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Do anarchists find value in the concept of 'intersectionality'?

+2 votes
At first glance it made sense from an anarchist point of view: the more each of our struggles can blend and merge with each other, the better chance we have at creating dangerous alliances and situations.

But then I noticed people using it to almost to reduce the experiences of individuals into their identities, and then say that those identities, which apparently have fixed singular goals, simply need to respect each others' fixed singular goals and unite together. It's hard for me to describe it so I'm just going to link to this image which I think illustrates my point: http://sarahgetscritical.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/tumblr_meumt5qann1qg89g9o1_500.jpg .

What do you all think?
asked Nov 1, 2013 by flip (3,980 points)

1 Answer

+4 votes
Post-structuralism was supposed to critique Grand Narratives like The Enlightenment Project by pointing out the inherent (and previously unquestioned) tendencies toward domination and exploitation -- regardless of whether or not they were directly connected with the classical Marxist fetish with class struggle -- but then turned into a post-modernist interrogation of Meaning, to which the answer was nothing means anything, or rather everything can mean anything depending on the perspective of the Gazer. Likewise, it seems that Intersectionality began as a recognition that oppression doesn't always look the same for all people who are oppressed, and its partisans sought to find ways that principled solidarity could be meaningful without recourse to patronizing attitudes, charity, and tokenizing, all the while finding ways that people can recognize the oppression of others as real and not necessarily victimizing. Only now it appears that when people say "intersectionality" they're using it as an organizational strategy -- more specifically, a kind of popular front (cross-class alliances to combat some mythical "greater enemy"). In other words, it seems that removing post-structuralism and intersectionality from their origins in (rigorous?) academic analysis and popularizing them through (usually Marxist) professional social justice activists has resulted in a dumbing-down of the concepts as they became part of an updated leftist mechanism to make their reformist plans more palatable (at least in the short term).
answered Nov 1, 2013 by lawrence (13,560 points)