The Poverty of Identity Politics

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Mike Harman
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Aug 17 2018 14:26
Edward Ludd wrote:
It's hard enough getting people out on strike, they aren't all anarchists, but they are workers acting in common cause, if we lose that, what are you going to replace it with?

So I agree that the hypothetical of a reactionary picket line is a bad hypothetical to discuss this real issue.

The impression I've got (nothing quotable though) is that the person confronted was 1. Not a picture house worker but a minor trade union official 2. Is an actual TERF.

Given there is not a proper public accounting of the facts of this case, let's try to break down the possibilities:

1. Picturehouse worker somehow known to have shared some transphobic stuff, not an organised TERF
2. Picturehouse worker who's an organised TERF
3. Trade union official known to have shared some transphobic stuff, not an organised TERF.
4. Trade union official who's an organised TERF

I think it's fair enough to challenge person #4. #2 might be tricky (if they've doxxed people who went to support the picket or attempted to get them fired from their jobs? You couldn't exactly hang out with them as if nothing's happened so you'd either have to turn around or challenge their presence I'd think), #1 and #3 should be challenged but would agree a picket is not a good place to do it.

Taking person #4, we don't know who this person is, but I can think of another trade union official who I'd personally find it hard to avoid giving a mouthful to if I saw them in person regardless of circumstances: Paul Embery of the FBU, who also campaigns very publicly for stricter immigration controls:

Writes for Spiked Online: http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/author/Paul%20Embery and speaks at their events https://www.battleofideas.org.uk/speaker/paul-embery/

Writes for the Sun about 'liberal elites' shafting the workers and this is why they vote for the BNP because there's too much immigration:

Paul Embery wrote:
But then there are those places outside the bubble. On the one hand the grittier, traditional working-class areas — the Canning Towns and Bermondseys — populated by those steamrollered by globalisation, for whom austerity and mass immigration have exacerbated the problems of low wages, poor housing and under-pressure public services.
..
born out of resentment at having to watch their old-fashioned, socially conservative — what some describe as “faith, family and flag” — views shunned and disparaged by the liberal elite.

...

What was genuine bewilderment and disorientation on the part of local citizens was, inexcusably, dismissed as casual racism and bigotry.

Yet it wasn’t their sense of race that had been violated by the sudden upheaval in their community. It was their sense of order.

So, in 2006, locals took the only route of protest they thought left available to them and returned 12 British National Party councillors at the local elections.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6206841/london-brexit-immigration-working-...

Lots of anti-immigration posts for Huffington Post: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/author/paul-embery/

Member of Blue Labour, campaigned for Leave.

Supporter of 'The Full Brexit': https://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2018/06/23/the-full-brexit-allianc...

And here:

Embery wrote:
…..try discussing with these people – the self-appointed guardians of enlightened society – the idea that immigration levels are too high and should be reduced. You’re a xenophobe. Try saying that kids are better served being raised by two parents, one of each sex. You’re a homophobic bigot. Don’t believe someone with the anatomy of a man can suddenly become a woman just because he says he is? Transphobe.

https://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2018/06/23/the-full-brexit-allianc...

And head of Trade Unionists Against the EU which is an RMT/Arron Banks mash-up:
https://www.theredroar.com/2018/04/rmt-teamed-up-with-ukip-donor-arron-b...

Embery is giving trade unionist cover for wide ranging attacks on the working class, from massive, well funded right-wing national platforms. He's like the modern equivalent of Havelock Wilson except fortunately not an MP and the head of the union.

So on-principle if Embery turns up should you keep quiet?

meerov21
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Aug 17 2018 16:47

Why do I partially agree with the content of this article?

Many years ago I had illusions about the US and Europe, I thought, that kind of councilist tradition (like "Socialism and barbarism") and anarchist tradition of class struggle based on the principles of direct action and direct democracy there remained alive.

Unfortunately, the supporters of the Workers ' Councils are grouped into small sects (with all my respect to them), and so-called syndicalist-anarchists turned out to be in most cases (though not always) ordinary peaceful trade unionists who collude with bosses and appeal to state courts during labor conflicts.

But even this was not the main disappointment.

It turned out that most of the Western anarchism is not a class struggle at all, but some discussions on the topic of homosexuality, transsexuality etc: I'm sorry, maybe I don't know enough of that terminology, I studied Freud's classical psychoanalysis a bit, but I think even he would be surprised by such discoveries. But the most important thing is that I do not understand what the hell all this has to do with anarchism and the power of the workers' assemblies?!

Of course, anarchists protect free relations, so any person has the right to sleep with anyone, he can also consider himself anyone. But that incredibly active discussion around these things is some kind of painful phenomenon of degradation. I would understand if, as a result of all this, millions of gay and lesbian people joined the ranks of anarchists, but I am not watching anything like this. Some marginalized groups are discussing forms of human sexuality. But why? What do we care about that? If a person is an worker, engineer, teacher, nurse, doctor, etc., he's interesting to us as, and I don't care who he sleeps with. If he is a bourgeois, he is our enemy, and I, especially, do not care about his sexual partner...

Identity politics should be left to liberal human rights defenders. If they want to give someone humanitarian aid within the bourgeois society, let them do it.

Sexuality or orientation has nothing to do with revolution. Millions of homosexuals (or haw do you call them todey? queer? I don't understand your Newspeak) make excellent careers under capitalism and they don't care about us, and anarchists shouldn't care about them. Class relations of hierarchy and the struggle of self-organized labor or territorial communities became the historical cause of social revolutions from the Commune of Paris to the workers 'Councils of Budapest, from the Councils of workers' deputies in Sulaymaniyah to the people's Assembly in the Korean city of Gwangju. Everything else has nothing to do with the social revolution. There are NO other examples of revolutions.

https://libcom.org/forums/theory/it-somewhat-gives-me-vision-what-ongoin...

P.S. No censorship will shut the mouth of anarchists and supporters of the councils, who are fed up with all this endless and senseless fuss around bourgeois identity policy.

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Uncreative
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Aug 17 2018 16:28
meerov21 wrote:
If he is a bourgeois, he is our enemy, and I, especially, do not care about his sexual partner...

Hi, can you find me a single example of an anarchist organisation saying that the no.1 concern of anarchists in the UK/US/etc should be defending the sexual choices of the rich? Shouldn't be hard if thats the primary activity of anarchists over here. Thanks.

meerov21
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Aug 17 2018 16:52

Uncreative I don't know whether the anarchists are defending the sexual orientation of the bourgeoisie. I meant something else. I don't understand why do some people attach so much importance to this issue of sexuality or sexual orientation. I do not see what we benefit from the constant exploitation of this topic. The social revolution has grown always and everywhere absolutely other roots.

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Aug 17 2018 18:18
meerov21 wrote:
I meant something else. I don't understand why do some people attach so much importance to this issue of sexuality or sexual orientation. I do not see what we benefit from the constant exploitation of this topic. The social revolution has grown always and everywhere absolutely other roots.

The section of the working class that is trans has become more vocal and visible in recent years, and consequently the reaction of bigots towards them has got more visible (to people who wouldnt themselves be victims of it, i mean). When a section of the working class is under attack and sticking up for themselves, anarchists often have something to say about that.

Bit of an aside, but when people are talking about trans and class and how ne'er the two shall meet, or about how all trans people are kaitlyn jenner and we should only care about working class people, im reminded of a film i saw ten years or so ago, not too long after i moved away from my small home town and started (knowingly) meeting my first trans people. It was called Cruel and Unusual (made in 2006), primarily about trans womens experience in the US prison system - I dont remember it as well as id like, but some of it stuck with me and hopefully im remembering it correctly. When one trans woman who worked on oil rigs came out at work, she got sacked, because it was totally legal to sack workers explicitly for being trans. She couldnt find more work on the oil rigs, her life falls apart, she cant even get housed in homeless shelters, she has to steal to survive and i think works as a sex worker, the only job she can now get (though the sex work might be one of the other women). Eventually she gets arrested, and gets stuck in a mens prison (i think with long periods in solitary, "for her safety") and denied absurdly cheap medical care. It continues to get grimmer after that point. As i recall, none of the other trans women in the film are members of the bourgoisie, and have somewhat similar stories (if perhaps less super-proley than oil rig workers - though, i think one robs banks?). Having seen that, hearing people remark that they dont get all this trans stuff and how they only care about the issues of the working class seems bizarre to me... I mean, also for a bunch of other reasons, but when it gets to the point of denying that oil rig workers being sacked and, having no other means to survive, turning to criminal activity, being locked up and enduring the worst of the prison system is nothing to do with the working class, im just baffled. There arent class issues over here, and trans issues over there.

sawa
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Aug 17 2018 19:29

You dont understand lesbian, gay and bi people and trans people maybe you should actually listen to us. Why do we go on about such because these things that shouldn't matter mean we are denied healthcare, refused jobs and denied basic respect and dignity and yes this includes from our bosses and at work and when we are on strike.
We aren't going to get any revolution whilst folk are still being opressed. It is opression what divides the class not acknowledging such opression or fighting against it.
Call it bourgoise identity politics all you want but it is the everyday experiences of working class people. It is you that belong in the dustbin of history.
You who doesn't know how to improve the daily reality for working class people. You may as well be the bourgeoisie state if you only care about workers councils of cis het men.
Being trans or gay or bi are not complicated concepts if you actually listen to and respect folk.
Trans issues are working class issues. And we are fucking dying whilst you romaticise hypothetical and historic workers councils. To build class power you have to organise against all opressions whether that is in our communities or on our picket lines.

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AnythingForProximity
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Aug 17 2018 20:56
sawa wrote:
Trans issues are working class issues.

No, they are inter-class issues, since there are trans people both within the working class and within the bourgeoisie – exactly as meerov21 said. Organizing around them means class collaboration – exactly as meerov21 said.

Let history decide on who belongs in the dustbin thereof.

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R Totale
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Aug 17 2018 20:55
Mike Harman wrote:
Edward Ludd wrote:
It's hard enough getting people out on strike, they aren't all anarchists, but they are workers acting in common cause, if we lose that, what are you going to replace it with?

So I agree that the hypothetical of a reactionary picket line is a bad hypothetical to discuss this real issue.

The impression I've got (nothing quotable though) is that the person confronted was 1. Not a picture house worker but a minor trade union official 2. Is an actual TERF.

Given there is not a proper public accounting of the facts of this case, let's try to break down the possibilities:

1. Picturehouse worker somehow known to have shared some transphobic stuff, not an organised TERF
2. Picturehouse worker who's an organised TERF
3. Trade union official known to have shared some transphobic stuff, not an organised TERF.
4. Trade union official who's an organised TERF

I think it's fair enough to challenge person #4. #2 might be tricky (if they've doxxed people who went to support the picket or attempted to get them fired from their jobs? You couldn't exactly hang out with them as if nothing's happened so you'd either have to turn around or challenge their presence I'd think), #1 and #3 should be challenged but would agree a picket is not a good place to do it.

Taking person #4, we don't know who this person is, but I can think of another trade union official who I'd personally find it hard to avoid giving a mouthful to if I saw them in person regardless of circumstances...

So on-principle if Embery turns up should you keep quiet?

Maybe this is just me, but my reading of the situation would be that, if for instance, you saw Embery on an FBU picket, your response should be heavily informed by what the workers whose actual picket line it was thought and wanted you to do. Like, the ideal situation would be that you have a good relationship and mutual trust with them and they take your side, anything short of that and you'd want to tread very carefully indeed, if only to avoid the massive tactical/strategic own goal of creating a situation that can then be spun as "outsiders attack picket line".

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Aug 17 2018 21:55
AnythingForProximity wrote:
sawa wrote:
Trans issues are working class issues.

No, they are inter-class issues, since there are trans people both within the working class and within the bourgeoisie – exactly as meerov21 said. Organizing around them means class collaboration – exactly as meerov21 said.

Let history decide on who belongs in the dustbin thereof.

So, that trans woman who worked on the oil rig i mentioned above, her getting sacked, unable to find work, homeless, turned away from shelters, then locked up and denied medical care, those are all inter-class issues? Man, the bourgeoisie have it rough. Its tough at the top.

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Aug 17 2018 22:04
Uncreative wrote:
So, that trans woman who worked on the oil rig i mentioned above, her getting sacked, unable to find work, homeless, turned away from shelters, then locked up and denied medical care, those are all inter-class issues?

No, they are working-class issues, and would remain such if the person getting sacked, unable to find work, homeless, turned away from shelters, then locked up and denied medical care were not trans.

radicalgraffiti
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Aug 17 2018 22:10

but those issues wouldn't have occurred if they where not trans

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AnythingForProximity
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Aug 17 2018 23:36
radicalgraffiti wrote:
but those issues wouldn't have occurred if they where not trans

No non-trans people ever got sacked? No non-trans people were ever unable to find work? No non-trans people ever became homeless? No non-trans people were ever turned away from shelters? No non-trans people were ever locked up? No non-trans people were ever denied medical care while in prison?

(By the way, just so that people will have to get a bit more creative when trying to distort what I wrote, absolutely nothing changes if you replace the word "trans" in the paragraph above with "gay", "woman", "Black", "Latinx", etc. All flavors of identity politics are perfectly interchangeable in this regard.)

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Aug 17 2018 22:27
AnythingForProximity wrote:

No, they are inter-class issues, since there are trans people both within the working class and within the bourgeoisie – exactly as meerov21 said. Organizing around them means class collaboration – exactly as meerov21 said.

Let history decide on who belongs in the dustbin thereof.

Well, sure if you throw out material based analysis in favour of an idealised Identity based one that would be the case.

Fleur
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Aug 17 2018 22:36

No non-trans person has ever been sacked for being trans. No non-trans person has ever been able to not find work for being trans. No non-trans person has ever been turned away from shelters because these shelters are trans exclusionary. You're missing the point.

Also, no cis het white man has ever been discriminated against for being a black, gay, trans Latinx either.

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Aug 17 2018 22:53
AnythingForProximity wrote:
Uncreative wrote:
So, that trans woman who worked on the oil rig i mentioned above, her getting sacked, unable to find work, homeless, turned away from shelters, then locked up and denied medical care, those are all inter-class issues?

No, they are working-class issues, and would remain such if the person getting sacked, unable to find work, homeless, turned away from shelters, then locked up and denied medical care were not trans.

So... a trans woman sacked for being trans, explicitly for that, was not experiencing something related to being trans, in your view? Thats an... interesting viewpoint.

Mike Harman
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Aug 17 2018 23:10
AnythingForProximity wrote:
radicalgraffiti wrote:
but those issues wouldn't have occurred if they where not trans

No non-trans people ever got sacked? No non-trans people were ever unable to find work? No non-trans people ever became homeless? No non-trans people were ever turned away from shelters? No non-trans people were ever locked up? No non-trans people were ever denied medical care while in prison?

In the 1960s British trade unions were still organising to keep Black and Asian workers out of certain jobs via colour bars. Please explain how a colour bar is a 'cross class issue'.

link
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Aug 17 2018 23:17

I am interesting to see that the discussion has reemerged as it seems an important one in society today. I am also glad that to see that Sawa has been brave enough to raise the issue of historial experience and that Fleur has been honest enough to admit that there is no historical experience and justification to think that struggles of the oppressed (Fleur actually said a movement that is inclusive but a take that to mean much the same thing in idpol terms) can lead to a revolution!! In post 492, Sawa abuses those arguing for a radical working class politics in favour of politics of the oppressed and seems therefore to be stressing the importance of reforms so that “ you (who is this you – the leaders of the working class????) can improve the daily reality for working class people” That is not radical politics it is bourgeous reformism.

What Fleur is admitting is that identity politics and intersectionality is purely wishing thinking and idealism. There is no more basis in reality for thinking that Tirfs or trans are revolutionary than there is for thinking that if the west gives all its money to Africa as recompense for the slave trade can create communism or even for asking Israelis as an oppressed group to join up with oppressed Palestinians to form a communism society. Its all just a good idea though isn’t it!

Historical experience is important because we can learn lessons from it to inform future calls to actions. Ok, there is no experience of a successful revolution against capitalism, true, as capitalism still exists. But there is no experience of any genuine revolt against capitalism by oppressed groups and certainly no experience of oppressed groups getting together to revolt against capitalism.

All there is, is a lot of experience of struggles by oppressed groups being co-opted by capitalism and incorporated into social change within capitalism whether that is the suffrage movement, civil liberty movement in America, second wave feminism, student revolts and the hippies around the 60s and 70s, the national liberation movements of the 50s onwards and more recently black live matter and metoo just as examples.

Neither will the conflict between terfs and tirfs wont lead to revolution. It will only be incorporated into capitalist society and, at some point in future when new issues emerge, future radical reformist will despise you just like some of libcom now despise the 2nd wave feminists for, as it think it was said, being so weak as to not really being feminists at all!! That is just how not to learn from history.

Now its quite true that workers are not always correct and sometime struggle for the wrong goals but what can be learnt from history is that workers when they struggle even at a low level can overcome personal divisions (as even Sawa did admit to getting less incorrectly pronounced during a strike) and organise themselves independently by mass meetings. At higher level of political struggles with capitali, then these assemblies get more organised into strike committees and workers councils that interact across workplaces and where that conflict becomes revolutionary, workers start to organise workers council networks across cities and regions that become an alternative centres of power challenging capitalism authority.

As meerov correctly suggests, look at the Paris Commune, the 1905 revolt in Russia, 1917 in Russia, the German Revolution, and his other examples which I know little about, for historical experience to justify focusing on workers struggles and workers councils. And ignore Sawas easy dismissal of workers councils and workers struggle in favour of the unity of struggles of the oppressed as pure idealist nonsense.

So call for workers to ignore or eject trade union officials and labour party hacks from pickets please. Call for the self organisation and unity of workers in struggle because only that strengthens workers struggles and also unifies those oppressed groups amongst the working class. Don’t let petty argument between terfs and tirfs weaken the unity of workers in struggle.

Fleur
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Aug 17 2018 23:28
Quote:
What Fleur is admitting is that identity politics and intersectionality is purely wishing thinking and idealism.

Wtf you talking about? I'm not "admitting" to any such thing. Try paying attention to what people are actually saying. Come to think of it, people refusing to listen to what other people, who actually know what they are talking about, are saying is the whole crux of the problem.

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AnythingForProximity
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Aug 18 2018 17:39

A trans woman gets sacked for being trans.

Perhaps you find this unacceptable because no one should ever lose their access to healthcare, worry about having a place to live, go hungry, or even have their family go hungry for not being able to sell their labor power. If so, you have a critique of capitalism in general; a critique that may (or may not) develop into a communist one.

On the other hand, maybe you find this unacceptable because it happened due to her being trains. 'Cause look, there's nothing wrong with sacking people as such, you gotta do what you gotta do to increase that sweet, sweet profit margin – just make sure you don't sack 'em for the wrong reason! If you follow that line of reasoning, you have what is at best an identitarian critique of the really existing capitalism. To be honest, that's not a bad position to find oneself in; for one thing, you can sleep soundly knowing that everyone, from grassroots liberal campaigns to big corporations' HR departments, is hard at work making the world a better place as we speak.

Fleur
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Aug 17 2018 23:53

In addition, I was making a comment into meerov's comment that no movement of marginalized people have got rid of capitalism. No shit, it's still here. As good as the Paris Commune was, it was 147 years ago and it failed, as did the German revolution and the Russian revolution.The organizational methods of 100+ years ago didn't work then, what makes anyone think that they're workable in the 21st century. Apart from nostalgia and wallowing in the glow of the glory years.

Something about brick walls and flogging dead horses.

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Aug 18 2018 00:30
Fleur wrote:
In addition, I was making a comment into meerov's comment that no movement of marginalized people have got rid of capitalism. No shit, it's still here. As good as the Paris Commune was, it was 147 years ago and it failed, as did the German revolution and the Russian revolution.The organizational methods of 100+ years ago didn't work then, what makes anyone think that they're workable in the 21st century. Apart from nostalgia and wallowing in the glow of the glory years.

Something about brick walls and flogging dead horses.

Its worth keeping in mind that while the Commune was mainly focused on military matters and economic issues, it wouldn't have gotten nearly as much done without for example women getting active and organising their own vigilance committee's, taking over their workplaces and with Louise Michel organising ambulance and medical services and at least one detachment of fighters.

There was an offer by Parisian sex workers to form an armed group to support the defence, but that was turned down by the respectable communards. It seemed to have been a small number so I don't think it would of turned the tide, but a few extra willing riflers wouldn't have hurt when the gates were being breached.

Looking back, I become more sympathetic to the opinion that there are no pure "classical Classist" revolts, they all seem to involve the actions of "identity politics" to some degree, like the society of Republican women in France, its just that these movements are usually obscured or directly suppressed by the more dominant tendencies within, like with the Republican women's societies in revolutionary France again.

AnythingForProximity wrote:
On the other hand, maybe you find this unacceptable because it happened due to her being trains. 'Cause look, there's nothing wrong in sacking people as such, you gotta do what you gotta do to increase that sweet, sweet profit margin – just make sure you don't sack 'em for the wrong reason! If you follow that line of reasoning, you have what is at best an identitarian critique of the really existing capitalism. To be honest, that's not a bad position to find oneself in; for one thing, you can sleep soundly knowing that everyone, from grassroots liberal campaigns to big corporations' HR departments, is working hard at making the world a better place as we speak.

Hmmm, in any other thread this would easily be the worst reply within it. So its in the top five for this one.

Mike Harman
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Aug 18 2018 00:51
Reddebrek wrote:
There was an offer by Parisian sex workers to form an armed group to support the defence, but that was turned down by the respectable communards. It seemed to have been a small number so I don't think it would of turned the tide, but a few extra willing riflers wouldn't have hurt when the gates were being breached.

Let's note things got worse in Russia 1917:

Lenin wrote:
I have heard strange things about that from Russian and German comrades. I must tell you what I mean. I understand that in Hamburg a gifted Communist woman is bringing out a newspaper for prostitutes, and is trying to organize them for the revolutionary struggle. Now Rosa a true Communist, felt and acted like a human being when she wrote an article in defense of prostitutes who have landed in jail for violating a police regulation concerning their sad trade. They are unfortunate double victims of bourgeois society. Victims, first, of its accursed system of property and, secondly, of its accursed moral hypocrisy. There is no doubt about this. Only a coarse-grained and short-sighted person could forget this. To understand this is one thing, but it is quite another thing how shall I put it? To organize the prostitutes as a special revolutionary guild contingent and publish a trade union paper for them. Are there really no industrial working women left in Germany who need organizing, who need a newspaper, who should be enlisted in your struggle?

Lenin, 1920: sex workers, pah! can't you find any women factory workers?

Kollontai wrote:
And what, after all, is the professional prostitute? She is a person whose energy is not used for the collective; a person who lives off others, by taking from the rations of others. Can this sort of thing be allowed in a workers’ republic? No, it cannot. It cannot be allowed, because it reduces the reserves of energy and the number of working hands that are creating the national wealth and the general welfare, from the point of view of the national economy the professional prostitute is a labour deserter.
...
We, therefore, hunt down the speculators, the traders and the hoarders who all live off unearned income. We must fight prostitution as another form of labour desertion.

Kollontai, 1921: sex workers are parasites and labour deserters.

I'm sure the Bolsheviks sending sex workers to forced labour camps and comparing them 'speculators', 'traders', and 'hoarders', is 'cross class issue' too.

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Aug 18 2018 02:37
AnythingForProximity wrote:

No, they are inter-class issues, since there are trans people both within the working class and within the bourgeoisie – exactly as meerov21 said.

I'd probably agree with this, in the sense that discrimination on the basis of being trans/transphobia, can be experienced by any trans person, whatever their class position. But people who don't have bodyguards, can't afford taxis or chauffeurs, etc are more likely to have to deal with the worst discrimination face to face. And people who own companies and houses don't need to worry about getting fired of evicted, or getting refused housing or jobs because they're LGBT. So apart from the fact that I really don't give a shit what happens to ruling class LGBT people, I also think their class position protects them from the worst of it.

AnythingForProximity wrote:
Organizing around them means class collaboration – exactly as meerov21 said.

Totally disagree. Organising around class issues that are affecting people because they're trans doesn't need to involve any class collaboration.

If we see aspects of our lives that are typically classed as issues of "identity", not as fundamentally different to any other things about our lives, but just things about us that mediate our class relationships, then I think they make more sense and these calls to completely dismiss them look completely ludicrous. If you and everyone in your workplace are being put on a worse contract, or your landlord is putting up everyone's rent, it makes sense to see this as a class issue affecting specifically your workplace/fellow tentants in that moment. Sure, other renters *could* get a rent hike, but there's good reasons to make connections to other people experiencing the same thing for the same reasons. The class issues we experience are mediated through other aspects of our lives, for example what company and industry we work in, whether we're temps or permanent, what country and city and neighbourhood and housing situation we live in, and so on. Sometimes our actions are more effective if we focus on organising with people who we have these things in common with. We can still look to other members of the working class, who aren't directly affected by the immediate problem we're trying to solve, for help, for example for solidarity strikes etc. I don't see gender, race, migration status, etc as fundamentally different to these things. It's as nonsensical to me to see these aspects of our lives as special as it is to see them as irrelevant.

 

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Aug 18 2018 02:38
link wrote:
But there is no experience of any genuine revolt against capitalism by oppressed groups and certainly no experience of oppressed groups getting together to revolt against capitalism. 
 

I don't know what you mean by a "revolt against capitalism" but it isn't uncommon for oppressed groups to be in conflict with the ruling class. It isn't uncommon for demands to be made of the ruling class and forced through direct action. It's not uncommon for conflict to break out between working class people of a particular "identity" and the government, or bosses, or the police. I wouldn't expect a revolution of any sort from working class people of a particular identity, any more than I would expect all the workers in a particular industry to start a revolution without the workers in other industries. But the state often attacks particular sections of the working class separately and often that section can see where that attack is coming from and aims the resistance to it accordingly.

link wrote:
All there is,  is a lot of experience of struggles by oppressed groups being co-opted by capitalism and incorporated into social change within capitalism

I see "class struggle" being co-opted all the time! All over the place I see how housing and workplace struggles are incorporated into capitalism. There is nothing particularly different about "identity" aspects of our lives that make co-option an inevitability, as far as I can see. 

In my view lot of these discussions come back to the more general questions about how to defend struggles against co-option, which I think is extremely important. I don't think it's helpful to imply that this is only something that oppressed groups need to worry about.

If your point was "never strike for reforms like wage increases, hold back on striking at all until it's a global general strike to end capitalism" then you'd be consistent, but my impression is often that people making your arguments think that everyone should be allowed reforms that make their lives more comfortable, apart from if their discomfort is related to gender, race, sexual orientation, and so on, then they need to just put up with it.

sawa
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Aug 18 2018 07:24
Konsequent wrote:
link wrote:
But there is no experience of any genuine revolt against capitalism by oppressed groups and certainly no experience of oppressed groups getting together to revolt against capitalism. 
 

I don't know what you mean by a "revolt against capitalism" but it isn't uncommon for oppressed groups to be in conflict with the ruling class. It isn't uncommon for demands to be made of the ruling class and forced through direct action. It's not uncommon for conflict to break out between working class people of a particular "identity" and the government, or bosses, or the police. I wouldn't expect a revolution of any sort from working class people of a particular identity, any more than I would expect all the workers in a particular industry to start a revolution without the workers in other industries. But the state often attacks particular sections of the working class separately and often that section can see where that attack is coming from and aims the resistance to it accordingly.

link wrote:
All there is,  is a lot of experience of struggles by oppressed groups being co-opted by capitalism and incorporated into social change within capitalism

I see "class struggle" being co-opted all the time! All over the place I see how housing and workplace struggles are incorporated into capitalism. There is nothing particularly different about "identity" aspects of our lives that make co-option an inevitability, as far as I can see. 

In my view lot of these discussions come back to the more general questions about how to defend struggles against co-option, which I think is extremely important. I don't think it's helpful to imply that this is only something that oppressed groups need to worry about.

If your point was "never strike for reforms like wage increases, hold back on striking at all until it's a global general strike to end capitalism" then you'd be consistent, but my impression is often that people making your arguments think that everyone should be allowed reforms that make their lives more comfortable, apart from if their discomfort is related to gender, race, sexual orientation, and so on, then they need to just put up with it.

Precisely there are tonnes of examples of working class struggle being coopted by capitalism and bourgeoisie interests. As a syndicalist personally I gave an example of syndicalism specifically being coopted by literal fascists in early 20th centuary Italy.
By gaining reforms that improve or defend the conditions for working class people, working class people gain confidence and exert our collective power. Revolutions don't come from nowhere. Historic examples have loads of build up of "reformist" gains and organisation building. Revolutions don't arise perfectly formed.
And when I was on strike a couple months ago this was in defense to employers attacks on our terms and conditions and redundancy terms. So reformist by some folk on this threads standards. But if they had suceeded in cutting our annual leave and overtime pay (which actually we have had a partial victory so far in defeating) then this would have had a significent negative impact on our everyday lives. If you are not organising against worse or for better conditions for working class people then you are irrelevant. Anarchism and syndicalism are about workers self interests and collective power which awareness of such come through what you may call reformist struggle.
And yes I got gendered correctly more on picket lines but this happens through trans people and other opressed groups engaging in struggle. And this requires we are not excluded from class struggle and like any working class people that this struggle improves our daily reality. And thst we are not left alone to deal with transphobia and other opressions.

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Cooked
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Aug 18 2018 09:17

I'm reading this thread and again I feel you are reading past each other. I think the discussion is interesting because to me the positions and differences are slowly becoming more clear. Not there yet though.

The pure class people have clearly stated that most of the material issues facing trans people are class issues. I'm surprised by some of the arguments by Konsequent and others that appear to define class issues only as those that affect everyone (of the class). There has never been one working class, people have always had diverging grievances. The idea of class solidarity has to my mind always been about supporting each other across those differences. The concept has no meaning otherwise. Again I find it very odd to bring out examples of class struggle, by women or otherwise as examples of identity politics. As if it becomes identity politics as soon as non white male people do anything!

What is the purpose of separating out struggles when done by people who aren't white male and calling it something else?

Pure class people clearly underestimate the problems facing various people. Problems with culture inside political organisations and problems caused by capitalism. The idea that the problems go away by just claiming that sexuality, gender etc is not an issue in communist orgs doesn't cut it based on what the affected are saying.

I'm not sure if the framing matters. I feel slightly though that some of the id pol language and focus might put emphasis on difference in a way that is negative. I know the problems with the assumption of being colourblind but I also fear the consequences of completely giving up on it.

Race discussions from the states freak me the fuck out including lefty ones. I'd hate to see everyone ending up there. It's just such a complete capitulation to racism. I understand that it corresponds to how things are there but I don't feel things are as bad in europe.

meerov21
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Aug 18 2018 11:47

Link: So call for workers to ignore or eject trade union officials and labour party hacks from pickets please. Call for the self organisation and unity of workers in struggle because only that strengthens workers struggles and also unifies those oppressed groups amongst the working class. Don’t let petty argument between terfs and tirfs weaken the unity of workers in struggle.

I generally agree with Link.

Of course, the Paris Commune was based on class ideas, as well as the Russian or German revolutions of the councils, this is the obvious thing. They all used class socialist ideas. Another thing that was important was also the resistance of the local community against the despotism of the state bureaucracy and oligarchy.

I deliberately gave modern examples of revolts-Tehran 1979, Poland 1980, Sulaymaniyah 1991. All these events are not so far away from us and the participants of these events are our contemporaries. All these movements expressed the anger of the grass-roots population, workers and the local community against the exploitation and despotism of bosses and the state. These are the main motives.

https://libcom.org/forums/theory/it-somewhat-gives-me-vision-what-ongoin...

Various minorities participated in these movements, for example, jews and poles took an active part in the Russian revolution, the Kurds actively participated in the uprising against Saddam Hussein in 1991 in Iraq. National oppression influenced it. But anyway, all these uprisings were based on the class struggle and the anger of the local community against the bureaucrats. All these uprisings were caused by huge social problems of grass-roots population.

Yes, so far no social revolution has won. However, all the major revolutionary uprisings were class and social movements. There's no such thing as the gay and trance revolution. Therefore, these things do not play a big role for us.

There are, of course, nationalist bourgeois revolts, headed by party bosses from national parties and / or the national bourgeoisie. But we don't need it and for our purposes these moves are useless or harmful.

***

In Russia some most active radical feminist group are TERF. I do not agree with these people, and I do not like them, but they also have the right to Express their opinion. Or they don't have he right for opinion?

I don't really understand the difference between Tirf and Terf, probably these are some groups of feminists who believe or don't believe that trances are women, but generally I don't really understand why it might be interesting to discuss. Do Someone physically attacks TRANS-people? If so, it may be dangerous. But if not, I don't understand what are you talking about, any woman has the right to consider or do not consider trance a woman. We're for free speech, aren't we? Or trances are saints who cannot be criticized?

link
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Aug 18 2018 11:51

From Sawa’s post no 511: “And yes I got gendered correctly more on picket lines but this happens through trans people and other opressed groups engaging in struggle. And this requires we are not excluded from class struggle and like any working class people that this struggle improves our daily reality. And thst we are not left alone to deal with transphobia and other opressions.”

I am totally in sympathy with this last paragraph although just for clarity’s sake I would add in 2 words: “.. and other oppressed groups engaging in working class struggle”. I think that is what Sawa meant anyway and this is precisely what I am trying to argue. Members of the working class from all oppressed groups taking part equally as workers in working class struggle.

Cooked makes an excellent contribution and I am sure is correct in many ways about his assessment of the discussion. I have tried before to make it clear that I am arguing for working class as the potential revolutionary force not as purely white males but as comprising all workers who are members of all oppressed groups . What I do argue against is the continuing suggestions that oppressed groups as a whole ie working class, middle class, ruling class are revolutionary forces. Maybe this could be vague use of language but I see identity politics as a politic approach that I disagree with. I don’t give a shit about ruling class women, trans, blacks etc whether they housewives and family members or politicians or business owners/managers, they protect the status quo within capitalism or at best they protect themselves and reform the status quo and thereby protect capitalism. That’s what their campaigns must do that are not about equality of the oppressed

I therefore do not agree it is ok to argue for struggles of the oppressed as though it includes all classes which is precisely what the campaigns such as radical feminism black liberation and national liberation struggles become.

Working class is the common factor and wc struggle is the basis for unification. Let me add here that I absolutely agree that a successful working class revolution must understand and be able to address the issues of oppressed groups in order to build a new society , otherwise that society will fail. As Cooked says we cannot ignore the problems caused by capitalism because those problems wont just go away by themselves. We cant say they are not issues but I don’t believe that saying working class struggle is the way forward does that. I see that as the best way to tackle these ‘problems’

Fleur
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Aug 18 2018 12:18
Quote:
There's no such thing as the gay and trance revolution.

I don't know, some of the clubs I used to go to in the 90s could have been described as just that.

Fleur
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Aug 18 2018 13:36

meerov

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Do Someone physically attacks TRANS-people? If so, it may be dangerous. But if not, I don't understand what are you talking about

If you even have to ask that question then you clearly have levels of ignorance on the subject which disqualify you from having any kind of place in a discussion on this subject. You have absolutely no fucking clue. There have been ample attempts to explain the reality of the situation to you, however you have preferred to fall back on your own ignorance and throw in a bit of confirmation bias from some pond life journalism.

To even ask that question means that you have not even bothered reading anything people have been saying in these threads, or anywhere this is discussed.

Fwiw, the Iranian Revolution, which also did not get rid of capitalism, is also totally fucking irrelevant to the subject of identity politics in 21st century w
estern anarchism and applying it as an example to refute an arguments on a subject you absolutely know nothing about is just some kind of tedious exercise in mental masturbation.