Thursday, May 25, 2017

Marxist view of identity politics

Here is a Marxist view of identity politics:
Marx's surprising claim in OtJQ is that, while calls for equal treatment of disenfranchised ethnic and religious minorities may seem to subvert the prevailing social and economic order, they are actually often welcomed by it for reasons having to do with the logic of capitalism. ...

However, these calls for emancipation are, in another respect, regressive. The extension of formal legal equality to disenfranchised groups is perfectly in keeping with the logic of capitalism, which seeks to erode all ethnic, national religious and ideological barriers among people so as to integrate them more effectively into a world market - one in which the only division left is the class division between laborer and capitalist (a division the market itself masks). Concretely, the ability to own property and participate in markets should be as widespread as possible for this to function, and that ability is unthinkable without legally protected rights of various kinds. So the call for emancipation, though partially emancipatory, is, in this instance, something of a capitalist ruse.

"Political emancipation", the granting of formal legal equality, and other less tangible forms of equal status to disenfranchised religious and ethnic minorities, would never be sufficient for true, human emancipation - a fact evidenced for Marx by the fact that the most formally egalitarian nation on earth (the USA) remained among the most religious, and therefore, most alienated (here, Marx is relying on Feuerbach's insight that the persistence of religion is evidence of frustrated human aspirations). True human emancipation would come about not through the inclusion of disenfranchised minorities into the prevailing social and economic order but, rather, through its revolutionary overthrow and the replacement of a mode of production driven by the interest of a particular class by one governed by the general will.
So the Marxist revolutionaries are foolishly falling for a capitalist ruse to assimilate more workers into the world labor market.

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