When you hear someone throwing around the suddenly-ubiquitous term “identity politics,” it’s useful to try substituting the words “civil rights” and “equality.” Economic justice and social justice are part of the same package.
Do some people take their idealism too far? Of course. But the right has long employed a strategy of cherry-picking the most over-the-top examples of college student activism as supposedly representative of all historical struggles for marginalized groups. “Identity politics” can easily be used as a frame that trivializes bedrock progressive values — as though fighting, say, voter suppression is the frivolous agenda of a special interest group. It’s important, as we face staggering abuses of power in the future, that we don’t allow their rhetoric to divide us.