Title: "Planet Trotter" and Identity Politics Credit: Craig Young Comment Thursday 24th August 2006 - 12:00pm1156377600 Article: 1391 Rights
I certainly regard myself as being on the Left, so I groaned in disbelief when I read yet another harangue from ageing neanderthal workerist Chris Trotter about "identity politics." "Planet Trotter" is a strange parallel world where the only cause that should matter to the Left is industrial relations. On Planet Trotter, there are absolutely no aspects of economic inequality related to gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or issues other than class. Oh, and the working class is predominantly male and pakeha. Labour is "Plagued With Identity Politics" because it is a pluralist centre-left party that appeals to other constituencies as well as its traditional working class supporters. On Planet Trotter, the sixties never happened, nor did the New Left and pluralist left politics or 'identity politics' as he drones onward. Excuse me, that's a load of garbage. Of course I care about industrial relations, welfare policy and the ravages of free market capitalism. I believe in a strong and diverse trade union movement. Economic inequality and market-governed pharmaceutical regulation is one reason why People Living With HIV/AIDS are not getting the protease inhibitors and combination therapies that they need. Economic inequality is one reason that working class women would die from backstreet abortions if abortion was ever made illegal again. Economic inequality differentially affects Maori because capitalism was built on the back of colonialism here. New Right welfare policies will severely affect people with disabilities, particularly the mental health consumers that I work with. Economic inequality and class matter deeply. To be blunt, Trotter is a sloppy, poorly read thinker who shows absolutely no sign of interest in any other aspect of Left politics beyond a narrowly framed interest in industrial relations. He is no match for the real Left thinkers in this country, like his former associate, the sadly missed late Bruce Jesson, or Jane Kelsey, who would never be so foolish. Trotter is devoid of strategic or practical sense, preferring purism and eternal defeatist political marginalisation, rather than contemplating that yes, there just might be more aspects to Left politics than his workerism, and horror of horrors, people might have to strategically engage with issues related to an overblown cut-throat free market capitalist economy. It's time the old chap moved on, and let someone who isn't a relic of the forties and fifties Old Left discuss complexities related to the modern capitalist world. Craig Young - 24th August 2006    
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