You’d be saying the same thing if I lived in Hawaii. You’d say the same if I lived in some liberal bastion in a blue state. You could say the same to me if I was a poor, opium addicted white from Appalachia. The point of intersectionality is not to line up privileges and oppressions to decide who has the most legitimate voice—See that’s the disconnect. You talk about holding the Democrats to a progressive agenda, and it’s easy to do that from across the ocean. You don’t have to deal with the increase in bigotry and racism that exists in everyday America. Saying living in Japan is like living in America with universal healthcare and no mass shootings is ignorant and reductionist.
The point is to build solidarity, to create a common good will to hear each other’s voices, to fight for each other’s causes, and to overcome differences with open discourse. The left never has power except in solidarity.
I’m willing to listen to any pains that you have. And I will hear and see you brothers and sisters— but I also have a perspective to share, having lived in a satellite state, and now a satellite country of the US empire. I have a valuable perspective as an American who’s experienced how vital single Payer and childcare leave has meant to my family, or lived in Communist China. My guess though is that at the end of such dialogue I would tell you that the answer is not to settle for less— MLK would never have settled for less— the answer is to make sure that we raise up your needs and voices.
The philosophies of the left are not meant to divide, but meant to unite for solidarity— allowing the issues of the oppressed to be raised, but also allowing the more privileged to be welcomed to be included in the movement and also be heard.
I really love this line from a black feminist on an episode of the (amazing) “Hear the Bern” podcast speaking about oppression and intersecionality: “The American people are united yes in their mutual suffering, but also in the hope of future change.”