"Comrade" Vs. "Compernro"

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Boris Badenov
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Apr 30 2010 13:21

"comrade" really has incredibly negative connotations in some languages, especially those of ex-Bloc countries. In 1956 Nagy, the "great reformer," was howled and heckled when he addressed the workers of Budapest with "comrades" and when in 1989 Ceausescu began one of his speeches with "comrades" he was himself heckled and booed (and later shot). For many people the term "comrade" evokes only the brutality of soviet rule, and I don't think this can be changed by politely pointing out that "you don't mean it like that."

Deezer wrote:
Comrade isn't the best example but we can keep on dropping weird sounding (which usually means unfamiliar) words until we end up with a very limited vocabulary with which to actually describe our politics. God, we should stop saying anarchist cos, like its weird (and some anarchists are weird), we should stop using libertarian cos like there are libertarian capitalists

Only it's not at all the same thing. "Comrade" and "communist" definitely have a less than fortunate history in most places in the world whereas the other ones might or might not cause some confusion.

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Tojiah
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Apr 30 2010 15:48

I don't see where you would use these terms in a non-artificial fashion. Why not use first names, as suggested, or "sir/madame," or "hey you?" What's the benefit of using this jargon?

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oisleep
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Apr 30 2010 16:59
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Why not use first names, as suggested

sometimes the easiest & most obvious solution is the hardest one to figure out - especially for lefties

i agree, pointless jargon which only serves to alienate the left even further from the working class

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Nate
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Apr 30 2010 17:08

Seems to me that "pointless jargon" is at least partially in the eye of the beholder. Loads of people in my family and that I work with find "working class" alienating, because over here everyone is middle class if you ask 'em. Communism means Russia, anarchism means window smashing weirdos, revolution means Tea Parties, etc etc. Seems to me the issue is not actually words but contexts - or just like having some halfway decent people skills. Radicals using in-group terms in an in-group setting, fine. Sometimes necessary (how else will we have conversations about revolution and so on if we don't use terms tied to our analyses and traditions?) Radicals being tone deaf (rare, I know but I'm told it sometimes happens) in talking to people who aren't radical, stupid. And "people who aren't radical" are really varied, of course, there's no single jargonless terminology for talking to people.

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oisleep
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Apr 30 2010 17:20

ok, but why can't people call people by their first name when addressing them?

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Tojiah
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Apr 30 2010 17:20

Maybe I'm just being thick. Could you please present a scenario in which you would use "comrade", and explain why you would do that?

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oisleep
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Apr 30 2010 17:21

you talking to me comrade?

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 30 2010 17:35
oisleep wrote:
you talking to me comrade?

now i'm imagining a dour, scotch, communist Robert DeNiro in Taxi Driver

Boris Badenov
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Apr 30 2010 17:37

COMRADES,

picture of a dour, scotch, communist Robert DeNiro in Taxi Driver.

That is all.

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Apr 30 2010 18:31
tojiah wrote:
Maybe I'm just being thick. Could you please present a scenario in which you would use "comrade", and explain why you would do that?

When you're talking to a large group of people who share your politics*, and there are too many to use everyone's first names, what do you address them as? Also it's useful for when you can't remember/don't know someone's first name.

* and yes, I do realise how much I'm setting myself up for the inevitable dour Scotch comment about "But when are you ever going to find a large group of people who share your politics?"

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oisleep
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Apr 30 2010 18:46
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what do you address them as?

why do you have to address them as anything? and if you do, why comrades?

Quote:
Also it's useful for when you...don't know someone's first name

if you don't even know their name - where does the confidence that they share your politics, which allows you to address them as a 'comrade', come from?

Boris Badenov
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Apr 30 2010 19:11
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When you're talking to a large group of people who share your politics*, and there are too many to use everyone's first names, what do you address them as?

How about "friends"? From a purely personal pov, I find "friends" much more genuine even if the person addressing me is not actually a personal friend, whereas comrade is at best quaint, and at worst ridiculous and self-important.

gypsy
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Apr 30 2010 19:17

or Pal, mate, man, brother/sister.

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oisleep
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Apr 30 2010 19:22

lords, ladies and gentlemen

gypsy
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Apr 30 2010 19:24

kings and queens, fellow human beings

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oisleep
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Apr 30 2010 19:25

your excellencies

gypsy
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Apr 30 2010 19:26

princes and princesses

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Tojiah
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Apr 30 2010 19:26
Farce wrote:
tojiah wrote:
Maybe I'm just being thick. Could you please present a scenario in which you would use "comrade", and explain why you would do that?

When you're talking to a large group of people who share your politics*, and there are too many to use everyone's first names, what do you address them as?

I'd probably say "greetings everybody" or use their organizational names or political designations if applicable? Like, "greetings fellow members of SFSA NY" etc.

Frace wrote:
Also it's useful for when you can't remember/don't know someone's first name.

"Excuse me? I'm sorry, I must have missed your name" usually does the trick. Why is "comrade" any better?

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oisleep
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Apr 30 2010 19:27

Wives of the Younger Sons of the Sovereign

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oisleep
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Apr 30 2010 19:27

Daughters of Life Barons and Lords of Appeal in Ordinary

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oisleep
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Apr 30 2010 19:28

Wives of Knights Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire

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Tojiah
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Apr 30 2010 19:28
oisleep wrote:
your excellencies

Addressing ambassadors, are you?

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oisleep
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Apr 30 2010 19:32

i find they have exquisite taste that captivates their guests

Boris Badenov
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Apr 30 2010 19:35

gypsy
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Apr 30 2010 19:50
oisleep wrote:
i find they have exquisite taste that captivates their guests

use a full stop once in awhile first minister.

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oisleep
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Apr 30 2010 20:12

i'm not finished though

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Ed
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Apr 30 2010 20:14
Farce wrote:
tojiah wrote:
Maybe I'm just being thick. Could you please present a scenario in which you would use "comrade", and explain why you would do that?

When you're talking to a large group of people who share your politics*, and there are too many to use everyone's first names, what do you address them as? Also it's useful for when you can't remember/don't know someone's first name.

Thing about this is, what would you do if you had to talk to a large group of people who weren't lefties? Or if you needed to get someone's name who wasn't a lefty?

You wouldn't use 'comrade' here so it means you definitely do have other options.. this is why I also disagee with Deezer and Nate on dropping 'comrade' being like dropping 'communist' or 'anarchist' or whatever. Dropping those words obscures our politics and is also dishonest about how we describe ourselves, the historical tradition we feel affinity with etc. Of course people don't always immediately understand what that means for the specifics of your politics but at least it gets the wheels rolling and you answer questions and whatnot.

On the other hand, I don't see what purpose 'comrade' serves in explaining concepts or starting discussion (unless you count "why are you calling me 'comrade'?" as a discussion)..

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Apr 30 2010 21:36

Ed, you're right, communist and anarchist are words to fight for in a way that comrade is not. I just think y'all are making mountains out of molehills and getting overly hung up on words taken in abstraction from context in a silly way. I'm pretty sure that identity politics stuff about how words are spelled and so on (womyn etc) get little time of day here, so it's extra funny to have people wring their hands like "oh these words and their conversational weight...!" I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that for any collective noun there's some objection to be made to it along the lines of "some people are put off by it." Maybe we should drop collective nouns altogether, in order to let people's individuality shine through more... I'm sure there's some Marx fragment we could find to back that up, hunt in the morning, fish in the evening, and be spoken to as a unique individual at all times...

If y'all don't like "comrade", cool. More power to you. I don't have much interest in shaping how other people talk. I am curious though if people think that there's any valid use of an in-group term in certain contexts for people who share the same beliefs and have relationships. Cuz that's when I use "comrades" - with the people I consider comrades. (Maybe y'all are uncomfortable with the word cuz you don't have any comrades?) The term fits relatively aptly to certain close relationships I have with people who belong to the same organizations or similar ones, who share similar politics, and who have experience working well together on practical projects. "Comrades" is an abbreviation for that, because "you who belong to the same organization as me, who share similar politics, and who have all worked together" is a mouthful.

And Ois, it's not fair for you to complain, you have it easy cuz the WSM begin all meetings with a shout of "what ho, Irishmen!" and a rousing cheer. The rest of us have to make do with imperfect words like "hey y'all" and "greetings commissar" and "listen up, motherfuckers."

EDIT:
On second thought, I take it all back. The best terms are "sir" for me, "the right honorable" for people I like and "oi, bastards" or "darling fascist bully boy" for everyone else. Since the thread started off about concerns about how anarchists should address each other, I'd like to vote for "oi, bastards."

Carry on.

Caiman del Barrio
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Apr 30 2010 21:37
Nate wrote:
And Ois, it's not fair for you to complain, you have it easy cuz the WSM begin all meetings with a shout of "what ho, Irishmen!" and a rousing cheer.

LOL at him thinking Oisleep = George Stapleton (?).

Caiman del Barrio
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Apr 30 2010 21:37
Nate wrote:
And Ois, it's not fair for you to complain, you have it easy cuz the WSM begin all meetings with a shout of "what ho, Irishmen!" and a rousing cheer.

LOL at him thinking Oisleep = George Stapleton (?).