Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Real Friends

I overheard half a telephone conversation, between my father-in-law (though to be true to my "relationship status is not confirmed" I reiterate that he may or may not be my father-in-law in a legal sense) and my partner.  He must have asked my partner who we vote for, and was told that we usually vote for Labour or the Greens.  Or both, now that we get two votes.  I guess he asked why.  "Because we are working class" my partner explained.  And that gave me cause to think.

  • I sit at a desk all day, and breath air-conditioned air.
  • I wear work attire.  Leather shoes, linen, silk.
  • I cultivate my appearance.
  • My work involves brains, not brawn.
  • I am well rewarded

but:

  • I am a small part of a very large machine.  If I break I will quickly be replaced.
  • I get the same pay every time.  The increase and decrease of profitably of my employer (a publicly listed company) has no impact.
  • I have no say in or control over the direction my employer takes, beyond "take it or leave it".
  • I have no say in my conditions of employment, beyond "take it or leave"
  • I have no other form of income, such as shares or rent, or through the direct sale of the fruits of my efforts
  • I struggle to pay my mortgage on my home and I am in the thrall of an Australian bank
  • I have no inherited wealth.


In short, I am a wage slave.  That might not make me true working class, in terms of the original meaning, I have more in common with the working class and my interests are most closely aligned that way.
Quite a revelation for me.

Later I came across the Communist Party USA (I didn't know there was such a thing) definition of working class, on wikipedia:
The Communist Party USA's Constitution defines the working class as a class which is "multiracial, multinational, and unites men and women, young and old, employed and unemployed, organized and unorganized, gay and straight, native-born and immigrant, urban and rural, and composed of workers who perform a large range of physical and mental labor–the vast majority of our society."
The emphasis is mine.  I guess they think I am working class, and I'm OK with that.

Mint Chicks - Crazy? Yes. Dumb? No, 2006

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