[lbo-talk] David Graeber: Caring too much. That's the curse of the working classes

Mike Ballard mbbtraven5 at gmail.com
Fri Mar 28 15:03:54 PDT 2014

What Graeber is critiquing is the fundamental principle on which capitalist society is based: freedom. The question he is raising is, "What does freedom mean in this society or, more properly, what has freedom come to mean today?" Not in Mills' time; but today.

Freedom today is conceptualised in negative terms. What I mean by that is that freedom is now thought to be based on the other person's unfreedom.

"Hooray for me, devil take the hindmost" has wormed its way into our minds through our daily interactions with others, especially others with power over us and through the media which is owned by the powerful and through the various other authorities over us e.g. teachers, parents, priests.

But we, the working class, the overwhelming majority of the population, the people who have to sell our skills in order to make a living and sell them at their market price to the power, our employers, we are beaten down by a barrage of messages containing the abovementioned notion about the 'true nature' of our freedom. With the help of the fetishism of commodities (including money that magic commodity of commodities), our natural tendency to show empathy to our fellow humans has been turned on its head in a kind of sado-masochistic sleight of history. We've forgotten where wealth comes from. We've forgotten ourselves and in the process we now think in upside down ways e.g. BMW makes good cars when actually it's the workers employed by that corporation's managers who make good cars. That transference also affects the flow of our concerns upward to the plight of our 'masters' within the State and the employing class, who are thought of as being 'job creators'. 'Our' job creators are in debt and we must put our collective shoulders to the wheels and sacrifice our standard of living to pay off our debts.

And to whom do we, the producers of wealth, owe this debt? To the people who own high finance, mostly the major share holders of the banking industry, people who actually depend on our collective labour to exist.

Mike B)

On Thu, Mar 27, 2014 at 6:30 PM, Joseph Catron <jncatron at gmail.com> wrote:
> "One would think a government that has inflicted such suffering on
> those with the least resources to resist, without even turning the
> economy around, would have been at risk of political suicide. Instead,
> the basic logic of austerity has been accepted by almost everyone.
> Why? Why do politicians promising continued suffering win any
> working-class acquiescence, let alone support, at all?"

-- Wobbly times http://wobblytimes.blogspot.com.au/

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list