No Politics but Class Politics

No Politics but Class Politics

Denouncing racism and celebrating diversity have become central to progressive politics. For many on the left, it seems, social justice would consist of an equitable distribution of wealth, power and esteem among racial groups. But as Adolph Reed Jr. and Walter Benn Michaels argue in this incisive collection of essays, the emphasis here is tragically misplaced. Not only can a fixation with racial disparities distract from the pervasive influence of class, it can actually end up legitimising economic inequality. As Reed and Michaels put it, "racism is real and anti-racism is both admirable and necessary, but extant racism isn't what principally produces our inequality and anti-racism won't eliminate it".

No Politics but Class Politics gathers together Reed and Michaels's recent essays on inequality, along with a newly commissioned interview with the authors and an illuminating foreword by Daniel Zamora and Anton Jäger. These writings eschew the sloppy thinking and moral posturing that too often characterise discussions of race and class in favour of clear-eyed social, cultural and historical analysis. Reed and Michaels make the case here for a genuinely radical politics: a politics which aspires not to the establishment of a demographically representative social elite, but instead to economic justice for everyone.

Publication Date: 
May 23, 2023