The Importance Of Pronouns And Inclusivity On This Burning Earth.

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The Importance Of Pronouns And Inclusivity On This Burning Earth.

Post by thatalex »

Considering that global civilisation faces several concurrent crises with more looming - what is the relevance and importance of identity politics?

If this seems like a bald and challenging question... It is.

The crises facing the earth are global and universal. Here are a few existential threats to everyone on Earth - and unlike our politics, these ARE all-inclusive.

1. The breakdown of the Pax Americana, which in any case was never universal, could result in a war that turns nuclear.

2. The Climate crisis ALREADY IS making huge areas of the globe unliveable and unworkable, causing drought, famine, and mass migration in said areas, and "hidden inflation" that ALREADY IS sharply increasing the cost of living even in richer countries.

3. AI will make all human labour redundant within this century, forcing a MAJOR refiguration of our already shitty social models... As things stand, some form of neo-feudalism seems likely, with the few who own the most stifling democratic dissent and punishing attempts to break out of the system and its cycles. Owners of property will be or already are the new shot-callers.

4. Neoliberalism will expend resources faster than it discovers them. Hence crises such as Covid-19 will become more common, and the responses less effective. Individualised profits and nationalised risks are a bad mix.

What is the importance of identity politics in the face of these challenges and more, or is it all a red herring?
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Re: The Importance Of Pronouns And Inclusivity On This Burning Earth.

Post by sharoma »

Identity is core to how people view themselves and each other. Countries that embrace the freedom of identity will be seen as 'friendly' and those that do not, such as Russia, will be seen as enemies, regardless of whether they invade anyone. Identity will become key to gaining the votes of the youngest two generations (hasn’t it always?). In that way, it is important because it allows people to feel like their regime at least acknowledges, and maybe supports them. From there they'll hope the regime will begin tackling the existential threats you mentioned:

1. Regarding the breakdown of the Pax Americana, I don't think identity makes much difference. In this respect you're right, it truly is irrelevant what pronoun people choose if the US military loses its control of the major trade routes, the oceans, and loses its ability to act as a deterrent to China and Russia. Maybe the younger generation would more willingly be conscripted or sign up to fight China or Russia if their government lets them choose their pronoun, but I doubt it would make much difference.

2. The climate crises is the fault of the corporations, their greed, their hidebound outlooks, and their short-term quest for profit. The struggles of the '60s to liberalize the western democracies (such as abortion rights, birth control, accepting homosexuality) are important socially but clearly did little to check the advance of the violent regimes, which of course include all the western democracies as well as those outside this club. Handing the people these extra freedoms thwarted real revolution. In a light-hearted way, I can refer to Citizen Smith claiming that the working class uprising in Britain, and all the fervent spirit of the angry masses, was nullified completely by England winning the 1966 World Cup. This is also a form of identity politics. Many people identify as fans of their favourite sports team (especially at national level) more than anything else, even their occupation. When England are in the World Cup, even I get excited and become fervently patriotic! What scoundrels national sports and boundaries can make of us.

3. Exactly, owners of property and existing resources such as factories which make and program the robots, will be the kings, as they already are. There will be a swing toward trying to have AI replace everything possible but only until it ceases to reap significant profits. Once people decide they much prefer human interaction, those in power will go back to exploiting labour. Again, how we identify may not affect this struggle at all. It may boil down to everyone having to identify as human to fight the AI onslaught. Gender will not matter.

4. Since the 1973 oil crises, which was the true cause of the 'failure' of nationalization, neo-liberalism has always sought to privatize profits and make losses public - putting the liabilities all on governments and walking away with the cash. The overthrow of Austrian School thinking is vital of the survival of society. For example, the more you privatize healthcare, the more expensive it becomes. Owners want to increase the profit they extract. Like the US system you will end up paying way more for less access. This will, as you say, inhibit effective responses to pandemics. I agree, identity politics is irrelevant here too. This is a political struggle, but it is more economic than identity based. Without resources, people cannot live and prosper. How they identify when they are homeless and starving won't matter to anyone, including them.

The political class loves identity politics. The political class is the enemy. Identity politics has always been a red herring. It's just evolved into what it is now as the previous red herrings were discovered and no longer worked. I support people identifying however they like and will always try and fight my subconscious self applying labels to them. What I think is important is that people realize identity politics divides the world, societies, and individuals so effectively that breaking out of it is the most crucial factor in the fight for peace and prosperity.
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Re: The Importance Of Pronouns And Inclusivity On This Burning Earth.

Post by Sycorax »

I just wrote about this in a post I made about a lecture on Islam and it absolutely applies here. I don't want to quote myself because that seems a bit hubristic (and repetitive), but it also seems silly to come here and say "Go look at my other post". So please forgive the repetition:

Identity is a complex and at times contentious subject. At its best, individual identity politics help people conceptualize themselves and their roles in various group and social systems. It can help people understand their experiences within society and how that intersects with who they are, name these experiences, and work toward change for the better if needed. The obvious example of this would be the Gay Liberation movement. People coming together under the umbrella of a shared identity/lived experiences to enact change and move society forward.

At its worst, however, individual identity politics can be weaponized by individuals, governments, religions, or other organizations for nefarious purposes. If identity is left unquestioned by the individual, it is very easy for malicious entities to assign an identity which aligns with the goals of a government/other interest group to a person. This is in part how we end up with suicide bombers and mass shooters. Less dramatic but still an issue: Identity politics can be (and are) used as a way to distract from serious economic and environmental issues facing the globe. Exploring identity is a normal and healthy thing for an individual to engage in. But individual identity politics combined with the hyper-individualism of our society means (to me anyways) that we have become too distracted with navel-gazing to pay attention to/respond to what is happening to the planet right now both environmentally and economically. Obsessing over the minutiae of individual identity prevents people to some extent from considering what is happening to their neighbours, their countrymen (country people? fellow wage-slaves?) or the other people who live on the planet.
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