I’m also disgusted at myself for writing a blog, my first blog, on the same topic as my latest essay. But bear with me. This isn’t going to be about the historical analytical power of the concept, but more a discussion on an a view I’ve had for a while. Rather than reciting my essay, I’m going to discuss what class is, the problems with it, and why it is important. Enjoy.

Since Thatcher was in power the British population have had it drilled into them time and time again that there is no longer a class system, and specifically no longer a working class. The idea that we are all middle class now is an interesting one. But I believe it’s wrong. Thatcher, Major and Blair have all tried to install into the country that a class system doesn’t exist, only choosing to refer to ‘class’ when discussing something they want rid of, something negative. (Ironically, the only way Thatcher could defeat the classes was to be obsessed with it). Thatchers time in government ended with a massive decline in the manufacturing power of Britain, replaced by the service industries.  Twenty years on, the people that now belong to those industries believe they are middle class. You are not.

Marx  defined the working class or proletariats  as people that sold their labour for money, but do not have the means for production. Today, this would mean builders, factory workers, nurses etc. These people are working class. Occasionly people try to hide from it behind their education or ‘middle-class jobs’, but you’re fooling only yourselves. Why do people try so hard to claim this ‘middle-class’ status? Because the government say it’s what you are, and what it’s normal to be.

BUT PEOPLE NOW WORK IN OFFICES“.. I hear you shout. You’re right. And when Marx wrote his theory, those people would have been seen as middle-class; to be a clerk was very classy (best pun ever). But now consider the skills required to have the majority of office positions? They require a basic literacy to fill in a few forms and tick a few boxes. All degree’s have devalued somewhat, some becoming practically useless. These aren’t the middle class of Marx’s day, they are the working class of the 21st Century. Office work has become so de-skilled it’s almost on a par with manual labour, and with this comes the pay cuts. White-collar work is mechanised. Pay cuts and redundancies run rampant among this ‘middle-class’ while being told that the financial bonuses those at the top receive are worth every penny.  These pay cuts will continue to increase on par with the increase of the ‘de-skilled middle class’.

I’m not knocking these people, far from it. I’m telling them to embrace that they are working class. A class that isn’t dying, regardless of what the politicians want you to believe. It’s growing. Their re-branding should not fool anyone. In terms of income, the UK is the fourth most unequal country in the world. Yet we are supposed to believe everyone is moving towards the middle? No. Sure, the revolution that Marx predicted has not happened – but the polarisation he predicted? The numbers speak for themselves.

Only through realisation and unity can anyone hope to make a difference. To challenge the gross underpayment of people that are ‘unskilled’. The sooner this realisation happens, the better. Cheers.

.. Time to go write 4,000 words on ritual in Imperial India.



Filed under History, Politics

2 responses to “Class…

  1. Glad that you copied your essay onto your blog. Otherwise only your Professor would have had the pleasure of reading it!

    It made me think. Traditionally, working class in England has meant the same as “getting your hands dirty”. And “keeping your hands clean” meant the same as being in the professional/managerial classes. Old attitudes die hard.

    Looking forward to reading about ritual in Imperial India!

    • Anf Braybrooke

      Thanks Goodwin!

      I wish that this was my actual essay, but unfortunately not. The actual essay was a historiography of class, and this was just something I pondered while writing it. 🙂

      The definition I was using of the England working class was the one which Marx defined, as proletariat, and thus meant having nothing to sell but your labour. Whereas it’s common for people to believe this means ‘getting your hands dirty’ (and it quite often did), in the 21st Century people that work in call centres, for instance, are doing the same thing. Yet this de-skilled profession is being presented as Middle Class, which as my next blog explained, leads to loads of problems.

      Unfortauntly, I’m not engaged enough with the topic of India to write a blog about it. 😦 Thanks for your comment and nice to meet you.

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