The Latest From Anis Shivani

Salon writer Anis Shivani is that rarest of things at Salon: smart. His latest article, entitled “Time To Give Up On Identity Politics“, is a gem of a teardown. Some choice quotes:

Identity politics always felt like snake oil to me.


Today identity politics has taken up so much intellectual space that … economic calculations do not even register the way they used to. It is all identity, all the time, and while we may easily buy into a cultural narrative about a laudable personality like Malala Yousafzai, who appeals to us as a character we can identify with, we have no patience for any structural exploration of the kinds of economic devastation our policies are causing in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and other countries in the region.


What identity politics has ultimately led to is an uncontainable right. Through most of our modern history, the far right has been containable, because on the liberal side there was not a corresponding movement of mysticism and soul-cleansing grandeur, which is what identity politics is. The right, too, was forced to speak in the language of rationality, as was true of Establishment conservatives of every stripe following the successes of the New Deal. This went on well into the 1980s. But for the past 30 years, the right has not faced true opposition for its growing dream of nationalist mysticism, because liberals have been doing the same within their own communitarian splintering among various groups.

Bravo,  Mr. Shivani!