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Old 05-21-2017   #1
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Idpol

Sympathize or not, identity politics has become an increasing presence on the weird fiction scene and the political scene.

What identity politics is, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

'The laden phrase “identity politics” has come to signify a wide range of political activity and theorizing founded in the shared experiences of injustice of members of certain social groups. Rather than organizing solely around belief systems, programmatic manifestos, or party affiliation, identity political formations typically aim to secure the political freedom of a specific constituency marginalized within its larger context. Members of that constituency assert or reclaim ways of understanding their distinctiveness that challenge dominant oppressive characterizations, with the goal of greater self-determination.'

Two perspectives on idpol from the anarchist left:




So I suppose I want this to be both a general discussion and a discussion on how it impacts fiction.

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Old 05-22-2017   #2
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Re: Idpol

Idpol? Is that any relation to IngSoc?

There are certain crucial issues facing the world in response to which I truly believe the international Left could be a force for good if it got its act together--namely, by advancing the cause of environmental protection, and countering the rampant destruction caused by mankind's incessant overbreeding and overconsumption; drawing attention to the murders of environmental activists under corrupt, repressive regimes around the world; furthering research into sustainable energy production, etc.

"Identity politics" I consider, at best, a self-defeating, hollow, divisive, phony movement that threatens to eat the Left from the inside out and render it permanently ineffectual.

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Old 05-22-2017   #3
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Re: Idpol

I've never been sure what precisely identity politics means and I'm hesitant to search it because I've found in the last few years that different communities have substantially different definitions and understandings of popular concepts. See: political correctness, safe spaces, SJWs. People are talking about different things and often don't know how these things originated.


I've been told Kenan Malik has an excellent exploration of identity politics but I don't know where you'd find it.

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Old 05-22-2017   #4
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Re: Idpol

I don't see "identity politics" as standing in opposition to any other kind of politics. People from various groups are treated differently, and the context in which we engage with society is largely determined by which group we belong to. Refusing to acknowledge these facts is unjust.

That said, I hold to Fred Hampton's declaration: "We’re going to fight racism not with racism, but we’re going to fight with solidarity. We say we’re not going to fight capitalism with black capitalism, but we’re going to fight it with socialism."

At the end of the day, the Left is only going to gain ground when its message is understood as a universal one. And it can be universal while acknowledging different experiences.

The problem is that Third Way/neoliberal centrists are happy to place all focus on "identity politics" in order to avoid true social and economic justice. They fight to diversify the oligarchy, not seeing the oligarchy as a problem in itself.

The Left must fight for marginalized groups, but without economic justice, we'll be fighting from a very weak position.

Thus far, I think the conversations regarding "identity politics" have benefitted weird fiction and opened the door to many talented people who might otherwise have avoided the genre.
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Old 05-22-2017   #5
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Re: Idpol

I think much of identity politics have been superseded by consumerist culture and become bourgeois concerns, and I generally prefer the left to think outside of that paradigm and concern themselves more with issues of austerity, healthcare, etc.

I'm not saying wanting to combat the rise of racism is as illogical as electing a reality TV star and giving him access to the nuclear codes or whatever new low the populist right have reached, but people get too bogged down in the minutiae of identity and often lose sight of what I feel should take priority given the increased damage to the planet and social infrastructure. I don't think trans bathroom laws and gay marriage or the amount of ethnic minorities starring in our action movies are necessarily non-issues, but I don't think they should take priority over ensuring healthcare for everybody and looking after the poor, which seems to have become the case in our corporate media.

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Old 05-23-2017   #7
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Re: Idpol

Quote Originally Posted by Robert Adam Gilmour View Post
Nice. Thoughtful, big-picture stuff. I wish everyone could hear it!

Sadly, "Idpol" is usually perceived as a tool to lionize one's (often non-
white/non-male) group as superior and simultaneously victimized, therefore providing license to push other (usually white/male) groups around while playing the victim to avoid matters of conscience.

Like it or not, "Idpol" (Ingsoc, ha ha, good one!) is often credited as one of of, if not THE, principle factor in handing Trump his victory. If people on all sides of the racial question could listen to Mr. Malik, perhaps there would be less white = racist nonsense bandied about, thus alienating millions in the U.S. who expressed their dissatisfaction at the polls.

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Put your faith in death, because it's free.
If you believe in nothing, honey, it believes in you.
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Old 05-23-2017   #8
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Re: Idpol

Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Robert Adam Gilmour View Post
Nice. Thoughtful, big-picture stuff. I wish everyone could hear it!

Sadly, "Idpol" is usually perceived as a tool to lionize one's (often non-
white/non-male) group as superior and simultaneously victimized, therefore providing license to push other (usually white/male) groups around while playing the victim to avoid matters of conscience.

Like it or not, "Idpol" (Ingsoc, ha ha, good one!) is often credited as one of of, if not THE, principle factor in handing Trump his victory. If people on all sides of the racial question could listen to Mr. Malik, perhaps there would be less white = racist nonsense bandied about, thus alienating millions in the U.S. who expressed their dissatisfaction at the polls.
Blame it on folks who don't really analyze society on a structural basis. They stop at white cisgendered men... they've certainly identified the ruling class, but they don't understand *why* this demographic is the ruling class.

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Old 05-23-2017   #9
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Re: Idpol

Blame it on folks who don't really analyze society on a structural basis. They stop at white cisgendered men... they've certainly identified the ruling class, but they don't understand *why* this demographic is the ruling class.

Why are white cisgendered men the ruling class?

Who is your ideal ruling class?



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Old 05-23-2017   #10
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Re: Idpol

Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
Like it or not, "Idpol" (Ingsoc, ha ha, good one!) is often credited as one of of, if not THE, principle factor in handing Trump his victory. If people on all sides of the racial question could listen to Mr. Malik, perhaps there would be less white = racist nonsense bandied about, thus alienating millions in the U.S. who expressed their dissatisfaction at the polls.
Thing is, the "white = racist nonsense" is almost never the conversation that's being had. Unfortunately, many people perceive it that way. I think that's a problem of critical thinking on the part of many white Americans, but that's the reality, and it seems we may need to cater to that lack of self-awareness and critical thinking in order to really move forward. The problem isn't necessarily the content of supposed "identity politics."

Like political correctness and safe spaces, this term seems like it's becoming another boogeyman to stifle legitimate conversations about the experiences of marginalized people.
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