You may have noticed that I occasionally republish an article on The BFD from a NZ Blog called Redline. It is a Marxist blog and it can be very interesting to see how the other side of the political divide thinks. The latest article to catch my eye caught my sympathy at the start but had lost it by the end as my overwhelming thought was the saying “he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.”
Essentially the writer was quite reasonably complaining about how she and others were being treated because of identity politics. However she used identity politics as part of her defence and as a reason why she should not be attacked.
It is becoming quite acceptable for certain sections of the left to declare that people like me – women who are ‘gender critical’ – should not be allowed in leftist or anarchist spaces. […] I find it incredible (and that’s putting it politely) that people I do not know, who have no knowledge of me or my personal and political trajectory think they have the right to declare me not welcome in ‘leftist spaces’.
The issue here is that significant parts of the left have accepted without question and without debate the fundamental claim of trans activists that transwomen are women. […] denouncing everyone who does not agree with this claim, as ‘bigot’, ‘terf’, full of ‘bile’ and ‘hatred’. The idea that trans rights as currently formulated may clash with women’s rights, seems inconceivable to those who have accepted what seems to me a pre-Enlightenment dogma, that trans women are women. […] But first a little more about me — that someone who does not belong in left spaces apparently.
I am a Marxist. I was brought up a Marxist by my Irish Republican dad who left Belfast at the age of 16 to work here in England so he could send money home to his mother. As we, his children, grew up he told us many stories about the houses with rooms to rent where the windows had signs in them saying ‘no blacks, no dogs, no Irish’. He suffered racism all his life, from being called ‘paddy’ by people he did not know, to being the butt of jokes about how stupid the Irish are, to being labelled a terrorist and stopped by the police when ‘the troubles’ were on in the 1970’s, for the crime of having an Irish accent.
Both my parents were manual workers; my dad worked on building sites and my mum was a cleaner and then a school dinner lady. I left school at 16 with no qualifications and brought my daughter up on a council estate while claiming benefits and cleaning the houses of the middle classes to make sure we could eat. I know what it is to be vilified, looked down on and wonder where the next meal is coming from consequentially I interpret the world through the perspective of class.
I went to university at thirty five, now have a PhD and have been teaching in the university sector for the last 20 or so years, so I also know what it is like to inhabit the world of the middle classes. I have never been or ever wanted to be fully accepted into that world. […] As a working class woman I long ago rejected middle class feminism as an off shoot of capitalism […]
I have sketched in these biographical details because I want to make it clear that I have direct experience of oppression and exploitation on many fronts mostly because of my class but also my Irishness and lately my sex. I do not write the following from a privileged position.Redline
What this background actually reveals is the writer’s determination to be defined not by her actual position in society as a middle class woman, but as a working class woman because that was the world she grew up in. She is rejecting her objective reality of “privilege” as defined by her side of politics, because she wants to identify as someone without privilege.
The very people who are attacking her and labelling her and others as Terfs and ejecting her from “Leftist spaces” are those who have rejected their objective reality because they wanted to identify themselves as something else. The very fact that the writer talks about “Leftist spaces” tells us that only Left-wing views are welcome there. She is upset that she has been rejected given her Left-wing credentials but the very nature of a Leftist space is exclusionary. The right-wing side of politics is not exclusionary. In fact it is so open to other views that the National Party at the moment is so wet that it needs a towel.
When you belong to a political ideology that excludes others and targets them for ridicule, name calling and deplatforming, you cannot be surprised when you get ridiculed and excluded yourself. Identity politics is all fun and games when you get to be the protected group with the highest victimhood points, but it is another thing altogether when you find yourself on the outside of the tent.
When this first started happening to feminists on the Left I made the mistake of thinking that they would welcome the support of someone who shared their views. I very quickly learned that they were so entrenched in identity politics that they wanted nothing to do with a right-wing/conservative feminist. It wasn’t enough to have shared views, we had to have the same “Identity” as well.
Having my offer of support not only turned down but very rudely turned down, I now am content to sit back and watch them flounder. I may share their views on this particular issue but since they live by the identity politics sword they can die by it. They supported the beast that is now tearing them apart and they were happy enough when it was chewing on those of us outside their Leftist safe space so best that we leave them to it.