[Marxism] What Francis Fukuyama and Jacobin have in common

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Dec 12 07:49:15 MST 2018

The closest thing to a consensus explanation for Trump’s election that 
has emerged in the wake of November 2016 is the notion that “the Left,” 
in relying on appeals to “identity politics” rather than to economic 
class, contributed to the GOP victory by provoking a backlash among 
white men and workers. In Mark Lilla’s The Once and Future Liberal: 
After Identity Politics and Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff’s The 
Coddling of the American Mind, centrist liberal academics showcased 
their predilection for battling the Right by punching left. Scornfully 
arraigning the campus thought police and mobs of online paladins 
prowling their nightmares, the pale male authors knew precisely whom to 
blame for the Democrats’ debacle: We could have fended Trump off, they 
groused, if it weren’t for the meddling kids whose cries for trigger 
warnings rousted the great white beast. Disdain for all things “woke” 
abounds across the social-democratic Left. Angela Nagle’s Kill All 
Normies, a slapdash tract, copied and pasted, among much else, the 
message-board-Nazi myth that the censorious extremism of left-wing 
identity politics provoked their metamorphosis into aggrieved white 
nationalists. Jacobin, the leading magazine of the Left, routinely 
features Marxist academics inveighing against identity politics as a 
form of false consciousness, a liberal capitalist scheme to divert the 
working classes from their once and future unity. That the extreme Right 
has embraced this reading of recent history—which pits the vanity of 
“social-justice warriors” against the nobility of restoring a powerful 
majoritarian union—has given its centrist and leftist subscribers no pause.

Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment marks 
Francis Fukuyama’s own concurrence with this complex of opinion: “Rather 
than building solidarity around large collectivities such as the working 
class or the economically exploited,” he writes, the Left “has focused 
on ever smaller groups being marginalized in specific ways.” In his 
view, the abdication of class politics has stranded the Left in a 
parlous condition. Without the votes of white workers, there can be no 
stable path to electoral victory; moreover, the “political correctness” 
mandated by left “identity politics” occasions a corresponding backlash: 
“The right has adopted the language and framing of identity from the left.”

full: https://www.bookforum.com/inprint/025_04/20422

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