until all are free

Until All Are Free – Black Feminism, Anarchism, and Interlocking Oppression – (2016) – by hillary lazar [https://www.sociology.pitt.edu/people/ant-12] – (Hillary Lazar (she/her) is a Visiting Instructor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on 21st century social movements and structural inequality. In particular, she explores dynamics of power, oppression, and resistance through an intersectional lens.) – via kindle version from anarchist library

none of us are free et al

notes/quotes from 15 pgs:


If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression. —The Combahee River Collective

yeah.. if any body free.. would mean all.. none of us are free et al

There is growing recognition among activists that we need to acknowledge the interconnectedness of our struggles if we are to harness the collective power necessary to overcome interlocking systems of domination. As Francesca Mastrangelo comments in an editorial piece for The Feminist Wire, we need to begin to “recognize that our liberation is bound up in the liberation of every person.”.. Or, as expressed by labor organizer Ai-Jen Poo, “The way we try to think about it and the way the world is, we’re all interdependent and interconnected… Those connections are fairly invisible to most people most of the time. We’re taught not to see those connections.”.. t

thurman interconnectedness lawwhen you understand interconnectedness it makes you more afraid of hating than of dying – Robert Thurman (@BobThurman)

need 1st/most: means to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature so we can org around legit needs.. ai as augmenting interconnectedness

In part, this sentiment—the need to recognize that “we” are an “us”—may speak to the times. .t

no more us & them ness


Regardless of what is driving it, the notion of interlocking oppressions holds real revolutionary potential. In underscoring the connectedness of all forms of domination, it leads to creation of stronger movements that are capable of mounting more successful challenges to oppressive systems by breaking down structural barriers that prevent communities from building power. However, the question remains as to how activists can begin to move beyond simply espousing their connectedness towards actual practices of working to address domination simultaneously in all its forms..t Looking to Black feminism and anarchism can help to advance theoretical and practical models for how to do so.

humanity needs a leap.. to get back/to simultaneous spontaneity .. simultaneous fittingness.. everyone in sync..

Black Feminism: From Intersectionality to Interlocking Oppressions


Yet, the idea of “interlocking” oppressions seems to be most instructive for understanding the ways in which, regardless of the exact relational nature between the specific sets of oppressions in any given case, one thing remains certain—that all forms of subjugation and domination are integrally related to one another, and that striving for an end of any form of oppression necessitates struggling to end all oppressions. They are not only intersecting, but are inextricably tied together..t

huge.. and why that leap.. that nother way begs to be sans any form of m\a\p

This conceptualization of interlocking oppressions was first expressed by the Combahee River Collective more than a decade prior to Crenshaw’s coining of the term “intersectionality.”

well not 1st..

Moreover, although it was a “combined anti-racist and anti-sexist position [that] drew [them] together initially,” over time, the Collective members had come to realize that, along with addressing heterosexism, “the liberation of all oppressed peoples necessitates the destruction of the political-economic systems of capitalism and imperialism as well as patriarchy.” In other words, in order to contest any form of subjugation means the need to take on “the System” as a whole..t

take on..? or just model a legit nother way sans any form of m\a\p.. (all conditions of oppression irrelevant to everyone)


Given what can be considered the deeply diffused Foucauldian capillaries of power throughout society, coupled with the overarching reach of capitalism and corresponding systems of racial-sexual domination into every facet of life, it would be impossible to address each instance of oppression a single case at a time.

By extension, *if all oppression needs to be confronted concurrently, the Combahee idea of interlocking oppression is also vital, as it suggests a need for a politics of solidarity. For instance, although they recognize the complicity of Black men in upholding patriarchy, they also recognize the subjugation of Black men along lines of race and/or class. Similarly, while white feminists very actively participated in upholding racism, they were nonetheless impacted by patriarchal domination. In other words, context is key for understanding the complicated and dynamic nature of domination and subjugation. Oppressors may be oppressed, and oppressed may be oppressors—so the only solution is to work together to eliminate all forms of oppression..t

*best solidarity is to org around something already in each one of us.. no need for politic ness

Since the Combahee first issued their Statement, Black feminists and other activists have taken on this language of interlocking oppression. 

ok.. maybe that’s a 1st.. but still probably not


Patricia Hill Collins also underscores interlocking notions of oppression in her concept of the “matrix of domination.” As she explains, “Black feminist thought fosters a fundamental paradigmatic shift in how we think about oppression. By embracing a paradigm of race, class, and gender as interlocking systems of oppression, Black feminist thought re-conceptualizes the social relations of domination and resistance.” Collins, however, explicitly emphasizes the importance of avoiding “additive models” for understanding dynamics of oppression reflected “in the either/or dichotomous thinking of Eurocentric, masculinist thought.” This, she argues, fails to capture the dynamic and multiple axes and levels of oppression, hence necessitating adoption of a “both/and” model.

bell hooks, in her idea of a “politics of domination,” further helps to elucidate this paradigm shift. As she explains, looking at the multiple axes of oppression such as race, class, and gender and their situational relationships elucidates the ways in which they share “ideological ground.” This common ground is “a belief in domination, and a belief in the notions of superior and inferior, which are components of all of those systems… [It]’s like a house, they share the foundation, but the foundation is the ideological beliefs around which notions of domination are constructed.”

In a very similar way, over a decade later, in “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women’s Studies,” Peggy McIntosh speaks about the interlocking nature of oppression. In this piece, McIntosh discusses the invisibility of systems of privilege that confer unearned benefits and resources on certain social groups at the expense of others—namely, men at the expense of women, and whites at the expense of people of color, or heteronormative individuals at the expense of homosexual and non-gender conforming persons. In so doing, however, she seeks to avoid the pitfall of an additive approach to understanding oppression. As she comments,

One factor seems clear about all of the interlocking oppressions. They take both active forms that we can see and embedded forms that members of the dominant group are taught not to see. In my class and place, I did not see myself as racist because I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group, never in invisible systems conferring racial dominance on my group from birth. Likewise, we are taught to think that sexism or heterosexism is carried on only through intentional, individual acts of discrimination, meanness, or cruelty, rather than in invisible systems conferring unsought dominance on certain groups.

structural violence.. spiritual violence .. et al


Anarchism: Collective Self-Liberation For All


Necessarily, this idea of a free society as being dependent on whether or not all members are liberated implies that one cannot decouple one’s own liberation from that of another.. t

burke freedom law et al


Chris Dixon’s recent work, Another Politics: Talking Across Today’s Transformative Movements, however, perhaps most expressly addresses the relationship between anarchism and Black feminism, as well as interlocking oppressions, as he specifically focuses his analysis of contemporary movements on the interconnectedness of struggle. Dixon reflects on the ways that contemporary movement participants—from indigenous rights to labor to racial justice mobilizations—have come to understand their struggles as shared. As he notes, for these activists, it is clear that

systems of oppression and exploitation—whether we’re talking about patriarchy, heterosexism, white supremacy, ableism, capitalism, so on—actually work with and through one another and cannot be disentangled from one another. And in fact require, if we’re going to try and ultimately do away with them and create a different way of relating, a whole different social structure. That’s going to require us to have a kind of multilayered revolutionary politics that takes on all of these things at once.. t

yeah.. problem deep enough to resonate w 8bn today.. why leap.. for (blank)’s sake

In particular, Dixon highlights the coming together of three political currents—Black feminism, prison abolitionism, and anarchism—as formative for the kind of “integrated analysis” and anti-authoritarian sentiment that he argues has come to be at the heart of contemporary activism in the US and Canada.

Towards a United Struggle


As one essay comments, while being an ally has come to be adopted by white activists seeking recognition as anti-racist and paying lipservice to their commitment to racial justice, being an accomplice moves past superficial or patronizing forms of false solidarity. Rather, it means acknowledging that as long as any are oppressed, then all are subjected to the mutually-reinforcing systems of domination. They suggest that

… [this] framework of solidarity affirms that other groups have something of worth to be gained through interactions with them, whether materially or by gaining something less tangible like perspective, joy, or inspiration. The solidarity model also dispels the idea of one inside and one outside, foregrounding how individuals belong to multiple groups and groups overlap with one another, while demanding respect for the identity and self-sufficiency of each of those groups.

Allied frameworks, however, underscore “ideas of I and the other” as opposed to a more united, collective conceptualization. Moreover, the accomplice model reinforces the notion that struggles are inextricably bound together. As explained in “Accomplices Not Allies: Abolishing the Ally Industrial Complex,”

The risks of an ally who provides support or solidarity (usually on a temporary basis) in a fight are much different than that of an accomplice. When we fight back or forward, together, becoming complicit in a struggle toward liberation, we are accomplices.

Along with the anarchist emphasis on shifting from an allied politics to the solidarity politics of being accomplices, another possible inroad for promoting a more interlocking feminism within activist spaces is in the idea that that one learns by doing—something that Third Wave, Chicana-feminist scholar Aimee Carrillo Rowe’s “politics of relation” illuminates. In her article, “Be Long: Toward a Feminist Politics of Relation,” Rowe argues that whom we love is political. As she comments, “The sites of our belonging constitute how we see the world, what we value, who we are (becoming).” Consequently, she aims to “make transparent” the political conditions that shape our belonging and affective ties. Ultimately, she suggests that in order for us to be able to struggle together we need to develop “coalitional subjectivities” that arise through working together across difference while adopting a “politics of relation.”

This occurs through the very act of doing together, when individuals jump into alliances allowing us “to see [our] oppression and privilege as inextricably bound to others and [in which we] cannot envision [our] existence and politics as separate from others’ existence and politics.” In turn, this enables activists to build a politics across power lines, so that they can begin to understand their respective experiences and collaborate towards an emancipatory struggle for all.

yeah.. so i see too much cancerous distraction w both ally and accomplice ness


Certainly this may be easier said then done; yet Rowe’s call for us to reject normative relations predicated on “power over” in favor of “power with,” which means a turning “towards” one another, is another example of the kind of shift necessary for advancing a stronger movement for the liberation of all. As she writes, what we most need is to see “that radical modes of belonging hold tremendous potential for transforming who we think we are and how we imagine something called ‘feminism.’ This is the aim of a politics of relation… the inclination of one toward another, as the basis for community, intimacy, and awareness.” In sum, then, as Rowe suggests, perhaps the best way to encourage the development of an interlocking feminist framework is in fact to begin to relate to one another through our interlocked positions. It is not only our oppressions and privileges that are inseparably intertwined, but we ourselves. Recognizing this kinship within our individual experiences or put more simply, our shared humanity—together with the anarchist call for the critical need to work together as accomplices and not allies—may be the best route to our collective liberation.

still cancerous distraction with collective lib ness.. still too much of an energy suck


Chris Crass makes a similar point about his organization’s anti-racist work, and admits that “we’ve made a mistake about applying intersectionality to our work; in some cases we organized white people as if they were a homogenous group… and we’ve alienated people we were working with by flattening out differences that can actually be a source of power.” In short then, as these writers suggest, adopting an interlocking framework requires recognizing the uniqueness of differences—“unity in diversity,” to use a term favored by social ecologist and libertarian communalist, Murray Bookchin—or of the divergent systems of social domination, and each individual experience of subjugation, as being central to a nuanced analysis of mechanisms of control. If all forms of subjugation are reduced to a single axis, oppression cannot be contested, and indeed may only be reified. Consequently, anarchist and Black feminist approaches to interlocking analysis help to underscore this need to account for complexity, uniqueness, and dynamism within the mechanisms of power.

sounds like discrimination as equity ness.. but not so that we can power up.. and fight et al..

murray bookchin

Even so, it is one thing to say that we need to take a cue from Black feminism and anarchism in adopting an approach to oppression analysis that recognizes difference, and another to understand how to navigate the challenges of doing so in actual practices of solidarity. How does one account for difference of experience, or the fact that society confers power on some at the expense of others, while still working towards the simultaneous collective liberation of all? One need only think of the profoundly problematic calls being made by some alleged “allies” to adopt the motto of #AllLivesMatter to see a clear example of how an ostensibly interlocking approach—“we all matter and need liberating, right?”—can still lead to oppression.

yeah.. rather imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch in 8b souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to connect/coord us.. we might just get to a more antifragile, healthy, thriving world.. the ecosystem we keep longing for

One possible solution may be to turn to a new metaphor for interlocking oppression—that of a tangled knot. There are countless strands in this knot, each one representing a different expression of domination, and all tightly bound together. Given their entanglement, it is therefore necessary to *loosen all the strands if the knot is to be undone. In some moments, however, one strand may need more immediate attention and loosening than others. In other moments, perhaps it may be necessary to pull on multiple strands at once. While the knot of oppression will remain ensnared until all strands are freed, it is vital to understand that interdependent as the threads may be, each must be attended to both as an individual strand and as part of the collective tangle. **This kind of conceptualization helps to avoid totalizing “alls” that erase distinct experiences of subjugation, while still allowing for an understanding that “none are free until all are free.” In any case, as we endeavor to figure out ***how to put into practice a better politics of solidarity based on an understanding of shared and interdependent struggle, at least we have both Black feminism and anarchism as theoretical and practical models to help point us in the right direction.

still *cancerous distraction

**discrimination as equity and burke freedom law et al

***if we legit want solidarity et al.. have to let go of understanding ness and struggle ness.. rather .. need to let’s do this first.. in the city.. as the day






none of us are free et al