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Joti Brar

Mar 23, 2024

The cover of our pamphlet on identity politics features a photo of the famous Soviet monument ‘Worker and Kolkhoz Woman’ by sculptor Vera Mukhina. Originally shown at the World’s Fair in Paris, 1937, this massive steel sculpture embodies the spirit of socialist men and women building a new world together.

What are the origins of identity politics? And why are they so inimical to the working class’s struggle for socialism?

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Ever since the arrival of the modern proletariat as a social and political force, the capitalist ruling class has trembled at the thought of the latent power resting in its lap – the power not only to withhold labour-power and bring production to a standstill, but to overturn the outmoded system of unplanned production for profit altogether.

The 1917 October Revolution in Russia heralded the dawn of a new socialist era, the era in which workers will replace capitalists as the masters of society. In their bid to postpone the evil day and cling onto their senile rule, the lords of finance capital have thrown untold resources into all kinds of efforts aimed at bribing, coercing, confusing, distracting and dividing the mass of propertyless wage-workers, hoping to keep them from understanding and carrying out their historic mission.

The slow but steady takeover of the western left by liberalism and the divisive and reactionary politics of identity took place during decades when revolutionary Marxism had suffered serious defeats and was passing through a period of confusion and disarray.

In order to bring this period of defeat and retreat to a close and regroup the forces for socialism, the working-class movement must be purged of the plethora of anti-Marxian ideas that have become so pervasive, setting our struggle once more on a solid footing and preparing the way for a new and decisive advance.

As the worst-ever global crisis of capitalist overproduction spirals out of control, spawning war and poverty on an unimaginable scale, this task has never been more urgent.

This short pamphlet by Joti Brar aims to provide a Marxist overview of identity politics – what they are, where they came from, and how they are affecting our movement. She outlines the major branches (bourgeois feminism, black nationalism, LGBT+ liberation) and puts them in a historical and philosophical context that aims to help socialists steer clear of the lurking shoals that can shipwreck our movement and leave us stranded and helpless before the onslaught of the monopoly capitalist crisis and war.

The pamphlet also includes an article by our party chair Ella Rule on the nature of the communist party and why the most organised and advanced detachment of the working class can have nothing to do with the divisive sectionalism of idpol.

Republished from with thanks

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