March 25, 2017

The Limits of Identity as a Lens to Understand the World

So referring to members of organizations who are part of an oppressed identity group as "token members" as a way to insult the organization is messed up. It assumes that those individuals have no self-agency, no control over their own thoughts, and that they didn't come to their politics on their own terms, informed by their own experiences and self-education.

Lately, I've seen the accusation of people being "tokens" done by people who disagree with Marxism and the politics of intersectionality and solidarity, who use identity as their primary lens for understanding the world, and believe that identity is sufficient to inform political and organizational strategy.

It instead highlights the failure of identity to explain the world, and the political conclusions reached by individuals of oppressed identities that are not in lock step with members of identitarian cliques. People in various identity groups often believe and act contrary to the way that they are expected to. This incongruence between believe and action, and identity is often explained away by identitarians saying that these individuals are not actually members of that oppressed identity, and is invalidating of that persons experience and identity as a member of that oppressed identity.

This sort of illogical and insulting conclusion leads to white activists shouting down black people as being anti-black racists, or shouting down trans people as being transphobic.  And the reason for this isn't because there is any substance to these accusations-- it's because there is a strategic or political difference, which is being elided.

Now it's entirely possible that black people have internalized anti-black prejudices, or that trans people have internalized anti-trans prejudices-- and the identitarians shouting people down have to agree in order to engage in this sort of behavior.  But to agree that identity doesn't coincide with politics invalidates the foundational premise of identity politics-- that identity is sufficient to inform your political worldview and strategies for change.

Now identity politics is problematic itself for a host of other reasons. Using identity to explain why people should have a certain set of politics is reductive (the opposite of intersectional), and members of oppressed identity groups who do not fall lock-step in with a clique are cast as being "self-hating", or as being guilty of upholding and defending other oppressions.

This is all done as a way to hide political disagreements and cast the person in question as being "bad" rather than actually having out debate around areas where disagreements lay, with the goal of winning people to a point of view. It attacks the person and not the argument (ad homeniem), which is toxic and destructive behavior.

Intersectionality, as it was originally conceived by Kimberle Crenshaw is not about how many oppressions you as an individual can tick a box next to on a list. It's about how identities and oppressions interact and cannot be (and should not be) used to reduce any individual to any one monolithic set of experiences. It was an argument against both identity-based reductionism and class based reductionism, but has been taken by those who perhaps have not read the source materials to mean something entirely the opposite, and they instead argue that identity CAN be used to reduce an individual to a monolithic identity.

Intersectionality, as originally conceived, is an argument in favor of Solidarity politics, because nobody can be reduced to monolithic identities, and all our struggles intersect and overlap with one another.  Just as black women have a different lived experience from black men because of gender, and also have a different lived experience than white women because of race, there is no monolithic "black female experience" either.  The black lesbian experience is different from the black female experience.  Ultimately, everybody's experience is different, and identity shapes people's oppressions, and these oppressions are different from person to person, but the conclusion that must be drawn is either that each of us are too unique in our own oppressions to come together and fight in solidarity, or our oppressions are linked and intersect in ways that require us to come together and fight in solidarity.

One of these strategies will destroy the left, and the other will build the left into a force that can take on all systems of oppression and defeat them.  I'm going to throw my lot in with the politics of solidarity, and fight to end all oppressions, even ones that I don't experience directly.

March 22, 2017

If the Illuminati are real, I want to join

There's two options: The illuminati are either real or they are not.

If they are real, I want to join; and if they aren't-- I want to start them up. Having god-powers to control all the major events in world history for our own nefarious ends sounds like a sweet deal. But wait, what are our nefarious ends?

Gaining control of everything? That can't be true-- The illuminati have *always* been in control of everything, including the weather. There's literally no way to stop us, so like, why even bother thinking about it?

We, the Illuminati, offer you something that you desire: a sense of purpose in a cruel, random, and unforgiving universe. We give you a story about why bad things happen to good people. We provide the illusion of order in a random chaotic universe.

So long as you have us in charge, you don't have to think about how totally terrifying it is that nobody is actually in charge of this chaotic nonsensical shitshow we call life.

Not convinced? Just imagine a world without the Illuminati, and you'll see why you need us.

Shootings would happen not because it's a false flag operation, but because some random asshole has a gun!!! Yikes! If that were the case, mass shootings would happen like, every year! What if the nearly 100 people who die of gun violence every day in America, die for no reason, other than some other asshole has a gun? Wouldn't you rather it instead be part of our plan to slowly eradicate the human race in accordance to the Georgia Guide Stones? Because, if it wasn't our doing, that would mean that nearly 100 people die every day for no reason! That's really scary and upsetting!

Or what about extreme weather events!? If it wasn't for HAARP controlling the weather, extreme weather would be caused by naturally occurring meteorological forces that we've got no control over! Do you really want to feel powerless like that? I mean, it sounds really stupid to ascribe human motives like anger or malice to uncaring, unconscious weather systems that are literally not alive, and are just the product of a confluence of natural physical forces. If it wasn't for the Illuminati, weather systems would destroy people's homes for no reason! How terrifying! It's almost like it could happen to anybody! And for no reason! And it's not just the result of a kind of primitive thinking, like how the Vikings ascribed bad weather to the anger of Freya or Thor-- the Illuminati aren't actually gods. They are people who use their science powers, and their reverse engineered alien tech, and their special Jewish powers that only Jewish people get, to amass incredible amounts of wealth and power so that they can control the fabric of reality like gods. Which is why science is bad, and anything beyond your capacity to understand should be destroyed. That's so much more rational, don't you think?

If we got the illuminati out of controlling medicine, we'd have single payer healthcare by now (but no pharmaceuticals, because drugs are chemicals and are therefore bad-- unless that drug is marijuana, which has lots of chemicals that cure literally EVERYTHING).  Or the opposite of Single Payer, because big government is bad, and we could all just retreat into our fallout bunkers and we'll just eat hydroponically grown kale and never die of anything because when you live underground, you can't get poisoned by chemtrails.

It goes without saying that the government is controlled by the illuminati, but what if it wasn't?  That would mean that the ruling class instituted a sham democracy so that they could exploit the working class! That sounds like something Karl Marx would say!  And we all know, Karl Marx was Illuminati, because he was ethnically Jewish, and used his special Jewish Powers to create communism-- which is not a form of democratic control of the workplace and society-- it's a ploy by the Illuminati! Why?  We're not sure.  We did that one just for fun, I guess.

If the illuminati didn't control financial sector? It'd be chaos!  Stock prices would rise and fall with the anarchic forces of the market! And what then?! Why, we'd just have a bunch of greedy rich people fighting with one another to be the ones who are best able to enrich themselves at the expense of the working class and the environment! That sounds like boring old capitalism.  There's no magic there.  No thanks.  Give me that zazzle, zing, pow-- give me that Illuminati!  Capitalism could totally work if it wasn't for the Illuminati!

((psych!  The whole "capitalism would work if it wasn't for the illuminati is actually a double-fake, by us, the illuminati!  We use Capitalism to maintain our control over everything!  That's how good we are!  I put this part in double parenthesis so that way only people who are in the illuminati initiation program with me can read this part, otherwise the secret will get out that the illuminati aren't real and that it's just capitalism, the ruling class, and a complex tapestry of social forces and competing ideologies. Shh! Don't tell anyone!))
Our logo is super creepy looking, right?

Clearly The illuminati are real though, and thank goodness. How do you explain David Rockefeller dying on the first day of the Pagan year? It was a ritual sacrifice! DUH!  There's no way a really old guy with a ton of money (that you ascribe a bunch of weird values from your internalized anti-pagan sentiment that is quite literally a holdover from the Roman Empire's conquest of Europe) could have randomly died on a day that coincides with an arbitrary position of the Earth around the Sun!  And if that is the case, it's quite frankly boring.  Let's give his death magical powers instead!

The trilateral commission! New World Order? That's not internal competition between various sectors of the ruling class! It's us! All us!

Bra-burning feminists and the destruction of the family?  That's not a result of thousands of years of patriarchy, unequal pay, and downward pressure on wages by the ruling class, that's the illuminati. You see, women don't actually want equal rights or equal pay.  Naturally, they are very comfortable with their inferior station in life, and are docile like deer eating alfalfa pellets in a petting zoo. This is because genetically they are just less good than men.  They actually have no agency over their own thoughts and are incapable of thinking for themselves or forming their own opinions. So what's up with all this feminism?! We'll that's just an illuminati thought-program that we poisoned their mind with using mind-control implant chips (you may know them as IUDs) that beam thoughts into their brains using RFID tech. 

((We call them RFIUDs... Shh!)).

Clearly, it's much better to have the Illuminati around. We make bad things happen so you have someone to blame, so you can sleep at night knowing that somebody is in control, so you don't have to be constantly be in a state of existential crisis about the cruel uncaring universe. We provide order to the chaos.