Class in America

Maybe in universities RichardSennett and Jonathan Cobb’s 1973 ‘Hidden injuries of class’ is still be read and discussed, but until ‘Occupy Wall Street’ came along the issue of class in America was conveniently swept under the carpet.

Fed on the pap that America is the land of opportunity and by the dint of hard labour, you could spring up the social ladder is no more than dregs in a bottle of wine that has turned sour.

Today, if anything that myth rings hollow. You know it; I know it; everyone knows it.
Recent studies, governmental or private, document the growing economic and social inequality existing in today’s America, still the richest country in the world. Social mobility is stagnant as the ‘middle classes’ lose traction and find that the worst fears are realised: they’re being forced down into the rungs of the hardworking poor and the impoverished. A fertile ground for the growing anger and cheap change for the right wing demagogues to pick up.
Today’s young—the country’s future–will live less well than their parents unless they come from wealth or marry into it [highly unlikely].
It is astounding to note that Americans know little of the world outside and care less, so brainwashed are they.
Corporate America rules supreme, it seems. Take media. It’s all glamour and glitz and the life style of the rich and famous. PBS’ second installment of ‘Downtown Abby’ has stimulated the appetite for books by maids and footmen and butlers who worked for the titled, parasitic British titled class. And the sales soar. Kaching, kaching, kaching sings the cash register!
Public radio and television shine the shoes of the capitalists with programmes on finance, the market, stocks and bonds, and the like. But, pray tell, where are the shows devoted to labour or to the working classes? Unimportant! Why devote time and money to a class of wage slaves who have to sell their sweat for the ruling classes? Tis better to shock and awe them with celebrity and life styles as though they were visions of sugar plums and fairies that they will never hope to live, unless by a fluke of nature. Let them eat ‘pie in the sky’, by and by, as the Woody Guthrie song goes.
Yet the immiserisation of America’s working classes are there to see in every town and hamlet, in every city large or small. You taste it in the bitterness of your morning coffee.
And if the Republican battlefield for the party’s nominee in 2012 presidential election is an indicator: jobs are ‘hors de sujet’, but not social issues or belief in a god or hollow boasts of returning the US to the mighty past. The candidates are rich men and even the lone woman who dropped out of the race is hardly one of the ‘hoi polloi’. The watch word is not the nation’s honour or its promise, but money, money, money. The programme is reactionary up and down the line, and yet the Republican party has attracted into its fold, the angry white men and women who are more ordinary working stiffs and remember an America which was predominantly white and had digested and assimilated millions of eastern and southern Europeans, once considered ‘children of the dust’. And these very people want jobs for their children whom the plutocrats who hold the purse strings of the party do not give a tinker’s damn for. The mixture is explosive in the medium run and it is little wonder that the party has embraced an Dixiecrat mentality.
GuamDiary uses the Grand Old Party or the moss backed Republicans as a bellwether, for it is the more revealing of a country that has turned its back on the commonweal and bribed by the finance capitalists who brought us the 2008 global recession, defend resolutely a class that would abandon them in a thunder storm.
Thanks to ‘Occupy Wall Street’ class has risen from the muck and mire of a concerted campaign to push the old pieties which today sound as hollow as a drum. OWS shifted the political course back to the working class. And rightly so. Class is a ‘hidden injury’ to the workers but not the rich. It is time for the working class to boldly organise and proclaim their due for it is they who create the wealth.
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