Monday, October 08, 2018

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Simon Wren-Lewis notes the importance of including the working class among the groups identified as part of a progressive movement. And Gary Younge writes about the importance of genuine identity politics (as opposed to the cynical right-wing counterpart) as a means of identifying and addressing structural inequality:
(N)ot all identities count as equal. The more power they carry, the less likely the carrier is to be aware of it as an identity at all. Nobody asks me: “When did you come out as straight?” or “How did you balance travelling as a foreign correspondent with raising children?” because straight men don’t get asked that. What is often dismissed as “identity politics” might be more accurately just called “politics” originating from the concerns of less advantaged groups.

It’s not difficult to see why the right has a problem with this. Their agenda is centred on preserving and extending privileges that already exist. Denigrating equal rights campaigners as “grievance politics” practitioners, the irony is that they practise the very methods they lampoon. Railing against liberal elites, feminists, migrants and Muslims, they have cornered the market in victimhood. Trump’s presidential campaign made an unvarnished appeal to white, Christian Americans – what is that if not an identity?

The left has always been more confused. Those with a crude notion of class contend that politics driven by identity divides people, dilutes solidarity, and diverts energy from addressing material concerns such as pay and conditions. This fundamentally misunderstands identity, politics and class.

When British women are being paid 18% less than men, gender is a material concern; when for every $100 in wealth a white person has in the US an African-American has just $5, race is a material issue. Likewise, if there is no lift and you’re disabled. If you can’t get married to the person you love and can’t leave them your pension, sexual orientation is a material issue. If you can’t walk down the street without fear of the police stopping, searching or shooting you, or if you cannot control decisions about your own fertility, those are material issues. Acknowledging diversity does not undermine solidarity. Indeed by rendering it more inclusive and better informed, it should make that solidarity more effective. “Labour in the white skin,” wrote that flaky identity hipster, Karl Marx, “can never free itself as long as labour in the black skin is branded.”
- Meanwhile, Jacky Habib reports on the spread of right-wing hate in Canada - including a particularly drastic increase in violent hate crimes. And Alex Boutilier reports on the need for law enforcement to respond before hatred turns to violence.

- Travis Lupick discusses Chris Hedges' latest book on the causes and effects of the U.S.' crumbling democracy.

- CBC News reports on new research showing that the effects of childhood abuse include lasting alterations to a victim's DNA.

- Finally, Auden Schendler and Andrew Jones write about the need to respond to yet another damning report about climate inaction by demanding and making change rather than accepting defeat. But the CP reports that the Libs' plan is to continue to do nothing more.

No comments:

Post a Comment