[Marxism] Troubled times

Sayan Bhattacharyya ok.president+marxmail at gmail.com
Fri Nov 24 20:06:45 MST 2006

On 11/24/06, Joaquin Bustelo <jbustelo at bellsouth.net> wrote:

 In the case of the U.S. working class, there is no class
> for itself movement not because Anglo American male workers aren't really
> workers, but because they really are white and male: that is the source of
> their privileged position, which is not just a question of dollars and
> cents
> (although it includes that certainly) but also a question of social
> standing.
> That layer, in their own mind, are not "just workers" like Blacks or
> immigrants, and they don't WANT to be "just workers." They view themselves
> as *better,* as *superior* and they are largely committed to keeping
> things
> that way. And this also goes in terms of their attitude towards the rest
> of
> the world. And they're not even conscious of it, this is, to them, just
> the
> natural order of the world.

Well, but when it comes to laying them off, downsizing them, etc. does their
whiteness help them in any way? I suspect not. They get tossed out by the
bosses even if they are white. Once this process keeps happening... and
happening... and happening... how long do you think that they can maintain
the illusion that they are "different" or "better" than non-white workers?
Certainly not indefinitely.

So this is precisely what I'm against: abstracting their "workerness," from
> their "whiteness" and "maleness," and saying their "workerness" will
> somehow
> in the last analysis and perhaps any day now overcome the reality that
> their
> social and economic material conditions are a world away from an
> indigenous-descended Mexican woman in a Tijuana maquiladora.

But once a white worker loses his job, becomes homeless, etc. his "social
and economic material conditions" do start approaching that of the
maquiladora worker. Every worker's wages are being pulled down. I haven't
seen any data showing that white worker's wages are remaining stable. So I
don't understand why you think that the situation you describe (white
workers thinking themselves as "naturally superior" and immune to wage loss
or job loss) can continue indefinitely.

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