It isn’t possible to discuss Intersectionality without starting with Kimberlé Crenshaw, who named it. Like with most Woke Marxist ideas, though, Intersectionality is recycled and repackaged, more than once. Crenshaw is therefore the wrong person to discuss to talk about the issue, but she’s a starting place.
Intersectionality was first described by this cumbersome term in a paper by Crenshaw in 1989, wherein she likened the idea of occupying more than one “position” of sociocultural systemic oppression to being caught in an intersection of highways. Crenshaw argued that if you are, say, a black woman, occupying at least two such positions of “relational” systemic oppression, then you might be hit by racism (a car coming down one road) or sexism (a car coming down the other road) without even being able to be sure which one got you. She also noted, though her colleague Patricia Hill Collins did it much more thoroughly, that to be a black woman is also to face prejudice and discrimination (so, systemic oppression) of a unique sort specific only to that intersected identity. That is, there are certain stereotypes of black women specifically, not because they are black or because they are women more generally, that could also be a source of their systemic oppression. By adding in the confusion of source, that means to occupy two systemically oppressed positions in society is to endure something like four times the capacity for oppression—creating something of a quadratic law of multiplying oppression across the Intersectional Matrix of Domination, as it is sometimes called.
The purpose of Intersectionality as a doctrine is therefore to link the various forms of systemic oppression together into a kind of meta-system of domination. It is to insist that all forms of systemic oppression are interlinked, though not the same. Technically, Intersectionality, then, is the dialectical synthesis of the various forms of systemic oppression described by Critical Identity Politics (Identity Marxism) into one overarching concept of how systemic oppression manifests and operates in society.
Like all Marxist Theories, Intersectionality isn’t merely a self-reflexive doctrine. It is also a practice, and Crenshaw was explicit about this point on many occasions. “Intersectionality is a practice,” she has often said. Ok, fine. It’s a religion. We almost all know that at this point, but what is it a practice of? What does it do? Two things: it aims to raise an Intersectional Critical Consciousness, and it does activism consistent with that consciousness to achieve the outward manifestation of its goals, equity. Intersectionality, specifically, is a way to yoke together the various forms of Critical Identity Marxism attendant to this view and this aim into a single meta-system.
Critical Consciousness is nothing more than understanding the world the way Intersectionalists do: society is actually organized by largely deterministic intersecting systems of oppression that have to be denounced in the hopes something better will emerge from the denunciation and ensuing power grab by the Intersectionalists, who, as right-thinkers, will make sure the right decisions are made and equity is achieved. Equity, on the other hand, is a little more specific. It is an administered sociopolitical economy in which shares are adjusted so that citizens are made equal. In other words, equity is socialism rebranded and broadened to include less-visible types of social and cultural, if not human, capital. Intersectionality is a cult religion that “awakens” (hence, Woke) people to this view of the man world and the attendant duties of consciousness.
As it turns out, this model of reality is not just wrong, it’s pernicious and divisive. Humans are at bottom individuals, not representatives of “intersecting” sociopolitical classes. Crenshaw’s Intersectionality rejects this vigorously. In her famous 1991 paper on the subject, “Mapping the Margins,” Crenshaw delineates that there’s a fundamental difference between the statements “I am Black” (capitalization in the original) and “I am a person who happens to be black.” The second of these, she says, puts the personhood of the individual first, rather than their class identification, which she says isn’t possible because identity-based power dynamics are imposed upon people (one can fill in that they are imposed by a racial bourgeoisie, of course). So, personhood, to Crenshaw, is inferior to racial class identity because she has bought the cultish Critical Race Theory (Race Marxism) worldview that race is the fundamental organizing principle of society, as above. Instead, “I am Black” becomes, in her words, a form of self-identifying with “a positive discourse of resistance,” which is inherently divisive (literally oppositional), class-collectivist, and intolerant, and which only makes sense by adopting her cultish mindset about race in Western (particularly American) societies. You may have noticed that it is simply not possible to disagree with Intersectional analysis because to do so, at its heart, requires questioning the stories those involved tell themselves about their identities—who they are and what it means to be human, both in general and in this world.
So that’s Intersectionality: a means of yoking together divisive identity politics (Identity Marxism) to achieve some kind of social, cultural, and political transformation directed by the cultists who think this way. It is a program to bind Marxian identity politics together to bring society to heel under the discipline of a new standard called “equity,” which it sees as a measure of and precursor to “Social Justice.”
But as I said, Intersectionality is not original to Crenshaw. Not only were various Queer Theorists using the phrasing of the “intersection of sex, gender, and sexuality” in the decade preceding her discovery, it emerged directly out of the Black Feminism school of thought in which Crenshaw participated. The idea of yoking together the various Identity Marxist approaches to identity politics—and the first recorded use of that specific term (“identity politics”)—comes from the Combahee River Collective and its manifesto (“Statement”) from 1977, published twelve years in advance of Crenshaw’s first paper on the subject. The Combahee River Collective was a group of radical socialist Black Feminists who were dedicated to transforming the feminist movement, black nationalism and black liberationism movements, and American society to their way of thinking.
The Combahee River Collective was the first group of Identity Marxists to flatly state that all forms of oppression are interlinked and operate the way that Intersectionality describes. They were also unabashed in their calls for transforming American society through the movements they were attacking for the broader cause of socialism. Crenshaw, as a Black Feminist in radical circles herself, was certainly aware of the Collective and, in fact, cites one of its participants, Angela Davis, in “Mapping the Margins” on something near to the central point. Again, though, we cannot say that the Combahee River Collective created Intersectionality because, like all Marxist ideas, it’s just a repackaging and repurposing of older ideas that eventually drag back to the Gnostic social sorcery of Rousseau, Hegel, and Marx, predominantly (three dead white, European men, one might add).
The radicals in the Combahee River Collective, including Angela Davis very directly, were themselves students of Herbert Marcuse, the most influential Critical Marxist thinker of the 20th century. Marcuse noted in all of his major works in the 1960s and 1970s that the American and Western working class would not be a suitable base for a socialist revolution because, to put it bluntly in his own words, “advanced capitalism” “delivers the goods.” The working class isn’t just made complacent and “one-dimensional” in this way but also conservative and even counter-revolutionary. Marcuse’s solution is to seek out a new “working class,” a new proletarian class that has the “vital needs” for revolution. He suggested identity politicking: the racial minorities, feminists, outsiders, and so on. Identity Marxism, including the radicalism of the Combahee River Collective and the “Intersectionality” of Kim Crenshaw, gets its start with Marcuse’s radical suggestion to abandon class identity for other types of identity.
Yet again, Marcuse was borrowing these ideas from another source—and I promise not to run this all the way back to Rousseau, Hegel, or even Marx. Marcuse was inspired by a Communist who had a decidedly different tack than Josef Stalin, whom Marcuse had come to distrust deeply. This character, who had been in turn deeply distrusted by Stalin, was running a grand Cultural Revolution in China at the time; Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. Marcuse, like many of the Western Marxists of the 1960s (cf. Paulo Freire), greatly admired what Mao was doing so much more successfully than either the disaster of Stalin or the flailing of his Soviet successor, Nikita Khrushchev. In the riots of 1968 and 1969, largely inspired by Marcuse, the people chanted the three M’s for a reason: “Marx, Mao, Marcuse! Marx, Mao, Marcuse!” The source for what we call Intersectionality today is largely attributable to Mao Zedong. It is Cultural Maoism.
Thanks to our vigorously redwashed education system in the West, few Americans or Canadians today know how Mao did what he did. Though there are lots of technical elements involved, including a swift and total takeover of all education from 1950–1952, he primarily achieved his aims through identity politics in which several different types of identity categories were bound together into a systematic program of (youth) radicalization and power acquisition—just like today.
Mao, following the Soviets, defined “the people” and its “enemies.” Among “the people” were the socialists and Communists, but also the peasants and laborers whose image the CCP used while failing to do much for them (and visiting untold calamity upon them over and over again). Also among “the people” were those Mao and the CCP considered able to be “reformed,” though they had a great deal of “struggle” ahead of them so that their thought could be reformed to Chinese socialism. The “enemies” of “the people” were myriad, including former Guomingdang officials and sympathizers, landlords, “rich” farmers (“kulaks”), and the unreformable—counterrevolutionaries, bad influences, and rightists. Mao advocated ruthless treatment and taught open, vicious hate of the “enemies” of the people but always held out the opportunity (often through brutal struggle, brainwashing, and labor) to become one of “the people” by adopting “socialist discipline” under his system of “democratic centralism” that would administer an economy that redistributed shares so that “the people” were made equal.
More specifically, Mao originally created ten identities for people: five “black” (bad) and five “red” (good, Communist). People and their children, grandchildren, and further descendants were classified and handled according to this system. The idea was primarily to pressure youth given black identities to want to renounce and destroy the “Four Olds” of society and become Maoist revolutionaries. A variety of identity campaigns, involving both carrots and sticks, were employed in the process. Denounce your old way of life and thinking publicly and repeatedly, undergo criticism, self-criticism, and struggle, denounce your father and family if they had the wrong kind of identity, pledge loyalty to Mao, help his revolutionary cadres and forces—those kinds of things could get you a ticket out of a “black” identity into a “red” one.
The goal Mao had was to enact the formula he claims he created in 1942, though it is probably a Soviet import. That program he called “unity – criticism – unity.” Create the desire for unity (just like Biden’s Democrats). When people desire to have unity, show them how they are failing to live up to the standard unity demands through criticism. Get them to self-criticize. Put them through humiliating struggle. Teach them that they’re racist and must become anti-racist and would except they lack racial humility and exhibit white fragility because they covet their own white privilege and the benefits it provides, for example. Exact confessions and apologies and promises to “do better.” Always hold out radical identities as a possible escape from some or all of the pressure, which never quite goes away (white and queer is still white—do better). Only when they die to their old selves and are reborn on the side of the oppressed (in Freire’s language, anyway) can they adopt unity “on a new basis,” which Mao called “socialist discipline.”
Today, of course, under Intersectionality, the program is the same. Straight, white, male, cis, blah, blah, blah: black identities. Ally, radical activist, change agent, queer, and all that: red identities. The goal isn’t “unity”; it’s “inclusion” and “belonging.” Those sound nicer. The program is the same. Create a desire to belong; initiate a period of struggle, criticism, and self-criticism as a cult initiation and hazing ritual; and achieve unity under a new “inclusive” standard.
What this achieved, especially thanks to his thorough and early capture of the schools, turning them into revolutionary universities and high schools, was the creation of an extremely radical youth culture that didn’t know any other standard some sixteen years after Mao first claimed power. These were called the Red Guard, and they were selected only from the ranks of the red identities. They had praise heaped upon them; they were celebrated and affirmed; and they were largely above the law in their rampant and destructive radicalism. They ransacked homes and temples, destroyed statues and art from the old culture, bullied, humiliated, and tortured wrongthinkers, sometimes to death, all with the blessing of Mao’s police. From 1966 to 1968, they ran a red terror through every corner of China, and Mao rode the terror to increasingly consolidated and unquestionable power.
In 1967, the Red Guard did what Mao had most hoped they would do. They captured, struggled, humiliated, and exiled his primary political enemy, Liu Shaoqi, who had replaced Mao when he stepped down from the head of the Party following the catastrophe of the Great Leap Forward, which killed over 55 million people. With its primary functions achieved, Mao declared the Red Guard was turning too far Left and too radical, and he started having the People’s Liberation Army put them down. By late 1968, the Red Guard movement had been suppressed, with many of its participants killed by the government they had supported into power and most of the rest sent to the peasant countryside to be reeducated through farm labor in primitive conditions. The Woke “change agents” of today should take note of this fate because they are the “Red” (Rainbow) Guard of the Western Cultural Revolution.
So that’s what Intersectionality is. Intersectionality is a meta-system to yoke together all the various identity categories and create a functional pressure pump from “bad” identities to radicalized “good” ones. That is, Intersectionality is Maoism. Put another way, Intersectionality is a system for achieving what Mao referred to as “the correct handling of contradictions among the people.” See, the feminist movement is too white and needs Critical Race Theory—a contradiction among the people that must be handled. The black liberation movement was too patriarchal and needed feminism—a contradiction among the people that needed to be handled. Feminism is too trans-exclusionary and needs to be physically beaten by men in dresses and humiliated through campaigns to erase womanhood and motherhood completely—a contradiction among the people. Enemies of the people, say, “good whites,” need to be suppressed, struggled, and criticized until they “do better” or get “cancelled” from professional society—a contradiction among the people that needs to be handled.
A Note to Young Woke People
I think you’ll find what I have to say to you mostly incomprehensible, but you need to hear it.
This is what you are participating in, whether you know it or not. This is what your schools and universities and influencers are miseducating you—brainwashing you—into. Western Maoism. Maoism with American characteristics. And this is what you need to know about where it goes. The whole philosophy is based upon the formulations of GWF Hegel’s vision for how to move History to its intended “End” (the right side of history), and what Hegel said about you is this: “History uses people and then discards them.”
As a movement, Woke believes itself to be the movement of History. History is using you to move itself. It will discard you. You know how everything in Woke philosophy is “temporal,” “spacial,” and “contingent”? So are you. You are a contingency for the Woke movement. You have your time—until you don’t. When you become useless or a hindrance to the movement of History, you will be discarded. Every Marxist and Hegelian movement in history has proceeded this way, and this one will not be different. I wish you luck with that.
What you need to understand about the people you’ve been trained to see as your “enemies,” or “transphobes,” “racists,” “fascists,” “homophobes,” or whatever else is that most of the people you think are those things are not those things at all. You have been trained to hate, allegedly in the name of “stopping hate.” These people are, by and large, trying to warn you, not trying to uphold “oppression.”
What you need to know about the people in the movement you’re supporting, including your friends in the movement, is that you’re less than disposable to them. Contingent barely covers it. The Woke movement pretends to care about you—or, worse, “people who look like you”—but it does not. It is using you so its sociopathic fringe can gain power over society, using you as cannon fodder for their unconventional political warfare apparatus. Instead of living your life, growing, learning, preparing a future, you’re doing activism, for them. And they will discard you. Will. You are worse than disposable once they get power: you’re a problem.
You are being trained by this movement to be a destabilizer. That’s what all that “disrupt and dismantle” stuff is about. Their intention is to establish a perfectly stable system with them (not most of you) on top of it, and people trained and brainwashed to be destabilizers are a problem in such a system. Mao said that himself too. He said that the handling of the people is different in the different phases of the revolution. First you encourage and support destabilizers, and then you crack down on them so that there’s total stability under the new standard. You are an asset today and will be a liability tomorrow. You will be discarded, coldly and possibly violently.
Make no mistake. This fate has awaited the “change agents” of every red revolution in history. Communist defectors have been trying to tell you for decades, longer than most of you have been alive. It will not be different in anything except method this time. If you, as Wokes, “win,” you surely lose—all but the most sociopathic and sycophantic of you, in which case you hollow yourselves out, sell your souls (if you have one left by then), and become a true monster of history.
If you don’t believe me, let me ask you: do you see any identity politics in China today? Is China Woke? Will it go Woke? No! They already did that, and that phase of their revolution is over. It is viciously suppressed there, and they laugh at you here in the West and call you baizuo, white left. They know what you are and how misinformed and misguided you are. Their operatives attempt to stoke these fires and use you because you are strategically useful to their anti-American aims, which you foolishly might share. In China, however, they’re openly encouraging patriarchy and masculinity. They’re racially ruthless. They stamp out homosexuality. Why? They did Intersectionality already, got what they wanted out of it, and discarded it (and its change agents) in favor of power. That’s your future. Look at the screen, scan your face, and smile for the government, and don’t dare signal in any way that you think anything you shouldn’t be thinking.
You have been falsely convinced that you’re the protagonists in a vast morality play called “the arc of History” and that you’re “bending it toward justice.” You’re “on the right side of History,” and that feels good—right up until the boot comes crashing down on your face. Then you’ll realize it. You are bending the arc of history, of course, if we can even indulge such a metaphor, and you’re bending it straight into a twenty-first-century gulag, whatever those will look like in our increasingly Black Mirror society. You will be “thought reformed,” or you will be discarded.
Do you want to be its guard, Agent Smith? Would you like to be its administrator? Is it worth the sale of your soul? Some of you might aspire to such a demonic station in your lives, but most of you don’t. You’ll be subjected to it instead, even as a student at an elite university.
This corruption of you and your future is happening in place of your education, which is simultaneously being degraded in every meaningful sense of the word. You’re not getting the education you could be or perhaps aren’t getting a real education at all. You’re not learning to be informed, independent adults who can answer questions about reality and navigate it successfully. You’re being taught you have to defer to some kind of expert to answer a question like “what is a woman?”
Meanwhile, you’re getting degrees that are increasingly being seen as liabilities, not assets, in the working world outside of the most corrupt megacorporate sector that is our new Western Soviet—a council of “stakeholders” that knows “the Science of Right Human Relations” and the keys to “Sustainable Development.” Employers are increasingly suspecting you’re probably Woke, radically Leftist, entitled, unlikely to work hard, likely to create a hostile working environment, underskilled, and likely to sue if fired even on perfectly solid grounds. You’re a liability to them, and many of them are only still hiring you because they have to to keep their place in the corrupt corporate scoring schemes that control the way business is now done in the West. If that gives way, who are you? If it succeeds and you participate in it, what are you?
Make no mistake, if this system loses, you lose because your university tried to make you “change agents” and “global citizens” instead of educated adults. If this system wins, you lose because you know too much and are too big a problem. Your only option will be to sell your soul to it, and how much is that worth to you?
Think I’m kidding? Mao said, “not to have correct political opinions is like not having a soul.” Think about that and what this is costing you, whether you participate or cower against it. Doesn’t that ring true? That’s what you’re sacrificing.
So, why you? Because you happen to be the age you are at the worst time in Western history to be the age you are, and because many of you come from wealth and status and other resources the System covets and requires to succeed (they’re not really against “privilege,” they just want to redistribute and repurpose it). They need those resources. They need your enthusiasm and zeal. They need your impressionable minds. They need the future citizens and the future leaders, but History uses people and then discards them. They don’t need you for long, and they only need you for specific purposes, then you will be corrected or discarded, unless you choose to come off worse by selling out.
My message to you about intersectionality is simple. You need to know what you’re really involved in, stop participating, deprogram yourself and your friends, and start fighting for the blessings of Liberty that allowed you to have the privilege to think this way in the first place. You can and might lose it—the first generation in American history to face the loss of liberty, and you’re enslaving yourselves. “Liberation” movements are lies. Mao called his army—the same one he dispatched to destroy your counterparts in the Red Guard—the People’s Liberation Army for a reason. You need to fight for Liberty. Your chains are forged by frauds and locked only in your heads.
The oldest recorded cautionary tale in human history, the story of the Serpent and Eve in the third chapter of Genesis, warns you about liberation, whether you are religious or not. Liberation is a destructive lie. You are the future. Your choices matter. Choose better.