It's Heating Up ( is "class" in the US today a meaningful con cept for analysis and organizing?)

Mikalac Norman S NSSC MikalacNS at NAVSEA.NAVY.MIL
Thu Oct 26 11:25:24 PDT 2000

If the Democrats were a genuine class-oriented party, this would be less so. But unfortunately they are far from it, so the Repugs benefit from all sorts of leakage. -----------------------------------

"class-oriented party"?

reading this thread, i'm thinking that dividing the 270 million US people of 2000 into neat "class-oriented" groups ("proletariat" and "capitalist"?) to theorize and organize a party seems academic and naive to me.

when i think of the myriad ways US citizens like to think about themselves today, membership in a "class" is not one of them. e.g., my Black work associates don't think of themselves as belonging to some "class". so why is it that in 2000 the Left insists on it? because the Great Book said so?

true, US politicians on the stump from time to time, but not very often, speak of the "middle class" or "working class" to distinguish the lowest 9 from the upper 1 of the income or wealth deciles when they think this distinction temporarily is useful to win votes on bread and butter issues, but is it useful for academic theorizing and party organizing as a long-run concept?

IMO, the success of the Dems and Pubs is that they don't let their thinking get wrapped around "class". they talk bread and butter "issues" (OK, viewed from the Far Left or Far Right, they both seem the same, but from the Center there are distinctions). the Dems and Pubs know that "class" is not a concept that wins votes; in fact, they know that highlighting class distinctions would harm their parties.

so, why is "class" so important a concept to the Left after 150 years of losing battles over it?

(OK, so Dear Old Karl is rolling over in his grave.)


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