• The toxic non-sense of identity politics

    Date: 2017.07.26 | Category: in english | Tags:

    the translation comes from psi-fi and the editing was made by Damos. All credit goes to them, for the mistakes you can blame me 🙂


    “Identity Politics” are a non-sense that has, for at least 15 years, tortured the intellects of people who lean on the left side of the political spectrum. The term itself appears sometime around the 70s, but still, never before have they been such an integral part of the mainstream narrative as during the latest U.S. elections. What is equally impressive; they keep on being a central part of the political debate despite their failure to rally voters against a genuinely bad candidate such as Trump. And further more: They can be used as a weapon of social interpretation (and obedience), equally from the most broad deep state (see pussy hat march etc.) to the most mundane interpersonal debate. This article is an attempt to dissociate the imaginary from the historical content of this non-sense.

    Identity politics marked an attempt to break the monotony of an overly strict interpretation of society through the bipole of bourgeois and proletarians, which, in the post-world-war west seemed to be a grossly inadequate description of reality. The main idea is that, beyond proletarians, we are also, for instance, women and compared to men proletarians there are inequalities that the Marxist exegesis of the world would fail to indicate. None could disagree with this position – apart from the hard core Marxists themselves, according to which, all inequality would magically disappear as soon as the material basis of social injustice was eradicated.

    The problem in breaking simplistic bipolar interpretations is that matters become confusing and more complex and confusion rarely leads to real understanding or sound actions. Michea has warned us that the idea of rights within libertarianism is logically concluded with the recognition of each person as a unique entity within the world. In other words, the end of society as a mass phenomenon. This rather excessive observation is also quite accurate in describing the various political segregations that followed. In the U.S. where race is an important part of national identity, black proletarians were obviously treated differently than white Irish proletarians, let alone the sexual orientation legitimization movement, which added a few more identities to the soup.

    At some point, someone realized that each of those issues cannot be treated separately: Black proletarians may have less opportunities than whites, but they might still treat women ( white or black ) as inferior beings. This is how the idea of intersectionality came into being. Even though you may identify with a certain identity more strongly, you need to be aware of your other identities and how they relate to others around you before expressing yourself.

    All these points have their own value and it’s hard to argue against them. However, even if a description is valid that does not mean it’s also significant. When I exclaim “we are all humans”, I offer a true but at the same time a totally devoid of meaning description. What I want to further explore is the toxic landscape that these valid descriptions managed to create and how they transformed into the main rhetorical weapon of hard-core globalists while keeping the debate at an extremely superficial level.



    The Civil Rights

    The main issue on which all those identity movements are based on is the civil rights issue. The civil rights movements of the 60s and 70s in the U.S. aimed to achieve recognition of equal rights among every person living in the country. This important battle defined the political grounds on which the various identity groups would act on. The motif was quite predictable: A part of society would protest its inferior social status compared to a perceived norm and it would proceed to claim equal rights to this norm.

    This norm was often called WASP – White Anglo-Saxon Protestant – though it was quite apparent that this was not a sufficient description since no mention of gender or sexuality was involved (this is part of the non-sense that I will be exploring here).

    Already, we have established a norm in the debate: Each group poses itself as a victim of social circumstance and asks for equal treatment in the world. This is a strictly reformist position where no revolutionary change in social relationships is pushed for. Rather, each group asks to be an equal part of the existing society. In other words, if white workers are whipped once a day while blacks are whipped thrice, blacks will also request to receive the same amount of whipping as the whites. This is a very important point on how this discussion evolves rhetorically, so keep it in mind.



    Haggling over Political Correctness

    Equal treatment of women and blacks was the bread and butter of the 60s and 70s, but through the 80s the debate would expand to gays and lesbians as yet another separate identity. All this goes hand in hand with the politically correctness movement that would, more or less arbitrarily, proclaim that they should, from now on, be called homosexuals or African-Americans. The arbitrary nature of this decision is also important for this discussion. The word “negro” (which translates to “black” in Spanish) was deemed inappropriate even though it was widely adopted between blacks and whites alike. So who would be the one to change the name of all Americans who had a greater amount of melanin in their skin? That would be reverend Jesse Jackson, who would announce to Americans that the term African-American is preferable.

    I started investigating years ago when I read about Hobsbawm’s (my favourite grandpa) refusal to use any other name for the blacks of America than the very historical for him term “negro”. And while looking for the exact date of Jesse Jackson’s press conference, I stumbled upon this short article. It will give you a small taste of the chaos and absurdity of our times. Can you call Obama and Colin Powell African-Americans, while both of them are not the descendants of slaves but recent immigrants? Tough questions, looking for answers 🙂

    Who may decide what is the right way to call the blacks? When someone attacks you on the grounds of not calling them African-Americans what right does he have to do so? Surely not because Americans with the genetic material in question, decided to be called like this. Maybe some, like Jesse Jackson would want it, but Jesse Jackson does not stand for all the blacks in America. He does not even stand for a majority of them – if we want to be strictly adhering to western civil democracy.

    We are again confronted with the question of “who is asking for what?”. On a personal level, a black may ask me to refer to him as the original Prince of Jamunda, but on whose authorization can he ask me to refer to other blacks as Jamundians?



    Genetic material as proof of representation

    This is the reason why part of the discourse on identity was the position that for women’s rights, women are first and foremost entitled to speak compared to non-women, blacks are entitled to speak on behalf of blacks, etc. Even though this sounds like a rational position it remains devoid of meaning and leads to the very old game of discrimination.

    If it’s just women that can speak of behalf of other women, then we propose that all others should not be heard; not because they are talking bullshit but because they lack the proper genes – which is a clearly sexist position (from wikipedia, “Sexism or gender discrimination is prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex or gender”). The same toxic game is played on racial grounds: Whenever one claims that we should not read white people’s texts on blacks, the main argument is not the content of what they write but about the fact that they are white – a clearly racist position.

    This discriminatory policy is relatively easy to enforce in the case of the Y chromosome but not in the case of race: Determining who is black, blacker or even sun-burnt is a surprisingly difficult question that has led to all sorts of embarrassing situations. Why? Because the very premise of this position is a non-sense which leads to situations like the South African apartheid’s system for determining whites vs blacks vs “other non whites (but not black also)”: There were three tiers of civil rights and various tests that helped determine which tier you were part of (most famous among which, the hair comb test). To recap, this position is no less than a racist segregation of the world according to some genetic criteria.

    To make matters worse, identities that are not genetically determined are even harder to define. So, if I like to call homosexuals “fags” when is it OK to do it without being tagged as a homophobic? Is it OK if I’ve kissed a man on the mouth? What if someone pinched my ass during a threesome? Is penetration a required condition, given that oral sex is not adequate according to the Clinton case? Even so, am I justified of speaking about fags if I have fucked with men and have reached that absolute taboo, the one our mothers warned against: a prick stuck up my ass? And if a woman claims I am a homophobic on what grounds can she do that, given that she has never had the experience of having a dick and testicles of her own?

    As you can see, this debate has no real quality beyond the level of gossip. Once you add intersectionality to the soup, it really is beyond salvation: Being a woman or a gay or black is not enough – you should be all of those together if you want to be eligible to talk about them. If not, you are in danger of someone calling you out on some identity that you don’t possess.



    The rhetorical victim as an assailant

    How do the proponents of those clearly sexist and racist positions manage to slip through criticism? By using a simple and time-tested rhetorical technique that I’ve mentioned before: That of being a victim. Victims cannot be assailants – or so does the argument say – so if I am black and oppressed by the society I have a right to racist speech. Of course the argument is void and without substance just as the idea that only members of an identity are entitled to express any opinions on that identity. It is void because it pirouettes from the liberal position that “every person is entitled to speak only for himself” to the position that “Some people can also speak about others, if they are like them”

    The two positions above cannot really be combined. We can either speak only about ourselves or we can also speak about other things that are not ourselves. Obviously the first position is totally nonsense since 93.45% of communication is not exclusively about our selves except in pathologically narcissistic cases, where the percentage of this kind of corrupted discourse falls to about 74.67%. All that is called civilization, science or philosophy, is, arguably, about things beyond ourselves, else there could be no common ground to communicate with anybody else.



    Me, an XY and my PMS

    PMS or Pre-Menstrual Syndrome, for those not familiar with the term, is a syndrome (or a group of symptoms) that may or may not occur to women during their menstrual cycle. What is of interest for the purposes of this article is that, since 3 months ago, I have been using the same term to describe something I experience myself. In case you are still wondering I am chromosomally speaking, a member of the XY group. My use of the PMS term is very successful since people rarely ask me exactly what I feel, and those that do, may simply not know the term, or may need to clarify a few details. In other words I am completely satisfied that my use of this term conveys what I want to express adequately.

    Of those that have heard the term, there were only two cases that reacted negatively, not because they did not understand what I was talking about, but because they thought that it’s impossible to physically experience PMS, therefore I should not use the term. Of course those two belonged to the XX group. Which is pretty much what the previous argument is about: You can only speak of others’ experience only if you belong to the same group or identity.

    Why is that a non-sense? Because as I explained, it is based on the above rhetorical pirouette. Unless you are an XX you can’t have PMS. Biologically speaking, almost every doctor or biologist would agree, since I don’t have a menstrual cycle. However, as I was saying, PMS is a syndrome, a group of symptoms that were given the definition of “PMS”. The definition itself is based on an abstraction. In other words: Either we accept that every woman is living through a completely personal and original experience or we make an abstraction and we give this group of symptoms a name.

    Each woman would not have been able to talk to another woman about PMS, unless this abstraction had taken place and she had accepted that what she felt was what, more or less, the other party felt as well. There is a common ground of experience in language – because physiologically, no other woman can feel on her body what another woman feels (barring telepathy). Therefore, since PMS is defined as an abstraction over a group of symptoms, why can’t I make use of this abstraction, even as an XY, to describe a similar set of symptoms that I experience?

    Is what I feel the original PMS? Obviously not, same as any woman cannot speak of the original, “real” PMS, only of her own personal PMS. And this is the core of the non-sense where you can only talk about people similar to you and no other.

    We may only communicate when we speak about things that have a common ground to both parties – things whose content is mutually understood. This is a very human ability but it is also very limited in many ways. You are not guaranteed that you will manage to get your message across. All successful writers, philosophers and poets have managed to speak about us without us. Without ever having seen us in person. We owe them boundless gratitude exactly because they pulled us out of the lonely shell that ourself and gave us a connection to the rest of the world.



    You may be in labor pain, but it’s me who is stuck

    In the world of identity politics, the right of expression is arbitrarily given to those like you. Whites can only speak about whites, blacks can only speak about blacks, XX for XX, etc. And since there’s such a multitude of identities, intersectionality says that if you are a black lesbian muslim communist woman, nobody can speak on your behalf except from other black lesbian muslim communist women. As a result, if you are a vegan, then your comrade black lesbian muslim that indulges in ham cannot understand you. That’s why Michea claims that all this segregation may only logically conclude in the individual – one person speaking only for himself. This, however, is philosophical critic, that in the public discourse, nobody is concerned. On that stage, it’s just a power game about who has the right to speak at all. Some may arbitrarily talk on behalf of others and try to silence all those they may disagree with, by using one of the identities that are convenient to them: If you are a woman then you might not be black or you may not be a lesbian or you are not an Indian immigrant – you will always miss some identiy, there is no end to that. Because you absolutely cannot be everything at once, and so I can always call you out on something without ever having to comment on what you actually say. All this power play is about turning the debate away from what you disagree with but want to avoid discussing. A power play that turns everything into a discourse about genes, dicks, or the color of your panties.

    That’s why this particular nonsensical discourse, no better than high school gossip, became the favorite image making tool for the profile of Hillary and the globalists. Vaguely calling out others on a purely ethical level and without the constrains of any clear-cut rules (constrains as the religions have for instance) is the absolute PR tool. You can afford to avoid any meaningful conversation and toss topics around on a purely aesthetic or biological level. When Sanders was reminding people that “Class used to be an identity”, the spin doctors turned to the fact that he was a white rich guy therefore by definition one of the people one should not heed, whatever he might say, because patriarchy etc. On the other hand when one of the pussy hat march organizers openly uses propaganda supporting the Saudi, the female circumcision and other clearly oppressive goals, she should not be judged because she is a woman, and after all she was walking hand in hand with Hillary.

    And if I have PMS, what I feel is totally unimportant because how dare I use that word that doesh’t belong to me ?