[Marxism] home ownership and labor militancy

Anthony Boynton anthony.boynton at gmail.com
Thu Feb 16 08:05:47 MST 2012


Andrew Pollack forwarded a question about home ownership and labor
militancy.

I think if you look at the history of the United States and other settler
states you will see that working class home ownership was not foisted on
the working class to depress militancy, but developed as part of the
struggle of the landless and poor white settlers for control of the land
that the settlers were stealing from the indigenous societies they were
destroying and displacing. Working class home ownership was always limited
to the labor aristocracy, although in settler states and other imperialist
states  the aristocracy of labor could be quite large.

Settler state labor aristocracies have been very militant at different
times in history. Home ownership can deter militancy, but can also aid
militancy. Workers who have a few chickens and a garden int he backyard can
survive a long strike better than workers who do not have a back yard.
Plus, the struggle against eviction has also been a source of militancy at
different moments in the class struggle.

In other words, although home ownership gives the labor aristocracy a stake
in the system, it also gives those workers something to fight for when it
is threatened.

Best, Anthony



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