I take my duties as a bitter ultra-left sectarian very seriously, so I’m always annoyed when sub-standard arguments from the purported ultra-left force me to say nice things about, for example, the SWP. But recent criticism of RESPECT for “substituting race for class” or being based on “cross class alliances” is representative of a trend which is kind of interesting to look at. As the RESPECT people like to say, the claim that they have “rejected socialism” or given up on the working class in favor of Islam assumes that no-one could be muslim and working class and socialist. But the mistake is actually more fundamental than this; the soi disant leftist critics of RESPECT seem to assume that if a group does not label itself as working class, it can’t possibly be working class—the mistake is the classic idealist one of mistaking the name for the thing. The supposed leftist tut-tutting that the SWP have rejected class for “identity politics” gets things precisely the wrong way round: it is those who ignore the material reality of racism in favor of an appeal to a reified “working class” who are rejecting Marxism and embracing an identity politics of class. Read more↴
Well, at least, I hope he’s being paid for his viral marketing of the Paris Hilton album. If he actually thinks this is some kind of incisive guerilla art action, that’s even more depressing.