19 May 2016

Socialism and Identity Politics

If Bernie Sanders wanted to demonstrate his true Socialist bona fides, he would attack Obama's recent Transgender Bathroom mandate.

He would expose the detracting nature of 'identity politics' and how it helps to divide the working classes of the country and actually empowers the corporate class. The working people are fighting over race and a host of other issues which are secondary to the larger problem of injustice and the corruption of the rule of law. If the ruling class wanted to adopt a 'divide and conquer' strategy, identity-based Leftism has only helped them.

But Sanders (who isn't really a Socialist) supports identity politics at the same time continues to back the corporate-warfare state.

His Leftism echoes FDR's New Deal, not any kind of genuine socialism rooted in the state controlling the means of production coupled with a planned economy, genuine rights... rooted not in race or some notion of gender but in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Socialists would insist (right or wrong) that liberty can only exist in the context of a basic economic security and an environment free from economic manipulation and exploitation.

It's interesting how many of the older Leftists, men like Pilger, Hersh and others I've heard of late who decry the embrace of Postmodern Identity Leftism. They view it as self-serving, narcissist, bourgeois and ultimately a distraction.

This is not to say that they wouldn't support a person's right to be a sodomite or some kind of mutated cross-dresser. I just find it interesting to note the frustration of the older generation of Leftists with the present day as well as the confusion of Sanders, his followers and his critics.

Sanders is something of a phony but the support for him is socially noteworthy. The fact that someone who calls himself a 'Socialist' (whether true or not) is interesting. That would have been unthinkable not that many years ago. His success marks a shift in the culture. The confusion and manipulation of the terms and concepts is disturbing.

It will also be interesting to watch states like West Virginia in the upcoming election. Historically democratic, the state handed Sanders a tremendous primary victory. Some of this was no doubt due to Clinton's comments about coal mines. Nevertheless the embrace of Sanders in the Rust Belt is interesting. And yet in the general election how many that supported Sanders in the Democratic primary will vote for Trump in the general election?

While the two don't seem compatible they are channeling the same frustration. It's all very interesting. One thing is for sure, people are inconsistent and the mob is fickle.


  1. Do you have any articles by the old Left vanguard about Sanders, identity politics or the transgender bathroom issue?

    1. I didn't save the links to the articles though I've read numerous. Try the wsws for a start. They're no fans of Sanders. But I'm also thinking of specific statements I've heard from Pilger, Hersh (on Democracy Now!) and elsewhere. I don't know that they're specifically targeting the bathroom issue as it's rather recent but more just the whole notion of identity politics (women, gays etc...).

      This current postmodern Leftism is quite different... I think I heard Pilger say 'me' oriented.

    2. That was wierd. AP was posting at the exact same minute I was. Blogger was a little bamfoozled for a second.

  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MydbeQwvMM

    Here's Seymour Hersh for starters. One of his main contentions is that Sanders is not sufficiently anti-war. There are other critics of varying degrees of radicalism as well. I'm not sure how far you want to go.