identarian: adj (comparative more identarian, superlative most identarian)
- Of or pertaining to the formation of identity.
by LeftInNewZealand edited by O Society June 9, 2019
As the days go by, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to declare myself as someone “from the left.” Although deep down I know this is where my politics and morals lie. This is a not a change of heart on my part, but a concerted effort by the mainstream media and right-wing politicians to redefine what being “on the left” actually means.
I am one of those ever increasing number of people who are bewildered, confused, and lost politically. The so-called “left” moved from trying to reduce socio-economic factors, towards a type of politics deeply focused on race, gender, and sexuality. This can be witnessed all over the anglosphere; Australia, Canada, US, UK, and New Zealand.
It is important to note within these listed countries, radical change to the political/ economic status quo is completely off the table and has been replaced with politics of the self. This appears at every level of society, which according to Dr Jean Twenge shows traits of elevated narcissism. The concerns featured are starting to be collectively called grievance studies and sit within the realm of identity politics. Does this mean people from shall we say, the economic left are opposed to combatting issues of discrimination?
Of course not. But, I and many like me would prefer all people do well, regardless of genitalia configuration or melanin levels. Currently, if we do not subscribe to identarian extremism it is lazily considered racism, sexism, and anything else with ‘ism’ on the end.
Left-wing economics generally views most of society’s issues roots are in embedded in neoliberalism. This hypothesis can be measured, it’s objective, and is largely based on logic. It is this preference to objectivity over subjectivity which gives this point of view its legitimacy. Using economic inequality as a major cause of concern will bind large groups of people together, with a common goal.
To affirm this, many studies link this specific problem to poorer health outcomes, decreased educational standards, an increase in crime rates and a decline of social mobility. Plus, neoliberalism with dedication to eternal growth is systematically destroying the planet, as a miniscule cabal become ever richer.
In contrast, rarely do you see on placards held by identarians, with messages protesting climate change, economic inequality, absolute poverty or permanent wars around the world. In days gone by, the left was often thought of as one big umbrella, fighting for a better life, unifying as many people as possible. The bulk of its supporters are from the middle or working class, who generally do the hard lift for little pay. Along with the unions, the aim of the left is to increase living standards across the board. It is irrelevant what your background is, all are welcome in the fight against the ruling elite. It is an inclusive message inclusive and appeals to many people, pulling individuals together.
In contrast, identity politics seeks to prise society apart, ranking groups on perceived oppression, based on criteria we can do very little about. This proportioning of the blame is clearly not a strategy that is going to galvanise the majority of people to foster positive societal change.
Identarians regularly places extra emphasis on minority groups, mainly because they are at an increased risk of being disenfranchised. But this isn’t nearly enough in this new political dawn. As decades of people attending ‘grievance studies‘ classes have been told, they are oppressed and the white, cis, man is unreconcilably privileged. This treatment of so-called “oppressors” bears a striking resemblance to original sin, albeit without any chance of redemption.
This perceived dynamic seems to disregard any influences from economic status, education, actual direct acts of oppression, or other periods of individual agency. On the contrary, the group you identify with reflects all there is to know about you. All this seems to lead towards a path of internalised hatred and self-flagellation for the alleged oppressor.
There are many reasons the left wing is almost universally linked with identity politics and the thousands of SJW crazies seen on YouTube. Firstly, in the US where much of this occurs, there is no economic alternative plan. The economic policies of both parties are neoliberal. Their only meaningful difference is the Democratic Party embraces the identity politics of a diverse “minority” of groups, and the Republican Party embraces the identity politics of the “majority” homogeneous white heterosexual Christian male.
“Adherents to the identitarian movement often identify as activists promoting European culture or as ethno-nationalists. It is common for identitarian activists to claim they are not racist, but rather ethnopluralist, a concept particularly associated with identitarianism; use of arguments from scientific racism is nonetheless common.
Identitarians explicitly espouse ideas of cultural racism, xenophobia, and racialism. They also promote the creation of white ethno-states, and seek the exclusion of immigrants and non-white residents to varying degrees. In addition, many identitarians promote the white genocide and The Great Replacement conspiracy theories. The movement also is described as the global alt-right.“
These issues of identity are often based in shaky studies and poor stats. Their function is to conveniently push a divisive acceptable discourse, thus serving the purpose of government in limiting any meaningful reform.
We have to consider the people pushing for this identarian mandate are on the whole empowered, middle class, ‘educated,’ relatively economically comfortable women, who have reasonable connections and a developed network to have their voices heard. The poor and the homeless have none of the above and are reliant on advocates to have their voices heard. It therefore, is of no surprise who obtains more airplay and what agenda are purported as the most pressing issues.
After all, over 70% of the homeless are men, but their sex alone is enough to have them labelled as privileged. This is a ludicrous state of affairs, when you consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the homeless fail to have their very basic concerns met, yet the push for more female CEOs appears to be more important.
Marginalised segments of society such as ex-forces personal who find themselves on the streets have very little in the way of support. It’s a group that finds no compassion from many, in particular identarians, who view these men as the epitome of ‘toxic masculinity’, the scourge of humanity and a source of the world’s problems. Many of these men suffer from PTSD, die prematurely or have severe psychosocial issues, yet absurdly defining all possible gender identities on Facebook considered a more essential use of our time.
The majority of this silent population come from working class backgrounds with little opportunities, hence the reason they join the military, often at a young age. Any claims of SJWs being wholly compassionate is a sick joke, similarly to the right who only support the rich, identarians only advocate for people who are a reflection of themselves, identifying as they do.
For the right wing, linking identarians with the left is a stroke of genius. It rolls all of their enemies into one big ball, making it easier to digest. Identarians, Marxists, Democratic Socialists, Libertarian Socialists and the like are lumped into one big mass and labelled ‘Cultural Marxists‘. This is all done without any in depth of knowledge about Marx, but it allows the right to firehose their vitriol of resentment in one direction, rather than having to deal with trivialities such as nuance or reality.
Countless websites, blogposts, YouTube videos all help to demonise anyone to the left of Genghis Khan. Interestingly with the left identarians penchant for narrow, puritanical rule making and their obvious opposition to free speech, I’m not sure if Genghis would more likely find a soul mate within this group or an adversary.
The mainstream media certainly gain from a brand of politics split along identity lines rather than economic issues. Just six corporations own the vast majority of media outlets in the US, while the UK and NZ witness similar monopolies. It is certain the global corporate behemoths complete with power hungry billionaires do not want the ‘great unwashed’ to critically think about any alternative economic and political systems that may lead to their demise.
It is in their interests to perpetuate an acceptable narrative, thus quelling any dissent the populous may have regarding the current system. This fragmentation of a coherent opposition to neoliberalism allows this political and economic zombie to continue down the road of self destruction.
Turning against unbridled capitalism should be our most immediate common goal. The current system is one that only benefits a minority. While those who have not benefitted but still support it clearly lack the imagination to realise something better for themselves. If identarians accept the moniker of ‘left’ or even ‘far left’ provided to them by their political enemies on the right, maybe the word ‘left’ is now devoid of any real meaning.
In contrast, our unifying ideas need to be clear and full of substance. A dramatic change in our political and economic ethos is the only way to enrich the most people, allowing us to flourish and contribute to society in a meaningful and sustainable way. What we name ourselves is largely irrelevant, but as always open to discussion.