Class Issues in U.S. politics

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martin dufresne
Class Issues in U.S. politics


martin dufresne

I am starting this because our attention to the U.S. election seems to have devolved to snickering about Palin.
From a fascinating blog, [url=]Anglachel's Journal[/url]:


Wednesday, September 10, 2008
The polls are rattling nerves up and down the Democratic ladder as Obama and Biden turn a “No way to lose!” election year into a “How are we going to win?” nail biter. They are apprehensive of how the race is shaping up.(...)

Looking at why ""pink collar", rural, "older", non-professional women (AND men) are drifting away from Obama", the blogger quotes from an [b]n+1[/b] article entitled [url=]Obama and the Closing of the American Dream[/url]:


This classless universality —the hope that every American citizen, through free labor, could enjoy middle-class respectability, economic freedom, and the intellectual benefits of education— lay at the core of the dreams championed by farmers, small-business owners, and factory workers. In the nineteenth century, such universal rhetoric coexisted with the practical exclusion of blacks and women, who were considered to be beneath citizenship. Crucially, however, there was nothing intrinsic to farming, wage earning, or entrepreneurship that required the permanent separation of these groups from the promise of social respectability. Today, one can and should hope for an American dream that truly includes all Americans, and which recognizes and respects all the different types of labor the country needs. This would fulfill the promise of nineteenth-century aspirations.

Instead we have been left with the professional ideal, which values only certain types of work and thus implicitly disdains the rest. It is an inherently exclusive ideal, structured around a divide between those engaged in high-status work and those confined to task execution. The political theorist Iris Marion Young writes, "Today equal opportunity has come to mean only that no one is barred from entering competition for a relatively few privileged positions." The idea of exclusivity is a necessary structural feature of professionalization. As a model for society, however, it validates an economic and cultural divide between those with meaningful access to social respectability and the vast majority of Americans, who remain consigned to low status and low-income employment.

From 1932 until 1968, the Democratic Party rested on two descriptions of American life—the American dream as embodied by the rural farmer and the industrial worker. It gained sustenance from a respect for these accounts of middle-class achievement, economic independence, and democratic inclusion. Today's party, however, has given up on establishing new forms of solidarity for nonprofessional citizens. All it has to offer is a lose-lose proposition: join the competition for professional status and cultural privilege at a severe disadvantage, or don't join it at all. The party holds on to the social programs of the past, but in ever more truncated form. It presents a politics of consensus while ignoring the fact of basic division.

Certainly enough to get us started.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

What a silly analysis!

We are to believe that the United States is a battleground of class warfare between the "professionals" and the workers, that "highly educated professionals are the driving force, financially and politically, behind both major parties."

The problem with the world's most advanced (and degenerated) capitalist society has nothing to do with such superficialities. The economy, the state, and the political apparatus are all firmly in the control of the capitalist class, which exploits the workers - both the blue-collar and the "professional" ones. It manages to get away with it with the help of "professional" academics like Aziz Rana who spread disinformation through articles like this.

The thread title is completely misleading.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture


highly educated professionals are the driving force, financially and politically, behind both major parties

I think that may be true if we are talking about the people, volunteers, administrators, coordinators, staffers, etc ..., who comprise the human element of the party. But the analysis fails to explain why that only hurts the Democrats when it is true of both parties.

aka Mycroft

Ironic news item of the day:

[url= Clinton backer and DNC member to endorse McCain[/url]


[b]Prominent Clinton backer and DNC member to endorse McCain[/b]

Lynn Forester de Rothschild, a prominent Hillary Clinton supporter and member of the Democratic National Committee’s Platform Committee, will endorse John McCain for president on Wednesday, her spokesman tells CNN.


“This is a hard decision for me personally because frankly I don't like him,” she said of Obama in an interview with CNN’s Joe Johns. [b]“I feel like he is an elitist.[/b] I feel like he has not given me reason to trust him.”
Forester is the CEO of EL Rothschild, a holding company with businesses around the world. She is married to international banker Sir Evelyn de Rothschild.[/b] Forester is a member of the DNC’s Democrats Abroad chapter and splits her time living in London and New York.

It's a strange day indeed when a Rothschild calls you an elitist.

[ 17 September 2008: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]



Things would go better for Democrats if they recognized the culture war for what it is: a debased form of class war . . . .

When Republicans cry class conflict, it only seems fair that they get class conflict in return. And at this particular economic juncture it is the Democrats, not the GOP, who have all the weapons. Now if only they can be persuaded to use them.

Consider the current economic catastrophe, which has been building for a year. Just as it has taken down Countrywide, Bear Stearns, Indymac, Freddie, Fannie, Lehman, Merrill and Lord knows who else in the weeks to come, it has also pulverized the reigning conservative shibboleths of the past 28 years.



When a longtime rich Democrat endorses a Republican, chances are that rich Democrat has decided the Dem candidate's tax policy might actually hurt him or her.

This should be a nice shot in the arm for the Dems if they muster the will to point out that rich people are the last ones to have any credibility about calling others "elitist".

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture


aka Mycroft: It's a strange day indeed when a Rothschild calls you an elitist.

Truth is stranger than fiction, eh? The right often accuses those on the left of the very sins that they habitually indulge in themselves. It's a sort of distraction technique and it's pretty common IMHO.

martin dufresne

From AlterNet
[url=]MacCain and Palin's Top 20 Lies, Myths and Flip-Flops[/url]

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

On the Rothschild endorsement. Snarky, sarcastic, a bit crass yep, but this guys response pretty much sums up my feelings on it.

[url= Forester.....[/url]


News Alert! Some fancy lady named Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild has decided that Barack Obama is an "elitist" and therefore she's going to endorse John McCain.

Is this the greatest news factoid of all time?

Answer: YES.

This is turning out to be one bizzaro election.



Originally posted by aka Mycroft:
It's a strange day indeed when a Rothschild calls you an elitist.
[ 17 September 2008: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ][/b]

Must be a case of takes one to know one.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

So, well I guess Ms Rothschild has been on the news all day stumping for McCain and explaining her change of heart. Big news, former Dem supporter blah blah..
Gotta wonder though if this really is going to help
From CNN interview:

"....The people out, you know, who are the rednecks or whoever, are bitter...."
[url= to clip[/url]