Pinned post

this is sort of a reboot of an old project on Tumblr that a very select number of people might remember; it was kiboshed in late 2018 with the infamous nudity ban ("female-presenting nipples" etc.)

not taking this project too serious, but not taking it NOT serious either

my pronouns are he/him if you need them

the AANR has set up a new social network:
naturisthub.com/pages/about

the audacity of this line: "It's About Time The Naturist Community Had Its Own Social Network!" 🙄

there are already several such options. there was also until quite recently naturism.social, a Mastodon instance I didn't much like

it is unclear what kind of software they are using, but it's obviously not ActivityPub-interfacing. One more closed-off island that no one is gonna use

(I may try to sign up anyhow)

From the archive: "Pants and bridges" 

Below the break is an article by the conservative Cardus Institute, apparently published in the Calgary Herald on August 11, 2011; no record of the same has shown up, thus far, in my efforts to find it on the Herald's website. The text was taken from here, instead. It is presented on this blog – with some annotation, typographic clean-up, and contextualizing hyperlinks – as an amusing record of a historical event, namely a naked bike ride in Montréal that happened just over 10 years ago and some anarchists efforts' to contribute something to it.

###

As Montréal falls down around its residents' heads, there is comfort knowing it is safe to drop your pants and bicycle through downtown at midnight.

Motorists forced to use the Ville-Marie tunnel for their commute when it reopened Monday [August 8] told media tales of terror at the prospect of another massive beam collapsing on their cars. [Part of the tunnel had collapsed on August 2.]

Bridges are considered unsafe at any speed. Overpasses mimic asteroids, tossing great chunks of debris from above: “Look out! It's coming right at us!”

But insouciance, which only sounds like a French word for idiocy, rolls on. Late Saturday night [August 6], it cruised through the heart of Montréal wearing nothing but a superior smile.

While I was safely tucked in my bed far away at the time (my staunch belief is nothing good can ever come of being awake after 10 p.m.), press reports advise that 40 to 50 naked souls rode the streets en masse to make the point that, well, no one's quite sure. Perhaps their only point was to show they had something to point.

Like everything these days, the nudie wheelabout was organized entirely on Facebook. There is no word whether organizers recognized this as a golden gift of paradox.

It's doubtful, however, that they did. No two groups of modern humans are more squint-eyed with sanctimony than nudists and cyclists. Plop a bare-buttocked progressive astride the ultimate vehicle for green self-congratulation and you create, on two wheels, a snob so myopic the Hubble telescope couldn't help him see things clearly.

Naturally, police passively stood by as public order was violated. What were they to do? Uphold the law? Arrest someone for brandishing a club in public? Not in Montréal, where failure to look the other way is deemed a dereliction of the duty to be insufferably culturally superior.

Curiously, the one yelp of agitation following the event was on a blog called AnarchistNews.org. Its auteur managed simultaneously to participate and slag other participants for their bourgeois blindness.

The work is worth quoting at length:

Every garment (and every commodity) is a thread in the most constricting of uniforms, imposed at gunpoint and at shopping centres: CIVILIZATION.

Whether we are naked or in parkas, our bodies remain trapped within the system that issues judgment according to clothing, skin colour, or desire. Whether we are on bikes or in Hummers, the police will enforce the rules of the road: keep to the right, don't torch department stores. As long as the logic of the commodity rules, the power of the well-dressed man in the limousine won't be threatened by the naked queer on the tallbike.

We take off our clothing to celebrate the beauty and diversity of our bodies, but what of the bodies we can't see, locked away in cells, or consigned to stitch American Apparel under fluorescent lights in “not sweatshops”? When will we see the bodies that are actually forbidden? Will we even see each other outside of this carefully controlled space with its set time, its predetermined route, its police escorts?

To begin answering these questions, we have to call into question the entire existing order. We have to strip away not just the layers that hide our bodies, but the entire apparatus of domination that ensures we'll put our pants back on and go back to work in the morning.

NO PANTS, NO MASTERS means WE MUST DESTROY CIVILIZATION

It would be fish in a barrel to dismiss this as the sophomoric mouth-breathing of a political imbecile. Although it is written in something approaching English sentences, for example, its “logic” is akin to one of those word wheels you spin to pick combinations of nouns and vowels that sound coherent, but are really genuine gibberish.

NO BIRDS, NO GARBAGE TRUCKS means WE MUST SING BARRY MANILOW SONGS.

NO GOLF, NO CONDOMINIUMS means WE MUST MOW THE LAWN.

One could go on. One won't.

Yet, behind the nonsense there is a kind of savage genius, and an eerie prescience given what's happening in England, in the phrase “keep to the right, don't torch department stores”. Likewise the sentence “imposed at gunpoint or at shopping centres”.

They are meaningless at the literal level, of course. Yet our anarchist's analysis ingeniously dispenses with civilized distinctions between differences of degree and differences of kind. In so doing, it presents a mentality prevalent well beyond niche political blogs. It represents the thinking that distinctions no longer matter because they belong to that outmoded habit called order.

So the core of a once great city can turn into a nude free-for-all zone while the edges crumble and become impassable. So taking your pants off in public becomes a valid political gesture and obliging motorists to dodge collapsing 25-ton beams is acceptable political inaction. What matter?

All things are just all things. And all things – pants, bridges – fall down.

Look out. It's coming right at us.

Problematic people 

The last post on this blog didn't hit the internet in the way I would have liked.

At the time when I published the previous entry, I didn't yet know any name for the presumptive trans woman (whose last name is Merager, and who I will refer to by that name for the remainder of this post) who had been present in the women's section at Wi Spa on June 24. I first had a thought to write something a bit solidarious vis-à-vis the Wi Spa situation in July, shortly after the first antifa-vs.-maga clash in Koreatown, Los Angeles, on July 3, which is when I first heard about it. Alas, life happened and I didn't get too far beyond the draft stage – plus I still had another entry to finish up.

In an article published by Slate on July 9, it was said that the initial incident had simply been a hoax – or at least that there was strong evidence to suggest that it had actually happened, e.g. there was no evidence that any trans woman had even been present at Wi Spa on June 24. I don't read Slate, but the lefty/progressive sorts of journalists and/or Twitter personalities I was getting my information do, perhaps, or at least they were saying much the same. I found the idea that it might be a hoax credible, which is to say, I'm not gonna put it past a certain kind of rightist to fabricate a story like the one that was being told in order to generate a useful controversy.

By the time I got around to actually putting together some sentences for the “Solidarity” post, however, it was already late September, and there had been some developments in the story. For instance, the Los Angeles police had issued a warrant for a suspect, who subsequently told her side of the story to a person employed as a journalist (and apparently that person was Andy Ngo, writing in the New York Post) before turning herself in to police. Slate updated its July 9 story on September 3. Of course, lazy hack that I am, I used a Wikipedia article on the Wi Spa affair to get myself up to speed; consequently I got some of the facts of these new developments mixed up, as I admitted in the October 2 update to my October 1 post. Wikipedia is often good enough for the sort of research I care to do, but that was absolutely not true in this situation, because several of these details were missing at the time when I was writing.

I stand by what I wrote and, to some degree, how I wrote it – which is to say, I think I had a good idea of what I wanted to do, and what I fucked up was the execution. The Wi Spa affair, which was at its origin a controversy about some exposed “private parts”, provided an obvious and relatively contemporaneous example of a situation in which nudists had a clear stake as nudists. I thought that articulating both the how and the why of those stakes might be useful. First off, I wanted to challenge a certain part of the naturist internet (in some ways, the most promising part, insofar as it has some kind of interest in doing quote-unquote “politics”) to transcend the single-issue activism mindset. Second, I also wanted to direct some energy from among those who read these posts (and I guess there are a few of you?) towards an ongoing issue that should have been of some concern for anyone with even half-decent attitudes about trans people. This would have worked a lot better if I had managed to publish initially in July, not October, but it is what it is.

It was always clear to me that Merager might be, at minimum, a person I wouldn't want to be seen defending – but also that nothing short of full-throated condemnation, never mind the available facts, would be enough to convince those whose minds are captured by transphobic, paranoid animus that I was not defending her. For these folks, my simple usage of the pronoun “her” in respect to Merager is enough to mark me as on the wrong side of a Manichaean fight between Good and Evil.

This project is about changing culture, for the better, but that second part won't be obvious to people with different ideas about nudity than mine and not much interest in changing those ideas. A lot of the time, too, there is political opportunity in mobilizing and enlisting a sort of common sense – often founded in ignorance and/or paranoia – that stands against change in how people live their lives, what will and will not be permitted in public, and so on.

All movements to change culture face opposition. In the present moment in much of North America, Europe, and elsewhere, rightist coalitions are stepping up to do just that, often mobilizing against the civil rights of LGBT people writ large or trying to isolate the T from the LGB, the better to target that letter specifically. This is what awaits those who wish for an expanded option of nudity in public, if we were to ever have ourselves a decade of “gains” parallel to those that like trans lib got between 2010 and 2020 (which is unlikely, because there is no such movement to speak of, at least at this time). By this, I would mean increasing familiarity with the philosophical underpinnings of what we're saying about clothes and bodies (without, necessarily, increasing acceptance), more accurate and/or sympathetic representation of nudist characters in popular culture, video games, and legacy news media (hooray), and correspondingly becoming more visible to those with an ideologically grounded grudge against us.

Furthermore, no movement and/or significant population of people is devoid of shady characters, ugly representatives, and bumbling buffoons. Merager, and a few years ago Jessica Yaniv, are to trans lib and/or the trans population what a certain woman from Berkeley – whose last name is Taub and whose first name, not the one given to her by her parents or recognized by the government, is an ethnic slur that she probably has no good reason to use as her personal moniker – is to the cause of decriminalizing public nudity and/or to nudists.

Let's talk about her. Taub was arrested on December 19, 2019, over accusations of stalking, and attempting to kidnap, a 14-year-old kid who had been friends with her son. As a result, whenever her name comes up on r/nudism and r/naturism – usually to discuss the nude protests that she was involved in organizing in the Bay Area over the years, starting in the lead-up to the 2013 ban on public nudity in San Francisco and continuing afterwards – there are invariably comments to the effect that, first of all, she is mentally ill and/or a moral wretch (and these two things are typically often conflated) and that, second, it is wrong to “support” her. There was never any question, of course, of actually supporting this woman, who has apparently spent the last two years in jail, by providing her with money for canteen, organizing a rally for her release, or trying to break her out of prison. Instead, simply commenting positively about her activism is framed as some kind of comprehensive endorsement, or at least almost.

To my mind, Taub is simply an important historic figure – at least within the limited scope of, say, the recent history of street activism in the Bay Area (which is not my concern) or the recent history of getting naked in public, and trying to make that option more available in general, anywhere on Earth. She is, in other words, worth discussing for her deeds and her impact, within the scope of conversations on these subjects. Although I am hardly an acritical supporter of her tactics or her ideas, I also think it's fine if others are a little bit inspired by the reason she is well-known at all; she did the thing that a lot of people (especially young people who are enthused about nudism) would like to do themselves, e.g. she (and others with her) actually got naked in public a lot while arguing that everyone should be able to do that everywhere. I don't think we need to ignore her history of inappropriate behaviour as regards young people (nor should we do the same for any other well-known activist), but I don't think that needs to be the only thing we talk about, either.

And, to the extent that people just want to shut down a conversation about street activism and nudism before it even happens, simply because someone started that conversation by mentioning Taub, I actually think it's not cool. All it is is derailing.

Merager is not an important historic figure at all (at least not yet), but the Wi Spa affair was, and once I chose to write about all that, I had to say some things about her. Alas, given how online discourse works, the way I talked about Merager in the last post was opportunistically used to derail any (online) conversation about the ideas in that post from manifesting, and to put forward instead a combination of uncontroversial truisms (like “protect women and children”) and specific anti-trans animus. I was also told that, by “supporting” her, I was destroying my own reputation going forward.

So what did I say? Well, apart from saying that I don't think she should be in prison, like an anarchist would say, I also presumed that I don't know everything about her just because she has a documented history as a sex offender, I did the pronoun thing (be mad about it), and I reiterated a basic idea among nudists, namely that seeing a penis is not an emergency. I suppose that a lawyer representing Merager's interests in the state's courts could argue some version of that last thing in order to get her a better deal of some kind, but that lawyer probably isn't reading this blog. I said these things because, surprise surprise, I broadly speaking support the goal of trans liberation, which is to say, the end of specific oppression of trans people by, like, society. I have done nothing to support Merager per se. Certainly I have not sent any money to her defense fund!

There was one comment I received, on r/nudism, that I actually did appreciate. It reads as follows:

Any sex offender, regardless of gender, should lose access to spaces where nudity is present. I see no reason that they should be admitted.

As someone who has experienced sexual assault, the place I feel safest is at the landed naturist club where I am a member. I find the bar is set much higher in terms of zero tolerance for harassment and in shared values. I feel far less safe in other clothed places, for example pumping gas or buying groceries.

The idea of safety in gender segregation is false. It's past behavior that is a much more realistic indicator.

In spirit, I agree with this person, whom I presume doesn't have the same sort of anti-carceral analysis that I do. I have a lot of problems, personally, with both the notion of a state-administered sex offender registry, as well as the actual reality of it in California and many other places, because I am an anarchist and I am not convinced it does less harm than good. That being said, I don't think there is anything wrong, in principle, with identifying sex pests as such and excluding them from spaces where, for instance, people are going to be naked. I have more experience in demonstrations and things, I have been annoyed when sex pests were present and generally felt okay about times when there were announcements by the organizers before an action that a certain so-and-so would not be welcome.

In other words, I don't think exclusion is off the table. But I do think there are some disadvantages to it, not least of which is that political and cultural movements of all kinds, especially wingnutty ones like anarchism or comfortism, attract lots of weird and broken people. I think that such people have the greatest capacity to be transformed by these movement into new kinds of people, perhaps without some of the old problems. To be clear, I think that there should be some welcome for fuck-ups and ne'er-do-wells in spaces of anarchist struggle (or whatever), but not necessarily in spaces of nudist recreation that have nothing to do with anarchist struggle, such as Wi Spa or that Reddit user's landed club.

But I talk both about on this blog, and I can conceive of times when they might be very adjacent to each other, or one and the same.

popular culture 

TIL I learned Crazy Frog is supposed to be depicted with a dick, but that has apparently been censored in the North American market

anyone want to go to the Florida Young Naturists' winter gathering (in December) and, I dunno, table Black Seed or something?

cryptid-sighting.tumblr.com/po

kaumnyakte: "very cool how the gender binary in the emerging trad terf synthesis is like, there are two genders, the one that does bad things and the one that bad things are done to. the only thing in the world is immorality and it flows from unexperiencing agents to unacting experiencers.

"which naturally appeals to people who would like to be perceived as inherently lacking the capacity for immorality. for whatever reason"

chicago-geniza: "anyway remember bell hooks’s very cogent critique of second-wave feminist organizing in ‘sisterhood: solidarity between women’ where she argues that by 'bonding as "victims", white women’s liberationists were not required to assume responsibility for confronting the complexity of their own experience … Identifying as "victims", they could abdicate responsibility for their role in the maintenance and perpetuation of sexism, racism, and classism." it’s not by accident that terf gender essentialism dovetails so much with other biological-determinist & essentialist assumptions including Extremely Racist Ones

À chaque fois que je vois des gens blaguer / trouver étonnant le nudisme / naturisme, je me sens vraiment en complet décalage

anarchy is when your so-called "civilisation" doesn't force me to wear pants you fucking nerds

not totally stoked on how that last one hit the internet

it doesn't bother me when Reddit users are terfoid but I AM annoyed when it's @news users

Solidarity 

Two notes before beginning:

Instead of the overly Latin and slightly nauseating word “penis”, I have chosen to instead to use something a bit more whimsical and fun in this piece, namely “johnson”. For etymologically obvious reasons, this term does not pertain very well to the transfeminine penis, more colloquially known as “girldick” – but alas, for those who can only see a dick as chromosomally shaped mounds of flesh, blood, and other fluids, it might as well be a johnson for all they're concerned, no matter the precise context.

Second, with respect to people who read this may just a touch “gender-critical” themselves, I already know how and why I disagree with you. I think your views are a combination of boring, outdated, and too amenable to authoritarianism that's either rightist or might as well be rightist (never mind all the left-wing and/or anarchist bona fides certain people may harp on about); I'm not interested in wasting my time discussing it. To the extent you want to some spaces to remain “cis women only”, I hardly even care, but I don't see it being very difficult to do that in your own spaces. You have them and you will, in all likelihood, continue to have them; they just may not be the only spaces anymore.

So, at the time of writing, the opening paragraph of the Wikipedia article on the “Wi Spa controversy” reads as follows:

On June 24, 2021, a woman posted a video to Instagram in which she angrily confronted staff at Wi Spa, a Korean spa in Los Angeles, about the apparent presence of a nude individual with a johnson, most commonly believed to be a trans woman, in the women's section of the spa. The video went viral, attracting significant attention from [trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) and right-wing] media, which led to protests and counter-protests on July 3 and 17 over the alleged access. Some media initially questioned whether the alleged incident had been a hoax.

The article goes on, stating that on August 30, someone “commonly reported to be a transgender woman” was arrested in connection to the original reported incident. There is at least one real person involved at the centre of this study, in other words – and things are still very much shaking out for her. I have not followed this story closely, and I don't even know how many details are easily available, but I suspect that she is in pre-trial lock-up at this time.

As an anarchist, I think that sucks, and that, furthermore, all the prisons should be burned down. I am also open to the idea that this person genuinely sucks, because I do not know what happened. My gut reaction, as a partisan in the culture war, is that this is (as some have claimed, because there was initially no evidence at all to suggest otherwise) a hoax, and that now some uninvolved trans woman is dealing with a lot of shit as a consequence. But I don't know – and hey, maybe that person has done some things I don't think are cool, at Wi Spa or elsewhere.

(Evidently, she was not arrested because she is necessarily known to have been at Wi Spa – although perhaps some witness testimony will, I suppose, come out in whatever court-and-media circus that may emerge from this some months hence. It was, instead, her history of “indecent exposure” dating from about 2003 that is documented by the judicial system. She has apparently also been designated by the state as a “registered sex offender” since 2006, presumably for related reasons.)

This woman, and the original incident in the Wi Spa women's changing room (be it a complete fabrication or not), is not really important, though. What is important is that there were, just outside of Wi Spa's location in Los Angeles, large rallies and counterrallies between rightists, on the one hand (including in some cases fascists, parafascists, as well as several people who are completely out of touch with reality), and on the other hand, a coalition of anti-fascist activists, e.g. various leftists, maybe some anarchists, the odd, essentially liberal concerned citizen, and so on. These events, on July 3, July 17, and possibly on other days since, were all overseen by the police.

What happened at Wi Spa was part of a larger story as soon as that went viral. It was, in fact, for at least a brief moment, The Story for both the “gender-critical” and anti-fascist commentariats, in the United States at least. This is what led to the rallies, which I am sure would have had various negative effects if left unopposed (difficulty for staff just working a job at Wi Spa, difficulty for many customers but certainly customers who are trans or might look trans, a sense of victory for the anti-trans side and/or their buddies the Nazis and the “Western chauvinists”), and so then there was also counteraction (widely framed as “antifa”), with all of its inherent risk for the side that, on other days of the week and/or with every breath, also happens to oppose the police, the colonial state, capitalism (of all kinds), the American flag, etc.

There were real stakes for both coalitions, in other words – both the rightist, TERF/“gender-critical”, religious conservative, and -adjacent coalition “opposing gender ideology” et al., as well as the trans, anti-fascist, liberal-progressive-secular, and -adjacent coalition that stands for “trans and queer liberation”, “LGBT rights”, etc., to one's tastes.

As an insurrectionary anarchist – which means, in the North American context today, a tradition within anarchism largely informed by people who had some close connection to struggles in Italy or in the Italian diaspora in the past, from Malatesta and Galleani about a hundred years ago, to the forebears of those forebears, and also to the lives of anarchists still living today like Bonanno, Weir, and others who got caught up in the biggest event for anarchists of the whole 1990s, which has been significantly degree identified with individualist currents as well in North America, also bringing names like Novatore especially to the fore – I inherit a tradition that, in its more modern, local, and generally English-language iterations, is extremely ambivalent about and wary of coalitional politics, insofar as it knows well that those coalition partners, mostly, don't fuck with what we think, they don't put resistance to authority at the centre of their analysis and practice, they're likely to betray us and/or disappoint eventually. All that said, there is a social-insurrectionary current too, that doesn't forget that it's not just insurrectionary anarchists or any other conspiratorial elite that makes the revolution, it's everyone, together. At least where I live, the individualist and the social-insurrectionary currents still exist in an uneasy tension, together sustaining (with difficulty) a form of anarchism that isn't just contemporary Blanquism lazily described as such.

There is also some stake in this for anyone who wants to “normalize nudity” in society at large. The original controversy stems from the fact that a johnson visible to others for a brief moment in the women's changing room at Wi Spa on June 24; and if that was not the case, we can still concede that such a thing could happen, certainly has happened somewhere at some point, that it is in fact a logical consequence of a limited trans liberation taking place within the parameters of an otherwise unchanged society (i.e. a society that has commercial spas, which have bigendered changing rooms, and so on). And either you're cool with that, or not. Personally, I am cool with it, and not even on behalf of some especial militancy in favour of trans lib. It's more like, as a nudist, it is hard for me to understand what the big deal is about a loose johnson in any case, or a loose anything. “Don't look if it makes you uncomfortable” is my position, in more or less any setting, including in changing rooms, locker rooms, etc., to your preference.

Furthermore, I don't really believe that the specific “sanctity” of any space should be the most important principle in any ethical conundrum or social question, nor do I think it is acceptable or a good idea to accommodate ungrounded panic about sexual predators and pedophiles, especially if trans women and other groups are also being identified as the avatars of this threat. I suspect the rare event of a loose johnson in a women's locker room will be uncomfortable for some (I would think with the greatest intensity and frequency of discomfort being felt among individual pre-op trans women who choose to use those spaces, rather than among the cis women and girls in a room composed overwhelmingly of cis women and girls), but life is uncomfortable for everyone sometimes. Alas! Would that it were not, for everyone!

In men's changing rooms, too, there is also a sort of drift towards less tolerance of loose johnsons in public view. Where I live, local authorities have, in recent years, mandated that nudity is not to be tolerated in changing rooms for public pools, whether to change from a street outfit into swimclothes or to take a shower beforehand or after. Although the policy applies across the board, the focus has been on the men's changing rooms, and the arguments have been much the same as those with respect to the Wi Spa controversy. Some people are uncomfortable with nudity, first off; it was implied that the people were doing the complaining were mostly non-white immigrants, so when the policy was announced, both a potential “left” opposition to the policy was undermined and a different bogeyman than the local authority itself was offered to a potential “right” opposition to the policy.

There are also children present in men's changing rooms, just like in women's changing rooms. Apparently this matters because there is an epidemic of child sex trafficking happening at the public pools where parents and older siblings take young kids to cool off in the summer. What's really happening is that six-year-olds are seeing normal human bodies in the locker room, and then potentially asking questions of their fathers and older brothers that can cause these men, young and old, quite a bit of discomfort and confusion. Alas, if we assume the policy was adopted for exactly the same reasons as local authorities said, then it doesn't give much credit to these men (among whom I suspect there are plenty of white locals, incidentally). The same is true, incidentally, of any narrative that assumes crowds of cis women are uniquely threatened by the odd trans woman in a women's changing room, including the even rarer type of trans woman who is a bit large or a bit rude.

Even in the very limited number of spaces where public nudity has heretofore been considered acceptable because it is, in fact, quite practical – like, me being me, the nudist blog guy, I'd obviously prefer both the pool and poolside facilities to be comprehensively nudity-optional, but that's just not what's up – there is a push to keep “private parts” covered to an even greater point of impracticality than what was, mere decades, still quite common. And like, I think it should be as easy as possible, for everyone, for people to change their outfits when that is something they need to do just to enjoy their lives. There may be more than one solution to this, none of which is likely to work for everyone, but a trans-inclusive policy with respect to bigendered changing rooms seems significantly better than simply ignoring the specific needs, experiences, or desires of trans women writ large in order to satisfy a bigoted sentiment among, for the most part, cis people, both women and men.

But it's happening anyway. The reason is anti-sexual hysteria, in which there are confused efforts to solve real sexuality problems, the strategic sense of which either entirely absent, in some cases, or otherwise animated by paranoia about identified enemy groups. This sort of thing never affects just one group of people. It has ripple effects. Certainly it has gotten into all of that QAnon and -adjacent stuff at this point, meaning the currents that presently animate the most incidents of fatality-inducing stochastic terror incidents in the United States.

It's pretty serious stuff, in other words.

Among naturist spaces on the internet, the only one I am aware of that has any space at all for present-day political discourse is the r/naturism subreddit. At the time of writing, there is a wiki page “dedicated to resources to help the Black Lives Matter movement” and a (broken) link to a “Belarus Solidarity Fund” available on the sidebar; there was previously a similar sort of mention of Armenia around the time of last year's war with Azerbaijan. I don't want to be too mean or critical, but I find this sort of thing a bit confusing. It is clear to me that one or more of the subreddit's admins care about things beyond the concerns of nudism-naturism, that they want to help with apparently urgent matters like social uprisings, wars, and dictatorial crackdowns on dissent, and that they think the users of r/naturism – who mostly post blog articles about “nakations” or their own experiences as nudists or other very much subcultural and individual concerns – should also give at least some amount of a fuck. And, that's great, but there is not much of an explicit argument being made to explain why anyone should care (apart from already agreeing with some cliché principles of anti-racism, anti-imperialism, internationalism, etc.), what any users of r/naturism are supposed to do about that, and why any of the suggestions of places to donate or things to keep in mind might actually be helpful, fit into a larger strategy, etc.

With respect to the Wi Spa situation, it's different. First of all, it is presumably a place that many SoCal nudists already know of, or that they may even frequent occasionally. Second, the original controversy is about an exposed “private part”, a linguistic and philosophical construction is a perennial bugbear for would-be nudists. There is, in other words, some space for nudists to participate in the social eruption around the controversy – just one beat in the pulse of a larger, more diffuse cultural conflict across the whole anglosphere and beyond – as nudists (or perhaps more accurately, as partisans of nudism, i.e. it may not be useful to participate actually naked) and in solidarity.

In so doing, they could link struggles and also sharpen ideas about, in this case, issues of apparel and nudity more broadly. Out of that, there is a possibility for something beyond mere defense of reason and decency in a space where it is threatened (which is, frankly, a straightforwardly conservative goal, whether it is articulated by defenders or opponents of trans lib). Instead, the Crucible of Politics and the Arena of History could do as they have done before, forging new affinities which might lead, in turn, to new architectures (both physical and sociocultural) and new understandings of the world that do not subordinate exuberance and personal freedom to tradition, paranoia, and/or negative stereotypes about certain kinds of people. And I genuinely think that, apart from what nudists can do for the right side in this struggle as people like any other (e.g. we can throw down, provide first aid, donate money, etc.), there is also something uniquely useful we can contribute to this specific struggle that emerges from a nudist political sensibility (e.g. the argument that no one should rightly care too much about a hanging johnson being in potential sight range every now and then).

An effort to create a more actively solidarious culture among nudists (or among any other group of people, of course) shouldn't be directed first toward “issues” that are simply serious, be they geopolitical issues (“Belarus”, “Hong Kong”, “Venezuela”), etc.) or social justice issues (like trans lib or whatever). The primary focus instead should be to identify situations where nudists could understand that they have some skin in the game, as it were – situations such as those around the Wi Spa stuff this past summer, as well as the larger backdrop of both a widespread social precariousness and a multiplicity of rightist factions that want to seize power, exterminate the human avatars of perceived “corruption” (which presumably includes a lot of nudists), and generally make the world worse for everyone.

The Wi Spa situation has been on my mind since it happened more recently, but in other years, in the context of nationalist campaigns to punish people for wearing certain kinds of apparel associated with non-Christian religions in places like France, Québec, Austria, and elsewhere, I have also thought that it would have been great if some organized association of nudists could have intervened strategically in the discourse (i.e. in podcasts, in writing, in which there are no distracting representations of naked people, so that the ideas can take centre stage).

“From burqini to naked,” their slogan could have read. “We believe that what others wear is none of your business.”

As an anarchist who has participated in black blocs before, I would have appreciated even symbolic and rhetorical efforts at solidarity from nudists in the face of previous years' (and obviously pre-2020) efforts in various places to demonize and specifically criminalize face masks and other types of sensible apparel for street fighting in the context of political demonstrations and/or just in general. (Probably a bit spicy for the vast majority of nudists on the liberal-to-conservative spectrum, sadly.)

It is important to note that solidarity is the only means by which any sort of anti-systemic social movement has ever achieved its objectives – and it's generally pretty useful for social movements that are significantly less anti-systemic, too. Nudism-naturism (the dominant “philosophy of nudism”, e.g. a set of ideas about how to understand humans' relationships to nudity, apparel, and other aspects of their lives, as well as to how imagine better ones), nudism-comfortism (a different philosophy informed by anarchism, articulated here), and any kind of anarchist and/or radical egalitarian politics seem pretty much destined to remain positions of the small minority for the foreseeable future. The experiences of minorities of various kinds, too, will remain obscure to most people, especially while there is an ongoing, well-supported campaign in the anglosphere countries (and beyond) to remove purported “gender ideology” (a bogeyman evil that overlaps with other evils in a suspicious rightist's mind) from existence, perhaps alongside those who promote it and those who embody it.

We (nudists, anarchists, people who are both) can make our own spaces, and we can take our own spaces. Unless we have money, though, we will need to develop other skills, including social skills. We need to know, and have a good and trusting relationship, with as many of our neighbours as we can – and sometimes, with people who are further away, too. We need to show our friends, or the people we wouldn't mind having as friends, that we will have their backs if they're dealing with a crisis. And then, maybe they'll help us out, both when we need help due to a crisis of some kind, or because we have aspirations of our own that we want to realize, that we hope others can help us realize.

if you don't know the reference, warning, the book is actually quite heavy (I read it a few years ago, it's good)

theanarchistlibrary.org/librar

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so there is a prominent, I guess, "nudist activist" in the Bay Area (active in the protests to keep nudity legal in San Francisco in the lead-up to the 2013 ban) whose first name is literally an ethnic slur, lol

like, the one that starts with a G

anyway, I am somewhat saddened to have learned of a new way to refer to her - cuz it turns out this name isn't one that the state recognizes - from the website of the Office of the Alameda County District Attorney

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ni.hil.ist

ni.hil.ist is a server run by anarchists who are friendly to a nihilistic worldview.

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