Years ago ‘Hidden injuries of class’ by sociologists Sennett and Cobb, hit the book market. In its way, it pooh poohed the idea of an even playing field in the US.
Toqueville banged the pots and pans of the indelible imprint of equality on the American soul, a sort of safety value to dampen war among the classes. The Horatio Alger myth holds strong still.
The working class and the poor know where they stand, and always and have internalised the shame of who and where they are: the hidden injuries of class, in other words.
In today’s America, the class divide has sharpened. ‘Occupy Wall Street’, in a way, brought discussion of class warfare into the arena of respectability by shining the light of power and corruption on the ‘one percent’ who own 34 or more percent of the country’s wealth, and that percentage is increasing. Money is power and the entire political class suckles at its breast. The recent Supreme Court ruling enshrines and blesses it.
The respectable media now publishes investigative articles on the sinking of the children of the shrinking middle classes, the working class, and the poor who remain disadvantaged by the growing class divide.
Consider New York City, the mecca of finance capital. A billionaire mayor has seized control of the public schools and has begun to dismantle them in favour of more or less private charter schools, usually owned by investment bankers or real estate barons. And early results show, charter schools have done hardly little to improve reading and math scores. What is behind this attack on public education is busting the teachers’ union.
In the City, the rich vie fiercely for places in private academies. There are too many applicants for a seat at the richly appointed table that will ultimately lead to Harvard, Yale, and the schools that count. It is interesting to note that the rich breed larger families on the whole…no 2.1 children but 3 to 5 is more like it. And they can afford to pay us$40.000 a year for elementary and secondary schooling. Do the sums for 12 years at least for two children…us$980.00. Could a working class family afford that amount?
As the class divide grows so does the narrowing of the route of the pulling oneself up by the bootstraps to fulfill the American dream.
In a not so odd way, the pattern mirrors Huxley’s ‘1984’ with its Alphas, Betas, and the like. In other words, we have a class and caste system.
The rule of corporate America is showing signs of incipient fascism: already, the US is a prison culture for its underclass, and now, more and more, the subversion of constitutional rights to expression and thought are being thinned out as the laws permit intrusive invasion into the thoughts and ways of everyday life of Americans.