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Multiculturalism, Equal Opportunities, and all that Bollocks

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lem
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Jun 5 2007 13:57
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I think a bit part of the disagreements are due to differences in use of words.

but i myself made this point John

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It hasn't been helped by a huge number of meaningless posts from lem.

I don't see why i have to be blamed for the fact that people can't read :mad:

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daniel
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Jun 5 2007 17:06

I've nothing more to sy, except Joseph K knows whats what as far as multiculturalism goes.

Just cos the BNP says "we're opposed to multiculturalism" don't make it so. The point is, they're coming from the worldview of multiculturalism, which racialises everything. Read them articles, what do you think of them? It's pretty fucking concrete, what they're talking about.

-cheers

*bows out*

lem
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Jun 5 2007 17:55
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but the state policy of "multiculturalism" - encouraging difference and stating as a basic premise that people of different ethnicities are inherently different.

without the inherently bit and that it's a state policy, I'm not so sure I have a problem with this premise. I don't think I have a problem with individuals thinking that people of different ethnicities are different to themselves. Perhaps my not maing this clear is why you think my posts are meaningless.

Would like to discuss because I may change my mind. But I think it's a type of freedom and might even be ethical to see another person as different to yourself.

lem
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Jun 5 2007 18:00

though organizing around those differences, be it gender race nationality, etc., i'm not so sure about.

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thugarchist
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Jun 6 2007 02:49
revolutionrugger wrote:
How Multi-culturalism effects my life:

Kindergarten: Got to eat tacos

One hetero-experience doesn't make you multi-cultural.

posi
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Jun 6 2007 10:31

can't be bothered to read all five pages of this to see if this point has already been made, but...

The typically different US perspective on the importance of race (or 'race' if you prefer) is obviously a product of a national class whose history is much more full of massively damaging divisions on racial lines. There is an important reason why US 'anti-racists' have had much more motivation to go beyond the 'let us just counterpose a class-identity to a race identity' fairy story.

This is: it takes two to tango. If white anti-black racism is driving the class apart, and is smashing up massive numbers of black lives, it's no good saying to the black side of the class: 'unite with the whites on a class basis'. That's no good, because it's not something that it's in their power to respond to. If the social reality of racial violence is running pretty much in one direction, the responsibility - and the only power - to stop it (short of direct racial confrontation) lies with the aggressors. (Short of Matewan-style opportunities for making overtures via organised solidarity – but even then, you can’t guarantee that it’d be accepted.)

This has been, historically, an important and repeated phenomenon in US working class history – e.g. the racism of the latter day populist movement. The repeated raising of the practical question demands that there be a practical answer from socialists.

OK - so of course communists (in theory) would be arguing against aggression on the white side. Fine. But that aint much help to the black working class people. How long are they supposed to wait for the white working class to be won over to the communist anti-racist, class unity perspective? Frankly, I'm not sure that at some stages I'd have any faith that this would happen at all in the foreseeable future.

And if that’s the case, then it unavoidably leads to a situation whereby people are politically working class, against capital, and black, against white racism. The importance of the identities will vary simply with how harshly the attack is felt from each.

Then, you might say - ok, the black working class can legitimately have a black identity, as long as it's a particularly black working class identity - it doesn't cross class lines. But then someone's gonna say - ok, but tbh, the black middle class is more or less non-existent in the US. Sure there are black middle/ruling class people, but it’s such a minor section, historically, of the black population of the US, that this can begin to feel like a bit of a technicality.

All this is important insofar as white working class racism remains a strong, vicious and divisive force in US society, and as black people remain overwhelmingly poor and working class. I’m fairly sure the latter is still very true, though perhaps the former is slackening?

Obviously there are an enormous number of very crude responses to this basic dilemma, many of which rely on some kinda funny guilt thing. But that doesn't mean that there aren't sophisticated responses too. IIRC, this point was made well enough by CLR James, but I can't remember where. i.e. the black section of the working class doesn't have to wait for the white section to get its shit together and stop being racist - they can legitimately organise autonomously.

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 6 2007 11:00

posi mate, that's got basically nothing to do with this thread. maybe you should read it like, just a thought wink

posi
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Jun 6 2007 11:09

fair enough. smile I was just reading that bit about Flint, jack and revol, about european anarchists discussing race in public in the US, etc. and thought it might be vaguely relevant. Probably also thinking about that other thread about Steve Jones, etc.

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 6 2007 11:12

yeah the atlantic divide on this one has been more between UK critics of multiculturalism as a divisive state policy and US posters saying the criticism amounts to "legally mandated worshipping the existing nation-state." it is a big ocean.

lem
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Jun 6 2007 21:34

Yes but i think posi raises an intersting point. I really do think that from some quarters here, shall we say the british contingent (wink grin), there is the implicit assrtion that under no circumstances must the proletariat recognize racial difference amongst itself. While i have absolutely no time for the "scientific" validity of race, i think that it's not helpful to agree to that implicit assertion that i have just stated i believe is present on this thread.

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 6 2007 21:45

i don't recognise "racial difference" because there's no such thing. if you mean racism, it's not that i don't recognise working class racism exists - it's that i refuse to treat people differently based on the colour of their skin, or base my political praxis on such treatment. to quote malik again, my problem with multiculturalism as a state policy is that ...

Kenan Malik wrote:
equality no longer meant treating everybody equally despite their racial, cultural, ethnic or religious differences but treating people differently because of them
lem
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Jun 6 2007 21:52

bollocks! you've simply conflated an unsual social construct with racism. malik can suck my balls etc., and the passage is deliciously unclear quoted out of context wink

lem
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Jun 6 2007 21:56

a time will surely come tho, when anarchists have to ask themselvs whether they are a trumped upn liberal anti-fasciost/racist movement; or they want to build a new world cool

Terry
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Jun 7 2007 06:19

This debate has the obvious problem that in Britain multi-culturalism is state policy, and in the United States? prevalent in universities?
Britain is a much less racist society than most others, especially the United States. Hell once they didn't even let blacks into combat roles in the army...obviously not grounds for complaining, but it is a bit bizarre. Also yer man Malik is supporting an Asian Youth Movement of the 70s and early 80s...which may not be stricktly organising along cultural or ethnic lines......but is the autonomous self-organisation of the vicitms of racism. Not sure how that is different from a "people of colour" type organisation in the United States.

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 7 2007 06:22
lem wrote:
bollocks! you've simply conflated an unsual social construct with racism. malik can suck my balls etc., and the passage is deliciously unclear quoted out of context ;)

well i don't get what you're saying. i don't recognise "racial difference" because i don't recognise any difference between people based on their 'race' - people may have different experiences of racism/discrimination etc, but these are by no means uniformly aligned along 'racial' lines, e.g. the ginger family forced out of their home by bigots. and how is quote out of context, the context of the quote was the shift in state policy following political struggles for equal rights by ethnic minorities, i used it to illustrate the difference between demanding equality (you know, that ol' lefty shindig) and demanding the right to assert racial difference (a 'right' the BNP no doubt cherish).

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 7 2007 06:26
Terry wrote:
Also yer man Malik is supporting an Asian Youth Movement of the 70s and early 80s...which may not be stricktly organising along cultural or ethnic lines......but is the autonomous self-organisation of the vicitms of racism. Not sure how that is different from a "people of colour" type organisation in the United States.

for sure, i don't think autonomous organising is always bad, and no doubt sometimes necessary - same for womens' groups and the like in some circumstances. though i do think the goal of 'racial' organisation should be the negation of race not the assertion of identity, which is where i differ from multiculturalism.

Terry
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Jun 7 2007 06:50

Fair enough Joseph K.

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Steven.
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Jun 7 2007 08:54
lem wrote:
bollocks! you've simply conflated an unsual social construct with racism. malik can suck my balls etc., and the passage is deliciously unclear quoted out of context ;)

Stop talking absolute bullshit. And stop doing multiple posts in a row, it's quite simple lem.

lem
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Jun 7 2007 11:03
Joseph K. wrote:
lem wrote:
bollocks! you've simply conflated an unsual social construct with racism. malik can suck my balls etc., and the passage is deliciously unclear quoted out of context ;)

well i don't get what you're saying. i don't recognise "racial difference" because i don't recognise any difference between people based on their 'race' - people may have different experiences of racism/discrimination etc, but these are by no means uniformly aligned along 'racial' lines, e.g. the ginger family forced out of their home by bigots. and how is quote out of context, the context of the quote was the shift in state policy following political struggles for equal rights by ethnic minorities, i used it to illustrate the difference between demanding equality (you know, that ol' lefty shindig) and demanding the right to assert racial difference (a 'right' the BNP no doubt cherish).

sorry jk. you seem to be saying that people who think they are different from person X because of different experiences of descrimination are racists?

i am simply - strongly but tentatively disagreeing with that. i am pretty sure it's not unethical, i also don't know if it's politically necessary.

anwyay i'm off to ti, i can post what i like there tongue

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Steven.
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Jun 7 2007 11:07
lem wrote:
sorry jk. you seem to be saying that people who think they are different from person X because of different experiences of descrimination are racists?

No, he didn't say anything even remotely approaching that.

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 7 2007 11:10
lem wrote:
sorry jk. you seem to be saying that people who think they are different from person X because of different experiences of descrimination are racists?

wall

i said nothing of the sort lem, not even close

lem
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Jun 7 2007 11:24

sorry sad

eta: what about people who think they are different to person X becaus of their culture? out of interest. i think such is ethically sound and politically ok.

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 28 2007 15:05

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6250414.stm

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The US Supreme Court has narrowly ruled that the race of a child cannot be used to determine where he or she will be sent to school.

now i read that and thought, well yeah, racial allocation is fucked up. but it turns out they've struck down an affirmative action program and 'progressives' are up in arms. muppets.

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thugarchist
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Jun 28 2007 15:39
Joseph K. wrote:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6250414.stm
Quote:
The US Supreme Court has narrowly ruled that the race of a child cannot be used to determine where he or she will be sent to school.

now i read that and thought, well yeah, racial allocation is fucked up. but it turns out they've struck down an affirmative action program and 'progressives' are up in arms. muppets.

Well... I grew up in a part of the US where bussing was federally ordered and created some of the most visible racist backlash against it. Most people think the worst of the fight was over in the 70's but then when I was in highschool the kids bussed in from matapan got their bus almost flipped over and a fake bomb planted on it over a week long confrontation. Bussing was a well-intentioned fucking mess that tried to force equal access to public education while public housing in southy remained segregated illegally in Southy until the early 90's. Much better integration progrms across the US based on economics rather than race have worked when applied. Placing public subsidized housing within a variety of neighborhoods throughout a geographic are tends to be the best of both worlds without placing added economic burdens by creating new integrated ghettos.

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Nate
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Jun 29 2007 21:07
daniel wrote:
I can only have an opinion on capitalism is I've read Das Kapital?

That is correct.

Joseph K. wrote:
where multiculturalists and fascists agree [is that] different ethnicities are basically different and should be treated differently

Joseph, you still have to show why this isn't a trivial agreement, like how fascists and anarchists (except Flint) all breathe oxygen. I mean, from your comment above you seem to be happy about the US supreme court ruling (right?), which means you agree with much of the right in the US. That doesn't automatically make you wrong (though I do think you're wrong on this).

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 29 2007 21:42

treating people differently according to race is a staple of fascist (in its contemporary forms) and multiculturalist (as in the state policy i have described) ideologies, albeit from opposite sides of the coin so to speak. breathing oxygen is not a component of fascist or anarchist ideology, so it's non-trivial.

the fact i may be 'agreeing' with the right (i.e. conservative Republicans) perturbs me no more than if i'm agreeing with the left (i.e. liberal Democrats), though i suspect my reasoning may be different to either party (those conservative judges may well want to keep their kiddies schools white for all i know).