Monday, June 19, 2017

We need to criticize identity politics when it’s a tool to strengthen capitalism, but without ignoring how issues like racism, migration or gender play a role in how people are exploited. That’s what Yasmin Nair advocates for. Nair is a writer, academic and queer-activist living in Chicago. According to her the left needs to pay more attention to how several factors determine how economic inequality targets people.

From a review of the work of Yasmin Nair in MO*nieuwsbrieven:

"When they write about rural areas in the US, they do not seem to understand that today there are also many people of color and migrants who are also affected by the closure of large factories. In addition, you must see how racism is a part of how people are exploited by capitalism. If you do not look at all this, you get an analysis of identity politics that excludes people. To avoid this, a critique of identity politics must be about an analysis of power."

"If Syrians flee from a country in which they belong to the middle or higher class, we can not describe their position in Europe as ‘privileged’. We must develop a complicated analysis of how class and migration work within the current crisis. It is our job as the left to see things like class, race, gender and migration as matters that are related and not as separate issues."

"When my comrades and I criticized gay marriage, our work could hardly get published and we couldn’t organize anything at a university. But people are now seeing how gay marriage has made the demand for universal health care more difficult. Now everyone must marry for health care because everyone can get married. The left needs a better imagination to not repeat this kind of failure."

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