petej + middleclass   115

Brexit: Why Labour should stick to its conference strategy
Brexit is now a class struggle — between a hard right nationalist project and, on the other side, an alliance of liberal centrists, with working class socialists, Greens and the left-nationalists in Scotland and Wales. The Leave 2.0 campaign will be, in Hannah Arendt’s famous phrase, an “alliance of the elite and the mob”. The Remain campaign should be an alliance of the working class and progressive middle class and any business leaders with the guts to join it — ie excaclty the kind of formation that the left used in the mid-1930s to fight the far right.
UK  EU  Brexit  politics  LabourParty  softBrexit  referendum  PeoplesVote  StarmerKeir  Remain  reform  class  nationalism  middleClass  workingClass  dctagged  dc:creator=MasonPaul 
28 days ago by petej
‘We're reactivating the people’s army’: inside the battle for a hard Brexit | World news | The Guardian
Now it’s time for strategy, as Farage tells supporters how to confront MPs. “I don’t want you writing letters to them. Go and visit them at their surgeries, queue around the block, meet them face to face, make them feel the heat, make them understand that being part of a customs union, being a vassal state with laws made somewhere else, is unacceptable. And that if they do this, you will never give them your vote again. Make. Them. Feel. The. Heat. We in Leave Means Leave are reactivating the people’s army.”

The language is tough and militaristic, and Farage’s delivery chilling. He warns that if he is forced to fight a second referendum we’ll see a very different Farage: “This time, no more Mr Nice Guy.” I can’t help thinking back to his victory speech after the referendum, delivered at 4am on 24 June 2016. Farage boasted that Brexit had been achieved “without a single bullet being fired”. It was only eight days after the strongly pro-EU Labour MP Jo Cox had been murdered on her way to a constituency surgery. Her killer, Thomas Mair, shouted “Keep Britain independent”and “Britain first” as he shot and stabbed her. But Farage appeared to have forgotten that.
UK  Brexit  politics  Leave  hardBrexit  LeaveMeansLeave  FarageNigel  populism  Bolton  UKIP  middleClass  Birmingham  Bournemouth  referendum  activism 
5 weeks ago by petej
How Thatcherism produced Corbynism - UnHerd
In Britain, as elsewhere, the Thatcherite project was self-undermining. While the country Thatcher brought into being was very different from the one she inherited, it was nothing like the country she intended to fashion. Insofar as it ever existed, her Britain was a country of dutiful middle-class families prudently saving for the future. But rather than consolidating and expanding this middle class, she consigned it to the memory hole. More individualist, post-Thatcher Britain is also less bourgeois.

Aside from their homes, few middle-class people have assets of any importance. Beyond the public sector, pensions are dependent on the vagaries of the market. Without job security, much of the middle class lives only months from penury. Incomes have increased for many, but so has debt. While distancing Labour from its past and turning it into an overwhelmingly middle-class party, Tony Blair continued the hollowing out of middle-class life that Thatcher began.

A type of capitalism emerged in which the practices that shaped bourgeois life as it had been known in the past – saving for the future, pursuing a lifelong career, self-sacrifice for the sake of family stability – became redundant or dysfunctional. Adapting to ceaseless change came to be regarded as the primary virtue. Accelerating and accentuating processes that globalisation was driving anyway, Thatcher created a society she could not have imagined.
UK  politics  academia  tenure  Thatcher  Thatcherism  JosephKeith  Keynesianism  state  welfare  employment  individualism  neoliberalism  precarity  insecurity  post-industrialism  middleClass  Corbynism  TheLeft  globalisation  Brexit  referendum  PeoplesVote  farRight  dctagged  dc:creator=GrayJohn 
6 weeks ago by petej
When Malls Saved the Suburbs From Despair - The Atlantic
And yet, the concept is not all that different from Victor Gruen’s original vision for the shopping mall. A place to gather, a place to shop, a place to relax, a place to live. The mall was and remains horrible in some ways, but useful and even magical in others. It yoked people to commerce, but it also gave them tools with which to manage that harness, to loosen it enough to live somewhat peacefully, even while collared to capitalism.

I can’t help but think that Americans’ days of hating the mall are numbered. When it gets replaced by Apple Town Squares, Walmart Supercenters, and the online-offline slurry of an ever-rising Amazon, we will miss these zoos of capitalism, these prisons of commerce, where consumerism roared and swelled but, inevitably, remained contained.
USA  shopping  malls  consumerism  middleClass  distribution  access  dctagged  dc:creator=BogostIan 
september 2018 by petej
Stumbling and Mumbling: The changing class divide
Thirdly, Corbyn’s promise to tax the very rich appealed to those ABs (the majority) earning less than £80,000. Reference group theory implies that people compare themselves with those like themselves. So, someone on say £50,000 a year might ask: “why is that idiot earning twice as much as me when he’s no smarter?” Many ABs, I suspect, are more aware than the DEs that many of the very rich are incompetent rent-seekers rather than the “wealth creators” of Tory myth. A DE voter, on the other hand, has almost no contact with the rich but is instead irritated by benefit claimants.

This tendency is exacerbated by another – that, as Rick said, the middle classes aren’t as posh as they used to be. Many work long hours in unfulfilling jobs for oppressive bosses with no hope of buying a decent house. For them, Corbynite talk of rent controls and housebuilding was an attractive offer relative to a Tory party than was offering nothing.

It’s in this context that class still matters. Yes, the Tory-Labour split is no longer a class split. But this is because the class basis of Toryism has diminished. What we’ve seen in recent years is a hollowing out of the middle class. A rising take by the top 1% has been accompanied by the middlingly rich becoming less bourgeois: their incomes have fallen relative to the worst off, as I suspect, have their working conditions. This has made ABs more amenable to Labour.

In this sense, perhaps the Tories have a deeper problem than merely yet another laughably inept leader. Their problem is that they no longer articulate the interests of the class they once did, because that class has changed. Ironically, they have become the victims of the inequality that has seen the top 1% (or perhaps 0.1%) pull away from the rest of us.
UK  politics  economics  generalElection  ge2017  class  socialClass  workingClass  middleClass  Brexit  housing  inequality  dctagged  dc:creator=DillowChris 
june 2017 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
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
Lynsey Hanley: how I became middle class | Books | The Guardian
"’ve spent my working life looking at the ways people are kept apart, and keep themselves apart, by the methods we use to sustain class in society. I have tried to show the impact of class segregation, through housing and schooling, on minds and relationships that are being formed. I want to illustrate the shortcomings of a political narrative that places the onus for social mobility – for “getting out” of the working class and into the middle class – on individuals, rather than making it possible for everyone, regardless of occupation, to live comfortably. Governments of every stripe encourage individuals to move upwards, to change their class, to trade up, while never acknowledging the emotional costs of doing so. I can only speak in this way because I have been through this process myself. I have undertaken that risky, lonely journey from one class to another, and every day I feel a mixture of gratitude and elation to have had the chance to do so, because it has given me the life I have now.I am grateful to my parents for giving me a level of confidence in myself and my abilities that they didn’t always have in themselves. I feel elated because I somehow got to the other side, to the place where life is easier, in one piece. But what about those who try, and don’t?

Or those who, rightly, don’t see why they have to choose sides in the first place? Until we recognise the psychological impact of class, social mobility will always be double-edged. Learning, art and culture can be catalysts for forging connections between the classes. They can be used to unite as well as to divide, to liberate as well as to limit, but only if we are included, and have the confidence to include ourselves, in their creation."
UK  society  class  childhood  schools  music  PetShopBoys  workingClass  middleClass  socialMobility 
july 2016 by petej
​The strange case of America’s ​disappearing middle class | Paul Mason | Opinion | The Guardian
"Trump’s aim is not just to amplify these insecurities, but to create a politics of spectacle and senselessness around them. Businesspeople in the US are quietly despairing not just about the overtness of the racism, but also about the underlying irrationality of the discourse."
USA  economics  politics  economy  recession  stagnation  middleClass  income  inequality  TrumpDonald  dctagged  dc:creator=MasonPaul 
december 2015 by petej
Mindless terrorists? The truth about Isis is much worse | Scott Atran | Comment is free | The Guardian
"More than three of every four who join Isis from abroad do so with friends and family. Most are young, in transitional stages in life: immigrants, students, between jobs and mates, having just left their native family. They join a “band of brothers (and sisters)” ready to sacrifice for significance.

We have “counter-narratives”, unappealing and unsuccessful. Mostly negative, they rely on mass messaging at youth rather than intimate dialogue. As one former Isis imam told us: “The young who came to us were not to be lectured at like witless children; they are for the most part understanding and compassionate, but misguided.” Again, there is discernible method in the Isis approach.

Eager to recruit, the group may spend hundreds of hours trying to enlist a single individual, to learn how their personal problems and grievances fit into a universal theme of persecution against all Muslims.

Current counter-radicalisation approaches lack the mainly positive, empowering appeal and sweep of Isis’s story of the world; and the personalised and intimate approach to individuals across the world.

The first step to combating Isis is to understand it. We have yet to do so. That failure costs us dear."
ISIS  IslamicState  Islamism  jihadism  revolution  polarisation  xenophobia  nationalism  middleClass  Europe  demographics  immigration  youth  alienation  radicalisation  community  recruitment 
november 2015 by petej
Change the World - The New Yorker
"Young people drawn to Silicon Valley can be more insular than those in other industries—they tend to come from educated families and top universities, and achieve success at a very early age. “They’re ignorant, because many of them don’t feel the need to educate themselves outside their little world, and they’re not rewarded for doing so,” the young start-up entrepreneur said. “If you’re an engineer in Silicon Valley, you have no incentive to read The Economist. It’s not brought up at parties, your friends aren’t going to talk about it, your employers don’t care.” He found that college friends who came out to the Valley to seek their fortune subsequently lost interest in the wider world. “People with whom I used to talk about politics or policy or the arts, they’re just not as into it anymore. They don’t read the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. They read TechCrunch and VentureBeat, and maybe they happen to see something from the Times on somebody’s Facebook news feed.” He went on, “The divide among people in my generation is not as much between traditional liberals and libertarians. It’s a divide between people who are inward-facing and outward-facing.”"
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august 2014 by petej
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