Stacey Abrams on “Identity-Conscious Politics”

E Pluribus Unum? The Fight Over Identity Politics
By Stacey Abrams

My notes from an excellent article in Foreign Affairs:

not to the exclusion of others but as a recognition of their specific policy needs.

articulating an understanding of each group’s unique concerns instead of trying to create a false image of universality.

The marginalized did not create identity politics: their identities have been forced on them by dominant groups,

a politics that respects and reflects the complicated nature of these identities and the ways in which they intersect.

identity has been used to deny opportunity.

Embracing the distinct histories and identities of groups in a democracy enhances the complexity and capacity of the whole.

These parallel but distinct developments are inextricably bound together.

amorphous, universal descriptors devoid of context or nuance.

an expanded, identity-conscious politics.

By embracing identity and its prickly, uncomfortable contours, Americans will become more likely to grow as one.

STACEY Y. ABRAMS served as Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017 and was the Democratic Party’s nominee in Georgia’s 2018 gubernatorial election.

 

Please sign “Americans for Humanity: A Declaration”

Please endorse this declaration at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JF5DHPR

Endorsers will be invited to discuss possible next steps. An established organization might then adopt the project, assume ownership of the AmericansForHumanity.org domain name, and work with other organizations to advance the project. With assistance from 27 collaborators, Wade Hudson served as principal author of this declaration. For more info, click here.

Americans for HumanityA Declaration

I/we support the growth of a popular movement that:

  • serves humanity, the environment, and life itself
  • respects the essential equality of all human beings
  • encourages everyone to identify as a member of the human family
  • affirms individuals’ multiple identities
  • opposes efforts to dominate others due to one of their identities
  • relies on love and trust rather than hate and fear
  • channels anger productively
  • attracts people with face-to-face community and caring friendships
  • honors our nation’s accomplishments, criticizes its failures, and helps build a more perfect union
  • fully represents and gives voice to the American people
  • helps transform the United States into a compassionate community that:
    • supports the rule of law, individual rights, and the freedom to engage in activities that do not deny freedom to others
    • encourages people to relate to others as individuals of equal worth
    • promotes partnerships that empower people
    • nurtures democracy throughout society
    • meets basic human needs
    • assures good living-wage job opportunities
    • protects free speech
    • makes it easy to vote
    • enables everyone to participate in society fully and productively
    • encourages supportive relationships with other countries, backs their right to self-determination, promotes human rights, and advocates peaceful resolution of conflicts with mediation and negotiation
  • pressures Washington to implement compassionate policies supported by strong majorities of the American people
  • engages in nonviolent civil disobedience and consumer boycotts when needed
  • encourages members of the movement to:
    • improve their emotional reactions
    • engage in honest self-examination
    • support each other with their personal and spiritual growth
    • avoid oppressive or disrespectful behavior
  • supports members who want to form small teams that share meals, strengthen connections, provide mutual support, and plan other activities
  • cooperates with movements in other countries that also serve humanity, the environment, and life itself.

To endorse, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JF5DHPR.

Populism Is Down but Far From Out in the West

After a Rocky 2018, Populism Is Down but Far From Out in the West
By Max Fisher
The New York Times

President Trump’s push for a border wall hints at a problem that populist leaders are facing across the Western world.

After a year of setbacks, populist leaders and parties are trying to rejuvenate their fortunes by revitalizing the sense of crisis on which they thrive. But as with Mr. Trump’s demand for a border wall — which has brought a two-week government shutdown — this may say more about populism’s weakness than its strength….

Postwar liberal democracy is simply too new of a system, scholars of democracy say, to know whether it can survive these challenges. We may look back at 2016 as a populist blip associated with one-off crises, or as the beginning of a process of chipping away at liberal democracy from within.

“For anyone who was hoping for a break in the hectic politics of the past years,” Mr. Mudde wrote in his assessment of populism’s prospects, “2019 won’t be it.”

Read more 

Political Tribes

From Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations by Amy Chua:

As a student from rural South Carolina put it, “I think protesting is almost a status symbol for elites. That’s why they always post pictures on Facebook, so all their friends know they’re protesting. When elites protest on behalf of us poor people, it’s not just that we see them as unhelpful; it seems they are turning us, many of whom have a great deal of pride, into the next ‘meme.’ We don’t like being used as a prop for someone else’s self-validation.”

…What these elites don’t see is that Trump, in terms of taste, sensibilities, and values, actually is similar to the white working class. The tribal instinct is all about identification, and Trump’s base identifies with him at a gut level; with the way he talks (locker room), dresses, shoots from the hip, gets caught making mistakes, and gets attacked over and over by the liberal media for not being politically correct, for not being feminist enough, for not reading enough books. His enemies, they feel, are their enemies. They even identify with his wealth, because that’s what many of them want, along with a beautiful wife and big buildings with their name on them. For many working-class Americans, bein anti-establishment is not the same as being antirich.

Climate Change Proposals

As reported by Naomi Klein in This Will Change Everything (p. 118), in 2010 Public Opinion Strategies found that three-quarters of voters, including a vast majority of Republicans, supported a plan that “would make oil and gas companies pay for the pollution they cause,… encourage the creation of new jobs and new technologies in cleaner energy…., [and] protect working families, so it refunds all of the money it collects directly to the American people, like a tax refund, and most families end up better off.”

A Critique of Pinker and His Optimism

Steven Pinker Thinks the Future Is Looking Bright led me to Steven Pinker’s new book on the Enlightenment is a huge hit. Too bad it gets the Enlightenment wrong. Then I re-read the first piece. It does seem Pinker focuses on rationalism and material measures, and neglect moral issues, such as “Rousseau worried that as civilization progressed according to reason, the cost was moral degradation.”