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What's something you don't understand about radical politics but want to know more about?

Submitted by kore in AskRaddle

Instead of waiting until someone says something oppressive and then tearing them apart (which sometimes they do deserve) I thought I would give those people an opportunity to ask about a certain aspect of radical politics or talk about whether a view they hold is actually contributing to further oppression.

This post is just an attempt to facilitate constructive dialogue between people that want to know about a certain topic in radical politics (be it feminism, antiracism, intersectionality) and those that can point them in the right direction.

To be clear, as long as everyone is respectful and posting out of genuine curiosity and desire for self-improvement, you can ask anything you want. Questions like "what's wrong with capitalism" are just as welcome as "why is intersectionality important" or "What are the limits of Marxist class analysis in a post-industrial society"

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3

ArbitraryHuman wrote

I’ve never been able to ascertain what intersectionality is in the context of radical politics. Granted, I’ve never actually wondered about the term until now—let alone looked it up—but at this point I have seen it used in enough discussions that I should really know what it means.

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this_one wrote

Intersectionality is the idea that where identities/axes of oppression intersect are unique experiences/forms of oppression.

For example, most people of colour in a society will have many shared experiences. Most women will also have many shared experiences. Most women of colour will have many shared experiences that are either uncommon or not at all present for just "people of colour" or "women".

It's also the idea that there's not a single 'scale' of oppression. That is to say, a bi man's experiences aren't comparable (or aren't worth comparing) to an Indigenous man's experiences. A queer, Deaf, poor woman shouldn't be said to be 'worse off' than a trans woman. Her queerness, Deafness and class don't each add +10 Oppression, because all those identities experience different kinds of oppression.

Something like this score is really, really, really awful and misses the point not only because it fails to specify in what society/culture it's talking about (different groups will have different experiences in different places!), nor only because it's wrong and offensive in many ways (although it really really is), but also because it places everyone on a single scale. Goodness, that image is so awful, but it's a good example of what not to do.

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kore wrote

my understanding which is pretty basic is that oppression of PoC, queer people, women, the poor, just to name a few, is all tied to capitalism and the state. (white heteropatriarchy if you will). So it's misguided to think that one can end racism or sexism or homophobia alone without ending the others because they are all results of the same institutions. Again, pretty basic but I always thought this was a pretty easy way of understanding.

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[deleted] wrote

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kore wrote

Um, not necessarily. Maybe I should be more general and say that if there are a lot of oppressed groups then it's likely that the same or similar structures have a hand in the oppression of all of them.

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[deleted] wrote

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kore wrote

I don't think the word "arseholes" covers the degree of systemic oppression that is perpetrated by white cis heteropatriarchy. It's true that in other parts of the world there are other forces that oppress, like islamophobia for example (put a different way it's religious supremacy).

I also really need to add to my general statement that before the category "white" existed, PoC as a category did not exist. White supremacy created that category. So in a sense, yes, there was no oppression of PoC before white supremacy. Similar line of reasoning applies to the other groups. Though they're more difficult to trace historically.

You're right that noone is genetically predisposed to be any worse than anyone else is. Genetic essentialism is very close to racial discrimination. Sure, if a dutch person was raised in a Black African family they may not be a "self-righteous prick", and to the people of the community they could just be considered another member. However, if they came to the U.S. or Europe or something they would be treated very differently than the family that raised them.

It's all about history. You can't consider these issues in a vacuum.

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selver wrote (edited )

dialectics / dialectical materialism

seems like nonsense to me

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mofongo wrote

Unless you're willing to read Hegel, and Marx and Engels' influence from it, it's not really necessary.

It may get you a better idea of Marx's thought process in his writings but it's not needed to understand them. And it's specially unnecessary when discussing the communist movement.

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Dumai wrote

Unless you're willing to read Hegel

for selver's benefit let me state this in no uncertain terms

you ARE NOT willing to read hegel

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Dumai wrote

materialism is equally as metaphysical as idealism and dialectics are phallogocentric

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ETERNAL_PRISONER wrote

"Phallogocentric"?!! Just because a theory doesn't display gender issues as the main force to change nature, it doesn't make it automatically "phallogocentric". But maybe I'm just a backward "brocialist"...

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Dumai wrote

a metaphysical system of binary oppositions, which is what drives dialectical synthesis no matter how much marxists try to downplay that fact, will always privilege the masculine in western culture

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ETERNAL_PRISONER wrote

This is interesting, because I understand marxism differently. I understand marxism as the abolition of gender.

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Dumai wrote

oh i ain't denying marxism has made some very valuable contributions to feminism, i just feel like its metaphysical underpinnings betray some serious limitations on this subject

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ETERNAL_PRISONER wrote

If that's the case, you should have no reason to brand the whole theory with obscure neo-freudian terms.

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Dumai wrote

actually phallogocentricism pretty neatly describes the problem with most metaphysical schools of thought regarding gender, marxism included

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raddler wrote

I do not understand how everyone seems willing to speak of and for radical action, yet those whom speak the most dont really take any action beyond little inconsiquentional thing such as shoplifiting and piracy. It makes me wonder, are so called radicals really real radicals?

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mofongo wrote

I say because individual action is meaningless and inconsiquentional. Lasting success can only be achieve by a group of individuals.

More personally, in too old to go around trying to get rad cred. I have a family to maintain and a job to keep. Over here things can be very Draconian, we're requested a crime record for everything and traffic ticket gets you an automatic travel ban. So unless things really require it, I wouldn't risk it. And the people calling for action usually have a very strict no vandalism rule, so protests are mostly walking down a route and nothing more.