Michael Hudson asks if identity politics will break up the Democratic Party

Summary: Here is an excerpt from economist Michael Hudson latest brilliant essay. He explains how the Left’s identity politics fragment America, preventing formation of a broad coalition to oppose the Right. He then goes one step further, showing why such a divisive course has come to dominate the Left.

Trump Is Obama’s Legacy. Will This Break Up the Democratic Party?

Excerpt. By Michael Hudson in the Real-world Economics Review, 21 March 2017.

Identity Politics as anti-labor politics.

A new term was introduced to the English language: Identity Politics. Its aim is for voters to think of themselves as separatist minorities – women, LGBTQ, Blacks and Hispanics. The Democrats thought they could beat Trump by organizing Women for Wall Street (and a New Cold War), LGBTQ for Wall Street (and a New Cold War), and Blacks and Hispanics for Wall Street (and a New Cold War). Each identity cohort was headed by a billionaire or hedge fund donor.

The identity that is conspicuously excluded is the working class. Identity politics strips away thinking of one’s interest in terms of having to work for a living. It excludes voter protests against having their monthly paycheck stripped to pay more for health insurance, housing and mortgage charges or education, or better working conditions or consumer protection – not to speak of protecting debtors.

Identity politics used to be about three major categories: workers and unionization, anti-war protests and civil rights marches against racist Jim Crow laws. These were the three objectives of the many nationwide demonstrations. That ended when these movements got co-opted into the Democratic Party. Their reappearance in Bernie Sanders’ campaign in fact threatens to tear the Democratic coalition apart. As soon as the primaries were over (duly stacked against Sanders), his followers were made to feel unwelcome. Hillary sought Republican support by denouncing Sanders as being as radical as Putin’s Republican leadership.

In contrast to Sanders’ attempt to convince diverse groups that they had a common denominator in needing jobs with decent pay – and, to achieve that, in opposing Wall Street’s replacing the government as central planner – the Democrats depict every identity constituency as being victimized by every other, setting themselves at each other’s heels. Clinton strategist John Podesta, for instance, encouraged Blacks to accuse Sanders supporters of distracting attention from racism. Pushing a common economic interest between whites, Blacks, Hispanics and LGBTQ always has been the neoliberals’ nightmare. No wonder they tried so hard to stop Bernie Sanders, and are maneuvering to keep his supporters from gaining influence in their party.

She’ll get killed. Strength comes from numbers & organization, not foolish bravado.

Wall Street bull vs. little girl statue

When Trump was inaugurated on Friday, January 20, there was no pro-jobs or anti-war demonstration. That presumably would have attracted pro-Trump supporters in an ecumenical show of force. Instead, the Women’s March on Saturday led even the pro-Democrat New York Times to write a front-page article reporting that white women were complaining that they did not feel welcome in the demonstration. The message to anti-war advocates, students and Bernie supporters was that their economic cause was a distraction.

The march was typically Democratic in that its ideology did not threaten the Donor Class. As Yves Smith wrote on Naked Capitalism: “the track record of non-issue-oriented marches, no matter how large scale, is poor, and the status of this march as officially sanctioned (blanket media coverage when other marches of hundreds of thousands of people have been minimized, police not tricked out in their usual riot gear) also indicates that the officialdom does not see it as a threat to the status quo.”

Hillary’s loss was not blamed on her neoliberal support for TPP or her pro-war neocon stance, but on the revelations of the e-mails by her operative Podesta discussing his dirty tricks against Bernie Sanders (claimed to be given to Wikileaks by Russian hackers, not a domestic DNC leaker as Wikileaks claimed) and the FBI investigation of her e-mail abuses at the State Department. Backing her supporters’ attempt to brazen it out, the Democratic Party has doubled down on its identity politics, despite the fact that an estimated 52% of white women voted for Trump. After all, women do work for wages. And that also is what Blacks and Hispanics want – in addition to banking that serves their needs, not those of Wall Street, and health care that serves their needs, not those of the health-insurance and pharmaceuticals monopolies. …

© Copyright: Michael Hudson, 2017.

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Michael Hudson

About the Author

Michael Hudson is a Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and a research associate at the Levy Economic Institute. He acts as an advisor to governments worldwide including Iceland, Latvia and China on finance and tax law. See articles, speeches, and books at his website. Also see his Wikipedia entry.

See his articles at the Unz Review. He has written 10+books, including J is For Junk Economics: A Guide to Reality in an Age of Deception (2017), Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy (2015), Finance as Warfare (2015), and other books.

For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about ways to reform America, about the Left, about Trump and the new populism, posts by Michael Hudson, and especially these…

  1. Populism arises amidst American workers abandoned by both Left & Right.
  2. An anthropologist looks at the empty identity politics of America’s Left.
  3. 2016 revealed the true nature of America’s left & right. It’s bad news.
  4. Why the Left will divorce Hillary and the new Democratic Party.
  5. Clinton lost because fear failed, and voters disliked her Social Justice Warriors.
  6. The Left sees President Trump and goes mad.
  7. The Left becomes a cult rather than gather support to oppose Trump.
  8. How the Left lost but can win again.

Two books by Michael Hudson.

Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy
Avilable at Amazon.
J Is For Junk Economics: A Guide to Reality in the Age of Deception
Available at Amazon.

 

4 thoughts on “Michael Hudson asks if identity politics will break up the Democratic Party

  1. Absolutely, although I don’t think the working class can be conveniently described as The Left. As a block, I believe they are centrist although having been aligned with the Democrats for decades due to their support and Republican hostility. Reagan wooed them away briefly, but I think overreach by the Christian Right alienated and sent them back to the Democrats even though that party was taking them for granted and subsequently turned on them.

    As long as the Democrats could count on this block as a solid base, identity politics was a good strategy as it drove a wedge by bringing out the worst in the right. As the author notes, however, this strategy will not be enough once the working class no longer feels loyalty.

    As I said on an earlier post, this block may have declared independence from the Democratic Party, but they will not yet feel allegiance to the Republicans. If President Trump fails to deliver real improvements in their lives, they’ll be looking for a new voice.

    1. Dell,

      “I don’t think the working class can be conveniently described as The Left”

      Good catch! I changed that to read “have divided America”.

      “If President Trump fails to deliver real improvements in their lives, they’ll be looking for a new voice.”

      I agree, and have also said that. A massive segment of the US public is alienated from both parties — which makes us vulnerable to extreme politics. The same situation might be arising in Europe, where the major Left and Right parties support open borders, despite the massive and almost irreparable damage it is inflicting.

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