The role of specific identities – Peter Drucker

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Ecosocialist School 2013 The crisis and intersecting identities, national and religious Peter, 1 December

Introduction Introducing the reporter: his national, ethnic and sexual identities

Place of the report in the session: closely linked to earlier reports (crisis, working class, women, imperialism) and later reports (strategy in different regions) Central question: relationship between class-consciousness and other identities

(Multiple) crises and people’s impulse to take refuge in (pre-existing) identities; forms of resistance and forms of reaction

Central principles: self-organization and self-emancipation

Motto of the report: citation from Lenin

Difficulties of the report: enormous diversity of religious, national, ethnic and sexual identities — and of the participants here!

Objective analysis and lived experience, collective and individual: for the discussion

Three interlinked parts: intersectionality; nationalism/ethnicity; religion

Part 1. Intersectionality

Conceptual tool developed by feminists of colour

Multiple (double, triple) oppressions

Oppressions are not additive — they constitute one another (and so do dominations)

Every class identity or national identity is always, intrinsically gendered and sexual

Brenner’s Marxist adaptation: capitalist restructuring and relative privilege

Sexual oppression and intersectionality

Women’s oppression and LGBT oppression: a global struggle (Nadia)

Gay identity and homonormativity in imperialist countries: dual significance of same-sex marriage

Transgender, MSMs, class and imperialism

International queer resistance?

Towards an inclusive, working-class-led, internationalist rainbow of movements

Autonomy and unity: a dialectical relationship in the formation of class-consciousness

Part 2. Nations and ethnicity

What’s at stake politically

National liberation and anti-capitalist revolution in the 20th century: Yugoslavia, China, Cuba, Vietnam, Nicaragua

Contemporary national struggles: Kashmir, Mindanao…

… and workers’ movements fragmented by national conflict

Nationalism and internationalism: a contradiction of capitalism

Capitalist classes need national markets and a national state

At the same time, capital needs to expand beyond national markets

Limits of Marx and Engels’ understanding in the Communist Manifesto

A national working class? Labour market segmentation today

Rules of thumb for our positions on national conflicts

Abstract internationalism is not enough

Oppressor nations and oppressed nations

The right of self-determination — even for ethnic groups that are not ‘nations’

Indigenous struggles: sovereignty and autonomy

In Latin America: from the Comintern (Mariateguí) to Nicaragua and 1992

Chiapas, Bolivia, Ecuador: national sovereignty and indigenous autonomy

Internationalism and identities: towards a new internationalist culture

Part 3. Religion

Basics of Marxist approach to religion (Achcar)

Religion as alienation, and oldest form of ideology

Ideology of gender and sexual roles — almost always of women’s subordination

Tension in Marxist tradition between ‘withering away’ and anti-religious struggle

Intersection between religion, colonialism and racism — Muslims as oppressed minority (in Europe!)

Varieties of religious politics

Religion is never politically monolithic

From liberation theology in e.g. Brazil and Nicaragua (Löwy Notebook) …

… to Saudi fundamentalism (Achcar’s Theses)

Many complex intermediate cases (e.g. Iran and Hizbullah)

Abortion, same-sex sexualities and Catholicism (under a new pope)

Armed globalization (see Alex’s report on imperialism), ‘war on terror’ and the Islamic world

Alliance of fundamentalisms: US Protestant, Israeli Jewish, Indian Hindu — and Saudi Muslim

‘Anti-Crusader’ Islamic fundamentalism / Islamophobia: ‘clash of barbarisms’

Muslim immigrants in Europe — at the heart of European working classes

The explosive issue of the Islamic headscarf

LGBTs in Islamic countries: a special case (similarities and differences between Arab region, South Asia, Indonesia)

Age-old Mediterranean tradition: beyond gay and straight?

Imperialism as champion of women and LGBTs? Afghanistan and Iraq

Hybrid identities, combined struggles: Lebanon and Palestine

Conclusion: the workers’ party as a tribune of all the oppressed (Lenin)

Questions for discussion:

1. In major national struggles in your part of the world, is independence the central demand? Autonomy? Something else? Why?

2. Do women’s and sexual liberation in your country require a direct confrontation with religion? With religious fundamentalism? Or more subtle tactics in dealing with believers? If so, what tactics?

3. To what extent is working-class struggle directly central to an anti-capitalist strategy in your country? To what extent are other axes key? How are class and other axes linked?

Reading Materials

PDF [1]

Further readings