The politics of identity

Class inequality is not a side issue, but rather the main byproduct of exploitation, the driving force of the capitalist system. Class inequality is currently worsening by the minute, as the economy edges its way toward a deep recession. Yet the theory of identity politics barely acknowledges the importance of class inequality, which is usually reduced to a label known as “classism”—a problem of snobbery, or personal attitude. This, again, should be confronted when it occurs, but such confrontations do not change the system that relies upon class exploitation.

In contrast to the inconsistencies and contradictions of identity politics, a class analysis bases itself on materialism—a concrete and objective measure of systemic benefits derived from racism, sexism, and homophobia. In short, the ruling class has an objective interest in upholding the capitalist system, which is based upon both oppression and exploitation, while the working class has an objective interest in overthrowing it. For the special oppression of women, Blacks, Latinos, other racially oppressed populations, and the LGBT community actually serves to increase the level of exploitation and oppression of the working class as a whole.

The politics of identity

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