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Am I A Poseur?

I am wishing for anonymous opinions and including a personal email which some anarchist wrote me regarding a room for rent.

I became interested in anarchism just this year after moving to Portland from the Midwest. I responded to an ad on Craigslist a while back about a communal living situation, though I did not save what I wrote to them. This is the response I received today:

Sorry about the delay in answering your request but we were busy with our families for the holiday and finishing up finals, as I'm sure you were as well. I'm sorry but we have chosen our new roommate but out of politeness I am responding to all who answered our ad.

After reviewing your e-mail, we decided not to ask you for an interview, but I wanted to tell you why.

There were a number of things that caused concern to us. The most prevalent was your verbage. We imagined you toting around your thesaurus/dictionary and correcting us at every corner. Do you really talk like that? Does anyone? We just happily got rid of a pretentious roommate that complained about noise and drunken debauchery, we do not want a replica of her moving in.

2nd, most of us are vegetarian, but respect those who aren't. We were afraid that your "pestering of issues that concern YOU" could lead to physical violence against you.

3rd, I "like" anarchism? I have to admit that we all had flashes of Britney Spears in our minds. Had you said "I believe in anarchism" or "I am an anarchist" Britney would have not emerged. We don't "like" political issues in this house, we believe and follow them.

4th, you work at FOREVER 21!!!!! Which means that you are neither an animal rights activist or an anarchist. They practically run sweat shops. It seems you are not cut out for anarchism, when you hold a job like that to help feed your creature comforts. You are indeed supporting a White-Supremist-Capitalist-Patriarchial system.

I'm sorry if all of this seems harsh, but maybe instead of a communal living situation, what you need is an apartment. You need to learn to respect others beliefs and find out what yours are! With solitude and maturity, hopefully that can be achieved.


Best of luck!


Now my first reaction to this response was of confusion and sadness, because I thought that the whole letter, aside from the smiley at the end, was unnecessarily mean and vicious. I thought that an important element in anarchism was love, but I did not get that tone from this letter.

Although I have not saved the email I wrote to them, I do write how I speak most of the time, and I don't know what 'verbage' they are referring to. I worked in a library for a long time and am an English major. I read a lot of books, and though I often sound like a book, I do not do it to be pretentious or to feel superior. In the dormitory that I live at, there is a heroin dealer who lives across the hall from me, and they are loud and noisy every night. Does the fact that I don't like listening to loud drunk people every night mean that I am not an anarchist?

I can't say that I have a lot of respect for humyns who eat meat or animal bi-products. It's just unnecessary and cruel. I wonder if the author of this letter was afraid that someone in the house would beat me up when s/he noted that there was a fear of physical violence. If so, that does not sound very revolutionary.

As stated before, I do not have the email I sent them, but I suppose I wrote that I "like anarchism." I do like anarchism; I enjoy reading about it, learning more about it, taking part in actions with anarchists and trying to live a more egalitarian life. Do other anarchists think of Britney Spears when people say things like, "I like anarchism" ?

I worked at Forever 21 for three days, and emailed these people about the room within those three days. I then quit when I was told not to lean against a wall. While I do not support the leather sold at Forever 21, they did go fur free in 2004 after being urged by animal rights activists. I was making minimum wage and badly needed money; I had very few options left. I feel that the most offensive part of this letter was when s/he said that I am not an animal right's activist. I have been doing demos, leafleting, reaching out to others and writing articles about animal liberation for more than half of my life. I am a vegan and animal rights is what is dearest to me.

I've met many people in Portland who call themselves anarchists and still work jobs that support a white-supremist-patriarchal-capitalist system. There are employees of mainstream movie theatres, union workers, computer company employees, people who I have seen go into Whole Foods, people who shop at Wal-Mart (I do not shop at Wal-Mart), etc.

I'm not trying to break up movements or cause controversy; I am just kind of bored and curious as to whether or not any really cool snobby assholes who are much better than I am have any opinions on the topic. (I also think that Britney Spears is entertaining. I really like her cover of the Cher hit "The Beat Goes On")

Consider yourself lucky 09.Dec.2006 19:12


Look at it this way, had you moved in with this fruitcakes, your life would be hell. At least now you know what a bunch of self-righteous scum-bags they are.

Secondly, anarchists don't tell people they can't work for a living. They are fakes at best.

typical "anarchists" 09.Dec.2006 20:39

nona bow

This is so typical of poseur anarchists, they denounce some working class person sympethitic to their "anarchism" because they aren't there yet. Plus they are behind on their facts, your place of employment has been dropped from both sets of boycotts. Took me all of 2 minutes to google those facts - they're stupid priests.

All their denouncement means is your (former) potential roommates are infected with the secular version of Calvinist Christinanity. You are not saved therefore you are condemned - unless close reading of the scriptures (such as the Bible according to CrimeThink) reveals the true meaning of the word of god.

You're lucky to avoided these miserableists. Please post any personal information so we can avoid them too! (Just kidding!)

No Gods. No Masters. No Anarchist Poseurs.

yes 10.Dec.2006 02:20


you make us loose our time with your small bourgeois problems, just find people you like to live with or people taht would like to live wtih without bothering us with your absence of political substance

If you are an AR activist, you shouldn't agree with this 10.Dec.2006 04:12


statement of theirs:

"2nd, most of us are vegetarian, but respect those who aren't."

No. When you really get how much animals suffer to be made into food just so first world humans can enjoy the taste, then no, you don't "respect" the choice not to be veg any more than you should "respect" the choice to hold slaves. They're the poseurs. And you can write and tell them that they're letting the animals down with their moral relativism and letting people off the hook for their cruel treatment of helpless beings.


no 10.Dec.2006 07:20


I always think it sounds a lot better to say that you 'like' anarchisme than that you 'believe' in it; it's not a religion is it? And to say from yourself that you ARE an anarchist is also quite ridiculous, one can only BE an anarchist when there is anarchy, or at least a big anarchist movement. Till that moment you can't know for sure if you can deal with those circumstances...

glass houses 10.Dec.2006 09:45


Ironic how they prove themselves to be everything they accuse you of. Especially amusing how they drone on about your errant "verbage," but then issue a dogmatic edict about the act of even writing about anarchism. A secular version of Calvinists indeed. Consider yourself lucky.

the author sounds very unsure of his/her self 10.Dec.2006 11:17


THEY are anarchists, YOU are not..

hmmm. very obnoxious. I would like to give the author a swift kick in the pants.

since they are making accusations, let me make some. Did they learn their politics in liberal arts college? HOW diiferent are they REALLY from peers of their economic class? Is partying radical? How abusive were they to the female roomate who just moved out? In real terms, what are they contributing to the movement? (certainly not humility...).

Please do not be too discouraged by this one letter.. There are a lot of jerks in Portland who are self rightious, but some really good people too.

Why label yourself? 11.Dec.2006 10:54

Jody Paulson

I don't think it's very anarchistic to label yourself an anarchist.

thanks everyone 11.Dec.2006 11:24

author of article

Thanks for the input everyone; now I feel much better.

hmmmm 11.Dec.2006 16:12


Cruel letter but it didn't state that they themselves were anarchists. Also, I wonder what you letter them said to provoke them to write this to you....I think we are getting only half the story.

get over it 11.Dec.2006 17:23


Lots of bored people out there obviously. Who cares. We don't even know what the girl wrote to these people.

everybody 11.Dec.2006 21:27


Clearly everyone involved is a poser <- note lack of "u" common when typed by poseurs posing!

anyway, who gives a damn? this fake social-collective anarchist serf-trend is a total joke amongst, well, everyone who doesn't aspire to make their scene. The fact is that they're cheap and lazy and they must've grown up with wolves or more likely upper middle-class and find some kind of novelty in living a crummy life.

next, the "fear of violence" is one of the more pathetic victim-defenses. COME ON YOU WIMPS! most people aren't out to beat you up but you must believe they want to for reasons: 1. you think they should 2. deep down, you KNOW they should. violence is overblown. sometimes people like to fight each other. it's fine if everyone involved is a willing participant. stupid, well, i might agree with that. "wrong?" of course not, who am i to say!

here's a tip: the kind of people you want to meet and be around, based on your meanderings around anarchism, won't tell you what to do. they won't judge your lifestyle. if they like you and like how you're doing things they'll be around you. if they don't they will kindly f off and spend time with people more of their ilk.

this post smacks of people who think they're the coolest thing in town. pah-thetic. their word-dropping of "maturity" is perhaps my favorite part. right. mature people have generally come to understand that the world has a way of changing on you all the time and that it's different for everyone. what's good for the goose a'int good for the gander.

lastly, even though i'm a vegeterian, remember to ask this of your holier-than-thou anorexic friends who don't eat meat or cheese or whatever: why do you discriminate against plants?

You're lucky... 12.Dec.2006 16:04


...you could have lived with those jerks. No big loss - it's not like there's only one place you can live, right?

People who like and respect you won't declare you "unacceptable" for not totally conforming to them - self-styled "anarchists" like them are just as bad as "Mean Girls" or "Heathers" at playing social games, which is what I have no tolerance for.

paving - 13.Dec.2006 06:56


I find it hard to believe that you're a vegetarian when you say something so ignorant. Have you read nothing about the reasons for being veg? Did you miss the point about suffering? And even if you happen to believe (without evidence) that plants suffer, you will still kill less of them by feeding yourself directly with them, rather than feeding them to animals first.

If "holier than thou" means not contributing to a brutal industry in which animals suffer unbearably and needlessly, then sign me up. The thing about responding to people who say what you did, is that reason never seems to touch those who say it. I'll bet you'll be saying the same thing in 5 years (once you've dropped vegetarianism). Think!!!!