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Identity politics bulletin, 2016

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[Dec 27, 2016] The Narrative, Neoliberalism, and Identity Politics naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... Yes. I see editorials in WaPo and NYT where the writer claims they've "woken up in another country", they "don't know what happened to the real America", they "didn't realize the country was so full of awful people". They seem mighty disoriented by the neoliberal narrative, as given for the last 40 years, losing this election. ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... The Republicans are the party of the rich; the Democrats are the party of the rich and poor. Those in between have no place. ..."
Dec 27, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Identity Politics

So that's the story, or one story. But stories have morals. What moral does identity politics offer? Adolph Reed on identity politics[2]:

[I]t is a class politics, the politics of the left-wing of neoliberalism. It is the expression and active agency of a political order and moral economy in which capitalist market forces are treated as unassailable nature. An integral element of that moral economy is displacement of the critique of the invidious outcomes produced by capitalist class power onto equally naturalized categories of ascriptive identity that sort us into groups supposedly defined by what we essentially are rather than what we do. As I have argued, following Walter Michaels and others, within that moral economy a society in which 1% of the population controlled 90% of the resources could be just, provided that roughly 12% of the 1% were black, 12% were Latino, 50% were women, and whatever the appropriate proportions were LGBT people. It would be tough to imagine a normative ideal that expresses more unambiguously the social position of people who consider themselves candidates for inclusion in, or at least significant staff positions in service to, the ruling class.

This perspective may help explain why, the more aggressively and openly capitalist class power destroys and marketizes every shred of social protection working people of all races, genders, and sexual orientations have fought for and won over the last century, the louder and more insistent are the demands from the identitarian left that we focus our attention on statistical disparities and episodic outrages that "prove" that the crucial injustices in the society should be understood in the language of ascriptive identity.

So, if we ask an identitarian[3] whether shipping the Rust Belt's jobs off to China was fair - the moral of the story - the answer we get is: "That depends. If the private equity firms that did it were 12% black, 12% Latino, and half women, then yes." And that really is the answer that the Clintonites give. And, to this day, they believe it's a winning one[4].

flora , December 26, 2016 at 3:05 pm

Yes. I see editorials in WaPo and NYT where the writer claims they've "woken up in another country", they "don't know what happened to the real America", they "didn't realize the country was so full of awful people". They seem mighty disoriented by the neoliberal narrative, as given for the last 40 years, losing this election.

Montanamaven , December 26, 2016 at 6:43 pm

That's funny. Okay, I was soooo naive. I woke up finally in 2004 to the realization that the "awful " people were the 01% including good friends. The Rest are trying to survive with dignity. They are not awful.

clarky90 , December 26, 2016 at 7:59 pm

The Hateful New York Times has been pushing the "Party Line" (narrative) since at least the 1920s, and has "artfully" facilitated the deaths (murder) of millions of deplorables – and the subsequent cover-up of the crimes.

The New York Times and the Great Famine

by Marco Carynnyk

http://web.archive.org/web/20051106213446/http://ukrweekly.com/Archive/1983/378320.shtml

"My editor was dubious. I had been explaining that 50 years ago, in the spring and summer of 1933, Ukraine, the country of my forebears, had suffered a horrendous catastrophe. In a fertile, populous country famed as the granary of Europe, a great famine had mowed down a sixth, a fifth and in some regions even a fourth of the inhabitants. Natural forces – drought, flood, blight – have been at least contributory causes of most famines. This one had been entirely man-made, entirely the result of a dictator's genocidal policies. Its consequences, I said, are still being felt.

Erudite, polyglot, herself a refugee from tyranny, the editor remained skeptical. "But isn't all this ," she leaned back in her chair and smiled brightly, "isn't all this a bit recondite?"

My face must have flushed. Recondite? Suddenly I knew the impotent anger Jews and Armenians have felt. Millions of my countrymen had been murdered, and their deaths were being dismissed as obscure and little known.

Later I realized that the editor had said more than she had intended. The famine of 1933 was rationalized and concealed when it was taking its toll, and it is still hidden away and trivialized today. George Orwell need not have limited his observation to British intellectuals when he remarked that "huge events like the Ukraine famine of 1933, involving the deaths of millions of people, have actually escaped the attention of the majority of English Russophiles."_1_

Still later, after I had set about uncovering the whole story by delving into newspaper files and archives and talking to people who had witnessed the events of 1933, I came to understand how Walter Duranty and The New York Times helped Stalin make the famine recondite.

Walter Duranty worked for The New York Times for 21 years "

clarky90 , December 26, 2016 at 3:07 pm

I wish Joyous Christmas and New Year merriment to all of the NC commentariate!

Everyday Stalinism
Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times
Soviet Russia in the 1930s
Sheila Fitzpatrick p 31

http://www.masterandmargarita.eu/estore/pdf/eren015_everydaystalinism.pdf

" The combination of ambiguous policy signals and the cult of secrecy could produce absurd results , as when certain categories of officials could not be informed of relevant instructions because the instructions were secret. In one blatant example, the theater censorship and the Ministry of Enlightenment, headed by A. V. Lunacharsky, spent weeks arguing at cross purposes about Mikhail Bulgakov's controversial play Days of the Turbins, despite the fact that the Politburo had instructed the Ministry that the play could be staged, because "this decree was secret, known to only key officials in the administration of art, and Lunacharsky was not at liberty to divulge it." [42]

A few years later, after Stalin had expressed strong views on cultural policy in a private letter that had circulated widely, if unofficially, on the grapevine, Lunacharsky begged him to allow publication of the letter so that people would know what the party line on art actually was.

Some of Stalin's cultural signals were even more minimalist, involving telephone calls to writers or other cultural figures whose content was then instantly broadcast on the Moscow and Leningrad intelligentsia grapevine. A case in point was his unexpected telephone call to Bulgakov in 1930 in response to Bulgakov's letter complaining of mistreatment by theater and censorship officials. The overt message of the call was one of encouragement to Bulgakov. By extension, the "signal" to the non-Communist intelligentsia was that it was not Stalin who harrassed them but only lower-level officials and militants who did not understand Stalin's policy.

This case is particularly interesting because the security police (GPU, at this date) monitored the effectiveness of the signal. In his report on the impact of Stalin's call, a GPU agent noted that the literary and artistic intelligentsia had been enormously impressed. "It's as if a dam had burst and everyone around saw the true face of comrade Stalin. "People speak of Stalin's simplicity and accessibility. They "talk of him warmly and with love, retelling in various versions the legendary history with Bulgakov's letter." They say that Stalin is not to blame for the bad things that happen: He follows the right line, but around him are scoundrels. These scoundrels persecuted Bulgakov, one of the most talented Soviet writers. Various literary rascals were making a career out of persecution of Bulgakov, and now Stalin has given them a slap in the face. [44]

The signals with Stalin's personal signature usually pointed in the direction of greater relaxation and tolerance, not increased repression. This was surely not because Stalin inclined to the "soft line," but rather because he preferred to avoid too close an association with hard-line policies that were likely to be
unpopular with domestic and foreign opinion. His signals often involved a "good Tsar" message: "the Tsar is benevolent; it is the wicked boyars (a member of the old aristocracy) who are responsible for all the injustice." Sometimes this ploy seems to have worked, but in other cases the message evoked popular skepticism.

When Stalin deplored the excesses of local officials during collectivization in a letter, "Dizzy with success," published in Pravda in 1930, the initial response in the villages was often favorable. After the famine, however, Stalin's "good Tsar" ploy no longer worked in the countryside, and was even mocked by its intended audience

Charles Myers , December 26, 2016 at 3:09 pm

Clinton and Obama's record were one and the same.

She couldn't take that message to fly over country.

My God they voted for Trump.

Talk about ready for change.

WheresOurTeddy , December 26, 2016 at 3:28 pm

People chose the devil they don't know over the absolute-slam-dunk-warmongering-elitist devil who's been running for President since 2000 and fixed the (D) primary against the Roosevelt Democrat who would have beaten Trump by 10+ points.

Don't blame me. I voted Sanders. Hindsight is 2020.

Lambert Strether Post author , December 27, 2016 at 3:32 am

At least for Trump voters at the lower end of the income scale:

Desperate people rolled the dice.

ambrit , December 27, 2016 at 4:53 am

Yep. When the dominant financial venue is blatantly a "casino," why not resort to chance?
As the mood out in the hustings grows ever bleaker, the "kick the table over" strategy gains legitimacy among a wider and wider circle of people.

Rob Levine , December 26, 2016 at 3:24 pm

Was thinking that the identitarian part has a second component: That the misery visited on the 99% should also be apportioned equally by identity.

Benedict@Large , December 26, 2016 at 6:54 pm

The problem with identity politics is that unless everyone has an identity, identity politics is a politics of exclusion. Something is carved out for those who have been "identified" (as worthy), while the rest stay where they are, or get left behind.

Benedict@Large , December 26, 2016 at 6:59 pm

But note that this is only because we insist on operating under the zero sum economics of monetarism. Once this restriction is removed; once we acknowledge the power of the sovereign fiat, the zero sum is left behind, and the either-or choices forced upon us by identity politics are no longer necessary.

Rhondda , December 26, 2016 at 7:13 pm

MMT for Identitarians?

Lambert Strether Post author , December 27, 2016 at 3:26 am

Yes, with liberal means-testers and gate-keepers making sure those who deserve it, get it.

ambrit , December 27, 2016 at 5:49 am

Clientelism and "Walking Around Money." "Honest Graft" is next.

Foppe , December 26, 2016 at 3:29 pm

Fascinating to learn that it is at least in some cases not only a problem of reporters being blind to problems because of their worldview, and that the frames they pick aren't 'just' due to their education. In a way, it's hopeful, because it means that even here, alternatives are/must be restricted in order to allow the world to be categorized into tiny little boxes, via Procrustes doing his thing.

ambrit , December 26, 2016 at 3:49 pm

An early sign was the Procrustean "embedment" of journos in with the Army during the Gulf Wars. The suspension of disbelief required of the reader to accept the resultant "narrative" was, by any measure, a "stretch."

Foppe , December 26, 2016 at 4:16 pm

Yes, well. We must all do our bid to perpetuate the State - even those of us who are too weak-kneed to serve as cannon fodder (no disrespect intended, of course - just observing). After all, it's only thanks to liberal "democracy" that our betters were able to create this best/least-worst of all possible worlds in the first place. Being bothered by those few remaining necessary egg-shells just goes to show I'm in the right place.

ambrit , December 27, 2016 at 5:05 am

Oh, good sir, those "necessary egg shells" are needed to settle the grounds of the strong coffee required to energize the masses to continue the work designed to bring on the Dawn of the Neoliberal dispensation!
You are in the "right place."
As for States; some years ago, Louisiana had a motto on their automobile license plates that read; "Louisiana: A Dream State." Truth in advertising. That motto didn't last long.

cnchal , December 26, 2016 at 4:08 pm

The bigger shock came on being told, at least twice, by Times editors who were describing the paper's daily Page One meeting: "We set the agenda for the country in that room."

They believe their own fake news. Now they can't believe their lying eyes.

Chauncey Gardiner , December 26, 2016 at 5:45 pm

Difficult for me to believe the NYT originates "The Narrative" any more than Pravda or Izvestia did so in the USSR. I am more receptive to the idea that its senior editors coordinate with upstream sources to assure news coverage and opinion pieces are consistent with policies favored by the administration and other senior government officials, as well as other selected constituencies.

Also of interest to me is what is occurring at the Washington Post in this regard.

Another Anon , December 26, 2016 at 6:13 pm

CG,

There may well be truth to that idea. I recall
reading a blog post by a Swedish journalist who
did an article on the NY Times. He writes that they
have a building that none of their journalists are allowed
to enter as it is sometimes visited by important dignitaries
who negotiate how they will be covered. He gave
Gaddafi of Libya as an example. I suppose this is possible if
you fixing the narrative.

Lambert Strether Post author , December 27, 2016 at 3:22 am

The process you describe is in fact what the quoted article and the post describe.

RudyM , December 26, 2016 at 6:29 pm

The Michael Cieply story reminds me of this (from 9/14/2016):

This off-limits part of the building was not only where the president would sit in on editorial board meetings, it was also the place where Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was received when he successfully negotiated to be removed from "The Axis of Evil" list after 9/11. At that point in time The New York Times was still considered perhaps the most important publication in the world, and what it wrote was thought to have a direct impact on the life and death of nations. Because of this, many powerful people would put a lot of effort and money into gaining preferable coverage from The New York Times. These floors, Bill Keller told me, was where the proprietor and the editors of the newspaper would meet with and negotiate deals with powerful visitors. In retrospect, whatever "deal" that Gaddafi struck with The New York Times, the exonerating article penned by Judith Miller didn't save his life, nor did it save his nation from the might of the US air force.

Despite the brutal fate that Gaddafi came to face, the assumption that The New York Times was capable of making meaningful deals with governments was not entirely unfounded. Bill Keller spoke of how he successfully negotiated to freeze the NSA warrantless wiretapping-story uncovered by Eric Lichtblau for two years until after the re-election of George W Bush. This top-floor was also where the Iraq WMD evidence was concocted with the help of the Pentagon and handed to reporter Judith Miller to pen, later letting her hang when the wind changed. This, Keller also told me, was where the CIA and State Department officials were invited to take part in daily editorial meetings when State Department Cables were published by WikiLeaks. I would personally witness how this was the place where Sulzberger himself oversaw the re-election coverage of president Obama. And this was much later where the main tax-evaders of the US would make their cases so that the Panama Papers on their tax records would never reach the public eye (which at the time of writing, they have yet to be).

http://www.unz.com/article/an-obituary-of-the-new-york-times/

Yves Smith , December 26, 2016 at 8:13 pm

Just an FYI, the reason that hardly any Americans featured in the Panama Papers was that Panama was not a favored destination for US tax evaders. So the Times had nothing to protect.

John Merryman , December 26, 2016 at 6:39 pm

I still think the story is evolutionary. In the sense that just as the central nervous system of society, government, started as a privatized function and eventually evolved into a public utility, for basic reasons of efficiency and scale, the financial system, as the medium and circulation system of society, is going through a similar evolutionary process. The premise of vast notional wealth, which is necessarily backed by debt, is insupportable, at its current levels, simply because the debt is unsustainable. So collapse is inevitable and the only question is how well and quickly we develop a viable alternative.

gonzomarx , December 26, 2016 at 7:56 pm

just finished watching a film based on an LGBT group's support for the Miners during the 1984 strike, seems apt.

Pride
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pride_(2014_film)

Trailer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsFY0wHpR5o

Kim Kaufman , December 27, 2016 at 1:56 am

From The Devil's Chessboard: Allan Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government by David Talbot, which I am still reading. Regarding the overthrow of Arbenz of Guatemala:

"The U.S. press coverage of the Guatemala coup offered a sanitized account, one that smacked of CIA manipulation. The leading newspapers treated the overthrow of Arbenz's government as a topical adventure, an " opera bouffe ," in the words of Hanson Baldwin, one of Dulles's trusted friends at The New York Times . Nonetheless, reported Baldwin, the operation had "global importance." This is precisely how Dulles liked his overseas exploits to be chronicled – as entertaining espionage capers, with serious consequences for the Cold War struggle. New York Times publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger was extremely accommodating to Dulles throughout the covert operation, agreeing to keep foreign correspondent Sydney Gruson, whom Dulles considered insufficiently compliant, out of Guatemala and even assuring the CIA director that Gruson's future articles would be screened "with a great deal more care than usual."

Cry Shop , December 27, 2016 at 5:06 am

The Republicans are the party of the rich; the Democrats are the party of the rich and poor. Those in between have no place.

The Republicans and the Democrats are parties of the rich who use the poor. Both use the poor as a lever to extract wealth from the shrinking resource known as middle class. There is only a superficial difference in how they use them, and in both cases a real democracy has no place in their governance.

Cry Shop , December 27, 2016 at 5:23 am

Democracy, hell. 45 states in USA are pretty much the one party state of ALEC.

Jabawocky , December 27, 2016 at 5:36 am

For anyone interested in the inner workings of the print media I highly recommend 'Flat Earth News' by Nick Davies. It is a little uk centric but Davies, the guy that broke Murdoch's phone hacking conspiracy, is authoritative.
The chapter on the role of the security services in the press is quite interesting and gives important context for understanding the current attempts to centralise control of the internet news narrative.

[Nov 30, 2016] How the Global Left Destroyed Itself

Notable quotes:
"... Each of these was based fundamentally upon the principle that language was the key to all power. That is, that language was not a tool that described reality but the power that created it, and s/he who controlled language controlled everything through the shaping of "discourse", as opposed to the objective existence of any truth at all ..."
"... When you globalise capital, you globalise labour. That meant jobs shifting from expensive markets to cheap. Before long the incomes of those swimming in the stream of global capital began to seriously outstrip the incomes of those trapped in old and withering Western labour markets. As a result, inflation in those markets also began to fall and so did interest rates. Thus asset prices took off as Western nation labour markets got hollowed out, and standard of living inequality widened much more quickly as a new landed aristocracy developed. ..."
"... With a Republican Party on its knees, Obama was positioned to restore the kind of New Deal rules that global capitalism enjoyed under Franklin D. Roosevelt. ..."
"... But instead he opted to patch up financialised capitalism. The banks were bailed out and the bonus culture returned. Yes, there were some new rules but they were weak. There was no seizing of the agenda. No imprisonments of the guilty. The US Department of Justice is still issuing $14bn fines to banks involved yet still today there is no justice. Think about that a minute. How can a crime be worthy of a $14bn fine but no prison time?!? ..."
"... Alas, for all of his efforts to restore Wall Street, Obama provided no reset for Main Street economics to restore the fortunes of the US lower classes. Sure Obama fought a hostile Capitol but, let's face it, he had other priorities. ..."
"... This comment is a perfect example of the author's (and Adolf Reed's) point: that the so-called "Left" is so bogged down in issues of language that it has completely lost sight of class politics. ..."
"... It's why Trump won. He was a Viking swinging an ax at nuanced hair-splitters. It was inelegant and ugly, but effective. We will find out if the hair-splitters win again in their inner circle with the Democratic Minority Leader vote. I suspect they missed the point of the election and will vote Pelosi back in, thereby missing the chance for significant gains in the mid-term elections. ..."
"... One of the great triumphs of Those Who Continue To Be Our Rulers has been the infiltration and cooptation of 'the left', hand in hand with the 'dumbing down' of the last 30+ years so few people really understand what is going on. ..."
"... That the Global Left appears to be intellectually weak regarding identity politics and "political correctness" vs. class politics, there is no doubt. But to skim over Global Corporate leverage of this attitude seems wrong to me. The right has also embraced identity politics in order to keep the 90% fully divided in order to justify it's continual economic rape of both human and physical ecology. ..."
"... Every "identity politics" charge starts here, with one group wanting a more equitable social order and the other group defending the existing power structure. Identity politics is adjusting the social order and rattling the power structure, which is why it is so effective. ..."
"... I think it can be effectively argued that Trump voters in PA, WI, OH, MI chose to rattle the power structure and you could think of that as identity politics as well. ..."
"... On the contrary, the (Neo-)Liberal establishment uses identity politics to co-opt and neutralise the left. It keeps them occupied without threatening the real power structure in the least. ..."
"... Hillary (Neoliberal establishment) has many supporters who think of themselves as 'left' or 'liberal'. The Democratic Party leadership is neither 'left' nor 'liberal'. It keeps the votes and the love of the 'liberals' by talking up harmless 'liberal' identity politics and soft peddling the Liberal power politics which they are really about. ..."
"... Just from historical perspective, the right wing had more money to forward its agenda and an OCD like affliction [biblical] to drive simple memes relentlessly via its increasing private ownership of education and media. Thereby creating an institutional network over time to gain dominate market share in crafting the social narrative. Bloodly hell anyone remember Bush Jr Christian crusade after politicizing religion to get elected and the ramifications – neocon – R2P thingy . ..."
"... Its not hard once neoliberalism became dominate in the 70s [wages and productivity diverged] the proceeds have gone to the top and everyone else got credit IOUs based mostly on asset inflation via the Casino or RE [home and IP]. ..."
"... Foucault in particular advanced a greatly expanded wariness regarding the use of power. It was not just that left politics could only lead to ossified Soviet Marxism or the dogmatic petty despotism of the left splinters. Institutions in general mapped out social practices and attendant identities to impose on the individual. His position tended to promote a distrust not only of "grand narratives" but of organizational bonds as such. As far as I can tell, the idea of people joining together to form an institution that would enhance their social power as well as allow them to become personally empowered/enhanced was something of a categorial impossibility. ..."
"... There is no global left. We have only global state capitalists and global social democrats – a pseudo left. The countries where Marxist class analysis was supposedly adopted were not industrial countries where "alienation" had brought the "proletariat" to an inevitable communal mentality. The largest of these countries killed millions in order to industrialize rapidly – pretending the goal was to get to that state. ..."
"... Bigotry. Identity centered thinking. Neither serves egalitarianism. But people cling to them. "I gotta look out for myself first." And so called left thinkers constantly pontificate about "benefits" and "privileges" that some class, sex, and race confer. Hmmm. The logic is that many of us struggling daily to keep our jobs and pay the bills must give up something in order to be fair, in order to build a better society. Given this thinking it is no surprise that so many have retreated into the illusion of safety offered by identity based thinking. ..."
"... "Simultaneously, capitalism did what it does best. It packaged and repackaged, branded and rebranded every emerging identity, cloaked in its own sub-cultural nomenclature, selling itself back to new emerging identities. Soon class was completely forgotten as the global Left dedicated itself instead to policing the commons as a kind of safe zone for a multitude of difference that capitalism turned into a cultural supermarket." ..."
"... But why does the Dem estab embrace the conservative neoliberal agenda? The Dem estab are smart people, can think on multiple levels, are not limited in scope, are not racist. So, why then does the Dem estab accept and promote the conservative GOP neoliberal economic agenda? ..."
"... Because the Dem estab isn't very smart. ..."
"... Conservative is: private property, capitalism, limited taxes and transfer payments plus national security and religion. ..."
"... Liberalism is not in opposition to any of that. Identity politics arose at the same time the Ds were purging the reds (socialists and communists) from their party. Liberalism/progressivism is an ameliorating position of conservatism (progressive support of labor unions to work within a private property/corporatist structure not to eliminate the system and replace it with public/employee ownership) Not too far, too fast, maybe toss out a few more crumbs. ..."
"... There is a foundation for identity politics on the liberal-left (see what I did there?) – it rests in the sense of moral superiority of just this liberal-left, which superiority is then patronisingly spread all over the social world – until it meets those who deny the moral superiority claim, whereupon it becomes murderous (in, of course, the name of humanity and humanitarianism). ..."
"... This is why the 1% continue to prevail over the 99%. If the 1% wasn't so incompetent this would continue forever. They know how to divide, conquer and rule the 99%, however they don't know how to run a society in a sustainable way. ..."
"... But I will say one thing for the Right over the Left: they have taken the initiative and are now the sole force for change. Granted, supporting a carnival barker for president is an act of desperation. Nevertheless he was the only option for change and the Right took it. Perhaps the Left offering little to nothing in the way of change reflects its lack of desperation. ..."
"... Excellent comment, EoinW! You just summed up years of content and commentary on this site. Obviously as the "Left" continues to defend the status quo as you describe it stops being "Left" in any meaningful way anymore. ..."
"... The Koch brothers are economically to the very right. They are socially to the left, perhaps even more socially liberal than many of your liberal friends. No joke. There's a point here, if I can figure out what it is. ..."
"... Trump isn't Right or Left. Trump is a can of gasoline and a match. His voters weren't voting for a Left or Right agenda. They were voting for a battering ram. That is why he got a pass on racist, misogynist, fascist statements that would have killed any other candidate. ..."
"... PC is a parody of the 20th Century reform movements. ..."
"... In the 70's the feminists worked against legal disabilities written into law. Since the Depression, the unions fought corporate management create a livable relationship between management and labor. Real struggles, real problems, real people. ..."
"... What's interesting is that in an article pushing class over identity. he never tried to set his class ethos in order to convince working class people or the bourgeoisie why they should listen to him. ..."
"... "This site, along with the MSM, has flown way off the handle since the election loss." ..."
"... "Our nation's problems can be remedied with one dramatic change" ..."
"... Bringing C level pay packages at major corporations in line with the real contributions of the recipients would be great. How would we do it? With laws or regulations or executive orders banning the federal government from doing business with any firm that failed to comply with some basic guidelines? ..."
"... It's an academic point right now in any event. The Trump administration – working together with the Ryan House – is not going to make legislation or sign executive orders to do anything remotely like this. Which is one of the many reasons why bashing Democrats has taken off here I suspect. This election was theirs to lose, and they did everything in their power to toss it. ..."
"... You do realize that the wealthy are both part of and connected to the legislative branch of every single country on this planet right? As long as that remains so (as it has since the dawn of humans) then good luck trying to cap any sort of hording behavior of the wealthy. ..."
"... The post-structural revolution transpired [in the U.S.] before and during the end of the Cold War just as the collapse of the Old Soviet Union denuded the global Left of its raison detre. ..."
"... Foucault was not entirely sympathetic to the Left, at least the unions, but he was trying to articulate a politics that was just as much about liberation from capitalism as classic Marxism. To that end, discourse analysis was the means to discovering those subtle articulations of power in human relations, not an end in itself as it was for, say, Barthes. ..."
"... Imagine inequality plotted on two axes. Inequality between genders, races and cultures is what liberals have been concentrating on. This is the x-axis and the focus of identity politics and the liberal left. ..."
"... On the y-axis we have inequality from top to bottom. 2014 – "85 richest people as wealthy as poorest half of the world" 2016– "Richest 62 people as wealthy as half of world's population" ..."
"... The neoliberal view L As long as everyone, from all genders, races and cultures, is visiting the same food bank this is equality. ..."
"... You can see why liberals love identity politics. ..."
"... labor is being co-opted by the right: the Republican Workers Party I think this rhymes with Fascist. But then, in a world soon to be literally scrambling for high ground and rebuilding housing for 50 million people the time honored "worker" might actually have a renaissance. ..."
"... But the simple act of writing checks cost me n-o-t-h-i-n-g in terms of time, energy, education, physical or mental exertion. ..."
"... A much more nuanced discussion of the primacy of identity politics on the Left in Britain and the US is http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/11/29/prospects-for-an-alt-left/ "Prospects for an Alt-Left," November 29, 2016, by Elliot Murphy, who teaches in the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences at University College, London. ..."
"... The electorate is angry (true liberals at the Dems, voters in select electoral states at "everything"). If democracy is messy, then that's what we've got; a mess. Unfortunately, it's coming at the absolutely wrong time (Climate Change, lethal policing, financial elite impunity). ..."
"... But certainly the fall of the USSR was the thing that forced capitalism's hand. At that point capitalism had no choice but to step up and prove that it could really bring a better life to the world. ..."
"... A Minsky event of biblical proportions soon followed (it only took about 10 years!) and now all is devastation and nobody has clue. But the 1990 effort could have been in earnest. Capitalists mean well but they are always in denial about the inequality they create which finally started a chain reaction in "identity politics" as reactions to the stress of economic competition bounced around in every society like a pinball machine. A tedious and insufferable game which seems to have culminated in Hillary the Relentless. I won't say capitalism is idiotic. But something is. ..."
"... Left and Right only really make sense in the context of the distribution of power and wealth, and only when there is a difference between them about that distribution. This was historically the case for more than 150 years after the French Revolution. By the mid-1960s, there was a sense that the Left was winning, and would continue to win. Progressive taxation, zero unemployment, little real poverty by today's standards, free education and healthcare . and many influential political figures (Tony Crosland for example) saw the major task of the future as deciding where the fruits of economic growth could be most justly applied. ..."
"... So until class-based politics and struggles over power and money re-start (if they ever do) I respectfully suggest that "Left" and "Right" be retired as terms that no longer have any meaning. ..."
"... powerlessness, of course, corrupts. There's always someone weaker than you, which is why identity politics is essentially a conservative, disciplining force, with a vested interest in the problems it has chosen to identify ..."
"... Identity politics is a disaster ongoing for the Democratic Party, for reasons they seem to have overlooked. First, the additional identity group is white. We already see this in the South, where 90% of the white population in many states votes Republican. ..."
"... When that spreads to the rest of the country, there will be a permanent Republican majority until the Republicans create a new major disaster. ..."
"... So soon we forget the Battle of Seattle. The Left has been opposed to globalization, deregulation, etc., all along. Partly he's talking about an academic pseudo-left, partly confusing the left with the Democrats and other "center-left," captured parties. ..."
"... I mean, Barack Obama was our first black president, but most blacks didn't do very well. George W. Bush was our first retard president, and most people with cognitive handicaps didn't do very well. ..."
"... But we can boil it all down to something even simpler and more primal: divide and conquer. ..."
Nov 29, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. This piece gives a useful, real-world perspective on the issues discussed in a seminal Adolph Reed article . Key section:

race politics is not an alternative to class politics; it is a class politics, the politics of the left-wing of neoliberalism. It is the expression and active agency of a political order and moral economy in which capitalist market forces are treated as unassailable nature. An integral element of that moral economy is displacement of the critique of the invidious outcomes produced by capitalist class power onto equally naturalized categories of ascriptive identity that sort us into groups supposedly defined by what we essentially are rather than what we do. As I have argued, following Walter Michaels and others, within that moral economy a society in which 1% of the population controlled 90% of the resources could be just, provided that roughly 12% of the 1% were black, 12% were Latino, 50% were women, and whatever the appropriate proportions were LGBT people. It would be tough to imagine a normative ideal that expresses more unambiguously the social position of people who consider themselves candidates for inclusion in, or at least significant staff positions in service to, the ruling class.

This perspective may help explain why, the more aggressively and openly capitalist class power destroys and marketizes every shred of social protection working people of all races, genders, and sexual orientations have fought for and won over the last century, the louder and more insistent are the demands from the identitarian left that we focus our attention on statistical disparities and episodic outrages that "prove" that the crucial injustices in the society should be understood in the language of ascriptive identity.

My take on this issue is that the neoliberal use of identity politics continue and extends the cultural inculcation of individuals seeing themselves engaging with other in one-to-one transactions (commerce, struggles over power and status) and has the effect of diverting their focus and energy on seeing themselves as members of groups with common interests and operating that way, and in particular, of seeing the role of money and property, which are social constructs, in power dynamics.

By David Llewellyn-Smith, founding publisher and former editor-in-chief of The Diplomat magazine, now the Asia Pacific's leading geo-politics website. Originally posted at MacroBusiness

Let's begin this little tale with a personal anecdote. Back in 1990 I met and fell in love with a bisexual, African American ballerina. She was studying Liberal Arts at US Ivy League Smith College at the time (which Aussies may recall was being run by our Jill Kerr Conway back then). So I moved in with my dancing beauty and we lived happily on her old man's purse for a year.

I was fortunate to arrive at Smith during a period of intellectual tumult. It was the early years of the US political correctness revolution when the academy was writhing through a post-structuralist shift. Traditional dialectical history was being supplanted by a new suite of studies based around truth as "discourse". Driven by the French post-modern thinkers of the 70s and 80s, the US academy was adopting and adapting the ideas Foucault, Derrida and Barthe to a variety of civil rights movements that spawned gender and racial studies.

Each of these was based fundamentally upon the principle that language was the key to all power. That is, that language was not a tool that described reality but the power that created it, and s/he who controlled language controlled everything through the shaping of "discourse", as opposed to the objective existence of any truth at all .

... ... ...

The post-structural revolution transpired before and during the end of the Cold War just as the collapse of the Old Soviet Union denuded the global Left of its raison detre. But its social justice impulse didn't die, it turned inwards from a notion of the historic inevitability of the decline of capitalism and the rise of oppressed classes, towards the liberation of oppressed minorities within capitalism, empowered by control over the language that defined who they were.

Simultaneously, capitalism did what it does best. It packaged and repackaged, branded and rebranded every emerging identity, cloaked in its own sub-cultural nomenclature, selling itself back to new emerging identities. Soon class was completely forgotten as the global Left dedicated itself instead to policing the commons as a kind of safe zone for a multitude of difference that capitalism turned into a cultural supermarket.

As the Left turned inwards, capitalism turned outwards and went truly, madly global, lifting previously isolated nations into a single planet-wide market, pretty much all of it revolving around Americana replete with its identity-branded products.

But, of course, this came at a cost. When you globalise capital, you globalise labour. That meant jobs shifting from expensive markets to cheap. Before long the incomes of those swimming in the stream of global capital began to seriously outstrip the incomes of those trapped in old and withering Western labour markets. As a result, inflation in those markets also began to fall and so did interest rates. Thus asset prices took off as Western nation labour markets got hollowed out, and standard of living inequality widened much more quickly as a new landed aristocracy developed.

Meanwhile the global Left looked on from its Ivory Tower of identity politics and was pleased. Capitalism was spreading the wealth to oppressed brothers and sisters, and if there were some losers in the West then that was only natural as others rose in prominence. Indeed, it went further. So satisfied was it with human progress, and so satisfied with its own role in producing it, that it turned the power of language that it held most dear back upon those that opposed the new order. Those losers in Western labour markets that dared complain or fight back against the free movement of capital and labour were labelled and marginalised as "racist", "xenophobic" and "sexist".

This great confluence of forces reached its apogee in the Global Financial Crisis when a ribaldly treasonous Wall St destroyed the American financial system just as America's first ever African American President, Barack Obama, was elected . One might have expected this convergence to result in a revival of some class politics. Obama ran on a platform of "hope and change" very much cultured in the vein of seventies art and inherited a global capitalism that had just openly ravaged its most celebrated host nation.

But alas, it was just a bit of "retro". With a Republican Party on its knees, Obama was positioned to restore the kind of New Deal rules that global capitalism enjoyed under Franklin D. Roosevelt. A gobalisation like the one promised in the brochures, that benefited the majority via competition and productivity gains, driven by trade and meritocracy, with counter-balanced private risk and public equity.

But instead he opted to patch up financialised capitalism. The banks were bailed out and the bonus culture returned. Yes, there were some new rules but they were weak. There was no seizing of the agenda. No imprisonments of the guilty. The US Department of Justice is still issuing $14bn fines to banks involved yet still today there is no justice. Think about that a minute. How can a crime be worthy of a $14bn fine but no prison time?!?

Alas, for all of his efforts to restore Wall Street, Obama provided no reset for Main Street economics to restore the fortunes of the US lower classes. Sure Obama fought a hostile Capitol but, let's face it, he had other priorities. And so the US working and middle classes, as well as those worldwide, were sold another pup. Now more than ever, if they said say so they were quickly shut down as "racist", "xenophobic", or "sexist".

Thus it came to pass that the global Left somehow did a complete back-flip and positioned itself directly behind the same unreconstructed global capitalism that was still sucking the life from the lower classes that it always had. Only now it was doing so with explicit public backing and with an abandon it had not enjoyed since the roaring twenties.

Which brings us back to today. And we wonder how it is that an abuse-spouting guy like Donald Trump can succeed Barack Obama. Trump is a member of the very same "trickle down" capitalist class that ripped the income from US households. But he is smart enough, smarter than the Left at least, to know that the decades long rage of the middle and working classes is a formidable political force and has tapped it spectacularly to rise to power.

And, he has done more. He has also recognised that the Left's obsession with post-structural identity politics has totally paralysed it. It is so traumatised and pre-occupied by his mis-use of the language of power – the "racist", "sexist" and "xenophobic" comments – that it is further wedging itself from its natural constituents every day.

Don't get me wrong, I am very doubtful that Trump will succeed with his proposed policies but he has at least mentioned the elephant in the room, making the American worker visible again.

Returning to that innocent Aussie boy and his wild romp at Smith College, I might ask what he would have made of all of this. None of the above should be taken as a repudiation of the experience of racism or sexism. Indeed, the one thing I took away from Smith College over my lifetime was an understanding at just how scarred by slavery are the generations of African Americans that lived it and today inherit its memory (as well as other persecuted). I felt terribly inadequate before that pain then and I remain so today.

But, if the global Left is to have any meaning in the future of the world, and I would argue that the global Right will destroy us all if it doesn't, then it must get beyond post-structural paralysis and go back to the future of fighting not just for social justice issues but for equity based upon class. Empowerment is not just about language, it's about capital, who's got it, who hasn't and what role government plays between them.

All sex is not rape, but most poverty is.

Big River Bandido November 29, 2016 at 1:28 pm

This comment is a perfect example of the author's (and Adolf Reed's) point: that the so-called "Left" is so bogged down in issues of language that it has completely lost sight of class politics. Essentially, the comment vividly displays the exact methodology the author lambasts in the piece - it hijacks the discussion about an economic issue, attempts to turn it into a mere distraction about semantics, and in the end contributes absolutely nothing of substance to the "discourse".

rd November 29, 2016 at 4:55 pm

It's why Trump won. He was a Viking swinging an ax at nuanced hair-splitters. It was inelegant and ugly, but effective. We will find out if the hair-splitters win again in their inner circle with the Democratic Minority Leader vote. I suspect they missed the point of the election and will vote Pelosi back in, thereby missing the chance for significant gains in the mid-term elections.

Dave Patterson November 29, 2016 at 7:00 am

One of the great triumphs of Those Who Continue To Be Our Rulers has been the infiltration and cooptation of 'the left', hand in hand with the 'dumbing down' of the last 30+ years so few people really understand what is going on.

Explained in more detail here if anyone interested in some truly 'out of the box' perspectives – It's not 'the left' trying to take over the world and shut down free speech and all that other bad stuff – it's 'the right'!! http://tinyurl.com/h4h2kay .

JCC November 29, 2016 at 9:01 am

Although I haven't yet read the article you posted, my "feeling" as I read this was that the author inferred that the right was in the mix somehow, but it was primarily the fault of the left.

That the Global Left appears to be intellectually weak regarding identity politics and "political correctness" vs. class politics, there is no doubt. But to skim over Global Corporate leverage of this attitude seems wrong to me. The right has also embraced identity politics in order to keep the 90% fully divided in order to justify it's continual economic rape of both human and physical ecology.

anonymouse November 29, 2016 at 10:15 am

>The right has also embraced identity politics

So many people critiquing the Dems' use of identity politics seem to miss this point.

Art Eclectica November 29, 2016 at 11:23 am

Exactly. My guess is that this plays out somewhat like this:

Dems: This group _____ should be free to have _____ civil right.

Reps: NO. We are a society built on _____ tradition, no need to change that because it upends our patriarchal, Christian, Caucasian power structure.

Every "identity politics" charge starts here, with one group wanting a more equitable social order and the other group defending the existing power structure. Identity politics is adjusting the social order and rattling the power structure, which is why it is so effective.

I think it can be effectively argued that Trump voters in PA, WI, OH, MI chose to rattle the power structure and you could think of that as identity politics as well.

Grebo November 29, 2016 at 5:41 pm

Identity politics is adjusting the social order and rattling the power structure, which is why it is so effective.

On the contrary, the (Neo-)Liberal establishment uses identity politics to co-opt and neutralise the left. It keeps them occupied without threatening the real power structure in the least.

jrs November 29, 2016 at 5:57 pm

When have they ever done any such thing? Vote for Hillary because she's a woman isn't even any kind of politics it's more like marketing branding. It's the real thing. Taste great, less filling. I'm loving it.

Grebo November 29, 2016 at 8:04 pm

Hillary (Neoliberal establishment) has many supporters who think of themselves as 'left' or 'liberal'. The Democratic Party leadership is neither 'left' nor 'liberal'. It keeps the votes and the love of the 'liberals' by talking up harmless 'liberal' identity politics and soft peddling the Liberal power politics which they are really about.

They exploit the happy historical accident of the coincidence of names. The Liberal ideology was so called because it was slightly less right-wing than the Feudalism it displaced. In today's terms however, it is not very liberal, and Neoliberalism is even less so.

Paul Art November 29, 2016 at 7:14 am

If I was in charge of the DNC and wanted to commission a very cleverly written piece to exonerate the DLC and the New Democrats from the 30 odd years of corruption and self-aggrandizement they indulged in and laughed all the way to the Bank then I would definitely give this chap a call. I mean, where do we start? No attempt at learning the history of neoliberalism, no attempt at any serious research about how and why it fastened itself into the brains of people like Tony Coelho and Al From, nothing, zilch. If someone who did not know the history of the DLC read this piece, they would walk away thinking, 'wow, it was all happenstance, it all just happened, no one deliberately set off this run away train'. Sometime in the 90s the 'Left' decided to just pursue identity politics. Amazing. I would ask the Author to start with the Powell memo and then make an investigation as to why the Democrats then and the DLC later decided to merely sit on their hands when all the forces the Powell memo unleashed proceeded to wreak their havoc in every established institution of the Left, principally the Universities which had always been the bastion of the Progressives. That might be a good starting point.

skippy November 29, 2016 at 7:38 am

My response at MB

Sigh . the left was marginalized and relentlessly hunted down by the right [grab bag of corporatists, free marketers, neocons, evangelicals, and a whole cornucopia of wing nut ideologists (file under creative class gig writers)].

Just from historical perspective, the right wing had more money to forward its agenda and an OCD like affliction [biblical] to drive simple memes relentlessly via its increasing private ownership of education and media. Thereby creating an institutional network over time to gain dominate market share in crafting the social narrative. Bloodly hell anyone remember Bush Jr Christian crusade after politicizing religion to get elected and the ramifications – neocon – R2P thingy .

Its not hard once neoliberalism became dominate in the 70s [wages and productivity diverged] the proceeds have gone to the top and everyone else got credit IOUs based mostly on asset inflation via the Casino or RE [home and IP].

...

flora November 29, 2016 at 8:12 am

Yes, it's interesting that the academic "left" (aka liberals), who so prize language to accurately, and to the finest degree distinguish 'this' from 'that', have avoided addressing the difference between 'left' and 'liberal' and are content to leave the two terms interchangable.

JTFaraday November 29, 2016 at 11:28 am

The reason for that is that when academic leftists attempted a more in depth critique, of one sort or another, of the actually existing historical liberal welfare state, the liberals threw the "New Deal-under-siege" attack at them and attempted to shut them down.

There is very little left perspective in public. All this whining about identity politics is not left either. It is reactionary. I can think of plenty of old labor left academics who have done a much better job of wrapping their minds around why sex, gender, and race matter with respect to all matters economic than this incessant childish whine. The "let me make you feel more comfortable" denialism of Uncle Tom Reed.

Right now, I would say that these reactionaries don't want to hear from the academic left any more than New Deal liberals did. Not going to stop them from blaming them for all their problems though.

Maybe people should shoulder their own failures for a change. As for the Trumpertantrums, I am totally not having them.

hemeantwell November 29, 2016 at 5:31 pm

Since the writer led off talking about an academic setting, it would be useful to flesh out a bit more how trends in academic theoretical discussion in the 70s and 80s reflected and reinforced what was going on politically. He refers to postructuralism, which was certainly involved, but doesn't give enough emphasis to how deliberately poststructuralists - and here I'm lumping together writers like Lyotard, Foucault, and Deleuze and Guattari - were all reacting to the failure of French Maoism and Trotskyism to, as far as they were concerned, provide a satisfactory alternative to Soviet Marxism.

As groups espousing those position flailed about in the 70s, the drive to maintain hope in revolutionary prospects in the midst of macroeconomic stabilization and union reconciliation to capitalism frequently brought out the worst sectarian tendencies. While writers like Andre Gorz bid adieu to the proletariat as an agent of change and tried to tread water as social democratic reformists, the poststructuralists disjoined the critique of power from class analysis.

Foucault in particular advanced a greatly expanded wariness regarding the use of power. It was not just that left politics could only lead to ossified Soviet Marxism or the dogmatic petty despotism of the left splinters. Institutions in general mapped out social practices and attendant identities to impose on the individual. His position tended to promote a distrust not only of "grand narratives" but of organizational bonds as such. As far as I can tell, the idea of people joining together to form an institution that would enhance their social power as well as allow them to become personally empowered/enhanced was something of a categorial impossibility.

When imported to US academia, traditionally much more disengaged from organized politics than their European counterparts, these tendencies flourished. Aside from being socially cut off from increasingly anodyne political organizations, poststructuralists in the US often had backgrounds with little orientation to history or social science research addressing class relations. To them the experience of a much more immediate and palpable form of oppression through the use of language offered an immediate critical target. This dovetailed perfectly with the legalistic use of state power to end discrimination against various groups, A European disillusionment with class politics helped to fortify an American evasion or ignorance of it.

ejp November 29, 2016 at 7:41 am

There is no global left. We have only global state capitalists and global social democrats – a pseudo left. The countries where Marxist class analysis was supposedly adopted were not industrial countries where "alienation" had brought the "proletariat" to an inevitable communal mentality. The largest of these countries killed millions in order to industrialize rapidly – pretending the goal was to get to that state.

The terms left and right may not be adequate for those of us who want an egalitarian society but also see many of the obstacles to egalitarianism as human failings that are independent of and not caused by ruling elites – although they frequently serve the interests of those elites.

Bigotry. Identity centered thinking. Neither serves egalitarianism. But people cling to them. "I gotta look out for myself first." And so called left thinkers constantly pontificate about "benefits" and "privileges" that some class, sex, and race confer. Hmmm. The logic is that many of us struggling daily to keep our jobs and pay the bills must give up something in order to be fair, in order to build a better society. Given this thinking it is no surprise that so many have retreated into the illusion of safety offered by identity based thinking.

Hopefully those of us who yearn for an egalitarian movement can develop and articulate an alternate view of reality.

flora November 29, 2016 at 8:04 am

"Simultaneously, capitalism did what it does best. It packaged and repackaged, branded and rebranded every emerging identity, cloaked in its own sub-cultural nomenclature, selling itself back to new emerging identities. Soon class was completely forgotten as the global Left dedicated itself instead to policing the commons as a kind of safe zone for a multitude of difference that capitalism turned into a cultural supermarket."


"Meanwhile the global Left looked on from its Ivory Tower of identity politics and was pleased. Capitalism was spreading the wealth to oppressed brothers and sisters, and if there were some losers in the West then that was only natural as others rose in prominence. Indeed, it went further. So satisfied was it with human progress, and so satisfied with its own role in producing it, that it turned the power of language that it held most dear back upon those that opposed the new order. Those losers in Western labour markets that dared complain or fight back against the free movement of capital and labour were labelled and marginalised as "racist", "xenophobic" and "sexist". "

Great post. Thanks.

JTFaraday November 29, 2016 at 11:40 am

That is not it at all. The real reason is the right wing played white identity politics starting with the southern strategy, and those running into the waiting arms of Trump today, took the poisoned bait. Enter Bill Clinton.

People need to start taking responsibility for their own actions, and stop blaming the academics and the leftists and the wimmins and the N-ers.

JTFaraday November 29, 2016 at 12:01 pm

And THAT is why "race" has a primary place in American political discourse, however maladaptive a response today's D-Party partisans may present.

Conservatives put over their neoliberal agenda BECAUSE RACISM.

flora November 29, 2016 at 12:15 pm

But why does the Dem estab embrace the conservative neoliberal agenda? The Dem estab are smart people, can think on multiple levels, are not limited in scope, are not racist. So, why then does the Dem estab accept and promote the conservative GOP neoliberal economic agenda?

UserFriendly November 29, 2016 at 1:23 pm

Because the Dem estab isn't very smart. I doubt more than half of them could define neoliberalism much less describe how it has destroyed the country. They are mostly motivated by the identity politics aspects.

Propertius November 29, 2016 at 3:56 pm

Because the Dem estab isn't very smart.

No, but they make up for it with arrogance.

Waldenpond November 29, 2016 at 5:28 pm

Conservative is: private property, capitalism, limited taxes and transfer payments plus national security and religion.

Liberalism is not in opposition to any of that. Identity politics arose at the same time the Ds were purging the reds (socialists and communists) from their party. Liberalism/progressivism is an ameliorating position of conservatism (progressive support of labor unions to work within a private property/corporatist structure not to eliminate the system and replace it with public/employee ownership) Not too far, too fast, maybe toss out a few more crumbs.

witters November 29, 2016 at 6:00 pm

There is a foundation for identity politics on the liberal-left (see what I did there?) – it rests in the sense of moral superiority of just this liberal-left, which superiority is then patronisingly spread all over the social world – until it meets those who deny the moral superiority claim, whereupon it becomes murderous (in, of course, the name of humanity and humanitarianism).

EoinW November 29, 2016 at 8:09 am

We live in a society where no one gets what they want. The Left sees the standard of living fall and is powerless to stop it. The Right see the culture war lost 25 years ago and can't even offer a public protest, let alone move things in a conservative direction. Instead we get the agenda of the political Left to sell out at every opportunity. Plus we get the agenda of the political Right of endless war and endless security state. Eventually the political Left and Right merge and support the exact same things. Now when will the real Left and Right recognize their true enemy and join forces against it? This is why the 1% continue to prevail over the 99%. If the 1% wasn't so incompetent this would continue forever. They know how to divide, conquer and rule the 99%, however they don't know how to run a society in a sustainable way.

But I will say one thing for the Right over the Left: they have taken the initiative and are now the sole force for change. Granted, supporting a carnival barker for president is an act of desperation. Nevertheless he was the only option for change and the Right took it. Perhaps the Left offering little to nothing in the way of change reflects its lack of desperation.

After all, the Left won the culture war and continues to push its agenda to extremes(even though such extremes will guarantee a back lash that will send people running back to their closets to hide). The Left still has the MSM media on its side when it comes to cultural issues. Thus the Left is satisfied with the status quo, with gorging themselves on the crumbs which fall from the 1% table. Consequently, you not only have a political Left that has sold out, you also have the rest of the Left content to accept that sell out so long as they get their symbolic victories over their ancient enemy – the Right.

Until the Left recognize its true enemy, the fight will only come from the Right. During that process more people will filter from the Left to the Right as the latter will offer the only hope for change.

integer November 29, 2016 at 8:27 am

I think left and right as political shorthand is too limited. Perhaps the NC commentariat could define up and down versions of each of these political philosophies (ie. left and right) and start to take control of the framing. Hence we would have up-left, down-left, up-right, and down-right. I would suggest that up and down could relate to environmental viewpoints.

Just a thought that I haven't given much thought, but it would be funny (to me at least) to be able to quantify one's political stance in terms of radians.

Minnie Mouse November 29, 2016 at 1:46 pm

Left and Right are two wings on the same bird and the bird is a turkey. Where is the hard perpendicular?

Ed November 29, 2016 at 8:28 am

Excellent comment, EoinW! You just summed up years of content and commentary on this site. Obviously as the "Left" continues to defend the status quo as you describe it stops being "Left" in any meaningful way anymore.

Katharine November 29, 2016 at 9:19 am

This seems to assume that change is an intrinsic good, so that change produced by the right will necessarily be improvement. Unfortunately, change for the worse is probably more likely than change for the better under this regime. Equally unfortunately, we may have reached the point where that is the only thing that will make people reconsider what constitutes a just society and how to achieve it. In any case, this is where we are now.

flora November 29, 2016 at 10:06 am

The economic left sees its standard of living fall. The social right sees its cultural verities fall.

The Koch brothers are economically to the very right. They are socially to the left, perhaps even more socially liberal than many of your liberal friends. No joke. There's a point here, if I can figure out what it is.

susan the other November 29, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Gary Johnson claims the libertarian mantra is what I used to think was the liberal mantra: economically conservative, socially liberal.

flora November 29, 2016 at 2:07 pm

One of Koch brothers, David Koch, was the 1980 Libertarian Party's VP candidate.

Karl November 29, 2016 at 12:30 pm

"He [Trump] was the only option for change and the Right took it."

You forget Bernie. The Left tried, and Bernie bowed out, not wanting to be another "Nader" spoiler. Now, for 2020, the Left thinks it's the "their turn."

The problem is, the Left tends to blow it too (e.g. McGovern in 1972), in part because their "language" also exudes power and tends to alienate other, more moderate, parts of the coalition with arcane (and rather elitist) arguments from Derrida et. al.

Lambert Strether November 29, 2016 at 3:29 pm

> not wanting to be another "Nader" spoiler.

And a good thing, too.

rd November 29, 2016 at 5:05 pm

Trump isn't Right or Left. Trump is a can of gasoline and a match. His voters weren't voting for a Left or Right agenda. They were voting for a battering ram. That is why he got a pass on racist, misogynist, fascist statements that would have killed any other candidate.

Trump is starting out with some rallies in the near-future. The Republicans in Congress think they are going to play patty-cake on policy to push the Koch Brothers agenda. We are going to see a populist who promised jobs duke it out publicly with small government austerity deficit cutters. It will be interesting to see what happens when he calls out Republican Congressmen standing in the way of his agenda by name.

scraping_by November 29, 2016 at 8:48 am

PC is a parody of the 20th Century reform movements. I n the 60's the Black churches and the labor unions fought Jim Crow laws and explicit institutional discrimination. In the 70's the feminists worked against legal disabilities written into law. Since the Depression, the unions fought corporate management create a livable relationship between management and labor. Real struggles, real problems, real people.

[Tinfoil hat on)]

At the same time the reformist subset was losing themselves in style points, being 'nice', and passive aggressive intimidation, the corporate community was promoting the anti-government screech for the masses. That is, at the same time the people lost sight of government as their counterweight to capital, the left elite was becoming the vile joke Limbaugh and the other talk radio blowhards said they were. This may be coincidental timing, or their may be someone behind the French connection and Hamilton Fish touring college campuses in the 80's promoting subjectivism. It's true the question of 'how they feel' seems to loom large in discussions where social justice used to be.

[Tinfoil hat off]

There are many words but no communication between the laboring masses and the specialist readers. Fainting couch feminists have nothing to say to wives and mothers, the slippery redefinitions out of non-white studies turn off people who work for a living, and the promotion of smaller and more neurotic minorities are just more friction in a society growing steeper uphill.

Ulysses November 29, 2016 at 8:52 am

"She was studying Liberal Arts at US Ivy League Smith College at the time (which Aussies may recall was being run by our Jill Kerr Conway back then). So I moved in with my dancing beauty and we lived happily on her old man's purse for a year."

I hate to be overly pedantic, but Smith College is one of the historically female colleges known as the Seven Sisters: Barnard College, Bryn Mawr College, Mount Holyoke College, Radcliffe College, Smith College, Vassar College, and Wellesley College. While Barnard is connected to Columbia, and Radcliffe to Harvard, none of the other Sisters has ever been considered any part of the Ancient Eight (Ivy League) schools: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale.

I find it highly doubtful that someone, unaware of this elementary fact, actually lived off a beautiful bisexual black ballerina's (wonderful alliteration!) "old man's purse," for a full year in Northampton, MA. He may well have dated briefly someone like this, but it strains credulity that– after a full year in this environment– he would never have learned of the distinction between the Seven Sisters and the Ivy League.

The Trumpening November 29, 2016 at 9:24 am

The truth of the matter is not so important. The black ballerina riff had two functions. First it helped push an ethos for the author of openness and acceptance of various races and sexual orientations. This is a highly charged subject and so accusations of racism, etc, are never far away for someone pushing class over identity.

Second it served as a nice hook to get dawgs like me to read through the whole thing; which was a very good article. Kind of like the opening paragraph of a Penthouse Forum entry, I was hoping that the author would eventually elaborate on what happened when she pirouetted over him

What's interesting is that in an article pushing class over identity. he never tried to set his class ethos in order to convince working class people or the bourgeoisie why they should listen to him.

Ulysses November 29, 2016 at 10:10 am

I have never, ever known Brits to claim an "Oxbridge education" if they haven't attended either Oxford or Cambridge. Similarly, over several decades of knowing quite well many alumnae from Wellesley, Smith, etc. I have never once heard them speak of their colleges as "Ivy League."

I do get your point, however. Perhaps Mr. Llewellyn-Smith was deliberately writing for a non-U.S. audience, and chose to use "Ivy League" as synonymous with "prestigious." I have seen graduates of Stanford, for example, described as "Ivy Leaguers" in the foreign press.

PlutoniumKun November 29, 2016 at 10:31 am

I have never, ever known Brits to claim an "Oxbridge education" if they haven't attended either Oxford or Cambridge

As a graduate of OBU, I've heard it several times (but usually, it must be said, tongue in cheek).

7 November 29, 2016 at 9:54 am

Lisa gives a good tour

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hElhGMkRtyM

PlutoniumKun November 29, 2016 at 9:58 am

I think the gradual process whereby the left, or more specifically, the middle class left, have been consumed by an intellectually vacant went hand in hand with what I found the bizarre abandonment of interest by the left in economics and in public intellectualism. The manner in which the left simply surrendered the intellectual arguments over issues like taxes and privatisation and trade still puzzles me. I suspect it was related to a cleavage between middle class left wingers and working class activists. They simple stopped talking the same language, so there was nobody to shout 'stop' when the right simply colonised the most important areas of public policy and shut down all discussion.*

A related issue is I think a strong authoritarianist strain which runs through some identity politics. Its common to have liberals discuss how intolerant the religious or right wingers are of intellectual discussion, but even try to question some of of the shibboleths of gender/race discussions and you can immediately find yourself labelled a misogynist/homophobe/racist. Just see some of the things you can get banned from the Guardian CIF for saying.

LA Mike November 29, 2016 at 10:14 am

This site, along with the MSM, has flown way off the handle since the election loss. Democrat-bashing is the new pastime.

Our nation's problems can be remedied with one dramatic change:

Caps on executive gains in terms of multiples in both public and private companies of a big enough size. For example, the CEO at most can make 50 times the average salary. Something to that effect. And any net income gains at the end of the year that are going to be dispersed as dividends, must proportionally reach the internal laborers as well. Presto, a robust economy.

All employees must share in gains. You don't like it? Tough. The owner will still be rich.

Historically, executives topped out at 20-30 times average salary. Now it's normal for the number to reach 500-2,000. It's absurd. As if a CEO is manufacturing products, marketing, and selling them all by himself/herself. As if Tim Cook assembles iPhones and iMacs by hand and sells them. As if Leslie Moonves writes, directs, acts in, and markets each show.

Put the redistributive mechanism in the private sphere as well as in government. Then America will be great again.

integer November 29, 2016 at 10:22 am

"This site, along with the MSM, has flown way off the handle since the election loss."

I presume you forgot to add "in my opinion" to the end of this sentence.

"Our nation's problems can be remedied with one dramatic change"

Ha!

FluffytheObeseCat November 29, 2016 at 11:16 am

Bringing C level pay packages at major corporations in line with the real contributions of the recipients would be great. How would we do it? With laws or regulations or executive orders banning the federal government from doing business with any firm that failed to comply with some basic guidelines?

It's an academic point right now in any event. The Trump administration – working together with the Ryan House – is not going to make legislation or sign executive orders to do anything remotely like this. Which is one of the many reasons why bashing Democrats has taken off here I suspect. This election was theirs to lose, and they did everything in their power to toss it.

inhibi November 29, 2016 at 12:03 pm

You do realize that the wealthy are both part of and connected to the legislative branch of every single country on this planet right? As long as that remains so (as it has since the dawn of humans) then good luck trying to cap any sort of hording behavior of the wealthy.

Michael November 29, 2016 at 10:21 am

As someone who grew up in and participated in those discussions:

1) It was "women's studies" back then. "Gender studies" is actually a major improvement in how the issues are examined.

2) We'd already long since lost by then, and we were looking to make our own lives better. Creating a space where we could have good sex and a minimum of violence was better. Reagan's election, and his re-election, destroyed the Left.

3) We live in a both/and world.

Uahsenaa November 29, 2016 at 10:58 am

I feel like this piece could use the yellow waders as well. Instead of simply repeating myself every time these things come up, I proffer an annotation of a important paragraph, to give a sense of what bothers me here.

The post-structural revolution transpired [in the U.S.] before and during the end of the Cold War just as the collapse of the Old Soviet Union denuded the global Left of its raison detre. But its social justice impulse didn't die, [a certain, largely liberal tendency in the North American academy] turned inwards from a notion of the historic inevitability of the decline of capitalism and the rise of oppressed classes, towards the liberation of oppressed minorities within capitalism[, which, if you paid close attention to what was being called for, implied and sometimes even outright demanded clear restraints be placed upon the power of capital in order to meet those goals], empowered by control over the [images, public statements, and widespread ideologies–i.e. discourse {which is about more than just language}] that defined who they were.

The post-structural turn was just as much about Derrida at Johns Hopkins as it was about Foucault trying to demonstrate the subtle and not-so-subtle effects of power in the explicit context of the May '68 events in France. The economy ground to a halt, and at one point de Gaulle was so afraid of a violent revolution that he briefly left the country, leaving the government helpless to do much of anything, until de Gaulle returned shortly thereafter.

Foucault was not entirely sympathetic to the Left, at least the unions, but he was trying to articulate a politics that was just as much about liberation from capitalism as classic Marxism. To that end, discourse analysis was the means to discovering those subtle articulations of power in human relations, not an end in itself as it was for, say, Barthes.

A claim is being made here regarding the "global left" that clearly comes from a parochial, North American perspective. Indian academics, for one, never abandoned political economy for identity politics, especially since in India identity politics, religion, regionalism, castes, etc. were always a concern and remain so. It seems rather odd to me that the other major current in academia from the '90s on, namely postcolonialism, is entirely left out of this story, especially when critiques of militarism and political economy were at the heart of it.

The Trumpening November 29, 2016 at 11:36 am

The saddest point of the events of '68 is that looking back society has never been so equal as at that point in time. That was more or less the time of peak working class living standard relative to the wealthy classes. It is no accident, at least in my book, that these mostly bourgeois student activists have a tard at the end of their name in French: soixante-huitards.

In the Sixites the "Left" had control of the economic levers or power - and by Left I mean those interested in smaller differences between the classes. There is no doubt the Cold War helped the working classes as the wealthy knew it was in their interest to make capitalism a showcase of rough egalitarianism. But during the 60's the RIght held cultural sway. It was Berkeley pushing Free Speech and Lenny Bruce trying to break boundaries while the right tried to keep the Overton Window as tight and squeaky clean as possible.

But now the "Right" in the sense of those who want to increase the difference between rich and poor hold economic power while the Left police culture and speech. The provocateurs come from the right nowadays as they run roughshod over the PC police and try to smash open the racial, gender. and sexual orientation speech restrictions put in place as the left now control the Overton Window.

Sound of the Suburbs November 29, 2016 at 11:19 am

The Left and Liberal are two different things entirely.

In the UK we have three parties:

Labour – the left
Liberal – middle/ liberal
Conservative – the right

Mapping this across to the US:

Labour – X
Liberal – Democrat
Conservative – Republican

The US has been conned from the start and has never had a real party of the Left.

At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Century US ideas changed and the view of those at the top was that it would be dangerous for the masses to get any real power, a liberal Democratic party would suffice to listen to the wants of the masses and interpret them in a sensible way in accordance with the interests of the wealthy.

We don't want the masses to vote for a clean slate redistribution of land and wealth for heaven's sake.

In the UK the Liberals were descendents of the Whigs, an elitist Left (like the US Democrats).

Once everyone got the vote, a real Left Labour party appeared and the Whigs/Liberals faded into insignificance.

It is much easier to see today's trends when you see liberals as an elitist Left.

They have just got so elitist they have lost touch with the working class.

The working class used to be their pet project, now it is other minorities like LGBT and immigration.

Liberals need a pet project to feel self-righteous and good about themselves but they come from the elite and don't want any real distribution of wealth and privilege as they and their children benefit from it themselves.

Liberals are the more caring side of the elite, but they care mainly about themselves rather than wanting a really fair society.

They call themselves progressive, but they like progressing very slowly and never want to reach their destination where there is real equality.

The US needs its version of the UK Labour party – a real Left – people who like Bernie Sanders way of thinking should start one up, Bernie might even join up.

In the UK our three parties all went neo-liberal, we had three liberal parties!

No one really likes liberals and they take to hiding in the other two parties, you need to be careful.

Jeremy Corbyn is taking the Labour party back where it belongs slowly.

left – traditional left
liberal – elitist left

Sound of the Suburbs November 29, 2016 at 11:22 am

Imagine inequality plotted on two axes. Inequality between genders, races and cultures is what liberals have been concentrating on. This is the x-axis and the focus of identity politics and the liberal left.

On the y-axis we have inequality from top to bottom. 2014 – "85 richest people as wealthy as poorest half of the world" 2016– "Richest 62 people as wealthy as half of world's population"

Doing the maths and assuming a straight line .
5.4 years until one person is as wealthy as poorest half of the world.

This is what the traditional left normally concentrate on, but as they have switched to identity politics this inequality has gone through the roof. They were over-run by liberals.

Some more attention to the y-axis please.

The neoliberal view L As long as everyone, from all genders, races and cultures, is visiting the same food bank this is equality.

left – traditional left – y-axis inequality
liberal – elitist left – x -axis inequality (this doesn't affect my background of wealth and privilege)

You can see why liberals love identity politics.

UserFriendly November 29, 2016 at 1:42 pm

https://www.politicalcompass.org/counterpoint-20161110

The main page has a test you can take but that is a nice little post mortem.

susan the other November 29, 2016 at 1:20 pm

labor is being co-opted by the right: the Republican Workers Party I think this rhymes with Fascist. But then, in a world soon to be literally scrambling for high ground and rebuilding housing for 50 million people the time honored "worker" might actually have a renaissance.

UserFriendly November 29, 2016 at 1:31 pm

Identity politics does make democrats lose. The message needs to be economic. It can have the caveat that various sub groups will be paid special attention to, but if identity is the only thing talked about then get used to right wing governments.

TK421 November 29, 2016 at 3:54 pm

If identity politics is a winning issue, where are the wins?

readerOfTeaLeaves November 29, 2016 at 12:04 pm

Empowerment is not just about language, it's about capital, who's got it, who hasn't and what role government plays between them.

Empowerment is very much about capital, but the Left has never had the cajones to stare down and take apart the Right's view of 'capital' as some kind of magical elixir that mysteriously produces 'wealth'.

I ponder my own experiences, which many here probably share:

First: slogging through college(s), showing up to do a defined list of tasks (a 'job', if you will) to be remunerated with some kind of payment/salary. That was actual 'work' in order to get my hands on very small amounts of 'capital' (i.e., 'money').

Second: a few times, I just read up on science or looked at the stock pages and did a little research, and then wrote checks that purchased stock shares in companies that seemed to be exploring some intriguing technologies. In my case, I got lucky a few times, and presto! That simple act of writing a few checks made me look like a smarty. Also, paid a few bills. But the simple act of writing checks cost me n-o-t-h-i-n-g in terms of time, energy, education, physical or mental exertion.

Third: I have also had the experience of working (start ups) in situations where - literally!!! - I made less in a day in salary than I'd have made if I'd simply taken a couple thousand dollars and bought stock in the place I was working.

To summarize:
- I've had capital that I worked long and hard to obtain.
- I've had capital that took me a little research, about one minute to write a check, and brought me a handsome amount of 'capital'. (Magic!)
- I've worked in situations in which I created MORE capital for others than I created for myself. And the value of that capital expanded exponentially.

If the Left had a spine and some guts, it would offer a better analysis about what 'capital' is, the myriad forms it can take, and why any of this matters.

Currently, the Left cannot explain to a whole lot of people why their hard work ended up in other people's bank accounts. If they had to actually explain that process by which people's hard work turned into fortunes for others, they'd have a few epiphanies about how wealth is actually created, and whether some forms of wealth creation are more sustainable than other forms.

IMVHO, I never saw Hillary Clinton as able to address this elemental question of the nature of wealth creation. The Left has not traditionally given a shrewd analysis of this core problem, so the Right has been able to control this issue. Which is tragic, because the Right is trapped in the hedge fund mentality, in the tight grip of realtors and mortgage brokers; they obsess on assets, and asset classes, and resource extraction. When your mind is trapped by that kind of thinking, you obsess on the tax code, and on how to use it to generate wealth for yourself. Enter Trump.

Matthew G. Saroff November 29, 2016 at 12:07 pm

One small correction: Smith is not an Ivy League school, it is one of the "Seven Sisters:
Ivy League:
Brown
Columbia
Cornell
Dartmouth
Harvard
Penn
Princeton
Yale

Seven Sisters:
Barnard
Bryn Mawr
Mount Holyoke
Radcliffe
Smith
Vassar
Wellesley

Theo November 29, 2016 at 12:35 pm

A much more nuanced discussion of the primacy of identity politics on the Left in Britain and the US is http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/11/29/prospects-for-an-alt-left/ "Prospects for an Alt-Left," November 29, 2016, by Elliot Murphy, who teaches in the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences at University College, London.

And let's not forget that identity politics arose in the first place because of genuine discrimination, which still exists today. In forsaking identity politics in favor of one of class, we should not forget the original reasons for the rise of the phenomena, however poorly employed by some of its practitioners, and however mined by capitalism to give the semblance of tolerance and equality while obscuring the reality of intolerance and inequality.

Lambert Strether November 29, 2016 at 3:28 pm

Trivially, I would think the last thing to do is adopt the "alt-" moniker, thereby cementing the impression in the mind of the public that the two are in some sense similar.

Adamski November 29, 2016 at 6:22 pm

The blogger Lord Keynes at Social Democracy for the 21st Century at blogspot suggests Realist Left instead of alt-left. I think how people are using the term "identity politics" at the moment isn't "actual anti-racism in policy and recruitment" but "pandering to various demographics to get their loyalty and votes so that the party machine doesn't have to try and gain votes by doing economic stuff that frightens donors, lobbyists and the media". Clinton improved the female vote for Democratic president by 1 percentage point, and the black and Latino shares of the Republican were unchanged from Romney in 2012. Thus, identity politics is not working when the economy needs attention, even against the most offensive opponent.

Trigger warning November 29, 2016 at 12:41 pm

So to repress class conflicts, the kleptocracy splintered them into opposition between racists and POC, bigots and LGBTQ, patriarchal oppressors and women, etc., etc. The US state-authorized parties used it for divide and rule. The left fell for it and neutered itself. Good. Fuck the left.

Outside the Western bloc the left got supplanted with a more sensible opposition: between humans and the overreaching state. That alternative view subsumes US-style identity politics in antidiscrimination and cultural rights. It subsumes traditional class struggle in labor, migrant, and economic rights. It reforms and improves discredited US constitutional rights, and integrates it all into the concepts of peace and development. It's up and running with binding law and authoritative institutions .

So good riddance to the old left and the new left. Human rights have already replaced them in the 80-plus per cent of the world represented by UNCTAD and the G-77. That's why the USA fights tooth and nail to keep them out of your reach.

Anon November 29, 2016 at 1:05 pm

To All Commenters: thanks for the discussion. Many good, thoughtful ideas/perspectives.

Mine? Living in California (a minority white populace, broad economic engine, high living expenses (and huge homeless population) and a leader in alternative energy: Trump is what happens when you don't allow the "people" to vote for their preferred candidates (Bernie) and don't listen to a select few voters in key electoral states (WI,MI,PA).

The electorate is angry (true liberals at the Dems, voters in select electoral states at "everything"). If democracy is messy, then that's what we've got; a mess. Unfortunately, it's coming at the absolutely wrong time (Climate Change, lethal policing, financial elite impunity).

Hold this same election with different (multiple) candidates and the outcome is likely different. In the end, we all need to work and demand a more fair and Just society. (Or California is likely to secede.)

Jerry Denim November 29, 2016 at 1:20 pm

"Meanwhile the global Left looked on from its Ivory Tower of identity politics and was pleased. Capitalism was spreading the wealth to oppressed brothers and sisters, and if there were some losers in the West then that was only natural as others rose in prominence."

I can only imagine the glee of the wealthy feminists at Smith while they witnessed the white, lunch pailed, working class American male thrown out of work and into the gutter of irrelevance and despair. The perfect comeuppance for a demographic believed to be the arch-nemesis of women and minorities. Nothing seems quite so fashionable at the moment as hating white male Republicans that live outside of proper-thinking coastal enclaves of prosperity. Unfortunately I fail to see how this attitude helps the country. Seems like more divide and conquer from our overlords on high.

TK421 November 29, 2016 at 3:56 pm

You might find this interesting: link

Anon November 29, 2016 at 9:06 pm

just more whining from the Weekly Standard. While men may have been disproportionately displaced in jobs that require physical strength, many women (nurses?) likely lost their homes during the Great Financial Scam and its fallout.

The enemy is a rigged political, financial, and judicial system.

susan the other November 29, 2016 at 1:37 pm

Identity Politics gestated for a while before the 90s. Beginning with a backlash against Affirmative Action in the 70s, the Left began to turn Liberal. East Coast intellectuals who were anxious they would be precluded from entering the best schools may have been the catalyst (article from Jacobin I think).

But certainly the fall of the USSR was the thing that forced capitalism's hand. At that point capitalism had no choice but to step up and prove that it could really bring a better life to the world.

A Minsky event of biblical proportions soon followed (it only took about 10 years!) and now all is devastation and nobody has clue. But the 1990 effort could have been in earnest. Capitalists mean well but they are always in denial about the inequality they create which finally started a chain reaction in "identity politics" as reactions to the stress of economic competition bounced around in every society like a pinball machine. A tedious and insufferable game which seems to have culminated in Hillary the Relentless. I won't say capitalism is idiotic. But something is.

David November 29, 2016 at 2:47 pm

"Perhaps the NC commentariat could define up and down versions of each of these political philosophies (ie. left and right) and start to take control of the framing."

Well, I'll have a first go, since I was around at the time.

Left and Right only really make sense in the context of the distribution of power and wealth, and only when there is a difference between them about that distribution. This was historically the case for more than 150 years after the French Revolution. By the mid-1960s, there was a sense that the Left was winning, and would continue to win. Progressive taxation, zero unemployment, little real poverty by today's standards, free education and healthcare . and many influential political figures (Tony Crosland for example) saw the major task of the future as deciding where the fruits of economic growth could be most justly applied.

Three things happened that made the Left completely unprepared for the counter-attack in the 1970s. First, simple complacency. When Thatcher appeared, most people thought she'd escaped from a Monty Python sketch. The idea that she might actually take power and use it was incredible.

Secondly, the endless factionalism and struggles for power within the Left, usually over arcane points of ideology, mixed with vicious personal rivalries. The Left loves defeats, and picks over them obsessively, looking for someone else to blame.

Third, the influence of 1968 and the turning away from the real world, towards LSD and the New Age, and the search for dark and hidden truths and structures of power in the world. Fueled by careless and superficial readings of bad translations of Foucault and Derrida, leftists discovered an entire new intellectual continent into which they could extend their wars and feuds, which was much more congenial, since it involved eviscerating each other, rather than seriously taking on the forces of capitalism and the state.

And that's the very short version. We've been living with the consequences ever since. The Left has been essentially powerless, and powerlessness, of course, corrupts. There's always someone weaker than you, which is why identity politics is essentially a conservative, disciplining force, with a vested interest in the problems it has chosen to identify continuing, or it would have no reason to exist.

So until class-based politics and struggles over power and money re-start (if they ever do) I respectfully suggest that "Left" and "Right" be retired as terms that no longer have any meaning.

FluffytheObeseCat November 29, 2016 at 6:20 pm

" powerlessness, of course, corrupts. There's always someone weaker than you, which is why identity politics is essentially a conservative, disciplining force, with a vested interest in the problems it has chosen to identify "

Yes. As long as the doyens of identity politics don't have any real fear of being homeless they can happily indulge in internecine warfare. It's a lot more fun than working to get $20/hour for a bunch of snaggle-toothed guys who kind of don't like you.

integer November 29, 2016 at 6:48 pm

Very interesting. Thank you.

George Phillies November 29, 2016 at 3:06 pm

I read: "Traditional dialectical history was being supplanted by a new suite of studies based around truth as "discourse". Driven by the French post-modern thinkers of the 70s and 80s, the US academy was adopting and adapting the ideas Foucault, Derrida and Barthe to a variety of civil rights movements that spawned gender and racial studies."

Of course, I have been a college professor since the late 1970s. On the other hand, I am a physicist. The notion that truth is discourse is, in my opinion, daft, and says much about the nature of the modern liberal arts, at least as understood by many undergraduates. I have actually heard of the folks referenced in the above, and to my knowledge their influence in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics–the academic fields that are in this century actually central*–is negligible.

*Yes, I am in favor of a small number of students becoming professional historians, dramatists, and composers, but the number of these is limited.

Identity politics is a disaster ongoing for the Democratic Party, for reasons they seem to have overlooked. First, the additional identity group is white. We already see this in the South, where 90% of the white population in many states votes Republican.

When that spreads to the rest of the country, there will be a permanent Republican majority until the Republicans create a new major disaster.

Second, some Democratic commentators appear to have assumed that if your forebearers spoke Spanish, you can not be white. This belief is properly grouped with the belief that if your forebearers spoke Gaelic or Italian, you were from one of the colored races of Europe (a phrase that has faded into antiquity, but some of my friends specialize in American history of the relevant period), and were therefore not White.

Identity politics is a losing strategy, as will it appears be noticed by the losers only after it is too late.

Oregoncharles November 29, 2016 at 3:41 pm

An extremely important point, but overblown in a way that may reflect the author's background and is certainly rhetorical.

So soon we forget the Battle of Seattle. The Left has been opposed to globalization, deregulation, etc., all along. Partly he's talking about an academic pseudo-left, partly confusing the left with the Democrats and other "center-left," captured parties.

That doesn't invalidate his point. If you want to see it in full-blown, unadorned action, try Democrat sites like Salon and Raw Story. A factor he doesn't do justice to is the extreme self-righteousness that accompanies it, supported, I suppose, by the very real injustices perpetrated against minorities – and women, not a minority.

The whole thing is essentially a category error, so it would be nice to see a followup that doesn't perpetuate the error. But it's valuable for stating the problem, which can be hard to present, especially in the face of gales of self-righteousness.

TG November 29, 2016 at 6:58 pm

Well said. An excellent attack on 'identity politics.'

I mean, Barack Obama was our first black president, but most blacks didn't do very well. George W. Bush was our first retard president, and most people with cognitive handicaps didn't do very well.

But we can boil it all down to something even simpler and more primal: divide and conquer.

[Nov 30, 2016] Identity politics is a more accurate term than any alternative such as racism, fascism, ethnonationalism. In the latter case it is just the identity in question is that of the majority

Nov 30, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

RichardM 11.30.16 at 8:52 am 64

'Identity politics' is both more accurate, and more useful, a term than any alternative such as racism, fascism, ethnonationalism, etc. It's just the identity in question is that of the majority.

Voters voted for Trump, or Brexit, because they identified with him, or it. In doing so, they found that whatever they wanted is what that represents.

But the action always comes before the consequences; you can't get upset about Trump supporters being called racists unless you already identify with them. The action is the choice of identity, the consequence is the adoption of opinion.

[Nov 19, 2016] The global revolt against elites is not just driven by revulsion and loss of jobs. The era of neoliberalism is over. The era of neonationalism has just begun.

It is the end of neoliberalism and the start of the era of authoritarian nationalism, and we all need to come together to stamp out the authoritarian part.
Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberalism has been disastrous for the Rust Belt, and I think we need to envision a new future for what was once the country's industrial heartland, now little more than its wasteland ..."
"... The question of what the many millions of often-unionized factory workers, SMEs which supplied them, family farmers (now fully industrialized and owned by corporations), and all those in secondary production and services who once supported them are to actually do in future to earn a decent living is what I believe should really be the subject of debate. ..."
"... two factors (or three, I guess) have contributed to this state of despair: offshoring and outsourcing, and technology. ..."
"... Medicaid, the CHIP program, the SNAP program and others (including NGOs and private charitable giving) may alleviate some of the suffering, but there is currently no substitute for jobs that would enable men and women to live lives of dignity – a decent place to live, good educations for their children, and a reasonable, secure pension in old age. Near-, at-, and below-minimum wage jobs devoid of any benefits don't allow any of these – at most, they make possible a subsistence life, one which requires continued reliance on public assistance throughout one's lifetime. ..."
"... In the U.S. (a neoliberal pioneer), poverty is closely linked with inequality and thus, a high GINI coefficient (near that of Turkey); where there is both poverty and a very unequal distribution of resources, this inevitably affects women (and children) and racial (and ethnic) minorities disproportionately. The economic system, racism, sexism, and xenophobia are not separate, stand-alone issues; they are profoundly intertwined. ..."
"... But really, if you think about it, slavery was defined as ownership, ownership of human capital (which was convertible into cash), and women in many societies throughout history were acquired as part of a financial transaction (either through purchase or through sale), and control of their capital (land, property [farmland, herds], valuables and later, money) often entrusted to a spouse or male guardian. All of these practices were economically-driven, even if the driver wasn't 21st-century capitalism. ..."
"... Let it be said at once: Trump's victory is primarily due to the explosion in economic and geographic inequality in the United States over several decades and the inability of successive governments to deal with this. ..."
"... Both the Clinton and the Obama administrations frequently went along with the market liberalization launched under Reagan and both Bush presidencies. At times they even outdid them: the financial and commercial deregulation carried out under Clinton is an example. What sealed the deal, though, was the suspicion that the Democrats were too close to Wall Street – and the inability of the Democratic media elite to learn the lessons from the Sanders vote. ..."
"... Regional inequality and globalization are the principal drivers in Japanese politics, too, along with a number of social drivers. ..."
"... The tsunami/nuclear meltdown combined with the Japanese government's uneven response is an apt metaphor for the impact of neo-liberalism/globalization on Japan; and on the US. I then explained that the income inequality in the US was far more severe than that of Japan and that many Americans did not support the export of jobs to China/Mexico. ..."
"... I contend that in some hypothetical universe the DNC and corrupt Clinton machine could have been torn out, root and branch, within months. As I noted, however, the decision to run HRC effectively unopposed was made several years, at least, before the stark evidence of the consequences of such a decision appeared in sharp relief with Brexit. ..."
"... Just as the decline of Virginia coal is due to global forces and corporate stupidity, so the decline of the rust belt is due to long (30 year plus) global forces and corporate decisions that predate the emergence of identity politics. ..."
"... It's interesting that the clear headed thinkers of the Marxist left, who pride themselves on not being distracted by identity, don't want to talk about these factors when discussing the plight of their cherished white working class. ..."
"... The construction 'white working class' is a useful governing tool that splits poor people and possible coalitions against the violence of capital. Now, discussion focuses on how some of the least powerful, most vulnerable people in the United States are the perpetrators of a great injustice against racialised and minoritised groups. Such commentary colludes in the pathologisation of the working class, of poor people. Victims are inculpated as the vectors of noxious, atavistic vices while the perpetrators get off with impunity, showing off their multihued, cosmopolitan C-suites and even proposing that their free trade agreements are a form of anti-racist solidarity. Most crucially, such analysis ignores the continuities between a Trumpian dystopia and our satisfactory present. ..."
"... Race-thinking forecloses the possibility of the coalitions that you imagine, and reproduces ideas of difference in ways that always, always privilege 'whiteness'. ..."
"... Historical examples of ethnic groups becoming 'white', how it was legal and political decision-making that defined the present racial taxonomy, suggest that groups can also lose or have their 'whiteness' threatened. CB has written here about how, in the UK at least, Eastern and Southern Europeans are racialised, and so refused 'whiteness'. JQ has written about southern white minoritisation. Many commentators have pointed that the 'white working class' vote this year looked a lot like a minority vote. ..."
"... Given the subordination of groups presently defined as 'white working class', I wonder if we could think beyond ethnic and epidermal definition to consider that the impossibility of the American Dream refuses these groups whiteness; i.e the hoped for privileges of racial superiority, much in the same way that African Americans, Latin Americans and other racialised minorities are denied whiteness. Can a poor West Virginian living in a toxified drugged out impoverished landscape really be defined as a carrier of 'white privilege'? ..."
"... I was first pointed at this by the juxtapositions of racialised working class and immigrants in Imogen Tyler's Revolting Subjects – Social Abjection and Resistance in Neoliberal Britain but this below is a useful short article that takes a historical perspective. ..."
"... In a 1990 essay, the late Yale political scientist Juan Linz observed that "aside from the United States, only Chile has managed a century and a half of relatively undisturbed constitutional continuity under presidential government - but Chilean democracy broke down in the 1970s." ..."
"... Linz offered several reasons why presidential systems are so prone to crisis. One particularly important one is the nature of the checks and balances system. Since both the president and the Congress are directly elected by the people, they can both claim to speak for the people. When they have a serious disagreement, according to Linz, "there is no democratic principle on the basis of which it can be resolved." The constitution offers no help in these cases, he wrote: "the mechanisms the constitution might provide are likely to prove too complicated and aridly legalistic to be of much force in the eyes of the electorate." ..."
"... In a parliamentary system, deadlocks get resolved. A prime minister who lacks the backing of a parliamentary majority is replaced by a new one who has it. If no such majority can be found, a new election is held and the new parliament picks a leader. It can get a little messy for a period of weeks, but there's simply no possibility of a years-long spell in which the legislative and executive branches glare at each other unproductively.' ..."
"... In any case, as I pointed out before, given that the US is increasingly an urbanised country, and the Electoral College was created to protect rural (slave) states, the grotesque electoral result we have just seen is likely to recur, which means more and more Presidents with dubious democratic legitimacy. Thanks to Bush (and Obama) these Presidents will have, at the same time, more and more power. ..."
"... To return to my original question and answer it myself: I'm forced to conclude that the Democrats did not specifically address the revitalization – rebirth of the Rust Belt in their 2016 platform. Its failure to do so carried a heavy cost that (nearly) all of us will be forced to pay. ..."
"... This sub seems to have largely fallen into the psychologically comfortable trap of declaring that everyone who voted against their preferred candidate is racist. It's a view pushed by the neoliberals, who want to maintain he stranglehold of identity politics over the DNC, and it makes upper-class 'intellectuals' feel better about themselves and their betrayal of the filthy, subhuman white underclass (or so they see it). ..."
"... You can scream 'those jobs are never coming back!' all you want, but people are never going to accept it. So either you come up with a genuine solution (instead of simply complaining that your opponents solutions won't work; you're partisan and biased, most voters won't believe you), you may as well resign yourself to fascism. Because whining that you don't know what to do won't stop people from lining up behind someone who says that they do have one, whether it'll work or not. Nobody trusts the elite enough to believe them when they say that jobs are never coming back. Nobody trusts the elite at all. ..."
"... You sound just like the Wiemar elite. No will to solve the problem, but filled with terror at the inevitable result of failing to solve the problem. ..."
"... One brutal fact tells us everything we need to know about the Democratic party in 2016: the American Nazi party is running on a platform of free health care to working class people. This means that the American Nazi Party is now running to the left of the Democratic party. ..."
"... Back in the 1930s, when the economy collapsed, fascists appeared and took power. Racists also came out of the woodwork, ditto misogynists. Fast forward 80 years, and the same thing has happened all over again. The global economy melted down in 2008 and fascists appeared promising to fix the problems that the pols in power wouldn't because they were too closely tied to the existing (failed) system. Along with the fascists, racists gained power because they were able to scapegoat minorities as the alleged cause of everyone's misery. ..."
"... None of this is surprising. We have seen it before. Whenever you get a depression in a modern industrial economy, you get scapegoating, racism, and fascists. We know what to do. The problem is that the current Democratic party isn't doing it. ..."
"... . It is the end of neoliberalism and the start of the era of authoritarian nationalism, and we all need to come together to stamp out the authoritarian part. ..."
"... This hammered people on the bottom, disproportionately African Americans and especially single AA mothers in America. It crushed the blue collar workers. It is wiping out the savings and careers of college-educated white collar workers now, at least, the ones who didn't go to the Ivy League, which is 90% of them. ..."
"... Calling Hillary an "imperfect candidate" is like calling what happened to the Titanic a "boating accident." Trump was an imperfect candidate. Why did he win? ..."
"... "The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang. The political triumph of Donald Trump shattered the establishments in the Democratic and Republican parties – both wedded to the rule of Big Money and to the reign of meretricious politicians." ..."
"... "It is not an exaggeration to say that the Democratic Party is in shambles as a political force. Not only did it just lose the White House to a wildly unpopular farce of a candidate despite a virtually unified establishment behind it, and not only is it the minority party in both the Senate and the House, but it is getting crushed at historical record rates on the state and local levels as well. Surveying this wreckage last week, party stalwart Matthew Yglesias of Vox minced no words: `the Obama years have created a Democratic Party that's essentially a smoking pile of rubble.' ..."
"... "One would assume that the operatives and loyalists of such a weak, defeated and wrecked political party would be eager to engage in some introspection and self-critique, and to produce a frank accounting of what they did wrong so as to alter their plight. In the case of 2016 Democrats, one would be quite mistaken." ..."
"... Foreign Affairs ..."
"... "At the end of World War II, the United States and its allies decided that sustained mass unemployment was an existential threat to capitalism and had to be avoided at all costs. In response, governments everywhere targeted full employment as the master policy variable-trying to get to, and sustain, an unemployment rate of roughly four percent. The problem with doing so, over time, is that targeting any variable long enough undermines the value of the variable itself-a phenomenon known as Goodhart's law. (..) ..."
"... " what we see [today] is a reversal of power between creditors and debtors as the anti-inflationary regime of the past 30 years undermines itself-what we might call "Goodhart's revenge." In this world, yields compress and creditors fret about their earnings, demanding repayment of debt at all costs. Macro-economically, this makes the situation worse: the debtors can't pay-but politically, and this is crucial-it empowers debtors since they can't pay, won't pay, and still have the right to vote. ..."
"... "The traditional parties of the center-left and center-right, the builders of this anti-inflationary order, get clobbered in such a world, since they are correctly identified by these debtors as the political backers of those demanding repayment in an already unequal system, and all from those with the least assets. This produces anti-creditor, pro-debtor coalitions-in-waiting that are ripe for the picking by insurgents of the left and the right, which is exactly what has happened. ..."
"... "The global revolt against elites is not just driven by revulsion and loss and racism. It's also driven by the global economy itself. This is a global phenomenon that marks one thing above all. The era of neoliberalism is over. The era of neonationalism has just begun." ..."
"... They want what their families have had which is secure, paid, benefits rich, blue collar work. ..."
"... trump's campaign empathized with that feeling just by focusing on the factory jobs as jobs and not as anachronisms that are slowly fading away for whatever reason. Clinton might have been "correct", but these voters didn't want to hear "the truth". And as much as you can complain about how stupid they are for wanting to be lied to, that is the unfortunate reality you, and the Democratic party, have to accept. ..."
"... trump was offering a "bailout" writ large. Clinton had no (good) counteroffer. It was like the tables were turned. Romney was the one talking about "change" and "restructuring" while Obama was defending keeping what was already there. ..."
"... "Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course - the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check." http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/opinion/19romney.html ..."
"... Clinton toward the end offered tariffs. But the trump campaign hit back with what turned out to be a pretty strong counter attack – ""How's she going to get tough on China?" said Trump economic advisor Peter Navarro on CNN's Quest Means Business. He notes that some of Clinton's economic advisors have supported TPP or even worked on it. "" ..."
Nov 19, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

dbk 11.18.16 at 6:41 pm 130

Bruce Wilder @102

The question is no longer her neoliberalism, but yours. Keep it or throw it away?

I wish this issue was being seriously discussed. Neoliberalism has been disastrous for the Rust Belt, and I think we need to envision a new future for what was once the country's industrial heartland, now little more than its wasteland (cf. "flyover zone" – a pejorative term which inhabitants of the zone are not too stupid to understand perfectly, btw).

The question of what the many millions of often-unionized factory workers, SMEs which supplied them, family farmers (now fully industrialized and owned by corporations), and all those in secondary production and services who once supported them are to actually do in future to earn a decent living is what I believe should really be the subject of debate.

As noted upthread, two factors (or three, I guess) have contributed to this state of despair: offshoring and outsourcing, and technology. The jobs that have been lost will not return, and indeed will be lost in ever greater numbers – just consider what will happen to the trucking sector when self-driving trucks hit the roads sometime in the next 10-20 years (3.5 million truckers; 8.7 in allied jobs).

Medicaid, the CHIP program, the SNAP program and others (including NGOs and private charitable giving) may alleviate some of the suffering, but there is currently no substitute for jobs that would enable men and women to live lives of dignity – a decent place to live, good educations for their children, and a reasonable, secure pension in old age. Near-, at-, and below-minimum wage jobs devoid of any benefits don't allow any of these – at most, they make possible a subsistence life, one which requires continued reliance on public assistance throughout one's lifetime.

In the U.S. (a neoliberal pioneer), poverty is closely linked with inequality and thus, a high GINI coefficient (near that of Turkey); where there is both poverty and a very unequal distribution of resources, this inevitably affects women (and children) and racial (and ethnic) minorities disproportionately. The economic system, racism, sexism, and xenophobia are not separate, stand-alone issues; they are profoundly intertwined.

I appreciate and espouse the goals of identity politics in all their multiplicity, and also understand that the institutions of slavery and sexism predated modern capitalist economies. But really, if you think about it, slavery was defined as ownership, ownership of human capital (which was convertible into cash), and women in many societies throughout history were acquired as part of a financial transaction (either through purchase or through sale), and control of their capital (land, property [farmland, herds], valuables and later, money) often entrusted to a spouse or male guardian. All of these practices were economically-driven, even if the driver wasn't 21st-century capitalism.

Also: Faustusnotes@100
For example Indiana took the ACA Medicaid expansion but did so with additional conditions that make it worse than in neighboring states run by democratic governors.

And what states would those be? IL, IA, MI, OH, WI, KY, and TN have Republican governors. Were you thinking pre-2014? pre-2012?

To conclude and return to my original point: what's to become of the Rust Belt in future? Did the Democratic platform include a New New Deal for PA, OH, MI, WI, and IA (to name only the five Rust Belt states Trump flipped)?

kidneystones 11.18.16 at 11:32 pm ( 135 )

Thomas Pickety

" Let it be said at once: Trump's victory is primarily due to the explosion in economic and geographic inequality in the United States over several decades and the inability of successive governments to deal with this.

Both the Clinton and the Obama administrations frequently went along with the market liberalization launched under Reagan and both Bush presidencies. At times they even outdid them: the financial and commercial deregulation carried out under Clinton is an example. What sealed the deal, though, was the suspicion that the Democrats were too close to Wall Street – and the inability of the Democratic media elite to learn the lessons from the Sanders vote. "

The Guardian

kidneystones 11.18.16 at 11:56 pm 137 ( 137 )

What should have been one comment came out as 4, so apologies on that front.

I spent the last week explaining the US election to my students in Japan in pretty much the terms outlined by Lilla and PIketty, so I was delighted to discover these two articles.

Regional inequality and globalization are the principal drivers in Japanese politics, too, along with a number of social drivers. It was therefore very easy to call for a show of hands to identify students studying here in Tokyo who are trying to decide whether or not to return to areas such as Tohoku to build their lives; or remain in Kanto/Tokyo – the NY/Washington/LA of Japan put crudely.

I asked students from regions close to Tohoku how they might feel if the Japanese prime minister decided not to visit the region following Fukushima after the disaster, or preceding an election. The tsunami/nuclear meltdown combined with the Japanese government's uneven response is an apt metaphor for the impact of neo-liberalism/globalization on Japan; and on the US. I then explained that the income inequality in the US was far more severe than that of Japan and that many Americans did not support the export of jobs to China/Mexico.

I then asked the students, particularly those from outlying regions whether they believe Japan needed a leader who would 'bring back Japanese jobs' from Viet Nam and China, etc. Many/most agreed wholeheartedly. I then asked whether they believed Tokyo people treated those outside Kanto as 'inferiors.' Many do.

Piketty may be right regarding Trump's long-term effects on income inequality. He is wrong, I suggest, to argue that Democrats failed to respond to Sanders' support. I contend that in some hypothetical universe the DNC and corrupt Clinton machine could have been torn out, root and branch, within months. As I noted, however, the decision to run HRC effectively unopposed was made several years, at least, before the stark evidence of the consequences of such a decision appeared in sharp relief with Brexit.

Faustusnotes 11.19.16 at 12:14 am 138

Also worth noting is that the rust belts problems are as old as Reagan – even the term dates from the 80s, the issue is so uncool that there is a dire straits song about it. Some portion of the decline of manufacturing there is due to manufacturers shifting to the south, where the anti Union states have an advantage. Also there has been new investment – there were no Japanese car companies in the us in the 1980s, so they are new job creators, yet insufficient to make up the losses. Just as the decline of Virginia coal is due to global forces and corporate stupidity, so the decline of the rust belt is due to long (30 year plus) global forces and corporate decisions that predate the emergence of identity politics.

It's interesting that the clear headed thinkers of the Marxist left, who pride themselves on not being distracted by identity, don't want to talk about these factors when discussing the plight of their cherished white working class. Suddenly it's not the forces of capital and the objective facts of history, but a bunch of whiny black trannies demanding safe spaces and protesting police violence, that drove those towns to ruin.

And what solutions do they think the dems should have proposed? It can't be welfare, since we got the ACA (watered down by representatives of the rust belt states). Is it, seriously, tariffs? Short of going to an election promising w revolution, what should the dems have done? Give us a clear answer so we can see what the alternative to identity politics is.

basil 11.19.16 at 5:11 am

Did this go through?
Thinking with WLGR @15, Yan @81, engels variously above,

The construction 'white working class' is a useful governing tool that splits poor people and possible coalitions against the violence of capital. Now, discussion focuses on how some of the least powerful, most vulnerable people in the United States are the perpetrators of a great injustice against racialised and minoritised groups. Such commentary colludes in the pathologisation of the working class, of poor people. Victims are inculpated as the vectors of noxious, atavistic vices while the perpetrators get off with impunity, showing off their multihued, cosmopolitan C-suites and even proposing that their free trade agreements are a form of anti-racist solidarity. Most crucially, such analysis ignores the continuities between a Trumpian dystopia and our satisfactory present.

I get that the tropes around race are easy, and super-available. Privilege confessing is very in vogue as a prophylactic against charges of racism. But does it threaten the structures that produce this abjection – either as embittered, immiserated 'white working class' or as threatened minority group? It is always *those* 'white' people, the South, the Working Class, and never the accusers some of whom are themselves happy to vote for a party that drowns out anti-war protesters with chants of USA! USA!

Race-thinking forecloses the possibility of the coalitions that you imagine, and reproduces ideas of difference in ways that always, always privilege 'whiteness'.

--

Historical examples of ethnic groups becoming 'white', how it was legal and political decision-making that defined the present racial taxonomy, suggest that groups can also lose or have their 'whiteness' threatened. CB has written here about how, in the UK at least, Eastern and Southern Europeans are racialised, and so refused 'whiteness'. JQ has written about southern white minoritisation. Many commentators have pointed that the 'white working class' vote this year looked a lot like a minority vote.

Given the subordination of groups presently defined as 'white working class', I wonder if we could think beyond ethnic and epidermal definition to consider that the impossibility of the American Dream refuses these groups whiteness; i.e the hoped for privileges of racial superiority, much in the same way that African Americans, Latin Americans and other racialised minorities are denied whiteness. Can a poor West Virginian living in a toxified drugged out impoverished landscape really be defined as a carrier of 'white privilege'?

I was first pointed at this by the juxtapositions of racialised working class and immigrants in Imogen Tyler's Revolting Subjects – Social Abjection and Resistance in Neoliberal Britain but this below is a useful short article that takes a historical perspective.

Why the Working Class was Never 'White'

The 'racialisation' of class in Britain has been a consequence of the weakening of 'class' as a political idea since the 1970s – it is a new construction, not an historic one.

.

This is not to deny the existence of working-class racism, or to suggest that racism is somehow acceptable if rooted in perceived socio-economic grievances. But it is to suggest that the concept of a 'white working class' needs problematizing, as does the claim that the British working-class was strongly committed to a post-war vision of 'White Britain' analogous to the politics which sustained the idea of a 'White Australia' until the 1960s.

Yes, old, settled neighbourhoods could be profoundly distrustful of outsiders – all outsiders, including the researchers seeking to study them – but, when it came to race, they were internally divided. We certainly hear working-class racist voices – often echoing stock racist complaints about over-crowding, welfare dependency or exploitative landlords and small businessmen, but we don't hear the deep pathological racial fears laid bare in the letters sent to Enoch Powell after his so-called 'Rivers of Blood' speech in 1968 (Whipple, 2009).

But more importantly, we also hear strong anti-racist voices loudly and clearly. At Wallsend on Tyneside, where the researchers were gathering their data just as Powell shot to notoriety, we find workers expressing casual racism, but we also find eloquent expressions of an internationalist, solidaristic perspective in which, crucially, black and white are seen as sharing the same working-class interests.

Racism is denounced as a deliberate capitalist strategy to divide workers against themselves, weakening their ability to challenge those with power over their lives (shipbuilding had long been a very fractious industry and its workers had plenty of experience of the dangers of internal sectarian battles).

To be able to mobilize across across racialised divisions, to have race wither away entirely would, for me, be the beginning of a politics that allowed humanity to deal with the inescapable violence of climate change and corporate power.

*To add to the bibliography – David R. Roediger, Elizabeth D. Esch – The Production of Difference – Race and the Management of Labour, and Denise Ferreira da Silva – Toward a Global Idea of Race. And I have just been pointed at Ian Haney-López, White By Law – The Legal Construction of Race.

Hidari 11.19.16 at 8:16 am 152

FWIW 'merica's constitutional democracy is going to collapse.

Some day - not tomorrow, not next year, but probably sometime before runaway climate change forces us to seek a new life in outer-space colonies - there is going to be a collapse of the legal and political order and its replacement by something else. If we're lucky, it won't be violent. If we're very lucky, it will lead us to tackle the underlying problems and result in a better, more robust, political system. If we're less lucky, well, then, something worse will happen .

In a 1990 essay, the late Yale political scientist Juan Linz observed that "aside from the United States, only Chile has managed a century and a half of relatively undisturbed constitutional continuity under presidential government - but Chilean democracy broke down in the 1970s."

Linz offered several reasons why presidential systems are so prone to crisis. One particularly important one is the nature of the checks and balances system. Since both the president and the Congress are directly elected by the people, they can both claim to speak for the people. When they have a serious disagreement, according to Linz, "there is no democratic principle on the basis of which it can be resolved." The constitution offers no help in these cases, he wrote: "the mechanisms the constitution might provide are likely to prove too complicated and aridly legalistic to be of much force in the eyes of the electorate."

In a parliamentary system, deadlocks get resolved. A prime minister who lacks the backing of a parliamentary majority is replaced by a new one who has it. If no such majority can be found, a new election is held and the new parliament picks a leader. It can get a little messy for a period of weeks, but there's simply no possibility of a years-long spell in which the legislative and executive branches glare at each other unproductively.'

http://www.vox.com/2015/3/2/8120063/american-democracy-doomed

Given that the basic point is polarisation (i.e. that both the President and Congress have equally strong arguments to be the the 'voice of the people') and that under the US appalling constitutional set up, there is no way to decide between them, one can easily imagine the so to speak 'hyperpolarisation' of a Trump Presidency as being the straw (or anvil) that breaks the camel's back.

In any case, as I pointed out before, given that the US is increasingly an urbanised country, and the Electoral College was created to protect rural (slave) states, the grotesque electoral result we have just seen is likely to recur, which means more and more Presidents with dubious democratic legitimacy. Thanks to Bush (and Obama) these Presidents will have, at the same time, more and more power.

Eventually something is going to break.

dbk 11.19.16 at 10:39 am ( 153 )

nastywoman @ 150
Just study the program of the 'Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschland' or the Program of 'Die Grünen' in Germany (take it through google translate) and you get all the answers you are looking for.

No need to run it through google translate, it's available in English on their site. [Or one could refer to the Green Party of the U.S. site/platform, which is very similar in scope and overall philosophy. (www.gp.org).]

I looked at several of their topic areas (Agricultural, Global, Health, Rural) and yes, these are general theses I would support. But they're hardly policy/project proposals for specific regions or communities – the Greens espouse "think global, act local", so programs and projects must be tailored to individual communities and regions.

To return to my original question and answer it myself: I'm forced to conclude that the Democrats did not specifically address the revitalization – rebirth of the Rust Belt in their 2016 platform. Its failure to do so carried a heavy cost that (nearly) all of us will be forced to pay.

Soullite 11.19.16 at 12:46 pm 156

This sub seems to have largely fallen into the psychologically comfortable trap of declaring that everyone who voted against their preferred candidate is racist. It's a view pushed by the neoliberals, who want to maintain he stranglehold of identity politics over the DNC, and it makes upper-class 'intellectuals' feel better about themselves and their betrayal of the filthy, subhuman white underclass (or so they see it).

I expect at this point that Trump will be reelected comfortably. If not only the party itself, but also most of its activists, refuse to actually change, it's more or less inevitable.

You can scream 'those jobs are never coming back!' all you want, but people are never going to accept it. So either you come up with a genuine solution (instead of simply complaining that your opponents solutions won't work; you're partisan and biased, most voters won't believe you), you may as well resign yourself to fascism. Because whining that you don't know what to do won't stop people from lining up behind someone who says that they do have one, whether it'll work or not. Nobody trusts the elite enough to believe them when they say that jobs are never coming back. Nobody trusts the elite at all.

You sound just like the Wiemar elite. No will to solve the problem, but filled with terror at the inevitable result of failing to solve the problem.

mclaren 11.19.16 at 2:37 pm 160

One brutal fact tells us everything we need to know about the Democratic party in 2016: the American Nazi party is running on a platform of free health care to working class people. This means that the American Nazi Party is now running to the left of the Democratic party.

Folks, we have seen this before. Let's not descend in backbiting and recriminations, okay? We've got some commenters charging that other commenters are "mansplaining," meanwhile we've got other commenters claiming that it's economics and not racism/misogyny. It's all of the above.

Back in the 1930s, when the economy collapsed, fascists appeared and took power. Racists also came out of the woodwork, ditto misogynists. Fast forward 80 years, and the same thing has happened all over again. The global economy melted down in 2008 and fascists appeared promising to fix the problems that the pols in power wouldn't because they were too closely tied to the existing (failed) system. Along with the fascists, racists gained power because they were able to scapegoat minorities as the alleged cause of everyone's misery.

None of this is surprising. We have seen it before. Whenever you get a depression in a modern industrial economy, you get scapegoating, racism, and fascists. We know what to do. The problem is that the current Democratic party isn't doing it.

Instead, what we're seeing is a whirlwind of finger-pointing from the Democratic leadership that lost this election and probably let the entire New Deal get rolled back and wiped out. Putin is to blame! Julian Assange is to blame! The biased media are to blame! Voter suppression is to blame! Bernie Sanders is to blame! Jill Stein is to blame! Everyone and anyone except the current out-of-touch influence-peddling elites who currently have run the Democratic party into the ground.

We need the feminists and the black lives matter groups and we also need the green party people and the Bernie Sanders activists. But everyone has to understand that this is not an isolated event. Trump did not just happen by accident. First there was Greece, then there was Brexit, then there was Trump, next it'll be Renzi losing the referendum in Italy and a constitutional crisis there, and after that, Marine Le Pen in France is going to win the first round of elections. (Probably not the presidency, since all the other French parties will band together to stop her, but the National Front is currently polling at 40% of all registered French voters.) And Marine LePen is the real deal, a genuine full-on out-and-out fascist. Not a closet fascist like Steve Bannon, LePen is the full monty with everything but a Hugo Boss suit and the death's heads on the cap.

Does anyone notice a pattern here?

This is an international movement. It is sweeping the world . It is the end of neoliberalism and the start of the era of authoritarian nationalism, and we all need to come together to stamp out the authoritarian part.

Feminists, BLM, black bloc anarchiest anti-globalists, Sandernistas, and, yes, the former Hillary supporters. Because it not just a coincidence that all these things are happening in all these countries at the same time. The bottom 90% of the population in the developed world has been ripped off by a managerial and financial and political class for the last 30 years and they have all noticed that while the world GDP was skyrocketing and international trade agreements were getting signed with zero input from the average citizen, a few people were getting very very rich but nobody else was getting anything.

This hammered people on the bottom, disproportionately African Americans and especially single AA mothers in America. It crushed the blue collar workers. It is wiping out the savings and careers of college-educated white collar workers now, at least, the ones who didn't go to the Ivy League, which is 90% of them.

And the Democratic party is so helpless and so hopeless that it is letting the American Nazi Party run to the left of them on health care, fer cripes sake! We are now in a situation where the American Nazi Party is advocating single-payer nationalized health care, while the former Democratic presidential nominee who just got defeated assured everyone that single-payer "will never, ever happen."

C'mon! Is anyone surprised that Hillary lost? Let's cut the crap with the "Hillary was a flawed candidate" arguments. The plain fact of the matter is that Hillary was running mainly on getting rid of the problems she and her husband created 25 years ago. Hillary promised criminal justice reform and Black Lives Matter-friendly policing policies - and guess who started the mass incarceration trend and gave speeches calling black kids "superpredators" 20 years ago? Hillary promised to fix the problems with the wretched mandate law forcing everyone to buy unaffordable for-profit private insurance with no cost controls - and guess who originally ran for president in 2008 on a policy of health care mandates with no cost controls? Yes, Hillary (ironically, Obama's big surge in popularity as a candidate came when he ran against Hillary from the left, ridiculing helath care mandates). Hillary promises to reform an out-of-control deregulated financial system run amok - and guess who signed all those laws revoking Glass-Steagal and setting up the Securities Trading Modernization Act? Yes, Bill Clinton, and Hillary was right there with him cheering the whole process on.

So pardon me and lots of other folks for being less than impressed by Hillary's trustworthiness and honesty. Run for president by promising to undo the damage you did to the country 25 years ago is (let say) a suboptimal campaign strategy, and a distinctly suboptimal choice of presidential candidate for a party in the same sense that the Hiroshima air defense was suboptimal in 1945.

Calling Hillary an "imperfect candidate" is like calling what happened to the Titanic a "boating accident." Trump was an imperfect candidate. Why did he win?

Because we're back in the 1930s again, the economy has crashed hard and still hasn't recovered (maybe because we still haven't convened a Pecora Commission and jailed a bunch of the thieves, and we also haven't set up any alphabet government job programs like the CCC) so fascists and racists and all kinds of other bottom-feeders are crawling out of the political woodwork to promise to fix the problems that the Democratic party establishment won't.
Rule of thumb: any social or political or economic writer virulently hated by the current Democratic party establishment is someone we should listen to closely right now.

Cornel West is at the top of the current Democratic establishment's hate list, and he has got a great article in The Guardian that I think is spot-on:

"The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang. The political triumph of Donald Trump shattered the establishments in the Democratic and Republican parties – both wedded to the rule of Big Money and to the reign of meretricious politicians."

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/17/american-neoliberalism-cornel-west-2016-election

Glenn Greenwald is another writer who has been showered with more hate by the Democratic establishment recently than even Trump or Steve Bannon, so you know Greenwald is saying something important. He has a great piece in The Intercept on the head-in-the-ground attitude of Democratic elites toward their recent loss:

"It is not an exaggeration to say that the Democratic Party is in shambles as a political force. Not only did it just lose the White House to a wildly unpopular farce of a candidate despite a virtually unified establishment behind it, and not only is it the minority party in both the Senate and the House, but it is getting crushed at historical record rates on the state and local levels as well. Surveying this wreckage last week, party stalwart Matthew Yglesias of Vox minced no words: `the Obama years have created a Democratic Party that's essentially a smoking pile of rubble.'

"One would assume that the operatives and loyalists of such a weak, defeated and wrecked political party would be eager to engage in some introspection and self-critique, and to produce a frank accounting of what they did wrong so as to alter their plight. In the case of 2016 Democrats, one would be quite mistaken."

https://theintercept.com/2016/11/18/the-stark-contrast-between-the-gops-self-criticism-in-2012-and-the-democrats-blame-everyone-else-posture-now/

Last but far from least, Scottish economist Mark Blyth has what looks to me like the single best analysis of the entire global Trump_vs_deep_state tidal wave in Foreign Affairs magazine:

"At the end of World War II, the United States and its allies decided that sustained mass unemployment was an existential threat to capitalism and had to be avoided at all costs. In response, governments everywhere targeted full employment as the master policy variable-trying to get to, and sustain, an unemployment rate of roughly four percent. The problem with doing so, over time, is that targeting any variable long enough undermines the value of the variable itself-a phenomenon known as Goodhart's law. (..)

" what we see [today] is a reversal of power between creditors and debtors as the anti-inflationary regime of the past 30 years undermines itself-what we might call "Goodhart's revenge." In this world, yields compress and creditors fret about their earnings, demanding repayment of debt at all costs. Macro-economically, this makes the situation worse: the debtors can't pay-but politically, and this is crucial-it empowers debtors since they can't pay, won't pay, and still have the right to vote.

"The traditional parties of the center-left and center-right, the builders of this anti-inflationary order, get clobbered in such a world, since they are correctly identified by these debtors as the political backers of those demanding repayment in an already unequal system, and all from those with the least assets. This produces anti-creditor, pro-debtor coalitions-in-waiting that are ripe for the picking by insurgents of the left and the right, which is exactly what has happened.

"In short, to understand the election of Donald Trump we need to listen to the trumpets blowing everywhere in the highly indebted developed countries and the people who vote for them.

"The global revolt against elites is not just driven by revulsion and loss and racism. It's also driven by the global economy itself. This is a global phenomenon that marks one thing above all. The era of neoliberalism is over. The era of neonationalism has just begun."

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2016-11-15/global-Trump_vs_deep_state

efcdons 11.19.16 at 3:07 pm 161 ( 161 )

Faustusnotes @147

You don't live here, do you? I'm really asking a genuine question because the way you are framing the question ("SPECIFICS!!!!!!) suggests you don't. (Just to show my background, born and raised in Australia (In the electoral division of Kooyong, home of Menzies) but I've lived in the US since 2000 in the midwest (MO, OH) and currently in the south (GA))

If this election has taught us anything it's no one cared about "specifics". It was a mood, a feeling which brought trump over the top (and I'm not talking about the "average" trump voter because that is meaningless. The average trunp voter was a republican voter in the south who the Dems will never get so examining their motivations is immaterial to future strategy. I'm talking about the voters in the Upper Midwest from places which voted for Obama twice then switched to trump this year to give him his margin of victory).

trump voters have been pretty clear they don't actually care about the way trump does (or even doesn't) do what he said he would do during the campaign. It was important to them he showed he was "with" people like them. They way he did that was partially racialized (law and order, islamophobia) but also a particular emphasis on blue collar work that focused on the work. Unfortunately these voters, however much you tell them they should suck it up and accept their generations of familial experience as relatively highly paid industrial workers (even if it is something only their fathers and grandfathers experienced because the factories were closing when the voters came of age in the 80s and 90s) is never coming back and they should be happy to retrain as something else, don't want it. They want what their families have had which is secure, paid, benefits rich, blue collar work.

trump's campaign empathized with that feeling just by focusing on the factory jobs as jobs and not as anachronisms that are slowly fading away for whatever reason. Clinton might have been "correct", but these voters didn't want to hear "the truth". And as much as you can complain about how stupid they are for wanting to be lied to, that is the unfortunate reality you, and the Democratic party, have to accept.

The idea they don't want "government help" is ridiculous. They love the government. They just want the government to do things for them and not for other people (which unfortunately includes blah people but also "the coasts", "sillicon valley", etc.). Obama won in 2008 and 2012 in part due to the auto bailout.

trump was offering a "bailout" writ large. Clinton had no (good) counteroffer. It was like the tables were turned. Romney was the one talking about "change" and "restructuring" while Obama was defending keeping what was already there.

"Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course - the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check."
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/opinion/19romney.html

So yes. Clinton needed vague promises. She needed something more than retraining and "jobs of the future" and "restructuring". She needed to show she was committed to their way of life, however those voters saw it, and would do something, anything, to keep it alive. trump did that even though his plan won't work. And maybe he'll be punished for it. In 4 years. But in the interim the gop will destroy so many things we need and rely on as well as entrench their power for generations through the Supreme Court.

But really, it was hard for Clinton to be trusted to act like she cared about these peoples' way of life because she (through her husband fairly or unfairly) was associated with some of the larger actions and choices which helped usher in the decline.

Clinton toward the end offered tariffs. But the trump campaign hit back with what turned out to be a pretty strong counter attack – ""How's she going to get tough on China?" said Trump economic advisor Peter Navarro on CNN's Quest Means Business. He notes that some of Clinton's economic advisors have supported TPP or even worked on it. ""

http://money.cnn.com/2016/08/11/news/economy/hillary-clinton-trade/

[Nov 19, 2016] The 2016 election sounded the death knell for the identity politics by Michael Hudson

www.counterpunch.org

What is the Democratic Party's former constituency of labor and progressive reformers to do? Are they to stand by and let the party be captured in Hillary's wake by Robert Rubin's Goldman Sachs-Citigroup gang that backed her and Obama?

The 2016 election sounded the death knell for the identity politics. Its aim was to persuade voters not to think of their identity in economic terms, but to think of themselves as women or as racial and ethnic groups first and foremost, not as having common economic interests. This strategy to distract voters from economic policies has obviously failed...

This election showed that voters have a sense of when they're being lied to. After eight years of Obama's demagogy, pretending to support the people but delivering his constituency to his financial backers on Wall Street. 'Identity politics' has given way to the stronger force of economic distress. Mobilizing identity politics behind a Wall Street program will no longer work."

Michael Hudson

[Nov 18, 2016] Economists View Links for 11-17-16

Notable quotes:
"... Does Finance care about bigotry? Finance has a history of recognizing bigotry and promoting it if it makes loans more predictable. ..."
Nov 18, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
jonny bakho : , November 17, 2016 at 05:26 AM
Does Finance care about bigotry? Finance has a history of recognizing bigotry and promoting it if it makes loans more predictable.

Home values could drop if too many blacks moved to a neighborhood so finance created red-lining to protect their investments while promoting bigotry.
Finance is all in favor of tearing down minority neighborhoods or funding polluters in those neighborhoods to protect investments in gated communities and white sundown towns.

Finance is often part of the problem, not the solution.

Peter K. -> jonny bakho... , November 17, 2016 at 06:14 AM
Thought-provoking question!

All of what you say is true but I have some contrarian/devil's advocate thoughts.

Some finance people are smart and have an enlightened self-interest. Think of Robert Rubin, George Soros or Warren Buffet. They often back Democrats. Think of Chuck Schumer. Think of Hillary Clinton's speeches to the banks.

Finance often knocks down walls and will back whatever makes a profit. Often though as you say it conforms to prejudice and past practices, like red-lining.

I think of the lines from the Communist Manifesto:

"The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his "natural superiors", and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous "cash payment". It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom - Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers."

But the cash nexus isn't enough spiritually or emotionally and when living standards stagnate or decline, anxious people retreat into tribalism.

DrDick -> jonny bakho... , November 17, 2016 at 07:31 AM
"Often"? Try "usually".
JohnH -> jonny bakho... , November 17, 2016 at 07:37 AM
Sub-prime lenders targeted minorities...bigotry in action.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/15/nyregion/15subprime.html
im1dc -> jonny bakho... , November 17, 2016 at 08:57 AM
'Does Finance care about bigotry?'

When I first glances at your question I immediately answered your query like you everyone here did, 'no, finance does not care about bigotry except to the degree finance can profit from it.'

Then I realized there are too many assumptions contained in your question for me to respond b/c I was thinking inside the box and not taking in all that impacts Finance and bigotry.

Your question assumes "Finance" is Private and for profit. But that is not true is it, since there is Public, NGO, Charity, Socialistic, Communistic, et. al., Finance.

And, then there is the problem with the word "bigotry."

Your post makes clear to me that you are referring to American bigotry in housing, but that means you ignore that "bigotry" exists largely from ones individual perspective, which we know depends upon from where one sees it.

What I mean by that is Russia, China, Syria, Turkey, Iran, etc., all see and proclaim bigotry in the USA but deny bigotry in their own countries.

If your point is simply that America Finance discriminates against people of color in Housing or that such discrimination perpetuates bigotry then no one can disagree with you, imo, however, your implication that that is done to perpetuate bigotry and racism is probably false since Finance is amoral, looking to secure profit, and not out to discriminate against a particular group such as people of color as long as they can profit.

[Nov 18, 2016] Democratic Party identity politics stance is a shallow, desperate attempt to stop the Democratic Party being forced to respond to inquality issues – its no coincidence that this identity politics uprising from the hard left occurs at the same time we see a rust belt decination by globalization forces

Notable quotes:
"... "He spoke of the need to reform our trade deals so they aren't raw deals for the American people," she said. "He said he will not cut Social Security benefits. He talked about the need to address the rising cost of college and about helping working parents struggling with the high cost of child care. He spoke of the urgency of rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and putting people back to work. He spoke to the very real sense of millions of Americans that their government and their economy has abandoned them. And he promised to rebuild our economy for working people." ..."
"... And economic populists really care about race gender etc, we just think that focusing on social justice as a priority over economic equality inevitably leads to Trump or someone like him. ..."
"... I don't know who Clinton might represent more than American feminists, and they, or at least the ones over thirty with power and wealth, certainly seemed to feel possessive and empowered by her campaign and possible election. ..."
"... And white American feminists could not even get 50% of white working class women nationwide, and I suspect the numbers are even worse in the Upper Midwest swing states. In comparison, African-Americans delivered as always, 90% of their vote, across all classes and educational levels. Latinos delivered somewhere around 60-70%. ..."
"... You seem to have just ignored what Val, small, Helen, faustusnotes have been saying and inserted a straw man into the conversation. No you don't have to be a Marxist to worry about social discrimination, but being sensitive to social discrimination does make you sensitive to injustice in general. Who exactly are these people you are talking about? ..."
"... Over the past decade, a small but growing movement has realized that the Rube Goldberg neoliberalism of Obamacare–and many other parts of modern Democratic policy–is not sustainable. I've come to that conclusion painfully and slowly. I've taught the law for six years, and each year I get better at explaining how its many parts work, and fit together." ..."
"... I offered in an earlier comment, that the left looks askance at identity politics because of the recuperation of these – gender emancipation, anti-racism and anti-colonial struggles – by capital and the state. engels, above has offered Nancy Fraser linked here. ..."
"... I have no argument with the notion that Clinton was an imperfect candidate. Almost all candidates are (even a top-notch one like Obama) ..."
Nov 18, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

Hidari 11.17.16 at 7:08 am 50

The idea that people who are against capitalism (or neoliberalism, if you want) are also not generally against patriarchy and racist colonialism ( as a system ) is obviously false.

On the contrary it's people who are 'into' identity politics who generally are not against these things (again, as a system). People who are into identity politics are against racism and sexism, sure, but seem to have little if any idea as to why these ideas came into being and what social purposes they serve: they seem to think they are just arbitrary lifestyle choices, like not liking people with red hair, or preferring The Beatles to the Rolling Stones or something. And if this is true, all we have to do is 'persuade' people not to 'be racist' or 'be sexist' and then the problem goes away. Hence dehistoricised (and, let's face it, depoliticised) 'political correctness'. which seems to insist that as long as you don't, personally , call any African-American the N word and don't use the C word when talking about women, all problems of racism and sexism will be solved.

The inability to look at History, and social structures, and the history of social structures, and the purpose of these structures as a pattern of domination, inevitably leads to Clintonism (or, in the UK, Blairism), which, essentially, equals 'neoliberalism plus don't use the N word'.

Hidari 11.17.16 at 7:20 am 51 ( 51 )

I'm not going to argue directly with people because some people are obviously a bit angry about this but the question is not whether or not sexism or homophobia are good things (they obviously aren't): the question is whether or not fighting against these things are necessarily left-wing, and the answer is: depends on how you do it. For example, in both cases we have seen right-wing feminism ('spice girls feminism') and right wing gay rights (cf Peter Thiel, Milo Yiannopoulos) which sees 'breaking the glass ceiling' for women and gays as being the key point of the struggle. I know Americans got terribly excised about having the first American female President and that's understandable for its symbolic value, but here in the UK we now have our second female Prime Minister.

So what? Who gives a shit? What's changed (not least, what's changed for women?)?. Nothing.

Eventually you are going to get your first female President. You will probably even someday get your first gay President. Both of them may be Republicans. Think about that.

nastywoman 11.17.16 at 7:23 am 52

What's wrong with -(from the NYT):
'Democrats, who lost the White House and made only nominal gains in the House and Senate, face a profound decision after last week's stunning defeat: Make common cause where they can with Mr. Trump to try to win back the white, working-class voters he took from them

– while always reminding the people that F face von Clownstick actually is a Fascistic Racist Birther.

and at the same time (from E. Warren):

"He spoke of the need to reform our trade deals so they aren't raw deals for the American people," she said. "He said he will not cut Social Security benefits. He talked about the need to address the rising cost of college and about helping working parents struggling with the high cost of child care. He spoke of the urgency of rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and putting people back to work. He spoke to the very real sense of millions of Americans that their government and their economy has abandoned them. And he promised to rebuild our economy for working people."

Faustusnotes 11.17.16 at 7:52 am 53 ( Faustusnotes )

Straw man much, hidari? Just to pick a random example of someone who thinks these things are important, Ursula le guin Sure she's never made any state,nets about systematic oppression, and economic systems? The problem you have when you try to claim that these ideas "cameo to being" through social and structural factors is that you're wrong.

Everyone knows rape is as old as sex, the idea it's a product of a distorted economic system is a fiction produced by Beardy white dudes to shut the girls up until after the revolution.

Which is exactly what you "reformers" of liberalism, who think it has lost its way in the maze of identity politics, want to do. Look at the response of people like rich puchalsky to BLM – trying to pretend it's equivalent to the system of police violence directed against occupy, as if violence against white people for protesting is the same as e murder of black people simply for being in public.

It's facile, it's shallow and it's a desperate attempt to stop the Democratic Party being forced to respond to issues outside the concerns of white rust belt men – it's no coincidence that this uprising g of shallow complaints against identity politics from the hard left occurs at the same time we see a rust belt reaction against the new left. And the reaction from the hard left will be as destructive for the dems as the rust belt reaction is for the country.

nastywoman 11.17.16 at 8:04 am

– and what a 'feast' for historians this whole 'deal' must be? –
as there are all kind of fascinating thought experiment around this man who orders so loudly and in fureign language a Pizza on you-tube.

And wasn't it time that our fellow Americans find out that Adolf Hitler not only ordered Pizza or complained about his I-Phone – NO! – that he also is very upset that Trump also won the erection?

And there are endless possibilities for histerical conferences about who is the 'Cuter Fascist – or what Neo Nazis in germany sometimes like to discuss: What if Hitler only would have done 'good' fascistic things?

Wouldn't he be the role model for all of US?

Or – as there are so many other funny hypotheticals

bob mcmanus 11.17.16 at 8:23 am ( 55 )

1) And economic populists really care about race gender etc, we just think that focusing on social justice as a priority over economic equality inevitably leads to Trump or someone like him.

2) I don't know who Clinton might represent more than American feminists, and they, or at least the ones over thirty with power and wealth, certainly seemed to feel possessive and empowered by her campaign and possible election.

And white American feminists could not even get 50% of white working class women nationwide, and I suspect the numbers are even worse in the Upper Midwest swing states. In comparison, African-Americans delivered as always, 90% of their vote, across all classes and educational levels. Latinos delivered somewhere around 60-70%.

American feminism has catastrophically, an understatement, failed over the last couple generations, and class had very much to do with it, upper middle class advanced degreed liberal women largely followed Clinton's model, leaned in, and went for the bucks rather than reaching ou to their non-college sisters in the Midwest. Kinda like Mao staying in Shanghai, or Lenin in Zurich and expecting the Feminist Revolution to happen in the countryside while they profit.

Feminist Philosophers "Us"

comment, "hbaber":

Feminism, also playing to its base of upper middle class women, has also shifted its focus from economic and labor force issues, to a range of social and sexuality issues that are of less concern to most women. Personally, I feel betrayed. The male-female wage gap has not narrow appreciably since the 1990s, glass ceilings are still in place and, for me most importantly, horizontal sex segregation in the market for jobs that don't require a college degree, where roughly 2/3 of American women compete, is unabated. I looked at the most recent BLS stats for occupations by gender recently. Of the two aggregated categories of occupations that would be characterized as 'blue collar' work, women represent a little over 2 and 3 percent respectively. For specific occupations under those categories more than half (eyeballing) don't even include a sufficient number of women to report.

Again, it isn't hard to see why. Upper middle class women can easily imagine themselves, or their daughters, needing abortions. The possibility that that option would not be available is a real fear. They do not worry that they or their daughters would be stuck for most of their adult lives cashiering at Walmart, working in a call center, or doing any of the other boring, dead-end pink-collar work which are the only options most women have. And they don't even think of blue-collar work.

Which Marxists always have expected and why we strongly prefer that the UMC and bourgeois be kept out of the Party. It's called opportunism and is connected to reformism, IOW, wanting to keep the system, just replace the old bosses with your owm.

You backed the war-mongering plutocrat and handed the world to fascism. Can you show responsibility and humility for even a week?

Faustusnotes 11.17.16 at 8:38 am

aaand bob mansplains how all white feminists think!

reason 11.17.16 at 8:40 am ( 57 )

Hidari http://crookedtimber.org/2016/11/15/on-the-national-and-international-causes-of-Trump_vs_deep_state/#comment-698690

You seem to have just ignored what Val, small, Helen, faustusnotes have been saying and inserted a straw man into the conversation. No you don't have to be a Marxist to worry about social discrimination, but being sensitive to social discrimination does make you sensitive to injustice in general. Who exactly are these people you are talking about?

reason 11.17.16 at 8:43 am

Of course Hidari might have had a point if he was making an argument about campaign strategy and emphasis, but he seems to be saying more that that, or are I wrong?

basil 11.17.16 at 8:51 am ( 59 )

Thank you for this Eric. Did you see this?

Frank Pasquale recants calculated support for the ACA

Over the past decade, a small but growing movement has realized that the Rube Goldberg neoliberalism of Obamacare–and many other parts of modern Democratic policy–is not sustainable. I've come to that conclusion painfully and slowly. I've taught the law for six years, and each year I get better at explaining how its many parts work, and fit together."

basil 11.17.16 at 9:09 am

I offered in an earlier comment, that the left looks askance at identity politics because of the recuperation of these – gender emancipation, anti-racism and anti-colonial struggles – by capital and the state. engels, above has offered Nancy Fraser linked here.

CT's really weird on identity. Whose work are we thinking through? 'Gender'and 'Race' are political constructions that are most explicitly economic in nature. There were no black people before racism made certain bodies available for the inhumanity of enslavement, and thus the enrichment of the slaver class. Commentators oughtn't, I don't think, write as if there are actually existing black and white people. As Dorothy Roberts – Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-Create Race in the 21st Century (and Paul Gilroy – Against Race: Imagining Political Culture beyond the Color Line, and Karen and Barbara Fields – Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life, etc put it, it is racism that creates and naturalises race. Of course liberalism's logics of governance, the necessity of making bodies available for control and exploitation constantly reproduce and entrench race (and gender).

I offered that racialised people, particularly those gendered as women/queer, the ones who have been refused whiteness, are also super suspicious of these deployments of identity politics, especially by non-subjugated persons who've a political project for which they are weaponising subordinated identities. It really is abusive and exploitative.

We must listen better. As the racialised and gendered are pointing out, it is incredible that it has taken the threat of Trump, and now their ascension for liberals to tune in to the violence waged against racialised, gendered, queer lives and bodies by White Supremacy. History will remember that #BLM (like the record deportations, the Clintons' actual-existing-but-to-liberals invisible border wall, the Obamacare farce in the OP, de Blasio's undocumented persons list, Rahm in Chicago, the employment of David Brock, Melania's nudes, the crushing poverty of racialised women, the exploitation of those violated by Trump, the re-invasion and desecration of Native American territory) happened under a liberal presidency. That liberal presidency responded to BLM with a Blue Lives Matter law. This is evidence of liberalism's inherently violent attitude towards those it pretends to care about. All this preceded Trump.

If you are for gender emancipation or anti-race/racism, be against these all the time, not just to tar your temporary electoral foes. Be feminist when dancing Yemenis gendered as women – some of the poorest, most vulnerable humans – are droned at weddings. Be feminist when Mexico's farmers gendered as women are dying at NAFTA's hand. Be feminist when poor racialised queer teens are dying in the streets as you celebrate the right of wealthy gays to marry. Be feminist and reject people who've got multiple sexual violence accusations against them and those who help them cover these up and shame the victims. Be feminist and anti-racist and reject people who glory in making war on poor defenceless people. Be feminist and anti-racist and reject white nationalists gendered female who call racialised groups 'super-predators' to court racists. Reject people who say of public welfare improvements – it will never, ever happen, this is not Denmark. The people who need those services the most are vulnerable humans, racialised and gendered as women. Never say that politicians who put poor migrants in cages on isolated islands are nice people. They absolutely aren't. Some of this is really easy.

A racialised gendered voice, Mayukh Sen at the bottom has a different take.

These puerile rhetorical gestures reveal the people for whom 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday was simply a glass ceiling left unbroken by a woman who launched a massive Yemeni bombing campaign. Perhaps as a mechanic of coping, it has become incredibly sexy for a certain class of liberals to dodge any responsibility for the lives they, too, have compromised. They aren't the same ones who have to worry about who will be the first person to call them a terrorist faggot ..For the rest of us, the victory of this fascist is a confirmation of the biases we have known all along, no matter public liberal consciousness's inabilities to wrangle them into submission."

nastywoman 11.17.16 at 9:17 am ( 61 )

@55
and why do we always have to make so many words about 'Cookie Baking'?

Another Nick 11.17.16 at 9:28 am

faustusnotes, can you comment on the "identity politics" behind the Dem choice of Lena Dunham for celebrity campaign mascot?

In what ways might be she have been expected to appeal/not appeal to eg. rural voters?

How do you think decisions like that played out for the Dems?

nastywoman 11.17.16 at 9:33 am ( 63 )

– and just a suggestion I have learned from touring the rust belt – waaay before it was as 'fashionable' as it is right now.

While we in some hotel room in Scranton fought our Ideological fights -(we had a French Camera Assistant who insisted that America one day will elect 'a Fascist like Hitler') –
the mechanic we had scheduled to interview about his Camaro SS for the next day – had exchanged all the spark plucks of his car.

bob mcmanus above,
I really think social justice and economic justice are bound together, and that Universal Healthcare, for example, as a fundamental right is a basic feminist and anti-racist goal. Most particularly because the vulnerability of these groups, their economic hardship, their very capacity to live, to survive is at stake in a marketised health care system. Racialised outcomes for ACA.

Similarly with marketised higher education and skills training. How cynical that HRC used HBCUs to argue that racialised people would suffer from free public tertiary education!

Dorothy Roberts' work for example has interesting perspectives on how race is created in part through the differentiated access to healthcare. They discuss how this plays out for both maternal and child mortality, and for breast cancer survival. 'Oh, the evidence shows that racialised women are more vulnerable to x condition'. Exactly, because a racist and marketised system denies them necessary healthcare.

Val 11.17.16 at 10:07 am ( 65 )

A funny thing about the new comment moderation regime is that you can get two people posting in rapid succession saying pretty much opposite things like me then Hidari. It seems as if (although again it's not very clear) Hidari is suggesting capitalism created sexism and racism? Or something like that? I'm definitely on better ground there though: patriarchy and sexism predate capitalism.

In fairness though, I think I understand what Hidari and engels are getting at. I know lots of young people, women and people of colour, who probably fit their description in a way. They are young, smart, probably a bit naive, and at least some of them probably from privileged backgrounds. They appear driven by desire to succeed in a hierarchical academic system that still tends to be dominated by white men at the upper levels, and they don't seem to question the system much, at least not openly.

But can I just mention, some of our hosts here are actually fairly high up in that system. Why aren't they being attacked as liberals or proponents of "identity politics"? Why is it only when women or people of colour try to succeed in that very same academic system that it becomes so wrong?

faustusnotes 11.17.16 at 11:55 am

Another Nick, yes I can comment on that. I think it's fascinating that the old beardy leftists and berniebros are fixated on Lena Dunham. Who else is fixated on Lena Dunham? The right bloggers, who are inflamed with rage at everything she does. Who else is fixated on identity politics? The right bloggers, who present it as everything wrong with the modern left, PC gone mad, censorship etc. You guys should get together and have a party – you're made for each other.

Also, the Democrats don't have a "celebrity campaign mascot." So what are you actually talking about?

Val 11.17.16 at 12:02 pm ( 69 )

basil @ 64
basil what in any conceivable world makes you think that feminists on CT don't know about the issues you're talking about? I work in a school of public health and my entire work consists of trying to address those sorts of issues, plus ecological sustainability.

Seriously this has all gone beyond straw-wo/manning. Some people here are talking to others who exist only in their minds or something. The world's gone mad.

engels 11.17.16 at 12:06 pm

Umm Val and FaustusNoted, which part of-

identity politics isn't the same thing as feminism, anti-racism, LGBT politics, etc. They're all needed now more than ever.

-was unclear to you?

I DON'T want to live in a world in which 'patriarchy and racism' are okay, I want to live in a world in which America has a real Left, which represents the working class (black, white, gay, straight, female, male-like other countries do to a greater lesser degree), and which is the only thing that has a shot at stopping its descent into outright fascism.

engels 11.17.16 at 12:19 pm ( 71 )

it often gets thrown around as a kind of all-encompassing epithet

Point taken-but there's really nothing I can do to stop other people misusing terms (until the Dictatorship of the Prolerariat anyway :) )

Cranky Observer 11.17.16 at 12:27 pm

= = = faustnotes @ 4:14 am The reason these conservative Dems come from those states is that those states don't support radical welfare provisions – they don't want other people getting a free lunch, and value personal responsibility over welfarism. = = =

As long as you don't count enormous agricultural, highway, postal service, and military base subsidies as any form of "welfare", sure. And that's not even counting the colossal expenditures on military force and bribes in the Middle East to keep the diesel-fuel-to-corn unroofed chemical factory (i.e. farming) industry running profitably. Apparently the Republicans who hate the US Postal Service with a vengeance, for example, are unaware that in 40% of the land area of the United States FedEx, UPS, etc turn over the 'last hundred mile' delivery to the USPS.

engels 11.17.16 at 12:29 pm ( 73 )

Ps I'm kind of surprised this thread has been allowed to go on so long but I'm going to bow out now-feel free to continue trying to smear me behind my back

bob mcmanus 11.17.16 at 12:35 pm

Would a real leftist let her daughter marry a hedge-fund trader? I suppose they are a step above serial killers and child molesters, but c'mon. Quotes from Wiki, rearranged in chronological order.

Beginning in the early 1990s, Mezvinsky used a wide variety of 419 scams. According to a federal prosecutor, Mezvinsky conned using "just about every different kind of African-based scam we've ever seen."[11] The scams promise that the victim will receive large profits, but first a small down payment is required. To raise the funds needed to front the money for the fraudulent investment schemes he was being offered, Mezvinsky tapped his network of former political contacts, dropping the name of the Clinton family to convince unwitting marks to give him money.[12]

In March 2001, Mezvinsky was indicted and later pleaded guilty to 31 of 69 felony charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud

"In July 2010, Mezvinsky married Chelsea Clinton in an interfaith ceremony in Rhinebeck, New York.[12] The senior Clintons and Mezvinskys were friends in the 1990s ; their children met on a Renaissance Weekend retreat in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina."

Subsequent to his graduations, he worked for eight years as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs before leaving to join a private equity firm, but later quit. In 2011, he co-founded a Manhattan-based hedge fund firm, Eaglevale Partners, with two longtime partners, Bennett Grau and Mark Mallon.[1][8] In May 2016, The New York Times reported that the Eaglevale Hellenic Opportunity Fund is said to have lost nearly 90 percent of its value, [which equated to a 90% loss to investors] and sources say it will be shutting down.[9][10] Emails discovered as part of Wikileaks' release of the "Podesta emails" seemed to indicate that Mezvinsky had used his ties to the Clinton family to obtain investors for his hedge fund through Clinton Foundation events.

Marcotte, Sady Doyle, Valenti, the Clinton operatives knew this stuff.

Prioritizing women's liberation over economic populism, just a little bit, doesn't quite cover it. Buying fully into the most rapacious aspects of predatory capitalism is more lie it.

If Clinton is your champion, and I am still seeing sads at Jezebel, you have zero credilibity on economic issues. She's one of the worst crooks to ever run for President. And we will see how Obama fares on his immediate switch from President to his ambition to be a venture capitalist for Silicon Valley. I'll bet Obama gets very very lucky!

Yan 11.17.16 at 1:20 pm ( 75 )

Val @49 &
"they (at some confused and probably not fully conscious level) do seem to assume that violence and oppression of women and people of colour never used to happen when white men (including white working class men) had 'good jobs' .. patriarchy and racism predate neoliberalism by centuries."
"patriarchy and sexism predate capitalism."

I think this framing is misleading, because you're historically comparing forms of oppression with economic systems, rather than varieties of one or the other.

Wouldn't the more relevant comparison be something like: patriarchy and sexism are coeval with classism and economic inequality?

What concretely are racism and sexism, after all, but ideologies dependent upon power inequalities, and what are those but inequalities of social position (man, father) and wealth and ownership that make possible that power difference? How could sexism or racism have existed without class or inequality?

novakant 11.17.16 at 1:32 pm

I have no argument with the notion that Clinton was an imperfect candidate. Almost all candidates are (even a top-notch one like Obama)

Strawman (I have heard a lot of times before):

nobody criticizes Clinton for being imperfect, people criticize her for being a terrible, terrible candidate and the DNC establishment for supporting this terrible, terrible candidate: she lost against TRUMP for goodness' sake.

Layman 11.17.16 at 1:47 pm ( 77 )

bob mcmanus: "In March 2001, Mezvinsky was indicted and later pleaded guilty to 31 of 69 felony charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud "

Well, either I'm shocked to discover that Clinton was involved in her daughter's husband's father's crimes some 20 years ago, or you've demonstrated that Clinton's daughter married a man whose father was a crook. I'm guessing the latter, though I'm left wondering WTF that has to do with Clinton's character.

engels 11.17.16 at 2:03 pm

One more:

"we cannot ignore the fact that the vast majority of white men and a majority of white women, across class lines, voted for a platform and a message of white supremacy, Islamophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-science, anti-Earth, militarism, torture, and policies that blatantly maintain income inequality. The vast majority of people of color voted against Trump, with black women registering the highest voting percentage for Clinton of any other demographic (93 percent). It is an astounding number when we consider that her husband's administration oversaw the virtual destruction of the social safety net by turning welfare into workfare, cutting food stamps, preventing undocumented workers from receiving benefits, and denying former drug felons and users access to public housing; a dramatic expansion of the border patrol, immigrant detention centers, and the fence on Mexico's border; a crime bill that escalated the war on drugs and accelerated mass incarceration; as well as NAFTA and legislation deregulating financial institutions.

"Still, had Trump received only a third of the votes he did and been defeated, we still would have had ample reason to worry about our future.

"I am not suggesting that white racism alone explains Trump's victory. Nor am I dismissing the white working class's very real economic grievances. It is not a matter of disaffection versus racism or sexism versus fear. Rather, racism, class anxieties, and prevailing gender ideologies operate together, inseparably, or as Kimberlé Crenshaw would say, intersectionally."
https://bostonreview.net/forum/after-trump/robin-d-g-kelley-trump-says-go-back-we-say-fight-back

Faustusnotes 11.17.16 at 2:38 pm ( 79 )

Bob, a real feminist would not tell her daughter who to marry.

You claim to be an intersectional feminist but you say things like this, and you blamed feminists for white dudes voting for trump. Are you a parody account?

Michael Sullivan 11.17.16 at 2:41 pm

Mclaren @ 25 "As for 63.7% home ownership stats in 2016, vast numbers of those "owned" homes were snapped up by giant banks and other financial entities like hedge funds which then rented those homes out. So the home ownership stats in 2016 are extremely deceptive."

There may be ways in which the home ownership statistic is deceptive or fuzzy, but it's hard for me to imagine this being one of them.

The definition you seem to imply for home ownership (somebody somewhere owns the home) would result in by definition 100% home ownership every year.

I'm pretty sure that the measure is designed to look at whether one of the people who live in a home actually owns it. Ok, let's stuff the pretty sure, etc. and use our friend google. So turns out that the rate in question is the percentage of households where one of the people in the household owns the apartment/house. If some banker or landlord buys a foreclosure and then rents the house out, that will be captured in the homeownership rate.

Where that rate may understate issues is that it doesn't consider how many people are in a household. So if lots of people are moving into their parent's basements, or renting rooms to/from unrelated people in their houses, those people won't be counted as renters or homeowners, since the rate tracks households, not people. Where that will be captured is in something called the headship rate, and represents the ratio of households to adults. That number dropped by about 1.5% between the housing bust and the recession, and appears to be recovering or at worst near bottom (mixed data from two different surveys) as of 2013. So, yes, the drop in home ownership rate is probably understated (hence the headline of my source article below) somewhat, but not enormously as you imply, and the difference is NOT foreclosures - unless they are purchased by another owner occupier, they DO show up in the home ownership rate. The difference is larger average households: more adults living with other adults.

Here's my source: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/30/why-the-homeownership-rate-is-misleading/?_r=0

Yan 11.17.16 at 3:03 pm ( 81 )

engels @70, "I DON'T want to live in a world in which 'patriarchy and racism' are okay, I want to live in a world in which America has a real Left, which represents the working class (black, white, gay, straight, female, male-like other countries do to a greater lesser degree), and which is the only thing that has a shot at stopping its descent into outright fascism."

So many prominent people and such a large majority of voters have be so completely wrong, so many times, on everything, for a year that I really am not confident about making any strong political claims anymore. However, it has opened me to possibilities I wouldn't have previously considered.

One is this: I'm beginning to wonder (not believe, wonder), if a lot of working class and lower-to-middle middle class Americans, including a lot of the ones who didn't vote or who switched from Obama to Trump (not including those who were always on the right) would already be on board, or in the long run be able of getting on board, with the picture Engels paints at 70.

That possibility seems outrageous because we assume this general group are motivated *primarily* by resentment against women and people of color. But the more I read news stories that directly interview them–not the rally goers, but the others–the more it seems that they will side with *almost anyone* who they think is on their side, and *against anyone* who they think has contempt or indifference for them. Put another way: they are driven by equal opportunity resentment to whatever prejudices serve their resentment, rather than by a deeply engrained, fixed, rigid, kind of prejudice. (I have in mind a number of recent articles, but one thing that struck me is interviews with racially diverse factory workers, with Latinos and women, who voted for Trump.)

I also begin to wonder if there is as much, if not more, resistance to wide solidarity among the left than among this group of voters who aren't really committed to either party. I begin to think that many on the left are strongly, deeply, viscerally opposed to the middle range working class, period, and not *just* to the racism and sexism that are all too often found there. I worry the Democrats' class contempt, their conservative disgust for their social, educational, professional, and economic inferiors is growing–partly based in reasonable disgust at the horrendous excesses of the right, but partly class-based, pathological, and subterranean, independent of that reasonable side.

I say this not to justify Trump voters or non-voters or to vilify Democrats, but actually with a bit of optimism. For a very long time even many on the far left has looked at the old Marxist model of wide solidarity among the proletariat with skepticism. But I'm wondering if that skepticism is still justified. I wonder if what stands in the way of a truly diverse working class movement is not the right but the left. If they're ready, and we've not been paying attention.

Are we really faced with a working class that rejects diversity? Are we really opposing to them a professional class that truly accepts diversity? Isn't there a kind of popular solidarity appearing, in awkward and sometimes ugly ways, that is destroying the presumptions of that opposition?

engels 11.17.16 at 3:32 pm Cornel West:

In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy. And since the most explosive fault lines in present-day America are first and foremost racial, then gender, homophobic, ethnic and religious, we gird ourselves for a frightening future. What is to be done? First we must try to tell the truth and a condition of truth is to allow suffering to speak. For 40 years, neoliberals lived in a world of denial and indifference to the suffering of poor and working people and obsessed with the spectacle of success. Second we must bear witness to justice. We must ground our truth-telling in a willingness to suffer and sacrifice as we resist domination. Third we must remember courageous exemplars like Martin Luther King Jr, who provide moral and spiritual inspiration as we build multiracial alliances to combat poverty and xenophobia, Wall Street crimes and war crimes, global warming and police abuse – and to protect precious rights and liberties .

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/17/american-neoliberalism-cornel-west-2016-election

WLGR 11.17.16 at 4:00 pm ( 83 )

Val: "It seems as if (although again it's not very clear) Hidari is suggesting capitalism created sexism and racism? Or something like that? I'm definitely on better ground there though, patriarchy and sexism predate capitalism."

If Hidari is coming from a more-or-less mainline contemporary Marxist position, this is a misunderstanding of their argument, which is no more a claim that capitalism "created sexism and racism" than it would be a claim that capitalism created class antagonism. What's instead being suggested is that just as capitalism has systematized a specific form of class antagonism (wage laborer vs. capitalist) as a perceived default whose hegemony and expansion shapes our perception of all other potential antagonisms as anachronistic exceptions, so it has done the same with specific forms of sexism and racism, the forms we might call "patriarchy" and "white supremacy". In fact the argument is typically that antagonisms like white vs. POC and man vs. woman function as normalized exceptions to the normalized general antagonism of wage laborer vs. capitalist, a space where the process known since Marx as "primitive accumulation" can take place through the dispossession of women and POC (up to and including the dispossession of their very bodies) in what might otherwise be considered flagrant violation of liberal norms.

As theorists like Rosa Luxemburg and Silvia Federici have elaborated, this process of accumulation is absolutely essential to the continued functioning of capitalism - the implication being that as much as capitalism and its ideologists pretend to oppose oppressions like racism and sexism, it can never actually destroy these oppressions without destroying its own social basis in the process. Hence neoliberal "identity politics", in which changing the composition of the ruling elite (now the politician shaking hands with Netanyahu on the latest multibillion-dollar arms deal can be a black guy with a Muslim-sounding name! now the CEO of a company that employs teenaged girls to stitch T-shirts for 12 hours a day can be a woman!) is ideologically akin to wholesale liberation, functions not as a way to destroy racism and sexism but as a compromise gambit to preserve them.

Another Nick 11.17.16 at 4:01 pm f

austusnotes, I asked if you could comment on the "identity politics" behind the Dem choice of Lena Dunham for celebrity campaign mascot. ie. their strategy. What they were planning and thinking? And how you think it played out for them?

Not a list of your favourite boogeymen.

"So what are you actually talking about?"

I was attempting to discuss the role of identity politics in the Clinton campaign. I asked about Dunham because she was the most prominent of the celebrities employed by the Clinton campaign to deploy identity politics. ie. she appeared most frequently in the media on their behalf.

http://www.vulture.com/2016/11/lena-dunham-fake-psa-hillary-clinton-rap-video.html

Not seeing much discussion about actual policies there, economic or otherwise. It's really just an entire interview based on identity politics. With bonus meta-commentary on identity politics.

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/nov/11/lena-dunham-election-letter-trump

Lena blames "white women, so unable to see the unity of female identity, so unable to look past their violent privilege, and so inoculated with hate for themselves," for the election loss.

Why didn't the majority of white women vote for Hillary? Because they "hate themselves".

[Nov 16, 2016] The my way or the highway rhetoric from Clinton supporters on the campaign was sickening

Notable quotes:
"... The "my way" or the highway rhetoric from Clinton supporters on the campaign was sickening. When Bush was called a warmonger for Iraq, that was fine. When Clinton was called a warmonger for Iraq and Libya, the Clintonites went on the offensive, often throwing around crap like "if she was a man, she wouldn't be a warmonger!" ..."
"... On racism: "what I can say, from personal experience, is that the racism of my youth was always one step removed. I never saw a family member, friend, or classmate be mean to the actual black people we had in town. We worked with them, played video games with them, waved to them when they passed. What I did hear was several million comments about how if you ever ventured into the city, winding up in the "wrong neighborhood" meant you'd get dragged from your car, raped, and burned alive. Looking back, I think the idea was that the local minorities were fine as long as they acted exactly like us." ..."
"... I'm telling you, the hopelessness eats you alive. And if you dare complain, some liberal elite will pull out their iPad and type up a rant about your racist white privilege. Already, someone has replied to this with a comment saying, "You should try living in a ghetto as a minority!" Exactly. To them, it seems like the plight of poor minorities is only used as a club to bat away white cries for help. Meanwhile, the rate of rural white suicides and overdoses skyrockets. Shit, at least politicians act like they care about the inner cities." ..."
"... And the rural folk are called a "basket of deplorables" and other names. If you want to fight racism, a battle that is Noble and Honorable, you have to understand the nuances between racism and hopelessness. The wizard-wannabe idiots are a tiny fringe. The "deplorables" are a huge part of rural America. If you alienate them, you're helping the idiots mentioned above. ..."
Nov 16, 2016 | marknesop.wordpress.com
ucgsblog, November 14, 2016 at 3:50 pm
Erm, atheist groups are known to target smaller Christian groups with lawsuits. A baker was sued for refusing to bake a cake for a Gay Wedding. She was perfectly willing to serve the couple, just not at the wedding. In California we had a lawsuit over a cross in a park. Atheists threatened a lawsuit over a seal. Look, I get that there are people with no life out there, but why are they bringing the rest of us into their insanity, with constant lawsuits. There's actually a concept known as "Freedom from Religion" – what the heck? Can you imagine someone arguing about "Freedom from Speech" in America? But it's ok to do it to religious folk! And yes, that includes Muslims, who had to fight to build a Mosque in New York. They should've just said it was a Scientology Center

The "my way" or the highway rhetoric from Clinton supporters on the campaign was sickening. When Bush was called a warmonger for Iraq, that was fine. When Clinton was called a warmonger for Iraq and Libya, the Clintonites went on the offensive, often throwing around crap like "if she was a man, she wouldn't be a warmonger!"

The problem with healthcare in the US deserves its own thread, but Obamacare did not fix it; Obamacare made it worse, especially in the rural communities. The laws in schools are fundamentally retarded. A kid was suspended for giving a friend Advil. Another kid suspended for bringing in a paper gun. I could go on and on. A girl was expelled from college for trying to look gangsta in a L'Oreal mask. How many examples do you need? Look at all of the new "child safety laws" which force kids to leave in a bubble. And when they enter the Real World, they're fucked, so they pick up the drugs. In cities it's crack, in farmvilles it's meth.

Hillary didn't win jack shit. She got a plurality of the popular vote. She didn't win it, since winning implies getting the majority. How many Johnson votes would've gone to Trump if it was based on popular vote, in a safe state? Of course the biggest issue is the attack on the way of life, which is all too real. I encourage you to read this, in order to understand where they're coming from: http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-reasons-trumps-rise-that-no-one-talks-about/

"Nothing that happens outside the city matters!" they say at their cocktail parties, blissfully unaware of where their food is grown. Hey, remember when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans? Kind of weird that a big hurricane hundreds of miles across managed to snipe one specific city and avoid everything else. To watch the news (or the multiple movies and TV shows about it), you'd barely hear about how the storm utterly steamrolled rural Mississippi, killing 238 people and doing an astounding $125 billion in damage. But who cares about those people, right? What's newsworthy about a bunch of toothless hillbillies crying over a flattened trailer? New Orleans is culturally important. It matters. To those ignored, suffering people, Donald Trump is a brick chucked through the window of the elites. "Are you assholes listening now?"

On racism: "what I can say, from personal experience, is that the racism of my youth was always one step removed. I never saw a family member, friend, or classmate be mean to the actual black people we had in town. We worked with them, played video games with them, waved to them when they passed. What I did hear was several million comments about how if you ever ventured into the city, winding up in the "wrong neighborhood" meant you'd get dragged from your car, raped, and burned alive. Looking back, I think the idea was that the local minorities were fine as long as they acted exactly like us."

"They're getting the shit kicked out of them. I know, I was there. Step outside of the city, and the suicide rate among young people fucking doubles. The recession pounded rural communities, but all the recovery went to the cities. The rate of new businesses opening in rural areas has utterly collapsed."

^ That, I'd say, is known as destroying their lives. Also this:

"In a city, you can plausibly aspire to start a band, or become an actor, or get a medical degree. You can actually have dreams. In a small town, there may be no venues for performing arts aside from country music bars and churches. There may only be two doctors in town - aspiring to that job means waiting for one of them to retire or die. You open the classifieds and all of the job listings will be for fast food or convenience stores. The "downtown" is just the corpses of mom and pop stores left shattered in Walmart's blast crater, the "suburbs" are trailer parks. There are parts of these towns that look post-apocalyptic.

I'm telling you, the hopelessness eats you alive. And if you dare complain, some liberal elite will pull out their iPad and type up a rant about your racist white privilege. Already, someone has replied to this with a comment saying, "You should try living in a ghetto as a minority!" Exactly. To them, it seems like the plight of poor minorities is only used as a club to bat away white cries for help. Meanwhile, the rate of rural white suicides and overdoses skyrockets. Shit, at least politicians act like they care about the inner cities."

And the rural folk are called a "basket of deplorables" and other names. If you want to fight racism, a battle that is Noble and Honorable, you have to understand the nuances between racism and hopelessness. The wizard-wannabe idiots are a tiny fringe. The "deplorables" are a huge part of rural America. If you alienate them, you're helping the idiots mentioned above.

[Nov 16, 2016] Black Lives Matter actually means Black Lives Matter First

Notable quotes:
"... "Class first" amongst men of the left has always signaled "ME first." What else could it mean? ..."
"... So "Black Lives Matter" actually means "Black Lives Matter First". Got it. So damn tired of identity politics. ..."
"... Meanwhile, in the usual way of such things, #BlackLivesMatter hashtag activism became fashionable, as the usual suspects were elevated to celebrity status by elites. Nothing, of course, was changed in policy, and so in a year or so, matters began to bubble on the ground again. ..."
"... I'm not tired of identity politics. I'm just tired of some identity-groups accusing other identity-groups of "identity-politics". I speak in particular of the Identity Left. ..."
"... Identity politics, any identity, is going to automatically split voters into camps and force people to 'pick' a side. ..."
"... The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton, I and many other writers argued that the bourgeois feminism Clinton represents works against the interests of the vast majority of women. This has turned out to be even more true than we anticipated. That branding of feminism has delivered to us the most sexist and racist president in recent history: Donald Trump. ..."
"... Hillary spoke to the million-dollar feminists-of-privilege who identified with her multi-million dollar self and her efforts to break her own Tiffany Glass ceiling. And she worked to get many other women with nothing to gain to identify with Hillary's own breaking of Hillary's own Tiffany Glass ceiling. ..."
"... For me (at least) the essence of the "Left" is justice. When we speak of Class we are putting focus on issues of economic justice. Class is the material expression of economic (and therefore political) stratification. Class is the template for analysing the power dynamics at play in such stratification. ..."
"... in the absence of economic justice, it's very difficult to obtain ANY kind of justice - whether such justice be of race, gender, legal, religious or sexual orientation. ..."
"... I find it indicative that the 1% (now) simply don't care one way or another about race or gender etc, PROVIDED it benefits or, has no negative effects on their economic/political interests. ..."
"... "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning." ..."
"... In ship sinking incidents, where a lot of people are dumped in the water, many adopt the strategy of trying to use others as flotation devices, pushing them under while the "rich class" tootle off in the lifeboats. Sounds like a winner, all right. ..."
"... The rich class has enlisted the white indentured servants as their Praetorian Guard. The same play as after Bacon's Rebellion. ..."
"... Is what is actually occurring another Kristallnacht, or the irreducible susurrus of meanness and idiocy that is part of every collection of humans? It would be nice not to get suckered into elevating the painful minima over the importance of getting ordinary people to agree on a real common enemy, and organizing to claim and protect. ..."
"... If even one single banker had gone to jail for the mess (fed by Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II) that blew up in 2008, we would be having a different conversation. We are in a huge legitimacy crisis, in part because justice was never served on those who made tens of millions via fraud. ..."
"... The Malignant Overlords - the King or Queen, the Financial Masters of the Universe,, the tribal witch doctor- live by grazing on the wealth of the natural world and the productivity of their underlings. There are only a few thousand of them but they control finance and the Money system, propaganda organizations (in the USA called the Media) land and agriculture, "educational" institutions and entire armies of Homeland Insecurity police. ..."
"... Under them there are the sycophants– generals and officers, war profiteers and corporate CEO's, the intelligentsia, journalists, fake economists, and entertainment and sports heroes who grow fat feasting on the morsels left over after the .0001% have fed. And far below the Overlords are the millions of professional Bureaucrats whose job security requires unquestioning servitude. ..."
"... Race, gender identity, religion, etc. are the false dichotomies by which the oligarchs divide us. Saudi princes, African American millionaires, gay millionaires etc. are generally treated the same by the oligarchs as wasp millionaires. The true dichotomy is class, that is the dichotomy which dare not speak its name. ..."
"... For Trump it was so easy. He just says something that could be thought of as racist and then his supporters watch as the media morphs his words, removes context, or just ignores any possible non-racist motivations for his words. ..."
"... Just read the actual Mexican- rapists quote. Completely different then reported by the media. Fifteen years ago my native born Mexican friend said almost exactlly the same thing. ..."
"... whilst his GOP colleagues publicly recoiled in horror, there is no question that Trump was merely making explicit what Republicans had been doing for decades – since the days of Nixon in 1968. The dog whistle was merely replaced by a bull horn. ..."
"... Yes, class identity can be a bond that unites. However, in the US the sense of class identity remains underdeveloped. In fact, it is only with the Sanders campaign that large swaths of the American public have had practical and sustained exposure to the concept of class as a political force. For most of the electorate, the language of class is still rather alien, particularly since the "equality of opportunity" narrative even now is not completely overthrown. ..."
"... It seems inevitable that populist sentiment, which both Sanders and Trump have used to electoral advantage, will spill over into a variety of economic nationalism. ..."
"... Obama was a perfect identity candidate, i.e., not only capable of getting the dem nomination, but the presidency and than not jailing banksters NO MATTER WHAT THEY DID, OR WILL DO… ..."
"... One truism about immigration, to pick a topical item, is that uncontrolled immigration leads to overwhelming an area whether city, state or country. Regardless of how one feels about the other aspects of immigration, there are some real, unacknowledged limits to the viability of the various systems that must accommodate arrivals, particularly in the short term. Too much of a perceived ..."
"... There is an entrenched royal court, not unlike Versailles in some respects, where the sinecures, access to the White House tennis court (remember Jimmy Carter and his forest for the trees issues) or to paid "lunches in Georgetown" or similar trappings. Inflow of populist or other foreign ideas behind the veil of media and class secrecy represents a threat to overwhelm, downgrade (Sayeth Yogi Berra: It is so popular that nobody goes there anymore) or remove those perks, and to cause some financial, psychic or other pain to the hangers-on. ..."
"... Pretty soon, word filters out through WikiLeaks, or just on the front page of a newspaper in the case of the real and present corruption (What do you mean nobody went to jail for the frauds?). In those instances, the tendency of a populace to remain aloof with their bread and circuses and reality shows and such gets strained. ..."
"... Some people began noticing and the cognitive dissonance became to great to ignore no matter how many times the messages were delivered from on high. That led to many apparent outbursts of rational behavior ..."
Nov 16, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
pretzelattack November 15, 2016 at 6:03 pm

if poor whites were being shot by cops at the rate urban blacks are, they would be screaming too. blm is not a corporate front to divide us, any more than acorn was a scam to help election fraud.

Kukulkan November 15, 2016 at 9:37 pm

They are. Why #BlackLivesMatter should be #PoorLivesMatter.

Also available as a video .

Jay Mani November 15, 2016 at 9:41 am

It's lazy analysis to suggest Race was a contributing factor. On the fringes, Trump supporters may have racial overtones, but this election was all about class. I applaud sites like NC in continually educating me. What you do is a valuable service.

JTFaraday November 15, 2016 at 1:02 pm

"We won't need a majority of the dying "white working class" in our present and future feminine, multiracial American working class. Just a minority."

Indeed, this site has featured links to articles elaborating the demographic composition of today's "working class". And yet we still have people insisting that appeals to the working class, and policies directed thereof, must "transcend" race and gender.

JTFaraday November 15, 2016 at 1:11 pm

And, of course this "class first" orientation became a bone of contention between some loud mouthed "men of the left" during the D-Party primary and "everyone else" and that's why the "Bernie Bro" label stuck. It didn't help the Sanders campaign either.

"Class first" amongst men of the left has always signaled "ME first." What else could it mean?

Fieryhunt November 15, 2016 at 6:22 pm

So "Black Lives Matter" actually means "Black Lives Matter First". Got it. So damn tired of identity politics.

Lambert Strether November 15, 2016 at 11:16 pm

This is, actually, complicated. It's a reasonable position that black lives don't matter because they keep getting whacked by cops and the cops are never held accountable. Nobody else did anything, so people on the ground stood up, asserted themselves, and as part of that created #BlackLivesMatter as an online gathering point; all entirely reasonable. #AllLivesMatter was created, mostly as deflection/distraction, by people who either didn't like the movement, or supported cops, and of course if all lives did matter to this crowd, they would have done something about all the police killings in the first place.

Meanwhile, in the usual way of such things, #BlackLivesMatter hashtag activism became fashionable, as the usual suspects were elevated to celebrity status by elites. Nothing, of course, was changed in policy, and so in a year or so, matters began to bubble on the ground again.

Activist time (we might say) is often slower than electoral time. But sometimes it's faster; see today's Water Cooler on the #AllOfUs people who occupied Schumer's office (and high time, too). To me, that's a very hopefully sign. Hopefully, not a bundle of groups still siloed by identity (and if that's to happen, I bet that will happen by working together. Nothing abstract).

different clue November 16, 2016 at 3:18 am

I'm not tired of identity politics. I'm just tired of some identity-groups accusing other identity-groups of "identity-politics". I speak in particular of the Identity Left.

pretzelattack November 15, 2016 at 10:04 pm

what "men of the left"? the "bernie bro" label only stuck for Clinton supporters who had already had the kool aid. Much like the "putin stooge" label.

Knot Galt November 15, 2016 at 1:52 pm

"We won't need a majority of the dying "white working class" in our present and future feminine, multiracial American working class. Just a minority."

That statement is as myopic a vision as the current political class is today. The statement offends another minority, or even a possible majority. Identity politics, any identity, is going to automatically split voters into camps and force people to 'pick' a side.

Focus! The larger battle is is about Class.

Knot Galt November 15, 2016 at 2:06 pm

To clarify, from Links:

In False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton, I and many other writers argued that the bourgeois feminism Clinton represents works against the interests of the vast majority of women. This has turned out to be even more true than we anticipated. That branding of feminism has delivered to us the most sexist and racist president in recent history: Donald Trump.

different clue November 16, 2016 at 3:21 am

I wonder if there is an even simpler more colorful way to say that. Hillary spoke to the million-dollar feminists-of-privilege who identified with her multi-million dollar self and her efforts to break her own Tiffany Glass ceiling. And she worked to get many other women with nothing to gain to identify with Hillary's own breaking of Hillary's own Tiffany Glass ceiling.

If the phrase "Tiffany Glass ceiling" seems good enough to re-use, feel free to re-use it one and all.

animalogic November 15, 2016 at 8:58 pm

For me (at least) the essence of the "Left" is justice. When we speak of Class we are putting focus on issues of economic justice. Class is the material expression of economic (and therefore political) stratification. Class is the template for analysing the power dynamics at play in such stratification.

Class is the primary political issue because it not only affects everyone, but in the absence of economic justice, it's very difficult to obtain ANY kind of justice - whether such justice be of race, gender, legal, religious or sexual orientation.

I find it indicative that the 1% (now) simply don't care one way or another about race or gender etc, PROVIDED it benefits or, has no negative effects on their economic/political interests.

JTMcPhee November 15, 2016 at 12:01 pm

"Just how large a spike in hate crime there has been remains uncertain, however. Several reports have been proven false, and Potok cautioned that most incidents reported to the Southern Poverty Law Center did not amount to hate crime.

Levin of California State University added that there was no "independent evidence to sustain the contention that there were more [hate crimes] in the days after the Trump election than after 9/11."" http://www.voanews.com/a/hate-crimes-surge-after-donald-trump-victory/3596298.html

All us ordinary people are insecure. Planet is becoming less habitable, war everywhere, ISDS whether we want it or not, group sentiments driving mass behaviors with extra weapons from our masters, soil depletion, water becoming a Nestle subsidiary, all that. But let us focus on maintaining our favored position as more insecure than others, with a "Yes, but" response to what seems to me the fundamental strategic scene:

"There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

Those mostly white guys, but a lot of women too, the "rich classs," are ORGANIZED, they have a pretty simple organizing principle ("Everything belong us") that leads to straightforward strategies and tactics to control all the levers and fulcrums of power. The senators in Oregon are "on the right side" of a couple of social issues, but they both are all in for "trade deals" and other big pieces of the "rich class's" ground game. In ship sinking incidents, where a lot of people are dumped in the water, many adopt the strategy of trying to use others as flotation devices, pushing them under while the "rich class" tootle off in the lifeboats. Sounds like a winner, all right.

TarheelDem November 15, 2016 at 12:43 pm

The comparison with 9/11 is instructive. That is not minimizing hate crimes. Within days after 9/11, my Sikh neighbor was assaulted and called a "terrorist". He finally decided to stop wearing a turban, cut his hair, and dress "American". My neighborhood was not ethnically tense, but it is ethnically diverse, and my neighbor had never seen his assailant before.

Yes, the rich classes are organized…organized to fleece us with unending wars. But don't minimize other people's experience of what constitutes a hate crime.

In 1875, the first step toward the assassination of a black, "scalawag", or "carpetbagger" public official in the South was a friendly visit from prominent people asking him to resign, the second was night riders with torches, the third was night riders who killed the public official. Jury nullification (surprise, surprise) made sure that no one was punished at the time. In 1876, the restoration of "home rule' in Southern states elected in a bargain Rutherford B. Hayes, who ended Reconstruction and the South entered a period that cleansed "Negroes, carpetbaggers, and scalawags" from their state governments and put the Confederate generals and former plantation owners back in charge. That was then called The Restoration. Coincidence that that is the name of David Horowitz's conference where Donna Brazile was hobnobbing with James O'Keefe?

The rich class has enlisted the white indentured servants as their Praetorian Guard. The same play as after Bacon's Rebellion.

JTMcPhee November 15, 2016 at 5:02 pm

Not minimizing - my very peaches-and-cream Scots-English daughter is married to a gentleman from Ghana whose skin tones are about as dark as possible.
the have three beautiful children, and are fortunate to live in an area that is a hotbed of "tolerance." I have many anecdotes too.

Do anecdotes = reality in all its complexity? Do anecdotes = policy? Is what is actually occurring another Kristallnacht, or the irreducible susurrus of meanness and idiocy that is part of every collection of humans? It would be nice not to get suckered into elevating the painful minima over the importance of getting ordinary people to agree on a real common enemy, and organizing to claim and protect.

readerOfTeaLeaves November 15, 2016 at 12:13 pm

If even one single banker had gone to jail for the mess (fed by Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II) that blew up in 2008, we would be having a different conversation. We are in a huge legitimacy crisis, in part because justice was never served on those who made tens of millions via fraud.

When there's no justice, its as if the society's immune system is not functioning.

Expect more strange things to appear, almost all of them aimed at sucking the remaining resources out of the system with the knowledge that they'll never face consequences for looting. The fact that they're killing the host does not bother them.

animalogic November 15, 2016 at 9:09 pm

Corruption is both cause & effect of gross wealth inequities. Of course to the 1% it's not corruption so much as merely what is owed as of a right to the privileged. (Thus, the most fundamental basis of liberal democracy turns malignant: that ALL, even rulers & law makers are EQUALLY bound by the Law).

Crazy Horse November 15, 2016 at 12:14 pm

Here is the way it works:

The Malignant Overlords - the King or Queen, the Financial Masters of the Universe,, the tribal witch doctor- live by grazing on the wealth of the natural world and the productivity of their underlings. There are only a few thousand of them but they control finance and the Money system, propaganda organizations (in the USA called the Media) land and agriculture, "educational" institutions and entire armies of Homeland Insecurity police.

Under them there are the sycophants– generals and officers, war profiteers and corporate CEO's, the intelligentsia, journalists, fake economists, and entertainment and sports heroes who grow fat feasting on the morsels left over after the .0001% have fed. And far below the Overlords are the millions of professional Bureaucrats whose job security requires unquestioning servitude.

Once upon a time there was what was known as the Middle Class who taught school or built things in factories, made mortgage payments on a home, and bought a new Ford every other year. But they now are renters, moving from one insecure job in one state to an insecure one across the country. How else are they to maintain their sense of self-worth except by identifying a tribe that is under them? If the members of the inferior tribe look just like you they might actually be more successful and not a proper object of scorn. But if they have a black or brown skin and speak differently they are the perfect target to make you feel that your life is not a total failure.

It's either that or go home and kick the dog or beat the wife. Or join the Army where you can go kill a few foreigners and will always know your place in the hierarchy.

Class "trumps" race, but racial prejudice has its roots far back in human social history as a tribal species where the "other" was always a threat to the tribe's existence.

Elizabeth Burton November 15, 2016 at 12:46 pm

Anyone who thinks it is only class and not also race is wearing some very strange blinders

No one with any sense is saying that, Katharine, and constantly bringing it up as some kind of necessary argument (which, you may recall, was done as a way of trying to persuade people of color Sanders wasn't working for them in the face of his entire history) perpetuates the falsehood dichotomy that it has to be one or the other.

I can understand the desire to reduce the problems to a single issue that can then be subjected to our total focus, but that's what's been done for the last fifty years; it doesn't work. Life is too complex and messy to be fixed using magic pills, and Trump's success because those who've given up hope of a cure are still enormously vulnerable to snake oil.

mark ó dochartaigh November 15, 2016 at 11:04 pm

Race, gender identity, religion, etc. are the false dichotomies by which the oligarchs divide us. Saudi princes, African American millionaires, gay millionaires etc. are generally treated the same by the oligarchs as wasp millionaires. The true dichotomy is class, that is the dichotomy which dare not speak its name.

kramer November 15, 2016 at 1:34 pm

yes, racism still exist, but the Democrats want to make it the primary issue of every election because it is costs them nothing. I've never liked the idea of race based reparations because they seem like another form of racism.

However, if the neolibs really believe racial disparity and gender issues are the primary problems, why don't they ever support reparations or a large tax on rich white people to pay the victims of racism and sexism and all the other isms?

Perhaps its because that would actually cost them something. I think what bothers most of the Trumpets out here in rural America is not race but the elevation of race to the top of the political todo list.

For Trump it was so easy. He just says something that could be thought of as racist and then his supporters watch as the media morphs his words, removes context, or just ignores any possible non-racist motivations for his words.

Just read the actual Mexican- rapists quote. Completely different then reported by the media. Fifteen years ago my native born Mexican friend said almost exactlly the same thing. Its a trap the media walks right into. I think most poor people of whiteness do see racism as a sin, just not the only or most awful sin. As for Trump being a racist, I think he would have to be human first.

sinbad66 November 15, 2016 at 9:43 am

whilst his GOP colleagues publicly recoiled in horror, there is no question that Trump was merely making explicit what Republicans had been doing for decades – since the days of Nixon in 1968. The dog whistle was merely replaced by a bull horn.

Spot-on statement. Was watching Fareed Zakaria (yeah, I know, but he makes legit points from time to time) and was pleasantly surprised that he called Bret Stephens, who was strongly opposed to Trump, out on this. To see Stephens squirm like a worm on a hook was priceless.

JW November 15, 2016 at 9:46 am

"…what divides people rather than what unites people…"

Yes, class identity can be a bond that unites. However, in the US the sense of class identity remains underdeveloped. In fact, it is only with the Sanders campaign that large swaths of the American public have had practical and sustained exposure to the concept of class as a political force. For most of the electorate, the language of class is still rather alien, particularly since the "equality of opportunity" narrative even now is not completely overthrown.

Sanders and others on an ascendant left in the Democratic Party - and outside the Party - will continue to do the important work of building a sense of class consciousness. But more is needed, if the left wants to transform education into political power. Of course, organizing and electing candidates at the local and state level is enormously important both to leverage control of local institutions and - even more important - train and create leaders who can effectively use the tools of political power. But besides this practical requirement, the left also needs to address - or co-opt, if you will - the language of economic populism, which sounds a lot like economic nationalism.

It seems inevitable that populist sentiment, which both Sanders and Trump have used to electoral advantage, will spill over into a variety of economic nationalism. Nationalist sentiment is the single most powerful unifying principle available, certainly more so than the concept of class, at least in America. I don't see that changing anytime soon, and I do see the Alt-Right using nationalism as a lever to try to coax the white working class into their brand of identity politics. But America's assimilationist, "melting pot" narrative continues to be attractive to most people, even if it is under assault in some quarters. So I think moving from nationalism to white identity politics will not so easy for the Alt-Right. On the other hand, picking up the thread of economic nationalism can provide the left with a powerful tool for bringing together women, minorities and all who are struggling in this economy. This becomes particularly important if it is the case that technology already makes the ideal of full (or nearly full) employment nothing more than a chimera, thus forcing the question of a guaranteed annual income. Establishing that kind of permanent safety net will only be possible in a polity where there are firm bonds between citizens and a marked sense of responsibility for the welfare of all.

fresno dan November 15, 2016 at 10:05 am

And if the Democratic Party is honest, it will have to concede that even the popular incumbent President has played a huge role in contributing to the overall sense of despair that drove people to seek a radical outlet such as Trump. The Obama Administration rapidly broke with its Hope and "Change you can believe in" the minute he appointed some of the architects of the 2008 crisis as his main economic advisors, who in turn and gave us a Wall Street friendly bank bailout that effectively restored the status quo ante (and refused to jail one single banker, even though many were engaged in explicitly criminal activity).

====================================================================
For those who think its just Hillary, its not. There is no way there will ever be any acknowledgement of Obama;s real failures – he will no more be viewed honestly by dems than he could be viewed honestly by repubs. Obama was a perfect identity candidate, i.e., not only capable of getting the dem nomination, but the presidency and than not jailing banksters NO MATTER WHAT THEY DID, OR WILL DO…
I imagine Trump will be one term, and I imagine we return in short order to our nominally different parties squabbling but in lock step with regard to their wall street masters…

Altandmain November 15, 2016 at 10:09 am

That's the problem though – the Democrats are not honest and have not been for a very long time.

Enquiring Mind November 15, 2016 at 12:30 pm

Democrats seem to be the more visible or clumsy in their attempts to govern themselves and the populace, let alone understand their world. By way of illustration, consider the following.

One truism about immigration, to pick a topical item, is that uncontrolled immigration leads to overwhelming an area whether city, state or country. Regardless of how one feels about the other aspects of immigration, there are some real, unacknowledged limits to the viability of the various systems that must accommodate arrivals, particularly in the short term. Too much of a perceived good thing may be hazardous to one's health. Too much free stuff exhausts the producers, infrastructure and support networks.

To extend and torture that concept further, just because, consider the immigration of populist ideas to Washington. There is an entrenched royal court, not unlike Versailles in some respects, where the sinecures, access to the White House tennis court (remember Jimmy Carter and his forest for the trees issues) or to paid "lunches in Georgetown" or similar trappings. Inflow of populist or other foreign ideas behind the veil of media and class secrecy represents a threat to overwhelm, downgrade (Sayeth Yogi Berra: It is so popular that nobody goes there anymore) or remove those perks, and to cause some financial, psychic or other pain to the hangers-on.

Pretty soon, word filters out through WikiLeaks, or just on the front page of a newspaper in the case of the real and present corruption (What do you mean nobody went to jail for the frauds?). In those instances, the tendency of a populace to remain aloof with their bread and circuses and reality shows and such gets strained.

Some people began noticing and the cognitive dissonance became to great to ignore no matter how many times the messages were delivered from on high. That led to many apparent outbursts of rational behavior (What, you sold my family and me out and reduced our prospects, so why should we vote for a party that takes us for granted, at best), which would be counter-intuitive by some in our media.

[Nov 16, 2016] Neoliberal MSM use identity politics as a stalking horse to rob the public blind, while spewing invectives about racism and mysogony when the public stops buying their neoliberal propaganda

Notable quotes:
"... The funny thing is that they've so learned to love the smell of their own farts (or propaganda) that they internalized an image of enlightened progressivism for themselves. This Trump election was probably the first clue that their self image is faulty and not widely shared by others. They are not taking it well. ..."
Nov 16, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

sleepy November 16, 2016 at 7:31 am

NYTimes still blames race on Trump's winning over Obama supporters in Iowa:

Trump clearly sensed the fragility of the coalition that Obama put together - that the president's support in heavily white areas was built not on racial egalitarianism but on a feeling of self-interest. Many white Americans were no longer feeling that belonging to this coalition benefited them.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/20/magazine/donald-trumps-america-iowa-race.html

Racial egalitarianism wasn't the reason for white support for Obama in 2008 and 2012 in Iowa. It reflected racial egalitarianism, but that support had to do with perceived economic self-interest, just as the switch to Trump in 2016 did.

And what on earth is wrong with self-interest as a reason for voting?

jgordon November 16, 2016 at 8:39 am

Right. These corporatists use identity politics as a stalking horse to rob the public blind, and then they spew invectives about racism and mysogony wherever the public stops buying the bullcrap.

The funny thing is that they've so learned to love the smell of their own farts (or propaganda) that they internalized an image of enlightened progressivism for themselves. This Trump election was probably the first clue that their self image is faulty and not widely shared by others. They are not taking it well.

Leigh November 16, 2016 at 8:59 am

Yup, it's not the self-interest in voting – it's the self-interest in Governing

nycTerrierist November 16, 2016 at 8:32 am

Obama: "Let them eat p.r.!"

[Nov 16, 2016] Ultimately the Establishment Democrats have nobody but themselves to blame for this one

Notable quotes:
"... Judging by the volume of complaints from Clinton sycophants insisting that people did not get behind Clinton or that it was purely her gender, they won't. Why would anyone get behind Clinton save the 1%? Her policies were pro-war, pro-Wall Street, and at odds with what the American people needed. Also, we should judge based on policy, not gender and Clinton comes way short of Sanders in that regard – in many regards, she is the antithesis of Sanders. ..."
"... "Establishment Democrats have nobody but themselves to blame for this one. The only question is whether or not they are willing to take responsibility" I disagree. In my view, it is not a question at all. They have never taken responsibility for anything, and they never will. ..."
"... What would make Democrats focus on the working class? Nothing. They have lost and brought about destruction of the the Unions, which was the Democratic Base, and have become beholden to the money. The have noting in common with the working class, and no sympathy for their situation, either. ..."
"... What does Bill Clinton, who drive much of the policy in the '90s, and spent his early years running away form the rural poor in Arkansas (Law School, Rhodes Scholarship), have in common with working class people anywhere? ..."
"... Iron law of institutions applies. Position in the D apparatus is more important than political power – because with power come blame. ..."
"... I notice Obama worked hard to lose majorities in the house and Senate so he could point to the Republicans and say "it was their fault" except when he actually wanted something, and made it happen (such as TPP). ..."
"... Agreed with the first but not the second. It's typical liberal identity politics guilt tripping. That won't get you too far on the "white side" of Youngstown Ohio. ..."
"... Also suspect that the working-class, Rust-Belt Trump supporters will soon be thrown under the bus by their Standard Bearer, if the Transition Team appointments are any indicator: e.g. Privateers at SSA. ..."
"... My wife teaches primary grades in an inner city school. She has made it clear to me over the years that the challenges her children are facing are related to poverty, not race. She sees a big correlation between the financial status of a family and its family structure (one or more parents not present or on drugs) and the kids' success in school. Race is a minor factor. ..."
"... The problem with running on a class based platform in America is, well, it's America; and in good ol' America, we are taught that anyone can become a successful squillionare – ya know, hard work, nose-to-the-grindstone, blah, blah, blah. ..."
"... The rags to riches American success fable is so ingrained that ideas like taxing the rich a bit more fall flat because everyone thinks "that could be me someday. Just a few house flips, a clever new app, that ten-bagger (or winning lottery ticket) and I'm there" ("there" being part of the 1%). ..."
"... The idea that anyone can be successful (i.e. rich) is constantly promoted. ..."
"... I think this fantasy is beginning to fade a bit but the "wealth = success" idea is so deeply rooted in the American psyche I don't think it will ever fade completely away. ..."
"... If you spend time in hardscrabble, white upstate New York, or eastern Kentucky, or my own native West Texas, and you take an honest look at the welfare dependency, the drug and alcohol addiction, the family anarchy - which is to say, the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog - you will come to an awful realization. It wasn't Beijing. It wasn't even Washington, as bad as Washington can be. It wasn't immigrants from Mexico, excessive and problematic as our current immigration levels are. It wasn't any of that. ..."
"... Nothing happened to them. There wasn't some awful disaster. There wasn't a war or a famine or a plague or a foreign occupation. Even the economic changes of the past few decades do very little to explain the dysfunction and negligence - and the incomprehensible malice - of poor white America. So the gypsum business in Garbutt ain't what it used to be. There is more to life in the 21st century than wallboard and cheap sentimentality about how the Man closed the factories down. ..."
"... The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. Forget your goddamned gypsum, and, if he has a problem with that, forget Ed Burke, too. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump's speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. ..."
"... White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America ..."
"... Poor or Poorer whites have been demonised since the founding of the original Colonies, and were continuously pushed west to the frontiers by the ruling elites of New England and the South as a way of ridding themselves of "undesirables", who were then left to their own resources, and clung together for mutual assistance. ..."
"... White trash is a central, if disturbing, thread in our national narrative. The very existence of such people – both in their visibility and invisibility – is proof that American society obsesses over the mutable labels we give to the neighbors we wish not to notice. "They are not who we are". But they are who we are and have been a fundamental part of our history, whether we like it or not". ..."
"... "To be sure, Donald Trump did make a strong appeal to racists, homophobes, and misogynists " ..."
"... working class white women ..."
"... Obama is personally likeable ..."
"... History tells us the party establishment will move further right after election losses. And among the activist class there are identity purity battles going on. ..."
"... Watch as this happens yet again: "In most elections, U.S. politicians of both parties pretend to be concerned about their issues, then conveniently ignore them when they reach power and implement policies from the same Washington Consensus that has dominated the past 40 years." That is why we need a strong third party, a reformed election system with public support of campaigns and no private money, and free and fair media coverage. But it ain't gonna happen. ..."
"... Obviously, if the Democrats nominate yet another Clintonite Obamacrat all over again, I may have to vote for Trump all over again . . . to stop the next Clintonite before it kills again. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com
Altandmain November 15, 2016 at 10:08 am

Ultimately the Establishment Democrats have nobody but themselves to blame for this one. The only question is whether or not they are willing to take responsibility for what happened.

Judging by the volume of complaints from Clinton sycophants insisting that people did not get behind Clinton or that it was purely her gender, they won't. Why would anyone get behind Clinton save the 1%? Her policies were pro-war, pro-Wall Street, and at odds with what the American people needed. Also, we should judge based on policy, not gender and Clinton comes way short of Sanders in that regard – in many regards, she is the antithesis of Sanders.

Class trumps race, to make a pun. If the left doesn't take the Democratic Party back and clean house, I expect that there is a high probability that 2020's election will look at lot like the 2004 elections.

I'd recommend someone like Sanders to run. Amongst the current crop, maybe Tulsi Gabbard or Nina Turner seem like the best candidates.

Carla November 15, 2016 at 10:42 am

"Establishment Democrats have nobody but themselves to blame for this one. The only question is whether or not they are willing to take responsibility" I disagree. In my view, it is not a question at all. They have never taken responsibility for anything, and they never will.

Synoia November 15, 2016 at 10:13 am

What would make Democrats focus on the working class? Nothing. They have lost and brought about destruction of the the Unions, which was the Democratic Base, and have become beholden to the money. The have noting in common with the working class, and no sympathy for their situation, either.

What does Bill Clinton, who drive much of the policy in the '90s, and spent his early years running away form the rural poor in Arkansas (Law School, Rhodes Scholarship), have in common with working class people anywhere?

The same question applies to Hillary, to Trump and the remainder of our "representatives" in Congress.

Without Unions, how are US Representatives from the working class elected?

What we are seeing is a shift in the US for the Republicans to become the populist party. They already have the churches, and with Trump they can gain the working class – although I do not underestimate the contempt help by our elected leaders for the Working Class and poor.

The have forgotten, if they ever believed: "There, but for the grace of God, go I".

Lambert Strether November 15, 2016 at 2:22 pm

> What would make Democrats focus on the working class?

The quest for political power.

Synoia November 15, 2016 at 11:19 pm

Iron law of institutions applies. Position in the D apparatus is more important than political power – because with power come blame.

I notice Obama worked hard to lose majorities in the house and Senate so he could point to the Republicans and say "it was their fault" except when he actually wanted something, and made it happen (such as TPP).

James Dodd November 15, 2016 at 10:46 am

What So Many People Don't Get About the U.S. Working Class – Harvard Business Review

anonymouse November 15, 2016 at 11:07 am

We know that class and economic insecurity drove many white people to vote for Trump. That's understandable. And now we are seeing a rise in hate incidents inspired by his victory. So obviously there is a race component in his support as well. So, if you, white person, didn't vote for Trump out of white supremacy, would you consider making a statement that disavows the acts of extremist whites? Do you vow to stand up and help if you see people being victimized? Do you vow not to stay silent when you encounter Trump supporters who ARE obviously in thrall to the white supremacist siren call?

Brad November 15, 2016 at 11:45 am

Agreed with the first but not the second. It's typical liberal identity politics guilt tripping. That won't get you too far on the "white side" of Youngstown Ohio.

And I wouldn't worry about it. When I worked at the at the USX Fairless works in Levittown PA in 1988, I was befriended by one steelworker who was a clear raving white supremacist racist. (Actually rather nonchalant about about it). However he was the only one I encountered who was like this, and eventually I figured out that he befriended a "newbie" like me because he had no friends among the other workers, including the whites. He was not popular at all.

Harold November 15, 2016 at 11:14 am

Left-wing populism unites people of all classes and all identities by emphasizing policies. That was what Bernie Sanders meant to me, at least.

Citizen Sissy November 15, 2016 at 11:38 am

I've always thought that Class, not Race, was the Third Rail of American Politics, and that the US was fast-tracking to a more shiny, happy feudalism.

Also suspect that the working-class, Rust-Belt Trump supporters will soon be thrown under the bus by their Standard Bearer, if the Transition Team appointments are any indicator: e.g. Privateers at SSA.

Gonna get interesting very quickly.

rd November 15, 2016 at 11:47 am

My wife teaches primary grades in an inner city school. She has made it clear to me over the years that the challenges her children are facing are related to poverty, not race. She sees a big correlation between the financial status of a family and its family structure (one or more parents not present or on drugs) and the kids' success in school. Race is a minor factor.

She also makes it clear to me that the Somali/Syrian/Iraqi etc. immigrant kids are going to do very well even though they come in without a word of English because they are working their butts off and they have the full support of their parents and community. These people left bad places and came to their future and they are determined to grab it with both hands. 40% of her class this year is ENL (English as a non-native language). Since it is an inner city school, they don't have teacher's aides in the class, so it is just one teacher in a class of 26-28 kids, of which a dozen struggle to understand English. Surprisingly, the class typically falls short of the "standards" that the state sets for the standardized exams. Yet many of the immigrant kids end up going to university after high school through sheer effort.

Bullying and extreme misbehavior (teachers are actually getting injured by violent elementary kids) is largely done by kids born in the US. The immigrant kids tend to be fairly well-behaved.

On a side note, the CSA at our local farmer's market said they couldn't find people to pick the last of their fall crops (it is in a rural community so a car is needed to get there). So the food bank was going out this week to pick produce like squash, onions etc. and we were told we could come out and pick what we wanted. Full employment?

Dave November 15, 2016 at 11:55 am

"Women and minorities encouraged to apply" is a Class issue?

shinola November 15, 2016 at 12:13 pm

The problem with running on a class based platform in America is, well, it's America; and in good ol' America, we are taught that anyone can become a successful squillionare – ya know, hard work, nose-to-the-grindstone, blah, blah, blah.

The rags to riches American success fable is so ingrained that ideas like taxing the rich a bit more fall flat because everyone thinks "that could be me someday. Just a few house flips, a clever new app, that ten-bagger (or winning lottery ticket) and I'm there" ("there" being part of the 1%).

The idea that anyone can be successful (i.e. rich) is constantly promoted.

I think this fantasy is beginning to fade a bit but the "wealth = success" idea is so deeply rooted in the American psyche I don't think it will ever fade completely away.

Lambert Strether November 15, 2016 at 2:15 pm

I'm recalling (too lazy to find the link) a poll a couple years ago that showed the number of American's identifying as "working class" increased, and the number as "middle class" decreased.

Vatch November 15, 2016 at 2:19 pm

Here ya go!

http://www.gallup.com/poll/182918/fewer-americans-identify-middle-class-recent-years.aspx

jrs November 15, 2016 at 6:11 pm

even working class is a total equivocation. A lot of them are service workers period.

TarheelDem November 15, 2016 at 12:24 pm

It is both. And it is a deliberate mechanism of class division to preserve power. Bill Cecil-Fronsman,

Common Whites: Class and Culture in Antebellum North Carolina identifies nine classes in the class structure of a state that mixed modern capitalist practice (plantations), agrarian YOYO independence (the non-slaveowning subsistence farms), town economies, and subsistence (farm labor). Those classes were typed racially and had certain economic, power, and social relations associated with them. For both credit and wages, few escaped the plantation economy and being subservient to the planter capitalists locally.

Moreover, ethnic identity was embedded in the law as a class marker. This system was developed independently or exported through imitation in various ways to the states outside North Carolina and the slave-owning states. The abolition of slavery meant free labor in multiple senses and the capitalist use of ethnic minorities and immigrants as scabs integrated them into an ethnic-class system, where it was broad ethnicity and not just skin-color that defined classes. Other ethnic groups, except Latinos and Muslim adherents, now have earned their "whiteness".

One suspects that every settler colonial society develops this combined ethnic-class structure in which the indigenous ("Indians" in colonial law) occupy one group of classes and imported laborers or slaves or intermixtures ("Indian", "Cape Colored" in South Africa) occupy another group of classes available for employment in production. Once employed, the relationship is exactly that of the slaveowner to the slave no matter how nicely the harsh labor management techniques of 17th century Barbados and Jamaica have been made kinder and gentler. But outside the workplace (and often still inside) the broader class structure applies even contrary to the laws trying to restrict the relationship to boss and worker.

Blacks are not singling themselves out to police; police are shooting unarmed black people without punishment. The race of the cop does not matter, but the institution of impunity makes it open season on a certain class of victims.

It is complicated because every legal and often managerial attempt has been made to reduce the class structure of previous economies to the pure capitalism demanded by current politics.

So when in a post Joe McCarthy, post-Cold War propaganda society, someone wants to protest the domination of capitalism, attacking who they perceive as de facto scabs to their higher incomes (true or not) is the chosen mode of political attack. Not standing up for the political rights of the victims of ethnically-marked violence and discrimination allows the future depression of wages and salaries by their selective use as a threat in firms. And at the individual firm and interpersonal level even this gets complicated because in spite of the pressure to just be businesslike, people do still care for each other.

This is a perennial mistake. In the 1930s Southern Textile Strike, some organizing was of both black and white workers; the unions outside the South rarely stood in solidarity with those efforts because they were excluding ethnic minorities from their unions; indeed, some locals were organized by ethnicity. That attitude also carried over to solidarity with white workers in the textile mills. And those white workers who went out on a limb to organize a union never forgot that failure in their labor struggle. It is the former textile areas of the South that are most into Trump's politics and not so much the now minority-majority plantation areas.

It still is race in the inner ring suburbs of ethnically diverse cities like St. Louis that hold the political lock on a lot of states. Because Ferguson to them seems like an invasion of the lower class. Class politics, of cultural status, based on ethnicity. Still called by that 19h century scientific racism terminology that now has been debunked - race - Caucasoid, Mongoloid, Negroid. Indigenous, at least in the Americas, got stuck under Mongoloid.

You go organize the black, Latino, and white working class to form unions and gain power, and it will happen. It is why Smithfield Foods in North Carolina had to negotiate a contract. Race can be transcended in action.

Pretending the ethnic discrimination and even segregation does not exist and have its own problems is political suicide in the emerging demographics. Might not be a majority, but it is an important segment of the vote. Which is why the GOP suppressed minority voters through a variety of legal and shady electoral techniques. Why Trump wants to deport up to 12 million potential US citizens and some millions of already birthright minor citizens. And why we are likely to see the National Labor Review Board gutted of what little power it retains from 70 years of attack. Interesting what the now celebrated white working class was not offered in this election, likely because they would vote it down quicker because, you know, socialism.

armchair November 15, 2016 at 2:50 pm

Your comment reminded me of an episode in Seattle's history. Link . The unions realized they were getting beat in their strikes, by scabs, who were black. The trick was for the unions to bring the blacks into the union. This was a breakthrough, and it worked in Seattle, in 1934. There is a cool mural the union commissioned by, Pablo O'Higgins , to celebrate the accomplishment.

barrisj November 15, 2016 at 12:49 pm

Speaking of class, and class contempt , one must recall the infamous screed published by National Review columnist Kevin Williamson early this year, writing about marginalised white people here is a choice excerpt:

If you spend time in hardscrabble, white upstate New York, or eastern Kentucky, or my own native West Texas, and you take an honest look at the welfare dependency, the drug and alcohol addiction, the family anarchy - which is to say, the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog - you will come to an awful realization. It wasn't Beijing. It wasn't even Washington, as bad as Washington can be. It wasn't immigrants from Mexico, excessive and problematic as our current immigration levels are. It wasn't any of that.

Nothing happened to them. There wasn't some awful disaster. There wasn't a war or a famine or a plague or a foreign occupation. Even the economic changes of the past few decades do very little to explain the dysfunction and negligence - and the incomprehensible malice - of poor white America. So the gypsum business in Garbutt ain't what it used to be. There is more to life in the 21st century than wallboard and cheap sentimentality about how the Man closed the factories down.

The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. Forget your goddamned gypsum, and, if he has a problem with that, forget Ed Burke, too. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump's speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin.

http://crasstalk.com/2016/03/poor-white-america-deserves-to-die-says-national-review/

Now it's not too much of a stretch of the imagination to state that Williamson's animus can be replicated amongst many of the moneyed elite currently pushing and shoving their way into a position within the incoming Trump Administration. The Trump campaign has openly and cynically courted and won the votes of white people similar to those mentioned in Williamson's article, and who – doubtlessly – will be stiffed by policies vigourously opposed to their welfare that will be enacted during the Trump years. The truly intriguing aspect of the Trump election is: what will be the consequences of further degradation of the "lower orders' " quality of life by such actions? Wholesale retreat from electoral politics? Further embitterment and anger NOT toward those in Washington responsible for their lot but directed against ethnic and racial minorities "stealing their jawbs" and "getting welfare while we scrounge for a living"? I sincerely doubt whether the current or a reconstructed Democratic Party can at all rally this large chunk of white America by posing as their "champions" the class divide in the US is as profound as the racial chasm, and neither major party – because of internal contradictions – can offer a credible answer.

Waldenpond November 15, 2016 at 1:25 pm

[In addition to the growing inequality and concomitant wage stagnation for the middle and working classes, 9/11 and its aftermath has certainly has contributed to it as well, as, making PEOPLE LONG FOR the the Golden Age of Managerial Capitalism of the post-WWII era,]

Oh yeah, I noticed a big ol' hankerin' for that from the electorate. What definition could the author be using for Managerial Capitalism that could make it the opposite of inequality? The fight for power between administration and shareholders does not lead to equality for workers.

[So this gave force to the idea that the government was nothing but a viper's nest full of crony capitalist enablers,]

I don't think it's an 'idea' that the govt is crony capitalists and enablers. Ds need to get away from emotive descriptions. Being under/unemployed, houseless, homeless, unable to pay for rent, utilities, food . aren't feelings/ideas. When that type of language is used, it comes across as hand waving. There needs to be a shift of talking to rather than talking about.

If crony capitalism is an idea, it's simply a matter for Ds to identify a group (workers), create a hierarchy (elite!) and come up with a propaganda campaign (celebrities and musicians spending time in flyover country-think hanging out in coffee shops in a flannel shirt) to get votes. Promise to toss them a couple of crumbs with transfer payments (retraining!) or a couple of regulations (mandatory 3 week severance!) and bring out the obligatory D fall back- it would be better than the Rs would give them. On the other hand, if it's factual, the cronies need to be stripped of power and kicked out or the nature of the capitalist structure needs to be changed. It's laughable to imagine liberals or progressives would be open to changing the power and nature of the corporate charter (it makes me smile to think of the gasps).

The author admits that politicians lie and continue the march to the right yet uses the ACA, a march to the right, as a connection to Obama's (bombing, spying, shrinking middle class) likability.

[[But emphasizing class-based policies, rather than gender or race-based solutions, will achieve more for the broad swathe of voters, who comprehensively rejected the "neo-liberal lite" identity politics]

Oops. I got a little lost with the neo-liberal lite identity politics. Financialized identity politics? Privatized identity politics?

I believe women and poc have lost ground (economic and rights) so I would like examples of successful gender and race-based (liberal identity politics) solutions that would demonstrate that identity politics targeting is going to work on the working class.

If workers have lost power, to balance that structure, you give workers more power (I predict that will fail as unions fall under the generic definition of corporatist and the power does not rest with the members but with the CEOs of the unions – an example is a union that block the members from voting to endorse a candidate, go against the member preference and endorse the corporatist candidate), or you remove power from the corporation. Libs/progs can't merely propose something like vesting more power with shareholders to remove executives as an ameliorating maneuver which fails to address the power imbalance.

[This is likely only to accelerate the disintegration of the political system and economic system until the elephant in the room – class – is honestly and comprehensively addressed.]

barrisj November 15, 2016 at 1:41 pm

For a thorough exposition of lower-class white America from the inception of the Republic to today, a must-read is Nancy Isenberg's White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America . Poor or Poorer whites have been demonised since the founding of the original Colonies, and were continuously pushed west to the frontiers by the ruling elites of New England and the South as a way of ridding themselves of "undesirables", who were then left to their own resources, and clung together for mutual assistance.

Thus became the economic and cultural subset of "crackers", "hillbillies", "rednecks", and later, "Okies", a source of contempt and scorn by more economically and culturally endowed whites. The anti-bellum white Southern aristocracy cynically used poor whites as cheap tenant farming, all the while laying down race-based distinctions between them and black slaves – there is always someone lower on the totem pole, and that distinction remains in place today. Post-Reconstruction, the South maintained the cult of white superiority, all the while preserving the status of upper-class whites, and, by race-based public policies, assured lower-class whites that such "superiority" would be maintained by denying the black populations access to education, commerce, the vote, etc. And today, "white trash", or "trailer trash", or poorer whites in general are ubiquitous and as American as apple pie, in the North, the Midwest, and the West, not just the South. Let me quote Isenberg's final paragraph of her book:

White trash is a central, if disturbing, thread in our national narrative. The very existence of such people – both in their visibility and invisibility – is proof that American society obsesses over the mutable labels we give to the neighbors we wish not to notice. "They are not who we are". But they are who we are and have been a fundamental part of our history, whether we like it or not".

Enquiring Mind November 15, 2016 at 5:56 pm

Also read Albion's Seed for interesting discussion about the waves of immigration and how those went on to impact subsequent generations.

vegeholic November 15, 2016 at 2:04 pm

Presenting a plan for the future, which has a chance to be supported by the electorate, must start with scrupulous, unwavering honesty and a willingness to acknowledge inconvenient facts. The missing topic from the 2016 campaigns was declining energy surpluses and their pervasive, negative impact on the prosperity to which we feel entitled. Because of the energy cost of producing oil, a barrel today represents a declining fraction of a barrel in terms of net energy. This is the major factor in sluggish economic performance. Failing to make this case and, at the same time, offering glib and vacuous promises of growth and economic revival, are just cynical exercises in pandering.

Our only option is to mange the coming decline in a way that does not descend into chaos and anarchy. This can only be done with a clear vision of causes and effects and the wisdom and courage to accept facts. The alternative is yet more delusions and wishful thinking, whose shelf life is getting shorter.

ChrisAtRU November 15, 2016 at 2:26 pm

Marshall is awesome.

To be fair to the article, Marshall did in fact say:

"To be sure, Donald Trump did make a strong appeal to racists, homophobes, and misogynists "

IMO the point Marshall is making that race was not the primary reason #DJT won. And I concur.

This is borne out by the vote tallies which show that the number of R voters from 2012 to 2016 was pretty much on the level (final counts pending):
2016 R Vote: 60,925,616
2012 R Vote: 60,934,407
(Source: US Election Atlas )

Stop and think about this for a minute. Every hard core racist had their guy this time around; and yet, the R's could barely muster the same amount of votes as Mittens in 2012. This is huge, and supports the case that other things contributed far more than just race.

Class played in several ways:
Indifference/apathy/fatigue: Lambert posted some data from Carl Beijer on this yesterday in his Clinton Myths piece yesterday.
Anger: #HRC could not convince many people who voted for Bernie that she was interested in his outreach to the working class. More importantly, #HRC could not convince working class white women that she had anything other than her gender and Trump's boorishness as a counterpoint to offer.
Outsider v Insider: Working class people skeptical of political insiders rejected #HRC.

TG November 15, 2016 at 3:00 pm

Kudos. Well said.

If black workers were losing ground and white workers were gaining, one could indeed claim that racism is a problem. However, both black and white workers are losing ground – racism simply cannot be the major issue here. It's not racism, it's class war.

The fixation on race, the corporate funding of screaming 'black lives matter' agitators, the crude attempts to tie Donald Trump to the KKK (really? really?) are just divide and conquer, all over again.

Whatever his other faults, Donald Trump has been vigorous in trying to reach out to working class blacks, even though he knew he wouldn't get much of their vote and he knew that the media mostly would not cover it. Last I heard, he was continuing to try and reach out, despite the black 'leadership' class demanding that he is a racist. Because as was so well pointed out here, the one thing the super-rich fear is a united working class.

Divide and conquer. It's an old trick, but a powerful one.

Suggestion: if (and it's a big if) Trump really does enact policies that help working class blacks, and the Republicans peel away a significant fraction of the black vote, that would set the elites' hair on fire. Because it would mean that the black vote would be in play, and the Neoliberal Democrats couldn't just take their votes for granted. And wouldn't that be a thing.

pretzelattack November 16, 2016 at 3:09 am

that was good for 2016. I will look to see if he has stats for other years. i certainly agree that poor whites are more likely to be shot; executions of homeless people by police are one example. the kind of system that was imposed on the people of ferguson has often been imposed on poor whites, too. i do object to the characterization of black lives matter protestors as "screaming agitators"; that's all too reminiscent of the meme of "outside agitators" riling up the local peaceful black people to stand up for their rights that was characteristically used to smear the civil rights movement in the 60's.

tongorad November 15, 2016 at 3:18 pm

I might not have much in common at all with certain minorities, but it's highly likely that we share class status.
That's why the status quo allows identity politics and suppresses class politics.

Sound of the Suburbs November 15, 2016 at 5:02 pm

Having been around for sometime, I often wonder what The Guardian is going on about in the UK as it is supposed to be our left wing broadsheet.

It isn't a left I even recognised, what was it?

I do read it to try and find out what nonsense it is these people think.

Having been confused for many a year, I think I have just understood this identity based politics as it is about to disappear.

I now think it was a cunning ploy to split the electorate in a different way, to leave the UK working class with no political outlet.

Being more traditional left I often commented on our privately educated elite and private schools but the Guardian readership were firmly in favour of them.

How is this left?

Thank god this is now failing, get back to the old left, the working class and those lower down the scale.

It was clever while it lasted in enabling neoliberalism and a neglect of the working class, but clever in a cunning, nasty and underhand way.

Sound of the Suburbs November 15, 2016 at 5:33 pm

Thinking about it, so many of these recent elections have been nearly 50% / 50% splits, has there been a careful analysis of who neoliberalism disadvantages and what minorities need to be bought into the fold to make it work in a democracy.

Women are not a minority, but obviously that is a big chunk if you can get them under your wing. The black vote is another big group when split away and so on.

Brexit nearly 50/50; Austria nearly 50/50; US election nearly 50/50.

giovanni zibordi November 15, 2016 at 5:56 pm

So, 85% of Blacks vote Hillary against Sanders (left) and 92% vote Hillary against Trump (right), but is no race. It's the class issue that sends them to the Clintons. Kindly explain how.

dk November 15, 2016 at 7:54 pm

Obama is personally likeable

Funny think about likeability, likeable people can be real sh*ts. So I started looking into hanging out with less likeable people. I found that they can be considerably more appreciative of friendship and loyalty, maybe because they don't have such easy access to it.

Entertainment media has cautiously explored some aspect so fthis, but in politics, "nice" is still disproportionately values, and not appreciated as a possible flag.

Erelis November 15, 2016 at 10:59 pm

Watch out buddy. They are onto you. I have seen some comments on democratic party sites claiming the use of class to explain Hillary's loss is racist. The democratic party is a goner. History tells us the party establishment will move further right after election losses. And among the activist class there are identity purity battles going on.

Gaylord November 15, 2016 at 11:24 pm

Watch as this happens yet again: "In most elections, U.S. politicians of both parties pretend to be concerned about their issues, then conveniently ignore them when they reach power and implement policies from the same Washington Consensus that has dominated the past 40 years." That is why we need a strong third party, a reformed election system with public support of campaigns and no private money, and free and fair media coverage. But it ain't gonna happen.

different clue November 16, 2016 at 3:47 am

Well it certainly won't happen by itself. People are going to have to make it happen. Here in Michigan we have a tiny new party called Working Class Party running 3 people here and there. I voted for two of them. If the Democrats run somebody no worse than Trump next time, I will be free to vote Working Class Party to see what happens.

Obviously, if the Democrats nominate yet another Clintonite Obamacrat all over again, I may have to vote for Trump all over again . . . to stop the next Clintonite before it kills again.

[Nov 16, 2016] Identity politics divides just as well as class politics. It simply divides into smaller (less powerful) groups. The reason the elites don't like class politics is that the class division that forms against their class, once organized, is large enough to take them on.

Notable quotes:
"... when "capitalism" failed to remedy class inequity, in fact worked to cause it, propaganda took over and focused on all sorts of things that float around the edges of class like race, opportunity, civil rights, etc – but not a word about money. ..."
"... "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning." ..."
"... "The reason the elites don't like class politics is that the class division that forms against their class, once organized, is large enough to take them on." ..."
"... Class divides the 99% from the small elite who lead both political parties. That makes it an explosive threat. I'm speaking of actual economic class, not the media BS of pork rinds and NASCAR versus brie and art museums. ..."
"... I've always maintained that Class is the real third rail of American politics, and the US is fast tracking to a shiny, prettified version of feudalism. ..."
"... There are two elephants in the room, class and technology. Both are distorted by those in power in order to ensure their continued rule. It seems to me the technology adopted by a society determines its class structure. ..."
"... Add to that HRC's neocon foreign policy instincts ..."
"... This goes beyond corruption. It is one thing to be selling public infrastructure construction contracts to crony capitalist contributors (in the Clintons' case do we call them philanthropists?) – entirely another to be selling guns and bombs used by Middle Eastern despots to grind down (IOW blow up, murder) opposition to their corrupt regimes. ..."
"... In fact, most of Western Civilization (sic?) seems to be happy with the status quo of a 'post-industrial' America as the "exceptional nation" whose only two functions are consuming the world's wealth and employing military Keynesianism to maintain a global social order based on money created ex nihilo by US and international bankers and financiers. ..."
"... What we are witnessing is a political crisis because the system is geared against the citizen. ..."
"... And journalists/media are complicit. Where is the cutting investigative journalism? There is none – the headlines should be screaming it. Thanks God (or whoever) for blogs like these. ..."
"... Sooo, they spent a generation telling the white worker that he was a racist, sexist bigot, mocking his religion, making his kids read "Heather Has Two Mommies" in school, and blaming him for economic woes caused in New York and DC. ..."
"... Tryng lately to get my terminology straight, and I think the policies you itemized should be labeled neoliberal, not liberal/progressive. Neoliberalism seems to be the one that combines the worst features of the private sector with the worst features of the public sector, without the good points of either one. ..."
Nov 16, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
susan the other November 15, 2016 at 12:26 pm

when "capitalism" failed to remedy class inequity, in fact worked to cause it, propaganda took over and focused on all sorts of things that float around the edges of class like race, opportunity, civil rights, etc – but not a word about money. That's why Hillary was so irrelevant and boring. If class itself (money) becomes a topic of discussion, the free-market orgy will be seen as a last ditch effort to keep the elite in a class by themselves by "trading" stuff that can just as easily be made domestically, and just not worth the effort anymore.

Benedict@Large November 15, 2016 at 10:37 am

Identity politics divides just as well as class politics. It simply divides into smaller (less powerful) groups. The reason the elites don't like class politics is that the class division that forms against their class, once organized, is large enough to take them on.

JTMcPhee November 15, 2016 at 11:06 am

"There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

Yep.

And once again: What outcomes do "we" want from "our" political economy?

Ulysses November 15, 2016 at 11:25 am

"The reason the elites don't like class politics is that the class division that forms against their class, once organized, is large enough to take them on."

BINGO!!!

XR November 15, 2016 at 8:10 pm

I believe there is another aspect to the shift we are seeing, and it is demographics.

Specifically deplorable demographics.

It should be noted that the deplorable generation, gen x, are very much a mixed racial cohort. They have not participated in politics much because they have been under attack since they were children. They have been ignored up to now.

Deplorable means wretched, poor.

This non participation is what has begun to change, and will accelerate for the next 20 years and beyond.

Demographically speaking, with analysis of the numbers right now are approximately…

GEN GI and Silent Gen – 22,265,021

Baby Boomers 50,854,027

Gen X 90,010,283

Millenials 62,649,947 18 Years to 34
25,630,521 (12-17 Years old)
Total 88,280,468

Artist Gen 48,820,896 and growing…

* Using the Fourth Turning Cultural Demographic Measurement vs. the politically convenient, MSM supported, propaganda demographics. They would NEVER do such a thing right? Sure.

GI 92–114 Silent 74–91 Boomer 55–72 Gen-X 35–55 Millennial 12–34 Homeland 0–11

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strauss%E2%80%93Howe_generational_theory

* Source Demographic Numbers (Approximate)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_the_United_States

We are in the Fourth Turning, the Crisis. Gen X will take it on – head on.

https://scholarsandrogues.com/2014/04/10/how-generation-x-will-save-the-world/

Have a nice day.

redleg November 15, 2016 at 2:37 pm

The reason they like it is that the different groups can be set against each other.

Mike G November 15, 2016 at 1:31 pm

Class divides the 99% from the small elite who lead both political parties. That makes it an explosive threat. I'm speaking of actual economic class, not the media BS of pork rinds and NASCAR versus brie and art museums.

tongorad November 15, 2016 at 2:17 pm

Class divides people; more decisively than race or gender.

Really? There's so few of him/her, and so many of us.

When we reach the day when people self-describe themselves as working class FIRST, rather than Catholic or Asian, etc, then we might get somewhere.

CitizenSissy November 15, 2016 at 8:24 am

Hi Yves – great post! I've always maintained that Class is the real third rail of American politics, and the US is fast tracking to a shiny, prettified version of feudalism.

I suspect that the working-class Trump voters in the Rust Belt will eventually disappointed in their standard bearer, Transition Team staffing is any indication: e.g. Privateers back at SSA.

Nels Nelson November 15, 2016 at 8:38 am

In the post-Reconstruction South poor whites and blacks alike were the victims of political and legal institutions designed to create a divided and disenfranchised work force for the benefit of landlords, capitalists and corporations. Poor whites as well as poor blacks were ensnared in a system of sharecropping and debt peonage. Poll taxes, literacy tests and other voter restrictions disenfranchised blacks and almost all poor whites creating an electorate dominated by a white southern gentry class.

Martin Luther King, Jr. clarified this at the end of his address at the conclusion of the Selma March on March 25, 1965.

…You see, it was a simple thing to keep the poor white masses working for near-starvation wages in the years that followed the Civil War. Why, if the poor white plantation or mill worker became dissatisfied with his low wages, the plantation or mill owner would merely threaten to fire him and hire former Negro slaves and pay him even less. Thus, the southern wage level was kept almost unbearably low.

Toward the end of the Reconstruction era, something very significant happened. That is what was known as the Populist Movement. The leaders of this movement began awakening the poor white masses and the former Negro slaves to the fact that they were being fleeced by the emerging Bourbon interests. Not only that, but they began uniting the Negro and white masses into a voting bloc that threatened to drive the Bourbon interests from the command posts of political power in the South.

To meet this threat, the southern aristocracy began immediately to engineer this development of a segregated society…. If it may be said of the slavery era that the white man took the world and gave the Negro Jesus, then it may be said of the Reconstruction era that the southern aristocracy took the world and gave the poor white man Jim Crow. He gave him Jim Crow. And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food that his empty pockets could not provide, he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man. And he ate Jim Crow. And when his undernourished children cried out for the necessities that his low wages could not provide, he showed them the Jim Crow signs on the buses and in the stores, on the streets and in the public buildings. And his children, too, learned to feed upon Jim Crow, their last outpost of psychological oblivion.

Thus, the threat of the free exercise of the ballot by the Negro and the white masses alike resulted in the establishment of a segregated society. They segregated southern money from the poor whites; they segregated southern mores from the rich whites; they segregated southern churches from Christianity; they segregated southern minds from honest thinking; and they segregated the Negro from everything. That's what happened when the Negro and white masses of the South threatened to unite and build a great society: a society of justice where none would prey upon the weakness of others; a society of plenty where greed and poverty would be done away; a society of brotherhood where every man would respect the dignity and worth of human personality.

Joan November 15, 2016 at 7:36 pm

Lovely! Thanks,

JTMcPhee November 15, 2016 at 9:52 pm

The MLK so few remember, the obscuring of his real message has been so very effective.

Norb November 15, 2016 at 8:46 am

There are two elephants in the room, class and technology. Both are distorted by those in power in order to ensure their continued rule. It seems to me the technology adopted by a society determines its class structure.

So much of todays discussion revolves around justifying the inappropriate use of technology, it seems inevitable that only a major breakdown of essential technological systems will afford the necessary space to address growing social problems.

E.F. Schumacher addressed all this in the 70's with his work on appropriate technologies. Revisiting the ideas of human scale systems offers a way to actively and effectively deal with todays needs while simultaneously trying to change larger perspectives and understanding of the citizenry. While Schumacher's work was directed at developing countries, the impoverishment of the working class makes it relevant in the US today.

Addressing our technology question honestly will lead to more productive changes in class structure than taking on the class issue directly. Direct class confrontation is violent. Adopting human scale technology is peaceful. In the end what stands for a good life will win out. I'm working for human scale.

Lambert Strether November 15, 2016 at 2:32 pm

Why do you think class and technology are separate?

ScottW November 15, 2016 at 8:49 am

Thought experiment: If you opposed Clarence Thomas and Sarah Palin does that make you a racist and a sexist?
Or, is it only when someone votes against a supposed liberal? And when Hillary supported Cuomo over Teachout for NY Governor, none of her supporters labeled her a Cuomobros.

Hillary received millions fewer votes than Obama because she was a seriously flawed candidate who could not muster any excitement. The only reason she received 60 million is because she was running against Trump. The play on identity politics was pure desperation.

readerOfTeaLeaves November 15, 2016 at 12:05 pm

I think this part of the post nails a whole lot:

"So this gave force to the idea that the government was nothing but a viper's nest full of crony capitalist enablers , which in turn helped to unleash populism on the right (the Left being marginalised or co-opted by their Wall Street/Silicon Valley donor class). And this gave us Trump. Add to that HRC's neocon foreign policy instincts , which could have got us in a war with Russia and maybe the American electorate wasn't so dumb after all."

I voted for Hillary, but it was not easy.
I agree that identity politics of the DNC variety have passed their pull date. Good riddance.

Jim November 15, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Here's another thought experiment: were voters who chose Obama over Hillary in the 2008 primary sexists? Were Hillary's voters racists?

I don't think you give the Democratic establishment enough credit for obtuseness by characterizing their identity politics play as "desperation". I have several sisters who were sucked in by Hillary's "woman" card, and it made them less than receptive to hearing about her record of pay-for-play, proxy warmongering, and baseless Russia-bashing.

And it turned people like me – who would choose a woman over a man, other things being equal – into sexists for not backing Hillary (I voted for Stein).

financial matters November 15, 2016 at 8:55 am

Yes. If Hillary had been elected I felt like we would have been played by someone who is corrupt and with no real interest in the working/middle class. We would have slogged through another 4 years with someone who arrogantly had both a private and public position and had no real interest in climate change (she was very pro fracking), financial change (giving hour long $250,000 speeches to banks) or health care (she laughed at the idea of single payer although that's what most people want).

Sanders had opposite views on these 3 issues and would have been an advocate of real change which is why he was so actively opposed by the establishment and very popular with the people as evidenced by his huge rallies.

Trump was seen by many as the only real hope for some change. As mentioned previously we've already seen 2 very beneficial outcomes of his being elected by things calming down with Syria and Russia and with TPP apparently being dead in the water.

Another positive could be a change in the DOJ to go after white collar criminals of which we have a lot.

Climate change is I think an important blind spot but he has shown the capacity to be flexible and not as much of an ideologue as some. It's possible that as he sees some of his golf courses go under water he could change his mind. It can be helpful if someone in power changes his mind on an important issue as this can relate better to other doubters to come to the same conclusion.

Getting back to class I watched the 2003 movie Seabiscuit a few days ago. This film was set in the depression period and had clips of FDR putting people back to work. It emphasized the dignity that this restored to them. It's a tall order but I think that's what much of Trump's base is looking for.

Si November 15, 2016 at 9:20 am

Whilst I agree with the points made, there is a BIG miss for me.

Unless I missed it – where are the comments on corruption? This is not a partisan point of view, but to make the issue entirely focussed on class misses the point that the game is rigged.

Holder, an Obama pick, unless I am mistaken, looked the other way when it came to investigating and prosecuting miscreants on Wall Street. The next in line for that job was meeting Bill behind closed so that Hillary could be kept safe. Outrageous.

The Democratic party's attempts to make this an issue about race is so obviously a crass attempt at manipulation that only the hard of thinking could swallow it.

The vote for Trump was a vote against corrupt insiders. Maybe he will turn out to be the same.

Time will tell……

Leigh November 15, 2016 at 9:37 am

Paragraph 7, I believe.

To your point; dumbfounded that a country that proposes to be waging a "War on Drugs" pardons home grown banking entities that laundered money for drug dealers.

If you or I attempted such foolishness – we'd be incarcerate in a heartbeat.

Monty Python (big fan), at it's most silly and sophomoric – could not write this stuff…

Leight November 15, 2016 at 10:01 am

Clarification: "this stuff' meaning what's transpired in the U.S. over the last 10-20 years -NOT Yves post.

polecat November 15, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Don't expect all the disheartened university SJW snowflaks to get that …or much else of import --

Si November 16, 2016 at 1:52 am

Yep – para 7. A bit of a passing reference to the embedded corruption and payola for congress and the writing of laws by lobbyists.

And yes, war on drugs is pretty much a diversionary tactic to give the impression that the rule of law is still in force. It is for you an me……. for the connected, corrupt, not so much!

Carla November 15, 2016 at 10:25 am

@Si - "the hard of thinking" - I like it!

Steven November 15, 2016 at 11:09 am

This goes beyond corruption. It is one thing to be selling public infrastructure construction contracts to crony capitalist contributors (in the Clintons' case do we call them philanthropists?) – entirely another to be selling guns and bombs used by Middle Eastern despots to grind down (IOW blow up, murder) opposition to their corrupt regimes.

In fact, most of Western Civilization (sic?) seems to be happy with the status quo of a 'post-industrial' America as the "exceptional nation" whose only two functions are consuming the world's wealth and employing military Keynesianism to maintain a global social order based on money created ex nihilo by US and international bankers and financiers.

As for a "crass attempt at manipulation", have you seen this:
Martin Armstrong Exposes "The Real Clinton Conspiracy" Which Backfired Dramatically

A couple of paragraphs…

This conspiracy has emerged from the Podesta emails. It was Clinton conspiring with mainstream media to elevate Trump and then tear him down. We have to now look at all the media who endorsed Hillary as simply corrupt. Simultaneously, Hillary said that Bernie had to be ground down to the pulp. Further leaked emails showed how the Democratic National Committee sabotaged Sanders' presidential campaign. It was Hillary manipulating the entire media for her personal gain. She obviously did not want a fair election because she was too corrupt.

What is very clear putting all the emails together, the rise of Donald Trump was orchestrated by Hillary herself conspiring with mainstream media, and they they sought to burn him to the ground. Their strategy backfired and now this is why she has not come out to to speak against the violence she has manipulated and inspired.

It seems to be clear the Democratic Party needs to purge itself of the Clinton – Obama influence. Is Sanders' suggestion for the DNC head a good start or do we need to look elsewhere?

Si November 16, 2016 at 2:08 am

Exactly my point.

What are are getting now are attempts by the Dems (and let me state here I am not fan of the Repubs – the distinction is a false one) to point to anything other than the problem that is right in front of them.

What we are witnessing is a political crisis because the system is geared against the citizen.

And journalists/media are complicit. Where is the cutting investigative journalism? There is none – the headlines should be screaming it. Thanks God (or whoever) for blogs like these.

There has been a coup I believe. The cooperation and melding of corporate and political power, and the interchange of power players between the two has left the ordinary person nowhere to go. This is not a left vs right, Dem vs Repub argument. Those are distinctions are there to keep us busy and to provide the illusion.

Chris Hedges likend politics to American Pro Wrestling – that is what we are watching!

kgw November 15, 2016 at 12:17 pm

Class is corruption. . .

Mike G November 15, 2016 at 2:11 pm

The idea that a guy who ran casinos in New Jersey, and whose background was too murky to get a casino license in Nevada, will be the one to clean up corruption in DC is a level of gullibility beyond my comprehension.

Si November 16, 2016 at 2:11 am

And nor will it be cleaned up by lawyers who promise hopey changey b.s.

Or lawyers who clearly see themselves above the law….

different clue November 16, 2016 at 3:07 am

Not that it would have been cleaned up by President Hillary Shyster and First Shyster Husband Bill either.

craazyman November 15, 2016 at 9:21 am

a lot of people out there need 10 baggers. I sure do.

Why work? I mean really. It sucks but what's your choice? The free market solution is to kill yourself - that's what slaves could have done. If you don't like slavery, then just kill yourself! Why complain? You're your own boss of "You Incorporated" and you can choose who to work for! Even nobody.

the 10-bagger should be just for billionaires. Even a millionaire has a hard time because there's only so much you can lose before you're not a millionaire. Then you might have to work!

If most jobs didn't suck work wouldn't be so bad. That's the main thing, make jobs that don't suck so you don't drown yourself in tattoos and drugs. It's amazing how many people have tattoos. Drugs are less "deplorable" haha. Some are good - like alcohol, Xanax, Tylenol, red wine, beer, caffeine, sugar, donuts, cake, cookies, chocolate. Some are bad, like the shlt stringy haired meth freaks take. If they had good jobs it might give them something better to do,

How do you get good jobs and not shlt jobs? That's not entirely self evident. In the meantime, the 10 bagger at least gets you some breathing room so you can think about it. Even if you think for free, it's OK since you don't have to work. Working gets in the way of a lot of stuff that you'd rather be doing. Like nothing,

The amazing thing is this: no matter how much we whinge, whine, bitch moan, complain, rant, rail, fulminate, gripe, huarrange (that mght be speled wrong), incite, joculate, kriticize, lambaste, malign, naysay, prevaricate, query, ridicule, syllogize, temporize, ululate (even Baudelaire did that I red on the internet), yell and (what can "Z" be? I don't want to have to look something up I'm too lazy, how about "zenophobiasize" hahahahahahahah,

The amazing thing is: million of fkkkers want to come here and - get this! - THEY WON'T COMPLAIN ABOUT ANY OF THE SHT WE DO!

How about that?

casino implosion November 15, 2016 at 9:26 am

""By making him aware he has more in common with the black steel workers by being a worker, than with the boss by being white."

Sooo, they spent a generation telling the white worker that he was a racist, sexist bigot, mocking his religion, making his kids read "Heather Has Two Mommies" in school, and blaming him for economic woes caused in New York and DC.

How'd that work out for ya?

sharonsj November 15, 2016 at 11:34 am

Actually, too many white workers are racist, sexist, and think everyone is a rabid Christian just like them. I ought to know because I live in red rural Pennsylvania. I'm not mocking you folks, but I am greatly pissed off that you just don't mind your own damn business and stop trying to force your beliefs on others. And I don't want to hear that liberals are forcing their beliefs on others; we're just asking you follow our laws and our Constitution when it comes to liberty and justice for all.

And for every school that might have copies of "Heather Has Two Mommies," I can give you a giant list of schools that want to ban a ton of titles because some parent is offended. One example is the classic "Brave New World" by Aldus Huxley. "Challenged in an Advanced Placement language composition class at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes, Del. (2014). Two school board members contend that while the book has long been a staple in high school classrooms, students can now grasp the sexual and drug-related references through a quick Internet search." Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, May 2014, p. 80.

Quick internet search, my ass. Too many conservatives won't even use the internet to find real facts because that would counter the right-wing meme.

tongorad November 15, 2016 at 2:38 pm

And for every school that might have copies of "Heather Has Two Mommies," I can give you a giant list of schools that want to ban a ton of titles because some parent is offended.

And for every liberal/progressive politician, I can give a you basket of shitty policies, such as charter schools, shipping jobs overseas, cutting social security, austerity, the grand bargain, Obamacare, drones, etc.

Great. So the library has a copy of "Heather Has Two Mommies." Or not. Who cares? The United Colors of Benetton worldview doesn't matter a fig when I'm trying to pay for rising health care, rent, College education, retirement costs, etc.

J Bookly November 15, 2016 at 4:18 pm

Tryng lately to get my terminology straight, and I think the policies you itemized should be labeled neoliberal, not liberal/progressive. Neoliberalism seems to be the one that combines the worst features of the private sector with the worst features of the public sector, without the good points of either one.

tongorad November 15, 2016 at 10:20 pm

It seems to me that you're referencing a certain historical model of "liberal" that doesn't, nay, cannot exist anymore. A No-True-Scotsman fallacy, as I see it.
We can only deal with what we have in play, not some pure historical abstraction.

But for the sake of argument, let's say that a distinction can be made between neoliberal and "real" liberalism. Both entities, however you want to differentiate/describe them, serve as managers to capital. In other words, they just want to manage things, to fiddle with the levers at the margin.

We need a transfer of power, not a new set of smart managers.

mark ó dochartaigh November 15, 2016 at 10:53 pm

Yes, liberal intolerance of intolerance is not the same as conservative intolerance of tolerance.

Mike G November 15, 2016 at 2:22 pm

The right has spent a generation supporting rabidly bigoted media like Rush Limbaugh and Fox News making sure the white working class blame all their ills on immigrants, minorities, feminists and stirring up a Foaming Outrage of the Week at what some sociology professor said at a tiny college somewhere.

Kiss up, kick down authoritarianism. It's never the fault of the people with all the money and all the power who control their economic lives.

[Nov 14, 2016] Three Myths About Clintons Defeat in Election 2016 Debunked

Notable quotes:
"... Because the following talking points prevent a (vulgar) identity politics -dominated Democrat Party from owning its loss, debunking them is then important beyond winning your Twitter wars. I'm trying to spike the Blame Cannons! ..."
"... Remember, Trump won Wisconsin by a whisker. So for this talking point to be true, we have to believe that black voters stayed home because they were racist, costing Clinton Wisconsin. ..."
"... These former Obama strongholds sealed the election for Trump. Of the nearly 700 counties that twice sent Obama to the White House, a stunning one-third flipped to support Trump . ..."
"... The Obama-Trump counties were critical in delivering electoral victories for Trump. Many of them fall in states that supported Obama in 2012, but Trump in 2016. In all, these flipped states accounted for 83 electoral votes. (Michigan and New Hampshire could add to this total, but their results were not finalized as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.) ..."
"... And so, for this talking point to be true, we have to believe that counties who voted for the black man in 2012 were racist because they didn't vote for the white women in 2016. Bringing me, I suppose, to sexism. ..."
"... These are resilient women, often working two or three jobs, for whom boorish men are an occasional occupational hazard, not an existential threat. They rolled their eyes over Trump's unmitigated coarseness, but still bought into his spiel that he'd be the greatest job producer who ever lived. Oh, and they wondered why his behaviour was any worse than Bill's. ..."
"... pink slips have hit entire neighbourhoods, and towns. The angry white working class men who voted in such strength for Trump do not live in an emotional vacuum. They are loved by white working class women – their wives, daughters, sisters and mothers, who participate in their remaindered pain. I t is everywhere in the interviews. "My dad lost his business", "My husband hasn't been the same since his job at the factory went away" . ..."
"... So, for this talking point to be true, you have to believe that sexism simultaneously increased the male vote for Trump, yet did not increase the female vote for Clinton. Shouldn't they move in opposite directions? ..."
"... First, even assuming that the author's happy but unconscious conflation of credentials with education is correct, it wasn't the "dunces" who lost two wars, butchered the health care system, caused the financial system to collapse through accounting control fraud, or invented the neoliberal ideology that was kept real wages flat for forty years and turned the industrial heartland into a wasteland. That is solely, solely down to - only some , to be fair - college-educated voters. It is totally and 100% not down to the "dunces"; they didn't have the political or financial power to achieve debacles on the grand scale. ..."
"... Second, the "dunces" were an important part of Obama's victories ..."
"... Not only has polling repeatedly underplayed the importance of white voters without college degrees, it's underplayed their importance to the Obama coalition: They were one-third of Obama votes in 2012. They filled the gap between upper-class whites and working-class nonwhites. Trump gained roughly 15 percentage points with them compared to Romney in 2012. ..."
"... "No, you are ignorant! You threw away the vote and put Trump in charge." Please, it will be important to know what derogatory camp you belong in when the blame game swings into full gear. *snark ..."
"... 'Stupid' was the word I got very tired of in my social net. Two variant targets: ..."
"... 1) Blacks for not voting their interests. The responses included 'we know who our enemies are' and 'don't tell me what to think.' ..."
"... Mostly it was vs rural, non-college educated. iirc, it was the Secretary of Agriculture, pleading for funds, who said the rural areas were where military recruits came from. A young fella I know, elite football player on elite non-urban HS team, said most of his teammates had enlisted. So they are the ones getting shot at, having relatives and friends come back missing pieces of body and self. ..."
"... My guy in the Reserves said the consensus was that if HRC got elected, they were going to war with Russia. Not enthused. Infantry IQ is supposedly average-80, but they know who Yossarian says the enemy is, e'en if they hant read the book. ..."
Nov 14, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
by Lambert Strether By Lambert Strether of Corrente .

This post is not an explainer about why and how Clinton lost (and Trump won). I think we're going to be sorting that out for awhile. Rather, it's a simple debunking of common talking points by Clinton loyalists and Democrat Establishment operatives; the sort of talking point you might hear on Twitter, entirely shorn of caveats and context. For each of the three talking points, I'll present an especially egregious version of the myth, followed by a rebuttals.

Realize that Trump's margin of victory was incredibly small. From the Washington Post :

How Trump won the presidency with razor-thin margins in swing states

Of the more than 120 million votes cast in the 2016 election, 107,000 votes in three states [Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania] effectively decided the election.

Of course, America's first-past-the-post system and the electoral college amplify small margins into decisive results. And it was the job of the Clinton campaign to find those 107,000 votes and win them; the Clinton operation turned out to be weaker than anyone would have imagined when it counted . However, because Trump has what might be called an institutional mandate - both the executive and legislative branches and soon, perhaps, the judicial - the narrowness of his margin means he doesn't have a popular mandate. Trump has captured the state, but by no means civil society; therefore, the opposition that seeks to delegitimize him is in a stronger position than it may realize.

Hence the necessity for reflection; seeking truth from facts, as the saying goes. Because the following talking points prevent a (vulgar) identity politics -dominated Democrat Party from owning its loss, debunking them is then important beyond winning your Twitter wars. I'm trying to spike the Blame Cannons!

Talking Point: Clinton was Defeated by Racism

Here's a headline showing the talking point from a Vox explainer :

Trump's win is a reminder of the incredible, unbeatable power of racism

The subtext here is usually that if you don't chime in with vehement agreement, you're a racist yourself, and possibly a racist Trump supporter. There are two reasons this talking point is false.

First, voter caring levels dropped from 2012 to 2016, especially among black Democrats . Carl Beijer :

From 2012 to 2016, both men and women went from caring about the outcome to not caring. Among Democratic men and women, as well as Republican women, care levels dropped about 3-4 points; Republican men cared a little less too, but only by one point. Across the board, in any case, the plurality of voters simply didn't care.

Beijer includes the following chart (based on Edison exit polling cross-referenced with total population numbers from the US Census):

Beijer interprets:

White voters cared even less in 2016 then in 2012, when they also didn't care; most of that apathy came from white Republicans compared to white Democrats, who dropped off a little less. Voters of color, in contrast, continued to care – but their care levels dropped even more, by 8 points (compared to the 6 point drop-off among white voters). Incredibly, that drop was driven entirely by a 9 point drop among Democratic voters of color which left Democrats with only slim majority 51% support; Republicans, meanwhile, actually gained support among people of color.

Beijer's data is born out by anecdote from Milwaukee, Wisconsin :

Urban areas, where black and Hispanic voters are concentrated along with college-educated voters, already leaned toward the Democrats, but Clinton did not get the turnout from these groups that she needed. For instance, black voters did not show up in the same numbers they did for Barack Obama, the first black president, in 2008 and 2012.

Remember, Trump won Wisconsin by a whisker. So for this talking point to be true, we have to believe that black voters stayed home because they were racist, costing Clinton Wisconsin.

Second, counties that voted for Obama in 2012 voted for Trump in 2016 . The Washington Post :

These former Obama strongholds sealed the election for Trump. Of the nearly 700 counties that twice sent Obama to the White House, a stunning one-third flipped to support Trump .

The Obama-Trump counties were critical in delivering electoral victories for Trump. Many of them fall in states that supported Obama in 2012, but Trump in 2016. In all, these flipped states accounted for 83 electoral votes. (Michigan and New Hampshire could add to this total, but their results were not finalized as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.)

Here's the chart:

And so, for this talking point to be true, we have to believe that counties who voted for the black man in 2012 were racist because they didn't vote for the white women in 2016. Bringing me, I suppose, to sexism.

Talking Point: Clinton was Defeated by Sexism

Here's an article showing the talking point from Newsweek :

This often vitriolic campaign was a national referendum on women and power.

(The subtext here is usually that if you don't join the consensus cluster, you're a sexist yourself, and possibly a sexist Trump supporter). And if you only look at the averages this claim might seem true :

On Election Day, women responded accordingly, as Clinton beat Trump among women 54 percent to 42 percent. They were voting not so much for her as against him and what he brought to the surface during his campaign: quotidian misogyny.

There are two reasons this talking point is not true. First, averages conceal, and what they conceal is class . As you read further into the article, you can see it fall apart:

In fact, Trump beat Clinton among white women 53 percent to 43 percent, with white women without college degrees going for [Trump] two to one .

So, taking lack of a college degree as a proxy for being working class, for Newsweek's claim to be true, you have to believe that working class women don't get a vote in their referendum, and for the talking point to be true, you have to believe that working class women are sexist. Which leads me to ask: Who died and left the bourgeois feminists in Clinton's base in charge of the definition of sexism, or feminism? Class traitor Tina Brown is worth repeating:

Here's my own beef. Liberal feminists, young and old, need to question the role they played in Hillary's demise. The two weeks of media hyperventilation over grab-her-by-the-pussygate, when the airwaves were saturated with aghast liberal women equating Trump's gross comments with sexual assault, had the opposite effect on multiple women voters in the Heartland.

These are resilient women, often working two or three jobs, for whom boorish men are an occasional occupational hazard, not an existential threat. They rolled their eyes over Trump's unmitigated coarseness, but still bought into his spiel that he'd be the greatest job producer who ever lived. Oh, and they wondered why his behaviour was any worse than Bill's.

Missing this pragmatic response by so many women was another mistake of Robbie Mook's campaign data nerds. They computed that America's women would all be as outraged as the ones they came home to at night. But pink slips have hit entire neighbourhoods, and towns. The angry white working class men who voted in such strength for Trump do not live in an emotional vacuum. They are loved by white working class women – their wives, daughters, sisters and mothers, who participate in their remaindered pain. I t is everywhere in the interviews. "My dad lost his business", "My husband hasn't been the same since his job at the factory went away" .

Second, Clinton in 2016 did no better than Obama in 2008 with women (although she did better than Obama in 2012). From the New York Times analysis of the exit polls, this chart...

So, for this talking point to be true, you have to believe that sexism simultaneously increased the male vote for Trump, yet did not increase the female vote for Clinton. Shouldn't they move in opposite directions?

Talking Point: Clinton was Defeated by Stupidity

Here's an example of this talking point from Foreign Policy , the heart of The Blob. The headline:

Trump Won Because Voters Are Ignorant, Literally

And the lead:

OK, so that just happened. Donald Trump always enjoyed massive support from uneducated, low-information white people. As Bloomberg Politics reported back in August, Hillary Clinton was enjoying a giant 25 percentage-point lead among college-educated voters going into the election. (Whether that trend held up remains to be seen.) In contrast, in the 2012 election, college-educated voters just barely favored Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. Last night we saw something historic: the dance of the dunces. Never have educated voters so uniformly rejected a candidate. But never before have the lesser-educated so uniformly supported a candidate.

The subtext here is usually that if you don't accept nod your head vigorously, you're stupid, and possibly a stupid Trump supporter. There are two reasons this talking point is not true.

First, even assuming that the author's happy but unconscious conflation of credentials with education is correct, it wasn't the "dunces" who lost two wars, butchered the health care system, caused the financial system to collapse through accounting control fraud, or invented the neoliberal ideology that was kept real wages flat for forty years and turned the industrial heartland into a wasteland. That is solely, solely down to - only some , to be fair - college-educated voters. It is totally and 100% not down to the "dunces"; they didn't have the political or financial power to achieve debacles on the grand scale.

Second, the "dunces" were an important part of Obama's victories . From The Week :

Not only has polling repeatedly underplayed the importance of white voters without college degrees, it's underplayed their importance to the Obama coalition: They were one-third of Obama votes in 2012. They filled the gap between upper-class whites and working-class nonwhites. Trump gained roughly 15 percentage points with them compared to Romney in 2012.

So, to believe this talking point, you have to believe that voters who were smart when they voted for Obama suddenly became stupid when it came time to vote for Clinton. You also have to believe that credentialed policy makers have an unblemished record of success, and that only they are worth paying attention to.

Conclusion

Of course, Clinton ran a miserable campaign, too, which didn't help. Carl Beijer has a bill of particulars :

By just about every metric imaginable, Hillary Clinton led one of the worst presidential campaigns in modern history. It was a profoundly reactionary campaign, built entirely on rolling back the horizons of the politically possible, fracturing left solidarity, undermining longstanding left priorities like universal healthcare, pandering to Wall Street oligarchs, fomenting nationalism against Denmark and Russia, and rehabilitating some of history's greatest monsters – from Bush I to Kissinger. It was a grossly unprincipled campaign that belligerently violated FEC Super PAC coordination rules and conspired with party officials on everything from political attacks to debate questions. It was an obscenely stupid campaign that all but ignored Wisconsin during the general election, that pitched Clinton to Latino voters as their abuela, that centered an entire high-profile speech over the national menace of a few thousand anime nazis on Twitter, and that repeatedly deployed Lena Dunham as a media surrogate.

Which is rather like running a David Letterman ad in a Pennsylvania steel town. It must have seemed like a good idea in Brooklyn. After all, they had so many celebrities to choose from.

* * *

All three talking points oversimplify. I'm not saying racism is not powerful; of course it is. I'm not saying that sexism is not powerful; of course it is. But monocausal explanations in an election this close - and in a country this vast - are foolish. And narratives that ignore economics and erase class are worse than foolish; buying into them will cause us to make the same mistakes over and over and over again.[1] The trick will be to integrate multiple causes, and that's down to the left; identity politics liberals don't merely not want to do this; they actively oppose it. Ditto their opposite numbers in America's neoliberal fun house mirror, the conservatives.

NOTES

[1] For some, that's not a bug. It's a feature.

NOTE

You will have noticed that I haven't covered economics (class), or election fraud at all. More myths are coming.

Lambert Strether has been blogging, managing online communities, and doing system administration 24/7 since 2003, in Drupal and WordPress. Besides political economy and the political scene, he blogs about rhetoric, software engineering, permaculture, history, literature, local politics, international travel, food, and fixing stuff around the house. The nom de plume "Lambert Strether" comes from Henry James's The Ambassadors: "Live all you can. It's a mistake not to." You can follow him on Twitter at @lambertstrether. http://www.correntewire.com

TK421 November 14, 2016 at 1:03 pm

Yes, I'm a sexist because I voted for Jill Stein instead of Hillary Clinton.

Knot Galt November 14, 2016 at 1:23 pm

"No, you are ignorant! You threw away the vote and put Trump in charge." Please, it will be important to know what derogatory camp you belong in when the blame game swings into full gear. *snark

IdahoSpud November 14, 2016 at 1:07 pm

Is it sexist, racist, and/or stupid to conclude that one awful candidate is less likely to betray you than a different awful candidate?

rwv November 14, 2016 at 1:21 pm

Didn't feel the Bern, and if you burn your ass you'll have to sit on the blisters

Steve H. November 14, 2016 at 1:26 pm

Talking Point: Clinton was Defeated by Stupidity

'Stupid' was the word I got very tired of in my social net. Two variant targets:

1) Blacks for not voting their interests. The responses included 'we know who our enemies are' and 'don't tell me what to think.'

2) Mostly it was vs rural, non-college educated. iirc, it was the Secretary of Agriculture, pleading for funds, who said the rural areas were where military recruits came from. A young fella I know, elite football player on elite non-urban HS team, said most of his teammates had enlisted. So they are the ones getting shot at, having relatives and friends come back missing pieces of body and self.

My guy in the Reserves said the consensus was that if HRC got elected, they were going to war with Russia. Not enthused. Infantry IQ is supposedly average-80, but they know who Yossarian says the enemy is, e'en if they hant read the book.

Maybe not so stupid after all.

Jason Boxman November 14, 2016 at 1:26 pm

Thanks so much for this!

[Nov 14, 2016] Clintons electoral defeat is bound up with the nature of the Democratic Party, an alliance of Wall Street and the military-intelligence apparatus with privileged sections of the upper-middle class based on the politics of race, gender and sexual orientation

Notable quotes:
"... The affluent and rich voted for Clinton by a much broader margin than they had voted for the Democratic candidate in 2012. Among those with incomes between $100,000 and $200,000, Clinton benefited from a 9-point Democratic swing. Voters with family incomes above $250,000 swung toward Clinton by 11 percentage points. The number of Democratic voters amongst the wealthiest voting block increased from 2.16 million in 2012 to 3.46 million in 2016-a jump of 60 percent. ..."
"... Clinton's electoral defeat is bound up with the nature of the Democratic Party, an alliance of Wall Street and the military-intelligence apparatus with privileged sections of the upper-middle class based on the politics of race, gender and sexual orientation ..."
"... Over the course of the last forty years, the Democratic Party has abandoned all pretenses of social reform, a process escalated under Obama. Working with the Republican Party and the trade unions, it is responsible for enacting social policies that have impoverished vast sections of the working class, regardless of race or gender. ..."
Nov 14, 2016 | www.wsws.org
The elections saw a massive shift in party support among the poorest and wealthiest voters. The share of votes for the Republicans amongst the most impoverished section of workers, those with family incomes under $30,000, increased by 10 percentage points from 2012. In several key Midwestern states, the swing of the poorest voters toward Trump was even larger: Wisconsin (17-point swing), Iowa (20 points), Indiana (19 points) and Pennsylvania (18 points).

The swing to Republicans among the $30,000 to $50,000 family income range was 6 percentage points. Those with incomes between $50,000 and $100,000 swung away from the Republicans compared to 2012 by 2 points.

The affluent and rich voted for Clinton by a much broader margin than they had voted for the Democratic candidate in 2012. Among those with incomes between $100,000 and $200,000, Clinton benefited from a 9-point Democratic swing. Voters with family incomes above $250,000 swung toward Clinton by 11 percentage points. The number of Democratic voters amongst the wealthiest voting block increased from 2.16 million in 2012 to 3.46 million in 2016-a jump of 60 percent.

Clinton was unable to make up for the vote decline among women (2.1 million), African Americans (3.2 million), and youth (1.2 million), who came overwhelmingly from the poor and working class, with the increase among the rich (1.3 million).

Clinton's electoral defeat is bound up with the nature of the Democratic Party, an alliance of Wall Street and the military-intelligence apparatus with privileged sections of the upper-middle class based on the politics of race, gender and sexual orientation.

Over the course of the last forty years, the Democratic Party has abandoned all pretenses of social reform, a process escalated under Obama. Working with the Republican Party and the trade unions, it is responsible for enacting social policies that have impoverished vast sections of the working class, regardless of race or gender.

[Nov 11, 2016] Democratic coalition of Wall Street, Silicon Valley and Identity Politics is imploding, because it cant deliver goodies to people outside top ten percent

Notable quotes:
"... my equation of Neoliberalism (or Post-Capitalism) = Wall Street + Identity Politics generated by the dematerialization of Capital. CDO's are nothing but words on paper or bytes in the stream; and identity politics has much less to do with the Body than the culture and language. Trumpists were interpellated as White by the Democrats and became ideological. Capital is Language. ..."
"... "Sanders and Trump inflamed their audiences with searing critiques of Capitalism's unfairness. Then what? Then Trump's response to what he has genuinely seen is, analytically speaking, word salad. Trump is sound and fury and garble. Yet - and this is key - the noise in his message increases the apparent value of what's clear about it. The ways he's right seem more powerful, somehow, in relief against the ways he's blabbing." ..."
"... But Trump's people don't use suffering as a metric of virtue. They want fairness of a sort, but mainly they seek freedom from shame. Civil rights and feminism aren't just about the law after all, they are about manners, and emotions too: those "interest groups" get right in there and reject what feels like people's spontaneous, ingrained responses. People get shamed, or lose their jobs, for example, when they're just having a little fun making fun. Anti-PC means "I feel unfree. ..."
"... The Trump Emotion Machine is delivering feeling ok, acting free. Being ok with one's internal noise, and saying it, and demanding that it matter. Internal Noise Matters. " my emp ..."
Nov 11, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

bob mcmanus 11.10.16 at 1:45 pm 172

I thought someone above talked about Trump's rhetoric

1) Tom Ferguson at Real News Network post at Naked Capitalism says (and said in 2014) that the Democratic coalition of Wall Street (Silicon Valley) + Identity Politics is imploding, because it can't deliver populist goodies without losing part of it's core base.

Noted no for that, but for my equation of Neoliberalism (or Post-Capitalism) = Wall Street + Identity Politics generated by the dematerialization of Capital. CDO's are nothing but words on paper or bytes in the stream; and identity politics has much less to do with the Body than the culture and language. Trumpists were interpellated as White by the Democrats and became ideological. Capital is Language.

2) Consider the above an intro to

Lauren Berlant at the New Inquiry "Trump or Political Emotions" which I think is smart. Just a phrase cloud that stood out for me. All following from Berlant, except parenthetical

It is a scene where structural antagonisms - genuinely conflicting interests - are described in rhetoric that intensifies fantasy.

People would like to feel free. They would like the world to have a generous cushion for all their aggression and inclination. They would like there to be a general plane of okayness governing social relations

( Safe Space defined as the site where being nasty to those not inside is admired and approved. We all have them, we all want them, we create our communities and identities for this purpose.)

"Sanders and Trump inflamed their audiences with searing critiques of Capitalism's unfairness. Then what? Then Trump's response to what he has genuinely seen is, analytically speaking, word salad. Trump is sound and fury and garble. Yet - and this is key - the noise in his message increases the apparent value of what's clear about it. The ways he's right seem more powerful, somehow, in relief against the ways he's blabbing."

(Wonderful, and a comprehension of New Media I rarely see. Cybernetics? Does noise increase the value of signal? The grammatically correct tight argument crowd will not get this. A problem I have with CT's new policy)

"You watch him calculating, yet not seeming to care about the consequences of what he says, and you listen to his supporters enjoying the feel of his freedom. "

(If "civil speech" is socially approved signal, then noise = freedom and feeling. Every two year old and teenage guitarist understands)

"But Trump's people don't use suffering as a metric of virtue. They want fairness of a sort, but mainly they seek freedom from shame. Civil rights and feminism aren't just about the law after all, they are about manners, and emotions too: those "interest groups" get right in there and reject what feels like people's spontaneous, ingrained responses. People get shamed, or lose their jobs, for example, when they're just having a little fun making fun. Anti-PC means "I feel unfree."

The Trump Emotion Machine is delivering feeling ok, acting free. Being ok with one's internal noise, and saying it, and demanding that it matter. Internal Noise Matters. " my emp

Noise again. Berlant worth reading, and thinking about.

[Nov 11, 2016] neoliberalism = identity politics

Nov 11, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

hunkerdown November 10, 2016 at 4:02 pm

Hoisted from over there:

What's bought [sic] us to this stage is a policy – whether it's been intentional or unintentional or a mixture of both – of divide and rule, where society is broken down into neat little boxes and were told how to behave towards the contents of each one rather than, say, just behaving well towards all of them.

And this right here is why neoliberalism = identity politics and why both ought to be crushed ruthlessly.

[Oct 30, 2016] Soft neoliberals are using anti-racism to discredit economic populism and its motivations, using the new politics of the right as a foil

Oct 30, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

bruce wilder 10.30.16 at 9:34 pm 34

The success of [civil rights and anti-apartheid] movements did not end racism, but drove it underground, allowing neoliberals to exploit racist and tribalist political support while pursuing the interests of wealth and capital, at the expense of the (disproportionately non-white) poor.

That coalition has now been replaced by one in which the tribalists and racists are dominant. For the moment at least, [hard] neoliberals continue to support the parties they formerly controlled, with the result that the balance of political forces between the right and the opposing coalition of soft neoliberals and the left has not changed significantly.

There's an ambiguity in this narrative and in the three-party analysis.

Do we acknowledge that the soft neoliberals in control of the coalition that includes the inchoate left also "exploit racist and tribalist political support while pursuing the interests of wealth and capital, at the expense of the (disproportionately non-white) poor."? They do it with a different style and maybe with some concession to economic melioration, as well as supporting anti-racist and feminist policy to keep the inchoate left on board, but . . .

The new politics of the right has lost faith in the hard neoliberalism that formerly furnished its policy agenda of tax cuts for the rich, war in the Middle East and so on, leaving the impure resentment ungoverned and unfocused, as you say.

The soft neoliberals, it seems to me, are using anti-racism to discredit economic populism and its motivations, using the new politics of the right as a foil.

The problem of how to oppose racism and tribalism effectively is now entangled with soft neoliberal control of the remaining party coalition, which is to say with the credibility of the left party as a vehicle for economic populism and the credibility of economic populism as an antidote for racism or sexism. (cf js. @ 1,2)

The form of tribalism used to mobilize the left entails denying that an agenda of economic populism is relevant to the problems of sexism and racism, because the deplorables must be deplored to get out the vote. And, because the (soft) neoliberals in charge must keep economic populism under control to deliver the goods to their donor base.

[Oct 30, 2016] The term racist no longer carries any of the stigma it once held in part because the term is deployed so cynically and freely as to render it practically meaningless

Notable quotes:
"... Grenville regards understanding the opposition to globalization by the Trump constituency as essential. If we are discussing America, we do not need to look to illegal immigration, or undocumented workers to find hostility to out-group immigrants along religious and ethnic lines. ..."
"... These tendencies are thrown into sharper relief when this hostility is directed towards successfully assimilated immigrants of a different color who threaten the current occupants of a space – witness the open racism and hostility displayed towards Japanese immigrants on the west coast 1900-1924, or so. A similar level of hostility is sometimes/often displayed towards Koreans. The out-grouping in Japan is tiered and extends to ethnicity and language of groups within the larger Japanese community, as it does in the UK, although not as commonly along religious lines as it does elsewhere. ..."
"... European workers have done much better in the new global economy.(The problems in Europe center around mass migration of people who resist assimilation and adoption of a Humanistic world view.) The answer is simple and horrifying. ..."
"... A large percentage of American workers consistently vote against their own interest which has allowed the republican party in service to a powerful elite billionaire class ..."
"... The combination of these reliable cadre of deplorables , controlled by faux news and hate radio , and the lack of political engagement by the low income Americans , has essentially turned power over to the billionaire class. ..."
Oct 30, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

kidneystones 10.30.16 at 9:15 am

I read an interesting piece in the Nikkei, hardly an left-leaning publication citing Arlie Hochschild's "Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right."

Doubtless some here would like to see more misery heaped upon those who do not look to the Democratic party as saviors, but Hochschild is rarely regarded as a defender of the American right.

Few dispute that a significant subset of any given population is going to regard in-group/out-group distinctions along the highly imprecise lines of 'race' and ethnicity, or religion. The question, for some, is what percentage?

The Nikkei article by Stephen Grenville concludes: Over the longer term, the constituency for globalization has to be rebuilt, the methodology for multilateral trade agreements has to be revived…"

Grenville regards understanding the opposition to globalization by the Trump constituency as essential. If we are discussing America, we do not need to look to illegal immigration, or undocumented workers to find hostility to out-group immigrants along religious and ethnic lines.

These tendencies are thrown into sharper relief when this hostility is directed towards successfully assimilated immigrants of a different color who threaten the current occupants of a space – witness the open racism and hostility displayed towards Japanese immigrants on the west coast 1900-1924, or so. A similar level of hostility is sometimes/often displayed towards Koreans. The out-grouping in Japan is tiered and extends to ethnicity and language of groups within the larger Japanese community, as it does in the UK, although not as commonly along religious lines as it does elsewhere.

Generally, I think John is right. The term 'racist' no longer carries any of the stigma it once held in part because the term is deployed so cynically and freely as to render it practically meaningless. HRC and Bill and their supporters (including me, at one time) are racists for as long as its convenient and politically expedient to call them racists. Once that moment has passed, the term 'racist' is withdrawn and replaced with something like Secretary of State, or some other such title.

I've no clear 'solution' other than to support a more exact and thoughtful discussion of the causes of fear and anxiety that compels people to bind together into in-groups and out-groups, and to encourage the fearful to take a few risks now and again.

Here's the link: http://asia.nikkei.com/magazine/20161020-An-era-ends-in-Thailand/Viewpoints/Stephen-Grenville-The-US-election-is-putting-the-TPP-trade-agreement-in-doubt?page=2

Bob Zannelli 10.30.16 at 11:44 am
I've no clear 'solution' other than to support a more exact and thoughtful discussion of the causes of fear and anxiety that compels people to bind together into in-groups and out-groups, and to encourage the fearful to take a few risks now and again.

Here's my take on this. The question to ask is why has this happened? European workers have done much better in the new global economy.(The problems in Europe center around mass migration of people who resist assimilation and adoption of a Humanistic world view.) The answer is simple and horrifying.

A large percentage of American workers consistently vote against their own interest which has allowed the republican party in service to a powerful elite billionaire class form a reliable cadre of highly visible and highly vocal deplorables which even though slightly less than half the population of those who bother to vote have virtually shut down democratic safeguards which could have mitigated what has happened due to globalization. The combination of these reliable cadre of deplorables , controlled by faux news and hate radio , and the lack of political engagement by the low income Americans , has essentially turned power over to the billionaire class.

... ... ...

Alesis 10.30.16 at 12:13 pm

A strategy that doesn't work inside the tent is DOA outside it. As it stands many liberals (largely white and this is an important distinction) share with the right a deep discomfort with acknowledging the centrality of racism to American politics.

Race is the foundational organizing principle of American life and it represents a considerable strain to keep it in focus. Donald Trump will win the majority of white voters as the racial resentment coalition has since the 1930s. An effective strategy for the long term is focused on breaking that near century long hold.

I'd suggest the direct approach. Call racism what it is and ask white voters directly what good it has done for them lately. Did railing against Mexican rapists brings any jobs back?

[Oct 29, 2016] Accusations of racism as a method to squash social resistance to neoliberalism

Oct 29, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Carolinian October 28, 2016 at 3:14 pm

Or the racism of the middle class. People are tribal and arguably it is baked into our DNA. That doesn't excuse the mental laziness of trafficking in stereotypes but one could make a case that racism is as much a matter of ignorance as of evil character.

Obama with his "bitter clingers" and HIllary with her "deplorables" are talking about people about whom they probably know almost nothing.

One of the long ago arguments for school integration was that propinquity fosters mutual understanding. This met with a lot of resistance. And for people like our Pres and would be Pres a broader view of the electorate would be inconvenient.

They might have to turn into actual liberals.

[Oct 28, 2016] An Identity-Politicized Election and World Series Lakefront Liberals Can Love

Oct 28, 2016 | www.counterpunch.org

Identity politics provides cover for, and diversion from, class rule and from the deeper structures of class, race, gender, empire, and eco-cide that haunt American and global life today – structures that place children of liberal white North Side Chicago professionals in posh 40 th -story apartments overlooking scenic Lake Michigan while consigning children of felony-branded Black custodians and fast food workers to cramped apartments in crime-ridden South Side neighborhoods where nearly half the kids are growing up at less than half the federal government's notoriously inadequate poverty level. Most of the Black kids in deeply impoverished and hyper-segregated neighborhoods like Woodlawn and Englewood (South Side) or North Lawndale and Garfield Park (West Side) can forget not only about going to a World Series game but even about watching one on television. Their parents don't have cable and the Fox Sports 1 channel. There's few if any local restaurants and taverns with big-screen televisions in safe walking distance from their homes. Major League Baseball ticket prices being what they are, few of the South Side kids have even seen the White Sox – Chicago's South Side American League team, whose ballpark lacks the affluent white and gentrified surroundings of Wrigley Field. (Thanks in no small part to the urban social geography of race and class in Chicago, the White Sox winning the World Series in 2005 – thei

... ... ...

There is, yes, I know, the problem of Democrats in the White House functioning to stifle social movements and especially peace activism (the antiwar movement has still yet to recover from the Obama experience). But there's more good news here about a Hillary presidency. Not all Democratic presidents are equally good at shutting progressive activism down. As the likely Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein (for whom I took five minutes to early vote in a "contested state" three weeks ago) noted in an interview with me last April (when the White Sox still held first place in their division), Hillary Clinton will have considerably less capacity to deceive and bamboozle progressive and young workers and citizens than Barack Obama enjoyed in 2007-08 . "Obama," Stein noted, was fairly new on the scene. Hillary," by contrast, "has been a warmonger who never found a war she didn't love forever!" Hillary's corporatist track record – ably documented in Doug Henwood's book My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency (her imperial track record receives equally impressive treatment in Diana Johnstone's volume Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton ) – is also long and transparently bad. All that and Mrs. Clinton's remarkable lacks of charisma and trustworthiness could be useful for left activism and politics in coming years.

For what it's worth, the first and most urgent place to restore such activism and politics is in the area where Barack Obama has been most deadening: foreign policy, also known (when conducted by the U.S.) as imperialism. When it comes to prospects for World War III, it is by no means clear that the saber-rattling, regime-changing, NATO-expanding, and Russia-baiting Hillary Clinton is the "lesser evil" compared to the preposterous Trump. That's no small matter. During a friend's birthday party the night the Cubs clinched the National League pennant, I asked fellow celebrants and inebriates if they were prepared for the fundamental realignment of the space-time continuum that was coming when the North Siders won the league championship. That was a joke, of course, but there's nothing funny about the heightened chances of a real downward existential adjustment resulting from war between nuclear superpowers when the "lying neoliberal warmonger" Hillary Clinton gets into office and insists on recklessly imposing a so-called no-fly zone over Russia-allied Syria.

... ... ...

Paul Street's latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014)

[Oct 28, 2016] The Moral Blindness of Identity Politics The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... In two party politics, generally political parties are mediating institutions, which moderate the claims of the interest groups composing them. However, when it switches to immutable characteristics, political parties become the vehicles of extremism, as each party tries to the "outbid" the other party in claims for dominance for its members. Further, each victory by the rival party spurs fears and polarization by the losers. Generally, you see de-stablization and violence in its wake. Its a good way to destroy a democracy. ..."
Oct 25, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Slate's Jamelle Bouie analyzes the excellent "Black Jeopardy" skit in which Tom Hanks played "Doug," a Trump supporter who, along with his two black opponents, discovers that they have a lot in common. Bouie:

Then comes the final punchline, "Lives That Matter." Obviously, the answer to the question is "black." But Doug has "a lot to say about this." Which suggests that he doesn't think the answer is that simple. Perhaps he thinks "all lives matter," or that "blue lives matter," the phrasing used by those who defend the status quo of policing and criminal justice. Either way, this puts him in direct conflict with the black people he's befriended. As viewers, we know that "Black Lives Matter" is a movement against police violence, for the essential safety and security of black Americans. It's a demand for fair and equal treatment as citizens, as opposed to a pervasive assumption of criminality.

Thompson, Zamata, and Jones might see a lot to like in Doug, but if he can't sign on to the fact that black Americans face unique challenges and dangers, then that's the end of the game. Tucked into this six-minute sketch is a subtle and sophisticated analysis of American politics. It's not that working blacks and working whites are unable to see the things they have in common; it's that the material interests of the former-freedom from unfair scrutiny, unfair detention, and unjust killings-are in direct tension with the identity politics of the latter (as represented in the sketch by the Trump hat). And in fact, if Hanks' character is a Trump supporter, then all the personal goodwill in the world doesn't change the fact that his political preferences are a direct threat to the lives and livelihoods of his new friends, a fact they recognize.

What Bouie doesn't seem to get is that black identity politics and the preferences of those who espouse them are a direct threat to the livelihoods and interests of many whites - and even, at times, their lives ( hello, Brian Ogle! ).

Consider this insanity from Michigan State University, pointed out by a reader this morning. It's the Facebook page of Which Side Are You On? , radical student organization whose stated purpose is:

Michigan State University has chosen to remain silent on the issue of racial injustice and police brutality. We demand that the administration release a statement in support of the Movement for Black Lives; and, in doing so, affirms the value of the lives of its students, alumni, and future Spartans of color while recognizing the alienation and oppression that they face on campus. In the absence of open support, MSU is taking the side of the oppressor.

Got that? Either 100 percent agree with them, or you are a racist oppressor. It's fanatical, and it's an example of bullying. But as we have seen over the past year, year and a half, Black Lives Matter and related identity politics movements (Which Side Are You On? says it is not affiliated with BLM) are by no means only about police brutality. If they were, this wouldn't be a hard call. No decent person of any race supports police brutality. To use Bouie's terms, the material interests of non-progressive white people are often in direct tension with the identity politics of many blacks and their progressive non-black allies. This is true beyond racial identity politics. It's true of LGBT identity politics also. But progressives can't see that, because to them, what they do is not identity politics; it's just politics.

You cannot practice and extol identity politics for groups favored by progressives without implicitly legitimizing identity politics for groups disfavored by progressives.

Good luck getting anyone on the left to recognize the fallacy of special pleading when it's right in front of their eyes. Posted in Politics , Pop Culture , Race . Tagged Black Jeopardy , Black Lives Matter , identity politics , Jamelle Bouie , progressives .

[Oct 23, 2016] Clintonism is wedge politics directed against any class or populist upheaval that might threaten neoliberalism

That's explains vicious campaign by neoliberal MSM against Trump and swiping under the carpet all criminal deeds of Clinton family. They feel the threat...
Notable quotes:
"... It should be remembered that fascism does not succeed in the real world as a crusade by race-obsessed lumpen. It succeeds when fascists are co-opted by capitalists, as was unambiguously the case in Nazi Germany and Italy. And big business supported fascism because it feared the alternatives: socialism and communism. ..."
"... That's because there is no more effective counter to class consciousness than race consciousness. That's one reason why, in my opinion, socialism hasn't done a better job of catching on in the United States. The contradictions between black and white labor formed a ready-made wedge. ..."
Oct 23, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

An excellent article

It should be remembered that fascism does not succeed in the real world as a crusade by race-obsessed lumpen. It succeeds when fascists are co-opted by capitalists, as was unambiguously the case in Nazi Germany and Italy. And big business supported fascism because it feared the alternatives: socialism and communism.

That's because there is no more effective counter to class consciousness than race consciousness. That's one reason why, in my opinion, socialism hasn't done a better job of catching on in the United States. The contradictions between black and white labor formed a ready-made wedge. The North's abhorrence at the spread of slavery into the American West before the Civil War had more to do a desire to preserve these new realms for "free" labor-"free" in one context, from the competition of slave labor-than egalitarian principle.[…]

There is more to Clintonism, I think, than simply playing the "identity politics" card to screw Bernie Sanders or discombobulate the Trump campaign. "Identity politics" is near the core of the Clintonian agenda as a bulwark against any class/populist upheaval that might threaten her brand of billionaire-friendly liberalism.

In other words it's all part of a grand plan when the Clintonoids aren't busy debating the finer points of her marketing and "mark"–a term normally applied to the graphic logo on a commercial product.

http://www.unz.com/plee/trump-we-wish-the-problem-was-fascism/

[Oct 23, 2016] Hillary Clinton and Identity Politics

Notable quotes:
"... Hillary Clinton's nomination and the euphoria in the press (one NPR female reporter said she has seen women weeping over the possibility of Hillary becoming president) eclipses any discussion about the real issues facing the country. ..."
"... Notice how the term "women's issues" is used by the media and certain politicians to suggest that there is only one acceptable position for females on any given topic. To the left, women's issues appear to mean abortion rights, same-sex marriage, higher taxes, bigger government and electing more women who favor such things. ..."
"... As the husband of a successful woman with a master's degree and accomplished daughters and granddaughters, that's how we feel about Hillary Clinton. We're all for a female president, just not this one. ..."
www.newsbusters.org
Have you heard that Hillary Clinton is the "first woman" ever to be nominated for president by a major political party? Of course you have. The media have repeated the line so often it is broken news.

Hillary Clinton's nomination and the euphoria in the press (one NPR female reporter said she has seen women weeping over the possibility of Hillary becoming president) eclipses any discussion about the real issues facing the country.

To quote Clinton in another context, "what difference does it make" that she is a woman? A liberal is a liberal, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity.

Must we go through an entire list of "firsts" before we get to someone who can solve our collective problems, instead of making them worse? Many of those cheering this supposed progress in American culture, which follows the historic election of the "first African-American president," are insincere, if not disingenuous. Otherwise, they would have applauded the advancement of African-Americans like Gen. Colin Powell, Justice Clarence Thomas, former one-term Rep. Allen West (R-FL), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and conservative women like Sarah Palin, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) and many others.

Immigrants who entered the country legally and became citizens are virtually ignored by the media. They champion instead illegal immigrants and the liberals who support them.

The reason for this disparity in attitude and coverage is that conservative blacks, women and Hispanics hold positions anathema to the left. Conservative African-Americans have been called all kinds of derogatory names in an effort to get them to convert to liberal orthodoxy, and they're ostracized if they don't convert. If conservative, a female is likely to be labeled a traitor to her gender, or worse.

Notice how the term "women's issues" is used by the media and certain politicians to suggest that there is only one acceptable position for females on any given topic. To the left, women's issues appear to mean abortion rights, same-sex marriage, higher taxes, bigger government and electing more women who favor such things.

When it comes to accomplished conservative female leaders, one of the greatest and smartest of our time was the late Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan's consequential U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. As Jay Nordlinger wrote in his review of Peter Collier's book "Political Woman" for National Review, "In a saner world, Jeane Kirkpatrick would have been lionized by feminists. She had risen from the oil patch to the commanding heights of U.S. foreign policy. But her views were 'wrong.'"

Collier writes that Kirkpatrick, who was a Democrat most of her life, recalled feminist icon Gloria Steinem once referring to her as "a female impersonator." Author Naomi Wolf called her "a woman without a uterus" and claimed that she had been "unaffected by the experiences of the female body." Kirkpatrick responded, "I have three kids, while she, when she made this comment had none."

The left gets away with these kinds of smears because they largely control the media and the message. No Republican could escape shunning, or worse, if such language were employed against a female Democrat.

Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, born in Philadelphia to Philippine citizens, has written about some of the printable things she's been called -- "race traitor," "white man's puppet," "Tokyo Rose," "Aunt Tomasina."

As the cliche goes, if liberals didn't have a double standard, they would have no standards at all.

There's an old joke about a woman with five children who was asked if she had it to do over again would she have five kids. "Yes," she replied, "just not these five."

As the husband of a successful woman with a master's degree and accomplished daughters and granddaughters, that's how we feel about Hillary Clinton. We're all for a female president, just not this one.

[Oct 22, 2016] Race-specific programs are a wedge issues and belong to identity politics as they will create great resentment

Notable quotes:
"... I think race-specific programs are a dead end as they will create great resentment, but universal programs and ESPECIALLY a job guarantee would be tremendously helpful in improving the U.S. racial situation. ..."
"... And it prevents the constant attacks on recipients of benefits as being unworthy, criminal, drug-taking, undeserving folk who should be drug-tested, monitored, controlled, suspected. ..."
"... Privileges like the selection of judges or the creation of special loopholes in the tax law, or other privileges only a political donation of the right amount might purchase. And it should be plain that some of the privileges described are not privileges at all but basic rights of human kind borne within any notion of the just. ..."
"... I think race-specific programs are a dead end as they will create great resentment, but universal programs and ESPECIALLY a job guarantee would be tremendously helpful in improving the U.S. racial situation. ..."
"... When the BLM (I think) asked Bernie about reparations, he said he didn't think it was a good idea, that free college etc would help everyone. ..."
Oct 21, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
SpringTexasn October 21, 2016 at 10:45 am

PlutoniumKun is 100% on-target. Moreover, non-universal benefits have tremendous overhead cost in terms of paperwork, qualifications, etc., while a universal benefit can be minimally bureaucratic.

I think race-specific programs are a dead end as they will create great resentment, but universal programs and ESPECIALLY a job guarantee would be tremendously helpful in improving the U.S. racial situation.

On the baby bonds, it's foolish to have a "$50 endowment for a child of Bill Gates". Instead it would be better to just provide $50,000 to ALL babies including Bill Gates' child, and tax Bill Gates more.

As the saying goes, "programs for the poor are poor programs." Bill Gates' child should be allowed to use the same public libraries, go to the same (free) public universities, etc. etc. I doubt Bill Gates' child will need to take up the guaranteed job, but if he needs or wants to (perhaps because of a quarrel with his parent) he should be able to.

And it prevents the constant attacks on recipients of benefits as being unworthy, criminal, drug-taking, undeserving folk who should be drug-tested, monitored, controlled, suspected.

Jeremy Grimm October 22, 2016 at 1:06 am

Universality removes many of the privileges the rich enjoy - $50K for all babies including Bill Gates child - and as privileges are dismantled in this way the remaining privileges of the rich will stand all the more glaring for their unfairness - to all. Privileges like the selection of judges or the creation of special loopholes in the tax law, or other privileges only a political donation of the right amount might purchase. And it should be plain that some of the privileges described are not privileges at all but basic rights of human kind borne within any notion of the just.

HotFlash October 22, 2016 at 6:38 am

I think race-specific programs are a dead end as they will create great resentment, but universal programs and ESPECIALLY a job guarantee would be tremendously helpful in improving the U.S. racial situation.

I've been thinking about this bit a lot. When the BLM (I think) asked Bernie about reparations, he said he didn't think it was a good idea, that free college etc would help everyone.

I don't recall any elaboration on his part, but I wondered at the time, how would they be allocated? Full black, one-half black, one quarter, quadroon, octoroon, mulatto, 'yaller'? That's wholly back to Jim Crow, or worse. I refer, of course to the artificial division of Huttus and Tutsis which, you may recall, did not work out so well . Barack Obama, would he qualify? None of his ancestors were slaves.

I am looking forward to the book by Darity and Muller, but they would have to do a lot of persuading to get me to get comfy with reparations.

Oh, and re Yves' remark about the baby box, that would be Finland, there's a BBC article here , and one from the Atlantic, "Finland's 'Baby Box': Gift from Santa Claus or Socialist Hell?" America, jeesh!

Stratos October 21, 2016 at 10:58 am

The country that gives every expecting mother a new baby package is Finland. They started the practice in the 1930's when their infant mortality rate was at ten percent. Now they have one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.

[Oct 21, 2016] Neoliberals take demands for economic fairness and try to give us identity politics instead

Notable quotes:
"... Clinton says publically she believes that. Meanwhile supposedly smart economists like Tyler Cowen say they don't. Boston Fed President Rosengren says there are too many jobs. We need more unemployed. I'm Fed Up with regional Fed Presidents like him. ..."
"... Class issues are now a tough nut to crack, partly I think because the Democrats and some liberals take demands for economic fairness and try to give us identity politics instead, ..."
"... The meritocratic class who Krugman speaks for and centrist politicians like Clinton will slow-walk class issues like how Tim Geithner slow-walked financial reform. It's part of their job description and milieu. ..."
"... It's funny when neo-liberals/libertarians hate an activity engaged in by workers in what is clearly the product of a free market -- exercising the right of free association and organizing to do collective bargaining -- while think it is perfectly OK -- indeed, so "natural" that any question wouldn't even occur to them -- for owners of capital to organize themselves under the special protections of the state-created corporation. ..."
"... It's understandable, though, that they would consider the corporation to be ordained by natural law: the Founding Fathers, after all, were dedicated to the proposition that all men and corporations are endowed with certain unalienable rights by their Creator. (Never mind that the creator of the corporations is the state.) ..."
economistsview.typepad.com
Peter K: October 21, 2016 at 10:14 AM
I liked how Hillary said in the third debate that she was for raising the minimum wage because people who work full time shouldn't live in poverty. And "Donald" is against it. That's why people are voting for her.

That's an ethical or moral notion, combined with "morally neutral" economics. People who work hard full time, play by the rules and pay their dues shouldn't live in poverty.

Clinton says publically she believes that. Meanwhile supposedly smart economists like Tyler Cowen say they don't. Boston Fed President Rosengren says there are too many jobs. We need more unemployed. I'm Fed Up with regional Fed Presidents like him.

Think about the debate between the centrists and progressives over Trump supporters. The centrists argue Trump supporters (nor anyone else besides a few) aren't suffering from economic anxiety - that it's racism all of the way down. Matt Yglesias. Dylan Matthews. Krugman. Meyerson. Etc.

The progressives admit there's racism, but there's a wider context. The Nazis were racists, but there was also the Treaty of Versailles and the Great Depression. And Germany got better in the decades after the war just as the American South is better than it once was. Steve Randy Waldman and James Kwak discussed in blog post how the wider context should be taken into consideration.

On some "non-economic issues" there has been progress even though the recent decades haven't been as booming as the post-WWII decades were with rising living standards for all.

A black President. Legalized gay marriage. Legalized pot. I wouldn't have thought these things as likely to happen when I was a teenager because of the bigoted authoritarian nature of many voters and elites. During the Progressive era and when the New Deal was enacted, racism and sexism and bigotry and anti-science thinking was virulent. Yet economic progress was made on the class front.

Class issues are now a tough nut to crack, partly I think because the Democrats and some liberals take demands for economic fairness and try to give us identity politics instead, not that the latter isn't worthwhile. Partly b/c of what Mike Konczal discussed in his recent Medium piece.

If we can just apply the morality and politics of electing a black President and legalizing gay marriage and pot, to class issues. The meritocratic class who Krugman speaks for and centrist politicians like Clinton will slow-walk class issues like how Tim Geithner slow-walked financial reform. It's part of their job description and milieu.

But Clinton did talk to it during the third debate when she said she'd raise the minimum wage because people who work full time shouldn't live in poverty. That is a morale issue as the new Pope has been talking about.

Hillary should have joked last night about what God's Catholic representative here on Earth had to say about Trump.

urban legend said...
It's funny when neo-liberals/libertarians hate an activity engaged in by workers in what is clearly the product of a free market -- exercising the right of free association and organizing to do collective bargaining -- while think it is perfectly OK -- indeed, so "natural" that any question wouldn't even occur to them -- for owners of capital to organize themselves under the special protections of the state-created corporation.

It's understandable, though, that they would consider the corporation to be ordained by natural law: the Founding Fathers, after all, were dedicated to the proposition that all men and corporations are endowed with certain unalienable rights by their Creator. (Never mind that the creator of the corporations is the state.)

[Aug 28, 2016] Clinton bigotry against working with inconvenient facts. Read applicable US code one for security, one for federal records, Clinton gets away with calling law that protect security as spin.

Notable quotes:
"... Clinton bigotry against working with inconvenient facts. Read applicable US code one for security, one for federal records, Clinton gets away with calling law that protect security as 'spin'. ..."
Aug 28, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
ilsm, Friday, August 26, 2016 at 06:26 PM
The burgeoning neolib dog whistle "alt-right" is short for "a$$hole who thinks Clinton should go to jail for 1000 times the misconduct that would get that a$$hole 10 years hard time".

Neoliberals use the term "alt-right" as shorthand for those who don't drink the Clinton neocon Kool-Aid.

The bigotry of warmongering neoliberals against anyone who disagrees. There isn't enough fascism going around?

ilsm -> pgl... , Friday, August 26, 2016 at 04:36 PM
Clinton bigotry against working with inconvenient facts. Read applicable US code one for security, one for federal records, Clinton gets away with calling law that protect security as 'spin'.
ilsm -> Paine... , -1
The 'soft bigotry of GLBT and war for fascist allies' types criticizing racists' morals.
ilsm -> anne... , -1
In the same category as Brooks and Friedman. I regard Dowd better!

[Aug 27, 2016] Social Fragmentation Suits the Powers That Be

Notable quotes:
"... The Elites have successfully revolted against the political and economic constraints on their wealth and power, and now the unprivileged, unprotected non-Elites are rebelling in the only way left open to them: voting for anyone who claims to be outside the privileged Elites that dominate our society and economy. ..."
Jul 29, 2016 | www.oftwominds.com

The Elites have successfully revolted against the political and economic constraints on their wealth and power.

Ours is an Age of Fracture (the 2011 book by Daniel Rodgers) in which "earlier notions of history and society that stressed solidity, collective institutions, and social circumstances gave way to a more individualized human nature that emphasized choice, agency, performance, and desire."

A society that is fragmenting into cultural groups that are themselves fracturing into smaller units of temporary and highly contingent solidarity is ideal for Elites bent on maintaining political and financial control.

A society that has fragmented into a media-fed cultural war of hot-button identity-gender-religious politics is a society that is incapable of resisting concentrations of power and wealth in the hands of the few at the expense of the many.

If we set aside the authentic desire of individuals for equal rights and cultural liberation and examine the political and financial ramifications of social fragmentation, we come face to face with Christopher Lasch's insightful analysis on The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy (1996 book).

"The new elites, the professional classes in particular, regard the masses with mingled scorn and apprehension.... Middle Americans, as they appear to the makers of educated opinion, are hopelessly shabby, unfashionable, and provincial, ill informed about changes in taste or intellectual trends, addicted to trashy novels of romance and adventure, and stupefied by prolonged exposure to television. They are at once absurd and vaguely menacing."

Though better known for his book on the disastrous consequences of consumerism in an era of economic stagnation, The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations , Lasch's The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy is the more politically profound analysis, as it links Elite dominance of the media, higher education and cultural narratives to the erosion of democracy as a functioning institution.

Extreme concentrations of wealth and power are incompatible with democracy, as Elites buy political influence and promote cultural narratives that distract the citizenry with emotionally charged issues. A focus on individual liberation from all constraints precludes an awareness of common economic-political interests beyond the narrow boundaries of fragmenting culturally defined identities.

In a society stripped of broad-based social contracts and narratives that focus on the structural forces dismantling democracy and social mobility, the Elites have a free hand to consolidate their own personal wealth and power and use those tools to further fragment any potential political resistance to their dominance.

The Elites have successfully revolted against the political and economic constraints on their wealth and power, and now the unprivileged, unprotected non-Elites are rebelling in the only way left open to them: voting for anyone who claims to be outside the privileged Elites that dominate our society and economy.

[Aug 20, 2016] Trump is a racist and his followers are racist narrative as well as the claim that Trump is Putins stooge, is very convenient to Clinton

Notable quotes:
"... "Trump is a racist and his followers are racist and that's all you need to know" is a narrative thesis, like the narrative thesis that Trump is Putin's stooge, very convenient to Clinton's candidacy, but ultimately corrosive to American politics and political discourse. ..."
"... The Clinton campaign has whipped up a high dudgeon about racism and Putin and how unsuited Trump is, to be President. I don't disagree about the core conclusion: Trump does not seem to me to be suited to be President. That's hardly a difficult judgment: an impulsive, self-promoting reality teevee star with no experience of public office - hmmm, let me think about that for two seconds. But, the high dudgeon serves other purposes, to which I object strongly. ..."
"... People, who argue Trump might start a nuclear war out of personal pique because he insults people on teevee might want to examine Clinton's bellicose foreign policy record and positions on, say, Israel, Iran, Ukraine, NATO expansion or the South China Sea. ..."
"... Everything should not be about electing Clinton. ..."
"... Pundits like Josh Marshall of TPM or Ezra Klein of Vox are betraying their public trust by carrying Clinton's water so slavishly. ..."
"... People, who argue Trump might start a nuclear war out of personal pique because he insults people on teevee might want to examine Clinton's bellicose foreign policy record and positions on, say, Israel, Iran, Ukraine, NATO expansion or the South China Sea ..."
"... Or, as Ian Welsh points out, her position on Syria. She seems to have advocated for a no-fly zone in Syria after Russia came in, which would presumably put us in the position of shooting down Russian warplanes or having a good chance of doing so. Maybe if she does take on Kissinger as an advisor he'll tell her that superpower conflicts have to be done through proxies or they're too dangerous. ..."
"... This is what 40 years of two-party neoliberalism gives us: an unhinged demagogue or the point person for Democratic policies that have systematically gutted the middle class, screwed the poor, increase inequality, slowed productivity, caused multiple wars, and made them personally rich. ..."
"... The moral righteousness of identity politics adds in an element that goes way beyond the lazy failure to hold politicians accountable or the tendency to explain away their more Machiavellian maneuvers. There's both an actual blindness to the reactionary conservatism of equal opportunity exploitation and a peremptory challenge to any other claim or analysis. If police practices and procedures are trending in an authoritarian direction, they can only be challenged on grounds of racist effect or intent. The authoritarianism cannot be challenged on its own merit, so the building of the authoritarian state goes on unimpeded, since the principle that is challenged is not authoritarianism, but a particular claim of racism or sexism. ..."
"... As for LFC, he finished up his not a counter with "Assad and Putin are authoritarians (plus in Assad's case especially being a murderous thug), but I don't recall b.w. being too exercised about their authoritarianism." That's perfectly familiar [line] too: I well remember it from the GWB Iraq War days. Do you oppose the Iraq War? Well I never heard of you being very exercised about Saddam Hussein being a murderous thug. You must really support Saddam, or not really care about authoritarianism. The people who liked to say this were called the "Decents", a word like many other political words that was perfect because it meant exactly the opposite of what it sounded like. ..."
"... What's being critiqued is the idea that nothing but racism matters. What's being critiqued is the idea that it's useful or even correct to do mind-reading and to confidently pronounce that people who disagree with you do so because they're stupid and evil – excuse me, because they're racists. What I find illuminating here is the graphic evidence of why this approach is so toxic. People get furious and hostile when you call them bigots. It's an insult, not an invitation to dialog – because it doubles as a character judgment and as a personal attack. ..."
"... I am also saying, worry that the charge of racism may be all we have left that is capable of getting reforms. And, worry that charges of racism, without useful nuance, may not get the political reaction and reform one ought to desire. ..."
"... Police misconduct is not a problem solely and originally about race and racism ..."
crookedtimber.org

bruce wilder 08.13.16 at 7:44 pm 798

Layman @ 795

I think all you've really shown is that blue-collar, less-educated people tend to not know much about politics and to have the political attitudes of authoritarian followers and Trump is willing to be demagogic enough to attract their attention as an alternative to the status quo candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

"Trump is a racist and his followers are racist and that's all you need to know" is a narrative thesis, like the narrative thesis that Trump is Putin's stooge, very convenient to Clinton's candidacy, but ultimately corrosive to American politics and political discourse. It isn't a question of whether statistics suggest racism is an efficient instrumental variable. It is a question of whether this politics of invective and distraction is going anywhere good, could go anywhere good.

No one in these comment threads has been defending Trump or the political ignorance and resentments of his supporters. Some of us have questioned the wisdom of a political tactic of treating them as pariahs and dismissing their concerns and economic distress as fake or illegitimate.

The Clinton campaign has whipped up a high dudgeon about racism and Putin and how unsuited Trump is, to be President. I don't disagree about the core conclusion: Trump does not seem to me to be suited to be President. That's hardly a difficult judgment: an impulsive, self-promoting reality teevee star with no experience of public office - hmmm, let me think about that for two seconds. But, the high dudgeon serves other purposes, to which I object strongly.

Even though, and especially because Clinton is very likely to become President, her suitability ought to be scrutinized. Not just boxed away as, "well, she is obviously better than Trump so let's not even trouble our beautiful minds", when by the way it is not so obvious as all that, as several commenters have tried to point out. People, who argue Trump might start a nuclear war out of personal pique because he insults people on teevee might want to examine Clinton's bellicose foreign policy record and positions on, say, Israel, Iran, Ukraine, NATO expansion or the South China Sea.

Everything should not be about electing Clinton. Clinton's election is pretty much assured, despite her deep flaws as a candidate of the center-left (to wit, her war-mongering and epic corruption and economic conservatism). Pundits like Josh Marshall of TPM or Ezra Klein of Vox are betraying their public trust by carrying Clinton's water so slavishly. Ezra may be gaining all important access to the Clinton White House comparable to what he had in Obama's White House, but he spent his credibility with his readers to get it. And, he's deprived his readers of the opportunity to learn about issues of vital importance, like the TPP and corporate business power, or NATO expansion and the relationship with Russia, or the swirling vortex forming in the Middle East where American Empire is going down the drain of failed invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and ill-conceived "alliances" with fundamentally hostile powers like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

I don't think these comment threads are a good place to campaign or advocate on the behalf of any candidate. A modicum of advocacy might be welcome for the fodder it provides for reflective rumination, but mirroring the Clinton campaign's themes seems to require systematic misreadings of counter-argument and that has become disruptive. (RNB's volume and habitual tendentiousness puts RNB into a special category in this regard.)

There ought to be room in this discussions to move the conversation to more of a meta-level, where we consider trends and dynamics without the partisan's hyper-narrow focus.

Rich Puchalsky 08.13.16 at 9:12 pm 800

BW: "People, who argue Trump might start a nuclear war out of personal pique because he insults people on teevee might want to examine Clinton's bellicose foreign policy record and positions on, say, Israel, Iran, Ukraine, NATO expansion or the South China Sea."

Or, as Ian Welsh points out, her position on Syria. She seems to have advocated for a no-fly zone in Syria after Russia came in, which would presumably put us in the position of shooting down Russian warplanes or having a good chance of doing so. Maybe if she does take on Kissinger as an advisor he'll tell her that superpower conflicts have to be done through proxies or they're too dangerous.

For the larger question of whether these comment threads are a good place to campaign or advocate, I sort of come down in a different place than you do. If these comment threads were about good-faith argument, then sure this kind of advocacy might be bad, but I don't think that most people here are capable of good-faith argument even if they were attempting it (most of the time they aren't attempting it). In that case the comment threads serve an alternate purpose of seeing what kinds of beliefs are out there, at least among the limited group of people likely to comment on CT threads. Of course people can be kicked out if they habitually make the threads too difficult to moderate (or really, for whatever other reason an OP decides on), but the well has long since been poisoned and one more drop isn't really going to do much more damage.

T 08.13.16 at 9:13 pm 801

BW@798
Amen.

There's a reason the electorate hates both Trump and Clinton. This is what 40 years of two-party neoliberalism gives us: an unhinged demagogue or the point person for Democratic policies that have systematically gutted the middle class, screwed the poor, increase inequality, slowed productivity, caused multiple wars, and made them personally rich.

Let's not forget the Clintons were the Democratic Party point people in causing the vast incarceration of black men while simultaneously gutting welfare for black mothers and their children. (Yay 3rd Way!) They were the point people for letting 300 million Chinese workers compete with American workers. They deregulated the banks. And was there a war she didn't like?

So Layman finds that the 80% of the Evangelicals that support Trump are racist. And so are the white voters in manufacturing regions. (Excuse me. "Principally" racist.) And Layman's exact counterpart on some unnamed right-wing site thinks all the blacks voting for HRC are in it for the welfare and affirmative action. (Yes, your exact counterpart. Oh, and they, like you, would say blacks are "principally" scammers cause, you know, there are other minor reasons to vote HRC.)

I take a different view. I think most voters are going to have the taste of vomit in the their mouths when they pull the lever.

alfredlordbleep 08.13.16 at 9:55 pm 802

B Wilder @689
Brings up revolution

If there's a populist politics in our future, it will have to have a much sharper edge. It can talk about growth, but it has to mean smashing the rich and taking their stuff. There's very rapidly going to come a point where there's no other option, other than just accepting cramdown by the authoritarian surveillance state built by the neoliberals. that's a much taller order than Sanders or Trump have been offering.

Fit for inscription (keeps me smashingly awake after hundreds of comments :-))

LFC 08.14.16 at 1:19 am 809

bruce wilder @687

The moral righteousness of identity politics adds in an element that goes way beyond the lazy failure to hold politicians accountable or the tendency to explain away their more Machiavellian maneuvers. There's both an actual blindness to the reactionary conservatism of equal opportunity exploitation and a peremptory challenge to any other claim or analysis. If police practices and procedures are trending in an authoritarian direction, they can only be challenged on grounds of racist effect or intent. The authoritarianism cannot be challenged on its own merit, so the building of the authoritarian state goes on unimpeded, since the principle that is challenged is not authoritarianism, but a particular claim of racism or sexism.

So in the same week that the Justice Department report on the Baltimore police force comes out, showing systematic police discrimination - e.g. lots of people stopped in black neighborhoods, esp. two in particular, for petty reasons or no reason, versus very few people stopped in other neighborhoods - bruce wilder informs us that identity politics somehow prevents us from criticizing police behavior on grounds of authoritarianism, that it can only be criticized on grounds of racism (or subconscious racial bias) - of course, that wd appear to be a main problem w police behavior in Baltimore and some other places.

... ... ...

Rich Puchalsky 08.14.16 at 2:07 am

"Rich where is the evidence people can no longer criticize police for broad authoritarianism?"

The last time I talked about this with faustusnotes, he told me that it was entirely understandable and indeed good that Obama and the Democratic Party were passing laws to make non-violent protestors even more likely to be arrested, because Obama was black and there was a scary white protestor holding an assault rifle at a town meeting somewhere.

As for LFC, he finished up his not a counter with "Assad and Putin are authoritarians (plus in Assad's case especially being a murderous thug), but I don't recall b.w. being too exercised about their authoritarianism." That's perfectly familiar [line] too: I well remember it from the GWB Iraq War days. Do you oppose the Iraq War? Well I never heard of you being very exercised about Saddam Hussein being a murderous thug. You must really support Saddam, or not really care about authoritarianism. The people who liked to say this were called the "Decents", a word like many other political words that was perfect because it meant exactly the opposite of what it sounded like.

Marc 08.14.16 at 2:09 am

What's being critiqued is the idea that nothing but racism matters. What's being critiqued is the idea that it's useful or even correct to do mind-reading and to confidently pronounce that people who disagree with you do so because they're stupid and evil – excuse me, because they're racists.

What I find illuminating here is the graphic evidence of why this approach is so toxic. People get furious and hostile when you call them bigots. It's an insult, not an invitation to dialog – because it doubles as a character judgment and as a personal attack.

Now, when someone actually says something bigoted that's one thing. But that's not what's going on, and that's why the pushback is so serious.

And – faustnotes – you're minimizing the real suffering of people by claiming that the mortality rise in lower income US whites isn't real, and it certainly isn't important to you. I'm getting zero sense of empathy from you towards the plight of these people – the real important thing is to tell them why they're racist scum.

I think that the left has a moral obligation to try and build a decent society even for people that don't like the left much. I think that working class voters across the Western world are susceptible to racial appeals not because they're scum, but because they've been screwed by the system and the left has nothing to offer them but moral lectures. And that's a failure that we can address, and it starts with listening to people with respect. You can stand for your principles without assuming bad faith, without mind-reading, and without the stereotyping.

For me at least, those are the grounds of debate, and they're very different in kind from pretending that there is no such thing as racism.

bruce wilder 08.14.16 at 2:14 am 820

LFC @ 809

I am aware that the claim of racism is potent and where it can be made to effect reform, I am all in favor. Take what you can get, I say.

I am also saying, worry that the charge of racism may be all we have left that is capable of getting reforms. And, worry that charges of racism, without useful nuance, may not get the political reaction and reform one ought to desire.

Police misconduct is not a problem solely and originally about race and racism. I hope Baltimore gets useful and effective reform.

Here's a thoughtful blogpost about the problem of police misconduct in certain kinds of fatal shooting incidents and what can be done about it, both politically and in terms of reforming police training and administration: http://sociological-eye.blogspot.com/2016/07/can-war-between-cops-and-blacks-be-de.html

[Aug 19, 2016] In Hillary clinton camp view Trump is a racist and his followers are racist and thats all you need to know like the narrative that Trump is Putins stooge, is very convenient to Clinton

Notable quotes:
"... "Trump is a racist and his followers are racist and that's all you need to know" is a narrative thesis, like the narrative thesis that Trump is Putin's stooge, very convenient to Clinton's candidacy, but ultimately corrosive to American politics and political discourse. ..."
"... Not just boxed away as, "well, she is obviously better than Trump so let's not even trouble our beautiful minds", when by the way it is not so obvious as all that, as several commenters have tried to point out. People, who argue Trump might start a nuclear war out of personal pique because he insults people on teevee might want to examine Clinton's bellicose foreign policy record and positions on, say, Israel, Iran, Ukraine, NATO expansion or the South China Sea. ..."
"... Everything should not be about electing Clinton. Clinton's election is pretty much assured, despite her deep flaws as a candidate of the center-left (to wit, her war-mongering and epic corruption and economic conservatism). Pundits like Josh Marshall of TPM or Ezra Klein of Vox are betraying their public trust by carrying Clinton's water so slavishly. ..."
"... People, who argue Trump might start a nuclear war out of personal pique because he insults people on teevee might want to examine Clinton's bellicose foreign policy record and positions on, say, Israel, Iran, Ukraine, NATO expansion or the South China Sea ..."
"... Let's not forget the Clintons were the Democratic Party point people in causing the vast incarceration of black men while simultaneously gutting welfare for black mothers and their children. (Yay 3rd Way!) They were the point people for letting 300 million Chinese workers compete with American workers. They deregulated the banks. And was there a war she didn't like? ..."
"... If there's a populist politics in our future, it will have to have a much sharper edge. It can talk about growth, but it has to mean smashing the rich and taking their stuff. There's very rapidly going to come a point where there's no other option, other than just accepting cramdown by the authoritarian surveillance state built by the neoliberals. that's a much taller order than Sanders or Trump have been offering. ..."
crookedtimber.org

bruce wilder 08.13.16 at 7:44 pm 798

Layman @ 795

I think all you've really shown is that blue-collar, less-educated people tend to not know much about politics and to have the political attitudes of authoritarian followers and Trump is willing to be demagogic enough to attract their attention as an alternative to the status quo candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

"Trump is a racist and his followers are racist and that's all you need to know" is a narrative thesis, like the narrative thesis that Trump is Putin's stooge, very convenient to Clinton's candidacy, but ultimately corrosive to American politics and political discourse. It isn't a question of whether statistics suggest racism is an efficient instrumental variable. It is a question of whether this politics of invective and distraction is going anywhere good, could go anywhere good.

No one in these comment threads has been defending Trump or the political ignorance and resentments of his supporters. Some of us have questioned the wisdom of a political tactic of treating them as pariahs and dismissing their concerns and economic distress as fake or illegitimate.

The Clinton campaign has whipped up a high dudgeon about racism and Putin and how unsuited Trump is, to be President. I don't disagree about the core conclusion: Trump does not seem to me to be suited to be President. That's hardly a difficult judgment: an impulsive, self-promoting reality teevee star with no experience of public office - hmmm, let me think about that for two seconds. But, the high dudgeon serves other purposes, to which I object strongly.

Even though, and especially because Clinton is very likely to become President, her suitability ought to be scrutinized. Not just boxed away as, "well, she is obviously better than Trump so let's not even trouble our beautiful minds", when by the way it is not so obvious as all that, as several commenters have tried to point out. People, who argue Trump might start a nuclear war out of personal pique because he insults people on teevee might want to examine Clinton's bellicose foreign policy record and positions on, say, Israel, Iran, Ukraine, NATO expansion or the South China Sea.

Everything should not be about electing Clinton. Clinton's election is pretty much assured, despite her deep flaws as a candidate of the center-left (to wit, her war-mongering and epic corruption and economic conservatism). Pundits like Josh Marshall of TPM or Ezra Klein of Vox are betraying their public trust by carrying Clinton's water so slavishly. Ezra may be gaining all important access to the Clinton White House comparable to what he had in Obama's White House, but he spent his credibility with his readers to get it. And, he's deprived his readers of the opportunity to learn about issues of vital importance, like the TPP and corporate business power, or NATO expansion and the relationship with Russia, or the swirling vortex forming in the Middle East where American Empire is going down the drain of failed invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and ill-conceived "alliances" with fundamentally hostile powers like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

I don't think these comment threads are a good place to campaign or advocate on the behalf of any candidate. A modicum of advocacy might be welcome for the fodder it provides for reflective rumination, but mirroring the Clinton campaign's themes seems to require systematic misreadings of counter-argument and that has become disruptive. (RNB's volume and habitual tendentiousness puts RNB into a special category in this regard.) There ought to be room in this discussions to move the conversation to more of a meta-level, where we consider trends and dynamics without the partisan's hyper-narrow focus.

kidneystones 08.13.16 at 9:03 pm 799

@ 793 Hi Rich, that's a fair question. If memory serves, there were several very close calls under Nixon more from errors in the 'fail safe' system. Nixon is a complicated amoral actor fairly obviously guilty of some extremely serious crimes. He was not the only nasty actor at the time, however. In the specific case you're describing, I don't think any president would have handled things much differently. Russian missiles 90 miles from US soil during the cold war was unacceptable.

Many of our students have absolutely no idea of what life was like during the 20th century. It's literally another world. The one we share today seems infinitely safer and more tolerant. Cheers.

Rich Puchalsky 08.13.16 at 9:12 pm
BW: "People, who argue Trump might start a nuclear war out of personal pique because he insults people on teevee might want to examine Clinton's bellicose foreign policy record and positions on, say, Israel, Iran, Ukraine, NATO expansion or the South China Sea."

Or, as Ian Welsh points out, her position on Syria. She seems to have advocated for a no-fly zone in Syria after Russia came in, which would presumably put us in the position of shooting down Russian warplanes or having a good chance of doing so. Maybe if she does take on Kissinger as an advisor he'll tell her that superpower conflicts have to be done through proxies or they're too dangerous.

For the larger question of whether these comment threads are a good place to campaign or advocate, I sort of come down in a different place than you do. If these comment threads were about good-faith argument, then sure this kind of advocacy might be bad, but I don't think that most people here are capable of good-faith argument even if they were attempting it (most of the time they aren't attempting it). In that case the comment threads serve an alternate purpose of seeing what kinds of beliefs are out there, at least among the limited group of people likely to comment on CT threads. Of course people can be kicked out if they habitually make the threads too difficult to moderate (or really, for whatever other reason an OP decides on), but the well has long since been poisoned and one more drop isn't really going to do much more damage.

T 08.13.16 at 9:13 pm

BW@798
Amen.

There's a reason the electorate hates both Trump and Clinton. This is what 40 years of two-party neoliberism gives us: an unhinged demagogue or the point person for Democratic policies that have systematically gutted the middle class, screwed the poor, increase inequality, slowed productivity, caused multiple wars, and made them personally rich.

Let's not forget the Clintons were the Democratic Party point people in causing the vast incarceration of black men while simultaneously gutting welfare for black mothers and their children. (Yay 3rd Way!) They were the point people for letting 300 million Chinese workers compete with American workers. They deregulated the banks. And was there a war she didn't like?

So Layman finds that the 80% of the Evangelicals that support Trump are racist. And so are the white voters in manufacturing regions. (Excuse me. "Principally" racist.) And Layman's exact counterpart on some unnamed right-wing site thinks all the blacks voting for HRC are in it for the welfare and affirmative action. (Yes, your exact counterpart. Oh, and they, like you, would say blacks are "principally" scammers cause, you know, there are other minor reasons to vote HRC.)

I take a different view. I think most voters are going to have the taste of vomit in the their mouths when they pull the lever.

alfredlordbleep 08.13.16 at 9:55 pm 802

B Wilder @689

Brings up revolution

If there's a populist politics in our future, it will have to have a much sharper edge. It can talk about growth, but it has to mean smashing the rich and taking their stuff. There's very rapidly going to come a point where there's no other option, other than just accepting cramdown by the authoritarian surveillance state built by the neoliberals. that's a much taller order than Sanders or Trump have been offering.

Fit for inscription (keeps me smashingly awake after hundreds of comments :-))

LFC 08.14.16 at 1:19 am 809

bruce wilder @687

The moral righteousness of identity politics adds in an element that goes way beyond the lazy failure to hold politicians accountable or the tendency to explain away their more Machiavellian maneuvers. There's both an actual blindness to the reactionary conservatism of equal opportunity exploitation and a peremptory challenge to any other claim or analysis. If police practices and procedures are trending in an authoritarian direction, they can only be challenged on grounds of racist effect or intent. The authoritarianism cannot be challenged on its own merit, so the building of the authoritarian state goes on unimpeded, since the principle that is challenged is not authoritarianism, but a particular claim of racism or sexism.

So in the same week that the Justice Department report on the Baltimore police force comes out, showing systematic police discrimination - e.g. lots of people stopped in black neighborhoods, esp. two in particular, for petty reasons or no reason, versus very few people stopped in other neighborhoods - bruce wilder informs us that identity politics somehow prevents us from criticizing police behavior on grounds of authoritarianism, that it can only be criticized on grounds of racism (or subconscious racial bias) - of course, that wd appear to be a main problem w police behavior in Baltimore and some other places.

... ... ...

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