Activist spaces are so chock full of scarcity anxiety — the fear that already tenuous or thin frameworks will come crumbling down. Time and again, conflict avoidance is what kills it all.

A strong foundation isn’t created by putting a mountain on top of a house of cards.
It’s not healthy to have a space where folks blow up and lash out and bully others. Bullies enjoy lots of leeway in these circles because people are afraid that by addressing the conflict and the controlling behavior that motivates it, they’ll be ostracized. Risk it anyway.
People targeted by bullies — who, in collaborative spaces take advantage of a collective desire to “just do the work” — get hurt, isolated, pushed away. They might have people who sit beside them in their hurt, but not enough who speak up to fight back against it as it happens.
People targeted by these bullies often start with the easiest or biggest targets: Someone who threatens the bully’s sense of control, authority, or expertise. Then, it moves down to someone on the outskirts of a social group who doesn’t benefit from strong ties.
The bully, in seeking to control, relies on others to lash out for them. To target anyone who threatens their authority on their behalf. This ensures the bully and their lackeys drive everyone away except for those who “don’t want to get in the middle of it.”
It’s divide and conquer 101, it’s highly and easily identifiable, and it’s depressing as hell that in its identifiability people still let it slide. Because they want to avoid conflict.
The bully doesn’t have any power. They don’t have the capacity to wield power, which is why they bully and intimidate others into thinking they’re an authority to be feared. A leader, in contrast, doesn’t need to assert anything because they facilitate from behind.
Conflict avoidance will kill your community because it gives the bully room to target and shut down anything that threatens their desire for authority and power. Either you give everyone a heads up that there’s a bully on the loose or you watch everything you built fall apart.
Will you make a bad judgment call here and there, occasionally flagging someone as a bully who’s just struggling to function in the space? Sure. Rooting out bullies isn’t about kicking out & isolating people. It’s about recognizing & cutting off the *impact* of the motivation.
An easy way to distinguish between a bully and someone who’s, say, just a huge asshole, is whether they’re attempting to centralize control to themselves, increasingly gaining or demanding to gain access to various essential facets of your framework (funds, social media, etc.).

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More from @taliaotg

12 Sep
Christian Nationalists just casually going ham on DC this weekend.
This seems to do a pretty decent job laying out the intersections at play here:…
Read 4 tweets
12 Sep
Sept. 18th is less, imo, a matter of grave danger for that day and more a matter of what we’re seeing with far right protests everywhere: They’re chipping away at the collective intolerance level for their insanity, pushing to reopen space for themselves in public acceptability.
What this means is these small threats — seemingly random aggressive protests at school boards and city councils across the country — are building.

They are relying on people gradually giving in & giving them an inch so they can take a mile.
This is what “no quarter for fascists” means. It’s what “any time, any place, punch a nazi in the face” means.

It’s why when people like Amy Siskind make big pushes to “just ignore them” there’s such a flurry of aggressive rejection: That doesn’t work.
Read 19 tweets
11 Sep
Today, as most eyes focus on lower Manhattan to remember something that happened 20 years ago, there will be a massive distro event helping the largest NYCHA project in NYC — and the largest low income housing project in the entire country.
The distro effort combines the efforts of a local church, a food producer, and a leftist boxing club. It’s also organized by a community council president for the NYPD’s PSA9 and a NYS Assembly hopeful, but it’s my understanding they’ll be there “as people.”
I will also be there, not as a person (we all know I am not a person) but as press. I’ll be conducting interviews, taking bad photos, the whole nine.
Read 19 tweets
11 Sep
liz king, stop spreading bullshit you invent about me on your locked account. you’ve been insisting i said things i never said, did things i never did, and have facilitated endless harassment against me from people who think they’re speaking up for a good person.
liz king, you know for a fact that i supported the torch letter and that after the fact, you pushed some insane shit about a secret cult whose members, oddly, are all women whose only commonality is having lots of twitter followers.
you claimed i outed victims — i never did that. i spoke out against people who were pushing absurd claims against me, which was you and another person. you pushed bullshit that i was a livestreamer using photos of *a completely different person* as proof.
Read 21 tweets
10 Sep
The far right gets massive support whenever they whine about “censorship” in their push to normalize extremist bigotry. But I’m on the verge of losing the only space I have to report factual information, effectively ending my job, and the response is mainly just “that sucks.”
Is it that I’m not making what’s at stake clear? If this gets shut down I go back to low wage labor where I don’t have the time or energy to dedicate to anything but surviving. I don’t have the privilege of a degree or status to get a job doing this stuff for an outlet.
People who’ve been harassing me for months are exploiting this to mass report me right now. They have tried to get me removed from my union, blocked from outlets. They go through and report anything I post hoping something will flip the switch.
Read 8 tweets
10 Sep
I have a theory the Hotel Harrington is sold out because feds know that’s where the Proud Boys like to post up so that’s where all the informants & feds are staying lol
Fed infiltrators chatting it up with other infiltrators not knowing they’re an infil and just asking so many questions back and forth. Informants egging each other on to do crimes so they can snitch about it.
Anyway, I agree with @jaredlholt’s analysis and would add that this event is an effort to help cool DC so they can ramp back up to extremist violence. The rallies of last fall/winter ahead of J6 were all about testing the waters, establishing a precedent, identifying exploits.
Read 4 tweets

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