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What if my Grandparents were working class, But my parents (esp. my Mum) have become middle class?

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deerbusker's picture
deerbusker
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Jan 21 2011 19:13

admin: fourth off topic post deleted, user banned.

crwydryny
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Jan 23 2011 10:39
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My grandparents were working class teaching assistant, railway workers and factory workers. But my dad (through amazing luck and hard work,) has got a job for a massive coporation and earns enough for my mum not to work and for the family to take several holidays a year (untill a couple of years ago) and live in comfort. I know this isn't right, but when i argue that we should be giving alot more to charity, the homeless and (to laughs from my parents) the AF, they say that they "donate time", this seems simply a way of avoiding parting with there money. Can i be an Anarchist without being a hypocrite?

the only way this would make you a hypocrite is if you yourself got such a job and refused to donate while telling others they should.

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Steven.
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Jan 30 2011 19:18
Chilli Sauce wrote:
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If it's in a bank, it is invested as capital to make more money from the exploitation of workers. Where do you think interest comes from?

Well that would make us all capitalists then, wouldn't it?

!?!

No, not in the slightest, not unless you could live solely from the profits! Come on, look at the definition of working class you posted above. People who have to sell their labour to survive.

If you want to classify individuals into classes (which as I keep repeating is a politically useless task), then what are your definitions for capitalists and workers?

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Sure, it then gets invested in markets, but it's not the same investing one's lottery winnings into a controlling stake in a particular company or even attempting to "play the market" by making large investments in stock.

what is the qualitative difference then? Is capitalism only capitalism when it is individuals with top hats running companies, and not bodies like banks, hedge funds, pension funds etc?

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what is the qualitatively different role then? We all work for capital everyday.

Well, I guess the qualitatively different role is not that we all work for capital, but whether one manages other workers in the interests of capital.

what does manage other workers mean though? I have been a "line manager" in the past (for a few months), what it basically meant was I had to train new members of staff in procedures. Any meaningful decisions around staffing, disciplinary, anything were made well over my head. Similarly, my line manager has no real power. She doesn't manage me in the interests of capital. Sure, if I stopped turning up or just sat there singing or something she would be the person to have to write a disciplinary report, but someone above her, or HR would be the one to make the decision about it. In fact, in many large organisations HR is the body which actually decides most of this stuff, although the actual HR advisers don't have any power themselves, but they tell the managers what to do.

Other people like admin workers have to monitor the attendance of other workers, in terms of tardiness etc. Does this mean that they are "managing other workers in the interests of capital"?

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Where do you draw the line, Steven? Let's use the Starbucks example again. Should store managers be allowed to join a revolutionary organization that has a presence in Sbux? How about regional managers? Are we only not organizing the CEO?

on one level, this is a different discussion. This isn't about who is what class, you are talking about who should be allowed to be a member of a revolutionary organisation.

In terms of Starbucks, I don't see why managers shouldn't be allowed to join, as long as they obeyed the rules of the organisation, and as long as other members of the organisation weren't compromised, for example that managers would be excluded from discussions of workers which needed to be confidential, for example.

In the union at my work lots of managers are members. We exclude them from meetings when we are discussing them, but include them when discussion issues which affect us all like national pay, pensions, etc and we strike with them. What is wrong with this?

If my line manager wanted to join the Anarchist Federation, that would be great!

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, but really I just think the statement that "sweat shop managers are members of the working class" draws a very simplistic notion of the role of hierarchy and management in the structure of capitalism and the existence of class domination, exploitation, and control.

how does it draw a "simplistic notion" of the role of hierarchy etc?

Well, I don't think it effectively differentiates between interests particular groups of employees may have in relation to others and to capital.

there are millions of slightly different interests and relations which other groups of employees have in relation to others or to capital. For example, security guards, till workers, hospital workers who have to check patients insurance, cleaners for arms companies, dole workers, prison doctors… You can find things that aren't nice, or that are actively anti-working class in those professions. This is why if you try to have rules to classify individuals into classes then you're going to get totally confused.

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Your class definitions were as follows:
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If you sell your labor power, you're a worker. If you own the means of production (or manage workers in the interests of capital, i.e. you have the power to hire/fire or discipline workers) you're on the other side.

Well, as RR already pointed out, I didn't say if one manages workers in the interests they become a capitalist, but as far as I'm concerned they've stepped across the class divide.

what class do you think these people are in then? If you don't think they are capitalists, and you don't think they are working class?

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Regarding the rest of your post, I'm not claiming that this is a flawless system but as revolutionaries (who don't want to just understand the world, but change it) we do need to effectively organize against capitalism. That entails bringing in certain individuals and understanding the role of hierarchy and management in how capital functions. That will inevitably bring us into the realm of individuals.

why? You still haven't actually said what the political importance of classifying individuals is. Unless you think it is purely of interest to who should be allowed to join Solfed or not. And for what it's worth, while you say that you wouldn't want your line manager to join Solfed, I know that at least one long serving member of Solfed was a manager! Do you think they should have been kicked out? Even though the guy I'm aware of in particular that I'm aware of did some great organising work in defending public services? (N.b. I changed my wording here as the person I was talking about had left Solfed without my being aware of it)

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I will also point out, briefly, that the problems with co-ops is that they equate to self-managed capitalism and the co-op workers do form a collective capital. In regards to nannies, do the parents extract a surplus value from the nannies? Well, then they're not capitalist. In all likelihood they are employed (and someone else is making surplus value off them) or that they are self-employed/petit-bourgeois.

I don't get your first point about co-op's. Workers in co-op's do own means of production, and they do have the power to hire, fire and discipline workers. So does that mean workers in them are not working class? Or they are "on the other side"?

With regard to nannies, I think you are misunderstanding the concept of surplus value. Do Council workers or nurses produce surplus value which is extracted from them by capitalist? No. But that doesn't mean that the nature of their work or class society is qualitatively different from work in the private sector. The point remains that two working parents could have a full-time nanny, who they hired and could discipline or fire. Ditto people who have building work done.

On top of that, billions of workers act in other anti-working class ways, for example by potentially being racist, sexist, chauvinist, nationalist, maybe they rob, attack, mug, rape, con other working class people. Does this mean that rapists should be allowed to join Solfed, as long as they aren't a shift supervisor? Of course not. Revolutionary organisations should allow or deny membership to individuals on an individual basis, according to their aims, principles and decision-making mechanisms of the organisation. Class as a tool for revolutionaries is for understanding how the world works, and how we can change it, not for grouping people into "goodies" and "baddies".

Phew. Now onto Ed…

Ed wrote:
Steven. wrote:
I am going to respond to you on this point, but I want to say that I deliberately chose a stupid example to demonstrate the complete futility of using class as a system for the classification of individuals, as opposed to a tool for understanding and changing society. Do you not agree with this? (I would think that you do, considering the article that we are writing together which says exactly that…)

Wow man, I feel like I've been sent for.. this is basically an MC battle now.. Anyway, I'd basically say that I agree with what you wrote above but I take a more nuanced approach to it than you..

ha ha, nice try.

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Steven. wrote:
it seems pretty redundant to say that hardly any "capitalists" these days or individuals who own one individual company. The biggest capitalists are pension funds, investment funds, hedge funds, etc. So talking about your top hat factory owner example is pretty pointless.

Meh, I don't think I was talking about a top-hatted factory owner.. I was more thinking of the Independent Health Food Shop I worked in which was actually ultimately owned by one guy (it's a chain as well, but 'independently owned').. I'd probably agree with you that most people don't work for companies owned by one fat bloke. But I still don't think the amount of people who work in small workplaces/companies that are run/owned by one or a small group of people is so few that mentioning it is ultimately "pointless"..

but do you not think that your working in a health food shop is not what you should base your understanding of capitalism on?

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Steven. wrote:
However, even if we do talk about this silly example, he may recognise that his economic interests lie with his firm being profitable (and, in capitalist society also for his workers being in continued employment and being able to pay their rent/mortgages) and so not talk to them about Solfed, but he could still donate money or whatever to fund organiser drives elsewhere, pay for propaganda or whatever. Like Engels for example. I'm sure Engels didn't invite Marx down to fire up his own staff to strike and revolt, but he still funded Marx's work, which has been one of the most important individual contributions to the working class movement ever.

Yeah, that's cool like, but Engels still can't join Solfed.. tongue Still though, I'm not against revolutionary groups taking money from sympathetic rich people or letting some dude who owns a pharmacy give out leaflets.. but I just don't think they should be allowed to be a member of a revolutionary organisation. Say at my old work I mentioned above, if the owner of company was in Solfed and attacked our wages/conditions, I'd be a bit pissed off come the next local meeting.. now I don't see why a revolutionary group should ignore that behaviour just because no one at that workplace was a member. We don't ignore people's professional lives when they're screws or immigration officers, why does it become different coz they're bosses? Just coz they might pay for some pamphlets?

again, you are talking about membership of revolution organisations, not who is in what class. Your example of your hypothetical small company where the owner and some of the workers are both in Solfed is clearly pretty silly (although of course this actually did occur in the IWW in Brighton!). This hypothetical example is not what we should base our understanding of class on. Of course you wouldn't want someone trying to sack you, say, in your political group. But then you also wouldn't want someone who kept punching you in the face in your group either, even if he was the most working class, strike-prone man in the world. That doesn't mean that people who punch people in the face aren't working-class (in fact, they almost certainly will be wink)

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 30 2011 19:33

That's a bit tl;dr tbh, but on this...

Steven. wrote:
join Solfed or not. And for what it's worth, while you say that you wouldn't want your line manager to join Solfed, I know that other members of Solfed are managers!

Do you think they should be kicked out? Even though one of them in particular that I'm aware of did some great organising work in defending public services?

If you want to know who's eligible to join SolFed, just look at the section of the constitution on who can join SolFed. I'm not aware of any members in breach of that.

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Jan 30 2011 19:56
Steven. wrote:
Class as a tool for revolutionaries is for understanding how the world works, and how we can change it, not for grouping people into "goodies" and "baddies".

I'm reading this on my phone so maybe I missed it, but is anyone arguing this? Chilli seems to be saying you can have the most impeccable communist politics on paper, but certain social roles are in direct contradiction to those politics. That's pretty elementary no? So however sympathetic a boss is to workers struggle, they need to organise against it, ditto union officials and wildcats. Insofar as they do that, they act as agents of capital. It's one thing to have a class analysis that isn't obsessed with classifying individuals, it's quite another to not apply class analysis to concrete social roles by abstracting it to something for understanding "how the world works" in general!

Steven. wrote:
you are talking about membership of revolution organisations, not who is in what class

I agree that's a slightly different, although overlapping discussion. Revolutionary organisations may or may not seek to be revolutionary workers organisations (which I think is assumed by Ed and Chilli), while there are of course a whole range of additional factors that may apply to membership.

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Rob Ray
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Jan 30 2011 21:14
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I don't see why managers shouldn't be allowed to join, as long as they obeyed the rules of the organisation

I suspect there's a bit of a mixup here in the definition of management - the two examples you cited in my view doesn't really equate to management at all, regardless of what the label placed on it by actual managers (ie. the people with the direct power/responsibility to hire, fire and discipline in the interests of capital).

However if you or your colleague actively did report to those managers in such a way as to fuck over your fellow workers, that would put you on the wrong side of the class divide. Of course you wouldn't stop being working class, but I certainly wouldn't make room for you in the canteen and you'd have to work pretty damn hard to make up for it in future.

And the pressure to do so if your role is to report infractions is something that makes someone potentially unsuitable certainly for SolFed (though I agree at that stage it should be very much a case by case thing).

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managers would be excluded from discussions of workers which needed to be confidential, for example.

I've been in this situation with a deputy editor being in the union and it was utterly unworkable - their presence in and of itself diminished the ability of others who were perhaps less bolshy to speak out with problems, let alone to contradict said manager when they were holding forth on what "we" should do. It made the entire setup seem completely bizarre when we talked about a couple of things and then effectively said "we want to bitch about you now, get out."

LBird
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Jan 30 2011 22:24
Rob Ray wrote:
I've been in this situation with a deputy editor being in the union and it was utterly unworkable - their presence in and of itself diminished the ability of others who were perhaps less bolshy to speak out with problems, let alone to contradict said manager when they were holding forth on what "we" should do.

From experience, I don't think that this is necessarily true. It's probably more true of the private sector 'managers', who tend to be completely brain-dead and unable to give a rational argument to defend their position, because they're used to giving orders, being obeyed unquestioningly, and their ego is tied up in it all.

The public sector can be a different kettle of fish. The managers are often much more used to debate about how to carry out a task, and are used to having to justify themselves. It doesn't take much imagination to see how this can spill over into what tasks are useful and why they should be carried out - eg. 'Quality' (sic).

As a senior steward, I had managers in the same union above me in the work environment, but below me in the worker environment. I'll let you guess which took priority.

In a case similar to the one you are talking about, I would have been the one to voice the opinions of those who I knew to have doubts, but uncertain about expressing them in front of a 'manager'.

I'm not saying you are wrong, especially in the case you quote, just that I wouldn't rule out managers from a revolutionary organisation entirely. Many managers are as pissed off with the workplace as workers, and can be influenced by experienced Communists, and I've no doubt this trend will strengthen in the future. They have worsening pensions and receding retirement dates, too.

I think you're probably right about case-by-case.

Mike Harman
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Jan 31 2011 05:20
Ed wrote:
Steven. wrote:
Like Engels for example. I'm sure Engels didn't invite Marx down to fire up his own staff to strike and revolt, but he still funded Marx's work, which has been one of the most important individual contributions to the working class movement ever.

Yeah, that's cool like, but Engels still can't join Solfed.. tongue Still though, I'm not against revolutionary groups taking money from sympathetic rich people or letting some dude who owns a pharmacy give out leaflets.. but I just don't think they should be allowed to be a member of a revolutionary organisation. Say at my old work I mentioned above, if the owner of company was in Solfed and attacked our wages/conditions, I'd be a bit pissed off come the next local meeting.. now I don't see why a revolutionary group should ignore that behaviour just because no one at that workplace was a member. We don't ignore people's professional lives when they're screws or immigration officers, why does it become different coz they're bosses? Just coz they might pay for some pamphlets?

On Engels, he's also at least partially responsible for the strand of Marxism that led to Kautsky and Lenin - historical materialism and all the other shit, and was in a position to push that side/interpretation of Marx's politics due to his wealth and patronage.

Also there are issues with people who are able to live off trust funds or other inherited wealth in relation to political groups. That's part of the criticism of full time activism isn't it - that these people are able to gain control of organisations (or anti-organisations) by virtue of having loads of time. I remember having a chat with someone staffing Freedom bookshop who didn't have a job, and also didn't "need to be on the dole", which unless I completely misunderstood suggests they were independently wealthy. Presumably that volunteering also gave them a say on what gets stocked etc.

Steven. wrote:
well, they will be "compromised" because their capital will be used as a weapon against workers - disinvestment from areas or companies with a militant working class, for example. And in their case it will be a lot more money than someone on a workers' pension (and of course workers' pensions are paid for by workers themselves over the course of their working lives, just some of their payment is deferred until later).

I don't really agree with this. Firstly the 'interest' that banks earn of deposits doesn't only come from investment in capital, it also comes from extending loans to other customers via overdraft, personal loans, mortgages etc. That's straightforward usury rather than capital investment.

Either way you're part of this as soon as you have a positive overall balance in your account, to what extent someone might be compromised really comes down to a quantitative issue, and it'd need to be looked at in terms of how it affects their behaviour - and more often than not in the case of personal wealth this would precisely come from how donations of time or money gave them influence over the recipients of those donations more than where the money happens to be stashed.

Spikymike
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Feb 1 2011 16:40

Steven's basic point about how not to use a class analysis in relation to individuals seems well argued and has also been accepted now by a number of posters here, but doesn't enable us to then ignore the critical differences in power relations arising in the course of class struggle, which is what I presume others such as Chilli are getting at?

One of the most important is the role of 'managers' at different levels in the workplace. Some have more power and responcibillity than others and may exercise that power more or less depending on a number of factors, including the power and confidence of those who are managed, the pressure or otherwise from those higher up the management hierarchy, their own political views and relations outside the workplace and the general economic and political situation at any given time.

What is most important is what people actually do at critical points in the struggle and this may not always follow directly from a persons position in the hierarchy. Depending on the issues at stake it is quite possible for 'managers' at some levels for instance, to be active strikers whilst other workers are scabbing, even if you might justifiably consider that 'in general' managers at a certain level are less likely to get involved in such activity than non-managers.

Some (not me) have suggested that a class analysis of modern state/corporate capitalism could usefully classify many managers as a new middle class, but this would still not make such an analysis helpful in classifying individuals and would not stop some managers, at least at lower levels, being drawn into active class struggle in some circumstances.

The fact that class struggle is a fluid process operating at different times and at different levels of intensity and scale means that 'which side anyone is on' cannot be absolutely fixed in advance for all time. That might be a bit tricky for anyone in the current tiny 'pro-revolutionary' groups who wants to set down rules in concrete for who should or shouldn't be a member.

And such groups have to struggle similarly with a whole host of other potential qualifications/disqualifications for membership of their groups it seems, based on other both objective and subjective factors, besides the issue of individuals role in the workplace.

I would still recomend the same 'Subversion' discussion of this I previously referred to for those interested.

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Ed
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Feb 6 2011 10:47

Right, well as Steven. has been baiting me in private to come back to this discussion I'll say my two pennies worth (even if most of it has been said already)..

Steven. wrote:
but do you not think that your working in a health food shop is not what you should base your understanding of capitalism on?

I base my understanding of capitalism largely on my experience of it. And in my life I can tell you about the following experiences which immediately spring to mind:
libcom arrow for bullet points I once worked in a health food shop owned by one guy
libcom arrow for bullet points I once worked in a bar in a hotel owned by one guy
libcom arrow for bullet points My mum worked in a health clinic owned by one guy
libcom arrow for bullet points A friend of mine (you met her) worked as a secretary in a physiotherapist's clinic owned by one guy
libcom arrow for bullet points I used to see a girl (you met her as well) whose mum owns a shop and employs people

Now, I can't be arsed to dig out statistics on the amount of people employed in small/medium sized enterprises owned by one person/a small group of people but I would hazard a guess that it's not so small a number as to be "pointless" (your word) to mention. I'm not saying that it's the majority of employment, just that you can't disregard it's existence completely in the way you've done.

Of course, if you wanted to provide some statistical evidence as to why my experience of capitalism is so pointless (for instance, it is possible that these are the only five examples of such employment existing in modern capitalism) then that would help your argument.

Now to your 'revolutionary lottery winner': firstly, I think this actually is pointless to talk about as I'm not aware of this ever happening. However, if it did happen, I agree with Mike Harman, that the issue would be one of how it affected their behaviour (does their money give them excessive power within the organisation?) rather than of them 'being a capitalist' as I'm not really sure if they would be a capitalist anymore than someone currently claiming a pension would. And even if you could make the argument for them being a capitalist (which I don't think you have), their social function would still be qualitatively different from some CEO or whatever.

Steven. wrote:
you are talking about membership of revolution organisations, not who is in what class. Your example of your hypothetical small company where the owner and some of the workers are both in Solfed is clearly pretty silly (although of course this actually did occur in the IWW in Brighton!).

This is a weird statement to me. How can the example be silly if it is actually an example of something which happened (I'd never heard of it before but can believe it happened)? Do you only think that examples are 'serious' if they have never happened ever in the history of things happening? More importantly, do you think there is no issue with what you say happened in Brighton IWW?

Also, as Joseph Kay mentioned, the issues of membership of revolutionary organisations and who is in what class are different, but they do have overlap. While I agree with you that a class analysis is not for the purpose of saying who fits in what box, I think to abstract class completely from our actual experience of class society is equally unhelpful.

Steven. wrote:
Of course you wouldn't want someone trying to sack you, say, in your political group. But then you also wouldn't want someone who kept punching you in the face in your group either, even if he was the most working class, strike-prone man in the world.

This is just an absurd example. You can't compare a violent working class militant with a boss. The issue with the 'violent working class militant' is their behaviour, the issue with the boss is their social function. Obviously I wouldn't want someone punching people in meetings but a 'working class militant who punches people in the face' is not fulfilling a social role. A boss extracting surplus value is. And I don't think that someone who makes a living from extracting surplus value should be allowed in a revolutionary group.

I also note that you side-stepped completely my question about whether cops or screws or immigration officials or politicians should be allowed in revolutionary orgs. An answer on that would be good, like.

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Feb 6 2011 13:20
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join Solfed or not. And for what it's worth, while you say that you wouldn't want your line manager to join Solfed, I know that other members of Solfed are managers!

This actually quite a good thread, ya know, but as I'm in the process of moving and don't have time to bust out a 1000 word response, I'm just going to quickly address the bit above.

I only know of one person who was in SF who is now a low-level manager. He left as he felt his position compromised his involvement in SF. He's still a supporter and actually talked publicly about this at the last anarchist bookfair when some Trot wanker heckled my talk about the SF training program about how we should work through the union and allow managers in. Said ex-member responded that as he sees it, while some low-level managers will keep their politics that will make them side with non-managerial staff, it's the activity of the staff themselves that will determine whether which 'side' most line managers take.

My personal view (and the one I talk about in the SF training) is that it doesn't make sense to create a built-in contradiction in any workplace organization. You don't want someone in the organization whose job it is to discipline another member or who has the power to fire them or use their position in the workplace hierarchy to send someone to HR or senior mgmt. to be disciplined or even sacked.

That said, I do there are times when we may want to 'reach up' to low-level management in struggle---but that doesn't mean you invite them to join SolFed. And, yeah, if a line manager refuses to cross a picket line that's fucking great. But it doesn't mean we want a situation where we are unable to effectively address the favoritism (or even bullying) of that same line manager because that person is coming to our shop committee meetings.

gypsy
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Feb 6 2011 20:29
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Quote:
join Solfed or not. And for what it's worth, while you say that you wouldn't want your line manager to join Solfed, I know that other members of Solfed are managers!

at the last anarchist bookfair when some Trot wanker heckled my talk about the SF training program about how we should work through the union and allow managers in.

What did the trot say? Jeez I didnt hear about that.

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Chilli Sauce
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Feb 6 2011 22:09
gypsytimetraveller wrote:
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Quote:
join Solfed or not. And for what it's worth, while you say that you wouldn't want your line manager to join Solfed, I know that other members of Solfed are managers!

at the last anarchist bookfair when some Trot wanker heckled my talk about the SF training program about how we should work through the union and allow managers in.

What did the trot say? Jeez I didnt hear about that.

Well, to be honest, that was pretty much it. But for a bit of visual effect, he had on Che shirt, jeans with brightly colored patches on them, and floppy hair shaved on the sides...

gypsy
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Feb 6 2011 22:17
Chilli Sauce wrote:
gypsytimetraveller wrote:
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Quote:
join Solfed or not. And for what it's worth, while you say that you wouldn't want your line manager to join Solfed, I know that other members of Solfed are managers!

at the last anarchist bookfair when some Trot wanker heckled my talk about the SF training program about how we should work through the union and allow managers in.

What did the trot say? Jeez I didnt hear about that.

Well, to be honest, that was pretty much it. But for a bit of visual effect, he had on Che shirt, jeans with brightly colored patches on them, and floppy hair shaved on the sides...

Hehe the stereotypical image of a trot.

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Ed
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Feb 6 2011 22:47

Hmm, I'm not sure that's a Trot.. sounds to me like a very well known Brightonian ultra-leftist famous for his attendance of meetings..

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Chilli Sauce
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Feb 7 2011 16:05

Ultra-leftist who wants to work through the union and let managers in...? What a very confused boy.

sort it out frosty
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Feb 11 2011 16:01

Well given that any movement towards a new community (aka communism) begins now, if ever, than the refusal of class identity seems a pretty good place to start.

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Chilli Sauce
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Feb 11 2011 23:33

it's not "class identity" that defines communist politics, but material class relations....

gerbil
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Feb 24 2011 14:03

Class is a mass, not an individual concept. It's a descriptor for social groups with specific characteristics, in particular, from a materialist viewpoint, their relation to the forces of production. Class is also contingent on current conditions - it's the here and now, not the then.

The 'class' of an individual is at best irrelevant, at worst pernicious and divisive. The fetishisation of individual class was rampant in the USSR and led directly to the children of parents in 'bourgeois'/professional jobs (doctor, lawyer, manager) being directly discriminated against in terms of jobs and housing. On a smaller scale, I well remember Trots from middle-class backgrounds wearing donkey jackets and using faux working-class accents to make out that they were horny-handed sons of toil rather than Nigels and Sarahs from Chalfont St Giles, which was pretty funny at the time. If you slag off folk for 'unsound' backgrounds you're into all sorts of trouble and you end up laying your whole life and personality out for others to pick over. And there's always someone more working-class than yourself, believe me.

I honestly don't think that there's a 'working-class culture'. In my experience (I'll not see 50 again, sadly) there are many different cultures in the working class in a region, let alone across a country. There are some things in common, such as the pub as the communal centrepoint and love of particular sports (league not union rugby, football) and the notion and practice of solidarity (though that's been highly damaged by social atomisation brought about by neo-liberal capitalism), but IMO working-class cultures vary enormously from place to place.

Which is a damn good thing. Contrast that to 'middle-class culture', which has identifiable characteristics, is cross-regional, and quite constrained by characteristics of bourgeois and petit-bourgeois life, in particular property, money and limited power. IMO the 'higher' up the social scale you go the less flexibility you have and the more you're constrained by wealth and power, and consequently the less variation in class culture.

Class is a pathology, a symptom of a socially, environmentally and economically destructive system where few have power and wealth and most have little or nothing. It shouldn't be celebrated or denigrated. You shouldn't be ashamed to be working class, say, but the fact that there is a working class is the eternal shame of the social system that's created it.

To be frank, we really shouldn't worry about individual class as we just end up fighting amongst each other whilst the rulers laugh their nuts off. The power and wealth differentials amongst us wage-slaves are absolutely puny compared with the obscene wealth of the rich. If you slag off someone for earning £40k/year you're giving them grief for chump change compared to what City traders 'earn' or billionaires enjoy.

For all that, I'm really quite a fan of Class War surprised)

Just my 2p's worth.

Gerry

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
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Feb 25 2011 22:41
Quote:
If you slag off someone for earning £40k/year you're giving them grief for chump change compared to what City traders 'earn' or billionaires enjoy.

I don't think anyone made that sort of argument on this thread tho. For me, it's about relationships and hierarchy in the workplace and at which point one becomes a boss (i.e. they are managing workers in the interest of capital). I don't think anyone brought up such a crude, reductionist argument as an income-based notion of class.