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Class Warfare

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posted on Jun, 27 2006 @ 11:38 AM
"You're engaging in class warfare" is a common comeback from the right to any call for economic justice or labor rights, or for any complaints about tax cuts weighted for the rich.

Well, yes. It is class warfare.

What's wrong with that?!!!

There is, or should be, no question that in a capitalist economy wealth is not distributed equally or anything close to it. And that produces economic classes -- those with lots of wealth, and those with very little, and those in between.

And there is, or should be, no question either that the classes have at times divergent interests. It is not in the interest of the working class that wages be lowered, for example, while that is in the short-term interest of the employing class.

So what's wrong with pursuing one's class interest, which is to say, one's economic interest as an individual (which is the same as the individual interest of others in one's class)? And when the class interests conflict, class warfare is the natural outcome. You can bet the other class(es) will pursue class warfare, so if yours doesn't the only alternative is class surrender.

And that, of course, is what the right (i.e., those standing up for the wealthy class interests) want to happen: surrender on the part of the non-wealthy classes. Hence the demonization of "class warfare."

This thread is here to defend the concept, and to honor class warriors rather than demonizing them.

posted on Jun, 27 2006 @ 12:03 PM
So -- what classes exist in the U.S. today? And what classes used to exist but don't any more? And what can we expect down the road?

First off, people may be divided vertically into Upper, Middle, and Lower classes, defined as follows:

Upper classes consist of people who control so much wealth and power that they are able to coerce members of the lower classes, either directly or by controlling access to rewards, into obeying their will.

Middle classes consist of people who control enough wealth and power that they are able to live independently and not be subject to coercion by the upper classes.

Lower classes consist of people who are dependent on the upper classes for their survival, and must serve in order to get by.

What puts a person in one class or another, to my way of thinking, isn't so much wealth as power. A moderately successful small businessman may not make as much money as a factory worker, but he is his own boss, and that makes him middle class while the factory worker is lower class. Still, wealth often translates into power. If the factory worker makes enough money that he is able to save and invest, and so to survive for long periods of time with or without a job, for all intents and purposes he's moved into the middle class.

The other division is horizontal rather than vertical. Upper classes may be divided from each other based on the source of their power. Middle classes may be divided based on the source of their independence. And lower classes may be divided based on the source of their subsistence.

I can thus recognize three upper classes (one of them extinct), three middle classes, and two lower classes (one of them extinct). Beneath all of these is what I would call the chronic poor: people who live on public assistance, the disabled, those suffering from mental illness or drug dependency. This class has a separate interest still. I'm not going to talk about it much, except to mention that when one speaks of "the poor" or "welfare recipients" this is the class one means, and it is not the same as the working class -- which however is also poor and getting poorer.

These are the nine classes that I can identify.

Warrior-Aristocrats (Upper class, extinct). Source of power: Land ownership, wealth derived from large-scale farming, the prestige of military service. The titled aristocrats of foreign countries were in this upper class. So were the slave-owning planters of the pre-Civil War South in the U.S., and more precariously the same planters after the Civil War, relying on sharecropping and other forms of forced labor but denied actual slaves. This class matched the titled nobility of Europe not only in its economic strength and reliance on forced labor, but also in the tradition it held of military service. Today, all large-scale farming is done by corporations run by the Merchant Princes (see below), and the Warrior-Aristocrat class is dead.

Merchant Princes (Upper class). Source of power: Commercial expertise, wealth derived from investments in commerce and industry. This is the dominant upper class in America today, and in most other parts of the world, too.

Governing Class (Upper class, at one time the Priestly/Governing Class). Source of power: Expertise at law and government, holding of high government office, whether elected or appointed.

Yeomanry (Middle class). Source of independence: land ownership, successful small farming.

Petit Bourgeoisie (Middle class). Source of independence: ownership of and successful engagement in small business.

Professionals (Middle class). Source of independence: highly-paid professional skills allowing the professional either to work entirely independently, or to effectively call the shots within employment.

Slaves/Serfs (Lower class, extinct). Source of subsistence: labor performed under duress for the benefit (mostly) of the Warrior/Aristocrat class. When the black slaves were freed under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, they did not leave this class, but rather were promoted from true slavery to a kind of serfdom. Only with the industrialization of agriculture and the migration of blacks from the farms to the cities did the Slave/Serf class cease to exist.

Working Class (Lower class). Source of subsistence: labor performed for cash payment (under the duress of dire need and inability to support oneself otherwise) for the benefit (mostly) of the Merchant Princes class.

Underclass (Lower class). Source of subsistence: public assistance of one kind or another. I mention this class mostly to point out that it is not the same as the working class; those two should not be lumped together as "the poor."

Can anyone truly believe that these classes have the same interests? History says otherwise: conflicts have arisen not only vertically but horizontally as well, e.g. between the Warrior/Aristocrats and Merchant Princes in the Civil War.

To say that a member of the Working Class has the same interests as a member of the Merchant Princes, and that what is good for the latter is automatically good for the former, is pure nonsense. Someone ought to say so -- and it might as well be me.

posted on Jun, 27 2006 @ 05:23 PM
Two Steps Forward...I got kinda lost in your second post because so much of it is your opinion. Not that I disagree, just from the opening post I thought this would be a thread about the negative connotations put on the the term "class warfare" because progressives usually get backed into that corner whenever they are interviewed by the MSM---that's a subject that would prolly interest me more than your second post to this thread.

So to your first question...

...what's wrong with pursuing one's class interest, which is to say, one's economic interest as an individual (which is the same as the individual interest of others in one's class)?

Nothing. Many Americans still vote their bank accounts. When we hear something called "class warfare" in the MSM by either politicians or media pundants its just a way to spin the conversation away from the actual issues. Just like with all spin, its crap we've gotten use to smelling. Those that would rather have middle/working class people focused on things that don't effect our day to day living, like the war and gay marriage, want to make sure that "class" carries a negative connotation...even though it is a physical reality.

Truly, I agree when you say we have more in common with our neighbors than say a CEO, but there are some common interest that we all share regardless of class and those interest are the ones that they want at the forefront of our minds when we enter the voting booth...(as if any of that still matters)...when dealing with the MSM we have to remember the owners own the news and they use it to keep the wheels of propaganda properly greased. I'm not saying all mainstream media is garbage but a good part of it is. Remember the fake news? Those prepackaged news reports the Bushies were sending to local news stations about the new Medicare bill. They were actual news reports put out by the government to hype the bill. In some cases the media has become the 4th branch of the USG.

For me class really isn't the problem---it's just another tool of the elite to keep people from the truth. The worker/middle class isn't getting their fair share of the pie because we aren't intended to--but we get the lip service the blah, blah and more blah from the dems when they aren't voting for us anymore than the Republicans.

I don't know if that's what you want to discuss or if its interesting to anyone else but me. Oh well.


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