Elite Capture - How the Powerful Took Over Identity Politics (And Everything Else) Book
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RELEASE DATE - 3 MAY 2022
'A thinker on fire' - Robin D. G. Kelley
Identity politics is everywhere, polarising discourse from the campaign trail to the classroom and amplifying antagonisms in the media. But the compulsively referenced phrase bears little resemblance to the concept as first introduced by the radical Black feminist Combahee River Collective. While the Collective articulated a political viewpoint grounded in their own position as Black lesbians with the explicit aim of building solidarity across lines of difference, identity politics is now frequently weaponised as a means of closing ranks around ever-narrower conceptions of group interests.
But the trouble, Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò deftly argues, is not with identity politics itself. Through a substantive engagement with the global Black radical tradition and a critical understanding of racial capitalism, Táíwò identifies the process by which a radical concept can be stripped of its political substance and liberatory potential by becoming the victim of elite capture -deployed by political, social and economic elites in the service of their own interests.
Táíwò’s crucial intervention both elucidates this complex process and helps us move beyond the binary of 'class’ vs. ‘race’. By rejecting elitist identity politics in favour of a constructive politics of radical solidarity, he advances the possibility of organising across our differences in the urgent struggle for a better world.
‘Worth sitting with and absorbing. While critically examining what happens when elites hijack our critiques and terminologies for their own interests, Elite Capture acutely reminds us that building power globally means we think and build outside of our internal confines. That is when we have the greatest possibility at worldmaking’
Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning author of ‘How to Be an Antiracist’
‘I was waiting for this book without realising I was waiting for this book'
Ruth Wilson Gilmore, author of ‘Change Everything: Racial Capitalism and the Case for Abolition’
‘Olúfémi O. Táíwò is a thinker on fire. He not only calls out empire for shrouding its bloodied hands in the cloth of magical thinking but calls on all of us to do the same. Elite capture, after all, is about turning oppression and its cure into a neoliberal commodity exchange where identities become capitalism’s latest currency rather than the grounds for revolutionary transformation. The lesson is clear: only when we think for ourselves and act with each other, together in deep, dynamic, and difficult solidarity, can we begin to remake the world’
Robin D. G. Kelley, author of ‘Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination’
‘Coursing with moral urgency and propelled by brilliant prose, this is more than argument. It's how we build the power needed to win’
Naomi Klein, author of ‘This Changes Everything’ (on his previous book)
'Offers important new ways to think about political possibilities in a world increasingly dominated by the ultra-rich'
Amitav Ghosh, author of the Booker-shortlisted 'Sea of Poppies'
|Author||Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò