Elite Capture: How the Powerful Took Over Identity Politics (and Everything Else)

Product Details
$16.95  $15.76
Haymarket Books
Publish Date
5.2 X 7.4 X 0.6 inches | 0.4 pounds

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About the Author

Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of California Los Angeles. He has published in academic journals ranging from Public Affairs Quarterly, One Earth, Philosophical Papers, and the American Philosophical Association newsletter Philosophy and the Black Experience.

Táíwò's theoretical work draws liberally from the Black radical tradition, anti-colonial thought, German transcendental philosophy, contemporary philosophy of language, contemporary social science, and histories of activism and activist thinkers.

His public philosophy, including articles exploring intersections of climate justice and colonialism, has been featured in The New Yorker, The Nation, Boston Review, Dissent, The Appeal, Slate, Al Jazeera, The New Republic, Aeon, and Foreign Policy.

He is the author of the book Reconsidering Reparations, published by Oxford University Press.


"Olúfémi O. Táíwò is a thinker on fire. He not only calls out empire for shrouding its bloodied hands in the cloth of magical thinking but calls on all of us to do the same. Elite capture, after all, is about turning oppression and its cure into a (neo)liberal commodity exchange where identities become capitalism's latest currency rather than the grounds for revolutionary transformation. The lesson is clear: only when we think for ourselves and act with each other, together in deep, dynamic, and difficult solidarity, can we begin to remake the world."
--Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

"Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò's book is worth sitting with and absorbing. While critically examining what happens when elites hijack our critiques and terminologies for their own interests, Elite Capture acutely reminds us that building power globally means we think and build outside of our internal confines. That is when we have the greatest possibility at worldmaking."
--Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist

"With global breath, clarity and precision, Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò dissects the causes and consequences of elite capture and charts an alternative constructive politics for our time. The result is an erudite yet accessible book that draws widely on the rich traditions of black and anticolonial political thought."
--Adom Getachew, author of Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination

"Among the churn of books on 'wokeness' and 'political correctness, ' philosopher Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò's Elite Capture clearly stands out. With calm, clarity, erudition, and authority, Táíwò walks the reader through the morass, deftly explicating the distinction between substantive and worthy critique and weaponized backlash. Understanding the culture wars is essential to US politics right now, and no one has done it better than Táíwò in this book."
--Jason Stanley, author of How Fascism Works

"Olúfẹḿi O. Táíwò is one of the great social theorists of our generation. Elite Capture is a brilliant, devastating book. Táíwò deploys his characteristic blend of philosophical rigor, sociological insight, and political clarity to reset the debate on identity politics. Táíwò shows how the structure of racial capitalism, not misguided activism, is today's prime threat to egalitarian, anti-racist politics. And Táíwò's suggested path forward, a constructive and materialist politics at the radical edge of the possible, is exactly what we need to escape these desperate times. Anyone concerned with dismantling inequalities, and building a better world, needs to read this book."
--Daniel Aldana Cohen, co-author of A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal

"Táíwò's book is an insightful and fascinating look at how it is that elites capture and subvert efforts to better society. Anyone who wants to understand and improve upon the activist movements shaking our world needs to read this book."
--Liam Kofi Bright, assistant professor at the London School of Economics

"This book, building on one of the most lucid, powerful, and important essays I can recall reading in recent years, is, in a word, brilliant. Read it--and read it twice. Every sentence contains multitudes."
--Daniel Denvir, host, The Dig