Dont understand...

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Questionauthority
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Dec 17 2004 16:48
Dont understand...

Hello i have been browsing these forums for a while but am only signing up now...

I have a question for all people on the board regarding all this middle class talk and in general class stuff.

I dont care much for the upper class, bunch of toffs. But yet I see all these anarchists saying how good it is that fox hunting is banned. Hold up a minute, if you are campaiging for an anarchist society why are you supporting a law which limits freedom. Ok so it is a freedom where rich toffs sit on horses and chase a fox then watch it be killed by a pack of dogs so they can all feel big. But at the same time, do you really care that much if a bunch or arsches want to confused It just seems mightily ironic....

I also dont understand all this middle class, lack of a better word, hate. Sure I suppose a lot of them are fine products of a consumer based system. But if you go along with the very british way of labbelling people into classes. (shouldnt a class war start by not labbelling each other?) Then also there are probably "middle class" people who are more libertarian....

All these crys for working class people to rise up etc. As if they are the only ones who care about the state of the world. And yet I look around and see what you would label "working class", chavs, kids buying £100 Nike shoes, phones, dressing in track suits all of one brand, buying carefully marketed music etc. IT seems to me that they dont care much, they are the perfect products of a consumer based culture as well. They stock up the macdonalds, laugh at people different to them. bah i could say more.

I completley fail to see how everyone here uses the class system imposed upon them to laugh snidely at people who may even think along the same lines but aren't true because they, live differntly. Wouldnt it be better if instead of fighting and shouting at people who may be interested because of what class they have been labelled to instead welcome them?

Some of you are probably going to label me into a class, laugh and post some smart alec remark about "how little" I know. I say go ahead then. More fool you because I am/have developing/ed ideas about such matters. I know what I try to do in my life to be less consumerist.....

thanks for your time

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Ed
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Dec 18 2004 19:49
Questionauthority wrote:
Some of you are probably going to label me into a class, laugh and post some smart alec remark about "how little" I know.

Oh, you know so little wink Now that's my smart alec response out the way, I'll start taking you seriously coz it's not a stupid question, just one - of many - that everyone has when they first get involved in radical politics.

The 'class thing' isn't about a struggle between working and middle class but between working and ruling class. A lot of people in what is called the middle class actually have a lot in common with working class people i.e. teachers are labelled middle class but really, they're workers just like a builder or a miner (or other stereotypically working class job).

The basic idea of class struggle is that there is a class that has to work for a living (the working class - this includes housewives, unemployed etc) and a class that lives off the work that those people do (the ruling/capitalist class). There can be no unity between these two classes because the second exploits the first. Sorry if this is obvious to you, but I know of people who are long time 'anarchists' who don't know/slash except this.

Also, I'd say your small rant about w/c people being intolerant chavs stuffing themselves with McD's is more than a little unfair. First off, not all w/c people are chavs and not all chavs are w/c. Also, I'd say there were reactionary ideas distributed equally amongst all classes. A friend of mine who went to an Oxford Uni interview told me about all these private school kids who were well racist. Also, while reading Chomsky (name drop, name drop), he mentioned where he lived was a really liberal, middle class area but if a black guy drove in, it would ten minutes before police came and kicked him out. Reactionary ideas are prevalent within all classes, maybe in different ways, but they're there nonetheless.

Questionauthority wrote:
Wouldnt it be better if instead of fighting and shouting at people who may be interested because of what class they have been labelled to instead welcome them?

Yes it would. Sadly, a lot of anarchists are dumb. That's why I'm a libertarian socialist and don't associate with these anti-social scumbags red n black star grin

Questionauthority wrote:
I know what I try to do in my life to be less consumerist.....

This is a whole other debate but although there is a very good criticism to be had of consumerism and the shit effects it has on people, I don't think it's particularly revolutionary to be 'less consumerist'. I mean, I'm wearing a pair of Nikes now yet, I've got the best politics on these boards grin Seriously though, I don't think it effects your politics at all whether you wear Nike, eat at McD's or watch Big Brother. Our revolutionary activity should be around creating structures that organise our class to take power away from the ruling class and eventually take over society as a whole and run it for our own benefit rather than that of a privileged minority. Stuff like unions at work, community groups in the, erm, community. It's not more revolutionary to eat lentils and live in a house made from fair trade coffee. As I said to my mate a few years ago when he asked me the same question, it's not what you wear on the frontline that counts, just that you're there.

As for the thing about foxhunting I'm not gonna answer coz basically, I don't have time and can't really be bothered as it's not a subject that I hold particularly close. Also, there are other people on this board who are better placed to answer that one.

Hope this is of some use red n black star

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 18 2004 20:19
Questionauthority wrote:
Hello i have been browsing these forums for a while but am only signing up now...

I have a question for all people on the board regarding all this middle class talk and in general class stuff.

I dont care much for the upper class, bunch of toffs. But yet I see all these anarchists saying how good it is that fox hunting is banned. Hold up a minute, if you are campaiging for an anarchist society why are you supporting a law which limits freedom. Ok so it is a freedom where rich toffs sit on horses and chase a fox then watch it be killed by a pack of dogs so they can all feel big. But at the same time, do you really care that much if a bunch or arsches want to confused It just seems mightily ironic....

You tell 'em kid.

Vaneigemappreci...
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Dec 18 2004 20:50

The working classes/proletariat are the only group of people in a position to instigate revolution since they are the class that keeps the world ticking.

Also this distinction between middle class and working class is fairly spurious at best, people who see themselves as middle class often do so because of their tastes, eg they may like browsing art galleries, may read the independent, may consider themselves conscientious objectors to those big nasty multinationals, may eat chorizo etc. But these people most likely work for someone else, are exploited, used to make profit and yet seem blissfully unaware of it simply because they can decorate their houses with a panoply of consumer gifts. Those who own the means of production (social, cultural, material), large sharheolders, executives, directors, managers, these are those i'd refer to as ruling class, all those who have to sell their labour to survive are proletariat, they have no control over the direction of their own lives, theyre unfree. Whether you earn £10,000 a year or £40,000 is fairly irrelevant, its simply that some will get a higher compensation for their troubles.

Questionauthority
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Dec 19 2004 00:32

Ed- Thankyou for giving me a positive and helpful response. And the smart alec comment I have the perfect reply....Thats why I am eager to learn more wink grin

Your definitions of the "class system" are much clearer, and yeh I did know that its the ruling class who live off the rest. Sort of like the Russian picture aroudn the time of the revolution with the workers at the bottom then the army, than the church, and then the capitalists (then was the Tsar but today I suppose capitalists and Tsars are the same thing...)

Ahh yes my chav rant, i agree it was unfair but I'm afraid I will stand by the fact they are still consumer drones for the most part....being anti social sh*ts (what ever class they are) isnt revolutionary!

Libertarian socialist, read about that somewhere. Isnt it just another word for anarchist roll eyes ?

Consumerism, yeh whole different argument. It may not be revolutionary but I am still refusing and resisting (such romanticised terms) by not giving over cash. It may not affect your politics but it is quite a political issue...after all the brands you mentioned are the monsters of globalisation and capitalism (in my eyes anyway). Ah Im just going to agree to disagree smile

Alan- I guess I shall

Vaneige- *nods*

Joe Hill
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Dec 19 2004 02:32

Good answer from van vis a vis ruling classes and 'wage workers' who fall into the category (high-end managerial types, army seniors etc who through their lot in with the owners of production, big biz, military-industrial complex in general etc).

No problem with curtailing the unspeakable who pursue the inedible, who also tend to be the ruling class (fox/people hunters, although we do have some more pressing problems) - 'libertarianism' can also be associated with the right, as the 'right' to do whatever you like in the pursuit of your own pleasure (inc exploiting & killing defenceless fluffy people, killing defenceless, fluffy animals etc). Not, I assume, the anarchist position.

Anyway, welcome and happy reading, chatting etc.

Mike Harman
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Dec 19 2004 11:29

I think at least some people on here, at least me, would argue that there's essentially two classes, and the middle class is a muddily defined sociological term to try to describe stratification within the working class in a number of different areas - culture, income, status, autonomy, authority.

Marx's agent of revolutionary change was the industrial proletariat - show me some in the UK or US, then tell me that's the majority of the working class.

He didn't have loads to say about service industries (which is what nearly all of us are employed in, moving stuff around instead of making it, even if it's paper or electrons), and had no time for the lumpen/declassé or the peasants. Trying to graft the proletariat onto contemporary society results in one of two things - minoritarianism within a country (only this tiny group of people can make the revolution, everyone else must follow or decide which way they're going to go), or the "Western workers are the international ruling class" idea, which means that no-one in the West can make the revolution.

It's in the direct economic interests of the great majority of people for there to be a libertarian-socialist revolution. For those materially well off, there's the question of political freedoms, environmental degradation, and other results of capitalism and states which they may not link to capital relationships but should. If you only concentrate on those who have "most" to gain from a revolution, you end up reducing your revolutionary population to a small minority of the population. Do homeless crack addicts have more to gain from a revolution than painters and decorators? Well then, we'd better get ready for the painters and decorators to try to protect their gains from the revolution.

Mike Harman
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Dec 19 2004 11:55

Also that class is determined structurally via economic relationships between people, and are useful for analysing society, less so the motivations of individuals, and certainly less so their habits as consumers, which brings back a cultural rather than economic definition of class, one that isn't useful in terms of revolutionary theory.

And yes, Fox Hunting is of little relevance to anyone, and I'd much prefer it if they'd spent 600 hours discussing the expropriation of labour from humans instead. People who see it as a working class victory are wrong IMO. It's a hangover of the bourgeois revolutions of the 18th/19th centuries and is that class imposing their will on the aristrocracy a couple of hundred years after it had already been decided they could. Just shows we don't even have a proper bourgeois political system yet in the UK, and that what we do have is frivolous.

Vaneigemappreci...
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Dec 19 2004 13:55

''Do homeless crack addicts have more to gain from a revolution than painters and decorators?''

-The great pete doherty has as much to gain from revolution as any of us.

On the subject of 'chavs' ie kids who consume a particular image. Isnt peoples hatred of them simply the fact (from a lefty point of view) that they consume the more obviously repulsive brands, eg sports wear/mcdonalds etc. Jus because these companies are supposedly the face of capitalist globalisation and are environmetally destructive is stupid to suppose that they stand out from others, take a look at any product you buy and you'll find that its made in china, the most ornate and twee little things are most likely made in sweat shops. And the most repugnant exploitation is very much in existence in britain, away from mcdonalds and nike and all those other brands its cool to boycott, so many little things from cardboard dsiplays to traffic cones are made on a production line somewhere in britain in the most degrading and depressing conditions. I'd say that its impossible to live off purely 'worker friendly' products, thats if there is such a thing. Fair trade is just a market which knows that it has a huge conscientious consumer group to feed.

On the point of anti-social behaviour, i'd say much of it is more liberating than boycotting a particular company, obviously theres nothing wrong with choosing to boycott a company you perceive as exploitative or polluting, its just not that revolutionary. Now anti-social behaviour can cover a hell of a lot of acts, if you gather in a group at night, loiter round a particular area, graffiti, take drugs, vandalise, play football in a street, be loud. Now many of these acts are paradoxically social, perfectly acceptable and common and much fun to particpate in. Other acts of anti-social behaviour eg throwing bricks at a neighbours house are obviously less palatable and can damage the community (that is if the place you live can be said to have a community).

Joe Hill
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Dec 20 2004 00:36

As service industry workers weren't too prominent in the 19th century in current terms, I think we can now safely assume that service workers in the 'North World' (a term now used by capitalists, but which includes South Africa) who are exploited for their surplus value fall into the cateogory of the proletariat for want of a better word. Postmen/women are definitely objectively working class whatever they believe.

The beauty of marxism was that it provided tools and theories to adapt to new circumstances, so I don't think we need to get too hung up on exactitudes if you know what I mean.

We should consider that sections of the bourgeosie will throw their lot in with the proletariat when it comes down to it (usually avoided by the ruling class - eg New Labour is now useful rather than tories to maintain capitalist supremacy) in times of crisis.

And work accordingly.

We are currently in an historical period of retreat, but we can keep working at it and keep our powder dry, so to speak.

Best wishes for a happy xmas & new year.

Mike Harman
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Dec 20 2004 00:57

The thing is with surplus value - it's dependent on the labour theory of value - labour applied to raw materials which increases their value (not cost/worth/price).

If your job is just selling things over the phone or something, the capitalist still gets profit from your labour, which is essentially the same as surplus value, but since you're not creating anything, your job actually adds to the price/cost/worth of commodities, not their value in Marx's terms. The exploitation is the same in terms of returns on wage labour, but the job itself is consuming commodities usually (office, phone, computer) rather than making them. Doesn't make people any less working class for doing those jobs, but maybe I need to read the rest of Capital to check out what he had to say about them.

Joe Hill
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Dec 21 2004 00:48

The selling cost becomes added to the manufacturing cost as part of the total cost of the product (and value of the product) in North World terms... This is a result of the adaptation of capital and competition between international monopoly capitalists. (I think ?)

Joe Hill
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Dec 21 2004 00:55
Joe Hill wrote:
The selling cost becomes added to the manufacturing cost as part of the total cost of the product (and value of the product, now called the 'opportunity cost' by caps) in North World terms... This is a result of the adaptation of capital and competition between international monopoly capitalists. (I think ?)
Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 24 2004 20:42
Catch wrote:
I think at least some people on here, at least me, would argue that there's essentially two classes, and the middle class is a muddily defined sociological term to try to describe stratification within the working class in a number of different areas - culture, income, status, autonomy, authority.

Yeah I would say that anarchists focus too much on the middle class when in reality it's disputed, unclear and kinda irrelevant. It also unnecessarily complicates matters. Technically, the middle class are still working class but many working class people I know (including one guy I chat to at work) consider the middle class to be part of the Marxist "bourgeios". I think this is partly due to many left theorists differentiating between revolutionary Marxist class structure (proleteriat vs bourgeiosie) and social class structure (working class, middle class, ruling class). Such intellectual wankery means that many people I talk to who would otherwise be sympathetic to Marxism/socialism claim that class lines have been blurred and that "it's not that simple".

In short, quit being so clever you retards.

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 24 2004 20:44
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
''Do homeless crack addicts have more to gain from a revolution than painters and decorators?''

-The great pete doherty has as much to gain from revolution as any of us.

He's an anarchist y'know. Apparently he called in Freedom. (Oooh!!11!11!)

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 25 2004 14:56

What's that Jack?? Your Dad's best mates with Tony Blair?? I knew that already...

redyred
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Dec 25 2004 15:18

It's nice being the most working class person in CAG.

Anarch
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Dec 28 2004 19:36

When you get right down to it though only the working class can make the revolution. And all this bashing on working class people eating at Mcdonalds is stupid. It is hard to buy Tofu and soymilk and eat at Vegan cafes when you arent paid middle class salaries. And even then it is a small percentage of mc people that even try this, most being content to consume like hell. Moreover consumerism or animal rights is not the issue. It dosent matter if people are buying PS2s or whatever, what matters is class unity and strength. Also, racism is created by ignorance spread by the ruling classes and their middle class toadies, both directly on issues like immagration or by having the middle class educational system spread ideas like the pacifism of King of Ghandi as ways to fight racism.

Joe Hill
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Jan 28 2005 22:26

I like anarch, lots of good sense...

3rdseason
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Jan 29 2005 18:24
Anarch wrote:
Moreover consumerism or animal rights is not the issue.

Both those issues are extremely important.

lucy82
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Jan 30 2005 11:33

surely consumerism is important. where we spend the money we earn is a power we have (however puny that power is). this is a world where the poverty across the globe of human beings is directly related to their exploitation for profit by the huge multi-nationals, its also a world where powerful corporations have a massive impact on the nature and direction of social policy. the power they wield is enormous and impacts on every aspect of our lives.

Quote:
And all this bashing on working class people eating at Mcdonalds is stupid.

bashing people for making their own choices is stupid but choosing not to eat at macdonalds or telling people why its not the best idea in the world to eat there, isn't stupid.

attacking corporations is an attempt to hit at the heart of the beast. choosing where you shop and eat is part of that (albeit on a small scale). not eating at macdonalds reduces their profit and it does hurt them (you can see that by the increasingly desperate advertising and product range changes of macdonalds - its not all down to healthy eating, yr average chippie isn't going out of business). it was interesting also that at the time of the mclibel trials there was a lot of working class support for the people on trial. the image of the powerful corporation rageing with its big battalion of guns against ordinary people resonates with many. telling them to stuff their burgers is a way of taking some power back.

where fair trade is concerned i agree absolutely it caters to a lucrative niche market. but i'd still buy fair trade coffee if i can afford it if it enables someone to make enough money to get through the week someplace else. the way in which trade is controlled cripples the economies of other countries. i understand i am being exploited as a niche market, and in this case, i choose that.

Quote:
It is hard to buy Tofu and soymilk and eat at Vegan cafes when you arent paid middle class salaries.

well, i've been vegetarian then meat then veg on and off most of my life (although i'm really enjoying eating meat at the moment). but you can have a vegetarian diet cheaper than a meat diet. not too sure about vegan cause a lot of the processed type vegan stuff is really expensive. but anyway, loads of working class people eat veggie or vegan.. i get a bit pissed off sometimes with the underlying assumptions on this board that working class people are constantly clamouring to eat macdonalds. you might enjoy a big mac but don't assume everyone necessarily does. their profits are falling.

also the linking of class to macdonalds in many arguments doesn't sit very well with the argument that consumerism isn't a class issue.

i sit back and wait to be severely corrected.

lucy82
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Jan 30 2005 11:52
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racism is created by ignorance spread by the ruling classes and their middle class toadies

ah, its the stupid proles argument again. there they go sucking up the ignorance spread by the ruling class and their middle class toadies with not a thought in their little heads except to rush to macdonalds and chuck cheeseburgers at black people on the way home.

when people talk about class on this board (and i'm crap on class arguments and analysis cause i haven't read the right books and i'm the first to admit that) but on the one hand you point out to people that what people would label middle class is working class but then almost immediately, over and over again, people fall into portraying working class people (i.e. us) as something easily stereotypical (burger stuffin, nike wearing).

also theres a tendency to talk about "the working class" and what "they" think or how "they" behave as if "they" are somehow not us.

lucy82
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Jan 30 2005 15:29

i have a real problem with organised consumer boycotts. i agree that they can have unforseen consequences. and also (like with this call to boycott American products leaving aside the fact that it is absolutely impossible to do that), its undesirable in my opinion because it just seems to reinforce the idea of Americans as the bad guys and reinforce the idea of the nice Europeans, and ignores the movement of economic power across international boundaries. So yeah, there are reasons why people might choose not to participate in boycotts.

however, when you say

Quote:
armed working class seizure of the means of production can overcome capitalism

. um, yes, but when exactly? in my experience people prefer to focus on something that feels more real and achievable. taking your little bit of power (despite the drawbacks) and kicking macdonalds in the nuts is more immediate and at the very least people then feel they actually can do something. focusing on the armed working class seizing the means of production effectively seems to freeze people into inaction coupled with the fact that there doesn't appear to be any great upsurge in organised struggle through the workplace or any of the other forms of class organisation (like in the semi-mythical community - what defines this "community" by the way that we all appear to believe exists - another assumption that irritates me when people talk about class on enrager) .

lucy82
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Jan 30 2005 17:13
Quote:
f its between doing something for the sake of doing something (even tho it helps reinforce bullshit ideas about capitalism) or doing nothing and atleast having the fucking intellectual honesty to put forward a decent fucking critique, i'd choose to offer a critique.

shit. critiques. now why didn't i think of that. that'll work. i can already hear capitalists shitting their pants over that one. to throw your question back at you. how is that doing anything to challenge capitalism?

personally i think the G8 protests will be pretty much a waste of time and effort, if not grindingly soul-destroying but then i tend to always forget to look on the bright side.

and i just went to the evil Asda/Walmart and got two jumpers for £5 so i'm happy now. I may fill myself with extortionately expensive salt and fat from macdonalds and relax this evening to polish my critique. far more useful than getting my arse out of the house.

Quote:
u might as well have a 13 year old malaysian kid locked in your basement.

i have. i fed him on maccie d's only last tuesday and now hes whining again. ungrateful little bastard.

LiveFastDiarrea
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Jan 30 2005 17:30
lucy82 wrote:

i have. i fed him on maccie d's only last tuesday and now hes whining again. ungrateful little bastard.

probably cos you didn't go supersize.

lucy82
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Jan 30 2005 18:30

i am still not convinced that attacking macdonalds or any other major company is counterproductive. in the recent spate of blockades against sainsburys it cost the company a hell of a lot of money. that hurts them. at least make the fuckers bleed money if nothing else. i can think of more effective ways of kicking macdonalds in the nuts than boycotting them.

Quote:
the only thing u are doing is actually counter productive and helps reinforce the legitimacy of capital or remove capitalism from everyday experiance then perhaps u should consider that doing nothing might be of more use, u know like when ur in a hole u should stop fucking digging.

so we stay where we are then, and wait for the trade unions to gallop over the hill with the masses behind? whoops isn't that us?

Vaneigemappreci...
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Jan 30 2005 21:59

The only way any boycott can be mildly productive is if it is linked dircetly to workers struggle at the company mentioned, for example yapping on about the 'evil' tendencies of a comapnies polices in say Bangladesh will hold little sway with the people in england, however, if you were to focus on say Tescos, who currently lead the assault against workers in britain (Attacks on sick pay, micro chips in every product to ensure they arent stolen in the warehouses or stores) and if you link your actions with those of the workers in tescos, instead of blabbing on about liberal shit such as 'unethical' standards at the company, if you point out the role of a comapny in the wider assault of the capitalist class upon workers and put forward ideas for for a counter strike and further assaults from a working class perspective (as opposed to advocating a power as 'consumers' that simply doesnt exist), whilst always working with and as part of the workers, then your analysis might just gain some credence.

lucy82
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Jan 30 2005 23:02

right. thanks for that Vaneige, now i know i'll start next tuesday. shouldn't take me long. hum, lets see. shopping list:

1. tescos/sick pay

2. tescos/micro chips

3. link with workers

4. tell workers about the role of tescos in the wider assault of the capitalist class.

5. put forward ideas for a counter strike

6. put forward ideas for a further assault from a working class perspective.

note to self: always work with and part of the workers who i am actually part of anyway so it'd be really hard not to, wouldn't it. or are we talking about "the" workers again?

7. gain credence for my analysis (which never mentioned unethical standards by the way).

8. ring people who are busy sorting out their critiques and tell them its ok, they can come out now.

lucy82
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Jan 30 2005 23:11
Quote:
Lucy, don't make me jump in on your side against revol...

well it seems like the alternative is to stay home and work out yr critique or have a task so fraught with potential social minefields that, in reality, actually most people give up.

and as its wrong to want to hurt big corporations in the pocket cause by doing so your reinforcing the myth of choice and stating that capitalism is absolutely nothing more than these companies, it seems that the only option left for people is to do nothing.

Caiman del Barrio
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Jan 30 2005 23:16
Jack wrote:
No, I was just trying to piss off Alan and 3rd.

As if they'd have had the theoretical absis to challenge my assumptions.

That is SUCH a twattish thing to say.

Joe Hill
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Jan 30 2005 23:19

take no notice, you do need to make up somehow though...