I like Mark Fisher’s article, Exiting the Vampire Castle. It’s unfortunate that he presents his argument in such an intemperate, unwelcoming way (everyone is petty bourgeois!). Part of me wonders if he intentionally using the rhetoric and implied values of his (unnamed) opponents to prove a point. The response has largely been, shall we say, robust. Here is an example.
But he is onto something. Firstly, the practice of Calling Out, at least as manifest today, does not engender solidarity. Secondly, people too often make the leap from Person X has made a regrettable/prejudiced statement to Person X is an irredeemable swine. I will give some examples:
Robbie Williams is not 49% gay, he’s 100% stupid.
I think we have a theme here. These kinds of arguments tend to take place at an intersection between mass culture and the internet. We address famous people like we know them because that is the effect of fame. But we know we actually don’t know said people, nor will they ever respond, therefore we are at liberty to let rip. Robbie Williams should not say he’s almost half gay because he likes musical theatre but would you address him in these terms if you were actually trying to change his mind?
This tendency can’t help be leak into more everyday interactions. John got himself into a deplorable mess by confusing gender with sex, and that needed correcting. For all his faults (and he has been a determined ) he probably knows transgender people exist and, I should hope, doesn’t want them to suffer oppression.
We should not be for solidarity in the abstract. We are against fascist solidarity, racist solidarity, sexist or homophobic solidarity. We should call out the people who are committed to fostering prejudice, which, amongst other things, harms true liberation solidarity. But for everyone else we should pull up, help people to become better, not call them out.