The other day I received the sad news that Michael Brooks, host of The Michael Brooks Show and co-host on the Majority Report, has passed away. Although many of my fellow leftists and I never knew Michael Brooks, we felt the loss of a fellow comrade.
It would have been 3-4 years ago when I came across the Majority Report. I thoroughly enjoyed their humourous approach to leftist politics. One of my favourite memories of Brooks’ humour is where in one episode they were debating a young racist man pushing race/IQ pseudoscience, trying to claim that white people are genetically superior in intelligence than black people. In this episode, Brooks says to him “As a white man I’m really hurt by how dumb you’re being”, “You’re bringing down the white race IQ every time you speak” and finally “I have a serious question, and it may come across as an insult, are you really this much of a belligerent moron or is this a joke and you’re playing a good character?”
See the full segment here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlN9plBx6Ho
Aside from his humour, in the last year or so I was extremely pleased to see Brooks give a regular platform to Marxist Political Scientist Adolph Reed. I was introduced to Reed by my philosophy supervisor whilst doing my honours degree. Most people I speak to who are politically engaged don’t know much about Reed, so it was great to have Reed as Brooks’ intellectual hero. I was very proud to see Brooks popularise Reed’s work and advocate for understanding social issues through a Marxist Materialist framework.
In fact, during the last year I have been in a transitionary period between advocating for a intersectional identity politics that includes class as one of the identities towards a Marxist feminist/antiracist approach. And much of this approach can credited to Brooks. In one of his livestreams where he was discussing his book ‘Against the Web: A Cosmopolitan Answer to the New Right’ he answered one of my chat questions which was “Is Identity Politics worth saving, such as intersectionality that includes class analysis?”
Brooks response was:
“I’m at a point where I’d say no. And the reason is becuase, and again in the conclusion of my book I talk about South Africa’s freedom charter and the African National Congress and talked about this with Adolph Reed. One is philosophical I do not believe that class is just another variable. I think it’s the engine. So I think you can understand a lot more of the situation we’re in from understanding class than anything else.”
He continues on in more depth (which can be listened to in the link (my question is raised about 1 hour in) but the big takeway I took from his answer was “class is the engine”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUzPuHVuB_w
I have been continuing to read up and study Adolph Reed’s work, whilst also getting a stronger grasp on Marxist philosophy/economics. By me doing this I hope this is a way of continuing Brooks’ work and his project.
If you wish to support his legacy, his book ‘Against the Web’ is available in the link below.
Rest in power, comrade. Thank you.