We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Identity Politics: Diversion from the Growing Economic Crisis?

Click here to access article by Ghada Chehade, originally from occupied Palestine and now a citizen of Canada, from The Political Anthropologist (based in Canada). (You will need to register (free) in order to access the full article and all other articles on the website.)
A politics that addresses identity and minority issues without examining the larger socioeconomic system and class relations cannot adequately address the disproportional disenfranchisement and economic despair experienced by minority groups. At the same time, a focus on identity and individual issues prevents us from seeing what we have in common, pitting different groups against one another and distracting them from – and from uniting over – their common economic plight.
I don't think that this phenomenon of identity politics just sort of happened. I am convinced that it has been promoted by the ruling capitalist class who must obscure the class structure they have imposed on society and all understanding of their overwhelming influence to shape institutions and ideology to promote their interests of evermore profits and power. 

By promoting identity politics they distract attention away from the class structure that their class has created: powerless and insecure wage workers (working class) who are essentially "wage slaves" and live from paycheck to paycheck; a middle class who have attained a measure of security (home ownership, and respectable status and extra privileges), but who are often in extreme debt to maintain this lifestyle; the upper-middle class who are highly trained (and indoctrinated) scientists, researchers, managers, technicians, and professionals who make the capitalist system function, enjoy high salaries, and serve their masters of the capitalist class; and finally the ruling capitalist class who own most of the assets of our country, live off of their ownership of property, only work if they want to, and exercise control over every institution of society.

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