Identity Politics Made Simple

For most of the 20th century left-of-center politics was defined by class struggle between the rich and the poor. Now the left has been completely subsumed by identity politics, the struggles for historically disadvantaged demographic groups for equality. Unfortunately the class struggle (which largely drove the oppression of women and minorities) has been all but forgotten by mainstream liberal politicians and political parties.

7 thoughts on “Identity Politics Made Simple

  1. Unfortunately the class struggle (which largely drove the oppression of women and minorities) has been all but forgotten by mainstream liberal politicians and political parties.

    That, Ted, because in the United States (and to a large degree, here in Europe as well), the class struggle has been won by the rich, whose representatives the «mainstream liberal politicians and political parties» are, while the so-called «lower classes» are disorganised and almost entirely without representation ?…

    Henri

  2. I once witnessed a drunken argument between a black friend and a gay friend – both were insisting that as a minority, they had it worse than the other guy.

    I got asked who was right … I declined to answer. Perhaps if I had had fewer beers, I might have come up with an example of a gay black person … who would be better off than a homeless gay black person … ugly, lefthanded, disabled, homeless, well you get the idea.

    • I don’t know if it matters much, but I have a friend who is (1) Black, (2) homosexual, and (3) female. I asked her once which of these categorizations was the biggest vehicle of oppression, and she said, ‘Female, by far.’ Shirley Jackson, the first Black candidate for nomination for president, said the same thing back in the day. Two observations ought to settle the question, right?. But all of them are outgrowths of class oppression, the notion that some of us are superior and can and should dominate, rule, exploit, and sometimes kill the others. Distracting the proles with Identity warfare has been an invaluable help to keeping the top up and everyone else down. Naturally a lot of it emanates from academia, the brain of the beast.

      • As a straight, white, male – it’s not my call to make.

        However, I have witnessed the same argument play out multiple times on the internet. It starts with some white women discussing how it’s hard to be a woman in this society, when a black woman joins in saying, “You think YOU got it bad …”

        Humans – like many animals – establish pecking orders. Ours is usually based on physical intimidation, and so women wind up lower. The lower you are in the order, the more resentful you become and so more likely to peck down. In our society, black men are near the bottom – and many become rampantly sexist so that they can feel superior to someone. Many oppressed minorities in this country are themselves racist/homophobic/whatev purely as a predictable reaction to the pecking order.

        Please don’t misunderstand this post, it’s not about race, it’s about class. Poor white men with few prospects tend towards sexism just as fast as black men, or perhaps even faster as they are raised with greater expectations.

  3. And we come back to the same point that is usually arrived at. John Oliver had a show the other day about people who bought mobile homes and put those mobile homes on rented land. (Take a moment while your gears strip over the same point that caught me…)
    That’s right, people BOUGHT something that can’t be moved without destroying it (despite the name) and put it on someone else’s land.
    So now a whole lot of people are stunned, stunned I say, that corporate Americuh is going around, buying up the mobile parks, and jacking the price of rent into orbit.
    Christ A’mighty and all the saints, of COURSE that’s what the corporate thugs are going to do. You may as well be astonished, astonished I say, that a nest of wasps keeps stinging you.
    We of the 99%, frankly, have always been held back by the majority of the 99% that sits on its ass and doesn’t think. Some people simply aren’t smart enough to think. Some people simply don’t want to think. But in either case, there’s always about 5% to 15% of people saying the same sensible, sound things while the rest of the 99% are misdirected and distracted by the 1%. I’ll give you a few examples.
    1. Single-payer health care makes sense for the same reason that getting health insurance makes sense. The more people in the plan, the better the rates that can be negotiated. As long as it doesn’t become a for-profit industry. Buh, buh, buh, that’s socialism, and it rewards bad habits. Why am I paying for some fat pig’s gastric bypass?
    2. Golly. You want me to manage my own retirement fund? I don’t really know enough about that to make really good choices, and I’d constantly be panicking about it. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the company (with a government program overseeing and guaranteeing a minimum return on investment) to have a few people running the company pension fund? Why can’t I invest that money myself? I’ve taken a weekend seminar, and I know what I’m doing. Why should I settle for an OK retirement when I can be taking golf trips four times a year thanks to the killing I’m CERTAIN I’m going to make?
    3. Hmm. These school kids are showing up exhausted every morning and some of them can’t afford lunch or don’t have time to make lunch. Wouldn’t it make more sense for school to start later and stay open later, more in synch with teen sleep patterns and with adult-world 9-to-5 jobs? And shouldn’t the school provide breakfast and lunch so that these children aren’t sitting in class unable to focus because of hunger? Why am I feeding some hungry goddamned kid I don’t even know? Why don’t they get a job if they’re hungry? Why, when I was a kid, my father used to tell me about his father–who died in his late 50s after a lifetime of hard labor–who’d get up and deliver papers before going to school and then going to his other job after school. These kids are too damned lazy if you ask me …
    4. We have met the enemy, and he is us. We saw this in absolutely non-debatable terms in 2016, when Hillary–Hank Kissinger makes me sploosh–Clinton, the corporate warhawk whose child and grandchildren will never die in a third-world country enforcing neo-liberal fiscal policies backed by a compliant MSM, and her cronies at the dnc took the will of the people in the democratic party and discarded it, throwing Bernie Sanders under the bus and handing state after state to primary runner-up Hillary Clinton. And we still have 99%ers who think Hillary was robbed. They simply cannot, will not, do not accept that she wasn’t “flawed” she wasn’t “imperfect.” She was a greedy, grasping egomaniac who took the money of the powerful because that’s what she wanted, to finally sit with the cool kids at lunch. Obama was also a corporate stooge. If Dubya had enough brains to know what was going on, I’d say the same of him.
    That’s the problem. Too many of us are too damned stupid. And those of us who aren’t have been conditioned (by the 1%) to be “respectful” and use our “indoor voices” and to “be civil.” I’m surprised we haven’t been told to sing some spirituals.

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