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Corpsey
20-01-2017, 09:23 AM
Any good articles/books about this phenomenon?

It's a feeling I'm intimately acquainted with, and it occurred to me as a point of discussion when reading tributes to K Punk which made reference to his pride in being working class. I feel I naturally, unthinkingly inherited it, without ever really understanding it.

What is it about the middle class which compels this shame and self loathing? Is it the awareness of being neither one thing nor the other, of having roots in a working class culture, less buttoned down and servile towards the loathed and envied upper class, and of aspiring towards a condition of upper class cultivation, without possessing the proper credentials to get past the doorman?

And is the concept of 'working class pride' something of a sentimental fantasy (or projection of self loathing) on the part of the middle class?

Anyway, I'll stop banging on now, because I'm sure others will have much more interesting and informed things to say on the subject. Unless they're middle-class, in which case it'll be pretentious waffle (and they're probably drinking posh coffee, the cunts).

luka
20-01-2017, 09:33 AM
Deracinated, inherently conservative buffer class, perpetually afraid of losing what little they have? No culture or traditions only one, or two generations away from their plebby predecessors? Quisling servant class of wealth and privilege? Paid off class traitors?

Corpsey
20-01-2017, 09:53 AM
No culture or traditions? What about memes?

luka
20-01-2017, 09:58 AM
I fucking love memes.

Corpsey
20-01-2017, 10:04 AM
No culture or traditions only one, or two generations away from their plebby predecessors?

This reminds me (indirectly) of Pip in 'Great Expectations', provided a means of escape from (relative) poverty through patronage and education, but soon rendered a snob, guilty for leaving his loved ones behind and yet loathing their lack of cultivation, etc.

Dickens' class origins are quite fascinating, really (son of a clerk who ended up in debtor's prison, with Charles forced to work in a factory at the age of 12). You're right to point out the precariousness of the middle-classes.

A particularly common form of middle-class self-loathing is the '#firstworldproblems' thing. Feeling that any misery or even 'moaning' about the state of the world is self-indulgent and hypocritical. Also 'champagne socialism'.

luka
20-01-2017, 10:08 AM
I am middle class and so have a special insight into their ways and values. Obviously there's a few different flavours of middle class. Can't wait for Mr tea to start frothing at the gash once he sees this thread.

Mr. Tea
20-01-2017, 10:35 AM
Haha, I knew luka was gonna say something like that. It's funny how we know each other so well.

Corpsey
20-01-2017, 10:57 AM
I've noticed that the older I get the more seduced I am by the middle-class trappings I formerly affected to despise.

I'm now sinking comfortably into my middle-class status, like an imitation leather armchair from John Lewis.

Coveting furniture. Enjoying BBC Four documentaries about Rome and Fleetwood Mac. Posh cheese. Wine. Holidays to the South of France. Sounds delightful.

Wouldn't swap with my plebby forefathers for all the brie in Waitrose.

Mr. Tea
20-01-2017, 10:59 AM
I've not read loads of Mark Fisher's writing like some people here have, but in what I have read, it's notable that never fails to big up his own working-class credentials, and that anything he doesn't like can pretty much automatically be dismissed as 'bourgeois', which is k-punk for 'self-evidently worthless and quite possibly evil'. But - and without wishing to diss the guy - as I understand it, he made a living as a university lecturer, author and occasional opinion journalist, which is not most people's idea of proletarian labour. In fact it's a classically bourgeois occupation. So what exactly was it about him that was 'working class' in any meaningful way? If it's just that he came from a working-class background, I'm afraid I don't really buy that because class is not genetically encoded, is it? My parents are almost stereotypically middle-class but all of their parents were about as working-class as it gets (or got). I don't identify as a miner or a farm labourer just because some of my recent ancestors did those things, that would be ridiculous.

So I wonder if MCSL played some important part in Mark's psychological makeup.

luka
20-01-2017, 11:25 AM
My dad grew up working class but he was proud of being the first person in his family to go university etc on the other hand he never got free of a certain class antagonism and prickly relationship with his more privileged peers. He certainly identified as middle class but it was complicated. I guess I've inherited a lot of that despite being a generation further removed from being skint.

luka
20-01-2017, 11:44 AM
My point bring, I suppose,that hoisting yourself into the middle class doesn't necessarily mean you start identifying with people who were raised middle class, or effortlessly shed certain class anxieties and resentments

firefinga
20-01-2017, 12:13 PM
A particularly common form of middle-class self-loathing is the '#firstworldproblems' thing. Feeling that any misery or even 'moaning' about the state of the world is self-indulgent and hypocritical. Also 'champagne socialism'.

to me that appears to be more about being a bit of a hypocrite and/or feeling guilty than self-loathing.

IMO there is middle class self loathing, but in the context of not having met the self-imposed "goals" of reaching "upper" middle class /upper class status.

baboon2004
20-01-2017, 12:19 PM
My point bring, I suppose,that hoisting yourself into the middle class doesn't necessarily mean you start identifying with people who were raised middle class, or effortlessly shed certain class anxieties and resentments

Very true. My mum was raised in a working class area, first person to go to university, similar story, now she presents as middle class in a lot of ways. And her relationship to middle classness is much more complicated than mine (I grew up in a classically middle class household) as a result - she cleaves to the trappings of middle classness more whereas I, taking it for granted, can take it or leave it knowing that I can play the middle class 'card' when it suits me, with no self-questioning attached. But then in certain moments my mum shows a real deep-set class resentment against a very particular kind of bourgeois person, and it's a surprise because it'e infrequent and at odds with her usual manner.

In answer to the initial question posed, I think a lot of middle class people realise (consciously or subconsciously) that they have a massive advantage in their career etc, and so everything they achieve is tainted by being achieved within a system weighted towards them and against potential competitors who grow up working class. So achievement feels hollow, whether m-c people are consciously aware of that or not. If there was a level playing field, then their high-flying jobs wouldn't have come so easily, if at all. (Also the cultural shame of knowing that as soon as the (upper?) middle class definitively took over pop music in the 2000s, it went all Mumford and Sons very quickly)

I'm drinking posh coffee while writing this.

Corpsey
20-01-2017, 12:24 PM
I had a posh coffee earlier today.

I wouldn't be surprised if many of us on Dissensus come from similar class backgrounds. My parents went to university, their parents didn't. I feel additionally emposhened by having been born and raised in Oxfordshire, while they were born and raised in Manchester and Liverpool. (Although my mum's side were slightly posher Liverpudlians and my Grandfather on my Dad's side was a policeman.)

firefinga
20-01-2017, 12:33 PM
"working class pride" however is a thing of the past, as is the working class as a group of self aware people unified by their solidarity. Conservative parties throughout the West played a big role in demolishing the working class AS a class. But even worse were formerly social democratic parties (like New Labour and SPD in Germany in particular) which sold out the blue collar people to the ruling class (the 2% of the really rich). Just look at how the working class is being represented in the media/popular culture. If they actually are being made a topic at all, it's usually in a negative way - welfare fraud, violence, malfunctioning families etc.

I am usually referring to the german speaking countries in my posts and here, "working class proud" ment learning a trade/become a skilled worker, be in a union, strive for knowledge etc.

Mr. Tea
20-01-2017, 12:42 PM
My point bring, I suppose,that hoisting yourself into the middle class doesn't necessarily mean you start identifying with people who were raised middle class, or effortlessly shed certain class anxieties and resentments

Yes, there is that, I guess. Still doesn't mean you have to go through life with this Us Vs Them mentality - but who knows what kind of experiences he had growing up? We don't get to make ourselves.

sadmanbarty
20-01-2017, 12:55 PM
As with you lot my mum was the first to go to uni (and the only one of her siblings to do so). Strangely she she speaks in a middle class accent while her siblings speak in their native Essex.

Obviously there are many components of middle class self loathing. One is that people don't like the idea of being privileged as it can feel like it belittles their problems. Another is that as a middle class person you actually socialise and live around working class people in a way that the upper class wouldn't, so that you're more aware of class.

I once heard a 2nd generation immigrant say that they felt loads of pressure to accomplish something ("save the world" as they put it) due of the relative privilege they experienced and their parents didn't. I feel a similar pressure being a 2nd generation middle classer.

firefinga
20-01-2017, 12:55 PM
Also, within the last 20,30 years within westrn societies, the value system of middle class has been imposed onto the working class, too. Meaning: your life is supposed to revolve not only around your "job", you are now supposed to have a "career" with all its implications. In the old sense of working class, there was work's drudgery, and then there was leasure time. Now you are supposed to be working on your skillset and/or networking in your "free" time too.

Mr. Tea
20-01-2017, 01:08 PM
In answer to the initial question posed, I think a lot of middle class people realise (consciously or subconsciously) that they have a massive advantage in their career etc, and so everything they achieve is tainted by being achieved within a system weighted towards them and against potential competitors who grow up working class. So achievement feels hollow, whether m-c people are consciously aware of that or not. If there was a level playing field, then their high-flying jobs wouldn't have come so easily, if at all.

True up to a point, but the middle classes in many countries - certainly this one - have been getting absolutely shat on since 2007-8. Having a degree from a Russell Group university and knowing how to pronounce 'quinoa' are not the ticket to a decent job that they once were.

At this point it's probably worth distinguishing between class as a cultural phenomenon and class in purely economic terms, because really, contra Tony Blair, the great majority of people are economically working class, in that they sell their labour to an employer, regardless of whether they're a teacher, a bus driver, an engineer or whatever. Going by this classification, most people you'd call middle class have far more interests in common with working-class people than they do with the upper middle class, who increasingly are looking like the aristocracy of days gone by, in that they don't actually 'work' at all but generate wealth simply by owning wealth (the investor/speculator/landlord class).

Unfortunately, right-wing politicians and the media entities that support them have got extremely good at persuading the struggling lower middle classes that their plight is due to the indigence and greed of the people lower down the ladder than themselves - immigrants, 'scroungers', single mums, all the usual suspects - instead of directing their anger upwards at the cunts that are running (and ruining) the whole show. So what's needed is a political movement that can appeal to workers in the most general sense, regardless of whether they sit at a desk or a checkout.

john eden
20-01-2017, 01:09 PM
I've not read loads of Mark Fisher's writing like some people here have, but in what I have read, it's notable that never fails to big up his own working-class credentials, and that anything he doesn't like can pretty much automatically be dismissed as 'bourgeois', which is k-punk for 'self-evidently worthless and quite possibly evil'.

As you've not read much of his material you should be able to provide a reference for the bits you have quoted?

vimothy
20-01-2017, 01:09 PM
That value system was also imposed on the middle class in a similar timeframe as well. Life didn't always revolve around career, lifestyle and leisure activities.

john eden
20-01-2017, 01:13 PM
Also I think one of the points K-Punk was making was that teaching/lecturing was becoming increasingly precarious and proletarianised. Which is correct, but that has broadly happened to all workers in recent history.

Mr. Tea
20-01-2017, 01:18 PM
Unfortunately, right-wing politicians and the media entities that support them have got extremely good at persuading the struggling lower middle classes that their plight is due to the indigence and greed of the people lower down the ladder than themselves - immigrants, 'scroungers', single mums, all the usual suspects - instead of directing their anger upwards at the cunts that are running (and ruining) the whole show. So what's needed is a political movement that can appeal to workers in the most general sense, regardless of whether they sit at a desk or a checkout.

And that's not going to happen while the left is fractured between old-school socialists who still talk about 'the bourgeoisie' like they're The Enemy, because to them 'middle class' means stockbrokers who live in big houses in Surrey, and middle-class students who see the world only through the lens of identity politics and have a strong suspicion that working-class people - the white ones, anyway - are a bunch of ghastly ignorant racists.

Corpsey
20-01-2017, 01:31 PM
The 'champagne socialists' thing is interesting, because it's essentially saying that you've no right to wish to change or abolish a system from which you've benefited (and in all probability continue to benefit from). I guess the idea is that 'champagne socialists' aren't doing more than playing at being socialists, because, if push came to shove, they wouldn't want to give up their bourgeoisie accoutrements for the sake of egalitarianism.

Perhaps this is something to do with it. Is BSL a liberal/left phenomenon, for the most part? I doubt the sort of middle class people who read The Daily Mail are self-loathing, although they may still deride liberal/left people as 'middle class lefties', I suppose. There's this guilt, among liberal middle class people, surrounding the enjoyment of privileges which we're conscious of not 'deserving' - because we believe (in theory, at least), in egalitarianism, and therefore feel a profound anxiety over our own enjoyment of quinoa and Glastonbury Festival.

Corpsey
20-01-2017, 01:32 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuTMWgOduFM

Well somebody had to.

john eden
20-01-2017, 01:32 PM
As for the broader question, middle class self loathing is probably an OK price to pay for being middle class.

I suspect that it is only really something that affects more socially aware middle class people though.

baboon2004
20-01-2017, 01:32 PM
True up to a point, but the middle classes in many countries - certainly this one - have been getting absolutely shat on since 2007-8. Having a degree from a Russell Group university and knowing how to pronounce 'quinoa' are not the ticket to a decent job that they once were.

At this point it's probably worth distinguishing between class as a cultural phenomenon and class in purely economic terms, because really, contra Tony Blair, the great majority of people are economically working class, in that they sell their labour to an employer, regardless of whether they're a teacher, a bus driver, an engineer or whatever. Going by this classification, most people you'd call middle class have far more interests in common with working-class people than they do with the upper middle class, who increasingly are looking like the aristocracy of days gone by, in that they don't actually 'work' at all but generate wealth simply by owning wealth (the investor/speculator/landlord class).


I do agree with your first paragraph, but important to qualify what that means in reality. That SOME middle class people (mostly under 35) are finding it much more difficult to get a decent job than they once did. Certainly. But, if you look at most professions, they're still colonised by middle class people - there's a hell of a lot of people still walking into high-flying jobs who aren't anything special but have the right class profile. Plus middle class people aged 35-50, say, they have the track record sown up already (whether they're useless in reality or not) and so didn't get shat on in the same way.

Corpsey
20-01-2017, 01:36 PM
I suspect that it is only really something that affects more socially aware middle class people though.

Yeah, I think it is more of a leftist thing. I guess left-leaning people just generally feel guilty and depressed about the whole social system as a whole. And being middle class is in a sense being complicit in that system, whereas if you're working class you're sort of in opposition to it. (Because you're losing it.)

firefinga
20-01-2017, 01:39 PM
Perhaps this is something to do with it. Is BSL a liberal/left phenomenon, for the most part? I doubt the sort of middle class people who read The Daily Mail are self-loathing, although they may still deride liberal/left people as 'middle class lefties', I suppose.

The middle class oscilates between self-guilt and self-righteousness.

vimothy
20-01-2017, 01:44 PM
Another related question is whether "middle class self-loathing" is directed against the middle class as a class or whether its a broader notion of the self that the middle class is able to distance itself from.

Corpsey
20-01-2017, 01:56 PM
A chapter from a book on the bourgeoisie concerning 'Bourgeoisophobes', Flaubert being the most infamous:

http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/g/gay-pleasure.html

Mr. Tea
20-01-2017, 02:13 PM
As you've not read much of his material you should be able to provide a reference for the bits you have quoted?

The piece that really sticks in my mind was him writing about feeling his heart swell with working-class pride at the sight of obese mums passing their obese kids pies and burgers through the gates of a school at lunch break, thereby sabotaging that awful middle-class do-gooder Jamie Oliver’s healthy school meals programme. It’s like, following the collapse of heavy industry and most kinds of traditional manual labour, the best way for working-class people to express their class identity is by eating as shitty a diet as possible to spite ‘do-gooders’? It just struck me as amazingly puerile and nihilistic – and, quite frankly, snobbish. As if it’s somehow appropriate for working-class people to eat mass-produced crap. The sort of attitude a cartoon toff might have, but with the value judgement reversed – just like zhao used to do all the time with race stereotypes.

(BTW, I totally get the Jamie hatred. I think his healthy school meals crusade is largely earnest but his insistence on aping the diction and mannerisms of a 1950s cockney barrow boy despite having had a reasonably privileged upbringing is extremely grating.)

Mr. Tea
20-01-2017, 02:26 PM
But, if you look at most professions, they're still colonised by middle class people - there's a hell of a lot of people still walking into high-flying jobs who aren't anything special but have the right class profile.

Sure, but I think the point I was making is that the gap in wealth and opportunity between the top and bottom ends of the middle class is a lot bigger than that between working class and lower-middle. Or to put it another way, does it make sense to put a teacher earning 25k and an executive earning ten times that in the 'same' social class?

firefinga
20-01-2017, 02:33 PM
Or to put it another way, does it make sense to put a teacher earning 25k and an executive earning ten times that in the 'same' social class?

Depends on where you put your emphasis on. Both groups may have a very similar formal way of education (both groups college educated), but likely differ in terms of not only income, but also values/political views.

Probematic also when being used ("collage graduates vote this") as a category regarding social science/polling/explaining election results. Add to that, there are still relatively high paid blue color jobs out there.

baboon2004
20-01-2017, 02:37 PM
Sure, but I think the point I was making is that the gap in wealth and opportunity between the top and bottom ends of the middle class is a lot bigger than that between working class and lower-middle. Or to put it another way, does it make sense to put a teacher earning 25k and an executive earning ten times that in the 'same' social class?

I think you're right on wealth, but wrong on opportunity (to make that wealth), which is the more important factor in the whole argument To the question - yes, up to a point, because mostly they came from the same strata of opportunity - the rest depends on their choices. Not to put too fine a point on it, I had all the middle class advantages to be able to go and make a sizeable amount of money in my early 20s if I had wanted to - it was a choice not to, not a direct choice not to make money, but to work in another part of the economy where money is less plentiful. Perhaps more fool me that I didn't...

the attributes of middle classness gain you access to all kinds of opportunities, if you want to take them. I think anyone who denies that is fooling themselves. That said, obvioulsy more middle class people have been squeezed since 2008, no argument with that.

CrowleyHead
20-01-2017, 03:01 PM
This thread is so inherently British, it's adorable.

Mr. Tea
20-01-2017, 03:05 PM
I think you're right on wealth, but wrong on opportunity (to make that wealth), which is the more important factor in the whole argument To the question - yes, up to a point, because mostly they came from the same strata of opportunity - the rest depends on their choices. Not to put too fine a point on it, I had all the middle class advantages to be able to go and make a sizeable amount of money in my early 20s if I had wanted to - it was a choice not to, not a direct choice not to make money, but to work in another part of the economy where money is less plentiful. Perhaps more fool me that I didn't...

the attributes of middle classness gain you access to all kinds of opportunities, if you want to take them. I think anyone who denies that is fooling themselves. That said, obvioulsy more middle class people have been squeezed since 2008, no argument with that.

You also need to take into account the critical importance of a university education for many (most?) worthwhile kinds of careers these days, and how much this now costs. We're now looking at significant numbers of young people whose parents got a university education for free but who will either choose not to go at all, or will go and suffer the financial effects for years and perhaps decades after they graduate.

josef k.
20-01-2017, 03:06 PM
Middle class self-loathing, resentment, etc is a form of slave morality that helps keep the middle class (all classes) complaisant & betwitched, by operating as a material obstacle for creating friendships/groups that cut across class lines. The subversive political move must be to externalize privilege, where it exists, into concrete actions, á la Engels, in other words, to spend it, instead of internalizing functionally depressing identities. "Check your privilege" means, in effect, "Subjectivize yourself as an unhappy consciousness." That is, put yourself under the control of a crypto-priest.

Mr. Tea
20-01-2017, 03:12 PM
I've missed you, josef. Good to have you back.

mind_philip
20-01-2017, 03:46 PM
When I was growing up in Southampton (in the 1980s) I felt resolutely middle class, by virtue of the fact that my mum fixated on middle class signifiers like accent and behaviour when we were young, and because (as far as I was aware) we lived in a reasonably nice house in a reasonably nice part of Hampshire. I think I might even have been taunted as posh at one point because my dad made sure our shoes were polished every day before we went to school (he had a skilled job outside of the traditional professions).

Then I went to university (first generation in my family to do so) and wound up working at a big tech company in London. Pretty much everyone I have worked with subsequently was privately educated, had university educated professional parents, yet would identify as middle class if challenged. So, you can go from middle class posho to oily prole in this country just by changing where you live.

Mr. Tea
20-01-2017, 05:10 PM
^ sounds a bit like my experience - called 'posh' at school, grew up, went to Uni, met people who are *properly* posh. Actually not so much the uni I went to (although there were some pretty privileged people there, many were overseas students, and while filthy rich, nonetheless not really part of the class tradition peculiar to this country) but after meeting my girlfriend, who studied in Oxford and at one of the older/richer/snobbier colleges, at that.

In fact her experience was like mine but moreso, as her accent is if anything a bit plummier than mine (and I could plausibly present a programme on Radio 3) but that's just a result of her parents both having Oxbridge educations. But they were both useless with money and the family was often pretty much on the breadline while she and her siblings were growing up and she's not had any financial help whatsoever since she was 18, but has got used to people assuming she's loaded because of her accent. Which is an odd example of a class 'privilege' actually being potentially a disadvantage.

john eden
20-01-2017, 05:19 PM
The piece that really sticks in my mind was him writing about feeling his heart swell with working-class pride at the sight of obese mums passing their obese kids pies and burgers through the gates of a school at lunch break, thereby sabotaging that awful middle-class do-gooder Jamie Oliver’s healthy school meals programme. It’s like, following the collapse of heavy industry and most kinds of traditional manual labour, the best way for working-class people to express their class identity is by eating as shitty a diet as possible to spite ‘do-gooders’? It just struck me as amazingly puerile and nihilistic – and, quite frankly, snobbish. As if it’s somehow appropriate for working-class people to eat mass-produced crap. The sort of attitude a cartoon toff might have, but with the value judgement reversed – just like zhao used to do all the time with race stereotypes.

(BTW, I totally get the Jamie hatred. I think his healthy school meals crusade is largely earnest but his insistence on aping the diction and mannerisms of a 1950s cockney barrow boy despite having had a reasonably privileged upbringing is extremely grating.)

That isn't what he ACTUALLY said though is it?


Fearnley-Whittingstall exemplifies that combination of charm and bullish certainty which is characteristic of the English Master Class at their most winning and and their most irritating. Describing himself on the One Show as 'a posh boy with a farm' Fearnley-Whittingstall is more ingenuousness about his class background than Jamie Oliver, which meant that the resistance and class resentment his 'Chicken Out' campaign faced was different to that encountered by Oliver when he took on the problem of school dinners a few years back. Oliver was famously resisted by parents who passed fast food through the fences of schools that had converted to more nourishing meals, but whether this was an act of class defiance to bourgeois do-gooding or an act of entrepreneurialism, or some combination of both, was unclear.

droid
20-01-2017, 06:44 PM
Tea only sees what he wants to see.

Mr. Tea
20-01-2017, 08:53 PM
I didn't say that's what he wrote, I said that's what stuck in my head. o_0

Either it was a different piece of his that I was thinking of, or I've mixed that article up with something written by someone else entirely. My bad.

vimothy
20-01-2017, 09:36 PM
Angela Nagle, The Scourge of Self-Flagellating Politics (https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/01/the-scourge-of-self-flagellating-politics):


From the gospel according to Luke, “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” If we are to take Luke at his word, then there must be plenty of heavenly exaltation in store for Jeopardy contestant turned social justice columnist caricature Arthur Chu who once tweeted: “As a dude who cares about feminism sometimes I want to join all men arm-in-arm & then run off a cliff and drag the whole gender into the sea.” Or for those who, on the morning following the election of Donald Trump, took to social media to publicly humble themselves to their followers, expressing their intense inward-turned shame and self-hatred. Typical of the style, New Statesman editor Laurie Penny wrote: “I’ve had white liberal guilt before. Today is the first time I’ve actually been truly horrified and ashamed to be white.” Others expressed their self-disgust at being straight white males and assured followers that while they of course did not vote for Trump, merely looking like those who did required some readily self-inflicted penance.

vimothy
20-01-2017, 09:38 PM
Crypto-priests: the Cathedrals are full of 'em.

josef k.
20-01-2017, 09:47 PM
But unfortunately empty otherwise.

Mr. Tea
20-01-2017, 09:55 PM
Nah, there's usually a café and a gift shop, at the very least.

josef k.
20-01-2017, 09:56 PM
Typical of the style, New Statesman editor Laurie Penny wrote: “I’ve had white liberal guilt before. Today is the first time I’ve actually been truly horrified and ashamed to be white.” Others expressed their self-disgust at being straight white males and assured followers that while they of course did not vote for Trump, merely looking like those who did required some readily self-inflicted penance. (https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/01/the-scourge-of-self-flagellating-politics)

"If you think you are white, there's no hope for you."

Benny B
20-01-2017, 10:55 PM
Lucky laurie penny's got her 'genderqueer' identity to fall back on when she's not feeling marginalised enough eh?

droid
20-01-2017, 10:56 PM
lol, listen to yourselves. Its like the grand national except with hobby horses.

john eden
21-01-2017, 10:53 AM
I think it's reasonable to consider middle class identity politics as a product of middle class self loathing though?

I think that's where its worst excesses of puritanical denouncement come from...

baboon2004
21-01-2017, 01:10 PM
"If you think you are white, there's no hope for you."

Is that from "The Fire Next Time" or Ta Nehisi-Coates? The Baldwin book is full of wise quotables that haven't aged at all: "People can cry much easier than they can change" the one I recall immediately.

josef k.
21-01-2017, 01:13 PM
180

baboon2004
21-01-2017, 01:21 PM
wonder what they talked about.

josef k.
21-01-2017, 04:30 PM
Clausewitz?

CrowleyHead
22-01-2017, 07:44 PM
I think it's reasonable to consider middle class identity politics as a product of middle class self loathing though?

I think that's where its worst excesses of puritanical denouncement come from...

Its truly a weak hand to play there, because how do you reach a point of the middle-class being willing dismantlers of class, if that's what your goal is, without a recognition that their beneficial status has been at the expense of others? Identity/Role Conflict manifests via being estranged from one's supposed community, and that can fall along lines of race/sexuality/gender/faith and so on. As one's middle-class is not necessarily equatable to another individual's middle-class, this weighing of social positioning creates the insane tension of "I want to be further, I can't get further, how can you say I've come so far?"

The inherent problem of Identity Politics is solipsism and its tie into one's desire to protect one's self, and such a paradox is not inherently beholden to the middle-classes; puritanical denouncement can come from the lower classes in reactionary conservatism and fear and the middle-classes who weigh the liberalist politics with their guilt lash back, and the endless cycle persists.

To tie the worst aspects of identity politics to the middle class when they're IF ANYTHING a problem tied into people's individual battle against their sense's of 'self' (not to get into psycholo-drama), leads to the notion that in attacking our identities sociologically... Not even necessarily the ones we're upholding consciously, but the mantles we're presumed to take upon ourselves, that others whom are our peers accept... we're striving for an authenticity in the wake of not having the authenticity of victimhood.

No doubt there's an inherent sloppiness when people use "____-splaining", "____ privileges" as ways to invalidate something along moralistic lines. But that comes from a failure of education either on the source or the recipient, the recognition that these concepts are being used as tools in practice as verbal/logistical Self-Defense Mechanisms rather than demonstrations of critique. If you tie that issue to the Middle-Classes, evidences of guilt as there may be, you risk painting the issue of these identity politics as a "Middle Class Issue" which puts us into the corny idea of the issue of identity being a 'luxury'.

Not saying you yourself or anyone in the board is arriving at that conclusion. Just that its a path I see rounding back into older BAD arguments in how it erases the questions of identity of anyone in the lower classes who might be reactionary and self-loathing at any stage or in some direction.

josef k.
23-01-2017, 06:38 PM
Identity is a luxury, n'est pas? Who really needs one?

luka
23-01-2017, 06:46 PM
To breed an animal with the right to make promises is this not the paradoxical task that nature has set itself in the case of man?
;)

john eden
24-01-2017, 08:24 PM
Its truly a weak hand to play there, because how do you reach a point of the middle-class being willing dismantlers of class, if that's what your goal is, without a recognition that their beneficial status has been at the expense of others? Identity/Role Conflict manifests via being estranged from one's supposed community, and that can fall along lines of race/sexuality/gender/faith and so on. As one's middle-class is not necessarily equatable to another individual's middle-class, this weighing of social positioning creates the insane tension of "I want to be further, I can't get further, how can you say I've come so far?"

The inherent problem of Identity Politics is solipsism and its tie into one's desire to protect one's self, and such a paradox is not inherently beholden to the middle-classes; puritanical denouncement can come from the lower classes in reactionary conservatism and fear and the middle-classes who weigh the liberalist politics with their guilt lash back, and the endless cycle persists.

To tie the worst aspects of identity politics to the middle class when they're IF ANYTHING a problem tied into people's individual battle against their sense's of 'self' (not to get into psycholo-drama), leads to the notion that in attacking our identities sociologically... Not even necessarily the ones we're upholding consciously, but the mantles we're presumed to take upon ourselves, that others whom are our peers accept... we're striving for an authenticity in the wake of not having the authenticity of victimhood.

No doubt there's an inherent sloppiness when people use "____-splaining", "____ privileges" as ways to invalidate something along moralistic lines. But that comes from a failure of education either on the source or the recipient, the recognition that these concepts are being used as tools in practice as verbal/logistical Self-Defense Mechanisms rather than demonstrations of critique. If you tie that issue to the Middle-Classes, evidences of guilt as there may be, you risk painting the issue of these identity politics as a "Middle Class Issue" which puts us into the corny idea of the issue of identity being a 'luxury'.

Not saying you yourself or anyone in the board is arriving at that conclusion. Just that its a path I see rounding back into older BAD arguments in how it erases the questions of identity of anyone in the lower classes who might be reactionary and self-loathing at any stage or in some direction.

I'm a bit taken aback that you've replied at such length to a one-liner of mine and I'm afraid I can't do this justice right now but will try to soon!

I think for me the key thing is that middle class people shouldn't be leading the struggle for a better world anyway. Sure they should take part in it. And perhaps yes, some psychic gymnastics have to take place before that happens. But they should not use their privilege to push to the front of the queue and dominate struggles, meetings, discourse.

Sometimes it is sufficient to say "how can I help?" instead of loudly braying that you're ALSO oppressed because you a genderqueer jewish anarchist (who happened to go to public school and Oxbridge) like someone who has been mentioned upthread.

josef k.
24-01-2017, 09:18 PM
...but the battle for a better world must be refought everyday by every human being with the darkness of their souls.

Mr. Tea
24-01-2017, 09:55 PM
I think things will change as the lower middle classes - who surely far outnumber the stockbrokers, lawyers etc. - gradually realize that they're getting screwed over, too. Or at least, realize why they're getting screwed over, and by whom.

firefinga
25-01-2017, 05:17 PM
I think things will change as the lower middle classes - who surely far outnumber the stockbrokers, lawyers etc. - gradually realize that they're getting screwed over, too. Or at least, realize why they're getting screwed over, and by whom.

The populists are already hammering it to them: it's those on welfare, the jobless, the immigrants. Unfortunately, they seem to believe it in high numbers.