Our obsession with the question of what sort of consciousness attaches itself most readily to the culture of consumption has paradoxically blinded us to the ways in which the ideal type of the American consumer has achieved a new level of uncontested sovereignty in the political rhetoric of our market culture.
The LGBT movement’s laser-focus on marriage equality propagates the myth of gay and lesbian affluence as political strategy, leaving aside any analysis of class or economic inequality or poverty—much less an analysis of capitalism. LGBT people are typically depicted as affluent consumers with high disposable incomes, yet this is hardly the norm. The majority of LGBT/Q people are poor or working class, female, and people of color, who struggle to get a job or hold onto one, to pay their rent and care for themselves and the people they love.
Disillusionment with Democrats is one of the oldest—and most familiar—sentiments of labor progressives. Sadly, the first twenty-one months of the Obama era haven't done much to alter those feelings. Without question, there has been progress on a number of critical issues—economic stimulus, health care reform, financial reform, key appointments at OSHA and the National Mediation Board (which oversees railway and airline labor relations)—which would have been unimaginable in a Republican presidency.
Rick Wolff’s Opinion
We are overdue for a new strategy. Labor and the Left are at low points in long declines. One cause has been adherence to a failed strategy. We need to acknowledge that reality and answer two linked questions. First, what part of getting into this situation was our own doing? Second, what changes in labor’s and the Left’s strategy could revive the two groups and rebuild their coalition into a powerful political force? To answer the first question: labor’s and the Left’s strategic attitude toward capitalism undermined both partners and their coalition. To answer the second: changing their attitude toward capitalism could, I believe, revive them significantly in the near future. Read more