The Coming Working Class Revolt

From Nick Pell at Red Star TimesGM Auto Workers.

Hard to believe, but it’s been a year since the Obama Administration forced General Motors into bankruptcy. This has resulted in a curious phenomenon: the first generation of auto assembly workers in almost a hundred years who cannot afford to buy the cars they manufacture.

Given the context both nationally (the Massey mine collapse and the uncontrolled hemorrhaging that resulted from the BP / Deepwater Horizon disaster) and internationally (Greece seems always on the verge of explosion and the Chinese working class are waking from their 20-year post-Tienanmen slumber) the situation at GM points towards a very exciting and potentially explosive phenomenon.

Full Article at Red Star Times

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  • wfzlsster

    It's time for the working class, both lower and middle income economic classes, to stop fighting with themselves and to unite. It doesn't matter if you are Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, blue collar or white collar, the working classes of this country are fighting the same problems created by the ruling class. It's not other workers that are behind the real problems we have, it is the corporate oligarchy or fascist elite that have taken the reigns and are running the country off a cliff.

  • Cerebralcaustic

    Nick, you're obviously quite sincere … but you're obviously quite deluded.

    The working class does not exist as a discrete entity. For example, if someone mows lawns and does other groundskeeping to pay for college, he is presumably a member of the “working class” during this period. But when he graduates with an accounting degree, he can be classified as a member of a different statistical group — “white collar” workers. In contrast, a school teacher who paints homes during the summer to earn extra cash has shifted from white-collar to blue-collar work for a few months, only to return to white collar work at the summer's end.

    The point is that statistical groups are abstractions of limited and often temporary use in describing flesh-and-blood people. The “working class” is a *statistical group*, and conflating statistical groups with flesh-and-blood people is a logical fallacy (specifically the ecological fallacy).

    The hard truth that True Believers like yourself are reluctant to accept is that the working classes don't want socialism — but even then, you don't allow them their own thoughts, instead arrogantly saying they have “false consciousness.”

    The “working class” is a term popularized (if not invented) by intellectuals who never worked a day of labor in their lives (e.g., Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin) but who nonetheless presumed to speak authoritatively on behalf of millions in implementing policies that they believed they had the right to foist on people without explicit consent. Socialists have been waiting for the Revolution for centuries … and only by the use of force could they (temporarily) get their way. “Lenin surrounded himself with official publications, and works of history and economics. he made no effort to inform himself directily of the visions and conditions of the masses. He never visited a factory or set foot ion a farm. he had no interest in the way in which wealth was created. he was never to be seen in the working-class quarters of any town in which he resided.” Paul Johnson, “Modern times: the world from the twenties to the nineties”

    Name ONE instance where Marxism has improved the quality of life for anyone other than an intellectual elite. Can't do it, can you? But I can name dozens of countries where Marxism led to bloodshed, brutality, genocide, forced relocation and starvation for millions of people who had no choice in the matter. And all because an intellectual presumed to know what was best, rather than trusting the judgment of the “common man” they proclaimed to represent. http://www.stephenhicks.org/wp-content/uploads/

    I don't expect to change your mind — you seem to have the fervor of a True Believer. But I hope to influence other readers of this site. (Also, I suspect you need to demand a refund from whichever college professor(s) crammed your mind full of untested and untestable Marxist gibberish … it's as useless as a science major who writes about Lakanian inheritance.)

    • Tuna Ghost

      “Name ONE instance where Marxism has improved the quality of life for anyone other than an intellectual elite.”

      You mean, besides providing a new(ish) perspective on how to view economy as well as history, which is all Marxism, which is simply a perspective if I understand things correctly, can do? I think you're confusing Marxism with, well, I'm not entirely sure but it doesn't sound like Marxism.

    • GWF Hegel

      starting to feel like your care worker, cerebralcaustic. your methodological individualism is a flawed perspective from which to assess marxian analysis. if you want a debate on methodology you should introduce it as such, rather than naively assuming that marx could be understood using bourgeois categories which are utterly out of step with dialectical thought.

      it doesn't matter even slightly that one can move between classes. they are not designed to capture static groups of people. it is largely the relations – which persist even as people move into and out of various socio-economic categories – are important at this level of analysis.

      • Cerebralcaustic

        >your methodological individualism is a flawed perspective from which to assess marxian analysis. if you want a debate on methodology you should introduce it as such, rather than naively assuming that marx could be understood using bourgeois categories which are utterly out of step with dialectical thought.

        Well, I am simply a lowly member of the working class, stridently neglecting my historical mission of overthrowing the bourgeois … what would I know about anything?

        >if you want a debate on methodology you should introduce it as such, rather than naively assuming that marx could be understood using bourgeois categories which are utterly out of step with dialectical thought.

        “Out of step” with dialectical thought? Guess I owe my church leaders an apology for when I criticized Theological claims based on scientific evidence. Or, perhaps, you're simply trying to avoid external criticism…

        >it doesn't matter even slightly that one can move between classes. they are not designed to capture static groups of people. it is largely the relations – which persist even as people move into and out of various socio-economic categories – are important at this level of analysis.

        It does, in fact, matter that people can move between classes; that was entirely my point. The Marxist Dialectic is fatally flawed by assuming that abstract groups will, or ought to, behave in certain ways.

  • Tuna Ghost

    “Hard to believe, but it’s been a year since the Obama Administration forced General Motors into bankruptcy.”

    Nick, buddy, I read your blog with interest because it provides a perspective so very different from my own and at least you do something resembling research before you talk about a subject, which I appreciate not least for its rarity. But don't you think this sentence is a little strong? Maybe GM's piss-poor planning and a lagging economy forced them into the spot they were in, yeah? The company was simply not sustainable at the rate things were going. Bankruptcy provided them a chance to cut the fat, as it were, and be able to limping forward. Otherwise they may well have just colllapsed into the ground and even more people would be out of work.

    The impact of GM's financial woes is not lost on me–I lived in Michigan, which was in bad shape before this particular shit hit this particular fan (Michigan, after all, and Detroit in particular, is known for having so much shit and so many fans). But I don't think you can argue that GM filing bankruptcy is worse than the alternative, which would be to let it die a slow death and put even more people out of work, both here and abroad. Best case scenario is that GM splits apart and sells itself peice by peice, which in no way assures that the original staff will keep their jobs–often in these cases it is the complete opposite.

    I guess I'm not sure why you are saying Obama forced them to do it with an obviously indignant finger pointed at him.

  • Cerebralcaustic

    >your methodological individualism is a flawed perspective from which to assess marxian analysis. if you want a debate on methodology you should introduce it as such, rather than naively assuming that marx could be understood using bourgeois categories which are utterly out of step with dialectical thought.

    Well, I am simply a lowly member of the working class, stridently neglecting my historical mission of overthrowing the bourgeois … what would I know about anything?

    >if you want a debate on methodology you should introduce it as such, rather than naively assuming that marx could be understood using bourgeois categories which are utterly out of step with dialectical thought.

    “Out of step” with dialectical thought? Guess I owe my church leaders an apology for when I criticized Theological claims based on scientific evidence. Or, perhaps, you’re simply trying to avoid external criticism…

    >it doesn’t matter even slightly that one can move between classes. they are not designed to capture static groups of people. it is largely the relations – which persist even as people move into and out of various socio-economic categories – are important at this level of analysis.

    It does, in fact, matter that people can move between classes; that was entirely my point. The Marxist Dialectic is fatally flawed by assuming that abstract groups will, or ought to, behave in certain ways.