Saturday, September 28, 2013

More on the failure of leftist solidarity

In my last post I contrasted the leftist and the traditional concepts of solidarity. Leftist solidarity is based on the idea of identifying with the most "other" or marginalised or oppressed group in society. I gave an example of how this doesn't lead to solidarity but to disunity. The University of Sydney women's collective has been in the throes of an argument between "feminists of colour" and white feminists. The feminists of colour, upset about the wearing of bindis by white women, have claimed that they are being oppressed by the privileged, racist white feminists within the collective. They want something like a capitulation from the white feminists, in which the white feminists agree to a loss of moral standing within the group.

That's led me to what is, I suppose, an obvious thought. The leftist understanding of solidarity cannot work for a particular reason, namely that there is no reciprocity or mutuality involved. If I am a leftist, then I can express solidarity by identifying with the most othered or oppressed group. So there is a one-way act of solidarity coming from me. But what of the people I am making this gesture to? Why should they feel solidarity with me, particularly when the very reason I am expressing solidarity is because I believe that they are being mistreated by the group I belong to. It is understandable, given the logic behind my act of solidarity, that the "othered" group should build up a sense of anger, resentment and grievance (and a heightened sense of otherness) - just as the feminists of colour have done within the Sydney collective.

So my gesture of solidarity as a leftist begins and ends with me. It doesn't create loyalty, trust and fellow-feeling between the two parties involved.

The traditional understanding of solidarity was based, in part, on particular forms of relatedness. This gave rise to group loyalties and identities which did have the reciprocity and fellow feeling lacking in the leftist understanding of solidarity.


  1. Humans are essentially tribal by nature and throughout the world, human loyalty has always been based on blood and honour. "My enemy is your enemy, my friend your friend" is a common bond between tribes. However such loyalty cannot work between those unrelated by blood. Leftist alliances are situational and opportunistic. They work only when both sides are in pursuit of a common goal and when the going is good. When the circumstances change and become unfavourable, leftist alliances crumble because neither party is prepared to sacrifice much for the other and their mutual resntments break through.

    That is also why a mercenary army can rarely defeat a home grown one and why mixed marriages and mixed ethnic countries normally fragment.

  2. The victim is morally exalted just for being a victim.

    You become morally exalted by expressing solidarity with them.

    This is the Leftist version of a "win-win" scenario...

    1. Yes, that's a good way of describing what might motivate this leftist take on solidarity. The problem for the leftist is that the initial feeling of being morally exalted is then followed by the loss of moral status you experience within the group and by the feeling of contempt that the "victim" develops towards you. Perhaps that's why this type of solidarity works best when the leftist doesn't actually have to have dealings with the "victim". If there is a clear distance between the leftists and the recipients of the solidarity things are likely to work out better. That would help to explain why white leftists generally put a distance between themselves and the "other" groups they offer solidarity to. Where it's not possible to maintain this distance (e.g. the logic of solidarity applied between leftist males and leftist females) then things tend to break down (the rise of leftist MRAs).

  3. I can think of other circumstances where leftist solidarity breaks down.

    (1) When there is no agreement on which group is the more oppressed - e.g. when white gay leftists confront ethnic minority muslims over their attitude to homosexuality. Both groups aren't willing to acknowledge the other is the more oppressed. White heterosexual leftists have no way of deciding whether to side with the "homophobes" or the "islamophobes".

    (2) Leftist solidarity also doesn't work when all political activity takes place amongst leftists. Take California for example which has a democrat governor and democrat control over the legislature (a situation not likely to change for the foreseeable future). Arguments about what to spend a limited pot of money on are now essentially leftists arguing among themselves. Should money be spent on parks and retired public sector workers (which benefits white people) or spend money on education and health (which benefits minorities more)?

    1. Yes, no.1 in particular leads to conflicts within the left. I remember not that long ago some English feminists (Julie Burchill amongst them if I remember correctly) took umbrage with the idea that the oppression of transsexuals should be ranked more highly than the oppression of women. There was a brief but intense conflict, but in this case the feminists lost - but not before much bitterness had been generated.

  4. Of course, in America "solidarity" now has a specific meaning: that of hunting down whites as if they were vermin.

    Amazingly, even the USA's mainstream media are now beginning to run headlines like "Black man shot four whites because of race" (this last concerning a North Carolina outrage):