This zine explores the origins of anti-oppression politics and their current position within the both the anarchist space and the leftist space. Coming from a highly critical perspective, the authors of the zine (members of the Common Cause anarchist group) explain the origins of anti-oppression activism within the university and the failures of the movements for liberation in the 1960s. The zine critiques the theory and practice of anti-oppression politics while looking at ways in which it often serves to limit struggles by focusing on the individual, sub-cultural “safe spaces,” and limiting militancy. Far from being a simplistic dismissal, this zine is a well-researched and well-considered piece that should help foster important and challenging conversations.
With Allies Like These: Reflections on Privilege Reductionism
...this article aims to critically engage with the dominant ideas and practices of anti-oppression politics. We define anti-oppression politics as a related group of analyses and practices that seeks to address inequalities that materially, psychologically, and socially exist in society through education and personal transformation. While there is value in some aspects of anti-oppression politics, they are not without severe limitations. Anti-oppression politics obfuscates the structural operations of power and promotes a liberal project of inclusion that is necessarily at odds with the struggle to build a collective force capable of fundamentally transforming society. It is our contention that anti-oppression furthers a politics of inclusion as a poor substitute for a politics of revolution. The dominant practices of anti-oppression further an approach to struggle whose logical conclusion is the absorption of those deemed oppressed into the dominant order, but not to the eradication and transformation of the institutional foundations of oppression.