The Poverty of Identity Politics

678 posts / 0 new
Last post
Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Aug 18 2018 13:07
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.

No, they are inter-class issues, since there are renters both within the working class and the bourgeoisie

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

This can be seen most clearly in the works of Henry George who advocated a land value tax to benefit both working class renters and industrialists who would be free of parasitic landlords and land speculators. Therefore rent strikes and eviction resistance are in fact class collaboration.

Also btw any organising against being laid off is class collaboration too because it also happens to CEOs.

Glad we got that all cleared up.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Aug 18 2018 13:20
meerov wrote:
Do Someone physically attacks TRANS-people? If so, it may be dangerous. But if not, I don't understand what are you talking about

Just this week this news story cam through - an 11 year old trans girl was bullied for months at school, including a boy bringing in a bb (pellet/ball bearing) gun to school and shooting her - missed her face and hit her shoulder. https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/boy...

AnythingForProximity's picture
AnythingForProximity
Offline
Joined: 27-12-17
Aug 18 2018 16:22

Glad to learn there is a thing called "western anarchism" now; it's so rich in implications. You people do what you want in the [barbaric] East, but over here in the West we're woke and intersectional, so you better play along.

Fleur
Offline
Joined: 21-02-12
Aug 18 2018 13:34

It's meerov who keeps banging on about "Western anarchism" and all it's turpitudes, not my argument. Having got his opinions from a geezer who was once at Occupy Wall Street and some reactionary journalism, he's a fucking expert on everything which is wrong with anarchism in North America and Europe. It's meerov who makes the distinction between the western anarchism and the people who are doing it right (him, I suppose.)

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Aug 18 2018 14:09
meerov21 wrote:
I deliberately gave modern examples of revolts-Tehran 1979, Poland 1980, Sulaymaniyah 1991.

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.

Wikipedia wrote:
While working at the Lenin Shipyard (now Gdańsk Shipyard), Wałęsa, an electrician, became a trade-union activist, for which he was persecuted by the Communist authorities, placed under surveillance, fired in 1976, and arrested several times. In August 1980 he was instrumental in political negotiations that led to the ground-breaking Gdańsk Agreement between striking workers and the government. He co-founded the Solidarity trade-union movement.

After martial law was imposed in Poland and Solidarity was outlawed, Wałęsa was again arrested. Released from custody, he continued his activism and was prominent in the establishment of the 1989 Round Table Agreement that led to semi-free parliamentary elections in June 1989 and to a Solidarity-led government.

In the Polish general election of 1990, Wałęsa successfully ran for the newly re-established office of President of Poland.

Now I actually agree Poland 80/81 was a significant working class revolt, but it also catapulted trade union leader Lech Welesa to prominence and eventually president of Poland.

Reddebrek's picture
Reddebrek
Offline
Joined: 4-01-12
Aug 18 2018 16:51
Cooked wrote:
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?

If this is addressed at me then I'm afraid you've missed my point, they aren't identity politics but do fall under that label if you take the more extreme class reductionist standpoints. Both Meerov and Prox among others in this thread have declared that all other social constructs are cross class because you find them in both ruling and labouring classes*.

If you take this to its logical conclusion then all attempts at organising or solidarity with a group that isn't on the basis on a monolithic class base, then it is a form of cross class identity politics. So the experience of women in the Commune for an example would under this argument be a form of Idpol, because their are Bourgeois women who may have indirectly benefited from the women of the Communes efforts.

*Which again isn't how materialist analysis is supposed to work. There have been numerous proletarians in government and they stop being workers the second they get access to power, or so I thought. But if we were to take the same criteria and apply it to working class people like some do with women and ethnic minorities, then the working class became another cross class identity as far back as 1848 when the French Republic gave Albert the worker a job on its executive.

R Totale's picture
R Totale
Offline
Joined: 15-02-18
Aug 18 2018 17:49

Cooked - have you read any of the Asad Haider stuff? I feel like you might find it interesting/useful. As for the rest of this thread - jesus, awfully naive of me to post up some articles I liked and assume that people would either just ignore them or else discuss those articles, rather than using it as a jumping-off point to totally re-enact the first ten pages of this thread.

Uncreative's picture
Uncreative
Offline
Joined: 11-10-09
Aug 18 2018 18:05
Cooked wrote:
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?

Certainly for me, as i mentioned above, the point isnt to decide what is or isnt the class politics and what is or isnt the identity politics, dividing them into two nice, neat, separate piles. Its not that when someone gets sacked etc for being trans, this is a trans issue separate from class, whereas when some cis white etc etc person gets sacked (for union organising/slacking/"business reasons"/thumping their manager/whatevs), thats a class issue. Meerov and that have come with a ready made distinction, "theres the class politics here, and the trans politics there, note the clear dividing line, all the western anarchists care about is trans stuff and not class stuff, but thats not revolutionary, see X past events." Whereas id reject that and say, and i feel like others are saying, that the sorts of "trans stuff" that western anarchists talk about is also at the same time "class stuff", eg the discrimination, refusal of healthcare, etc faced by eg the lass on the oil rigs. I feel its absurd to argue, as AnythingForProximity has, that a trans person being sacked for being trans is nothing to do with being trans and is 100% class and nothing else, but obviously its "a class issue too". And thats because these two things are not really separate things.

Anyway, in terms of "what western anarchists talk about", if you start talking about trans people and anarchism, dont be surprised if you then get lots of anarchists responding to you talking about trans people. We could be talking about anything else right now, but we're responding to what someone has said about anarchists and trans people because they started a conversation about it. I mean, if youre tired of hearing people say things about trans people, stop starting conversations about them, perhaps?

Also - forgive me Comrade-Father for i have sinned, it has been 2 weeks since my last confession. I helped a disabled worker win a bunch of cash off his employer for discrimination on disability grounds, which is a cross class issue because some rich people have disabilities too, i guess.

Konsequent's picture
Konsequent
Offline
Joined: 1-11-11
Aug 18 2018 20:39
Cooked wrote:
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).
 

I guess I would define class issues as when there's a class relationship involved. So someone losing their job because they're trans is a class issue (as well as a trans one) whereas people saying mean things about Caitlyn Jenner is only a trans issue (I mean of course class plays a role everywhere, but I wouldn't say "saying mean things about trans people is a class issue"). Of course individually it's nice to be nice but I think a movement that's working towards changing how society is organised should focus on class issues and not just everything that's bad. I don't call every nice thing I do in a day political activity, neither would I distract my comrades by putting suggestions for all the nice things we could do on an agenda at, say, an anarchist meeting.

I don't think these things are always so clear though. Whereas most of the time obvious class issues are things that are done to you by your class enemies, if the vast majority of, for example, cases of a certain disease are as a result of working in a certain industry, and it doesn't happen to bosses, then I'd say that disease is a class issue. Under other circumstances the same disease could be not a class issue. And just because not all working class people experience it doesn't make it not a class issue imo.

Cooked wrote:
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?

Absolutely! But who are you telling this? When I see class struggle done by people who aren't white men I see white men dismiss those struggles as "identity politics". Of course this results in people defending "identity politics".

Konsequent's picture
Konsequent
Offline
Joined: 1-11-11
Aug 18 2018 20:41
meerov21 wrote:
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.

What do you think is going on here? Who do you think you're arguing with? I can't imagine anyone on this thread would dispute that the uprisings we want to work towards are based on the class struggle. I am sure no one in this thread imagines that gay people are, on our own, going to create a major revolutionary uprising. Your post is the equivalent of turning up to a meeting where deliveroo riders are unionising and saying "But there's no such thing as a deliveroo rider revolution!" Of course there isn't. No one thinks there is. The deliveroo company plays a big role for the deliveroo riders. People unite against the ruling class by realising what their problems have in common, but it seems like you want to push some people away and say that their problems aren't related to yours, when they are.

Konsequent's picture
Konsequent
Offline
Joined: 1-11-11
Aug 18 2018 20:44
link wrote:
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.
 

Has anyone here claimed this? I think it's pretty rare and definitely not something I've seen here. People into any kind of revolutionary politics are generally talking about the overthrow of capitalism ie class.

 

link wrote:
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. 
...
I therefore do not agree it is ok to argue for struggles of the oppressed as though it includes all classes
....
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.

So you don't disagree with anyone here? The unity of working class struggles is also the unity of and solidarity between various working class struggles. No one here is arguing for cross class alliances.

Noah Fence's picture
Noah Fence
Offline
Joined: 18-12-12
Aug 18 2018 22:18

Well, it’s nice to listen to pure bigotry expressed within a load of workerist droning in the evening, after listening to it all day in its more honest and straightforward form on the building site. Spice of life! Well done gents.

Cooked's picture
Cooked
Offline
Joined: 6-04-10
Aug 18 2018 22:15

As usual I agree with pretty much everything you say Konsequent. This thread is made more complicated by posters trying to articulate other peoples views. Makes it harder to interpret what is actually being said.

Sorry to say Reddebrek that I can't quite untangle your post, you are extrapolating a bit to hard for me to get the jist.

R Totale I might have skimmed something but isn't he a bit to anti idpol? Any particular text you recommend?

Real deja vu here but non the less.

Noah I think post 525 and the second half of Konsequents first paragraph is where much of the questions lie. Where to draw the line for anarchist/commie orgs and what language to use. At least in this second iteration (was mistaken last time) everyone seems to agree on treating people decently regardless of background as well as fighting for all working class people. I dont thing discussing 'strategy' or politics in this ways amounts to bigotry. This one is particularly long but we've had these kinds of discussions on all sorts of topics before.

Noah Fence's picture
Noah Fence
Offline
Joined: 18-12-12
Aug 18 2018 22:43

Maybe you’re right Cooked, maybe I’m too cynical? Maybe not though, I think not, there is at best a tangible dismissiveness and a seemingly deliberately fuckwitted misunderstanding of the issues that those who face oppression specifically because of their identity have to deal with.
As for ‘collaborationist’, words fail me.

AnythingForProximity's picture
AnythingForProximity
Offline
Joined: 27-12-17
Aug 19 2018 12:12
Uncreative wrote:
I feel its absurd to argue, as AnythingForProximity has, that a trans person being sacked for being trans is nothing to do with being trans

Getting sacked for being trans by definition has everything to do with being trans – that's a perfect tautology if I ever saw one. To put it bluntly, though, why should that matter to communists? It sure matters a great deal to bourgeois reformists, who only care that people aren't fired for the wrong reasons; a position which necessarily entails that you can also fire people for the right reasons. As pointed out by Walter Benn Michaels, making these distinctions represents rational class interest on the part of the bourgeoisie. The most direct interest is economical: if you are willing to fire people merely for being trans, you run the risk that whatever replacement you can find for them will be less competent at their job than they were, which is an annoying obstacle that gets in the way of the valorization of capital. On top of that, ensuring some sort of 'fair representation' works wonders when it comes to legitimizing the whole system. And of course, identitarian campaigns are not solely implemented from above, they are also made available for broad participation: in this way, especially if furnished with radical-sounding slogans ("Smash [fill in the appropriate oppression]!"), they represent a useful outlet for forces which might otherwise be channeled in directions far more harmful to the bourgeoisie – a surrogate radicalism of sorts.

Communists, on the other hand, have nothing to gain from making these distinctions. That's because unlike the reformists, they see in workers' struggles for better material conditions neither an existential danger to their interest as a class nor an opportunity to modernize capitalism and make it more efficient or frictionless. Rather, they support them as something that helps the working class realize its own position in capitalist society, its inevitably antagonistic relationship to both the ruling class and capital itself (obviously, this should not be misinterpreted as suggesting that the act of going on strike or resisting an eviction will allow one to see through all the mystifications of commodity and money fetishism in one fell swoop all by itself), and perhaps – to borrow a phrase from Spanish anarchists – as a sort of "revolutionary gymnasium", a useful preparation for the bigger struggles to come.

Some people in this thread have tried to show that identitarian issues are class issues, and should be supported as such, using various analogies. The most thoughtful attempt came from Konsequent, who made an analogy between Deliveroo riders and trans workers as two specific subsets of the working class whose struggles are necessarily limited in scope but nevertheless having a clear class basis. Just like the former group's relationship to capitalism at large is mediated by working specifically for Deliveroo and not for some other employer, trans people's relationship to capitalism is mediated by their identity. In both cases, it makes perfect sense for them to organize alongside the people whose conditions or 'mode of mediation' are most similar to their own.

Unfortunately, that analogy is completely self-defeating. Working-class issues do not magically become 'trans issues' when it's trans people who raise them. The struggles of the Deliveroo riders are not worthy of support because they happen to work for Deliveroo; they would be no less worthy of it if they worked for Uber Eats, or indeed any other employer. Your decision not to cross the picket line, distribute leaflets, go on a solidarity strike etc. will not be determined by the fact that the workers affected work for Deliveroo rather than Uber Eats. Conversely, it's only fair to say that there is nothing special about Deliveroo in this regard; the fact that it's the Deliveroo workers who are striking doesn't force you to alter your theory or practice one least bit.

Noah Fence wrote:
Well, it’s nice to listen to pure bigotry

Yup, that's totally the only reason anyone has ever had for critiquing identity politics: pure bigotry.

Sorry 'bout the workerism by the way, we workers sometimes get uppity about protecting our class interest from the incursions of bourgeois ideology. I'm sure landlords find it hard to relate.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Aug 19 2018 00:10
Cooked wrote:
R Totale I might have skimmed something but isn't he a bit to anti idpol? Any particular text you recommend?

I haven't read his book, but in articles/interviews about it he seems to hinge a lot of arguments on "Yeah campus politics is fucking wild but there's all this other stuff out there" (like blaming a meeting taking eight hours to decide on a name for a campus occupation on identity politics) while being a lecturer. To me that seems to focus the framing back on US campus politics far too much, rather than investigate how the moral panic has been created in the first place.

Noah Fence's picture
Noah Fence
Offline
Joined: 18-12-12
Aug 19 2018 07:23
Quote:
Yup, that's totally the only reason anyone has ever had for critiquing identity politics: pure bigotry.

The reason I call it bigotry is because it’s bigotry when you stoop to conflating solidarity with working class victims of prejudice with daft liberal PC nonsense as a means of propping up your claim on victim status.

Quote:
Sorry 'bout the workerism by the way, we workers sometimes get uppity about protecting our class interest from the incursions of bourgeois ideology. I'm sure landlords find it hard to relate.

Now that is actually pretty good! Apart from the appalling implication that equality is a bourgeois notion, it’s actually pretty funny, good research too - I always find ad hominems a useful tool when my position is weak as fuck. I mean, when you’re needing to resort to the hilarious argument that capitalism is far too rational for someone to be sacked on grounds of prejudice you’ve really got to hunt down straws to grasp at with all the energy you have at your disposal.

Anyways, you swerved this much earlier in the thread, so I’ll try again...

Quote:
AFP, a question for you - is supporting a trans co-worker when they are being discriminated against “liberal bullshit with pretensions to radicalism”?

Here’s another - is transphobia a bullshit liberal notion?

One more, and if you answer this honestly it may get us to the nub - do you think that transitioning is a bullshit lifestylist personal choice?

Come on AFP, if you think that transgender is just a bourgeois construct let’s just get it out in the open.

Uncreative's picture
Uncreative
Offline
Joined: 11-10-09
Aug 19 2018 09:15
AnythingForProximity wrote:
blah blah patronising blah

Maybe you could illuminate your argument by telling us what you think "trans issues" are, ie a specific example, since its not being sacked for being trans, being denied healthcare related to being trans, etc. It would really help if you could give an example of some anarchist org doing this too, since apparently this is rife. Or are you just blinded by fury over a terminological dispute, "dont call it that, call it this!!!!!!!!!"?

R Totale's picture
R Totale
Offline
Joined: 15-02-18
Aug 19 2018 10:05
Cooked wrote:
R Totale I might have skimmed something but isn't he a bit to anti idpol? Any particular text you recommend?

I think Haider's critical of something he calls idpol, but he's clear about defining what he means, and... well, there's this from a recent interview with him:
"It depends on how you understand the term. Some people ask me why I framed my argument as a critique of identity politics instead of as reclaiming its radical potential. It’s a particular strategic and critical decision that I made, because the term has become so unstable that we can’t just reassert its origins. I do want to bring attention to its origins to show people that a different kind of politics is possible, and that the people who put forth this term made a very valuable revolutionary contribution to American politics.

The way that it’s used now is not anchored in that original usage, and there’s something that’s happening now that we have to criticize. If we’re going to criticize it, this is fundamental: it must be done from a perspective that is antiracist and feminist, and it must be done from the perspective of asking what the most useful way of thinking—and of acting—is, to oppose racism and sexism. Is identity politics, in the way that it currently exists and the way people use the term, actually useful for those goals?

In terms of its current usage, it is not. That’s why I choose to criticize it. If someone criticizes it because they think, on some abstract level, that class matters more than race or that we have to prioritize sameness over difference or something like that, then there’s a strong likelihood that the critique will be racist and sexist. But if the critique starts from the perspective that we need an adequate language for opposing racism and sexism and asking if this is an adequate language, that can be a constructive and valuable critique, which I hope I have been able to approximate.
Like, that's the kind of critique that I think is worth engaging with, imo. I was specifically recommending him because you seemed to be saying "I'm pretty sympathetic to what people are saying but the way some American leftists talk about race is a bit yikes" (sorry for the bad paraphrase), which seems close to Haider's position. I haven't actually read his book but would like to get around to it one day, I think this was a really good article though.

AnythingForProximity wrote:
Some people in this thread have tried to show that identitarian issues are class issues, and should be supported as such, using various analogies. The most thoughtful attempt came from Konsequent, who made an analogy between Deliveroo riders and trans workers as two specific subsets of the working class whose struggles are necessarily limited in scope but nevertheless having a clear class basis. Just like the former group's relationship to capitalism at large is mediated by working specifically for Deliveroo and not for some other employer, trans people's relationship to capitalism is mediated by their identity. In both cases, it makes perfect sense for them to organize alongside the people whose conditions or 'mode of mediation' are most similar to their own.

Unfortunately, that analogy is completely self-defeating. Working-class issues do not magically become 'trans issues' when it's trans people who raise them. The struggles of the Deliveroo riders are not worthy of support because they happen to work for Deliveroo; they would be no less worthy of it if they worked for Uber Eats, or indeed any other employer. Your decision not to cross the picket line, distribute leaflets, go on a solidarity strike etc. will not be determined by the fact that the workers affected work for Deliveroo rather than Uber Eats. Conversely, it's only fair to say that there is nothing special about Deliveroo in this regard; the fact that it's the Deliveroo workers who are striking doesn't force you to alter your theory or practice one least bit.

First of all, I think this is factually wrong, in that the Deliveroo disputes have been the product of a very specific and distinctively new kind of workplace set-up - the whole app model effectively represents an attempt to automate away managerial/supervisory positions, and I think the wave of militancy ongoing in that sector shows the limitations of capital's offensive there because it turns out that an app can't effectively replicate the chilling presence of having a human boss in the room, so those of us who're interested in capitalist development and how workers respond against it should probably be paying close attention to these struggles and how they go, with a view to making sure our theory and practice are adequate for current conditions.

But that's a side point, the real issue here is that when people, say, campaign in support of cleaners' struggles using the slogan "justice for cleaners", you don't pop up and say "ah, so you think only cleaners should be treated fairly and everyone else should be mistreated, is that it?" I mean, I guess that you could do that if you really wanted to, but do you really have to do that?

AnythingForProximity's picture
AnythingForProximity
Offline
Joined: 27-12-17
Aug 19 2018 11:14
R Totale wrote:
But that's a side point, the real issue here is that when people, say, campaign in support of cleaners' struggles using the slogan "justice for cleaners", you don't pop up and say "ah, so you think only cleaners should be treated fairly and everyone else should be mistreated, is that it?" I mean, I guess that you could do that if you really wanted to, but do you really have to do that?

Again, the difference is that "cleaners" are not a cross-class grouping, and "justice for cleaners" is not a rallying cry for class collaboration. Although maybe Mike Harman will show me I'm wrong because some CEOs occasionally dust their desks or something.

Cooked wrote:
I think post 525 and the second half of Konsequents first paragraph is where much of the questions lie.

Agreed.

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Aug 19 2018 11:52
AnythingForProximity wrote:

Again, the difference is that "cleaners" are not a cross-class grouping, and "justice for cleaners" is not a rallying cry for class collaboration. Although maybe Mike Harman will show me I'm wrong because some CEOs occasionally dust their desks or something.

This really has just broken down into semantics, but I'll point out two things:

1) Most cleaners are indeed wage workers. And while some may be misclassified as self-employed independent contractors, many cleaners are petit-bourgeois in a very real sense: buying their own tools, organizing their own work, setting their own prices, etc. There's nothing inherent to the "justice for cleaners" slogan that excludes these petit-bourgeois elements.

2) Trans-issues are not a "rallying cry for class collaboration". The vast majority of problems faced by trans people are firmly rooted in the issues they face as working class people.

Certainly when the folks on libcom talk about trans-issues, it should be taken for fucking granted that they're not here to defend the business interests of Caitlyn Jenner or whatever. To suggest otherwise smacks of bad faith and says a lot more about the people throwing around those red herrings than it does anything else.

jef costello's picture
jef costello
Offline
Joined: 9-02-06
Aug 19 2018 12:05
Fleur wrote:
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.

I was thinking along the same lines smile Although techno group was my line, I was a bit young for clubbing for most of the 90s.

AnythingForProximity wrote:

Getting sacked for being trans by definition has everything to do with being trans – that's a perfect tautology if I ever saw one. To put it bluntly, though, why should that matter to communists? It sure matters a great deal to bourgeois reformists, who only care that people aren't fired for the wrong reasons; a position which necessary entails that you can also fire people for the right reasons.

Not at all. Defending people who have been sacked for being trans means defending people who have been sacked for being trans. It means exactly what it means and, deliberately or not, you are adding an element that was not there to make defending trans people anti-working class. If defending the rights of workers who were sacked for striking had been said instead would you have assumed that we weren't defending workers who had tried to organise representation, demand safety equipment, better wages etc.

I think one of the reasons why trans issues take up as much time as they do here is the endless number of people who feel the need to complain about how much time is being spent on them. Is it just about trans people or are they just the only minority you feel that you can have a go at?

If a worker is being attacked then we defend them. So if it is anti-trans discrimination, forced overtime, layoffs or whatever, then we defend the working class. An injury to one is an in jury to all. Also divide and rule/conquer and scapegoating are two strategies that have been used for longer than capitalism has existed, so when they discriminate against one worker it doesn't matter what the reason is, it is part of the general, permanent attack on the working class. It might be a trans person today, a person of colour the next day and so on. It doesn't mattter what reason, it doesn't even matter if they are genuinely bigoted or not (they usually are both bigoted and aware of the strategy).

meerov21
Offline
Joined: 14-08-13
Aug 19 2018 13:53

No I did not urge anyone to throw out.

I said that there is a root of problems from which all large social-revolutionary revolts of Councils of deputies and communes grow. These are class contradictions, socio-economic crises and resistance of the local community to the dictatorship of the centralized bureaucracy. All this we can see and observe, including the modern world, at least on the example of the events that took place a few decades ago in Tehran, Sulaymaniyah, Gdansk and a number of other regions where the grass-roots population created Worker's Councils and Autonomous local councils and fought with the government (peacefully or with arms occupying factories).

Of course, so far no social revolution in history has won and all these movements have been integrated and destroyed by the state and capital and reformist unions (so why i am against unions). However, there were no other examples of large anti-capitalist self-organized uprisings. So, we are interested in the history of these practices - the practice of class struggle and the struggle of the local community.

Further, it can be seen that all kinds of workers are involved in this struggle: representatives of many different nationalities, men and women, and finally people with different sexual preferences. It means that we can act as anarcho-communists of Bialystok in 1905 - 1907, when a hundred thousand city was from time to time in the hands of workers, dominated by the influence of anarchists and maximalists. Most of the anarchists were Jews, like most of the city's inhabitants. So they created a special group to work with Christian workers (Poles, Lithuanians, Russians). But 90% of their energy was spent on campaigning for the social revolution, strikes, the proletarian uprising and the creation of an analogue of the Commune of Paris in Bialystok. So, everything has its place and time.

***

meerov21
Offline
Joined: 14-08-13
Aug 19 2018 14:24

I said: Do Someone like Terf physically attacks TRANS-people? If so, it may be dangerous. But if not, I don't understand what are you talking about.
I also said that the Terf group is very active in Russia in Moscow. I absolutely disagree with them for many reasons, but I believe that these people have the right to have opinion, and I have never heard they physically attack someone. Here is what I heard in the answer

Quote:
Fleur
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.

Already some people paid attention to rough and nervous behavior of this person. I do not consider it is necessary to comment on this as I'm not a psychoanalyst, but I would like to note that such people constantly interfere with any constructive discussions.

But I hope that there are some adequate people who are able to explain what is so dangerous about Terf or give me relevant references.

R Totale's picture
R Totale
Offline
Joined: 15-02-18
Aug 19 2018 14:30
meerov21 wrote:
Already some people paid attention to rough and nervous behavior of this person.

Rough and Nervous Behaviour would be a great name for a punk band, maybe Gay and Trance Revolution could do the afterparty after Rough and Nervous Behaviour play?

Quote:
But I hope that there are some adequate people who are able to explain what is so dangerous about Terf or give me relevant references.

Well, posting this didn't seem to do so well last time, but I did think that the Wessex Solidarity article was a good overview of these issues from a materialist class struggle anarchist perspective. On the specific danger of terfs, there's the fact that they're the junior partners in a political coalition doing the legwork for an agenda that's been set by the religious far-right - is that enough of an issue for you? I think the whole issue of "have they been involved in direct physical attacks" is a bit misleading - I don't think Enoch Powell, Richard Spencer, or Ed Miliband for that matter ever directly physically attacked any migrants themselves, the point is that stuff like the rivers of blood speech or the racist mug help to foster an environment when attacks are normalised and encouraged.

meerov21
Offline
Joined: 14-08-13
Aug 19 2018 16:55

R Totale Already some people paid attention to rough and nervous behavior of this person.
Rough and Nervous Behaviour would be a great name for a punk band, maybe Gay and Trance Revolution could do the afterparty after Rough and Nervous Behaviour play?

You may be right, and in General I tend to think that everything that you called very organically combined. But I hate punk, I prefer Thomas Tallis. I also think that people should protect their nerves, and the high social activity is possible only when they are able to calmly control their forces and expend energy where and when they need. So I don't think psychopaths can succeed in something as social revolution. So I think peace is also necessary for gays and transsexuals as for everyone before they do anything.

Thanks for the links.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Aug 20 2018 16:11
AnythingForProximity wrote:

Again, the difference is that "cleaners" are not a cross-class grouping, and "justice for cleaners" is not a rallying cry for class collaboration. Although maybe Mike Harman will show me I'm wrong because some CEOs occasionally dust their desks or something.

Me: capitalists very often pay rent, both for residential and commercial premises, there have been entire books written arguing for cross-class movements of the working class and industrialists against landlords.

AnythingForProximity: this is the same as saying cleaners' strikes are cross-class collaboration because capitalists sometimes clean their own desks.

Could you maybe respond to the argument that was actually made or are we just making stuff up at this point?

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Aug 20 2018 17:16
AnythingForProximity wrote:
To put it bluntly, though, why should that matter to communists? It sure matters a great deal to bourgeois reformists, who only care that people aren't fired for the wrong reasons; a position which necessarily entails that you can also fire people for the right reasons. As pointed out by Walter Benn Michaels, making these distinctions represents rational class interest on the part of the bourgeoisie.

This comes up again and again, and to be honest it still surprises me.

Walter Benn Michaels is not a communist, at best he's a social democrat of some description.

From your link:

Walter Benn Michaels wrote:
It should, in other words, be more interested in turning bad jobs into good jobs than in trying to make sure that the bad jobs go to people who our educational system says deserve them.

'turning bad jobs into good jobs'.

Walter Benn Michaels wrote:
it’s just to say that it’s capitalism not racism or sexism that has created these jobs and that if we’re not opposing capitalism—if we’re not trying to minimize the difference between the care aides who make $21k, the nurses who make $68k, the doctors who make $300k and the Health Care executives who make $3 million

'opposing capitalism' is minimizing wage differentials.

Walter Benn Michaels wrote:
Because insofar as economic inequality is the problem, redistribution, not proportional representation, is the solution.

'economic inequality', 'redistribution'.

Walter Benn Michaels wrote:
If what we want is a more economically equal society

And he's talking about winning elections and policy proposals:

Walter Benn Michaels wrote:
Whether that turned out to be true is an interesting question but for my purposes here the difference between these two ways of thinking about inequality are relevant not because they help us understand the election but because they entail two very different ways of describing our problem and therefore two very different solutions.

This is fundamentally not a communist understanding of class, but a social democratic one - in this case mostly talking about income differences and 'bad jobs'. WB Michaels then is thinking about policy changes like raising the minimum wage, probably improving state benefits, maybe single payer, maybe state investment in the 'productive' economy to create better jobs outside the low-paid service sector - the sorts of things that Sanders and Corbyn and people around them talk about (whether or not it happens).

Whereas for communists discussing 'identity' these are questions of class composition, support for defensive struggles, an understanding that class organisations sometimes/often reproduce issues of composition that exist in society at large. It's not trying to come up with a policy proposal for social democratic electoralism.

Or in other words, just because Walter Benn Michaels really wants to talk about class, doesn't mean his class analysis means shit.

DevastateTheAvenues
Offline
Joined: 17-03-17
Aug 21 2018 15:38

I just don't get the argument put put by Proximity et al. It sounds bonkers to say that there are trans issues here and working class issues there when we all know there are working class trans people. Saying that they are mutually exclusive seems like a category error.

I'm willing to give weight to the idea that liberal idpol is just an egalitarian-sounding gloss on the economic interests, submerged or direct, of a section of the capitalist class. Everything that is holy is profaned and all that. It doesn't then follow that communists should run in the complete opposite direction, though, as if our politics is just a metaphysical, Manichean struggle between the forces of Capital and Labor, and thus everything they want we should not. As communists, we should not be interested in this dogmatic, doctrinaire claptrap, but should instead be engaged in the critical analysis of politics. A vulgar economistic methodology not only leads to bad analysis ("don't you see that it's all about the money?!"), it leads to bad politics ("this identity stuff is all there just to distract us so we should just plug our ears to the political struggles happening around us while we wait for the Real Working Class struggle that is free of this identity taint").

This kind of methodology leaves us totally unequipped to analyze the mystical consciousness around these questions of identity that pervades reactionary thought, liberal or otherwise, and its relation to capitalism. It can't even tell us why certain sections of the capitalist class are heavily invested in, say, anti-trans politics when, under the vulgar economistic methodology, it should be the case that all the capitalists are for it (unless we will elide the issue by appealing to "capitalist false consciousness" or something). And if it can't help us explain this split in the capitalists, then it can't do it for the split in the workers.

And if it can't explain even that, it certainly can't help us to analyze identity politics itself. Why are all of these disparate things like race, sex, sexuality, so on and so forth being collapsed into this transcendental category of "identity"? Does liberal idpol take on the premises of liberal capitalism by appealing to an understanding of "identity" that is ahistoric and pre-political, mirroring ideology that naturalizes and eternalizes capitalism, rather than as historically contingent political conditions that people are subjected to? Does this help legitimate capitalism, because an ahistoric and pre-political understanding of "identity" obscures the ways in which capitalism inflicts those political conditions?

Well, since we communists supposedly have nothing to gain from doing this kind of analysis, we cannot answer, or at least not intelligently. While we might be able to observe, say, how these issues get used as a wedge to split parts of the working class against itself, we won't be able to do a thing about it because we will have precisely zero useful theory to draw from. In fact, I would say that, by using this vulgar economistic methodology to look at identity politics, you throw out the still-useful communist tools of the analysis of social relations. Then you miss your mark. Now, you not only use a bad heuristic (capitalists can make money off of it, therefore it's bad); you also remain at the level of mere appearances, criticizing only some of the surface manifestations (liberal idpol), rather than really dig into the ruthless criticism of the underlying social relations.

I'm making the good faith assumption here, though, that we all understand that it's the reactionary politics regarding these issues (via both outright bigotry as well as the liberal idpol that supposedly stands against it), and not the people whom the issues are about, that divide up the working class. So someone who disagrees already on that basic assumption will not find this argument very worthwhile.

LeninistGirl's picture
LeninistGirl
Offline
Joined: 27-04-18
Aug 22 2018 15:28
Quote:
It sure matters a great deal to bourgeois reformists, who only care that people aren't fired for the wrong reasons

Since I am scared about losing my job after coming out as trans I am a *check notes* bourgeois reformist.