Long ago when Anews and related projects were in their infancy the topic of Banning was explored to discuss and develop ideas for physical spaces and to also consider how anarchists might employ these ideas to the online space as well.
All these years later many anarchists are still grappling with the idea of banning and after a recent incident in an online anarchist space it seemed a good time to recompose, remix, and revisit the original topic…
Within anarchist circles the idea of banning people from anarchist spaces has long been popular among certain people. Some argue that banning is perfectly fine and is in alignment with the anarchist principle of free association. Others say that banning people is not at all okay, saying it is by its very nature exclusionary and leads to certain people having more influence and power than others.
The topic this week is banning people from anarchist spaces. When and where is it okay to ban people? Who should be banned and who should do the banning?
In explicitly anarchist spaces, should ancaps and so called national-anarchists be banned, even though these people claim to be anarchists? What about leftists and other people who have no problem with the existence of a state? What about new people whose anarchism is mostly or completely contrary and/or in direct conflict to the anarchism of the people already occupying the space? What about fascists, pedophiles, cops? What if they bring good snacks and interesting conversation and (bizarrely) call themselves anarchists? What if they don’t bring any snacks at all and just suck the life out of the room? Should everyone be given a fair say, place, and opportunity if they call themselves anarchists?
In terms of behavior, how many times should people be given a chance before they are given the boot? When should people be given time to change their ways, and when should people be immediately expelled? Should people be allowed to return to anarchist spaces after a certain period of time has passed? And how should all of this be carried out? Should formal procedures be written up about this? And will these procedures realistically even be followed if they were?
What say you, anarchyland?