Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Wobbly Times number 66
Identity Politics as Empty, Meaningless Abstraction
Political power is the ability to be able to tell someone else what to do and expect that they will do it or else they’ll be in for it….they’ll get what for. Ideology without power remains an abstraction. Sure, we all think in abstractions; but without the content of political power, theoretical abstractions remain empty. Because wealth goes with the ability to hire armed bodies of men & women to carry out your threats, a tiny minority of humans, the ruling class, has political power. The OTHERS are many, they are, in fact, the most, ninety percent or more, but divided politically. As opposed to being united in One Big classconscious Union, we are united as a class to produce wealth for the aforementioned rulers. Thus, our rulers stay in power and never give us a hint that they’ve done what they have their pundits say, we could never do: organise as a class to produce wealth. Talking heads of the culture industry babble at the OTHERS, keeping them, as much as possible, in a state of thinking of themselves as narrow individuals, cowboys and heroines, each with their own special concerns about their own identity. The only collective sense of ‘power’ they are allowed to entertain is the power of the consumer in the marketplace of commodities. Chicken, beef or turkey, which do you choose?
Oh yes, and then there are the collective ideological forces which channel our libidinous desires for power into the content of action for our rulers' interests or into relatively meaningless acts of faith. On the left, this translates into liberalism, even radical liberalism i.e. demanding that rulers act morally and 'smart' as the left defines those terms. The BIG Idea, become a modern day material force because it has garnered so many believers, is 'our nation'. The second is, of course, our religion or even lack of it. Then, there's sexual orientation, age, weight and so on, all the way down to narrow individualism, the dominant ideology of our atomised age.