Class Politics Fit for the Times
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For a transformation, there must be a clear identification of what has to be overthrown and the reasons for opposing and delegitimizing it. The Left has traditionally focused on exploitation and oppression in labor. That is not where the main action is now. There has been an entrenchment of the rhetoric and reality of private property rights, from which extensive rent-seeking has been legitimized. There has been the conversion of the commons into part of the structure of rent-seeking, and the US-designed intellectual property rights regime has come to dominate global capitalism.
Movements like Occupy missed the emerging class structure in focusing on the top 1%. Extraction of rentier income is greatest in the plutocracy and for those in the elite and salariat in plutocratic corporations. Segments of the old proletariat have also gained from rentier capitalism and cannot be expected to lead a struggle to dismantle it. The main opposition will have to come from the precariat, and to some extent from quasi-peasant movements opposed to the conversion of the green and blue commons into zones of rentier capitalism.
Second, we must deromanticize the “working class” in the old sense, and deromanticize labor unions and labor parties. Above all, we must not look back wistfully and try to rehabilitate actual communism and state socialism. Moghadam says communism was “very effective providing education,” but it was often lumpenizing, with, as we know, Lenin setting the tone in lauding Taylorism and the dehumanization of “scientific management,” in which the workers were not expected to think. Labourism was a false road.
There was a fatal loss of faith in emancipation and real freedom. There was a profound neglect of ecological values; the materialist drive saw nature as resources and the source of ‘”jobs.” Whenever there was a conflict between jobs and the conservation of the environment, labor unions and socialist labor parties opted for jobs.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
May 14, 2020 at 3:37 PM #315343Cold Mountain TrailParticipant
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“Segments of the old proletariat have also gained from rentier capitalism”
–such as? it doesn’t say who these proles are in the article
the only workers I can think of that gain are those on pensions, because of the stock market
agreed this is the era of rentier capitalism, but not buying the rest
May 14, 2020 at 7:31 PM #315379GZeusHParticipant
- Total Posts: 2,495
Enough to buy a second house that he rents out on Airbnb from time to time.
Enough to pay off his own house, and then he inherits one when his parents die and he rents that one out.
These are people who have been fortunate enough in their lives to put away some money, enough to see the lure of being a rent-collector instead of being a worker. They will easily begin to think that they should not be workers and belong in a better class of people. People who have lived their lives in skyrocketing real estate markets (California, Mass., DC area), and bought in when prices were low, can fall into this category.
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