An Open Letter on Identity Politics, to and from the Left
We Are The Left

I must be a real party-pooper! There IS a big problem with identity politics; it replaces (rather than augments/complements) politics altogether. Not a single issue mentioned in the post is exclusive to the ‘left’ but is equally (and actually much more at home) in the Libertarian Right.

Identity politics speaks to what divides, makes us different — not to what we have in common (our class). Clearly there is a relationship between the two (what we are/identity and our economic position/class) but this post confuses the two in much the same way as (for example) reactionary and fascist regimes are wont to do. It also (btw) allows some very nasty people to hide behind a sort of ‘right-on’ progressive agenda, where they become the most important thing rather than the ties that unite (and bind) us.

It is also suffocating — the ‘YOU have no SAY because YOU”RE NOT ONE of US’ school of ‘I can’t possibly understand you because I don’t share your experiences’. Identity politics is ‘politics by genre’ — the final destiny for those who truly believe each ‘person’ to be an island made up of their own experience which nobody else can possibly comment on.

I’ll defend your right to be who you are and what you are because you’re a person — NOT because you’ve fetishised a particular aspect of your identity into a narcissistic reflection of you.

Be wary of those who put their identity beyond those of ‘community’ and other ways of engaging with the world. Heidegger did exactly that and provided ammunition for some extremely nasty behaviour.