ana mardoll, talking about the larger situation 

i want to make it entirely and completely clear that doxing someone because you don't like their takes on twitter, which appears to be what happened in this case, is bad

similarly, it's important to look at the provenance of information and, as a default, hold a great deal of solidarity with people who are being harassed by noted transphobic proxy murder site KF

in addition, people are using this scenario to, quite simply, be transphobic and specifically anti-transmasculine. it's disgusting and horrible and they need to stop.

however. there are a few things that will make me break solidarity with someone and one of those is working for a fucking defense contractor beyond the point at which one could choose not to do so without catastrophe.

ana mardoll, talking about the larger situation 

not working for a company that contracts with a defense contractor, not working on infrastructure used by a defense contractor, not selling things to a defense contractor - those are all the unfortunate costs of doing business in our bloodsoaked high tech economy.

but if you work _directly for_ a defense contractor for fifteen years, *you can get another job*, and it is extremely distressing to me that people think being disabled or being queer absolves you of the responsibility to not work with and for people who actively push for more and bloodier warfare.

so many of these people are white tech transfems who work at Google, Amazon, Microsoft, or directly in government. and, yes, I understand that more than working for Lockheed, but - your queerness, your disability, do not absolve you from complicity in murder, in oppression, in violence.

we have to do better. we ARE responsible for the things we do, even - perhaps especially - at work.


ana mardoll, talking about the larger situation 

and, to be clear, i don't give a shit where ana works. i definitely don't think he should be harassed or that people shouldn't read his books. i think he should quit if he wants to live up to the ideals he's expressed, but that's his own damn business. he's the one who has to live with himself.

what i care about is people using this situation to absolve themselves of responsibility for their complicity in oppression. i guarantee, thanks to the response to this, we'll be seeing Googlers making $450k building facial recognition oppression machines saying shit like "well i'm queer and disabled too, you can't criticize me for doing what i have to in order to survive!"

it's bullshit and we shouldn't accept it.

ana mardoll, talking about the larger situation 

this isn't an empty "virtue signal" for me. i'm a space nut, i'm a filker, i love astronomy. my idols as a child were all astronauts and engineers. one of my best friends as a teenager works at JPL now and I almost went to MIT to follow the same path.

but I *didn't*, because it's *evil*. all aerospace is complicit in building tools of mass death and I gave up that dream because I was able to see that truth. so many other people I know have done the same.

quit the fucking defense industry job the minute it won't actually cast you into destitution. don't work for the military, don't work for the cops. we need to have a line in the sand, and this is a pretty fucking clear one.

also, just to be absolutely crystal fucking clear, this is not me telling you it's okay to harass people. the point is not that "we" should punish people who don't conform to "our" moral standards.

this is for you to think about. if you work in tech, if you're an engineer or a project manager, take some fucking responsibility for your actions. that's all.

ana mardoll, talking about the larger situation 

@tindall Thanks for this. I'm not on twitter anymore, so completely missed the context/background.

And yeah, this. All this.

@tindall thank you, I feel like nobody cares (online, at least) that we have choices and the choices have consequences

@scanlime @tindall

In the 1980s the AWRE (Atomic Weapons Research Establishment) near my old hometown used to "pinkwash" their jobs as more LGBT+ friendly (or at least turning a blind eye to openly gay workers, in an era when it wasn't as accepted as it might be today); they also generally looked after their staff and paid them well (occasionally radiation leaks and industrial accidents notwithstanding). But their entire remit is to build weapons that can blow the world to ash..

@tindall we've been remembering lately the time that our advisor in mechanical engineering school tried to explain to us why doing research for the US military was fine, actually

I'm not gonna say I'm glad we dropped out of grad school, but I'm glad we never went that route

- 🎒

@packbat yikes. I'm sorry that was the choice you had to make!!

@tindall oh! sorry, we dropped out of grad school due to anxiety and depression

our principles were strong enough that we didn't want to work directly for the war machine, but no, we just burned out - we can't take any credit for that choice

but it's still, like ... a thing that bubbled up in our head

academia is awful, tbh

- 🎒

@packbat oh. still, oof to that! ♥️

and, yeah, as a facbrat I wholeheartedly agree, academia is the woooorst

@tindall I'm not saying gender dysphoria /didn't/ contribute to our dropping out of school, but I am absolutely saying that the exploitative and callous nature of the modern university system /did/.

- 🎒 💢

ana mardoll, talking about the larger situation 

@tindall What's your take on working in the defense industry now that there's very real need to help people defend themselves from invaders?

ana mardoll, talking about the larger situation 

@dmbaturin The problem is that LM and the MIC in America are _responsible_ for that. The world is destabilized right now, not entirely but in large part, because the MIC fund hawk politicians who destabilize the world.

Believing that American weapons should be used to defend Ukraine isn't the same as believing that you, personally, should help Lockheed meet their quarterly earnings goals.

re: ana mardoll, talking about the larger situation 


i think context matters, right?

he is an IT licensing guy working 20 hours a week.

that's a lot different than the Googler working on the oppression machine directly. those people should definitely have less sympathy.

re: ana mardoll, talking about the larger situation 

@ariadne yeah, absolutely. again I'm not interested in condemning ana specifically, or telling people who they can and can't have sympathy for; i'm interested in those googlers not using this discourse as a new way to excuse themselves for their impact

that said, folks who work in software procurement: how much institutional knowledge do you embody? how hard would it be to replace you? how much would it hurt them if you left?

re: ana mardoll, talking about the larger situation 

@tindall yeah, no, if you're directly working on systems of oppression, you're responsible for that.

@ariadne @tindall where we draw the line on who deserves punishment or to "take responsibility" for oppression almost always depends on whether it helps or harms us.

Hardcore maoist third worlders would say all three of us are just as guilty simply because we benefit from exploitation of the third world.

Do you agree with that? If not, it's a useful exercise to ask if there's a reason beyond not wanting to be directly harmed by others

@ariadne @tindall I'm a nobody to this discussion so feel free to ignore me, but I felt compelled to reply because I spent a few years of my life deep in the world of trying to fight oppression by striking at those within my reach. I realized eventually it was displacement. Jeff Benzos or the president are outside my power to stop so I displaced that anger onto someone more vulnerable who, in proportion to their weakness, wasn't that important to the "machine"

@dualhammers you're missing the context of what i'm saying here. I don't believe ana 'deserves punishment', i'm asking other tech workers - myself included - to look into what our work is enabling and do our best to make sure we don't contribute directly to oppression while excusing that with "i was just doing my job"

@tindall I was primarily addressing Ariadne, who's post my reply was attached to. I just didn't remove you from the thread.

I think you and I are in much closer agreement. Although unless you draw a clear line on what "directly" means it becomes a complicated thing to analyze.

If I support a company that supports a politician that is directly supporting something I consider oppressive is that "directly" enough to require me to change my behavior?

@tindall as someone who has had breakdowns in the grocery store because I couldn't figure out the political donations of the rice producer I was buying from I've had to think a lot about where to draw that line to avoid personal paralysis

@dualhammers ah, understood - yes, i think we basically do agree. i don't know where that line is for me in all cases, but I do know that doing software engineering for a company that directly produces weapons is far to the "nope" side of it

@tindall agreed. I also know someone might consider me far on the nope side just for being in western tech at all. The way that informs that they choose to do is logical if that's where the line is.

It's a big reason this question of who is wrong for doing what is so difficult for me, now, to pass judgement on

@dualhammers yeah, absolutely. we can only make these judgement for ourselves and our own circumstances.

@dualhammers @tindall

i don't think harassing random employees at lockheed martin because they work some administrative job at lockheed martin and are vulnerable helps anyone.

all it serves to do is alienate potential allies.

if it was the person writing the avionics software for the drones, that'd be a different story, of course

@dualhammers @tindall

of course, the real problem here is the social platforms which enable this kind of harassment, and condition users to think that not only is it acceptable, that in fact it's normal to do so

@ariadne @tindall Have either of you read Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson?

It's a near future sci-fi book about how we successfully tackle climate change, and it addresses the concepts of eco protest and eco terrorism in a way that feels honest and grounded.

@tindall @ariadne
Yeah, it was the first time I ever saw someone actually think through the consequences of that kind of modern mass action involving violence in fiction. (Not saying he's the first, it was just my first exposure)

There is a place for express use of violence to change human behavior, but it is important to acknowledge the cost attached to it. You don't win the support of the people you harm. It's the source of counter reaction in the Marxist conception of systems.

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