Friday, 30 June 2017

Middle Class...enough already

"Working class Americans [and Canadians] know they're working class. It's elites who want to pretend everybody is middle class" from "Sleeping Giant: How the Working Class Will Transform America" (2016) by Tamara Draut.

Perhaps we should be pleased that Canada's prime minister and other more or less populist politicians have re-discovered "class", although, of course, that is the reality we all live, for better or worse, every day. Having acknowledged this "good", however, the "bad" of today's talk about class is far worse. Instead of abolishing class division, which is in plain language a hierarchy of inequality, Trudeau and the Liberal  Party want to increase the middle class and to enrol in it the unfortunate others, re-conceived by them as "wannabemiddleclass". To the conceptual idiocy of this (Hello, Justin - there can be no middle class without the wretched excluded, now called wannabemiddleclass) Trudeau either willfully blinds himself (put your money on this option) or somehow missed it in his various life journeys (about as unlikely as him thinking he would  wind up as the primary school  teacher he once, temporarily, was). The reason for his "blindness" follows below. 

1. Power and income are different, though in class  societies closely related. The reason Trudeau wound up as prime minister, not as teacher, is that being middle class is about power, not income. And the habit of power - connections, language, style - cannot be bought; it is learned and lived from an early age. Everybody knows this, children  too (except Trudeau, it seems). Middle income auto workers are wage slaves and are not  middle class - that requires the  the authority that comes from having the power to make the big decisions in their organizations, most fundamentally the power to hire and fire.
2. To admit that income (e.g. a lottery win) will never make you middle class would amount to a recognition that middle class wannabes are fantasizing and can never achieve what they supposedly want, according to Trudeau.  That's why he can't, and won't, admit it; to do so would be to accept that this class society has winners and losers, something that makes some of the middle class uneasy. The comforting  myth of social mobility runs aground in the sea of social classes. Our sought and struggled for social economy must be based on recognition, respect and rewards for the working class, not just Trudeau's incessantly celebrated middle class peers. 



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