The oppressed majority

Amy Muldoon explains what Marxists mean by oppression—including the oppression suffered by the entire working class, notwithstanding the divisions built up inside it.

"The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles…Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes."
— Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto

IS THE working class oppressed? On a gut level, the obvious answer is “yes.” But at the same time, many people associate the term “oppression” with the specific forms of discrimination and bigotry faced by parts of the working class, based on race, gender, ethnicity, sexual identity and so on.

What does it mean to say the whole working class is oppressed, in ways that are distinct from, though interwoven with, the special oppression of different sections within the class? Are we talking about the attitudes of the upper classes toward us, and the feelings of inferiority we carry—what is sometimes referred to as “classism”? Or the fact that we are ripped off at work for the portion of the value we create that doesn’t make it into our paychecks? Is it that we don’t control our work in any meaningful way and feel dehumanized?

All of these things—social status and discrimination, exploitation at work, alienation—are components of the experience of being working class, but they don’t fully explain oppression in the way Marxists use the term.

The oppression of the working class is, in essence, its exclusion from political, economic and social power. In order for there to be a ruling class, there must be an oppressed class. Class is about power: the power to shape our world and our lives. The working class is systematically excluded from decision-making as a class for the simple reason that capitalism rests on the rule of the minority. This exclusion from any real power to control our own lives is as true in political democracies as in police states.

The conditions of oppression are a necessary component in a system of exploitation, and they exist in some form in every modern society. So we aren’t just talking about the ruling class’s attitudes of superiority—though this plays a role in the ideological maintenance of the class system—but the institutional relationships that limit access to resources and participation that might increase the possibilities for self-determination.

Class oppression, because it is universal among the majority class in society, can seem invisible. It is, therefore, unlike special oppressions suffered on the basis of race, for example—which serves the purpose among the working class of “dividing both to conquer each,” as the ex-slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass said of anti-Black racism among poor whites.

In his book Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State, Frederick Engels talked about the necessity for a state power over and above society because class society “needed the state, that is, an organization of the particular exploiting class, for the maintenance of its external conditions of production, and…for the purpose of forcibly keeping the exploited class in the conditions of oppression determined by the given mode of production.”

For this reason, it isn’t possible for a section of, or even an individual from, the working class to not face any oppression at all: even an able-bodied, cis-gendered, employed, educated white working class man is oppressed. This isn’t meant to equate the lived experience of any two people under capitalism or to denigrate the impossible-to-miss special oppressions—of, for example, people of color, women, LGBT people—that compound, intersect with, and intensify the shared oppression of the working class. But it is true that class oppression has real, measurable effects in terms of life expectancy, health, education, housing, contact with the criminal justice system and so on……

Read on:-


Well guys ‘Net Neutrality’ was passed. The freedom of the Internet in the United States is going out the window so the government can regulate the Internet the way China’s government does. The way North Koreas government does. The U.S. government is slowing taking total control and if you fail to see that, wake the hell up because shits getting real. ‘We have to pass this to see what’s in it’ bullshit. That’s not how it works. That’s stupid. Who the hell let that happen oh wait. Everyone.
Free enterprise is dying. The free Internet is about to be strangled and killed by government control. True oppression at its finest. And many Americans just sit here and do nothing because they’ve been tricked into thinking its fore better.

Wolves & Sheep

In this world there are the wolves
And there are the sheep

The wolves tear apart the sheep
Between bloody teeth in rabid rages
And the sheep do nothing about it
Because the dead sheep aren’t them
And the live sheep convince themselves
The wolves will be satiated
By the blood they’ve already spilt.

But the blood never stops flowing
And the wolves are always hungry
So why are the sheep still docile?
They know what’s coming for them
Know what’s come for the other sheep
But fear and apathy keep them idle watchers.

Do not succumb to the blood lust
Or the fear of animals;
In this world of wolves and sheep
Remember you are human first

“Not all police officers!” “Not all white people!” “Not all slave owners!” “Not all men!” “Not all gamers!”

It happens over and over again in movements, the cries of “Not all” or “We matter too” miss the point. They strive to tell the protesters, usually the oppressed group, that they are better than most, that they deserve special treatment, that they shouldn’t be protested against. And that is the very reason they are being protested against because they think they are special and that their image is more important than the grievances of the oppressed.

nightanddayitsnoellieellie asked:

I'm really confused about what "respectability" is. Could you please explain it?

Respectability politics is the idea that if an oppressed group is well educated, polite, and nicely dressed- according to the dominant group’s standards- that they will not face violence from their oppressors. 

Put another way, it’s the idea that the more you act/talk/dress like a middle class, college educated, cis gender, heterosexual white person- and the less you act on or speak up about your own culture,- the less danger you’re putting yourself in.

It’s an ideology of victim-blaming, erasure, and fear. And it doesn’t even hold true. In this type of culture of dominance, an oppressed group can never be “respectable” enough, no matter what they do. If one group is seen as the norm, any group that deviates from the norm is considered Other, and no amount of respectability can change that. 

You don’t overthrow your oppressors by trying to please them.

anonymous asked:

How can you defend Islam? Do you any idea what their religion has done to this world? In Islamic states (YES THEY ARE REAL MUSLIMS), women are treated like shit and non-believers are MURDERED! You're a feminist so you should be against them. Obviously, not all Muslims are like that but enough so that millions of people have died at their hands. I'm not hating on you; I'm just disagreeing with you. Sorry if this comes across as aggressive but I'm really angry about the shootings right now.

How can I defend Islam? 

Question is, how can you villainize an entire religion based on the actions of a radical few? 

(Also, Christianity has done some dark shit in its time, and I don’t see Christians getting this reaction and getting made to apologise every time some extremist Christian somewhere does something evil in the name of their faith. Let’s not pretend this is a problem all religions get. This is currently exclusive to Islam.) 

Of course I defend Islam. Who do you think is going to get the backlash now? Muslims. That’s who. And people like yourself are going to make everything worse for them. Do you think most Muslims wanted this to happen? I mean, even now they’re being forced to speak out against something they had nothing to do with, just to defend themselves from being harmed and hated because they share a religion (in name) with the murderers. Muslims in France are having a rough enough time as it is, without this added to their troubles. 

The problem is not Islam. I can’t believe you’ve even come to my ask box with that first sentence. If you’d asked why I defend radical Islamic extremists, I’d tell you I don’t. Islam is not the problem. It’s not Islam. You’re getting into dangerous territory already. 

It’s not your fault. You’re angry, you’re upset, maybe scared. But the media and society is trying to whip you and people like you up into a frenzy where Muslims and Islam become the enemy. Because when people are frightened they want an enemy. When people are scared they swallow lies more easily because they want the world to be black and white. 

You’re playing right into the hands of islamophobes right now. Don’t let it happen. The enemy is not Islam. Hate the radical murderous extremists who do terrible things. They are the villains here. 

And they’re not the only villains either, seeing the disgusting way so many people are jumping on the bandwagon to act like Muslims are now public enemy number one. You know that’s always been there in people, and now they’re using this horrendous shooting as an excuse to be able to speak their islamophobic, vile thoughts without repercussions. 

That’s dangerous. 

Yes, there are corrupt Muslims. I don’t even know why I am still having to say this stuff. Every day I blog about oppression and privilege. Check out my tags if you want to. Do you think I support the evils that have been done in the name of Islam? Seriously? Because I don’t. 

As a feminist I support Muslims because I can see they are being scapegoated right now. How do you think it’s going to be for Muslim women in the west now? It’s going to get worse and worse because people are becoming steadily less and less opposed to people being islamophobic. I’m here for my Muslim sisters. I don’t know who you’re here for, apart from the Islamaphobic media. 

I’d rethink if I were you. It’s easy to imagine the world is made of good and evil, but you know that’s not the way it is. You know the media has an agenda. Don’t fall for it. 

We have learned from intersectionality that people can be oppressed along more than one axis, such as women of color or trans people of color. But intersectionality also means that people can be both oppressed and oppressors at the same time, along different axes. For example, a white woman has white privilege but may be disadvantaged by her gender. A poor white man may be white and male, but he may be disadvantaged by his class status. An overweight middle class white man may face fat phobia. The word cannot neatly be divided into oppressors and the oppressed.

If we want to dismantle certain structures of oppression (say, gender), we need to not reinforce other structures of oppression in the process (say, appearance, or class). We need to take down all the structures of oppression, whether based on gender, race, class, sexual orientation, gender preference, or appearance.
The systematic looting of language can be recognized by the tendency of its users to forgo its nuanced, complex, mid-wifery properties for menace and subjugation. Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge. Whether it is obscuring state language or the faux-language of mindless media; whether it is the proud but calcified language of the academy or the commodity driven language of science; whether it is the malign language of law-without-ethics, or language designed for the estrangement of minorities, hiding its racist plunder in its literary cheek - it must be rejected, altered and exposed. It is the language that drinks blood, laps vulnerabilities, tucks its fascist boots under crinolines of respectability and patriotism as it moves relentlessly toward the bottom line and the bottomed-out mind. Sexist language, racist language, theistic language - all are typical of the policing languages of mastery, and cannot, do not permit new knowledge or encourage the mutual exchange of ideas.
—  Toni Morrison, The Nobel Lecture In Literature, 1993