Why the anarchist movement needs privilege analysis
It’s pretty popular nowadays for radicals to dismiss analysis and arguments based around privilege. Especially popular in the wild forests of the non-tumblr internet, critiques often mix up ‘privilege use in theory’ with ‘my personal experience of how privilege is used in practice’.
Popular critiques are to attack:
- the more abstract theory of privilege
e.g. “psssh fuck identity politics”
- how privilege theory is inherently middle-class/reformist
e.g. “it takes the focus away from class struggle”
e.g. “it stifles militant action”
- how privilege used in practice
e.g. “it’s just used to stifle points of view you don’t want to hear”
- the effectiveness of privilege as a tool
e.g. “it’s demoralising and makes people feel guilty and apathetic”
e.g. “it over-individualises everything and doesn’t focus enough on structures of oppression”
I’ve broken my response down into five separate posts and one P.S.:
You need the theory: the class struggle must be intersectional: why privilege is a key item in the class struggle toolkit.
Militancy: why privilege isn’t a toothless tool: the strategy of balancing anti-oppression thoughts with militant action.
The irrational fear of “check your privilege”: how ‘the privilege card’ only tends to shut down obnoxious dicks, and how to deal with being called-out.
Privilege talk just makes people feel guilty, right?: a short post bcs that’s obv bollocks.
“The real problem is too much talk about how racist I am”: on blaming privilege-as-a-tool on everything ever, and on a lack of strategy.
The limits of privilege as a tool (some much-needed caveats): when privilege is useful as a tool, and when it tends to fall down.
Image above from Suzi X: her Flickr and blog - check out her other work, it’s great!