Rakesh and Louis P.

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Mon Jun 29 18:15:09 PDT 1998

Doug replies to Michael Perelman:
>>I am sorry to see two of my favorite people slinging mud at each other.
>>Both have too much to contribute to waste their energies in that way.
>You're right. I unsub'd Rakesh, as he asked, but I'm really sorry to see
>things come to this pass. We should be fighting the stinking pig
>oppressors, not each other.

Unlike Rakesh, I have had a positive view of the BRC, but for the record I think it is wrong to think of Rakesh as racist, left con, etc. Rakesh has _never_ been a part of the left conservative ideology; in fact, at various times, he has strongly criticized that current of thought.

Left conservatives think that playing down anti-racism, anti-sexism, etc. can bring about 'class politics' (e.g. Todd Gitlin, Richard Rorty, Eric Alterman, William Julius Wilson, Max Sawicky, etc.) Left cons tend to be social democrats (though my experience has taught me that there are marxists who are left cons). The majority of left cons, who are social democrats, think that if only what they (wrongly and misleadingly) think of as 'identity politics' or 'new social movements' disappears, we can get Social Democracy going in the USA, with the pride of Americanism intact. Rakesh has nothing but contempt for this line of thinking. At one point he denounced them as 'proto-fascist coalition.' And he's quite right to call them by that name.

On the other hand, Rakesh also thinks that a certain kind of anti-racism (say, represented by the likes of Cornel West, Jessie Jackson, white theorists who speak of the need to become 'race traitors,' etc.) is merely the mirror image of left cons, in that they seem to imply that if only we win over white workers to anti-racism, we could make Social Democracy happen in America.

And the irony here is that both the agendas of left cons and anti-racist social democrats are non-starters _at this point in history_; social democracy has been made obsolete, not due to either racism or anti-racism, but because of objective economic conditions of world capitalism. (This should be clear from Doug's question with regard to the UAW and GM.)

I hope I did a reasonable job of representing Rakesh's views. Now, one can disagree with Rakesh's views, and I do, in that I think that the BRC doesn't represent the kind of anti-racist politics that Rakesh has criticized (well, at least his favorite black intellectual Adolph Reed, Jr. must have seen a chance to argue for his politics at the BRC), but Rakesh's views are certainly _not_ the same as racist left cons'.

And I think that debating with Rakesh is _far better_ than debating with left cons on the list, whether or not we will come to any kind of agreement. Left cons don't want dialogue with us; left cons can only be objects of our critique and ridicule.


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