Identity politics

political position based on the interests and perspectives of social groups with which people identify

Identity politics describes a political approach wherein people of a particular religion, race, social background, class or other identifying factor form exclusive socio-political alliances.


  • Far too often movements revert to a position in which membership and joint political work are based on a necessarily similar history of oppression—but this is too much like identity politics. Instead, I am suggesting here that the process of movement building be rooted not in our shared history or identity but in our shared marginal relationship to dominant power that normalizes, legitimizes, and privileges.
    • Cathy J. Cohen, "Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics?" Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology (Duke University Press: 2005), p. 43
  • The contemporary Left claims not to exist. Whereas the Right sees left-wing threats everywhere, those on the Left eschew any use of the term "we," emphasizing issue politics, identity politics, and their own fragmentation into a multitude of singularities.
    • Jodi Dean, The Communist Horizon (2012), p. 53
  • Bill Clinton and his two treasury secretary enablers, Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, instituted a system of unregulated capitalism that has resulted in financial anarchy. This anarchic form of capitalism, where everything, including human beings and the natural world, is a commodity to exploit until exhaustion or collapse, is justified by identity politics. It is sold as “enlightened liberalism” as opposed to the old pro-union class politics that saw the Democrats heed the voices of the working class. Financial anarchy and short-term plunder have destroyed long-term financial and political stability. It has also pushed the human species, along with most other species, closer and closer towards extinction.
  • The liberal class has retreated into boutique activism where issues of class, capitalism and militarism are jettisoned for “cancel culture,” multiculturalism and identity politics.
  • Seizing upon anything but class, U.S. leftists today have developed an array of identity groups centering around ethnic, gender, cultural, and life-style issues. These groups treat their respective grievances as something apart from class struggle, and have almost nothing to say about the increasingly harsh politico-economic class injustices perpetrated against us all.
    • Michael Parenti, Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism & the Overthrow of Communism (1997), p. 151
  • I think the crucial point here is that we’ve got to be able to have a politics of solidarity. What I mean by that is that all the talk about identity, racial identity, gender identity, sexual orientation identity, is crucial, it is indispensable, but in the end, it must be connected to a moral integrity and deep political solidarity that hones in on a financialized form of predatory capitalism. A capitalism that is killing the planet, poor people, working people here and abroad.

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