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Bad Arguments of the Left

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Normally this sort of thing wouldn’t even be worth linking to, but given the current political battles on the left, I will make an exception. I am as big a believer in the need for socialism as anyone. The working classes should be united against economic exploitation and the class warfare from the plutocrats in the New Gilded Age. However, arguments that the left need to stop paying attention to identity politics in order to fight the class war only adds to the oppression of everyone who is not a white male.

Ultimately, though, the left should seek to move beyond identity politics for the simple reason that it is compatible with neo-liberal economics. Identity politics can co-exist with the corporate boss who makes more money in a week than his cleaner takes home in a year – as long as the chances of being the boss are assigned proportionally among different ethnic groups, sexualities and genders. Individual winners and losers remain as remote from each other as ever; they are simply sorted in direct proportion to their numbers in society. The ultimate aim of identity politics is to ‘tune up’ the elite rather than to abolish it.

By emphasising difference over commonality, identity politics also makes it harder for the left to establish a mass politics based around shared economic interests. By seeking constantly to divide people up into smaller and smaller groups, identity politics forestalls the creation of a sense of unity around issues of economic justice. And because it is obsessed with difference, the divisions are potentially endless.

An assumption that white men invariably occupy an economically privileged position seems to be another unfortunate assumption among those pushing for greater diversity in the professions. Most equality drives today explicitly exclude class. White males are certainly over-represented in many of the most prestigious professions in both Britain and the United States. But this is an over-representation of a very particular class of white male. White men from the working class are not – by a long stretch – ubiquitous in the elite. In fact, they encounter economic hurdles at least as difficult to surmount as the barriers of gender and racial equality faced by their contemporaries.

You may be shocked to know the writer of this article is a white male.

Yes, it’s true that corporations can indeed support gay marriage without hurting their bottom lines. Doing so is still contributing to the reduction of injustice in the world. That’s a fundamentally good thing.

And don’t even get me started on the incorrect use of “neoliberal,” which sadly on the left just means “capitalism” or “rich people” or “things I don’t like” instead of its actual meaning.

These sorts of white male arguments should be shunned and ridiculed, even as we should also fight for economic justice.

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  • Dr. Waffle

    I said this in another thread, but there seems to be a yearning among some self-identified “leftists” for a neo-Jacksonian populism that’s focused almost entirely on economic issues at the expense of “identitarian” (God, I hate that word) causes. Unfortunately for them, it’s not 1829 anymore. You can’t dismiss the most reliable liberals/progressives (i.e. minorities and women) and expect to be relevant or win elections.

    • Hercules Mulligan

      Which is interesting, because that sort of attitude is usually much more common among the Jim Webbs of the world.

      I also wonder how generational this is– denunciations of “identity politics” are often thinly-veiled rants that millennial college students don’t understand how activism worked in the good old days.

      • Matt McIrvin

        I think that the anti-identitarian white socialists, and the Jim Webbs who are nostalgic for the pre-1964 Democratic coalition, are on the same continuum. Some of them in the US are Southern white guys who are trying to figure out what leftism for them ought to look like, and I think it’s a crudely misguided way of dealing with the fact that politics in those states is so starkly racial, maybe combined with some ingrained racist attitudes they’re not acknowledging in themselves.

        I grew up as a white liberal in Virginia, and I think there were probably times when I would have found the pitch to be at least an argument worth considering.

    • I have some sympathy for that. The left (for want of a better word) does at times disparage that POV unjustly. So does the right. To set it against identity politics seems new.

      Eta “white male arguments” seems over the top.

    • Gee Suss

      As a confessed Nader-voter in 2000 (in the very safe state of CA), and as a white male, I know that I used to think that race/identity issues were a subset of economic issues. Solve the money problem first, then any leftover injustice is a mop-up operation.

      I don’t think that any more and I see how naive that view is. But it’s very appealing in its simplicity.

      ETA: There’s also an element of “they divide us by identity! Don’t let them use it against us!”

      • eh

        Isn’t that congruent to “they can’t divide us by identity if we all choose the same one.”

    • Breadbaker

      When it was 1829, politics was waged entirely among white males. Which didn’t exactly trickle down to the benefit of, say, Indians or slaves. Or even much to women.

  • Sargon

    “Compatible with neo-liberal economics?” What the heck? Does this guy actually think that the left could jettison everything that’s “compatible with neo-liberal economics” and have a coherent position/ideology/way of existence left over?

    • Colin Day

      On a nonpolitical front, the existence of gaseous oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere is “compatible with neo-liberal economics.”

      • Breadbaker

        Breathable oxygen, on the other hand, is not a nonpolitical issue. And opposed by the right (except perhaps in a Randian “you want it, you pay for it” sense.

        • Colin Day

          But it’s compatible with neoliberal economics.

  • AMK

    There’s a difference between an “identity politics” that seeks to address issues–police brutality, inequity in the justice system, various forms of legal discrimination—and an “identity politics” that dwells on “identity” for the sake of identity, like a fashion statement or a “consumer choice.” Too much of the latter is counterproductive, to say the least.

    • Nobdy

      Where does the latter even exist? Unless you’re talking about things like “black is beautiful” which directly seeks to address discrimination and bigotry in culture and beauty standards.

      • AMK

        “Hyphenism” is probably a better word for the kind of identity politics I’m talking about. We should not be perpetuating the idea that everyone is some kind of “_____-American.”

        • Craigo

          Why not? Erasure doesn’t combat oppression, it perpetuates it.

        • Anna in PDX

          I think this is wrong on its face, but I also think people who are nonwhite identify this way because the dominant white culture won’t let them forget it, anyhow. “What kind of name is that?” “Where are you from?” “Ok I mean where are your family from or where are you REALLY from?”

        • djw

          Obviously we shouldn’t demand it. But if Americans of X ancestry want to identify as X-Americans, and there’s no belligerent or exclusionary politics, I can’t imagine why it would be objectionable.

          I’m really struggling to get a concrete handle on what you’re objecting to here.

          • gmack

            Yeah, I read the initial comment as a critique forms of cultural appropriation (i.e., I assumed that the objection was to the tendency to commodify identity markers and use them for, say, signs of one’s openness to diversity, one’s coolness, etc.). However, the clarification suggests that my initial reading was wrong, and that I too have no idea what the objection is.

            • Breadbaker

              Southerners, and particularly Texans, play this kind of identity thing all the time. Almost half the contestants on Food Network Star were playing the same, “I’m from the South and we do things differently” card. Yet, I’ve never seen someone who objects to “identity politics” call this out. Even when the next step is “and we love us some statues of traitors who were involved in perpetuating the enslavement of half the population; don’t you dare touch that.”

          • AMK

            And there’s no belligerent or exclusionary politics

            Sure, sometimes it’s harmless in small doses, but the end of the road is always some form of belligerent or exclusionary politics, or special-interest balkanization to the detriment of the whole. You can’t have an immigrant democracy of citizens if everyone is going to start diluting their citizenship and segregating themselves into special interest blocs based on their own fundamentally cosmetic categories.

            The worst political examples today are of course on the right….look at the effects of bugfuck “Christian” identity politics on domestic policy, or look at how Likudniker/neocon Jewish identity politics infects and perverts our foreign policy. But that doesn’t completely absolve people on the left. There seems to be an an entire discourse in minority circles about the meaning of various minority identities that is fine in the abstract, but leads to stupid policy like quota-based affirmative action once these people have any power.

        • CD

          Who is the “we”? And who, outside your imagination, is “perpetuating the idea that everyone is some kind of “_____-American”? And while we’re at it what exactly are the “counterproductive, to say the least” consequences?

          Here In Seattle there is a Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce and various other such groups. Far as I can tell they worry nobody.

    • ThrottleJockey

      There’s a role for identity politics but it’s a very small role. I frequently find that centering identity politics results in not seeing the forest for the trees. For instance focus too much attention on the high incarceration rate among black criminals and you ignore the toll of crime on black communities. I see this time and time again and probably was the same way when I was younger. From The New York Times:

      Already embroiled in a crisis over race and police conduct, Chicago now faces a 62 percent increase in homicides. Through mid-May, 216 people have been killed. Shootings also are up 60 percent.

      So what’s going on in Chicago?

      And Chicago is more lenient about illegal handguns than New York, prescribing a one-year minimum for possession versus three and a half years in New York. An attempt to match the New York law in 2013 was rejected by the Illinois legislature out of concern for skyrocketing incarceration rates for young black men.

  • Nobdy

    “Identity Politics” is generally code for minorities or women demanding that their concerns and needs be taken into specific accoubt.

    Since the liberal coalition is mostly minorities and women I would like white men who want to do away with “Identity politics” to mansplain to me how this coalition can be maintained and be effective while ignoring the needs and wants of a majority of its members.

    White male privilege is incompatible with social justice. You cannot eliminate white male privilege without at least discussing and addressing it. That should be obvious.

    • Murc

      Since the liberal coalition is mostly minorities and women I would like white men who want to do away with “Identity politics” to mansplain to me how this coalition can be maintained and be effective while ignoring the needs and wants of a majority of its members.

      I don’t think this would be mansplaining.

      • I think it would be something like

        Step 1: listen to regular white guys.

        Step 2: ?

        Step 3: Socialism!

        • Sly

          There is no actual listening being demanded here. It’s “shut up and follow your betters,” full stop.

          Implicit in the denunciation of “identity” politics is the judgement that such politics are distinct and inferior to “non-identity” politics. Something that doesn’t actually exist, it needs to be repeatedly said, but is simply the politics of one kind of identity (“class” in this specific instance) masquerading as something else. Something clean and undiluted. Authentic. Purebred.

          • This.

          • Craigo

            Such politics aren’t politics at all, according to the author of the excerpted piece. They are “personal grievances”.

          • ColBatGuano

            White male isn’t an identity. It’s the alpha and omega of all existence.

            This is sarcasm.

          • Moondog

            I recently was told that Hillary’s supporters, particularly minorities, vote based on personal connections, while Bernie’s supporters vote based on an analysis of the issues.

            • Murc

              This is true with respect to a great deal of Hillary’s supporters… and is also true with respect to a great deal of Bernies.

              Affinity voting is often quite all right. Not always, but often.

          • CD

            Yep. There’s a conflation of two things going on.

            (a) It’s possible to imagine a specific style of politics that’s short-sighted and parochial and that might be described by the term “identity politics.” Maybe it happens from time to time.

            (b) There’s a huge variety of different political projects organized to combat oppressions.

            9 times out of 10, when you hear the words “identity politics,” you’re hearing a dismissive conflation of anything under (b) with (a). The conflator then launches into tedious, tautological explanations of why (a) is bad, ducking the issues at stake.

      • Patick Spens

        Remember when mansplaining had a coherent and useful definition? That was a fun six months.

        • I think what happened is that I found out what it meant and started using it. Previously, I’d assumed it was just opposition to explaining in general, like when a man tells me not to ‘splain (damn that autocorrect) about my own field, because he’s written a 25-page term paper on the topic and knows all about it. Seriously, if I find a new favorite brand of cereal, in a month they’ll pull it off the shelves.

          • postmodulator

            Ha!

          • Patick Spens

            Seriously, if I find a new favorite brand of cereal, in a month they’ll pull it off the shelves.

            Have you considered weaponizing this power? What’s a few months of being a Trump supporter or a Yankee fan if it means they will go away forever afterwards?

        • Moondog

          “dicksplaining” ?

    • ThrottleJockey

      Identity politics also reflects political Behavior by conservative whites. As I see it identity politics does far more harm than good. Thinking about race or ethnic identity to the exclusion of other issues really twists your logic. Black people get a lot more outraged when a white guy kills one of us as opposed to when a black guy kills one of us. Based on the opposition to stand-your-ground laws you might imagine that whites are the shooters in 60 or 70% of black homicides. In fact it’s the reverse in 90% of black shooting deaths other blacks are the triggerman. Focusing on whites as the enemy ignores the much greater role of those in our own community. ( of course white people are susceptible to the very same forces).

      Yeah identity Politics is bad I try to avoid it.

      • Anna in PDX

        So I do not understand what you mean. Maybe I am misremembering, because I have read these comment sections for years and therefore I already know your race/gender, but I think I remember you bringing up race in discussions quite a bit. When is “bringing up race in a policy argument” seen as “identity politics” and when isn’t it?

        I think.myself that if policies have disparate impacts on certain groups, pointing this out should be part of the discussion, absolutely, and the label “identity politics” is a buzz word to keep that discussion from happening.

        • ThrottleJockey

          We’re using identity politics a little bit differently. You can’t have multiculturalism without deep discussions on the differing perspectives of different groups. That’s my tiny, tiny contribution to discussions here (I hope)…. when I say identity politics I mean actual voting behavior or the construction of public policy. So for instance a lot of black groups including the NAACP supported Clarence Thomas being elevated to the Supreme Court because he was black. I did not.

          Another for instance: black activists of a certain stripe I think we need to lessen penalties for crime because so many cops are racist. I think that’s unwise because it’s like cutting off your nose to spite your face. In my opinion while racism is a serious problem it is not the most serious problem facing blacks today.

          • Drexciya

            So for instance a lot of black groups including the NAACP supported Clarence Thomas being elevated to the Supreme Court because he was black.

            Did they?

            • ThrottleJockey

              Thanks for correcting me Drexs I must have been thinking of the Oakland chapter instead of the National Organization.

      • sharculese

        Yeah identity Politics is bad I try to avoid it.

        Dude, this is just false. As I said in the teacher’s union post, you frequently go to “you don’t understand my experience as a black man,” as part of your argument. And it’s true, I don’t understand, which is why I listen.

        But that’s about identity politicsy as it gets, so I’m not sure how you’re saying it’s something you try to avoid. If anything, it’s something I’ve seen you embrace.

        • ThrottleJockey

          Oh then we’re using identity politics here in different ways. I think simple good citizenship requires us to Think Through the different perspectives of different groups. (And bringing up the black perspective is something I try to do a lot of here as a means of compensating for the fact there are so few black commenters; if we have more black commenters I wouldn’t feel the need to bring up minority perspectives). When it comes to voting and when it comes to public policy I try very hard to set aside my black identity. So for instance even though I was excited at the prospect of Obama being the first black president I didn’t think he was experienced enough and supported Bill Richardson until he dropped out of the race. That’s in contrast to most of my black friends and family. I also try to think through the relevancy of the racism critiques that black activist typically level against Society. In my opinion the most Salient obstacles to black progress are class-based not race-based.

      • eclare

        Black people get a lot more outraged when a white guy kills one of us as opposed to when a black guy kills one of us.

        But isn’t the anger about the fact that the white murderer is way less likely to be prosecuted for it? And if prosecuted less likely to be convicted? And if convicted likely to be sentenced more lightly, and then more likely to be paroled early? The anger is about the injustice of a system that punishes black people and literally lets white people get away with murder.

        • ThrottleJockey

          That’s part of it, but even if they were guaranteed a conviction and long sentence we’d still be outraged. The phenomena is more like this: it’s okay if I call my mom bitchy, but if you do it them’s fighting words.

          • eclare

            I imagine the reason for the killing is important, too. Most of the white on black killings that make the news are cases where the victim is killed because they are unjustly perceived as a threat for doing something that would almost certainly not be seen as threatening (or at least would be less threatening) if a white person were doing it. Would Tamir Rice have been gunned down so quickly if he was a white kid with a toy gun? Would John Crawford? Almost certainly not. In these case the victims were treated differently because they are black.

  • Class struggle, at one time the raison d’être of the socialist movement, has been usurped on the left by the personal grievances of women, gays and ethnic minorities.

    No, the class-based left stopped being viable in major politics, and years later people like Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition and NARAL rose to prominence. There was no usurping. The work was done by people who weren’t associated with socialism, who didn’t appeal to socialism. There was no socialist movement in politics with anything to usurp.

    • Hogan

      That’s also how I remember it.

    • JL

      That sentence also suggests the rather weird idea that there could not be any intersections between class and the issues of women, LGBTQ people, and people of color, that nobody would care about all of the above. Even though most of the socialists I run into these days are avowed feminists or queer/trans liberationists or anti-racists.

      Also, class struggle is collective struggle, but the concerns of women, LGBTQ people, and people of color, are “personal grievances” that I guess aren’t collective in any way!

  • Murc

    However, arguments that the left need to stop paying attention to identity politics in order to fight the class war

    My default response to this is always “Why not both? Why are we incapable of walking and chewing gum at the same time?”

    By emphasising difference over commonality, identity politics also makes it harder for the left to establish a mass politics based around shared economic interests. By seeking constantly to divide people up into smaller and smaller groups, identity politics forestalls the creation of a sense of unity around issues of economic justice. And because it is obsessed with difference, the divisions are potentially endless.

    This is a fundamental misunderstanding of identity politics, which aren’t about identity per se but are rather about power and oppression. Identity politics did not create the differences it identifies, it merely points them out. The entire goal of identity politics is to eventually make being gay, or trans, or a person of color as blandly unremarkable as having black hair or brown eyes. It ultimately is aimed at tearing down division, but in order to rip down walls you first have to make people aware they exist, and then assemble an army of supporters with sledgehammers.

    It is, of course, true that there are crazy people with massively illiberal views involved in this sort of politics. Yes. I’ll admit that straight up. We’ve all been to tumblr. But there are crazy people involved in every sort of politics. There are still some unreconstructed Stalinists out there on the left. I’m sure I could find some rightists who think America needs an honest-to-god King who rules with Divine Right.

    I’ll start taking that criticism seriously as a criticism of identity politics when that loony fringe stops being a fringe, and I’ll start siding against them only if the alternatives aren’t actually worse.

    • Philip

      I’m sure I could find some rightists who think America needs an honest-to-god King who rules with Divine Right.

      There’s a segment of the NRx (which gave birth to the alt-right) that actually believes this. So, yeah. There’s always nuts to pick, if you go looking.

      • Matt McIrvin

        I suspect it’s actually a view that is gaining popularity, particularly among tech-nerd conservatives.

        • I think it’s been gaining ground for a long time. There are some native reasons for it, but I think it’s partly driven by the dynamics of Internet debate and some other things. It has something to do with hyper-rationalism, the Wild West nature of Usenet, etc.

        • postmodulator

          I’ve kind of kept an eye on the new reactionaries; I was led to them by keeping an eye on the Mens’ Rights people, which seems to be the gateway drug that leads to people to neo-reactionism. And yeah, their natural constituency seems to be IT bros and entrepreneurs or people who think they’re entrepreneurs.

          • Yeah, see, I started from the opposite side, with wingers trolling the nonpolitical groups I liked and trying to convince people of the truths of what’s now called the Dark Enlightenment. They prey on stuff that is prevalent in tech communities, but the alt-right is not native to the tech mindset.

    • This, but also – racism and sexism are also tools of economic oppression. So they need to be addressed in the forefront, and not made subordinate to class struggle.

    • gmack

      The entire goal of identity politics is to eventually make being gay, or trans, or a person of color as blandly unremarkable as having black hair or brown eyes.

      This is not necessarily accurate. There are all kinds of internal debates among theorists and activists about the meaning of liberation, and the more or less liberal/multiculturalist interpretation you’re offering here is only one of them. It’s also one that often comes lots of criticism from more radical sorts.

      ETA: If racism and sexism are vectors of oppression, then perhaps the goal is not to turn existing races, sexualities, or genders into something that is irrelevant (i.e., akin to hair color), but rather to challenge and/or overcome the identity structures as they currently exist. In some sense, that’s precisely the opposite goal of simply “gaining acceptance” for who one is: After all, if “who one is” has been formed by structures of power, we don’t want simply to recognize and celebrate those identities. We want to “dis-identify” with them, in some sense. What this means in theory and practice remains an open question, however.

      • Murc

        If racism and sexism are vectors of oppression, then perhaps the goal is not to turn existing races, sexualities, or genders into something that is irrelevant (i.e., akin to hair color), but rather to challenge and/or overcome the identity structures as they currently exist. In some sense, that’s precisely the opposite goal of simply “gaining acceptance” for who one is: After all, if “who one is” has been formed by structures of power, we don’t want simply to recognize and celebrate those identities. We want to “dis-identify” with them, in some sense.

        Which still accomplishes the goal of removing those identities as vectors of oppression, which in turn prevents them from being so all-encompassing. I’m not sure how that’s at all different from what I laid out.

        • gmack

          It depends on what one means by “identity,” right? My only point is/was that there is a whole lot of argument and debate about what it means for an oppressed identity to work for liberation. Broadly speaking, we might categorize the strategies (a) liberal inclusion, (b) separatism, and (c) a kind of deconstructive transformation of the entire existing identity structures. I read your initial comment as an assertion that all identity politics aims at (a), and my point is that among those involved in these politics, there is a lot more diversity and conflict over that question.

          • Murc

            I would say that a and c are basically the same thing, and that b doesn’t have a big following.

            (I might just be deluding myself because I find b to be morally questionable and also practically unworkable.)

            • gmack

              I’m inclined to encourage you to read some queer theory, or maybe Charles Mills on issues of race (Mills leans more liberal; queer theory often resolutely resists assimilation to liberal celebrations of respect, recognition, etc.). It is possible to reconcile (a) with (c): After the radical transformation of existing structures of identity, what we get (or what we should want) is something like equal respect for all persons. However, lots of activists and theorists resist that assimilation, and so I’m pretty insistent too that they be understood as different modes of politics.

              In any case, one of the things that I find annoying about critiques of “identity politics” is that many of these critiques do not seem to understand that there is enormous internal debate and conflict about the goals of these movements. Which is to say: There is no “identity politics” in the singular, but rather a rich and conflicting diversity of forms (a politics of identity politics, we might say). Most critiques (and even many defenses) ignore this.

              ETA: I’m personally not a big fan of (b) either; however, I think it’s essential to note that separatism has a long and rich history within identity politics, which means that it’s too quick to say that identity politics is always oriented toward making identity irrelevant. Some forms are, but lots of them aren’t oriented in that direction.

    • ThrottleJockey

      I have to disagree that the goal of identity politics is to make identity blandly unremarkable. The goal of identity politics is ensure that everyone has a seat at the table and that we embrace our diversity. I’m not being pedantic. For instance most black people don’t want to be blandly unremarkable we want to be black and celebrate our differences and contrasts with the white culture. Henice we had black is beautiful.

      • Murc

        The goal of identity politics is ensure that everyone has a seat at the table and that we embrace our diversity. I’m not being pedantic. For instance most black people don’t want to be blandly unremarkable we want to be black and celebrate our differences and contrasts with the white culture.

        The thing is, TJ, people who have a seat at the table and whose presence there is broadly considered noncontroversial become blandly unremarkable.

        It’s like being Irish. Irish people didn’t stop celebrating who they were and not have St. Patrick’s day anymore once prejudice against them evaporated. But being Irish became blandly unremarkable, because being Irish no longer meant you got treated like shit.

        Same deal with being Italian, really. My dad can self-identify as Italian-American and celebrate his culture and nobody really gives a shit, because that’s considered normal and unremarkable. My grandfather, as a young man, absolutely could not do that, because he was born in a time and place when it was still permissible to call us wops.

        I would submit that on the happy day when prejudice against other oppressed groups also evaporates, a similar process will happy, and that this is, implicitly or explicitly, the goal of most identity politics.

        • ThrottleJockey

          You think so? I don’t see all that many irish-americans or italian-americans of my generation are of the millennial generation who really differentiate Irish American or Italian American culture. ( maybe I just don’t see them because they do it when I’m not around) . At least with blacks and I’ve read the same is true of Latinos there is a cultural self interest in setting ourselves in opposition to White culture. This is why black kids who like white music or maybe prefer baseball to basketball are said to be “acting White” by other black kids.

          • aturner339

            Except Prince or Hendrix or Kravitz or..

          • Murc

            You think so? I don’t see all that many irish-americans or italian-americans of my generation are of the millennial generation who really differentiate Irish American or Italian American culture.

            You don’t notice it because it’s so unremarkable its invisible now. It did not used to be.

            At least with blacks and I’ve read the same is true of Latinos there is a cultural self interest in setting ourselves in opposition to White culture.

            Which the Irish and the Italians and the Poles and &c. used to do a lot themselves, and which largely died out once they were no longer regarded as inferior to whites.

            The situations aren’t completely analogous of course, because things were a lot different back when it was relevant, but I feel it still holds.

          • JL

            You think so? I don’t see all that many irish-americans or italian-americans of my generation are of the millennial generation who really differentiate Irish American or Italian American culture.

            Not that I thought you did, but this sentence proves conclusively that you don’t live in Boston.

            I’m not making any serious political point here (except maybe, half-seriously, that in some cases identity is regional and subcultural?), this is just what popped into my head.

            • Ruviana

              Yup. I was going to ask TJ where he was from/lived. I’m Irish but grew up on the west coast where it meant less than squat. But I now live on the east coast and being Irish and Italian are still both very salient identities for people even if they are read as “white” now.

              • ThrottleJockey

                We have large Irish and Italian communities here in Chicago. But among Gen Xers and millennials you don’t see as much of the same ethnic pride as you saw among baby boomers or as you see on the East Coast.

                Now I have some friends who are 1st and 2nd generation Irish, Italian or Croatian and they are very outspoken in is there ethnic Pride. And endearingly so. (My Croatian buddy can list with pride every Croatian American of prominence from Canada to Chile–I had no idea there were so many).

              • Wapiti

                I lived in the SF East Bay as a teen (but that was 30 years back) and many of the towns still had racial pluralities/majorities. Crockett (home of C&H sugar) was heavily Italian-American. Pittsburg was Italian-American and Blacks. Antioch was Anglos (maybe remanents of the Okie diaspora and Mexican-American. I wonder if those divisions eased as the towns became less blue collar and more white collar and bedroom communities.

        • I think it must depend on where a person lived at the time. In working class areas that were concentrated geographically and ethnically, it was possible to celebrate identity locally. Religious institutions helped with this. It might only have been possible because the religion permitted a degree of opposition to the powers that be, and that the working class had no chance of getting near the centers of power anyway. They could (implicitly) oppose the Protestant establishment without hurting their life chances and without making the church look bad, so they could dismiss the people who hated them more easily than a middle class person outside the cities. There were limitations within the working class, too, of course: only the Irish could join the police force, for example.

          • Breadbaker

            Note your assumption of Christianity by your reference to “the church”. Some of us aren’t.

            • Note your assumption of Christianity by your reference to “the church”.

              Not to mention her immediately previous reference to the Protestant Establishment!!!

              It’s a shonda to the goyim, is what it is.

            • Hogan

              The comment she was replying to was specifically about Irish and Italian ethnics in earlier generations.

              • Even in earlier generations, some of those Irish and Italian ethnic immigrants to the US weren’t Catholic (or Christian at all). I think I remember that Breadbaker is Irish (or Irish-descended), which would add point to his or her “us”.

                • Hogan

                  Even in earlier generations, some of those Irish and Italian ethnic immigrants to the US weren’t Catholic (or Christian at all).

                  Yes, it’s a generalization.

                  I think I remember that Breadbaker is Irish (or Irish-descended), which would add point to his or her “us”.

                  But not so much to his or her “aren’t.”

                • Craigo

                  I don’t think cherry-picking outliers trumps a statistical reality.

            • Note your assumption of Christianity by your reference to “the church”. Christianity by your reference to “the church”. Some of us aren’t.

              Are you a working -class Italian-American living on the Lower East Side of New York in the years between 1900 and 1965?

      • eclare

        I have to disagree that the goal of identity politics is to make identity blandly unremarkable. The goal of identity politics is ensure that everyone has a Seat at the table and that we embrace our diversity.

        Maybe a better way to phrase it is that the goal is to get to the point where interacting with people who embrace their distinct cultures is blandly unremarkable.

        • ThrottleJockey

          I like that phrasing.

      • Tyro

        The goal of identity politics is ensure that everyone has a seat at the table

        Yes, and that is a major part of what politics is all about, not something that plays a “small role.”

        • Hogan

          that is a major part of what democratic politics is all about

  • postmodulator

    This is a crummy argument, but it used to have a touch of truth to it; I wonder how much truth remains, though. When I graduated from Redneck High, our valedictorian was turned down for Princeton. Not “couldn’t afford it” but “wasn’t admitted.” So white men and women’s out my background were barred from the elite in that way.

    Another data point: My kid brother works in high finance and for years he was the only non-Ivy graduate in his office, and he got endless shit about it.

    • JL

      Very few people are admitted to Princeton, though (I wasn’t!). Valedictorians or otherwise. Poor/working-class or affluent. Class oppression is a real thing, but I don’t think that particular data point illustrates it.

      Your second anecdote on the other hand…

    • Jackov

      Better data points may be
      a) the legacy admit rates vs general applicant pool admit rates at elite schools

      b) 75% of students at tier 1 schools are from families with income in the top quartile while 3% are from families in the bottom quartile

      c) the large over-representation (~25 points) of students from the top income quintile at highly selective schools and over-representation at almost every tier of higher education

      d) the vast majority of low-income, high-achieving students in the U.S. do not apply
      to any selective colleges

  • Karen24

    Translated from the Privileged, “I liked politics a lot better when the only opinions that mattered were those of people just like me.”

    • efgoldman

      I get the impression that the author read Charles Murray, nodding sagely and stroking his chin.

  • Anticorium

    as long as the chances of being the boss are assigned proportionally among different ethnic groups, sexualities and genders

    Well, I for one promise that once this hypothetical world arrives, I won’t forget to wage class war.

  • aturner339

    White men from the working class are not – by a long stretch – ubiquitous in the elite. In fact, they encounter economic hurdles at least as difficult to surmount as the barriers of gender and racial equality faced by their contemporaries.

    The fact that this is plainly untrue would, one might hope, give him some pause when considering whether “identify politics” is necessary. As TNC pointed out in an indispensable article on the subject black poverty (for instance) is not like white poverty and never has been. Poor whites have more wealth, safer neighborhoods, and better employment prospects than poor or even middle class blacks.

    One doesn’t even have to dig through the (damning) economic literature to see the truth of this. The blatant disregard for reality here is… Trumpesque.

    • NYD3030

      You’re correct in that the point that poor white people have it worse than other poors is plainly wrong and making that argument is just dumb.

      Poor white people still have it pretty fucking bad though, and the reality stands that in certain very radical segments of the left Sheryl Sandberg is more oppressed than a coal miner in WV.

      • aturner339

        Yes but “pretty f—ing bad” is a aspirational goal for the people pigeonholed into the phrase “identity politics” Like we literally celebrate moving into a neighborhood as nice a poor white one. There are actual television shows based on this.

        • NYD3030

          No arguing with you there because you are right. I agree with this guy in some respects but claims like this are plainly wrong and do nothing to help bring people together in the manner he advocates.

      • JL

        Very radical segments of the social justice left are mostly anticapitalist as well as feminist, anti-racist, etc, and incorporate class into their analyses. Very clueless segments of the left, maybe. Or some other word, possibly even a less disparaging one than the one I used, but I don’t think the spectrum you’re looking for here is level of radicalism.

      • nixnutz

        You’re correct in that the point that poor white people have it worse than other poors is plainly wrong and making that argument is just dumb.

        I don’t think that’s quite the point he’s making. I think he’s saying that poverty is as significant a barrier as gender or race, so I guess a poor white man has it as tough as a rich black man or white woman?

        I think that’s also wrong but it’s a lot closer to a valid point, only framed in the worst possible way; to invite a grievance measuring contest rather than acknowledging that class mobility is a shared problem.

        • Jackov

          Poverty is a significant barrier – the educational achievement gap between the rich and poor is now twice as large as the achievement gap between whites and blacks.

          Of course, the white/black gap decreased(50 years ago it was 2x the income gap) in part due to successes of ‘identity politics’ and the vast majority of the poor will be minorities and/or women with only ~20% white males.

    • postmodulator

      Yeah, you hit problems trying to convince poor white men and women that they are better off in the aggregate than poor black men and women. For lots of reasons: racism, for one, but also human consciousness just doesn’t like working that way. If your life is pretty miserable, a member of the elite telling you that you drop with privilege is a hard sell. Even if it’s objectively true; even if there’s lots of evidence.

      It’s a harder problem than we’re making it sound like.

      • aturner339

        I agree that it is a mighty inconvenient truth (to borrow a phrase) but it’s funny which inconveniences some of the left is willing to live with.

        • postmodulator

          Yeah, living with it isn’t an option, either. In a sense that’s another too-easy “solution.”

  • Actually there are so many bad arguments that it’s hard to know where to start. First, there are left feminisms, etc., that are part of the left. Is this white male movement opposed to the part of the left that has embraces those “identity politics”? Is it trying to expel them from the left? Or is it “usurping” the arguments of left feminists and trying to coopt them in opposition to other feminists, so they get support from the left as long as they oppose “identity politics” as neoliberal and prioritize the ideas of regular white guys?

    Also, if anything that is compatible with a supporter (who isn’t white and male) thriving in the present-day world is anathema to this regular white guy left, that is a call for immediate revolution and destruction of everything without specifying what’s to replace it except that it will carry the label “socialism” and it will be for regular white guys. (Unless there’s something I’m not seeing, and I’m pretty sure if there is, it’s imaginary.)

    • NYD3030

      Nobody said socialism will be for white guys only, you made that up completely.

      • Okay. But electorally, as a matter of political appeal, the goal seems to be to appeal to regular white guys. If it appeals directly to women (not really on-topic for this post), it’s to women who prioritize class over feminism, even if bias means men will benefit immediately in a way they won’t.

        • NYD3030

          Well as a matter of politics wouldn’t it make sense to formulate an appeal to regular white guys? Or would you prefer they not be in the coalition?

  • MAJeff

    Do these folks think that the identities around which people are organizing are not also economic positions? It’s not as though women or racial and ethnic minorities or sexual minorities face discrimination in wage labor markets. It’s not as though labor is itself raced, gendered, and sexualized in a variety of different ways. Shit, marriage was a goal, in part, because it carries material benefits.

    • Karen24

      Exactly. All of these identities matter in politics because having them carries real and measurable economic and power disadvantages.

  • NYD3030

    I love this comment thread filling up with people dismissing his argument because of his situation of birth. Definitely our history shows that to be a just and winning political position.

    • Murc

      I love this comment thread filling up with people dismissing his argument because of his situation of birth.

      [Cites omitted.]

      • NYD3030

        Well the fact that he’s a white guy seems to be a pretty prominent criticism. Feel free to read above for evidence. Like calling his argument white guy socialism because he is a white guy, not because he advocates socialism for whites only.

        • sharculese

          Well, except it is relevant. It’s similar in kind, if not degree to a dude in a monocle lamenting how the poors don’t know how good they have it. He’s shockingly dismissive of issues that he doesn’t and can’t have an experience of, and that colors how his argument is going to be read.

      • postmodulator

        Well, Karen24 seems to be doing that. But it’s a stupid argument. First, if something is true, sometimes you have to say it even if it’s not a “winning political argument;” second, we’re arguing on a blog, not writing the national Democratic Party’s platform.

    • kped

      Nobody dismisses his argument because he’s a white guy, just note that it seems an awful lot of white guys are making this same whiny argument. It doesn’t dismiss his argument, but it sure seems suspicious when these white guys keep asking other people to put away their concerns and focus on this other thing instead. It seems a little strange that these white guys keep making the implied argument that all those other things are unimportant distractions from the real problems, given that they haven’t had to deal with the “unimportant” problems they deride as mere “identity” politics.

      • NYD3030

        His argument wasn’t whiny, and nobody who makes it ever says we need to ignore problems of race, gender, sexuality. That’s something you put on then because of their situation of birth.

        The argument is that we can’t defeat capitalism if we’re divided along these lines, and that certain segments of the left want us divided along these lines. Making the case for solidarity is not white male identity politics.

        • Morse Code for J

          What exactly does “defeating capitalism” entail?

        • Spiny

          1. We are divided along these lines. The divide is frustrating, but it wasn’t created by identity politics. You can’t wish it away.

          2. Solidarity is reciprocal. The case being made here is not reciprocal, it is “class struggle is the real struggle, and we shouldn’t have to devote energy to your boutique struggles”.

          3. Not all people who suffer from identity-based oppression want to defeat capitalism. Most, probably. If you care about justice you still need to support their struggles.

          • ColBatGuano

            3. Not all people who suffer from identity-based oppression want to defeat capitalism. Most, probably. If you care about justice you still need to support their struggles.

            This is a point that often seems forgotten in these discussions or the ones over the Democratic primary. While there is a significant portion of the population that would like to see the spoils of capitalism distributed more equally, this is not the same goal as destroying capitalism.

          • sharculese

            Reminds me of a rejoinder I deployed in law school a lot when one of my conservative classmates whined about wanting a color-blind society:

            “If you want to live in a color-blind society, great. Find one of those and move to it. Because the US isn’t going to be one any time soon.”

            • J. Otto Pohl

              The problem with many color blind societies is that they are full of lots of poor people suffering from vicious class oppression. Either that or they have systems of racism that reference signifiers other than skin color.

        • JKTH

          Making the case for solidarity by saying “Fuck your issues” doesn’t exactly seem the best way to go about it.

          • NYD3030

            It’s a good thing nobody has said that then.

        • CD

          we can’t defeat capitalism if we’re divided along these lines, and that certain segments of the left want us divided along these lines. Making the case for solidarity is not white male identity politics.

          Christ, this is idiotic. Bracketing off the question of what “defeat capitalism” means, there is a long history of coalitional politics. It’s not either-or.

          This argument only makes sense if you’re one of those pathetic buy-our-newspaper sectarians who believes that The Revolution will only happen if the entire working class is united under the leadership of your sect, and so anyone who is not a member of your tiny sect is “dividing the working class” and hence objectively an ally of capitalism. You do the conspiratorial thing nicely with your reference to “certain segments.”

          • NYD3030

            Nothing conspiratorial about it. It’s easy to see whatever you want in an Internet comment section though.

        • Brien Jackson

          The argument is that we can’t defeat capitalism if we’re divided along these lines, and that certain segments of the left want us divided along these lines. Making the case for solidarity is not white male identity politics.

          Ok, but “solidarity” requires actually listening to everyone in the group and considering everyone’s goals and needs. So if, say, black people point out that “defeating capitalism” doesn’t necessarily mean that the police won’t be gunning down their children for playing with toy guns, or women point out that it won’t necessarily be of tremendous utility for them so long as societal gender discrimination persists, and that these are more pressing concerns in the short term, you actually have to listen to them!

          • Ronan

            What does it mean to “listen to black people and women”? Is there some African American/woman philosopher king/queen who white liberals go to to get the thoughts of the tribe? TJ appears to be a black american who no one pays much attention to, so how does this work?

            • J. Otto Pohl

              I can get you a list of approved black people to listen to Ronan. They are all Ghanaian and not American, however. ;-)

            • “Listen” is a trope. It roughly means to accept what people say because you’re no better than them. Maybe it means less to people who weren’t raised to value democracy and values of the “other-directed” types noted to have been rising in the postwar period in much of the US.

              My snarky response to Brien, that I refrained from posting, was that when a woman points that out, obviously what you do is tell her to read Nancy Fraser and come back when she understands it. (Not a dig at Fraser, who isn’t responsible for what readers–much less people who claim to be readers–make of her books.)

            • TJ appears to be a black american who no one pays much attention to

              So you say, because you don’t know his SEKRIT IDENTITY.

              Believe me, Secret Identity Politics is the next big thing.

        • ForkyMcSpoon

          I’m not sure who on the left wants us divided on those lines.

          When the police are more likely to shoot black people, that division is being created, and not by the left. When right-wing Republicans reduce or eliminate access to abortion, that division is being created, and not by the left. Job discrimination, housing discrimination, etc. etc.

          Speaking of sexuality, it seems like not a big deal now, but a few decades ago, we were being kicked out of our homes, our gathering places were being raided by the police with attendant beatings, hate crimes were more common, and HIV was being ignored or mocked because who cared if it was just killing gay people. LGBT people still are a disproportionate number of homeless youth. It was not the people fighting for gay rights who created those divisions.

          What is or would’ve been the proper “non-divisive” response to those issues?

    • Morse Code for J

      No, his argument is being dismissed because it’s poorly reasoned.

      Is there some way to “abolish” the “elite” that comports with the Constitution, assuming that such a thing is even desirable? Taxation does not achieve that, the Takings Clause requires those whose property is taken by the government to be compensated fairly, and bills of attainder are explicitly unconstitutional.

      Does it really make sense that we have to give up on addressing the problems of those who actually come out to vote Democratic, in order to secure this new “mass politics” he envisions? Why is discussing police brutality, or racial inequities in sentencing, somehow mutually exclusive with fighting for “economic justice”? Will the white voters that Democrats have not won since 1964 not get on board with “economic justice” if it means that blacks and Hispanics’ race-based problems are simultaneously addressed? If so, what does that say about the goal of “economic justice”?

      • NYD3030

        Find me a Socialist who believes that we should ignore racism, homophobia or misogyny? Saying that we should focus on class is not saying we should ignore everything else. You can solve racism while maintaining the class system, you can’t do the opposite.

        • Morse Code for J

          Did you read the article?

        • Craigo

          You can solve racism while maintaining the class system, you can’t do the opposite.

          Says who?

          • NYD3030

            I’m saying it’s theoretically possible to imagine a world of extreme economic inequality where the demographics of the elite reflect society as a whole. We are in fact moving in that direction now.

        • eclare

          It’s feels very much the same as the “wait your turn” mentality that has been pissing off women and people of color for a very long time. If you want to work on multiple issues in tandem, that’s great, but the idea that socialism has to come first is a tough pill to swallow. Asking people to hold off on the issues that have the most immediate impact on their lives in favor of supporting a seemingly far off ideal of universal economic equally is simply unfair. Additionally, there’s an ingrained fear, which in my view is legitimate, that once economic equality is resolved for white men there will be significantly less motivation to deal with the issues faced by other groups. And yes, obviously some people are committed to working for justice for all, but the majority of people are fighting for themselves. It’s hard to sustain high levels of enthusiasm once you’ve attained your own goals.

          That obviously doesn’t mean that socialists ignore racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. This is about a particular mindset that is espoused, perhaps unconsciously, by one subset of liberals and progressives.

      • manual

        Clearly an overly legalistic view of the world here.

        You do know in other countries they do have different distributions of wealth and its not through unconstitutional takings?

        • Morse Code for J

          We’re not talking about different distributions of wealth, something I can support if achieved through means such as expanding protections for labor and organizers, addressing trade inequities, and higher tax burdens for capital gains to pay for it all. We’re talking about abolishing the elite, whatever the hell that would entail. Proscription, maybe.

  • Zipp Zanderhoff

    They do know that the politics of economic class are a form of identity politics, right?

    • NYD3030

      The important difference is the poverty is the only identity worth eliminating.

      • Breadbaker

        Which leaves you with what situation for abortion, or bathroom access, or who gets to not work on their chosen Sabbath? Or which kids carrying Skittles or a toy gun gets gunned down and which doesn’t?

        • NYD3030

          What?

    • Craigo

      They don’t, for the same reason as people who believe that they don’t speak with an accent, or that white is the default skin color. I am Normal, everything else is Other.

  • In reading this thread, I am thinking of the current hoopla over the new Ghostbusters movie. I have seen a lot of back and forth over centering the movie around an all female cast, which, to me, less significant than the fact that the only black female of the four is still trapped in the same old slapstick shuck and jive that is the norm for Hollywood. And yet, where is the outrage? There is some out there, for sure, but the gender politics, imho, has vastly trumped the racial politics around the movie.

    Is it good to see four strong (and funny) women taking the lead in this movie? Sure! But I think that the message would be far stronger if Leslie Jones were the one with the physics degree, instead of being used to reinforce the second class role of black women to that of white women.

    That being said, Jones herself has downplayed the racial component in favor of representing working class people, so perhaps my feelings are merely a projection of my identity as a white male. Nevertheless, this still seems to be just another example of the innumerable ways in which media, across the board, reinforces societal norms regarding racial and sexual identity in subliminal ways.

    • leftwingfox

      There was outrage over it, or at least a fair bit of discussion over the value of the Everyman character in the narrative vs the racist implications of a black person inhabiting that role in both versions. Offhand, I saw this discussion being held at The Mary Sue (a feminist geek news site), We Hunted The Mammoth, and the Tumblrs in the feminist/leftist/BLM/social justice sphere.

      And that was during the first trailer.

    • Gareth

      But I think that the message would be far stronger if Leslie Jones were the one with the physics degree, instead of being used to reinforce the second class role of black women to that of white women.

      Is being a subway worker less worthy of respect than a holding a physics degree?

  • Quite Likely

    Hmm, that argument seems fundamentally pretty correct to me. The more we can get people to think in terms of class politics rather than ethnic or gender based politics, the better. That’s not to say that there isn’t a great deal of validity to the issues that ‘identity politics’ is concerned with, it’s just that those are not issues that are going to unite the working class. Focusing on identity politics just encourages working people who are part of more privileged identity groups to identify with the richer members of those groups rather than workers of other groups,

    • The problem, at least in the U.S., is that class and race are very much intertwined, so trying to divorce one from the other is nearly impossible. As someone who is white living in a country that still predominately considers itself white, this may seem easy. But for someone who is not white, class and race (and white society) are both separate battles and the same. You can certainly enlist blacks to fight against class inequality, but the issue of racial inequality within a class is just as important to them, if not more so.

    • xq

      Right. It’s not that liberals are wrong about what they say about these issues. It’s just bad politics. For the next few decades we need a substantial fraction of illiberal whites in our coalition to win.

      • Craigo

        For certain definitions of “win”. For the people who are feared, despised, and discriminated against by illiberal whites, I doubt there will be much win at all.

        • xq

          This is as wrong as every other left purity argument, and for the same two reasons.
          1. Any plausible version of the left coalition is still going to be much better on X than the right coalition, even with its flaws
          2. The left coalition is also going to much better on all other non-X issues of importance.

          This is true whether X is “identity politics” or drone strikes or Wall Street.

          Polarization isn’t going away, meaningful differences aren’t going to disappear; so what matters most is winning. And yes, raising minimum wage will be a win for all groups. So will fighting climate change. So will securing reproductive rights. So will protecting PPACA. And on and on.

          • DilbertSucks

            Exactly. I think you and I are focusing more on which issues the left emphasizes and the rhetoric it uses when trying to appeal to voters, NOT which issues it addresses once we wield power. All the eloquent essays in the world don’t matter if you’re just writing from the sidelines the whole time. You need to obtain power first.

            In my case, I just want to see less of the hysterical “White males are so awful” rhetoric and hyperbole. That shit’s unproductive, has NO obvious upside, and costs us votes.

            • hysterical “White males are so awful” rhetoric

              Illuminating word choice there.

              As a white male, I wonder if I somehow got dropped from the subscription for all these places which are trading in “white males are so awful” rhetoric. It’s not a message I read frequently unless I’m seeking it out. I read people complain about it a lot more than I see it.

              • Craigo

                Illuminating word choice there.

                At least you weren’t shrill and emotional about it.

      • DilbertSucks

        It’s true that we need a substantial number of White men to win, though I don’t think everyone who is alienated by the excesses of “identity politics” is necessarily “illiberal” nor am I concerned with illiberal Whites. The ones I worry about are those who are middle-of-the-road and have good intentions, but can’t wrap their heads around abstract arguments over “White privilege” when most of them don’t come from privileged backgrounds themselves. In the polls in which Clinton loses to Trump, she gets less than 35% of the White male vote. In the polls in which she beats Trump, she gets more than 35% of the White male vote. Like it or not, but you can’t just bleed away White male voters and still expect to win. And that’s just on the national level. White voters are even more crucial on the local and congressional level.

        And it’s not identity politics per se that I find objectionable, but its excesses which have come to the fore in recent years with lots of unnecessary blanket condemnations of “White males” being published on high-traffic websites like Salon and Gawker and other mainstream outlets. It’s the smug and self-congratulatory shit like “White males are becoming more and more irrelevant and that’s a good thing” which is completely unnecessary, does little to address real racism, and only provides grist for the White nationalist right.

        Is it really that hard for the left to simply refrain from stupid comments like the ones in this Newsweek article?

        And, Sanders aside, old white guys just don’t excite voters like they used to.

        But he’s another old white guy.

        And he’s an old white guy.

        http://www.newsweek.com/hillary-clinton-vice-president-picks-456908

        I wanted to include at least one specific example of what I have in mind. There’s absolutely no reason to use “old white guy” as a pejorative multiple times and even less reason to assume “old white guys” can’t excite progressives of ALL races. It’s also presumptuous to think that minorities only get excited by people of their own race, as if there weren’t many non-Blacks excited by Obama. Bernie Sanders is very popular among non-White youth and Hispanics are particular are warming up to him in CA. I see absolutely no reason why the left can’t address racial issues while ignoring these kind of patronizing assumptions and rhetorical excesses.

        • Why are you citing a horse race article from Newsweek as an example of what “the left” should refrain from? That article also characterizes superdelegates as “party leaders and elected officials who would torpedo their careers in politics if they crossed [Clinton]”, and describes bland cipher Julian Castro as “certainly the most exciting contender of the lot”. That is: it’s trash.

        • Brien Jackson

          Not to be contrarian (well whatever really), but being an old white guy is, in fact, pretty central to Sanders’ political persona. It would be both impossible for him to succeed with his schtick if he wasn’t a white guy, and it’s a big part of his limitations that, as an old white guy, he can be so full of himself to believe in “What’s the Matter With Kansas” bullshit and think he can win a Democratic Presidential primary.

    • Sly

      That’s not to say that there isn’t a great deal of validity to the issues that ‘identity politics’ is concerned with, it’s just that those are not issues that are going to unite the working class.

      The reason why multiracial coalitions are the Holy Grail of leftist politics is not, as it turns out, because working-class white people have been gung-ho about shaking the pillars of capitalism to their very foundations but have been held back by non-whites who are too invested in “neo-liberal identity politics” to get on board the express train to Socialist Town. Shocking, I know.

      But all this “stop with the identity politics” nonsense presupposes that this is the case.

      Put simply, if the white left wants such a coalition than they need to get themselves over to their racist cousin’s house who thinks that black people and hispanic people are taking “his” job and fucking fix his ass. Not just roll their eyes when he starts complaining about affirmative action and “the illegals” when everyone’s sitting down for Thanksgiving.

      You want counterproductive? Condescendingly lecture actual left constituencies how they’re doing leftism wrong by fighting the hierarchical oppression that impacts them daily. Which also includes, as it turns out, a great deal of oppression related to the exploitation of labor by capital.

      • People are naturally going to hold onto identity politics when they feel that identity is held against them. My wife, for example, is Panamanian, but most people in the U.S. identify her as black. Should she champion Panamanian rights, or the rights of blacks she is identified with? Should she pause that fight to join the larger class struggle, knowing that, at the end of the day, she will still be judged based on her perceived racial identity should we become a nice, socialist society?

        Your white cousin may be complaining about those ‘illegals’ stealing his job, but what he is really angry about is losing his place of privilege within his class because, in his mind, the jobs should go to whites first. I submit that the battle of racial and sexual equality within class is still the larger battle than inequality between classes.

        • PJ

          Yeah sure … but you can’t get that cousin to vote for policies that might help him if he’s still got a bug up his ass about illegals — is the point.

          You can’t get your WWC to organize for better pay when they’re blaming Mexicans for low wages.

    • JL

      The more we can get people to think in terms of class politics rather than ethnic or gender based politics, the better.

      I really, really do not understand why anyone thinks this has to be or should be either/or rather than an enthusiastic “All of the above!”

    • a_paul_in_mtl

      I’m afraid you’re wrong there. Putting racism on the backburner isn’t going to unite the working class. It is not true that racism only divides the working class because leftists talk about it rather than focusing on “class politics”- which is, itself, a form of identity politics – all you are doing is asking people to identify themselves primarily in terms of class rather than as something else. So unless we grapple with racism, we’re not going to unite the working class. The alternative, in fact, is to default to “white working class” as being synonymous with working class, and accepting white privilege and racism as normal.

      • Not to liberalsplain Marx, but presumably the idea is that racism is supposed to be caused by capitalism and the current class system, and will just go away after the working class takes its rightful place.

        It’s hard to fault people, who may or may not be Marxists, who are more interested in how they’re treated and in whether the practices and beliefs they already have are respected, than in what a lot of non-Marxists think is a kind of magical thinking about a future that the theory says (1) we can’t describe in advance and (2) will have caused us to change our minds about our current practices and beliefs anyway.

        And if what they have in mind isn’t Marxism, I guess I’ll wait until they explain what they do have in mind.

  • manual

    When Adolph Reed Jr or Kenneth Warren or William Julius Wilson or Glenn Loury makes the argument are they white male arguments? Are they betraying women and minorities? Maybe they are very reputable scholars who are some of the best researchers on race in the social sciences (not a huge fan of Loury, but point stands).

    Maybe their arguments should not be ignored?

    Do you have substantive response to the guardian piece or would you rather just reject it out of hand because it’s easier to dismiss as beyond the pale so you dont have to grapple with it?

    • Their arguments should not be ignored, but they should be taken in the context of ‘whiteness’ from which they originated. It is exceptionally difficult to escape privilege, even when making arguments in which privilege is taken into account.

      • JL

        I think the point manual is going for is that all of the people they named as making these arguments are people of color (all the names I recognize offhand are black scholars), and therefore this class of argument can’t be reduced to a white guy argument.

        • Agreed. The ‘white guy’ argument is about class, because class is more important to them than racial and sexual equality in a system that already favors their race and gender. In a sense, that battle has already been won for them, so why should they fight to give up that position of privilege? Non-whites and non-males still suffer from inequality within their class that is probably more pertinent to them than mobility between classes. It will be hard to unify the battle front until that is addressed.

        • manual

          Yeah, I honestly dont know what CV Danes is saying. But the point is it is an argument that stands on its own merits.

          William Julius Wilson work (declining significance of race, the truly disadvantaged and when work disappears) are probably the most seminal texts on urban poverty – period. He believes a class-based policy paradigm is more workable and will achieve more.

          He’s not a white bro, conservative or marxist. He’s also done more on the topics of poverty, race and class than most anyone – period. Erik Loomis does not overshadow that work because the current popular signifier is to shout down such an analysis.

          And if you have ever had the pleasure of reading or meeting Adolph Reed Jr., he suffers no fools and carries no ones agenda (certainly not white peoples).

          Again, people should dispute the nature of the argument, and it should not be forgotten that black scholars are important – if not central – to many of these class based critiques in the US because people who do not study these topics would like to pretend otherwise.

      • manual

        Hey bud, these people are not white, dont traffic in whiteness, and bear the history with of and experience of racism.

    • Steve LaBonne

      The problem is that this position simply doesn’t correspond to political reality in this country. White voters, of all classes, left to their own devices would have given us the catastrophe of a McCain / Palin administration. So I for one feel immense gratitude to the non-white voters in the Democratic coalition, and I feel honor-bound to give a high priority to their concerns.

      • Breadbaker

        This echoes a point I’ve been making all year: no one on the Sanders side has ever sat back and said, “critical elements of the Democratic coalition have been strong supporters of Hillary in every primary and caucus. I need to know why they do this.” Rather than simply coming up with untrue theories for why this has been so, or why their votes shouldn’t count so much. In essence, they’ve been telling black and Hispanic and women voters that their analysis of the candidates is not entitled to deference. That’s a pretty bad message.

      • manual

        So…

        Those are different things. If you look at polling for African Americans and Latinos, for example, you would see that the so-called identity issues (or at least the ones Im guesssing you think are most salient – policing, affirmative action, immigration reform – are not the number one priorities of these communities. If you spent time in them, you would find this to be very self evident.

        For example, Pew polling shows that African Americans see “lack of good jobs” as the most pressing issue and latinos identify the economy and education as top priorities. The point is that most issues are not, as you seem to suggest, race based issues. Blacks and latinos, as you now, suffer most significantly in our economy, so it should not be surprising that these issues are very important, if not the most important.

        Instead, what you are thinking is what elites in those communities who have political salience are putting forth as important issues (and they are important!). Some good political science would tell you that elites in all communities prioritize issues that are not always the most important issue for their supposed racial partners. By way of example, for a long time the DC based civil rights groups put a lot of emphasis on affirmative action and actually ignored (or sometimes supported) tough on crime policies – Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow provides a good treatment of this. It just so happened that while affirmative action is a worthy policy, for most african americans who will never see the inside of competitive college campus this is not as important as finding gainful employment or stopping a mass incarceration crisis that would prohibit people from entry into the labor market. This phenomenon in which elite people act as spokespersons for whole races is called brokerage politics. Adolph Reed and Mary Patillo (two african american scholars who would probably be sneered at on this blog) have done great work on this topic.

        The point – such as there is one in these online debates – is that black and latino working class people share many of the same problems as white working class people, and solving their collective problems often does not always reduce itself to the issues of identity which Im guessing you think are priorities.

        • Steve LaBonne

          Your guesses about what I think are ad accurate as guesses usually are. I don’t have to guess, because I know whom African-American voters did and did not support in the primaries. And by the way, I supported the candidate they didn’t.

        • PJ

          Can you not use affirmative action as a pinata here?

          African-Americans’ relative lack of economic foothold is due to centuries’ worth of being denied opportunity that affirmative action is supposed to address. Especially since we still have an economy that benefits people with degrees across all racial lines. You’re buying into a conservative framing, which is somehow that it’s all about feel-good “diversity” rather than justice.

          Also, given that AA is perennially contested at the judicial rather than legislative level, what evidence is there that somehow resources being used to preserve AA is somehow taking away from good jobs legislation?

    • a_paul_in_mtl

      “When Adolph Reed Jr or Kenneth Warren or William Julius Wilson or Glenn Loury makes the argument are they white male arguments? Are they betraying women and minorities? Maybe they are very reputable scholars who are some of the best researchers on race in the social sciences (not a huge fan of Loury, but point stands).”

      I dunno. What argument are they in fact making? The argument THIS author is making, as I understand it, is that because equality for women, “minorities” and LGBT is broadly compatible with “neo-liberalism”, that therefore those struggling for economic equality should not be distracted by those struggles, and should focus more exclusively on class. Is that the same argument as the one they are making?

      Please note that “identity politics” is a very slippery term, as we can see from the comments here, and so critiques of it can differ greatly, not least in terms of the precise nature of the thing being critiqued. Is “identity politics” any focus on social justice struggles other than economic/social class? Or are the authors you are referring to saying that some forms of identity politics ignore the issue of class altogether?

  • UserGoogol

    I think it’s a serious and common fallacy to think that fighting injustice has to mean fighting elites. Oppression is systematic: we’re all cogs in the machine, elites just play a different role in the machine. Whether political change is led by elites or the proletariat, it’s still coming from the system because we’re all a part of the system. Marx had a theory of change based around the oppressed, but it was also a theory that the system would create the conditions for its own transformation, pissed off proletariats would just be a key mechanism. But it’s not like Marx’s predictions of revolution have exactly come true, so let’s see what other forms of social transformation might work. If the elites want to join in, good for them.

    • To the extent that the elites seek to preserve the system of establishment structures that both enable and perpetuate their success, then fighting injustice does indeed mean fighting the elites. We may be all part of a system, but it is a system structurally aligned to funnel money and power to elites who will not easily or willingly give up their position in that system.

  • Scott Lemieux

    Right. This whole stupid argument — which Freddie also made recently — implicitly assumes that if people would stop paying attention to gender and racial inequities then immediately class injustices could be ended. But this is transparently obvious nonsense. Capitalism is not only compatible with racial and gender inequity, these inequities help to sustain its most exploitative elements. Making this an either/or question is absurd on every level.

    • Exactly. Whites living in a system that favors whites may naturally be more focused on class boundaries, because that is how they are differentiated within white society. Those who are not white are still separated by race within these classes, so they may be less inclined to fight the class battle until they have achieved the more immediate concern of achieving equality within whatever class they find themselves.

      • Brien Jackson

        People also seem to be missing a really salient point here: The historical pattern for white betterment has been by disadvantaging other racial groups.

    • manual

      The argument advanced by people of greater standing than your favorite punching bag – Freddie – believe that politics (1) requires resource focus and (2) that anti-racism often is not an agenda with a clear means of redress. These are not stupid critiques. They are advanced by scholars of much greater familiarity on the topic than you (please see my post above for some of these names). Sorry to put such a fine point on it. But your acrid pen (or is it keystroke) seems even more sweeping and dismissive.

      They are not per se right. But you’re hostile dismissal does you no favors in pretending that these arguements should not be had.

      • Steve LaBonne

        As I said above, this argument fails to connect with reality.

        • manual

          See my above reply. I dont think you are quite connecting the dots.

      • PJ

        So with regards to 2:

        1) Mobilizing voters of color rather than spending umpteenth elections trying to get Reagan Democrats back into the coalition would go a ways towards bridging electoral shortages for progressive causes, particularly in non-presidential years

        2) Basic quality of life fixes, like preserving choice for women or prosecuting police for excessive violence of community members, affects those communities’ ability to participate fully as citizens

        3) These, in a nutshell, is what many anti-racist/sexist agendas are trying to achieve. If you (or Freddie, or anyone else) can’t somehow find this clearly in line with other economic agendas, it’s because you haven’t thought about them all that much beyond what it would mean for white straight men.

        4) There are other scholars besides the ones you’ve named who also write from the Marxist tradition but who focus on so-called identity politics specifically. Can I suggest you read David Roediger or Noel Ignatiev? Or Joan Wallach Scott? Kimberle Crenshaw? Haney-Lopez? Fanon?

        • xq

          1) Mobilizing voters of color rather than spending umpteenth elections trying to get Reagan Democrats back into the coalition would go a ways towards bridging electoral shortages for progressive causes, particularly in non-presidential years

          Any examples of successful use of this strategy?

          • PJ

            If you take a look at the fact that voting is the way it is in most states, and where campaigns tend to place their resources, it’s easy to see why communities of color barely show up.

            But part of being underrepresented, invisible, disenfranchised etc is that these processes tend to reinforce the narrative that these people aren’t worth going after.

            Answer: Barack Obama 2008 and 2012 is largely credited with a surge of a new multiracial coalition of voters, not only because he as a candidate was a draw but that he organized to make sure that some of those people who went to his rallies actually showed up at the polls. As a result of that, we are now discussing, on a regular basis, how black voters and other voters of color vote — what the differences are between groups, and questioning status quo campaigns that were largely about appealing to more white voters regardless of class.

            This was not the case in 2000 and 2004. (Was it the case other years? Others would need to confirm/deny.)

            • xq

              Obama 2008 relative to 2004 increased black turnout by 5 points and Hispanic and Asian turnout by about 2 point each (the magnitude of change for non-black groups was not at all atypical). Is that a “surge”? In 2012 Hispanic turnout was back down to 2004 level.

              I suspect that if we nominated a Hispanic candidate for president we might be able to achieve a similar increase in Hispanic turnout as Obama did among black people. It’s a good idea; we should do it.

              But Obama did not run an identity-politics focused campaign in either 2008 or 2012. He ran on the economy, on healthcare, on education, on jobs, on protecting entitlements. That is, he ran on the issues on which people of all demographic groups agree most strongly with the Democrats. That seems like a sound strategy in a country in which 1) 70% of the electorate is white and 2) blacks and Hispanics as well as whites consistently rank economy, jobs, education as highest priorities.

              • PJ

                Well, to be honest, I’m not taking the argument that being generally focused on economic issues is oppositional to talking about concerns of specific groups. Other people in this thread seems to be saying it.

                And while Obama the candidate didn’t “run” on those issues, he wasn’t segmenting those issues away from the economic concerns either. And he still won a lot of whites. Also, you’re on a blog where a bunch of (mostly white? mostly male?) people (many of whom expressed preference for Bernie) absolutely defend the importance of identity-based concerns.

                Also, do you have a number of white voters who switch from R to D based on the Dem platforms’ identitarian leanings and is that number greater than 9%? Because we are not talking about the entire white vote being contested here. A lot of those people will never vote for left-leaning candidates.

                “I suspect that if we nominated a Hispanic candidate for president we might be able to achieve a similar increase in Hispanic turnout as Obama did among black people. It’s a good idea; we should do it. ” Me too.

                My understanding is that it’s not a huge surprise that the first president of color is Black — the community has recognized itself as constituency and has been active for a long time despite the fact that they constitute a small portion of the population as a whole. The networks exist for a Barack Obama (not to mention the precedents of Shirley Chisholm and Jesse Jackson). But they had to force major parties to listen to them as a united block, differentiated from whites. And Latinos would get to this point only if they continue to press issues identified as Latino concerns and continue to increase turnout. Part of the difficulty is that we are dealing with contingencies of language and countries of origin, generational differences, and immigration status. (Asian Americans are similarly divided — particularly the pre- and post-1965 waves.)

                This thread, filled with supposedly informed people, taking for granted that everyone is all the same and we need to just take a one-size fits all approach to mobilization and engagement is really dismaying. Because in order to solve the issue of inequality of participation you need to address these differences. But apparently we’ll continue to chase the white vote forever despite the fact that the anti-identitarian BUT economic progressive subsection also appears to be unreliable.

  • Ronan

    The article is pretty stupid, but since it’s not solely about the US, here’s my tuppence worth..

    The criticism that I see from a lot of the ‘anti identity politics’ faction is that there doesnt really exist a natural convergence of interests between people who are committed to ameliorating inequalities based on gender or race and those who want to ameliorate inequalities built on socio economic position. That being progessive on these issues doesnt neccessarily mean being progressive (or perhaps more clearly, redistributionist) on economic ones.

    That their interests (by belonging to groups with higher educational attainement and wealth)undermines their willingness to fight for the interests of poorer groups. I didnt think it would be controversial here to note that the better educated, wealthier, better connected would dominate political alliances. What the anti-identity politics faction argues is that politics is now dominated by people who care about these issues but not economic ones. I think this is overplayed, but there’s an element of truth in it.

    ‘Identity politics’ is a vague bordering on meaningless shorthand at this stage, but if it just means that race, gender, X, matters, and the solution to some problems need to be seen in these categories, then that seems uncontroversial. But I think it’s broader than that, in two ways.
    (1) It’s a style of politics , (and I think class politics can equally be identity politics), which is concerned with your own group suffering above all else, that disparages out groups, and that relies on overplayed narratives of oppression and historical woe. I come from a country that perfected the art of identity politics, where narratives of group oppression were used to hide the inequalies of the distribution of wealth and power within the group, so I have some sympathy for these critiques.

    (2) I dont think the anti identity politics faction argue that ‘class is all that matters.’ It says that the greatest impediment to a person living a healthy, stable, comfortable life, is socio economic position. It’s saying economics matters primarily, and that you can do most good by correcting economic inequalities. Although there is a bit of truth to that, I think it misses a lot, primarily that societal acceptance and group advancement matters as much as an apparently objective measure of an individuals economic wellbeing.

    So that leads to another (albeit tangential) problem (imo) with a lot of the rhetoric around politics today. That on the one hand it’s argued that your group should be acknowledged and validated (which i agree with) and that you shouldnt be demeaned and dehumanised (ditto), but on the other there is often a tendency to demean and abuse the identites that other people value (ie religion, regional , specific communities etc)

    I’d go back to the example of Northern Ireland, which to my mind has a lot to say about the dead end of identity politics, where the working class from both communities fought a viscious war while the middle class tried their best to remove themselves from it(and grew comfortable from investments that were meant to stabilise the conflict), and have done best (politically and economically) from the political compromise. Here’s the Republican socialist Bernadette Devlin’s take on the current position of one of the most reviled groups in the UK and Ireland:

    “Loyalism’s hallmark is that it represents the poor. Loyalists are working class or unemployed. As the American system disgracefully refers to some of its poorest people as “white trash,” loyalists are perceived within British nationalism as an underclass.

    Many from loyalist communities have internalized that themselves. When I work with people from that background I’m often surprised that they will set on the table first, “Okay, so, we know we are no good.” I have talked to young loyalists who say, “We know we are scum.”

    I don’t understand any human being starting a conversation saying that they are not human. I ask them why they start that way. There is a clear lack of self-esteem and also a loss of confidence.

    Loyalists are acutely aware of the swaggering new rich on the Catholic side. You saw this during the recent flag protests here, where the first response was to mock the way loyalist people said the word “fleg.” The attitude among some was, “You can’t even spell it or say it right, but I am inside City Hall looking out at you.”

    So what’s the alternative? (Again this is not a lecture to the US, but more generally) A politics that is broader and more inclusive, that doesnt break down into factionalism, that tries to understand (and respect) your political enemies, and that makes an explicit,concerted effort to improve the position of people outside your political coalition.
    I dont think ‘identity politics’ or class politics gets us there.

    • Ronan

      apologees, for the length.

  • LeeEsq

    There are several issues at play. In the United States and other heterogeneous countries, class and ethnic/racial identity are combined in really complicated ways. You rarely are going to have pure class or identity politics like you would in a less ethnically diverse country. This means you can’t really address class issues without addressing identity issues like the ones revolving around identity. At the same time, such identity issues can intentionally or unintentionally make it harder to address class or socio-economic issues by causing people to identity by race more than class or even if that doesn’t happen encourage focusing on identity issues for other reasons.

  • Whidby

    White male liberal telling another white male liberal that the is doing liberalism wrong.

    • Murc

      Yes. And?

  • Random thought: regular white guy socialism is an improvement, at the very least, over regular white guy anti-anti-racism and anti-feminism. (IANAS FWIW.)

    Or is it?

    • PJ

      What I can’t get over is that people seem to recognize that it’s a matter of concentrating resources and picking battles, but they cannot cross the bridge to what seem like blatantly obvious questions like: WHO picks the battles, WHO is being asked to “tolerate” a certain kind of pain, etc.

    • NYD3030

      There is no such thing as white guy socialism, please find a Socialist who believes socialism should be for whites only or that socialism should not address issues of racial inequality.

      • You made the same objection to me earlier and I answered. I’m just musing on the question whether it would be a good thing for socialists to appeal to people who are anti-anti-racist and anti-feminist, instead of leaving them for the right to pick up.

        edit: I see you replied to that. You seem to be co tradicting yourself.

  • Dilan Esper

    I am cool with identity politics most of the time. When I think class trumps race is when it comes to, say, Harvard students wrapping themselves in the mantle of oppression. I’m sorry, if you go to Harvard, you are privileged- and far more privileged than a working class or poor white in America.

    • Hogan

      So if Berkeley students are beaten up by the police, they have no kick coming.

      • Dilan Esper

        That is a straw man, but yes, there is still a huge difference in privilege between a highly selective university student suffering a single act of police abuse and what the residents of South Central LA face.

        • Hogan

          Of course there is. But that’s not where your “mantle of oppression” rhetorical flourish was pointing.

    • eclare

      What if you to Harvard but can’t afford books and end up failing out? Or feel completely alienated because you cannot relate to your classmates so you drop out? There’s a difference between being at Harvard and being successful at Harvard.

      Being at Harvard also doesn’t necessarily protect you from being racially profiled. Look at Henry Louis Gates, or Martese Johnson, the UVA student who was beaten by police after getting caught using a fake ID.

      I’m not going to say that anyone at Harvard necessarily has it worse than poor whites, just that there are many different types of privilege and the lack thereof.

      • Dilan Esper

        Well if you can’t afford books Harvard is screwing you. But alienation? You are being alienated at a place that basically guarantees you a ticket to the elite if you complete the 4 years?

        Did anyone guarantee that no experience would ever be alienating? Paying dues is a part of life, snd while sure, in principle, paying a few more dues because you may be black is unfair, you still get to join the elite at the end and most of America including white America never gets that chance.

        Finally, 2 guys got beat once by police. That, again, is bad, but it is nothing like the reality in South Central LA. At the end of the day, some problems are a lot more important than others.

    • a_paul_in_mtl

      This is a very simplistic understanding of how injustice works. An African-American may be a highly paid doctor and lawyer, and so be privileged in that sense, but still get stopped by the cops for “driving while black” or be subjected to condescending comments on a regular basis, and that, my friend, is still a problem. One does NOT cancel out the other.

  • Yossarian

    Well, class trumps race except when it doesn’t. Harvard education or no, if you’re black you’re still at risk of being racially profiled during a police stop (or worse) in a way a white guy never will be. Hell, Skip Gates was arrested for trying to get in his own fucking house and he teaches there, for chrissakes.

    • Dilan Esper

      So would you claim Gates isn’t privileged the way a white Oxy addict in Kentucky is?

      • eclare

        Gates has one kind of privilege, and the white Oxy addict has another kind. Both people suffer in different ways. Arguing over who has it worse is rarely productive, especially when we’re talking about a situation that is not representative of the economic situation of various racial groups as a whole.

        • Dilan Esper

          I would argue it’s a huge cop-out to pretend that who has it worse is unarguable. It hurts us politically, and it frankly lets a fair number of extremely privileged highly selective college students whose problems are extremely minor define privilege in a perverse way that makes their problems sound more importamt than they are.

  • prplmnkydw

    Erik, what is your definition of neoliberalism? I mean isn’t it just the resurgence of classical liberal (i.e. nineteenth century capitalist) ideas? I think the article has that right…

  • shah8

    Eh, for me this is simple.

    Identitarian in any good faith sense of the term essentially means that instead of speaking with the added emphasis that backgrounds and lived experiences informs the intellectual and emotional proclivities, that you speak for the group along the identity that you possess. For example the tendency of well off white women to think that they can speak for all women out of a common root of womanhood. A common pattern is a trump by anecdote or series of anecdotes without any analytical glue or contexualization.

    • shah8

      And of course, when you see a bunch of people try to trump-by-anecdote, you wind up with Oppression Olympics.

  • louislouis

    Hillary Clinton literally led a crowd chant that economic initiatives wouldn’t stop “racism” and “sexixm.” Yeah, forget actual programs for free state colleges, let’s have some town halls moderated by the Big Dawg. The Dawg will tell you money don’t matter (he has hundreds of millions) but keep chasing down some tax free savings accounts in the Republican House. Realists like Loomis know this is how you get it done.

  • galanx

    Speaking of Identity Politics:

    there seems to be a yearning among some self-identified “leftists” for a neo-Jacksonian populism that’s focused almost entirely on economic issues at the expense of “identitarian” (God, I hate that word) causes. Unfortunately for them, it’s not 1829 anymore

    No, the class-based left stopped being viable in major politics, and years later people like Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition and NARAL rose to prominence.

    I get the impression that the author read Charles Murray, nodding sagely and stroking his chin.

    No, his argument is being dismissed because it’s poorly reasoned.

    Is there some way to “abolish” the “elite” that comports with the Constitution, assuming that such a thing is even desirable?

    “Doo, doo doo doo do doo doo
    We’re all livin’ in the USA”

  • JG

    “Gay marriage is bad because corporations” is sadly what some leftists have been reduced to.

    I’m surprised Freddie didn’t write this.

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