petej + workingclass   172

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 
12 weeks ago by petej
Monthly Review | Marx on Immigration
Marx did not elaborate on his reasons for writing that Irish immigration reduced English workers’ wages. He implied that the cause was an oversupply of manual laborers, but his other statements indicate that he considered English xenophobia and the resulting antagonism among workers an even greater problem. The important point, however, is that he was not blaming lower wages on the immigrants themselves; for him the culprits were the colonial system that drove Irish workers to England, and the exploitation of these workers once they arrived.

The same considerations apply in the United States today. The main difference is the addition of legal status as a factor in setting wage levels—the laws that now make work “illegal” for millions of immigrant workers. Immigrant rights advocates may feel it is expedient to cite academic economists like Peri who downplay or deny the downward pressure exerted on wages by the exploitation of undocumented workers. It is not. As Columbia University economist Moshe Adler has noted, this approach does nothing to convince the many U.S. citizens who work in occupations with large numbers of undocumented immigrants and therefore “know firsthand that [exploitation of immigrant workers] puts direct downward pressure on their own wages.”16 Far from helping the movement, citing Peri only adds to these workers’ distrust and resentment toward middle-class immigrant rights advocates.17 More importantly, this approach distracts attention from efforts to address the real issues: the root causes of immigration in U.S. foreign policy, the super-exploitation of immigrant workers, and the common interests of immigrant and native-born workers.


In his 1870 letter, Marx described what he then considered the overriding priority for labor organizing in England: “to make the English workers realize that for them the national emancipation of Ireland is not a question of abstract justice or humanitarian sentiment but the first condition of their own social emancipation.” His closing words of advice to Meyer and Vogt were similar: “You have wide field in America for work along the same lines. A coalition of the German workers with the Irish workers (and of course also with the English and American workers who are prepared to accede to it) is the greatest achievement you could bring about now.” This internationalist and class-based perspective has lost none of its good sense in the century and a half since it was written.
Marx  immigration  Ireland  England  USA  Mexico  CentralAmerica  migration  pay  wages  competition  supply  demand  language  skills  racism  discrimination  legal  deportation  workingClass  xenophobia  employers  sanctions  tradeUnions  internationalism  rights 
november 2018 by petej
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
The white working class is another form of identity politics
Focussing solely on the white working class in the wake of Brexit and Trump will not redress society’s problems; it will not even try to sort out poverty among white people. The fetishisation of the white working class helps reaffirm the racial hierarchy and stamp out forms of dissent voiced by people of colour, LGBTQ communities and other minorities. We should not pretend that it is anything else.
UK  USA  Brexit  TrumpDonald  race  class  workingClass  identityPolitics  KinnockStephen  racism  xenophobia  multiculturalism  dctagged  dc:creator=GoodfellowMaya 
august 2017 by petej
Senior Labour figures clash over concerns of working-class voters | Politics | The Guardian
Jones, who is standing as a candidate on Wednesday to become a representative of backbenchers on Labour’s parliamentary committee, said he would use the position to fight for greater attention of white working-class voters. He wants Corbyn to address perceptions that the leadership is not patriotic and does not support the deployment of nuclear weapons, he said.

“How thick does this party have to be? We have not learnt the lessons from the rise of the BNP [in the 90s]. Our core voters cannot be taken for granted. These are people who have been let down by political elites for decades. They see themselves as being at the back of every queue.

“We have to talk about their concerns – counter-terrorism, nationalism, defence and community, the nuclear deterrent and patriotism,” said Jones, who represents Hyndburn in Lancashire.

Asked if he was concerned that the party could sound as if it was appealing to racist sentiments, Jones said: “It is not about that. There are genuine concerns about wages being undercut. We have to arrived at a point where these communities in England can no longer be ignored. And if we fail to address it, we are finished.”
LabourParty  DePieroGloria  JonesGraham  BlueLabour  class  workingClass  UK  politics 
july 2017 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
#NoBanNoWall or “No Borders” | The Real Movement
The working class itself is stateless: we have no country.

We defend no borders; we refuse admittance to no migrant; we consider every worker a full citizen anywhere they choose to settle. All attempts by nation states anywhere to prevent the freest possible movement of the working class must be fought.

Such a position would be so much moralizing bullshit if we did not honestly address the implications of this stand: in first place it means workers from less developed regions would likely move to more developed regions in search of work and a better life. In second place, it implies, of course, greatly increased competition within the labor markets of the more developed regions and heightened frictions. In third place, since the migration of workers is at the same time the migration of variable capital, freest possible movement of workers implies the freest possible movement of capital. Finally, if the movement of capital should not be limited in any way, no nation can have control of its national capital nor any form of national economic policy.

All national economic policy ultimately rests on controls over the movement of capital and labor power; this in turn implies communists must be against all forms of national economic policy. We are not against borders out of some moral argument, but because we are against all attempts by any state to exert control over national economic life and, therefore, over the working class. All national economic policy comes down to control of the labor power of society and, therefore, control over the working class of a country.

Communists cannot accept state control over the labor power of the worker in any form and no matter how “humane” the controllers declare themselves to be.
borders  migration  class  workingClass  control  immigration  communism 
january 2017 by petej
New Left Project | Why the Working Class was Never ‘White’
The sooner we recognise that the ‘white working class’ is not a thing, but rather an unhelpful media construction which the left must eschew, the better. Not only does it deflect attention from the virulent racism in other parts of English society, but it reinforces the idea of working-class people as unchanging, anachronistic and ‘left behind’. The ‘racialisation’ of class in Britain has been a consequence of the weakening of ‘class’ as a political idea since the 1970s – it is a new construction, not an historic one, and it is profoundly unhelpful. It makes it all too easy for millions of people hit hardest by neo-liberal economics to be dismissed as somehow reaping what they deserve.
UK  class  workingClass  race  immigration  localism  place  conservatism  racism  PowellEnoch  liberalism  racialisation 
december 2016 by petej
Don’t be divided by Trump and Brexit: minorities are part of the working class | Owen Jones | Opinion | The Guardian
The “elite” used to denote those who, in any given society, had the wealth, power and privilege: for example, privately educated ex-City brokers and billionaire plutocrats who hang out in golden lifts. It now apparently means those who defend the rights of minorities and women. The rightwing populism of our time is comfortable talking about class, but only to define a patriotic working class against a rootless, metropolitan, self-hating bunch of middle-class do-gooders with contempt for their values and lifestyles.
TrumpDonald  Brexit  USA  UK  populism  identityPolitics  TheLeft  diversity  workingClass  divideAndRule  dctagged  dc:creator=JonesOwen 
november 2016 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
I’m white and working class. I’m sick of Brexiters saying they speak for me | Phil McDuff | Opinion | The Guardian
But our other “genuine concerns” – such as school and hospital funding, benefits and disability payments, the crushing of industries that formed the backbones of our local economies – are ignored or dismissed out of hand. They are cast as luxuries, an irresponsible “tax and spend” approach, or they are turned back on us as evidence of our own fecklessness and lack of ambition. When we say “we need benefits to live because you hollowed out our towns in pursuit of a flawed economic doctrine,” we are castigated for being workshy, and told we only have ourselves to blame. If we alter our complaints to blame foreign people it’s a different story. “I can’t get a council house because they’ve all been sold to private landlords,” gets nothing. “I can’t get a council house because they’ve all gone to bloody Muslims,” gets on the front page of the tabloids.
UK  Brexit  class  workingClass  racism  xenophobia  stereotyping  immigration  identity  race  migrants  media  politics  dctagged  dc:creator=McDuffPhil 
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
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
After this vote the UK is diminished, our politics poisoned | Gary Younge | Opinion | The Guardian
"Not everyone, or even most, of the people who voted leave were driven by racism. But the leave campaign imbued racists with a confidence they have not enjoyed for many decades and poured arsenic into the water supply of our national conversation.

In this atmosphere of racial animus and class contempt, political dislocation and electoral opportunism, the space for the arguments we need to have about immigration, democracy and austerity simply did not exist. This referendum raised questions it could not answer precisely because it identified problems politicians were not prepared to solve. Our politics failed us. And since it is our politics only we can fix it.

We are leaving the EU and entering a dark and uncertain period. Offered a choice between fear of the unknown or fear of the foreigner, fear inevitably won. Britain lost."
UK  EU  referendum  Brexit  workingClass  exclusion  immigration  racism  xenophobia  dctagged  dc:creator=YoungeGary 
june 2016 by petej
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