I had an interesting conversation with a person who is very immersed in Minneapolis politics the other day. I’ll boil his pitch down to its bare essentials:
He attacked TCDSA for our support of Soren Sorenson in his campaign to unseat Andrea Jenkins. He accused TCDSA, and me personally, of abandoning the fight for race equity and for workers rights. His point was that Jenkins, as a Black trans woman, is a symbol of hope to Black, trans, and women workers. I explained that while it is important to me and to TCDSA to support the fight for race equity, workers rights, and trans rights, identity is not the only criteria that TCDSA uses to endorse candidates for political office.
Jenkins is, in fact, one of the biggest defenders of the neo-liberal ruling class order in the city. She is one of the few city council candidates who has received money from the Minneapolis Downtown Council. Her position on rent control is pro-landlord and anti-renter. She is a reliable ally of Mayor Jacob Frey. I could go on, but you get the picture.
He then went on to attack our efforts around the Roof Depot, explaining to me that the EPNI plan would hurt the very people it purported to help, and that it would end in failure. He also attacked the indigenous leadership of that fight, and said that they should have accepted the deal that Mayor Frey had offered them months ago, claiming that TCDSA was complicit in this “plot”. It smacked of the common ruling class argument that “we know better than those people.”
The books Elite Capture and Red Deal both delve deeply into the question of how the ruling class uses identity politics to beat back their political opposition. My discussion with this individual put that strategy on full display. His meeting with me was meant to be a shot across the bow of TCDSA, and the successful insurgent working class movement in the Twin Cities. We should expect Mayor Frey, the Downtown Council, and the Minnesota Business Roundtable to make an assault on workers and socialists based on the power of “deference politics” and “identity politics” to divide us and fracture emerging multi-racial solidarity .
The ruling class of Minneapolis sees the threat we pose to them. Last year we said we wanted to pick a fight with them, and they have noticed. The first real evidence of this was the Star Tribune article several weeks ago that alerted the populace to the impending socialist takeover of Minneapolis. Now we have an attack based on the use of the “elite capture” of identity politics.
Just in case you had any doubts about whether or not the rulers of Minneapolis have noticed us, yesterday All of Minneapolis, the direct voice of the ruling class of the city, sent out an email which laid out more of their blueprint for taking down the socialists and stopping our “takeover” of the city. Here is some of the text:
“The radical ‘defund the police’ activists are back at it in Minneapolis. After being soundly defeated in the 2021 election, the Yes 4 Minneapolis extremists (now operating under the name Mpls for the Many) are trying once again to dismantle public safety in our city. Their game plan is to elect a majority of extremists to the City Council to accomplish what the voters wouldn’t support, and they are using funds from out-of-state donors.”
We should expect these attacks to intensify in 2024 as workers flex their muscles, socialist win more electoral power, and the Democratic Party tries to tamp down all social movements to make sure Biden is elected president. Luckily for us these assaults on the working class movement are coming from a position of weakness. The working class of Minneapolis agrees more and more with our program of rent control, workers rights, racial and gender equity, environmental justice, and public safety beyond policing. The Downtown Council’s defense of the status quo is rapidly falling out of favor and they know it.
by Kip H