The role of specific identities – Peter Drucker
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?
- Lenin, "The discussion on self-determination summed up" Collected Works Volume 22, pp.355-356
- Johanna Brenner, "Intersectionality from a Marxist Perspective" From: Women and the Politics of Class
Monthly Review Press,New York 2000
- Peter Drucker, Self-organization, self-emancipation and identity: What can we learn from indigenous peoples, blacks and lesbigays?
- K. Marx, excerpts from Chapter II From: The Communist Manifesto, 1848
- Michael Löwy, Chapter 5 from 'Fatherland or Mother Earth'
- Gilbert Achcar, Marxists and Religion - yesterday and today
- Peter Drucker, Arab sexualities
- Fourth International, "Excerpts of the resolution Role and Tasks of the Fourth International" , 2010 World Congress
- Fourth International, On Lesbian/Gay Liberation