What are we going to do about....

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d.o.i_dave
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Jun 29 2004 15:28
What are we going to do about....

ive been reading lots of stuff on the net and i understand most of it. The one thing is to bring about a revolution we need to educate the masses, right. But what are we going to do about the trendies/chorers/chavs (or what ever they called round your end.) I mean if you you tired to enlighten them you'd probaly get the shit kicked outta ya by them and their mates and if there was an anarchist socitey they would probaly abuse it anyway. I may seem like i dont know what im on about so someone please enlighten me. twisted

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Jacques Roux
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Jun 29 2004 16:40

How about we just let everyone whose interested "enlighten" themselves? I mean (stop me if im wrong) you didnt find shit out by having stuff crap down your kneck did you?

Obviously the answer is building an anarchist movement which can relate to and interact with 'society at large' but why not start (the best way) by just talking to people you know and affecting your personal environment?

Olorin
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Jun 29 2004 23:00

True...but there are...certain people...who are just inexplicably stupid and obnoxious (neds/townies/pikes/whatever you want to call them), and I don't think any ideas could actually get through to some of them - at best they'd corrupt the whole thing and think they're superior to everyone by being "more anarchist" than everyone else. roll eyes

Frankly, if someone's too close-minded to want to understand anything new, there's little anyone can do, so imho it's just worth ignoring them and concentrating on areas where you can achieve something/where it's worth achieving something. wink

captainmission
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Jun 30 2004 00:31
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but there are...certain people...who are just inexplicably stupid and obnoxious

yeah like people who come out with classist bullshit like that... or people that think they're 'superior to everyone else roll eyes '

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Frankly, if someone's too close-minded to want to understand anything new...

...what like perhaps that 'neds/townies/pikes/whatever you want to call them' aren't stupid and likely to corrupt your precious anarchism, but don't want to listen to you cos you a patronising wanker?

Olorin
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Jun 30 2004 01:44

Yeah, I relaise that sounded hypocritical in retrospect...but I'm not talking about some vague idea of people I don't know, but actual ones I know to varying degrees, who just want to be anti-social, and appear to basically hate anyone who differs from them. So, fine, if they won't listen to d.o.i_dave or whoever wants to talk to them, then d.o.i_dave/whoever simply shouldn't waste his time on them imho since they won't listen.

Oh, and"your precious anarchism" - what are you talking about? You seem to have completely misunderstood my point...

And about that them not being stupid...again, I was simply reffering to the ones [I know[/i]. I've got no idea how people I don't know will act, or think, because how could I? I'm simply saying that the ones I know wouldn't, because they haven;t, and don't, and they're kind of stuck in their ways by the looks of things. good for them.

Urgh, another point. So, they don't want to listen to me because I'm a patronising wanker? Yeah, I see how saying "hi" to people on your bus or whatever is a really patronising comment. If people are full of hate for no good reason then it's no surprise they respond to a simple hello like they do, but don't think it's got anything to do with being patronising.

Anonymous
Jun 30 2004 12:20

Right, just a quick thing before I start, you're a grungy right? Just an assumption and I'm more than willing to take that back but you do listen to more Punk/Grunge/Metal kinda stuff innit? Baggy trousers, possibly Vans or DC trainers. Again, this isn't a judgement but I'm just interested for my own curiosity.

Quote:
So, they don't want to listen to me because I'm a patronising wanker? Yeah, I see how saying "hi" to people on your bus or whatever is a really patronising comment.

No it's not, saying you want to 'enlighten' people is. Also, saying that a group of people (chavs, townies, "Oi Oi" Boys or whatever) are stupid is patronising. First lesson of Ed's Anarchism, get off your high horse mate, you're no better than these people even if you have read Kropotkin's theory of Anarchist economics on agrarian communes in 1880's France. Second lesson, most people (myself included) don't care what you've read. If you can't talk to me on my level i.e. as an equal, I won't listen. Third lesson, whatever you do, make it relevant.

Talking to a mate of mine (you'd call him a chav-> lives on a council estate, home shaved head, Hip-Hop MC, nice trainers, used to blow up cars, get in fights, likes pubs) about stuff like the Spanish Civil War or the Paris Commune 1871 would have been useless. Who cares? Me (coz admitedly I'm a history nerd) but otherwise, no one. But when I talked to him about things that concerned both of us i.e. police, yuppies, council housing being sold off, we managed to talk about that for ages and now the man's an Anarchist. Not because I enlightened him, but because when people start to think for themselves, you can't stop it. If he asked me something, I'd tell him my opinion and we'd agree or disagree at the end of it but I've still got massive respect for him and his opinions even if they aren't mine exactly.

From my experience, people's stupidity is usually only there because radicals haven't got close enough to see that it doesn't exist, if you get me. Of course there are some stupid people, but they're usually anarchists anyway grin and they often run websites like enrager (rkn).

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if someone's too close-minded to want to understand anything new, there's little anyone can do

Well, you could still involve this person in things. For instance, if you had a job where the staff were badly paid or conditions were bad, you could try and organise some kind of collective action (strike, go-slow, co-ordinated sickies etc). This close-minded person would see how it would be beneficial for them to unite with others against the bosses, take direct action and not respect the law. This is basically the essence of Anarchism surely. Collective action does more than a leaflet ever could. I mean, Gay Pride in 1985 was led by a bloc of 500 miners saying thank you for helping them during their strike.

Last thing, your point was also how to deal with crime in an Anarchist society. For that, go to www.enrager.net/thought

Hope this helps,

Ed (a townie) red n black star

Anonymous
Jul 17 2004 21:27

"From my experience, people's stupidity is usually only there because radicals haven't got close enough to see that it doesn't exist."

I like that quote. I'll be using it in the future, thank you 8)

BlackEconomyBooks
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Jul 31 2004 19:39

Just set the example and the rest shall follow.

bigdave
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Aug 5 2004 13:52

People are how they are for a lot of reasons - family, school, media etc - but you can make some inroads into their negative conditioning if you are close enough. Can we stop with the insulting wee words for the lumpen proletariat? All people are people, its just that for some the conditioning is so entrenched you've little chance of making a difference.

I lived in some brutal places and knew some scary people but you always find some people you can connect with. I would say from personal experience that most heroin addicts are vicious, selfish, cold, violent scavengers. But not all of them. If you find you cannot reach someone, leave them to it. Maybe one of the other people you "enlighten" will be more able to lift the consciousness of those you can't.

There is nothing patronising about wanting people to be enlightened. I personally feel that the true meaning of "revolution" is not for the oppressed to hang evryone better off from lamp posts then switch oppressors (as has so far happened) but for the masses to reach a state of awareness that understrands the oppression enough to take its power away.

Referring to a group of people (rich or poor) with an insulting term or description is an example of an "unenlightened", primitive, animal/ego thought process. While we judge people we don't know because of similarities to others we think we know or have experience of is simple prejudice, like racism, sexism, ageism etc. - a perfectly useful animal function for determining predator/prey/family/competitor, it is utterly useless and damaging when applied to humans. Every time you find yourself drifting into it, if you can be aware then you can stop yourself and the world improves immediately.

bigdave
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Aug 5 2004 18:28

Fair enough rev. I'm not being moralistic or anything, I'm trying to make a genuine attempt to understand why so much of the world lives in misery when the desire to be happy must be fairly common in humanity. My first conclusion was that we must not understand something which makes us vulnerable to exploitation and rule. From that, I decided it must be something simple but easily concealable. My conclusion was that it must be that the human thought processes can be divided into distinct areas. Freud called them ego, id and superego (please don't label me a freudian, I'm not) and I tend to use those terms. The id can be described as the urges of the animal (reproduction, feeding, survival etc.), the ego can be described as the consciousness of the animal which tries to work out how to interact with the world outside to satisfy these urges successfully (dogs have personalities), the superego is the conscience/morality, the ability of the human being to understand that self-satisfaction is not all there is, that you do not have to constantly acquire but can restrain yourself. This respect for others is what I generally refer to as human consciousness.

Basically humans are born animals. If raised by animals we do not appear to develop speech but we still survive. A baby is very selfish and, as children grow up, they must be taught how to live without harming others through their greed. This is where the superego develops. Stunting/interfering with this process leads to the ego/animal consciousness being dominant in the individual - the spoilt child, "greed is good", treasure baths. When the animal is stimulated by the media etc, the ego takes up more prominence in the consciousness. I'll get back to this.

Anonymous
Aug 7 2004 20:03

It was the ontological dichotomy of social/natural that first led me to seek refuge in the arms of Heidegger. Probably my favourite National Socialist theorist. I'll accept his politics were... imperfect, but his concept of Dasein is very good.

AlexA
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Aug 8 2004 00:10

Is the above post trolling or what?

bigdave
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Aug 9 2004 15:24

You could check out a BBC series called "Century of the Self" which describes how Freud's ideas of divisions of the mind and levels of consciousness were used by some of his relatives, initially in advertising but later in politics/repression.

What's patronising about wanting to "enlighten" people? The same process could be described as "helping another human being better understand/cope with their suffering/confusion". Is that not what organising and political education are about?

captainmission
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Aug 9 2004 20:01
bigdave wrote:
What's patronising about wanting to "enlighten" people?

cos the concept is basically hierarchical- you award yourseLf a supirour moral/intellectual status from those that you seek to enlighten.

bigdave
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Aug 10 2004 12:52
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cos the concept is basically hierarchical- you award yourseLf a supirour moral/intellectual status from those that you seek to enlighten

No its not. This is similar to the response of revol68 reacting with insults - "essentialist, elitist, middle class, Victorian" - in that you, your parents, your grandparents and everyone you know has to some extent been conditioned to react like that. Our "self" or sense of individuality or ego has been portrayed as inviolate and precious. The religions tell us we are just automatically better than animals, the politicians refuse to defend us from exploitation, saying "people are very clever, they must be allowed to make up their own minds". Wanting people to understand this is not being "superior", it is just a desire to help others. Unfortunately, the forces of indoctrination are legion. I'm always surprised how many "political" types still read the tabloid press.

captainmission
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Aug 10 2004 13:18
bigdave wrote:
Wanting people to understand this is not being "superior", it is just a desire to help others.

It is if you claim to be enlightened through 'scientific' knowledge of the 'human mind' against their 'animal conciousness' a suggest there just a tad a superiority there. And a desrie to help often reinforces power realtionships. Lot of colonial history is based arround the enlightened wanting help the savages (which still continues to today, was talk to one of by anthropology lectures about NGOs, far as she's concerned the language of modern day development charities differs very little from late 19th century colonial administrators). These a clear differnce between chairty- helping those less enlightened, less able and of lower status; and soldiarity- getting together with people who have a common interest to do stuff for themselve. More often than not those recieving charity are more likely to resent it rather than be greatful.

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I'm always surprised how many "political" types still read the tabloid press.

And i'm always suprise with the snobbish shite that people come out with. What papers do you read dave?

bigdave
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Aug 10 2004 14:33

But I'm not claiming I'm superior or enlightened. I'm also not saying that people are "savages". Someone on another thread used the term "straw man" which applies here. I've never studied psychology etc. I just think that certain mechanisms in our consciousness are there because we ARE animals. When we lie to ourselves for the purposes of self-gratification, that is our ego/animal consciousness, as is identifying with other groups of males, looking to leaders to protect us, any prejudice.

I'm not saying I'm a better person because I don't read the Currant Bun. I am saying that the tabloid press for years have been an instrument of indoctrination and repression but working class people still read it. This to me demonstrates the power of the exploiters to manipulate our minds through religion, the media and any other device they use. If we could fight this indoctrination we might have a chance of changing things. I just think people are unable to fight it unless they understand how it is done - through manipulation of a consciousness we do not understand - but they do.

I know there may not be many Buddhists contributing to this site but a great deal of Buddhist practise is to deconstruct the ego. It is also referred to as "learned behaviour" and refers to our likes, dislikes, repeated reactions to certain stimuli, all those things which people are taught to believe constitute their "personality".

Wayne
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Aug 10 2004 18:34
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Is the above post trolling or what?

No, it was me smile I didn't mean to post without being logged in just forgot that u can do that on this board. I was going to write more but I couldn't be arsed. Now I feel a dick having to explain it 'cos it doesn't seem very relevant anymore, and I'm too clumsy with words and it's ages since I read it. I used to be interested in that sort of stuff and he's just a good theorist for understanding ontological questions. If you can be arsed to read Heidegger then it saves a lot of tiem otherwise spent arguing about what humans are like 'naturally'. In 'Being and Time' he contextualised human experience. Dasein (there-being) is always being in the world- 'things at hand', 'things objectively present', other beings, the world, are constitutive of Dasein. Before him the experience of being was described separate to the world- the animal side constrained by the social world, f.e.

Anyway, he wrote that in '27 and it was fucking good. Then he was a Nazi and kicked jews out of universities, all round bad guy. After the war he never renounced fascism or his support for Hitler. He fucked off to the Black Forest and wrote shan poetry. But you can't pretend Being and Time is suddenly worthless. I think his ideas can lend support to libertarian theory probably better than fascist.

Anyway, I'm prepared to overlook his fascism to read his book, but I wouldn't buck him. But he started having it off with Hannah Arendt in the 20s. She was a Jewish liberal political theorist. FOr seventeen years after she fled Germany they had no contact. Then they started shagging again even though he was an unapolegetic anti-semite. Their affair stretched 50 years till their deaths. He must have been hung like a horse.

Bored yet? Don't ever ask me to explain myself again.

What do you mean I'm a middle class wanker?

Fucking sub-proletarian lumpen scum.

captainmission
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Aug 10 2004 20:15
bigdave wrote:
But I'm not claiming I'm superior or enlightened. I'm also not saying that people are "savages".

Never claimed you called people savages, but you have claimed you have knowledge which has enlightened you and you should use this knowledge to raise the masses from there animal conciousness. roll eyes Far as i'm concerned that's describing a relationship of someone of a higher status doing something to someone of a lower status- a hierachy. Maybe that's not what you mean, if not i'd be a bit more careful with your rhetoric, it makes you sound like a bit of a prick.

Quote:
I'm not saying I'm a better person because I don't read the Currant Bun.

just more enlightened? less subject to indoctrination? sorry but "I'm always surprised how many "political" types still read the tabloid press." sounds a elitist to me. How did you over come this terriblely regressive act?

Quote:
I am saying that the tabloid press for years have been an instrument of indoctrination and repression but working class people still read it.

yeah so do middle and upper class people. Just like working class people read the guardian or the times. Don't those papers count of instruments of indoctrination too? if so why the focus on tabloid press?

Quote:
I just think people are unable to fight it unless they understand how it is done - through manipulation of a consciousness we do not understand - but they do.

yeah and probably the least effective way of change someones conciousness is self-rigthous lecturing. Maybe actually engaging in a discourse with people, learning how they fight and understand their own oppression, perhaps realing there not some great unthinking mass might be more effective?

Anonymous
Aug 13 2004 12:42

I never said I was enlightened, you bawbag. The word "enlightened" was used at the start of the thread by others, I just had the impression that the term "enlightened" was generally a positive one. If you had a friend who had never learned how to tell the time, would you tell him how its done? Or would that make you an elistist, patronising, hierarchical, middle-class-victorian prick? I think some understanding of how our minds work can help us resist the mind tricks that are pulled on us daily. I tell this to family, friends and anyone who will listen. I don't get paid and have no other agenda other than I want the world to be a better place.

Status is not an issue. I repeat - I do NOT claim to be superior or "enlightened", I am a depressive, self-defeating, self-destructive, unemployed, working class scottish criminal. Why are you so determined to perpetuate ignorance? I've met people of all persuasions who have been able to pass on knowledge they have for the benefit of others and the world in general. I thought this was called learning.

bigdave
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Aug 13 2004 12:47

Aye that last post was me, I forgot to log in.

All the capitalist press are propaganda crap. I sometimes read "the Herald" (aye, middle-class, arrogant, provincial jock arsehole, don't bother) but mainly for the letters page and crossword. For news, I prefer to check out internet sources, comparing different reports.

captainmission
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Aug 13 2004 13:17
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if you had a friend who had never learned how to tell the time, would you tell him how its done?

If they asked how to do it, then yes. if not i'd assume s/he wasn't interested and could manage just fine with out telling time. Just like i'll start enlightening the 'masses' if they ever show up on my doorstep and ask to be raised from there 'animal conciousnesses'. Until that point i'll deal with people as people.

Quote:
Why are you so determined to perpetuate ignorance?

Ok, so since i disagree with you i'm determined to perpetuating ignorance? roll eyes I mean i'm quite happy to villian of the piece in your holy crusade for knowledge if it makes you feel any better. But what i object to is the way you think you over come 'ignorance'- the enlightened passing it on to the 'masses'- a one way flow of information. Not a discussion were people can share information. Not people getting together and educating themselves, but a set group of the political enlightened teaching people how to be free (whether they want it or not, but hell even if they don't it cos they've had there minds rotted by reading the Sun). Do you really not understand why i might find this objectionable?

Quote:
I don't get paid and have no other agenda other than I want the world to be a better place.

aw wow dave, you really are better than jesus grin all togther now -I want to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony...

captainmission
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Aug 13 2004 18:00

here a fun game to play dave. It doesn't require any equipment, as many people as you want can play and suitable for people of all ages

1) walk down the street of any town or city. It can be close or far away. It's up to you

2) find a member of the masses. There usually given away by they sloping brows and are often found reading a tabloid newspaper or eating chips

3) ask them whether they want you to teach them how not to be ignorant fools controlled by animal instict

4) run away before they hit you

see it's fun and educational! (i like to call it funicadtional, but why not invevt your own word?). Do you want to play? Mr. T

LiveFastDiarrea
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Aug 14 2004 12:21

The educational and fun kids programs that I, err, my little sister watches are called edu-fun if you prefer that.

Ed's picture
Ed
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Aug 14 2004 15:09

Dave, I think what CM is trying to say is that 'enlightened' implies that you're ideas are right and all that the working class have to do is to accept your ideas to the letter and they'll find freedom. That is a very Leninst principle which CM, and me for that matter, doesn't really sit well with.

I prefer to engage with people coz no matter how great my class consciousness is, I'm still gonna be wrong from time to time (shocking I know, but true) and actually, Sun reading working class people aren't stupid and can actually liberate themselves. We, as Anarchists, can't just go to people, tell them what their problems are and how to deal with them. We have to go and listen to what people's problems are and then work with them on strategies to deal with these problems and through this, introducing them to libertarian forms of organising. Since when does non-hierarchical organisation mean 'A' is always right and 'B' should just follow 'A's lead coz they've broken from the shackles of capitalist mind control? Surely this one-way flow of info has as much to do hierarchy and statism when related to Anarchism as it does when it's related to capitalism?

bigdave
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Aug 16 2004 13:18

Sorry I've been away for a wee bit. I didn't say I wasn't one of the "masses". I am. I'm currently sitting with more of the masses. If we go back to the analogy of telling your friend how to tell the time. Captain Sadness says its up to him and if he doesn't want to know, you should leave him to it. Right, but what if his inability to tell the time led to the deaths of thousands of innocent people every day? Do I not have a greater duty to the suffering millions than to the people who, through inaction, permit it to happen (I'm one of these people but I'm trying)?

As for the game, I already play that. I introduced a rule, though, where you're not allowed to run away. And the definition of the masses has to be extended to include everyone. Rich. old, poor, young, anybody.

People aren't controlled BY their animal thought processes, they are controlled THROUGH them. Well, thats what i think anyway.

As for lecturing people, I thought this was a discussion forum?

captainmission
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Aug 18 2004 00:01

oh dearest dearest dave, this really is getting daft. First since i don't agree with you i'm perpetuating ignorance and now i'm leading to the death of thousand every day grin I would truely love if we could bare some slightest aquintence to reality, but (god give me strenght)... let pretend that not knowing how to tell the time would lead to the suffering of millions... i'd still have no right to force my knowledge or 'enlightenment' on other people AND more importantly any attempt to force my knowledge upon other people wouldn't be to be successful. The analogy you're drawing is between telling the time and 'teaching people how to be free'. This might come as a suprise to you but you can't force people to be free. You're now going through ridiculously convolted steps to justifiy your arguement.

you're treating freedom as some sort of epistemological issue, like a sort of technology that can be taught from one person to the next, and accordingly has a set of specialised technicans that does that teaching. Maybe looking at freedom as something embedded in social relations might be a better idea?

[sigh] roll eyes This is quite the silliest argument i've ever been involved in.

lucy82
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Aug 18 2004 07:00

i couldn't tell the time till i was six. embarrassed i must have killed a lot of people. eek

lucy82
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Aug 18 2004 12:09

I've been wrestling with this whole animal consiousness thing....

Bigdave, you also seem to be seeing knowledge as a commodity which people passively consume. If this was the case, no one would be enlightened (as you put it) because we would never have been able to create that "knowing" on our own. It would be the chicken and the egg scenario. Someone would have had to be enlightened first and if so, by whom?

It doesn't work like that. The fact is we create our knowledge, everyone does, through constant interaction with the physical and social environment that starts before we are even born. Its a constant stream of data which we interpret and re-interpret and which changes you in that process. So there is no animal consiousness. No unenlightened baseline. The basic premise is screwed.

If you don't recognise this process, if you see knowledge as an intellectual commodity outside people which can be given to people because they do not already possess it so they can learn in order to develop to the next stage and away from their unenlightened selves, then you are denying the knowledge and experience of others, and misunderstanding how knowledge is created, why we perceive the world as we do.

It is an arrogant position even if you dont intend it to be.

rebel_lion
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Aug 18 2004 12:27

Alright the debate seems to have moved on into more esoteric territory, but i do find the original question "what do we do about the townies" interesting, partly because it has been a cause of real des[air several times on my part...

The "townie" culture genuinely scares me, partly at least because i have absolutely no comprehension of it, or of why people can be so mindlessly conformist, and i'm not being elitist or patronising by using the term "mindless", but describing with real incomprehension and even terror (in a way) the culture that i see where people (or at least strangers to the person doing the judging) are judged purely according to appearance, anyone who looks different (whether by choice or not) is subjected to abuse and ridicule for absolutely no provocation, and wearing designer labels such as Nike or Gap, eating at McDonalds, etc is seen as something that everyone does and to which they seem to honestly believe there is no alternative (most townies would probably just stare open mouthed if i suggested anything like buying cheaper, non-designer clothes so as not to be ripped off, then reply with a torrent of derision and abuse directed at anyone who doesn't wear the "right" labels... it seems they view the "rightness" of the "right" labels as some kind of immutable law of nature)...

I genuinely can't get my head around a culture like that, and how people can be so blindly conformist without any concern for whether it actually makes their lives better, but have this almost religious/fundamentalist belief that being that way simply "is" better, and anyone who isn't like them is some sort of "wierdo" or "freak" and therefore not even worthy of talking to or regarding as anything but an object of amusement.

Before anyone accuses me of classism, i am speaking as someone who has lived in poverty all my life, and when through a mixture of luck and determination i got to uni i was sickened and horrified top find that even uni students (including the majority of those with both "bourgeois" and "proletarian" backgrounds), who i had (naively) at least thought would be intelligent enough to see through such mindless consumerism, even if their own politics were right-wing or neo-liberal, have the exact same prejudices and "herd" mentality.

I don't know whether such people are "reachable", but i know that they are not reachable by anyone who looks like me (long hair, cheap band/festival t-sirts, etc), and i really don't know what to do about it. I can only hope that at least some of them will be exposed to something that makes them think, or else have some spark of individuality in them that manages to triumph over the herd, and start to see that there are other ways to live... but i don't know if this will happen for many of them... sad

(would also like to add, that by no means are all the young people in "working class" areas like this, and not even all of the ones who dress like that (dress can be deceptive, don't assume everyone with shaved head, tracksuit top etc is a "townie")... but it is a significant proportion...)

anna_key
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Aug 24 2004 13:25

They scare me 2! They threw bricks at me! I dont no why i was so surprised but iwas. I used 2 be naiive i suppose. I thought cos i didnt come 2 them with any prejudice they wouldnt treat me with any. I mean i shouldve known from school about the prejudice but since i left school i had this impression that things attitudes had changed a bit and they hadnt. I was really dissapointed when i realised nothing of anticapitalism had got through, for the most part it seems like attitudes are exactly the same.