want to hide who I am.

I’m asexual, I’m aromantic, and I like to consider myself queer as fuck.

This is something I’ve only come to realize over the past few years, and I was first exposed to the concept of asexuality during this time. But as soon as I had learned about it, everything suddenly made sense. Why I never felt the emotional need for a romantic partner (whatever gender they might be), despite society telling me otherwise. Why I’ve never been honestly interested in pursuing sexual relationships, much to the ridicule of many a peer over the years. Make no mistake, I had my fair share of puberty induced insecurity, horniness, and confusion. But nothing that really remained.

For a long time after puberty, I did what probably many young nerds did: write it off to my own shyness and social ineptitude, and hoping that I might one day meet the person with whom I would just click. That person has yet to appear. I’m 24 now, and I’ve stopped believing in this myth (which is perpetuated so much in our culture), and by today, have come to accept myself as I am. Several persons I have met, both online and offline, over the past few years, have immensely helped with that, whether they know it or not.

I have also been on the fence for a while before I started thinking of myself as asexual. After all, I do consume copious amounts of porn. For a while, I tended towards calling myself an autosexual. But that’s not really it. I don’t “love” myself, in the sexual sense. I do like myself as I am for the most part (and I realize that this is a huge privilege to be able to do!), but I don’t feel sexual attraction when I look in the mirror, for example. For me, this is the crucial difference, but in the end, those are my personal feelings – others might think differently, and that is okay.

To some of my friends, this might not come as a big surprise. Maybe it was already an open secret to you. If it was, here’s the confirmation. If it wasn’t, I’m filled with some confidence that this won’t change the way you think of me. After all, you already know me as a wacky person who makes a hobby out of defying expectations – for better or for worse.

To all of you other aces who are reading this: it’s not a defect to not want or need sex. You’re not broken for not feeling romantic attraction to others. It’s okay to be who you are. You are not alone.

Thank you all – I love you.

Well, platonically, of course.

<3

P.S.: Yes, the title is a quote from Motörhead’s Ace of Spades.