petej + aspiration   33

Sorry, you can’t be working class and socialist in the new authentocracy | Phil McDuff | Opinion | The Guardian
Perry’s point that “many people on zero-hours contracts actually choose that level of flexibility” was a carefully picked phrase designed to avoid acknowledging that many workers do not choose zero-hour contracts – and that low, variable incomes can force people to rely on food banks.

Perry’s retort was both remarkable for its absurdity, and unremarkable because it’s such a regular catch-22 of a scam, whose logic goes like this: everyone from a working-class or poor background really cares more about national identity, nuclear weapons and protecting the border than they do about economics – even economics that would materially improve their own circumstances; so caring about this sort of economics automatically disqualifies you from being a credible person to care about it.
UK  USA  politics  SkinnerDennis  PerryClaire  Ocasio-CortezAlexandra  RebelMedia  zeroHours  pay  wages  workingClass  identity  authenticity  aspiration  commonSense  dctagged  dc:creator=McDuffPhil 
july 2018 by petej
What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class
"The terminology here can be confusing. When progressives talk about the working class, typically they mean the poor. But the poor, in the bottom 30% of American families, are very different from Americans who are literally in the middle: the middle 50% of families whose median income was $64,000 in 2008. That is the true “middle class,” and they call themselves either “middle class” or “working class.”"
TrumpDonald  class  workingClass  middleClass  work  labour  aspiration  masculinity  identity  conservatism  poverty  resentment  welfare  socialSecurity  police  culture  polarisation  DemocraticParty  politics 
november 2016 by petej
Blue Lines Revisited - May’s Day
“Ditching Thatcherism?” Not so sure about that one either. In philosophical terms, maybe. But Thatcherism was an electoral strategy too - give the emerging middle class stuff and tell them they deserve it for working so hard. It was a time-limited strategy because the amount of stuff you can sell off (utilities, housing stock) eventually runs out. Cameron and Osborne kept the “you work hard” element but had nothing left to give away. So May is having to go back to interventionist government to keep that side of the promise. But all her touchstones for what hard working families deserve - “a place at a good school” (not just ‘good schools’), “getting on the property ladder” (not just 'good housing’) are couched in Thatcherite terms of limited, not universal, commodities: Thatcher’s dark genius was to realise the 'aspirational’ are only happy when they can be sure someone else is missing out. Wait a couple of years and “access to the best doctors” will be up there too.
MayTheresa  ToryParty  conference  speech  immigration  Brexit  xenophobia  aspiration  Thatcherism  state  intervention  dctagged  dc:creator=EwingTom 
october 2016 by petej
Why class won’t go away | Lynsey Hanley | Society | The Guardian
"You ask yourself what this means for society, when the powerlessness of one class in relation to another mutates into the power to hinder the progress of others. Nothing is done if not done together. If we refuse, or are unable, to work together because the classes have ossified into groups that do not trust each other and do not meet, does that mean an end to progress? The more polarised we become by advantage and its lack, the more thoughtlessly we will walk into parallel worlds of abundance and poverty, trust and suspicion. This is how the cynics win: by picking apart the unifying threads of culture and society and insisting that there are some people who never belonged, who never wanted to belong, in the first place."
UK  class  workingClass  middleClass  exclusion  poverty  post-industrialism  race  BlueLabour  socialMobility  aspiration  tradeUnions  rightToBuy  Brexit  polarisation  dctagged  dc:creator=HanleyLynsey  deindustrialisation  deprivation 
september 2016 by petej
Brexit: a disaster decades in the making | Gary Younge | Politics | The Guardian
"If remain had won, we would already have returned to pretending that everything was carrying on just fine. Those people who have been forgotten would have stayed forgotten; those communities that have been abandoned would have stayed invisible to all but those who live in them. To insist that they will now suffer most ignores the fact that unless something had changed, they were going to suffer anyway. Those on the remain side who felt they didn’t recognise their own country when they woke up on Friday morning must spare a thought for the pensioner in Redcar or Wolverhampton who has been waking up every morning for the last 30 years, watching factories close and businesses move while the council cuts back services and foreigners arrive, wondering where their world has gone to.

Many of those who voted leave will undoubtedly feel that they have had their say after years of being ignored. But they are beginning to discover that they have been lied to. Even when it feels that there is nothing left to lose, it turns out that things can always get worse. And even when it feels like nobody tells you the truth, it turns out that some factions of the elite can and will do more damage to your life than others."

"For the last 15 years, governments and the press have stoked fears about whether British culture could withstand the integration of Muslims – of whom 70% voted for remain – when they should have been worried about how to integrate the white working class into the British economy.

Brexit didn’t create these problems. It exposed them and will certainly make them worse. The decision as to whether we live in or out of the EU has been made. The choice before us now is whether we are finally ready to confront the issues that we have blissfully denied and engage with the communities we have carelessly ignored."
UK  EU  referendum  Brexit  politics  xenophobia  IraqWar  finance  crisis  austerity  distrust  hopelessness  fragmentation  ToryParty  LabourParty  NewLabour  poverty  inequality  aspiration  racism  BNP  UKIP  FarageNigel  immigration  freedomOfMovement  publicServices  anger  blame  exclusion  dctagged  dc:creator=YoungeGary  BlairTony  farRight 
july 2016 by petej
What hope for Labour and the left? The election, the 80s and ‘aspiration’ | openDemocracy
This is how hegemony works, of course: the power of the hegemonic group becomes so taken for granted as to become invisible, to the point where actually naming it comes to be understood as a pathological gesture; their values and ways of acting in the world are accepted as mere ‘common sense’, any deviation from which must be a form of mental disorder. So of course the vast majority of Blairites are not conscious that their entire world-view is handed down to them by the financial elites, or that deference to the authority of those elites is the single thread linking together an otherwise quite incoherent set of policies and preferences. But it is.

A great example here is the language of ‘aspiration’ which was circulating among the leadership contenders before it started to become apparent that it wasn’t working for them. This was the Blairite keyword in the weeks following the general election defeat, with Blairite candidate Liz Kendall not only condemning Labour’s general election campaign for having failed to connect with voters’ ‘aspirations’ and with aspirational voters, but actually arguing at one point that what was wrong with white working class children was that they lacked ‘aspiration’ and that governments ought to take it upon themselves to force them to have some.

What does ‘aspiration’ really mean, in this context? It seems to refer to a very narrow set of values and to express the idea that they are the ones that everyone naturally shares. Now, I don’t think that anyone really believes that the narrow, consumerist, individualist, competitive values of commercial culture are the only ones which really motivate human behaviour. But everyone knows that those are the values of the City, the bankers and the sections of the corporate and media world which are closest to them; and this is what ‘aspiration’ is really a code-word for. Think about a phrase like ‘aspirational fashion’. What does it mean? It means people wearing clothes that consciously ape the clothes that rich people might be assumed to wear.

When someone like Kendall says ‘we must respect and encourage aspiration’, she doesn’t really just mean ‘we must respect and encourage people wanting to improve their lot and that of their families’. What she really means is ‘we must signal to finance capital that we will continue to defer to its social authority by enforcing its values as the only acceptable norms in our culture’. Her saying this is predicated on the understanding that the balance of forces in the UK and globally is such that there is simply no point proposing any political project which even minimally challenges the hegemony of finance capital. I don’t mean she necessarily consciously thinks any of this. She probably thinks that ‘aspiration’ as she defines it is just normal, everyday human behaviour and that encouraging it is simple common sense. Well, that’s hegemony for you.
CorbynJeremy  LabourParty  UK  politics  media  1980s  FootMichael  BennTony  SDP  socialMovements  TheLeft  technology  informationTechnology  Internet  postFordism  vanguardism  democraticCentralism  Blairism  NewLabour  finance  financialisation  hegemony  aspiration  KendallLiz  dctagged  dc:creator=GilbertJeremy  ge2015 
september 2015 by petej
Deconstructing aspiration
Two questions, then, for Labour politicians (and especially leadership candidates).  Do you accept that individual aspiration has its limits, and that many of the most important things in life are best provided collectively?  And, crucially, are you prepared to accept that unless the economic fundamentals are right, the idea of aspiration is incompatible with a more equal and just society?
aspiration  UK  economy  economics  politics  stagnation  inequality  wealth  poverty 
may 2015 by petej
Labour not an anti-wealth party, says Chuka Umunna | Politics |
"We are not an anti-wealth party … We want you to go and make your first million. We want you to do that because if you do that, you're going to provide growth and jobs and opportunities as well as succeeding yourself. I want people to meet their aspirations. We are an aspirational party."
UmunnaChuka  LabourParty  wealth  socialDemocracy  aspiration  capitalism 
september 2013 by petej
Feel the exasperation of the 'aspiration nation’ – Telegraph Blogs
"Every Budget, every major political speech, has to have its own “Aspiration Nation” moment these days. A worthy subset of the population needs to be defined, its undeserving opposite implicitly criticised; the speaker and their party is thus placed on the side of the angels, the hard-working strivers and the little man crushed between the uncaring cogs of the economic machine. “The squeezed middle”, “Mondeo Man”, “Alarm-clock Britain”. The PR teams and focus groups that form the withered heart of 21st-century government create these labels in the hope that a large enough demographic group hears them, thinks “Yes! I am financially squeezed/drive a mid-range saloon/own an alarm clock! This man/woman has seen into my soul and knows the true me: my hopes, my dreams, my morning routine. He/she can be trusted with stewardship of this country”, and puts a cross in the appropriate box"
OsborneGeorge  work  aspiration  ideology  ToryParty 
april 2013 by petej

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