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why are identity politics for race and sexuality/sex treated differently by so many anarchists?

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zenkka
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Nov 8 2011 00:59
why are identity politics for race and sexuality/sex treated differently by so many anarchists?

if you ask an anarchist about national liberation, they'll most often say that it's bourgeois because it organizes on national lines, even if it is supposedly socialist or even anarchist in the case of apoc. but if you ask an anarchist about feminism or queer liberation, they almost always support it.

why is it acceptable for an anarchist to be opposed to nationalism, but supportive of feminism and gay liberation?

sawa
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Nov 8 2011 01:21

Race, gender and sexuality are not identity politics, that you are questioning why people support feminism, queer liberation and oppose racism is actually quite disgusting. Dunno if you are taking the piss or whatever still not acceptable.
Gender and race, sexuality even is not something one identifies as but what one is gendered as by society.

And actually not all anarchists are ultra left on the issue of national liberation, so please don't use such to attack feminism, anti racism, queer liberation.
Women, queer people and POC or ethnic minorities also don't see creating a state as a solution.
Class is not the only power system that effects working class people and all must be opposed in different ways since they have different nature.

Admin: please be nice to new posters and people developing their ideas. no need to be aggressive.

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Picket
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Nov 8 2011 01:27

Nation STATE + Anarchist. Does not compute.

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RedEd
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Nov 8 2011 04:29

This is going to be simplistic but: Anarchists coming at this question from a class perspective see things like racism, sexism, homophobia, disablism, cissexism, and so on as basically mystifications which divide the working class for no good reason (at least from our point of view: dividing the working class can be important for politicians and capitalists). So we want to eliminate this sort of prejudice and take it seriously, because it against our aims as a class. The same anarchists are not interested in 'national liberation' because we do not see 'national' groups as having any real material basis, and we see 'national liberation' struggles as being attempts to reproduce the basic unit of capitalism, the nation state, on a smaller basis. This, to class struggle anarchists, seems like a meaningless goal. In fact, in the anarchist view, the closest thing to national liberation in identity politics would be the various separatists movements such as black separatism or women's separatism.

In fact, things like feminism and anti-racism demonstrate really well why national liberationism is nonsense. Because working class feminists and anti-racists generally do not say 'we are oppressed, let us set up our own land where we can rule ourselves', but say 'our unequal treatment is bullshit, other workers should realise it is bullshit and help us to eliminate it'. This class based challenge to oppression, rather than reproducing capitalism along the lines of our particular grievance, is vital to any revolutionary approach.

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JoeMaguire
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Nov 8 2011 08:28

The crux of the issue here is whether you think economic and state oppression are the sole, or main factors, causing oppression within race, sexual orientation and gender. If you do, you will then subscribe to a position that evokes that class struggle almost in its entirety would suffice to overturn and challenge these issues.

If you think its a bit more complicated, and that there are additional factors that contribute to oppression, you will be in favour of their struggles which are not simply part of responding to economic exploitation or statist oppression (as far as it can be).

Its only very workerist types, who tend to think that class struggle alone can solve all the relative problems in society. Its all too easy to write-off patriarchy, homophobia and racism as something caused by the structures we live under rather than something we actively reproduce and perpuate ourselves. Its entirely plausible that some attitudes could persist and take subtle forms in a post-revolutionary society. Also can we have a revolution if these issues are not challenged? Therefore there needs to be a prefigurative solution.

To quote Solidarity Federations' Constitution (I'm quoting their stuff because I am familar with it and for no other reason.) it states

Quote:
We recognise that not all oppression is economic, but can be based on gender, race, sexuality, or anything our rulers find useful. Therefore, revolutionary unions fully support and encourage organisation in all spheres of life that consciously parallel those of the society we wish to create; that is, organisation based on mutual aid, voluntary cooperation, direct democracy, and opposed to domination and exploitation in all forms.

In terms of going back to your initial question.

zenkka wrote:
why is it acceptable for an anarchist to be opposed to nationalism, but supportive of feminism and gay liberation?

You would have to additionally say which feminism or gay liberation your talking about. There are many -ism's and most of the site would have no love, for say black nationalism, feminism advocated by the SCUM Manifesto or most liberals. Nationalism runs entirely against the grain of class conflict, because its a class colloborationist project, I think the main concern is how radical feminists, and other oppressed groups view or orientate towards class struggle.

The recent thread on feminism raises a number of issues. See here

sawa wrote:
Race, gender and sexuality are not identity politics

Unfortunately they can be. Which is part of the problem. What do you think is going on here, if its not a crisis of indentity politics? And I am raising this not as a dig.

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waslax
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Nov 8 2011 08:53

I would give a really simple answer to the OP. Feminism is ostensibly a movement to liberate women from their oppression by men. What could be wrong with that? Anti-racism is ostensibly a movement to liberate people of those races who are oppressed by people of other races. What could be wrong with that? But 'national liberation' struggles are struggles to liberate one 'nation' from its imperialist oppression by another nation(-state). The nation that gets liberated, though, is actually the nation, that is, the property, of the capitalist class of the oppressed nation, since that's what nations (or nation-states) essentially are, vehicles for capitalist class rule over the rest of the 'nation' they have established for themselves. Everyone else remains oppressed and exploited, only now it is by their own domestic ruling class, rather than that of the foreign imperialists.

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Nov 8 2011 09:05
waslax wrote:
I would give a really simple answer to the OP. Feminism is ostensibly a movement to liberate women from their oppression by men. What could be wrong with that? Anti-racism is ostensibly a movement to liberate people of those races who are oppressed by people of other races. What could be wrong with that? But 'national liberation' struggles are struggles to liberate one 'nation' from its imperialist oppression by another nation(-state). The nation that gets liberated, though, is actually the nation, that is, the property, of the capitalist class of the oppressed nation, since that's what nations (or nation-states) essentially are, vehicles for capitalist class rule over the rest of the 'nation' they have established for themselves. Everyone else remains oppressed and exploited, only now it is by their own domestic ruling class, rather than that of the foreign imperialists.

Silly Palestinians should just assimilate into Israeli culture!

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waslax
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Nov 8 2011 09:33

You got that from what I wrote? eek

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Nov 8 2011 11:27
zenkka wrote:
if you ask an anarchist about national liberation, they'll most often say that it's bourgeois because it organizes on national lines, even if it is supposedly socialist or even anarchist in the case of apoc. but if you ask an anarchist about feminism or queer liberation, they almost always support it.

why is it acceptable for an anarchist to be opposed to nationalism, but supportive of feminism and gay liberation?

I support national liberation, feminist movement, gay liberation etc etc.

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Nov 8 2011 11:36

I think waslax actually hits the nail on the head: feminism, gay lib and anti-racism are there to liberate people from oppression.. national liberation is there to give nation's independence from other nations, but nations are run by bosses, politicians and other such people that we spend all our time fighting at home.. why should we support them and their attempts at nation building abroad?

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Nov 8 2011 13:50
CRUD wrote:
Silly Palestinians should just assimilate into Israeli culture!

I'm sure that if the problem was that Israeli culture were too dominant in Israel-Palestine, as opposed to most Palestinians being under martial law and being further and further removed from their houses and livelihood on mostly ethnic (thought sometimes, also class) backgrounds, that this would be a relevant discussion to make. roll eyes

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Chilli Sauce
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Nov 8 2011 14:00

Good God, APOC is like the Westboro Baptist Church of anarchism. What a bunch of nutters.

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Tojiah
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Nov 8 2011 14:13

Hiding behind their identity politics is a reasonable point about how FNB might end up monopolizing dumpster food.

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Nov 8 2011 14:22

Yeah, they critique organisations which need a good critiquing (and, as they say, even a broken clock is right twice a day), but, fucking hell, to call FNB a "white supremacist organisation"....

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Nov 8 2011 14:44

There isn't a "reasonable position" in there. I don't give a fuck abou FNB, but to honestly and genuinely, without a moment of satire criticise them for "monopolising" dumpsters with their privilege is absurd beyond parody. It's not just wrong, it's utterly, ridiculously fucking mental.

Mike Harman
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Nov 8 2011 15:11

From the comments on that article, it is the same Philly branch of APOC that did the Crimethinc eviction, and there are lots of people on that thread who identify as APOC calling them nutters in the comments.

Is this stuff actually real? Some of it reads like what I'd expect to read from London Psychogeographical society or similar.

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Nov 8 2011 15:14

OK I don't have a lot of time so I will just add a quick though. I too have recently noticed the derision of so-called 'identity politics'. And it does get a bit dull. But don't you think Zenkka by calling the phenomena in question 'identity politics' in your OP you are already conceding too much ground to the debate as its terms have been set by the critics of 'identity politics'. For me the term 'identity politics' is not very useful. What we should instead be talking about is anti-sexism (feminism) and anti-racism.*

I would say national liberation is different. The State precedes the nation, the nation is created by the state. National liberation movements are movements to capture the state. Why would an anarchist (e.g anti-statist), support such a movement?

* I take it as a given here that we are not talking about 'liberal feminism' or 'liberal anti-racism'. Which is basically just the extension of liberal state recognition. I don't deny these things exist, but 'liberal feminism' etc, is often challenged quite well within the wider feminist milieu (Emma Goldmann's critique of suffrage is probably the best example of this, from its inception womens liberation has not been a unified 'movement').

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Nov 8 2011 15:51
Quote:
OK I don't have a lot of time so I will just add a quick though. I too have recently noticed the derision of so-called 'identity politics'. And it does get a bit dull.

I'm not sure what you mean here?

Identity politics isn't a myth, they are real actually existing politics which - much like national liberation - anarchists oppose. Of course we're going to deride politics we are hostile to - what else would we do? Pretend we're okay with it?

The problem with the OP is that feminism and gay liberation aren't necessarily identity politics. They can be - and probably are more often than not. Where feminism/gay liberation/anti-racism crosses into identity politics, of course we oppose it - for example, we'd reject black nationalism absolutely. But that doesn't mean we reject everything that falls under these fairly wide catch-all terms.

There's nothing inherent about gay liberation / feminism / anti-racism that are incompatible with anarchism - the opposite in fact. However, National Liberation is different - it is in of itself opposed to anarchist politics.

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Arbeiten
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Nov 8 2011 16:05

yeah Fall Back, I think we are basically in agreement. I just think there is wide disagreement on the content of 'identity politics'. As far as I can discern it is short form for liberal feminism or liberal anti-racism (as I tried to quickly discuss in my *starred point). But often babies accidentally get thrown out with the bath water. It just seems like such a loose category to me, something that is used as a term of derision rather than a specific concept.

Though i have to admit, I only really read the name of the thread, and only quickly read the OP embarrassed . Giving it another read it does seem very confused about the nature of national lib. my bad my bad, I just didn't read it properly (in between watching MTV, Facebook and Tweeter, modern technology roll eyes ).

radicalgraffiti
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Nov 8 2011 17:54
BrazillianJiuJitsu1992 wrote:
zenkka wrote:
if you ask an anarchist about national liberation, they'll most often say that it's bourgeois because it organizes on national lines, even if it is supposedly socialist or even anarchist in the case of apoc. but if you ask an anarchist about feminism or queer liberation, they almost always support it.

why is it acceptable for an anarchist to be opposed to nationalism, but supportive of feminism and gay liberation?

I support national liberation, feminist movement, gay liberation etc etc.

why are you opposed to the working class defending there own interests and overthrowing the bourgeois?

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Nov 8 2011 20:59

Because identity politics can divide at times. Most militant liberal/radical feminists I know aren't necessarily easy to get along with. Many militant liberate pro this race or that race movements have problems as well (I'm going to catch flack for saying that).

Case in point are general protests in America- we see various groups with various agenda's all pushing in various directions when it would be more productive to focus on working class unity and worker control of the means of production. There's absolutely nothing wrong with being anti racist or wanting women to enjoy complete equality (coming from a white male this wont be well received) but.....when it causes division it's a negative thing.

Identity politics in that regard can be negative when it puts all of us behind labels and racial/gender lines. Every working class person should be a feminist, every working class person should be for the liberation of all races but for some reason (at least in America) the dynamics have worked out in a way that makes that a hard prospect. Sure much if not most of it can be blamed on centuries of culture where men, specifically white men, were in charge of society and the family but a portion of it can be blamed on the exclusive nature of identity politics. Thats about as honest as I can get.

radicalgraffiti
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Nov 8 2011 21:13

racism, sexism/patriarchy, homophobia, nationalism etc ARE divisions, if your not fighting against them your not supporting working class unity.

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Nov 8 2011 21:45
radicalgraffiti wrote:
racism, sexism/patriarchy, homophobia, nationalism etc ARE divisions, if your not fighting against them your not supporting working class unity.

Indeed but paradoxically fighting against racism, sexism/patriarchy and homophobia can also cause divisions (when that's all people are interested in). It's more complicated than you're either with us or against us- of course I'm always on the side of being against racism/sexism/homophobia but we're more so talking about the social dynamics within certain movements.

There's plenty of people in the gay community here in San Fransisco I wouldn't piss on if they were on fire (figure of speech). Capitalists , reactionaries (as in strongly anti communist) etc and they many times gather to fight for gay rights, does this make them my comrades? Just last week in Oakland many of these identity groups showed up and socialism was the last thing on their mind.

There are certain black nationalist movements, the nation of Islam etc just as liberal feminists agenda doesn't sit well with me. They cause division. Us against them sort of mentality exists out here.

sawa
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Nov 8 2011 21:51

No one is saying queer capitalists are your comrades, but why are you even asking this when you wouldn't about their hetero counterparts.

If feminism, anti racism, and queer liberation result in division, it is the homophobes, racists and sexist which cause this and I'm happy for any working class movement to divide itself of such.
If you "don't get along" with liberal and radical feminists then it is probably because they challenge your privilege rather than because of any sort of feminist critique of liberal and radical feminism.
Hey it may sometimes easier to go along with racist, sexist homophobic assumptions eg insults about ya boss but this does not pay off in the medium term.

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Nov 8 2011 22:03
sawa wrote:
No one is saying queer capitalists are your comrades, but why are you even asking this when you wouldn't about their hetero counterparts.

If feminism, anti racism, and queer liberation result in division, it is the homophobes, racists and sexist which cause this and I'm happy for any working class movement to divide itself of such.
If you "don't get along" with liberal and radical feminists then it is probably because they challenge your privilege rather than because of any sort of feminist critique of liberal and radical feminism.
Hey it may sometimes easier to go along with racist, sexist homophobic assumptions eg insults about ya boss but this does not pay off in the medium term.

(In bold) Yes I'm aware racists cause racism and there's plenty of men out there giving liberal feminists reasons to complain about men without them taking the material conditions into account, yes, I agree, but in my opinion things should all be put under the socialist banner.

What sort of privilege do I, as Jonathon, enjoy? I'm not saying many white males don't enjoy a privileged head start above the rest but this is the sort of division I'm speaking to (many white females enjoy better access to the means of production over women of color). Class has much to do with it and I can assure you I'm in the fight of my life just to survive. You saying that (above) marginalizes my experience and in a lot of cases causes immediate divisions within the working class.

A knee jerk reaction may workers (men) have is to immediately write feminism off for such generalized statements.

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Nov 8 2011 22:15
sawa wrote:
No one is saying queer capitalists are your comrades, but why are you even asking this when you wouldn't about their hetero counterparts.

If feminism, anti racism, and queer liberation result in division, it is the homophobes, racists and sexist which cause this and I'm happy for any working class movement to divide itself of such.
If you "don't get along" with liberal and radical feminists then it is probably because they challenge your privilege rather than because of any sort of feminist critique of liberal and radical feminism.
Hey it may sometimes easier to go along with racist, sexist homophobic assumptions eg insults about ya boss but this does not pay off in the medium term.

Woah hold on, liberal feminists are the enemy, just as liberal anti racists, liberal LGBT activists, because they are liberals, liberals uphold capital and the state, I fail to see how you can support the abandonment of class analysis of soiety and rub shoulders with liberal scum.

These are the type who support the murdering troops, vote for obama and basically support and legitimise the state and the capitalist mode of production.

They are nearly always middle class, so don't dare say just because he is white, a worker has it easier than a middle class woman cos its bullshit.

I think a middle class woman is more privellaged than me who works a shitty job and is skint, but whatever.

There was a good article on feminists from latin America who decried liberal feminism by sayig how can you be for equality of women when the majority of the worlds women reside in the third world which is raped and plundered and the population used as the slavery factories, which massive amounts of women inhabit.

You cannot be a femminist without being a communist surely as women will always be oppressed under capitalism. If your a pro state pro liberal capitalism feminist then the best you can be asking for is for working class males and females to be equally exploited, which is rather shit.

zenkka
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Nov 8 2011 22:34

sawa, you're a left wing self parody. I never even stated my own opinion in this, it was a question about, from what my experience is, hypocrisy within the standard anarchist position. but like a good self parody will, you jumped to call my question "disgusting" "not acceptable", etc.
What a joke. this was my first ever post on this site and my response so far has been more obnoxious than talking to a PSLer.

anyway,

I'm asking why, for example, the organizing around one oppression, such as sexual orientation, is considered acceptable within anarchist circles, whereas organizing around national oppression, such as the oppression of palestinians, is generally considered to be dividing workers by nationality. both are oppressions which divide workers and are based around some sort of identity (nationality and sexual identity are both identities), but it seems that anarchists support one whereas oppose the other.

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Nov 8 2011 22:17
sawa wrote:
No one is saying queer capitalists are your comrades, but why are you even asking this when you wouldn't about their hetero counterparts.

What wouldn't I criticize about heterosexual white male reactionaries/fascists? I'm not sure I understand what you're asking.

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Fall Back
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Nov 8 2011 22:22

Anarchists wouldn't support the struggle to set up a women's state either.

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Nov 8 2011 22:26
zenkka wrote:
sawa, you're a left wing self parody. I never even stated my own opinion in this, it was a question about, from what my experience is, hypocrisy within the standard anarchist position. but like a good self parody will, you jumped to call my question "disgusting" "not acceptable", etc.

What a joke. this was my first ever post on this site and my response so far has been more obnoxious than talking to a PSLer.

anyway,

I'm asking why, for example, the organizing around one oppression, such as sexual orientation, is considered acceptable within anarchist circles, whereas organizing around national oppression, such as the oppression of palestinians, is generally considered to be dividing workers by nationality. both are oppressions which divide workers and are based around some sort of identity (nationality and sexual identity are both identities), but it seems that anarchists support one whereas oppose the other.

I guess because Palestinians want their own state. I'm not sure the gay community wants it's own nation but I'm sure there are a few who do smile

The question of Palestine came up on here before and I caught a lot of flack for supporting a two state solution. Obviously a no state solution would be preferable but in the meantime- in order to stop the oppression/mass bombing of Palestinians, in my opinion, a two state solution is more viable than an anarchist revolution. I'm not saying an anarchist revolution isn't possible or desirable I'm saying the proper class awareness and material conditions in the region don't make it likely anytime soon.

zenkka
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Nov 8 2011 22:40
Fall Back wrote:
Anarchists wouldn't support the struggle to set up a women's state either.

okay, this is actually a good response. but what would the real life success of a militant lgbt group look like in comparison to the success of a black nationalist group? the liberation of lgbt people for one, and the liberation of blacks for the other. I'm still having trouble grasping why one is positive whereas the other is not.

also what is the normal anarchist position on anarchist people of color? on revleft a lot of anarchists oppose them, but then support groups like bashback. is this indicative of the normal anarchist position or is it just revleft?