Identity policies constitute a major form of perception management practiced to manage and steer populations by making use of certain identifiers and a sense of belonging. These policies, which are among the most frequently and commonly used as well as the most effective social engineering mechanisms in the world, have also introduced many terms into our daily life such as sub-identity, supra-identity, collective identity, identity crisis, etc.
While identity politics may aim to give a certain identity prominence or make it superior and dominant in a certain country or region, they may also seek to present certain identities as a target or an enemy, as well as marginalize and suppress them. Rhetoric may be produced over aggrieved or dominant identities. Ethnic, religious and sectarian differences are the most fundamental elements of identity politics. Not only states, but also political parties, groups, organizations, even terrorist movements, might make use of certain identities in order to pull more votes or followers.
Throughout the Cold War period, various ideological policies based on class differences reigned supreme across the globe. As it is known, the two most essential among them were the capitalist system, which prioritizes private property and the owners of capital and generally promotes a free market economy, and the socialist (communist) system, which is based on the working class and promotes public property and a centrally planned economy. These two ideologies essentially polarized the world into two opposing and hostile blocs. With the official dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 26, 1991, the Cold War era came to an end.
This historical turning point was also considered the beginning of a period where identity politics replaced the ideological ones. Class-based ideological politics were actually nothing more than identity politics pursued over people's socioeconomic identities. The dominant identities over which these ideologies were pursued were usually "the producers", "the oppressed", "the exploiters", "the workers", "the peasants", "the financiers", "the bourgeois" etc. The only thing that changed after the Cold War was that other elements of identity were brought into prominence in their stead, such as race, religion, sects, ethnic minorities, etc. Ultimately, the tensions and conflicts caused by the Cold War era ideologies based on class identity gave way to tensions and conflicts based on new identities.
The historical experience to date has shown that identity politics have always served the interests of those who exploit such identities, not those who carry them. This is the reason why these policies are backed and controlled by the imperialist exploitation system hidden from view behind the curtain across the world. While some identity holders believe that they are fighting for their own existence, rights and interests, they actually inadvertently contribute to the insidious multi-phase scheme of imperialism.
By cunningly utilizing all kinds of available identities within societies, identity politics accordingly aim to classify, categorize and polarize people. By means of identity politics, the exploitation system seeks to eliminate any collaborative and united efforts that would stand up and resist it. It divides societies and nations into smaller contending and conflicting units, and initiates the process of their ultimate submission or demise. Instead of combining their forces to make a united stand against this insidious ploy, distinct supra-identities within societies engage in strife among themselves due to their inflated identity egos, and thus, they become weaker and walk right into imperialism's trap.
The fragmentation process seen in the Balkans in the 1990's after the Cold War, and the ensuing formation of smaller states was followed by the religious, ethnic and sectarian divisions - and conflicts - which have been raging in the Middle East since the early 2000s' and countries and communities that have been effectively erased from history. The blood that has been shed in countries such as Rwanda and Sudan, the rising racist, ethno-nationalist and separatist movements in Europe, and the winds of independence and autonomy blowing through many European countries, all of these are textbook examples of the gradual divide-and-destroy tactic of identity policies.
The Catalonia and Basque regions in Spain, Scotland in the United Kingdom, the Flemish in Belgium, the Padania and South Tyrol regions in Italy, the Corsican, Brittany and Alsace regions in France and Bavaria in Germany are the main actors of the new identity policies now so active in Europe.
There are major active groups in Turkey and the Middle East that assume the same separatist role: The PKK terrorist organization, which seeks to exploit its Kurdish identity despite having no ties with the notion of being Kurdish and which also tries to garner international support through its Marxist identity; terrorist organizations such as DAESH and Al-Qaeda that claim an Orthodox Islamist identity; the MI6-controlled provocative sectarian movements that aim to instigate strife such as British Shiism and British Sunnism can also be counted among such groups.
In short, the greatest and most effective weapon of the imperialist power which ceaselessly fans the flames that have engulfed the Middle East and the Islamic world today and intends to spread the flames of separatism to the whole world tomorrow, is not tanks, howitzers or missiles, it is identity politics.
On the other hand, when the countries and peoples who have been the biggest and longest-suffering victims of identity politics are mentioned, the first country that comes to mind is indeed South Africa. As a matter of fact, the wounds inflicted by the racist Apartheid mentality that terrorized the black citizens of that country between 1940 and 1990 are still being addressed.
No theory or school of identity politics has ever brought happiness and benefit to humanity at any point in history to date. On the contrary, identity politics have always been the chief perpetrator of separatism, dissent, disputes, enmity, strife, hatred and conflict. These policies have been considered, adopted or judged according to people's sociological and biological identities rather than their moral values, virtues or services.
It is quite obvious that the time has come for the separatist and polarizing identity politics to be replaced by unifying and solidifying politics based on the highest of identities, that is, human identity. Of course, humankind inherently has diverse political, social, economic, individual, national, cultural, religious, ethnic and biologic identities. The goal is not to alienate people from their identities, but to prevent these identities from becoming an instrument of manipulation in the hands of the global exploitation system.
Being able to establish a global civilization where people of all identities will co-exist happily, fairly, peacefully, safely and prosperously will certainly prove to be the greatest historical achievement yet. This awareness is the only means that can provide a solution to the war, division, terrorism, anarchy and hatred.