Joseph Rabie on Fri, 26 Oct 2018 20:08:50 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Identity and difference

So, let us try to understand Alexander:
"Marx good, Rousseau bad,
Class Struggle good, Identity Politics bad."

Reading his text is like falling into the dystopian totalitarian abyss that so filled George Orwell with despair.

Both sides proposed by Alexander, in the terms proposed by him, are given as totalitarian ideological Truths that deny the complexity of human social life and accept no questioning of collective submission to their respective aims. Around the figure of hero for the one, victim for the other. According to Alexander, that is to say. How simpler can it get when one is ordered to choose sides?

The silliness of the pathetic simplifications in Alexander’s arguments is particularly clear in his lambasting of #metoo. Considering #metoo a simple manifestation of Identity Politics shows a remarkable lack of sociological understanding, as well as a lack of empathy for women who, in their daily (and not ideological lives) have to suffer being manhandled by men and frequently abused in far worse ways. Using his mother reading Simone de Beauvoir as an argument is quite simply an act of demagoguery.

Joseph Rabie.

Sent from my lawn mower
Le 26 oct. 2018 à 10:18, Alexander Bard <> a écrit :

For the sake of simplification: Identity politics is Rousseau and class struggle is Marx. All over again.
This explains why Rousseauians have detested Marxists and Marxists have detested Rousseauians for the past 200 years and torn apart The Left again and again in between them.
And the reason is simple: The two strategies are incompatible. because Rousseau based his ideology on the celebration of the victim whereas Marx based his ideology on the celebration of the hero (as heroic class, not as an individual hero as in Nietzsche). Rousseau is destruction (for example as in crush the patriarchy) where Marx is construction (build a matriarchy to match the patriarchy etc).
#metoo is the perfect example of a Rousseauian media hoax where western middle class women take offense in male etiquette in the salons (just check how offended American upper class women turned out to be with Mexican guest workers' glances and vocabularies, they took to the smelling salts like mad at places like Hollywood and Harvard) while Marxists are preoccupied with the continuous exploitation of working class women by middle class men (and women). Today most clearly found in young Kurdish women's fight against ISIS etc. Which is real struggle, as in the streets of Paris and not in the salons of Versailles.
The problem with Rouessauianism being that it really isn't leftist at all (Freud attacks both left and right, Hitler and Stalin, in "Civilization And Its Discontents" for a good reason). The Extreme Right is merely the response to the Rousseuian project of using the white heterosexual man (increasingly the working class white heterosexual man) as the abject to unify all the different identities of the Identity Left's myriad of victimhood appointments. Once everybody else was appointed a victim blaming the WHM it was only a matter of time before the WHM would stand up and turn himself into the victim and voila we had the Extreme Right. Which is of course where workers rightfully skipped The Left and are now lost for good.
It's the same old identitarian epidemic that we had in Europe in the 1930's all over again. And before that in the 1840's. Cheap solution narcissistic populism replacing class struggle proper.
The Left should never have abandoned Marx for Rousseau in the 1970's. But that is what happens when academia takes over political struggle from the working classes and academia is full of ambitious and narcissistic middle class careerists. Camille Paglia is totally right on this point (and way more Marxist than she realizes). This is the mess we live with today. An empty pretentious left without a story.
I'm more a Marxist than ever. Class and class struggle are real. Global. For Marxism to return it needs a new utopian and/or visionary heroic story (the old one was kidnapped and domesticated by capitalism and called social democracy). And tons of realism. We are not even close to build a global society. We need borders that work first of all. I agree 100% with Brendan ONeill here, another Marxist totally opposed to the disaster called Identity Politics.
Because I firmly believe Identity Politics is one sick dead end. And soon a bloody one too. It has infantilized society completely, while identitarianism is also neither left nor right. Rather Identity Politics is Charlottesville and Charlottesville is prophetic. We are bound to see many more meaningless bloody Charlottesvilles soon. And none of them will deal with the issue of class. None.
My hope is that we return to Marx. And cherish adulthood over childhood. My liberal feminist mom is 83 years old, an avid reader of Simone de Beauvoir, and she detests #metoo. I completely understand her (who came up with the idea that women are weak hidden backstabbers rather than strong public activists) and I also share her sentiment only adding Marx to what I believe is the perspective of an important liberal ally. Those are my ten cents.
Best intentions
Alexander Bard

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