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Edric O

Against Diversity

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I just found a very good article highlighting the difference between socialism and liberalism in the United States, with a nice inflammatory title. ;) Maybe this will stimulate debate:

http://www.newleftreview.org/?page=article&view=2731

WALTER BENN MICHAELS

AGAINST DIVERSITY

The importance of race and gender in the current US presidential campaign has, of course, been a function of the salience of racism and sexism

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"even though some capitalists may be racist, sexist and homophobic, capitalism itself is not"

Iffy point. When slavery was a major source of labour, racism was key to upholding that state of affairs.

Racism strengthens capital by dividing the working class. It also contributes to class prejudice, which justifies wealth disparity. In Britain at the moment, xenophobia is an increasingly popular brand of racism as capitalism pits workers against each other in competition for jobs. It also justifies the low payment of jobs commonly taken up by immigrants, as the rationale is they're getting better here than they would in Poland or wherever. Both of these drive down pay across the board, of course.

Sexism does the same: working-class women are expected to do hard jobs for little pay - jobs seen as women's work are less well paid, and it's not expected that those jobs will provide for families, they're 'pinmoney' jobs to earn on top of what the breadwinner's earning. Whereas stay-at-home mothers used to be the most efficient method of providing the next generation of workers to serve the needs of capital, this is no longer the case. One of the major shifts over the past decades in MEDCs has been the movement of women from unpaid domestic labour to highly exploitative wage labour, as demand for domestic labour has dropped (due to automation and other advances). Part of the disparity increase is that productivity has drastically increased, but automation hasn't meant that a nuclear family has suddenly doubled its eanring power - real-terms individual wage cuts have meant that both adults need to work full time to maintain a similar real-terms household income. That productivity increase has gone to those who own the means of production.

Homophobia is also related to the whole ideal family thing - and it's becoming increasingly difficult for capitalism to maintain, it's far more often the case that it's mostly religion driving it (and prejudices keep going on their own steam for a long time).

I'm not saying it's impossible have a capitalist but non-sexist, non-racist, non-homophobic society. But imagining one is an abstraction from the conditions in which it occurs. The only way of sustainably eradicating either type of inequality is to eliminate both and the systems that keep them alive.

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Perhaps I am being silly, but I at least don't see why the sustaining of racism is dependent on capitalism. Of course, dissatisfaction might eventually lead to revolts ending racial discrimination, but regarding that isn't the situation generally the same regardless of the economic system of the society being capitalist or not?

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It seems the author hit the point: racism and sexism become hey themes, where you have an easy non-conflicting solution of tolerance, and thus the problematic themes don't need to be put up. There is nothing easier than to say you have nothing against blacks. But hm, solving the diversity of incomes would need sacrifices and risk which is no good agenda in such close elections.

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Because it is exploitation, not discrimination, that is the primary producer of inequality today

I can't agree more.

The discrimination theme acts as a great divide & conquer strategy.

People end up fighting for symbols that will never positively change their children lives.

It's the economics that matters, not 'black & white' versus 'diverse & colorfull'.

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Here in SA, I have always told people that we shouldn't be worrying about granting African people or people of any race benefits just because they might have a higher % of poor people. We should (obviously) simply help out whoever happens to be poor. For those from the era of apartheid, there is the matter of re-numeration, but again, the matter of race should be ignored (even though, of course, it happens that the vast majority of these are obviously African).

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The difficult part is, a certain extreme fringe of the anti-discrimination movement adopts a "pay back" attitude.

Thus, when advocating ignorance of past discriminations, you just seem to spoil them and continue racial/sexual injustice.

Unfortunately, many are just too emotional about past and recent history, they can't embrace the fact only the future matters to them and their children.

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Of course, however, I am not suggesting we forget about the crimes committed against the previously discriminated. There is no PARTICULAR reason they should not be re-numerated. Of course, it is not necessarily the case that all care about re-numeration.

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