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Tue Nov 29, 2016, 02:46 PM

 

How the Global Left Destroyed Itself (or, All Sex Is Not Rape)

From Yves at nakedcapitalism

I recall several dinner debates in which I really did not understand just how out my depth that I was. At one, a gender studies major declared at a table of twenty women that “all sex was rape” owing to the act of penentration being a simulacrum with violation. When I pointed out that perhaps it was more a case of personal power and volition, as well as who was “on top”, I was unsure if she going to run me through with her fork or take me out the back and roger me senseless.

I was saved from penetration of some kind, by another more savvy girl who suggested that during sex the vagina may, in fact, be engulfing the penis, and so the violation may be the reverse!

Take it from me, dear reader, that the place was in an advanced state of politico-sexual meltdown.

Amusement aside there was something else transpiring that was going to, and has, had a very dramatic impact upon global politics. The post-structural revolution has led directly to the rise of the identity politics that today dominates Left-wing policy-making in Western nations and, concomitantly, the decline of class-based politics.

...

Which brings us back to today. And we wonder how it is that an abuse-spouting guy like Donald Trump can succeed Barack Obama. Trump is a member of the very same “trickle down” capitalist class that ripped the income from US households. But he is smart enough, smarter than the Left at least, to know that the decades long rage of the middle and working classes is a formidable political force and has tapped it spectacularly to rise to power.

And, he has done more. He has also recognised that the Left’s obsession with post-structural identity politics has totally paralysed it. It is so traumatised and pre-occupied by his mis-use of the language of power – the “racist”, “sexist” and “xenophobic” comments – that it is further wedging itself from its natural constituents every day.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very doubtful that Trump will succeed with his proposed policies but he has at least mentioned the elephant in the room, making the American worker visible again.

Returning to that innocent Aussie boy and his wild romp at Smith College, I might ask what he would have made of all of this. None of the above should be taken as a repudiation of the experience of racism or sexism. Indeed, the one thing I took away from Smith College over my lifetime was an understanding at just how scarred by slavery are the generations of African Americans that lived it and today inherit its memory (as well as other persecuted). I felt terribly inadequate before that pain then and I remain so today.

But, if the global Left is to have any meaning in the future of the world, and I would argue that the global Right will destroy us all if it doesn’t, then it must get beyond post-structural paralysis and go back to the future of fighting not just for social justice issues but for equity based upon class. Empowerment is not just about language, it’s about capital, who’s got it, who hasn’t and what role government plays between them.

All sex is not rape, but most poverty is.

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Reply How the Global Left Destroyed Itself (or, All Sex Is Not Rape) (Original post)
lumberjack_jeff Nov 2016 OP
Eko Nov 2016 #1
ismnotwasm Nov 2016 #2
paulkienitz Nov 2016 #3
ismnotwasm Nov 2016 #4
JHan Nov 2016 #5
lumberjack_jeff Nov 2016 #6
JHan Nov 2016 #7
lumberjack_jeff Nov 2016 #8
JHan Nov 2016 #9
lumberjack_jeff Nov 2016 #10
JHan Nov 2016 #11
lumberjack_jeff Nov 2016 #13
JHan Nov 2016 #15
JHan Nov 2016 #12
lumberjack_jeff Nov 2016 #14
JHan Nov 2016 #16
lumberjack_jeff Nov 2016 #17
JHan Nov 2016 #18
LanternWaste Dec 2016 #20
yurbud Nov 2016 #19
muriel_volestrangler Dec 2016 #21

Response to lumberjack_jeff (Original post)

Tue Nov 29, 2016, 02:58 PM

1. Best part.

"All sex is not rape, but most poverty is."

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Original post)

Tue Nov 29, 2016, 06:28 PM

3. Why do people keep blaming the left for "identity politics"?

The right unified around white male privilege back in the days of MLK, and the left got everyone excluded from that, by default.

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Response to paulkienitz (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 29, 2016, 06:47 PM

4. The author of the piece is a vehement Hillary hater

As well as a Ron Paul defender. She has, without doubt, her moments of excellence--this piece is not one of them.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Original post)

Wed Nov 30, 2016, 01:25 AM

5. Another criticism of ID politics, because it's hot in the streets right now...

All politics is connected to identity.

We all identify ourselves according to some marker or the other. Not just race, not just religion, not just gender - these markers inform our politics - yes really.

The family we were born into, the community we live in, the city, the state , the region, the country, are all markers of identity. Depending on our circumstances , these factors influence access to wealth and capital and opportunity. And in the power struggles of day to day living, in the space we live , in this pluralistic space, there are specific concerns shaped by these factors , all connected to history and norms and culture. To pretend this is not a thing, and wish to usurp it with class struggle ( which every damn democrat acknowledges anyway) is harmful, myopic and suggests the author finds the whole thing inconvenient, her passionate affair with an AA dancer notwithstanding.

If Hillary Clinton had won the election, the author would still be complaining about "Identity Politics". The Left has always sought to balance the concerns of groups and their treatment by institutions with economic prosperity. While many on the right forever try to ignore plurality, insisting on some uniform idea of "America" which is only *their* vision of America - which , ironically , is a form of ID politics.

For many people of color , like myself, who are forever hyphenated, we couldn't afford to play cute this election cycle. I'll leave it to Very Smart Brothas, who dropped it on Mark Lilla's ID piece, to explain, it's applicable here..

"The concept of “diversity” — of wanting it recognized, acknowledged, and appreciated — isn’t just some sort of classroom rhetoric or academic thought exercise. The recognition of and sensitivity to it is vital because it literally saves lives. For the tens of millions of historically marginalized Americans, this isn’t about being right or wrong. It’s about safety. It’s about being able to relax and exhale in our own home. It’s about a pursuit of the most basic human need; one that, for as long as America has existed, has been beyond our grasp. We’re not upset about the election because “our team” lost. We’re upset because this incoming administration — through both their campaign and the decisions made since the election — has promised to provide us with pain. Yet, he (Lilla) fails to grasp that, and distills and limits this entire concept to a high-minded, academic context. Ultimately ignoring that the fight to be recognized as full citizens has been and will continue to be a bloody one."

http://verysmartbrothas.com/mark-lillas-the-end-of-identity-liberalism-is-the-whitest-thing-ive-ever-read/




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Response to JHan (Reply #5)

Wed Nov 30, 2016, 10:47 AM

6. We used to consider this a bad thing.

 

We called it "wedge politics"

At least Republicans are bright enough to place the wedge so that more votes are on their side.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #6)

Wed Nov 30, 2016, 11:17 AM

7. Criticism of identity politics..

..fits into the playbook of the right. There are many narratives coming out of this election - it could be a combination of different things, and not one thing.

But lot of the explanations for Trump's win are people jamming stuff they dislike to explain it all..

Campus Political correctness? - #WhyTrumpWon
snooty liberals drinking kale juice? - #whyTrumpWon
Identity Politics? - #WhyTrumpWon
Hillary's pantsuits - #WhyTrumpWon
Etc etc etc I've heard all these reasons, and just today I read another reason - a 2005 bill co-sponsored by hillary.#WhyTrumpWon

The author cited an anecdote from some loony leftist about sex, I've heard these types before, I don't take them seriously - but wasn't Trump's platform a bunch of loony nonsense? conspiracy theories? entertaining alex jones? Lying about jobs, lying about the economy, lying about his rival outrageously- it doesn't get loonier than that, perhaps she could have touched on that?

And there's no verifiable evidence for what the author claims, it's her feeling, it's confirmation bias- where is the empirical data to back it up? Where's the exit polling data? According to her it's all this political correctness and identity politicking that drove people to believe that racism and xenophobia aren't deal breakers at the ballot box and besides- Trump will Make America Great Again. We do have data about the voting trends this year along demographic lines according to income and education and race, and this reveals a more complex picture than any simplistic tale though..

And we all live in a bubble but at the very least we should be aware we're living in a bubble. We should at least attempt to view reality objectively which requires we give our bubbles the occasional prick now and then. Empathy goes both ways after all..

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Response to JHan (Reply #7)

Wed Nov 30, 2016, 02:00 PM

8. No. That in which democrats lose elections fits into the playbook of the right.

 

Exit polling data? You mean like the fact that Hillary lost among white women? Or the fact that Clinton won only one one out of every six counties?

After the purges of all the Sanders supporters in the last 9 months, there is no standing here to criticize anyone else on their ideological bubbles.

We lost to Donald Trump. It's not him, it's us.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #8)

Wed Nov 30, 2016, 02:14 PM

9. What purges?

Sanders supporters have been loud all year and demanded to be heard. I only recently joined DU so I don't know about the politics here too much or decisions made.

And did I not say we ALL live in our bubbles - and that maybe, just maybe, we should try to step out of said bubbles and understand perspectives we're not familiar with? And that includes people living in the rust belt ?

I already know Clinton should should have spent more time in the midwest campaigning and connecting - how do we extrapolate that her thin loss in the midwest is due to this subject of "identity politics" and "political correctness" then. There's a segment of the population who would never have voted for her or Obama, maybe Trump's xenophobic bigoted platform had something to do with it? Why the hesitation in admitting this? It's like the big elephant in the room no one wants to talk to or look at.

And if Hillary did stay in the mid west and got those extra thousand votes, we wouldn't be complaining about Identity Politics would we?

It's a convenient argument shoved into the election narrative for all the reasons I stated.

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Response to JHan (Reply #9)

Wed Nov 30, 2016, 02:42 PM

10. The issue transcends which counties Clinton should have campaigned in. In fact it transcends Clinton

 

Democrats generally have given up on the south, the midwest and anyplace that isn't suitably diverse. Essentially, they've given up on straight white people and that tactical choice manifests itself geographically; in studiously avoiding all the places in the country in which poverty is in full bloom.

These places (83% of counties) are full of white people, the strategists reason, and unlikely to vote nor donate to us anyway. Besides, they're not diverse and thus icky.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #10)

Wed Nov 30, 2016, 02:53 PM

11. Please explain how to appeal to straight white people...

How have Democrats "given up on straight white people" - by recognizing gays have rights?

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Response to JHan (Reply #11)

Wed Nov 30, 2016, 03:09 PM

13. Weren't you just lecturing me about bubbles?

 

Straight whites (like everyone else) are more concerned about making their rent and car payments than they are about whatever your identity politics cause d'jour.

That said, they have a greater capacity and willingness to have their awareness raised once their immediate material needs are met through a healthy local economy.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #13)

Wed Nov 30, 2016, 03:17 PM

15. Everyone wants a better economy

And as I said in my other reply to you, you aren't really arguing that straight white people live in a singular bubble right?

Straight white people, living in certain communities, with certain beliefs more like- and what would those beliefs be that bans on gay marriage were finally struck down and gays finally able to marry which would cause straight while males to be so perturbed?

So it's not to do with identity politics, in so much as getting the economic message - a populist message, even a lie - to those voters - which I've already acknowledged when I said Hillary needed to spend more time in the midwest.

But there are Trump voters she never would have reached, Obama couldn't even reach them - You can't explain away the fact the man ran a virulently divisive platform , and people didn't mind it, and knowingly voted for it.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #10)

Wed Nov 30, 2016, 03:00 PM

12. So all the gays voted for HRC..

No straight white people did?



come on now.


I think some intersectionality would help you here, it's not just about who people bed now is it?

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Response to JHan (Reply #12)

Wed Nov 30, 2016, 03:12 PM

14. Fuck intersectionality.

 

Identity politics operates at a layer on the Maslow pyramid other than the ones at which working class voters live.



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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #14)

Wed Nov 30, 2016, 03:18 PM

16. I was helping you..

because you couldn't seriously be arguing that all straight white people are upset with Democrats.


that's not a serious argument.

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Response to JHan (Reply #16)

Wed Nov 30, 2016, 03:27 PM

17. As a political strategy, identity politics fundamentally assumes that straight white men oppose us.

 

Otherwise, it is without electoral merit.

It's wedge politics with the wedge placed in such a way as to make our voters a minority group.

Once people feel like they're sharing in the prosperity of the nation it's easier to convince them that the needs of actualization and fulfillment are unfairly spread.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #17)

Wed Nov 30, 2016, 04:04 PM

18. Identity politics takes into account..

that there are unresolved issues connected to class/race and gender which need to be addressed. A little empathy goes a long way here.. Straight white males have enjoyed privilege historically, over other groups. The richer and more educated they are, the greater the privilege. Of course this isn't always applicable, of course demographics have been pitted against other demographics historically - poor whites against poor blacks, poor whites put to police slaves and catch them for example. So this turmoil didn't start with "Identity Politics" or with leftist ideology in the 20th century, the story of this turmoil began with the origins of this country.

But today, when "Black lives Matter" talks about criminal justice reform, it's highlighting the very serious issue of how over-criminalization disproportionately affects african-american men ( and women), but there's room for unity with whites on this because over-criminalization affects poor whites - yet the issues BLM addresses is seen as a threat and part of the over bearing push of "Identity politics" . Addressing the concerns of groups is not a threat to you, especially if everyone wants a healthy economy and wants their community to thrive. If you want them to understand you, understand them. And then maybe cynical politicians will have less ammunition to divide us with - cynical politicians Like Trump whose xenophobia and racism appealed to millions.

As for the Democratic Party, its leadership has been mainly straight, white and male- I don't see how the party itself could be a threat to the straight white male.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 1, 2016, 09:17 AM

20. You certainly make many unsupported claims and allegations.

 

You certainly continue to make many unsupported claims and allegations. No doubt, the simplistic nature of them as such are often desirable.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Original post)

Wed Nov 30, 2016, 08:33 PM

19. the "global left" is not a handful of gender studies geeks making up new reasons to be offended

there are such people, but there are more who are actually more concerned about the legitimate gripes of various groups and the abuses of the financial elite that effect everyone to varying degrees than those hung up on words or who consider sharpening a pencil a form of rape.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Original post)

Thu Dec 1, 2016, 01:19 PM

21. Anyone who uses the phrase "identity politics" should have to show their support for all Democrats

through the whole election, or get laughed off the stage as a self-serving hack. Yves Smith fails; she spent ages attacking Hillary. Smith forged her own 'identity'. Ha-ha, the OP article is full of shit.

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