cultural politics/"real" politics

Charles Brown charlesb at
Tue May 5 09:54:29 PDT 1998

>>> Wojtek Sokolowski wrote:

Automobile is probably the most 'regressive' mode of transportation available today. The monthly cost of keeping a low-end car is around $450 (including loan payments, insurance, gasoline, parking, maintenance and repair, etc.) or $5,400 per year. Assuming annual income $30,000 - about 18% of the annual income is the cost of commuting. Assuming $200,000 annual income - that represents less than 3%.

At the current prices about $54 per monthly pass for unlimited rides on public transit (Baltimore), the commuting cost is only 2% of a working class income .

So this is yet another example of capitalist propaganda that uses working class cultural identity -- infatuation with cars as symbols of 'power' and 'idepenedence' -- to dupe the working class to pay a much higher share its income just to be able to get to work.

(end of quote)

And on another post under the same thread the Comrade Sokolowski notes the collectivity/individualistic struggle in some workers' identities.

It always struck me that the decision by the U.S. ruling class to emphasize automobiles as the form of mass transportation was of course based on a strategy for maximizing profitability of the structuring of the industry (planned obsolescence, yet a durable necessity, et al). But that a cultural or identity formation selling point was that cars individuate the workers more than buses, trolleys and subways. No riding the train home together and grumbling collectively about work, etc. The car note is another long term loan to sandbag each worker with, another "investment" in the system, the more of which a worker has , the more difficult to revolt.

Charles Brown

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list