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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Identity Politics

For John, BLUFEating our young.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is a Brit left winger, Mr Tim Lott, asks, in The [Manchester] Guardian "If leftwingers like me are condemned as rightwing, then what’s left?"

The lede and subsequent paragraphs:

I am a “lefty”.  I have voted Labour all my life.  I believe in the abolition of public schools and the inviolability of the NHS, and that the renewal of Trident is a vanity project.  I believe the state must work to ensure equality of opportunity for all: women, the LBGT “community”, those with disabilities, those of minority cultures and ethnicities, and the working class. The Guardian has been my newspaper forever.  I was glad to see the back of the Sun’s Page 3, and I believe there should be more all-women shortlists for parliamentary seats.  I believe immigration is more of a positive force than a negative one.

However, you might be less certain about my status when I finish laying out my stall.  Because I find myself holding a “transgressive” body of beliefs and doubts alongside my blue-chip leftwing ones that are liable to get me branded a misogynist, an Islamophobe and a Little Englander – at least by people on my Twitter feed, and others of my peer group.

These “beliefs” are more like questions, largely about identity politics, those deep and dangerous rift valleys of the left.  I believe the jury is still out about whether gender identity is entirely constructed.  I question whether the gender pay gap in Britain is as large as is sometimes suggested, and wonder whether it may have as much to do with the way it is calculated and with the choices women make after having children as it does with patriarchy or prejudice (although the government could do more to close the gap by funding childcare better).  There is huge work to do to liberate women from the very real yoke of patriarchy.  But I would venture – checking my privilege – that this is not a crisis in Britain in way it is in the developing world.

His conclusion:
Those who identify with the “paradoxical voice” self-censor because they know they are going to get rocks thrown at them – not by their enemies but by their friends.  That’s not only a bad feeling; it’s a tendency that’s bad for democracy, for politics, and the wider movement we call the left.  And the left – in its compassion, freedom and concern for social justice – is the only hope for the future of this country.
And, the other side faces the same problems, in different shapes.

Regards  —  Cliff

  I like the headline for its twist.

1 comment:

Craig H said...

A great piece. I identify with so much of it. "Not by their enemies but by their friends" is a very unfortunate truth.