Mistaken-identities-1050
9781786637376
Mistaken Identity
Race and Class in the Age of Trump
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144 pages / May 2018 / 9781786637376
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May 2018 / 9781786637383

A powerful challenge to the way we understand the politics of race and the history of anti-racist struggle

Whether class or race is the more important factor in modern politics is a question right at the heart of recent history’s most contentious debates. Among groups who should readily find common ground, there is little agreement. To escape this deadlock, Asad Haider turns to the rich legacies of the black freedom struggle. Drawing on the words and deeds of black revolutionary theorists, he argues that identity politics is not synonymous with anti-racism, but instead amounts to the neutralization of its movements. It marks a retreat from the crucial passage of identity to solidarity, and from individual recognition to the collective struggle against an oppressive social structure.

Weaving together autobiographical reflection, historical analysis, theoretical exegesis, and protest reportage, Mistaken Identity is a passionate call for a new practice of politics beyond colorblind chauvinism and “the ideology of race.”

Reviews

“Asad Haider renews the critique of identity politics for the contemporary Left. Drawing on the work of British cultural studies, black feminism, and theories of the subject (and subjection), Haider writes in an open and persuasive prose to show how identity is always partial and ambivalent, deflecting from the larger racial ideologies while reproducing its terms. This is a fresh and timely book, thoughtful and provocative.”

Mistaken Identity will inspire some, piss off others, and compel all of us to reconsider how we fight back. A bold, fresh, and radical critique of so-called “identity politics,” this book deserves a wide reading—especially now, when liberal multiculturalism, the “renaturalization” of capitalism, and a resurgent bourgeois black nationalism draped in radical language forecloses the possibility of revolutionary solidarity. Asad Haider proclaims another universality is possible, and it’s probably not what you think.”

“Riveting. Haider moves deftly over difficult terrain. His prose is precise and propulsive. His Marxism is not a mausoleum but a living, breathing thing. And he writes as both a militant and a theorist, one who believes that theory is integral to political struggle and that theoretical rigour has political stakes. The American left has shown signs of life recently, but it has no shortage of enemies. Defeating them will require, among other things, ideas. Haider’s book contributes several. We will need more.”

“Reviving what has become a deeply unfashionable anti-racist standpoint, Asad Haider indicts the complicity of “identity politics” from the left. For him, the dissident mentalities and meticulous historical methods of open-ended, ecumenical commitment to radical social transformation are still valid. This spiky little book shows how opposition might be salvaged from an ocean of pessimism and despair.”

Mistaken Identity by Asad Haider considers a more nuanced and multifaceted debate about identity politics, one that critiques the mass-media version while being cognizant of the larger threat posed by the identity politics being trafficked from the White House….Haider demonstrates that being of two minds—or even of three, four or five—does not necessarily imply confusion, but a complex worldview whose seemingly disparate parts are seeking integration.

“Asad Haider’s critique of contemporary identity politics is convincing. He is right: it is not revolutionary, and it is not 'the answer’.”

“Asad Haider offers a devastating and constructive critique of what is commonly understood as “identity politics,” while still maintaining the centrality race, racism and racist oppression in capitalism.”

“Pithy, smart and readable, Mistaken Identity is a wonderful book for our time. Notwithstanding his critique of identity, there is a compelling authenticity to Haider's voice, making him someone one wants to think with about shaping a left vision today.”

“[Haider] constructs a comprehensive and critical dissection of identity politics in his hard-hitting debut … This book is an important contribution to discourses on American politics, race, and social movements.”

“Essential reading for anyone interested in bringing socialist ideas into movements against racism today.”

“Asad Haider has written a brief and informed survey and critique of the inherent flaws in identity politics. It convinces the reader through a measured calm, not polemics, and that’s a refreshing change in these troubled times.”

“For a slim book, Haider’s argument is expansive and philosophically challenging. Although he never overwhelms the reader with unexplained jargon, the range of work he engages with is impressive, including that of Althusser, Judith Butler, Wendy Brown, Paul Gilroy, Stuart Hall, and more. Moving through this material with skill and acumen, Haider sets out to undercut the material and philosophical foundations of identity politics (and the idea of identity itself).”

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9781786637376
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