On Derrick Jensen’s and Lierre Keith’s Transphobia

Lierre Keith’s and Derrick Jensen’s transphobia is a difficult one to pin down, largely because there’s many issues going on that aren’t so carefully teased apart. I’ll try to do a favorable reading here in order to expose how even such a reading cannot allow their politics to hold up. It would probably benefit those who are confronting Keith and Jensen do so by attending more carefully to their words and less to rather formulaic rhetoric. I would think that people criticizing Keith and Jensen would like to do more than force out them and DGR, that this could be a situation that much more could come from. If so, converting the assault on these individuals into chants and slogans probably isn’t very productive, since we probably have millions of appropriate targets for those approaches.

To summarize my understanding of Keith’s and Jensen’s position:

  1. Keith’s and Jensen’s stance begins with the idea that gender is entirely socially constructed.
  2. Under patriarchy, everyone’s gendering is largely (even entirely) a product of patriarchy.
  3. They envision a world without patriarchy, and therefore one where patriarchy would not contribute to anyone’s gendered subject formation.
  4. Therefore, they envision a world where it’s likely far more (perhaps all) people would be comfortable in the bodies they were born with.
  5. Based on this, they therefore hope that those persons not rely on the medical-industrial complex’s pharmacology and surgeries to become comfortable.
  6. Their motivation is partly because they want to do away, entirely, with the medical industrial complex.
  7. But they are also motivated by seeing these pharmaceutical and surgical procedures to be a physical torture and mutilation in response to the psychological torture and trauma of patriarchy.
  8. They take a turn here, though, by taking their imagined future situation and projecting it into the present, to guide the way people can and should behave now.
  9. On this basis, they think that it’s wrong for people to use hormone treatments, have surgeries, and so forth, now.

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Peak Everything Anarchism

I’m working on an article for a special issue of Anarchist Studies focusing on technology. This article focuses many of my central ideas about technology toward anarchists in particular, but it has implications for direct or participatory democrats, and radical democrats. It would also pose problems for communists who hold true to Marx’s commitment to the withering away of the state under communism.

This article focuses on issues of justice that have unfortunately not been taken up very well in the literatures I have been able to find. The treatment of justice by anarchists has been incomplete and haphazard. Distributive and resource-based justice and social justice have been well developed more broadly (by liberals and socialists), and have important uses when injected into an anti-authoritarian politics. With the added demand of simplicity – of relying on neither representatives or authorities, nor on unwieldy participatory models which may not be capable of grappling with overly complex sociotechnical systems – we may turn to the systems themselves to ask of them what they demand from us in order for them to function. Which artifacts permit a nonauthoritarian, stateless society when deeply embedded in social reproduction? Continue reading