What is the relationship between race and class, and which should be the primary focus to address on the level of political organizing? Questions such as these, argues our guest Asad Haider, misses the mark as these views seek to make determinations about the world at the level of conceptual abstractions. Furthermore, he suggests, such questions slide into a muddled debate between advancing either universal or particularist demands, identity politics or class politics, when the reality is that the abolition of white supremacy is by necessity a universal program aligned with the waging of class struggle.
“Abstract disputes over race and class, identity politics versus class reductionism, are obstacles. But it’s also an obstacle when we can’t conceive of any other form of human life. We think that higher wages, universal healthcare, and so on are the only possible goals that can be achieved, and that winning elections and working within the existing political structure is the only way we can achieve them. The overall perspective has to be one which says that we can conceive of human life in which people are not dependent on wages for survival. Not only that they should make higher wages, but that we should not have to depend on wages just to live. And that we should be able to control our own lives as members of the human community rather than transferring our power to a minority that defends its position with weapons and prisons. It’s possible I think to conceive of a society beyond that.”
Mistaken Identity: Race and Class in the Age of Trump
Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color