Aug 04 2017

Identity Politics And Litmus Tests

I’m reading a lot of reaction to the push back by Abortion Rights activists against the policy articulated by Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján not to withhold financial support from anti-Choice candidates (which I wrote about Monday), most of it from Corporatist Institutional Democrats and their centrist sycophants.

Their argument goes something like this-

“Hey you Hippies, you said you wanted us to get serious about the ‘economy stupid’ so we made up this crappy slogan ‘A Better Deal: Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Wages, Papa John’s’ and slapped together some tepid and ineffectual ‘reforms’ that don’t bother our Plutocrat paymasters much and to prove our sincerity we’re abandoning all that ‘Social Justice’ stuff that pisses off the angry white male Trump voters.

Remember, we’re the less evil ones.”

Where to begin?

First of all ‘Better Skills’ is just Neo Liberal code for credentialism masquerading as meritocracy and does nothing at all about addressing wealth inequality. That bugs me but it’s not really the direction of this particular piece.

In a more general sense this is a cynical, bad, and half-witted concept because it implies that there is a dichotomy and tension between Social and Economic Justice.

The Left critique of Identity Politics is that you can’t stand up a candidate who’s Black, or a Woman, or Hispanic, or LGBT and expect us to vote for them on that basis alone, no matter how reprehensible their views are on the issues. You might as well ask that I vote for Ben Carson, or Betsy DeVos, or Marco Rubio, or Milo Yiannopoulos.

We’re not against Social Justice, our contention is rather it’s insufficient.

Pro-Choice advocates outraged by the DCCC policy have an excellent point that access to Abortion as well as the whole range of women’s health care is in fact an Economic issue. Having kids is expensive and in general we have a HUGE problem in the United States with the custom of treating women as subservient chattel slaves of the men who own them. We punish them for their independence with sub-standard wages and more tenuous employment in inferior jobs reserving wealth, power, and influence for White Males.

And make no mistake, the Neo Liberal elite is remarkably homogeneous right down to the schools they attend.

I’m using women as an example but the same applies to African and Hispanic Americans. The discrimination practiced against LGBTs is less economic but it is based on the same Victorian attitudes about sex being bad (it’s not bad if you’re doing it right but it’s always icky) that apply to women. Think about the labels we use to describe homosexual relationships. It’s telling in that context that the lauded Dave Chappelle’s new 2017 Tour act kicks off with 20 minutes of Trans insult ‘comedy‘.

Want to know something funny? The very same Representatives who are against Social Justice are also unlikely to vote for Economic Justice.

So by all means Democrats, pay some attention to the economic inequalities that plague us. That does not exempt you from your moral obligation to defend the persecuted and expand equal rights.

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