No Politics But Class Politics (Paperback)
Denouncing racism and celebrating diversity have become central to progressive politics. For many on the left, it seems, social justice would consist of an equitable distribution of wealth, power and esteem among racial groups. But as Adolph Reed Jr. and Walter Benn Michaels argue in this incisive collection of essays, the emphasis here is tragically misplaced. Not only can a fixation with racial disparities distract from the pervasive influence of class, it can actually end up legitimising economic inequality. As Reed and Michaels put it, "racism is real and anti-racism is both admirable and necessary, but extant racism isn't what principally produces our inequality and anti-racism won't eliminate it".No Politics but Class Politics gathers together Reed and Michaels's recent essays on inequality, along with a newly commissioned interview with the authors and an illuminating foreword by Daniel Zamora and Anton J ger. These writings eschew the sloppy thinking and moral posturing that too often characterise discussions of race and class in favour of clear-eyed social, cultural and historical analysis. Reed and Michaels make the case here for a genuinely radical politics: a politics which aspires not to the establishment of a demographically representative social elite, but instead to economic justice for everyone.
About the Author
Walter Benn Michaels is Professor of English at the University of Illinois Chicago. An influential scholar in the fields of literary theory and American literary history, Michaels is also a high-profile polemicist whose political writings have appeared in publications including The American Prospect and the London Review of Books. His most recent books are The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality and The Beauty of a Social Problem: Photography, Autonomy, Economy. Adolph Reed Jr. is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. A veteran activist and a prolific analyst of the politics of race and class, his books include The Jesse Jackson Phenomenon: The Crisis of Purpose in Afro-American Politics, Stirrings in the Jug: Black Politics in the Post-Segregation Era and Class Notes: Posing as Politics and Other Thoughts on the American Scene. His essays have appeared in The Nation, Harpers and Jacobin, among other publications.