I’ll do it if this post gets a solid amount of interaction. But otherwise I’ll just give my thoughts based on the Wikipedia article.
Here’s the summary from Wikipedia
“Settlers argues that the class system in the United States is built upon the genocide of Native Americans and the enslavement of Africans and that the white working class in the United States constitutes a privileged labor aristocracy that lacks proletarian consciousness. Arguing that the white working class possesses a petit-bourgeois and reformist consciousness, The book posits that the colonized peoples of the United States constitutes the proletariat.”
The key point of interest for me is the part about the White Working Class. That’s the part I am taking issue with. The idea that they are somehow privileged, and benefactors of the system.
I’m willing to consider the possibility that Sakai explains it better in the book. However it is still asinine to suggest. It is rooted in the sort of grievance politics that leads to reactionary movements. MAGA, Alt Right, and so on.
Grievance politics is beneficial for the capitalists, and academics that enjoy intellectual masturbatory activities. Sowing division within the working class in this way doesn’t encourage change.
However if your goal is to create a true far right movement among Whites. Notions of universal White privilege, and separating the White poor from the proletariat will get you there. You will get the fascist boogeyman that you fantasize about.
Adopting this sort of ideology makes you a foot soldier of the ruling class. Dividing the masses makes them easier to control. That’s why the Left no longer focuses on class unity.
You can make a good living off of divisive politics centered around identity, and grievance. It guarantees that the CEOs, and hedge fund managers will get a good nights sleep.
The Left has removed all of it’s revolutionary potential. So it could become a comfortable niche market for trust fund kids. Economic populism appeared on the Right. Explicitly because the Left doesn’t care about the White Working Class anymore.
Sakai isn’t the primary person responsible for the rebirth of conservative reactionary tendencies. But the work of Sakai played a role. Class focused politics was so scary to the ruling class.
That they created the environment for identity politics to grow.
When NAFTA was passed, and all of the manufacturing jobs left the country. Did the White Working Class benefit from this? The obvious answer is no.
When the opioid crisis ripped through the poor. Did that benefit the White Working Class? I think you know the answer here as well.
Are White Working Class people magically immune to increased cost of living?
What about record breaking inflation?
What about the majority of unskilled or low skilled jobs being automated by 2030? Does their Whiteness get them out of that too?
Because of this magical Whiteness the state of West Virginia should be wealthy. Except it’s one of the poorest states in the union. It’s also dealing with opioid issues:
So the problem here is that Sakai is channeling his feelings, and mixing them with theory.
I could also talk about Irish indentured servitude, and the perception of the Irish by the ruling class. I could talk about the Italians, Polish, and so on. I could talk about anti-Catholic sentiment. Something that exists to this day.
The terrible working conditions, and shit pay that White workers had. Just like everyone else. If I wanted to bring the United Kingdom into this.
I could talk about the soft & hard genocide of the Irish people. The soft genocide of the Welsh as well. The struggle that they faced just to make ends meet.
The ruling class would want leftists to think like Sakai.
Because if you alienate White people that’s a very large group that won’t fight for change. But they’ll defend the system instead. Hence the rise of Donald Trump.
To paraphrase a quote of his.
You aren’t sending your best, Believe me!