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Mistaken Identity


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About the Author

Asad Haider is a writer and activist in the San Francisco Bay Area, a PhD student in the History of Consciousness Department at UC Santa Cruz and the co-founder of Viewpoint Magazine.


"Riveting. Haider moves deftly over difficult terrain. His prose is precise and propulsive. His Marxism is not a mausoleum but a living, breathing thing. And he writes as both a militant and a theorist, one who believes that theory is integral to political struggle and that theoretical rigour has political stakes. The American left has shown signs of life recently, but it has no shortage of enemies. Defeating them will require, among other things, ideas. Haider's book contributes several. We will need more." - Ben Tarnoff, Guardian "Asad Haider renews the critique of identity politics for the contemporary Left. Drawing on the work of British cultural studies, black feminism, and theories of the subject (and subjection), Haider writes in an open and persuasive prose to show how identity is always partial and ambivalent, deflecting from the larger racial ideologies while reproducing its terms. This is a fresh and timely book, thoughtful and provocative." - Judith Butler, author of Gender Trouble and Frames of War "Reviving what has become a deeply unfashionable anti-racist standpoint, Asad Haider indicts the complicity of "identity politics" from the left. For him, the dissident mentalities and meticulous historical methods of open-ended, ecumenical commitment to radical social transformation are still valid. This spiky little book shows how opposition might be salvaged from an ocean of pessimism and despair." - Paul Gilroy, author of The Black Atlantic and There Ain't No Black in the Union Jack "Mistaken Identity will inspire some, piss off others, and compel all of us to reconsider how we fight back. A bold, fresh, and radical critique of so-called "identity politics," this book deserves a wide reading-especially now, when liberal multiculturalism, the "renaturalization" of capitalism, and a resurgent bourgeois black nationalism draped in radical language forecloses the possibility of revolutionary solidarity. Asad Haider proclaims another universality is possible, and it's probably not what you think."- Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination "Asad Haider offers a devastating and constructive critique of what is commonly understood as "identity politics," while still maintaining the centrality race, racism and racist oppression in capitalism." - Bill Fletcher, Jr., coauthor of Solidarity Divided and former president of TransAfrica Forum "Pithy, smart and readable, Mistaken Identity is a wonderful book for our time. Notwithstanding his critique of identity, there is a compelling authenticity to Haider's voice, making him someone one wants to think with about shaping a left vision today."- Wendy Brown, author of States of Injury and Undoing the Demos "[Haider] constructs a comprehensive and critical dissection of identity politics in his hard-hitting debut ... This book is an important contribution to discourses on American politics, race, and social movements."- Publishers Weekly "Essential reading for anyone interested in bringing socialist ideas into movements against racism today."- Socialist Worker "Asad Haider has written a brief and informed survey and critique of the inherent flaws in identity politics. It convinces the reader through a measured calm, not polemics, and that's a refreshing change in these troubled times." - Christian John Stephens, PopMatters

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