You might find this piece by Ben Burgis at Arc Digital enlightening or infuriating or both. While I complete agree with his conclusion, encapsulated in the piece’s subheading:
We should think of America’s divisions more in terms of class and ideology, and less in terms of race
the path by which he gets there is pretty remarkable.
Here’s as close as I can get to the meat of the piece:
There are a lot of obvious differences between socialist politics and the liberal vision of most MSNBC hosts. One of the less obvious ones has to do with how to conceive of racial justice and other struggles for equal treatment that have to do with identity — how people identify themselves and how others identify them (and might then treat them on the basis of that identity).
When thinking about these issues, it’s easy to treat “race,” “class,” and “gender” as basically similar conceptual categories. One way this assumption makes its way into our language is with the word “classism” — which suggests that class-based oppression is best understood as a form of prejudice.
Like many socialists, I think this picture is misleading for several reasons. But before getting to those reasons, it’s important to consider what this view gets right. It’s true that injustice takes a variety of forms, some of which are directly and obviously economic, and some of which have to do with identity.
I wanted to comment on a few things. First, if you find the views being articulated by “centrist liberals” infuriating, preferring those in Jacobin, you are so far outside the mainstream of American political thought that a little introspection might be in order.
In one of the first posts I ever wrote at The Glittering Eye I pointed out that people on the far right see people less to the right than they as leftists while people on the far left of the spectrum see ordinary liberals as radical rightwingers. Most people, regardless of political views, think of themselves as moderates. You occupy the center of your own particular universe. Only pragmatists and true moderates, neither of which are in good odor right now, can see both edges of the political spectrum.
The second thing if you’re shocked at the Democratic Party because you don’t see how an old-fashioned liberal (a dead or dying breed) and socialists like you and Bernie Sanders can both be Democrats you might remember that Bernie Sanders isn’t a Democrat. He just caucuses with them to enhance his own influence. My view is that it’s a scandal and an outrage that the DNC let Bernie Sanders run for the Democratic nomination for president at all.
Finally, I find it simply flabbergasting that people who profess to be liberals or progressives have adopted views of race proclaimed by the very most racist within my lifetime. Maybe I’m weird but I don’t see either Barack Obama or Kamala Harris as black. And claiming you can identify as black produces travesties like blue-eyed blondes of Scandinavian descent claiming to be black.
Read the article and tell me what you think.