If homosexuals can marry each other, - Page 37 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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User avatar
By Kasu
Obama’s speech and the bankruptcy of identity politics

WSWS wrote:Two years ago, Obama’s inauguration was greeted rapturously in the media as a celebration of “the nation’s first black president.” During his election campaign for the presidency and even after his victory, Obama’s skin color and his history as a “community organizer” in south Chicago were relentlessly promoted by various middle class organizations as somehow imparting to him a left or progressive character that, based on his entire career and his avowed political positions, did not exist.

African-Americans, in particular, were endlessly told this was their victory—even that Obama’s ascension to the White House marked the completion of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery and Martin Luther King Jr.’s struggle against Jim Crow oppression in the South.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the problem of the oppression of African-Americans was commonly understood as a particular expression of an underlying social problem—the intractability of poverty and the development of the economy in areas like the rural South and urban North. Shaken by the mass freedom struggle in the South and the urban uprisings in the North, “the Negro question,” as it was then called, preoccupied the ruling elite and in the 1960s made its way each year into the State of the Union speeches of Democratic presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, expressed as promises for “urban renewal” and more jobs in “urban ghettos.”

All of these promises were broken. The upsurge of African-American workers—part of larger social struggles of the US working class as a whole that lasted through the early 1970s—corresponded with the decline of the global position of US capitalism, which had been accelerated by the Vietnam War (1965-1974). This was followed by the intentional gutting of American industry through the interest rate “shock therapy” of Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker which devastated Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Gary, and many other cities beginning in the late 1970s.

Instead of fulfilling promises of jobs and an expanded social safety system, the ruling class adopted a different strategy. Beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it began to promote affirmative action policies with the express intention of cultivating a layer of African-American politicians, capitalists, and military men. As the Democratic Party retreated from any commitment to ameliorating conditions for masses of working class people, it increasingly focused on affirmative action as the alpha and the omega of its social agenda.

In the end, the purpose of identity politics—endlessly promoted in academia and by liberals and ex-left middle class organizations—is to block recognition that the decisive social division is class and not race, gender, nationality, or sexual orientation. If there is one positive outcome of the policies of the Obama administration, and his State of the Union address in particular, it is the further discrediting of this reactionary perspective.

Also, on your flaunting around of dialectical materialism:

David North wrote:In the long history of the Marxist movement, the dialectical method has proven itself an irreplaceable theoretical instrument of political prognosis, orientation and analysis. However, while the dialectical method, when utilized properly, facilitates the working out of farsighted analysis and effective tactical initiatives, it provides no once-and-for-all guarantees against political degeneration. Dialectical materialism is not some sort of ideological talisman which, once it has been acquired, bestows upon those who possess it protection against the relentless pressure of class forces. The touchstone of the dialectical method is a critical revolutionary attitude to the existing production relations of society and the forms of appearance they spontaneously generate. It is a stern science and demands an unceasing struggle to establish, in program and practice, the independent attitude of the working class to every political question raised by the development of the class struggle.

The tradition which you represent, however, traces its origins not to Marx, but to the demoralized petty-bourgeois theorists of the Frankfurt School. Throwing in terms like “dialectical negation” and “dialectical break” adds neither cogency nor profundity to your assault on the Enlightenment. Rather, it illustrates how you seek to exploit pseudo-Hegelian phraseology in the service of conceptions that are inimical to Marxism.
User avatar
By Donna
Kasu, are you capable of expressing any original ideas of your own? I'm not interested in debating sentences written by privileged white trotskyists who do not post on this forum.

For what it's worth, the regressive left has it all wrong: any leftist class consciousness today will necessarily rely on solidarity between class-interested renderings of social identities. The last thing anyone should want is a reactionary movement that absorbs identity politics for their own uses, unless you care to produce a teleological narration of their inevitable dissolution that I'm not aware of.

The tradition which you represent, however, traces its origins not to Marx, but to the demoralized petty-bourgeois theorists of the Frankfurt School.

The Frankfurt School, of course, dropped out of the sky. :lol:
User avatar
By Kasu
David North wrote:The Steiner/Brenner document was based largely on conceptions that have long been associated with the "critical theory" of the "Frankfurt School" and related ideological tendencies, known collectively as "Western" or "Humanist" Marxism. Associated with the work of Max Horkheimer, Theodore Adorno, Karl Korsch, Herbert Marcuse, Ernst Bloch, Erich Fromm and Wilhelm Reich, the influence of the Frankfurt School reached its apogee during the heyday of radical student protests in the late 1960s. After that wave of middle-class radicalism receded, the influence of the Frankfurt School was consolidated in universities and colleges, where so many ex-radicals found tenured positions. From within the walls of the academy, the partisans of the Frankfurt School conducted unrelenting war—not against capitalism, but, rather, against Marxism. In this struggle, they were remarkably successful. With rare exceptions, very little resembling Marxism—even if one means by that term only the rigorous application of philosophical materialism to the study of history, society and social consciousness—has been taught for several decades in the humanities departments of colleges and universities.

Three interrelated historical factors underlay the persistent influence of this intellectual trend: first, the defeats of the working class during the first half of the 20th century and the annihilation (by fascism and Stalinism) of a substantial section of the socialist intelligentsia and working class who were the bearers of the theoretical traditions of classical Marxism; second, the post-World War II restabilization of international capitalism; and, third, the protracted domination of the Stalinist, social-democratic and reformist labor and trade union bureaucracies over the working class during much of the latter period. The complex combination of objective and subjective historical factors that obstructed the revolutionary resurgence of the working class created a pessimistic and demoralized intellectual environment hostile to Marxism.

To the extent that Marxism was barred by unfavorable historical conditions from serving as the theoretical spearhead of mass revolutionary class struggle, the path was cleared for its corruption and falsification in the interests of social forces isolated and alienated from, and even hostile to, the working class. The Frankfurt School played a central role in this process. It sought to convert Marxism from a theoretical and political weapon of proletarian class struggle, which Horkheimer, Adorno and Marcuse rejected, into a socially amorphous form of cultural criticism, in which the political pessimism, social alienation, and personal and psychological frustrations of sections of the middle class found expression.

Sound familiar?

"the contradictions of capitalism provide the principal and decisive impulse for the development of revolutionary consciousness. The task of the Marxist movement was not to spur the workers on with the mirage of identity politics, but, rather to develop, within the advanced sections of the working class, a scientific understanding of history as a law-governed process, a knowledge of the capitalist mode of production and the social relations to which it gives rise, and an insight into the real nature of the present crisis and its world-historical implications. It is a matter of transforming an unconscious historical process into a conscious political movement, of anticipating and preparing for the consequences of the intensification of the world capitalist crisis, of laying bare the logic of events, and formulating, strategically and tactically, the appropriate political response.

This conception is opposed by those "who see no basis for socialism in the objective conditions created by capitalism itself, who have been demoralized by the experience of defeats and setbacks, and who neither understand the nature of the capitalist crisis nor perceive the revolutionary potential of the working class..." For such individuals, the problem of transforming consciousness is posed in essentially ideal (your notion of an "original idea" )and even psychological terms. Insofar as there does not exist a real basis for socialist consciousness, the possibility for its development must be sought elsewhere." Herein lay the source of Donald's belief that "identity politics is crucial to a revival of socialist culture."

The intellectual work of the Frankfurt School was grounded in a reactionary philosophical tradition— irrationalist, idealist and individualistic—antithetical to the classical Marxism upon which Trotsky's political and theoretical work was based. The writings of Marx and Engels played a far less significant role in shaping the outlook of the Frankfurt School than those of Schelling, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Heidegger. And as for the political outlook that prevailed within the Frankfurt School, its rejection of the revolutionary role of the working class, its historical and cultural pessimism, and its impressionistic response to political events had nothing in common with the perspective, based on a dialectical and historical materialist analysis, that animated the work of the Fourth International.

The leading representatives of the Frankfurt School lived most of their adult lives in a state of political prostration. The maestros of "critical theory" and the "negative dialectic" were, when it came to political analysis, incompetent and perennially disoriented. The rise of fascism and defeats of the working class in the 1930s shattered whatever confidence they may at some time have had in the possibility of socialist revolution. Dialectic of Enlightenment by Horkheimer and Adorno—published in 1947 and generally considered the founding philosophical statement of the Frankfurt School—pronounced the downfall of all prospects for human progress.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the politically reactionary implications of the outlook of the Frankfurt School became all too clear. Under the tutelage of its longtime director, Max Horkheimer, who returned to Germany from his American exile, the Frankfurt School played a central role in developing the new intellectual foundations of the post-Nazi West German bourgeois state. During the same period, the ideas of Wilhelm Reich and Herbert Marcuse—who had rejected the working class as a revolutionary force in modern capitalist society—found an audience among the milieu of the petty-bourgeois radical New Left.
User avatar
By Donna
"identity politics is crucial to a revival of socialist culture."

Actually, this is absolutely correct. There is a very strong difference between the literal organization of the working class (which has never been realized with any real continuity because the masses have always supported its suppression) and the real (and revolutionary) process of agitating the hegemonic ideology to incorporate consciousness of class antagonisms. This is most relevant today within the politics of identity, where decidedly anti-capitalist agitation presently possess the capacity to actually increase consciousness of class antagonisms and relieve the swelling of white working-class reaction. A socialist organization for the working class, on the other hand, is a laughable caricature within the ranks of civil society. one that only really attracts a cross-section of privileged groups and individuals.

Pretending that this is a conspiracy against "marxism" (which for all intents and purposes is degenerative in its classical rendering, as North so aptly demonstrates by trying to suppress/censure the use and application of dialectics outside of doctrinaire Trotskyism) is plainly a sectarian tactic. The sooner the regressive left - calling them reactionary might be more accurate, but it is also polemical - realizes that class consciousness is woven between the cultural layers and identities of society, the sooner they might join the fold of relevancy.
User avatar
By Kasu
Such arguments are the result of political demoralization, not theoretical insight
User avatar
By Donna
Such arguments are the result of political demoralization, not theoretical insight

You are incapable of any insights of your own because you are an automaton with an abundance of intellectual dependence on others. The most original thing you have ever done is question the SEP's policy on cannabis use. :D
User avatar
By Kasu
I'd rather have the correct political line than be originally petty-bourgeois
User avatar
By Donna
You're incapable of even expressing correct line in your own words. :eh:

...than be original and wrong

...then be bankrupt and opportunist

...than be originally petty-bourgeois

Nice edits.
User avatar
By Kasu

they are all equally valid
User avatar
By Donna
they are all equally valid

how... (in your own words, Kasu)
Agent Steel wrote:If homosexuals can marry each other, should asexuals be allowed to marry themselves?? Don't all people of all orientations deserve certain rights and freedoms?? The creator of the thread entitled "Should sex be banned" is a self admitted asexual. His name is Whathastobedone. Should he be allowed to marry himself and demand tax exemptions because of his way of expressing his love? Asexuals love themselves, not others. If homos can marry legally, why can't asexuals express their right to marry themselves in the same fashion??

Why or why not???

I don't think you understand what 'asexual' means. A person who is asexual is not interested in either gender. They cannot possibly love themselves for that very reason. An asexual may be mildy interested in people of the opposite or same sex, but generally have no interest in sexual contact.

Asexuals do not feel affection for themselves, they love others, they are just generally unable to express their love via lovemaking, like most couples.
Identity politics has the useful purpose of addressing domestic social issues that ideologies barely touch. Denouncing identity politics is suspicious, to me.

Why don't you want these matters addressed?
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