by O Society July 29, 2019
As we have observed many times already, identity politics sabotages any real progress. This is why it is encouraged by the powers that be. The powers that be favor the status quo or better yet, status quo ante of the Gilded Age. No surprise “sabotage progress” is page 1 in the “How to do evil” manual they hand out at the Koch minion gathering of vampire squid in Colorado Springs.
Here’s what we’re supposed to do: we’re supposed to discuss whether or not saying “Go back to Africa.” to a person named Ilhan Omar – who is from Somalia – is, in and of itself, racist. See, they even have respectable publications such as The Atlantic debating this banal gibberish. Does the Atlantic know they’re being trolled? Everything is trolls. There is no 4D chess here, it’s stupid on purpose. Haven’t we caught on yet to how a Tarbaby works?
What will happen is Trump’s identity politics of white nationalism will remain the issue. America will continue to allow him to keep public discourse at the elementary school playground level. This is the only level on which Trumpets can win.
Twitter twits and twats and neo-fascist campaign rally rhetoric. “Lock her up!” becomes “Send her back!” and stupidity in red hats and MAGA gear reigns.
Transference of outrage from Hillary to –> U No Who
And all of these “radical” ideas go down in flames because now we’ve paired things that are actually good for Americans (such as college) with the term “Socialism” and “Those 4 Not-White Women” identity politics targets.
Hey y’all, I know what let’s do! Since there’s no Hillary left – but we still hate her – let’s pretend she’s these our radical non-white women – nobody will notice the difference!
See how the bait’n’switch works? Everyone is guilty by association because nobody thinks, we just associate images in the Spectacle!
Be careful what you wish for and pick more mature battles, else we’ll have four more of these:
Today’s America is the legacy of Edward Bernays. His marketing propaganda turned cigarette smoking into a women’s “Civil Rights” issue.
As long as there is money to be made selling lies, the marketing department will do it full speed. The blueprint is 100 years old. They simply follow the script and American “consumers” keep nodding as bobblehead dolls do.
I’m afraid it’s much too late now as nobody seems to catch on to malignancy of the sales pitch we sell ourselves on autopilot.
To recap, the Five Fatal Flaws of Identity Politics are as follows:
- It privileges culture, instead of politics. When you fight for identity, you’re giving up politics in favor of culture. And that’s exactly where neoliberalism wants you, fighting for your culture (or what you imagine is your culture), rather than the arena of policies, where the real consequences occur. You may gain some recognition of your identity, but you also may have to pay the price of losing everything else that makes life worth living.
- Not only politics, but economics is taken out of the equation. It’s astonishing, even after living under the principles of neoliberalism for around 40 years, how few liberals, even activists, are able to define our economic system with any sense of accuracy. They keep acting as if the fight is still on between the old New Deal liberalism (laissez-faire economics slightly moderated by some half-hearted welfare programs) and a right that wants to shred those welfare mechanisms. In fact, both parties are committed to slightly different versions of neoliberalism, and their transformation proceeded apace with the rise of identity politics. Politics was freed to take its course, because culture became the site of contestation, and this meant an unobstructed opportunity to redefine economics to the benefit of the elites.
- Identity politics always breeds its equal and opposite reaction. Identity politics is in fact the father, or the Great Mother, of white nationalism, rather than white nationalism being an independent force that has arisen from quite different sources. At root, both share the same particularistic, extralegal, extra-constitutional, anti-democratic, metaphysical, folkish impulse. Whenever a misguided movement tries to alter people’s thoughts and intentions, rather than limiting itself to people’s performance and action in the transparent democratic arena, then totalitarianism is the necessary result. Even when we dream of an anarchist utopia, we do not try to alter people’s souls, we aim to alter economic arrangements in such a way as to allow people the maximum possible room for freedom. We cannot be readers and interpreters of people’s hearts and minds; such a venture has no business in politics.
- Identity politics is not winnable. The idea of the nation, in a post-Cold War world, as my generation imagined for a moment, should have led to a redefinition of the concept in rational, empirical, scientific, utopian and ultimately anarchist terms. The founding principles of the Enlightenment were available all over again, in that brief moment, to be recharged with potent liberal energy, extending across the globe. Instead we got neoliberal globalization, dedicated entirely to consumerism and shallow identity politics, working in sync to enervate democracy to the point of nonexistence.
- It leads to spectacle, rather than legislative accomplishment. I can think of no better example to illustrate the madness of identity politics than the absurd separation that has occurred between the so-called “Dreamers” and the rest of the undocumented population. The Dreamers, brought to this country as minors, are the good immigrants, whereas the rest, who might have come as adults, are the bad immigrants. The Dreamers — in a way that would have been inconceivable in the time I was growing up — have played every aspect of identity politics to their benefit, even if it means that their own family members might suffer, or even be deported, in inverse relation to the degree to which their own pleas for acceptance find favor with the general public.