Marxism, Intersectionality, and Therapy I The Hampton Institute
Intersectionality and marxism are not on great terms, supposedly. While some thinkers and activists recognize the need for intersectional insights in research and organizing, others maintain more negative attitudes and analyses towards such insights. The negative attitudes and analyses combine a new resent with the old tension between feminist and poststructuralist critiques of Marxist theory and the latter, sometimes named "identity politics" or "identarian politics." While intersectionalists claim that race, class, and gender (and other categories and discourses) compound, mingle, and mix in unique ways during particular events and experiences, Marxists allege that class trumps all with respect to oppression. The intersectionalists call for specific and particularized redress of compounded oppressions which sometimes do not include class or, in other cases, are lost when class is the sole focus (or any single category of oppression by itself). The Marxists, on the other hand, call for changing the relations of production, focusing on class. Racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, and other oppressions will be ameliorated, or at least the conditions for their amelioration can only begin, after that shift in exploitative, alienating, and degrading relations of capitalist production. The debate leaves two conflicting camps on the Left. One with a particularized sensitivity to the complex layers of oppression, and the other with a fervent clarity regarding the link in the chain of domination which, if broken, will release the people from their bonds.