Being let down by ‘progressive’ dudes
You come to anticipate provocation from Dan Hodges. So his Twitter tirade against Hillary Clinton on the basis her campaign was too gender-oriented was to be expected, even if I did want to punch a wall. But as with some of his pals on that side of Labour (or once Labour) politics, he shares in common a hostility to ‘identity politics’ with some on the Left, too.
Richard Burgon offered a sizzling take when he tweeted this as a far-right president was about to take power:
“Trump inauguration — what can happen when centre/left parties abandon transformation of economic system and rely on identity politics.”
As with Hodges, the underlying implication is that talking about women or minorities is what caused Trump. In Hodges’ case, the specific point was that Hillary mentioned women too often, or was just a woman in politics. You know, one of the two. Beyond audacious, either way. But they both share the same sentiments: talking about anything that may alienate white straight dudes is what caused Trump.
Helen Lewis perfectly summarised why this is complete bullshit in her article here. Trumpism is identity politics, but because it is white and hyper-masculine it is merely seen as a default.
But then we’ve anticipated and watched many times as Hodges and Kinnock-types fall back on this ridiculous trope. At least they’re explicit about what they think. They just come out and say that euphemistic ‘social liberal elites’ should yield their arguments of progressivism. What really grinds my balls is when Leftist men try to claim the higher ground but pull the exact same stunt, just this time they do so in the name of progress. The orthodox approach that we should be single-minded in the class struggle. That if only we focused on an economic populism without nuances, then that dude that yelled ‘go home!’ to a diverse group of women we were marching alongside on Saturday would suddenly vote for us. To them, we should say:
Are you for fucking real?
The idea that my not wanting to be sexually assaulted, and by having the audacity to talk about it, is a mere distraction from the class struggle is a vast, horrific betrayal by the Left that has shown a great and exhausting deafness to women’s complaints, perhaps most symbolically represented by the willingness of some to share a platform with the SWP, and the silent expectation that we too share events with them.
It’s such a low bar.
For fuck’s sake.
Maya Goodfellow said it better than I could on the point about economics intertwining with race and gender:
“Reminder to people who want the left to focus less on “identity politics”: economic inequality is gendered and racialised”
The mind-boggling alternative reality in which no working class people are minorities or women, despite the fact both are more likely to be poor, is one that could only be dreamt up by someone who only has to think about one identity.
The world in which the working class is that homogenous that none of its members have faced sexual assault, the wage gap, or racial abuse, is one that could only be dreamt up by someone for whom the streets are safe.
It must be awesome to be a default, and to sweep aside the daily, grinding anxieties that come with being a woman or a minority, so you can step into the shoes of an imaginary, discontented white working class man despite yourself being middle class as balls.
This isn’t progressive.
I’m so beyond exhausted. So beyond exhausted that you hide behind your guise of progressivism before chucking us under a bus. And I’m so beyond excited for your old guard to be pushed aside for the new generation of intersectional feminists, many of whom are shockingly working class, to show you how it’s done.
As I came back from the march, a man stopped me in my path, not letting me pass as he tried to get my number. I wouldn’t wish that moment every woman’s heart stops, when she literally thinks she may die, on anyone. All we’d like to ask, before we finally lead the Left, is that in the meantime you don’t imply that our life experiences are a distraction.