Abstract: Hegemonic Whiteness, Left Impotence

Kyriarchy, i.e. a social system which relies on hierarchical relationships of domination, oppression, and submission, and which denotes the assemblage resulting from patriarchy, capitalism, white supremacy, anthropocentrism, cisheternormativity, and colonialism, relies on its hegemony in social relations. Linguistic, cultural, and social capital are constructed in ways that reflect perpetual conflict between dominant and oppressed classes. While these ideas are widespread in activist circles, their application lacks profundity. Indeed, the Left today has little effective power, and anti-oppression politics have even begun to be co-opted by neoliberalism, robbing them of their efficacy and reinforcing the hegemony of capitalism and white supremacy.

A lack of vigilance regarding capitalist ideological frames has invaded the Left. Now, logics and discourses of capitalism exist even in radical communities; activism becomes a competitive sport sometimes referred to as the “ally industrial complex”. To diagnose these relations, I perform Critical Discourse Analysis on the expressions of white activists, to examine how ideologies of capitalism and whiteness encroach upon radical spaces and reproduce oppressive relationships. Additionally, I examine how some spaces manage to escape this trap — as well as what this means for theories of hegemony and counterhegemony. Many of these spaces, which have recently gained popularity, formulate themselves around a specific conception of place, such as with pipeline resistance camps, battles for Indigenous sovereignty, and so on. As such, my project borrows from the fields of Queer theory, linguistics, Native Studies, and cultural Marxist scholarship. Specific authors include Foucault, Gramsci, Glen Coulthard, and Fanon.

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