Far-Right Identity Politics and the Task for the Left

Noonan, Jeff

Publisher:  The Bullet
Date Written:  21/05/2019
Year Published:  2019  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23659

To oppose far-right ideology, the left must fight the violence and austerity they promote but also acknowledge the appeal of universal values of populist movements.




Too often, critics on the left who want to defend targeted groups from demonizing rhetoric and oppressive political power make the mistake of rejecting universal human values and interests, rather than the false identification constructed by the right-wing populist movement....

The problems with the exclusionary moment are obvious: the outsiders and the "elite" insiders become targets of abuse and physical violence. However, those problems must be condemned while at the same time the political power of the universal appeal is appreciated. The populist movement mobilizes people around positive values as well: self-determination, democratic self-governance, equal respect, and material well-being. The left makes a serious error if it cedes the ground of universal values to the right-wing in favour of a politics of difference that treats universal values as nothing but ideological cover for various forms of domination.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama was not white, but he did not address the structural causes of social and environmental crisis. He was not a racist, but his policies did not address the root causes of racism. Former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was not a sexist homophobe, but the commission on public spending that she created justified austerity and the “accountability culture” that Doug Ford is now drawing upon to justify his cuts.
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