Not everyone shares the blame for climate change.

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In the current discourse about climate change, concepts like Humanity and Science are often deployed in olympian terms. A recent example of this phenomenon are the “Marches for Science” organized in hundreds of cities as a reaction to Trump’s denial of anthropogenic global warming. Humanity was recently brought into the analytic of natural history through the term “Anthropocene”, where the root of the word implies that Humanity in general is the main force driving the current global warming.

Science and Humanity as discoursive terms have much in common with terms like God and Morality,; concepts that rise above the petty concerns of politics and individual interests. In the context of climate change, Science revealed an impending ecological doom, and therefore Humanity must act in unison in order to not face catastrophe. Science and Humanity can convince the leaders of the modern world to shed off their greed and mutual differences, in order to build a global strategy against climate change. The Paris Agreement follows from this discourse; hundreds of countries that compete geopolitically and economically agreed upon limiting the temperature increase of the Earth.

Yet, as a marxist, I know that all discourse mediates power differentials between social classes and nation-states. The construct of God has always expressed the interests and ambitions of different classes – from justifying the plunder and enslavement of whole continents, to being a tool used by the marginalized and oppressed to fight for social justice. Although, Science and Humanity conjure a certain objectivity that lies beyond politics, their use is precisely political, mediating socio-economic interests. By ascribing responsibility to Humanity at large for global warming through terms like “Anthropocene”, the current discourse obfuscates and hides the social forces that are responsible for bringing us close to catastrophe. Humanity at large didn’t cause the forcing that is moving the Earth-system closer to cataclysmic change, but a specific economic system wielded by a very small percentile of the Earth’s population. This economic system is Capitalism. By ascribing the guilt and responsibility of the Earth-system to humanity at large, the leaders of the modern world avoid laying the blame on the the powerful, and therefore, safe-guard the interests of the capitalist class.

Empirical evidence shows that those who benefit the most from Capitalism share the larger chunk of the responsibility for global warming. Not only do the richest, and most powerful countries, which are also the largest beneficiaries of the current economic system, have the highest CO2 emissions per capita, but carbon footprint correlates positively with household income. It is preposterous to think that the poorest billion of humans, the indigenous in the Americas, the hunter gatherer societies in Africa, the people living in favelas in Rio de Janeiro, are the ones guilty for our current predicament. Not only are these people powerless under the current conditions of capital accumulation, but empirically, each one of them leaves a much smaller carbon footprint than the suits currently dictating the world economic policies in Washington, in the IMF, and in Brussels. Furthermore, the logistical and cultural apparatus behind the global market drives the Earth-system into disequilibrium in very complex and subtle ways – think about the spiritual and physical landscape created by real estate companies, automobile corporations, and oil companies – that sterile, concrete sea of carefully manicured lawns, beige houses and cars, and the resources required to electrify these spaces and fill them with consumer goods. The powerful not only manufacture a culture that makes us desire for the ecologically and socially devastating suburban sprawl that they produce and sell, but they also lobby against the greener and more socially equitable alternative of public housing, sustainable urban planning, and ultimately, against a world beyond commodities,  of leisure time and less work.

Finally, by pretending that Science is sufficient reason to combat climate change, that is, that the world will accept a greener alternative given the scientific evidence, specialists and technocrats refuse to acknowledge the political dimension of climate change. If our current ecological predicament follows from the rules that organize the present global, economic system, rather than something endogenous to Humanity itself, then the only way to fight global warming is destroying those rules. That question is ultimately political, because it implies a new economic and moral order that doesn’t allow an upper percentile to benefit from ecological ruination while the rest of the world has to suffer the consequences. Defanged Science that only exists within the realm of technocratic and polite conversations in peer reviewed journals, is useless without a moral and political vision that hurts the interests of the capitalist class.

White supremacy is polite.

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White supremacy isn’t a meth addled, overweight white male in a biker vest. Nor it looks like a pale virgin lashing out in 4chan about cucks and immigrants. White supremacy isn’t the electoral promise of a giant wall between the United States and Mexico. White supremacy isn’t a swastika tattoo.

White supremacy is a clean room full of light and handshakes. He is a smiling man with caramel skin and a fitted suit that sells hope and dreams while overseeing immigrant deportations. She is a liberal woman in suit-pants that enslaves people of color in prisons. White supremacy is the bank’s multicultural board of directors that denies a black person that loan to get that mortgage. White supremacy is a handsome white man with an indigenous tattoo that poisons the water supply of first nation communities with oil pipelines. White supremacy is that asian cop that murders an unarmed, black man.

White supremacy appears beautiful, rational, and acceptable. White supremacy is polite.

As the left retreats into the realm of the semiotic, into dissecting the discourse of some professor or television show, into ruining someone’s life because they made an off colored remark in twitter or in an academic paper, the leaders of the modern world, who oversee the wars, prisons, and real estate markets – in short the people that direct the material forces that pauperize and destroy people of color, are becoming more anti-racist, more feminist, and more queer. They are being taught by expensive bachelor degrees on how to look a little bit black, a little bit queer, on how to be loved by leftist professors and liberal think-pieces. The KKK, the right-wing redneck and neo-nazi skinehead are vastly inferior versions of what is about to come.

Even the marxist left suffers from the problem of semioticism. Some of this goes under the  modern phenomenon of “Antifa”. In the decades leading up to the triumph of fascism, anarchists, socialists and communists, faced off the fascists in the streets and the barricades. The lesson they learnt is that the fascists should be opposed militantly, so that they never become strong and confident enough to take power ever again. However, the radical left by doing so, forgets about the people in power right now. They think white supremacy only looks like a nazi, an alt-right shithead or a Trump supporter. However, radical theory is about uncovering what is not obvious at first glance. In Canada, the man that oversees the continuing dispossession of First Nations is not Richard Spencer or Milo Yiannopoulos, but someone who wants to legalize marijuana and whose dad took selfies with Fidel Castro.

The problem with leftist obsession with semiotics is that ultimately, the oppressed of the world will not live up those standards. If we eavesdrop  conversations between mexican workers in a cantina, or read the facebook feed of a syrian refugee, the discourse will never be as woke as the one of an overeducated, white person. If anti-racism and anti-sexism are merely about discourse, about saying the right things and not making those off-colored remarks, in short, about being polite, then  the only anti-racists that will exist are those that have paid handsomely for the education that teaches them how to talk the talk – anti-racism will be the realm of politicians, professionals, and academics. However, marxists know that discourse is merely the superstructural expression of material forces – forces that take the form of capital, the police, and the nation-state.

I want to end this blog post with a quote from Martin Glaberman, which I think captures the essence of what I am trying to say:

“If white workers realize they can’t organize steel unless they organize black workers, that doesn’t mean they’re not racist. It means that they have to deal with their own reality, and that transforms them. Who were the workers who made the Russian Revolution? Sexists, nationalists, half of them illiterate. Who were the workers in Polish Solidarity? Anti-Semitic, whatever. That kind of struggle begins to transform people.”

A green empire.

One of the most striking conversations I ever had was with a master’s student in the geosciences. His family had left Brazil to escape criminality, filth and low career prospects. He was a very passionate defendant of hydrocarbons. I told him that sooner or later we will have to phase out hydrocarbons in order to prevent a cataclysmic change in the Earth that could lead to human ruin. He retorted, “you see why this city is so clean and green? It’s because of the oil economy! You know what’s dirty, a third world city!”

Everyone knows what he means. The litter in the streets of Bumbai. The polluted rivers of the Niger Delta. The dense smog in Mexico City. The industrial smoke stacks that emit lead particles, poisoning the air in the shanty towns around the third world city I was born and raised in. In a typical city in Alberta, Canada, the industrial smoke stacks are far away from the cities. From the view of my apartment, I can see a thick foliage of trees, parks, and flowers, enveloping residential towers and office buildings. Colorful, recycle bins stack against each other, with labels for glass, paper, and cardboard.

His statement was both disturbing and enlightening. It laid bare one of the main dialectics of climate change: these rich societies that project an aesthetic of cleanliness, law and order, and ecological consciousness, also are the largest emitters of greenhouse gases per capita. These green cities, with parks, trees and flowers enveloping office towers,  give the appearance of ecological responsibility, while turning the Earth into a thermodynamic hell for the poorest billion of humans. It’s not the ignorance of the poor, with their filthy streets, and lack of recycling consciousness that is destroying the environment, but the highly ordered, clean and beautiful residents of the liberal metropoles of Canada and Germany, who go to the mountains every weekend, ride their bikes to work, and wear hiking shoes in their offices.

Perhaps the old marxist theorists forgot to mention an ecological imperialism, where the earth is made habitable for a few at the expense of the majority.

The global economy doesn’t care about your local chicken farm pt. 2.

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In a previous post, I outlined the idea that a leftist nation-state, even in its the most unambitious, white-bread version, such as european social-democracy, is a doomed project in the wake of neoliberalism. A left wing nation-state in the middle of a sea of global capitalism will be castigated by market discipline, economic uncompetitiveness, currency devaluation, and capital flight.

I got a couple of reactions from that post. Some people argued that my appeal to internationalism was too abstract. Current  left-wing movements that wish to take power through the nation-state – such as Syriza, Bernie’s campaign, and Corbyn’s faction in the Labor Party, are the  existing choices. Waiting  for socialist movements to take power simultaneously so that we can even begin talking about a world, socialist republic is nihilistic.

Although nowadays internationalism seems like an abstraction, there is actually historical evidence of a concrete practice. Marx’s phrase of “the working class has no country” found its expression in three internationals – central, global organizations that claimed the loyalty of millions of people. The first two internationals, the International Workingman’s Association, and the Socialist International, appeared in the late 19th century, while the Comintern was created in 1915, in the wake of the second international’s betrayal of internationalism in WWI, when socialist parties supported patriotically their respective nation-states in the war. An obscure but interesting historical tidbit about  the Comintern’s loyalty to internationalism is reflected in the early Italian communist party. The Italian communist party in the 1920s referred itself as the “Communist Party in Italy”, rather that the later iteration that was called “Communist Party of Italy”, implying that they were merely the Italian section of an international Communist Party, which was embodied in the Comintern, rather than an autonomous, national party. The Italians took internationalism so seriously that Amadeo Bordiga, leader of the early communist party in Italy, demanded that the young USSR should be administered jointly by all the communist parties in the comintern.. Bordiga’s logic followed from the idea that marxists eschewed the nation-state, and instead, fought for a global, socialist republic. After Bordiga’s demand was faced with ridicule, he declared that Stalin was the gravedigger of the revolution.

I don’t want to dwell too much in the historical, because I actually believe there are very few lessons to be learnt from the past. However, what is important about the history of the socialist movement is that many of its protagonists took internationalism very seriously as a programmatic point. Even when the organizations themselves were tiny, such as the Marx’s early Communist League, internationalism was already a programmatic commitment. This programmatic commitment later on manifested itself as centralized, global organizations that had the loyalty of millions of people.

Now contrast this to the contemporary Left. There is a new generation of anti-capitalist movements in the developed world, some of them had made it to mainstream elections. Syriza, Podemos, and Melenchon’s movement, are some of these examples. Yet none of them take seriously the concept of internationalism – in fact, many of them wish to reinforce the sovereignty of the nation-state as a reaction to international capitalism – this has manifested itself programmatically through Lexit, a left-wing case for the abandonment of the european union. Bernie Sander’s campaign also expressed their opposition to open borders, using a workerist logic that argued that the influx of immigrant, cheap labor lowers working conditions for the native working class.

I find all these positions unacceptable, and a betrayal of the internationalist principles the old socialist movement was built upon. Not only these positions are unethical from the perspective of a socialist, but economically illiterate. Reinforcing immigration controls and switching to national currency might give the illusion to the sovereign nation-state of more control and maneuvering space to implement left wing policies, but it will not prevent the capital flight, the economic uncompetitiveness, the debt, and the general market discipline that these policies will trigger – e.g. see Greece or Venezuela for examples. In fact, due to the advanced stage of world capitalism, internationalism is much more necessary today. Given that the economy is much more globalized and interconnected now than in the late 19th century, it’s even more absurd nowadays to combat global capitalism by doubling down on the nation-state sovereignty. What’s very tragic is that even if current conditions favor internationalism – cheap plane tickets, the internet, and the prevalence of english – we seem to be much further ideologically from internationalism than ever before.

So what is to be done? I am just one person, and I cannot come up with a fine-tuned program for 21st century internationalism. However, I think a possible start would be that many of the existing socialist movements, especially those that had made it to the mainstream, take internationalism seriously again. Even lip-service will go a long way in placing globalist praxis in the mainstream discourse. Even if the organizational scaffolding for world socialism doesn’t exist, a programmatic aspiration amongst current existing socialists could trigger the collective imagination into producing concrete plans for the founding of a global, democratic socialist republic. In the case of the old socialist movement of the 19th century, such programmatic commitment to internationalism found a concrete, organizational expression in the internationals. It wasn’t that the old socialist movement found internationalism long after it was founded, rather, internationalism was a programmatic point since the beginning.

Your master’s in a bullshit field doesn’t give you the right to rule.

zac-nielson-113313Western societies aspire to be ruled under meritocratic principles – that the president, the congressman, the dean of a university, and the manager of McDonalds’ are employed to rule and give orders based on their expertise. Good examples of this phenomenon are the polemics around Donald Trump. During the electoral campaign, Trump’s lack of expertise was often contrasted with Hilary Clinton’s impressive resume. Clinton graduated from the best schools, and had a long career in politics, such as her tenure in congress and also as secretary of state. Obama’s expertise was also frequently compared with Trump’s – Obama was a lawyer from Harvard, ands also an editor of a prestigious academic journal. Although I’m writing about presidents, the same meritocratic principle applies in many administrative and managerial positions of variable prestige, both in the private and public sphere.

This valorization of expertise is historicized. That is, it wasn’t always that rulers justified their dominance through expertise. For example, kings had a divine right to rule, regardless of how capable they were. High ranking military positions were inherited through noble pedigree. Although meritocracy has existed for thousands of years, for example, bureaucratic posts in ancient china were given based on the results of a very hard, standardized test, this logic wasn’t universal. The ideology of expertise probably has at its root the historical success of the natural science in the context of Capitalism. The capitalists found that by using mathematics, engineering, and studying in controlled environments the natural laws that govern the Universe, they could make more widgets per second, more efficient engines, and generate more profit.

Today we have a whole cadre of order givers that justify their positions of power with a master’s in business administration, a PhD in international relations, graduate school in economics. Some paper-pusher in Ontario can decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of human beings because they got a master’s degree in public administration. Their claim to power is justified by the congealed knowledge of their credentials and work experience. Yet, what if that knowledge isn’t real? Maybe the subjects they studied are hard to extract authentic knowledge from. Perhaps, our limited instruments, models, and cognition place hard constraints on the subject matter. In other words, the phenomena they claim expertise on are  so complex and sprawling that finding the causal links between the  different sub-parts of the system is so daunting that very little meaningful information can be acquired. Because of the lack of authentic knowledge, a fake knowledge is created to pad the field so that sufficient information exists to manufacture expertise. A very good example of this phenomenon of fake expertise is the economist. A figure reviled by many, blamed as the chief priest behind the current neoliberal turn of capitalism. Their expertise was called into question in the wake of the economic crisis of 2008. Their failure to forecast these crises is seen as evidence of the bullshit status of their credentials.

Why some subjects can generate more authentic knowledge than others, or at least are perceived by society at large to do so? For example, the majority doesn’t called into question the knowledge of a physicist. The main reason is that many of the more prestigious natural sciences are built upon the careful study of simple, controlled systems that can be described by clean mathematics. A common joke made by physicists is that physics is the study of harmonic oscillators – simple oscillatory systems such as the pendulum, a spring that compresses and stretches, a pebble oscillating in a cereal bowl, the creation and annihilation of particles. Much of the formalism in physics is built upon these simple, equilibrium systems which can be described by elegant mathematics. However, fields dealing with the affairs of human beings, don’t have have the privilege of such simple systems. Instead, the systems that are dealt by subjects like economics, are highly complex, nonlinear, and not in equilibrium, which makes them unpredictable and subject to shocks that can cause extreme consequences. Complexity implies that different parts of the system are coupled in non-intuitive ways and they influence each other in manners that many times are intractable. Furthermore, systems dealing with humans, such as economics are not deterministic – human beings are not billiard balls that can be tracked by specifying their initial velocity and positions, the human universe is not one of clockworks. This makes many human systems mathematically intractable. In fact, economics often times tries to emulate physics by studying simple, equilibrium systems. However, there aren’t simple, economic systems in the same way simple, physical systems exist.

Technocrats justify their positions of power by claiming expertise in the system of human beings. Yet, this system is highly complex, non-intuitive and difficult to describe. Therefore, the authentic knowledge that can be acquired is limited and heuristical. Thus, the limited authentic knowledge that is acquired is padded with artificial, just-so stories, in order to create sufficient information and metrics to generate an “expertise” that can be accumulated. This in turn creates a filtering system in a slack labor market. Although realistically, many of the applicants can perform satisfyingly in the job, the lack of job vacancies forces the creation of an expertise that erects a guild-like system to regulate the labor market. Thus, the faker the expertise, the more important the pedigree of the fake degree becomes – an engineer from a state university can be hired anywhere, given that engineering knowledge is authentic and easily standardized, while an MBA is useless unless it was acquired from a selective, prestigious university.

The victory of Trump scared liberals because they interpreted it as a twlight of reason. However, they are mistaken – its not reason voters reject, but instead, the rule of fake experts. Voters revolt against the plots of scattered points and crude lines that are weaponized against them. They spoke against the kilograms of white policy paper used as scientific justification for the destruction of pensions. They fought back against the obsolescence of human workers and their replacement by strange machines. They revolted against the hubris of the president, a modern, constitutional monarch that justifies their rule with an Oxbridge degree rather than by divine appointment.

Although this revolt against technocracy is monopolized by the right, it offers the Left an opening. If the expertise behind professional order givers amounts to little more than bullshit, then it seems most human beings are well equipped for political power. If there is no such thing as a science of order giving, then institutions can be more democratic and participatory. Lenin was right when he said cooks can govern.

The global economy doesn’t care about your local chicken farm.

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Once, an economist friend told me that they have a term for quacks, and its called “marxism.” Indeed, a common rightist trope is that leftists don’t understand the economy. The social programs leftists advocate, such as public housing, life stipends, and universal healthcare, are seemed as economically unsustainable.

I do think there’s some truth in this. Leftists are so obsessed with winning elections and taking power at all costs within the confines of the nation-state that they become blind to global economic forces. Perhaps the starkest, recent example of this phenomenon was the failure of Syriza at Greece. Syriza was an outspoken anticapitalist party, with many of the groups forming the coalition having the sort of leftist pedigree that exist only in the fringe in the rest of the developed world. They ran on an anti-austerity campaign and they won the national elections in 2015. What happened next? In the face of imminent financial doom, Syriza ended doubling down on austerity. In the Greek case, groups that had “communist” in their name ended up as managers of capitalist crisis, delivering the unadulterated program of neoliberalism, a platform that will leave old people dying penniless, and young people unemployed, sick without access to life-or-death medication.

Simpleminded analysis will find Syriza as traitorous. The harder wings of the left will say that Syriza was doomed since the beginning, since revolution is not a matter of simple electoral victory. Yet, even the hardest of the hard lefts, with the most ambitious programs for economic and social restructuring, will have faced similar dilemmas. That is because capitalism is a global system. The basic goods that sustain any nation-state are the product of a division of labor and a logistical network that spans the whole globe – minerals that are used in electronics are mined in Africa, hydrocarbons that power the factories that make vaccines are extracted from Canadian ground. This gives rise to a global economy that uses the abstractions of stocks, bonds, debt, and currency to mediate the distribution of technology, labor time, and natural resources necessary to sustain any sovereign nation-state. The rules of this global economy are studied by mainstream economists, rules that the Right claims the Left doesn’t understand. Any national, left wing movement will inevitably  face off the blind, idiot god of international capital, and most certainly, be consumed by it.

However, the insight that marxists have is that the economy is ultimately an emergent property of social relations. Debt, inflation, and unemployment are not physical laws that arise from the symmetries of the Universe. This human element is lost in the mathematical formalism that is popular in academic economics. What happens is that, in the current balance of class and political forces, capitalism reigns victorious socially, ideologically and politically in almost every corner of the world. It is this ideological and political triumph that sustains the abstraction we call the global economy. It’s the fact that international capitalists will only exchange the barrels of oil, bags of rice, and computers necessary to sustain society for currency that leads to the economic laws that would castigate a leftist, sovereign state. It’s the belief from the vast mayority of workers that bosses, money, and waged labor are the natural state of humankind, that supports the abstractions of stock, debt, bonds and currency.

Leftist economic illiteracy does not arise from unfamiliarity with the mathematical formalism derived by economists. It’s the lack of global vision that betrays their ignorance. In the face of the global onslaught of capital, leftist imagination is mired with provincialism. The fetishization of the small, local, and familiar over the vast unknown. The racism that privileges national labor over immigrant labor. The belief that the nation-state is natural and that a leftist program should act within its confines. The urgency to take power through elections at all costs through the Bernies, Corbyns, and Syrizas in the hope that an anti-austerity, sovereign nation can exist within a global economy that will squash such state through economic attrition and capital flight.

If capitalists have global political projects, such as the ones dictated by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, why can’t leftists have their own global political programs? Why is it so hard to imagine a global movement, for example, that lays the foundations for a world, socialist republic? Only a global political project can even begin to theorize how to domesticate the global economy so that it doesn’t destroy old people’s pensions in Greece, factory ceilings don’t fall on workers in Indonesia, and immigrant laborers in Canada aren’t reduced to indentured servitude by tyrannic visas. After all the rules that regulate borders, finances, the stock market, and ultimately the nation-state, are social constructions imposed by the political triumph of capitalists, not deterministic and mathematical properties derived from natural science.

A PhD in wokeness.

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Late capitalism has given rise to experts in diversity and wokeness. Professional bureaucrats, activists and academics, delineate what discourse is racist or sexist, and what is authentically black, mexican or feminine. Their expertise lies in the realm of the symbolic – what structures in language, pop culture, or in a speech, are problematic. Witness the explosive polemics around the phenomenon of Rachel Dolezal, whether her blackness is authentic, what is her coordinate point in the constellation of privilege, how woke or unwoke are certain sentences she utters. Because many of the axioms that delineate the authenticity and wokeness of certain social phenomena are rooted in subjective experience, these specialists appeal to their authority as members of a specific minority, which gives them the expertise to navigate certain racialized and gendered experiences. Because the truths about marginalized minorities are contained within subjective experience, an epistemic barrier exists in the discourse – sometimes some things are racist or sexist because the specialist in wokeness says so and white people cannot possibly access  that knowledge. Because the task of accounting for the experiences of all marginalized minorities is almost impossible, this experts represent a compression of information – we can just appeal to the specialists in gender studies to know whether Hilary Clinton is a feminist and Bernie Sanders a misogynistic bro.

The first thing to notice about these experts, is that they are not elected. Instead, their authority in representation comes from a labyrinthine process of credentials and self-promotion – the right PhD, the correct list of publications, the access to the relevant dinner parties and networks. It is the upper echelions of class society, with their constellation of pedigreed universities, high traffic websites, and prestigous publications that grants them that authority. This experts almost always come from privileged backgrounds, for the skills and cultural capital necessary to become a master in discourse, to be able to write think-pieces, publish articles in peer reviewed journals, or appear in TV, requires credentials, grooming, and many times a financially comfortable and well-connected family. The diversity expert fits in the logic of liberalism, for liberalism is blind to class society, and instead treats the problem of racism and gender as one of representation – that is, we need to have more brown CEOs and politicians, women in suitpants, and expert in wokeness with exquisite credentials. The second thing to notice is that much of this discourse  remains symbolic, instead of addressing the material structures  in  capitalism that give rise to this power differentials.  Witness for example, this recent circle-jerk in wokeness, where a professor of security studies, in other words, someone who ensures that the military’s torturers and assassins are sufficiently multicultural and woke, is praised for cussing off  the social leper and glorified blogger  called Richard Spencer. Yet Richard Spencer’s neonazism  remains moistly quarantined in image boards and basement dweller subcultures, while Fair is a bootlicker of the material forces that turn brown people into craters abroad.

The rise of the diversity expert fits right into the continuity of white supremacy. The western capitalist state, mired with a blood soaked and colonial history, has always innovated in ways to deal with the tensions that arise from power asymmetries between different racial and ethnic groups. Its mode has always been that of representation – bringing a select few of the colonial subjects to the imperial court. In the previous centuries, these representatives were kings or band leaders – the settler state would accommodate and “buy off” some of the most privileged and powerful colonial subjects to ease tensions between oppressed minorities and the white supremacist state. Later on, in the 19th century in the United States, political machines and the rise of the irish political boss provided the required representation. The diversity experts is a continuation of this lineage, transformed in appearance, but not essence, by the civil rights movement and the rise of post-structuralism.

If expertise is delimited by subjective experience and access to discourse is constrained by credentials, cultural capital, and writing skills, then the specialists of diversity can only be experts in the diversity of the professoriat. Under this dynamic, the female tenured academic will call the precarious worker that didn’t vote for Hilary Clinton privilieged, and the New York Times journalist will contrast their authentic blackness with the one of Rachel Dolezal. Meanwhile, the mass of queer, female, brown and black workers will exist in the limbo outside this spectacle, speaking, eating and acting in ways the expert in wokeness will  find sexist or racist, in the same way the medieval aristocrats found the manners of peasants and proles barbaric.