It was not my intention to endorse identity politics as opposed to politics with an economic orientation. I was responding to what I considered an important point made by Amato in a comment. It is this: To forge an effective political movement, it is necessary to achieve what in the old days was called solidarity. An objective coincidence of interests is rarely enough, nor is an agreement on abstract ideological principles. If people are to work effectively together, and to expend the energy [and even take the risks] required for successful action, they must develop a sense of shared commitment, a set of bonds that tie them to one another when things get difficult -- or merely boring -- as they always do in any political movement. This sense of comradeship is more difficult to achieve among people who come from different ethnic, religious, national, regional, or economic circumstances and backgrounds. I am not saying it is impossible to overcome these obstacles, just more difficult. When people come from the same neighborhood, or work in the same workplace, or worship at the same church, or celebrate the same ethnic holidays, or speak the same language, they find it easier to develop and sustain these ties of comradeship. The entire history of activist politics on the left testifies to this simple truth.
Therefore, when we find that there are large social, educational, religious, or other gulfs between groups of people who otherwise might find it possible to work together, it is worth thinking about this problem, and not ignoring it.
Let us recall that one reason for the absence of a major socialist party in the United States [the only major industrial nation inn the world without one] is the fact that after the end of the Civil War, white workers turned their backs on black workers, whom they saw as competitors for their jobs, and struck deals with their employers to maintain labor peace in return for the employers not hiring black workers [who were just as skilled] Let us also recall the antagonism between Protestant and Catholic workers that made union organizing more difficult in the early decades of the twentieth century.
There is, or ought to be, a natural coalition of working class African-Americans, working class Latinos, White manufacturing and service sector workers, young people, and highly educated people of all races and ethnicities, as well as the growing ranks of former middle class workers being oppressed economically by joblessness, home foreclosures, and the systematic driving down of average wages -- a formidable collection, if it could be forged into an effective movement. It would not be a revolutionary movement -- at least not yet -- but it would move the center of American politics significantly to the left. For a brief moment, Obama was successful in assembling such a coalition. The right has responded by playing identity politics in a successful effort to dismantle this coalition. Ignoring the elements of identity in this dynamic is, I believe, a mistake.
That is what I was suggesting. Now, let us cool the rhetoric and discuss this calmly and seriously. I am really getting very tired of having each of my posts treated as evidence that I am the enemy. Give me a break!