Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Labor is like a tweed jacket, and environmentalism is like a feather boa

This article by Ann Friedman has been getting some play, but I can't quite figure its key paragraph:
After all, "special interest" issues do not exist in separate silos. Labor rights are tied to gay rights are tied to women's rights are tied to immigrants' rights. If what binds us together as progressives is our vision for a more just society, it is our commitment to all of these issues that will define us. There is already some recognition of this. At the AFL-CIO convention this fall, several speakers referenced the rights of LGBT workers. NAACP Chair Julian Bond gave a keynote address at the National Equality March for gay rights. This doesn't mean everyone must be an advocate for every single progressive issue. Each of us has a different metric for separating the political negotiables from the nonnegotiables. But I do expect the liberal coalition to understand that these issues are interconnected.
Not to be a snark, but isn't that exactly wrong? How about this instead: "Labor rights conflict with immigrants' rights conflict with gay rights conflict with women's rights, but the point of a political party is that it's okay for that to happen." You're supposed to be able to put together a team without pausing to check everyone's ideology for bugs.

I'm not saying there's no coherence to the left, just that it's less like a single premise variegatedly unpacked and more like a well-assembled outfit — when you say that a certain shirt-and-tie combo "goes together," you don't necessarily mean that they have colors in common.

Ann Friedman has said something that's obviously false if you take a moment to think about it; nevertheless, I assume she wanted to accomplish something by saying it. But what?

No comments:

Post a Comment