Analysis and Critiques

Creating an Anarchist Theory of Privilege

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Creating an Anarchist Theory of Privilege - Dónal O’DriscollAuthor: Dónal O’Driscoll | File size: 298 KB

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Privilege and the theory around it is a significant topic of debate at the moment among those interested in radical social change. Touching on many issues dear to the hearts of anarchists, it is hard to avoid. Yet, the two are not fitting together as well as they should and there is a sense of unease about this. Much of this is because privilege theory has emerged from US academic circles rather than anarchist ones and, ironically, has been co-opted to protect middle- class privileges. This is a situation in need of repair if we are to maintain our links with feminist, anti- racist and other struggles against oppression. If we are to create a mass movement capable of social change then it has to be able to engage with everyone in the first place.

This article is from the Irish Anarchist Review, no. 8, Autumn 2013

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AgitProp #15 – Privilege Theory: The Politics of Defeat

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AgitProp #15 - Privilege Theory: The Politics of DefeatAuthor: Unknown | File size: 516 KB

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I’ve been blissfully ignorant of these ideas of privilege and the concept of checking it until very recently. It came across my radar after the fall out of a twitter row. A set of ideas were put forward, and argument was made. The response to this argument boiled down to the person was writing it from a perspective of “white male privilege”. The issues were side stepped.

I assumed that this was an abuse of a theory that I didn’t understand, that privilege theory wasn’t simply a handy tool to dismiss an argument because you don’t like the person making it. I asked on twitter for some links so I could find out what this theory was really about. The most interesting and by interesting I mean the most infuriating was A Class Struggle Anarchist Analysis of Privilege Theory – from the Women’s Caucus.

Found at the SabCat site

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AgitProp #14 – Identity Politics, Class and Autonomous Organising

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AgitProp-14-Identity-Politics-Class-and-Autonomous-Organising-TimothyAuthor: Timothy | File size: 200 KB

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This talk is at a midpoint between being an original work, and being an exegesis of Selma’s James justly famous “Sex, Race and Class.” This astonishingly brilliant work contains within itself the clear foundations of a historical materialist, or Marxist, conception of the relationship between capitalism and oppression. Because I have mixed in many of my own original points, both intentionally and no doubt by accidental misinterpretation, I would strongly suggest everyone here goes and reads the original.

This text is taken from an audio recording of a talk and discussion in the Black Rose anarchist social centre in Sydney on the theme of identity politics and its relevance today. The text is taken from the website of the Workers’ Solidarity Movement. Go to the WSM site here

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The Rise of the Post-New Left Political Vocabulary

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The Rise of the New Left Political Vocabulary by Stephen D’ArcyAuthor: Stephen D’Arcy | File size: 350 KB

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“If a handful of time-travelling activists from our own era were somehow transported into a leftist political meeting in 1970, would they even be able to make themselves understood? They might begin to talk, as present-day activists do, about challenging privilege, the importance of allyship, or the need for intersectional analysis. Or they might insist that the meeting itself should be treated as a safe space. But how would the other people at the meeting react? I’m quite sure that our displaced contemporaries would be met with uncomprehending stares…”

Found on the website of The Public Autonomy Project

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The Problem with “Privilege”

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The Problem with “Privilege” by Andrea SmithAuthor: Andrea Smith  |  File size: 328 KB

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“In my experience working with a multitude of anti-racist organising projects over the years, I frequently found myself participating in various workshops in which participants were asked to reflect on their gender/race/sexuality/class/etc. privilege. These workshops had a bit of a self-help orientation to them: “I am so and so, and I have x privilege.” It was never quite clear what the point of these confessions were. It was not as if other participants did not know the confessor in question had her/his proclaimed privilege. It did not appear that these individual confessions actually led to any political projects to dismantle the structures of domination that enabled their privilege…”

This article is from the blog of Andrea Smith.
It was found on the website of Miami Autonomy & Solidarity

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Don’t Vote, Organise!

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Don’t Vote, Organise!Author: unknown | File size: 359 KB

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“It seems amazing that after over 100 years of electioneering, the Left still thinks that standing for elections is a good thing. It is even more amazing that certain anarchist thinkers are arguing along similar lines. Recent developments within the left and the US anarchist scene make it worthwhile to present the anarchist case against standing for elections…”

This text was downloaded from the excellent and highly recommended Struggle.WebSite

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Marxism, Freedom and the State

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Marxism, Freedom and the State - Mikhail BakuninAuthor: Mikhail Bakunin | File size: 478 KB

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Liberty for all, and a natural respect for that liberty: such are the essential conditions of international solidarity.

~ Bakunin

This collection of extracts from the works of Mikhail Bakunin are taken from his writings touching on his controversy with Marx over the nature of the state and its role in the liberation of the international working class.

Written between 1867 and 1872, many of Bakunin’s predictions about the outcome of following the authoritarian communist road have been proven valid by the actions of Leninist tyrants across the world.

Text from LibCom | libcom.org

This second Zabalaza Books edition July 2014

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