Category talk:Identity Politics

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I'm seriously concerned with this category as a whole.

Firstly, I think it would be good to be very careful to distinguish the parts of Identity Politics that are actually relevant to P2P and Commons theory. The view that it is opposed as a whole seems to me mistaken and an overreaction. So, firstly, I would take out probably most of the articles here – and they may fit very well into a separate website – and leave the ones that are most directly relevant.

Second, I would like to ensure that there is substantial invitation to critical viewpoints from all sides of the question.

As has been done with several other categories, I would suggest that the present content of the page is moved to indicate that it is Michel's personal compilation, representing his position, which is perfectly understandable, whatever you think of its merits. The category page would be trimmed down to give essentials only, with an attempt to balance the different positions on this matter.

We are not emulating Wikipedia, but still I would like to see some attempt to get closer to Wikipedia's NPOV.

Would any editors like to join me in working out what will restore a greater balance on this wiki?

Simon Grant (talk) 10:38, 22 March 2021 (UTC)

Dear Simon, and other contributors,

Please bear in mind the general principles of this wiki, which is a perspectopedia, and in this particular instance, a pluralist multi-perspectival wiki which is open to multiple perspectives except for point of views that are explicitly against the equality of human beings, such as views fostering racial and other hierarchies etc .. (though they can be documented in a proper context). The mode of production of this wiki is through opportunistic updating, which means that article are 'composed' by adding various perspectives on the topic over time, so that they offer a fuller overview over time.

This section here has a special status and I take full responsibility for it, but it has been produced with the same philosophy. Its aim is to document the current trend to solve the crisis of elite over-production through new forms of allocation that are based on genetic and other biological characteristics, claimed to be responsible for unequal outcomes. And subjects are seen as representatives of these groups, rather than as complex beings that can freely choose to enter equipotential commons, with speech and other resources to be allocated according to group membership. These views and practices are the very antithesis of any legitimate peer to peer and commons movement.

Within this context, this section has actually taken great care to be balanced, it represents the main strands of progressive and egalitarian critique, i.e. radical left, social-democratic and liberal left, with care also to include many minority theorists and representatives of the radical emancipatory traditions. It is true that conservative anti-racist critiques are missing, as well and it has relatively few quotes from the authors of the pro-racialist theories themselves. I have no objection that they be included. But the way to create balance is to integrate counter-vailing perspectives, and our site has always been open to this, in fact to date there has been zero censorship of additional material. This is not a wiki where balance needs to be created by eliminating articles, but by adding new articles or adding new perspectives to existing articles.

If there is a real desire to turn it to a mono-perspectival encyclopedia, along the so-called Neutral Point of View of the Wikipedia, which specifically is designed to eliminate perspectival views, then it is always possible to fork this wiki, with one version that can move to a single perspective that is compatible with the new orthodoxies, and another that is open to various critical perspectives. I will not participate myself in a wiki that is constructed around the censorship of multiple perspectives. --MIchel Bauwens (talk) 15:24, 27 March 2021 (UTC)

To be clear, I also passionately support a multi-perspectival view, in principle. Seeing things from only one point of view, in this increasingly complex world, cannot possibly provide workable long-term solutions – if indeed there are any to be found.

The challenge, it seems to me, is how to nurture this multi-perspectival position, bearing in mind the complexities of history, economics, politics, etc. and how these great social forces interact with personal psychology.

As Michel has made clear, this section is his personal compilation, with his own attempt at careful balance. However, saying that Wikipedia's "so called" NPOV policy is "specifically designed to eliminate perspectival views" itself comes from Michel's perspective, and I hold a different perspective. I have seen many Wikipedia articles where critique is actively encouraged by editors, and lack of critique may even lead to an article not being accepted in the first place. Wikipedia articles that deal with controversial topics are, indeed, more difficult, and I believe that some articles have been subject to attempts to erase certain perspectives. Not having studied this in detail, however, I cannot offer any worthwhile analysis of this, and I might be mistaken. My understanding of Wikipedia's NPOV is to do with balance of perspectives that have reliable sources. What many people seem to get upset about is that their perspective is not represented, while that is just because there are no reliable references that support it.

What I have seen and heard directly is people who identify with the P2P / Commons community saying that they no longer recommend this wiki as a good place to go to, and this (in my understanding) because of a lack of contextualising critique of the views that are represented here. I imagine that they are referring specifically to this section.

I respect and value much of what Michel has included here, even if I see it as not directly relevant to P2P or Commons, and furthermore I respect Michel's honest attempt, from his perspective, to be multi-perspectival in the compilation and curation. However, as far as I can see, no one who takes different perspectives has actually contributed to it. I see this as problematic, specifically for this area of work, no matter what the reason is.

Let's eliminate some reasons. It is not the case that anyone has been banned for respectful contribution to this section. It is not the case that people with different perspectives have had any constructive edits reverted. So why is it? Speaking for myself, as I outlined above, it is for two reasons: first, that in my opinion much of this material would be better placed elsewhere, and not on this wiki. This is my perspective, and Michel has made it clear in many places that his different perspective leads him to a different view on the matter. Second, I hesitate to jump into a conflict-ridden field without some sense of the common ground that we are all working with – some common shared reference points.

For others, I have to guess, and I'd be happy to be corrected if I'm wrong here. Maybe others share my reasons – I'm not sure on this – but I'm guessing that another factor is that people see a whole lot of material that is not in line with their own perspective, and language which they would not use and with which they are uncomfortable, and say to themselves that this doesn't seem like a welcoming place which respects their points of view, and it would be too much trouble to weigh in to inject critique from their own perspective, or indeed other perspectives. As far as I know, few people enjoy fighting this kind of battle, whether here or on Wikipedia.

I could look at the levelness of the playing field, but on second thoughts I won't go there, but rather to what I see of people's sense of inclusion and being welcome, their experiences and fears of disrespect, exclusion, marginalisation and indeed sometimes humiliation. I definitely do not see these experiences, emotions, feelings, as belonging exclusively to certain predefined groups. Most of us probably have our own experiences of this, one way or another. But that doesn't mean they are equal in intensity or significance.

Historically, there has sometimes been an attitude of "I've been humiliated, so I have the right to humiliate you, to teach you a lesson, so you know what it feels like." I am utterly opposed to this retaliatory attitude. Perhaps even more sinister is the attitude "You have humiliated these other people, so I'm going to self-righteously take the law into my own hands and humiliate you." Nor do I simply go along with "you've used these words that trigger me, therefore you are responsible for my anger". But I do believe that we can all take our own responsibility, so that if we become aware that our words or expressions or attitudes trigger other people, we do what we reasonably can to care about that and change our ways. This is so that others will feel enough psychological safety in our presence to allow dialogue to flow. We all need to recognise that certain words, actions, expressed attitudes, etc. for others may play into patterns in which they have felt humiliation, even if our intention is pure and positive.

Personally, I want to live and work in spaces where people are taking care not to humiliate others, whether by accident or design; and also where people do what they can to take responsibility for their own emotions and triggering. It's not one or the other to me, it's both. If people focus only on the first, you get a culture where people are afraid to express themselves, and always have to be apologising. If people focus only on the second, you get a 'free speech' hell where the less confident on all sides are humiliated, and the more confident go to war.

Can we bring that spirit to this wiki?

Thanks — Simon Grant (talk) 09:18, 9 April 2021 (UTC)

I fully support your efforts to bring more perspectives to this wiki. People who feel hurt by the presence of divergent perspectives are welcome to use the Discussion pages to make their concerns heard, we will take them into consideration and also invite them to include their own perspectives.

--MIchel Bauwens (talk) 09:42, 12 April 2021 (UTC)