Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Reparations

Why Elizabeth Warren is Writing Those Lefty White Papers

Have you noticed that over the past few weeks, Elizabeth Warren has been trying to outflank Bernie Sanders from the left? Wealth tax! Workers on corporate boards! Break up tech monopolies! Abolish the electoral college! Reparations for slavery! The press has dutifully been reporting on these new policy positions, with NYMag’s Eric Levitz going so far as to say:

at this point, one could even argue that he’s a smidgen to her right on economic policy

The thing is, if you look at Warren’s history, she has never been all that left-wing. She flipflops on Medicare-For-All. She supported the Republican Party until 1996. She stayed out of the 2016 primary, declining to endorse Sanders. She rejected the “democratic socialist” label, and applauded Donald Trump when he said America would never be a socialist country. In 2012, Warren ran to the right of Democratic rival Marisa DeFranco, and in her book, The Two-Income Trap, she largely ignores the interests of poor and low-income Americans, focusing heavily on the aspirational, entrepreneurial “middle class”. So why is Warren telling everybody she’s for all these flashy left-sounding things?

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I Have a New Podcast Called “What’s Left”

Today I’m happy to announce a new podcast I’m co-hosting with Aimee Terese called “What’s Left. Adam Rensch, co-host of the Stop/Rewind podcast, is the producer. On “What’s Left”, Aimee and I will discuss left-wing politics, including, among other things:

  1. What it means to be left wing today
  2. Whether or not particular ideas or policy proposals are left wing
  3. What kinds of political strategies are likely to be useful to a left wing project in our current circumstances
  4. To what extent we can find useful ideas and strategies for the left in political thought which is not traditionally associated with the left
  5. The theoretical underpinnings of contemporary political events

There are many different places you can listen to the podcast:

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Ta-Nehisi Coates Doesn’t Understand Racism

Ta-Nehisi Coates recently attacked Bernie Sanders for refusing to support reparations for black Americans. Coates has been trying to put race reparations on the American political agenda for a while. Coates knows a great deal about the many horrible, immoral ways that the United States government has exploited and expropriated its black population throughout its history. But Coates is a journalist, not a political theorist, and over the last few days I’ve identified some elementary problems in the way he conceptualizes racism as a political force that indicate that there is a lot of political theory he just has not read.

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