Saturday, January 20, 2024

The absence of “woke” voices in Susan Neiman’s “Left Is Not Woke” (2023)

In "Left Is Not Woke" (2023), Susan Neiman argues that the "woke" left has abandoned their essential "commitments to universalism, a hard distinction between justice and power, and the possibility of progress" (142). But when she writes that "[b]y the Fall of [2020] few voices speaking in defense of Black Lives Matter were universalist" (30) or that  "[m]ost woke activists reject universalism" (108), she offers no examples of such voices. Instead, most of the book argues that this unidentified "woke" left takes up positions – perhaps unknowingly – from Carl Schmitt, Michel Foucault, and evolutionary psychology that Neiman sees as opposed to the universalistic Enlightenment principles she sees as necessary to progressive politics. (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 20 January 2024)

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