Corbyn to drop social mobility as Labour goal in favour of opportunity for all - Party leader says idea has failed and calls instead for social justice commission ... In a shift being billed by Labour strategists as the rejection of 40 years of political consensus, Corbyn said pursuing social mobility “has failed, even on its own terms”... the party leader vowed to replace the idea that the brightest, most talented young people must have the opportunity to succeed, with a demand that all children be allowed to flourish. “The idea that only a few talented or lucky people deserve to escape the disadvantage they were born into, leaving in place a social hierarchy in which millions are consigned to the scrap heap, results in the talents of millions of children being squandered.” Labour would replace the social mobility commission with a social justice commission.Well, he's right about it being consensus. Search on 'social mobility' in the Graun, and you'll find it's been reiterated explicitly as a policy goal by many a Labour writer ever since Jezza formally signalled its demise. He never had much traction with the senior figures in his party, after all.
Mention of 'social justice' should cause a shudder. (I once heard Enoch Powell say that from the Left one will often hear about "Social Security - which is no security; Social Justice - which is no justice; and Social Workers - about which I shall say nothing ...") But, atavistic reactions aside, something philosophically interesting is going on here, in theory at least - which IMHO should have caused more than just a frisson. Because in essence he's declaring war on some high-profile sections of the left.
The great bane of our age is 'identitarianism' coupled with 'intersectionality'; the idea that we are all (except solvent straight white males, of course) elements of various minorities (e.g. impoverished / gay / woman of color), and that as minorities we are all oppressed; and that if we could just see this, and proudly define ourselves by our being jointly the victims of oppression - particularly when we may belong to two or more minorities that may be, whisper it softly, in conflict - then we will all rise as one against the straight, solvent ... etc.
But serious socialist scholars identify this determination to revel in the atomism of mutiple minority personae as no better than rampant, politicised individualism (*spits*). They, of course, are extremely wedded to a much more sweeping and far less granular taxonomy: the Working Class (good); the Ruling Class (wicked); and the lumpen proletariat (irrelevant). (Peasants are variously categorised in the second or third classes, or possibly as a kind of working-class lite.) To dwell on membership of any other category is to miss the point.
They go on to identify the actual workings of identitarianism as this: various self-appointed 'minority voices' push themselves into the public gaze and demand that they be elevated to some position, generally salaried, of their choosing or indeed of their own devising. There, they press loudly for (e.g.) more black women to get Oscars; and success in this lobbying is greatly feted.
The upshot of all this is that de facto they take their satisfaction from - and invite everyone else to be satisfied by - the elevation of 1% of their own minority into the "Great Big 1% That Rules the World". So - provided the G.B.1% is comprised pro rata of the same mix of categories as the populace at large, well, that's OK then. Job done.
This, for the 'true socialists' is just a new, if colourful, twist on individualistic neoliberalism: effectively, a kind of political show-biz, the 'circuses' bit of 'bread & circuses'. Multi-ethnic Oscar awards as the new opiate of the masses. And it completely obscures and distracts from the real task at hand, which is to elevate the entire Working Class / 99%.
And it rather seems Jezza thinks so too. (More accurately: one of his trusted advisers with a brain.)
It's going to be interesting to see how far he pushes forward with this one. A lot of the high-profile minority-voices-on-the-make aren't really interested in the Masses, or subordinating their own causes to the big Workerist cause. And they do have a lot of profile.