Friday, January 27, 2017

Trans Pacific Partnering

Here's an interesting take on the TPP.
But yeah. Looks like the Chinese won that one.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Race and the anti-class

"Identity politics" and the "political economy" is essentially the schism between Blacks and Whites in America.

Marx is pretty much the father of all modern thought on the political economy. Even anti-Marxists have to go over to Marx's house to pay respects before moving on to complain about his math, or how his analysis of the present system held up but his predictions for the future all fell apart. And mostly, ever since Marx, economists of the left and right have wanted to put everything under an economic header.

So things like racism and sexism were always put under economics, even by left-leaning economists. To them, racism and sexism exist to support the economic hierarchies. So we have to get rid of economic oppression before anybody can really be "free". And, in fact, sexism and racism are just part of capitalism and once we're rid of them everything will be just all right.

And, of course, this has turned into "If we fight sexism and racism and homophobia now, we're just wasting time because we really need to be fighting banks [or something]."

But my treason is thus: 
  • Racism and sexism are completely unexplained by Marx or any other governing philosophy
  • Homophobia: also unexplained by Marx.
Even Bernie Sanders has missed the bus on this one when he complained about "identity politics" and how he's sad the Democratic Party "can't talk to the white working class".
“One of the struggles that you’re going to be seeing in the Democratic Party is whether we go beyond identity politics" -- Bernie Sanders
See, "beyond" means that we get to the "superior" thing which is the political economy. Or in other words, "what white people care about."*

Vox put it best when it said:
Sanders’s comments represent a flank of the Democratic party that partly blames Clinton’s loss on her strong embrace of race and gender issues, which could have turned off white male voters in particular. Meanwhile, the marginalized groups who overwhelmingly vote for Democrats fear being thrown under the bus, as they have many times before, so that the party can curry more favor with white Americans.
(This is where I put out that Sanders more often says things which contradict his quote above. He's coming along, albeit too slowly for my tastes.)
White progressives, well-versed in traditional left-wing notions of how workers trump (heh) women and blacks, are completely down with marginalizing a majority of the population as long as white men get good jobs. And that's because traditional leftism and actual anti-racism are mutually incompatible. 
It is increasingly clear that it was neither white economic anxiety operating in isolation nor the white working class as a monolithic group that won Trump the White House. Rather, it was the fact that Trump’s campaign, in an extension of at least five decades of Republican strategy, was able to use overt white racism and white racial resentment to exacerbate and manipulate misplaced anxieties about relative group power and privilege in American society.
Historically, to be white was to be the quintessential American. In the United States, whiteness also proceeds from an assumption that white people are always and forever to be dominant and consequently the most powerful of all racial groups. This is white identity politics as both a practice and ideology. It is also the not-so-subtle meaning of Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again!”
People aren't racist because it helps them economically. The capitalist ruling class isn't actually helped by racism (note the revolt among businessmen when Gingrich targeted affirmative action.) But there are a lot of racists. Most of these racists are on the right. But we ignore the racism on the left at our peril.

*I'm caveating that Sanders seems to be able to be talked out of this nonsense though. His hard-core supporters are a different matter.