Quote: sozobe wrote:
Egalitarianism is fine, I like it better than humanism, it still has the same problem of generality, though. Egalitarianism covers racism, homophobia, ageism, classism, etc., etc. Feminism is about gender equality specifically.
And msolga makes good points about what greater specificity means in terms of actually getting things done. And we all seem to agree that more needs to be done.
I believe this is empirically untenable. For just one counter-example, Martin Luther King got a lot of things done for Blacks without creating a separate ideology of "blackism". Indeed, he made a point of not doing that. That's why he gave his I-have-been-to-the-mountaintop speech, his last before he got shot, in support of striking garbage workers, not of some Blacks-only organization. It reflects badly on American-history books that America's collective consciousness downplays King's egalitarian agenda. But this agenda reflects very positively on Martin Luther King---especially in terms of getting things done.
Certainly Martin Luther King was a very influential leader in the civil rights movement in the US in the 1960s, however, as you'd most likely be aware, he was not the only leader, nor by any means the only influence on the movement.
While MLK did not advocate "blackism", other African American leaders certainly did, notably Malcolm X, who advocated "black power", as opposed to Kings's integration focus.
Black Power is a political slogan and a name for various associated ideologies. It is used in the movement among people of Black African descent throughout the world, though primarily by African Americans in the United States. The movement was prominent in the late 1960s and early 1970s, emphasizing racial pride and the creation of black political and cultural institutions to nurture and promote black collective interests and advance black values. "Black Power" expresses a range of political goals, from defense against racial oppression, to the establishment of social institutions and a self-sufficient economy.
I would argue that both leaders (plus all the others) contributed to "raising the consciousness" (using a very 1960s/70s term) of African Americans in their struggle for rights. I can see why MLK would hold more appeal to you as a leader more than a Malcolm X, due to his peaceful integration focus, but I think there's no denying the powerful influence of the "black liberation/power" advocates, too, whether you agree with their "message or not.
So I disagree with your assessment that a separate movement for specific concerns/grievances (Feminism, or Black Liberation, Gay Rights, etc) is "empirically untenable". To me it depends entirely on the circumstances that the advocates of a particular cause find themselves in.
I think it's fair to say that the suffragettes who fought for the right for women to vote early in the twentieth century did not have "egalitarian" support. They had no option but to go it alone & fight immense establishment opposition to achieve their perfectly reasonable goal.
And I think it's also fair to say that "women's concerns" were not exactly high on any egalitarian agenda during the second wave (1960s/70s) of the feminist movement. And that issues such as reproductive rights, domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay, sexual harassment and sexual violence, etc would not have been addressed if women had not campaigned so successfully for them.
I do understand the appeal of the notion that some sort of enlightened egalitarian force will somehow automatically address concerns or grievances identified by any particular group, whether they be gays or feminists or whatever, but historically that is not how change has come about. It has been activism that has brought the legitimate concerns of such groups, most often identified & initiated by the groups themselves, into public focus & into the political arena.