“What we’ve written has always been for the purpose of promoting our views on class struggle anarchism. It’s not about intellectual grandstanding, let alone any form of ‘right on’ point scoring!”
“The kind of anarchism we want is one that looks outwards and draws our class into being involved with it. The question that has to be asked is this – is there anything in the anarchist movement as it stands that will attract an ordinary working class punter from the estates? As things stand at the moment, it has to be said that the way the anarchist movement currently presents itself is not going to have people in our class flocking in their droves to join it.
There are a number of factors that could explain this. One is the kind of language used in a lot of anarchist publications which assumes a certain level of prior understanding of terminology and concepts. It’s not that what is being written or said is wrong – it’s that to all intents and purposes, it appears to be directed at other activists. Again there’s nothing wrong with that – there are conversations we need to have with each other as activists. However, if we want to achieve the radical change we seek, we have to be open and accessible and to be able to explain our concepts and analysis without resorting to complicated jargon.
“Intersectionality and privilege theory are useful analytical tools that when applied properly, explain the structure of the oppressive systems we’re battling against. They’re like any tool – they have to be used properly to get the right outcome. A hammer in the right hands is an incredibly useful tool – in the wrong hands it can do a heck of a lot of damage! The problems arise when intersectionality and privilege theory are appropriated by liberal elements who have more or less
given up on attempting any form of radical systemic change and who implicitly or explicitly accept things as they are and effectively end up asking people to be nicer to each other.
The result of this is that privilege theory ends up creating a hierarchy of oppression where those who are deemed to be less oppressed are expected to allow those who are more oppressed to have more of a say, not because those who are more oppressed might have some useful insights into the power structures that are screwing them but simply in order to be nice to them. This is when intersectionality and privilege theory end up as a self-defeating, patronising form of identity politics that does nothing to bring about change and effectively puts people in a box they can’t move out of.
That is down to the middle class influence in radical and anarchist circles. Sure we understand that a fair number of young middle class people are struggling to get on the property ladder and that their prospects may well not be as good as their parents. However, many still have the advantage of knowing that if the system cannot be overthrown, they will still manage to get by and enjoy a much better life than many working class people who know they’re being thrown under the bus. Without wanting to sound too harsh, you could be forgiven for thinking that for
many middle class activists, it’s all a bit of a game. For working class people and communities, it’s increasingly about survival. That’s why we have to have our voice in anarchism.