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Racism Rundown – And then a step to the right…

Until March this year, I’d never heard of Resisting Hate. They appeared when I called out a prominent Left Wing account, Jamie Kay, for racist comments about Black youths and Muslims. You’d think, being an antifascist organisation, they’d come to support me, a Mixed Race woman who’d received gorilla pics and had my 10 year old doxed and targeted with ableist slurs, but no, Resisting Hate were on the scene to protect white men who they believed were fine antiracists who could do no wrong.

We’re supposed to know who Resisting Hate are. They blow their trumpet as they dox Black women. “We ruin racists!” Shrieks ‘Monkey’, one of RH’s trolls who claims to be a Black woman as ‘she’ goads Black people with bananas or mocks someone’s disability. RH founder Roanna Carleton Taylor takes Monkey’s bigotry in her stride. It’s all part of RH’s cunning plan to defeat fascism. When RH member Joker called me and four other people ‘niggers,’ Roanna stood by his antifascist credentials. It really should be no surprise that Roanna has published an article denouncing identity politics and nailing her right wing colours firmly to the mast, though one would expect a stronger response from the #SocialistSunday community. Outside my circle of comrades, there is silence.

Resisting Hate’s latest article about identity politics is breathtakingly ignorant, deeply racist and filled with harmful assumptions and stereotypes of disabled people and trans men and women. Victims of rape, disabled people and the LGBTQ community are used to diminish the experience of the victims of Resisting Hate’s racial aggression.

We are more used to hearing the term identity politics thrown about by the likes of Laurence Fox and Calvin Robinson. Used as a pejorative by the right, the true meaning has been lost as the lessons of the civil rights movement were disregarded by most white feminists. Identity politics lived on in the Black feminist movement and intersectional feminist framework that informs the most progressive sections of the LGBTQ and disability rights movements. Identity politics were the brainchild of Black LGBTQ feminists who recognised the unique dangers they faced in the struggle for equality. Caught between the white feminist movement and the often patriarchal Black liberation movements, these ground breaking women created a branch of feminism that centres the most vulnerable, gives voice to the unheard and assures the autonomy of the oppressed in their own fight for freedom. It’s understandable that a fascist state would hate identity politics. Particularly when they have been so spectacularly demonstrated by a movement like BLM. It makes absolutely no sense for an antifascist organisation to write a whole article warning the left of their dangers.

I’d like to say that the caucasity has Roanna believing that her view as a middle class white woman holds more weight than that of the founders of the Black Lives Matter Movement, but the truth is her attack on identity politics is an escape route. A dog whistle that marks the marginalised as a threat to unity. Roanna doesn’t know the history of identity politics or its functions. She just sees a way out of her current predicament and is willing to further the right wing agenda of dismantling the political and academic arm of the Black liberation movement in the process.

Roanna opens her article with a spoonful of sugar, applauding progressions in LGBTQ and civil rights, but quickly descends into the fear mongering.

“But there has now come a point where we have to assess the progress we are making against that unifying goal of acceptance and ask if the behaviours in place today are still working in favour of that goal or if we have become side tracked from our pursuit of acceptance with the baggage of a rising victim culture, the trend for self labelling and the concept of identity politics.”

Roanna Carleton Taylor

So following the successes of the BLM movement, the revolutionary spirit that has swept across the UK in opposition to the crime and sentencing bill and the Tories brazen attempts to discredit Black academic analysis, Roanna response is an attack on identity politics? BLM worked because of identity politics. Not in spite of it. Black women created a movement that the most oppressed could get behind. Through acknowledging the most vulnerable BLM were able to harness and direct the energies of those who were quite literally fighting for their lives. The power wielded by the super exploited has been acknowledged by revolutionary leaders throughout the anti capitalist struggle. They understood that people fighting for their very existence were more important than people who sat at home, earning money writing articles about people who were fighting for their very existence… The Corbyn election campaign was powered by many people who were fighting for their lives. The campaign seized the fear and desperation of disabled people facing Tory genocide. A Black British community reeling from Grenfell and the persecution of Windrush descendants. The marginalised rallied. Were pushed to the fore as our tragedies were pumped to the nation in a constant stream, heightening awareness of our precariousness, deepening our anxieties and stripping us of the little we had to lose. Now people who claimed to be our allies want to strip us of our tools of survival.

‘Victim Mentality’

Sound familar? But of course Roanna isn’t talking about ‘real’ victims just people who ‘choose’ victimhood.

When I use the term I am not referring to people who have been a victim of an act. I’m speaking of people who have made the choice to identify as a victim.

Roanna Carleton Taylor

Roanna attempts to distance herself from the standard usage of the term ‘victim culture’, and presents victimhood as a choice, rather than the result of another’s actions. A simple term that covers many bases. You can be the victim of a hoax, a prank or a murder. Saying that you have been a victim does not signify the weight up on which the action weighs upon you. Nor does it indicate weakness. Victim is not a dirty word.

I have met and spoken with survivors of domestic abuse, rape and grooming and it was telling that many (most) of these strong people do not consider themselves victims. They use the term survivors because they are strong, unbreakable individuals

Roanna Carleton Taylor

Roanna’s good victim narrative is dangerous. It suggests that everyone has the physical and mental resources to overcome rape. That being ‘unbreakable’ is a choice all victims have to make. It ignores the courage and humanity of countless women who don’t have access to therapy, the security of safe accommodation to facilitate their healing. It disregards the countless victims who have been ‘broken’ and puts pressure on other victims to overcome often unconquerable trauma. Painting ‘true victims’ in this light creates a profile of victimhood that is used by the patriarchy to deny many women justice and make many more vulnerable. Nobody chooses to be a victim of rape. You either survive or you don’t and the latter are just as worthy.

The word ‘choice’ does some heavy lifting throughout the article. Most marginalised people understand the power of this word and how it has played a part in their oppression. Gay people ‘chose’ their sexuality. Trans people ‘chose’ a different gender than they were assigned at birth. Now Black and disabled people are ‘choosing’ to be offended. Non-binary people are ‘choosing’ to be… Well according to Roanna, not helpful to the cause of ‘real’ trans men and woman. And by ‘real’ she means conforming to her gender expectations.

Not content with dragging victims of rape into her attempts at self-preservation, Roanna turned to disabled people, defending her love of inspiration porn and hatred of self-identifying.

The trend of self labelling is equally as problematic. I have watched in dismay as Twitter bios have grown longer and more convoluted as people compete to have the most ‘labels’ they can cram into the space. I have no doubt many of these labels are genuine (though I would question why anybody would want to share their personal mental and physical health issues with perfect strangers) Other labels I suspect have been put there for attention to be provocative or to play the victim when challenged online.

Roanna Carleton Taylor

First of all. I, a perfect stranger, have seen your vagina online, so if John from Milton Keynes wants to put ASD, ADHD in his bio I think you need to shut the entire fuck up. Second self identification and labelling can save lives and has been critical during austerity when people are waiting years for consultations and therapy. Roanna is frustrated by people taking charge of their own identities and struggles. This white woman from the burbs fears a ‘tribal culture’ is emerging amongst marginalised groups, she likens it to the white power movement. Having no connections to the people she wants to speak for, Roanna does not understand that identity politics are fostering safe, productive inter community relationships between marginalised groups around the world.

Roanna is afraid. Her warnings about identity politics are the baseless bleating of a woman whose power in a movement is dwindling because the voices of the marginalised are being centred in their own fucking struggle. The rantings of a white saviour who, when facing critique from those she claims to champion, threatens to burn down the whole damn orphanage.

I know that left Twitter figures like Wolfie, Raw, Swindon and Aesop will grant Roanna a hall pass and this giant step to the right will be absorbed with barely a murmur from the #SocialistSunday crowd.

I know that left Twitter has been presented with a clear decision.

Stand with those who tear down the walls protecting oppressed communities.

Stand with those who come with a smile and BLM in the profile to take a hatchet to BLM’s politics.

Or stand to defend the progress we’ve made since the last time white allies betrayed our mass movements.

Stand to be the generation that doesn’t let history repeat itself.

Stand to be the socialist you say you are.

3 Comments »

  1. Hi Judy,
    Firstly, I would like to offer my solidarity.
    I found your post to be absolutely spot on. Thanks. I had similar (intersectional) views before reading but the articulate way you express them have helped me clarify my thoughts.
    I decided to read Roanna Carleton Taylor’s post for myself, to get the full context. I consider your critique of her post highly accurate.
    Towards the end she says that “Whether we like it or not there are a lot of people out there reading the Daily Mail and scoffing at what they term ‘political correctness.’ These are the people who determine general elections. If we want a socialist government who will actively work to address the inequalities in society then we need to get these people on side.”
    So a person sets up a thing called “Resisting Hate” and she wants to win readers of one of the most hateful newspapers in the UK! Now she doesn’t want to convert them from being hateful to being caring, she simply wants to not offend them with “political correctness”. That doesn’t sound like resistance to me, it sounds like capitulation.
    Robert

    Like

  2. The ‘silence’ on Twitter, at least in my case, is because I had no idea how it all started. All of a sudden there was a dividing line – Swindon, Raw, Red Sarah, Leesh, and others were posting Tweets that from some, were getting nasty. But without knowing the full, or even PART of the story, I can’t get involved, or offer support. It is like watching a row on TV with the sound off.

    Like

  3. I know this is a couple of months old now, but I’ve returned to it as a CSA and rape victim AND survivor and as a disabled person.

    I didn’t choose to be a victim, I was made one. I didn’t choose to bear the mental and physical scars that I bear. They were thrust upon me. I have tried so hard to “overcome” the acts committed against me and often I succeed. But I also don’t overcome them. Sometimes they overrun me. I have been in multiple psych units because of other people’s choices, not because of my own. You would think this implication alone would have her written off as an even cheaper imitation of Katie Hopkins.

    Secondly, those of us with physical and mental disabilities (I would also add cognitive but clearly RCT doesn’t understand us in very broad terms) do so in order to find community, not to play Trauma Top Trumps. It’s also why other groups include their identity labels in their bios. Those support networks are priceless. They are both a way to find others who understand your experience, and a way to work together for community organising. That she can only conceive of it as some sort of Oppression Olympics is all the evidence needed that she’s never understood the communities she’s spoken over, in the pretence of speaking for.

    I used to think that there was truth to the saying that, “the left looks for traitors, the right looks for converts,” because we can turn into a circular firing squad. But it has become clearer than ever that we do need to look for traitors because the left actually is full of them. How has nothing RTC and her inner circle done, led to their implosion? Why aren’t socialists standing up for us against this campaign of hatred? She accuses us of exploiting our identities in some sort of twisted game. The truth seems to be that our identities have been exploited by many on the left, to seem benevolent and evolved, or simply for Internet clout

    Liked by 1 person

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