An Introduction to the Special Issue on Identity Politics

  • Citation: Kumar, Ashok, Adam Eliott-Cooper, Shruti Iyer, and Dalia Gebrial. “An Introduction to the Special Issue on Identity Politics.” Historic Materialism 26, no. 2 (2018): 3–20.
    • Topics:
    • Movements for Inclusion
    • Keywords:
    • identity politics
    • economism
    • class
    • internationalism
    • culturalism
    • identitarian
    • race
    • gender

This special issue responds to ongoing debates around what has been termed ‘identity politics’. We aim to intervene in what are make-or-break questions for the Left today. Specifically, we wish to provoke further interrogative but comradely conversation that works towards breaking-down the wedge between vulgar economism and vulgar culturalism. Critically, we maintain that just as all identity categories are spatially and temporally contingent – socially constructed, yet naturalised – so too is this current bifurcation between ‘class politics’ and ‘identity politics’. Ultimately, we call for an intellectual and organisational embracing of the complexity of identity as it figures in contemporary conditions; being a core organising-principle of capitalism as it functions today, a paradigm that Leftist struggle can be organised through and around – and yet all with a recognition of the necessity of historicising, and ultimately abolishing, these categories along with capitalism itself.