Is the State Part of the Matrix of Domination and Intersectionality?
An Anarchist Inquiry
The notions ‘matrix of domination’ and ‘intersectionality’ have become buzzwords in discussions of power relations (patriarchy, racism, capitalism). Systems of domination must be examined in terms of their overlaps and mutual influences (‘matrix’), institutions and individuals being necessarily positioned at the inter- sections of these systems. In the scholarly literature, the focus is generally on three systems: sexism, racism, classism. Other aspects, such as age, may also be included. Apparently, however, the state is never regarded as a system but rather as a secondary or auxiliary institution affecting systems of domination or serving social movements in their quest for justice. Informed by anarchism, this article raises the possibility of viewing the state per se as a system of domination, oppression, appro- priation and exclusion, one that is interwoven with other systems and influences them as much as they influence the state.
[T]he humanity we see is nothing other than state fodder with which the ever more gluttonous state is being fed. Humanity is now only state humanity and has lost its identity for centuries, in fact ever since there has been a state.
Thomas Bernhard, Old Masters
Theorisations of the matrix of domination and intersectionality, first developed by black feminists,  are one of the most, or maybe the most, significant innovation in social sciences and activism in the last decades. Today, the notions of ‘matrix of domination’ (Hill Collins 1991) and, especially, ‘intersectionality’ (Crenshaw 1989 and 1994) have become ‘buzzwords’ (Davis 2011, p43) in discussions on power relations and on emancipation struggles. This framework was developed with the twofold purpose (Dunezat & Galerand 2010, pp23-33) of achieving a better understanding of (1) material, psychological and symbolic inequalities (Winker & Degele 2011, p56; Shield 2008, p303) by stressing that any analysis addressing only one type of power relation makes other such relations invisible, and (2) tensions arising within feminist, anti-racist and anti-capitalist activist and academic projects and processes.
Academic networks and associations (Lada 2010),  social movements, non- government organisations, and international institutions have discussed and adopted the intersectional approach. Even the state has taken an interest, as evidenced, for instance, by the enactment of anti-discrimination policies (Yuval- Davis 2006, pp193-194; Verloo 2006, pp211-228; see also Hughes 2011). The ‘hype’ (Lutz et al. 2011, p9) surrounding intersectionality is such that its ‘remark- able popularity’ has itself become a subject of analysis (Bilge 2009, p78; Davis 2011; see also Winker & Degele 2011, p51; Burgess-Proctor 2006, p35).
The systems or categories usually identified in the literature on the matrix of domination and intersectionality are sex, race, and class (Burgess-Proctor 2006, p37), variously referred to as the ‘big three’ (Hearn 2011, p89), the ‘triptych’ (Jaunait & Chauvin 2012, p9), the ‘trinity’ (Lutz et al. 2011, 8), the ‘Holy Trinity’ (Creese & Stasiulis 1996, p8), or the ‘litany’ (Denis 2008, p685). Sexuality (Brath & Phoenix 2004) or sexual orientation (Denis 2008, p679; Shield 2008, p303) are frequently added to the list. While these are thought to be ‘the most salient in producing oppression and offering sites of resistance’ (Creese & Stasiulis 1996, p9), some documents identify many more (Collectif de recherche sur l’autonomie collective — CRAC — 2011;  see also Achin et al. 2009; Creese & Stasiulis 1996, p9; Davis 2011, p49; Denis 2008, p679; Hearn 2011; Kergoat 2005, p96; Poiret 2005, p196; Shield 2008, p303, p309; Winker & Degele 2011, p55; Zarifian 2010, p55). In my research I have catalogued a total of twenty-nine: sex/gender, race, skin colour, ethnicity, nationality, culture, tradition and development, language, religion, ancestry, sexual orientation, sexual practices, age, able-bodiedness, lookism, caste, socio-economic class, property ownership, skills, geographic location, urbanicity, sedantariness, virtuality (cyberspace) and transnationality; migrant, indigenous, refugee or displaced person status, health status, HIV/AIDS, living in a war zone or under foreign occupation and ecology (one’s relationship with nature) also feature in the matrix.
Overall, this abundant plurality testifies to a concern with accurately mapping the ‘matrix of domination’ through the inclusion of all possible intersections, which means taking into consideration a very broad diversity of social systems and inequalities among categories. According to Patricia Hill Collins, intersectional analysis does not account for every oppression but assesses which oppressions impact on any given situation. 
Yet none of the relevant literature and surveys include any reference to the state as a system of domination. Instead, the state is viewed as a secondary institution whose role is to strengthen the systems of domination or to curb their most pernicious effects. In this essay, I would like to examine the possibility of considering the state itself a system of domination, rather than an institution serving other systems of domination or emancipation movements in their quest for justice.
To this end, I will build on perspectives offered by historical and contemporary anarchist movements in the United States, Europe and elsewhere. Although anarchists are not, per se, a subaltern class, they are typically low paid workers (or unemployed), identify with subalterns, and they are often the target of state repression (police violence and imprisonment) as political radical and marginal dissidents. Many activists and writers in the anarchist tradition have been concerned with the sexist, racist and classist systems of domination. In addition, though, they have also been concerned with statist domination. I am therefore proposing to mobilise anarchist voices in order to examine the possibility of introducing the state-as-system into conceptions of the matrix of domination and intersectionality.  I am aware of the constraints of the proposed discussion, as I will be unable to develop both a conceptualisation of the state-as-system and, at the same time, a thorough analysis of its overlap with other systems of domination influencing and influenced by it. This is unfortunate, since the main thrust of intersectional analysis is, ‘the critical insight that race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nation, ability, and age operate not as unitary, mutually exclusive entities, but as reciprocally constructing phenomena which in turn shape complex social inequalities’ (Hill Collin 2015, p2). However, the Africanist Hazel Carby recognises the value of apprehending systems of domination in specific terms (in Bilge 2010, p61); sociologist Danielle Juteau (2010, p77) similarly suggests that ‘theorizing’ a specific system is ‘a step that uncovers a hidden [social] relationship’, a ‘prerequisite for its articulation with other social relationships, which is necessary for the theorization of social heterogeneity’. My goal is simply to uncover statism as a system of domination bypassed or ignored by intersectionalists, in the hope that the recognition of statism within the matrix of domination might help to pay attention to particular resistance and contentious struggles.
Summary of the Theory
On the basis of the theoretical, conceptual and analytical proposition of the matrix of domination and intersectionality, social reality can be understood as comprising various overlapping systems of domination that together make up a ‘matrix’ in which classes, institutions, and individuals are located at the intersections of a number of these systems (Bilge 2009, p73). Patricia Hill Collins explains that ‘[a]dhering to this inclusive model provides the conceptual space needed for each individual to see that she or he is both a member of multiple dominant groups and a member of multiple subordinate groups’ (Hill Collins 1991, p230). Indeed, ‘[i]n this system, for example, white women are penalized by their gender but privileged by their race. Depending on the context, an individual may be an oppressor, a member of an oppressed group, or simultaneously oppressor and oppressed’ (Hill Collins 1991, p225). Thus, this is not an additive model of oppression, since many situations are complex and paradoxical. In the United States, for instance, being a woman means being part of a subaltern sex-class, yet this is generally an advantage with regard to criminal profiling and police interventions: because most police officers are males, women are less likely than men to be stopped, searched and arrested by the police; but when a police officer engages in sexual harassment being a woman is no longer an advantage.
All systems imply dynamics of domination, oppression, appropriation (exploitation, extortion, etc.), and exclusion (Hill Collins 1991; Kergoat 2009, p119; Combes et al. 1991, p62). Domination denotes the power to impose one’s will on others when decisions affecting the community are made; those who dominate determine the rules, norms and values for the entire community. Oppression refers to the mechanisms and apparatuses of discipline and control that rely on threats and fear as well as symbolic and material punishment, which may include psychological and physical violence or even terrorism. Appropriation (extortion, exploitation, dispossession) involves the profit – in the form of material, psycho-logical, or symbolic goods or services – that those who dominate draw from the work, possessions, and bodies of subalterns. Exclusion signifies discrimination or segregation (whether economic, geographic, cultural and ideological, or other), confinement or expulsion, or even extermination (Ferree & Hall 1996, p931). Ultimately, these phenomena – which are interrelated and not mutually exclusive – imply a non-egalitarian division of material, psychological, and symbolic work, and a similarly non-egalitarian sharing of material, psychological and symbolic resources (Winker & Degele 2011, p56), including privileges (Burgess-Proctor 2006, p33).
Domination, oppression, appropriation, and exclusion become systemic when they overlap with each other and operate laterally across different spheres of social activity. Capitalism, for example, is characterised by forms of domination, oppression, appropriation, and exclusion that in most contemporary societies affect almost every activity. The same can be said not only of patriarchy and racism but also of statism. These systems are the targets of protest, resistance and emancipation movements, but they in turn impinge on and are even manifested inside the very movements opposed to them (hence, for instance, the unequal distribution of tasks, resources, and power among activists). Thus, there is no consensus as to whether resistance and the emancipation struggle should develop outside the categories and necessarily reject them, or combat domination and inequalities within a given category (among women, for example), or use these socially constituted categories to mobilise collective political subjects and potentially broaden the struggle through alliances and coalitions among categories (McCall 2005, pp1773-1774).
The theory of the matrix of domination and intersectionality proposes to view such systems as organically linked (Hofman 2010, pp180-181 and p192) inasmuch as they are co-constituted (Lutz et al. 2011, p8) or ‘co-extensive’ (Kergoat 2009, p112) because they mutually influence and ‘co-produce’ each other (Galeran & Kergoat 2014; Kergoat 2009, pp119-120). That said, the notion of ‘matrix of domination’ is associated primarily with the macro level or overarching system (e.g. patriarchy, capitalism), whereas the notion of ‘intersectionality’ is associated with the micro level, that is, the position occupied by the individual. On the meso level, finally, there are the institutions liable to be influenced by several systems but that are often seen as belonging mainly to one or another among them: the family (patriarchy), private enterprise (capitalism), the police (the state). In principle, the analysis on each level should always pay particular attention to the question of power relations. The matrix of domination and intersectionality should facilitate an understanding of how various power relations accumulate, multiply, and above all combine to produce ‘unforeseeable effects’ (Bilge 2010, p45, ft 12), at once in the structure of systems (macro level), in institutions (meso level), and for individuals (micro level).
In light of the preceding summary, the state could occupy an important place in the theory of the matrix of domination and intersectionality, if only because Western twentieth-century history is often coterminous with the history of colonial and totalitarian states, which developed particularly powerful methods of domination, oppression, appropriation, and exclusion. As a matter of fact, some feminists focused on the patriarchal-state, antiracists on the racial-state and socialists on the capitalist-state. One might think, therefore, that statism would be one of the major systems identified within the matrix of domination. This is not the case.
The State as an auxiliary institution
In the documents that I consulted on the matrix of domination and intersectionality, the state is occasionally presented as a ‘political context’ (Burgess-Proctor 2006, p42; Yuval-Davis 2006, p200) in which the power relations of sex, race and class must be situated (Poiret 2005, p108; Hearn 2011, p91). Certain texts on the matrix of domination and intersectionality describe the state as an institution that subalterns can look to for assistance (Winker & Degele 2011, p57). In the words of one writer, it may be possible ‘to turn the legislative instrument around and make it into a means of resistance and liberation rather than oppression’ (Poiret 2005, p115). Feminists, for instance, have succeeded in wresting from the state the creation of a Ministry on the Status of Women, or a Secretary for Gender Equality (Verloo 2006, p219). Anti-discrimination policies have been implemented in the United Nations and the European Union, incorporating intersectional analyses, while the European Commission goes so far as to explicitly mention ‘intersectional discrimination’ (Lutz et al. 2011, pp6-7; see also Schiek & Lawson 2011).
Yet, the state is more often depicted as an auxiliary institution of the systems of domination, where social divisions ‘are expressed in specific institutions and organizations such as the laws and agencies of the state’ (Yuval-Davis 2006, p198; Humm 1990, p217), an auxiliary ‘institution’ that reinforces those systems and the power relations or categories on which they are based (Verloo 2006, p224; Ferree, Hall 1996, p933), or that ‘makes a powerful contribution to the organization of the division of labour and, hence, co-produces the social relationships of sex, “race” and class of neo-liberal globalization’ (Falquet 2009, p83 [our trans.]; see also Ferree 2011, p57; Falquet 2010, pp229-242; Poiret 2005, p108).
Indeed, states unquestionably affect other systems of domination. In the case of patriarchy, for example, it is the state that assigns a sex to each individual at birth, and this information is then entered into the administrative records; the state enacts laws on contraception, abortion, maternity, and the rights of children and parents; the state determines which sexual practices are allowed or forbidden, including the minimal age for sexual relations and the exchange of sex for money; in certain cases the state outlaws inter-racial sexual relations or other relationships, especially homosexual, sometimes on pain of death. And states are for the most part controlled by men, especially their most powerful institutions, such as the military and the police.
Even without taking into account processes such as war, colonisation and imperialism, states have a major impact in matters of race and racism, since they determine nationality, legislate language issues, and decide who may be admitted to or expelled from the territory under their control (Winker & Degele 2011, p61). In some countries, the state determines racial identity based on blood, as Canada does in the Indian Act. In multinational or multi-ethnic countries, the state is usually controlled by a dominant national or ethnic group, which draws significant material, psychological, and symbolic benefits from its domination.
When it comes to capitalism, the state protects private property and determines the minimum age for lawful employment and the age of compulsory retirement; the state enacts laws on the rights of companies and trade unions and regularly intervenes in labour disputes. Labour standards and regulations include many clauses stipulating differential treatment concerning ownership and labour rights with regard to age, sex, and nationality, as well as the status of immigrants.
Yet, the state is only one among a number of institutions, since the media and religious organisations also have the power to impose ‘systems of differentiations’ (Hearn 2011, p93 infra p4). In sum, the state is criticised for the harmful influence it exercises as an institution on the race-class-sex systems of domination and unequal power relations, but not for being itself a system of domination.
Anarchism and Statism
Anarchism is both a political philosophy or ideology, and a social movement struggling for the abolition of domination, oppression, appropriation and exclusion, and therefore opposing – in principle – all forms of hierarchy, including the state, capitalism, religious institutions, patriarchy, and racism. Anarchism as a philosophy and a social movement also conveys a positive project of justice, liberty, equality, and solidarity. In the 1970s, the American anarchist philosopher David Thoreau Wieck (1979, p139), described anarchism in terms perfectly compatible with the theoretical and political concerns of the matrix of domination and intersectional approaches:
Anarchism can be understood as the generic social and political idea that expresses negation of all power, sovereignty, domination, and hierarchical division, and a will to their dissolution, ... Anarchism is therefore more than anti-statism. But government (the state) ... stands at the center of the web of social domination ... Anarchism then is the social and political philosophy that proposes the eradicating of all division between (political) haves and have-nots, ... and the abolishing of identities of rulers and subject, leader and led, learned and ignorant, superior and inferior, master and servant, human and inhuman [our emphasis].
This description of anarchism recognises the existence of a set of systems of domination (i.e., a web of social domination) and hierarchical, hence unequal, positions. Yet, it is true that some anarchists have not paid much attention to racism and sexism, amongst other issues. Moreover, many anarchists, just like Marxists, socialists, and even some liberals (such as Adam Smith), regard, or have regarded, the state as a secondary institution whose role is to defend the capitalist system against wage-earners or the poor (Mühsam 1999, p107; see also Rocker 1989, p29, and Rocker 1998, p66 and Kinna 2005, p64, p80). Yet, what is specific with anarchism is its understanding of the state as in itself a system of domination, oppression, appropriation and exclusion. The Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin (1913, p3) wrote of the ‘statists’, and explained (just like the sociologist Charles Tilly) that in Europe the state imposed its coercive power while protecting the power of the bourgeoisie over the proletariat (to use the language of the time):
The state is far more than the organisation of an administration aimed at achieving ‘harmony’ in society, as they say in the universities. It is an organisation that was gradually developed and perfected over the course of three centuries in order to maintain the rights acquired by certain classes to profit from the work of the labouring masses; to extend those rights and create new ones, leading to the increased servitude of the citizens, dispossessed through legislation, to groups of individuals lavished with favours by the government hierarchy. Such is the true essence of the state (Kropotkin 1913, p327, our translation, our emphasis).
A century ago, Emma Goldman (1924, p250) named this system ‘governmentalism’, while ‘statism’ is the term preferred by Maia Ramnath (2011, p15). For Ramnath ‘statism’ signifies a non-egalitarian hierarchical system comprised of those who govern and those who are governed. She defines the state as ‘a mechanism designed to accumulate wealth, and to make laws to facilitate its functioning, meaning to protect its own stability. This includes the maintenance of a reasonable degree of contentment among its members’ (p119), even though the contemporary state is ultimately based on the monopoly of violence (Sartwell 2008, p9). Of course, the state can assume very different forms with respect to the constitution, regime, government ideology (e.g. fascist), and so on. In any case, for Goldman (1969, p53, p56), ‘the State enslaved [our] spirit, dictating every phase of conduct’.
Thus, for anarchists, the state may be a meta-system of domination (at the centre or above the matrix and determining others systems), an auxiliary system of protection serving its masters (the bourgeoisie), or only one system of domination among others. Yet, it is always based on a non-egalitarian division of political work involving two classes, the governors and the governed. In the United States in the early twentieth century the former slave Lucy (Gonzalez) Parsons, an anarchist, anti-racist feminist (Loren Katz 1986, pp198-201), used the terms ‘governing class’ (Parsons 2004, p37) and ‘governmentalists’ (p150) to describe the political dominators and the partisans of the state. To acknowledge the existence of two unequal categories or classes in statism – the governors or rulers and the governed or ruled – does not mean that all members of one class are equal, nor that other systems don’t have any influence on such classes. In Canada, for instance, the majority of ‘civil servants’ (part of the governing class) are women, but not all women bureaucrats hold the same power and influence (their situation is influenced by their class and race identities). Moreover, women remain a minority in the most powerful and influential branches of state: parliament, the military, the police, etc. And employment in the bureaucracy does not insulate women from sexism within and outside their work. Likewise, an Afro-Canadian joining the police gains power over fellow Afro-Americans who do not wear the uniform; yet it does not follow that the officer will be free from racism within and outside his job.
Knowing that the state does not treat all citizens and foreigners the same way, anarchists mobilised in the nineteenth century against the criminalisation of homosexuality (Kissack 2008) and against colonialism (for instance, see Louise Michel standing with the Kanaks, in New Caledonia), and to tackle other issues related to sex and race. Thus, when properly understood, anarchism is a political ideology that recognises from the outset the existence of a matrix of domination. There is ample space for a dialogue between anarchists and ‘intersectional’ theoreticians and practitioners.
Let us now briefly examine how the state can be conceptualised, from an anarchist perspective as being at the same time a system of domination (macro), a constellation of institutions (meso), and a mass of individual agents and social relationships (micro). As mentioned earlier, the goal here is not to provide an inter- sectional analysis including statism as a system, but simply to show that statism is a system that should be taken into account by intersectional theorists and practitioners.
Macro level (system)
The state is not only an institution but indeed a system that imposes its dynamic on a population and a territory over which it claims to exercise ‘sovereignty’, a polite term signifying domination as manifested in a constitution, laws, decrees, and regulations. This domination is systemic throughout a given population and territory because it has an impact across all spheres of social activity and determines the structure of power relations between the governing and the governed classes. The state even claims to exercise domination over the entire set of systems in that it determines their rules, norms, and values, including rewards and penalties. Thus, through laws, regulations, and policies, the state strongly influences the power relations of sex, race and class. The domination of the state is based on oppression, one that is all the more brutal because of the state’s appropriation of the legal monopoly on armed violence, notwithstanding its acceptance of private ‘security’ agencies and its tolerance of certain systemic forms of violence, including male violence against women in the context of marriage, and racial violence. It is worth noting here that anarchists take the notion of the state’s monopoly on violence very seriously (Kinna 2005, p57; Sartwell 2008). Many of them have been directly targeted by state repression, and throughout its history the anarchist movement has experienced numerous massacres and executions and the imprisonment of thousands of its members. This said, the brunt of armed oppression is directed at the population dominated by the state, particularly at criminalised individuals, protesters, and subaltern nations, ethnic groups and races. In a wartime situation, state oppression can also target foreign populations. In the same way that companies compete with each another in capitalism and that men compete under patriarchy, states can either engage in rivalry and war or establish alliances with each other. The governing class extorts and exploits (appropriation) the governed class through various taxes and fines, thereby ensuring its own reproduction as a governing class. This exploitation is in fact a form of extortion, since it is carried out through oppression and, more specifically, the threat of police action and imprisonment. As noted by the anarchist philosopher Alan Carter (1998, pp176- 180): ‘[the] state needs to make the subaltern classes work to create the wealth that it will tax in order to pay its personnel ... Different programs can serve different economic classes in a variety of ways, but all the programs adopted serve the state’ (other scholars of anarchism as well as anarchists themselves share this concep- tion of an exploiter state, e.g. Manicas 2011, p95; Price 2007, p17; Miller 1984, pp6-7). In colonialism, the state also dispossessed subaltern nations of their lands, rivers and natural resources (Coulthard 2015). Finally, the state-as-system practices various forms of exclusion. It distinguishes ‘its’ citizens from ‘foreigners’, whom it can exclude from its territory. The state can also exclude from the political arena certain social groups, for example, women, who in many countries are still excluded from various sectors of the state, such as the army or combat units within it, and the police. Minors are still excluded, although in many countries they can enrol in the army while not yet eligible to vote or run for public office.
Meso level (institutions)
The domination of the state is ensured through a large number of institutions, including parliament, government departments, and the courts, as well as the different levels of government (federal, state, and municipal in the United States; federal, provincial, and municipal in Canada), but also state companies (often monopolistic) and public services, such as public schools (in charge of civic indoctrination; of course, this doesn’t mean that private schools are any better for subalterns). Indeed, as observed by Ruth Kinna (2005, pp76-80), some anarchists maintain that the state exercises its domination by means of indoctrination, whether through state-sponsored education or nationalism (which usually goes hand in hand with militarism) or the personality cult of the head of state. The state imposes its will even with regard to the definition of time (the calendar), weights and measures, and language. Obviously, the state also avails itself of various institutions for the purpose of exercising oppression: armed forces, police, the courts, and prisons. These political forces have an oppressive capacity beyond that of any other dominant class in the contemporary world. Some states even possess nuclear weapons. As for institutions concerned with appropriation, the history of the birth of the modern state and of tax-collection procedures shows that ‘at all times and in all places, tax collection could not be accomplished without recourse to coercion. Taxation is necessarily connected to the violence on which it is based and that makes it possible ... The institutionalization of modern taxation [in the West] was the result of a veritable interior war waged by agents of the state against the resistance of subjects belonging to every social order and group in the jurisdiction’ (Bercé 1987, pp164-165 [our trans.]; see also James Scott’s 2009 research on the resistance of communities against the growth of state power in Asia). Briefly put, oppression and exploitation are so intrinsically entwined in the state system that the use of the term ‘extortion’ is warranted. In all cases, the state requires sophisticated institutions, hence the Departments of Finance and Revenue, as well as census-taking, administrative control over production and work, including training and the assessment of employability. Moreover, the governing class can profit from forced labour, in some cases the sale of prisoners’ labour, state-owned companies, public bonds and the refunding of debts on the international scene, wartime pillage (Carter 2000, pp240-241), not to mention the sale of venal offices, contributions to political parties, corruption and bribery. All these ways of securing material resources are not alike, yet they all rest on a certain division of labour, and more often than not on specific institutions that facilitate miscellaneous forms of extortion or exploitation with the ultimate goal of ensuring the survival and material reproduction, and thus the continuing domination, of the governing class. Consequently, the members of the governing class generally earn higher salaries and enjoy better working conditions than the average wage-earner. Finally, many state institutions are affected by processes and dynamics of exclusion, starting with decision-making bodies (parliament, government departments, police stations, etc.) that exclude members of the governed class, all in the name of the fiction of the ‘representation’ of sovereignty or of the ‘delegation’ of powers in republican and liberal regimes. Furthermore, the state deploys an entire administrative apparatus that sets the rules for inclusion in or exclusion from a range of social programmes on the basis of certain discriminatory criteria: age, education, income, employment seniority, sex, marital and parental status, etc. The state can exclude criminals from the public sphere by means of imprisonment, exile, or execution. Lastly, the state has services such as customs that control border crossings in and out of the country and can exclude foreigners and on occasion force citizens into exile.
Micro level (individuals)
As an individual living under the authority of a nineteenth-century European state, the anarchist activist and writer Proudhon (in Guérin 1970, pp15-16) declared,
To be governed is to be watched over, inspected, spied on, directed, legislated, regimented, closed in, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, assessed, evaluated, censored, commanded; all by creatures that have neither the right, nor wisdom, nor virtue ... To be governed means that at every move, operation, or transaction one is noted, registered, entered in a census, taxed, stamped, priced, assessed, patented, licensed, authorized, recommended, admonished, prevented, reformed, set right, corrected. Government means to be subjected to tribute, trained, ransomed, exploited, monopolized, extorted, pressured, mystified, robbed; all in the name of public utility and the general good. Then, at first sign of resistance or word of complaint, one is repressed, fined, despised, vexed, pursued, hustled, beaten up, garrotted, imprisoned, shot, machine gunned, judged, sentenced, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed, and to cap it all, ridiculed, mocked, outraged, and dishonoured. That is government, that is its justice and its morality!
From the perspective of the early twenty-first century, this statement may seem like an exaggeration, especially if one belongs to the privileged categories with regard to class, sex and race, and lives in a social-democracy. Yet individuals in the statist system of domination belong to either the governing class or the governed class. The dominant class of statism includes a variety of members with different statuses, degrees of power, and material, psychological, and symbolic privileges, and sex, race and class systems influenced the membership to the governing class. The governing class includes very powerful members (chiefs of state, secretaries of state, high-level bureaucrats, top military and police officers, etc.), who are more likely to be male and from a wealthy background, as well as members with limited power over a limited number of people and resources, both material and symbolic (for example, low-ranking clerks in a state bureaucracy, public school teachers, and so on). But such differences are not specific to the governing class; they exist as well among the members of other dominant categories, be it under patriarchy, capitalism, racism, etc. For example, under patriarchy, men can be fathers, sons, husbands, bachelors, widowers, heterosexuals, bisexuals, homosexuals, etc. In capitalism, there are obvious differences of power, privilege and wealth between a multi-billionaire individual, a CEO of a big international firm, a Wall Street broker, a bank clerk, a small business owner, and a small-time drug dealer. Most of the members of the governing class are also subjected to the laws and statutes of the state and may even be under the domination of other members of their class (just as the father has authority over his sons in traditional and classical patriarchy as described by Carole Pateman 1988, pp23-24). Some enjoy greater privileges; others have few privileges but remain the authority figure in their field of activity and with respect to the social categories under their responsibility (Kinna 2005, p67). In terms of oppression, members of the governing class can oppress other members of the dominant class (just as in patriarchy, for instance, men can fight with each other, even kill each other, due to the power relations of sex and gender). Nevertheless, the members of the governing class can generally avail themselves, in their field of activity, of laws and regulations that allow them to threaten and punish members of the governed class with whom they have power relations. With respect to appropriation, an individual pays taxes to the state with every purchase subject to a tax on goods and services; once a year, the individual pays income tax on pain of imprisonment. On the subject of the state, Peter Kropotkin (1913, p249 [our trans.]) asked, at the beginning of the twentieth century, ‘[h]ow much work does each of us contribute to the state’ in the form of taxes? His answer: ‘[T]he amount of work that the producer contributes to the state every year is immense. It must equal, and for certain classes exceed, the three days of work a week that the serf gave his lord in times past’. Nor does Kropotkin (1913, pp251-252 [our trans.]) hold the idea of ‘progressive taxation’ in high regard: ‘[H]e alone who produces, whose work creates wealth, can pay taxes. Everything else is only a sharing out of the loot taken from the one who produces, a share-out that for the worker always amounts to additional exploitation’. Just as the expression ‘surplus labour’ is used in Marxist analyses to identify the portion of work that is not part of the wages neces- sary for the worker’s subsistence but is intended solely for the boss’s profit, the same expression can also be applied to statism to designate the portion of wages appro- priated by the state through taxation. This is called exploitation in the context of capitalism and extortion in that of statism. Emma Goldman (1969, p59) asserted unequivocally that the state practices ‘stealing in the form of taxes’ and can hence be regarded as the biggest thief (see also Therborn 2008, p75). In 1886 the French anarchist Sébastien Faure expressed much the same outlook in his song ‘La révolte’: ‘We create abundance / We create everything /And we live in misery [...] The state crushes us with taxes / To pay its judges and its cops / And if we protest too loudly / In the name of order they mow us down’ [our trans.]. Significantly, some anarchists maintain that by paying taxes each individual ultimately bears a moral responsibility for state violence (Kinna 2005, p59). Finally, exclusion is manifested on the individual level insofar as one can belong or not to the governing class, or be a citizen of the state or not and on that basis be allowed to reside or not in a given territory. In the governing class, individuals may have more or less power and privilege, depending on whether they are part of an institution with significant decision-making authority (government, department, parliament) or a significant oppressive function (police, army, courts, prison).
We are so ‘statifed’, novelist Thomas Bernhard has put it, that for some it no doubt appears difficult to conceptualise statism as a system in which two classes stand opposed, and it seems odd to consider that these two classes maintain power relations and interact on the basis of a tension or conflict in which one of them occupies a position of domination vis-à-vis the other, subaltern class. In the special issue of Perspectives on Politics focusing on anarchism, the sociologist Peter T. Manicas (2011, p93) points out that ‘two of the most successful achievements of the modern democratic state are its ability to mask power and to act so as to monumentally affect the everyday life of its residents with an authority that is almost never questioned’.
With regard to the welfare state more specifically, it is generally acknowledged even by anarchists that it is the fairest type of all states, whether on the political, economic, judicial, educational, or cultural level, and that its agents are benevolent public servants. Therefore, many anarchists (including myself) are involved today in social movements protesting against neo-liberalism and austerity, standing with those defending the state and its public services. In the process, some anarchists are misled by the benevolent-paternalistic statist propaganda claiming that the state is there to protect the ‘common good’ and the ‘public interest’.
Yet, there is also a benevolent-paternalistic version of capitalism (the boss is like a ‘father’ for his employees, and capitalism brings us all kinds of goods – high-technology medical devices, mass-consumption, etc. – allowing us to live longer, better and happier), a benevolent-paternalistic version of racism (civilisation is Europeans’ gift to ‘primitive’ people), and a benevolent-paternalistic version of patriarchy (men pay respect, protect and sustain their beloved women). Thus, to use an analogy (Bilge 2010, pp52-55), patriarchy can also claim to be good for women. Even some women may believe that men act as providers and protectors of ‘their’ women (Dworkin 1983), and present-day patriarchy has accommodated women when it comes to the right to earn wages in return for work, to divorce, to have an abortion (in many countries), to keep their birth names (in many countries), not to mention the right of homosexual couples to marry and adopt children (in some countries). Should one therefore conclude that power relations based on sex do not exist? Here is the response of the political scientist Iris Marion Young (2003, p2) with regard to statism and sexism:
In this patriarchal logic, the role of the masculine protector puts those protected, paradigmatically women and children, in a subordinate position of dependence and obedience. To the extent that citizens of a democratic state allow their leaders to adopt a stance of protectors toward them, these citizens come to occupy a subordinate status like that of women in the patriarchal household. We are to accept a more authoritarian and paternalistic state power, which gets its support partly from the unity a threat produces and our gratitude for protection.
Susan Rae Peterson (1977) argues, furthermore, that ‘the State is a male protection racket’, especially with regard to sexual violence.
Among feminists some have even concluded that, despite their good intentions, state feminists ultimately become ‘agents of domination’ (Masson 1999; Laurin-Frenette 2013). In this connection, it should be recalled that Afro-American activists fighting in the United States for access to social services have also criticised the welfare state for its tendency to impose restrictive and punitive norms on beneficiaries with regard, for example, to accepting or refusing employment, intimate and sexual relationships, and maternity and contraception, including sterilisation (Nadasen 2002, pp277-278, see also pp282-283 and p290). Echoing other feminist voices (such as Léo 1973), Johnnie Tillmon, a mother receiving welfare payments, declared, ‘You trade in a Man for the man. But you can’t divorce him if he treats you bad [...] The man, the welfare system, controls your money. He tells you what to buy, what not to buy, where to buy it, and how much things cost [...] He is always right [...] The man can break into your house anytime he wants to and poke into your things [...] You’ve got no right to privacy when you go on welfare’ (in Nadasen 2002, p272). Patriarchy and racism thus provide the state with a mass of individuals that it can easily dominate, oppress and control.
With regard to anarchism, Peter Marshall describes the anarchist position on social-democracy and the welfare state:
Although it may have a benevolent face, the Welfare State can be restrictive by intensifying its grip on the lives of its subjects through registration, regulation and supervision ... Instead of paying taxes to the State which then decides who is in need, anarchists prefer to help directly the disadvantaged by voluntary acts of giving or by participating in community organizations ... Anarchists reject the claim made by democratic socialists that the State is the best means of redistributing wealth and providing welfare. In practice, the socialist State ... creates a new elite of bureaucrats who often administer in their own interest rather than the interest of those they are meant to service ... By undermining voluntary associations and the practice of mutual aid, it eventually turns society into a lonely crowd buttressed by the social worker and policeman (Marshall 1993, p24).
True, progressive movements, including anarchists, have often fought to convince the state to protect them or social groups on whose behalf they have mobilised: wage-earners, the unemployed, Afro-Americans, gays and lesbians, students. In their view, taxation is not a form of exploitation but rather a means to redistribute wealth, or it represents one’s share of the cost of services. While the anarchist critique of the state as a system of domination should also implies a critique of the welfare state, it seems odd – especially today – for many anarchists to echo what is often considered right-wing arguments against the Welfare state. Critiquing the state per se is necessarily identified with neoliberal-individualism championed by the Republican Party in the United States or, even further to the right, movements such as the Tea Party and the ‘libertarians’ (also known as ‘anarchocapitalists’), who claim that the individual would be free in an absolute free-market capitalism if only there was no more state (forgetting all the other systems of domination, including ... capitalism).
To return to the state-as-system, acknowledging that state policies may, to some extent, be useful for underprivileged social groups in certain situations does not invalidate the conclusion that there is a governing class and a governed class. Nor does it invalidate the idea that the governing class dominates, oppresses, exploits, and excludes the governed class, especially those people from subaltern categories in terms of sex, race and class. An intersectional analysis should help anarchists and other progressive thinkers and activists to shed light on how the state feeds class-sex-race domination, oppression, appropriation and exclusion, and how these phenomena feed the power of the state. Yet, at the core of the issue is our lack of imagination regarding the relation between politics (collective decision making) and economics (production and distribution of goods and resources).
In their recent book on anarchism, political scientists Jimmy Casas Klausen and James Martel (2011; see also Brown 2011, p205; Millett 1997) examined ‘from a critical anarchist left’ contemporary analytical and political confusion at work in progressive circles with regard to the state. They argue that such confusion is the result of a narrow-minded view of both politics and economics, which is based on ‘a sense that politics is ultimately only defined and organized by statism and economics is ultimately only defined and organized by capitalism, that one of these is inevitably the problem to which the other is inevitably the solution, and that statism and capitalism, whether as problem or solution’ (Casas Klausen & Martel 2011, pix) are inescapable.
Yet, the public (state) and private (free market) sectors do not represent the only choices; one alternative is the commons (commonly own resources and means of production through voluntary associations practicing mutual aid). The contem- porary anarchist Marianne Enckell (2012, p45) reminds us that as early as in 1874, at the Federalist International held in Brussels, anarchists debated how best to organise ‘public services’. She notes that, at the time, César de Paepe, a Belgian Proudhonian, distinguished between, on one hand, ‘the (centralizing) Jacobin conception of the omnipotent state and the subordinated community’ and, on the other, ‘the conception of the emancipated community’. The autonomous commons introduced communism without the state, i.e. the community governing itself – in the areas of politics, economy, culture, and so forth – through general assemblies. To quote Gustav Landauer, ‘the State is a relationship, a certain way of people relating to one another. It can be destroyed by creating new social relationships; i.e., by people relating to one another differently’ (in Marshall 1993, p21). More recently, an anarchist British scholar, Steve Millett (1997, p34), states that ‘[w]hat anarchism calls for is the re-absorption of the provision of welfare into daily lives of the citizens of the community’.
Julieta Paredes, a native lesbian feminist of the Bolivian collective Cominidad Mujeres Creando (Community of Women Creating), stated that ‘[s]ocial reforms are insufficient. We want to put an end to the state, which we view as a remnant of the republican bourgeoisie. We want to put an end to the state and build a community of communities, as an alternative way to pursue the organization and wellbeing of humanity as a whole’ (in Falquet 2011, p54 – our emphasis). The group claims to be anarchist, but as one activist points out, ‘we’re not anarchists by Bakunin or the CNT [National Work Confederation, a Spanish anarchist union], but rather by our grandmothers, and that’s a beautiful school of anarchism’ (Dark Star 2002, p112).
Likewise, anarcho-indigenous such as Mohawk activist and scholar Gerald Taiaiake Alfred are seeking to escape state domination (on anarcho-indigenism see Alfred 2005, pp45-61). According to Alfred, anarcho-indigenism is
an approach to politics which is non-institutional. In the most fundamental definition of anarchism, it does not rely on a vision of reforming the state. It is contentious, it is opposed to institutionalizing people’s lives, and that reflects in my vision of Indigenous philosophy as well [...] I’m trying to escape the state or to try to create opportunities for Indigenous people to live outside of the state or at least to minimize their interactions with it, to not make our struggle about reforming the state or transforming it, or even destroying it. Even if the state exists, it is not this great monolithic thing that takes all the space of social and political life. Thus there is a possibility of living in its fissures or cracks or empty spaces [...] So there are opportunities for us to take advantage of these spaces that exist outside of the state power. That’s the agenda that I begun to work with, in the last few years (Alfred, unpublished).
I believe this is what several anarchist collectives are trying to do, around the world, through their ‘anti-oppression’ autonomous political and cultural experimentations. True, some anarchists – especially anarcha-feminist and anarchist-people-of-colour – have anticipated intersectionality by acknowledging that sexism and racism may exist as well as other types of power relations even in a stateless and anarchist discourses (Proudhon, for instance) and communities. Yet, recurring problems regarding these issues and real violence among comrades, such as sexual aggression, teach us that anarchy is to be a never-ending project.
Statism has too often been presented by anarchists as an homogeneous binary system comprising two classes, the governing and the governed, and much more work needs to be done to understand and explained how the political relations between the governing and the governed are influenced by sexual, racial and power relations. Moreover, I have suggested – although too briefly – how the state variously influences sex-gender power relations and reinforces patriarchy, racism and capitalism. But can we conversely assert that patriarchy, racism and capitalism reinforce the state? Thus anarchists have a lot to learn from the discussions about the ‘matrix of domination’ and ‘intersectionality’. In any case, I hope I have demonstrated that while discussing the matrix of domination and intersectionality, it is possible to refer to ‘capitalism, sexism, racism, statism’ as well as to ‘class, sex, race, and state’.
Note on the Author
Francis Dupuis-Déri is professor of political science at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), and a member of the Institut de recherches et d’études féministes (IREF), of the Réseau québécois en études féministes (RéQEF) and of the Collectif de recherche interdisciplinaire sur la contestation (CRIC). He is the author of several books, including Who’s Afraid of the Black Block: Anarchy Around the World (2014) and L’anarchie expliquée à mon père (with Thomas Dupuis- Déri). He is or has been active in anarchist groups and networks in Québec, France and the United States.
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 An earlier version of this paper, previously reviewed by Mélissa Blais and Geneviève Pagé, was presented at a conference titled ‘L’intersectionalité dans les études internationales’ (Intersectionality in International Studies), which was held by the Centre d’étude du droit international et de la mondialisation (CÉDIM) in Montréal, on May 17–18, 2012. Thanks to Lazer Lederhendler for the translation as well as Anna Kruzynski and anonymous reviewers, for their comments.
 The literature often identifies the Afro-American lesbian feminists of the Combahee River Collective and their 1978 manifesto as the starting point of this discussion, although these activists acknowledged that ‘there have always been Black women activ- ists – some known, like Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Frances E.W. Harper, Ida B. Wells Barnett and Mary Church Terrell, and thousands upon thousands unknown – who have had a shared awareness of how their sexual identity combined with their racial identity to make their whole life situation and the focus of their political struggle unique’, (Combahee River Collective 2003), p164; see also the Lesbian Activist Women collective (1973); Cordova (2000), p361; Elandria V. Henderson’s article ‘The Black Lesbian’ (1971); Henderson (2000), p325; the Unite Women in New York (1970); White (2000), p365 and the Sojourner Truth Organization (1960s); Staudenmaier (2012); see also Brath (2004); Denis (2008), p679; Poiret (2005); Davis (2011), p47.
 In 2012, within the American Political Science Association (APSA), the Best Paper Award of the Research Section on Women and Politics, and the Frank Wilson Best Paper Award, of the French Politics Group, went to papers dealing with ‘intersectionality’, (Lépinard 2012a and 2012b). Patricia Hill Collins (2015), p6, recalls the publication of ‘a blizzard of journal articles, special editions to journals, edited volumes, and undergraduate anthologies’; with regard to special issues, see: Journal of Sex Roles, 2008; Race, Ethnicity and Education (2009); Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media (2010); Social Politics (2012); Gender and Society (2012); Signs (2013); Du Bois Review (2013); L’Homme et la société (‘Prismes féministes’) (2010); Politique et sociétés (2014); Nouvelles pratiques sociales (2015); Nouvelles Questions féministes (2015); Recherches féministes (2015).
 Which adapted a list from the Association pour les droits de la femme et le développement/Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID).
 In a public conference as a key speaker, at the Colloque international de recherches féministes francophones, Lausanne, August 29, 2012.
 This investigation was carried out in the context of the ‘revival’ of anarchism, or the ‘anarchist turn’, observed in the past years by numerous studies on social movements and in the field of political philosophy (Blumenfeld et al. 2013), as well as in a variety of special issues in political science journals, such as Perspectives on Politics (March, 2011), vol. 9, no. 1, and Millennium, (2010), vol. 39, no. 2; see also Wachhaus (2011) ‘Anarchy as a model for network governance’, in Public Administration Review and, with regard to other disciplines, Antipodes (2012), vol. 44, no. 5; Sexualities (2010), vol. 13, no. 4; SubStance (2007), vol. 36, no. 2.
 Different approaches focus on the individual, the cultural context and the institutions, (Hill Collins 1990), pp227-228; the individual and the system, (Bilge 2009), p73; indi- vidual situations, power relations and systems of domination, (Choo, Ferree 2010).
 In conclusion to their study of nineteenth- and twentieth-century anarchist mobiliza- tions with regard to sexual freedom, amongst other issues, Sandra Jeppesen and Holly Nazar (2014d), p182, claim that ‘anarchists, and more specifically anarchist feminists, anarchist queers and anti-racist and anti-colonial anarchists, have been among the first to argue for what we now call intersectionality or anti-oppression politics’. Yet, slave women and ‘free’ black women in the United State were already – for centuries – well aware of the intersectional dynamics of domination. Moreover, nineteenth- and twen- tieth-century anarchists did not developed this insight as deeply as Collins, Crenshaw and others black feminists.