Saturday, November 26, 2016

More Thoughts on the Future of Left and Liberal Politics after Trumps Electoral College Victory

I just wanted to share some of my favorite links I have been reading lately in the wake of the recent political disaster, in addition to those that were posted already in previous posts. The common theme of most of these is the struggle to understand the discontented voters who handed Trump his electoral college victory, despite the potential for them to be part of a Left coalition.

I really do believe we have to reckon with this divide, and acknowledge the role of urban liberals in unwittingly (and often condescendingly) perpetuating it, if we are going to have a successful left coalition to overturn the power of corporations and the wealthy in America, in order to have a socially just and environmentally inhabitable world in the future:

The inclusion of two articles from Jacobin on my list is no coincidence. This is my new favorite magazine. In fact, I have started subscribing to the print edition. Lots of great stuff in there. It's even better than the Nation now, which has become too watered down and centrist/establishment with Eric Alterman and Joan Walsh frequently writing for them (although I love it when the run something by John Nichols or Naomi Klein!)

 I would also like to follow up with some links I've been reading related to ambivalent_maybe's last post below, which I already commented on, especially the flare-up over the "end of identity liberalism" thesis of Mark Lilla.

There was an interesting discussion featuring Lilla on the WBUR public radio program, "On Point"--overall I have become strongly anti-NPR lately due to their relentless pursuit of clueless, bubble-land urban identity liberalism coupled with an actively pro-corporate, anti-working class economic bias on most of their news programs, but "On Point" does a far better job than most of them!--which is well worth listening to, in that it features Lilla himself along with two detractors (Vann Newkirk and Michelle Goldberg) who are far more civil and reasonable than those who simply denounce him as a white supremacist for daring suggest that identity liberalism may be a strategic cul-de-sac for the Left (or liberalism, as I believe he would prefer to categorize himself).

Lilla himself was not terribly impressive on the program, even though I agree with him more than the others. The conversation did motivate me to look up Goldberg's Slate piece disagreeing with Lilla, in which she admits the validity of some of his points, but argues that, ultimately, "democratic politics have to be identity politics." I think she is wrong overall, in her insistence on maintaining an emphasis on identity liberalism, but at least she is collegial, and I also fully agree with her sentiment that we have to stand in solidarity with any identity groups threatened by right-wing white nationalist identity politics, whenever push comes to shove.

Interestingly, her Slate article also induced me to look up some of the people she was arguing against, besides Lilla, and I think they are well worth reading, ranging from the more mainstream, such as Rob Hoffman in Politico, to the more fringe libertarian viewpoint of Reason magazine, all of whom make cogent points I agree with about the strong backlash aspect of stirring up identity politics on the right.

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