Everyday Anarchism is back after a brief hiatus, with a set of episodes that will run into mid-September, including next week's first anniversary episode with Ruth Kinna! Anarchist Hot Takes is back today, and hopefully in the future as well.
At the risk of seeming like just another out of touch white male socialist, I want to rail against identity politics today! I know, I know, it's a tired theme, but it's also one that just won't go away. Identity politics, in the meritocratic framing that it receives so often, is the idea that the problems in this world exist because the wrong kinds of people are in power. Not only does this not attack the real problem - power itself - it doesn't even suggest that the people who are in power are the wrong kind of people because they are ruthless upholders of a corrupt system of corporate wealth extraction.
No, the problem is that too many ruthless upholders of corrupt corporate wealth extraction are straight white men! In a complete inversion of the kind of solidarity practiced by Audre Lorde and others, this version of identity politics wants us to see the world as made up of winners and losers, both of whom are deserving of their fates - as long as they had their meritocratic battle on a level playing field. The hedge fund capitalist Benn Eifert, writing a guest post for the substack of the economist Noah Smith, rolled out a greatest hits of girlbossism this week, offering up a series of insights straight from a diversity training powerpoint from 2007 (women suffer from "exclusion from professional networks" and "subjective double standards for professional behavior").
First of all, everyone knows this. I mean, everyone. I am sure, if you are a professional, that you have heard this over and over again in various presentations forced upon you by HR. I have no idea why Benn Eifert/Noah Smith think this time will be different. Some people won't listen and will continue to deny that sexism exists, but literally every professional has heard this many times. It's in keeping of the ego of a lord of finance that he thinks his is the voice that will make a difference.
More importantly - and again, I know this is a well-told story, but apparently not well enough - it is the job of hedge fund managers to destroy the lives of people in the name of profit. Benn Eifert's job is, although he clearly would not accept this characterization, to destroy well-being on behalf of the wealthy. And he pitches his feminist argument not as good for women, or people, or society, but for the bottom line. His greatest fear is that "firms who can't support diverse talent are stuck with bottom performing percentiles of men."
Although I certainly feel bad for the women actually experiencing discrimination, I don't feel bad for the firms. "Bottom performing percentiles of men" means "men who are less good at destroying civilization in the name of profit."
May your hedge fund be filled, always and forever, with the bottom performing percentiles of men. And may everyone else start "hardcharging" away from corporate capitalism as fast as they can.