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Is Coates Just Another *Gasp* Liberal?


I think there’s plenty of room to critique Ta-Nehisi Coates from a class perspective. And I don’t think it’s particularly useful for us to look at one or two people as true seers on modern society, tendencies that tend to place them above critique (Paul Krugman is another person who among liberals is used as an authority, where citing him is supposed to end the debate). But I’m not sure that overly long essays that combine vulgar materialism and attacks on Coates’ intentions for promoting reparations is really the best way to do it. The real issue on the left right now concerning Coates is that he doesn’t Feel the Bern. Watching the left flip out on Facebook and Twitter when Coates wrote the reparations piece about Sanders was quite telling. Instantly, for a lot of people, he went from seer to sellout or, even worse, liberal. Again, not that one can’t critique the entire reparations argument (and I agree with some of the critiques at the first link) but right now we in a zone on much of the left where critical analysis is now left behind in the service of promoting an electoral candidate. And really, what is more bourgeois than believing that a single election is the catalyst for change?

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