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Mistaken identity - Wikipedia
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Share on Mail. Share on LinkedIn. He lives between two worlds, belonging to neither. Then, in the sixth grade, something happens. He is doing a science project on Isaac Newton.
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He visits the public library of the small town in Pennsylvania where he lives, and, browsing books about Newton the scientist he comes across another Newton — Huey P Newton, cofounder of the Black Panther Party. In , Newton published an autobiography called Revolutionary Suicide.
An Absurd Case of Mistaken Identity Draws to a Close
Intrigued by the title, the boy picks up the book, and it changes his life. Asad Haider has written a book about identity, politics, and the relationship between the two. Identity politics finds critics everywhere. Haider is also a critic of identity politics, but with a crucial difference: he knows the history of the term and is working from within the tradition that produced it. As he explains, the idea has radical roots.
But if anticapitalist revolution is where identity politics began, it has since become something quite different, and is now invoked by certain liberals and leftists to serve distinctly non-revolutionary ends, Haider argues. It involves members of marginalised groups demanding inclusion, recognition, or restitution from above — a seat at the table.
These demands are made in response to very real injuries endured by those groups. But their method, he says, ends up strengthening the structures that produced those injuries in the first place.
follow This approach can extract occasional concessions from the system but cannot build the power necessary to transform it. Rather, the universality that Haider wants is built from below.
If emancipation is always self -emancipation, self-emancipation is always a collective endeavour. Indeed, what Haider found so inspiring about Newton was precisely his vision of a solidarity strong enough to span the world. Neither could Haider, in a country convulsing with Islamophobic hatred. Armed with the explanatory power of the black radical tradition, and Marxism more broadly, Newton connected the dots between different injustices.
Haider follows this example, wielding the same tools to advance his critique of contemporary identity politics and make his case for a radical alternative.