The HIStory of Brocialism
June 1, 2018 11:57 AM   Subscribe

This post was deleted for the following reason: Eh, looking over it further I think there's enough problems here in terms of framing and context that whatever useful conversation there is to have about progressive vs. sexist dynamics isn't really gonna blossom well. -- cortex



 
I recall a time at MIT, early 1970, when the women of SDS demanded a number of seats on the governing council equal to the men. And got them, but it certainly took more than a little consciousness-raising for the guys to figure this out and get past it. Evidently, though, nearly 50 years later those attitudes persist, at least in some circles on the left.
posted by beagle at 12:21 PM on June 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


The minor Twitter celebrities who orbit around Chapo Trap House is one example.
posted by JamesBay at 12:57 PM on June 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


[A few comments removed. 2016 US primary wounds and a couple of mentions in the article notwithstanding, this piece is not particularly about Bernie Sanders and good golly am I not interested in presiding over another throwdown about Sanders and Clinton supporters and their respective crosswise beefs with one another, so please engage with literally anything else in the linked article instead.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:03 PM on June 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


I think brocialism is a thing, but I am not sure that this article makes a great case for it. For one thing, she has some fairly, um, specific attitudes about sex work, and they are not shared by a lot of feminists who aren't brocialists.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:04 PM on June 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


Is there some brocialist movement I am unaware of?

It's less that "brocialism" is a discrete movement than that it is how a lot of leftist men act, where they dismiss the concerns of people who are not ablebodied cisgender (often white) men in favor of whatever they believe should be the priorities of the left (which generally support the needs of ablebodied cisgender maybe white men, those conveniently like themselves). It's not a movement because it's not conscious, it's a way of interacting that I have definitely experienced both firsthand and indirectly from people who are touted as big deals in leftist circles.

I am not trying to be a jerk here but if you're not aware of it this might be because it's a way in which you interact. A lot of socialist bros are unaware of the way they keep marginalized voices marginalized because they continue not to listen to those marginalized voices so they're like "I don't see a problem, identity politics is a distraction, why do we keep talking about abortion when there are other issues to worry about" and if they keep dismissing everyone who says "actually I do see a problem and these things matter to me and people like me", well, they'll never see the problem.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:04 PM on June 1, 2018 [18 favorites]


So we're just saying that income inequality is not, in fact, the root problem globally? It's not the only thing, but it certainly is a thing that is worthy of targeting. If that makes me a brocialist (whatever the hell that is) then so be it.
posted by EricGjerde at 1:09 PM on June 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


If ever a topic deserved a "SERIOUSLY, READ THE ARTICLE BEFORE YOU COMMENT" policy, it's this one.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:10 PM on June 1, 2018 [7 favorites]


So we're just saying that income inequality is not, in fact, the root problem globally?
When you talk about income inequality, do you include the fact that women's labor is systematically undervalued, so much so that much of the work that we do is completely uncompensated?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:11 PM on June 1, 2018 [17 favorites]


Gives the old adage, “The opposite of patriarchy is not matriarchy but fraternity” a whole new spin, doesn’t it?
posted by Sys Rq at 1:15 PM on June 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


So we're just saying that income inequality is not, in fact, the root problem globally?

No.

If you read the article, a lot of it is just plain, straight up misogyny without any political considerations at all.
posted by tofu_crouton at 1:16 PM on June 1, 2018 [7 favorites]


Wat. I thought this article was uncontroversial enough to frankly be a bit boring. I thought the biggest beef MetaFilter would have with it was that the first two people she chooses to name as "brocialists" in the article are both black men who were influential in the civil rights movement. Wtf yall, get your shit together.
posted by sunset in snow country at 1:18 PM on June 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


When you talk about income inequality, do you include the fact that women's labor is systematically undervalued, so much so that much of the work that we do is completely uncompensated?

(Which of course is one of many points point brought up in the article, which those who have only read the pull quote and then dived in to spout off about how brocialism isn't actually a thing or whatever will have missed.)
posted by tobascodagama at 1:19 PM on June 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


Perhaps instead of accusing people of commenting before reading you could explain what you got from this article. I didn't see anything that isn't covered better elsewhere on the web (and Metafilter). It's a diatribe aimed at splitting the left.
posted by LarsC at 1:20 PM on June 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


I do think we need a flow of excoriation of misogyny and sexism on the left in order to make any progress whatsoever, but I don't think this article does a very good job of that. There's a good history lesson in there, but also a lot of conjecture that simplifies contemporary politics beyond usefulness and erases the voice of a lot of women on the left who have to contend with fighting the good fight on an enormous number of fronts, including that of having their voices erased (or rendered complicit with the misogyny they're fighting) supposedly in their own favor.

Also, the idea that Matt fuckin' Taibbi has or had a significant influence on electoral politics in America is ... come the fuck on. He doesn't need defending, but he also doesn't need or deserve credit for swinging the election in any direction.
posted by griphus at 1:21 PM on June 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


So we're just saying that income inequality is not, in fact, the root problem globally? It's not the only thing, but it certainly is a thing that is worthy of targeting. If that makes me a brocialist (whatever the hell that is) then so be it.

This sounds very lofty (If CARING TOO MUCH FOR THE POOR is a crime, then your honor, I plead GUILTY!) but it is pretty weaslly. It conflates caring about income inequality as one of many issues with ignoring the needs of people who don't fit into a very narrow overwhelmingly male group.

I believe supporting people who are marginalized, including those suffering the most from income inequality, is or should be the main goal of progressive politics and yet here are marginalized people saying "yes I have needs that are not being addressed by this privileged group who claim the mantle of progressives and talk down to me or ignore me when I express my needs" and you are coming in and saying something that reads to me as "So you don't care about income inequality? Well I DO and I'm not going to change anything about my priorities or how I interact" even though women and other marginalized people are right here, literally in this thread, asking you to examine ways in which we are not supported by fellow progressives.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:22 PM on June 1, 2018 [8 favorites]


FWIW, the author of this essay is Sarah Ditum, a transphobe and opponent of sex work, so while Brocialism is definitely something that exists and needs to be dealt with, I want to hear exactly zero of her thoughts on the matter, because she left genuine intersectional feminism and progressive politics behind long ago.
posted by aedison at 1:25 PM on June 1, 2018 [13 favorites]


I am not trying to be a jerk here but if you're not aware of [brocialism] this might be because it's a way in which you interact.

I kind of will be a jerk here, and say that yes, if you're a man who's politically active, then you are not as good a person as you think you are if you think that you can be involved politically without looking round to check that there's women in the room, and that the women in the room are not excluded from the conversation.

And the author points out something that I'd forgotten, and something that doesn't seem to be part of the Labour Party's focus at the moment:
Iain Duncan Smith designed Universal Credit so that it would be paid to a single recipient in each household in order to “prevent family breakdown”, or, rather, stop women from leaving
I guess Lexit — the prioritising of abstract principles over the way the government supports lives of the middle and working classes, held together by women — is kind of the epitome of brocialism. And it's notable how much the opposition to Corbyn within the Parliamentary Labour Party is led by women like Jess Phillips and Stella Creasy who are bringing the conversation back to actual people's quality of life. Not some “Jobs first Brexit”.
posted by ambrosen at 1:25 PM on June 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


So we're just saying that income inequality is not, in fact, the root problem globally?

Let's just stop for a moment right here. There is more than one root problem, and those multifarious problems are coupled together. Hysteresis exists so even if we solve root problems, we also have to solve the persistent consequences of those root problems. Income inequality is a problem. Sexism is a problem. Racism is a problem. These facts are not mutually exclusive nor does any one of them explain or cause the entirety of the others.
posted by Jpfed at 1:26 PM on June 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


As an example, inequitable access to healthcare impacts income equality. Thus anyone who prioritized income equality above all else should theoretically be a pro-choice champion, but that hasn't been the case historically.
posted by tofu_crouton at 1:27 PM on June 1, 2018


The website is asking me to agree to let it use cookies, which I am not into, but even though I haven't RTFA, I feel this is a good opportunity for a favorite story.

I have a lovely activist friend who sometimes attracts the shittiest kinds of activist guys. One time I was at a party at her place. We were in the backyard grilling and eating for hours, but then evening fell, and it turned out the backyard had no lighting. We started shuttling stuff indoors. There was a lot to carry, and we were racing against the setting sun to clear everyone out of what would soon be a very very dark backyard. Absolutely everyone was helping except three manarchist types who were standing around talking about smashing the state. When I finally asked them to help, one of them said, "Well, we didn't eat anything..."

All I can say is, I'm not interested in your revolution if you're going to smash the state but not do the dishes.
posted by the_blizz at 1:28 PM on June 1, 2018 [13 favorites]


It's a diatribe aimed at splitting the left.

Nah, it’s a recipe for victory. The NDP leadership in Canada has been a brosocialist fraternity for decades. Here in a Alberta the NDP was a marginal force at best, until, that is, a woman took over the leadership and led the party to a majority government. As a great American socialist put it:
It was a man’s world, but it will become a woman’s world. And, after a stormy career, full of struggle and suffering, man will at last return to the woman, and in her and with her he will find peace, rest, joy and happiness. –Harry Waton, The Philosophy of the Kabbalah
posted by No Robots at 1:30 PM on June 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


Not for nothing, but isn't this the same brand of bomb-throwing that is currently being used to discredit the DSA in the US?
posted by FakeFreyja at 1:33 PM on June 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


don't worry, the perfect article on brocialism that we can all agree is valid enough to serve as the basis for discussion will be along any day now. I hear the first electable female presidential candidate will follow soon afterwards. until then, let's not engage in counterrevolutionary talk
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:34 PM on June 1, 2018 [9 favorites]


Perhaps instead of accusing people of commenting before reading you could explain what you got from this article.

RTFA isn't about extolling the virtues of the article itself, it's about not being the kind of asshole who jumps into a thread and demands to have things explained to him that somebody else already took the time to explain.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:34 PM on June 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


So we're just saying that income inequality is not, in fact, the root problem globally? It's not the only thing, but it certainly is a thing that is worthy of targeting.

I mean, those two statements don't work together. "The root problem" means that it would be the problem that other problems go back to, the problem where digging it out would kill all the other problems.

Anyway, I think this is a thing but that this is not a good way of exploring or explaining the fact that this is a thing, and Ditum's other awfulness makes me instantly question both why she's the one who gets a platform to talk about this and whether her descriptions of many of the people she references are accurate or offered in good faith.
posted by Sequence at 1:40 PM on June 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


The issue in the UK (and this is published in a magazine/newspaper which is normally dedicated to preventing the Tory-Labour self destruct pact to leave the EU) is that there is a centre-left party which was, over the period 1997-2010, generally pretty successful* at expanding the public sector to hugely improves people's lives, and now, the plodding one-trick pony sixth-form left-wing has managed to get the microphone for the left wing, and it has no ideas except its desire to stay prominent and make ineffectual promises and demands without bothering to flesh them out enough to make them actual progressive causes.

That's a pretty bro thing to do: taking the mike despite the fact that you don't have any way to bring the conversation forward.

*obviously, Iraq makes this a curate's egg in its original sense. Not to mention some other pretty awful decisions
posted by ambrosen at 1:40 PM on June 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


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