Working class politics of today is held captive by what could be called “middle-class protocol”. There seems to be little far reaching political radicalism that would benefit the producing classes that has not first been vetted and screened through “approved” channels of middle-class perception and acceptability..that is : “keep it respectable, keep it tidy and clean”..so that any venture into radical left-wing politics now looks and smells like a sterilised and white-washed version of capitalist aspiration.
My mother worked on a sheep station along the Murray River many years ago, where if a flock of sheep were needed to be brought across a shallow ford, a tame, domestic pet sheep well practised in entering the water , would be brought to act as lead sheep to encourage the flock to follow it into the river and so to cross to the other side. Its job done, it would be once again cut from the herd and taken back to the homestead and suitably rewarded. There are those of the middle-class embedded within the left-wing of politics who act as such a drone to “guide and direct” both political aspiration and social aggression to a place safe and secure for those wanting to control any outcome from political dissent.
We can read in Thorsten Veblen’s incisive dissertation on the rituals and habits of conservative attitude in his book ; “ Theory of the Leisure Class”..
“In further qualification, it is to be noted that the leisure class of today is recruited from those who have been successful in a pecuniary (relating to or consisting of money) way, and who, therefore, are presumably endowed with more than an even complement of the predatory traits. Entrance into the leisure class lies through the pecuniary employments, and these employments, by selection and adaptation, act to admit to the upper levels only those lines of descent that are pecuniarily fit to survive under the predatory test. And so soon as a case of reversion to non-predatory human nature shows itself on these upper levels, it is commonly weeded out and thrown back to the lower pecuniary levels.”
This “selection” of type today is marked and stamped with some sort of recognised academic qualification..This “stamp of approval” allows the carrier access to a level of commentary and opinion sometimes far above their understanding or capability..particularly in regards to working class needs and requirements for a decent and honourable lifestyle. The many years of rote study does NOT necessarily grant EVERY student with the capacity nor the perspicuity of insight into the pressures of the workaday world of those who make and maintain the basic requirements of any community. The presumed knowledge of such can create much difficulty and hardship with those families living week to week, wage-packet to wage-packet under a mortgaged house and contents.
Again to Veblen..:
“ In order to hold its place in the class, a stock must have the pecuniary temperament; otherwise its fortune would be dissipated and it would presently lose caste. Instances of this kind are sufficiently frequent. The constituency of the leisure class is kept up by a continual selective process, whereby the individuals and lines of descent that are eminently fitted for an aggressive pecuniary competition are withdrawn from the lower classes. In order to reach the upper levels the aspirant must have, not only a fair average complement of the pecuniary aptitudes, but he must have these gifts in such an eminent degree as to overcome very material difficulties that stand in the way of his ascent. Barring accidents, the nouveaux arrivés are a picked body.”
One feels the time has come, with a more solid body of working class educated to re-take control of both political direction and policy best suited to a more inclusive community. The make-up of the producing classes has always been diverse and multicultural..the farmer from many ethnic communities to the trades-people to the service sectors etc. are of such multicultural variation of language, creed, culture and diversity that the success of any enterprise in our society is dependent on the cohesion and mutual respect of all to each other.
We are seeing a deliberate dividing of our society into this or that ethnicity, creed or culture that is a deliberate attempt to break down such cohesive respect. Those of the governing classes who see themselves as “above” the manual labour class are, with the unstinting assistance of the main-stream media, doing their level best to ferment hatred and loathing within our society..the resulting breakdown, they hope to manage with a heightened presence of surveillance and recruitment of “on the ground” policing. We are being intimidated and threatened by those very people put in place in out parliament to protect and enhance the cohesion and inclusiveness of ALL in our country..instead of trying to drive a wedge of disorder and dissent between white and coloured, immigrant and indigenous, employed and unemployed.
Veblen again :
“Modern industry requires an impersonal, non-offensive or discriminating interest in the work in hand. Without this the elaborate processes of industry would be impossible, and would, indeed, never have been conceived. This interest in work differentiates the workman from the criminal on the one hand, and from the captain of industry on the other. Since work must be done in order to the continued life of the community, there results a qualified selection favoring the spiritual aptitude for work, within a certain range of occupations. This much, however, is to be conceded, that even within the industrial occupations the selective elimination of the pecuniary traits is an uncertain process, and that there is consequently an appreciable survival of the barbarian temperament even within these occupations. On this account there is at present no broad distinction in this respect between the leisure-class character and the character of the common run of the population.”
This attempt to divide the community by rewarding those who show the obvious signs of “aspiration” with special grants or consideration, against those unlucky or untrained to be able to gain a foothold in full-time employment, is becoming so marked that there must come a time when the mass of devalued working-age people will say : “enough!” and take to the streets in general outrage and protest at the obvious discrimination fostered and promoted by the government of the day.
This is when the “drones” appear..coached to appease and to persuade with soporific rhetoric meant to lull the outrage and dull the “blade” of dissent with non-confronting arguments and conciliatory logic that does little more than drive the anger and action back down to be bottled up for another act of bastardry by the governing class.
It is time to pressure our representatives to formulate policy DIRECTLY ADVANTAGEOUS to those who do the producing in the community AND to make it concise and clear in its intent and purpose. For too long have we witnessed a kind of “cross-pollination” between left-wing representatives and capital-opportunity. A bit too much of “running with the fox and hunting with the hounds”..Too much “sipping from the same chalice” and rubbing against familiar shoulders. We demand our representatives be like Caesar’s spouse..: “Not only above suspicion, but SEEN to be above suspicion” .
There are two more years until the next election, time enough to secure the loyalty-base of the left, time enough to formulate sound policy to secure an employment program that includes government investment in industry and training, investment in solid and continuous infrastructure services and manufacturing without the option of “offshoring” for profit and on-selling to the private sector for a “mates” profit. Time to declare sides in the battle for a united community and cohesive society or to confront the notion of chaos and anarchy under the current ideology of right-wing politics.
WE, of the working classes, for our part must hold true to our class and skilled base and show confidence enough in our own judgements and not fall victim again to the “deep-sleep” tactics of the drones of middle-class academia to lull us back again into a false sense of political security..We are on our own in this class struggle, as we have always been. We will have to hold our ground on OUR terms if we are to win..we need to radicalise , not anesthetize ourselves.
I leave the last observation on the habits and traits of “aspirational consumption” once again to the very perceptive Thorsten Veblen..:
“The whole question as to a class distinction in respect to spiritual make-up is also obscured by the presence, in all classes of society, of acquired habits of life that closely simulate inherited traits and at the same time act to develop in the entire body of the population the traits which they simulate. These acquired habits, or assumed traits of character, are most commonly of an aristocratic cast. The prescriptive position of the leisure class as the exemplar of reputability has imposed many features of the leisure-class theory of life upon the lower classes; with the result that there goes on, always and throughout society, a more or less persistent cultivation of these aristocratic traits. On this ground also these traits have a better chance of survival among the body of the people than would be the case if it were not for the precept and example of the leisure class. As one channel, and an important one, through which this transfusion of aristocratic views of life, and consequently more or less archaic traits of character goes on, may be mentioned the class of domestic servants. These have their notions of what is good and beautiful shaped by contact with the master class and carry the preconceptions so acquired back among their low-born equals, and so disseminate the higher ideals abroad through the community without the loss of time which this dissemination might otherwise suffer. The saying “Like master, like man,” has a greater significance than is commonly appreciated for the rapid popular acceptance of many elements of upper-class culture. “