- Date published:
12:45 pm, November 27th, 2021 - 79 comments
Categories: class, discrimination, identity, patriarchy - Tags: axes of oppression, identity politics, Jane Clare Jones, solidarity politics
I tweeted the other day to someone about the three axes of class oppression vs discrimination. Might as well put the explanations here.
materialist class analysis: three axes of oppression are sex, socioeconomic class, race. This is distinct from discrimination which affects a wider set of groups.
— weka (@wekatweets) November 20, 2021
that oppression is material at base, and that there are more powerful interests holding it in place.
Thus why techno-corporate power is so happy with rainbow washing and identity politics. There is no demand for material structural restitution for exploitation.
— Dr. Jane Clare Jones (@janeclarejones) July 8, 2020
So, little summary of what I said at the beginning of the panel on Female Class Politics which we gave at FiLiA. Structural oppression is a class based relation between a dominant class and a subjugated class through which the dominant class extracts labour, or access to bodies, or both, from the subjugated class. That is, structural oppression is a class based relation of material extraction, through which the dominant class profits from the oppression of the subjugated class.
Therefore, not all forms of discrimination, or disadvantage, are instances of structural oppression. This is not to say that people do not suffer, or have their life choices limited, by forms of discrimination or disadvantage that are not structural oppression.
It is to say, however, that there is not a dominant class profiting from that disadvantage, and who has political interests in maintaining the oppression of the subjugated class.
There are three main axes of structural oppression – socio-economic class, sex and race. One of the things that it most notable about wokeist bullshit is the way they spend most of their time focussed on alleged oppression which are not in fact oppressions, and the fact that they have pretty much fuck all to say about extractive class based relations, especially with respect to socio-economic class, and of course sex, which they point blank deny is an axis of material extraction.
Denying recognition to axes of material class based extraction while making a big song and dance about non class based discrimination, is a really great cover for large exploitative institutions that want to carry on extracting, while covering themselves in symbols of justice that have no impact on their bottom line.
That, by the way, is where white working class men can politically ally with feminists (assuming they’re ok with women having our own politics and that they recognise sex as a class oppression. This applies to allying with Māori and other non-dominant ethnicities and recognising race/ethnicity as a class oppression). However it does rely on acknowledging that discrimination is also a thing and integrating that into one’s politics.
To the anti-woke I would say: just because solidarity politics across oppressed classes and discriminated against groups has been subsumed into neoliberalism, turning identity politics into a tool of the oppressor, doesn’t mean that discrimination isn’t an important political issue. Likewise identity. It’s possible to have class based politics that include those aspects of human society.
To the woke I would say: stop fudging the differences between class oppression and discrimination because it’s handing power to the neolibs on a plate, and it’s making a lot of people hate identity politics who would otherwise be supportive of anti-discrimination.
To everyone that is going wtf? It’s complex but this stuff matters as the systems that oppress us are undermining progress on the core aspects of human society that liberals value.