How would YOU define working class?

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theungovernableforce
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Mar 21 2005 11:48
How would YOU define working class?

What are evryones' personal definitions of The Working Class? What makes something or somebody working class?

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Steven.
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Mar 21 2005 12:12

The working class is the class which only has its labour power to sell to survive - i.e. workers either have to work, sign on or steal, they can't live off investments or property holdings like capitalists/landlords etc.. Simple enough really...

Of course some workers act against their economic interests as a class, say by being cops, bailiffs or foremen and some workers are slightly better off than others but we all have the same economic interests as a class.

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gav
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Mar 21 2005 17:05

maybe i should lock this thread now, since the correct answer was given in the second post. wink

kalabine
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Mar 21 2005 17:10
gav wrote:
maybe i should lock this thread now, since the correct answer was given in the second post. :wink:

yep anyone who disagrees is wrong - so they might as well not bother

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gav
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Mar 21 2005 17:13

smile

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pingtiao
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Mar 21 2005 20:59

kalabine- what is the middle class then?

smile

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madashell
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Mar 21 2005 22:21
John. wrote:
The working class is the class which only has its labour power to sell to survive - i.e. workers either have to work, sign on or steal, they can't live off investments or property holdings like capitalists/landlords etc.. Simple enough really...

Of course some workers act against their economic interests as a class, say by being cops, bailiffs or foremen and some workers are slightly better off than others but we all have the same economic interests as a class.

Well, that's that then wink

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Steven.
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Mar 21 2005 23:07
pingtiao wrote:
kalabine- what is the middle class then?

:)

Jesus man please don't start this! Simple question, simple answer, let's just leave it before the whole "I've got an immigrant dad, who was a lawyer but workers as a hod carrier, and a mum who grew up on a council estate but does showjumping, and is a lawyer, but likes pie and mash, what class am I?" bollocks these always turn into!

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pingtiao
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Mar 21 2005 23:32

No, you know exactly what i mean- the nice and easy definition you gave breaks down- there is a whole section of workers whose current material interests are clearly structured in a way that means

Quote:

Of course some workers act against their economic interests as a class, say by being cops, bailiffs or foremen and some workers are slightly better off than others but we all have the same economic interests as a class.

doesn't apply to them. This is how it works- you cant just discount that subsection of the class. Enough people have material interests that are bound up with continuing present relations, and to whom the perceived risk of realigning their interests with the more economically oppressed militates against their radicalisation.

edit: but yes, on reflection that wasn't what he asked so i'll leave it.

embarrassed

Anarchoneilist
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Mar 26 2005 16:08

Lets just leave it at that shall we (?), however on a global scale, you can have plenty of land and even live atop an oil well, but if you haven't got plenty of dollar capital you can't expand/compete in the global market.

phoebe
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Mar 27 2005 19:17

It's the class of people who work or are workers, with "working" being mutually exclusive to "managing".

OldGit
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Mar 28 2005 00:50

The acid test for me is the expense account. If you have to live on your earnings you're working class.

Remember when John Prescott declared that he must be middle class and all those expense account-padding journalists fell about laughing? You're working class if you drop your aitches according to the whoremongers of the capitalist propaganda machine. Prescott, whose whole career is based on scabbing in the 1960 seamaen's strike, got it wrong. He belongs to the ruling class. He is a Privy Councillor, a member of the queen's SECRET council. He has taken an oath to maintain the status quo, regardless of the will of the electorate. He has declared himself ready to machine-gun the mob if we ever demand more than our masters are willing to concede in a tight corner.

Prescott - two jags, three houses, has an expense account. Do you?

Tom A
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Mar 28 2005 19:22

What about smallhold farmers, or shopkeepers that own a single shop which is their livelyhood? While not "working" class (Marx said they were petit bourgoise or summat like that), these people are still very much vunerable to the whims and actions of the ruling classes.

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Spartacus
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Mar 29 2005 14:30

yes, they're petty bourgeois, and marx said that they would increasingly get pushed into the working class. so in a way, it is the duty of all communists to shop at supermarkets in order to enlarge the proletariat. that's my excuse anyway.

redyred
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Mar 29 2005 14:55

Yeah, stupid farmers with their British Summer Time.

theungovernableforce
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Apr 3 2005 14:28
John. wrote:
The working class is the class which only has its labour power to sell to survive - i.e. workers either have to work, sign on or steal, they can't live off investments or property holdings like capitalists/landlords etc.. Simple enough really...

Of course some workers act against their economic interests as a class, say by being cops, bailiffs or foremen and some workers are slightly better off than others but we all have the same economic interests as a class.

Thank's to all who commented and the above is what I roughly thought.Cheers!

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Steven.
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Apr 5 2005 16:45
theungovernableforce wrote:
John. wrote:
The working class is the class which only has its labour power to sell to survive - i.e. workers either have to work, sign on or steal, they can't live off investments or property holdings like capitalists/landlords etc.. Simple enough really...

Of course some workers act against their economic interests as a class, say by being cops, bailiffs or foremen and some workers are slightly better off than others but we all have the same economic interests as a class.

Thank's to all who commented and the above is what I roughly thought.Cheers!

No worries!

Pah!
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May 9 2005 22:11

am i correct in sayingyou are middle class if you have power over anybody else?

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Steven.
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May 9 2005 22:33
Pah! wrote:
am i correct in sayingyou are middle class if you have power over anybody else?

Well, depends how you define it. IMO it'd be useless to define it as that - otherwise all parents are de facto "middle class". And what does it mean if someone's "middle class" to you anyway? What role does it serve in your analysis? I can't see that it has a useful one at all.

Pah!
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May 9 2005 22:56

fuck off

Pah!
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May 9 2005 23:02

tongue

that was supposed to come out as a tongueout smiley.....

Pah!
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May 9 2005 23:05
John. wrote:
Pah! wrote:
am i correct in sayingyou are middle class if you have power over anybody else?

Well, depends how you define it. IMO it'd be useless to define it as that - otherwise all parents are de facto "middle class"..

I thought we were talking about workers ..sorry

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Steven.
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May 10 2005 06:59
Pah! wrote:
I thought we were talking about workers ..sorry

What confused

Sorry if it messes with your analysis but most of the world's workers are parents. Would that make them all middle class in your book?

Garner
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May 10 2005 11:04

Perhaps Pah!'s original question should have been whether you're middle class if you have power over anybody else in the context of your work.

Which is a bit more interesting, but still not necessarily all that useful in terms of analysis.

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oisleep
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May 10 2005 13:49
Jack wrote:
That'll teach him to take the time to answer someones query, the fucker.

grin

yozzee
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May 10 2005 22:45
John. wrote:
Pah! wrote:
am i correct in sayingyou are middle class if you have power over anybody else?

Well, depends how you define it. IMO it'd be useless to define it as that - otherwise all parents are de facto "middle class". And what does it mean if someone's "middle class" to you anyway? What role does it serve in your analysis? I can't see that it has a useful one at all.

Middle class = managerial class. They manage workers both inside the workplace and outside in wider society. In the workplace that means those who have the power to hire and fire, and discipline workers. Outside the workplace it means those who have the power to exclude working class people from certain services, ie social services, housing, education etc. or to take away peoples liberty, for example the police.

Viewing class relationships in purely economic terms is an unfortunate legacy of marxism, and one that continues to damage the anarchist, oops libertarian movement, in Britain, IMO.

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Steven.
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May 10 2005 22:51
yozzee wrote:
Middle class = managerial class...

According to whom?

Not to any non-politicos - there middle class is a cultural definition. And not to most politicos either. TBH politicos only seem to use it as an insult to throw at other politicos who disagree with them, with no one caring about it being an insult apart from said politicos!

Are there any decent writings about that kind of analysis (of a "co-ordinator class" I spose'd be a better term) and it being important? I can't really see the relevance, as there are only two distinct economic interests: workers and bosses. What does the "middle class" model describe that that doesn't?

I'm not trying to be arsey I just can't see it.

yozzee
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May 10 2005 23:20
John. wrote:
yozzee wrote:
Middle class = managerial class...

According to whom?

Not to any non-politicos - there middle class is a cultural definition. And not to most politicos either. TBH politicos only seem to use it as an insult to throw at other politicos who disagree with them, with no one caring about it being an insult apart from said politicos!

Are there any decent writings about that kind of analysis (of a "co-ordinator class" I spose'd be a better term) and it being important? I can't really see the relevance, as there are only two distinct economic interests: workers and bosses. What does the "middle class" model describe that that doesn't?

I'm not trying to be arsey I just can't see it.

According to me "John". That's the IMO bit.

I disagree that middle class is a cultural definition, or at least a purely cultural definition. Class is about power and influence and in my experience that's how it impacts on a 'lower' class. That goes for the middle class as much as the working class.

I don't necessarily see all middle class people as class enemies just as I don't romanticise all working class people as potential revolutionaries.

As for the insult bit, why does it bother you if you only consider there to be two classes?

In my experience most people know what social class they are. They might not like it, but they know.

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Steven.
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May 11 2005 07:47
yozzee wrote:
According to me "John". That's the IMO bit.

Alright sorry! No need for the inverted commas, my name *is* John.

Quote:
Class is about power and influence and in my experience that's how it impacts on a 'lower' class. That goes for the middle class as much as the working class.

What does this mean?

Quote:
As for the insult bit, why does it bother you if you only consider there to be two classes?

It doesn't bother me. Generally it's how trots "critique" anarchists. Then anarchists who don't agree with each other call each other it, and the trots take it as proof!

Quote:
In my experience most people know what social class they are. They might not like it, but they know.

Hmm I'd disagree with you again here. Loads of city boy stockbrokers "know" they're working class because they're cockneys. Ditto loads of office workers, administrators and whatnot are culturally middle class, and this is how they generally see themselves, whereas according to your definition they're not. This has been the case most places I've worked (admin in voluntary + public sector). Also lots of economically + culturally working class non-white people don't see themselves as "working class" because of the white bloke stereotype. People in the IWCA often use that definition ("you just know"), but I reckon it's a cop-out.

My key questions, and I'd honestly appreciate an answer, are these:

Quote:
Are there any decent writings about that kind of analysis (of a "co-ordinator class" I spose'd be a better term) and it being important? I can't really see the relevance, as there are only two distinct economic interests: workers and bosses. What does the "middle class" model describe that that doesn't?
yozzee
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May 11 2005 12:03

To answer your key question. The obvious text is below:

http://www.zabalaza.net/texts/txt_class_cw.htm

The premise is:

Quote:
There definitely is such a thing as class and the class system will continue to exist as long as there is capitalism, wage labour and governments. Superficial things may change, such as home ownership and holidays abroad for some of the working class in the UK. Class society is a violent, miserable way of organising a society.

There are broadly speaking three classes; ruling class, middle class and working class. The ruling class have to fight each other and stay on top of everybody else. The middle class can produce competitors for political power with the ruling class and they work very hard to keep society running smoothly by keeping the working class under control.

The working class fights back spasmodically against the other two classes sometimes on a massive scale. The rest of the time the working classes fight each other.

In identifying who is who in the class system, wealth and power are the key factors.

As Jack said Parecon also touches on the idea of a "coordinator class", although I'm not taken with the rest of their analysis. There's other stuff around which I'll search out when I get a chance.

Anarchoneilist
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May 24 2005 10:30

A 21st centrury post-Marxist analysis of the class

system that actually a lot of people outside political

circles would agree with (for better or worse) would

be: Underclass; homeless, "illegal" workers,doleies

Working class; burger flippers, drug dealers,prostitutes

Middle class; basically anyone who has a full-time

skilled job or runs a small business

Upper/Professional;Doctors, lawyers etc.

The problem with the loss of industry is that people

don't consider themselves working class anymore.

An example of this is a call centre in the North Staffordshire

area for Vodaphone. The workers are on £6.50/hr,

but they consider themselves middle-class 'cos

they get a share of profits from sales and wear a

shirt and tie!