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In the Democratic party, the party elite tried to suppress the challenge represented by Bernie Sanders by any means possible, and part of this was adapting to the language of identity politics, by suggesting that anything that went outside of the scope that American liberalism allows, anything that went in a remotely direction, even the most modest policies, was completely impermissible.
And this was in the context of a weird situation, where you just had a movement erupt in the United States around racial oppression—the Black Lives Matter movement—which had altered the political terrain.
In the days following September 11, Asad Haider’s identity was of great concern.
A first-generation Pakistani-American, he recalls being harassed and detained at the airport due to his ethnicity.
That was an ideology which said the African identity would be the source of black liberation, and the Black Panthers said that that’s really not adequate—that in order to attack white supremacy in the United States, you would have to attack capitalism.In fact, if an entire politics was built around African identity, that would mean covering up the very real class contradictions that were present both in the black community and on a global scale.So that kind of problem has existed for a long time.You and Salar wrote in one of your post-election pieces that “We will have to rethink an anti-racist strategy that has served mostly to diversify the professional-managerial class.” But isn’t it important to have diverse representation in positions of power?These problems of representation are extremely important, and are one of the major victories of revolutionary movements against racism. If anyone wants to build a real left movement, you can’t proceed by dismissing issues of representation.