Who Doesn’t Love Identity Politics?

If there is one thing that still unites Americans across the ever more intellectually suffocating and bitterly polarized political spectrum our imaginations have been crammed into like rush hour commuters on the Tokyo Metro, it’s our undying love of identity politics.

Who doesn’t love identity politics? Liberals love identity politics. Conservatives love identity politics. Political parties love identity politics. Corporations love identity politics. Advertisers, anarchists, white supremacists, Wall Street bankers, Hollywood producers, Twitter celebrities, the media, academia … everybody loves identity politics.

Why do we love identity politics? We love them for many different reasons.

The ruling classes love identity politics because they keep the working classes focused on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and so on, and not on the fact that they (i.e., the working classes) are, essentially, glorified indentured servants, who will spend the majority of their sentient existences laboring to benefit a ruling elite that would gladly butcher their entire families and sell their livers to hepatitic Saudi princes if they could get away with it. Dividing the working classes up into sub-groups according to race, ethnicity, and so on, and then pitting these sub-groups against each other, is extremely important to the ruling classes, who are, let’s remember, a tiny minority of intelligent but physically vulnerable parasites controlling the lives of the vast majority of human beings on the planet Earth, primarily by keeping them ignorant and confused.

The political parties love identity politics because they allow them to conceal the fact that they are bought and paid for by these ruling classes, which, in our day and age, means corporations and a handful of obscenely wealthy oligarchs who would gut you and your kids like trout and sell your organs to the highest bidder if they thought they could possibly get away with it. The political parties employ identity politics to maintain the simulation of democracy that prevents Americans (many of whom are armed) from coming together, forming a mob, dismantling this simulation of democracy, and then attempting to establish an actual democracy, of, by, and for the people, which is, basically, the ruling classes’ worst nightmare. The best way to avoid this scenario is to keep the working classes ignorant and confused, and at each other’s throats over things like pronouns, white privilege, gender appropriate bathrooms, and the complexion and genitalia of the virtually interchangeable puppets the ruling classes allow them to vote for.

The corporate media, academia, Hollywood, and the other components of the culture industry are similarly invested in keeping the vast majority of people ignorant and confused. The folks who populate this culture industry, in addition to predicating their sense of self-worth on their superiority to the unwashed masses, enjoy spending time with the ruling classes, and reaping the many benefits of serving them … and, while most of them wouldn’t personally disembowel your kids and sell their organs to some dope-addled Saudi trillionaire scion, they would look the other way while the ruling classes did, and then invent some sort of convoluted rationalization of why it was necessary, in order to preserve democracy and freedom (or was some sort of innocent but unfortunate “blunder,” which will never, ever, happen again).

The fake Left loves identity politics because they allow them to pretend to be “revolutionary” and spout all manner of “militant” gibberish while posing absolutely zero threat to the ruling classes they claim to be fighting. Publishing fake Left “samizdats” (your donations to which are tax-deductible), sanctimoniously denouncing racism on Twitter, milking whatever identity politics scandal is making headlines that day, and otherwise sounding like a slightly edgier version of National Public Radio, are all popular elements of the fake Left repertoire.

Marching along permitted parade routes, assembling in designated “free speech areas,” and listening to speeches by fake Left celebrities and assorted Democratic Party luminaries, are also well-loved fake Left activities. For those who feel the need to be even more militant, pressuring universities to cancel events where potentially “violent” and “oppressive” speech acts (or physical gestures) might occur, toppling offensive historical monuments, ratting out people to social media censors, or masking up and beating the crap out of “street Nazis” are among the available options. All of these activities, by herding potential troublemakers into fake Left ghettos and wasting their time, both on- and off-line, help to ensure that the ruling classes, their political puppets, the corporate media, Hollywood, and the rest of the culture industry can keep most people ignorant and confused.

Oh, and racists, hardcore white supremacists, anti-Semites, and other far-Right wing nuts … my God, do they love identity politics! Identity politics are their entire worldview (or Weltanschauung, for you Nazi fetishists). Virtually every social, political, economic, and ontological phenomenon can be explained by reducing it to race, ethnicity, religion, or some other simplistic criterion, according to these “alt-Right” geniuses. And to render everything even more simplistic, each and every one of their simplistic theories can be subsumed into a meta-simplistic theory, which amounts to (did you guess it?) a conspiracy of Jews.

According to this meta-theory, this conspiracy of Jews (which is headquartered in Israel, but maintains offices in Los Angeles and New York, from which it controls the corporate media, Hollywood, and the entire financial sector) is responsible for … well, anything they can think of. September 11 attacks? Conspiracy of Jews. Financial crisis? Jews, naturally. Black on Black crime? Jews again! Immigration? Globalization? Gun control laws? Abortion? Drugs? Media bias? Who else could be behind it all but Jews?!

See, the thing is, there is no essential difference between your identity politics-brainwashed liberal and your Swastika-tattooed white supremacist. Both are looking at the world through the lens of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or some other type of “identity.” They are looking through this “identity” lens (whichever one it happens to be) because either they have been conditioned to do so (most likely from the time they were children) or they have made a conscious choice to do so (after recognizing, and affirming or rejecting, whatever conditioning they received as children).

Quantum physicists, Sufi fakirs, and certain other esoterics understand what most of us don’t, namely, that there is no such thing as “the Truth,” or “Reality,” apart from our perception of it. The world, or “reality,” or whatever you want to call it, is more than happy to transform itself into any imaginable shape and form, based on the lens you are looking at it through. It’s like a trickster in that regard. Look at “reality” through a racist lens, and everything will make sense according to that logic. Look at it through a social justice lens, or a Judeo-Christian lens, or a Muslim lens, or a scientific or a Scientologist lens, or a historical materialist or capitalist lens (it really makes no difference at all) … and abracadabra! A new world is born!

Sadly, most of us never reach the stage in our personal (spiritual?) development where we are able to make a conscious choice about which lens we want to view the world through. Mostly, we stick with the lens we were originally issued by our families and societies. Then we spend the rest of our fleeting lives desperately insisting that our perspective is “the Truth,” and that other perspectives are either “lies” or “errors.” The fact that we do this is unsurprising, as the ruling classes (of whatever society we happened to be born and socialized into) are intensely invested in issuing everyone a “Weltanschauung lens” that corresponds to whatever narrative they are telling themselves about why they deserve to be the ruling classes and we deserve to exist to serve them, fight their wars, pay interest on their loans, not to mention rent to live on the Earth, which they have claimed as their own and divided up amongst themselves to exploit and ruin, which they justify with “laws” they invented, which they enforce with armies, police, and prisons, which they teach us as children to believe is “just the way life is” … but I digress.

So, who doesn’t love identity politics? Well, I don’t love identity politics. But then I tend to view political events in the context of enormous, complex systems operating beyond the level of the individuals and other entities such systems comprise. Thus I’ve kind of been keeping an eye on the restructuring of the planet by global capitalism that started in the early 1990s, following the collapse of the U.S.S.R., when global capitalism (not the U.S.A.) became the first globally hegemonic system in the history of aspiring hegemonic systems.

Now, this system (i.e., capitalism, not the U.S.A), being globally hegemonic, has no external enemies, so what it’s been doing since it became hegemonic is aggressively destabilizing and restructuring the planet according to its systemic needs (most notably in the Middle East, but also throughout the rest of the world), both militarily and ideologically. Along the way, it has encountered some internal resistance, first, from the Islamic “terrorists,” more recently, from the so-called “nationalists” and “populists,” none of whom seem terribly thrilled about being destabilized, restructured, privatized, and debt-enslaved by global capitalism, not to mention relinquishing what remains of their national sovereignty, and their cultures, and so on.

I’ve been writing about this for over two years, so I am not going to rehash it all in detail here (this essay is already rather long). The short version is, what we are currently experiencing (i.e., Brexit, Trump, Italy, Hungary, et cetera, the whole “populist” or “nationalist” phenomenon) is resistance (an insurgency, if you will) to hegemonic global capitalism, which is, essentially, a values-decoding machine, which eliminates “traditional” (i.e., despotic) values (e.g., religious, cultural, familial, societal, aesthetic, and other such non-market values) and replaces them with a single value, exchange value, rendering everything a commodity.

The fact that I happen to be opposed to some of those “traditional” values (i.e., racism, anti-Semitism, oppression of women, homosexuals, and so on) does not change my perception of the historical moment, or the sociopolitical, sociocultural, and economic forces shaping that moment. God help me, I believe it might be more useful to attempt to understand those forces than to go around pointing and shrieking at anyone who doesn’t conform to my personal views like the pod people in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

But that’s the lens I choose to look through. Maybe I’ve got it all assbackwards. Maybe what is really going on is that Russia “influenced” everyone into voting for Brexit and Donald Trump, and hypnotized them all with those Facebook ads into hating women, people of color, transsexuals, and the Jews, of course, and all that other “populist” stuff, because the Russians hate us for our freedom, and are hell-bent on destroying democracy and establishing some kind of neo-fascist, misogynist, pseudo-Atwoodian dystopia. Or, I don’t know, maybe the other side is right, and it really is all a conspiracy of Jews … transsexual, immigrant Jews of color, who want to force us all to have late-term abortions and circumcise our kids, or something.

I wish I could help you sort all that out, but I’m just a lowly political satirist, and not an expert on identity politics or anything. I’m afraid you’ll have to pick a lens through which to interpret “reality” yourself. But then, you already have, haven’t you … or are you still looking through the one that was issued to you?

#

CJ Hopkins
October 8, 2018
Photo: The United Colors of Benetton

CJ Hopkins Summer 2018 thumbnailDISCLAIMER: The preceding essay is entirely the work of our in-house satirist and self-appointed political pundit, CJ Hopkins, and does not reflect the views and opinions of the Consent Factory, Inc., its staff, or any of its agents, subsidiaries, or assigns. If, for whatever inexplicable reason, you appreciate Mr. Hopkins’ work and would like to support it, please go to his Patreon page (where you can contribute as little $1 per month), or send your contribution to his PayPal account, so that maybe he’ll stop coming around our offices trying to hit our staff up for money. Alternatively, you could purchase his satirical dystopian novel, Zone 23, which we understand is pretty gosh darn funny, or any of his subversive stage plays, which won some awards in Great Britain and Australia. If you do not appreciate Mr. Hopkins’ work and would like to write him an abusive email, please feel free to contact him directly.

22 thoughts on “Who Doesn’t Love Identity Politics?

  1. “Identity politics” is the racketeering phase of a one-time ’cause’. The was a time when there was a ‘women’s rights’ movement, ‘gay rights’, for the rights of the Quebecois or the Basque. This was when it took guts to stand your ground on such matters. The Somewhat-Real-Left were allies. Politics was clearer. People in their youth were enthusiastic. The labour was volunteer, pro bono. Our strength was numbers.

    As time went on, grass-roots enthusiasm wanes. People wear out. Personalities clash, differences in the ranks emerge. Leaders – the emergent Party Lords, Grand Poo-Bahs, Guruleaders – ooze forth convinced that their types will preserve the power and potential of the ‘movement’. And that will take money. From some government entitiy, the churches, unions, At first. But always, it’s a need for Funding For The Cause. Which translates into money for the staffers, aides, managers, project leaders, consultants. A nice fat layer of parasites comes into being. They speak for the Cause now, becasue the grass roots have ebbed away. No worries, we the Cause bureaucrats will substitute. We can whistle you hoi polloi up now and then. When we need you for cover. So you can feed your conscience.

    Now yer Cause is just a business racket. Like when the powers behind Mothers Against Drunk Driving were just pocketing 100% of all the incoming donations. Once, tens of thousands would turn out for anti-war rallies with no monied leaders. Gays only turn out now for the party events. The staffers call the tunes, work the media, issue the ritual screed. The politics is ceremonial. The reality – we sold out long ago.

    Identity politics just proves that women and gays are can and are just as disgusting as the worst of straights and men. “We want the right to bomb Arabs. We want the right to fire workers, break strikes, profit of of the immiseration of others” Yeah, you have surely proven all that. The Identity Politics parasites are thoroughly integrated into capitalisms machinery. Witness the campaign to smear Corbyn in the UK over antisemitism.

    Regular folks not liking the liberal/fake left Identity racket respond as best they see fit from place to place. The pole of the Real Left being absent. Much. The instinct is for a populist uprising. Throw the old bums out. Italy, Spain, France – the old sell out parties get the boot. In Quebec, the PQ – lion of Identity – gets blasted in the just held election. As in the U.S. in particular, the Identity Elites are forced to cleave to the outstanding regime. This is where the money and power comes from. And so, increasingly, those who speak out, oppose the cops, the surveillance, wars, austerity, gig-jobs, the Russia crap – all these parties coalesce apart and away form the leadership of the Identity movements.

    What will happen next is that splits will occur inside the Identity movements. Those that will not stand with the Hillaryites. Insurgents will emerge. It will be very bloody. Excellent. I can’t wait. There will be no working with the Identity leaderships. They are the class enemy. But the clouds of populist inspired rather-angry people now in motion are forces that can and should be addressed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent post CJ. Great way to start my Monday morning. Loved the “lens” discussion. It is quite true. We can either pick the “lens” the “values system” through which we see and interpret the world, or we’ll most definitely have one picked for us. A quick look around the zombieville I live within proves this quite readily though most people are quite unconscious regarding their “lens” existence.

    People here in the U.S. are literally more preoccupied with the use of proper gender pronouns than with the actual lives and deaths of innocent fellow humans our military machine and our “allies” are bombing, droning and crushing daily around the globe. One imagines that if only Raytheon could come up with drone software that could identify and then spare the lives of any “transgender Muslims” in our war zones, well, the identity politics crowd would find a way to totally idolize the Raytheon CEO as a humanitarian of the very first order. Of course in this case the “progressives” would laud him as a hero and the “conservatives” would demand a boycott of Raytheon. Identity politics seems almost a sort of “symbolic morality” used to fill in the gap left in our society and in our personal consciousness by the fact that we are now collectively completely “amoral.”

    Personal greed is the only true society-wide shared value (and “lens”) in the U.S., thought it should be clear that it is hardly a value one could hope to build a sustainable society on.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “and replaces them with a single value, exchange value, rendering everything a commodity”.

    Excellent !!

    That’s the key to the entire neoliberal project. Example. In 1992 British universities became independent financial entities whose purpose was to generate income. The system is totally riddled with corruption and an obsession with money but is absolutely booming ! That’s why capitalism is so successful. Crime pays.

    Like

  4. I was a political activist in the early 1980s. Two of my friends got intimidating visits from the British security services (Special Branch) because they organised demonstrations. The grown up reality is that if you became even the slightest threat to the system, they will stop you. You do what they tell you. You either give up or become an informer. I retired before I became a target.

    So, I have no interest in political activism. I have literally no interest in what Glenn Greenwald thinks about anything. I only want to know who pulls his strings. I’m a lapsed anarchist/conspiracist who was incredibly amused at Trump and Brexit and got involved again. Still laughing now. Both Trump and Brexit are failed strawman events. They put Trump and UKIP/Farage on the front of the stage as racist/Nazi figures assuming no one would support them. How hilarious wrong they were. That put a spanner in the works of Cold War II, a multi trillion dollar arms heist like the first one.

    You are doing extremely well, laying out the agenda but not taking a political stance.

    Only credible conspiracist I know of

    James Corbett

    https://www.corbettreport.com/

    Like

  5. That’s why we need 100% private carbon dividends with 0% for governments and corporations.

    Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer sponsored a bill to allow the feds to claim 40% of it.

    The fighting is about who’s holy enough to spend that money.

    It will turn the department of energy into the pentagon.

    Like

  6. Consider recent developments in Canada. Ontario and Quebec are the largest, central provinces. Each has been governed by the Liberal Party which loves and feeds Identity groups. In spectacular recent elections both Liberal governments were trufed out, replaced by populist right parties. In Ontario, led by the gadfly Doug Ford – who openly hates Identity and in Quebec by a new party the CAQ led by Francois Legault. In both cases the Liberals were pounded.

    But there were other victors in these elections. The left. In Ontario, the NDP gained many seats and now are the official opposition. In Quebec, the overtly Marxist Quebec Solidaire did very well gaining both seats and popular vote.

    The populist right and the Left both gain against the Identity dominated Liberals. Like Italy, Spain, France.

    Like

  7. “Quantum physicists, Sufi fakirs, and certain other esoterics understand what most of us don’t, namely, that there is no such thing as “the Truth,” or “Reality,” apart from our perception of it. The world, or “reality,” or whatever you want to call it, is more than happy to transform itself into any imaginable shape and form, based on the lens you are looking at it through. It’s like a trickster in that regard. Look at “reality” through a racist lens, and everything will make sense according to that logic. Look at it through a social justice lens, or a Judeo-Christian lens, or a Muslim lens, or a scientific or a Scientologist lens, or a historical materialist or capitalist lens (it really makes no difference at all) … and abracadabra! A new world is born!”

    This is postmodernist epistemology. And that epistemology is not just wrong, it is also both dangerous and essential to the neoliberal globalist strategy, as it enables emotion to substitute for facts and reason.
    https://viewsandstories.blogspot.com/2018/06/emotion-substitutes-for-evidence-and.html

    Like

  8. Beautifully written, thanks. I don’t think very many people will or even would pay attention to this even if it was broadcast on CNN. Identity politics is here to stay not just because all the groups you mention love it but because it is visceral and we have moved away, perhaps forever, from the Western humanist tradition that features, in particular, reason as the chief way of evaluating reality and solving problems. We live, today, in a post-rationalist world. I see it everywhere across the political and cultural spectrum–people viscerally hate learning, philosophy, social science, “”hard” science to the extent it upsets their increasingly delicate mythological frameworks made up from unrelated memes and fractional myths from movies that lack coherence or when it does (Bible believing Christians) is made up of specifically anti-reasonable arguments. Many of the people I encounter keep these inanities together by being full of passionate intensity. All we can hope for in what may be the last stages of human civilization is being part of a reasonably passionate community and some miracle of magic brought to us by angels or aliens or mythical creatures that may still save us. Or, which is more likely, Asians will come to our rescue.

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    1. That post-rationalist trend is quite something to behold. Without a shared notion of a rational and reasonable reality that all people, regardless of their personal beliefs, can agree on, every idea or “theory”, no matter how delusional, can instantly be converted into a pseudo truth. This is already happening all over the internet. Truth is just another commodity in the pre-apocalyptic neoliberal nuthouse.

      As climate change and western economic and social decline become evermore difficult for the stunned masses to ignore, will the headlong flight from reason lead to a splintered and shattered society so overcome by paranoia and pathological delusions that it won’t be able to reason itself out of a wet paper bag? The unintended consequences of the neoliberal market society were absolutely every aspect of human life is commodified and transformed in ways that render it amendable to economic calculation might well be a new dark age of the sort Jane Jacobs wrote about in her book, titled fittingly enough, Dark Age Ahead.

      Like

  9. Thanks for this. I feel there might a purge going on over at Counterpunch, what with St. Clair’s sniping about “Sputnik Leftists’ and such. But I could be wrong.

    I think it’s time to get leftism off campus and move it to the picket line — of which there are many these days (hurray!).

    Like

    1. I think Rojo may have it right. A split builds at Counterpunch. One one side a left Identity camp deranged by failing to seize control of the government funding apparatus. Which is what keeps the liberals troops in loot. Anything that threatens the community of the staffers, aides, advisors, consultants, the program managers, project supervisors, district inspectors, audit investigators, security personnel, administrative services, legal advisors, policy and regulatory specialists.

      The professoriate, academia, interest lobbys, industry advocates, Mega food, mega pharmacy, mega hospitals, mega insurance, mega research, mega manfufacture, mega marketing, mega security, mega bribery, outright thievery, swindling, racketeering, criminal behaviour, conveniently ignored.

      So that’s one camp cpmpeting for control of Counterpunce.

      The other, second camp is: all those folks with principles and who will stand by them even through adversity.

      QED

      Liked by 1 person

  10. An administrator in a bureaucratic world is a man who can feel big by merging his non-entity in an abstraction. A real person in touch with real things inspires terror in him.
    Marshall McLuhan

    Jab, jab, (gut your kids) left uppercut; jab, feint, (sell their organs) right uppercut… Yeah, baby. A 10-8 round for the in-house satirist

    Like

  11. I must protest that the United Colors of Benetton ad doesn’t feature any old people. Or fat people. Or bald people. Or midgets. Or giants. Oh hang on – I feel a dozen new protest movements coming on!

    Like

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