re.mental/manual

Scott Marshall Scott at rednet.org
Tue Jun 6 05:30:36 MDT 1995


Will Brown
Bristol, England:

>It has always seemed to me that the division
>between mental and manual workers is important
>socially, economically and politically. I'm
>not sure whether this is so true in other
>countries...England is perhaps particularly
>dominated by class divisions.

This is just as true in the US as in Britian, though it is far less
acknowledged by intellectuals here. Billions in time, creative resources and
money has been spent shaping a phoney notion of class mobility and
classlessness.

>
>The seperation between those who sell their
>labour to perform mental work such as
>university academics, teachers, lawyers
>and doctors and those who sell their labour
>to do manual work like factory workers,
>cleaners and street sweepers is very marked
>at a social level.

Here it is even more marked precisly because it is somewhat hidden, is not
supposed to exist. Here, rather than convention and custom the social
segregation relies on more personal levels of snobbery and more subtle, but
at times more off putting forms of enforcing class segregation. Here
intellectuals are not 'supposed' to look down on manual workers so they have
to do so with a good deal more condecension and paternalism.

>
>I have never found a satisfactory explanation
>why the wages of the first group is so much
>higher than the second. Marx's theory that
>I've found of how the value of labour power
>is formed seems circular to me....
>it might explain the level of basic wages
>but not why one group is paid more than
>another.

I wouldn't blame this on Marx but more his interpretors. There is a great
deal of use and value to the ruling class of having a large
petty bougy class. It's a great controlling buffer in many ways.

>
>It seems to me that there is an assumption
>amongst alot of working class people that
>the middle classes are essentially bought
>off but because the middle classes
>monopolise intellectual activity
>these views are never strongly aired.
>I've never heard leftwing intellectuals
>discuss in an honest way their alienation
>from the working class, although looking at
>them this alienation often seems to me
>to be profound.

You've said a lot here.

>
>If these concerns are only the result
>of a peculiar local situation I
>trust they will be ignored.

Your conserns will probably be ignored or you will be patted on the head,
but not because they are peculiar to your local situation - they are not.
Now you may hear the 'some of my best friends are manual workers' arguments
and maybe some hilarious 'tough' talk about what some anti-intellectual,
intellectuals know about workers.

Enjoy.......<deadpan>

Scott
Chicago Illinois



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