so winant is leaving salon (to pursue a phd in american history!), which makes me sad. because while sometimes there were failures (yesterday’s post on whitman was problematic), his articles were usually good and occasionally, like today, even great:
How is a party that is the devoted servant of corporate power still not only viable, but reliably able to win large chunks of the working-class vote?
The question to ask here is if you are a white member of the working class — the demographic type around whom this debate swirls — what can you do to gain more control over your life? Because that’s what politics is: people getting organized, or not, to control their lives. What are the weapons of this weak group?
So that leaves you without tools to forthrightly conduct class politics in public. You’ve got no hope, and it seems almost foolish to dare to try. What’s left? Well, if you’re white, you can fall back on racism; if you’re a man, you can oppose gender equality. … It’s uncomfortable to think this way about egalitarian movements like feminism and the pursuit of racial equality. Obviously, nobody on the left should renounce gender equality or civil rights just because these ideas have produced enmity among a certain group that we might otherwise find sympathetic. But we also shouldn’t allow ourselves to slip into condescension, to imagine that people are just bigots and fools, tricked into opposing their own self-interest. They are participants in politics just like everyone else. Even the citizen who doesn’t vote at all is saying something about politics. The fact that some methods of political participation don’t make sense to liberals doesn’t mean that they don’t make sense at all.
seriously, click through and read the whole thing. it’s similar to things i’ve thought/written in the past, except much, much better.