The corrosive effects of identity politics over materialism
Identity politics is the coal that is used to fuel the culture war. This is the result of the debasement of politics and it’s happening everywhere.
What is the purpose of identity politics? How does it work and most importantly who does it serve?
Society is very roughly made up of 4 primary classes or groups of people. The first is the elite or ruling class also called the Capital class, this class owns both the primary wealth and capital of society and often most of the political power. Then of course you have workers or employees who make up the vast majority of a population but have very little influence these days over both economic and cultural issues, then you have what was dubbed the petit bourgeoisie which is the self-employed or small business owners, these 3 classes date back to Karl Marx times and have been around as long as Capitalism existed. The 4th primary class in modern times is perhaps the most intriguing and controversial. That is what’s known as the professional Managerial class. This class is often considered the most deluded of the 3 as workers generally don’t have any illusions that they have any real influence over society whereas the elite class is fully aware they do have the primary influence. The PMC however because they tend to have a big influence in the arts, media and cultural sphere tend to exaggerate the power and importance they have over the true direction of society.
The elite class in society is typically the most focused on their immediate and long-term economic interests. Which of course are typically at odds with the interests of the working class who want better wages for less time working etc. And because this class has the wealth power and resources it can unduly influence politics the media and thus society as a whole to further their economic agenda.
The goal of the capital elite class is very simple. Try to keep workers who make up the majority of a population and in a democracy can in theory push through any agenda they want, divided distracted and or disinterested. This is critical for their interests as the thing they always fear most is a unified population against them.
The primary weapon they have to achieve this goal is identity politics. This comes in many different forms and can reinvent itself over and over. But if it has the effect of fracturing and causing division among the mass of people who should be allies then it is useful. Workers must begin to see themselves as not belonging to the majority of workers but rather their little subset. Thus we divide the class into unemployed or an underclass who are looked down upon by a working-class who are looked down upon by a middle class who are looked down upon by an upper middle class. This overcomplicates the class system for a very deliberate reason. Our collective sense of belonging is effectively downsized into our little segment and a mass of people broken into segments is easy to control.
The economic interests of the PMC are by and large all about keeping the status quo intact. This class has enough material comforts themselves at the same time believing everyone else in society could also achieve the same if they worked just as hard. Since the economic interests of the PMC are neutral or they are mostly disinterested it is imperative the elite class can keep the PMC onside as they can act as a vehicle for a ruling ideology to spread through society as they have a disproportionate influence over Media, arts and culture. Put simply, it’s in the Elite classes interest that the PMC feel that the reason they are materially better off than 95% of society is not through any issue with the system, but rather it’s just because the PMC are superior both intellectually and in values and that’s why they are near the top. But near the top-earning 150 grand, a year as a TV producer or a surgeon, etc is still absolutely worlds away from the elites of society who deal in billions. The reason the PMC has been called the most deluded of all classes is they think they are part of the real elite, they aren’t, they are simply a tool to be used by them.
Cultural issues and the PMC
It’s imperative that if the elites want to drive the discourse away from real material and economic policies in general society, then they must ensure people are distracted by something else. Politics itself must be divorced from clear material delineations like representing class versus elites to distinguished by Cultural issues. Left and right become about a culture war rather than an economic one. This of course is facilitated by the PMC as they have no interest in fighting or supporting any battles of economic restructuring or redistribution but like to feel progressive by supporting surface-level cultural changes. In this sense, the modern PMC is the perfect foil for the elites to not just maintain but increase their power.
The importance of economic solidarity
One of the reasons culture wars are so effective in dividing society is the vast potential diversity of opinions, interests, and culturally diverse groups in any society. In terms of economic interest, a white working-class socially conservative religious person working as a construction laborer belong to the same class as an LGBT urban hipster bouncing from one precarious job to another should be allies. They may be culturally world’s apart, but in class and materially speaking they should be allies. But keeping people of the same class who differ culturally is fundamentally the purpose of identity politics.
The antidote to the divisive effects of identity politics is simple. Economically progressive ideas movements and policies that seek to unite people who may be world’s apart culturally behind a common vision that supports their shared economic interests.