Monthly Archives: November 2016

A Parting Gift

From the New York Times:

The administration has decided to deem the Shabab, the Islamist militant group in Somalia, to be part of the armed conflict that Congress authorized against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to senior American officials. The move is intended to shore up the legal basis for an intensifying campaign of airstrikes and other counterterrorism operations, carried out largely in support of African Union and Somali government forces.

Notably, al-Shabab did not even exist in 2001.

I’m … Her

Not Us, Me

Identity politics weaponizes the feeling that one has to hold on to what is in them more than themselves. It highlights one specific feature out of a given set of demographic features, turning this feature from a base to be defended into a launcher for new attacks. Weaponized identity politics lets me insist that this time I will not be sacrificed, I will survive. Even more, it helps assuage some of the guilt of the privileged — they are on the correct side of history, for once. The added bonus of weaponized identity politics is how the privileged can use it against each other even as they leave communicative capitalism’s basic structure intact. We see this when we look at the arsenal of identities — sex, race, gender, sexuality, ability, ethnicity, religion, citizenship — and recognize what is missing: class.

The identities from which one can speak rely on the exclusion of class. On the one hand, the assumption is that class means white. Yet prevalent within the discourse of identity politics are accounts of the racialization of poverty, the feminization of work, important accounts that recognize and analyze the fact that class in the contemporary United States does not mean or signify white at all. What, then, is behind the attachment to identity that not only refuses to consider the impact of economic inequality on the election but that responds to any discussion of economics as if it were premised on an underlying racism?


Bernie Sanders:

It goes without saying that as we fight to end all forms of discrimination, as we fight to bring more and more women into the political process, Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans… All of that is enormously important, and count me in as somebody who wants to see that happen. But it is not good enough for somebody to say, “Hey, I’m a Latina, vote for me.” That is not good enough. I have to know whether that Latina is going to stand up with the working class of this country and is going to take on big money interests.

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Easy Peasy

The easiest way for the status quo to defend itself at this moment is to convince us that the election simply confirms the racism of white people rather than representing an enraged howl against a political and economic system that harms millions in order to confer wealth, power, and prestige upon the ruling class.


Political Compass (HUM220/HUM415)

In no particular order, here are excerpts from the “political compass” in-class assignment. These responses come from students in the three classes I’m teaching this semester:

I do know that what I stand for is equality for all. Call it democracy or whatever, but I stand for the rights of immigrants, I stand for the LGBT community, I stand for the people of color….

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