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[personal profile] yeloson
I see a lot of folks use the argument that all forms of oppression are are really subsets and tools of classism...yet the regularity with which these same people show ignorance, and in fact, perpetuate racism, sexism, heterosupremacy, is a pretty good sign that they're not educated on any of these things well enough to talk about how they intersect with classism at all.

It's rather like wanting to fight terrorism and refusing to talk about violent extremist politics.

Tim Wise on the racism of liberals:

Perhaps the most common way in which folks on the left sometimes perpetuate racism is by a vulgar form of class reductionism, in which they advance the notion that racism is a secondary issue to the class system, and that what leftists and radicals should be doing is spending more time focusing on the fight for dramatic and transformative economic change (whether reformist or revolutionary), rather than engaging in what they derisively term “identity politics.” The problem, say these voices, are corporations, the rich, the elite, etc., and to get sidetracked into a discussion of white supremacy is to ignore this fact and weaken the movement for radical change.


To ignore the unique deprivations of racism (as with sexism, heterosexism, ableism, etc) so as to forward a white-friendly class analysis is inherently marginalizing to the lived experience of black and brown folks in the United States. And what’s more, to ignore racism is to actually weaken the struggle for class unity and economic transformation. Research on this matter is crystal clear: it is in large measure due to racism — and the desire of working class whites to maintain a sense of superiority over workers of color, as a “psychological wage” when real wages and benefits have proven inadequate — that has divided the working class. It is this holding onto the status conferred by whiteness, as a form of “alternate property” (to paraphrase UCLA Law Professor, Cheryl Harris), which has undermined the ability of white and of-color working people to engage in solidarity across racial lines. Unless we discuss the way in which racism and racial inequity weakens our bonds of attachment, we will never be able to forward a truly progressive, let alone radical politics.

(emphasis mine, Easy Reader bolding for you White Privilege Selective Readers out there)

I mean, for folks who are all about classism and labor, you'd think they'd go recruit and organize amongst produce pickers- after all, a lot of history in labor organizing and class issues revolves around these -same- people.

You might think you'd be up in arms about anarchist groups who claim to support the residents of Oakland against police violence - yet destroyed several small community owned businesses- the same ones that could have become supporters and locations for organization, AND then perpetuated the myth of black violence to the nation at the same time.

You might think folks promoting Class as a Grand Unified Theory of oppression would be the first out to organize gang members, and youth, groups quickly taken in to the penal system, working for less than living wages, and permanently shunted out of many jobs as people who could profit the most by destroying classism... Oh wait, you're busy talking about how violent the people who write about racism are.

That's not even getting into sexism, heterosupremacy, etc.

But it's always interesting to hear how these grand unified theories never involve having to give up their own privilege in the process.

Funny that.


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November 2012


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