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November 20, 2016

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Emma

Hi! I'm a longtime fan & lurky American reader, and I would like to assert that this "selfish rainbow liberals have left the white working class behind, ergo Trump" narrative is 100% bullshit. I can't link because I'm mobile and in my RSS reader, but Trump lost the poor/working class of all colors. He won an historic victory, however, among straight white people making between $51 and $99K a year — and not because they love his policies (which do not exist). These voters are racists and Good Germans before they're anything else, and they want to see America transmogrified into the imaginary land of great white hope that they remember from their favorite childhood sitcoms. Hate crimes are on the rise here, even among schoolchildren. Facebook is unusable. Jewish and POC journalists are receiving record amounts of bigoted hate mail. Trump himself is a monster, and has nominated the ghost of Jefferson Davis and two or three 'Die Hard' villains to his Cabinet and army of advisors. Any theory that attributes that crusty orange vomit sculpture's win to anything other than the cowardly racism and natural fascist tendencies of the modal straight white American voter is a lie.

Matt Moore

@Emma I see you are upset. You have good reason to be. But please don't harm the case against Trump by overstating it. There aren't 130 million cowardly racists in America. Most people just vote party affiliation because they dispise the other party. Trump probably won more black and Latino votes than Romney. Claiming that straight white people are natural fascists plays the exact identity politics game that leads to white voters seeing themselves as an interest group opposed to people of colour. Etc.

Please please read http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/11/16/you-are-still-crying-wolf/ which is the most important thing written since the election.

Matt Moore

@Chris

My big confusion with the boss class versus worker class dichotomy as you describe it is that the relationship seems to be symmetric. I was a consultant. I have never had any employees. I was very frequently paid more than the man who hired me. Suppose he needs me far more than I need him. Who is the boss in this scenario?

From Arse To Elbow

@Matt,

Line managers are employees too, i.e. working class, because they sell their labour. Ditto consultants, however well-paid. The "boss" is the owner of the capital of the business, which might be an individual or it might be a group of controlling shareholders (i.e. not small-scale investors who have no executive power).

The original identitarian politics was the detachment of the non-manual, skilled working class (specifically the growing army of informational trades, such as management and admin, that grew over the course of the 19th century) through identification with the performative gentility and snobbery of the petit-bourgeois (i.e. marginal or wannabe capitalists). Much of this has been inherited by contemporary liberal identity politics - e.g. the obsession with "propriety" and "civility" in social media.

I don't think Emma's point is that straight, white people are instinctive Fascists, but that Trump won by mobilising traditional Republican Party supporters in the face of significant voter disaffection from the Democrat Party. In other words, this was a traditional revanche by the coalition of the rich, the petit-bourgeois and those strands of the professional/admin working class who are motivated by cultural distinction (e.g. "keeping the neighbourhood white", opposing same-sex marriage etc).

SimonB

Of course Trumpsters are heterogeneous. There is a truly terrifying group among them that has now gained global influence: http://forsetti.tumblr.com/post/153181757500/on-rural-america-understanding-isnt-the-problem

So, down to Ladbrokes to check the odds on US Civil War II in the next four years.

Bob

Its not white vs non-white. Its natives vs immigrants, who are in many cases e.g. Eastern Europeans non-white.

Ken Hoop

Stalin defeated Trotsky on the premise of national versus international working class politics. National in Russia's imperial case meant a dominant Russ Slav cross-class.
The "international working class" in contrast, doesn't even exist.
Apply to the US and UK and all will be okay. Fail to prioritize the founding ethnic core and you will get dissolution.

Calgacus

"The same high basic income that increases workers’ bargaining power"

Ha! There is no such "basic income". A real monetary "Basic Income" of the sort usually proposed would quickly destroy workers and almost everyone else's bargaining power. Basic Income = Billionaire's Income Guarantee.

As Randall Wray says, Basic Income supporters economics is so bad that they make the neoclassicals / mainstream look good. The destruction it would wreak might be a solution to its daydreaming supporters innumeracy, but a very expensive one. But as usual the suffering would be borne by the daydreamers victims = most people. And they just don't count as real people if they don't fit into a stupid daydream. What would make the daydreamers start thinking about what their oh-so-lovely-sounding proposals really mean, really entail?

Bob

"who are in many cases e.g. Eastern Europeans non-white."

Whoops. Lol.

"quickly destroy workers and almost everyone else's bargaining power"

Lol. Its not that bad.

Bob

"because it valorizes what has traditionally been “women’s work” outside the marketplace"

Not as much as making such work wages - e.g. looking after a child under a certain age should be a paid living wage job. That solves the 'breadwinner' problem.

aragon

As Economics is going the way of the dodo and destroying bargaining power anyway, the argument is null and void.

Yes, I do mean the Economic Singularity.

Paying for childcare - what about nurseries?

But if you want Class Warfare this video explains how it is conducted.

Mark Blyth on Austerity. (Sept 2010 5:34min)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=go2bVGi0ReE

How the rich screw the poor coming and going...
or Class War.

And it seems like common sense and understandable rational economic policy.
If you don't look for the logical fallacies!

Emma

1.) There are around 60 million cowardly racists in America. Many of them voted for a presidential candidate for the first time in years because they loved Trump's white nationalist/nativist rhetoric -- or yearned to punish uppity "liberals" so much that they chose to overlook it. That is a fact. It isn't an accusation. I'm not suggesting that all 60 million of these voters are Klansmen, of course. I'm suggesting that all 60 million of them voted for a candidate endorsed by Klansmen. (Also a fact.)

2.) I don't know how to fix my country; I don't even think a thing like a country can indeed be fixed at all. If we're going to have an economy where most of us are employed as Uber drivers and paid Amazon reviewers from now on, then I think a single-payer healthcare plan and a citizen's income is the least our monied overlords can do to make sure we're still available to wash their windows into perpetuity. That doesn't please me, but I have no other suggestions...

3.) ...which is why I read Stumbling & Mumbling every day.

fake

"That is a fact"

Oh well there we go then, close down the debate.

aragon

Emma is wrong...

The Elite (0.001%) are screwing the rest of us, and the downward ratchet has just about reached the breaking point.

People voted for someone who said he would change this, even though he is part of the Elite, and has little understanding of the issues.

Next stop pitchforks?

MJW

I come from a white working class background and consider myself now to be lower middle class, and the reality is that much of the working class is indifferent to matters that require committed thought and action. Not being born to the middle class I have no Fabian romantic delusions, I've actually spent time in the social clubs of Northern England.

There are members of the working class who are responsible, aspirational and want to get on in the world, they will generally take care of themselves. But then there are many who just want to do their hours and spend their free time swilling cheap lager and dropping fag ash over their kids. They'll happily blame others for the outcomes they're well aware of but have abdicated responsibility for (it's easy when well meaning fools constantly tell you it's not your fault even if it actually is).

Of course I'm "victim blaming" by writing this, but I think you're ploughing a barren field with class consciousness, you cannot make people want to take on responsibility if they don't want it, to put in time and effort to organise and develop workable alternatives, not if they'd prefer to be in the bookies, down the pub or smoking over their kids in front of the TV.

reason

calgacus http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2016/11/on-class-politics.html?cid=6a00d83451cbef69e201b8d23bbb82970c#comment-6a00d83451cbef69e201b8d23bbb82970c

If you want to make an argument, make one. Resorting to abuse makes you look very bad and doesn't convince anyone.

Stuart

Not so long ago, MJW's comment would have made me furiously angry. Probably because it's so obviously true.

Matt Moore

@ from Arse to Elbow

I own a lot of very valuable human capital. I'm not sure what the substantive difference is between human and traditional captial.

The neglect of the importance of human capital is one of the more troubling macro gaps right now.

aragon

The Randell Wray articles:

http://basicincome.org/news/2013/07/wray-l-randall-two-articles-criticizing-of-big/

Randell Wray argues that a reduction in Labour will result in a loss of output - which does not follow and that extra money (stimulus) will cause inflation, which likewise does not apply if resources are available and competition keeps prices down.

MJW is not aware or disagrees with the Bee Sting theory of poverty.

http://archive.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/03/30/the_sting_of_poverty/?page=1

"But, according to Karelis, that argument is exactly backward. Reducing the number of economic hardships that the poor have to deal with actually make them more, not less, likely to work, just as repairing most of the dents on a car makes the owner more likely to fix the last couple on his own. Simply giving the poor money with no strings attached, rather than using it, as federal and state governments do now, to try to encourage specific behaviors - food stamps to make sure money doesn't get spent on drugs or non-necessities, education grants to encourage schooling, time limits on benefits to encourage recipients to look for work - would be just as effective, and with far less bureaucracy. (One federal measure Karelis particularly likes is the Earned Income Tax Credit, which, by subsidizing work, helps strengthen the "reliever" effect he identifies.)"

aragon

The Randell Wray articles:

http://basicincome.org/news/2013/07/wray-l-randall-two-articles-criticizing-of-big/

Randell Wray argues that a reduction in Labour will result in a loss of output - which does not follow and that extra money (stimulus) will cause inflation, which likewise does not apply if resources are available and competition keeps prices down.

MJW is not aware or disagrees with the Bee Sting theory of poverty.

http://archive.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/03/30/the_sting_of_poverty/?page=1

"But, according to Karelis, that argument is exactly backward. Reducing the number of economic hardships that the poor have to deal with actually make them more, not less, likely to work, just as repairing most of the dents on a car makes the owner more likely to fix the last couple on his own. Simply giving the poor money with no strings attached, rather than using it, as federal and state governments do now, to try to encourage specific behaviors - food stamps to make sure money doesn't get spent on drugs or non-necessities, education grants to encourage schooling, time limits on benefits to encourage recipients to look for work - would be just as effective, and with far less bureaucracy. (One federal measure Karelis particularly likes is the Earned Income Tax Credit, which, by subsidizing work, helps strengthen the "reliever" effect he identifies.)"

Denis Drew

As my old Bronx doctor, Seymour Tenzer, put it: "All these histories are bullshit -- I got punched in the chest; that's why I've got a lump."

Trump's victory is down to the disappearance of the $800 job for the $400 job. That subtracted from the vote in the black ghettos – and added to the vote in the white ghettos -- both ghettos being far off the radar screen of academic liberals like Hill and O.

I notice the white ghettos because that is me. My old taxi job (much too old now at 72 3/4) was “in-sourced” all over the world to drivers who would work for remarkably less (than the not so great incomes we native born eked out). Today's low skilled jobs go to native and foreign born who willing to show up for $400 (e.g., since Walmart gutted supermarket contracts). Fast food strictly to foreign born who will show up for $290 a week (min wage $400, 1968 -- when per cap income half today's).

Don't expect the 100,000 out of maybe 200,000 Chicago gang age males to show up for a life time of $400/wk servitude. Did I mention, manufacturing was down to 6% of employment 15 years ago -- now 4% (disappearing like farm labor, mostly robo; look to health care for the future?)?
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gang-wars-at-the-root-of-chicagos-high-murder-rate/

6% union density at private employers = 20/10 BP which starves every healthy process in the social body = disappearance of collective bargaining and its institutional concomitants which supply political funding and lobbying equal to oligarchs plus most all the votes ...

... votes: notice? 45% take 10% of overall income -- 45% earn $15/hr or less -- a lot of votes.

D

@emma

Could you explain a bit more about the 60million cowardly racists - where does the number come from? why do you think they're all racists etc.?

I'm not disagreeing,(although I think Bob's probably right) just genuinely interested in your perspective.

ejh

"But then there are many who just want to do their hours and spend their free time swilling cheap lager and dropping fag ash over their kids."

And this is another reason why we need a politics of working-class people, because when we don't have one, foulness like this is everywhere.

ADifferentChris

@D

There's, say, 300 million Americans. About 1/3 voted Trump. Of those 100 million, around 60% are white. Voting for Trump is a racist act. So yeah, 60 million cowardly racists sounds about right.

It goes without saying that they're from all walks of life, classes, wealth levels etc.

reason

@D
Nothing like a third of them voted for Trump.

reason

There were around 60 million votes for each of the candidates of the major parties in total.

reason

These days there is google and browsers with multiple tabs. There is really no excuse for not checking your facts. (And so there is no excuse for those who voted for a post-truth candidate).

D

@reason

I think you mean @ADifferentChris

Keith

Identity politics actually seems to have worked fine for Hillary. She won more votes, just not enough in the right places. The margin in the rust belt was very small.

What is true is that the American system is rigged in favour of the right wing party in a two party system and that the GOP and their surrogates, lie all the time engages in ad hominem arguments and spread conspiracy theories unchecked by the state or media. They draw the districts at state level to benefit their side and have successfully abused the Constitution to obstruct the Democrats and get the public to blame them for gridlock. Being rewarded for their lack of morality and intellectual dishonesty.

The only valid argument against Hillary is that she and her surrogates failed to explain and propagandise effectively around her economic policy proposals and explain why marginal improvements were better than trump hyperbole. If she had successfully justified her economic plans then it is quite possible Pennsylvania ohio and michigan would have gone for her. The Dems and the rest of the non fanatical yahoos need to fight the immoral GOP more effectively at every level and counter their political methods.

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