Far-Right National Review Uses Identity Politics to Smear Socialism

Blog / Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

I argued that the following cover of the American Prospect held the dubious honor of being able to exemplify the extreme reactionary core of identity politics in just one image:

can identity politics save the right

We now have a prodigious new contender.

The National Review, a far-right magazine founded by extreme reactionary William F. Buckley, Jr.—whom journalist Gore Vidal infamously referred to as a “crypto-Nazi”—exposed identity politics’ true colors with a laughing-coma-inducing article arguing that socialism is just white privilege writ large.

national review socialism white privilege

Few American publications have as long and as proud a legacy of unmitigated racism as the National Review. Although it had a literal blog devoted to so-called “liberal fascism,” the National Review has a long history of celebrating and mitigating the unspeakable crimes of actual fascism.

This piece is hence so remarkable in its genuinely impressive degree of hypocrisy it almost seems as if the publication was hacked by the Onion satirists (it might as well have been).

In the piece, far-right demagogue Kevin D. Williamson, in a preposterous bout of extreme ignorance and intentional distortion, argues socialism, the most powerful anti-racist force in human history, is nothing more than “Nordic exceptionalism.”

The neo-conservative Williamson is of course ironically himself a very proud white man who

As any proud National Review staff writer is wont to do, Williamson is never one to let those pesky facts get in the way, and, virtually without exception, prefers mudslinging to research.

He ergo naturally ignores an elementary fact about socialism: the vast majority of socialists in the world not just today, but in an all of human history, have in fact been people of color from formerly colonized nations largely in the Global South. Marxism, in particular, and other forms of revolutionary socialism have been the vehicle by which formerly subjugated peoples threw off the yoke of Western imperialism and exerted independence.

And, speaking of ahistorical balderdash, this is not even to mention the fact that it was in fact indisputably socialism that defeated by the far-right, anti-socialist Nazis.

Williamson is the kind of far-right fanatic who wields reactionary identity politics to his advantage. For the Right, identity politics is a blessing.

For the umpteenth time in what is now, unfortunately, an ever-burgeoning series, I repeat: As political scientist and race theorist Adolph Reed has constantly stressed, identity politics is “the politics of the left-wing of neoliberalism.” And yet, the more this happens, the more I think Reed didn’t go far enough in his characterization: Identity politics is not the “left”-wing of neoliberalism; it is simply neoliberalism, sans qualifier.