Susan Neiman in Persuasion:
While battles about what’s called the “woke left” now dominate political discussion in many countries, it’s time to ask whether woke really belongs on the left—or if woke represents a distortion of the core principles of the left, a drift into a philosophy of tribalism.
Not so long ago, universalism defined the left; international solidarity was its watchword. This was, above all, what distinguished it from the right, which recognized no deep connections, and few real obligations, to anyone outside its own circle. The left demanded that the circle encompass the globe. That was what standing left truly meant: to care about striking coal miners in Wales, or the Republican cause in Spain, or freedom fighters in South Africa, whether you came from their tribes or not. What united the left was not blood but conviction—first and foremost the conviction that behind all the differences of time and space that separate us, human beings are deeply connected in a wealth of ways. To say that histories and geographies affect us is trivial. To say that they determine us is false.
The opposite of universalism is often called “identitarianism,” but the word is itself misleading, because identity is a fluid concept whose meaning and importance vary in space and in time.