Exclusion happens whenever we classify people into categories and let these categories negatively guide how we act towards them or how we think about them, ultimately maintaining some form of exploitation. The end result of exclusion is always exploitation, because exclusion breaks the belief in universality. If I believe that everyone is basically like me and that their values are basically equal to mine, then widescale exploitation cannot happen because its rhetoric cannot develop and take hold in the public consciousness. And this widescale exploitation, almost always taking the form of some hierarchy, is precisely what Anarchists are against.
Exclusion cannot exist without categories, as you must first define what you wish to exclude. We all know the power that words have in shaping our mental reality: the unlabeled is the unseen. In a general way, we can define two different kinds of categorizations:
1. Structural categories. Categories which divide all people into hierarchical roles. Examples: men/women, bosses/employees, rulers/ruled, Western/foreign, rich/poor, adults/children.
2. Oppressive categories. Categories which single out a minority as The Other and constructs rhetoric around this perception in order to make its members’ oppression justifiable. Examples: Jews (until WW2), homosexuals, drug users, “immigrants,” sexual out-norms, and members of whatever third-world political group the US Empire is fighting against.
The first kind is more culturally ingrained and does not necessitate a great effort of indoctrination from the State. It is simply unimaginable for the vast majority of people to have a mental reality which does not discriminate in these manners. The reasoning here is more of a “this is the way it is, this is the way it’s always been, there’s no way things could be any different” kind, and is not really connected to morality. To be socialized, to be mature, means to accept one’s place in society and one’s duties, which means to accept one’s place in those categories and the meaning of those places.
The role of the ruling class in regards to these is twofold: it must deny the existence of structural inequality while putting the blame on the individual or biology for any actual inequality. On the one hand, we declare that men and women are now equal and that gender is no longer relevant. On the other hand, we blame women’s supposed biological incapacities to grasp complex disciplines or instinctual shortcomings to explain their lack of equal success in society.
The second kind is more fluid, because it is used more deliberately. It is very much connected to moral issues, and you see a great deal of manichean reasoning used to justify them. Once you are able to demonize a certain group enough for it to become an Other in the general perception, its members become “bad people” to whom no hardship can be enough punishment.
Of course, this can only work because of the democratic divide and conquer strategy. As long as we have majority rule, we will be able to keep excluding minority groups as much as we want. In an Anarchy, an oppressed group could simply disengage from the majority and create their own self-organized structures. In democracy this is obviously not possible because of the enforced nation-state monopoly.
I believe that schooling plays an especially important role in the socialization process, because it represents the first contact an individual has with the mob and clique mentality. Scientific studies have shown that Dunbar’s Number, the size that a group can achieve while maintaining cohesion is around 230 (median)-290 (average) for modern humans (around 150 for primitive man, and less for other primates). This means that forced groupings of thousands of people will inevitably result in cliques and categorizations. I think that these forced environments must cause psychological disturbances in the individual. I have no evidence for or against this position, but it seems logical.