Let’s Talk About Identity Politics

identity politics, Combahee River Collective, Civil Rights Movement, black feminists, progressives

I was arguing about identity politics a few days ago because it became clear that many people, including lefties, are averse to the topic. I argued my point, but I don’t feel that I convinced anyone to take a deeper look into what Identity politics is.

A couple of days later, I also saw a video made by the much-maligned “Factual Feminist,” Christine Hoff Sommers:

I felt that the video’s arguments were so off-base that I responded to Hoff-Sommers’ tweet with a thread of my own (via my personal Twitter account).

The arguments surrounding identity politics bother me because they are fallacious. I feel that identity politics movement arose with good intentions and that there is a place for it, but others don’t want to see it that way. Hence, why I’m making this post. Not everyone who comes across this post wants to look at identity politics from a different angle, but I will make my case anyway.

Identity politics is a subject that I’m still trying to grapple with. The first time I heard of it was in 2016 and I leaned toward the negative view of it.

Why was I wrong about identity politics? I was wrong because, for one thing, I failed to do my own research about the topic. (I am still learning to withhold judgment for a lot of things until I can do my own research because often, people who make certain claims have an agenda. That’s true of this topic.)

What did I find? There’s too much to parse right now, but let’s begin with some basic information.

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Progressives: Don’t Turn on Each Other Because of Alex Jones (Part 3)

progressives, Alex Jones, online censorship, Jimmy Dore, free speech, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google
Alex Jones (on the left) crashed an interview that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida, on the right) was giving reporters on September 5, 2018. Taken from a screenshot (video).

In Part 2 of this series, I talked about the incidents that happened since Alex Jones was banned from various platforms. I also talked about how I felt about Jones being targeted. Additionally, since I found out that the U.S. government (and the European Union) was involved, it made me think deeper about the issue of online censorship.

Now, it’s been over a month since I last visited this series, but a lot more has happened on this front. Before I can get into the nitty-gritty, I will need to talk about a few of these developments.

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Progressives: Don’t Turn on Each Other Because of Alex Jones (Part 2)

progressives, social media, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, online censorship, government involvement, free-speech issue
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently talked to NBC News’ Lester Holt about Twitter’s decision to put Alex Jones in a week-long timeout. Twitter’s movements in this arena will have long-term implications, and most of them will be bad for progressives.

In Part 1 of this series, I talked about the fallout from Alex Jones’ dismissal from certain platforms and the effect it has had on progressives. In particular, a fight has been raging about the concept of free speech and whether or not there are limits to it. As a result, a number of progressives have turned on each other, at least in this arena. As the title of these posts suggests, I have a problem with that because progressives need to stick together.

I am also troubled by the way people are going about this argument. While both sides in this debate have valid points, one side has stronger ones, but even people on that side have made a series of argumentative missteps. In sniping at each other, progressives in this fight have subverted their own arguments to a degree.

Now, one is certain: Alex Jones’ banishment is the start of a widescale sweep and things will get worse before they get better. That said, I would like to revisit my thoughts on his banishment and talk about the effect it can have on many others.

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Progressives: Don’t Turn on Each Other Because of Alex Jones (Part 1)

progressives, Alex Jones, argument, free speech, debate, corporate censorship

Last week, I weighed in on the Alex Jones controversy. In short, I said that I felt that his banishment certain platforms, namely Facebook and YouTube, was justified on the grounds that he violated their terms of service. Since then, the fight waged on, particularly among progressives. That part bothers me, but this situation has opened up a very important discussion about free speech and censorship.

This is going to be a three-parter. There’s a lot to go through, so here is my basic message:

Progressives need to talk this out while remaining respectful to each other. I know that this situation has revealed some people’s inner thoughts and to an extent, it is driven by schadenfreude. However, that is no reason for progressives to get mad at each other.

Also, we need to have an honest discussion about free speech and censorship. It’s important for lefties to get on the same page on this issue because they are their own best advocates.

In that spirit, I would like to reexamine this issue and figure out where I stand on it now. In this first part, I will examine the two sides in this issue — among progressives, of course. In the next two posts, I will look at what I now think about this situation and how we can move forward in this discussion.

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Farron Cousins Was Wrong About Progressives in This July 2018 Video

Farron Cousins, The Ring of Fire, progressives, DNC servers, Russia Probe, hacking, rant
This is Farron Cousins as seen in a July 21, 2018 video.

This if Farron Cousins as seen in a July 21, 2018 video. Taken via a screenshot.

I have a bone to pick with Farron Cousins. A few days ago, I watched a segment from The Ring of Fire’s YouTube Channel and it ticked me off.

On July 21, 2018, Farron Cousins made this video for The Ring of Fire entitled, “Everyone Is Lying About The DNC Server ‘Scandal.’”

This has got to be one of the worst segments Cousins has ever done. Why? While Cousins insists that everyone who questions the way in which the FBI investigated the suspected hack into the DNC servers, he goes on to show his own ignorance.

  • First, Mr. Cousins talks about information found in an article from The Daily Beast, although he doesn’t mention it by name.
  • Second, Cousins compares liberals, progressives, and some Democrats who are still skeptical of the Russia Probe to Trump, Trump cultists, and other Republicans. (Nice, because we all have a hive mind, right?)
  • Third, Cousins insists that all the people who have questions or reservations about the Russia probe didn’t do the research.

Those assertions Cousins made were not only insulting but wholly dismissive. Of the things I hate most in this world, dismissiveness ranks pretty high. And even if though Cousins is known for his tone, it didn’t fit this segment because it was partly aimed at his own audience, which skews progressive. That said, let me break down why this video was bad in depth.

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The Rift on the Left: An Afterword

the rift on the left, afterword, Democratic Party, liberals, progressives, third party, Tom Perez
Tom Perez is a terrible DNC Chairman. There, I said it. Photo by Mobilus In Mobili (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
When I started this series, I had hoped to get to the bottom of what ailed American liberals and try to find a path forward, but I soon realized that the rift on the left could not just be examined in one or two posts. I outline my thoughts, but outlines had to be updated and reexamined as I became aware of new information and looked into older developments. My thoughts thus grew into a series and this series became my version of the autopsy for the Democratic Party.1

If you had hoped this post would provide an answer for uniting liberals and progressives, you may be disappointed because the rift on the left is deeper than I thought it was. At first, you might have thought that the problems on the left all stemmed from the 2016 presidential election. Yet those problems were always there and they were fully exposed during that race.

The truth is, a bunch of conversations have been ignored and put off for far too long. It was only a matter of time before things bubbled up and gave rise to a demagogue like Donald Trump.

As I researched this topic, what I found made me more knowledgeable, but angrier than I was when I started this series. In particular, I became angrier at the leadership of the Democratic Party, although there were a few bright spots. And I was angry at the Democratic Party because I realized the national leadership was the problem.

Donna Brazile said that she “found the cancer” when she investigated a joint fundraising agreement the DNC had with the Hillary Victory Fund, but the party is dealing with numerous cancers, mostly tied to money.

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The Rift on the Left: The Internal Politics of the Democratic Party

This was not a good look.

Now it is time to address the internal politics of the Democratic Party.  If you manage to get through this post, it might make you mad. You might be mad at me for dredging all this up again. Or you will be mad because you’re being reminded of things that got you hot in the first place. Or I might make you mad because I’m telling you about things you didn’t know and wish you hadn’t.

Overall, there are some truly worrying things happening in the Democratic National Committee and within the party on a national level. Unfortunately, I will have to look at the last presidential election because it exposed the party’s current problems. However, there are more problems that have been developing for decades. I do not trace the latter in this post, but they are apparent.

This post is big because in it is a complex topic and I will be looking at six areas that pertain to the DNC and Democratic Party at large. I will start with the unity tour.

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The Rift on the Left: An Overview

overview, the rift on the left, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Democratic Party, DNC, liberals, progressives, 2016 Presidential Election
The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election started in earnest, but things soon became heated between two factions: The Hillary Clinton wing of the party and the “insurgent” Bernie Sanders Wing of the Party. This is an overview. Image via Disney | ABC Television Group/Flickr (Some rights reserved).

Just like I did for my Sexism in Naruto series, I’m going to give an overview for this one. It’s been awhile since I made the introduction for this series, so I want to leave my readers with something.

Now, I have already started writing a couple of posts in this series, but I cannot move forward until I write the 2016 Presidential Election Recap. That will be the hardest post for me to write but only due to the sheer volume of research and writing I still need to do.

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