Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Class First Race A Close Second
Below is my reply to a comment on the piece entitled "Obama’s legacy" that appeared January 28 on the WSWS . First is the comment followed by my reply.
Rowan: I wish some of the ending statements contained in the WSWS articles were true. I see little sign that any 'wider sections of the working class' have awoken or reacted to their increasingly perilous predicament with any intelligence or action. Contrarily there is built in malaise that seems to pervade the social conditions throughout the globe. Very few people understand or care about the importance of Assange or Snowden's revelations, or indeed the on-going criminality that capitalism enshrines. Its just wishful thinking, although I do not wish this to sound as cynical as it seems.
Yeah Rowan I am with you. A not insignificant swath of the working class have been so damaged by the economic pounding, on one hand and the constant drumbeat of infotainment that has rendered them imbecilic on the other that the WSWS's well meaning conclusion does, at the very least, seem premature if not still-born. One glaring example of this is the comment section of this site. Compare the the number of comments left here on the WSWS to the number left at sites such as ESPN and the TMZ. You'd think with the way working people have been getting creamed particularly the last 30 years or so, a site such as this one, however you may disagree about some of the positions, that offers a progressive way forward would be jumping. Yet . . . yeah the place is virtually (pun intended) empty.
The ruling class has little to worry about in terms of a movement from below that could realistically threaten their rule. If they did things would not have gone as far as they've gone. To me enough has already happened that we should have outright rebellion already. In any case, they've covered their bets and have in place the police state infrastructure to crush by liquidation large numbers, ala Pinochet, of the working class should it become necessary. To quote Lt. Jean Rasczak from the cult classic film Starship Troopers:
"Something given has no value . . . but when you vote you are exercising political authority; you're using force. Force, my friends, is violence. The supreme authority from which all other authority is derived. . . Naked force has resolved more issues throughout history than any other factor. . . Anyone who tells you different is delusional"
Now I am not saying I necessarily and personally subscribe to such an ethos. But, certainly ruling classes throughout history have and oppressed classes throughout history, as well, have understood so whether consciously or not. That knowledge will certainly dampen any enthusiasm for rebellion.
Another dimension which the WSWS, I believe, underestimates is the role of racism. The writers at WSWS are quick to downplay the the role of racism in dividing particularly the American working class. To them , it seems to me, it is all or mostly all about identity politics. But, for one thing, I, for example, am "black" but it wasn't me or any other "black" person that created race. We, through a turn of history, are saddled with it and a preponderant numbers of "white" people went along with it enjoying the privileges, however small , that went with it. I do not disagree that Class is the major fault line of any class based social system but if Class represents the bricks of the edifice, race is the mortar.
A rueful smile appears on my face when I read of the WSWS efforts, no doubt admirable, in Detroit to expose the fleecing of an entire City. Showing all these black faces at the forefront, unfortunately, does not further the cause. Most, though not all, Whites tune out. After all it is only Black people suffering and the Black mis-leadership class is no help. As Glen Ford, commenting on Detroit, wrote at the Black Agenda Report website: "Black people cannot stop it and White people will not come to their defense." Though technically not accurate, what Ford is saying is that the ruling class does not need every single White person to be on board the racist gravy train as it were, it just needs a preponderance of them whether engaged actively or passively through their indifference and complacency. Class will not be overcome in this society until White Supremacy is neutered. Race is like the Rooks in the game of Chess that protect the King: Class.
Still Rowan, I am with you. I do not want to give in to cynicism. My hope is that people of all colors can somehow come together and overturn this now historically spent system. If not, then I fear it will end only when the planet lies in ruin. Everything has a beginning and an end. Ultimately, it is up to us to decide what that end looks like.