Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Rethinking Radical

I found this linked on The Dish yesterday. I don't call myself an activist, and I've always been somewhat of a feminist apostate, but as someone who spends a lot of time in leftist circles,  I can relate to much of this, particularly its calling out of anti-intellectualism:
Anti-intellectualism was the one facet of this worldview I could never fully stomach. I was dogmatic, I fell prey to groupthink, and I had a crusader mentality, but I was never completely anti-intellectual. Ever since I was a child, the pursuit of knowledge has felt like my calling. It’s part of who I am. I could never turn my back on it. At least not completely. And that was the crack through which the light came in. My love for deep reflection and systematic thinking never ceased. Almost by accident, I took time off from being an activist. I spent time just trying to be happy and at peace, far away from Montreal. It had been a long while since I had the time and the freedom to just think. At first, I pulled on a few threads, and then with that eventually the whole thing unravelled. Slowly, my political worldview collapsed in on itself.
It's not exactly ground-breaking stuff -- people have been complaining about the insularity of activist circles, online and off, for a while now -- but I'm so glad someone (albeit anonymously) had the guts to mention how critical thought sometimes takes a back seat to being a good activist. At this point if someone calls me an ally, fine, I'm doing something right, but I don't call myself one.

What bothers me more, though, is some activist's propensity to forever tether themselves and others to even the smallest transgressions. Culling through five years of someone's Twitter feed for "evidence." I've seen this happen, and it's nearly impossible to fight against it without coming off as being unnecessarily whiny or refusing to "examine one's privilege."