What are the perils of the claim that “We are the 99%”? When someone speaks such a claim, who is that person? Is that a person of colour, a woman? Is that a person speaking on behalf of others? Does that person have their permission? Consider this: Statement from DeColonize LA, by DeColonize LA.
But don’t despair. I say that to myself as much as I do to others for the very reason that I at once recognize the absolute legitimacy of this statement: “The constant rhetoric of the ‘99%’…calls for [a] blind ‘unity’ [that has] the effect of hiding inequalities and very real systems of oppression….” and yet I want to maintain my right to speak out. Why? Because I think that unified positions are stronger than fragmentary positions. Such fragmentation, after all, has weakened leftist movements for the past forty years. The fragmentation we’ve seen has been the result of an important articulation of difference; the history of these articulations must not be overlooked or subsumed.
How can we at once recognize that all inequalities are not the same and yet find common ground, common ground that might say “despite the fact that our inequalities are not the same, the disparity between that 1% and our 99% is the fight we want to fight right now”?