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questions bout middle class-ness

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3rdseason
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Joined: 19-09-03
Jan 26 2004 20:26
3rdseason wrote:

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

Nobody answered this question I asked. I want to know what you people think.

knightrose
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Jan 26 2004 21:31

I'm sorry, but I think the fact that the question needs answering shows just how unrealistic the whole attempt to split people up into 6 or so classes was in the first place.

we should all campaign around the issues that affect us the most. Then we'll find out that the differences between most "working class" people and most "lower middle class" people are not very important.

The real issue about class is control over the means of life.

BlackEconomyBooks
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Feb 7 2004 18:33

You'll know what class you are when the revolution comes and your hanging from a lampost.

No war but the class war.

brizzul
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Feb 8 2004 01:25

I can't see why anyone with any power or money would be interested in anarchism. People on this board I wouldn't want to see anything bad happen to them even those wracked with guilt.

Give the *bosses* the rise they deserve!

3rdseason
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Feb 11 2004 15:13
brizzul wrote:
I can't see why anyone with any power or money would be interested in anarchism.

Um maybe because they're not a selfish bastard. Its perfectly possible for someone with wealth and power to be into anarchy because they actually care about other people.

Anways if all you understand anarchy to be is a new economic system then thats a bit sad.

AlexA
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Feb 11 2004 16:02
3rdseason wrote:
Anways if all you understand anarchy to be is a new economic system then thats a bit sad.

What's that supposed to mean confused

Quote:
brizzul wrote:
I can't see why anyone with any power or money would be interested in anarchism.

Um maybe because they're not a selfish bastard. Its perfectly possible for someone with wealth and power to be into anarchy because they actually care about other people.

Uh then why aren't there any rich anarchists?

There are loads of rich people who give to charity... but I don't see how a rich anarchist could stay rich for long...

3rdseason
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Feb 11 2004 17:25
alexa wrote:
3rdseason wrote:
Anways if all you understand anarchy to be is a new economic system then thats a bit sad.

What's that supposed to mean confused

It means that anarchy is about the replacement of hierarchy with anarchy. This extends way beyond economics.

You could redistribute all wealth and have equality of resources and still have lots of predjudice and authorative ideas.

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JoeMaguire
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Feb 13 2004 13:58
knightrose wrote:

The real issue about class is control over the means of life.

Does the issue of 'wealth' not make an appearance? Because Im very confused about those who provide a service (ie have no control over the means of life, just good access to capital) but are quite wealthy.

AlexA
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Feb 13 2004 15:35
3rdseason wrote:
It means that anarchy is about the replacement of hierarchy with anarchy. This extends way beyond economics.

You could redistribute all wealth and have equality of resources and still have lots of predjudice and authorative ideas.

But where are the anarchists who think that there should still be hierarchy, just economic equality?

Cos I've never met one (and it would be a contradiction in terms...)

3rdseason
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Feb 13 2004 16:06
alexa wrote:
3rdseason wrote:
It means that anarchy is about the replacement of hierarchy with anarchy. This extends way beyond economics.

You could redistribute all wealth and have equality of resources and still have lots of predjudice and authorative ideas.

But where are the anarchists who think that there should still be hierarchy, just economic equality?

Cos I've never met one (and it would be a contradiction in terms...)

yeah blatantly

star green black

Kalashnikov_Blues
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Feb 14 2004 05:00

Mildly drunk and have been away awhile...

Can't be assed to troll through 7 pages of this at the moment, so I'm probably saying something thats been said before, but I'll say it anyway.

I HATE class arguements!!!!

Not because I dont think that they have a place, but rather becase it really drags the class out of you.

I think class in based on your background.

You could earn millions a year, but so long as you remember the xmas's without food, you are grounded.

I think of myself as working class, my parents were and I defiently am. I grind the wheel all day long for a pitance.

I have met many people who think that they are working class and understand (read sympathize) with my plight, like fuck they do!

Sure, sure, I have a computer, so obviously (or so say you) I aint tha skint, but I saved for this.

And No fucker with a degree that I couldnt in a million years afford to get can sit back and pretend to understand what living without heat for the winter is like.

when you start to really break down the nitty gritty and check the ins and outs of class and where you get your politics and whatnots, you tend to find the sympathizors crawling outta the wood work. Some posh fucker sitting there reading politico books still looks down on you cuz either you cant afford the book or cuz its not as philisophical as he'd like.

And yeah, maybe that is my own internal class inferiority complex coming into action being intimidated (i know, crazy huh?) by some gay ass accent, but none the less, I find it hard to take certain types seriously when they start talking revolution/bollocks and smash the state.

Maybe after a few have managed to smash their own ingrained thought process's (my own included) I'll look at people differently, but I think Class is alive and Sick in our world today, Anarcho scene or otherwise.

And Fuck the Lot!

Class is based in your background not where you are or where your goin. End of!!!!

Sorry... this does really annoy me.... I do wish I'd stumbled upon this post earlier in. Though I'd have said the same then... none the less. red n black star

meanoldman
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Feb 18 2004 11:04
Quote:
And No fucker with a degree that I couldnt in a million years afford to get can sit back and pretend to understand what living without heat for the winter is like.

What if they've lived without heat for a winter?

Quote:
You could earn millions a year, but so long as you remember the xmas's without food, you are grounded.

Aren't you contradicting yourself here? You say that anyone with a degree could never understand having no heating for a winter and then go and say that you can be a millionaire and still be 'grounded' if you can remember being hungry.

Quote:
I think class in based on your background.

I don't buy this. My childhood was working class but I'm at Cambridge Uni now and there's no way I could say I'm working class with a straight face. If I wanted to I could go and work in the city and earn shitloads without and great difficultly, I don't reckon that it's possible to square that with being working class.

Kalashnikov_Blues
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Feb 18 2004 12:24
Quote:
Quote:

And No fucker with a degree that I couldnt in a million years afford to get can sit back and pretend to understand what living without heat for the winter is like.

What if they've lived without heat for a winter?

Point taken. However, I wasn't very clear in the first place. I shouldn't have used the word degree I was more using it to imply well off from the get go. I have (as I'm sure many have) met nice enough folks who are under the misconception that they can empathize with various other peoples plights. Whether that be some rich person with a homeless person or some city based anarcho type pretending to understand the plight of South American rebels.

Either way it doesnt wash. So yeah, I shouldn't have said degree in that context.

And as for being grounded... there again is a big difference. Grounding as in being able to put your realities in perspective and not acting like a total disassociated wanker. There are plenty of rich kids (and I can't say I have come across many within the anacho world) who live in dream worlds with parents that do buy them anything to make up for being shit parents, that leads to distorted realities (and actually I know of a fair few squatters in the states who would drive to thier squats in BMWs, or choose to stay in a squat rather then the nice warehouse apartment thier parents bought them in Union Sq, which is assinine, esp when they start whinging about no hot water..?). Grounding and having a reality isn't quite a free pass to working class creds. But it certainly puts you in a better position to apperciate and in turn comment on.

Class is based on background (obviously in my opinion) as those backgrounds and expiriances are what make you who you are and help you to formulate views and opinions of the world.

So it follows that if you come from a (fill in the blank) back ground your views and opinions will be from that point of view. Like it or not.

It leaves you with a distinct disadvantage when it comes to apperciating other points of view.

Myself included. I'll happily admit to my own fucked up preconceptions and bias' within this whole debate.

But at the end of the day a kid with rich parents has a safety net... where's mine? confused

Sorry.
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Feb 20 2004 16:20

So where exactly does the line where you get to be taken seriously as an anarchist come in?

Is there an objective poverty level where you're entitled to turn round and say that the system is shit?

Don't you think that in world terms, some of the people telling us they've known true poverty and that they are the only true anarchists would get laughed at by a Sudanese refugee or a Bolivian campesino. If poverty is your measure then most of the rest of the world is calling us all privileged arseholes.

I hate capitalism not because of some obscure notion of empathy, but because I resent the 45 years of wage slavery to make some workshy rich bastard even richer than he is now, because I live in a state that constantly tells me what I should think, do, consume, exist as.

Anarchism is not an attack on anyone doing better than average - it's an attack on the people who make, enforce and support the rules that impoverish and degrade people.

For fuck's sake, I am not the enemy - I'm not a boss, a manager, an owner, a politician, a priest, a tory, a voter or a bureaucrat.

Do I know what it's like to poor? No. I don't claim to.

Do I know that the system as is, fucks most people over? Yes. Why on Earth should pretend otherwise or support it?

AlexA
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Feb 21 2004 12:31

exactly smile

Kalashnikov_Blues
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Feb 21 2004 23:07

Well, yeah... I can't agrue you on a single point there. well put.

however it wasn't (or didn't seem to be) a debate on anarchy and the financial critiea of Anarchists.... at least I wasn't approaching it as such. I thought it was a debate on Middle Class.

At the end of the day it's all down to personal preferances and views. Those are mine and while I not only wholeheartedly agree with everything you said, I also think that there are exceptions to my rules. And I try to accept EVERYONE based upon how they present themselves to me and ignore all other personal "prejudices" I may have.

Thats is the best way I can deal with the world I live in, taking it piece by piece and slotting them all into place when the shape becomes apparent, not before.

I'm not above saying I'm mistaken, I often am, I'm, we're all, always learning.

And a few of the things I said reflect directly on personal and shared expiriances I have had, not nessarcarily with the same person/people. and not everything I implied has happened to me directly.

I have however been directly effected by everything I mentioned and more.

I have housed those who couldn't afford to eat let alone feed thier children.

I have been friends with people who were just happy to have a warm kitchen with gas to sit in.

I know how these things directly affect people and THAT is what pisses me off when some twat carries thier banner for a summer while he's got a break from Uni.

That insults my expiriances, my friends and my families.

Thats where I'm comin from.

And to be honest, I'm not all that interested in showing anyone my Anarcho card and proving my worth. I am who I am, and will always fight for my right to be who I am as well as your right to be who you are, and I think thats enough to call myself an anarchist.

Cool? 8)

brizzul
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Feb 22 2004 02:01

Sorry.:

>Is there an objective poverty level where you're entitled to turn round >and say that the system is shit?

If your life is proletarianised (ie, you work or are unemployed and have no power or a worker supports you) you are entitled to say what you like to me and I will listen (within reason and this thread is pushing it). Actual wages mean nothing.

A class A printer may earn £500 a *week* but only because of 200 years of guild unionism. He/she is proletarianised because he will work shifts and his life revolves around unnatural systems that suit capitalists.

A call center advisor is proletarianised because he/she performs idiot actions controlled by machines. An advisor earns about £175 a week.

It's not about the money and neither of the above have very much privilege.

Sorry.grinon't you think that in world terms, some of the people telling us >they've known true poverty and that they are the only true anarchists >would get laughed at by a Sudanese refugee or a Bolivian campesino. If >poverty is your measure then most of the rest of the world is calling us >all privileged arseholes.

If the global south overthrow the state tomorrow and we don't they will be fucked. If we overthrow the state tomorrow and they don't we will be fucked. We both do it together we all win. They need us, we need them. They know this it's only our society that doesn't.

Sorry.:I hate capitalism not because of some obscure notion of empathy, >but because I resent the 45 years of wage slavery to make some >workshy rich bastard even richer than he is now, because I live in a >state that constantly tells me what I should think, do, consume, exist as.

So do I. So what are we arguing about?

AlexA
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Feb 22 2004 02:04

brizzul i think Sorry was arguing with Kalashnekov - not you!

Kalashnikov_Blues
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Feb 22 2004 11:16

grin

Augusto_Sandino
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Feb 23 2004 15:35

I would say that in a time when the anarhcist movement has died a death, it isnt right to turn people away becuase theyre a bit middle class. And also, theres always someone worse off, and the state uses that agaisnt you. When they show the poorest on TV and in the newspaper, they are the underclass. Alot are longterm unemployed, so how can they be working class? The state then goes and says your hypocritical for wanting change, becuase were all middle class now. Well we arent. Were working class, weve just forgotten our identity. No one walks around in a flat cap and overalls anymore, class lines arent as clear cut.

But nothing in class hierachy terms has changed, the workers still do the work, the bosses still take the cash. The systems the same underneath, just with a new face. We all know that the gap between richest and poorest has skyrocketed since thatcher, but somehow this represents class dealignment?

knightrose
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Feb 23 2004 19:36

I've been following this thread for a while, began to wonder what was going on and trying to think of what to say.

It seems different people are meaning different things by class. Right at the beginning there was a quite unrealistic attempt to define class by terms of how much you earn. Using those standards I've just dropped down a class because my partner has lost her job! When she gets another one, then I'll go back up the heirachy again.

Some contributors seem to have been in the "I'm more working class than you ... " mode, which it is very hard to argue with, as I don't know what to say to them.

Class does mean different things to different people. Is it where you live? Who your parents were/are? Is it the job you do? Is it how far you go up the education ladder? It seems to mean all of these during these discussions.

I started out a marxist eek , (the SPGB sort). They were very clear that class was all about the ownership of the means of production. If you owned some part of it, either legally as an individual, or collectively as someone high in the state apparatus, then you obtained your income from the surplus value extracted from the working class - all those who do not own or control said means of production. To them, the question of being middle class is a myth. It is part of capitalism's control system - make some feel better than others, get them involved in the organisation of capital, help extract surplus value more efficiently for the ruling class.

I question whether ownership is really very important. A lot of capital is actually owned by charities, banks, pension funds etc. These are in reality controlled by a very small section of the population who draw enormous "salaries" and "bonuses" from their control over these institutions. this is similar to the way the state used to own capirtal in the old Soviet bloc.

There is equally a signifgicant middle class made up of those who run capitalism for the owners. They have little real property but do derive their income from the exploitation of surplus value. These are the directors of many companies - earning a lot more than the £50,000 mentioned in the original posting!

By capitalist sociological methods, most anarchists I know would be called middle class. However, I don't know any who live off the exploitation of workers.

Going back to Marx, and why not? His economics were pretty good and so was his understanding of class consciousness. He talked about the working class having two possible forms. One is as a category created by capital - a class existing in itself. This is where we are at today. Isolated, fragmented, divided. We follow the whims of the marketing men and advertisers, working hard for less than we collectively produce, with no collective understanding of our position or how to change it. The other working class is the class fighting for its own intertests - the class for itself. This is usually only seen during periods of social upheaval, which we are not in at the moment.

For the class in itself, then the attempts to define class by income or school or university makes some sense - but only sense to the ruling class who use them as ways to keep us divided. The class for itself would get rid of the divisions by getting rid of their cause, and hence the inequalities.

Most of the discussions on this thread have been about how we see ourselves as victims of capital, not about building the community of resistance to fight it.

Anyway, nuff for now. Mr. T

Dhr! Teeson
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Feb 23 2004 23:55

knight rose knows

which way the wind blows.

Peaks wisdom!

sorted reply!

Ta

murat
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Feb 24 2004 16:25
knightrose wrote:
By capitalist sociological methods, most anarchists I know would be called middle class. However, I don't know any who live off the exploitation of workers.

I consider modern chamber-democratic western capitalism to encourage and facilitate exploitation

1. between its economic and political elite and all underneath it

2. between its citizens

3. between citizens of the North and citizens of the South.

In some senses mod liberal democracy capitalism succeeds by allowing all within the a given state to be culpable, to be part of the system.

It renders acts of total rejection in the West, eg the Walden route living without money in self-built homes, impossible.

Credit unions are initiated with an initial mass of capital.

The Co-operative bank invests for "the sake of its members" and its top-heavy pay systems.

Large trade unions have purchased stocks and shares of firms.

All individuals become a party to capitalistic consumption and are all within it. Just about anyone who has ever purchased (thus inserted capital) into a firm that uses South producers and keeps profit for it itself- has "exploited workers".

Whether I was a lorry-loader for an employment agency in a

Or whether I was a student (Just from my life story...)

I was and remain a part of a system that is difficult to describe but is certainly a present-consumption privileging capitalo-racio-patriarchy that leaves the mass unable to effectively challenge it.

Now how about this from Adam Smith

his Lectures on Jurisprudence:

"The government and laws tell them [the poor] thy must either continue poor or acquire wealth in similar manner as they [the rich] have done..."

Having explained this it breaks my heart when left groups including SWP WRP afford salaries to their executive members above that of the minimum wage.

I would suggest individuals redistribute any excess wealth they have.

But this is my personal judgement.

PS never let it be accepted that Smith supported modern-day capitalism

Read the last pages of Theory of moral sentiments.

capitalist wealth-creation is irreconcilible with happiness.

Augusto_Sandino
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Feb 25 2004 10:37

I always liked the IPA method for class. Its used by advertising agencies but lots of big state institutions use it too. It goes;

A - Head managers, company bosses, judges, politicians etc.

B - Lawyers, area managers, doctors, lecturers etc.

C1 - Skilled manual workers.

C2 - Semi-Skilled manual workers.

D - Unskilled workers.

E - Long term unemployed.

Approximately anyway, i dont have it to hand. According to this i am a C1. With C1 to E being the working class.

And as for people being upwardly mobile, George Orwell complained about the UKs "Bourgoise Proletariat" in the late thirties, and he also described that most unskilled workers preffered things to "stay the same" as opposed to radical socialist change. so perhaps the golden age of class stratification and labour militancy wasnt as golden as is often made out.

knightrose
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Feb 26 2004 12:48
Quote:
the ipa model isa lot of bollox it focuses on manual versus intelectual jobs, but this is an artificial division, what about call centre staff are they not working class? orwhat about aself employed builder with a few workers is he working class just cos he engages in manual work as well? what about civil servants on 13,000 a year are they middle class?

Weird. I was just about to sit down a write the same thing! The list of white collar jobs that don't fit into the categories is immense.

Perhaps another way for this discussion to go is to look at what the effect of the job you do is on your likelihood to become interested in revolutionary politics. And to ask why some white collar jobs seem to predispose people to authoritarian politics.

Augusto_Sandino
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Feb 26 2004 13:49

I dont know, im only 17! So what do you suggest? My manager at work tells me what to do all the time, and doesent do any work himself. He isnt middle class, he's probably more working class than me. I think the vast majority of people are working class, all my friends are what i'd call working class, even the ones with middle class aspirations. Perhaps Marx's Proletariat and Bourgoise model wasnt to simplified after all?

knightrose
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Feb 26 2004 22:30

I don't think Marx's model was too simplified. The problem with Marx is more to do with the political efforts he and his followers made. Not, in all honesty that he was much worse than Bakunin, but heis political methods offer little, his economic insights are a useful starting point but only if we bear in mind that he died in the 1880s and things have moved on just a little since then! smile

There's a really good pamphlet called A Contribution to the Critique of Marx, written by Solidarity in the 1970s at http://www.af-north.org/marx_critique.htm

Augusto_Sandino
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Feb 27 2004 14:11

Well when you think about it, the biggest disagreement between Marx and Bakunin was the dictatorship of the proletariat thing. Marx expected that communism would eventually be anarchist, it just wasnt his main target like Bakunin. The bourgoise and proletariat model seems ok because it makes most people proletarians, which i think they are. Only those at the very top are the bourgoise.