Some more information, re: The Revolutionary Communist Alliance
Further discussion between TRCA representatives and TLA:
My thoughts at the time:
Marxist Canada's thoughts: Dispatch
~~ Some time later ~~
TRCA announces new policy to exclude fascists:
Absolutely. Spending time among these people you come to understand that they do not care for Marxism/anarchism/etc. or even the international working class in the slightest except on a very superficial level (role playing as "revolutionaries" with historical communist symbolism and so on) and instead of anti-capitalism they put their faith in social democrats (i.e. social fascists, those who use corporatist models to placate working people), while using "the left" as a means to further their venom of intersectionality, a toxic anti-human ideology which legitimizes nonsense abstractions such as "race," creating fantasy divisions among human beings.
Yes, I understand that role playing is a big part of this game, but it goes beyond that. This is a severe problem even offline and while I have no idea what you have been or are involved with offline, you must know of the damage this mind trash has caused to the global anti-capitalist movement over the past few decades.
Edit: I think an extension is a good idea considering the slow pace so I'm in favor
I haven't heard of the term 'social fascism' before, but I see it was coined by the Comintern to refer to social-democrats who were holding back revolution. Personally I don't think it is very helpful to use the label 'fascism' in a pejorative manner. I think we should be careful to only apply the term to proper fascists. Of course, how we define fascism is highly debated, but I go by this definition:
"Fascism is a genus of political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist ultra-nationalism."
I do find social-democrats posing as anarchists to be rather annoying... these facebook anarchists who one moment are hardline revolutionaries and the next moment are bowing down before Corbyn, Sanders, and other messiahs of reformed capitalism. Fortunately these types seem to be restricted to the internet, in my experience.
Regarding intersectionality, you seem to have got things back-to-front. Intersectionalism doesn't create divides. It is the historical propagation of social hierarchies, reinforced by ruling classes as a means of dividing-and-conquering, that created these false divisions of race, gender, sexuality and so on. Our society conditions us to internalise these divisions and participate in the systematic domination, violent or otherwise, that holds together the State and its economy. Intersectionality aims to confront these forms of domination and liberate us from false divisions - affirming the unity of the human condition. It is not enough (as I think you are implying) to say that these divisions do not exist and then ignore them, because oppression and hierarchy do not disappear when you close your eyes to them. The only way to overcome these divisions is precisely to confront and destroy the forms of domination that create them: patriarchy, white supremacy, hetero-normativity, and so on. However, in liberal spheres, these forms of domination become the basis for identities that ignore the class divide in capitalist society. Hence people believe it is some victory for progress to have a woman sitting in No.10 or the White House, overseeing capitalist exploitation and imperialist devastation, simply because this defies the sexist norm. The response to this issue was the theory of intersectionalism.
"Intersectionality offers us a lens through which to view race, class, gender, sexuality, etc. as mutually-constituting processes (that is, these categories do not exist independently from one another; rather, they mutually reinforce one another) and social relations that materially play out in people's everyday lives in complex ways. Rather than distinct categories, intersectionality theorizes social positions as overlapping, complex, interacting, intersecting, and often contradictory configurations."
It is no good us overthrowing capitalism and so destroying the class divide if part of the human race will continue to be identified as women and subject to discrimination and violence on this basis. Equally, it is no good overthrowing patriarchy, if humanity is to continue to be divided into property-owning people exploiting those who have nothing to sell but their labour. Or, more to the point, because these systems of domination are interdependent, overlapping, mutually reinforcing, capitalism cannot be overthrown without also destroying patriarchy, and vice versa.
There are plenty of important critiques of intersectionalism, for example anarchists would note:
"a glaring omission in nearly everything ever written in intersectional theories: the state. We don't exist in a society of political equals, but in a complex system of domination where some are governed and controlled and ruled in institutional processes that anarchists describe as the state."
But such omissions can be corrected, rather than throwing the whole theoretical tool out of the window. Ultimately, intersectionalism is one important tool in opposing the very things you accuse it of, i.e. legitimizing toxic and anti-human abstractions which divide human from human.
"Oppressive and exploitative institutions and structures are tightly woven together and hold one another up. Highlighting their intersections - their seams - gives us useful angles from which to tear them down and construct more liberatory, more desirable, and more sustainable relations with which to begin fashioning our futures."
I have several years experience in both the anarchist "activist" scene and in class-struggle anarchist organisations, and I have found this conceptual tool of intersectionality most helpful in all cases. I have indeed seen divisions caused by transphobia and casual sexism, but in all cases we have come out stronger and more able to fight by carefully and swiftly responding to such reactionary behaviour.
Quotes from: "Insurrection at the Intersection", by J. Rogue and Abbey Volcano
In her essay, "Anarcha-Feminism and the Newer 'Woman Question' ", Sally Darity wrote:
"Anarcha-feminism - or perhaps it is a queer anarcha-feminism - is not identity politics as long as its aim is to destroy the gender categories rather than perpetuate them. I argue that we can center the above principles, and oppose gender oppression without getting caught up in boundaries of identity. The point is to oppose and acknowledge the power structures and their very real effects, but not create or reinforce our identities around our oppressions."
I have a feeling that your animosity towards intersectionality comes from experiencing liberal variations which do in fact "reinforce our identities around our oppressions" and which often erase class-struggle. However, anarcha-feminists have led the way in adapting intersectional theories to the anarchist project of destroying all hierarchy. This actually parallels the way in which socialist anti-capitalist theories (which in old times mostly fetishized the worker) were taken up by anarchists but adapted such that the aim - in the reality of the movement, not just the theories of academics - sharpened to that of proletarians negating their existence as such, creating a society without class - communism - in the very process of revolution, rather than creating a hierarchy legitimized by objectified class identity ('proletarian dictatorship'). *hot take
I go by the definition according to the works of Giovanni Gentile and so on, that is to say it is a corporatist economic model of "class collaboration" which is exactly what social democrats are.
Yes exactly, and it is the source of this propagation (i.e. elites in the form of lords, capitalists and so on) that must be fought. The divisions are illusory, and thinking of one another in terms of nonsense groups based on pure abstraction is bowing to these fabricated realities which is what these intersectionalist sabateurs do.
It affirms that there exist "white people" and "black people" and so on among an endless array of pseudo-scientific tripe fed to us for centuries.
I am not ignoring them because these divisions do not exist. I am ignoring their false reality. I am ignoring their division. I acknowledge that people are discriminated but I direct my fight towards the source of this discrimination which is capitalist civilization itself and not elements of capitalist civilization which perpetuate these things. I do not seek that elements of capitalist civilization be "fixed" like these wreckers.
Yes, exactly. And where do these things come from ? They did not spontaneously arise. Believing in them, for example using divisive fantasy terms like "people of color" to identify people continues capitalist subversion.
Intersectionalism has literally nothing to do with class consciousness. Its modern form was created by known liberal academic Kimberlé Crenshaw who has nothing to do with Marxist, anarchist or any such movements.
Its lens amplifies these things by dividing people according to fantasy realities created by elites, reinforcing theses structures.
And here you have raised the absolute poison of intersectionality. It equalizes these things with capitalism, placing them on the same level as "equally bad" and it has always been the intention that it diverts our attention away from the actual source of these problems by focusing on symptoms as equal to the disease rather than the disease itself.
No, it just diverts our attention away from the disease to symptoms, and in the process reinforcing the symptoms by recognizing fantasy as real.
We have different experiences then. Where is anarchism and Marxism today though really ? It's a joke and it's largely because of these who are finishing the jobs of Trotsky and the CIA of subverting the global anti-capitalist movement by turning their backs on unions, actual working people, to focus on fantasies created to enslave us.
Nevertheless, I appreciate you taking the time to respond politely to me. Much less can be said about most intersectionalist sabateurs over the years.
Okay, so you are going all in for class-reductionism.
Socially constructed or not, these divisions are the reality of our present condition. Power creates boundaries, stratum, which in turn establish power-differentials. Challenging these forms of power does involve acknowledging the real effects of power, acknowledging the boundaries imposed on us and the domination experienced, but only in order to destroy (not affirm) these boundaries by overcoming the powers that create them.
A force of domination, a system of oppression, is not a thing-in-itself that can be measured and weighed up against others like a prize horse. In that sense my use of the word "equally" had unintended connotations. I doesn't make sense to me to argue that capitalist exploitation is either 'equal to', 'greater than', or 'lesser than' white supremacy as an system of oppression, for example. It's not something to be quantified, and in any case these two examples cannot be isolated from one another for any such comparison.
If I understand correctly, your line of reasoning is that capitalism is the cause (disease), while other forms of domination are the effects (symptoms). In other words, you consider patriarchy, white supremacy, etc., as causally dependent on the capitalist economic system. (If I am misunderstanding your view, please correct me; I don't wish to argue against strawmen.) By any serious historical or sociological analysis, this position is factually incorrect. It depends on de-historicizing these forms of domination and raising an abstraction of capitalism above our real experience of it. The fact that patriarchy as a system of oppression pre-dates capitalism by millenia in most societies plainly refutes any causal dependence of the former on the latter. The forms of domination that intersectionalism deals with cannot be neatly circumscribed by particular political-economic arrangements. But that is not to say they are independent of each other; as described above, intersectionalism theorizes various forms of domination as interdependent and mutually-constituting.
I would like to ask, in good faith: if you recognize patriarchy and white supremacy, for example, as real forms of oppression, how do you think we can overcome this oppression, if not by fighting against it directly? You say that we should focus on fighting "capitalist civilization" and not "elements" of capitalism, but isn't union organising, for example, just as much confronting an "element" of capitalism (i.e. low wages, poor working conditions, etc.)? If we take on class struggle without confronting sexism in our social relations, how can we prevent our struggle from merely reproducing patriarchy in whatever social arrangements our struggle generates? I need more concrete detail to properly understand your view.
Unfortunately, I agree that anarchism is not much of a force to reckon with these days, but its hasn't been since the counter-revolutions of the nineteen-thirties. There isn't really an 'anarchist movement' to speak of in my country - but there are concentrations of anarchists in a few towns and cities where we are putting our ideas into practice.
Every single time... No, I cannot be reductive from things that do not exist.
I acknowledge that these manufactured fantasies create realities of discrimination. I do not acknowledge the fantasy as real and refuse to regard another human being as other. If someone is being discriminated against, that is an injustice that must be corrected, but not by accepting the venom fed to us as "empowering."
The exploitative systems of human beings, i.e. slavery, feudalism, capitalism, are the basis for all other kinds of discrimination. Racism, homophobia, etc. are all manifestations of elite power to subvert attention and divide human beings from one another, away from those parasites in high places. In this manner, discrimination is an effect of it, not unimportant/insignificant, but the many heads of the same hydra.
Yes and no. Whether lords or capitalists, the masters of systems of exploitation of human beings (whether by slavery, feudalism, or capitalism) are the cause of these things. Patriarchy did not emerge from some Sumerian slave and neither did racism or homophobia emerge from the mind of some Roman plebeian.
Calling capitalism an abstraction is extremely dangerous. It is merely the name for the mode in which we live yet in modern times nothing is real any more (of course except fantasies like "race"). I am not de-historicizing forms of domination. They did not emerge from anyone but those masters above us and this has always been the case. They have always been tools of the exploitative system to secure itself and not equal phenomena.
Of course it pre-dates capitalism. What are you arguing here ? It sounds like a strawman as you kindly wanted to avoid.
They are mutually-constituting as phenomena of exploitative systems and not equal to the systems themselves as they are forever mutating like a virus to suit the needs of the parasitic class and thus can never be eradicated without destroying their perpetuating source.
This is a good question. I believe it is important to throw off the shackles of these abstract fantasies that have enslaved us for millennia and recognize ourselves as one people of one world whose fight is the same. We must recognize that ultimately all of these realities of discrimination are fabricated aspects of the system and direct our fight against those who benefit from our exploitation, those who weave the situations of division to distract us from their exploitation of us. If we say I am a black man or Asian man or whatever and am discriminated against because of this "reality" rather than "I am discriminated against due to an absurdity fabricated by parasites" we accept these fantasies as real rather than see them for what they are and perpetuate the very thing we believe ourselves to be fighting. Regarding union organizing, yes this has always been legitimate because it focuses on the source of exploitation and does not divert attention away from it unlike intersectionalists who appear in my experience to care very little about class consciousness and concern themselves with abstract identity nonsense. We fight these things by not accepting them as legitimate and moving on as one people with one vision and purpose rather than endlessly concerning ourselves about elusive abstractions, invisible phantoms.
And it isn't helped by this disease that has completely castrated us, willingly swallowed and spread throughout the body of the global anti-capitalist movement.
Please don’t take this seriously.
Humanity UndergroundThere is a need for a specific intervention in said "identity" struggles because they are 1/ revolutionary per se 2/your analysis doesn't totally work within what we know of history. 3/ class exploitation doesn't function in an unical way.
1/ The recognition of a specific oppression due to an (even if only socially constructed) "identity" (I put quotemarks here because this definition or even the importance of identity is subject to discussion) aspect has led to revolutionary struggles: see the Rojava kurds. Öcalan has begun as a kind of nationalist, and later, by reading Bookchin apparently, diverged toward a more internationalist structure, where the specific feminist action has permitted what wasn't possible before, by not seperating struggles, but recognizing each of them and aggregating them in the construction of an alternative. I don't think you could says it has anything to do with soc-dems, even if talking about relatively progressive austromarxists. It means intersectionality is not a poison (a venom, as you said), if you use it to fuel the anticapitalist struggle. The conscience of several oppressions with specific responses is the first step toward real anticapitalism imo, in that it suppress the whole confusion around big pharma or bank or so and so conspiracies to replace it by a conscience of social forces at work competing, used by capitalism to further its reign.
2/ In free from systemic (in what you recognize for systems), supposed enlighted, enclaves, there were still several oppressions. I don't know if you already read/agreed with Bourdieu, but this is a good read to understand some parts of that. I know that when I was younger I couldn't stand to listen to his arguments because I had non *intent* to oppress people and found this counterproductive to feel guilt of these while I was actively trying to organize people. Nevertheless, I was and am daily living from the exploitation of others, within numerous oppressive systems, the capitalist one perpetuating/abolishing several others per interest, what doesn't mean we can exempt ourselves from fighting them specifically. That wouldn't go without making monumental errors in the process, like oppressing women, minorities, 3rd world, all that while struggling ourselves against capitalism and by doing it not only alienating them, but alienating them for the capitalist struggle. For example we have had anarchists antisemites, anarchists eugenists, anarchists racists, even in isolated communities functioning outside of what you stated as systems. See that the Communards deported in Kanaky were so racists against Kanak people that they failed to think to make them part of their utopian system, fighting them, when these Kanak people themselves where already almost organized in autonomous anarchist communes! We have to thank Louise Michel for having shown a better side of "constituted" anarchism and anticapitalism to them!
3/ Class exploitation. In Marxian thought, usually, you'd have to free worker from the bourgeoisie exploitation. The worker can sell his workforce only because he is exploiting his wife/daughters/female relatives doing the domestic chores and housework, so relies himself on exploiting women. How can you fight capitalism without specifically having to address this exploitation, that lies upon the fact women are socially construct as free labourers? Without possibility of unions? The sex strike was already an answer provided by the Greeks against this exploitation that capitalism took to a new level and that was, per se, based on some form of identities! It would have had the same use in the 19th century's capitalist era as well as in today's capitalist society! Because even if household has been largely externalized in first world countries, the poorest couples still function that way. The answer is specific! and doesn't entirely relies on capitalism, but also on patriarchy.
One last thing. How do you feel about Daniel Guérin?
hi I want to know how to declare war
These introductions are fairly good:
Any comments on the proposal?
I also support the proposal.
"It is often said that Anarchists live in a world of dreams to come, and do not see the things which happen today. We do see them only too well, and in their true colours, and that is what makes us carry the hatchet into the forest of prejudice that besets us."
— Peter Kropotkin, ‘Anarchism: Its Philosophy and Ideal’
Since no disagreement has been expressed, I've put the proposal up for voting. Please have your say, as an equal among equals. If a consensus is affirmed after two days, the changes will come into effect.
Anarchoearthlings and Tolstoyan Commune
An interesting read. Taking off from this, what would be your top five anarchist (or other libertarian socialist) books or essays?
I can’t rank them, but I have a collection of emma goldman I really enjoy, my favorites being on patriotism, the russian revolution, roosevelt, war, and the meaning of anarchism