The Prestige of the Working Class

Greg Schofield gschofield at
Mon May 7 02:03:53 MDT 2001

Gary it seems you get the working class mixed up with its appalling
leadership. Which not a few communists also do.

I dare say you would have a fair number of its younger representatives in
the very demonstrations that you accuse the class of not supporting.

Perhaps I have latched onto the wrong end of this debate - I do not know.
But seriously how do you expect a social class to behave?

It seems a bemusing view of events. The demonstrators are brave, moreover
they are expressing... what are they expressing? Except the very first
rumblings of that class which you seemingly despise.

You see as good and brave as these protesters are, they are less than a
handful. Why do our rulers tremble, because a few thousand hit the streets
or because these few thousand resonate a deeper and broader discontent?

If it were not true, do you not think the rubber bullets would have been
traded in for steel jackets before now. If the demonstrators were isolated
as they might appear, what would that matter - but it does matter it
matters very much because beneath it all giant classes begin moving and
discontent forms on the lips of not just thousands but millions.

I am sorry you cannot see more, hear more, feel more - but you don't, or
appear not to.

However, might not this be a trouble with mere words. For I don't believe
anyone can be born into this society without taking in with his or her
mother's milk the knowledge of who constitutes the them and who is the "us".

For you to say "when the workers wake up you will take an interest in
them." I say to take an interest they have been awake for some time.

That a class chooses to bide its time, tally the wrongs, demand in dumb
silence a leadership that speaks for them and not at them, is not asleep -
but arming itself for struggle. No wise warrior throws themselves onto the
spears of the enemy, no experienced army follows incompetent generals. The
skirmishers have begun their work, for what else are these demonstrations,
no new generals have yet arrived, but they will come for conditions make
ready for them even now.

And before you accuse me of authoritarian tendencies - the above is just an
analogy for something else.

Greg Schofield
Perth Australia

At 02:53  7/05/01 +1000, you wrote:
>Hi David,
>> >
>>Isn't that the problem, the notional vanguard of the working class is more
>>interested in various 'recruit quick schemes' from whichever
>>student/middle class movement is current, so much so in fact that some
>>left organisations don't have any working class members at all. And now we
>>have the spectacle of the left actually getting excited about recession
>>and attacks on working class living standards.
>Thank you for this post. I am not totally sure though what you mean
>here.  The problem as I see it the political and cultural level the
>working class.  I suppose I should say here in Australia, for that is what
>I know most about but the phenomenon is generalised throughout the core
>imperialist countries.
>The far left groups are driven by and large to recruit from the radical
>layers of society.  This I know reproduces the problem of the isolation of
>the radicals from the working class.  But David we always blame ourselves
>for this.
>The working class is also to blame.  At the moment courage and decency
>have migrated from that class and it is now a property of those layers
>that constitute the recruiting ground for Anarchists.
>It was not just the union bureaucracy that ran away in Quebec.  It was
>also the workers who sheepishly shuffled after them. We always make
>excuses for the workers and talk of the treachery of the union bureaucrats
>and labor politicians, but that is simply a refusal to look honestly at
>the class.
>I am sick to death of the Labor Party here and also of the trade union
>movement.  Moreover when the workers wake up to themselves I will become
>interested in them.

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