[Marxism] Petty bourgeois - beyond the consciousness yardstick

Mark Lause MLause at cinci.rr.com
Fri Aug 13 19:00:27 MDT 2004

Juriaan wrote, "I doubt sociologically though that 90% of the US
population is working class, if you look more closely at asset
ownership, incomes and occupations."  I have to say this AGAIN--this
time in caps for emphasis: SOCIOLOGY IS BOURGEOIS, nothing petty about
it.  It is part of the arrogant social pseudo-sciences by which
capitalist society understands and rationalizes the status quo.  

Let me recall the origins of the American "war on poverty" under
JFK--implimented, of course, under LBJ.  The government social
scientists did a study of poverty in which they figured out what you
needed to support a family of four and issued a press release.  Oops!
The numbers placed something near to half of America's households under
the poverty line.

So, they went back to the drawing board.  They were told that a 10%
poverty level was what the government wanted--big enough to be concern,
but not serious enough to raise questions about the fundamental justice
of the market forces.  They simple rationalized the poverty line to get
that amount.  Well, they said, if you had a family of four and land, you
could plant a garden and cut your grocery bills, so you didn't need as
much . . .  You get the picture.

They do the unemployment figures the same way.  

Almost as soon as they start doing this kind of thing, it rather rapidly
evolves into a public relations game.  

Above all, I'd suggest, is this sleight of hand redefinition of "middle
class" as something to be determined by education, home and/or
automobile ownership, savings in the bank, whether or not you have a
disco outfit, ad nauseum.  It all obscures the fundamental
consideration: relations to the means of production and of the
distribution, and service needed to maintain production.

I tend to think Carroll's got it right.  The U.S. population is about
90% working class, although there are many layers and experiences that
are hardly engineered to encourage people to realize this.  Recent
restructuring of the economy has always served to foster illusions about
this, but this is a culture that likes "reality shows," so illusions are
pretty easy to foster and pretty difficult to puncture.  

The best definition of class I ever heard was Peter Camejo's...if you
don't know what class you're in, quit your job and go to bed.  If you
start getting hungry, you're working class.

Mark L.

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