Pambazuka News 717 Special Issue: Intersectionality in social justice struggles

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LGBTIQ struggles are connected to universal struggles for liberation of people from the hegemony of the white-male capitalist world and its allies. But the oppressor – and even activists – have split this struggle and reduced it to a question of identity.

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Neo-liberal NGOism and the consultancy culture, with their emphasis on policy – more “action,” little thought – and prescriptive prognosis, has taken a toll on our intellectual thinking, the result of which is that we have abdicated analyzing and understanding the world.

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NGOs and activists need to give themselves a really hard look. They cannot possibly be partners of, and stakeholders in, systems that oppress and dehumanize the large majority of people. They must choose the side of those who are struggling for a better world and against those who want to maintain the existing world. Neutrality is betrayal.

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It is very true that decades of organising in Africa have assumed, quite wrongly, that social problems are discrete challenges only facing specific groups – and that they should be tackled as such.

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NGOs do a good job, certainly, but they cannot escape the charge that often they are focused on professionalising “development” and people’s struggles through their constant supply of statistics, reports and case studies. Rarely do these organisations tackle entrenched structural injustices underpinning the problems they attempt to solve.