The Poverty of Identity Politics

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Noah Fence's picture
Noah Fence
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May 23 2018 09:08
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Fleur on the other hand thinks we are at the point of revolution today (really???? That’s an interesting one. On what basis????) ) and it only needs is a good bit of identity politics to complete the revolution against capitalism!! So IP is explicitly revolutionary in itself!!

Seriously, this is one for the ‘Funniest thing you read today’ thread!

Link, I’m really not trying to be mean here but honestly, if you couldn’t read the outstandingly obvious sarcasm in Fleur’s comment, I just don’t know how you could possibly navigate your way through the conversations on this site.

Spikymike
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May 23 2018 12:16

Just one small point I'd make is to recognise that reference to aiming for equal representation in ''capitalist powers structures'' should not be reduced to the short-hand of ''CEO's and black politicians'' or their equivalent in so far as capitalism is maintained through most everyday political and economic structures. Not just the multi-national, national and local state, but commercial, industrial, NGO and representative working class political and economic organisations. The reformist 'Equal Rights' agenda is essentially a capitalist political agenda and not an anarchist or communist one but in practice we are often complicit in it's maintenance.

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May 23 2018 13:07
Spikymike wrote:
Just one small point I'd make is to recognise that reference to aiming for equal representation in ''capitalist powers structures'' should not be reduced to the short-hand of ''CEO's and black politicians'' or their equivalent in so far as capitalism is maintained through most everyday political and economic structures. Not just the multi-national, national and local state, but commercial, industrial, NGO and representative working class political and economic organisations. The reformist 'Equal Rights' agenda is essentially a capitalist political agenda and not an anarchist or communist one but in practice we are often complicit in it's maintenance.

Can you provide some examples of what you're talking about? To me, this is where the anti-identity politics stuff gets dangerously close to becoming the left wing of white supremacy. Based on your post, things like racial disparities in employment, pay, police treatment, incarceration, evictions, foreclosures, etc etc could be written off in favor of some Old Left throwback to a "colorblind" strategy, which I consider misinformed at best, and white supremacist at worse (in the context of the US).

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May 23 2018 13:12

Juan, the spin you put on Spikymike's post and "anti-identity politics" is breathtaking! Left wing of white supremacism indeed.

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May 23 2018 13:18

Here's one recent definition of identity politics:

Quote:
We are asking our cis male comrades to join us in these commitments. This isn’t a ‘women’s issue’. This struggle isn’t less important than the class struggle or anti-fascism, it is a part of those struggles as much as they are a part of it. Identity politics are about intersectionality not essentialism, and this benefits you as much as us and trans people.

It's quoted from a statement on Freedom News:

It’s spelt Sisterhood, not Cis-terhood statement

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May 23 2018 13:42
Serge Forward wrote:
Juan, the spin you put on Spikymike's post and "anti-identity politics" is breathtaking! Left wing of white supremacism indeed.

Yeah, amazingly reactionary stances and defense of reactionaries can be done by people on the left. The Communist Party USA attacked A. Philip Randolph in their press for daring to march against segregation. Said it divides the class and disrupted the war effort. If I remember correctly, Sam Dolgoff was against federal intervention to desegregate schools in the American South. There's nothing special about the left when its made up of the same people that enact and perpetuate the broader society's inequalities and prejudices.

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May 23 2018 13:48
link wrote:
The identity politics expressed by libcom posters mostly fits in with Steven’s definition of reformist politics trying to influence capitalism and that most clearly has nothing to do with getting rid of the state and creating an anarchistic society.

It's pretty clear that more than 'anarchists and libertarians', you have in mind specific posters in the forums of libcom.org who are guilty of a reformist identity politics. And since you claim to be quite familiar with past discussions surrounding this topic on this site, surely you should be able to provide evidence of such.

So before you type away another one of your long winded speech, take a few minutes to compile your evidence, since they should probably be only a few clicks away.

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May 23 2018 13:49
Juan Conatz wrote:
Yeah, amazingly reactionary stances and defense of reactionaries can be done by people on the left. The Communist Party USA attacked A. Philip Randolph in their press for daring to march against segregation. Said it divides the class and disrupted the war effort. Sam Dolgoff was against federal intervention to desegregate schools in the American South. There's nothing special about the left when its made up of the same people that enact and perpetuate the broader society's inequalities and prejudices.

And suggesting that Spikymike's post is of the same ilk is yet another spin. I see you've been honing your skills as a moderator recently.

doug
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May 23 2018 13:55
rat wrote:
Here's one recent definition of identity politics:
Quote:
We are asking our cis male comrades to join us in these commitments. This isn’t a ‘women’s issue’. This struggle isn’t less important than the class struggle or anti-fascism, it is a part of those struggles as much as they are a part of it. Identity politics are about intersectionality not essentialism, and this benefits you as much as us and trans people.

It's quoted from a statement on Freedom News:

It’s spelt Sisterhood, not Cis-terhood statement

I wouldn't call that a full definition of the term, and it's obviously not a defence of liberal 'identity politics'.

But please do elaborate on what you or the ACG think about this statement...

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May 23 2018 14:06

Juan Conatz, I don't think Spikymike is on the Left.

Mike Harman
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May 23 2018 14:15
Serge Forward wrote:
Juan, the spin you put on Spikymike's post and "anti-identity politics" is breathtaking! Left wing of white supremacism indeed.

It's not spin, because as you should well know unions were actively enforcing colour bars in the UK as recently as the '60s, you can describe that as 'the left wing of white supremacism' or you can describe it as 'racist nativist trade unionism', but it's not spin, it's what happened. Asking SpikeyMike for examples is completely reasonable, because given a long and sorry history of this in the workers movement, it's useful to clarify exactly what we're all talking about. I don't think I've ever seen someone quite so resistant to giving examples of things when asking for clarification as Serge in recent months on here.

Black and asian bus drivers in Bristol vs the TGWU:
https://libcom.org/history/racial-discrimination-employment-bristol-bus-boycott-1963

Sikh bus drivers in Wolverhampton: http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/9/newsid_2523000/2523691.stm

Various other disputes where union support was non-existent for black and asian workers, often fighting against having the worst jobs in factories: (although as this article mentions, it's possible union support would have been non-existent even without the racism, but that doesn't mean racist justifications weren't given too): http://www.basepublication.org/?p=665

Mansfield Hosiery is a good example as any where a significant driver to strike action was racial discrimination in the workplace whereby asian women were on different rates, and doing different tasks, to the white women (and the strike improved relations between white and asian women in the plant according to this account):
https://libcom.org/library/women-struggle-mansfield-hosiery-strike

These are defensive struggles in the same way that strikes over wages are defensive, but they are not "essentially a capitalist political agenda". I really recommend that people read some A Sivanandan on this period since it covers a lot of this extremely well. I've also been trying to fill out gaps in the library on these strikes.

If we look at more recent things like 'women in tech' or similar, then there is the Sheryl Sandberg/Lean In "more women CEOs" "more women founding start-ups" "don't take maternity leave" crap, but there is also thousands of women organising against sexual assault and harassment in the workplace. These two things often get conflated, despite that the people organising against sexual assault, for accountability processes in open source software projects etc. are often vehemently against the "more women CEOs" crap. It's that usual practice of attacking people who are organising on material conditions like this, by conflating them with nominally related right wing projects that are at best co-option of those fights if not outright assaults on them.

I'd also add that people organising against discrimination and harassment at work (or for things like longer maternity and paternity leave) - although the result of that might involve some kind of social mobility for some of the people affected, should absolutely be treated as 'class struggle' - discrimination and harassment are mechanisms by which workforces are controlled, divisions are maintained etc. and the vast majority of these gains are not even made at the expense of white/male workers. Also the 'social mobility' is/was often from a shit job to a less shit job, not social mobility into senior management or ownership.

We can say that all of these are for reforms within capitalism, but then so are strikes for higher wages, against pension cuts etc. and there are not 15 concurrent threads on libcom at the moment trying to point out that defensive strikes are a diversion from real class struggle.

Where you could point out limitations would be something like the Brighton Bin Strike where gender pay gap legislation was used to lower the wages of refuse collectors instead of increasing it for mostly-women clerical workers - this is a real problem but it's in the co-option of demands against the workforce as a whole - something not unique to discrimination but which happens for all forms of class struggle within capitalism.

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May 23 2018 16:31

admin: further off topic comments about Common Cause have been removed. There is a new thread about this, so if you wish to discuss this, discuss it there. People who continue to discuss it here will have posts removed, then will be warned then banned. If you want to complain about a moderation decision, start a new thread in the feedback forum.

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May 23 2018 16:41

Serge Forward, JC hasn't spun or accused anyone of anything. He asked a question of Mike.

FWIW, JC is no longer a member of the admin collective after he stepped down. However I wholeheartedly agree with his above post.

I was also very curious reading Mike's post about what it practical implications were:

Spikymike wrote:
Just one small point I'd make is to recognise that reference to aiming for equal representation in ''capitalist powers structures'' should not be reduced to the short-hand of ''CEO's and black politicians'' or their equivalent in so far as capitalism is maintained through most everyday political and economic structures. Not just the multi-national, national and local state, but commercial, industrial, NGO and representative working class political and economic organisations. The reformist 'Equal Rights' agenda is essentially a capitalist political agenda and not an anarchist or communist one but in practice we are often complicit in it's maintenance.

As this is really not how I see things at all. I see movements like Black Lives Matter – which is a call to end the police murdering of young black men – and #metoo – a call to end systematic sexual violence and harassment of women – as being an inherent part of the class struggle.

On one level yes they could be considered part of an "equal rights" agenda, but I don't see how fighting for that is antithetical to communism in any way. Okay they are not revolutionary in themselves, but nor our strikes for pay increases. But communism is the "real movement" which abolishes the present state of things. Fights against discrimination against parts of the working class are as much part of the class struggle as strikes for higher wages.

Myself for example I have been involved in struggles at my work to abolish a pay system which was institutionally racist. And so we managed to leverage concerns over racism to get the abolition of the pay system, which primarily benefited black workers, but also the lowest paid whites. So opposing that sort of discrimination doesn't just benefit the main group who would appear to be victims of it in many circumstances either.

So yeah I don't understand Mike's point, so I would appreciate maybe some practical examples of what sort of thing he is referring to.

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May 23 2018 17:49

I would be amazed if Spikymike was suggesting anything remotely related to the examples given by Mike Harmon. I would also be amazed if Juan and Mike Harmon didn't know this too. That makes it manipulative in anyone's money. Juan's question was loaded, Steven, and 'guilt by association' was implicit.

Spikymike
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May 23 2018 19:31

OK just for now my previous post was specifically referencing the objective of differently identified. or if you prefer oppressed, groups of people seeking better or equal representation within the institutions of capitalism that I referred to in that non-exclusive list. We may not necessarily be against that but it's not what we are for insofar as we are presumably seeking either the re-purposing or destruction of those institutions. If we reject the social democratic notion of accumulating reforms to the structure of capitalism in such a way as to automatically transition to a socialist or communist future then we should remain critical of the whole reformist equal rights agenda that is part and parcel of the capitalist politics of both left and right. That is not the same as the important task of ensuring that our everyday class struggle is, and our own tiny political groups are, as far as possible non-discriminatory and inclusive of all irrespective of the different levels of oppression suffered by different sectors of the working class. That will have to do for now - too tired.

baboon
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May 23 2018 20:00

Fleur, it's not always clear on here but it might be an idea to preface your sarcastic comments with some form of warning, for example: 'I'm going to engage in the lowest form of wit', and this way we can all clearly see that you are indeed going to make a sarcastic comment. It may also give you pause for a more considered response to a discussion that's been opened in good faith.

I haven't the time to go into a description of identity politics in any depth but I welcome link's attempt to do so. I see these phenomena as in opposition to class struggle in that they are divisive and in themselves against any need for the extension and unification of any struggle and. in themselves, are dead ends. Further, they are easily used by the bourgeoisie and integrated into its democratic framework: I'm sure I've seen by some on here elements of support for parliamentary campaigns and legislation in respect of an element of identity politics. What's that if it's not reformism?

Wholesale discussions around May 68 at the time touched on a range of specifics that were of valid concern to the working class: racism, sexual, gender, generational, etc., but the strength of these elements lay in their integration into the strike and protest movement - which in France and internationally was to be confronted every step of the way by the trade unions. And let's not forget that nationalism, defended by trade unionism everywhere with very minor exceptions, is a prime example of identity politics. But left to themselves these identity issues were easily recuperated by the bourgeoisie and they have continued to use many of them with significant ideological force against the working class to this day. None of that should detract from any struggle of workers fighting for higher wages, against discrimination, cuts, etc., but those struggles are only the basis for the strengthening and extension of the combat - and thus the real possibility of pushing the bourgeoisie back.

The bourgeoisie used and uses "women's equality" as an ideological battering-ram against proletarian consciousness completely overwhelming and integrating the genuine concerns of May 68 and the close years before and after. The British state has subsequently used it to "equalise" the retirement age upwards, immediately losing tens of thousands of working class women thousands of pounds each and, in an ongoing equalisation of misery, further equalising the retirement age upwards which affects and will affect millions and millions of working class women in this country while they wait for their miserable pittance of a state pension - if they live long enough to get it given the additional effects of further increased exploitation.

Mike Harman
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May 23 2018 22:23
Spikymike wrote:
OK just for now my previous post was specifically referencing the objective of differently identified. or if you prefer oppressed, groups of people seeking better or equal representation within the institutions of capitalism that I referred to in that non-exclusive list. We may not necessarily be against that but it's not what we are for insofar as we are presumably seeking either the re-purposing or destruction of those institutions. If we reject the social democratic notion of accumulating reforms to the structure of capitalism in such a way as to automatically transition to a socialist or communist future then we should remain critical of the whole reformist equal rights agenda that is part and parcel of the capitalist politics of both left and right. That is not the same as the important task of ensuring that our everyday class struggle is, and our own tiny political groups are, as far as possible non-discriminatory and inclusive of all irrespective of the different levels of oppression suffered by different sectors of the working class. That will have to do for now - too tired.

So this is a much better framing, it still leaves me with questions though and I hope you're able to come back to it when you have more time.

It's definitely worth talking about the difference between defensive struggles and revolutionary ones, I just don't think there is anything unique to what is commonly described as 'identity politics' (in its myriad definitions) that requires singling them out. Especially given that some of the main proponents of that narrative are in fact social democratic reformers. If what is unique about communist analysis is the idea of abolition (of capital and the state, and its various institutions) rather than reform, then we should be able to state that in such a way that it can't be confused with the socdems.

Also while I don't always like Malatesta (although I can't remember why now, it's a while since I read Life and Ideas, ), this passage from 1924 deals with reforms vs. reformism pretty well:

Malatesta wrote:
But in any case it is always a question of reforms, and the essential difference lies in the kind of reform one wants and the way one thinks of being able to achieve it. Revolution means, in the historical sense of the word, the radical reform of institutions, achieved rapidly by the violent insurrection of the people against existing power and privileges; and we are revolutionaries and insurrectionists because we do not just want to improve existing institutions but to destroy them completely, abolishing every form of domination by man over man, and every kind of parasitism on human labour; and because we want to achieve this as quickly as possible, and because we believe that institutions born of violence are maintained by violence and will not give way except to an equivalent violence. But the revolution cannot be made just when one likes. Should we remain inactive, waiting for the situation to mature with time?

And even after a successful insurrection, could we overnight realise all our desires and pass from a governmental and capitalist hell to a libertarian-communist heaven which is the complete freedom of man within the wished-for community of interests with all men?

These are illusions which can take root among authoritarians who look upon the masses as the raw material which those who have power can, by decrees, supported by bullets and handcuffs, mould to their will. But these illusions have not taken among anarchists. We need the people's consensus, and therefore we must persuade by means of propaganda and example, we must educate and seek to change the environment in such a way that this education may reach an ever increasing number of people...

We are reformers today in so far as we seek to create the most favourable conditions and as large a body of enlightened militants so that an insurrection by the people would be brought to a satisfactory conclusion. We shall be reformers tomorrow, after a triumphant insurrection, and the achievement of freedom, in that we will seek with all the means that freedom permits, that is by propaganda, example and even violent resistance against anyone who should wish to restrict our freedom in order to win over to our ideas an ever greater number of people.

But we will never recognise the institutions; we will take or win all possible reforms with the same spirit that one tears occupied territory from the enemy's grasp in order to go on advancing, and we will always remain enemies of every government, whether it be that of the monarchy today, or the republican or bolshevik governments of tomorrow.'

https://libcom.org/library/reformism-malatesta

Fleur
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May 24 2018 00:21

Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, which is why it is super easy to spot.

What is the lowest form of discourse? I don't know but perpetually whining that identity politics is getting in the way of real politics, generally trotting out examples of bourgeois IdPol (anyone mentioned bank notes yet? It's always coming up,) and completely ignoring that what are essentially class focused activism, around what people dismiss as identity politics, is pretty damned pedestrian. There's always someone who wants to bitch about feminism, bank notes, women MPs, more women CEOs, yadda yadda yadda, but there is a vast amount of activism/work done around such diverse issues as housing, immigration, policing, prisons, sexual assault, anti-poverty initiatives, homelessness, sex workers rights - idk, so fucking much - which has been informed and inspired by people's feminism, yet mention the F word and it's all Vote for Hillary and fucking banknotes. Way to go to insult your radical comrades. There are some amazing feminist groups in the US working around prison abolition but also doing some serious, really needed practical work with prison support, bail funds, support for prisoners children. Stuff that is really important right now. Maybe one day the world will change and there will be no more prisons but what about maybe laying off the people who work their asses off to improve conditions for people in the here and now. People are going to organize around single issues because they are really pressing. Not everybody can wait for the glorious future. The right are constantly complaining about identity politics, it really sucks when anarchists belittle other anarchists over their identity politics in a prolier than thou way, when people are giving their time, energy and dedication to improving the lives of other working class people for whom waiting for the revolution isn't good enough.

A lot of the things people criticize as identity politics are not what the radicals they seek to admonish are doing anyway. Anybody met an anarchist who gives a fuck about how many women sit on the board of companies? Or electing gay members of legislatures? Or fucking bank notes?

Using identity politics as a catch all criticism is relatively new, although the sentiment has always been there. I spent an inordinate amount of time organizing at a HIV organization in the late 80s, early 90s. I saw a friend die in a godawful way and wanted to do something about it. It took up so much time, there was never enough volunteers or money, and I took some criticism for spending so much time on a single issue. But someone had to do it, it couldn't wait for the end of capitalism, people needed information, support and help right then. A lot of people involved weren't radicals but a lot were and because of those identity politics being practiced all over the country and the world, people got needle exchanges, free condoms, help lines, better medical treatment, lessening of stigma, funds were bullied out of governments for research. I don't know what a real anarchist should have been doing back then but sometimes you have to fight for people right here and right now and when I see fellow anarchists slagging off other anarchists for working to improve conditions that are desperate for improvement right now as identity politics and reformism, then it just pisses me off. We all want to change the world, we need for the world not to destroy us first.

Edited for a typo.

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May 24 2018 04:12
Spikymike wrote:
OK just for now my previous post was specifically referencing the objective of differently identified. or if you prefer oppressed, groups of people seeking better or equal representation within the institutions of capitalism that I referred to in that non-exclusive list. We may not necessarily be against that but it's not what we are for insofar as we are presumably seeking either the re-purposing or destruction of those institutions. If we reject the social democratic notion of accumulating reforms to the structure of capitalism in such a way as to automatically transition to a socialist or communist future then we should remain critical of the whole reformist equal rights agenda that is part and parcel of the capitalist politics of both left and right. That is not the same as the important task of ensuring that our everyday class struggle is, and our own tiny political groups are, as far as possible non-discriminatory and inclusive of all irrespective of the different levels of oppression suffered by different sectors of the working class. That will have to do for now - too tired.

okay right, thanks for the clarification. Basically I wasn't sure what you meant about the "equal rights agenda", and if that also applied to things like the Dagenham 68 women's strike for equal pay with men.

But I take it you don't mean things like that, what you mean is the general "agenda" for equality within a capitalist framework right?

In which case I would completely agree with you. As even things like closing the gender pay gap between men and women is completely insufficient, so yes I agree we need to be critical of people who advocate for things say like that, but going no further.

Spikymike
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May 24 2018 09:40

Another point I wanted to make relates to the context of this and other discussion threads around different interpretations of 'identity politics' - namely that it's not just about matters of gender identity that have taken centre stage just now. There are a whole range of other 'identities' (some real and some manufactured) exhibiting a tendency to endless sub-division, that can and often do become problematic in terms of a unified struggle against capitalism and the potential for a future communism, to the extent that they become means of separation, preservation or prioritisation. Too many to list but they run the whole range of gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, employment categories etc.They do of course 'intersect' in real life but in complex ways (often depending on both time and place) that do not provide any organisational remedies open to the aspiring political leadership of our anarchist and communist groups in advance of mass social struggle.
Also not convinced that the Malatesta quote is overly helpful in utilising an explanation of the meaning of 'reforms' that still fails to distinguish a process of change following a major rupture with the fundamentals of capitalism in terms of the state and economy from concessions extracted from the capitalist state and it's economic structures. There is still in there I suspect some illusions in the possibility of a progressive accumulation of reforms sufficient to 'tip the balance' into revolution. That maybe more relevant to some of the other discussions we have had around the concept of 'communisation' and the nature of the transition from capitalism to communism?
Will give it some more thought.

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May 24 2018 10:04
Serge Forward wrote:
With Allies Like These

So, on the merits of the text alone, and not the allegations and counter allegations between former members of the group that produced it... this text might be useful.

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May 24 2018 10:37

Good post Spikymike. Nice one!

link
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May 24 2018 11:13

Hey folks a serious discussion has emerged. Good Stuff.

I think Fleur’s statement is great – I don’t agree with all of it but its genuine and I wish I could write like that. I hope my response can be taken genuinely too.

I see political correctness - as it exists here and now - as a campaign by the ruling class to try to make capitalist exploitation more efficient ie to get rid of the ‘minor’ conflicts that get in the way of control over society. Yes sure, it not campaign with organisers like metoo or black lives matter but nevertheless it is a collection of ideas and behaviours that are now part of the mainstream of capitalist politics and state management of society. I don’t know how permanent or temporary it may be, it may be just a periodic thing that chops and changes like monetarist and keynesianist economic policies but it is a dangerous thing to ignore

These policies are used to batter working class into thinking that this society is good and can be changed and improved. The conservative party spreads these lies, so does the left wing of the ruling class ie the labour party, so do the trotskyists the Stalinists the Maoists and the trade unions. They spread a more radical version of political correctness however and I wrote a criticism of identity politics earlier because I think that too much on here is tailending these campaigns of the left.

I do think it is important to distinguish between reformist and revolutionary activity as the discussion has now raised. Fleur’s passionate defence of grass roots activities is great and I certainly agree that we shouldn’t give a fuck about Hilary Clinton and women on company boards and bank notes etc. So when Fleur says radicals are being criticising for doing this when they are not, I have to say that is really important that those radical make this clear.

What I don’t agree with is that criticising identity politics is being used as a catch-all criticism. On the contrary, Identity politics is being used to contain and criticise radicals – you only have to look at JC’s appalling go (post 34) at Spikeymike to see that works and the typical leftist bile it can generate.

I have no issue with what individuals decide to undertake as a product of their personal concerns about what society is. But lets be clear there is a difference between everyday survival and support for others and revolution. What I want to see is struggle from below by the working class itself not mainstream or left radical or even anarchist politicos creating campaigns and movements to lead the working class and the poor into a better world. If you like , what I want to see is activity more like that undertaken by the organisation around Sylvia Pankhurst (which was fighting for working class women) than that around her mother which was clearly a bourgeois campaign using workers to make better conditions for upper class women. The difference has to be made clear by those involved an identity politics just doesn’t do that.

I want to see mass movements by the class itself and I don’t want to see anarchists and libertarian communists tailending bourgeois campaigns to improve the state.

link
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May 24 2018 11:17

By the way, I do agree with Noah Fence that I cant navigate my way through the shit throwing on Libcom. I had and still have no idea how to read Steven’s or Fleur’s original comments even after they explained they were taking the piss and even after you wet yourself over the situation. I’m tempted to list the deliberate miscontructions and distortions, the piss taking, the name calling and the short jibes just trying to put the boot in without any real political contribution in just this short thread.

Given a serious discussion emerged however perhaps I should just suggest that the admins who have moved the discussion of Common Cause and its apparent culture of abuse, should move this one and discuss the level of personal abuse in libcom and how appropriate it is for libertarian communists and anarchists??

Perhaps its time to decide on whether you want to be taken seriously as a discussion site or just as a training school for trolls.

Fleur
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May 24 2018 12:09

I don't really understand what the morass of identity politics which is ruining anarchism is then. If it's not grassroots organizing around issues which are very pressing right now, eg Black Lives Matter, Repeal the 8th, immigration detentions and deportations etc, and it's not the liberal politics of more women CEOs, statues of Emily Pankhurst, more representation in parliament of minorities etc - things anachists are not involved with and are therefore not distracting from the movement - then what are they? Nobody ever seems to be able to give a very clear definition of what they mean by identity politics within this context. The best I ever see I people bringing up liberal campaigns, things that we're not involved with anyway.

My sarcasm comes from this being a really boring conversation at this point. Some people vehemently believe that identity politics is ruining anarchism but not coming up with anywhere near a convincing argument as to how. It always goes back to banknotes.

Mike Harman
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May 24 2018 12:37
link wrote:
So when Fleur says radicals are being criticising for doing this when they are not, I have to say that is really important that those radical make this clear.

Do you think the people doing the criticising should make this more clear or the people being criticised?

For example, should people organising for abortion rights should be more clear that they don't support Sarah Palin being the president of the US because she's a woman? To be clear, Palin would like to ban abortion, including in the case of rape according to wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_positions_of_Sarah_Palin#Abortion.

link wrote:
I see political correctness - as it exists here and now - as a campaign by the ruling class to try to make capitalist exploitation more efficient

I would seriously take a look at the history of the term political correctness, the ways that it has been deployed over the past 30+ years, before using it without definition. RationalWiki has a good summary: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Political_correctness

Are unions a campaign by the ruling class to make capitalism more efficient? Or is it more that they have structural limitations? If unions aren't a capitalist conspiracy, why is 'political correctness' treated as one? Also bear in mind the right have their own conspiracy theories about political correctness: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Cultural_Marxism

Mike Harman
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May 24 2018 12:51
Serge Forward wrote:
Serge Forward wrote:
With Allies Like These

So, on the merits of the text alone, and not the allegations and counter allegations between former members of the group that produced it... this text might be useful.

On the merits of the text alone, my comment from earlier still stands:

Mike Harman wrote:

We can compare the two articles though:

With Allies Like These wrote:
Call-out culture and the fallacy of community accountability creates a disciplinary atmosphere in which people must adhere to a specific etiquette.

There is no mention of dealing with sexual violence within the organisation here...

Taking Account of our Politics wrote:
There have been situations in which our members have been sexually assaulted, situations where members have been aggressors, and situations outside our organization where we have been asked or felt compelled to offer our perspective.
[...]
In Common Cause, we have found that reorienting ourselves away from “community accountability” and toward “political accountability” has been a positive step in addressing sexual violence and sexism more broadly.

But there definitely is in this one...

So in With Allies Like These, 'call out culture' and 'a disciplinary atmosphere' are invoked with no concrete examples of what they mean, and 'community accountability' is dismissed as a fallacy

In Taking Account of our Politics, the concept of 'community accountability' is dealt with critically (with the idea of 'political accountability' having taken its place), and they acknowledge lots of errors made in developing accountability processes, but they also situate this within the context of having to apply these practically to things that happened in the organisation/to its members.

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Noah Fence
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May 24 2018 12:54

Link

I’m sorry if my post upset you in any way but I was slightly irked by your ‘so called’ jibe(at least I interpreted as such) and, after checking your profile and seeing you’ve been around Libcom for seven years, I was genuinely amazed that you took Fleur at her word. I mean sarcasm and other forms of ‘low wit’ abound on this site. Ok, so it’s not always helpful but often it’s a good way of expressing yourself and can be a lot of fun. I guess you just gotta take the rough with the smooth, eh?
As for your problem with IP, well post #49 covers it better than I’m likely too.
I generally find the anti pc rhetoric of many on the left to be at least as infuriating, impractical and just plain silly as the stock of over zealous liberals that heave before me on an almost daily basis. My daughter is absolutely fucking arch in this department - two weeks ago she balled me out for buying a can of pop in a halal general store!

Fleur
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May 24 2018 13:05

In addition, can anyone who so strongly feels that identity politics (ill defined) is simply reformism, which must be opposed, say, hand on heart, that none of the reforms which have happened were worth the effort? Sometimes you have to take reforms with both hands because the alternative is just too awful. The legalization of birth control and abortion, legalization of homosexuality, the ending of legally enforced segregation, the closure of indigenous boarding schools -all of these things have not challenged capitalism in any substantive way but have alleviated conditions for working class people significantly. There is an underlying arrogance assumed that people should have to suffer egregiously under capitalism in order to foment revolutionary thought. It's usually people other than ourselves who have to suffer the most. People who are over burdened with oppression and oppressive structures don't have a lot of fight in them, if they did we would have beaten this system a long time ago. It's not an either/or thing. You can oppose capitalism and fight specific oppressions at the same time, often they are part of the same fight.

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Noa Rodman
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May 24 2018 14:00
Fleur wrote:
In addition, can anyone who so strongly feels that identity politics (ill defined) is simply reformism, which must be opposed, say, hand on heart, that none of the reforms which have happened were worth the effort?

The "anti-anti-identity politics" corner (with people like Mike), on the other thread I mentioned, basically were arguing that the sole valid critiques of IP are essentially about its reformism, and hence there is no need to single out for specific attack IP, since it is a general problem of leftist organising (e.g. including trade unions, etc.).

Steven mentioned that mere wage disputes also can be considered reformist (but we still support them). Now Fleur expands it to things outside the immediate workplace that improve the lives of workers.

So it seems the critiques of IP, even if just based on its reformism, aren't so valid after all.

But this is still quite limited to only workers (no sarcasm). What about e.g. the Dreyfus affair (he was a captain in the military, son of a wealthy family), should we not oppose the anti-semitism that was involved in his frame-up? This is actually a good historical case to investigate how socialists should respond or how not: https://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1899/11/dreyfus-affair.htm

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