Socialist parties and identity politics


Sir, – The diminishing support for socialist parties throughout western Europe is due partly to their alliance with extremely divisive “identity politics” agendas that seem mostly self-indulgent and tiresome to their usual voters. This had its expression in the US with voters wondering why politicians were discussing transgender toilets instead of jobs and changing their vote from Democrat to Republican as a result.

For the Labour Party in Ireland, the week before the general election in 2016, leading Labour figures announced to great fanfare that they were the party which would push forward with a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment. A week later the Labour Party was reduced from 33 seats to seven.

The hope that the Social Democrats might provide an answer to the need for a unifying socialist agenda has been dashed by its leaders’ insistence on a similar emphasis on identity agendas.

Socialism has spent too long incubating in the social science, law and politics departments of universities and has no clue how to address the needs of real, truly diverse communities (as opposed to “identity” communities which are defined by non-diversity).

We need a truly diverse and unifying socialist and environmentalist party. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 7.