In this month’s Edge Note we asked our readers the following: Oppression is an endemic feature of a capitalist society. People can be oppressed on the basis of their skin colour, nationality, religion, class, sexuality, physical looks, poverty etc. It is not possible for left activists to prioritise all oppressed groups at once. So what are the most important battles for us to take up and which should be placed on the back burner?

These were the replies we received.

The capitalist system oppresses us but not all those who work to change the system do so whilst recognising that specific groups are oppressed. Deciding who is most important is not the main issue we should be taking on. It should NEVER be a competition. There are enough people already creating hierarchies – we don’t need to add to that. On that basis I refuse to answer this question

Sandra Wyman

Every oppressed group has its own support and pressure groups, giving preference to one group over another would seem unfair. But the life threatening ones where government is literally depriving handicapped or sick people of essential healthcare and services should be prioritised.

Gabriel Peachey

All of the above. We can fight on all these fronts, but only if we come together and get organised. Left unity has always been poor. Too many factions – the plague of the left. We have a mountain to climb to build an equal society, but it can be done. Let’s not forget that environmental activists are also being oppressed.

Howard Thorp

There can be NO hierarchy of oppression we must fight it ALL constantly, but at this point in time we must fight the terror that is the Zionist occupation, its army and its government and its supporters in western governments.

Arthur Marchant

It all breaks down to class. Campaigns on other issues should always be based on a class analysis.

Colin Middleton

Top priority should be to address poverty and equity for all.

Kevan Broom

People with disabilities, Palestinians, LGBQT

Claire Cooper

Oppression in most of its incarnations is derived from a small number of people wielding control over whole populations and societies. Working on the assumption that sunlight is the best disinfectant, a simple solution is to name names.

Philip Newton

Oppression by the rich through various means needs to be combatted first. Stock markets, lobbyists, bribery are all instruments used by billionaires and corporations to keep the populous under their boot with little or no chance for relief. 

Governments, made up of politicians amenable to sway by threat or honey, are held in check by the wealthy with the prolific use of the eponymous lobbyists. 

Further the ability of a party (or MP) to maintain the ability to be reelected over and over again is a detriment to our democracy. There are always exceptions to the generalisation that “all MPs are corrupted or are corruptible ” but term limits of 2/3 terms may reduce the amount of corruption in our politics; after all a majority become MPs because the ideals of public service and the corruption efforts take time.

Tarlochan Kaliroy

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