Marxism examines the structure of our economic system and finds that the entire thing is geared towards creating profit for one very small class of people, while completely failing to represent the interests of the majority of people – the people who actually do all the work, but own none of the results. This isn’t because the people who profit from this system are lacking in awareness of their privilege, or because they are classist. It has absolutely nothing to do with them as individual people, their social identities or minority status. A disabled black female capitalist is exactly the same as an able-bodied white male capitalist in the function they serve in the system, which is also why electing people of a different social identity has never by itself made a political difference.
…Socialism does not seek to unify people on the level of social, national or cultural identity; it is inherently internationalist and transcultural, because it operates on a completely different level. But that’s precisely why socialism is emancipatory by necessity: because to unite the working class means to unite people across the barriers of identity. The concept itself is inclusive, and cannot be realized without the inclusion of the majority of people, including people of all social identities. Nor does it exclude those who wish to see systemic change but belong to the upper classes; after all, it’s about reorienting the goals and methods of the system, not about personal moral judgement or the condemnation of people because of an accident of birth. Socialism does not posit some sort of economic equivalent of Original Sin that makes people unable to see beyond their own lives.
Regardless of whether or not I would ever identify as a Marxist, or even a socialist, this ain’t nothin’ but the truth. More and more, I come to suspect that identity politics is largely a cynical creation of careerists in academia who want the appearance and credibility of revolutionaries without ever taking steps that would threaten their own comfortable, even lucrative, niches. As for the earnest kids who are serving as cannon fodder out on the front lines of Twitter and Tumblr, well, I have my hypothesis about them, too, but even they seem to instinctively recognize what an unbelievably sweet deal it is to get to “change the world for the better” by acting like bossy, spoiled brats on the Internet.