“White working class” identity Politics of Bernie Sanders
By: Matt Sedillo
The Southwest Political Report
“I do not believe that most of the people who are thinking about voting for Mr. Trump are racist or sexist,” – Bernie Sanders
“The working class of this country is being decimated — that’s why Donald Trump won. And what we need now are candidates who stand with those working people, who understand that real median family income has gone down.” – Bernie Sanders
“It is not good enough for somebody to say, ‘Hey, I’m a Latina, vote for me,’ That is not good enough. I have to know whether that Latina is going to stand up with the working class of this country, and is going to take on big money interests.”- Bernie Sanders
Statistically speaking at 53 cents on the white male dollar, Latinas are the lowest paid workers in America and would seem are least in need of being scolded to think of themselves in terms of being working class.
The notion that Latinas need to prove their class consciousness to white workers is an obscenity that rails against material reality. Go to any union struggle, go to the fight for 15, go to housing rights struggles, wheresoever there is a latina pressence in this country they are playing a key role in fighting for the rights of working people as working people. It is reprehensible that Bernie Sanders sees fit to lecture someone who represents the lowest paid and most economically exploited demographic in the country while shielding the most reactionary section of the country from material reality. But such is the nature of “White working class” identity politics.
Donald Trump lost the Latina vote in a big way. Donald Trump won the White male vote in a big way. Instead of bullying Latinas in the name of the working class why not go lecture the people who voted for a billionaire on a golden throne in the clouds? This coddling paired with bullying is very telling. The defense of the mythical “white working class” which does not exist independent of the class as whole, is the most destructive form of identity politics in the United States of America.
While It is certainly true that in 2016 that even by bourgeois Democratic standards virtually all politicians in the United States of America sell out their constituencies. There is less and less to offer and the bipartisan swing towards privitization rules the day in the United States of America. But this is not just true of the class of corrupt politicians in darker skin but of the US political class as a whole. Bernie Sanders himself went out stumping for Hillary Clinton the biggest warhawk and Wall Street representative imaginable. Then he went out legitimizing Donald Trump. You want to talk about someone selling out working people, Bernie Sanders need not look too far to find one.
Today the attack on identity politics is largely undefined. It would seem it could mean several things. The drive of petite bourgeois nationalists to steer all social movement, beyond survival as an end unto itself, into the establishment captive markets and aspire to establish smaller versions of capitalism within capitalism is specific and should definitely be opposed. Far greater and wider than that is the opportunism of those who simply want to diversify the current power structures that exist and see the improvement of individual lots within capitalist structures. These people make themselves readily apparent every day and also can be rightly denounced. However the drive in this decades long moment of economic panic to label anything to do with the specificity of various demographics as “identity politics” is integral to the White backlash as a whole. It is all part of this historic moment of conflict. Bernie Sanders may as well be walking around saying Make Working Class Politics Great Again. The election of Donald Trump and the justification, the false contextulizations, the flat out denial of reality that accomponies it it walk hand in hand. Identity politics is destroying the working class movement. White Supremacy and the electoral college just elected a billionaire who lives in the clouds.