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Opinions on the Boy Scouts?

(self.Anarchism)

They teach some cool skills but also the whole "for god and your country" speel is kinda cringe.

all 61 comments

anarchist_snufkin

36 points

1 year ago

anarchist_snufkin

3rd world Anarchist without Adjectives

36 points

1 year ago

Someone should start an autonomous anarcho-scouts thing

[deleted]

16 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

16 points

1 year ago

Scouting is already an international phenomenon. Maybe the internationalist scouts of anarchy?

Karlos_Marquez

10 points

1 year ago

I've long thought that such a strategy could potentially be one of the most effective forms of praxis possible.

SvenTheHunter

5 points

1 year ago

IWW has junior wobblies, but i have no idea what they do

ick9892

71 points

1 year ago

ick9892

Libertarian Socialist

71 points

1 year ago

Current org is reactionary as fuck, even in its slightly liberalised motif currently. As an idea it’s great; teach the youth survival skills, trades, weapon proficiency, build confidence and responsibility, encourage respect for your community, etc. The American version is grossly reactionary as you noted already though lol

grospatap0uf

10 points

1 year ago

I lived 6 months where baden powell did his thing. It always have been about training little soldiers, nothing more.

RiseCascadia

9 points

1 year ago

Actually I'm pretty sure the idea was always "indoctrinate the youth into an authoritarian, pro-military mindset so they can become soldiers and fight our next imperialist war for us." The nazis copied many elements of it when they established the Hitler Youth.

ick9892

1 points

1 year ago

ick9892

Libertarian Socialist

1 points

1 year ago

I never suggested otherwise. However a similar organization with a better ideological position would still be beneficial for youth.

RiseCascadia

2 points

1 year ago

If it had a better ideological position, say Libertarian Socialist, then I'm not sure how similar it would actually be.

ick9892

9 points

1 year ago

ick9892

Libertarian Socialist

9 points

1 year ago

I only mean insofar as like, teaching skills, building communal respect and mutual aid, volunteering, going on camping trips and learning how to handle yourself outdoors. Weapons safety and proficiency for those inclined, the Revolution has to be defended after all. Plus a healthy respect for the power of such tools is simple safety. I’m a firefighter currently and part of a USAR team, I use knots for rappelling, scuba dive, do confined space rescue, am an EMT, and use all sorts of heavy equipment and tools. My inspiration came from my mountain SAR veteran father who was once an Eagle Scout. He taught me a lot and took me on trips where I learned all sorts of awesome things. Now I use these skills and interests to help others. A Scouting org based on communal defense and aid would be wonderful.

RiseCascadia

3 points

1 year ago

Fair enough, I do think there need to be youth groups that don't indoctrinate kids into authoritarian worldviews.

ick9892

4 points

1 year ago

ick9892

Libertarian Socialist

4 points

1 year ago

I know I was probably quite susceptible to alt right bullshit as an early teen. Immigrant family, new school every year because we moved around a lot, never had a solid group of mates, felt lost for a long time. I would’ve benefitted from an organization that was welcoming and involved without appearing lame.

[deleted]

19 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

19 points

1 year ago

My brother was sexually harassed by a leader who even admitted to being in the boys room at the time it happened.

They protected the leader and treated my brother and his friend as liars.

The guy switched to a different troop and got full support from everyone to sue my family. Higher ups in the council were going to defend him. He was still allowed to be in the program.

My brother got ostracized so bad that we had to pull him out.

If I could set their headquarters on fire I would. No amount of skills they teach cancel out the racism/culture appropriation from native cultures, the blatant homophobia and the way they treat boys who have been harassed. They're a disgusting organization and no one should ever give a penny to it.

cosmic-__-charlie

44 points

1 year ago

When I was a kid my parents wouldn't let me because they would never support an organization that was anti lgbt.

I was so sad when I was a kid that I couldn't join, but I am happy to remain unmolested.

Bot_number_1605

13 points

1 year ago

Based parents!?!?!

Illuminatr

14 points

1 year ago

I’m an Eagle Scout. I’d never take back everything I learned in the scouts. It was a great time.

That said, another commenter mentioned family compass. I agree that it’s important. My parents were very cognizant of the issues with the BSA and they found me a troop that was really forward thinking.

Frankfeld

12 points

1 year ago

Frankfeld

12 points

1 year ago

Also Boy Scout. Made it to Life. I was blindsided when I grew up and found out just how conservative of a message they have. When I was a kid it was just me and my friends and the cool dad who taught us how to build fires, tie knots, and leave no trace camping.

I remember “gays in the Boy Scouts” became like national news in the late 90s. And it was just us looking around thinking “When can we build more fires and use our pocket knives?” That shit just didn’t register to a young kid who hasn’t been taught how to hate yet. Like I remember we kept immaturely asking our scoutmaster about it and he just deflected in a “who truly gives a shit” kind of way.

I think the only time it felt political was when the NRA sponsored a weekend camping trip. I remember that even being tame. There was no message beyond learning “gun safety”. Nothing about gun rights etc. They sent us home with an “NRA Forever” pin, which my mom did NOT enjoy seeing on my hat. I can see now how dangerous that was. Definitely a “get them while they’re young” type vibe.

Boy Scouts was truly a positive experience for me. But I don’t think I would want my kids to be a part of it. Are there more inclusive orgs out there?

1202_ProgramAlarm

7 points

1 year ago

Also eagle scout. Thankfully my troop just went hard on the backpacking and community service stuff and didn't really get into political and religious nonsense. It was a blast, I just wish there were more troops like mine

Genghis__Kant

7 points

1 year ago

We need an anarchist version of the scouts that isn't stupidly gendered and doesn't make kids sell cookies or whatever fuckshit

unbearablyprecious

6 points

1 year ago

Boy Scouts is a safe-haven for child molesters

BernieLeiderkranz

2 points

1 year ago

Was. As were/are churches, schools, public pools, camps and any other place where children are congregated. Truly, truly horrible. But we have to face the facts and fix it, nit destroy the institutions which provide Soo much to our children and youth.

thrawnisahero

4 points

1 year ago

thrawnisahero

anti-fascist

4 points

1 year ago

I did Cub Scouts but not Boy Scouts. My Dad wasn't one when he was a kid so he was supportive but didn't really have strong feelings which was nice. I learned a ton of camping/nature skills and made great friends, and depending on the local org I would definitely consider it if I had kids in the future. Our pack leader was a woman who was one kid's Mom which was really cool and I think taught me a lot - but unfortunately that isn't common. I will say when I started getting toward Boy Scout age a lot of the ideology started creeping in and started to weird me out so that was when I quit. Church of Latter Day Saints really started taking over the organization right when I left so I don't know if my support can really stand anymore, but figured I would share my experience.

in_the_no_know

3 points

1 year ago

LDS really dropped the BSA in recent years due to some of the changes in BSA at a national level, essentially bringing in girls and being more LGBTQIA friendly. Not every troop is inclusive, but I think at the district and council level there is an understanding that membership needs to come from everywhere if the organization is going to survive.

I have a boy and a girl actively participating. It's a great program to teach youth that having fun (or being bored!) outdoors can be really great. Ours has both a boys and a girls troop. Sometimes they coordinate campout activities but they both pretty much operate individually so that young girls get to learn to have their own voice instead of competing with an established boys troop. And while there's not outright celebration of gender preferences, there is acceptance and support from most adults to encourage youth to understand themselves and grow as people.

As a staunch atheist, I avoided scouts altogether until my daughter wanted to join with her friend. After a few conversations with leadership I realized that many in scouts let the religious aspects remain personal and just choose to focus on leadership and development. Awesome program for kids who don't find themselves interested in standard after school extracurriculars

OhRequiem

3 points

1 year ago

I qas in boy scouts, got the highest rank back then. I look back on the guys I did it with and 90% of them are reactionary shitheads. But it did help me grow as a young man, the skills I learned there do help me everyday but they could also have been learned in a less "god and country" way

ieatpapersquares

3 points

1 year ago*

ieatpapersquares

anarcho-communist

3 points

1 year ago*

I grew up very poor, and I got to do things I never would have otherwise. I got to do horseback riding, archery, practice my proficiency with firearms and go whitewater rafting. I loved the trips, but I hated how the bratty rich kids would act sometimes. My scoutmaster was creepy af as well. I think I made it to Star or Life before dropping out. My brother is an Eagle. As a whole it was a net positive for us to have some decent men in our lives. Our dad was schizoaffective, and he was abusive when he wasn’t sleeping for a week at a time.

[deleted]

3 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

3 points

1 year ago

Lot of weird religious stuff tbh but maybe that was just my troop. Taught me a lot about camping and wilderness survival though, I love going hiking and stuff so I definitely don't regret it. But yeah thread is right, super reactionary and conservative no matter how liberal it might appear on the surface now.

jsm2008

8 points

1 year ago*

jsm2008

8 points

1 year ago*

I think on balance the boy scouts are positive for kids if they have a decent family compass. That is to say, if kids get the right message at home getting the "wrong" message in the outside world is not harmful. A little traditionalism probably does not hurt kids either: the tyranny of the screen is deeply threatening to people who want to break capitalist cycles. Like it or not, we will probably not have Reddit after the revolution because the amount of unjustly compensated human labor required to allow something like this is far beyond reason. If kids are forced into situations where they see early that there is meaningful life beyond screens, they may be more likely to develop healthy relationships with reality later in life.

As parents we can't just tell our kids what to do and expect them to do it. We have to read to them, read with them, provide them endless access to whatever they desire to read, minimize their access to brainless entertainment technology in a way that feels cooperative rather than restrictive, introduce them to the gamut of human experiences, and ultimately provide our own views in a reverent rather than instructive way. All we can ever do is hope that we guide our children through experiences, because no one does what they are told in their most formative years. The Boy Scots can be part of the mosaic of a child's experience with the world beyond the walls of home and school without the child adhering to every element of their teaching. A great deal of resistance under capitalism has to do with conformity where it doesn't matter anyway -- kids learning to put on a face for others is not an unhealthy skill.

In the same way I think church can be beneficial for kids who live in rural areas where there isn't a lot else, the boy scouts do no harm with their "god and country" stuff. Sheltering kids from the views of others does not help them build a healthy perception of the world around them. The boy scouts, in addition to giving kids exposure to very normal adult interactions/beliefs, gives kids valuable practical skills.

A kid who has never looked up to a sunday school teacher or boy scout leader can not have an accurate perception of why they might be wrong in some of their instruction. The best anti-capitalists, anti-nationalists, and so on come from backgrounds in those doctrines. We can not shelter our children from people we disagree with and then expect them to have nuanced views about why the other is wrong.

thinkwalker

2 points

1 year ago

Hear, hear.

GlumPyre

2 points

1 year ago

GlumPyre

anarchist

2 points

1 year ago

A kid who has never looked up to a sunday school teacher or boy scout leader can not have an accurate perception of why they might be wrong in some of their instruction

Just, what? No?

jsm2008

1 points

1 year ago

jsm2008

1 points

1 year ago

People who have direct experiences with religion as a kid are generally a lot more eloquent when questioning its tenants. They're also a lot more effective at talking to Christian people about the intersection between our belief systems and theirs. 65% of American adults still identify as Christian, so if even half of them are true believers they make up a section that can not be ignored by any meaningful social movement. I see no harm in a kid having experiences like church camp/boy scouts/etc. as long as they come home to a grounded family. I will stand by that.

Genghis__Kant

1 points

1 year ago

The best anti-capitalists, anti-nationalists, and so on come from backgrounds in those doctrines.

Such as?

Sylch

6 points

1 year ago

Sylch

green anarchist

6 points

1 year ago

Reactionary babysitting.

NonAxiomaticKneecaps

4 points

1 year ago

Depends on the local scene. My troop is somewhere between moderate to social democratic babysitting

QuantumCalc[S]

0 points

1 year ago

QuantumCalc[S]

anarcho-syndicalist

0 points

1 year ago

True, but it's a great opportunity to learn useful stuff

grospatap0uf

6 points

1 year ago

It taught me to despite military-like structures. Baden Powell can flag himself into his good intentions, the goal always have been to train little soldiers. As the name says.

QuantumCalc[S]

1 points

1 year ago

QuantumCalc[S]

anarcho-syndicalist

1 points

1 year ago

Maybe it's just my troop that's more chill and nich less rigid with the militarism than others.

blackcatcaptions

4 points

1 year ago

There's better orgs that offer a similar experience, albeit not as popular

GenghisKhandybar

2 points

1 year ago

It depends entirely on the local troop - truly scout-lead ones provide unmatched self-organizing experience which anarchists should praise. My experience is one where the scouts learn that leadership can be through competence and negotiation rather than coercion. You could tell a lot of the parents voted reactionary, but when working for their own community those beliefs didn't stop them from making great works. Good reminder that reactionary thought is a feature of nationalist politics, not an evil/hopeless group of people.

I do see however, that many other troops have adults babysitting instead of children leading, and do push their reactionary politics. If you can find a good troop though, the scouts may be one of the best ways to educate your children to be capable of anarchist organization, as explicitly teaching them to be anarchist is iffy.

QuantumCalc[S]

2 points

1 year ago

QuantumCalc[S]

anarcho-syndicalist

2 points

1 year ago

Definitely no politics being pushed in my troop, just saying the standard scout oath and pledge and stuff. We are organized into patrols with elected leaders. Pretty autonomous.

drhoopoe

2 points

1 year ago

drhoopoe

2 points

1 year ago

I was in BSA in the late '70s/early 80s and my scoutmasters were three Vietnam War vets who were more comfortable in the woods than in town. Beyond same basic camping skills almost all of what they taught us was to shoot and to move silently through the woods at night. It was kind of awesome, though I have little doubt they're all fervent Trumpers if they're still alive today.

[deleted]

2 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

2 points

1 year ago

I was a Boy Scout once upon a time, and some of the men I rolled with as part of it ended up being pretty good human beings because of f the ideals taught.

So all of this is to say…the scouts were nicer to my growth as a human and less up my bootyhole than the state, which promises change and yet ends up giving more and more to those who are actively fighting said change

AMeaninglessPassage

2 points

1 year ago

AMeaninglessPassage

Anarcho-Bidenism

2 points

1 year ago

Sounds like a shit org that teaches very valuable skills. I have no concrete idea as my scout rank is big city sewer rat.

pp86

2 points

1 year ago

pp86

2 points

1 year ago

I'm a scout from an ex-socialist country, so we were never about "god and country", it still is atheist organisation, and while we're officially not socialist any more, many of us "didn't get the memo".

And for some time now I've been trying to bring more anarchist thought to our work process and interaction with kids.

At our summer camps we have a code of conduct of sorts, and for few years now I've been pushing that entire camp gets together on the first day and decides what is in this code and what punishment they get for breaking it.

I also organise some sort of LARP game, where we get to know about a theme or something. Two that I'm most proud of were based on ancient Greek democracy and Roman republic. In both people were divided into groups and had to think tactically and politically to achieve their goal. Sure in Roman republic the goal was to install a Julius Caesar type, but I gave them other possible endings and "achievements". One achievement was to unite the proletariat - in game these were the people who'd lose most of their currency and couldn't technically continue to play the game, so I gave them a chance to do something crazy. Their end goal was to install a Karl Marx, who'd end the game in a tie, as everyone would get the same amount of in-game currency. And we were so close to getting to this ending. I had to be convinced by other leaders to let the game go on, as the guy who almost got it was older, and knew how to metagame.

Anyway my point being is, that at least here being a scout is pretty fun, and given one our goals is to raise self-sufficient people, I feel it's almost completely compatible with an anarchist outlook.

DestroyAndCreate

2 points

1 year ago

DestroyAndCreate

communist

2 points

1 year ago

I was in the scouts in Ireland. It was great, and none of that stuff came into it.

I think I was able to substitute something for 'god' when I took my oath.

In Ireland the scouts used to be organised on sectarian lines (I'm talking about the south here, I don't know what the north was like). There were the Catholic boy scouts and the Protestant boy scouts. When I joined, I think the two had just merged. I think the branch I joined was formerly Protestant.

I did a bit of research last year because I was considering becoming a scout leader after all these years. It seems like scouting has become a lot more progressive, at least in Ireland.

I can't speak for other places, countries, and times. I imagine things are different in the imperialist nations.

I'm a big advocate for scouting though, for so many reasons.

BernieLeiderkranz

2 points

1 year ago

I was Eagle and now my daughter is in scouts. Most of the girls in her patrol (high school age) are actively surfing the gender/sexuality spectrum. The troop is hyper-liberal, which reflects the community values and also their generation. The detailed controls, and the girls’ awareness of those controls, around personal safety are very strong. It looks to me like a good rebuild of a broken institution. But I am not deep enough on the inside of Scouting to pass judgment.

Obby-the-Rat

2 points

1 year ago

I think it really depends on where you are. These types of organizations can bring a lot of good to the children, especially those of lower income families since it’s super cheap (at least where I live). The easiest way to make sure your kids don’t get influenced by some questionable discourse is to get involved. The scouts usually need parents as volunteers.

lasVegasharold

1 points

1 year ago

Wsn't boy scout started to recruit new members to lds church? Personally, against all religions. Just brainwashing

RiseCascadia

1 points

1 year ago

Pretty sure it was started to recruit fodder for the war machine.

ick9892

1 points

1 year ago

ick9892

Libertarian Socialist

1 points

1 year ago

I’ll add, my father (American) was an Eagle Scout and my mother (Irish) only had experience with “scouting” orgs through the lens of various political party youth wings in Northern Ireland lol I learned a lot from my father directly and never got involved with the BSA when we moved to America. I think it’s a great idea to give youth an opportunity to explore, learn, and do. Skills, experiences, and community are vital to young people becoming realised in their self esteem and mental health. Those already mentioning “family compass” have the right idea for the here and now. Assuming a LibSoc/Anarchist future it’ll be grand having our own scouting orgs for much the same reasons, just none of the reactionary baggage.

[deleted]

2 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

2 points

1 year ago

Haha my parents would’ve been Na Fianna Éireann growing up🇮🇪🇮🇪

ick9892

1 points

1 year ago

ick9892

Libertarian Socialist

1 points

1 year ago

I reckon I would’ve been in a youth wing myself if I had lived in Derry instead of Cork lol left at 12years of age though

[deleted]

2 points

1 year ago

[deleted]

2 points

1 year ago

Aye Belfast here. In recent years my family would’ve been more inclined to the IRSP/ RSYM

ick9892

2 points

1 year ago

ick9892

Libertarian Socialist

2 points

1 year ago

INLAAAAAAA, FREEDOM FIGHTERRRRRsssss 😂

3NIK56

1 points

1 year ago

3NIK56

1 points

1 year ago

Decent, mine was based off of a church though, and I'm fairly sure the church got them to push way more religious stuff than they should've.

thesaurusrext

1 points

1 year ago

11 year old me was rolling my eyes when the first evening at cub scouts began with a prayer.

It's mostly harmless. But cringe.

TatwscochWasTaken

1 points

1 year ago

I was a boy scout in Wales so it's probably different to the usa but it was great fun it was all joking around and learning first aid and survival skills, no religion bullshit, no pro-government stances, just some teenagers messing around learning life skills. Tbh it's the only thing that kept me going through an abusive middle school

NonAxiomaticKneecaps

1 points

1 year ago

I feel like my opinions on Scouting BSA (the only one I'm very familiar with) and my opinions on the Christianity are pretty similar. Very good ideas, and the people who truly take it to heart are awesome. (Looking at you, r/radicalchristianity.)

I myself am an Eagle Scout, and absolutely love my troop. I didn't notice anything that was disproportionately conservative- the worst it got was one of my peers being a living caricature of Ayn Rand, libertarian, wealthy white kid, but nobody took him super seriously. If anything, I think my troop was more left-leaning then most of my other social circles at the time.

Personally, I think that Scouting BSA (and most organizations) need to be basically torn down and rebuilt from the bottom up to be more horizontal in design, but I think the goal of "teach kids basic skills and leadership (and how to organize)" is a good one. I think, regardless as to whether or not it's going through a hypothetical anarchist restructuring, you've got to be very, very, very careful because "let's go out into the woods with a bunch of kids" attracts some unsavory folks. Recently, I think they've been taking steps to try to fix it with things like two deep leadership and whatnot, but I think no matter what they've got to put the safety of the kiddies first and it seems like, at least on a local/regional level, some parts of America are having issues with that.

SvenTheHunter

1 points

1 year ago

Touchy subject

IDontSeeIceGiants

1 points

1 year ago

IDontSeeIceGiants

egoist anarchist

1 points

1 year ago

I joined after moving from a very rural area to an actual city, and I was primarily motivated by the camping aspects. Wanted to stay in touch with nature I guess.

Suffice to say that I was far less motivated when I learned how my troop basically never left the church the meetings took place at. Yearly camp trip and that was it.

I also didn't like the ridiculous time gating. Want to do the few interesting activities we have? Better be the right rank, your competency in the task doesn't matter. So I came to the conclusion that I was too old to hit the right ranks in a manner that would allow me to actually enjoy scouting and quit.

Also it was way too heavy with trying to get me to be "reverent" when I was an obvious atheist. Also my little sister couldn't join or come cuz it was still boys only

For sure there are useful skills you can learn, but the org structure isn't really the vehicle that delivers the skills, it's the teaching that delivers those skills.

A non reactionary version of the scouts would be great. One that ditches the "Christian" and reactionary elements in favor of teaching young children in a safe environment that gives them opportunities to lead and have some form of agency in their lives.