The Prestige of the Working Class

jonathan flanders jon_flanders at
Mon May 7 17:38:19 MDT 2001

>> A group of us sat down and blocked the entrance to the power station.
Around us were a large number of workers.  They stood watching us dumbly.
Then the police moved in and a trade union official called out, "That's it.
 we are out of here." and the working class turned round and shuffled off
after him.  Meanwhile the academics who
had been protesting for workers' rights were arrested etc.  That whole
strike was marked by worker passivity. <<

You seem to miss the difference, Gary, between a group of academics or
students who can "afford" to get arrested, spend a spot of time in the
pokey, and then go back to their lives, and the life situation of workers.

Workers just don't have the luxury of the dramatic gesture. They have
families to support, and bosses who would fire them  immediately if they
were to engage in the type of action you describe. Of course they might get
back to work eventually, but what happens in the meantime? It might be a
year or years, if ever before they returned to work. This is just a cold,
hard fact of working class life.

Jon Flanders

More information about the Marxism mailing list