Today I was lucky enogth to attend a meeting which ended up discussing an issue I’ve been thinking about for a while, are “marginalised only” groups useful?
The meeting was on the German socialist women’s movement of the 19th-20th century (never let it be said I don’t live a fun and exciting life), but for me one of the most important questions raised was when does ( Women | BMEA | LQBT+ | disabled ) caucus play a positive role and when do they play a negative one?
On the left we tend to fetishistic caucuses, and assume they always play a positive role however one of the speakers pointed out something I’ve noticed before.
Before I go into the negative, it would be worth stating the positive. Caucuses can play an extremely important role. Often members of marginalised groups have difficulty having their voices heard by the wider organization (party or union etc) for a number of reasons, firstly they tend to be smaller in number then the rest of the party and secondly often they are less confident in speaking. Caucuses can allow marginalized members to gain the confidence that the issues they as individuals face a also faced by other members, that by discussing them they can come to an agreed way to campaign on throes issues which helps give individual members the power to speak out.
However this only works if throes take their campaign forward. It is all to easy for them to become, as one comrade said “A therapy session” where we all sit around and moan how bad the world is treating us, rather then have a plan to fight for their needs within the wider organization.
It was refreshing to hear throes on the left critic ideas that other feel are sacrosanct.