Intersectionality and its articulations

Intersectionality class-gender (or race-gender) and its articulations generates controversies.

Categories “class” and “race” have been designated by men to analyze primarily the oppression they suffer. The category “gender” has been established to analyze the oppression of women. Then, in the first place, intersectionality refers to the intersection between the categories of men and “the” woman category (meaning 1).

In a second place, we may contemplate if all women belong to the same category, if these categories are independent of men’s categories or if women’s categories are transposed in a subsidiary manner from men’s categories. How this affects the unity and the relations of solidarity and conflict among women, this is an area which feminisms like to safeguard (sense 2).

Social, economic and policy analysis focus on the relationship between white men, who interrelate largely by commodity exchange and by the organization and the institutions of the State: this is the study of capitalism. Whether Marxist or neoliberal, the analysis is focused on these areas.

In these reports, women and “non- white” are a kind of surrogates, as they are relegated – or so have been in history.

If we look at the analysis of political economy, if you want to use a terminology à la Marx – to whom I’m not particularly attached, I’m not an expert – the class struggle is fundamentally a struggle between white men. Other conflicts may occur between hierarchies of workers or capitalists, between politicians and public servants (bureaucrats).

For women and non-whites, the class struggle is altered – from the point of view of white man. Sorry to expel women and blacks from the class struggle; in my opinion, this is only a partial ejection, but they should explain how the class struggle affects them.

The (European) history cannot be explained by the class struggle, or cannot be explained only by the class struggle. The analysis of capitalism is an incomplete and biased analysis of the world. When we look at the world, it is necessary to take into account the patriarchal and colonial relations (and its internal aspect that is the “Nation”, the construction of the Empire).

An approach which takes into account the first meaning of intersectionality may be enlightening. It would have the objective of setting in a comparable cognitive framework oppression of men and women: the unity, solidarity and chastity of women would not risk from being sacked by the power of men.

I advise: intersectionality in the first place (meaning 1) recognizes women as a category/class oppressed by patriarchy (and studied primarily by feminism) and classes of men in terms of “class” (and “race”).

Otherwise, men are defined only as oppressors, dominant and exploitative (and violent murderers and rapists). Men as a whole do not have any other role in society than being the group (class) to strip, no social improvement (in any dimension) cannot be based on requests of any group of men – because all being considered as equal, all oppressors – men as a whole do not have any role in social transformation aspired – which is false.

If we propose to men – all equal – to become “feminists”, they will be the most powerful men, white men with money, those who rot everything to be considered “the most feminists”. Then, they will propose and do policies from which they are always winners.

When we look at the social division of labor and the distribution of production and wealth, it is clear that it is possible to differentiate groups or categories of people depending on its position: man, woman, worker, capitalist, white or black.

It is also clear that women hold different positions than men and among themselves – different characteristics of domestic production and different positions in capitalist relations.

Then, we can ask about how to use the concept of intersectionality 2, i.e., if there are different categories of women depending on “race” and “class”, though they may hold the same position as “women” – either this position by “race” or “class” is depending on a man (father, husband) or not. Women hold different positions than men and among themselves, I do not foresee why theirs definition of “class” or “race” should be the same as those used by men.

On the contrary, the concept of proletariat (and of reserve army), the inclusion of minors or (the production of) education, among others, may give some clues to study a kind of “class” in common, which operates on both men and women, but in different form.

To this end, it is necessary further research on the relationship between capitalist production, domestic production and the production of human beings; between the transmission standards and mechanism of capitalism and patriarchy (with heritage); between commodity exchange, money, donation and personal and intimate transactions.

We must adapt the analysis to changes of social division of labor. If women are incorporated into capitalist production, it must be analyzed.

It is also possible that women who develop these analyses and undergo these oppressions of “class” or “race” develop affinities, empathy, analysis, discourses, groups, etcetera, with the men they suffer too. By contrast, there are women that do not undergo these oppressions, or rather the contrary, they benefit without being responsible (or the main responsible).

“Capitalist” women do not see the oppression of “class” because they do not suffer it. “White” woman does not see the oppression of “race”: then, she did not fight against it; she can have a tendency to legitimize it. Similarly it could happen that skilled female workers legitimize dynamics of wage polarization (harmful to the least qualified) in exchange for better working conditions, wages or other (promises) – as much of the white skilled male workers are doing.

So which is the oppression of women, which is the male domination? Of what the woman? White, black, bourgeois or worker? Qualified worker or one that is not? The daughter of the rich or the poor? What discourse should I believe?

It is very probable that the proposal of feminism and the strategy of “liberation” of women differ depending on its position in the social division of labor.

Maybe I could read Rosa Luxemburg .




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