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questions bout middle class-ness

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random
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Jan 16 2004 13:01

i'll agree with that!

i really feel the media and the other 'controls' They (capital T) use on us try to push racist, sexist and homophobic behaviour on to us. I think when you're in the lower classes (working, under, whatever you want to call them) its easy to feel hard done by. There is such a huge lack of opportunity. As a result we feel we need someone to blame. They know this. They use it to turn us against each other. What we need to do is talk to our peers, family and friends, that guy down the pub, whoever, and try to get them to understand. I know that this often feels like a pointless battle, but you gotta try.. When people understand this concept, they can direct their anger towards the right people.

to be honest, when it comes to the middle classes, before you can even start introducing them to this idea, you have to make them see the class problem. If i had a pound for every time some middle class person told me there was no divide any more.. i dont know why so many of them refuse to see, but its impossible to talk about making it better when theyre blind to the problem in the first place!

Mystic
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Jan 17 2004 17:03

True, divides remain, but I like to think we're in this for everyone. In my book the possession of power corrupts and dehumanises the rulers however good they might be to start of with: authoritarian and hierarchical systems dehumanise us all, from top to bottom. So while I think that class is an issue, even more important is showing the rulers the error of their ways and saving the soul of humanity. I mean, I find it hard to imagine Blair sitting down and discussing how to make people more racist and homophobic in order to perpetuate his power, rather I think that such problems in society are a natural byproduct of authority. In fact, an anarchist has to take that point of view, because otherwise he can only oppose "evil" authority, and admit the possibility of "good" authority: the truth is that wherever a system exists (capitalist or socialist) that gives people the power to compulse and exploit others, evil will inevitably take place, and that is why anarchism is right.

brizzul
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Jan 18 2004 04:48

Don't confuse the IWA and the IWW. Different organisations.

DA hasn't published homophobic articles.

Section 1c ii of the SolFed red n black star IWA (who publish Direct Action) constitution says:

"Revolutionary unionism is opposed to all hierarchies, priviliges and oppressions, not simply those that are economic in origin. It recognises that oppresion can be based on race, gender, sexuality or any other perceived or actual difference, and that these oppresions must be fought for their own sake, and because they are fundamental to the maintenance of capitalism. However all oppresion whatever it's origin, has an economic aspect and is based on a power relationship. Concepts of "equality" which fail to recognise this fact, and any attempt to fight discrimination without also attacking heirarchy and privilege based on class will chiefly benefit hitherto excluded sections of privileged classes and will not end discrimination against those without class privileges, even where they achieve some short term gains"

The IWA doesn't currently have a US section either.

AlexA
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Jan 18 2004 12:00
brizzul wrote:
Don't confuse the IWA and the IWW. Different organisations.

DA hasn't published homophobic articles.

...

The IWA doesn't currently have a US section either.

Nah brizzul captainmission didn't get the IWW and IWA mixed up (cos the IWW would never publish anything homophobic either), it's just that the interview with the Nigerian section in DA was an extract of an interview originally conducted by the IWW.

3rdseason
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Jan 18 2004 12:18
butchersapron wrote:
3rdseason wrote:
Surely class is all about the workplace and wether you're a boss or a worker? Most bosses have bosses over them these days anyway.

I had almost forgot how much debating class bores me. Almost.

No it's not, and it never has been (well not for a 100 years anyway) - you're stuck in the 19th century mate. Just a suggestion - try and understand your opponents case before attacking it.

Wow thanks for the suggestion I bow before your superior wisdom

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Ed
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Jan 18 2004 13:36

Captain, I was only joking (hence the smilies). Christ, you poshos really don't have a sense of humour (only joking. You see, there I go again!).

Also, MYstic, I don't think you can debate rulers out of power. I don't see that happening. Also, I'm not particularly fussed about how oppressive my oppressors institutions are towards him/her. If someone's got their boot on my head, my last concern is that the boot is uncomfortable!

butchersapron
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Jan 19 2004 08:33
3rdseason wrote:

Wow thanks for the suggestion I bow before your superior wisdom

Don't be so touchy - i was just suggsting that you're arguing against a strawman that i've not seen anyone here seriously argue (or any anarchist at all for that matter) - no one thinks that class is just about the workplace (except certain trots) - what the hell is wrong in pointing this out if your case presupposes that i/we do?

3rdseason
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Jan 19 2004 18:06

Well I was in a bad mood at the time and Ive debated this so many times its kinda like bangin my head against a brick wall cos people always stick to their own views. Anyone remember those mammoth vege vs. meateater debates on the old AYN boards? They were reasonably interesting but no one really changed their views. *shrugs* neutral

Mystic
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Jan 20 2004 16:27
Ed wrote:
Captain, I was only joking (hence the smilies). Christ, you poshos really don't have a sense of humour (only joking. You see, there I go again!).

Also, MYstic, I don't think you can debate rulers out of power. I don't see that happening. Also, I'm not particularly fussed about how oppressive my oppressors institutions are towards him/her. If someone's got their boot on my head, my last concern is that the boot is uncomfortable!

Very true. I don't think we should treat the oppressors with kid gloves, far from it, but at the same time I suspect it varies to what extent that oppression is directly intentional, a product of their own evil (like the fascists, imperialists and certain capitalists), or it's a product of the systems of power that they're at the top of and that corrupt them in turn. Revolt, take the power back by force if necessary, and then I've always considered forgiveness to be better than revenge.

I guess what I was trying to say in my post was that I think anarchy's got to be about obliterating oppressive class divisions in favour of liberty and equality, and that for me it would represent a triumph of the human race over the social monster we've created: power. In that sense I worry that the mechanisms needed to pursue a class war (particularly union hierarchies etc.) could be self-defeating, and need to be properly thought out. We mustn't make the same mistakes as the Marxists.

3rdseason
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Jan 20 2004 20:48
Mystic wrote:
I guess what I was trying to say in my post was that I think anarchy's got to be about obliterating oppressive class divisions in favour of liberty and equality, and that for me it would represent a triumph of the human race over the social monster we've created: power. In that sense I worry that the mechanisms needed to pursue a class war (particularly union hierarchies etc.) could be self-defeating, and need to be properly thought out. We mustn't make the same mistakes as the Marxists.

Yeah I agree with that line of thought. The only "class war" Im in favour of is a war against the whole idea and system of class cos any war of working class against the other classes only reinforces those divisions. For example I think it sucks just as much for a poor kid to say "look at that fuckin rich twat in his big house" as it does for a richer kid to say "look at that scummy poor little shit on his estate". I want to make war on the actual system of class.

Not sure if thats exactly what you were trying to say Mystic but thats my view. 8)

Mystic
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Jan 20 2004 21:01
3rdseason wrote:
Yeah I agree with that line of thought. The only "class war" Im in favour of is a war against the whole idea and system of class cos any war of working class against the other classes only reinforces those divisions. For example I think it sucks just as much for a poor kid to say "look at that fuckin rich twat in his big house" as it does for a richer kid to say "look at that scummy poor little shit on his estate". I want to make war on the actual system of class.

Not sure if thats exactly what you were trying to say Mystic but thats my view. 8)

I agree, envy's gonna be just as dangerous as greed in the long run because it could lead to one exploiter being exchanged for another - it's inequality of property that's the killer. So long as we're fighting for the obliteration of the class system and a better future, right's always going to be on our side 8).

3rdseason
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Jan 20 2004 21:17

Yeah some of the "bash the rich" type stuff which used to go on and a very few people are still keen on seemed to me to be the politics of jealousy.

People might think Im a smelly hippy or whatever (I wash v.regularly honest!!) but I think anti-materialism should be integral to anarchist ideas. smile star green black

butchersapron
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Jan 20 2004 22:44

I know you're going to dimsiss this but you've still not grasped what class anlysis is about - and until you do that your criticisms are worthless as you're attacking an argument no fucker is putting forward.

I note also that sheer working class rage is dismissed as jealousy or envy whilst middle class anger is asumed to be informed and targeted correctly.

It's fucking pathetic it really is - but it also explains a lot.

3rdseason
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Jan 20 2004 22:56
butchersapron wrote:
I know you're going to dimsiss this but you've still not grasped what class anlysis is about - and until you do that your criticisms are worthless as you're attacking an argument no fucker is putting forward.

I never said anyone was putting forward that argument. roll eyes I was just making a statement about my views. I never said I was arguing against anyone else.

Quote:
I note also that sheer working class rage is dismissed as jealousy or envy whilst middle class anger is asumed to be informed and targeted correctly.

No middle class feelings of animosity against working class are just as much bullshit if not moreso. If you had taken time to read my above post clearly you would have known I think that.

Oh and in reply to "Brizzul", no I dont think people should have an advantage over others. Im all for people having food and shelter etc. I just dont think having lots of material posessions makes u happy thats all neutral Sorry if you dont understand that but in my opinion the anarchist revolution isnt about everyone getting their own swimming pool, home cinema and ferrari. This view is partially linked to the fact Im sceptical about technology (not anti-technology) and ideally wouldnt want large scale industry.

PS - I also dont claim to be a spokesman for green anarchists or anything. I just talk for myself smile

butchersapron
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Jan 20 2004 23:12

No, you were agreeing with another poster who'd put forward a crap argument based on a misunderstanding of the case argued by anarchists who put forward a class-analysis position. So i feel quite within my rights to call you on it, esp after your earlier 'misunderstanding'.

Now, if you'e serious about wanting to dismiss or critique the case put forward by anarchists who adopt a class struggle position (and nothing you have written convinces me that you do) then you have to take their arguments seriously - and by that i mean, understand them and do the essential work - not just go " oh all that class crap again".

It's up to you if you want a serious debate about class and how it relates to the anarchist 'movement' or not. If you don't then please say so and we'll both save some time.

brizzul
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Jan 21 2004 00:42
3rdseason wrote:
Yeah some of the "bash the rich" type stuff which used to go on and a very few people are still keen on seemed to me to be the politics of jealousy.

You what? Wake up! They are only rich because they've robbed us blind for a thousand years. I thought you greens took the class war as a given. You think it is a natural state for some to be born with privilege and others not?

3rdseason wrote:
People might think Im a smelly hippy or whatever (I wash v.regularly honest!!) but I think anti-materialism should be integral to anarchist ideas. smile star green black

What anti-materialism like being against food, transport, shelter?

3rdseason
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Jan 21 2004 02:27
butchersapron wrote:
No, you were agreeing with another poster who'd put forward a crap argument based on a misunderstanding of the case argued by anarchists who put forward a class-analysis position.

Yeah a crap argument in your subjective opinion. You have one hell of an axe to grind eek

Quote:
Now, if you'e serious about wanting to dismiss or critique the case put forward by anarchists who adopt a class struggle position (and nothing you have written convinces me that you do)

Um so just cos you don't like what I say you think Im not seriously debating? Believe me if I didnt actually believe what I was saying I could find far better ways of winding people up than debating anarchist theory on the enrager forums.

Quote:
understand them and do the essential work - not just go " oh all that class crap again".

Yeah well I have debated this a lot and people dont seem to change their mind very often but I am up for it. I admitted I was in a bad mood when I posted the other day but Im not gonna apologise.. I explained I was annoyed and everyone gets like that sometimes.

Quote:
It's up to you if you want a serious debate about class and how it relates to the anarchist 'movement' or not. If you don't then please say so and we'll both save some time.

I actually resent that. Why the fuck would I be here if I didnt want to debate? Just for fun??! confused Please give me a little respect even if you dont like what I have to say. Explain a class analysis to me in simple terms and I'll honesty tell you what I think..

random
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Jan 21 2004 12:48

Jealousy? JEALOUSY?

Ok, yeh, I admit it, Im jealous. Why shouldnt I be?

The difference between the lower classes and the middle classes is vast, much bigger than the divide between them and upper. I'm afraid this is something I put on another board, but I cant be arsed to write it again so heres a cutnpaste:

we rent. our landlords treat us like scum and when things break they are left to rot more often than they are fixed. if you live in a block of flats its is highly likely that there is no working lift, and that the hallway stinks of piss. there is nowhere for the youths to go, we cannot afford gym memberships, golf, meals out, etc. working class families cannot afford widescreen tvs, hi spec pcs, the various kitchen equipment you never use, the myriad of cable channels you never watch. most of our furniture belongs to the landlord, or is an odd assortment of second hand stuff from wherever we can find it, we will rarely get the opportunity to buy a brand new mattress. we do not redecorate even once every ten years, or redo the kitchen or bathroom EVER. we do not drive, or we have old bust up vehicles third hand. our clothes are from budget shops, we would not consider spending over £50 on a pair of jeans or shoes. the way we shop is entirely different to you, on the high street or in the supermarket. we check out EVERYTHING, we see if we can find it cheaper elsewhere and we are proud when we get a bargain. we check our change. if we dont work, we are considered to be scroungers. if we do, we are treated like scum. we rarely take any holidays, if we do they are likely to be to stay with friends. it is highly unlikely we will be taking many trips abroad.

i could go on and on pointing out the things we do not have that seem to be the 'absolute basics' for a middle class family. however its all material, isnt it?

but opportunity isnt. middle class kids have the opportunity to do their a levels without having to work, pay rent, whatever. they can have extra tutoring, access to the web at home, whatever books etc they need. they have extra curriculur opportunities too, music and holidays and many other things that our families cannot afford. they have driving licenses, and often they have cars too. they have years out to travel and see the world, and money to buy tickets. they have credit for any times they are short. they have nice clothes to wear to interviews, and nice accents for bosses to admire. they can easily raise start up capital if they have an idea for a business, and they have support if they choose university. all of these opportunities....

if you think i hate middle class people, you are very wrong. but i do resent this inability to see how much of a good thing you've got. its like you dont see how we live, dont get it at all. you think we're all part of the same gang, but you live in luxury while we live in shit. you may think its not that easy, but trust me, compared to this life it is. do you even understand what is meant by 'hand to mouth'? some guy complained on a different board, "how will i be able to pay into my pension and buy a house while im paying back my student loan?".... Pensions? Owning our own home? Gosh, next you'll be complaining about not being able to afford Private Healthcare...

I think that any argument based on 'we're all the same' is doomed to fail, because we do not live remotely similar lifestyles at all. This was illustrated well in todays news, some middle class village has been issuing attack alarms because a villager was murdered on his doorstep. as horrible as this is, some of us live in areas where this is an everyday occurence, but noone cares at all. i've called the police after an attack and waited FIVE HOURS, on the street, for a response, do you think that wouldve been the case if Id have been in a middle class area??

the worse thing about being us is the worthlessness. our employers, our government, does not consider us worthy enough to pay a living wage to us, or to listen and respond to our difficulties. when something is wrong for us, we're told we did it to ourselves, rather than it being the position society has abandoned us in.

im sorry this has been such a long rant, but i cant understand these arguments that we are all the same. please dont be so blind. i know this whole speech has been generalising, but you cant generalise more than saying 'we're all the same really' so i felt i had a free hand...

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Its not that I want what they have. Im jealous that they have the opportunity to do so much, and yet so often its taken for granted and they do NOTHING. Whats worse than seeing someone with so many opportunities squander them and become this utterly straight unthinking suit? They are in the position where they can make a difference, and I mostly feel like I'm not, because noone listens to the poor. How can we not resent these people who look at us as if we did this to ourselves, the reason we're skint is because we have no talent, no intelligence, no ambition?

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pingtiao
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Jan 21 2004 14:27

Moving, and well written.

Fucking good post there mate.

To clarify: you aren't the same Random as on U75, are you?

AlexA
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Jan 21 2004 14:30

(no she ain't)

random
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Jan 21 2004 15:37

no, whats U75?

Mystic
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Jan 21 2004 17:26

random,

I wasn't saying that we were all the same, I was arguing that sameness was what we should be aiming for. As far as I'm concerned there's enough to go round for us all to live a comfortable, "middle class" existence, but characterising it as "middle class" is defining it as some kind of privilege what should be a universal right.

I'm well aware that I've lived a privileged childhood in many respects. But I've had friends who've committed suicide, and I know many, many more middle class boys and girls who've attempted it and walk around all day with wounds on their wrists and live lives of stagnation and laziness despite their obvious privileges. In fact, in Scandinavia, supposedly the most "privileged" place in the world, the suicide rate is higher than the murder rate in Africa. Meanwhile, the number who live with and off their parents grows every day. You're right, the middle class has a much, much better time of it, and I can understand railing at them for failing to realise just how well they have it. But life isn't just about how materially well off you are, and happiness can be derived from simple pleasures much more satisfactorily than from corporate-stamped lifestyle products.

As far as I'm concerned, every kind of hierarchy should be abolished. Wanting to step up from one rung to the next, however far that is and whatever benefits it may bring, might seem to achieve the same goal, but for me (and, as ever, I am just stating my opinion), anarchism is about changing the world along the lines of human nature and happiness. I know it's hard to talk about this when so many people feel like they're living in a kind of hell, but we need to look at what's put us there, and get rid of it.

I'm not saying that there's anything intrinsically wrong with being jealous when exploitation and the greed of others has put you there in the first place, and their satisfaction and apathy is keeping you there. But it's a dangerous force, because it's one that's based on structure and difference, the exact things we're trying to get rid of.

Ah, I'm probably sounding like a privileged arse. But I don't mean to.

brizzul
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Jan 21 2004 20:22

This thread is utter shite. If you consider yourself so privileged get off this site. If you live off benefits, wages or a partners wages or benefits welcome but leave the middle class evangelising guilt at the door. If you live off rent paid by other people, you hire workers to make you money or live off shares, trust funds or whatever just piss off and leave us alone. It's distracting. Anyone coming to this board will think we're a shambles

GenerationDecay
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Jan 22 2004 02:53
Quote:
As far as I'm concerned, every kind of hierarchy should be abolished. Wanting to step up from one rung to the next, however far that is and whatever benefits it may bring, might seem to achieve the same goal, but for me (and, as ever, I am just stating my opinion), anarchism is about changing the world along the lines of human nature and happiness.

If you can explain exactly how a class analysis is separate from this goal, and why you think its about stepping up from one rung to the next, please do, it may help the rest of us understand your misconceptions and ignorance about class analysis a little better and help us debate with you accordingly.

Mystic
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Jan 22 2004 13:41
brizzul wrote:
This thread is utter shite. If you consider yourself so privileged get off this site. If you live off benefits, wages or a partners wages or benefits welcome but leave the middle class evangelising guilt at the door. If you live off rent paid by other people, you hire workers to make you money or live off shares, trust funds or whatever just piss off and leave us alone. It's distracting. Anyone coming to this board will think we're a shambles

I came here because I want to change the world for the better (the reason I guess we're all here), and this kind of class attack was exactly the kind of self-defeating I was talking about. For your information (if you want to hear my story), I'm a door-to-door salesman right now as I'm trying to work my way through uni because my parents can't afford to support me because the endowment mortgage screw-up has left us tens of thousands in debt. I may be "middle-class," but I've never been on holiday, no I don't have cable TV, and I got stabbed last year on my own doorstep and had my summer's cash wages taken in the process. Just because I don't live in an inner city housing estate doesn't mean that I live a perfectly charmed life, though I'm aware that I have been fortunate in many ways (particularly in getting a grammar school education).

I don't think there's anything wrong with class analysis, I think there's something wrong with using class war to pursue revolution, especially because I don't believe that material existence is the right way to happiness. That's surely why so many anarchist theorists seem to shed normal socialist traditions of class in favour of analysing class in terms of the working class and the exploiting class. A revolution based around tenancy of private property is going to be innately flawed in Britain, where we have one of the highest rates of home ownership and the lowest rates of tenancy in the world. Landlords treat their tenants appallingly and deserve everything coming to them, but the tenants can never find the majority voice if they structure their revolution accordingly, because it's a problem that the majority of people don't face (and I speak as someone who is a tenant).

3rdseason
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Jan 22 2004 15:54

Random I do get what you are saying about rent and having less money, not being able to travel etc. I would say however that a few of the things you mentioned aren't exactly basics. I mean surely the revolution isnt about everyone getting their very own expensive car, widescreen TV, hi-spec PC, dish washer, golf clubs, gym membership etc ?!? Do you think those things make people truly happy anyway?

Also, a serious question to you and anyone really.. should a young person from a middle class background campaign around issues which concern his/her middle class peers or should he/she ignore those issues in favour of working class issues?? If a middle class person campaigns about working class issues isnt that a little patronising?

circle A

AlexA
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Jan 22 2004 16:58

Er Mystic I really think you're being too defensive - what brizzul actually said was:

"If you live off benefits, wages or a partners wages or benefits welcome but leave the middle class evangelising guilt at the door. If you live off rent paid by other people, you hire workers to make you money or live off shares, trust funds or whatever just piss off and leave us alone."

i.e. if you're a worker, cool but quit the guilt-trip, if you're a capitalist fuck off!

smile

3rdseason
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Jan 22 2004 19:17
Quote:
leave the middle class evangelising guilt at the door

Can someone define what is mean by that for me please? I dont understand.. confused

captainmission
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Jan 26 2004 17:32
butchersapron wrote:
I've been through all the DAs and there is nothing - and ffs if this was true some of us who'd been about for a while would either have read or heard about this - i haven't and no-one i know has either.

I suggest a nice withdrawl of the claim.

ok since i can't back it up i'll withdraw the claim

gd

Quote:
Also, the clearest indicator that sexism and racism are class issues is that, once you recognise that the biggest problem in society is the ruling class, any overt racist and sexist ideas pretty much disappear, where as people who aren't conscious of that fact are much more prone to such ideas. Whereas, if you see patriarchy as the biggest problem you could still logically be racist and anti-revolution, and if you see racism as the biggest problem you could still logically be sexist and anti-revolution.

...as you could be anti-ruling class and sexist and racist, like some authoritarain socialist groups (and if we're talking about stalinists and trots i'd add repressed and psycho-sexually squalid). I don't find it that hard to envision a capitalist society that lacks racism and the 'overt' elements of sexism (though unpaid domestic work is maybe essential to capitalism). Look, i'm not intested in arguing what the 'first principal' of power is or whatever. But I don't buy this infrastructure/superstruce idea of other forms of power 'pretty much disappear[ing]' with the end of capitalism. Even if i was to except such ideas i'd be more inclided to think unpaid women's work, child rearing etc, basically patirachy, is the base which capitalism builds on. What i'm against is power. If people want to used the term 'class' to encompass all forms of power then I guess can.

knightrose
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Jan 26 2004 19:12
captainmission wrote:
gd

...as you could be anti-ruling class and sexist and racist, like some authoritarain socialist groups (and if we're talking about stalinists and trots i'd add repressed and psycho-sexually squalid).

Surely, though, those people might be against the current ruling class, but they are not against ruling classes, neither are they against the continuation of capitalist relations of wage labour and buying and selling.

Quote:

I don't find it that hard to envision a capitalist society that lacks racism and the 'overt' elements of sexism (though unpaid domestic work is maybe essential to capitalism).

Maybe not difficult to imagine, but new ways of dividing us would soon appear. Capitalism relies on them, doesn't it?

Quote:

Look, i'm not intested in arguing what the 'first principal' of power is or whatever. But I don't buy this infrastructure/superstruce idea of other forms of power 'pretty much disappear[ing]' with the end of capitalism. Even if i was to except such ideas i'd be more inclided to think unpaid women's work, child rearing etc, basically patirachy, is the base which capitalism builds on. What i'm against is power. If people want to used the term 'class' to encompass all forms of power then I guess can.

Well, I would say that capitalism bases itself on social relations of commodity production and alienated labour. Patriachy existed long before capitalism. Capitalsim finds patriachy very convenient and in effect the two are intertwined, aren't they?

I guess I would say that an anti-capitalist movement that fails to fight patriachy will never change anything! Equally an anti-sexism movement that doesn't recognise the need to get rid of all forms of labour for others will fail too.