When You’ve Lost the Socialists. . .

A lot of people inside the Grievance Studies camp are lashing back at what’s being called “Sokal Hoax Two”—the faux articles submitted and accepted for publication in various supposedly “premier” academic cultural studies journals. Even though the three hoaxsters, like physicist Alan Sokal who punked Social Text 20 years ago, consider themselves liberal or progressive, leftists are saying their hoax articles are a right-wing provocation, or something.

But it turns out that even the World Socialists think identity politics “scholarship” is crap. From the website of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI):

The “Grievance studies” hoax exposes postmodernist charlatans

On October 2, Helen Pluckrose, James A. Lindsay and Peter Boghossian published an article titled “Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship,” incorporating the results of a year-long effort to publish hoax articles, deliberately comprised of bunk facts and irrational and reactionary conclusions, in academic journals associated with gender, racial and identity studies.

The results expose the intellectual bankruptcy of identity politics and postmodernist philosophy. Their proponents, who dominate university humanities departments worldwide, are charlatans who have published or given favorable “revise and resubmit” comments to the most absurd and vulgar pseudo-scientific arguments.

Now, the twist here is that the World Socialists apparently think identity politics is a right-wing idea:

But the implications of the study are deadly serious. Pluckrose, Lindsay and Boghossian have confirmed the right-wing political essence of identity politics and postmodern thought, based on anti-Marxism, irrationalism and the rejection of the Enlightenment and objective truth.

Oh no! They’re on to us at last! We’ve been found out. Our plot to wreck the left by promoting identity politics is about to crash into the wall. Except, as the argument continues the concentric circles of the socialist attack starts to double back, and end up repeating the same central idea of the identity politics crowd, which can be reduced to two words: smash capitalism!

The hoax’s authors are correct to link the identity politics proponents’ hostility to equality with their opposition to rationalism, scientific analysis and the progressive gains of the Enlightenment. But the roots of this right-wing, irrationalist, anti-egalitarian degeneration are to be found in the economic structure of capitalist society.

The academic architects of postmodernism and identity politics occupy well-paid positions in academia, often with salaries upwards of $100,000–$300,000 or more. As a social layer, the theoreticians of what the World Socialist Web Site refers to as the “pseudo-left” are in the wealthiest 10 percent of American society. Their political and philosophical views express their social interests.

Really, read the whole thing if you have time for what is either a rant based in the deep confusions of the left, or one of the most subtle and brilliant satires of all time. Either way—popcorn. Lots of popcorn.


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