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From the petty bourgeoisie ideology of Intersectional Feminism to the materialist revolutionary theory of African Internationalism

Apr 4, 2017
Chia Cotansuca; International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement

Ever since I came into adulthood, I have always understood my oppression as a non-white woman, gender non-conforming and same-gender-loving person, among other marginalized, intersecting identities. However, this understanding was steeped in liberal ideology; my understanding was initially informed by a white, colonial narrative. 

It began by studying feminism, what some would refer to as ‘white feminism,’ and then developed into studying intersectional feminism, what some would refer to as what feminism actually is. What is lost here is the fact that feminism has, and always will be, a white, bourgeois founded and centered liberal ideology; thus, ‘white feminism’ is redundant and intersectional feminism is only marginally different. 

Fortunately, I have deepened my understanding of these interlocking oppressions within a colonial context by studying the objective, materialist worldview known as African Internationalism: a revolutionary theory developed by the African working class that centers colonialism as the ultimate contradiction responsible for the oppression of African, Indigenous and other colonized people. 

Theory without practice is dead; therefore, feminism is dead. African Internationalism leads the way for liberation through revolution, resulting in reparations to African people for slavery and genocide, the socialist unification of Africa for Africans and a free world for all.

Intersectional Feminism: The weapon of theory for the petty bourgeoisie

At its basis, intersectional feminism expands on so-called ‘white feminism,’ however marginally, by focusing on the symptoms of colonialism (i.e. racism, sexism, classism, homo-antagonism, trans-antagonism, etc.) instead of getting to the source of the contradiction, which is colonialism––the foreign political and economic domination of a group of people by an oppressor nation. 

Intersectionality is what informs intersectional feminism. It explains that there are interlocking systems of oppression that multiply depending on the various identities one has. According to this theory, identities are interrelated rather than independent of one another; thus, one can hold multiple oppressed identities. 

Intersectional feminists critique the white, colonial narrative in a superficial way by saying that these systems of oppression exist and go unnoticed by the larger society, but this is where their critique ends. They offer no solutions beyond reforming the very white, colonial, capitalist, imperialist State that is responsible for creating the conditions that cause these systems of oppression to exist in the first place. 

There is no reforming a social system that rests on a foundation of genocide and slavery. It must be completely done away with and replaced by a socialist State where colonized people are self-governing and practicing the ultimate form of democracy: self-determination.

This total transformation of society goes against the individualistic and opportunistic interests of the petty bourgeoisie and those who have petty bourgeois aspirations, of which intersectional feminists make up a huge part. 

From an academic like Kimberelé Crenshaw who coined the term ‘Intersectionality,’ to an actress like Laverne Cox and a talk show host like Janet Mock who have made platforms for themselves off of this ideology, there is an undeniable pattern of who is touting intersectional feminism as the way to reaching a revolutionary consciousness. 

It comes as no surprise then that Intersectional Feminism fails to emphasize capitalism’s parasitic origins, since without capitalism, the petty bourgeoisie would not exist. Kimberelé Crenshaw, Laverne Cox, and Janet Mock are just a few examples of people who make up the petty bourgeoisie, which consists of colonized people who sacrifice long-term needs, such as freedom, for short-term wants, such as money and notoriety. 

This sacrifice is known as individualism and opportunism. This sacrifice comes at the expense of working class colonized people, people who are dominated by imperialism. Such a sacrifice is counterrevolutionary. What the petty bourgeoisie fail to realize is that they are working directly against their best interests by not aligning themselves with the masses (i.e. the colonized working class) and uniting in the struggle for liberation through revolution.

African Internationalism: The Weapon of Theory for the African working class

Intersectional feminists and feminists of all stripes would have us believe that non-white women are in a sisterhood with white women against patriarchy. However, as African Internationalists, we understand that patriarchy is a symptom of colonialism and that there is no such thing as women in general; there are women who are colonized and there are women who are colonizers. 

Yejide Orunmila, president of the African National Women’s Organization (ANWO), put it like this: “...White women are part of the oppressor nation, and as such, have a vested interest in the exploitation and oppression of people internationally and inside the U.S., just like their male counterparts.

“That’s why we say that ‘there is no such thing as women in general’—the idea that all women are oppressed by patriarchy—is a false concept that obscures the colonial question by equating the experiences of white women of the oppressor nation to the oppression experienced by African women. There is no commonality.

“The oppressor white nation, which includes white women, acquires what they have at the expense of African and other oppressed people.

“African women’s primary enemy has always been our colonial oppressor—the white imperialist nation—that has held the power over our lives since it first attacked Africa.”

Thus, the white imperialist nation is to blame for contradictions such as intra-community violence that exist in African and other non-white communities. These contradictions exist because of colonialism. The only way to overturn these contradictions and rectify the colonial, parasitic relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed is by committing national and class suicide.

Committing national and class suicide looks different depending on who you are. For white people, it entails abandoning their allegiance to the oppressor nation, following the leadership of the African working class, paying reparations for slavery and genocide and organizing other white people to do the same. 

For the petty bourgeoisie, it entails strengthening its revolutionary consciousness, rejecting individualism and opportunism, identifying itself with the masses, and forwarding the struggle for national liberation. 

For the masses, it looks like taking our power back by forwarding the African revolution so we can all be free in our lifetime.

Everyone has a role in the movement for freedom, and the movement for freedom is theory put into practice. 

As Amílcar Cabral said, “...nobody has yet made a successful revolution without a revolutionary theory.” Similarly, nobody has yet made a successful revolution without a revolutionary organization. The Uhuru Movement (‘Uhuru’ means ‘freedom’ in Swahili) is made up of several organizations that work together to continue the revolutionary process. 

If you’re African (black), you can join the African People’s Socialist Party, a revolutionary party comprised of the African working class that leads the Uhuru Movement. If you’re an African woman, you can join the African National Women’s Organization. If you’re non-white/colonized, you can join the party’s mass organization, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement. And if you’re white, you can join the party’s mass organization for white people, the Uhuru Solidarity Movement.

Colonized people have been resisting since the European assault on Africa, the so-called Americas, and colonized nations around the world. Imperialism is in crisis! White power is dying and the Uhuru Movement is going to kill it. It’s time to unite for freedom in our lifetime! Uhuru!

Freedom in our lifetime!

Uhuru!

 

 

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